Memories of Dan

Memories of Dan

I’ve kind of been avoiding writing this stuff down. On one hand, I want to always remember Dan and how amazing he was, but on the other, writing it down forces me to sit with it. To remember all the good things, the sad things, and the things I can’t do anything about any more. As vibrant as my memories of Dan are, as admirable his passion, dedication, and talent were, he is gone and the future will give me no new memories with him. 

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Seeking Sustainable Change

We’re creeping up on 2 years since I broke my leg. It’s a little frightening to think about how much time has passed and how quickly it feels like it went by. Even though the bone was mended well enough for me to walk without crutches or a boot in about 4 months, the rest of the year felt lost to pain and physical therapy. The past two years have been a series of ups and downs, but they’ve helped me define and refocus on what makes me happy.

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Reaching out

It's been just over two weeks since I reorganized my studio and I'm happy to say that it remains in a general state of cleanliness and organization. I still have some stuff that is straggling in the living room and needs a home, but it's pretty minimal. Initially I was worried that not having everything within arms reach would hinder my ability and motivation to be creative but I've found quite the opposite to be true. When I'm ready to work on a project, I open my closet door and can immediately find everything I need, and for the most part I don't have to move anything else out of the way. It's refreshing to not have everything in my field of vision allowing me to focus more easily on whatever project I'm working on. It was definitely worth the time and effort!


Knowing when to ask for help

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about where I am in life and what makes me tick in an effort to be happier and healthier. It feels weird admitting this and throwing it out into the void of the internet, but I think mental health is important and shouldn't be such a taboo thing to talk about. I recently decided to start seeing a therapist to work out some emotional demons that have bothered me for quite some time (some of them all my life.) I've felt overwhelmed with and distracted by negativity lately to the point that it's been challenging for me to see and enjoy all the good things I have. I started journaling more this year and some of the themes that came out of it lead me to realize that I could benefit from working with a professional. 

Known concerns:

  • I have difficulty sitting still and being reflective, I always feel like I need to be doing something and yet there are so many things I *could* be doing that I have a hard time doing any of it. It's easier to surf Facebook and see the interesting things everyone else is doing than to do interesting things myself. 
  • I have an irrational fear of failure which causes a debilitating fear of trying. 
  • I'm good at starting projects, trying new things, exploring new places, but when it comes down to finishing a task or really dedicating myself to a skill, I fall flat and lose motivation easily. 
  • My parents bailed on raising me when I was 8 and barely made an effort prior to that which I think has resulted in me being afraid of abandonment and afraid to pursue friendships because I'm worried I'll just bother someone. 
  • Most frustratingly of all, I still feel the fallout of emotionally abusive relationships with people I haven't seen in years. 

It's overwhelming but I'm certain all of this is something I can move past and let go of because I have such an amazing network of support. I can't let a few people ruin my perspective or quality of life. 


Looking at the positive 

This past weekend, I hosted the February Women's Parkour Meetup at Fight or Flight Academy. It was a lot of fun as always, but I felt depressed about the things that caused my leg pain or made me afraid. It's disheartening when I can only last about an hour before just about anything hurts it. 

Later that afternoon, I decided to bring my hoops down to the garage where it was warm(ish) and I have some open space to move. I may not feel up to jumping and running yet, but I can still hoop well enough. I set my laptop up to record the session in the interests of seeing how rusty I've become since I haven't worked at it much lately. 

To me it looks sloppy and there are so many point that make me cringe, but I posted the video to YouTube and Facebook to start up the habit of posting progress videos. I was floored by the kind words and support from friends and family. They helped me see that what is sloppy to me, is magical to others and I shouldn't get so bogged down in the negativity. It was also a great reminder that I whenever I'm feeling down, I should do something that makes me instantly happy, like hooping or art. 

My friend Angela suggested that I give aerial silks a try to see if it would be easier on my leg while still giving me an awesome workout, so this Sunday I'm going to check out her "Skill Share with Hazmat". I've been wanting to try silks since the day I saw them performed so I can't express how excited I am to finally have it on my calendar. In March I'm also going to try the Intro to Pole Dancing class at Knockout Bodies with some of my friends since there was a great Living Social deal recently. 

Thanks to some very wise words from a mentor, I'm realizing that while I've found a tribe in parkour, it may not be the only path for me right now. It's a goal and something I will keep working with, but instead of bogging myself down in the negativity of not being able to do it all right now, I can explore other possibilities too. Silks and pole dancing will have a lot to contribute to parkour too. It all flows together. 

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.
— Louisa May Alcott

Kaizen

Kaizen

I really like the word "Kaizen". It is a Japanese word that means "Good Change" or "Change for the Better" and represents the idea of continuous change to improve all functions of an organization. It is a popular business philosophy that helps increase productivity using increased awareness and action informed by that awareness. The idea is that when changes (great or small) are made over time they can result in great improvements on productivity. While this is most often used as a business strategy, it's easy to apply this idea to one's personal life. It's been an helpful tool for me because I can easily become overwhelmed when I try to change too many things at once. This weekend, my Kaizen focus was cleaning and organizing my studio/office. 

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Wabi-Sabi

Earlier this week I came across an article from Mental Floss called "10 Foreign Words We Need in English". It features words from other languages that don't have a word in English that mean the same thing. They're beautiful in their poetic simplicity and the illustrations that go with them are lovely. 

One of my favorites from this list was "wabi-sabi".

Wabi-sabin. Finding beauty in the imperfections, an acceptance of the cycle of life and death.
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Snagged Threads

This summer has been a pretty challenging one for me. Spending the nicests months of the year effectively immobilized while my leg healed was extremely depressing. I had all these high hopes of training outside and making some real progress with parkour, I just launched the local women's parkour meetups, and had finally integrated going to the gym in my schedule. It was a priority, which has always been the struggle for me. After 4 months or so, it's hard for me to think about what's next, but I think that September is my line in the sand and I'm excited to ease back into it. Autumn is in the air and the cool air tells me that winter is coming. Soon the gym will be my sanctuary again and I can't wait! I love connecting with people who do amazing things, it motivates me to keep evolving. 


Earlier this week I went to lunch with my boss and mentor. We occasionally go to Wok in the Park for their lunch special and Vietnamese iced coffee. It's a nice, low key way to check-in about how work is going and just connect on a human level. Mahtab's personality is engaging, her laugh fills a room, and her passion for quality experiences is inspiring. These lunch meetings always give me something to think on and this week was no different. 

When we got back to the office, I wrote down some thoughts about what we talked about and this analogy about people really stuck with me:

People are like colorful threads and the time you spend with them weaves integral details into the tapestry of your life. When those threads get snagged or pulled out, something feels like it’s missing and can’t be retrieved. Our experiences are tied to the people we share them with so when someone leaves your life it can feel like those experiences are lost or invalidated since you can't go back and relive them with someone else. It's painful and your eye keeps going back to that snag because it's just so obviously there. However, it's important to remember those moments are valuable on their own and help paint the greater picture of who you are. The tapestry might not be perfect, few things are. Learning from an experience and letting it educate future decisions is part of figuring out what it means to be human. 

I wanted to write it down so I would have someplace to come back to it again in the future, but I also thought it felt worth sharing because I know I'm not the only one who experiences this.


During our lunch date, we talked about a few other topics that were more work and task management related which I would like to explore in greater detail. Things like not being a slave to constantly checking email, breaking projects into 15 minute long chunks, and using notes to capture quick thoughts that might otherwise distract me. I might report back on those later once I've had a chance to explore them. 

I want to get into the habit of writing more. Even though this summer felt like a pitty party for my leg, I actually did a lot of fun things that I wish I had captured. Whether I keep a personal journal using Day One (which is an awesome app by the way) or share things here on my website, I think writing helps me keep it all in perspective. It's just hard to find the time!

Paintings for Julian 2014 Status Update

Paintings for Julian 2014 Status Update

It's been a while since I posted a journal entry. For the past few months I've been focusing on healing and doing a mostly okay job with that... mostly being the keyword. I was feeling really good up until I became overconfident with my leg and took a shortcut by vaulting over a fence (for the record, I had excellent form for not having done a lazy vault in months!). The loud POP I heard and the intense pain I felt in my leg lead me to being worried I had re-broken it but fortunately I just ticked off a tendon. My leg was x-rayed again and the bone is healing very nicely (x-ray of my leg hidden for the squeamish). I'm just really impatient with this process...

Anyway, I wanted to provide a quick update about the Paintings for Julian 2014 project, first to express my sincere appreciation for everyone's support and second to check-in about the project overall and show you some paintings!

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Open Letter to TWS in Response to the Attorney General's Investigation

Hello again,

I just wanted to express my great joy that the Attorney General's investigation uncovered what it did. All of you who continue to stand behind Tammy at this time are only making it worse for the cats. The best thing for TWS would be for Tammy to step down and allow the former keepers to pick up the pieces.

Your pride, arrogance, and deceitfulness is just poisoning an organization that so many people love for its mission. Tammy is not the "heart and soul" of the Sanctuary, the cats are. Until you understand that, it's the cats who suffer.

And Gail... I just want to say that I think you're a heartless coward for spurning the former volunteers (who you terminated) in your recent communications by saying that the volunteers who continue to stand behind Tammy are the dedicated ones. The real core group of volunteers spoke out because we are dedicated to the cause. It takes sincerity and courage to stand up for what is right, regardless of the obstacles that may stand in the way. You are not a leader, you are not compassionate; you are nothing more than a venomous viper who blindly lashes out at anyone who disagrees with you. Someday the boot will come down on your head and you'll have to deal with the consequences of your lies.

I continue to support the cats, maybe you all should do the same and vote Tammy and Gail out.

Considering that you don't even have a Board of Directors page on your site any more, I'm not entirely sure if all of you are still on the board. Regardless, I hope some of you are still around to make a difference.

Sincerely,
Katherine Block
Volunteer since 2010