Saturday, January 31, 2009

Guest blog appearance at FEAST

My friend Rosemary Carstens asked me some time ago if I'd be interested in doing a "guest blog" appearance at FEAST, her blog about books, art, food, film and travel.

So I wrote up my December visit to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and it appeared yesterday.

http://carstensfeast.blogspot.com/2009/01/indianapolis-museum-of-art-provides.html

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stunning photos from the Hubble telescope

At the ABC News website, a slide show of stunning photos from the Hubble telescope, at http://snurl.com/auygl

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two video features

New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks talks about his photo essay on Gaza, the photos are powerful: http://snurl.com/ap6s6

And Diane Sawyer does ABC News feature, Person of the Week, on Obama's "body man," Reggie Love, who's a lot like Charlie on "West Wing" -- http://snurl.com/ap766

Isn't Reggie Love the name of a John Grisham lawyer in The Client?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Inauguration, view from the Street

New York Times photographer Bill Sullivan narrates this photo essay of Tuesday's Inauguration in Washington, focusing on the "ordinary" folk who attended the festivities on the Mall without much concern for fashion.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/01/24/fashion/20090125-street-feature/index.html#

Friday, January 23, 2009

CFG 2009

I returned Sunday night from the annual gathering of certified Shadow Work facilitators, known as the CFG. Last year, the gathering felt like home by the time I left, and I wasn't the only one using the word "home" to describe the experience.

Despite that, this year, as for most previous years, I arrived terrified, and the 5 days there were a journey from fear to comfort. The shame I was feeling when I arrived told me I didn't belong there, that people would reject me and consider me too screwed up to be certified.

The gathering starts on Wednesday evening, and at 2 a.m. Thursday morning, I woke up with intense intestinal distress that became a hellish 2 hours of extreme diarrhea and nausea. I was too weak to join the group and slept until noon. It was apparently about having eaten too much soy ice cream on Tuesday night that my body couldn't digest, though a friend said it could also have been the okra we had for dinner on Wednesday night. But I think the coincidence is too great to dismiss that it may have had an emotional component about being at the CFG.

Regardless of the cause, it left me in a physically weakened condition and unable to eat much for several days, so it was hard to have energy for doing anything. I think I ate nothing but 2 bananas all day Thursday and similar on Friday, my stomach was really wary. It was hard even to drink water.

I rejoined the group for Thursday afternoon and mostly rested on the sidelines. The next day I was still rather weak but worked and facilitated during the afternoon. (After working, conked out and slept on the sidelines during the 2nd person's process, and felt really sad about being so tired because I'd wanted to support her.) My own work was about being worthy of support, and being weakened meant I was very vulnerable and getting a lot of support from people, so no accident there.

By Saturday I was getting back to normal and helped lead group discussions during the day. By Sunday I could eat almost anything again, though favorite foods like pineapple were still off-limits to my stomach. In my final checkout on Sunday, I said that I'd arrived with rough surfaces and now felt like a smooth stone with the water of the brook running over me -- a familiar feeling for me at the end of groups, and one I wish I could hold onto at the beginning of groups.

I've come to think of this annual journey of mine in terms of Enneagram subtypes and specifically about the subtype that I have most in shadow. I attended a workshop with Russ Hudson a few years ago, the author of The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

He believes the 3 subtypes are "instincts" inside all of us, and although I don't think it works to consider them instincts, I agree that we all have 3 learning styles, or centers of focus in us, and each of us generally has 1 of the 3 more in shadow than the other 2. For me, the social is what's more in shadow, and that's why it's so hard for me to attend the CFG, and most other groups for that matter. In fact, I think if Russ read Practically Shameless, he'd say, "This is a book about a woman with social instinct in her blind spot." (his term for shadow)

I was lucky enough to have a very compassionate roommate who is a very sound sleeper, so she never woke up from my troubles during the night.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Our long national shame is over

When President Ford took over following Richard Nixon's resignation, he said, "Our long national nightmare is over," referring to the Watergate scandal.

With Barack Obama's ascension to the presidency, our long national shame is over, and I'm proud to be an American again, for the first time in a long time.

We're a country in which white citizens voted for a black president.

We're a country that will end a war that should never have been waged.

We're a country that will never torture again.

An entirely new tone at the White House

A beautiful photo essay at CNN.com, with music, of Americans looking up.
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2009/44.president/inauguration/looking.up/

I just looked at whitehouse.gov, and there's a blog where you can sign up for updates. I know I've been to the site in the past, but I don't remember much about what it looked like. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a blog, though! President Obama (God, that sounds good!!) has sent a memo to White House staff saying that transparency will be the watchword of his presidency.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The scale of the universe

Some time ago, a friend sent me these images showing the relative scales of the planets in our solar system.

I looked online to see if I could find the person who originally created them, but wasn't able to, so I can't attribute them as I'd like to. There's something fascinating and reassuring in this for me. Most likely the impact of seeing what is so huge and therefore so much more significant than the little things I worry about during the day. I get a similar reassurance from driving through the mountains, and specifically through Big Thompson Canyon, where the huge stone bluffs dwarf any objects at human scale.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I didn't know the Huff Post recapped late night's best jokes!

Do they do this every weekday? Recap the best jokes from the previous night's late night shows? This is great!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/16/late-nights-best-jokes-th_n_158499.html

Monday, January 12, 2009

Smooth the Soul blog post about my holiday articles and CD

The Smooch the Soul blog has very kindly reviewed 2 articles I've written on shadows at the holidays and provided a link to my new "Home for the Holidays" CD.

http://www.smoochthesoul.com/blog/2009/01/12/what-are-your-holiday-shadows/

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Joe Cocker deciphered

A friend sent me this video of Joe Cocker performing "With a Little Help From My Friends" in his usual impossible-to-understand way, with captions suggesting the lyrics he's really using. Very funny.

Mandy Walker's blog, Since My Divorce

My friend Mandy Walker has a new blog, Since My Divorce, on the theme of what we learn following a divorce. Her latest post, about learning to play the piano, links to a YouTube video of someone playing a lovely Chopin waltz.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Andrea using Twitter at the ChicksWhoClick conference

My friend Andrea Meyer is "livetweeting" the ChicksWhoClick conference, and I'm having fun reading. For those who haven't discovered Twitter yet, "livetweeting" means sending Twitter updates while attending an event, similar to the kind of live blogging that sites like the Daily Kos do, but using Twitter rather than a traditional blog. If you've used Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or any other social networking site, a tweet is similar to the kind of status update you make there ("what are you doing right now?") but many tweets are informative and manage to squeeze in a URL, usually by condensing it first at tinyurl.com or snurl.com, since a tweet can be only 140 characters long. It's amazing how informative a 140-character message can be.

I don't know if Andrea is using a laptop or a PDA to tweet from the conference, but she's sending out both informative and funny tweets you can read at her Twitter page. If you click "Follow" beneath her picture at the top, her tweets will show up at your own Twitter page. Andrea has several hundred followers.

Here's my Twitter page. I was warned by a friend that Twitter can quickly become addictive, and I'm beginning to see why. It struck me yesterday that Twitter is somewhat similar to a blog reader (like Google Reader, bloglines, etc.) which shows which blogs have a new entry, and if you click the name of a blog in your list, you see the entries and can start reading. Your Twitter page is different in that you see the most recent tweets from everyone you're following, one after another on the same page. So on my Twitter page this morning there are updates from the folks I'm following, including Andrea, the Daily Kos, and the New York Times. To see all the tweets from any of these parties, click on their name to see their Twitter page.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Updated my profile

I just updated my profile here on Blogger.

One odd thing, it asks for links to your blogs, but provides no way to upload links to any other blogs than this one. I've got two other blogs: the Practically Shameless blog about publishing and writing, and my blog at Amazon.com (scroll down) about shadow in the news.

It also creates a hyperlink out of the name of each of your favorite movies, and since I ended the list with the words "many more," it created a hyperlink for "many more."

When Twitter removes an inappropriate tweeter

I was just looking through the list of people "following" me on Twitter, and one of them was a name/face I didn't recognize. I clicked on her photo, and got this message. Cute!

Real info learned from Twitter

I've been using Twitter for only a short time, and I've been wondering when it would prove tangibly useful. And that day was today.

This morning my friend and fellow Boulder Media Women member (and Longmont resident) Beth Hayden posted links to Boulder County sites with info about the wildfires. (Another friend and BMWer, Andrea Meyer, described a hike she took and posted a photo that shows fire damage in the foothills.)

And then a tweet from the New York Times mentioned this NYT article which told me that the Obama soon-to-be-administration is asking Congress to delay the switch from analog to digital TV transmission, and that the government ran out of funding for coupons to buy the converter boxes so long ago that a million requests for coupons have gone unanswered. A million! And I haven't even requested one yet!

Procrastination wins again!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Opening up to colleagues

Next Tuesday I leave for the annual gathering of Shadow Work facilitators, being held this year (as for the past few years) at the Center for New Beginnings in Dahlonega, Georgia, about 90 minutes north of Atlanta.

Every year -- and I've been going since January 2002 -- there's a nervousness that arises as I think about going, and I understand from colleagues that they feel the same way, even those who have been doing this a lot longer than I have. The requirement for each of us while we're there is that we both do a piece of our own work, facilitated by our colleagues, and facilitate a colleague at least once. And the nervousness is about opening ourselves up to people whom we love and admire but whom we usually see only once a year.

Most personal growth facilitators grew up in families where it wasn't safe to open up to people, to expose the parts of yourself you want to work on. And we've all worked on that issue, along with many others. But there's a residual fear that arises for me every year as I contemplate going and exposing shadow-y parts of myself to these people.

The gathering lasts from a Wednesday night through a Sunday noon, and by the end of every gathering, I feel so at home, so close to these people, so loved and loving, that I'm reluctant to leave and wishing that we could all share a big house somewhere year-round. Last year the feeling of "home" with these people was the most pronounced ever. It was the first year I attended with copies of Practically Shameless in shrink-wrapped bundles of five. Almost everyone in the group has purchased multiple copies from me to sell at their own workshops or to give or sell to clients, friends and family members. Several colleagues have told me that people are showing up for workshops or client sessions because they've come across the book at Amazon.com or heard about it from a friend. It's very gratifying.

Last night I talked by phone with Janine Romaner, who lives near Atlanta and will host the gathering for the (third? fourth?) year in a row. I interviewed her for the Shadow Work email newsletter a few months ago and got to know her better than I'd ever known her before, and I really enjoyed our talk. She's a doctor of natural medicine and an expert on autism and natural health, and we've always got lots of interesting stuff to talk about. This year, as she did last year, she'll lead the welcoming ceremony on Wednesday night for the people who are coming for the first time. There are 4 newbies this year, and several have mentioned to me how afraid they are, and I've told them about my own fear, which I think has helped them a little.

There aren't any good morning flights to Atlanta from Denver, so I'll be flying to Chicago on Tuesday and spending the night at my sister's, which will give me an afternoon with my mother, who is still profoundly depressed and who benefits more from physical touch and affection than from anything else. ("Hugs are the best," she's told me twice.) She apparently isn't answering the phone any more -- I called her 3 times over the weekend, and I guess she never picked up, perhaps for fear someone was calling whom she wouldn't want to speak with -- and she dreads phone messages, so if I miss her, I don't leave a message. The last two visits, I've felt a real connection with her, which for me means a lot.

The "ghost" of a Nine

One of the words that Enneagram expert Russ Hudson uses to describe an Enneagram Nine who's below-average in emotional health is "ghost." And when I hear someone referred to as a ghost, I've come to think of it as a fairly reliable indicator that the person may be a Nine. So I was interested to see Richard Corliss describe President Bush with that word in his TIME magazine review of Oliver Stone's film W. I was initially surprised when Russ typed Bush as a Nine, because his "with us or against us" paranoia toward the world had led me to think Bush was a Six. But I've come to agree with Russ. If Bush were a Six, and functioning this far below average, he'd be paranoid in the extreme and reminiscent of Adolf Hitler, one of history's lowest-functioning Sixes.

Last week I watched the film Walk the Line for the first time since seeing it in the theater, and was delighted by the quality of the commentary by director James Mangold, who refers to Johnny Cash as a "ghost" during the period of Cash's life when he was strung out on speed. I've got several documentaries about Cash in my Netflix queue and will be interested to see if Cash was a Nine. Based on Mangold's film, Cash's wife, June Carter, was an Enneagram Two, and Twos and Nines often have a very successful long-term relationship, similar to that between George W. and Laura Bush.

Mangold's commentary goes into detail about his conversations with John and June before their deaths and reveals the truth behind scenes in the film that didn't appear in either of the stars' autobiographies. I really enjoy a good commentary from a directory that's much more thoughtful than the "this was the first scene we filmed, and it was raining" sort of thing.

Two really bad movies

My daughter came to visit for Christmas week, and I rented Mamma Mia to watch it with her, as it had come up in a phone conversation with her some time ago. We never got around to watching it while she was here, so I watched it Monday night. Or I watched part of it -- I was curious to see how the plot would turn out, so after suffering through a half-hour or so, I sped through the rest. Bad writing, bad cinematography. I normally enjoy Meryl Streep, and I hope she had fun shooting the film. Her performance seemed to have no benefit of rehearsal, as if they started shooting the moment she arrived on set and she had to figure it all out inside her head as the filming progressed. I stopped the film when Pierce Brosnan began to sing because I was feeling almost nauseous watching stars I enjoy and admire doing the worst jobs of their careers.

The set looked somewhat familiar, and I wonder if it might have been used for the Kenneth Branagh version of Much Ado About Nothing.

It seems one of the things I need from a movie is some resonance with or affection for the main character, and that was another way in Mamma Mia let me down. Sophie is a character with very few redeeming qualities. I had the same problem with Chicago, I didn't like any of the people.

On the second film, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, the verdict is not yet in. Last night I wanted to file a stack of papers at my desk, so I used Netflix's Watch Instantly feature to watch the first 45 minutes or so of this sequel to a film that's a real favorite of mine. I'd read some reviews that indicated this sequel was nowhere near as good as the original, and of course that's why I've waited so long to see it. The reviews were right. In the scene at Buckingham Palace, in which the lack of backstory has caught up to the characters and Ben Gates has undergone a total personality change, I'd had enough and turned it off, but I may at some point become curious enough to see how it turns out, and I can always fast forward through the Palace scene.

Starting over, but with history

I'm starting over with a new blog, after having saved the entries from my old WordPress blog that was installed at my website, www.AlyceBarry.com.

I ran into a number of problems and first looked at creating a new blog at WordPress. But the WordPress import/export feature doesn't work worth a damn, and I'd prefer not to go through this again. I exported the old blog twice, and imported it into a new WordPress blog, and only 112 entries were saved, out of I'm not sure how many hundred. All of 2007 was gone. Most of 2008 was gone.

It's not that I believe every precious word I write is worth saving - far from it. But on some topics in particular, it's important to me to save what I've written, because I may end up using them as material for a book someday.

I'll be formatting the saved entries and posting links to them here when they're ready. In the meantime, I'll enjoy being free and clear to post again.

And I'll be delighted to have WordPress uninstalled on my website and stop receiving upwards of 400 spam comments per day. With their latest update, WordPress fixed some kind of breach that has allowed spammers to post comments on my blog without having registered. I'm getting really tired of deleting spam comments; it's been going on since December 19th.