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“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” `-- Pema Chodron
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Summer in Full Swing

I went for a walk this morning.  Down the hill by the pool towards the water - I could see the ferries coming and going, smell the sea air.  It wasn't too hot yet, it was just right for a nice walk. I spent a fair amount of time last summer walking the area around the pool.  It is something I've missed this summer.  Not for lack of other walking areas that I've been enjoying (though not enough).  The grass is starting to dry out and turn brown, except where someone is watering it.  The flowers are blooming and smell wonderful.  

As I was walking, I got to thinking about the stories we tell about ourselves as a way of defining who we are to ourselves and to others.  How sometimes we can get attached to a story that isn't really actually our self, but something that we have experienced/are experiencing. If I follow this train of thought too long, I eventually wander off into the land of what is the part of me that's observing me observe these things. But today it was just the observation of attachment to a story.

Sometimes it's hard to tell which things are the stories and which things aren't.  I've noticed I have a tendency to get excited about things other people are excited about -- I'm excited for them, but it can take me a while to realize I'm excited for them and not because it's something I'm excited about.  For example, a long time ago, in another lifetime, I worked at a natural foods store in various roles.  

One of the many roles was helping guest chefs teach cooking classes & doing the food prep for them so they miraculously had chopped onions in a bowl right when they needed them as well as preparing various food samples for the busy days.  One day we were using up day old crusty bakery bread and we put thinly sliced fresh mozzarella on it, with a slice of roasted pepper on top of that, drizzled with olive oil & balsamic vinegar.  Or maybe the olive oil & balsamic vinegar first.  Or possibly first and last... Anyway, people were raving about it and it actually "sounded good to me".  I don't really like peppers.  It's a texture thing. I don't mind some flavor of pepper, but super meh on the texture. Sometimes I learn (I actually make and eat my own coleslaw now because ginger coleslaw, but not really a fan of anyone else's because texture and picky), and maybe some day... but... not that day and still not really. 

At least I know I don't like peppers.  Sometimes though, I think something sounds really interesting and half way into a project I've committed myself to I realize that oohhhhhhhh, maybe I don't actually like this?   OR, after having finished (or been released) from something, it takes some time to realize that thing was not what it was cracked up to be and ohhhhh. Perhaps that thing? Is kind of like peppers.  Or onions.  Or other peoples' cabbages. 

Which... how does this related to summer being in full swing?  Last summer I was trying to figure out if my ambitions were leading me towards peppers & onions or something else.  This summer, I have been ever so delighted to find myself rewarded (for the most part) by the hard work of disentangling myself.  Every now and again I wonder if I have landed somewhere else that isn't a fit, but those days are few between (crossing my fingers that I didn't just jinx myself for the next week), and generally I know I can wander into work with half polished toenails sticking out of (black, suede) birkenstocks, or big flow-y pants or whatever else I like and no one will bat an eye, much less care.  

I work with people who wear everything from suits to yoga pants.  And we all come in, do our jobs, enjoy each others' company, and then go live the rest of our lives.  The rest of our lives defined as 'not being at work.'  Big presentation?  I do not actually have to care about putting on the girl costume and making sure my nails are perfect and appropriate.  In fact, they'll probably be "extra" the night before and, thanks to anxiety and a fabulous peel off base coat, my nails will be entirely bare by one hour before the presentation (if they last that long) and it'll go fine and then it's done and moving on to the next thing in the big pile of things to do. 

Looking back from last summer to this summer so far, I may have my doubts because imposters syndrome is a thing, but I am not trying to climb out of my own skin any more.  I am not trying to eat peppers and be excited about other people liking peppers.
 
Progress! And really *extra* fingernails!
With love and curiosity to see where things go from here,

--Susan

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