Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year I Turned 50-Licious

Yesterday morning, I arrived at the diagnostic imaging department at the local hospital for an annual mammogram, grabbed a number and sat down. Routine.  No big whoop. Just one of those important tasks to accomplish in the day in the life....  

This is what I was thinking as I looked around at the other folks who were there for various x-rays, ultrasounds and boob looksees.  In  no time my number was called and I found myself sitting in front of the clerk as she verified my medicare number and home address in her computer, and made sure my name was on the list.  It was her last question that sent a sharp kick into my gut...... "And your next of kin is still............?"  I said "yes." 

Well, he still is legally and I sure as heck didn't want to complicate the intake interview while trying to figure out who my next of kin is now.  My kids aren't old enough.  My family live in another province.  Neither option was practical. So, I kept it simple.  "Yes."  The question and my answer flooded my thinking and feelings as I found myself sitting in a flimsy johnny shirt coldly wrapped around my naked torso,  by the door to where the machinery was located.  Alone. Processing my thoughts.  In a place full of foreign sounds, sickness and stress, ongoing paging for emergency doctors, and smells one only inhales in the stark reality of a hospital,  I felt the gut galloping shiver of vulnerability.  My stark reality mirrored my environment.  

I leaned back against the wall, closed my eyes and focused on breaths to take away the "reality hurt"  until a warm hearted woman with a welcoming Maritime lilt in her voice called my name.  It was my turn to have a few photos taken. My morbidly self absorbed thoughts quickly turned into wondering how in the hell they do that boob squishing procedure on anyone who wears an A or a B cup???? 

This is the year I turned 50.  From the moment after the clock struck midnight to ring it in when I stood feeling like a pariah beside my husband at a party and there was no loving kiss forthcoming to this very moment as I try to capture the words flying out of my fingertips on this frosty morning.......... the last one of 2010, it has been a year of awakening to loud thunderous change.  

Sometimes it has been so shockingly vibrant like when you get to the part in a mystery novel and all the pieces of the puzzle transform into BIG TRUTHS all at once.  Oh!  I can think of a few of those body churning events!  Though I'm trying to let go of them, they are still the ones that pound on my temples at 4 am with demonic pleasure from time to time.  Not nearly so often.  Not nearly so often.   

Most of the time, however, the thunderous change has been more like the WAKE UP surprise of POP Rocks sizzle bursting in your mouth. You know its going to happen.  You just don't know when. When it does? Your eyes open a little wider, while your first thought is........ "What is that all about???"  And,  "Why did I just put Pop Rocks in my mouth when I know how uncomfortable they make me feel?"  Sometimes someone slips a few of those candies into your tea when you're not looking.  There you are attending to a routine task and kapow! One of those damn things explode and you're caught speechless........for a second.  

"Your next of kin still is..........?"

This is life. It is a cache of awakening moments, some more seismic than others.  Some more life altering than others.  Mine aren't any different than anyone elses.  My feelings and thoughts are not unique.  It is what WE all share......... the ability to think and the blessing to FEEL always!  From the monumental hurts to the ecstatic orgasms, and all the little poetic symphonies that are the very thread that binds the whomping biggies together.  By sharing our hearts and minds, not only do we learn  important lessons from one another that guide us to LOOKING and FEELING from a different perspective....a different reality, we become a part of one another's tapestry. 

This is an awakened life unfolding.  I am who I am because of the experiences I have encountered, embraced, denied, refused, stumbled upon, viewed, processed, created, mourned, celebrated,  respected, rejected and reconciled.  Just like you.   We are offered up little Pop rock that seem inconsequential at first,  but end up providing awareness to where we are in our journeys as a means to process the thunder changes. Shifts happen even when you're least expecting it.  In the poetry of life.  

Yesterday, I texted a friend of mine briefly sharing the hospital moment with her.  She understood how it felt right away, and commented on how these moments makes one realize how the world registers you and how you see it differently too.   In fact, she is the one who has helped me throughout the year "see" how poignancy preys in the grace notes of life....  I told her that I realized it is the poetry of life, not the long storied prose that meaning is found.  Her response?  "What's a poem if not volumes of truth packed into a single glance?"  Blow me away!  Gotta love a friend whom you share wisdom text messages with that are poetry too! 

This year, the one when I turned 50?  Well, it has been jam packed full of events...... poignant, pathetic, pulsating..... life altering snippets.  I'm not at a point where I can say that I wouldn't change it if I could do it again.  That would be silly.  No one in their right mind wants to ever experience the deep gashes from being betrayed.  However, I have laughed with more gusto, and wept with more intensity than I have ever imagined.  I have been hugged more passionately, and cared for beyond what I ever thought I needed. Conversations that once skimmed the surfaces dove deep into heartfelt meaning.  Until this year, I didn't realize just how much we can grow from an original place of pain into a garden of beauty.  I have taken many risks, and every time I think of one I smile broadly because every single risk I took connected me to another beautiful human being and experienced some amazing adventures!  WOW!  
As well, I have inhaled air so beautifully thin as I have encountered a bouquet of spiritual compassion through the kindness of so many people in my life, and through the deeply quiet times I have been alone absorbing the goodness of a faith just waiting for me to embrace. Magical.  Blessed.  Loved.  Lovable.  Gee, I even learned that I am a bit sexy! Who knew?????  Yeah, despite the pliable sagging breasts and the hands that look a thousand years old, I've got a sexy factor happenin'!

I have learned so much..... and hope that I have been able to pass on some of my lessons........  

On this day, the last one of the year I turned 50-licious?  I feel strong and whole, weak as well as yearning. A contradiction I am, I am.   I see the poetry as truth in a single glance.  And I know now how I will answer the question of who my next of kin is........  It doesn't matter who the name is.  I walk with many.  I walk with you.   With a Holy Spirit to guide us along.  Aren't we lucky?

Bring on the Pop rocks!  Happy New Year. 


ps.  I have been keeping an eye on and a journal to capture many of these moments that have occured this year with the intention of pulling them together in a book......... I havent shared many of them on my blog because I haven't had a chance to digest them as much as I want to. Plus, I feel like when it is time to write it out fully, i want it to be fresh.  But, let me tell you, the majority of them are bloody hilarious! Absurdity rules, as does my dark humour.  Stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

shards and soles.

The soles on her shoes weren't meant to tread on long stretches of terrain littered by sharp pieces of broken dreams. Not that she was supposed to be protected from feeling pain.  She was no pampered princess.  Her life was much much easier than millions of others on this planet, but she still had her life shards to contend with.... to walk on.  With unprotected soles.

She had felt pain.  Absorbed it too. She had felt the pain of many others and allowed it to absorb inside her as well, but for some reason this process didn't streetproof her to emotionally and physically deal with the messiness from her most recent life storm that had shredded her dreams.  

Not today anyways.  Not today.  Wrong shoes.  Broken dreams.

Some days, she wore the right footwear for the hike.  Other days, she wasn't thinking and grabbed the closest ones to the front door.  Even then, she usually could manoeuver the terrain.  This time however, when she got halfway down the road, she realized the bottom of her life weathered feet weren't protected.  Her shins and calves felt the heat of exertion too as the pain of new bruises forming on her soles hurt to take another step.  With no one to guide her through this unchartered area, her confidence sagged right along with her depleting energy. 

Enough shards.  Enough pain.  Go away.

There were times too when she was convinced  her footwear was proper because she had walked the road before.  It had been no problem.  There had been no shards, no broken pieces to detour.  But, there they were!  Broken glass from tumblers that once held champange toasts, chunks of concrete that had buckled up like burnt sugar on the sides of a cake pan, limbs which once held carefree tree swings littered the way.  Potholes and puddles of standing water slicked by oily remnants from dirty dishwater.  

Everywhere she turned, she saw tattered signs from her past littering the sidewalks.  Discarded records, books and trinkets given to her out of love.  Tossed away presents she had carefully chosen and wrapped.... given from love, often with a giddy bow tied around it that giggled....."he's going to love this!"  Wind-up toys laid on their sides, photos soddened by a rainfall of tears floated towards the drain, slipped through the grates, washed away........ Shards of a life shared only to be picked up and thrown into a garbage bag strong enough not to be punctured...thick enough not to bellow out the longstanding humour once shared and seemingly only understood by the two people the stuff matters to.  

My God, we could make each other laugh........ right across a crowded room.  Does he still have that in his life?  I can't imagine. 

The wind always seemed to heckle on the days she wore the wrong shoes.  It mocked her courage while it whistled familiar tunes once so dearly embraced during the spontaneity of a Friday night soft shoe after the kids were in bed.  No more.  At one time, the music melted away any harshness.  It fueled loving tangos.  Now, it mocks as it pierces her sense of failure.  She dances alone to her wedding song as it plays in the wind of a once familiar road now littered in dreams tossed out by the man she once believed in.  She once believed, when she danced with him to an Irish Heartbeat in a beautiful dress that made her feel like she floated on air.  

Their belief in one another lasted for a very long time after that magical day. It didn't matter what shoes she wore.  They walked together, helping each other to step over the sharp life pieces.  

"Oh, won't you stay
Stay a while with your own ones
Don't ever stray
Stray so far from your own ones
For the world is so cold
Don't care nothing for your soul
You share with your own ones..."
Van Morrison, Irish Heartbeat


You know, some days are much easier than others.  Today isn't one of them.  This is the day I walked down the aisle in the right shoes towards the right man.  We said our vows.  We promised.  24 years ago today. we looked into eachothers eyes and said "I do."  Surrounded by family who loved and supported us, by friends who believed we were meant for one another, he kissed me on the lips and on the forehead. 

From here on in, I walk barefoot and rely on my inner soul to guide me.

(ps.  this was very cathartic to write.  don't worry about me...... it's all normal feelings and I'm working through them properly.....)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

silent night, holy night.........

It's early Christmas morning.  Everyone is asleep in the house.  I'm sitting right beside this beautiful tree all lit up and abundantly sharing its stories with me through the ornaments hanging from its branches.  The fire is slowly dying and its time for me to crawl into bed for a couple of hours before the day really begins!  But, I'm wide awake, albeit in a disconnected way because I am so sleep deprived from the past few days.  I'm having a difficult time quieting my brain.  I do love this time of year, but it is tiring as the Mom and organizer around here. As much as I try to pace myself, especially this time around because any event/party/gathering now means I am in charge of prep AND clean up on my own, it's all new.

At times I've been overwhelmed....... fraught with big heaps of emotional waves.  They come and go though and are expected.  Most of the time, I've remained on an even keel.  However, I have a feeling that once Boxing Day arrives, I will be a drooling eejit on a couch, completely spent.  Lets hope someone fixes my remote control for the TV and I can scroll channels looking for a mindless movie or two! 

Tonight was really lovely.  As a family, the four of us attended a beautiful church service and then came home to watch a movie together.  This is a Christmas of transition.  It is also one that is being provided as it is because it is what my children wanted and expressed.......... to have both their parents present.  We are.  On Christmas Day, we will be.   It's not that we are playing any denial game.  It's just that its a transition time.  

So, the early hours, I'm here alone.  And that's pretty normal too!  I'm usually the last to bed on Christmas Eve, sipping on a glass of wine absorbing all of the goodness the one feels JUST before the day unfolds......... with surprises, joy, gratitude, peacefulness.  I expect it to be the same this Christmas morning.  I can't wait to see the kids' faces when they open their gifts.  I can't wait to share our dinner with friends like we always do.  I can't wait to touch base with family who live far away from us.  I can't wait to listen to Handel's messiah as I cook a big breakfast.  I can't wait to stop in the middle of all of the celebratory events to reflect and give thanks. 

I have no need for gifts to open this year.  I have been showered with gifts ALL year.  Truly. It has left me humbled and grateful beyond any other time in my life.  The love and care I have been provided unconditionally has left me with a completely different perspective on life and on our roles with one another.  It has led me to believe that we are the angels in each other's lives.  I don't know what I've done to deserve it, but I have been blessed with a choir of them to carry me, to encourage me......... to be there with me.  

It is a different kind of Christmas this year......... one that is more meaningful than all of the others combined.  What an amazing gift that is.  Thank you.

I don't have the energy to post photos at this point, though I have a few to share..... I'll wait and show them to you when the day is done.  In the meantime?  Merry Christmas to all of my blogger friends and friends who regularly read my perambulations.  May you find a blessing or two under your tree or tucked in your stocking.  


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

leaping out of the comfort zone.....

Life is a travelling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken.”
~D.H. Lawrence 

It's been a year of assuming the life of a leap frog. This is when I first realized something was terribly wrong in my marriage and in this home. The distance and disconnection was numbing and so upsetting. Wow!  Just remembering as I write brings me to an emotional place I never want to visit again for a long long time.  I felt like a pariah.  For three months, I felt like an untouchable as I tried to figure out what was going on......... and who was involved in the "goings on...."  It helped that she was a blogger who left enough crumbs to make me wonder....... to push me along the path that led to the edge of knowledge..... 

Though I am in such a good place emotionally and spiritually now, I will never ever forget how an "untouchable" feels in a marriage.  It is the loneliest existence I have ever experienced.  It left me literally curled up on the couch speechless. Thank God I had enough focus to get myself into therapy and to see my Doctor even before everything formally went kaplooey in March.

When I think about the fears I harboured after my marriage collapsed early last spring....... how the thought of even leaving my house made me tremble, I am amazed at how quickly I gained my frog's legs. Not only that..... how far and how often I LEAPT!  On my own, but mostly with the encouragement of the people who care.  Their love and concern was grace.

No matter how far or how often I leapt, I always returned to the sanctuary of my home. Out I'd go to experience something new, to take a risk in meeting someone new, to get out into the big old world to alter the path I had been walking along, I knew I could always count on the relieving sigh you feel when you cross that familiar threshold, back into your own comfort zone.  Home. Home.  Home. There's no place like it.....

Sometimes, it took every ounce of energy to push me out that front door, beyond my yard.  Somedays I couldn't do it.... wouldn't even consider it and that was alright.  Last summer for example, I tried twice to go to a place near and dear to my heart (and my family's heart) Spencer's Island.  I got as far as the first gas station on the Trans Canada about 10 miles from my home and abruptly turned around when the crying turned into a soppy mess.  The third time?  I made it.  

So often this fall, I've compared myself to Earl from that TV show.  Not that I had to reconcile my "karma" like he did, but that we both have lists of things we have to do in order to move on.  A resolution/closure/forgiveness/prove yourself list or something.  Sometimes the things on my list I've had to accomplish were small step things.  Other times they were enormous LEAPS.  No matter how large or small, however, they were crossed off the list at the same time that my whole being felt a lifting of heaviness.  Sorrow released.  Confidence restored.  Stillness returned.  Energy renewed.  One more leap forward down a new path.  After every experience, my front door was a welcome sight.

It wasn't like that at the beginning and in fact I wrote about how my home felt startled.  Disturbed.  Like my whole family, it was shaken to its foundation.  The familiar pictures on the walls, the little trinkets and knick knacks on the shelves, the photos, furniture..... all bellowed out a song of loss.  Would it ever feel the same again?  Would I ever feel safe and happy in this space again? These were the questions I kept pondering.   

Like every other powerfully charged moment along this path of marriage separation, the feelings subsided.  I made some alterations.  I spent TIME in the space.  I think I had to recognize the pain reverberating in and around me and "lean into it" thereby moving to that "edge of knowledge " occasionally rather than always run from it, leaps were an option.  By mid summer, the house tremors stopped.  Good air was restored.  It felt like home again.  

So, now we're heading into an emotionally charged up time of year.  People continue to remind me that one has to go through everything at least once before you're truly on the other side of grief. I believe them.  This will be our first Christmas in this familial state.  This will be my first Christmas without waking up beside my husband in 24 years.  Half of our lifetime Christmases were spent together.  Daunting knowledge.  Edgy.  But, we're Ok to take the leap.  Granted there will be a few tears, a couple of toe stubs, maybe even a face plant.  Who knows what this Christmas has in store for us as it unfolds.  

What I do know......... and am confident about is that we have the strength, the emotional gifts and the awareness of one another to figure it out.  Actually, I think it will be much more than figuring it out.  I think we're going to be just fine.  We have each other as well as our family and friends.  We have an ever growing faith.

The other night, my son came into the kitchen while i was cleaning up after dinner and asked me....... "Mom, do you think this is going to be a good Christmas?"  Without hesitation, I smiled and said that I thought it was going to be really good.  I believe it.  We have leapt into changes and have learned as we adjusted.

Tonight, while driving my daughter to her job at the Mall, she and I talked about how Christmas and all of the wonderful happenings tied into it is much bigger than us.  We are celebrating a miracle of Birth!  Though our personal struggles are real and the adjustment to change is ongoing....... if we focus on the reason FOR the season, the focus is put where it should be .... away from us ..... towards a place far far away where a baby was born in a Manger, the leaping from the edge is one of faith.  

A leap of faith.  

And because it will be one attempted in our home, which is now safe and sound, it isn't a leap out of the comfort zone any longer no matter how emotionally charged it will be. We have grown beautiful wings.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

embers from advent.........

It feels likes it been quite a long time since I purposefully closed the curtains on the outside world and opened the  inside windows to have a look. Ahhhhhhhh!  It seems like the only time I manage to do so is when I'm spent.... saturated with stories, pressures, overwired with connections.  

I yearn for it.  
I think about it. 
Even try to plan for it, 
but my own life churning keeps it at bay....... keeps the curtains open. 
Intentionally I avoid it until I'm at the emotional razor's edge when the sense of claustrophic lack of oxygen hovers.  
Fear.  Fear of the unknown.
Fear of it being too emotionally naked.

I know better.   I need it more often.  Yes, this morbidly open mouthed extrovert needs more quiet time than ever before.  Not just when I'm stretched out relaxing in the bathtub.  I've learned the medicinal elixirs stirring in silent mediation. It lessens the weight. It opens the pores to light.  Beautiful light.

Tonight, as I sit cuddled up in a chair which is pulled up to the fireplace,
clusters of candlelight flicker dance 
above and below,
sending blended scents of ordinary aromas.....
lingering memories I breathe in with no effort.
vanilla, lemongrass, 
clementine blossoms, iced pine,
crisp linen, seashore heather,
cranberry sweetness.

I watch the fire flicker into embers.
Draw nearer
Draw nearer
In the glowing.
Sweet whistles of captured summer rains
sizzle like birdsong
Flames waffle with the sound reminiscent of flapping sheets on the clothesline
air fillap
air fillap
air fillap
spark crackle embers tango with maple yule
send searing heat rays
kissing my barefeet cold from winter floorboards.
compressing my cheeks like the warmth from my grandmothers hands.

I close my eyes......
music filters all around me
choirs of soprano faith hit high echo notes
gently bouncing off cupolas of old cathedrals
voice instruments that soothe ancient shadows
madrigal hymns that massage tired souls
encircling my space like angel goodness
to help persuade dark thoughts to take flight.
for sorrow to latch onto white waves
capping constant rolling currents that flow past.....

thoughts float in through the open windows
and settle into my awareness
gaps, once clogged in chatter welcome the thoughts
old questions, retooled doubts,
mysteries laden with burdensome timber
accompany the thoughts, transforming them into feelings.
harsh feelings of hurt and broken promises.
I ask why.
I ask why..... again......
My stomach begins to churn again.
Restless phantoms threaten to dissolve stillness into sorrow.
I breathe in scented reassurance.... 
I breathe out relief 
I breathe in sensory enhancing trembles.
I breathe out relief mixed with grins.
Grief work
Letting realities settle.

Choirsong gently softens the edges 
turning sorrows and hurt into ashes and embers
that fall below the flames 
Sounds like flapping sheets in the wind
sweet whistles of captured summer rain
I realize stillness can only visit if one welcomes sorrow beforehand.

draw nearer
draw nearer
in the glowing.....
layers of forgiveness feed the fire
let it go
let it go
soprano faith spills into my sanctuary
bouncing off cupolas of ancient cathedrals
echoing assurance that in life we are never alone.

'tis the season when change is the most trying
when naughty newness is frowned upon
when miracles are dismissed as lies
when judgement wags the know it all finger
when transitions leave stretch marks on swollen bellies 
ready to burst under the discomfort....

Embers slowly accumulate under the dying fire
by the melted candlewax......... 
A star begins to shine brightly on forgiveness
on peace, love, acceptance and hope
Joyful hope
as we prepare for receiving the gift of birth. 

Comfort and Joy.
Comfort and Joy.....
while the choir of ancient angels harmonize hearts and souls........

Christmas is nearly here.....


Dear God,
Thank you for helping me open my heart to the spirit of the season.
Letting me breathe in the stark realities without falling apart
Showing  me how to breathe out empathy, peacefulness and forgiveness
Please keep reminding me that the least deserving, the ones who have cause pain, who have shown no remorse in their selfish actions are the ones in my life who need to be loved the most.
Thank you God for this season of Advent and for helping me to embrace its meaning 
so as to let go of what may never have meaning.
As the embers cool from close-up fires, I am learning to let go.
I am learning.......

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

hunger to be loved

It had been a tiring day of participating in mindless meetings and completing necessary tasks too inconsequential to matter in the bigger realm of life.  When he finally lifted his head up beyond the computer screen and looked around, he realized that everyone else had left for the day.  Lonely quiet echoed from the carpeted hallways.  Remants of coffee aromas staled the air.  He looked out the window only to be greeted by the flourescent light reflection on glass.  Beyond that, night had settled in. It was time to go home.  The thought made him involuntarily shiver as he remembered how it used to be.  Such a contrast...... where did the warmth of home disappear to?  When did it turn into a warren surrounded by wind rattled frostlink fencing?

Depleting energy drained out of his limbs leaving a heaviness of heart. So much so that he could barely put on his overcoat.  Sighing fatigue captured every breath as he struggled to find the impetus to make the effort to make his way to the elevator. Shuffled steps slowly moved him down the corridor with an empty gaze blurred by a routine too tired to matter. He had forgotten what it was like to be excited about something to look forward to.  Sameness coupled with loneliness left him bereft of any drive to take the steps to break free of that debilitating sense of feeling unloved.  

Bing!  The elevator doors opened.  A woman who had worked a floor above for as many years as he could remember stood there looking as vacant as he felt. Quite often they left at the end of the day right about the same time, but rarely acknowledged one another because it was too much of an effort.  However, this day was different. She looked up, met his eyes and offered a soft hello.  His heart tugged as he realized it was the first voice he had heard in hours.  It was the first person who had acknowledged his presence in what seemed like a long long time.  More startling to him was the fact that it was the first time he had looked into the eyes of another.  What he saw was his reflection.... a shared thread to the same dull life feelings.  He smiled at her and offered a soft hello reply as he entered the elevator to stand beside her. 

Instinctively, he knew she was going home to the same emptiness.  Her day had been cluttered with meaningless tasks just like his.  Her posture told him so.  Though not normally a spontaneous person, in fact he clung to his methodic ways like a life raft, he felt a strong urge to connect with her..... to strike up a conversation ..... to tell her  "I know exactly how you feel."  But what would she think if he just blurted out something so brazen to someone who was as vulnerable?  As the elevator travelled down toward their destination, something kicked alive inside him.... the urge turned into a need.  And before he could think things through, he turned to look at her and said.... 

"Would you like to go get a bite to eat?  I don't want to have dinner alone again tonight." 

She replied, "I know exactly how you feel.  I would love to."

The ice was broken.  The elevator came to a halt.  The doors opened onto the lobby.  Beyond the lobby, people scurried by in a hurry on their way to their destinations.  The evening traffic flowed like a patterned soundtrack.  As they exited onto the street, he asked her where she would like to go, hoping she'd pick his favourite little Italian restaurant around the corner.   Tentatively, she looked at him and said.... "There's a restaurant around the corner that serves the best lasagne in the city I've been told.  I've always wanted to try it.  What do you think?"

"I think its exactly where we should go," he said with an enthusiasm he had forgotten existed. "You know what?  All of a sudden, I'm starving!"

"Me too," she said with a smile in her voice.  "I can't remember the last time I was this hungry."

In our efforts to find love and belonging, ironically it is through sharing of our personal sufferings that lead us to some of the most deeply felt intimate connections with another.  Humans are attracted others who can relate to their stories, who can feel their pain as well as their joy.  Think of how alluring it is to finally be "heard," or to finally hear the words..... "I know exactly how you feel...... I've been there too...... "  It is communication at its basic core. 

Monday, December 13, 2010


The wind is picking up outside while the rain continues to pelt the earth with an incessant fury. The river belches in fullness and flows with determination down towards the Bay of Fundy.  High tides ream the coastal shorelines, already saturated with this deluge.  Where is it all coming from?  In other parts of this country, it arrived as snow.  I can't imagine how much snow this would be if the temperatures were lower.  Up to the "window sills high" I'm sure.  Instead , my town is getting a thorough rain cleansing.  I will do the same.  By writing ..... a cleansing of a few thoughts which have been logjammed while I pushed through my restlessness.  

Tonight, I'm safe, warm and dry in my home.  Inspirational upbeat music is playing in the background, encouraging me to write, but also to sway to the beat.  There are a few tasks on the "to do" list that are vying for my attention, but dammit, I'm going to blog tonight!  Not only that, I'm going to FINISH a piece and post it!  It seems as though I begin a new piece and run out of steam halfway through it....... or maybe my attention gets redirected .... or the restlessness I have been feeling kicks in.  All of those things, plus I've been busy.  Man, have I been busy.  But, you know........ it still seems like it takes me 5 extra steps per usual step to accomplish anything.   Focus still wanes.  Certain tasks don't seem to get completed on time.  I'm trying.

Maybe i'm just always trying to catch up to the learning. That's how it really feels.  My learning curve which has been created by so many amazing experiences this fall is as steep as Everest!  As I have journied forward, tackling hard heart things as well as welcoming tenderness back into my broken heart, I am learning to step out into the world of discomfort to feel the yawning stretch of opening the door to surprises!  

Wide-eyed ones.  Whispering ones.  Courageous ones.  Scary ones.  Expressive ones.  Risky ones.  Shaky ones.  Deep pit in the stomach ones.  High flying catapulting ones.  Prayer-full ones.  Surprises parcelled in promises of learning.   

In order to continue the flow of this piece however, I refuse to get all jammed up trying to write about everything that has happened.  As much as I would like to do just that........ I would need a week or so to give the stories the attention they deserve.  My restless soul won't allow it right now.   Instead, I decided to provide a snapshot of where I've been and where I am.  That way, I am hoping I can begin to unravel what is in my heart and head.......... AND get back on track with my writing and blogging.   It is too important and meaningful to me to let it slide any longer.   Writing isn't a choice anymore.  It is a life force.  Like breathing.  Like any creative outlet.  Part of me feels like I've been holding my breath!   

So, without further hesitation....... a snapshot complete with headings........ 

What have I noticed recently?   The other night, I was walking my dog down the street.  The winter stars were glistening jewels in the black sky.  The moon was a sliver of itself.  From this vantage point, I could see the lights on the other side of the Saint John River.  Some of them were stretched in blurry reflection on the water, bobbing with the currents.  Golden yellow, candescent white, a flashing red from the tower which welcomes the planes into this city.  I expected to see flickering Christmas colours beyond the river, decorating the homes I couldn't make out in the dark.  What I noticed?  The only predominant colour of light that night was blue.  It was like it outshone all other colours.... left them in its wake. The blue light shone in random fashion like they were fancy stars hovering low to protect the people who lived over there.  Or maybe they were remnants of summer fireflies.  I stood and watched them glow on and on.......... my hands in my pockets to keep warm......... my big blue scarf wrapped up around my neck and ears in silence.   I wasn't restless.  

Currently reading...... I wish I could state that its a big juicy novel that I have escaped into!   Not yet.  Soon I hope.  Maybe over the Christmas holidays.  However, what I am reading are stories and explanations of the Season.  Advent stirs in and around me.  I have a thirst for it.  No matter how busy I am, my thoughts don't stray too far from it's guidance and lessons.   All year long, I have said to myself that I wanted to simplify........ to let go of the layers of complications ....... to pry my fingers off life's steering wheel ... to learn to be more accepting and less controlling of how events unfold ..... to surrender rather than ADD more to the buffet!  I kept adding more..... more and more...... making life more complicated than I could handle, until it forced me to dive undercover to hide.  I was doing the opposite of what I wanted!  How masochistic is that?  So......... here we are, in the  middle of Advent, and I see how I actually have been simplifying.... not in the traditional manner, but by reflecting on what is most important and what is gravy.   I may be busy juggling home, community, work, and play, but inside the layers of complications are letting go as I prepare for Christmas Day with my family and friends in Joyful Hope.

Currently creating...... I can't tell you that!  It would spoil the surprise!  I've got a few little gifty projects on the go right now.  I love this time of year!

Favourite things.... Kissing ranks high on the list lately.  I forgot how wonderful it was.  Yeah, I'd walk a mile in a snowstorm for a lingering romantic kiss.  hmmmmm......... what else? Gee, all of a sudden my brain is fogging up with passionate steam!  hahaha!

What I am thankful for:   Absolutely no question.  I am so grateful to be a Mom to two of the most beautiful human beings around.  Yeah, I'm a little biased, but honestly?  Last night, the three of us sat down for Sunday dinner and my whole being filled up with love and gratitude when I looked into their eyes.   We are doing alright, the three of us.  In fact, we are doing just fine despite our personal stressy days and busy ways.  Both are excelling at school and in their personal pursuits.  I am so proud of my daughter and my son.  They give me strength everyday, and i hope I do the same for them.  

What am I listening to?  Life, traffic and music all around me ...  students in need of spilling their stories, the voices of my friends and family, my inner voice, choral hymns, lessons in nature, sermons that touch my heart and soul, the spoken words of a friend whom I have spent meaningful time with this fall as she successfully SOARED towards making her personal vision come to life.  Her fierce determination to bring 1000 people together to promote much needed treatment services for Youth in this province with mental health issues culminated in an amazing rally last week!  It was a grassroots community movement that only happened because of my friend Maureen's shared testimony and connection to groups and individuals throughout the city.  AMAZING!  I was honoured to be a part of it from the initial planning stages in mid-October.  Here's a link to the latest story about the event.   I will write more about this when I have time to reflect properly over the holidays.

Plans for the upcoming week...... SO MUCH GOOD STUFF!  And of course, the other stuff I don't even know is going to happen!  Gifts.  Blessings.  New learning.  Illumination.  Worries resolved.  New worries rooted.  Projects continued.  Music to stir.  Feelings that run deep.  Meaningful connections.  Love.... giving and receiving.  Beauty in all of life's imperfections.

How about a picture?  This one is my favourite of the week.  Youth learning about the importance of community gathering to support a cause.  These kids were very involved at the Connect the DOTS rally in front of the legislature.  My Max is in the middle!  It was awesome!  

So, here is my snapshot.  A little rambling, but I just kept writing and let my fingers feel the keys again.  No edits.  One draft.  C'est tout!  I feel blog unclogged a bit!  Hopefully I can reach inside to find that creative writing side of me again.  I've missed it sorely!  Here's hoping it will return as my restlessness disappears.  Joyful hoping!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

night rain webs.....

 Some days are more emotionally draining than others.  The nature of what transpires during the course of an average workday may appear to be similar on the surface.  Same tasks.  Same timeframe. Same kind of interactions.  Same types of stories.  What alters the emotional context of one day to the next is what you bring to it.  We alight on an seemingly ordinary weekday with a bag of sticky tricky worries, a list of MUST DO's,  a whole set of emotions stretched and challenged by fatigue, or new energy..... by stress or by a wicked sense of wonderment.  

Fueled by how we choose to see, hear, feel, touch, inhale, give and receive life in and around us, the day unfolds as it will.  Even if we make our best attempt at looking through our lens with beauty, circumstances can throw us off course and quickly deplete our energy.   Today was one of those kind of days.  Rainy, slow shuffling pace, tired.  No amount of caffeine could artificially boost me up beyond the rainy grey skies.  My energy was perpetually damp and sluggish.  My feelings were easily tipped.  To say that its very difficult to work in a counselling environment on days when you're not at your best is understating the obvious.  Feelings and energy aside, you've got to rise to the needs, knowing that at the end of the day, you won't have much left in the reserves.   

I recently met with a Spirit Guide who amazed and astounded me with the "messages" he passed onto me through the "angels" who have been hanging out around me all my life.  The messages were bang on accurate that I have yet to really process the whole experience.  However, one of the comments made (and this guy had no idea I was a counsellor or a writer OR had a strong desire to alter my career path from counselling to writing/facilitating and he hit on all three over and over again!) was that I have recently lost the ability to let go of the emotional spillage of others.... that it is seeping under my skin more readily than it used to.  He warned me to be more aware of this..... that if I was feeling sad or drained it was more than likely not my own "stuff" I was reacting to.  Rather, it had more to do with the feelings and stories others were sharing with me.  He was right.  I realized that today as I kept attempting to find the balance in myself and failing at it.  

I am certainly more focused than I was a few months back and am capable of performing my job, but there is a residual sense of vulnerability that gets tweaked too frequently/rapidly than it used to.  A transference of emotions happens quickly, like my empathy valve is open too wide.  It has made me really question whether the time is ripe to seriously take some formal steps towards a new career.  I don't feel burnt out from counselling.  I still love it.  I love the connections and I know I'm just as effective.  My focus is sharp when someone needs me.  Uber focused even.  Its just that I'm in a different frame of mind.  I've changed.  The shift has happened. Vulnerability is a raw place to be, but it isn't a bad place to be.  It is where creativity dwells.  I want that opportunity to dwell there........ to create.  The timing may be right now.  

I write this tonight........ after going for a walk with my dog.  It is still raining.  Most of the snow has melted away.  The street was dark save for a few lights along the abandoned gardens in my neighbours' yards.  I shuffled along thinking......reflecting on the day, trying to figure out why the blues grabbed hold of my soul when in fact it should be the opposite.  And I remembered what the Spirit Guide told me.  I am harbouring the emotions and stories of others, allowing them to weigh me down. 

However, as I turned around to walk back up the street, my eyes gravitated to the lonely streetlight that happens to be on the edge of my front lawn.  It's rays shone through the leafless trees, and touched upon the hydro wires and telephone lines leaving the rainsoaked limbs and lines glistening   The light and water droplets formed a large web filled with diamond sparkles.  Silent light to catch whatever worries, fatigue, frets, feelings you want to toss into it.  

I stood just below the big tree on my front lawn....... the one that captured the streetlight strength the most and was left in awe of its beauty..... nature touched by manmade light.  Then, I threw my thoughts and feelings UP into its magical web.  A nighttime dreamy web....... and let go of what I truly can't control and let them attach to the light sparkles in the trees.

And here I am now........ still tired, but lighter.  Still wondering whether I am ready to let go of my original calling I have honed and loved dearly and step into the wilderness of something brand new........... Interesting times. Interesting thoughts on a rainy December night full of glistening webs of diamond sparkled limbs.  I LOVE the last vestiges of the evening before bedtime.  For some reason, resolutions feel so much  more gratifying.

Tonight's photo theme is Night.  For more photos and interpretations, check out Carmi's blog. 

a fine balance

Everyday, there is a constant push and pull between the heart and the head. Sometimes they work well together, respectfully appreciating each others gifts, and sometimes they act like two misbehaved  beings playing tug of war.  When they allow their self absorbed side to wrestle control, they create a storm of competitive energy.

Internal power surges
Tempered turbulence
Thinking vs Feeling .... who wins out in you?

Tipped too far to one side, we lose our problem solving footing. We all fall down!

The heart and the head are natural  leaders.  Usually human  beings have a "comfort" preference .... a fall back position when a calamity strikes, or a challenge is thrown our way.  Defence mechanisms.  Coping tools.  Either we veer towards "intellectualize" or we take a turn towards "emotionalize."  Our perception of the situation is coloured by this. 

Heavy thinkers are wary of Deep feelers and visa versa because what tends to accompany the way in which we cope are personality factors.  Introversion vs. Extroversion.   Keep the cards close to the chest or show them off with flare.   They have the ability to frustrate the heck out each other.  Misunderstandings are common.  Miscommunication is wired for sound.

Flooded by one side of the equation and its very difficult to find that fine balance needed to sort out a problem, deal with a crisis, cope with a trauma, make a decision.  A fine balance between thinking and feeling requires an awareness of how we personally react to situations.  Once that happens, it's easier to learn how to RESPOND rather than REACT.  

I hope to conquer this by the time I'm 80.  By then however, I won't give a sweet fig anyways.  In the meantime?  I keep falling off the balance beam.  Good thing falling down isn't a bad thing. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

when earth meets water....

To be of the Earth is to know......
the restlessness of being a seed
the darkness of being planted
the struggle toward the light
the joy of bursting and bearing fruit
the love of being food for someone
the scattering of your seeds
the decay of the seasons
the mystery of death
and the miracle of birth

--John Soos

To be of the Water is to know ...
the humbling essence of spring
the fear of the unknown journey
the joy of sunbeam kisses radiating life
the pleasure of feeding her seeds
the love of merging with the clay along the shore
the mystery of growing roots
and the passion of the bloom.

-- me --

When Earth meets Water,
there is a natural devotion to one another .... an understanding of the gifts they provide and need to thrive.
there is a slow dance of deep knowing .... intricate steps stretching back beyond time into eternal harmony.
there is a union like no other .... infinite possibilities for growth and learning abound.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

you win some....

 a cross of limbs

But you might get lucky now and then
You win some, you might get lucky now and then
You win some
 Mark Knopfler, Get Lucky

I have learned to find stillness inside my core.  Not all the time.  When I need to seek it. Music guides me there. With its soothing melodic sound, I allow it to surround me like a warm comforting shawl wrapped around my whole body. Soft earthy colours that gently touches my senses but doesn't impede my freedom to allow life's hymns to penetrate my flesh. In fact, it seems to do the opposite.  It opens me up to receiving the flow of thought and feeling as I breathe.  Accompanied by candlelight clarity and ancient hymns, I have learned to seek out a relaxed sanctuary where I can embrace vulnerability with a sense of soul safety.  

Sometimes, I don't have to set up my own little chapel of stillness.  Sometimes, it finds me when I'm least expecting it or when I need it the most..... when the sounds of my world resemble clashing cymbals, offbeat noise generated by loud obnoxious fumes generated from life out of hand.  Ringing in my ears.  Ringing in my soul.  I've learned to recognize those off kilter moments, especially if I am physically and/or emotionally spent, and do something about it.  Then, I gather my outgoing energy and turn it inwards.  Just for a brief respite until I can reach the end of a stressful, busy, loud noisy day when I can snuggle into the comfort of the shawl for a longer period of time.  It makes me smile as I write this. Regeneration. 

Paradoxically, it's a process of regaining some control of what is allowed to penetrate me and what I long to release by letting go of the controls.  Recently, I learned itt's a form of centring.  Integrating head and heart with something far deeper and mysterious in the core of my soul.  That is where the guiding light is.  Down this dark shadowy tunnel, a guiding light awaits.  Its glow awakens calm, courage, clarity.  Its glow invites resolution by letting you safely look deeply into the place where tears are made.  Not the ones that flow down cheeks. These soultears are the ones that weep into muscles and bones.  They touch upon the tension and untie the bruising knots that stiffen the body and mind.  Just by breathing.  Alone.  In candlelight clarity.  Inside ancient hymns.  Healing happens.

Since I'm not a person prone to following directions or rules, my drummer beats to its own cadence.  In the summer, I sat outside on my back deck under the stars surrounded by the warm wafting breeze, enraptured by the fireflies while listening to music.  Sometimes I had a hot mug of tea close by.  Sometimes I poured myself a glass of crisp white wine to sip on.  Behind me, music would play out of the speakers, filling the air around me with loving familiarity.  A whole evening would slip away as I sat in peace, allowing the thoughts and feelings transfer in and out of my consciousness as I listened to a few selected CD's.  One of them was Mark Knopfler's, Get Lucky.  This fall, I misplaced the CD.  I don't have a clue where it went because I never took it outside of the house.  Mysteriously, it disappeared and it has bothered me that I have lost my copy.  Since then, I have found other pieces of music..... some classical, some traditional choir music..... some jazz melodies.

Memories, ideas, beautiful faces from the past, fears, grief, gaps of wondering if I would ever find the answers.  It helped me to immeasurably learn that not only are there many important situational events in life that have no resolution, it doesn't matter if you just let go of their hold on you. Ah, but then there were moments of clarity when the messages reached me........ of how blessed I am.  How loved I am.  How contented I felt.  How you win some.  How letting those tears hiding inside the soul come alive when the light is shone on them. 

This gift I have been given first revealed itself over a year ago when I attended the Greenbelt festival and found myself exhausted and jittered with stressy complications walking into an ethereal feeling room called Soulspace.  I wrote about the experience, here, here and here.  (I had a lot to say!  It was so new to me that I wanted to capture its full essence....)  Yes, I had to fly across the deep Atlantic pond to find a way to stillness!  I am forever grateful because it has been my companion, my guide, my way of resolving the pain and hurt I have felt during my marriage break-up more than any other activity.  It was only this fall though that I learned while at a writing/meditation retreat that what I had been practising was a formal way of praying!  And to think I thought I was moving to an original beat! Of course it is a process tied into the school of the eternal. 

So, why do I bring it up this morning....... a seemingly typical November day that is about to welcome daylight in shades of grey?  It has been a while since the music from my summer moments sitting out in warm healing breezes under the stars returned.  But, when I open my eyes, I swear I could hear it playing...... you win some........ you might get lucky now and then........ you win some........ Knopfler's reliable voice was playing in my psyche.  Needless to say, I awoke calm.  I awoke with a smile on my face of memories of stillness... of sitting alone but never feeling alone.  

No need to seek out the place of centring.  It found me.  Its a part of me now.  Symbolically, this is truly a good thing.  Because this morning, I will meet the person who has played a key role in the pain and grief I am gradually to let go of.  For the first time, I will meet a stranger who already is meaningful in my life journey, who has altered it in ways I never predicted.  Revisiting the music and stillness I gravitated to last summer has set me up with a sense of readiness for this encounter.  It will allow me to express myself in a manner that has a tone of forgiveness towards a human being and not the ugly monster I had conjured up in my head.   All the nasty accusations have disappeared from my internal conversations....... I'm ready to be human to another human.
Healing comes under different shawls of comfort.  Healing comes when stillness leads you to the internal light that shines on a place where tears are made.  Healing comes when you feel the breath of God in every breath you take, knowing you're not alone.  Healing comes when the hymns of life transform the energy from the outside zip to the inside stories unfolding.  It's soul work.  Not easy.  It was the hardest work I've ever done...pushing through all of those raging feelings, learning how to pray in my own manner.  But, now that I am capable of it, I'm free.  And lucky.

Ps. By the end of the day, I will have another copy of that CD! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

I've got, got, got, got no time.....

Beautiful, wonderful, wondrous things are happening in my life!  Good soul stirring song and dance things as well as deep dipping in the holy well things.  I'm jotting thoughts down in my journal in hopes that I capture the essence of all that is good and startling and life affirming.  Right now, I've got no time!  I am stretched to the MAX.  

Life is delicious.
Life is busy as hell.
Life is tumbling along at a rapid speed........
Projects, promises, protests, provocations.....
An upcoming RALLY for good causes!
Connecting the DOTS... you'll hear more about this soon!
Lovely bouquets...Tangerine sunset roses.
Brilliant surprises.  Who knew?
Radiant cheeks.....a glow.
Angels, Spirits, Retreats......
I had my fortune told.... it was a mind blower!
Peppermint kisses....
Spontaneous slow dancing.
Dinner delights.....
Turmoil too. 
tears are good these days.  good tears. 
smiles and bouncier walks.
silent exhaustion.....
and more to come.
cry love.
cry love.
melancholy rarely visits
embracing comfort.
beauty is awakening
self worth is within reach.
I'm on a roll..........

I love being 50.  I truly do.  So many surprises.... so much to experience.  Bring it on!  Fifty-licious!

I took this photo while sitting on a moving bus on the way home from a conference.....  Miracles are abundant.  Everywhere.  I captured one.

Here's another....... the last vestiges of a glorious sunset. This was captured at the end of my street while I was walking my dog Lily.  We both stopped and watched it in awe.  She of course was multi-tasking..... rolling in the leaves at the same time. 
I WANT to write!  Soon.... soon.  IN the meantime, I'm gathering stories, living life to the fullest, smiling and finding my way with faith to guide me.... OH, and two crazy ass angels named Lisa and Marco who are keeping an eye on me.  Who knew?  What a lucky lucky girl I am.