Don't hate me snow-besieged East Coast friends and family, but Spring has come to the Bay Area. The cherry trees have popped out in their pink pom-poms, like a bunch of raw young cheerleaders. It's still overcast and threatening to rain--and may it rain more and more! we need it--but buds are budding, things are flowering, and in the moments when the sun shines it's clear that it's spring.
I celebrate every New Year possible, Jewish, Roman, pagan--but Chinese New Year always feel like the most appropriate one, because the days are finally recognizably longer, sap is running, and the new year has really begun. On January 1 we are still in the underbelly of the dark, shooting off fireworks and trying to have faith.
I got to see Carla for a few minutes last Saturday--first time in weeks. I told her about Trixie and about how someday I want to have a little dust-mop of a dog and name him Chekhov, and she accused me of trying to ruin dogs. "Dogs are supposed to be light and fun and uncomplicated," she said. "By naming a dog 'Chekhov', you are invoking darkness and layers of subtext. Dogs are not supposed to have subtext. They're just supposed to wag their tails and lick your face."
Okay, she has a point. But it's totally moot in any case, as 'Chekhov" is a future conditional tense kind of dog. Right now what we have is a still-skittish kitty--although she now lets me pet her before and after administering treats--and her sisters, the feral cats outside. I wonder if Trixie misses the great outdoors, as she prowls around our house exploring and crying. I wonder if her mother and sisters wish they could be her, trapped in comfort with three squares a day, or if they'd rather take their chances in the wet wide wonderful world of the backyard, where they leap fences, chase birds and brave the hazards of outdoor city living?
I also saw my Little Sister this weekend--it was a good visit. She was scared of the new cat at first and held my hand when we went down to the garage to say hi. Then she painted a picture and made a card for her church auntie, and we played checkers and Monopoly (world's most tedious game.) She was sweet and funny and fun to be with (although she hella cheats!) She has a grand disregard for money. When I landed on one of her properties, she wouldn't charge me rent, and when she had to pay me for anything, she'd say, "Keep the change. I don't want your money." On the other hand, when she landed in jail, she would redo her steps stopping short just before the jail cell, or jumping over it.
Last night I went to Interplayce to hear a presentation by Dr. Ginny Whitelaw who is an astrophysicist who used to work for NASA. She has written a book called Move To Greatness about the four energy types--in Interplay we call them Thruster, Hanger, Shaper and Swinger, although she has renamed them The Driver, The Visionary, The Organizer, and The Collaborator.
The Thruster, or Driver type is just what it sounds like--very focused, driving ahead towards a goal, looking neither left nor right, tendency to be impatient, tendency to run over other people, gets the job done, protective. The physical base for this type is at the bottom of the belly, I guess what yogis would call the first chakra, to mix a metaphor or two.
The Hanger, or Visionary, which is my primary type, is in some ways the Thruster's polar opposite. The movement style of the Hanger is non-repetitive, non-patterned, sometimes frustratingly inconsistent or elusive. "Marches to his or her own drummer." Big picture, connection to all that is, not so good on details. Ease, support, flow. Sometimes low energy or spacey.
(I should have said that while we each have a primary, preferred energy type, we embody all of them. Although my primary type is Hanger, my secondary strength is Thruster--that's how I get my manuscripts out into the world.)
Then there's the Shaper, or Organizer, which is what I think Christopher is. Does the right thing, loves order, pattern, rightness, ethics. Exceedingly conscientious. Hard on self for any perceived mistake. Needs a lot of affirmation. Needs to know what the rules are--the right rules--or the recipe, or the map. When C moved in with me, he made a blueprint of the house and made little paper cut-outs of his pianos and he measured everything and figured out where it would all go. Before he even moved. I was beyond impressed. Awestruck is more like it.
Our differences drive us crazy--I don't cook with recipes, he reveres them, and you can extrapolate from there--but they are also instructive. I would like to be more like him. Even though I chafe at routine, his ability to create a ritually nice environment by arranging flowers in a vase, lighting candles, putting on the right music, creates a safe cozy home for us. And I trust him down to the ground. His ethics are impeccable.
The fourth pattern is The Swinger or the Collaborator. This one's center of movement is side to side, lateral--think figure eights, think swing dancing. Lively, fun, upbeat, relational. Can juggle many tasks, people, activities. Hand to hand to hand, like a monkey swinging through trees. This one has the energy I wish I had, the energy I would like to cultivate, light, lithe, delicious. On the other hand I guess the Collaborator could get overwhelmed, and have problems with boundaries. or with having to be alone, or with standing against the group. Maybe it would be hard for the collaborator to pull off a solo project of their own vision. I don't know. I suspect they have the most fun, though.