Today, I'm doing some writing and hanging out with Missy in the living room.

 Yang is with me

Yang is with me

My boycat Yang is sitting on my lap, insinuating himself between me and the laptop.  It's adorable.  It's a pain in the ass.  It's both!  

Cats are such funny, entitled, loving agents of chaos.  At first I wanted to push him off my lap, and really get to work.  But he's got me realizing it's important to go slow, and pay attention to love.

It makes me think of Andrea.  She was a cat person too.  Her babies, Abbycat and Daddycat, look, weirdly like my Yin and Yang.  She has expressed to me many times how they're lovely pains-in-the-neck, too.

I COULD be writing in my office, at my desk. without company (cat or spouse).  But it's better this way.

I know Andrea would approve.

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow

For lunch today, I grilled myself a ribeye steak. and some zucchini.

54723373106__33DEE45B-121E-44E0-99B5-7161C423228E.jpeg

They were delicious.  

I've been doing the keto diet for over a year now.  I'm down a little over 50 pounds.  It's not been horribly difficult, but it hasn't been a piece of cake either.  When I go shopping, the supermarket is like 90% stuff-I-don't-eat-anymore, and 10% the good stuff.  Sometimes, I do cheat, and when I do it's generally not a little thing.  (It's amazing how you can't seem to eat just a few french fries.)

But for the most part, I'm not regretting the choice.  Some of the things I do get to eat are fantastically delightful.  

The other day I renewed my gym membership, and started swimming again.  Wow, I sure have lost of lot of fitness!  But, when I went to put my swim suits on, they fit just great.  I'm actively looking to add exercise back to my regimen, too now.

I feel like this past year has taught me a lot.  I'm going to keep sticking with keto for the duration.

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow
IMG_0289.jpg

So this morning, I'm at the dentist (YES AGAIN), getting my temporary bridge replaced (YES AGAIN, AGAIN) and wearing awesome hot-pink dental-light-don't-blind-me-glasses (FIRST TIME) when this thought struck me.

I was thinking about one of my favorite movies, Big Hero 6, and one of my favorite characters in that movie, Wasabi.

I love Wasabi.  He's a neurotic perfectionist, with a plan for everything.  He has outlines on his work desk for every tool, including the place he rests his coffee mug.

Wasabi hates surprises, doesn't like winging it.  He's a man with a recipe to follow.

Day-23-Wasabi-courtesy-of-upstore.me_.jpg

That's been his MO for a very long time.  And for the most part, it's worked out for him.  His plasma based laser technology is astounding.  Long before Hiro gets a hold of it to adapt it for superhero use, it's pretty damn cool.

But, it does make Wasabi fragile in some ways.  The reason Fred nicknames him "Wasabi" is because he spilled wasabi mustard on his shirt one time, a fact that drives Wasabi bonkers.  During a really awesome car chase scene, Wasabi actually STOPS FOR A RED LIGHT, because he's used to knowing the rules inherent to a system and adhering to them.  Wasabi can often come across as fearful or timid, because he just wants to have a plan, and stick to it.

But there's this moment in the film when he overcomes this, beautifully.  During the climactic fight with the big villain, Yokai, Wasabi realizes that gravity is really getting quite goofed up by certain inter dimensional things going on.  And instead of panicking, or complaining about it, he makes a key choice: to use it instead.

IMG_0288.jpg

He pushes off the wall, and goes floating through the air.  Then he activates his laser hands, and gets in there, chopping up microbots with a vengeance.  It's like a form of parkour, and is awesome.  In a way, he gets a new superhero skill from it. 

So often when I read about (or have written about) mindfulness, it's filled with lots of "here's what you don't do."  But there's another side to that, and Wasabi's little story is indicative of it. It's the magical benefits you get from embracing it.

I have one like that, related to recent events in my life.  Just after Andrea's passing, a whole lot of folks reached out to me (wonderful) to offer their condolences (lovely) and help in any way they could.  (problematic)

What's so problematic about that, you ask?  

Well, in the midst of my grief , I barely knew how I even felt, never mind what sort of help I might need.  I had a few cases of folks who, with the very best of intentions, offered to help me in any way I might tell them.  But the problem was, I didn't have the knowledge, energy, or drive to come up with anything for them to do.  Even the prospect of it made me kind of want to shut down a little.  I was struggling to even get out of bed, I certainly didn't have the "emotional chutzpah" to offer guidance.

To make a food metaphor out of it, it was a bit like they were offering to take me out to dinner, but needed me to pick the restaurant.  It kind of turns the situation and the assistance from being focused on the person needing the assistance to the one supplying it.  Not great.  Under normal circumstances, that's no big deal.  But during grief, not so much.

I wasn't mad about it though.  Instead, I saw it as an opportunity for mindful practice.  I resolved that the very next time someone else I know was grieving, I would mindfully offer them ready-to-go assistance with something I already had to offer and which I knew they could use.

Sadly, such a situation has come up.  Just yesterday.  I won't get into the who or what of it, because that's private.  But I was resolved that when I contacted my friends, this would be my drive.  It worked out pretty well too.

And as I was sitting in the dentist's chair this morning, thinking on the contact I'd had, Wasabi and his change in attitude came to me, and I saw this was the same sort of thing.

I'm grateful for the reinforcement.  Hey wait, I can use that!

 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow

Tonight, a good friend did something very special for me.  They went out to dinner with me to help me process my grief about Andrea’s death.

IMAGE.JPG

My Helpful Friend is something of a subject matter expert themselves on this matter, having recently had to deal with a death themselves. 

So we met. We sat.  We talked. I almost-cried a few times. I ate steak. It was good.  

One super helpful thing my friend described to me is that I would run into two sorts of pain in my grieving.  

  1. Punches to the head
  2. Punches to the gut

Type 1 punches are the things that make you think, that make you dig in, obsess, dredge up grief you thought you had already worked through and revisit it.  

Whereas type 2 punches are those quick, sharp, knock-the-wind out of you experiences.  Something catches you off guard, and you suddenly don’t quite know how you feel.

Here’s the thing though.  While experiencing these punches doesn’t feel very good, it’s normal and kind of good for you.

Andrea, she carved this special place in my heart, in my life.  I’m utterly, incontrovertibly changed by our friendship.  I don’t want  that not to matter.  I welcome  both the pain and the pleasure of how much she meant to me, and still means to me, even in her death.

I know that that’s uncomfortable.  I know that it’s not easy, not for me, and not for you.

 I’m grateful for the discomfort. And I’m grateful you’ve stuck around to share in it with me.

In a way, that was at the heart of my friendship with Andrea.  On the regular, we challenged one another, called each other on our bullshit.  My friend I had dinner with tonight helped me with some of that too, as we ate, commiserated, and connected.  It was damn fine.

I’m grateful for such good friends, those now gone, and those still with me.  

 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow