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The Double Meaning behind the blog title 'Dream Follower:'
First, for 14 years I was a ballroom & social dance instructor, and have studied both leading and following. I feel that learning to follow is full of nuance and is often misunderstood. I made it one of my personal goals to become a really excellent follow on the dance floor, and will probably talk a lot about the art of following - both in and out of the context of dance.

Second, I am a huge fan of author Michael Ende, probably best known for The Neverending Story. The book is incredible, and the first film captured some of the essence. (Please don't watch the other two films...I urge you to read the book though!) Anyway, at least twice in my life I have been caught in a storm of my own indecision, and my inner Moon Princess yelled to my inner Bastian...'Why don't you do what you dream?' I tear up even now as I write this little blurb. The tension between being practical, keeping my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds (at the risk of compromising my inner vibrancy, true self, and who knows what else)...and reaching for my true dreams (at the risk of losing everything) is still a very real struggle. In fact, one of those struggles lead to my 14 years of teaching dance, so we can see which voice won the battle that fateful day when I was staring at the want-ad...

And so I strive to be two kinds of Dream Followers in my life. One has to do with connecting with others, and the other has to do with connecting with my inner Moon Princess and the world of possibility that opens when I do...

Monday, June 30, 2014

he was smart or lucky

I was in a rage, and he could not be at his house when I was going to get my things. I'm not sure to this day whether his buddy just happened to stop by or if he called him and asked him to be there in his stead, but either way it prevented some serious destruction of property. I gathered up my things, and stripped the bed of its lovely sun-yellow sheets which I had paid for and they had defiled. I might have set them on fire, or gone in the yard and scooped up as much rabbit shit and dumped it on the stripped bed as I could. I was white hot angry when I came across a shirt that could only have belonged to her...and tore it apart with my bare hands. Every present I ever gave him, I suddenly wanted to strip him of and deprive him even though the gesture would never even come close to the betrayal he had dealt me. His friend's presence forced my civility, and though I resented it at the time I suppose I should be grateful that I could not be arrested or brought up on charges or fined or anything. The witness kept me from going ballistic.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

quietly living

I may not be writing much on here lately, but it is not because I don't have much to say.

the opposite might be true.

I have been cherishing the days and moments, savoring, indulging, breathing, laughing and in general enjoying life.

I have enjoyed sweet tortures, salty sea air, salty tears, bitterness for balance, and the most delectable juicy sweet orange I have ever tasted. I have enjoyed sunrise, sunburn, sunset and dancing.

I have balanced on the knife's edge of losing something precious and survived.

I have memories to add to my ever growing long list of adventures, to my perfect age, to my ageless soul.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


so sometimes an empath like me has mornings like this one, where a sudden unexplained sadness simply washed over me, tears ran through me, and the sadness had no source within me.

I allowed it to run its course with no judgment or attachment, and called my mom to chat because she would understand and not get freaked out or worried.

It passed and I had a nice morning otherwise.

Perhaps somewhere in the world someone suffered, and my body expressed it, that's all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

it shouldn't matter

It shouldn't matter, but it does.

anonymity, or the illusion thereof at least

once eradicated, can never be regained.

hiding in a cocoon

shyly observing 

pretending ended

the observer is also observed, and thus scared off.

we can suspend our interest, evacuate, rehide, restart...but we are still in it, out of it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

points of view

Ninety-nine percent of the time, empathy is my friend, and being able to understand multiple points of view is useful when mediating or troubleshooting or in many other situations.

Take tonight for example. We have an event with a teacher, a student, a judge, and a franchisee, and a manager (me)

We all want happy students (who are also our customers, but many of our students are taking dance for many different reasons)

And we all have hats to wear and jobs to do.

The event tonight had placing (first and second, mostly) where the student is compared with a standard or level of dancing.

The student in question has physical limitations.

One could argue that there should be consideration for that factored in, and certainly it would help morale...maybe. But no one wants a sympathy blue ribbon. We all want to earn it. And to be fair, the judge was consistent giving seconds all night to anyone who danced off time or even off phrase. And the student in question did earn a blue ribbon in one of her events when she was able to stay on time.

If we give sympathy firsts, all firsts lose their meaning.

If we can't stay on time, we have to be ready to do some damage control when the student is upset. We can't control the physical limitation, but we can't Not Try either and expect the judge to hand a blue ribbon when we could do better.

One solution is to avoid entering events with placing/ribbons, etc. Perhaps that would be the student's preference, and if so we will avoid the situation in the future. As manager, I failed to articulate the nature of the event clearly so she would know what to expect. Her teachers failed to dance on time with her. The judge placed her how he had to in order to not be accused of favoritism or not upholding the standard.

There can be arguments in several directions, but certainly the most important thing is to have integrity in everything we do, and sincerely care for our student. Her frustration is at least partly with her body, and sometimes dance brings up things we need to process.

I don't mean to sound unkind or unsympathetic.

I understand each angle in a way. Like the teachers could argue that the judge could give some consideration and be lenient...why wouldn't he? But I'm not sure she'd want those blue ribbons either.

I'm so conflicted on the matter.

How to be both fair and kind.

When ideally one should never have to choose between them...

Friday, June 13, 2014

big bird

Sometimes at work I feel like a giant wandering post-it note, squawking and flapping my wings and fussing to remind everyone...did you remember to________(fill in the blank)...for a million different things as if I am big bird but instead of feathers I am covered in millions of post it notes.

My mere presence is sometimes enough to ruffle feathers and call to action, but more often it's my eyes burning like laser beams into the back of someone's head and they feel it, or my actual words, or a text or phone call or e-mail...

and it's everyone!

students, my boss, my colleagues and people I'm training...and of course myself.

once in a while I drop one and everyone can giggle because I'm human too, but boy it's a flurry and it's constant.

there are things bound to fly off and drop or get forgotten, whether I make lists or not...because I'm human too.

And I sure am tired of being the walking post it note for everyone else.  Slowly but surely they will all learn to rely on someone else, or each other, and it will all be funny and fine, and then it will be someone else dropping post-it notes...someone else to pick up the pieces when someone is upset...a new big bird will be born.

I'm really amused by the image.  I can giggle about it right now, instead of getting my feathers ruffled.  I can't take myself so seriously when I'm big bird.

rambling (short)

We are chugging along, in the home stretch of a long and busy time frame at work, and then next week is blessedly short.

I'm looking forward to a mini-trip to the Bay Area to see family, but there are a lot of things still happening between now and then.

tomorrow's event plus Saturday's festivities (aka fun, aka stressful, aka hyperdrive)

then Sunday is the 17 year anniversary of meeting my father...actually Saturday probably is, but it was father's day weekend anyway, so that's pretty cool slash emotional

and of course sad because my brother's father passed quite suddenly about two and a half years ago and other people I know have lost their dad so there's that.

and then Monday. Monday would have been Grandma's 99th birthday.

and Monday I am supposed to have a Very Important meeting as well.

So it is good that it is going to be a short week next week.

I am processing a lot of things.

glad to have this outlet, whether I have readers or not. Though I kinda want to give a shout out to whoever is reading this in France and Russia, because I don't think I know anyone out there. US and Germany, yes. So thanks for coming back to read more. It's kinda neat to see that someone in Lithuania and Thailand (etc) stumbled across my page by accident even once but it is infinitely cooler that someone in France and Russia came back to read more of my blog. Thank you!

And of course an even bigger thanks to my friends that kinda know me who keep popping in to see my latest really does mean the world to me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

the trembling leaf

she hung and clung
shaking tenuously with each gust of wind

she trembled
the trembling leaf

is it laughter
is it joy
or is it sorrow
is it fear

she trembled
the trembling leaf

she gazed back in time
her dried leafy self a hollowy shell
memories like a misty dew
as the sun warms her well

anticipation of dropping
of little feet crunching
or perhaps she'll be pressed
between new leaves of a well-loved book

she trembled
the trembling leaf

her colors once vibrant, now fading
she knows her home is still strong
and home is a feeling, not a place
and staying too long will feel wrong

her life on the branch now is fleeting
she tries to drink deeply
the sap is still sweet
and her appetite waning

she trembled
the trembling leaf

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Today started out lazy, relaxed, and then became productive! I threw out three non functioning non-donate-worthy pairs of shoes, and bought new ones, and did laundry.

AND I am continuing the sorting process, books to donate...books that are cherished fiction, and a section for psychology, a section for business and management growth, a section for trashy page turners to be read once and then given on or donated. I have an impressive collection of books...some of which I haven't read yet...

And many dvd's as well.

I must say, overall there are more dvd's that I have watched more than once in my collection, than dvd's I never opened. This is a good thing.

The last category is clothing, and I do have a preposterous amount of that. That will wait for a string of days of productivity, not just one


I watched two episodes of Hoarders online last night, and while mine is a milder case, it was certainly a bit of a motivator for today.

I will try to be firm but gentle, but it might take multiple passes and some tough love before I really let go of some of this stuff.

must examine what it means to have it, why it is important, if it is important actually...and so much of it has been out of my consciousness for so long and I haven't missed it, so why hold on?

baby steps.



Sometimes, the oddest things will spark a river of thoughts gushing faster than I could ever type.

I thoroughly enjoyed dinner and a show this evening with my cousin and her husband, and the whole drive home I was prattling along in my head...where does it come from? this crazy river of thoughts...

In any case, my head is still ringing with some of our conversation and the writing and the execution of the play, and the stand up comedians after the show.

And I'm thinking about what kind of material I would include if I ever did stand up, just like before.

Maybe I would talk about the types of hand shakes, and the types of huggers in the world. Would I take a risk and call on a volunteer, or would I hilariously mime it all with the mic stand awkwardly? Would I have the courage to talk about sexuality, or would I turn six shades of red, stammer and rush off the stage? Would I need notes, or could I wing it, or will they have those google glasses by then so I can fake winging it?

And how did my mother have the courage to just up and sell her belongings for two tickets to India? How, and maybe did I over-correct for all that in my caution now, or am I being wise and prudent, or just a chicken-shit lazy

wow, and you wonder what goes on in my head?

I have warring factions in there...and stalemate, stagnation, inaction, passivity, judgment, endurance, fear, yearning, and a desire to make waves and a desire to not rock the boat.

it's never dull.

sometime, I'll do a stand up comedy open mic night or amateur night just to get it out of my system. maybe i'll tank, or get some laughs. but it will happen someday. I'm too damn curious how it would feel, whether I would fail, and so on

so that will now be added to a bucket list I didn't know I was making.

number 1. perform a ten minute stand up comedy bit in front of a live audience of at least thirty people, preferably at least half of them would be strangers. :)

number 2 will be that hang gliding thing that had to be post-poned due to weather.

number 3 is that I will be a published writer. unsure if that will begin as an autobiographical work or fiction, but it will happen.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


I might have some mild hoarding tendencies. When I think of getting rid of stuff, my mind often fights it with 'what if I need it someday' or ' what if I lose the weight' or 'what if I forget that memory without that thing trigger' and the like. Keeping stuff is a sign of scarcity mentality, and also a sign of lack of trust. We moved around so many times when I was a kid and things I cared about got lost in the shuffle, so hanging on now is probably a symptom of that.

Bottom line though, is I have too much junk. What the heck do I need 8 trophies for, which are just collecting dust on top of my book shelf?

I am mentally preparing for some things to become unnecessary. Maybe I can downsize the stuff. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Detachment--Healthy or Escapist? and some thoughts on why positive thinking might not be the answer...

There is a whole culture of positivity, choosing our reactions, responses, etc. I am in a love/hate relationship with it for many reasons.

On paper, it sounds great. I'm a fan of finding the silver lining, looking on the bright side, learning lessons, and on and on. And I agree with so many of the ideas, because we can use positive thinking to comfort ourselves, soothe ourselves, recover from trauma, avoid making things worse or inviting more drama and these are all pretty good results. One negative result I have also experienced is self-judgment or criticism from peers or friends. The lecture (whether from others who mean well or my own self) is the worst wagging finger, self-righteous, annoying and unsympathetic response to an emotional flare with negative connotations. Sometimes, it would be nice to be able to release emotion rather than stifle or swallow or minimize...and it would be even better if it was allowed to flow out without being judged immediately, or accused of indulging negativity.

Parsing this is a work in progress. I see virtue in not wallowing in misery or inviting more misery through self-fulfilling self-sabotaging negative thought patterns. I get that we attract what we focus on, and we need to build habits of gratitude and kindness and be solution oriented.

rah fucking rah.

But when bad shit happens, looking on the bright side is just another drug to numb the pain, and being pathological about being positive seems like an insane response in the  face of tragedy or adversity. Nor is it okay to me to just dismiss all emotional responseif it is out of our control. "When we can't control circumstances, we can still control our reaction to them, it's a choice how we respond." I say bullshit. The only way you have control of your response is a sociopathic detachment either from your own emotions or your fellow humans or both. We have an emotional response. Period. Then we can accept it or judge it or try to councel our way to a new and potentially less painful understanding. But we cannot control our response. All we can hope to do is learn to not give in to a knee jerk response by filtering what we say. And we do that to protect ourselves and our fellow humans, which is mostly still in service to protecting our ego and self-image.

I'm on board. Really and truly. But don't let's pretend that the goal is detachment or a pollyanna perpetual fake smile plastered on our faces when shit hits the fan. Neither of those is healthy, in my opinion, nor sustainable.

I studied stoicism in college, and as a highly empathic person the idea of detaching sounded like heaven to me, and I tried it for a while, unsuccessfully. There must be a balance between falling victim to the storm of human emotion like a boat without a rudder/paddle/sail or being trapped in a fortress of solitude.

Someday I will find a good balance, but I'm not willing to pretend that only focusing on my response to things and force-feeding myself affirmations all day long is enough of a solution. I might go one step further and say I'm not sure the response is what needs managing/fixing/yadayada. Maybe it's the judgment of self and others. As I said, I'm still parsing and wrestling my thoughts on this whole topic.