Why Bother to Play?

I once had a friend who reads charts react to my straight forward statement that I was Leo but had ten houses Virgo. She responded, “The only thing worse would be to have Capricorn rising.”
“Why,” I asked.

Her response was that I would be serious, work oriented, have no patience for small talk and focused on the bottom line at all times. All I said was, “Yep.”
So knowing that play is anathema and can only be indulged in if it is in the name of some higher goal, makes me more comfortable with what is. I am not a social freak. I am simply ten houses Virgo with Capricorn rising.
The way in which we give ourselves permission, fascinates me. There is permission for delusional behavior. The ability to create excuses is profound and creative. When I put on weight because it is “winter” or “too hot” or “not the right time” to make healthier choices, I am a genius at establishing an inclination to live in the future.
The future is such an exciting and vibrant place to live. It is like my own little Disneyland. There will be castles, jewels, ball gowns, muscled arms, trees with sparkling gold pieces growing on them. My art will be in airports gigantic and impressive. The rich, fit and handsome man will swoop me up into his bosom to blossom. And he will not have old man/woman chest.
The difference I experience in my body, the overwhelming sensation of lightness of being that sweeps over me when I change my focus from now, now, now to tomorrow is magical. It is in its very nature a sign of my delusional capacities. I am my own genii. The opium pipe of possibilities can trance me out of action.
As I recline on the silken pillows of these current hours and exhale the shimmering visions of “what if”, I lose power. However, there is always a struggle within me.

My desire to be a “good girl” has ironically enough (Yes. Alanna I know what irony means) lead me into every sewer slosh in my life.

Speaking up, speaking out has only become a skill since I started doing some serious personality rebuilding. Recently, I reviewed my Myers-Briggs profile. Being an ENFJ, my inclination is to put others first. I want to be able to make others’ lives better. So I would select a fixer-upper mate and turn my life over to that person.
The result of not seeing the anxiety and short-circuited thinking in myself combined with my laser-like focus and intensity has meant that I have been running furiously in the circular race below tide line, trying to get dry as the ocean splashed over me… anyone read Alice in Wonderland?

out the window in winter

So settling into what I am, the ten houses Virgo; the Capricorn rising; the ENFJ; the sensitive personality; the ebullient creativity and just moving forward without fighting the “what is” gives me more energy for the moment.
I have never been more authentic, transparent or curious as I move through life.

And one thing I know for sure, is that I don’t like to play unless there is a goal, a product, a statement I am making with that play.

But dance. Yes. I will always dance. Because it is good for my body. And it makes me smile. Okay you thought you got me there, right? No!!! Smiling is good for my immune system. So that is why I dance. I don’t bother to just play.
Now I can go mark, “Write in your blog,” with a check mark on my chart for today.

What if I weren’t afraid?

I asked myself that question this morning. The sense of a tiger in a packing box came over me again. Another day of gray, the feeble light mimic of sun stopping just inside the windows. The fact that the intentions in my life are moving forward so cold molasses slowly into action states, builds a closed circle of
despair.

so many doors to other realities, other futures


Because of the loneliness at night, I have been unable to break the habit of watching old television shows at bedtime. Frequently, I fall asleep while watching and it is somewhere between 2 and 4 in the morning. So when I awaken the choice is to “do” the day with only five hours sleep or to shift back into my downy nest and sleep unbidden by any appointment with destiny until noon.

Waiting for the bright light of knowing

My day is punctuation by the sound of the clock ticking and by the appearance of Dick, the mail carrier. He is a round man who frequently wears his coat like a cape. The diamond earring glistens in his left ear and he chats about his wife and daughter at times. But he is dependable and committed to making his crisscross path from side to side on our street in a timely manner. He flys off again his cape glistening with raindrops bouyant behind him.

Getting a grip on the day always feels like a struggle; however, the years I have spent reading, listening to Hay House and watching You Tube videos inform me that it is not about the day, or how I choose to live it. The struggle is something I order from the limiting menu of perfection. No matter how “well” I have done in a particular yesterday, each new day begins with regrets: I didn’t floss twice, I missed the third glass of water, I didn’t write in my Gratitude Journal.

The habit of critical mind has become much more quiet about the performance judging of people. Instead of measuring them up to cut them down, I now hear the voice in my head say, “Isn’t it wonderful that I get to know this person.” There is so much I am learning about and from others in our shared stories. How many tragedies people have undergone in their lives… the childhood disease that left her deaf on one side, being sent to boarding school at seven, being betrayed by two husbands, multiple bouts with cancer, etc. From the outside, we assume we know another and an impulse is to be competitive with her or with him. Most people are valiant survivors of multiple woundings. The very fact that others around them are not aware of their strength is in and of itself a testimony to their resilency.

Competitiveness with the gifts and successes is my de-facto setting. “She got a book deal. What is wrong with me?”

I am a master of this type of dualistic, poverty of opportunity thinking. Then the really grotesque competitiveness comes out. We all laugh at comedy sketches of two old geezers comparing gun shot wounds in the battle of life. One has had a cold, the other six bouts of pneumonia. I understand that we, sometimes, celebrate how badly victimized that we were as a means of displaying our merit badges.

Nonetheless, we hold courage in our hearts each day as we set intention and carry out actions. For me this fragile edge is the gripping place. If within twenty minutes of awaking, I sit meditation for heading out into the day with compassion and love, I feel like I have my ship’s bow lined up to cut across the waves. I won’t go under no matter what happens.

The aching restlessness that inhabits me at this time is like a large, lurching, drooling dog. It wants to run, jump up, sniff different object-tasks, pick things up in its mouth. “Patience,” I tell myself. “Patience.” I hold the choke chain firmly in my hands.

I have debts to pay down, I have a task of turning this blog into a book. The late illness still leaves me coughing with a sore throat and ear aches. So my body is saying it isn’t ready for one of my manic sweeps of accomplishment. (Oh how my monkey mind loves these workaholic binges.)

My sprained knee did not magically heal with mind control. So I have started acupuncture. It says quite a bit about the condition of my chi when both knees, my shoulder blades and my hands began to ache like fresh injuries. My entire body became hot and sweat covered blanketed. When I came home, I crawled into bed for hours.

So looking at the circle of dysfunction: surgery after surgery; broken relationship; no sense of being needed in my work arena; weak financial condition; deep loneliness. Each item in the circle feeds into the next until I have established a closed system of victim hood and powerlessness.

Using the book The Happiness Project and making a chart, I have begun to work more on my body. Doing crunches and weights is starting to give me good definition. Going to the acupuncturist, I believe will help resolve the issues with my knees. But I know full well that much of that issue is a lack of flexibility and a lack of knowing where to go. I have just manifested in my body, that which I hold in my mind.

I am making new friends and I no longer try to hide anything about my life. I don’t offer up the bitter, hard lessons I have learned like over-dried fig turds on a plate. But if someone asks me, I will be very open about the events in my life. I refuse to carry the shame which was not my shame either from my parents or from my ex-husband.

Moving my life to a higher level, I now am saying my affirmations and intentions out loud. Yesterday, I wrote them on index cards and placed them around the house. They become the voice in the background much as successful people who have had parents who hypnotically repeated, “You can do it”.

So I am learning to parent myself, to act as my own cheer-leading team.

Strangely enough, what I have come to realize is that being filled with shame as a child, feeling like a lesser being really stopped me from loving. I would feel rushes of love or affection to those around me but I wouldn’t feel good enough, important enough to act on those urges. I would want to pick up George’s dropped book, help Jim with his homework, hold a sleeve up for easier access when Susie was putting on her jacket. But when we fell lesser or damaged, we become invisible.

And I think the worst of the situation is that we become so self absorbed that we can’t see that our heart’s urge is power. It helps to heal ourselves when we understand that others really seek affection. It is ultimately a selfish act to send love out.

Passivity is what I struggle with at this time. How much sitting meditation, journalling, waiting, making myself stronger physically is necessary? When will the universe part these heavy mists and give me some stars to navigate by? Am I missing the messages?

When I had acupuncture the bright note was my report card for Chi. Over the decades when I have gone to Chinese medicine doctors I have always been told that my masculine side was outrageously dominant and my feminine side almost wraith like. Yesterday, after 24 months of a life of quiet and contemplation, the male and female energies were almost equal. The workaholic pathways of action over accomplishment are re-patterned.

I am giving birth to a new self and sitting by the death-bed of those delusions which had me dancing mindlessly to their tune. But it is difficult, the patience, the reformation and internal struggle. I want my old toys to play with.

Currently, I am “using” entertainment to dull the pain of not knowing and it is eating up hours of my day.

each of us is unique and similar

Driving home instead of driving to Choices to get a big slab of carrot cake last night was a major victory. The sugar fix is on its way to being extinguished. I win some and I continue on with some delusional behaviors. But how exciting it is to watch the dynamics of learning how to be in a life.

Now. What would I do today if I weren’t afraid?

Going Backward Kelowna

The recent civic election in Kelowna left me sickened. I have watched Sharon Shepherd grow as a person and maintain her political presence through the most difficult of circumstances. She is a woman in a town that is controlled by the old boys’ club. She is small in stature and has a voice which is not meant for theatrical exclamations. Yet whenever she has been met by challenges, she has chosen to stay true to her vision of a sustainable city. Her concern for the environment, for maintaining neighbourhoods, for giving people time to understand a new development proposal before just driving it through has been consistent and non-wavering.

Kelowna's access to waterfront is the power struggle

During her campaign, she returned funds from the fire fighters because her stance has always been to be a free agent who does not have to “pay back” those who give her funds for her campaign. Her ethics and her stalwart refusal to cast aspersions on others have made this short woman cast a long shadow.

My belief is that when this town wakes up and realizes that the natural beauty, the environment and the social diversity issues are the most valuable assets the town holds, she will be seen as the large spirit that she is. She has left a legacy of humility, rigorously ethical behavior and consistent concern for the citizens who live in Kelowna.

All citizens have had her attention: the gay, the bohemian, the financially fragile, the young families, those who live in small houses in older neighbourhood. She has demonstrated her commitment to those attributes which city and urban studies programs say are the guarantees that a city will stay attractive. The rich, these studies tell us, are fickle. They will come and buy in until the environment goes. They will purchase a seasonal condo in the sky until there are no arts events to attend. The IT community can move anywhere to work. If there is no social diversity, bohemian culture, they will move on.

What we are seeing in so many cities in North America is a desertion of cities that do not provide an environment that will attract a lively, vivacious culture. If we have not learned that the 80’s and 90’s mentality leads to the decline of a city’s culture from observation, I guess we will have to learn it through reliving that trajectory.

Will tall building keep citizens from waterfront?

I feel very discouraged by what I saw happen in this election. Do the young, the environmental warriors and the intellectuals want to stay here and fight for a collective vision or is the direction of the newly, elected council and mayor just over whelming?

One thing I know for sure, we get the kind of future we voted for.

Quo Vadis?

Watching The Nature of Things special on Jungle Medicine which featured Gabor Mate’s journey was such a reminder of my own journey. One of the participants in the Shamanic healing circle was a woman alcoholic who had lost custody of her children. Her moment of clarity was when she touched the pain of being a four year old who was following her mother down the street. Her mother’s absence was a choice between staying home and protecting her child from being raped by a family member or going to a bar.

bed scape: bed escape

I noticed that the woman had a tattoo on her arm that read “rape”. Her desire to tell the world about her life was manifested in this tattoo. Her truth was blazed on her skin.

Gabor’s deep listening skill and his compassionate presence were evident even in this cold format of a television screen. The truth of Ayahuasca, that it heals the brain synapses for people who have been traumatized, is an important truth. However, health Canada has shut Gabor down by sending him a cease and desist letter. Anti-depressants have caused people to take their own lives. Ayahauasca has changed addicts and alcoholics into clean and sober people 60% of the time without further medication or follow up counseling. Never in the hundreds of years of use has one person died. But Health Canada will not let him continue.

One wonders if the pharmaceutical companies are behind this move. A single depressed person, or bi-polar person will expend thousands of dollars on medication over a life time. Will the use of ayahuasca by a medical special and two shaman’s who have spent a lifetime apprenticeship in the use of the jungle plant cause the companies to lose revenue? It is a certainty.

My art show comes down from the Streaming Cafe on Wednesday next. I have no further art shows or events lined up until March.

However, I am working in a fairly concentrated mannner on turning this blog site into a published book. I have edited the myriad spelling errors and faulty parallelisms into something more presentable.

The year 2008 is complete and I am about to move both forward in my reading and backward in my remembering through the year 2009.

Physics tells us that all times are simultaneous and the multiple scenarios for our own lives live in layers parallel to our own like pages in a book. We, however, can only perceive one linear plot line. The physics of choices are such that we can move that plot line into another field by taking differing actions. There is so much we cannot perceive from our very physically limited point of view. What we do see… a solid table, a solid rock is a myth. The particles are a field. Our personalities, our existence is a field of energy not a limited, constrained object.

When I think of that, it opens up for me more peace and more gentle confidence that change is not in a moment but a constant. Combined with my Buddhist practice of meditation, it helps me with my naturally depressant mind habits.

The last three days I have cycled down again. Christmas alone after sixteen years of marriage is desolate at times. Reaching for cookies, staying in bed under the covers and isolating myself from others is the “bottom” for me now.

My years at Elizabeth Fry; my spiritual practice; having a week with Gabor in intense therapy has made a huge difference. I no longer believe my mind. It is a tree full of black crows singing songs of despair.

My life has been an arduous and challenging path but the amazing lessons that have come to me are the result. To live without authenticity, to live trying to “be” something, to set out the door carrying my ego-monkey on my shoulder are just choices that I no longer make.

What I know is that we must set intention every day. We recreate ourselves constantly. Because we are not a “thing”, we are a field. And the lesson of life is to be a field of love. May we all make the choice to stay in love.

11 11 11 Releasing the past

My show at The Streaming Cafe looks wonderful. Saturday night was a fantastic event. Eighteen artists hung their work in the Jeffrey Wong Show which was created in a house that will be demolished soon. The conversations I engaged in were not trivial. Intelligent people gathered in a space to discuss their practice of creativity and the opportunities which can be structured in the future. We shared ideas.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoL5bakAfO4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQMqg2RUGxA
When I got home, I chatted with a Chilean engineer who teaches at one the largest universities in South America. Falling to sleep that night, I thought about the new contacts I had made, the new ideas that were coming to mind, the new possibilities.

at the Jeffrey Wong Show


Just the day before I had a green fire which consists of a bed of epsom salts with alcohol poured onto it. Writing the difficulties, the anxieties, the old patterns, the last fragments of my past relationship on slips of paper was the next step. Lighting the paper, I repeated to myself that which I wished to release to the universe so that I can move forward full of peace and love.
I burned the last pictures that I had held on to from my past life and released the necessity to have those memories in my present life.

mask of self


Tammie O’Reilly arranged for a group of people to see the movie Thrive. The take away line which I really enjoyed was that when a tape worm inhabits your body, it releases a chemical which causes the host to eat the foods that help the tape worm to grow. So when we have an urge to “feed the worm” by over-eating, distracting ourselves with entertainment, using alcohol, using drugs, starting with porn and moving on to sex addiction, consumer addiction, and work addiction, we are insuring that the worm grows.

The work I have been doing through meditation practice and living in silence is to focus on self. When I went to a social gathering lately, I was amazed at my ego. I was assessing others, judging them. I felt impatient when people around me hadn’t even heard of the Occupy Movement. I was cold and distant with the older man who sat next to me when there were empty chairs he could have chosen from. So I saw that my inferiority complex, my damaged self-esteem was causing me to play the inferior/superior game. My fear of men who seem to be making advances kicked in resulting in my being down right rude.

As I drove home, I was fully aware of how I could have been in the situation had I not been in ego. I would have accepted all those around for whom he or she was. I would have made more effort to ask questions, to focus on the surrounding individual’s lives and interests.
On one level, I behaved well. A little girl sitting across from me looked bored and a bit overwhelmed. I was able to engage her in conversation and give her affection. In addition, the secondary judging of myself was released. I saw what it was that I had done, released it and talked myself through the situation examining better, alternative behavior for the next time.

Gabor Mate talks about facing everything that happens to you in life with curiosity. Instead of naming things, attaching or fearing, one simply asks the question, “What was that?”
After reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin I put a chart on my refrigerator. So far my chart is motivating me. I have been doing over 100 crunches a day, 15 repetitions of four different series using ten pounds hand weights. After a little over a week, I am getting to the point where I am actually enjoying the process. I look forward to being firm and more muscled.

Continuing my pledge to myself to pay down my debt, I took all of my saving out of the bank and put it onto the line of credit I had to take out to pay off my ex-husband. Despite the slight feeling of fear that arose, I did it anyway. Gretchen says, “Act as if.” I still haven’t found a renter or a part time job. That will be the next part of the plan that I concentrate on in order to pull that debt down.

It has been over a week since I worked on my “blog into book” project. So far I have copied all of the text from 2008 to the present with all of its errors. For four hours tonight I worked on cleaning up the text from April and May 2008. The dyslexia is so evident. None of the images transferred but I intend to copy some over to brighten up the book.

Pheonix arising from flames

It feels so good to be having my life opening up. Meeting new people, keeping my resolutions and measuring my small steps toward a larger life is very energizing. My focus is on staying in the present while creating a better future. I continue to read, listen to CD’s and seek wisdom. To move out into the world in compassion yet unafraid of being authentic, stay in curiosity. “I wonder what the hell that was about?”

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.

Anthologies with art now for sale

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cheriehanson is the link where my two anthologies of paperback books with art on each page are for sale.
I ordered copies to hold in my hands. How thrilling is that? I have one course left in the UBC-O Continuing studies offerings this winter. The subject of how to set up and organize a blog will be for novices. To date, I am getting 150 hits a day on this site.

my toe cards


Today, I gathered gold into clear bags during the autumnal windy day. Leaves were lifting from the ground flying around me and I thought of what it is like to be a child. If I were a child, I would throw the leaves in the air to watch them caught up and flowing like angels, birds, small air ships, I thought to myself. The most I could work up was enjoyment of the newly raked pile spiraling up and over my head. Too serious to consciously release the yellow leaves, I could still laugh out loud and enjoy the presence of the wind.

reflected angel. The first image I ever sold 15 years ago.


I was very pleased that my small canvas mixed media piece I donated to the Salvation Army was in a bidding war and sold for $320. What I have noticed is the value of my work is going up over the last few months.

playing with light. Gray Foil mixed media on canvas


I am busy creating greeting cards for Christmas which I sell on line for $5 or 5 cards for $20. Today, I had the idea of taking an image that someone had shot of a family group or a loved one, manipulate it and make handmade cards from the image. I am going to be posting this possibility on linked in.
Tonight, I will finish reading Daniel H. Pink’s books A Whole New Mind and Drive. Fascinating to be reading about the creative community.
If you are reading my blog, then that would be you. Blessings out.