“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Mana

Yesterday I read a blog from one of my hula sisters. I don't really know her as she's in another class. I thought about her post all day, though.
The link to her post is above, but here it is cut and pasted for your viewing pleasure.

Sharing Your Mana
December 28, 2009
I love wrapping presents. Yes, partially because it’s creative, but mostly because it’s so much more. While I’m folding papers and gluing little bits of this and that to the outside, I’m imagining the recipient’s reaction upon seeing this thing that’s beautiful or striking or funny. I also love that it’s a temporary art, that it’s designed to be destroyed, that I’m creating something that will exist only between the two of us after it’s gone. The gift itself is more lasting, but the wrapping has a transient loveliness I celebrate.
I feel the same way about cooking for someone. I imagine the flavors that they like, the kind of impact I want the meal to have. I am communicating how much I care through their taste buds. It’s brief, but it matters.
In my hula class we talk a lot about “mana.” In Polynesian cultures, mana generally refers to the spirit that flows through everything. What I really like is recognizing that we transfer some of our own mana into whatever we make or do. For example, if you’re making lei (a wearable string of flowers and/or plants) for someone, thinking about that person while you’re doing it can guide your hands and transform the experience from a simple act of threading and wrapping flowers into something far more meaningful. In the same way, thinking about who I’m dancing for can change it from just another way to move my body into something with meaning. And like the gift wrapping and the food, fresh lei and dance are also transitory, moments of time suspended in emotion and memory.
We’ve all felt it – that sense that someone was really thinking about us when they did something for us or when they gave a gift that felt so perfect, that gave us the sense that they were thinking of us. Usually, we’re picking up on their positive thoughts, but I’ve also felt when someone was thinking bad or mean thoughts when choosing a gift or doing an otherwise innocuous action. This idea of giving someone your feelings through an object crosses through every culture, sometimes referred to as “spirit” or “intention” or “mana” or simply “being thoughtful."
So why do I write this post now, at the end of the big gift-giving season? It seems to me that it’s natural for many to think about this when selecting presents, but I’ve found that the transfer of mana happens so much more often than that. The act of thinking about others lasts all year, and I believe you can turn anything into a moment where you communicate how you feel about someone. Opening a door for another, smiling when you see someone, giving a cookie at lunch, writing a little note telling someone about something that made you think of them, making something with your hands, posting something online – all of these moments are ones in which we can be sharing our mana, they can all be thought of as little gifts. Your mana is endless. Give yourself the gift of sharing it.

Cianna made me think about the Christmas presents I gave and received this year. I mailed some bottles of wine to my sisters and my nephew and some gift cards to my niece. Although I'm certain I wrapped them so they would last the journey to their destinations, did I wrap them so they looked nice? Did I wrap them well enough to show that I love them? I feel a little bad that one of the gifts for my niece was a Border's card that said "happy birthday". (OK, confession time, this card should have gone out to her for her birthday last month but I forgot to send it so I put it in an envelope along with a Starbucks card. Did it show that I care?). 
I was touched by the gift from my Mother-in-law. She gave me a few sweaters and a skirt, cute, but not overly remarkable. I liked them and I wore them to Christmas dinner and to work on Monday, but what touched me was how much she stressed over whether I'd like them or not. In the week before Christmas she asked hubby at least 5 times if I'd like it. She poured herself into this gift. She shared her mana by picking out this gift. When I opened it she stood by me in anticipation hoping I'd like it.  My daughter gave me the best mana-filled gift ever. She made me a book of coupons like "queen for a day" or "I don't have to make dinner". She worked really hard on it and I love it.

On the negative side, Cianna's post made me think about all the other gifts my family and I received, which I put into mental piles of Good Mana and Bad Mana. That was probably not the best thing to do with my time, but hey, my mind wanders sometimes.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Faces in Places Dream

Last night I had a dream about the person who runs Faces in Places. Now, I've never met the Faces in Places person. I've never seen a picture of him/her. I don't even know if it's a man or a woman who runs it. Just like when I read a book, however, I put a picture together in my head of what this person must look like. In my head, the Faces in Places person is a 20-something girl, cute, super hip, really freaking smart, but because she's so cute and hip, people don't often see how smart she is. I could be totally wrong. Faces in Places person could be a 40 year old guy with a comb-over or a ben franklin haircut. He doesn't live with his mom, he and his mom are room mates. He works at the naval recruiting center and doesn't let anyone know that he likes to collect cute pictures of faces.
In my dream, the Faces in Places person didn't look like either of those people described above.

Hubby and I were hanging out at some park, but the park was paved, but that didn't seem to bother us and I only bring it up now because looking back, I think it was weird. I looked across the park and saw this guy, a just-out-of-highschool aged guy. Mixed race (black and some kind of white), dreadlocks down to his shoulders (like Whoopi but good), wearing a backwards pageboy hat. Super hip guy. He had a staff with him. He had found a really great Face in a Place. His staff was staging the scene, being careful not to disturb the Face he found in the Place so that his photo would be just perfect. I walked up to him and asked him if he was the Faces in Places guy. He said yes, and went back to work. He was really pleasant, but in the mood to take pictures and not talk to some fan.

I like the Faces in Places blog.  Here are some Faces in Places pictures I've taken. Both were taken at Armstrong Woods near Guerneville. First one is an orangutan covered in moss (or is it a seal covered in moss), the other one is a rhinoceros.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Where was I?

Where was I? Oh yeah, Things I'm not going to do and/or Things I've modified.

So I don't really feel like a quitter for not doing some of the things on my list. I still have time to replace them with other things on my list.

#17 Read The Other Boelyn Girl or whatever that book is called.
I tried this. It didn't work. I couldn't get more than 20 pages in without falling asleep. I tried to get in the mood to read it by renting the movie. That didn't work either. Turns out I rented the BBC version and it was Dull Dull Dull. The real moving has been on Encore a few times. I think it's also on OnDemand. I'm not into it. I have, however done something that I  haven't done since grade-school. I got a library card. I have been reading, just not the book I said I was going to.

#39 Finish that quilt I was making when Kitty ate 1/2 a spool of thread and had to have surgery, bad kitty.
I don't think I'm interested in making a quilt. Maybe I'll finish it one day but I'm taking it off the list, removing the pressure to get it done.

#40 March in the St. Stupid's Day parade on April 1.
It's on a Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays. It's also on Maundy Thursday. Growing up I always thought it was "Monday Thursday" and I never knew what it was. I know now it's the day that commemorates The Last Supper. I dunno. Maybe I will do it. The pictures I've seen look pretty interesting.

#47 Learn an Eddie Money song on my 'ukulele
This one is just dumb.

Since it looks like I'm cutting a few things out of my list, I welcome suggestions on replacements.

Any suggestions?

Next up -- things that I plan on doing but have to do at a certain time of year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Get ready to cross off #12 on my list

Pencil steady, it's almost time.

Today I took the first step in accomplishing #12 on my list "participate in the 2010 Climb California event.
I registered. I not only registered, I started a team and signed up my first team member, my daughter, my Little Miss. She'll be 11 by the time the next climb comes along (Marcy 27, 2010).

Wanna join my team? We're called "Team Aloha". Everyone's welcome. All you have to do is register, sign up with Team Aloha, raise $100 and walk 52 flights of stairs, that's 1,197 stairs.

I did it last year in 27 minutes, 10 seconds. I came in 927th place. This year I'm hoping to do it in less than 25 minutes.

Totally do-able, I think. The record is something crazy like 6 minutes 32 seconds. Last year there were all kinds of people climbing from super stair climbing athletes, to kids, to firemen dressed in full gear. I read a story about a woman who was recovering from surgery; she had a lung removed. The climb took her over an hour. Her family was worried as the waited for her and sent some medics down the stairs to find her. When they found her she was fine. She told them she was taking her time, she was going to make it to the top, just making it to the top was her reward.

If you can't participate, can you donate? Little Miss and I each need to raise $100. Whatever is donated into our individual buckets can't be transferred to another person, so please, when you donate, if one of us has reached the $100 mark and the other hasn't, please donate to the one who hasn't.

Y'know, you can always donate to both of us.  

Happy Climbing!

Welcome now my friends to the show that never ends

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Nice Pictures - Where'd you steal them from?

Some of the pictures in my blog were taken by a photographer called Julie Michele. Some of the pictures were either taken by me or someone I know. Some of the pictures were ripped right from the internet, mostly from google image searches from photographers to whom I may or may not give credit.

Rest assured I make no money from any of it.