Fresh Snow Christmas wonderland

Christmas ribbons my neighbours tied on my fence for me as a surprise.

The joy of living in a neighbourhood for over twenty years is reinforced after a fresh snowfall. Not only are we suddenly transmitted into a movie set from the 1930’s with the fluffing up, puffing up branches holding the voluptuous white but we are called to go outside and play in it.

blue snow

The adult version of play is to shovel the sidewalk, brush off the car and dig out short bull dozed entry ways and exits for the car.

I step out the door and feel an excitement to be able to stand in such a beautiful place. The old trees planted in the 1950’s were once all along the street but some have survived. Some stand arching over the sidewalk, framing the vanishing point of the end of the street five blocks away. It is an unadulterated exquisite moment.

down the street

I slide my yellow plastic shovel along the walk way to clear a path for the phantom visitors in my mind. Only the mail person usually comes to the house but it is almost time for my winter guests to appear in my bed and breakfast.

Being careful not to catch the shovel edge on the ridge seam in the cement, I move the new snow in one long swipe in front of three houses. And then I begin to clear what will be only this amount of time from the layers of snow. More will come. There is no sense of staying clear, being done. There is just the walking and rhythmic sweep of the shovel.

My neighbour comes out of his house and he begins to sweep off my car. We talk about the one legged crow sitting in the tree overhead that his wife keeps alive by feeding it. We talk about the widower pigeon that my neighbour has named but I can’t remember what exactly. I know the pigeon by his color, shape and markings.

My neighbour talks to the pigeon and to the crow and promises them food as soon as he is done. But he is having fun. He moves down the block clearing other people’s landholding sidewalks because his shovel is filling up. He leaves a mark revealing cement not twenty minutes from the time I have cleared the area.

Christmas ribbons my neighbours tied on my fence for me as a surprise.

When I go into the house, I feel good. The conversation was not begun. It began almost 20 years ago when we talked over the fence from spring to fall. It is on going, effortless.

When I next go out, I see the footprints of the pigeon spinning out from the circle of bird seed. And further down the one foot print from the crow by the pile of peanuts.

More snow is falling, and the trees are holding it close. It is Christmas.

Gathering thoughts like socks

It has been neither nor, not either or lately. The weather has caused the persistence of my flowers setting hopeful buds and the continued infill of grass in the bald spot in my lawn.

 

Trees heavy with no snow

Trees heavy with no snow

I have also been floating in some kind of bubble since I returned from Los Angeles for the Airbnb conference. There I was surrounded by 15000 other hosts and constant stimulation.

I followed my “open door” policy that I adhere to when I am travelling. If a door is open, I go in. I found an architecture school retrospective and a feminist film festival. The experience was delightful and I felt happy, excited and at home.

l-a-castle

Los Angels looks like a Castle in the distance

Getting back to Kelowna was less stimulating. I fell into distraction mode by watching netflix every evening.

So I am neither totally at home as I stretch out my desire fingers for more stimulus, nor ready to travel. It is an in-between state.

I find myself thinking a great deal about Christmas.

Christmas is, basically, about time. It is when we slide from past images of ourselves surrounded or trapped; supported or sabotaged by our immediate family.

Rituals are powerfully present. The old ornaments are dug out of boxes. The archived rituals like museum displays of half remembered or reconstructed narratives surround us.

Some try to recreate what went before and others like survivors of an undisclosed war suffer flash back intensity moments.

 

out my winter window

out my winter window

Another group tries to sand away the family chisled pictograph stories and start again.

The pressure from the societal mindset to experience the “most wonderful time of the year” leads to scarcity mind. Comparisons lurk everywhere. It is a time of the highest suicide rate in Western culture.

The chasm lies like an earthquake severed landscape between what we are told we “should” be experiencing and what we have actually experienced in our lives.

We react by mainlining… main landing on the sugar, fat, booze and entertainment surface. Or we jingle bell our credit cards to buy promises of pleasure.

We are desperate to cover up the crevassed split between that which we see in our own lives and the mythical saccharine made for TV movies.

But we do have the ability to walk about this shifting landscape and between the seasons with grace and skill.

We each find our own way forward to the place where our own version of the everyday super hero lives.

We can move away from the seasonal quaff from the cup of bitterness or booze. We can clear see the mindless expectation that are trying to script our decisions.

Getting to the next thing… the next season… the next stage of who we are becoming is an immense relief.

The question is: “Who am I now?”

“Who am I now?”

“Who am I now?”

We step as children into our own past and re-author all of it with every new thought.

Freedom to love comes from freedom from the old stories.

What is this time that now holds me?

The season moves to a wall of cold and winter shows up. Christmas shows up with so much possibility.

 

my livingroom sanctuary

my livingroom sanctuary

We are free to run towards others with a child like innocence and love. I am here. I showed up.

It is all new. It is all now. What fun.

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.

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.

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.

 

2014-02-17 09.47.54

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

IMG_0070

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.

images

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.

2-buddha

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.

draft_lens19482990module159161065photo_1337189476a_a_aaa_a_a_a

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.

What Season is it?

photograph of yellow tomatoes


The last two days have been the equivalent of darning a small hole. The work is tedious, uninspiring and not moving my larger goals forward. But cleaning the oven where the spaghetti squash exploded, raking up the leaves to cover the roses, bringing in the tender plant with beautiful pink and yellow trumpet shaped flowers, taking care of bills, cleaning the finger prints off of all surfaces leaves me surrounded by more orderliness. The cleaner environment gives my home a greater sense of calm.

French class was today and I really enjoy the group of women who are taking it. The teacher is kind and gentle with us all. Between classes, I have begun to study with the attitude that I now hold about everything these days: whatever it is I have learned is more than what I knew previously. The idea of letting things happen instead of driving them is so much easier on my body and my self esteem.
After reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I formed a group through Meetup.com. At our first meeting, we discussed our inklings. Perhaps, we thought out-loud, taking this action, or completing that project would make our lives different. It is very much a process of self-discovery and setting distinctly individual goals. We planned to create our resolutions, chart them in short, measurable steps by the time of our next meeting.

On my refrigerator now hangs my chart.

It is very empowering to put an X on the action every day and a reminder when I put on the O that I have not followed through on an intention. I have begun doing 150 crunches a day; increasing my 10 pound weight reps from 15 to 25 over the last week; drinking three full glasses of water a day seems to be helping me to sleep more deeply.

The second limb of my growth tree is establishing more of a presence in the world. During the period from January 2010 on, I was recovering from abdominalplasty; a sudden ending of my marriage; heavy debt from buying my ex out. The divorce came through in August 2011 while I was recovering from bunion surgery. My reaction was to cocoon. I was injured, lacking confidence and feeling lost. The six coffee dates that I went on in an attempt to connect were less than scintillating. I was still too damaged to feel safe in the world.

black construction of water

So my plan which the group is helping me to design includes caring for the friendships which I already enjoy; making new friends outside of the realm of Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin with a face to face interchange.
http://www.happiness-project.com/

One strategy that Gretchen Rubin pointed to in her book was ,”acting as if.” So when I feel lethargic with the desire to continue hiding in my cave, I now hear Getchen telling me to ,”act as if.” It is working.

Last week I went to the streaming cafe to hear a great band. Since my art work is on show there until the 24th, it was fun to be sitting in a place with my work on show.http://streamingcafe.net/

embrace at the Streaming Cafe


The Summerland Art Gallery has a competition of Christmas images. My intention is to get back into submitting to opportunities to show my art or read my poetry. I will be reading at the Inspired Word Coffee House event next week. The Bean Scene on Burtch and Dickson Road in Kelowna is hosting a “jam” for poets at 7 pm on November 25th and it is the first time I have read since last June. A friend took a video of my reading and uploaded it to you tube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm_rMzClTO8
So I am working on my body to get myself stronger; saving my money and paying down my debt to make myself financially stronger; going out and maintaining my friendships to increase my social equity; being creative while publicizing what I am writing or painting.

Since my wall paper for designyourwall.com sold, I am feeling very optimistic. I have one more class for Continuing Studies on Blogging this coming Saturday and after that my quest for employment will be a higher priority.

I am reading copiously. The main focus is on Jungian psychology, mythosynchronicity, spirituality and conscious living. The dark grief and loss that has been my companion for the last two years is a process of ego dying. The falling away of what I was, the way I lived in the world was painful.
http://dancingintheflames.com/Marion_Woodman/HOME.html

But I feel now like I am starting to move out into the world wiser, calmer and more centered. I have Buddhism, my Shamanic experiences in Peru and the retreat with the amazing Gabor Mate to thank for my patience through the process.

embrace


So I step out of the house more, out of my comfort zone more and “act as if.” May we all live in love.