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.

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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.

Thanksgiving

Warm sun, flocks of moving birds through falling gold maple leaves, the sound of my neighbours’ toddlers and in my house the nine of us together.

attendants
My son with his wife and new born baby; my daughter with her husband and three children gather. It is a small house but there is room for us comfortably. It has been a long time since we were all together. I moved to Kelowna. My daughter attended school in Prince George. My son moved to Edmonton to marry. My daughter and husband moved to Edmonton for work. Marriages failed. People got sick and close to death. Children were born. Life.
On the day of the feast, I cleaned and kept the tiny counter clear. And I love to clean. My daughter and her husband chopped, stirred, planned and created glorious smells of roasting turkey and various foods.
The three girls played outside with the neighbours son and they were running in the leaves, wielding sticks or swords or magic wands while following mysterious maps they had drawn.
The air was clear and the day warm. The colors intensely sharp. We all knew that this gathering had been a long time coming, had been a long time absent.

blue heart
The simple domestic ordinariness of it was spectacular. To watch my son and his wife so deeply in love with their daughter; to watch my dresden skinned blonde curled grand daughters playing happily; to see my daughter married for 25 years and her husband sneak a kiss was a miracle. There were only three of us once upon a time.

 

Natalyia Hanson 7 weeks old

Natalyia Hanson 7 weeks old

The three of us were exiled to a Northern town for my work and had no one we knew around us. I was frightened, in an unsettling environment and not confident I could rise to the challenge.
But somehow they survived me, the North, the operations and hospital stays and we are now nine.
Thanksgiving.

Reconciliation

What I am told by those who say they know, is that the first year of a new decade is a bit like a toddler just pushing up off of the floor and into a wobbling stance. The progress is hesitant, lacking confidence and more about adjusting to the new point of view than anything else.
The teachers say the first year of a new decade is a bit like the first pancake in the pan. It is basically a throw away.

 

speaking from the heart
It is in the place of being 41 or 51 or 61 that the individual goes, “Oh so this is how the new decade feels.”

Becoming acclimatized to 70 is, apparently, what last year was about.

That is not to say it was a throw away. I learned new technology; I learned new methods of meditation; I established new habits which serve me well.

 

growing into self

growing into self

However, I clearly see that I am in a period in my life of reconciliation which includes: reunion, fence mending, remedying, harmonizing, balancing and achieving peace.

All of the ferocity of my youthful and adolescent desires are still burning in me. However, my confidence in my abilities is at an all time high.
I know how it is I wish to be in the world. That image has never been more clearly reflecting in the preceding hours of my life.

I organized a family reunion and set the intention of ending the chasms that had grown in the clan. Part of those rifts were from left over stories; from connections that were forged in violence and addiction; from my defence mechanism of running away from the pain of connection.

 

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In my 71st year, my remaining family who have not passed are closer to me than ever before. With joy, I watch them discover and connect with one another. Like tribes in a war zone the emotional diaspora sent groups fleeing. There is a stronger tie between us today.

As far as remedying goes, at this stage in my life I have come to understand from my reading; from my experiences; from my patterns that I am nothing more than a bundle of habits. To create another aspect of self, I see with clarity that the remedy is in watchfulness. Like any good author, I sit back and observe. What story will unfold? If “the character” moves forward with these particular sets of behaviors what is the inevitable outcome?

And so, I use mindfulness practice and watch myself. To reconstruct the ending, I need to teach myself new behaviors and new habits. In my 71st year, this will be my main “project.”

The inevitable outcome will be to harmonize my youthful, jagged and unskilled methods of reacting while keeping the goals and the heart felt yearnings in place.

 

fitting in

fitting in

The result for me, in this year of finding my feet is to allow fire. The result for me will be knowing how to rest peacefully at times and how to burn brightly at others. I am finally reconciled to my own nature. And I thank whatever miracle happened to keep me alive to experience this time of acceptance.
“Life teaches you how to live it if you live long enough,” Tony Bennett said.

Picking Threads

I am systematically working on building new habits. Researchers have said that we are nothing more than a bundle of habits.

patterns

 

We believe ourselves to be this face, this body, this story, this history, this actor, this receiver, this age, this cohort, this tapestry of threads woven into our energy field. We believe ourselves to be conscious and operating from the Executive decision function section of the frontal lobe.

All brain studies point to this assumption as flawed.
We are in the thrall of habit mind. If 95% of what we are telling ourselves throughout the day is simply old drama that is recalculating and interpreting current data, then it is no real surprise that the movie, the plot we are enacting is the same story. However,  this time the narrative is in a different setting. We are the same being only this time wearing as a costume a slightly altered body.
Did I mention, I am systematically working on building new habits.

 
I have a notebook. I have set up a grid. I am checking off squares.
What this does is it releases me from the interpretive dance of what is or could or would or should or will or did happen. The Loie Fuller scarf dance of swooping justifications, lyrical rationalizations, slight of eye, feign of hand, performances of inner dialogue music that normally occur.
I either check off the square or I don’t.

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I admire my ego self. It is so stalwart.

I hover my pen over a square saying, “Well I did walk around in the mall. That is exercise.” The creativity is admirable. The translation is not unlike that on Babble Fish. In one field I put the words and in the other a strange, otherworldly version appears. Breathing is exercise. Napping is physical. Sitting and reading about exercise is working toward my goals. Shopping for an exercise outfit is focus on that desired outcome. Right. Right? Right!
How I untangle the threads is with alertness. I have set up my reticular activation system to recognize successes. I have checked off doing weight for three days in a row because I do not have a vague goal of “exercise”. My goals are specific habits which I am entraining: yoga, weight lifting, and walking for no purpose.
Walking for no purpose gets rid of the “automatic out,” that ego tries to create. Mowing the lawn is walking. But it is not walking unleashed from a secondary goal. I cannot ingrain a habit without the recognition of the very habit which I am constructing.
That way lies madness. Or strange babblefish translations of ego talk.
I could be “burning calories” by eating with an incredibly heavy fork that I need to place 500 yards away and run back and forth to take that satisfying chomp of food.
All I have done is entrain eating.
Oh, the ego monster is sooo tricky.
For now, I am happy with my list. I am pleased when I put down a check mark and I stay in a place wherein I know who I will effortlessly be after a three month focus on building those particular habits.
Because, it ain’t magic. It ain’t a tragedy. It ain’t a heroic struggle to climb out of an awakening volcanic cone to the tiny pin light of the surface.
I am just a bundle of habits.
Did you follow my thread?

Heat and Healing

The sauna of sitting meditation in the heat is an experience I have run away from this past week. Watching myself cycle into and out of practices and habits is fascinating for me. How long does it take to move desire into destiny?

Recent Self

Recent Self

I went to a beautiful family reunion the weekend before last and met those who were simply children the last time we interacted. They were the nieces and nephew of my ex-husband. I was 22 and a university student. I was filled with knowledge and certainty. I was focused, hard working, finishing two degrees in under four years handily.

 

Patterns

Patterns

And I met my husband at Western. Through him, I connected with his family.
The family reunion was important to me. First of all, I really fell in love with those kids. They were so different from one another but so full of life and imagination.
At the reunion, I watched my daughter and her husband make the connection to their cousins. I watched the nephew and nieces meet and fall in love with my grandchildren.
It makes me feel better about the world to know that these little girls from my daughter’s family have people in the world who are substantially present in their lives.
I was raised in a situation that was bleak and the connecting of family members was not a source of security or pleasure in the least.
What I have observed is forgiveness. What I have observed is that the desire to be loved, to be with those who share a history in life with you, to be with those that you have set the intention to love no matter what, operates successfully in the world.
I am thankful for the experience of setting up the reconnection.
There comes a time when sitting alone and “working” on myself is not the quickest path to growth. There comes a time when stepping out into the world and risking love is the more powerful path.

To Learn by Going Where We Have to Go.

The crows have built a magnificent nest in the long arms high up in my Maple tree. They have instinct, skill and whatever evolutionary magic is on their side.

As I struggle with the sticks of new skills, the structure I am building called “marketing” and “presence” is so much less compact and architectural. At times, I feel as if my head empties out. I learn how to record on Garage Band, change the file to an MP4, load it into IMovie and then… and then…

The next time I attempt it, my voice has so much reverb I am an opera diva soloist. The track sounds like I have a 500 pound barrel body with words careening off of intestines and ribs.

What also fell out of my head or perhaps is just not aligned electronically is the method of paying my PST for my art work. Then there is getting insurance on my art hanging in a local bnb. So far it is two days and multiple phone calls.

I think to myself that it must be some Zen Koan life. When I am dealing with electronics or institutional authority, I must first fall to my knees in humility and work through waves of frustration. Eventually, it will work. Eventually, I will learn it.

Maybe, one day the path will arise to meet my feet instead of being hidden in dense under brush.

What I have been learning is how to market my work. The first task is to allow people to see what I have created. So my store on the Redbubble site found at http://www.redbubble.com/people/covitch is being featured on my facebook page, on twitter, on linked in and every time I go out for a walk, I wear the leggins.

 

My Maple tree in winter wrapped around my legs

My Maple tree in winter wrapped around my legs

At the present time, I have a list of nine things that I am trying to learn. They are in a scrawled and numbered column on my neon orange index card.

I look like the crow when it sits watching me from its perch. I have my head to the side, blinking my eyes black with ignorance. I can feel the sharp beak of curiosity trying to figure out the way in, the way out, the best way to grasp that shining bit of knowledge and fly away. I can take it back to my nest of a mind where I now “own it.”

It is a process. It is all process.

Mike Leigh explores Mr. Turner

Mr. Turner is a brilliant movie in that it does through the director’s choices exactly what Turner did in his painting. In traditional movies, there is a steady through line. In biographies the trajectory of the primary character’s life forms a structure and the audience follows the plot to the end of the movie.

 

sky lifts

The movie that I saw tonight presented fragmented stories framed separately from one another much as if we were walking through the Royal Academy’s yearly exhibition. These side scenarios are framed with importance.

Turner stands on a boat deck and a harsh faced woman refuses to interact with the man standing next to her. Her extremely broad, flat face is angry and she pulls away from him.

Turner sits sketching in a drawing room and one sister is singing. Another sister who is silly and exuberant flies into the room. They have an exchange. A deformed, unnaturally small man gets angry after a flirtatious song and storms out of the room.
In an earlier scene, the artist sings a song with a young rich, plain woman at the pianoforte. There is an exchange that is suggestive that there is more between them, a past acquaintance, a shared experience of life which the movie audience is not privy to.

We have the feeling that there is a completeness in the unfolding of that thread of others’ lives that is running past Turner’s as he sits and sketches or stands and observes.The use of extras to create scenarios which have begun at some point in time and intersect with the narrative of Turner’s life give unique substance to what would be just background fill with another director at the helm.

In a reversal of the practice of dramatic construction, story after story is revealed in mere minutes of film. Yet Turner’s story is not focused on a linear telling of either the artist’s biography or an exploration of his experience of finding his artistic voice. Each additional bit of information is given in a short exchange. But there is no effort to have a flow.

Even the aspects of his life that are revealed are created as framed, expressionistic moments. His guilt about his daughter’s death shows only in his reddened hands twisted behind his back in a grotesque grasping. His black coat and stooped shape blends into the black of his wife and daughter’s clothing so that the visual emphasis is greater.

In one scene as he is leaving his housekeeper and sometimes sexual partner, she helps him on with his coat. The next scene is of his arrival at his seaside residence. His landlady and sexual partner is removing his coat.

 

the romance of desolation draws the broken to it

the romance of desolation draws the broken to it

So for those who are looking for the typical bio picture, you will not find it in Mr. Turner. Mike Leigh has given us much more than the running of the usual dramatic curve through the movie. He has given us a sense of the age with framed up scenes. Expect the unusual. The portrait of emotions, the sense of the man and the age is the subject but the technique is unexpected, like the depiction of a ship on the seas. It is all there but the viewer has to do some work.

How do you reform the mindscape?

Sloping

sunlight shoulder season

 

neurons are like pipes acting as conduits.

neurons are like pipes acting as conduits.

My discovery of books such as SWITCH and REWIRE always delights me. The experience reminds me of times when I have a sharp bit of tooth somewhere in my mouth and use a dentist’s mirror and a flashlight to see what is “going on”. Only it is my brain function, my mind set that I am trying to get an angle on and to cast a light on when I study books that explain the process of creating my mental landscape.

Something I read recently in the book Autobiography of a Yogi which I found in an on line bibliography of 12 spiritual books you should have read, really delivered a message.

The statement was that, essentially, our relationships with our bodies is a DNA type of Karma hangover from past lifetimes. So when we make a positive step forward, the good news is the change in habit behavior is inculcated into our very DNA which then carries on with us in the next lifetimes.

So the good news is, nothing learned and conquered is ever lost.

The bad news is we have strong habit memory from past lives as well as from this lifetime to address when we are ready to change into a more loving relationship with our own bodies and spirits. Lay onto that the belief that Buddhists and Taoists hold that family history also leaves a DNA karma habit on us in addition and it becomes clear why it can be such a struggle to shift.

 

 

photograph shows the possibilities of flow

photograph shows the possibilities of flow

No wonder when I simply decide I wish to move into a new territory of growth it takes such intention and will. I am trying to move out of what is to create what is more fully.

In REWIRE, Richard O’Connor made a statement which illuminated some dark mind cave space for me. He mentions countless studies where-by mindfulness practice can cause changes to the very structure of the brain. However, he states, mindfulness practice only allows us to see what thoughts we have and gives us the ability to not react to what is arising. The difficulty lies with the past experience informing the present dynamic. In order to think thoughts about being more powerful, creative, healthier, dynamic we need to build in those experiences. So for a while, we tread out onto thin ice and it feels risky.

For example, My mind will only allow me to think that I can pay down my debt slowly, with care and self sacrifice. My processes can take me out onto the new surface of knowing I can have my debt paid, my future secure and my financial struggle at an end. But at first it is thin ice because that “story” is not in my experience. I have not seen this in my parent’s lives, nor in mine.

O’Connor points to research that shows that it takes three months to rebuild, rewire the brain and it is through establishing new habits. The habits will have to be intentional, conscious efforts toward ease of selection. The steps are 1. Make a public commitment. 2. Recognize every step of your growth 3. When you slip get up and climb again.

All habits have a physical existence in the structure of the brain. O’Connor cheers the reader up by pointing to studies that show will power can increase will power. We become more proficient at heavy lifting.

 

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We are basically strangers to ourselves. We have a strong tendency to make unfamiliar things fit into our pre-programed assumptions about the world, or our stories. My reading leads me to believe these assumptive stories are laid down under the age of seven years of age. We are constantly dodging paradigms, narratives, scripts, schemata, mind sets and life traps.

Another statement that he made and I responded to strongly is how we need to learn the value of trying without succeeding. We can encourage growth by cheerleading our attempts at things that we know for sure will not work out at first, will be difficult, or stepping into the unknown.

We all know people who took that first step onto what looked like very thin, brittle ice and succeeded in walking out of a mediocre life. We all know people who changed their assumptions about what world they exist within.

For me, it is encouraging to see that mindscape can be redesigned. I am all for mindscape architecture which can be a build out from a risky, thin ice place on the path. Think of all those you know of from history, from people around you who have succeeded by failing. Building new conduits changes the brain which changes the thoughts which changes the results. Isn’t that wonderful to think about?

Canada Day

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Outside the temperature reads 95 degrees farenheit down from 100. As I sit in the house, the gauge is only 75 degrees. Working until 2 am last night I completed a poem which I will deliver tonight at the City of Kelowna’s Canada Day special edition of the Inspired Word.

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The first step in the process, have I mentioned I am an academic, was to research. I spent three days reading everything I could find on Canadian history. Cultural history. History of immigration. Canadian stars, comedians, women’s rights activists, inventors also fascinated me.

I took notes on cards much as I would should I be writing an essay. Chronological order, sorted by topics as I learned more.

Finally, putting voice to the information I wanted to share. My voice. My reaction. My take on the long formation of the country to what it has become today.

I read the poem over repeatedly for an hour and each time, I teared up. Each time I felt a swelling of gratitude for the process that created a place where “being different” just didn’t create a push back. So many who fled here are not “different” but are simply a particular, individualization of the effects of their family, their inherited DNA, their culture of origin.

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I remember driving across the border for the first time in the early 1970’s and feeling so much like I had undergone time travel. Moving not just North but back to how my home town of Vancouver, Washington had felt in the 1950’s. It was slower. It was more polite. It was not a nation at war.

When we drove down a one way street the wrong direction, a “cop” car came up behind us and pulled us over. We were frightened, waiting for some punishment. The policeman got out, walked slowly toward us and smiled. Now we were totally puzzled. Because of the tension in the states in our college town it had been a long time since we had seen a policeman smile. They were caught in the cultural tension of a nation at war with itself.

We make our home in places that nurture the soul

We make our home in places that nurture the soul

He found out we were lost and asked where we wanted to go. Then, jumping in his car, he had us follow him. He escorted us to the street we were trying to find and waved good bye.

By now, I was in love. I was in love with the slower pace, the politeness that met me everywhere, the sense of somehow spaciousness in the allowing of one another.

I became a Canadian citizen in 1972 and maintained my US citizenship. I love both countries. I love the creative, hard edged push of the States. I love the way that strangers talk to one another and people show interest in you whom you have never met before and will likely never meet again.

Canada is where I have chosen to live since 1972. But I count myself lucky that I, like so many Canadian citizens do not have to choose one parent over the other. It is absolutely Canadian to be American and to love Canada. And that is her strength.

I think of these things as I prepare to read my poem of gratitude to Canada.

Canada Day 2013

Oh Canada. Oh hi there Canada
Our Home and native land
with a culture that cannot be defined.
And That right there, there it is in a nutshell.

Except by the line that crosses off the Humongous States sprawled
mingling with Mexico way low
down there.
That border does not hold
the flow of people rushing in.

But Here we wait in cars politely
holding our passports open on our laps
to show that

we are Canadian

which cannot be defined.
We only know:
Nobody puts Baby in a corner.
We can take them to the boards
our history shows.
Deferential, So sorry, so sorry, oh pardon me, no you first
we know how to put our elbows out
and claim
WE are not that
WE are not them
WE would rather not.

Obscure and obdurate,
The true North strong and free
filled with those of us
Adrienne Clarkson says are,
“Stumbling through darkness and racing through light,
we have persisted in the creation of a Canadian civilization.”
Which cannot be defined.

True Patriot Love
we sing at hockey games
and standing in the rain on baseball fields.
Our voices soft and mumbling over words
we cannot quite define.

Does the past give shape to what we have become
the history of rivers of refugees flowing
into the true North?

The land whispers of a Siberian bridge
early on people crossing to make a home,
the five Iroquois nations sitting to formulate
the Confederacy of the Longhouse
establishing in a new place
order.

So strange that land is claimed
like putting an item on the charge card
Cabot picked up Newfoundland and Cape Breton
in 1497 to put in England’s basket.
Jacque Cartier picking up The Gulf of St. Lawrence
to take home to France in 1534.

Ah then the fun began!

This finally peaceful land at times so open
to the dispossessed.

1770 Quakers fled the rules of England
and brought their pacifism, their desire
for social justice, the focus on international relief.
Next the Loyalists cross over by the thousands
British, Dutch, Irish, Scottish, Germans
bringing only what could be moved hastily
and food, the words, the thread of their homeland
to weave the start of a new cloth in 1783.
The Poles fled the triumvirate of Russia, Prussia and Austria
to find shelter in this land.
1840 to 1860 The underground railway
terminal brought 30 thousand enslaved to
their new home singing code in songs to communicate.
Next came the European Jews running from
revolution, repression.

Canada passive while Europe formed
like a foster mother she opened her arms in 1871
for 150 thousand Italians displaced by the sculpting
of a new nation,
170 thousand Ukrainians
fleeing Austrian rule making in 1913 this nation, a
population 6% Ukrainian.
By 51 there were 400 thousand
here.
She did not flinch.
In 1899 after a month long voyage at sea
the Doukabors from Russian came
to farm the land waiting for seeding crops.
Mennonites brought their gentle, kindly ways in
the person of the 20 thousand fleeing Bolsheviks.

The world torn by war sent people from
their homes.
Turmoil, families ripped from their lands
from 40 to 49 and she, this nation
that cannot be defined,
this Canada
active sought out and gave refuge to 165
thousand Displaced souls.

When Revolutions fractured peace, people
packed and fled to Canada:
Hungarians, Chinese, Czechoslovakian. Palestinian,
African Jews, Chilean, Bangladesh refugees,
Tibetans, Ugandan Asian who were given a “dead” line
by Idi Amin.
60 thousand Vietnamese boat people,
Iranians fleeing after the Shah’s death,
Cambodians running for their lives,
Rwandan’s, Bosnian Muslims,
Albanians who were air lifted
out of certain death by Canadian planes
and brought back
Home.

The Karen refugees from Thailand,
5 thousand Bhutanese.
In 1986 this nation whose greatest strength is that
she cannot be defined won the Nansen Refuge Award
for offering a life to those
who had no options left.

True Patriot love in all thy sons command
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
especially in hooray for Hollywood.
Deferential to a fault,
George Woodcock said,
“Canadians do not like heroes and so they do not have them.”
Generously given to the United States to imprint in cement.
Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Sarah Polley,
Pamela Anderson, Paul Anka, Will Arnett,
Dan Ayckroyd, Adam Beach, Jay Baruschel,
John Candy, Jim Carrey, Kim Katrell, Michael
Cera, Ellen Page, Hayden Christensen,
Tommy Chong, Kim Coates, Elisha Cuthbert,
Adam Agoyan, James Cameron, Michael J Fox,
Ryan Gosling,
Rachel McAdams, Eric McCormack, Howie Mandel,
Cory Monteith, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara,
Sandra Oh,
Anna Paquin, Matthew Perry, Russel Peters, Christopher Plumer, Keeanu Reeves, Ryan Reynolds, Seth Rogen, William Shatner,
the Sutherlands, the Tillys,
Brian Adams, Justin Bieber, Jully Black, Michael Buble,
Shania Twain, Feist, Fertato, Krall, Avril, McLaughlan, Murry, Morrisette, Leslie Neilson, Neil Young,
Jason Reitman, Paul Gross, Lauren Michaels, Phil Hartman, American’s first sweetheart yep Mary Pickford,
Nathan Fillion pilots Serenity,
Davids Croneburg and Thomas, Andrea Martin,
Paul Shaffer, Kids in the Hall, Taylor Kitsch.
With Glowing Hearts We See Thee Rise.

We are
from far and wide.
So demure and sarcastic; polite and irreverent.

How do we know
what we don’t know
we know
without a definition?
Spelling us out to visiting people’s
the web describes us to ourselves.

Canadian Communication Styles

First the disclaimer that there is a style but it is not a style due to:

“…its regionalism and cultural diversity.
In general, communication is ‘moderately indirect’ perhaps reflecting an amalgamation of both North American and British tendencies. Although most Canadians can disagree openly when necessary,
they prefer to do so with tact and diplomacy.
Their communication style is essentially pragmatic and relies on common sense.
If you come from a culture where communication is very direct, you may wish to soften your demeanour and tone
so as not to appear threatening.

Canadians communicate more by the spoken word rather than non-verbal expressions.
Canadians like their space and prefer to be at an arm’s length when speaking to someone.”

From Far and Wide.

“Canadians expect people to speak in a straightforward manner and to be able to back up their claims with examples. They do not make exaggerated claims and are

suspicious of something that sounds too good to be true.”

Beecham Trotter said…
“It is a great country,
inhabited by a great people
who are
much greater than they believe themselves to be.”

And so we stand, not running, not attacking, and certainly not gesticulating. We stand.

Our gates open, shining our wit into the world
humbly asking God to keep our land glorious and free
and we carry on being indefineable.

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Golden Girl and Golden Buddha on to Portland

Some moments driving the flat lands were dramatic. The heavy rainstorm that obliterated my view as the side winds whipped the semi-trucks around as I passed was what I remember most. The knowing that every journey will not be of a piece is helpful in these moments. The dreadful, frightening weather will not be perpetual. The obstructed mountain pass will not be eternal. Every moment begins and ends.

In Portland where I was born, I always feel at home. The mix of buildings from the 1880’s and 1920’s with contemporary towers is fascinating. Trains cross the town and free transit will take a visitor throughout the downtown core for free.

My favorite thrift shop is Buffalo Exchange just across from Powell’s Books. The lectures and cultural events that are hosted in Powell’s makes it a hub for meeting people in the arts.

I recently read an article which stated that the Willamette River which was notorious for pollution has been the focus of a clean up campaign. It is now suitable for swimming.

http://eugeneoutdoorprogram.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/the-great-willamette-river-clean-up-of-2011/

There is a real feeling of leisure in the city. People do not push pass you or pound the pavement. Most stop to engage in conversation along the sidewalk.

One thing I noticed in most of my travels was the willingness of complete strangers to engage in a conversation. It made me feel at home because well basically it is where I was born. The gregarious and curious nature of Americans is frequently seen as nosey by British Columbians. I made note.

Returning home was difficult. The adventure was over. I had a yard, a garden, weeds to attend to. How could I find new experiences in a town I have lived in for over 20 years and a place I have lived in for over 30 years? It is a challenge.

For now, my birthday is coming up and I am practicing gratitude for what I have. The handy man is coming in to finish the kitchen which was left with holes in the wall and ceiling. It will be another large debt on my line of credit. But it will mean the list of tasks is done.

Once my knee is operated on to have the torn meniscus vacuummed out from between the joints I am clear of all I have been waiting for. Do I stay here, sitting like a broody hen on my line of credit debt or do I find a destination?

Step by step. I am working on my body, on my blog and I have my first you tube posting of me reading my poetry.

I am praying for guidance and a sense of certainty. I am asking for purpose and passion and prosperity to re-enter my life.

And I bought a sequin animal print H & M swimming suit at a thrift shop in Kelowna. Now that is a good sign.

May you dance joyfully even while waiting for the music to appear.