not just circle
daily practice

Tuesday, December 31, 2002  

Even more to say, and only a few minutes later....

I want to be romantic and believe in love, but I'm afraid to. I want to believe that a hard days work will net me a just reward, and that if I work to give the purest love I can, that it will be recognized, but I'm afraid to. I told him about the end of my last relationship, the break up by e-mail... and the fact that after three years, I shook it off in two weeks, and he told me that it mustn't have been true love, then, because you can't get over that in two weeks. Of course he's right, but in a way, I don't even believe in true love... or the idea that I do is so buried under the necessary armor.

I'm reminded of Fox Mulder on occasions like this:
"I want to believe"

posted by ~ | 4:15 PM

The eve of 2003. I feel like I'm on the cusp of some opportunities and chance... the usual chances and dangers, I guess. This man I love, who lives so completely alone with so many others - it's pretty remarkable that from that life he has asked to rely on me. It isn't the declaration of love and eternal fealty that I want so badly, but it is something very sweet and precious coming from him. It reminds me of A Room With A View - "show him that at the otherside of the everlasting why, there is a yes." All kinds of literary iterations of the word yes are welling up - the end of Ullysses... The fact is, I want to do it.

I realized a long time ago that a lot of my writing just isn't public, and that considering a public for it undermines it. It wants no public. I realized a long time ago that I am not ambitious for recognition or money or fame. I want to do work that I value. I want to give my heart, it's as simple as that. I think that I would be good at supporting someone's work, especially work done from that place in the soul that my dear man works from. All I really want is to be able to do my projects in peace, whatever they are. Love is something I can commit the right energy to - but another question is, can I do it unselfishly? Can I do it without wanting something? Can my emotion let him be free? Or, like in the Tao te Ching,

"opening and closing the gates of heaven
can you play the part of a woman?"

To do this thing, I have to commit to it. Commit for my own reasons, and not have requirements other than fair treatment. Love is not conditional on outcomes. I know that right now... but can I live that actively and in service? I do know that I want to try.

posted by ~ | 3:49 PM

Quality time with the man. It was good. What it boils down to is that he wants me to go into business with him, and has cooked up a way for us to be constantly engaged in some business together. He says he trusts me and respects my talent, and thinks I would be good at it. I'm not sure what he bases that on, but it warms the cockles of my heart to be so well thought of by such a raging mysanthropist who happend to have weaseled his way into my heart somehow.

Of course, the flip side is: will it be awful?

posted by ~ | 12:51 AM

Monday, December 30, 2002  

I had a great meeting yesterday with the boss of my new team. I got a terrific interview with him, and can't wait to publish all the confidence he is showing in his boys. Last year on the team wasn't always a bed of roses, but I have high hopes that this year is really going to be fun. I'm continuing to study up on what is going to be required for me to really stir up some interest in those little monkeys, and I only hope I can do well by them. I have some fun plans... and I think I'll get a lot of support from the boss and all they guys. I'm really excited about the job!

Today I've published the first of a three part interview with my personal favorite crusty, old retired bike racer (man would he ever roast me alive for saying that!). I'm really happy with it, but mostly, it's due to the fact that he is actually interesting and has a lot to say. The people I meet through this gig are so much fun, and I must say, he is my favorite so far.

In other news, my out of town friend has gone to San Francisco for a week of the time we have with him to hang out with his new boyfriend in San Francisco, who lives with him in Washington D.C. all year. I would be bummed, but the truth is, I'm not suprised. It's been fine with him here, and I love him. There's really not much more to say, but that expectations have been lowered to accomodate reality. Optimal distance is being felt out, and it's easier to keep than I thought it would be. His new boyfriend is really sweet, and the first person I've ever seen him with that suits at all; so that's good at least. It's just time for me to divest that situation of some of it's emotion. I really believe that people must have the freedom to be and do what they want, and as much as I want to say "what the hell, Don't you love me?!" I really believe we must simply take what we are given in that department.

On the same theme, I am off to spend some quality time with the man again tonight. I'm looking forward to it, though I know it will force me to think of him 600 times per day for a week to follow. Whatever the outcome, though, it is nice to feel the heart quicken with that feeling of affection for another human being, and I am ready to try to be the yogic princess who can enjoy what is without desire or aversion. What will be will be, and the thing is, what happens doesn't change how you feel.

That's not to say that I haven't made a special effort with my lipstick today, though!

posted by ~ | 12:39 PM

Friday, December 27, 2002  

Embarrassingly, I've seen The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers three times since it came out, and I've enjoyed it more with each viewing. I'm just saying...

...What is THAT about?

It does the heart so much good to see such beloved characters spring to life. It's a world you never want to leave, and it's strengthening and comforting the way the best stories are. What I love most about the films is how much they've brought the theme forward that it's the smallest things - the smallest people, and their decisions to do the right thing that's so important. When Frodo decides to take the ring, though he does not know the way to Mordor, he makes everyone else's path clear, too. It's that small decision, and every step thereafter that makes it possible for evil alliances to be toppled, and for the rightful King to return. I love the sense, in the book, and very strongly recognized in the film, that there is no wasted action, and that hope is in those actions and decisions - it's courage and the willingness to strive for the good, rather than a sense that all will be well.

It's truly an epic story, and like all epic stories, it can give one hope and renewed faith in human strength. It has that sense of feeling not like fiction, but like history.

posted by ~ | 2:03 PM

Friday, December 20, 2002  

I just realized how SO NOT FUNNY I am, and all I can say is: no wonder.

posted by ~ | 10:13 AM

Today, my best friend is arriving from Washington D.C. to spend Christmas with my family. When he moved away almost exactly a year ago, it was amidst all kinds of pain and unhappiness. He was moving on in life to a new relationship with a man in Washington, and during the months that relationship took hold, my friend withdrew from me. I think in some ways, it made it easier for him to go. In the last weeks, unkind words were spoken, and it all ended in apologies and pledges of love; but there was still damage done, and things that only time and future developments could heal. He had become my sister's roomate, and I really felt traded in for her, and my own insecurities told me: "Yes, and why not? You are boring and obssessive, short and homely; while she is witty, has fancy Hollywood friends, social facility, and is tall and glamorous. Of course he likes her better."

While I'm absolutely certain that all of that is very skewed through my eyes, and has little to do with reality, I can't help having mixed feelings about seeing my friend. He's staying with my sister, and I feel like what once was an important relationship for me is no longer mine, but that things being what they are, I will have to smile like it is.

All of this is exactly the kind of engagement from which one should seek detachment. I want things and I hate things in this interaction, and it's really hard for me to just let things be what they are and love them all, these beloved people, in their reality. My policy of staying far enough away from people so that no matter what, I can still love them, the prinicple of optimal distance, doesn't work so well on my family and those who are like family to me. The truth is, I'm hurt, and I have been for a year. I'm not over it, and it still makes me feel like I'm swimming. The whole thing is a lot less immediate than it was, but it still stings, and getting all the elements back together for the holidays is something I wish I could welcome whole-heartedly, but it's actually something that I know I'll be swallowing for weeks.

On the bright side, the man who cracks me can't even remember my sister's name, though he has spent loads of time with both of us, and she has showcased the twins in total locker room scenarios with him there. I can't tell you how delighted I am by that.

Bottomline: None of this is anyone else's fault. It falls to me to find the equilibrium so that these things can't throw me - so that I can sleep at night, work steadily and smoothly, not be engaged in petty feelings and siezed by obssessions that do nothing but sap my energy.

Cessation of the fluctuations of consciousness. A posture that is stable and free from suffering.

It's hard to know, especially with people I love, how to be engaged in the path of those relationships with the true emotional presence they deserve, and stll be free-standing enough so that petty things do not delight me or tear me up inside.

posted by ~ | 9:40 AM

Thursday, December 19, 2002  

This body is an instrument of sensation, and it's purpose is engagement with this world. It's hard to know exactly what the relationship is between the detachment we seek, so that we can be free of desire and aversion, and the necessity to be engaged and to do our duty - to live out our dharma.

I've been reading Albert Camus' absolutely spellbinding essays about North Africa, and one in particular called The Desert, and in it, he talks about finding a truth in the physical world, a great truth before which "the mind is nothing, nor even the heart." He talks about an experience of the physical world that moves him towards a truth and a wisdom "where everything had been overcome," but he is foiled by his humanity and his engagement in it by his need for expression and self, and says "a great sob of poetry welling up within me made me forget the world's truth."

That's what love is.

posted by ~ | 10:26 PM

Wednesday, December 18, 2002  

Here's a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning that I positively love. It's from Sonnets to the Portugese.

Sonnet XXXII

The first time the sun rose on thine oath
To love me, I looked forward to the moon
To slacken all those bonds which seemed to soon
And quickly tied to make a lasting troth.
Quick-loving hearts, I thought, may quickly loathe;
And, looking on myself, I seemed not one
For such man's love! - more like an out of tune
Worn viol, a good singer would be wroth
To spoil his song with, and which, snatched in haste,
Is laid down at the first ill-sounding note.
I did not wrong myself so, but I placed
A wrong on thee. For perfect strains may float
'Neath master hands, from instruments defaced,
And great souls, at one stroke, may do and dote.

posted by ~ | 9:40 PM

I saw someone that tortures me today.

Yes, him: the man who inspires equal parts of desire and repulsion. He came to my office to give me something, and we cooked up all kinds of new business to do together, which should insure a safe level of plausible deniability for months to come. I got a copy of THE MOVIE and I am going to help him find someone to do music for it and probably work on putting together a publicity campaign. He is the only person that quickens the pulse lately, but sometimes I wonder if that's just because I'm such a hermit, and I spend all my time with my science projects. If only he could have kept to that realm, but he's let me see into him a little, and I like what was in there so much that now I can't stop seeing. He fills me with consciousness, and I need that.

The truth is, it all makes me feel a little bit exhausted, and since it always seems to be going nowhere fast, I wish I could stop feeling the pull. My good girlfirend says "congratulations, you're human!" but I have high expectations for myself that include not giving in to ludicrous emotion. Or maybe I just like to cook up reasons why I'm failing.

I'm reading a wonderful novel called Independent People By Halldor Laxness. It won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, and it's about Icelandic farmers. It's a very absorbing world - very difficult and stark, and it really appeals to me.

I had a thought today, while listening to Jeff Buckley sing "Lilac Wine" in that remarkably beautiful way he does. I was singing along, and I noticed how much it is impossible for me to achieve the clarity and softness of his tone. I can sing along, and I try to feel what he feels with my voice, but the fact is, I simply cannot. People have talents, like singing, and those talents represent a specific ways of feeling, and of knowing. When I listen to him, I hear feeling that I cannot produce myself, and singing along is an effort at communion with that feeling... but the truth is, I do not possess that particular gift, so I am like a tourist in a beautiful land. The physical ability to produce a certain kind of sound is also a passport to that place; and there are other kinds of abilities that are passports to places of their own - but the reality and substantive fact of them represents real differences in capabilities, not just physical, but capability of feeling and of knowing from one human being to the next.

In yoga, you learn to feel elation by lifting yourself - resisting gravity and using the body to feel things that are in direct opposition to inertia; and when I say that I mean both the qualities of inertia, both rest and motion. We had an interesting class this week that started with inversions, went on to standing poses, and finally, deep, sustained and repeated backbends, and ending with an absolutely delicious savasana. What was interesting, though, was how energized I was after the backbends, and how difficult it was to lie still at the end, but before long, the stillness came to me, and I felt the weight come into my limbs, as if my body were sleeping and my mind were awake, and there was a real clarity in it.

Those tranisitions of feeling are available to me because of my yoga practice, and through it, I am able to know something about the nature of the changing world, or prakriti, as it would be named by Patanjali, in yoga philosophy. I can know that agitation can become stillness, that lethargy can change to energy, and that no state is permanent while I inhabit this vessel. The relation of the physical and the spiritual is what interests me, and it's important for me to remember that.

Also, there's nothing more comforting than the notion of endless change.

posted by ~ | 8:56 PM

Monday, December 16, 2002  

Just want to let you all know, I am so happy about THIS MAN:

Go, Bono, GO!! ...and support his cause. It only takes five minutes to send an e-mail to your representatives and to our dim-witted President to let them know your mind on the subject of the African AIDS holocaust.

posted by ~ | 12:14 PM

I'm excited - and working with a team. I'm really excited about the opportunity to get involved in a new field on a formal level, and to be responsible for the PR fortunes of these nice boys. I'm really looking forward to how much I am going to love them all, and at the same time, I'm anxious about doing a good job for them. When I signed on, it was a small team, and now, with the addition of some bigger names, it's looking like a little bit bigger task. I welcome that, and only hope I can give them what they will so richly deserve over the next season.

To that end, I am studying up on Sports Marketing and PR Writing. I think I have good instincts, and I know the sport and am a good writer... but I really want to be sure I have the nuts and bolts down.

I'm also going to try to write a diary of the experience... I want to really record the daily flavor, sweet or bitter, of what it's like for them, and really use my opportunity to see them. In some ways, it's what I've always wanted - that opportunity to observe and study the subjects up close... It's Science!

Me and my projects!

posted by ~ | 12:05 PM

Sunday, December 15, 2002  

Inertia or anything else must be felt as separate, not as part of one's real self which is one with the divine.

~B.K.S. Iyengar

posted by ~ | 10:26 PM

I saw the film Frieda tonight, about Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera. It was lovely.

Poor Frieda. She suffered, but she was beautiful.

posted by ~ | 1:50 AM

Two poems by Jelaluddin Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks.

Love of Certain Work

Traveling is as refreshing for some as staying at home
is for others. Solitude

in a mountain place fills with companionship for this
one, dead-weariness

for that one. This person loves being in charge of the
working of a community. This

one loves the ways that heated iron can be shaped with
a hammer. Each has been

given a strong desire for certain work, love for those
motions, and all motion

is love. The way sticks and pieces of dead grass and
leaves shift about in

the wind and the directions of rain and puddle water
on the ground, those

motions are following the love they've been given.

Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of

spirit on the body, Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling! At

night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its

face against mine. Breathe into
Close the language-door and

open the love-window. The moon
won't use the door, only the window.

posted by ~ | 12:52 AM

Committment is an issue for me.

It's hard for me to reconcile myself to my love. The night I saw Sigur Ros, I was with an old boyfriend; someone I still love, but not like that. He had recently fallen in love with a woman who wouldn't have him and spent a day in abject misery before pouring out the whole story of his heartbreak to me. In the car, after the show, he was telling me about a man he knew that had fallen in love with the girlfriend of his best friend and it had resulted in a destruction of that friendship. I told him that I thought that the phrase in love was nothing but an excuse for bad behavior, and that when people said that of themselves, it was usually to disguise some excess or act of stupidity or self-indulgence. I told him that it disgusted me.

All the while, the man I have fallen in love with was in my mind with such a startling degree of physical specificity. The wrinkles on the back of his neck, the texture of his leathery skin, and the way his hair sweeps back from his high forehead. I could see his rough, meaty, brown hands and the blonde hair on them. I could almost feel the way he rubs his tired eyes and hear his voice - soft and exact.

It suprised all my friends that I fell in love with him, and when I first heard them say those words, I bucked. I don't believe in the abandonment of sense that goes with that phrase. I don't believe one has to be the victim of emotion in that way. But, at the same time, I know that I am pulled towards him like the tide is pulled by the moon. I know that that there was no resistence in me; that it was as if that surrender was part of my body; and I know that all I have is the plausible deniability I so carefully maintain to stand between myself and that phrase I hate so much. I am drawn, and it's as if there is some string that ties me to him so that I feel it every time he moves.

Of course that's all romantic crap. But it's true that I can't stop thinking of him, and even though he is hardened and even cruel, there is a tenderness that rises up in me and stretches towards him, and I can't stop myself from the desire to press my cheek against him and tell him how much I want to devour him.

posted by ~ | 12:50 AM

Saturday, December 14, 2002  

Slowly, and thanks to the unexampled kindness and compassion of my teacher, I am feeling my yoga return. I talked to one of my cycle boys the other day, about his retirement from the sport, (and in fairness, I should say cycle MEN, since he is no boy) and he said that he knows he will miss the finely tuned sense of fitness that he has from racing. It's similar to what I miss in yoga - just that feeling that you can contact the different parts of your body and speak to them. Just that you know it and really live in it. Getting back to my yoga practice in earnest helps me remember the practice of simply doing. Lately, I've been so much more wrought than I was at the height of my practice. I need to get back there, because I know now that it's unnecessary to feel that way. I think I become really attached to my gloom sometimes, and I need to let it go.

I spoke to the very charming George Hincapie today, and he told me some things about his family and career which were of some interest, but not nearly as interesting as just his manner. I always love to hear from him because he is so straightforward and direct, and so very simple in the best way. He leads a life of action and of concrete doings, and doesn't seem to have many theories. I like that about him. As a cycling fan, I have to say that he is the one I like to see win more than any other. He is so courageous and rides with such perserverence. His single-minded focus is amazing. In my dealings with him, he's always seemed genuinely sweet-natured, and so grounded in his own experience... as if there were any other way to be! I guess that's the thing of it - his relationship with the world is too direct for the kind of delusion that suggests you can be any other way.

I've always lived so much in my head, and I have to say talking to people who lead these lives that are so much in the animal, and whose turning wheels are on their bikes rather than in their heads is so interesting to me. They say such beautiful things sometimes, and with such a pure spirit; I envy them that clarity. I'm always looking for ways to make my cycling articles ABOUT something, as if just the subject itself is not enough, but talking to someone like George reminds me that it is enough - that human experiences and the concrete stuff of peoples' lives are the real pith of what interests me, and makes any narrative worth reading.

It's another reason why yoga is so good for me: it forces me into a relationship with my own animal, and grounds me in my own life and experince. It gives me a really invaluable way of making that experience conscious, and gives me new eyes with which to see other people. It gives me a new sense of the grace of human beings, and a new way to experience that love that calls us to the things of this world... if you know that beautiful poem by Richard Wilbur.

posted by ~ | 7:05 PM

Friday, December 06, 2002  

My dear friend lost his job as a professional cyclist yesterday, at a particularly late and unfortunate time in the off-season. Very sad.

I'm noticing that my record here has become very glum, of late, and I don't think improvement to the mood is in store today, either. The other night, I had a particularly uncharacteristic episode of losing it. I drove across Los Angeles in rush hour traffic weaving and skidding to make it in time for my yoga class, and arrived there absolutely shattered - I felt all this desperation from not being able to make so often - anyway, my teacher, who is officially the dearest man alive, asked me the absolute wrong question:

"How are you?"

So obviously, I cracked. It's been like that lately.

posted by ~ | 10:26 AM

Wednesday, December 04, 2002  

So, last night there was a brilliant episode of Charlie Rose in which Viggo Mortensen wore a t-shirt on which he himself had scrawled "No More Blood For Oil," and went on a completely candid anti-war, anti-US foreign policy rant. He objects to comparisons of the new Lord of the Rings film to the US war on terrorism, particularly the notion that the US is the good guy in that battle, and that the muslim hordes are the Orcs. Also brilliant was the fact that the show, which was meant to be about the film, did not allow Rose to rebut every point. It basically allowed Mortensen a National broadcast soapbox. Awesome.

Also on the political tip, I used Lance Armstrong's attendance at a World AIDS Day event in Bono's Heart of America Tour to give me a similar platform on the Daily Peloton. I think some people might be appalled, but oh well. People should know that stuff, and Lance, by appearing there, creates that opportunity.

Heart of America Tour: U2's Bono Leads AIDS Day Observances
Daily Nebraskan: Stars Bring AIDS Awareness to Leid
Chicago Sun Times: Bono Issues Blunt Message to Christians
Des Moines Register: A Call to Hearts, Minds

AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa:

DATA: The AIDS Crisis
BBC News: AIDS In Africa
World Health Organization AIDS Page
Global AIDS Alliance

posted by ~ | 10:08 AM

Monday, December 02, 2002  

Lately, there the strong feeling of having lost the plot on some very important level.

My yoga practice has gone by the wayside in some ways. First there was a knee injury, which developed into serious scheduling problems, and now, I feel like I've just forgotten what it felt like. Along with the loss of that, there's the sense of lost motivation and of scrambling for motivation in terms of the cycle-writing. What was once a fascination with what it means to train the animal so intensely has been replaced with a kind of ambition and hustle that is exhausting to me. Meanwhile, many things have been replaced with a project that really hinges on all that, and I'm feeling a little empty.

Also, I am lovesick lately. Lonely, and hankering after a particularly inappropriate man. He doesn't match me at all, but I do love him. It's not necessary for him to do any particular thing, but the thought of him makes me feel the night passing and gives me the constant sense of being unrequited. I am so tired of feeling that. He's kind to me, though, and I'm useful to him.

Add to that the mundane pressures, and it adds up to low level blues getting stronger all the time...

posted by ~ | 3:21 PM