Exhaustion and Anxiety

I am repeatedly grateful for the CBC and the information it brings into my little attic hideaway. This morning they featured a show about the book Exhaustion: A History. Here is the link to the podcast if you are interested. https://www.amazon.com/Year-Voting-Dangerously-Derangement-American/dp/1455539260
The concept of exhaustion being a contemporary post-modern experience is one held far and wide in today’s culture. The exhaustion that takes contemporary focus is the Chronic form of psychological fatigue triggered by bio-chemicals in a fight or flight syndrome. Or that is what contemporary specialist believe it to be. So we buy into this definition.
However, Anna Katharina Schaffner, the author points out that the pervasiveness of weariness is nothing new.
Galen writes about it in antiquity. The Medieval period called it acidia or an excess of acid in the body which created a condition called melancholia. It was considered a sin and sloth was the result.
Hans Seyle who is the father of the research on stress and resultant depression was stressed himself when he could find nothing measurable about energy. He came to a standstill when he asked, “What is energy?” The only answer that has presented itself in the scientific field in Western science is the measure of calories.
What has been woven into the psyche of the modern cultural Akashi record belief is that there is ‘something out there that will steal our energy’.
The bottom line of the historical focus on the depletion of energy is, according to Schaffner, a belief in the waning of efficacy; a falling away of energy and vitality as we age.

But the real anxiety is about the approach of death.
So historically philosophers, medical scientists, social scientists, psychologists have danced around the changing presentation of exhaustion. For medieval times it was thought to be the humours; during the Victorian Era a blanket of lassitude was the result of invention, modernization and education of women.

wet, tired
Certain periods in history allowed only leisure classes the luxury of exhaustion and depression. However, today the world wide sense that this is the first time, this is the worst time for exhaustion with a sense of personal powerlessness is in error.
The fear of diminishment has been a constant in Western Culture since the age of Antiquity.
A big difference between Western Culture and Eastern Culture is the concept of a mechanistic “battery of energy” that loses its charge. In contrast to Eastern belief that Prana or Qi are replenishable sources.

Grounding in order to grow

Grounding in order to grow

 

The person who is feeling a diminishment can go to a practitioner and reconnect with source. Or the individual can go to a movement/breath practice mode which revitalizes the body and mind.
For me, the most interesting concept in the interview is that each person; each decade; each cultural moment is so intensified that we lose perspective.
The issue of facing one’s death, of having a healthy supportive connection to one’s body and of knowing we are not unique means that we can release the victim mode. We can see how connected we are to all who are alive on the earth and to all who have lived.

Once we understand that, we are able to move in the world with more compassion for ourselves and for others.
Thank you, CBC.

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Emerge n Cy Room

Emergency is a word that has some poetry. It is lilting, it lifts and falls. It tells the tale of crisis, of system failure, or the sudden and unexpected facing of transitory mortality. Structures will fall. What we hold so tightly in our safe places, our hands, the firebox under the bed, the bank will inevitably fail us. Those we cradle in our arms will disappear as if they were never there.

Everything depends on everything and we have so much trouble understanding. The financial system, the corporate system, the structured systems of distraction and hypnosis are all threads of the same carpet. And it cannot always fly.

all things connect

Sometimes, because there is no satisfaction guaranteed, because there is no insurance against change, because we are so fragile on the earth, sometimes those things we most believe in, no longer believe in us.

They turn their backs on us, the promises of continuance and protection. They leave us alone, unprotected, in crises.

And it is in the finality of the “emergency room” of life that we finally “emerge.”

When we are stripped of the clothing of the myth of protection, we see who we are.

I have a sense at this time that it is important to focus on my emergence. It is vital that I see the ego oily con woman shell game that I have played.

So many I know are feeling like children left under dressed in a dark forest with winter coming on. There is a pervasive sense of anxiety, of unnamed distress.

I was born in 1944 and I remember the 1950’s with the enamel glaze of prosperity promises while some of us dug fall out shelters in our yard. I remember the 1960’s with the visions of people burning on a cross or on flame running through a ghetto while the TV commercials sang to us about fashion and cigarettes.

I remember the 1970’s when the time of deflated dreams and wounded men was marked by streamlined kitchen appliances.

The society’s surface has always had little coding about what was real. The cognitive disconnect was a habit we were used to like some strange music through our lives.

simple beauty heals

But never before has the dream vision of buying security been less available to us.

There is no someday soon croon being musak piped in. The distractions are short ineffective bursts. The disruption is happening.

The crisis is as clearly understood by some as the moment when the violin scraping begins in a movie.

It is time to get right with yourself. It is time to allow yourself to develop into a peaceful, calm source of energy.

Those who emerge will be the attendants in the emergency room.

 

 

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September: Is it Sexy?

Sexy Summer

Sexy Summer

The onset of Summer always brings with it copious manifestations of optimism. Crocus, tulips, roses pushing out to the sky liven our hearts. However, the Latin meaning for the month of September is in no way “flash” or evocative.

It is the 7th months. It comes after the dog drooling days of August heat. Inevitably August was the month where we reacted like someone at a spa who had had a four hour massage. Our legs became rubberish. Our goal was just put something in the body to satisfy hunger and we practice the mantra, “Later. I will get to it later.” And then we have naps. We have naps at noon, or three o’clock or at six to prepare for a long night of sleep.

garden sculpture with pumpkins

garden sculpture with pumpkins

I wonder if we in our work and status focused society could institute a competition for August, Dog day naps. Maybe, then we would treasure them more fully.

The gardens go to ruin. The workout plan dissolves in the face of the continuous presence of heat and the arrival of family and guests. August is when we finally attain what the promise of summer brought to us: long slow days of not particularly anything happening.

And then we have the seventh month. I pasted my calendar on the wall this morning and filled in the dates that I have already made an appointment with myself.

My intention was to work out today… but so far I have only had time to workout what my intentions are for September.

The birds are not so noisy today. The black squirrels are manic in their attempts to bury walnut every where that is possible. My planters are dug up. I saw one trying to start a tree in my neighbours untended, over flowing ease troughs. They fly along the branch highways from roof to roof flicking their tails. Quick! Get Ready!

Tarot card image, the world 5 1/2 1 3/4 $10

Tarot card image, the world 5 1/2 1 3/4 $10

September does not bring the perfume and seduction of summer. One ponders more quietly the coming days. They form a rhythm. It is up to us to make the music.

 

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Illusory Dreams

I have a dream journal next to my bed but it has very little written in it. Most mornings I wake up with a sense that I have been in another place; visiting another time and it feels like whatever structure I have been inhabiting while I have been asleep was crowded with other souls or beings.
I try to grab onto the tail bit of the dream cape as it exits my awareness. Sometimes, it is like a detective story and I hold only a sheered off strip of fabric of the dream caught on the thorny entry way to day light.
Almost always, I feel as if I have been in a busy place and there has been much information passing between those who have gathered there. These beings or souls or creatures are on purpose: This I know.
Recently I remembered as I woke up that there were over 200 people who had come to where I stood. They were hurt, anxious, depressed, confused. And I knew that I was to find a way to help them. That I could find a way to help them.
The original 200 stood quietly in the architecture of space of that particular dream, but others were pushing into the classically structured semi-cave ampitheatre.
I had to ask two helpers to stand at the door way and keep the winding lines of new comers from entering the already filled space. There were too many. There were too many levels of injury to ameliorate at once.
Sadness along with a clear feeling of necessity was still upon me as I woke up.

The land of dreams
There was only enough time, space and energy for those who first came to learn something.
And then two nights ago, I awoke with numbers in my head. I knew that during my dream, I had gathered a group of 86 women who reported only being happy 10% of the time in their lives.
I was immediately suspicious. I don’t do maths. Even the word maths seems specious. I can barely add, let alone fly among the tree hanging vines of more sophisticated enumeration shifting from one to another.

 
My attitude towards my dreams is something I am working out. Are they messages? Are they astral travel? Are they memories of past life times? Are they echoes or are they callings?
I don’t know. Right now, I am just trying to allow them to stay with me long enough so I can catch a glimpse of them. Their purpose remains a mystery to be solved.

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The “savings” account.

carrying shadowsI read in one of the many how to save your marriage books, while I was still hopeful, some interesting advice. (Obviously the methodology requires two so THAT didn’t work.) The coach-therapist suggested that the couple store up good feelings so that they could draw on them when it was necessary in times of stormy weather.
Coupled with my reading on discipline fatigue, I was thinking about designing a life strategy. As I did my daily five loads of laundry, hanging the purple sheet, I thought of how edgy and irritable I get when I stick to my check list, and work with a total focus on building new habits.
I kick like a four year old… “don’t want to”. The promise land of supportive habits is mapped out on my giant calendar check list pasted above my reading chair.
“But what happens when I am just plain tired of making myself do better, be better, push for bigger goals,” I thought as I hung the golden colored bed sheet.
It was then it hit me. I have a less than peaceful relationship with myself. There is tension between me, myself and I.

Basically, she is always dissatisfied and reaching for more. I make a plan… and the vast stretch of the day with undulating hours like some ocean or desert spreads before me. I am both overwhelmed and bored..
“What I need,” I advised myself, “what I need is more treasure in my treasure chest of good feelings.”
Bingo, bazat. There it is. That could help my primary relationship.
Instead of only allowing myself a beggar’s hoard of joyous moments, what if I went after them with intention in order to help out when I was just so done.

Saving positive moments

Saving positive moments

“But not just indulgences, “I remind myself. “You need to stick to the habit building plan.

I stood back and looked at the purple, golden, yellow and hot pink sheets waving on the line. Beautiful. So simply beautiful. I start with that image. I start now.

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Summer no beach

So arrest me, already. I went to the beach which is a 20 minute walk away one time this summer and I almost immediately regretted it.
The water was churned up by the flopping of bodies. The sand was searing. Mating rituals involving the showing of skin, the flexing of arms, the tossing of hair were enacted everywhere.

 

no beach

no beach

Mothers hobbled by little wagons, backpacks, carry bags were limping either toward or away from the radiant heated beach trying to set up what looked amazingly like a nomad’s village of plastic toys.
The only element that I found uplifting were the line of toddlers marking the tide line. They were intent on learning. Physics of dropping objects, trajectories, weight, force fascinated them. They are trying to understand the rules on the planet. They are intent, absorbed and innocent.
I thought about reading my ever present book; however, the sound of radios, family members screaming to one another important messages just created too much background static.
I sat for a while on the benches next to others wearing hats, long sleeved shirts who looked like the very beach toys that were so laboriously lugged to the water. Only we were all a little deflated. We were slightly hunched over in the 38 degree Celsius heat magnified by the sand and water.
I could barely hear my imprinting ego say, “But this is fun.”
“Oh just shut-up,” I thought.
I gathered my book, towel and sweated my way back to the car.
I have learned physics. There is no way I am going to seduce a mate to appear while posing in my bathing suit. And I just want to read my book.

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Where Am I Now?

Life for me has been such an experience of making progress, lurching forward and then falling back into old habits of thinking and action. Trying to be patient with the process is like everything else: Sometimes quite easy and at other times just a condemnation to some caves of Hell volcanic spewing in a limitless black pit.
Today, it was cooler which always causes a rise in my optimism. When it is 30 + Celsius I am like a Newfoundland dog locked in a room with no AC. I become dispirited, lacking the urge to run. I can push my self for a while in the morning and then I am just laid flat sweating out of the side of my face.

Cloud give relief

Cloud give relief

Always, my mind wants me to prove that I have been working toward my goals. Not one goal, six goals or nine goals. Too much, too fast gives me a high.
It is cooler today and so I can feel that there is something possible between the two walls of night. I awake and my thoughts turn to my goals again.
And then, and then comes the questioning: What is it that I am not asking?

 

Questioning in a Circle
Like a small bore drill, what repetitions of digging into the hard wood knot of my life are going on? I want to bite into something. I want to see something become easy and reward me for the tenacity of holding on. I want to sink into this new place of keeping a grip, of holding out.
And so I ask: What is it that I am not asking? What is it that I am not seeing?
But, as always, as I walk my guests to their car, it is the mundane that calls me. It is the next thing that engages my taking action. I stand bare foot, bare faced in the garden and pull out weeds that have grown in the garden bed. I load the dishwasher. I strip the bed and begin the laundry.
I turn my mind away from the grandiose promises I have made to myself. Soothingly, I murmur, “Patience. Go back to intention, woman.”

What Path?
And as I piled up the weeds along the walk way, I pile up the yearning and the frustrations and the sense of being outside. I rip out the old stories of not deserving, of being somehow inherently wrong. I tear out the old, habitual feelings about who I am as I move through the world.
I am right here, standing with slightly earth colored bare feet on the ground. And this now, this now is who I am. The questions, ultimately, are irrelevant. The day is cool. Time will pass. And each breath fills me up. I trust that I am growing, that what I cannot see is moving toward me. The questions, ultimately, are irrelevant.

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Hinges and Hindsight

When I shut the door to my garden shed, I noticed two of the four hinges are not firmly screwed into the wood. The seam in the plywood was opened and the screws just kind of float in the space between the sandwiched wood.

 

 

Yard of flowers
I push the door up and into place to close it. Every. Time. I close the door.
I know it is needing to be reseated. I know I need to take all of the screws out and find another place to establish a firm connection. And yet, I get out my screwdriver and simply sink the screws back into the space that is not working, where there is no grip, no security, no future.
This is life. The work-arounds are usually about not solving a problem. The small surrenders to that which is failing are a type of disbelief in self.
If I trace the weakness back to the source I see two statements which my ego uses to keep me in a state of competent dysfunction. There is no time. Right now I do not have the time.

 

chained to thoughts
Isn’t that rich. Isn’t that genius. “Right now I do not have the time.”
There is no time right now. There is only anxiety, pushing ahead, living in the future. Hoping as an antidote to doing.
There is no time right now. The ego is brilliant in its ability to distract me from growth.
The second seduction is the statement: You are too tired to take action.
This one leads me into the hours of entertainment addiction that goes on each night.
Ego says, “It is dark. You are now tired. You need to stop and just lay down.”
And so I walk away from the hinge having only temporarily, partially, incidentally made it functional. Later tonight, when I have finished my time anchored tasks it will be night. And “It is dark. You are now tired. Just lay down.” will start playing in my head.
How do we become unhinged? Because we allow it to happen, slowly, one decision at a time. The ego sings to us. It knows how to Infomercial hard sell to me a life of low grade, barely operating at competence level.
When we turn and look at our past, when we have hindsight, we can see the thousands of things that could have been prevented… if we had only had Time and were not Tired.
Maybe it is time to just reframe our concepts. We have time and we have a beautiful ever flowing energy if we stop dancing to egos tune, we can do a bigger, more effective dance. And maybe sing while we are doing it.

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The Dragonfly on the lock

One day recently, I stepped out onto my bubble gum pink front steps and turned automatically in order to push the lock button. It rests at the centre of the keypad. As I distractedly moved my finger into place, I felt something soft and structural against my finger tip.
I looked to see that a dragonfly had rested across the pad.

75106_10150090012713615_3806712_n
It laid and stayed. It’s body was spread diagonally, organically contrasting with the metal plate. Quickly, I pulled my hand away and stopped my mind. I came to. I focused. I zapped into my body. I astral returned from whatever graphic novel scenario I had been sketching taking me out of my life.
In that moment, I was absolute. I stood on the bubble gum pink stairs and felt the bottom of my feet the strength of my legs; my being, my physicality, my existence, my particularly manifested form.

I stood and looked at the dragonfly and it waited for me.
It waited for me to return from my deadened walk, blind eyed, drooling idiocy, color commentary method of seeing life as some kind of game. I stood on the step with my finger lifted in the air and I remembered how the dragonfly felt to my touch.
I have never touched a dragonfly before. I am over 70 and I have never touched a dragonfly before.

 

Relax into life

Relax into life

I wonder how many new experiences I am having each day that I am not having. Because I do not see them, I do not see me.
The dragonfly waited for me. It was patient. And then my mind pulled focus, the 1st camera assistant did her job. How clear. The detail of its structure, its beauty, the iridescent wings were so clear. And for a moment, I forgot to breathe.
So many things have been stuck, broken, inhabited by technological gremlins lately that I have become resigned to the no progress scenario.
I sit meditation, chant, let the darkness of recycling doubt move through me. I have not been insistent. I pray for patience, I pray for guidance, I pray for a sign daily.
Today, a dragon fly laid across my door lock and would not move.
When I looked up the significance I learned it is a sign of mental and emotional maturity.

All of the careful reformation of my mind, my body, my resetting of intention in the world has been guided by something outside of me. I have trusted that I would find a way to live with more grace in the world.

 

signs of love

signs of love

Today, a dragon fly laid across my door lock and it would not move until I received it.
I am grateful. Thank you, beautiful messenger.

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Spring, #DemocracySpring, Spring into action

After days in the garden digging up the encroaching weeds and grass, pruning back terrifying thorny roses, holding the vibrating weed eater steady in my hands, I can stand back and view the newly cleaned out beds. Perhaps it is the farmer’s DNA in me from both sides of my family that sends me bolting out of the door barefoot and armed with shovel or rake. My mother’s people from West Yorkshire knew things about the land that I could only squint at. My grandmother and grandfather raised things, had many different types of honey labelled and stacked in the honey shed. The jars of preserves were in the cold cellar. And making do was something prideful.

 

Daffodil line up

Daffodil line up

My father’s people were Serbian. Even when my grandfather moved to a farm in Portland, Oregon which backed onto a rail line, Emile Covitch kept chickens, rabbits and a cow. His yard had trees that were spliced to maximize the variety given the space. One of the only pictures that was passed down to me of him, shows a stout, square man proudly holding a rope tied to his cow.

 

out the door

out the door

I have other projects, like the book about my trip to Europe which are waiting. But I can’t force myself to stay inside writing. I want to be painting new shining surfaces on my deck, on my fences. I want to be crouching over rearranging bricks into another sitting area.
My nails are broken off and perpetually rimmed in dirt. My feet are getting callouses because I garden mostly barefoot.

new hope

new hope

But I feel such a release of hope when I plant a garden.
It is exactly how I feel about Bernie Sander’s run for president and about the action of #DemocracySpring. There is a sense of escaping from out of the enclosure of sadness and futility that has surrounded so many for so long. I spend anywhere from 3 to 5 hours a day sharing good news about Bernie. Because I am of farmer stock. And I believe that seeds planted with care and optimism lead to a beautiful garden.

New hope

New hope

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