Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Music and Mating

Mibes: Good morning!

Me: Good morning, Mibes. You look deep in thought.

Mibes: I was just thinking about you. It's a deep subject.

Me: I've got less depth than you think.

Mibes: I doubt it. For example what have you been thinking about since we talked?

Me: Just how I can look better in the New Year.

Mibes: The truth.

Me: Really, my appearance. It's true enough. I've been thinking improved fitness. A little. A few thoughts about it.

Mibes: And?

Me: To be honest I keeping returning to the old subject of gratitude. That's mostly what I've been thinking about.

Mibes: How so?

Me: That it's a theme or a strand that runs through my life with both positives and negatives.

Mibes: What do you mean?

Me: That when I've had the mindfulness to be grateful, I've been happier and more productive, and also that when I've let my let my gratitude get blurry, that's when I've felt less hopeful, even at one point hopeless. Feeling that my life was without hope, without purpose. That it was all a mistake. But it's hard to think that way when I consider all there's been to be grateful for.

Mibes: But isn't that all about looking back? You're not looking ahead.

Me: Yes and no. When my gratitude is in focus, I think it's like a panorama stretching across time. I can see how the past has contributed to where I am now and how I might build on that for the future.

Mibes: Like a timeline that stretches from your birth to the present. And beyond that.

Me: Well I hadn't thought of it as a timeline, but that works. Yes. You're right. It starts before my birth. If I'm seeking to be glad about my life, it only seems fair to be glad about what led up to it.

Mibes: You're parents being in love?

Me: Yes, but way beyond that. I like music, not just because my parents liked it, but because it's part of the human and bird world.

Mibes: Birds? You're all over the place this morning.

Me: I don't know. I'm just guessing that some of the first human singing may have been in imitation of bird calls or other animals. Maybe to lure pray with a false mating call. And that music developed from those primitive sounds.

Mibes: Ah music and mating.

Me: And things that go with it. Pair bonding. Oxytocin.

Mibes: So you're saying you're grateful for your mammalian hormones?

Me: Those and millions of other things. The cells of my body. Water. Air. Food. Basic stuff.

Mibes: Just those surface things.

Me: Ok, you got me. Yeah, I've been thinking about big picture stuff like that. And seeking to be aware of that big picture, and grateful for my snowflake in that snowstorm.

Mibes: Your snowflake?

Me: Individuality.

Mibes: How you're one-of-a-kind like a snowflake?

Me: Yes but all the other snowflakes, too. Being a part of this human family. This human mammalian family. Here on this planet together. And all the millions of lives and millions of years that are part of that history.

Mibes: I'm glad you can find gratitude in that.

Me: And gratitude for you, for our friendship. For the bond we share.

Mibes:  I'm grateful for that, too. (Giving me a hug.) And you look better when you're smiling like that.

Me: Yup, I'm all about appearances. That's about it. That and that I love you, Mibes. More than you know.

Mibes: I love you, too. Even more. Even more than you know. Keep looking for those panoramas.

Me: Try it yourself. Let me know what you see.

Mibes: Sure. Happy to give it a try. Thanks!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Breakfast in the Casto - A Place in My Heart

Mibes: Well you survived yet another Christmas, congratulations!

Me: You're so cynical. I didn't survive, I thrived. It's my favorite time of the year. It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Mibes: Stop with the Andy Williams lyrics. I remember when you said you prefer Thanksgiving. You can't have two first places.

Me: If two holidays cross the finish line at the same time you can.

Mibes: But the truth is what?

Me: The truth is that I enjoy some parts of the holidays more than others.

Mibes: And?

Me: I love some of the lights, some of the music and the focus on giving. It's a season of increased hope. Of some welcome moments of peace and perspective.

Mibes: But some of the music and spending drives you nuts.

Me: Only if I let it all get to me.

Mibes: So how much did it get to you this year?

Me: Not as much as some other years.

Mibes: What made the difference?

Me: I tried to live more in the moment.

Mibes: How did that go?

Me: There were some great moments. Like watching the snow fall. Or seeing the twinkle in someone's eyes.

Mibes: You don't need Christmas for that.

Me: No. But I think one of the things I learned again this year is to look for the moments. I don't intend to stop that just because December 25 is over.

Mibes: Anything else?

Me: Yes. Some lyrics.

Mibes: A favorite song?

Me: Not really until this year. But something really got to me about The Star Carol this year.

Mibes: "Dear baby Jesus how tiny thou art. I'll make a place for thee in my heart."

Me: How did you know?

Mibes: I do know you.

Me: So how was your celebration? How was the open house?

Mibes: Delicious, festive. And I did get to wish an old friend Merry Christmas.

Me: Sounds like some good moments for you, too.

Mibes: Several. But it was strange, too.

Me: Why's that?

Mibes: His reply to me was "Merry merry, to you."

Me: That doesn't sound too strange to me. Sounds like he returned your greeting.

Mibes: It wasn't in the words but the way he said it. Perfunctory. His heart wasn't in it.

Me: But your heart was. That counts.

Mibes: It does. And there were other moments. Moments like yours. Things to remember and treasure.

Me: (hugging him) I love you, Mibes. Christmastime, anytime. Winter, summer, spring, fall.

Mibes: You're such a romantic.

Me: As are you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Celebration

Mibes: Good to see you again. How are you?

Me: Feeling better thanks, but still coughing. You'd better not hug me.

Mibes: (hugging me) I'm pretty resilient.

Me: Good to see you, too. How's it going?

Mibes: I've missed you, but I think we've both needed some down time. It's given me a chance to enjoy some quiet moments.

Me: Down time. That fits right in with a quotation I've saved. (tapping on his phone) "Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have activity, and how much to have of each. Finding them in each other--activity in rest and rest in activity--is the ultimate freedom."

Mibes: Nice one. Who said it?

Me: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in his book Celebrating Silence.

Mibes: Sounds a bit like the serenity prayer about accepting things you can't change and changing things you can. That mix of the two.

Me: Found it. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." Reinhold Niebuhr.

Mibes: Speaking of celebrating, what are your Christmas plans?

Me: Some music, some reading. I may listen to midnight mass on the radio. You?

Mibes: I'm invited to a Christmas open house. Lots of food. Some friends and of course some people I don't know. Maybe some singing, depending on when I get there, but like you, I'll also enjoy some music when I'm alone.

Me: Will you think about stars and angels singing and a couple who couldn't find a place to stay and a baby born in a stable? And what all that's about?

Mibes: When I hold babies at Christmastime I do sometimes think of those things.

Me: I hope you will tonight. Hold a baby at the party. Think of angels and stars and miracles.

Mibes: I'll do it if I can. But it's not hard for me to think of miracles.

Me: Why's that?

Mibes: Certain people in my life. You, for example.

Me: I'm a miracle?

Mibes: You are to me.

Me: I don't feel too miraculous.

Mibes: Well you've been sick. I get it. But your life, here and now, in this moment. It's a miracle whether you're healthy or sick. Because you're here. There's only one of you. Seven billion people on the planet and only one of you. 

Me: 7.2 billion. And there's only one of you.

Mibes: Two miracles and a third, too, and that's our friendship.

Me: Aw, Mibes. You're awfully easy to love.

Mibes: Merry Christmas, my friend. I love you, too.

Me: Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Mibes. Merry Christmas to you.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Three Factors

Me: Mibes, you’re back. I’m glad to see you.
Mibes: I’m glad to be back and to see you. How are you?
Me: In need of a hug. 
Mibes: (hugs me tightly) Done! 
Me: And you, how are you, how was your meeting?
Mibes: Just a meeting. I’d rather have been with you. 
Me: Well the break did give me a chance to think about the paradox of less being more. I’ve waited years for a friendship like ours. Was the scarcity of a reciprocal friendship part of what makes this so welcome?
Mibes: Maybe, but I think everyone needs a real friend. Not just the fair-weather kind. Not just the Facebook variety. 
Me: I’m guessing not to many Facebook friends will be willing to meet you for breakfast. 
Mibes: Depends on their love of morning, and breakfast and the person.
Me: And a not liking anyone of the three could be enough to kill the idea.
Mibes: Fortunately in your case, I happen to love mornings and breakfasts.
Me: Thanks, so much!
Mibes: Speaking of mornings, how are you doing on the early-to-bed, early-to-rise regimen?
Me: It’s coming along slowly. I feel like I’m inching closer to before 11:00 at night and before 6:00 in the morning.
Mibes: You could track the actual times. 
Me: I could. And I will. And I can also look for supportive ideas.
Mibes: You could. (taps a search into his phone)
Me: Of course I can expect you to help me get started. 
Mibes: “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.”  Attributed to Ted Turner.
Me: I like it. 
Mibes: Well go find some more ideas and track your times and let me know.  
Me: (hugging Mibes) I’ll do that. Love you, Mibes!
Mibes: Love you more.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Pause

Got a text from Mibes this morning: Can't make it today. Have an early morning meeting. See you tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Broken Keys

Me: Good morning, Mibes.
Mibes: (He stands up from the table and we embrace.) Good morning! So good to see you again. How are you?
Me: Still not the usual energy. But I went to bed early and am feeling better than I did last night. And, you?
Mibes: No complaints. I’m glad to be alive. Glad to be here with you.
Me: How’s your creative life, Mibes? Are you still writing and producing?
Mibes: Thanks for asking. Seems like I finish one project and two others are waiting for me. A game of Whack a Mole.
Me: I know that feeling. What’s your secret to getting it done, day in and day out?
Mibes: Great question. I don’t know that I have any secrets. Some of it is habit and the need for income. But I also recognize I have a need to feel like I’m making a difference. I think my work helps others. But I don’t know. Goals and gratitude also help. What about you?
Me: I agree with what you’ve said above but I’d add to it asking questions and being comfortable with a question hanging there.
Mibes: Sounds a bit like prayer. You ask for an answer or for help and then you wait. Sometimes you have an immediate insight, but sometimes there’s just silence.
Me: Yes. And it’s being Ok with the silence. I just finished an evaluation of a project and I realized that I’d built right into the structure of it that I’d wait for a theme to emerge from the initial research. I didn’t try to push for something I didn’t have, but I felt some confidence that something would emerge.
Mibes: And it did?
Me: Sooner and more organically that I had imagined.
Mikes: So finding the approach you want to use is a matter of asking questions and waiting until the answer emerges. And being patient with that process even when you’re on deadline?
Me: That’s a fair summary. Reminds me of the idea that if you’re playing a piano with broken keys, you’ve just got to go with the notes that you can play.
Mibes: You’re into playing broken pianos these days?
Me: Oh yeah. Got a whole warehouse full of them.
Mibes: We’ll have to talk more about projects and productivity.
Me: I’d enjoy that. (gives Mibes a hug)
Mibes: And I’ve enjoyed our breakfast. Hope your day goes well.
Me: You, too. I love you Mibes.
Mibes: I love you more.
Me: Not as much as I love you.

Mibes: Sounds like a topic we need to keep discussing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Time

Mibes: Good morning!
Me: Good morning! (We hug for a moment.)
Mibes: How’s life?
Me: I’m a bit sleepy, a bit groggy, but OK, thanks and you?
Mibes: I’m OK. Thanks. Glad to be here. In just a couple of weeks our time together here has become one of the best parts of my day.
Me: Yes, same here. It’s always good to see you. We’ve been on the planet together, but haven’t seen each other much, until now.
Mibes: Now, this moment. Time always passing. Reminds me of that old John Denver song: What a friend we have in time, gives us children, makes us wine. Tells us what to take or leave behind.
Me: I haven’t thought about that for a long time. It kind of goes along with this Chinese proverb though: An inch of time on the sundial is worth more than a foot of jade.
Mibes: I wish I had more time this morning, but I’ve got to head out for a meeting.
Me: Good to see you. Good to be with you. Make the most of your moments.
Mibes: You too. (We embrace and then head our separate ways.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Small Changes

Mibes: Good morning! (hugs me)
Me: Good morning. Thanks for your hug this morning and for all your hugs for that matter.
Mibes: Thanks for hugging me back. As you well know some hugs are pretty one sided. But not yours.
Me: Aw thanks. When you get a great hug it’s easy to give one.
Mibes: So how are you on this fine Tuesday morning in December?
Me: Better than I expected to be. Thanks, and you?
Mibes: Healthy and strong and happy to be here, thanks, and curious.
Me: Curious?
Mibes: About what you just said about being better than you expected to be.
Me: I’m feeling a little more energy, a little more organized, a bit more optimistic. Just little things.
Mibes: Wow, whatever you’ve got it must be contagious, because I’m feeling some of that optimism and energy right now.
Me: Glad to hear it. I’ve always liked the idea that great good can come from small things.
Mibes: Days and decades are built with moments and minutes.
Me: You’re mocking me now, aren’t you?
Mibes: Not at all. I love you. I love the way your mind works. And especially the part about being a bit more organized.
Me: Thanks, Mibes. I love you, too. But what do you mean “the part about being a bit more organized,”
Mibes: Just seems to me that if you’re wanting to build anything, big or small, you’re doing it with smaller bits and pieces. So if you have those pieces better organized, and your mind clearer about what you want, you’ll have an easier go of it.
Me: I agree.
Mibes: It's yet another thing we agree upon. 
Me: (Hugging Mibes) And we also agree on the value of hugs.
Mibes: Yes we do.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Sleep

Me: Good Monday morning, Mibes! It’s not like you to be late.
Mibes: (gives me a hug) Good morning! I’m sorry, lost track of the time.
Me: No worries. I knew you wouldn’t be long.
Mibes: Thanks for your patience. Glad you're here. How’d you sleep?
Me: Pretty well. I was tired last night and got to bed early for me. I bet I was asleep by 10:30. And you?
Mibes: I’ve also been trying to get more sleep by going to bed earlier. Have you seen the news about sleep deprivation in the United States?
Me: Yes, that we’re a whole nation in need of better sleep. And that sometimes people who are drunk can outperform someone who hasn’t had enough sleep.
Mibes: What I read said you should say away from phones and TV before bed because the blue light from the screens is read by your brain as sunlight.
Me: I should experiment with that. Try to compare my regular routine which usually includes some screen time with no electronics before bed. Or maybe only music.
Mibes: I hope the week goes well for you. All the days and all the nights.
Me: I wish the same for you Mibes. Hope you’re successful in retiring to be early so you’re not weary and arising early so your body and mind may be invigorated.
Mibes: D&C 88:124 I take it?
Me: Yeah, I was reading it before you showed up.
Mibes: And I was late because I was reading Chinese proverbs this morning before I left the house and I lost track of the time for a few minutes.
Me: Find anything good?
Mibes: I liked this one: “One family builds a wall, two families enjoy it.”
Me: I guess it could also be that one family tears down a wall and two families enjoy it. Depending of course on the wall and the families.
Me: Sounds like you’ve had some personal experience with that.
Mibes: Just observation.
Me: Love you Mibes! (giving him a hug)

Mibes: Love you more.