Last Day

The healing process continues for my foot and my life. Yesterday, I cleaned, did laundry, worked six hours harvesting my short poems from Facebook for my next anthology and made up some food for myself prepared only for ease of access.
I am learning so much about myself as I work my way through the weeks. Not being able to walk or move freely, is very difficult for a person who thrives on forming goals and going full tilt after those targets.
The sense of being lost and directionless is reinforced now with the loss of mobility. So I got out my journal and went back through the pages to find if there are any items on my list that have been floating on the seas of intention.

Yesterday I began to go through those items and see if I could remove them from the world of the undone. Small steps can make me feel like I am getting somewhere.

we are light and dark


By the end of the day yesterday my foot was swollen and pulsing. The joy of just doing common things like cleaning the front of the cupboards from ten days of splashings was wonderful. All of the throw rugs are now free of spots and stains that I Pollocked on them with my hopping coffee and splashing cereal.
The question sometimes comes to me is my life just too small? Is my focus on having my environment tidy funneling off the focus and energy I could be using for larger goals? One thing I do know about myself is I can count on the second guessing voice. I walk the path on the left and wonder if the path on the right would have been better. At least I am more patient with myself about this query about best choice.
There is so much I want my life to be about that is not about putting an errant tea bag away. Right now that is about 25 hops. However, every errant tea bag is more clutter and builds a structure of disorder around me.
Issues such as financial strength, physical strength, emotional strength keep surfacing. I want the grief that drains all of the charge from my heart to end. However, I can turn it around and congratulate myself on being able to love so deeply. I can mirror back to myself that I know how to bond and form a loving partnership.
Those skills will make for a better future. There will be a time when someone who is whole will come into my life and walk the rest of the way with me.
For now, I am just trying to get from room to room with greater crutching skills every day. I turn over to the universe my prayers for a less limited life in all senses of the word. I ask to be strong, to be passionate, to have a sense of counting in the world and to find like souls to be close to me as I grow and become more steady on my feet.

Bunion Surgery Aftermath

Twelve days ago I had the bunion surgery on my right foot. The first six days the pain was strong enough to warrant taking the prescription for oxycondon that I was given. My toes were swollen purple bulbs which my neighbour described as red potato-like.
On day six and seven, I came off of the oxcondon and was fine. Swelling was down and the deep throbbing pain abaited. The adventure of trying to carry items from one room to another while using crutches has been an exploration. At first, I could fill my cereal bowl then hop it over to the table. Most of the contents ended up on the floor.
My quality of life increased markedly when I could make coffee for myself in the morning. One of the difficulties that I experience is very low blood pressure. I now time the getting up to wait until the sparkly stars go away before I try to move on the crutches.
The first week I fell frequently. Being stoned on oxycondon, whoozie from the anesthetic and having such low blood pressure lead to me falling fairly predictably. I am looking forward to September 6th when I get the stitches out and see the surgeon.
Because my contact with the surgeon was limited (he was on vacation until just shortly before my proceedure) I had little knowledge of what to expect. So I read blogs. I read bunion doctor’s posting. What I ascertained was I needed to keep the foot elevated for 10 to 14 days to minimize the inflammation. Swelling or smacking the foot could cause it to heal out of alignment. Holy cow chips bat man, I didn’t want to go through this to have it be less than perfectly corrected. So I was conservative and kept my foot elevated most of the day.

So now I am looking forward to the mile stones. Having the stitches out, being able to put my heel down, being able to drive the car after September 21st.
The blogs and comments on line are so contradictory it is puzzling. One end of the spectrum was the individual who had no pain and was back to work in 7 days. Others were six weeks without being able to stand without pain. My belief is that so much of recovery is about having support. I have tried to keep my foot up but self care requires several hours of hopping around. It is exhausting just to do the most minimal activities in hot weather, swinging through the air on unaccustomed crutches.

delicate white


I think it is a good sign that I have begun to think about working toward my goals with the art and writing. I feel as if my head is clearing, I am learning to take smaller steps on the crutches and pay attention to my balance.
And my neighbour tells me my toes finally look like toes.
Who knows how long this entire process will take.

Some have blogged that they had to wear runners and baby their foot up to three months after the surgery. We are all different. Our circumstances and bodies are individual. As always, every journey is about being patient and finding a way to do what can be done without pushing, anger or fear.
I lay here in bed and listen to the high wind bringing in another weather system. Summer is going. Who knows what the next season will bring? I have hope that I will find a new way of being and carrying forward my goals with both feet firmly on the ground.

heart of the flower

Going Cold Turkey

Intellectually I know that my addictions swath me in a cocoon of numbness. But during this last period from August 17th on I have had all of my default survival skills stripped from me.

shadows, silver water mirrors the sky


First my issues of abandonment and being unloveable surfaced big time when my marriage collapsed because of basic bedrock trust betrayal. Working my way through the depression of the separation from one who I believed to be my best friend and love of my life was difficult. I was surrounded by loving friends and went into counseling to work on my issues. Going to Gabor Mate’s retreat in Victoria moved me forward rapidly.
However, on August 17th I had my bunion removed and that entailed restructuring the big toe joint on my right toe. Not being able to walk at all, struggling with what I call stoned crutching ( taking oxycondon for pain) and being unable to drive was difficult.
So the universe has seen fit to strip me of relationship addiction, of work addiction and of the distraction of shopping. How have I fared through this process? Try to guess!!

darkness is an edge and so is sunrise


I have had to face a deep depression. Looking down into the pain that I have carried from childhood is not easy. But I have been sitting with my pain. Because actually, what choice do I have now? Alone each day in my house with the struggle of getting from room to room, I know that it won’t be until September 6th when the stitches come out that I can stabilize myself. Once I can put my heel down, I anticipate greater freedom of movement.
So I sit with it, as Thich Nhat Han recommends and hold my sorrow close to me. I did all that I knew how to do. I worked furiously hard only to be set back financially to when I was in my 40’s. I loved full heartedly in the only way I knew how to love. But I did not care for myself enough. I awake each day with passion for life and sit here now without a sense of calling. I know this is a time of growth. The addictions are stripped away. It is like tearing up the floor boards and seeing that the grief monsters are underneath. And so I cry and grieve once again for those things I have brought into my life because I was too blind to see. I own it all. Studying the inevitable arch of attraction I know that I have indeed authored all that is happening to me. But it doesn’t make the grief any less real, or bitter.
Today I wrote a poem. I worked my new software, I talked to friends. I am doing all I know to do to work with this period of loss. And I am also sitting with it as if it were a baby. I hold my grief close and speak to it. It will get better I say. It will get better. Talking, Time and Tears will help.
Becalmed
I have survived these losses
to the storms, black weather,
sharp rocks scarring deep the very form of me.
Floating lost upon dark waters
with no sense of place or shore.
The harbors that I found were
unsafe havens, jagged rock bound traps
because I could not judge my depth.
I sit in mists of my own making
unable to discern the line of land.
The ship of self crying out the question
“,which way home,” returns
an echoed sound
unheard in gray, vast emptiness.

CBC Ideas: Say No to Happiness

While I was driving to pick up my crutches, to get the magnets for my Dress Up art show and a few other errands, the CBC program Ideas came one.
After listening to it in detail, I find my head full of thoughts. I was so moved by what was being said that I capsulized many of the statements and posted them on Face book.

sun and shadow. the full experience


The contributing authors were Gretchen Rubin from her book The Happiness Project; Todd Kashden from Designing Positive Psychology; Jordan B. Peterson from Maps of Meaning; the architecture of belief; and Daniel Polish from his book Talking About God.
http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2011/06/20/say-no-to-happiness/
‎”We are islands of tentative certainty in a sea of uncertainty, order in the midst of infinite Chaos.” This is a comforting statement about the tension of being alive that we all share.
Later in the program the idea that consciousness is the manifestation of the potential of being was introduced. It will take place no matter what. You will select action. Action to do good, to be a creator of things positive. Or you can be a creator of things negative. Or you can be the creator of inaction. No matter what you do or don’t do is building potential.

My summary of the first segment of the program is as follows: Happiness is an insufficient goal for our lives. We have a knowing that there is more to life. Kierkagaard talked about the human state of Angst over our limits. Buber asked that you hold yourself open to that which you don’t understand. These philosophers asked: How do we respond to being alive? How do we find a way of living constructively? Anxiety is very high when we limit ourselves to mere pleasure.

Life is suffering. The greatest comes when you open yourself up to love. Our society today says that there is something wrong when individuals suffer, so not only do we suffer from Dukka such as physical limits, death, loss; we are told we brought it on and therefore do not have a right to seek comfort for it from friends or loved ones. I have experienced people who came onto Face book to tell me to ‘Put on a Happy Face’ and just move on when I lost my mother; the man who I knew as a father; the anxiety of possibly losing my brother to prostate cancer and when my 16 year marriage exploded leaving me financially weak. My experience of North American society is that really deep grief is deemed to be unacceptable.
When I had cancer, I was censored from talking about it. “Keep a positive outlook”, people said as they hurried past me. The surgeon tore the cancer pamphlet out of my hand. I have had more license to discuss my illness when I had a head cold.
My current counselor mentioned that her European friends live in cultures where crying, keening and facing pain are an acceptable part of the culture. I found that when something triggered tears for me during this very difficult period, people would turn away. Somehow not “seeing” sadness is considered to be a way to help a person.
In Rome when a woman fell in the street and hit her head on the cobble stones, there were 15 people around her kneeling on her same eye level. They were not trying to yank her back up on her feet. They were commiserating. They looked sad. They took the time to just be with this stranger whose head was bleeding. There was much conversation, touching her arms and talking about the “mean streets”. While I couldn’t understand the language, I did see women in similar shoes pointing at the stones with angry gestures.
If an individual doesn’t feel suffering, he or she will not have depth. Our society encourages us to be shallow and live a meaningless existence. The difficulty is that shallow people become cruel and destructive. They are destructive of themselves and destructive of others. Therefore being authentic, feeling the grief of being in a body with all that means, means we all suffer at times. To live without meaning, is to live as a surface creature.
This next segment of the program was enlightening to me. I thought coincidentally of yesterday’s news that the Norway killer went back to the site and walked the police through the experience. He showed no emotion. This is the state that is frequently the most sought after in North America. Whatever you do, show no emotion. Yet it is these quiet people who are not connected, who are not connecting with their deepest authentic self that are the most cruel and most likely to destroy the lives of those around them.

tulips

I read once that an alcoholic/addict actually dismantles on the average the lives of seven people around him or her over a lifetime. Parents, spouses, children, caring friends are all grievously damaged by one who cannot grieve in an open manner.
“To be radically discontent with social evils is when we become the most human.” Discontent can lead to action, to stepping out into the world to sign a petition, to volunteer, to write an essay, to become a witness to something which left alone to work in darkness can create evil. Discontent, grief, negative emotions can be a spur to move a person into a more authentic life.
The place of loving friends was emphasized next in the program. In order to determine what is meaningful and right, you cannot lie. A liar is first of all creating a lie he or she lives in. This person cannot be happy.. in the sense of morally content. Navigating through the complexities of life means following an internal compass. Do you know your fundamental values? In my life, I have loving friends who will not allow me to lie to myself. They call me on all of my BS. It helps me stay true to my core morality.

I have seen five people that I love disappear into a life of self- deception. Ultimately, it killed his or her capacity for joy. The irony that I have witnessed is that the liar is involved in self-deception in order to get further and further into the “pursuit of pleasure” and these individuals dear to me have ended up dying young, missing out on having intimate relationships altogether and/or being at last someone who no longer lives by his or her on moral compass. These people have gotten lost on the journey of life.

In many ways, I have always thought of dying as report card time. This is when the summary of one’s life is made. I have never thought ,” I lived a good life” meant I have lived a life of the mindless pursuit of pleasure. So I am in total agreement with the statement, “Differentiated quality and profundity of our existence is the gauge for a life well- lived. He who has a why for living can endure any how.”

The anesthetic for the dukka of existence is not pleasure or momentary happiness, it is purpose.

A flower can light the darkness


Finally, the most important nugget from the program is the idea that each of us builds potential in the universe. Our actions either create resultant good; resultant grief and pain; or our inaction can contribute to the creation of grief and pain. It is our choice. But no matter what we do or don’t do, our existence is having an effect on everything. There are no small people or small actions. They all matter. Does that make me happy? No. But it makes me think.

Rededication Reboot

Every once in a while, I fall off the depression wagon. Yesterday was one of those days. My neighbour phoned only five hours after I got to sleep, then a friend dropped by. The entire day I was in my bathrobe with no make up on. I ate ice cream, I ate watermelon and I watched a year of Better Off Ted on Netflix.
Knowing the foot surgery is next week and anticipating weeks of inactivity, I feel stalled. What can I start? Not much.

So today I begin again. I have the gift of obsession so once things become ritualistic, I am part of the habit. It is mindless and unnoticed. Making my bed, caring for my plants, mowing the lawn, laundry, cleaning, weighing myself each morning, flossing… so many hundreds of rituals of self care and caring for the environment are instilled in my psyche.
However, I have also patterned a habit of grief. When someone asks me where I have gone or who I see, I feel black emptiness. “No. I am not finding anyone.” My response brings with it so much emotion.
Whom can I trust? If I can be duped for over a decade about the most basic of issues in intimacy, can I trust myself? Always, my mind runs back to that.
So what I am beginning to understand is that I am isolating myself in an effort to protect myself from negative associations. And how is that working?
My spirits are lighter when I am with people. I enjoy walking along the river and seeing families. But the feeling of being outside, excluded and disembodied is the stage of grief I am working through at the present time.
My therapist has moved to Israel so I am missing that contact. My thoughts keep drifting to the idea of getting a life coach. I need to kick my butt or have someone to check in with about attaining my goals. It is too easy to drift. It is too easy to say to myself…. just a little while longer. You will feel stronger in a month.
It has been 19 months since I discovered the last straw and had the strength to end the fantasy relationship. Now I am finding that intentions do not overcome inertia. Only momentum overcomes inertia.
I need a direction. I need a calling. Habits of spiritual growth need to be strengthened. The necessity of sitting meditation every day is foremost in my intention to change my mindset and to become a stronger person.
The Nike magazine ad is posted all over my house…”Make Yourself Stronger.” That is my goal. And sometimes that means realizing that I need to spend a day crying for lost dreams, sometimes I need to be angry that I got off the rails 18 years ago and made a bad choice and sometimes it means I need to just lay down in my bathrobe, watch Better Off Ted and eat ice cream.
When the Shaw Cable Interview rotated on TV yesterday, I could see the sadness was still around me. It also refocused me to pay attention to the back of my hair. Sometimes it is not always what we can see that needs taken care of. Sometimes we need a 180 view of ourselves to understand in greater depth. So while I was having my off day or day off, I watched my self time after time. I watched my video clip and observed my self talk. What I needed to do, what I should have done, what if. But basically, I worked myself up to a state of self-compassion. I wanted to say to myself, “It will be alright. It will get better.”
http_www.shaw.ca_ShawTV_Kelowna_
Watching my mind fascinates me. I am saying to myself, “Come on. Give me a break. I am after all only human.” But I also know that re-dedicating myself to my central goal of being a more centred human being means discipline. So I take out my list, go back to training myself. But first, I need a cup of coffee.

Remember to Dance

Storm rips up the sky

Yesterday I worked on my Dress Up show. While sitting in my studio painting, I could see the sky severed by light. The thunder was shaking the very air around me. It was fierce and fearful.
The rain that deluged the earth at the end of the firing of weaponry through the sky was a release. My garden today is more alert and responsive. The birds are singing again
However, last night in the dark I could hear a bird calling outside my window. Never before has a bird called out in the darkness. Strange and confused signals in the natural patterns.
The day has been a virtual write off. First my neighbour called early in the morning in error, then a friend stopped by. It is the consequence of my life pattern of going to sleep after 2 am. When will I reconnect to the rhythms of the “normal” world?
It feels rather useless to become too focus on pattern shifts when it is mere days before I have bunion surgery. The haze of painkillers and recovery sleep will soon overtake me.
Later, I tell myself. Later you can readjust.
So today, I cleaned up files on the computer and placed pictures in their clearly named folders. I sourced out a printer for my up coming class for UBC-O Continuing studies.

paintings of my guides on the wall behind


My intention was to complete the Dress Up show… but I couldn’t get motivated. So I wore my bathrobe most of the day and ate ice cream. Is that depression? Am I too hard on myself when I won’t take a day off…. ever?
I have had to come off of some of my daily pills to prepare for the surgery and I think that may be having an impact.
Tamie Williams did a magnificent job of editing the interview she did for me on Shaw. I watched the short segment several times and was surprised. First of all, I still look very, very sad. The grief of heart break is taking so long to clear.
Watching the segment, I came to understand why women use hair spray. My hair is whispy and wild. The back of my head looks like I have never combed it. I am thinking it is time for botox. It was a sunny bright day, but my forehead looks waded up like paper in a fist. What is with that?
So I guess the theme for today is about self judgment. The expectations, the tendency to not deal with oneself with compassion, the need for gentle self love. Yes. I think that is today’s theme.

Stand in the sunshine and smile

Correcting the Twists

Since January, I have had so many twists in my life. First my husband came to me after a year of separation to say he would like to “save our marriage.” Although, the financial settlement I paid him left me as a 66 year old woman with the same debt load I carried as a 40 year old, I was bonded to him emotionally. I loved him. So I told him we could both go to counseling and attempt to work back together.

My children were talking to me as if I were a toddler headed for a hot stove. They spoke slowly with unnaturally calm voices. “He took money mom. He lied to you”. Their overly patient tone spoke volumes about the levels of denial that they were trying to break through.

In June I was told information that left me in disgust. It was time to file for divorce and not only would the marriage be over, but I now had to try to unwind the lies, the double lives, the moments of apparent affection from those of manipulation.

My counseling session was mainly me sitting snot sobbing into a box of tissues. The extent of the information I had received was beyond my imagination. Thank God for that.

So instead of untangling the statements, the looks, the gestures, the hidden life from the surface life, my job was to just walk away. There was no use in trying to retrieve anything from the mess. Photographs, images on my computer, loving message cards everything had to be thrown away, burned in a ritual cleansing or stored far from my living space. The energy was just not something I wanted around me. At all.

So how did I get here. I have come to take responsibility. My father was very sick. His problems mirror the problems of the men I selected to allow into my life. He died of heroin addiction at 53 from heart failure. The various talents and high I.Q that he had were wasted because he lived a life of lies not the least of which was to himself.

anger as it falls apart

When I was 13, my mother had thrown him out (finally). He came back and tried to get into the house. I told him that if he broke the dead lock, I would phone the police and report him for all he had done to us.

So at 13 I had the backbone to protect our family. I thought myself strong. What I didn’t realize was the legacy of being with an addict/alcoholic. We seek out the scenario again and again to try to heal it. It is normal to run back into the burning building to try to bring our lives back out. Crazy. But normal.
So grief, lost dreams, a time of just looking back without trying to justify any of it started in June.

The tension that exists in my life now is about lack of passion and a lack of a calling.

The voice, “you cannot trust your decisions.. the way you see the world is not correct,” is what whispers to me. Having been taken in by lies over the years leaves one so hesitant.

I have meditated, prayed, gathered friends around me, reconnected with my children and my brother. I have asked my guides and angels to help me find a path that I can trust. I have asked for forgiveness for the negative karma that resulted in being where I am now.

And yet, I could not seem to move on and out. Two weeks ago I decided to complete my list of unfinished items. One was to call the surgeon about the bunion operation I have been awaiting for two years. “Can you go in on the 17th of August?” I was asked.

correcting the damage

So now the last thing I have been awaiting is coming. The blogs I have read about the surgery say that for about two weeks I will be laid out with the foot up. After that it can be anywhere from two to three months before I am moving around easily again.

It is good that I am having the deformity corrected and will be able to wear shoes again. Getting things straight is the theme now

The last few years have been about change. My mother died, my step-father died, my image of my husband who was part of my life for 18 years has died. I had abdominalplasty and will have bunion surgery. What a passage and reformation this period has been.

I laughingly say that after the bunion surgery has healed…. I will be afoot with my vision.

My path to energy work and healing some of the deep-seated damage from my childhood and bad choices for partners is the future. I am done with trying to go into the burning bulding to find my life.

Whatever it is that I was supposed to learn in this life, I accept the lesson. Now I want chocolate, kisses from a healthy man and a chance to show my love to others. Listening. I am listening for my calling.

moving into the sunny side of easy street.