Seven Quick Takes No. 5

For more "quick takes," visit our host Jennifer at Conversion Diary.

1. I need a tin foil hat. The inspirons are sleeting down faster than I know what to do with this week. It must be the thinner atmosphere up here in the mountains. Come to think of it, maybe that's why so many artists like living here: it's easier to come up with ideas about what to make or to write. On the other hand, it could get fairly exhausting, one's mind being constantly thrown open to the universe. Perhaps people make cities in order to protect themselves from God's influence: they need the noise and bustle and stress and day-to-day competition with other human beings in order not to go crazy. Or maybe cities grow up in places that are even more bombarded by inspirons and in actual fact there are fewer to be intercepted out here in the countryside, there's just less competition. It's a little bit like looking for signs, I suppose: how do you know when God is speaking to you if in fact He is trying to get your attention all of the time?

2. It shouldn't bother me, I know, but it does. A few years ago I decided to stop dying my hair. I had started when my son was two and I was mistaken for his grandmother in our neighborhood park (I was 33 at the time, but my hair was already fairly sprinkled with gray). I stopped after seven years because my hair was thinning so much and the color never actually looked like my own. Once enough of the white around my face had grown out, I almost immediately started getting compliments on how beautiful my hair looked. Even now, one of my friends still regularly enthuses about how much I look like an Elf, so ethereal and beautiful with my silver-white hair. But an Elf was the last thing I felt like the other day in yoga class when the teacher, after talking with my sister and me for several minutes (and therefore having had the opportunity to take a good look at my face, not to mention my body), asked if we were mother and daughter. My sister is all of two years younger than I am. What burned me up even more (and, sad to say, I did spend the whole of the class in a rage when, irony of ironies, we were supposed to be meditating on being thankful) was that almost every other woman in the room, most likely including the teacher, a) dyes her hair and b) was older than me. Should I cave and start coloring my hair just so I can look like every other woman denying her age or should I remember why I stop dying my hair in the first place, namely, so as to look more like myself?

3. My friend Badger posted a Facebook status a week or so ago about being such a "stereotypically aging white gal. Sigh. Yoga. Buddhism. At least no cults, I hope..." and it occurred to me (as I commented at the time) that "we are all stereotypically something. Better to be doing yoga and meditation than not!" The more I think about it, the more true this seems. We all worry about being stereotypes, but how can we help it when we're just being ourselves? It's the same problem with hagiography: all saints, in the end, sound pretty much alike--indeed, Christ-like--even as they all individually express different aspects of that Christ-likeness. But that, of course, is not what Badger meant. She was worrying (I think) about falling into the trap of the expected. Being too easy to read. No surprises anymore. Odd how as we all follow our individual paths, they tend to converge.

4. I'm having a hard time settling on my prayer word for centering prayer. It's supposed to be a word that is meaningful but at the same time not a word that one explicitly focuses on, rather only a symbol of one's intention to sit in God's presence. I started with "Ave" because I've been thinking about it so much. As if to say, "Hail, God, I'm here, waiting for you, please come!" It works fairly well, particularly with my breath. Breathe in: "Ahhh." Breathe out:"ve!" But it's hard to say otherwise, not a word that I feel entirely comfortable with. "Come" seemed a good candidate for a bit, but the hard "c" at the beginning tends to catch in my breath. (Not that I say it out loud, just as it sounds in my mind.) The past couple of days it's been "Now," as in, "Be here now, stop worrying so much about the future, don't miss out on this opportunity, right now, to be here with God." But it just doesn't seem, well, holy enough; plus, as it occurred to me this morning, it could seem to be saying, "I want it NOW!" which I do, rather than expressing the willingness to wait for when God wants to come. Of course, worrying so much about which word to use is somewhat beside the point: the word itself doesn't matter, only the intention with which one uses it to help let go.

5. I should by rights not be able to even write these quick takes right now, that is, if I were sitting down. My sister found a great place for us to go horseback riding out in the New Mexico hills yesterday (well-trained horses, excellent guide, beautiful scenery along the trail, highly recommended if you're ever out this way), and for two hours, there I was, atop of a horse for maybe the third time in my life. None of us fell off, but weirdly enough, none of us is particularly sore this morning either. I would say that it's all the fencing that I do, keeping my legs in shape, but my husband and my son seem fine, too. Perhaps it was the excellent instruction we received from our wrangler: "Your best friend is your stirrup; keep pressing down with the balls of your feet and you'll automatically keep the right grip with your legs." Now all I have to do is learn how to do this while couching a lance and I'm set!

6. One other great thing about the ride was how handy the little pouches on either side of the saddle horn were (i.e. the little red flaps in the photo above). Perfect for keeping a water bottle and camera in. Definition of civilization: luggage.

7. You know you're in heaven when you can find chocolate like this. Highly recommended: Kakawa Chocolate House's Mesoamerican and historic European chocolate elixirs. Come to think of it, maybe that is the secret as to why none of us are sore.


  1. 2: Your yoga teacher must be an astonishing example of people who live entirely within the society, not the world. That is, he'd see an ostrich in the street, and think it is a horse(*), because everyone knows that horse is the best guess for "an animal in the street". Don't worry, if you had been wearing a tie, he would suggest you and your sister were husband and wife.

    (*) more advanced representatives of the kind would consider it a zebra.

  2. Wonderful quick takes. So many sentences in here were perfect. Just perfect.

    I loved the last sentence of number three about our different paths converging. Your blog transmits inspirons :)

  3. Don't dye your hair! I sometimes wonder how the world would change if all the women who dye just stopped and everyone learned that this is what 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60 etc look like.


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