A very interesting day..

I finished my newspaper work on time, and even turned in the right file this time. (Whole other story and not a pretty one, mind you. It was evidence that my tech skills are that of a dinosaur even if my words occasionally are more highly evolved. And Nov 19  issue looked great and they had tons of timely previously cut material to cover my boo boo. Less than half of what I write sees the page usually, although most of it is available online, due to space constraints.

Anyway, anyone who wants to read my current professional work can find it at www.santansun.com. Nope, no byline, but most of the articles in the AZ Arts section are cobbled together by yours truly from press releases, websites and phone calls. My stuff is way at the back starting I think on page 58 through page 65 and the new Editor rewrote my best headlines, but hey, no words are sacred and that is the way the professional writer flavored cookie crumbles or the one about Warhol influenced art at the post office would have the  headline “Pop goes the easel”.

My nano novel is going slow. Will get back to it in the morning. Had to say hi to the blogosphere. Need to go to bed now if I am going to write before going to my “boot camp” training in the AM.

I am not going to talk about the Occupy movement and how that all went down. I don’t have enough clear facts about what happened to cognizantly defend  my initial  reaction (which I have to everything including social networks and GPS), namely “OMG, I am living in that Orwellian dystopia future I read about as a teenager. ” Then after thinking these thoughts, unfortunately and like so many of the rest of us, I go back to my routine. Mostly I go back to what I normally do because I do not understand the purpose of the movement or how I can actually effect their goals. I do oppose the use of police force to squelch free speech and I do believe money and the few who have most of it control large portions of our government. I think that’s evident from the inability to get anything done in Washington, regardless of what percentage of persons in America believe we need infrastructure jobs or the rich paying their fair share of taxes, Big Brother won’t let it happen.

But I also go back to what I do because I cannot save the world if I can’t even tend my own garden of needs. I have bills to pay and mouths (to BIG canine mouths besides mine) to feed, and people who depend on me to meet my responsibilites. I try to change the world a little bit by smiling and saying thank-you as often as I can, by buying local and buying organic if I can, by not consuming more than I need. My commitment is to “Ahimsa” as I understand it and integrating that into my daily small decisions and choices is my own Occupy movement. I am trying very hard to occupy with mindfulness the life I was given. I respect those whose path is different than mine, whose options and choices allow for them change the world in bigger, louder headline ways and don’t believe that resorting to sneakiness or force to stop them is right

So I guess I did talk about what happened to Occupy camps across America, but I am done now. And off to sleep so I can go work on the whole Slow Old Fat Triathlete becoming faster and thinner (however still getting older).

Happy Thanksgiving if I don’t get back before then, And don’t forget Small Business Saturday!

Starting where I am, progress and using pain as tool for peace.

If you are reading my blogs because of the triathlete training tag, I ask you  to endure the first more literary leg of this blog as my transition to my new obsession will come faster and more smoothly than I predict my first actual race transition will be, but then again I might just surprise us all.  

 
I am a typical middle aged bookworm with bulky glasses, more imaginary friends than lifetime peer relationships and a large, low rear center of gravity. I am typically voracious in my book appetites if atypically eclectic in my reading style. Just finished Melissa Anelli’s nonfiction "Harry, A History" at breakfast, and half way through "Hexed" by Kevin Hearne from lunch. I am listening to Jim Butcher’s Dresden files on audio while in the car and am up to book 6. I am rereading (again) "Ghandi an Autobiography" in the bathroom, have Jon Kabat-Zinn on the night stand and C.S. Lewis "The Great Divorce" in my briefcase.  

Certain writers are my mainstays, but I will try any printed page for depth and flavor. I have an ice cream like hankering for the spiritual and I am a huge fan of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Pema Chodron, and C.S. Lewis. I can’t get enough of their writings. One of their books is always in play, not only because the written works themselves are immensely readable but also because the author’s human struggle is the muddy garden in which these flowers of  enlightenment bloom.  Ghandi and Lewis have been with me since childhood and can be blamed for my attempt to guide my life by the principles of Satipatthana and Ahimsa. Pema joined my team when I was struggling to build some new neural pathways post surgery and infection and was given her book  "When Things Fall Apart"; she introduced annata, annica and duhka to me as the tools they are in language I understood. 

I am not quite a book junkie who will just buy a book for the score, but I do have certain lighter favorite authors like Charles de Lint,  Wil Wheaton,  James Owen, Jasper Fforde, Karen Armstrong, Ayya Khema and Linda Pastan whose works are now purchased whenever they appear and are devoured on the strength of past positive experience. Then there are the authors like Christopher Moore, Debbie Macomber,  Stephen King,  David McCullough whose flashes of brilliance in the midst of McMainstream writing will get me to peruse the back cover of their latest and often buy it.  

 
I am making it sound like I choose what I read, but as I look more closely at my overstuffed shelves, I see that all a book really needs to do, is sit attractively on the front table of Changing Hands (my, yes MY, no I don’t own it but it is where I spend all my book money) and bat its attractively colored cover at me, flirt with an intriguing chapter list, or maybe take me out on that first page date, and I am theirs; mind, time and wallet. So many books, so little time, so many stories to live (from the comfort of my armchair with a nice glass of tea in easy reach.) I am the typical book nerd full of sweet and salty treats and disdainful of all that sweaty spandex sports world.
 
Which is why I am baffled as much by the book I am carrying around constantly as I am at this person stretching across from me in my bedroom mirror. Perhaps it is a a bit of a midlife crisis that starting June 1, 2011 I officially came out as a triathlete wanna be. The book I carry now (all the time!) is by Jayne Williams. 
 
The cover is a very realistic sports in progress photo with too much yellow; it looks more like a healthy diet bar than a tasty  tome. Inside the book the author’s writing style would have won my mockery in the days as a professional critic. The funny thing is, I think that would have been Okay with her, maybe more than okay, she would have embraced my mockery and just kept running, swimming, biking and sharing her experience.
 
If my  am very sure she would have been okay, it is because she is teaching me to be okay as well. Her book, "Slow, Fat Triathlete" has become as important to my going forward as Ghandi has been to my getting here. The funny thing is, she says all the things I am used to hearing from my spiritual sensei’s but the meaning is now manifest in the tight stretch of my neck to improve the chance of breathing air instead of water, the fold of my abdomen impeding a new core building yoga pose, the awkward weight and friction of my thighs as I break into a trotting sort of run.  I struggle with the very real dailiness of starting where I am in something I don’t have to do, compassion for the non-athlete I am is as much a challenge as the movements. Pain is proof I am pushing to improvement. The challenge today was to be mindful enough of my needs to take the day off training (Yup, Jayne recommends downtime too!) Patience, practice, compassion….easier said than done when the only success is showing up again to the process.
 
As to the annihilation of ego portion of my life program, that is a whole story in itself. The biggest ego lesson of slow, fat triath training is not the very HUGE one of continuing to show up for something I don’t shine at, the biggest lesson for me has to do with learning the "self" in selflessness.
 
I want to complete a triathlon, it has been on my bucket list for a few years. But… I don’t need to complete this goal to support myself better. It won’t make the world a better place. It won’t feed anyone, heal anyone, save anyone; make anyone’s life better except maybe me. This is probably the first most selfish thing I have ever done.  If I am no more and no less than anyone else, and I would make this kind of effort, utilize these resources, spend this time to help another, is this then my lesson in letting go of ego, I can and should do the same for me?
 
More daily logs coming tomorrow…for now, me and my deep thoughts are gonna go clean the bathroom and then make a healthy supper and maybe go for a swim, and if the pool bullies are there, I have a plan.