Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Joshua Tree Getaway

I love L.A., and I’ll be sad to leave …
but sometimes living here, in this sprawling megalopolis,
I start to feel sick for the sight of open sky, mountains, for clean air and silence and stars.

“Let’s go to Joshua Tree. Tomorrow.”

So we threw our bags in the car and drove until the city, at last, began to recede.
It's true, you can never leave your troubles behind you
--wherever you go, there you are--
but somehow, in the desert--glorious, vast, and quiet--
all the anxieties constricting, and sorrows weighing on my heart
somehow ease themselves and I feel healed, restored, stilled, at peace.

And there they were--the Joshua Trees.

We'd found a decent place to stay--Sunnyvale Garden Suites--
to call it "quaint" wouldn't do it justice.

The front office was done up like a Disneyland facade ...

Outside our room--a horseshoe.
I know it's superstition, but somehow, charms like this make me feel ... lucky.
Perhaps they just remind of how fortunate I am already.

We really were lucky--that night there happened to be an astronomy program at the visitor center.
We looked through a telescope and gasped at images of Saturn, Mars, and galaxy clusters.
A second, deep space telescope was hooked up to a large screen, offering views we'll never forget ...

The Sombrero Galaxy

The Ring Nebula

The Lagoon

The Swan

The Dumbell

Apparently, they have these astronomy programs about once a month--they said the next would be July 13. I think at this point, you probably would have to call or email the visitor center for the schedule--they haven't got the info up on the website.

So, anyway ...

Dear L.A. friends:
When your spirit is stifled and troubles are weighing you down,
go to Joshua Tree.
Look at the stars.
Enjoy the quiet.
And let your soul be stilled.

A heart-shaped rock ...

An amazing view ...

Such a strange and beautiful tree ...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Dame Un Tiempo Mas" - Lyrics / Letra

I recently traveled to another state where I was (am) being considered for a pastoral position. I did not anticipate how stressful and unsettling it was going to be merely to find myself in a strange localea place, in some ways, unlike any I'd ever visited.

It reminded me of how upsetting it was my first week at college, 1,200 miles from home. It was the beginning of a totally different life, in a place that seemed terrifyingly strange. It was probably the third day I'd been there or soI just laid down on my bed and started sobbing, because everything was so not normal. Of course, I eventually got used to it, and in only a short time, it became a very comforting place.

But the funny thing is ... I went on a couple mission/exposure trips, as a teenagerto Tijuana, and to a place called Tonalá, outside of Guadalajaraand instead of having that feeling of culture shock, I felt exactly the oppositeas if I was coming homeas if I'd been so many long years in exile, I'd somehow forgotten, but that this was where I really belonged, and felt at peace.

I wonder if there might be something about the national character of Mexico that particularly resonates with me. The Enneagram Institute believes nations tend to have three dominant personality types (scroll to "In Cultural Studies")and it seems not improbable to me that Four (the Artistmy basic type) would be one of Mexico's three.

Several months ago, I was in Zumba class, and we were doing this one song"Dame Un Tiempo Mas"and all of a sudden, I had this intense memory of being in Mexicoit was a deep feeling of peace, and relaxation, and of just being at home ... Beautiful ...

Anyway, it took me a long time to figure out what the song was, not least of all because the lyrics do not appear to be posted anywhere on the web, as of this writing. So, here is my best guessmay it, perhaps, benefit someone out there. Probably this is going to be laughable to anyone who speaks Spanishplease, comment if you can help me correct it. Some of this really just did not make sense to me, but I took a stab at it, anyway (I get points for trying, eh?).

Letra de
Dame Un Tiempo Mas

Dame un tiempo mas
y pon esa cinturita a bailar
llenando te de besos
que pronto la maniana llegara

Por eso, dame un tiempo mas
y tu corazoncito reconquistar
Nunca mas estare lejos
y solita no te vas a quedar

Fue muy dificil
mi vida sin tenerte
que no estes pegadita a mi
pasar noches en vela

Yo nunca te voy a herir  (no que voy a herir)
Yo no lo haria jamas (No lo haria jamas)
Yo quiero estar junto a ti (junto a ti)
Yo solo te voy amar (Te voy amar)
Es que sin ti yo que haria? (que haria)
Pero tengo la suerte
de sentir que vuelves ...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Leadership Lessons In The Land Of Cubicles

The temp agency had me doing data entry for a couple weeks. It was ... not as boring as it could have been, but pretty darn boring. Regardless of what job I'm doing, though, I always try to do it as well I can, and I always hope to learn something. And sure enough, I was really struck by two ways that my immediate supervisor demonstrated what good leadership looks like.

First, when I made a mistake, he took responsibility for it. Even though I was the one at fault--I had just made an assumption, rather than asking for clarification on what I was supposed to be doing, but--he apologized and said "I should have explained that better."

Now, I've read in books that a good leader is supposed to do that--but I will admit, the idea offended my sense of fairness. But having now, personally, been the recipient of just that kind of grace, I appreciate that it's unfair in a good way.

The other thing is that he referred to everyone in the office, affectionately, as "my people" and talked about looking out for his people and being happy for his people. (This was not particularly directed at people whom he was supervising, but just everyone.) And that struck me as something remarkably loving, seeing as how it was just some cubicle-filled office for some company I sincerely doubt anyone there was particularly passionate about.

Anyway, that's all. Just felt like sharing. Ya learn something new every day.