I have had pneumonia four separate times in my life and the air around Kelowna sits at a 7 out of 10 for days on end. I am challenged. When I go outside my eyes, nose and throat sting. My chest feels as if it is being crushed.
Sometimes when I am driving and the “gauge” sits at 8 I wear a filter mask. But mostly, I remain at home within the walls of my upstairs retreat. The air conditioning which I have installed upstairs keeps my body in an environment of 25 Celsius.
The major work I am doing is maintaining my bed and breakfast for my guests. No matter how often I dust, there is dust and ash on surfaces.
It is like trying to maintain a pristine environment during the last days of Pompeii. I have even resorted to explaining to guests that when the entire vista is obscured by smoke and ash… that will end up on everything.
I am busy from 8 am until at least 6 at night on my bed and breakfast. The spiritual/emotional work is to not push back against conditions.
At night, I catch myself saying,
“You didn’t do enough. Your garden is getting weedy. You have not submitted to any publishers in weeks. You are not writing/drawing/painting/tidying the art studio/painting the entryway/ working out hard enough.”
When evening time arrives I invariably indulge in the orgy of self criticism.
One Sunday, I went to Bliss Bakery as a wild mustang, crazy break out from my necessity to clean and prepare. I had jumped the fences. I was loosened from my schedule. I was a strumpet focused only on pleasuring myself.
And I was pissed off. I was pissed off at the smoke and the heat and the 7 days a week of working non stop since April 1st. I was pissed off at being pissed off and not at peace for what ever current of the river was carrying me now. I was pissed off that I cared about time passing and the delusional sense of narrowing opportunities. I was watching a tag team wrestling match and all the athletes were me in various formations in two teams. There was no way to tap out of the conflict.
As I stood at the glass and saw my Morning Glory Muffin was gone, I lowered my head. And tears came into my eyes.
“Of course they are all gone, you came too late. You showed up too late. You started to look for the pleasure too late. You missed the last ferry to paradise.”
I decided instead to have a chocolate chip, gluten free gigantic cookie because God Help the Universe if I didn’t get something.
The clerk with the shining spirit plated it for me and smiled. She said, “This morning when we took these cookies out, we all wondered who would get the cookie with the chocolate heart in the centre.” Four young women in black aprons reading “BLISS” gathered and were now standing facing me behind the counter. They were so happy for me.
And once again my eyes filled with tears. All of them were so happy that it was my cookie.
Just at that moment, I felt how strongly I move through the world. No matter what is going on, my heart wants to love. No matter what crap talking Mafia gangster ego flailing is going on, I stop it at the gate and go into the world looking for a way to live in love.
I was so proud of my spirit. I did not drink from the cup of bitterness. I did not find people to blame. There were ten thousand choices I made away from victim hood in my life.
The lovely young women were presiding at a ritual. They stood in a row smiling at me and presented me with the chocolate heart cookie. And all the rest of the bull shit just disappeared.