Posts Tagged ‘couch surfing ori’

Seven Gifts from the Universe

Friday, December 24th, 2010

This year has been a huge time of change for me. Each decision leading to another bigger one. Massive changes that have been keeping me a bit off balance, and that appears to be a good thing, a gift from the universe:

1) Knowing I wanted to change

In the beginning of the year, I know I wanted to change they way I was living my life, but I had no idea what to do next. I felt bored and smotherey and just the wrongness of where I was. That discomfort pushed me to start looking for what I needed to do next.

2) Serendipity

Wow. This one has actually become more of a life theme than I could have thought. I had two big serendipitous events in the beginning of the year, one of which lead to the other.

Bev Garvin followed me on Twitter and put me on a couple of lists. I went ahead and followed her back, which I don’t automatically do. A day or two later she tweeted about a conference she was hosting in Dallas. I didn’t really think I had the money to go, but I checked my account and was surprised to find that I had that and wouldn’t suffer any for not working that day either.

At Social Business Boot Camp I got irritated with how the MC handled a question and so, The Social Caterpillar was born.

Ori (the MC) responded to my post when I tweeted him about it and then reached out to help me make some adjustments to the blog to make it more useable.

Since we were both going to be at SxSWi I made a cake for him as a thank you, the whole time thinking that it was crazy, because I had no idea how I was going to find him to give him the cake.

Then I wore the wrong shoes and eleventy billion other things went sideways and he ran out of gas, so we met. And we’ve been fast friends ever since, even though sometimes I want to knock him down and stick beans up his nose. Because I can be mature like that.

3) Having time alone to think

A road trip I had been supposed to go on fell through. So I drove to NYC instead. I worked along the way and took a few days to make it out, stayed a few days, and then took a few days to make it back. And spent hours alone in my head. That can sometimes be a dangerous place to pass so much time, but I saw that I really could work from anywhere and if I wanted to travel like I said I did, then there really was *nothing* stopping me.

4) Following through on the big decisions

Ignoring my brain screaming at me “Oh-my-god, oh-my-god, oh-my-god, what-are-you-doing?!?!?!”, repeatedly. And keeping going anyway because I couldn’t see how going back would make anything any better.

5) Meeting my people.

I must have stumbled over The Fluent Self three or four times before I really read it, but when I did, I read all the way through the archives. And started chickening and VPAing, almost weekly. Through the reading and chickening and VPAing, I found so many wonderful people. Now we play on Twitter and FB and in chats and forums and eventually in the real world this year.

6) Finding my question of the year.

The question. My question. (Not really mine at all, it’s from Lisa Brady, but I have taken it as my own.

“If you trusted yourself the same way you trust that there will be enough air for your next breath, what would you do today?”

Wow. Again. The question that I turn to in order to see what I *need* to do next. Whether I want to or not. Sooooooo important. To me. And possibly you. But I don’t want to push. Much.

7) Deciding to turn SC into a business.

This one really happened in the soft. I realized that people were really resonating with what I was writing and I could help them while taking care of myself. A life made of win! We’re still in the early stages, and Yay! I prefer growing slowly and consciously and making each decision in its own time. Again with the Yay!

It’s been an exciting year and thank you all for being a part of it.


Getting back on that Horse, or, at Least a Horse

Monday, October 18th, 2010

To Foal, verb, also known as having a baby horse

When I was a girl, my mother’s father always kept at least one horse. And when his favorite horse foaled, I had my own horse too. Since I didn’t know how to ride and my mother wouldn’t let my grandfather teach me (he had many admirable qualities, but the ability to teach was not among them), the stable owner showed me the basics.

How do I stop this thing?

The very basics. A light quick pressure with my legs to go, pull the reigns left to go left, right to go right and both to stop. And then he said I was good to go. Sure. Good to go… stopping, however was another matter.

Papa and I went out and started slowly, but as we gradually gained speed I got more and more nervous and finally decided to slow down. Pull both reigns to stop. Except, I kept pulling, like using the breaks on my bike. And so, of course, upset by the pressure on her mouth, my horse reared, causing my grandfather’s horse to rear and then buck him.

I managed to stay on, but I was mortified. I had gotten my grandfather hurt. When I told Ori this story as an explanation as to why I hadn’t been on a horse in over twenty years, he acted like I’d lost my mind. “You stayed on the rearing horse. Your grandfather was the one who got bucked. You can do this.”

And dammit if he wasn’t right.

Getting back on… Oh, you know

While in San Pedro, I booked a horseback ride along Lake Atitlan to Playa de Oro, with a friend from Xela. At eight in the morning, we mounted our horses and started riding through the town, periodically ducking to avoid thwacking our heads on any low hanging signs. The horses knew the route and followed the whistles, clicks, and shushes from our guide.

As we rode, I would lightly draw the reigns to the right or left to stay to the side of the road, since we were sharing with cars. From street to highway to path, we made our way to the lake shore, or what would have been the shore if the lake hadn’t risen from all the rain. And after our requisite time staring at the lake and surrounding volcanoes, we began our return.

On our way back, our guide started his horse to trot, then a canter, and yes, even a gallop. Then, my hat flew off. As we made our way back to town, we would ride quickly and then slow down, then quicken our pace again. This starting and stopping allowed me to regain a bit of a sense of comfort before pulling myself to the edge of those boundaries again.

More than a riding lesson

When I know I can back out, even though I have no intention of doing so, I feel more comfortable, more able to keep going, pushing at the edges of my comfort zone. And now, having back up on a horse and down again, I’m looking for stables in Costa Rica, so that when I’m settled for a bit, I can take real lessons. Because there’s this two week ride through the Andes, and I need to know what I’m doing.

What have you been avoiding doing, something you want to get back to but feel nervous (or worse) about trying?
You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)



Friday, August 27th, 2010

I’m feeling really scattered. Like those lovely little multicolored candy spheres on top of the cup-cake I just ate. So, so many and all over the place.

With the projects and classes and travel, I have so many ideas and seem incapable of landing on one long enough to get anywhere with it. And then, another idea shows up. I appreciate the ideas, but really, nine projects waiting in line is enough, please and thank you.

Also, the ideas and projects and blog and travel and other-things-I-haven’t-remembered, I want them all to share an internet home. No idea how to do that yet. I’m  finding a definite lack of cohesion right now. Arg.

I just realized this is becoming a Very Personal Ad. like Havi Brooks writes. I’m going with it, lets see where this heads.

What I want:

Ultimately, I want to create and design and write when and what I feel like.

I want these things to be bought by people who feel joy when looking at them.

I want to never have to package and ship anything, because I hate it and really suck at it. I am okay with the hating and suckage.

With all of the various creations, writings and designs, I want them all to have a *symbolic* home on my blog,  a starting point, if you will.

I also want the time and focus to bring all of this into being in the right way for me.

How this could work:

I could start getting up before noon. Something like eight in the morning would be nice.

I could finally sit down with Ori and we could come up with a cohesive design for the blog that looks like it’s *mine* and has a home for shops as they arrive.

I’m open to other possibilities too.

My commitment:

Talk to Ori.

Make a ‘what’s next’ list.

Allow it to happen organically, it’s not like I’m on a schedule.

In the comments, I’d like to hear how you developed your ‘internet home’ or what you would like when you do develop it. Thank you.


I can’t stop time

Monday, August 9th, 2010

In school, I would wait until the night before to write a 20 page research paper. Unfortunately, I could get away with it. Finally, I realized that in an entirely illogical way, I was trying to keep the next day from arriving. So, I started saying, ‘Tuesday is going to get here no matter what I do, so I might as well prepare.’ Literally. Whenever I caught myself putting assignments off, I would stop and talk to myself. Usually it worked, and I started working on projects in advance.

Until I started teaching, when most nights I had the damnedest time making myself go to bed. I would stay up until 2:00, 3:00, sometimes 4:00 in the morning. I had to get up at 5:30, so this really made no sense. Except, I was, again, trying to stop time. Trying to keep from having to go to a job where I had no support from my administration, no help from my mentor, insufficient resources and unnecessary rules.

Only, of course, it still didn’t work.

As much as I wanted to be a witch when I was in Jr. High (hell, I still think it’d be cool). I. Can’t. Stop. Time. Or move things with my will, but that’s not really pertinent.

And last night, I did it again. I stayed up late screwing around on the interwebs before doing the work I knew I needed to do before going to bed. The truth is, I was nervous about my Big Border Crossing Day. I tend to let my nerves run high, worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. I try to keep an eye on it, but sometimes I fail.

And then… my Big Border Crossing was so simple. The bus arrived in Ciudad Cuauhtemoc and the Customs Office was across the street. I went in and waited while two men had an interminable conversation. Eventually, one of the men took my passport and tourist card, stamped my passport and I was done. (The day before, I realized that I did not get a passport stamp when I arrived in Mexico and my brain started whirring. Then, I thought of something Ori wrote on FaceBook ‘Worry is a misuse of the imagination.’ and made myself breathe). And of course, everything turned out fine, the only blip was in my brain.

Then I caught a colectivo (shared taxi)  to the Guatemalan side, where I walked from one office marked ‘Inmigracion’ to another until someone pointed me to the office where I could get my passport stamped. Really, my wandering couldn’t have taken more than five minutes. The Customs Officer took my passport, wandered off, and returned it to me stamped. Easy.

As soon as I walked out the door, I nearly ran smack into a man who graciously offered to exchange my pesos at an awful rate. Of course, given that I stood at the border in a town that exists solely to get money from border crossers, I expected this and only had enough pesos to exchange to get me through the first couple of days. So, I took the crappy rate and was on my way.

The only way (other than walking a couple of kilometers with back packs) to get to the buses is by mototaxi. Think tuk tuk driven by a 13 year old. Even the mototaxi ride was uneventful, except for a few ‘Oh-Dear-God’s.

At what may or may not have been a bus terminal, I got my first sight of a chicken bus. Ever wonder what happens to school buses when they are put out to pasture? Yeah, they don’t go to a bus ranch. They get suped up and turned into chicken buses. I boarded one of these to Xela and was finally, really, on my way.

Recently I started following Havi Brooks on Twitter because she says funny smart ass things and has a duck, Selma. Turns out, she also has a really great blog that I lurk at. Havi is amazing… She:

Talks to monsters

Works on a Pirate Ship

Dances through to clarity

Many other things I’m sure I haven’t even discovered yet

Which brings me back to finding a better way of talking to myself and maybe tackling some of my other weirdnesses too. I love it when what I need gets dropped at my doorstep… er, laptop.

What are the magical powers that you lack but still try to use anyway?


Hmm… Monks?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

It started as a lark. The stone formation Valle de las Monjes (Valley of the Monks) is offered as a bike trip from Creel. Because the Rarámuri name, Bisabírachi, means the ‘Valley of Erect Penises’, I wanted to get a picture for my friend Ori, who loves puns. I wanted to email it to him with the title ‘Hard On’. I knew he’d love it. And really, I thought, how difficult can riding a bike be? When I was a kid we rode all over town. Um, yeah, like I’ve said before, when I’m wrong, I go all out.

Last night I met a group of Japanese women who are teaching in a high school for the children of the employees of a Japanese factory in Guadelajara. After dinner we went out and wandered around talking and eventually began to discuss our plans for the next day. One woman, Yoko, wanted to visit Cascada de Basaseachi, which I wanted to see too, but she was having trouble getting enough people together for a tour. I told her that I wanted to go, and I wanted to see Valle de las Monjes too. We decided to do one the following morning and the other the next day.

After breakfast, she said she didn’t have enough people yet for the waterfall, so we went off with her friends, Yuka and Hakura, in search of bicycles and a map. Once we had our maps, helmets, spare tire tube things, air pump, lock and bikes we were on our way. Well, they were on their way. I was kind of all over the place at first. And peddling like mad, because I’ve never ridden in a situation where I needed to switch gears. While we were buying supplies I told Yoko that I would pedal (insert hand gesture here as we converse in Spanish) quickly but not really go. She took the bike, riding without using the seat since I’ve got at least four inches on her, and got the gears right. And, most importantly, she showed me how to use them. Lesson number one.

Lesson number two occurred at the first hill. Several years ago, like five or six, I had a ‘respiratory event’, that was what the doctors called it when I tried a new medication and I got winded walking from one side of the room to the other. After my emergency steroid treatment I went to see my regular doctor, who asked me a bunch of questions and tested my breathing. Turned out I have exercise induced asthma and she gave me an inhaler for use before exercise. Only, I don’t really exercise, I do yoga, meditate, spin in circles outside. On rare occasion, I would follow a dance style exercise DVD. I never needed the inhaler, in fact it expired and I tossed it. And forgot about the asthma too.

Until today. I couldn’t make it up the first hill without walking the bike. Was. Not. Possible. I’m not particularly fit, by any means, but my breathing became labored rather quickly. Now, please understand, I have never (including today) had the type of asthma attack that requires an emergency inhaler and/or a hospital visit. I just can’t catch my breath in what seems like a reasonable time frame for my level of exertion. My new friends were great, and really after a day like today, you’re either friends, or never want to see each other again. Let’s call that Lesson number three.

Each one took turns hanging back with me at my pace while the other two went ahead. I don’t know if they discussed it, but after one point where we got separated for a bit, it never happened again.

Of course, downhill was great. As there are no bike paths, we rode on city streets and highways, but really the highways are more like Farm to Market roads, fewer cars, more (much more) loose rocks. So, for my first time on a mountain bike, I’m barreling down a Mexican highway with no insurance. I haven’t mentioned that I haven’t gotten my insurance situation taken care of yet? Yeah, that must happen soon, like tomorrow. Once I realized what I was doing, it was too late to turn back.

When the first kilometer took us an hour, I really didn’t believe that we were going to make the whole trip in five hours (how long we had rented the bikes). While waiting for me they decided on a route that reversed the order of the trip, leaving the Valle de las Monjes to the end. And really if they hadn’t, I probably would have gone back alone, after the Valle, muttering at myself the whole time.

After much encouragement and many rest breaks, including a picnic at Lago Arareco, we made it through the woods around the lake and to the rock formation. Really it’s not that spectacular, but the trip itself is beautiful so I still think it’s worth it, but I would advise a cooler time of year. At this point my interest in climbing any rocks had passed beyond nil into negative numbers. I took in the scenery and rested while everyone else climbed up some of the rocks. A young (she was probably around five, but either couldn’t or wouldn’t speak Spanish to me, so I never got an answer) Tarahumara girl sat and stared at me for a while, but eventually gave up. The mangy dog, he stayed.

The ride back began mostly down hill and flat, so I could stop focusing on my will to return and look around. It really is just gorgeous here, the farmland, and rock formations, clear skies and colorful clothes. Including a couple more long stretches of walking the bikes, a stop where Yoko gave me much of her water, since I had run out (mouth breathing and heat did not work to my advantage), and an indeterminate passage of time later we made it back into town where we returned the bikes, bought snacks and after returning to the hotel found each other on FaceBook. Because, that’s what we do now.

I also told Yoku that I didn’t really think I could make it back up the mountain after viewing the waterfall at the base, so I wouldn’t be going on that tour. She said she understood completely and not to worry.


And for my next feat, I shall swallow a sword

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I did something I thought I would never do. I talked on Ori’s radio show, Couch Surfing Radio (fair warning: when you click on that link, the show starts playing immediately). I mean, I knew it was coming eventually, he’s had *one* broadcast since I met him where he didn’t either talk about me, or put me on air ‘accidentally’.

I just didn’t think I would make it through the broadcast without losing my ability to remain coherent. But, really, it was just like talking to Ori on the phone. We’d talk, he’d get distracted, we’d talk some more. My phone dropped the call twice, you know the usual.

I have to call him out on this:

First I saw the description of the show:

I’ve not broadcast in 3 weeks, as I’ve been on a big roadtrip, then was over inundated with work. This week I’m going to talk about a lot of that. I have learned A LOT from it! Everything about health, productivity, relationships, car insurance, guitar, Kathryn’s adventures, friends, recharging my brain, and even my hair!

Then I get a text at 9:58:

Doin show 2nite, wanna talk about ur road trip & upcoming plans?

I agreed as long as he would ask questions to keep me from getting flustered and two minutes later called in because the show was starting.

Since it fell squarely into the ‘not gonna kill me’ category I knew I had to do it. Plus, as much as Ori likes to push my comfort zone, I know I can trust him. We talked about a bunch of topics, but one I didn’t expect was announcing that we are going to submit a panel idea/pitch to the SxSW PanelPicker for 2011. It’s on location independence and I’ll post more once I’ve gotten it square in my head and probably on paper even.

So, since I’ve said it out loud, had it recorded, and now, written it down, I kinda have to do it. Because really, the first time you decide to look at speaking in front of an audience, it should be at a conference whose attendees number in the tens of thousands and include almost the *entire* start-up community.

Breathe in, 2, 3, 4, Breathe out, 2, 3, 4…


T-shirt Fail and Serendipity

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Short version, the t-shirts turned out awful and I refused to wear them. They have been relegated to an as-yet-unnamed-future-event; I’ve got one in April and one in May, so I’ll just pick.

In other, better news, I didn’t make it to any panels on Friday. No, really, it was good news

Official SXSW programming started at 2:00. I had lunch plans for 12:30 which I knew would get me there a little late, which would have been fine…

But then, the parking garage I planned on parking in was full and I don’t know down town Austin at all. So, I found a partially empty lot, but the empty part wasn’t numbered and there was no way to know what spot to pay for, so I found free parking under the freeway, which would have been fine…

But then as I was within sight of the convention center I realized that I had left my badge in my car and couldn’t get in without it. So I walked back to my car, thinking all the while that I should have know better than to wear strappy 2 1/2 in. sandals. (I’m still not sure how I thought it was a good idea to only bring heels.) I got the badge and put it in my bag and as I was walking back I realized that I had my bag of fruit from the morning’s trip to Whole Foods in my hand; so I turned around and put it back in my car. Only, when I got back to the convention center I realized that I had put the badge in with the bag of fruit, not my actual bag. So, back to the car I went, which would have been fine…

But my feet were rapidly blistering, so I decided to drive back to the hotel to change shoes and go buy some flats, which would have been fine…

But when I pulled into a parking space at DSW, I couldn’t find my wallet. I’d left it in the hotel room.

Feeling frustrated I drove back to the hotel and checked Twitter, where I saw this tweet from Couch Surfing Ori. Now, had my day gone according to plan, I would have been at the convention center and not willing to leave, but as events conspired (not really) against me, I was not only able, but more than willing to stop and get a can of gas. I had been planning on finding Ori and introducing myself anyway, but this presented a perfect opportunity to do so.

After any of the day’s events, and especially all of them combined, I would have been likely to turn inward. I would probably have gone to some panels, but I doubt I would have initiated conversations with anyone. I probably would have gone back to the hotel and convinced myself that I needed to get some extra rest after such a stressful day. Instead, by responding to someone I hadn’t even heard of two weeks before, I met several new people, became friends with someone I admire, and have a whole new perspective on what I need to do for myself. Now, it’s all about the experience and of course, serendipity.