Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Feeling Part

In The Secret there are three steps to achieving what you want: 1) think it, 2) feel it, 3) receive it. Pretty simple, right? Well, #'s 1 and 3 certainly are. The feeling part is the trickiest for me. Last night I had a conversation with a dear friend who has a daughter who often feels that her life is hard. My df realized that she felt anxious and sad when she thought of how her dd was struggling. She realized that her anxious and sad energy was being sent out to the universe and certainly was not helping her or her dd. So she decided to change how she feels about the situation. She is consciously creating moments with her dd when they can talk about the things she and her dd love and all that they are grateful for. Df says she has already felt the shift for herself and feels more joyful, and thinks she sees a shift in her dd, too.

When I told dh about the conversation he said he had wanted to share something with me but wasn't sure he would until he heard me tell that story. He has felt for a long time that I have been anxious and sad about the fact that he doesn't bring much money into our little economy. He has heard from me for a long time that I worry about having full responsibility for being the wage earner. And yes, I would love to see dh making lots of money doing a job he finds meaningful and satisfying. But I haven't heard anything about the universe responding to our intentions for other people and I certainly haven't seen it work in my own life. I am now realizing that is not the point. Because the point (as I see it) is that I can change the way I feel about it. The Secret dvd comes complete with homework - to finish this sentence: "I am so happy and grateful now that..." You're supposed to put everything in the present tense even if it's "I drive a VW Jetta station wagon fueled by biodiesel" and you are still driving your gas-guzzling monstrosity. So getting back to my issue with dh, I can finish that sentence with "my life is full of abundance and we have plenty of money." This isn't even a lofty 5 year goal. My life is full of abundance and we have plenty of money. I clearly understand this on an intellectual level, but obviously not on an emotional level. And that has to do with a whole lot of history, and not whether dh makes a lot of money. So I am going to focus my 5 minute meditation (also a suggestion from The Secret) over the next few days on all the abundance in my life. And I'm going to recommit to keeping a gratitude journal, something I wrote nightly before bed for 7 years until ds came along and completely changed my bedtime routine.

I'll let you know how it goes. Right now I'm grateful for my dog who wants to go for a walk with me on a mild November day.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Paying It Forward

Last month Oprah gave each of her audience members a thousand dollars and a video camera and the challenge to document an act of kindness toward a stranger. Today was the follow-up show when they shared all the incredible stories of paying it forward. I was working in clinic so I missed it but picked up from the internet that the results were pretty astounding. In one case a pair of sisters parlayed their $2K into $200,000 and gave it to a center for abused women and children. When I saw the show last month I thought about what I would do with a thousand bucks. I thought I would like to find a bit of land (which would be donated, like the garden project at the YWCA) and convert it into an urban garden for Latino families. A hortaliza, or kitchen garden, is ubiquitous in Mexico, even if it is just some pots with peppers and tomatoes on a patio. But here in the States, Latinos are often crowded into small living spaces with even less space for gardening. Ds's abuelita is always telling me how much she misses her extensive gardens of flowers and vegetables. When she talks I can just see the rows of nopales, chayotes, guisantes and more. It pains me to think of her among the anemic tomatoes in the aisles of the local Bi-Lo. So, anyway, that was my thought when I allowed myself to dream a bit.

I learned from the follow-up show that Oprah gave folks only a week to act on the challenge. And I thought, how brilliant. I often get overwhelmed by grand plans and don't follow through. The idea is to keep it simple and do it. So I have given myself a challenge to find a Latina here in my home town and offer some kindness. I thought it best not to involve one of my own patients, but I am going to ask a friend who is an interpreter for another clinic to help me identify someone. I'm looking especially for a single, young woman who is pregnant and all of her family is back in Mexico: someone who is feeling isolated and alone. I have met so many women like this, I don't think she will be hard to find. I'm already planning a pozole (a wonderful, hearty Mexican corn stew) party for December 17 and I want her to meet my wonderful community of friends from Mexico and offer fellowship. I also want to help her with some of the material stuff, even if it's just a gift card to Target and some of my ds's used items. I have a little over 2 weeks to complete this challenge. Let's see what happens.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Setting Intentions

It's late and I need to get to sleep. I work in clinic tomorrow, which means a 12-hour day, but after tomorrow I'll have a break from work for about 10 days. Which means more blogging for me, yippee!

But I just had to write because starting this blog has got me thinking seriously again about the power of setting intentions. I just dug up the journal I kept over 5 years ago (started on 2/17/01) when I was working through the Artist's Way. I wrote, "In 5 years I will be fluent in Spanish and working part-time but making more than I do as a full-time midwife now." Back then I couldn't speak Spanish and had no idea what would bring me more money working part-time. By 2003 I was fluent in Spanish (after a six-week stint in Guatemala in the summer of 2001 and six months in Mexico with Doctors without Borders in 2002) and working only 24 hours a week (compared with 48+) but earning more. I have so many more examples of this phenomenon, too. So what is most surprising is that I forget how powerful it is. I'm keeping this blog with the hope that I never forget again.

The Secret

Dh and I watched The Secret last night; the film is based on the Law of Attraction, the idea that the universe wants your best life. All you have to do is create it with your thoughts and feelings. I have seen this law work many times in my life but I am ready to kick it into a higher gear. This is tough because so much has to do with intention and as a working midwife and new mama I am often sleep-deprived and don't feel like I have much time to be intentional. But I figure this blog will help.

So why create a blog with My Friend Oprah as the title? For the longest time I have wanted to connect with Oprah. I have a journal entry from 1998 stating I was sure I would meet her (when I was on the short list to be in her book club when Midwives was the novel) but it didn't happen. But I want to make it happen, for sure by 2008. (10 years seems to be a nice gestation period.) This is really a blog about my intentions and what I want for my life. And while meeting Oprah is a biggie, being joyful is the biggest and just seeing the title of the blog makes me smile.

Okay, ds is up from his nap and it is a beautiful day. Time to play.