Slowly the ice fort that the snow plow and I have built around my car is disappearing. At times, I take my square sharp shovel and chip away. When it warms up, I slide the snow shovel underneath and open up the passage ways. I am creating a path for easier movement.
The resolve to sit and write, to take time to work through the blocks that have arisen is renewed in me lately. Chipping away at a frustration; building my skills without a particular end game in mind will lead me where I need to go.
The enemy is contentment. I have enough money… if I am careful and don’t stretch my neck out into Middle Class acquisitiveness. I have familiar comfort. But the black out curtain of boredom restricts my light.
At times I yearn for a new environment, one in which I cannot anticipate the path. Exploration, adventure, serendipity are somewhere else.
The well worn path I had trodden is the polished stone walkway of discipline. The habits are the groves I have made. I am working now to get myself down in a chair and develop my focus on creating the adventure in my exploration of language. The time, which has for so many years been a burden upon me, the time of “it doesn’t matter” and “there is nothing you have to do” has been marked with no hands, no click movement of minutes.
I don’t seek struggle but rather just to deepen my commitment to developing myself. And distraction, entertainment, diversion have been the central pond of my day. I have soaked in it for hours.
I tell myself I am learning as I watch movies. I tell myself I am connecting as I lurk a voyeur to friends on face book. I tell myself I am being careful with my money as I go to three stores to buy one item.
But really, what is it that I wish to discover in my life? That is the question. How can I patiently sit and work through my thoughts, honing ideas, reaching out to new possibilities of internal connection? It is by once again connecting to the clock and going back to work.
When I am driving a car, I notice that whatever conditions surround me my mind will latch on to. If it is blinding snow, I build out the narrative that the entire 16 hours will be a wrestling hold on the steering wheel: The experience becomes a fierce concentration to avoid the looming ghost shadow of death which might appear at any time in concentrated darkness out of the white.
In rain, I envision a world of planing on the road at the next curve, or this next curve, or another curve further on that I cannot now see. All I need to do is lose my focus on my imminent demise and I will cease being in this body. Fate will take me.
Christmas has been a time for me that I liken to driving in bad weather. Because the “systems” I have experienced in the past are hard wired into my navigation system, I imagine that further down the road, say Christmas 2017, Christmas 2018 will be simply the continuance of the bathos sound track of isolation; being misunderstood; abandonment and resultant despair.
It fascinated me that even with my rigorous studies; my sitting at the feet of masters; my meditation practice and my prodigious reading, the “whether” systems keep building out.
As I was sweeping the snow off of the sidewalk to a quality of clearness that would easily match up with my neighbour’s standards so I could “fit in,” I thought about the traces of old stories that I still carry.
The system is no longer as loud or persistent. It is no longer presenting as reality. But if it were a movie, the main character would have translucent images appearing and partially obscuring clear vision for short periods of time. The audience would know that these are just interference footage clips. It is a hallucination that does not interfere with action.
Mindfully watching. Allow.
I continue to move forward as a stronger believer in my own ability to love my way out of dark places.
It is like driving… and the bad weather was just something that happened a few hours back. The past never predicts the future. Clear roads are here. The snow has passed. My sidewalk is indistinguishable from the neighbours’ on two sides.
Right now, I am just curious. I am curious about who I am becoming; about how I will be in the world; about what my gifts can do to help others. I loosen my hands on the wheel, remember to breathe and know enough to know weather is not fate. And everything passes.
Sometimes we live in our heads, or in our past, or are lost in a scripted narrative someone else has penned. But when each of us opens the door and the percussive wall of cold strikes the entire body, all of the accompanying orchestration of violin thoughts stops. There is only the skin taking the temperature.
The frozen patterns like faces press against the windows partially imprinted on the car. It isn’t until the extreme falls away after turning on the heater that I go back into the droning, circle patterned of flying thoughts.
Part of the pleasure of walking the icy sidewalk into the howling wind is the weather itself bringing me into the breathing moment. I hear my lungs at work. I see the air warming and steaming out of me. The cold is slapping me out of it. I am only this step, this foot, this warm boot, this creature moving on the ground.
And when I was in Peru and laid in the hammock, I ran sweat slipping my body surfaces like waterfalls on a sculptured hillside. The walk up the path would begin with the skittling thoughts but as I shoved myself against the moist, hot air I recognized that the trailing end of a narrative had melted and disappeared. With several more steps I would begin again but the line of thought dissolved even earlier on until I was released from any interest except my breath and the wall of opposition the tropics pushed against my progress. At times, I felt I was behind myself trying to catch up with the place my body had now moved into.
Extremes of weather hold some fundamental truth. There is only the body, the skin, the breath, the intention of movement and it leaves us free of the embroidered speculations in the mind. It stops us cold.
He or she stands aside from society, in order to observe, in order to understand what the “game” is that is going on. A writer, an artist moves from the position of “in the game” and then “out of the game.”
There is a certain solitude that is both a gift and a curse. It is like watching people eating poi in a joy filled ceremony and thinking, “That looks delicious.” However, after tasting the culturally infused dish, the artist is reinforced in the separateness. Poi is tasteless, joyless, unsatisfying.
So making the decision to be at peace with not being at peace is vital. Disabusing oneself that the idea of being “in ” the circle, or “out” of the circle of inclusion is the answer is an important step.
Byron Katie in her systematic analysis of thoughts calls it “The Work”. The important moment is when a person stands facing another and in that moment knows clearly what it is the individual wants from that other person.
I frequently ask: What are my expectations for being in my society; what are my expectations for being a cultural anthropologist who simply observes the behavioural choices?
So the being able to see the down to earth, the actual, the spinning out of actions based on the story of a culture is central to an artist’s life. There is a deep feeling of loneliness that all artist-observers experiences. But it is a necessary vantage point in order to create out of a disengaged truth.
It is frequently the artist/seers who were most out of tune with their own culture who propelled the society forward. Matisse was vilified. His vision became the norm.
Artists/writers/seers move in and out of society. Their lives cycle from boredom, to risk and excitement. They come to trust the inner compass more fully as they mature.
One has to trust that the path is created by the step forward. And there are always those well lit places with flat land where the group gathers and shares their maps. There are those inspiration stops where the exchanging of ideas are vitally energizing.
Finally, the question of “Do I fit in?” becomes irrelevant. And the question, “Who am I now?” becomes the call to clarity. The relationship with self calls for the practice of compassion in movement, or in stillness. All is correct. Just observe and witness.
Emergency is a word that has some poetry. It is lilting, it lifts and falls. It tells the tale of crisis, of system failure, or the sudden and unexpected facing of transitory mortality. Structures will fall. What we hold so tightly in our safe places, our hands, the firebox under the bed, the bank will inevitably fail us. Those we cradle in our arms will disappear as if they were never there.
Everything depends on everything and we have so much trouble understanding. The financial system, the corporate system, the structured systems of distraction and hypnosis are all threads of the same carpet. And it cannot always fly.
Sometimes, because there is no satisfaction guaranteed, because there is no insurance against change, because we are so fragile on the earth, sometimes those things we most believe in, no longer believe in us.
They turn their backs on us, the promises of continuance and protection. They leave us alone, unprotected, in crises.
And it is in the finality of the “emergency room” of life that we finally “emerge.”
When we are stripped of the clothing of the myth of protection, we see who we are.
I have a sense at this time that it is important to focus on my emergence. It is vital that I see the ego oily con woman shell game that I have played.
So many I know are feeling like children left under dressed in a dark forest with winter coming on. There is a pervasive sense of anxiety, of unnamed distress.
I was born in 1944 and I remember the 1950’s with the enamel glaze of prosperity promises while some of us dug fall out shelters in our yard. I remember the 1960’s with the visions of people burning on a cross or on flame running through a ghetto while the TV commercials sang to us about fashion and cigarettes.
I remember the 1970’s when the time of deflated dreams and wounded men was marked by streamlined kitchen appliances.
The society’s surface has always had little coding about what was real. The cognitive disconnect was a habit we were used to like some strange music through our lives.
But never before has the dream vision of buying security been less available to us.
There is no someday soon croon being musak piped in. The distractions are short ineffective bursts. The disruption is happening.
The crisis is as clearly understood by some as the moment when the violin scraping begins in a movie.
It is time to get right with yourself. It is time to allow yourself to develop into a peaceful, calm source of energy.
Those who emerge will be the attendants in the emergency room.
Life for me has been such an experience of making progress, lurching forward and then falling back into old habits of thinking and action. Trying to be patient with the process is like everything else: Sometimes quite easy and at other times just a condemnation to some caves of Hell volcanic spewing in a limitless black pit.
Today, it was cooler which always causes a rise in my optimism. When it is 30 + Celsius I am like a Newfoundland dog locked in a room with no AC. I become dispirited, lacking the urge to run. I can push my self for a while in the morning and then I am just laid flat sweating out of the side of my face.
Cloud give relief
Always, my mind wants me to prove that I have been working toward my goals. Not one goal, six goals or nine goals. Too much, too fast gives me a high.
It is cooler today and so I can feel that there is something possible between the two walls of night. I awake and my thoughts turn to my goals again.
And then, and then comes the questioning: What is it that I am not asking?
Like a small bore drill, what repetitions of digging into the hard wood knot of my life are going on? I want to bite into something. I want to see something become easy and reward me for the tenacity of holding on. I want to sink into this new place of keeping a grip, of holding out.
And so I ask: What is it that I am not asking? What is it that I am not seeing?
But, as always, as I walk my guests to their car, it is the mundane that calls me. It is the next thing that engages my taking action. I stand bare foot, bare faced in the garden and pull out weeds that have grown in the garden bed. I load the dishwasher. I strip the bed and begin the laundry.
I turn my mind away from the grandiose promises I have made to myself. Soothingly, I murmur, “Patience. Go back to intention, woman.”
And as I piled up the weeds along the walk way, I pile up the yearning and the frustrations and the sense of being outside. I rip out the old stories of not deserving, of being somehow inherently wrong. I tear out the old, habitual feelings about who I am as I move through the world.
I am right here, standing with slightly earth colored bare feet on the ground. And this now, this now is who I am. The questions, ultimately, are irrelevant. The day is cool. Time will pass. And each breath fills me up. I trust that I am growing, that what I cannot see is moving toward me. The questions, ultimately, are irrelevant.
When I shut the door to my garden shed, I noticed two of the four hinges are not firmly screwed into the wood. The seam in the plywood was opened and the screws just kind of float in the space between the sandwiched wood.
I push the door up and into place to close it. Every. Time. I close the door.
I know it is needing to be reseated. I know I need to take all of the screws out and find another place to establish a firm connection. And yet, I get out my screwdriver and simply sink the screws back into the space that is not working, where there is no grip, no security, no future.
This is life. The work-arounds are usually about not solving a problem. The small surrenders to that which is failing are a type of disbelief in self.
If I trace the weakness back to the source I see two statements which my ego uses to keep me in a state of competent dysfunction. There is no time. Right now I do not have the time.
Isn’t that rich. Isn’t that genius. “Right now I do not have the time.”
There is no time right now. There is only anxiety, pushing ahead, living in the future. Hoping as an antidote to doing.
There is no time right now. The ego is brilliant in its ability to distract me from growth.
The second seduction is the statement: You are too tired to take action.
This one leads me into the hours of entertainment addiction that goes on each night.
Ego says, “It is dark. You are now tired. You need to stop and just lay down.”
And so I walk away from the hinge having only temporarily, partially, incidentally made it functional. Later tonight, when I have finished my time anchored tasks it will be night. And “It is dark. You are now tired. Just lay down.” will start playing in my head.
How do we become unhinged? Because we allow it to happen, slowly, one decision at a time. The ego sings to us. It knows how to Infomercial hard sell to me a life of low grade, barely operating at competence level.
When we turn and look at our past, when we have hindsight, we can see the thousands of things that could have been prevented… if we had only had Time and were not Tired.
Maybe it is time to just reframe our concepts. We have time and we have a beautiful ever flowing energy if we stop dancing to egos tune, we can do a bigger, more effective dance. And maybe sing while we are doing it.
Being in life, being in a body and standing on some floor or ground in wide bare feet, toes splayed or wearing shoes with toes strapped together, is puzzling.
To find a place to stand has been the journey for me. Wearing a body with the inherited stories chiseled into my DNA is confusing. I question where I begin. I question which decisions are done from intention and which from distraction. I question my questions.
There have been so many times in my journey that I liken to driving alone in a low-down to the road car in a where the hell did the world go blizzard. Is the road under me? Have I veered into some one else’s lane? Do I know how far I have come?
Even looking for the signposts, milestones, markers is hopeless because of the “obstructions”. The ego voice is chatting away, the memories replaying hijacking me into the past so the present just spins under my wheels unheeded, flattened out.
And the passenger was so frequently Anxiety nagging away in the seat next to mine.
With the massive amount of reading and study I have undertaken about inheritance, imprinting, brain formation, it becomes clear that everything is about habit. Forming a new habit is the ultimate act of faith. It is driving the road blindly knowing that the very effort of staying on that road will eventually lead to a clearing.
One day it will be easier. Up ahead will be a calming, a slight hill side which allows for a clear view.
At the present time, I am seeking to build out habits that will make me more fit, more deeply committed to my meditation practice and a better friend.
I found a site on line that lays out a fitness program and I am happily into day four. My arms and back are warm with the fresh awakening of those muscles. I am super feeding and every three hours I am eating a high protein meal. I make contact with my sweet sister/friends continually. These are the new aspects of my life that I have plotted on my GPS and as they appear I welcome in.
It is a life upgrade, new software, faster connection, better quality existence.
I am continuing to draw to me people who are in crisis with the feeling that there is no purpose in the life he or she is leading. I am continuing to run my week end workshops to teach others the science of how they became so blinded to what and who they actually are in the world.
My journey makes sense now. All of the broken bones, violence, chaotic turmoil of my childhood were for a reason. When I speak, people know I am not speaking down to them. I get it. I get it.
It is the struggle that makes us heroic. It is the continuing to drive blind with the hope that soon the weather will shift. Belief that we are on a road that leads somewhere, is enough to sustain our focus.
I am living on purpose. But it is not a magical fairy land. It is not a sparkling meadow of fresh singing streams and the lion snuggled up to the lamb.
Relax into life
This life takes courage and stamina and most of all someone who is further down the road who can call back to us the encouragement that it gets better. Keep going and soon you will be able to see where you are, what you have left behind you and it is easier to create a future. Just stay on the road, keep your hands relaxed on the wheel, tell the Anxiety passenger join you in singing a silly song.
The software on my computer isn’t working. Loading up is not loading up. You Tube videos are apparently not a reference to ‘me’ as the you. The front door lock is gitching. The construction crew finished and walked away when the newly installed fan was put in over the stove and it looked great. It just would not work. Somebody is going to call me about that. Yes, uh huh.
I woke up feeling like a horse had kicked me in the head and I had stupidly kicked it back.
I keep sitting meditation and resetting intention. But inevitably February feels like scuba diving in mud, or clay or quick sand or fresh mountains of dinosaur dung.
The tree heavy with snow.
I keep hoping if I get strong enough, when I get strong enough mentally and spiritually, it will just be another season. la la la la.
Using various tactics always alleviates the sense of gulag gray no sky deadended barely hearing a pulse beat season. I am (1) not in a tidal wave (2) not in a hurricane or cyclone (3) not partially down an alligator’s maw (4) not breaking out in pustules that each have an alien baby spawn wriggling out (5) not sitting in a dentist’s chair having a root canal or four.
Okay, I tried that tactic and I am still not sitting elevated in the emotional parkhouse suite with a view of all the lower energy below me.
I was briefly amused by the twitter storm over Scalia’s death because, well, you don’t mess with liberal, educated, intellectuals without expecting a beautifully crafted celtic designed sword in your back. The posts were witty, nuanced, and full of the joy of new hope for a more humane society.
But then I wake up after spending time in some dream world barn where in a horse kicked me in the head.
The difficulty is that my putting off solutions does not seem to be, ultimately, that effective. I have been carefully filling a teaspoon with cod liver oil then moving up to a tablespoon full and finally in this last desperate week just picking the jar up and swigging it until I feel coated in slimy optimism all down my throat.
The kitchen was to be renovated on January 6th, the crew showed up February 8th worked a bit and then disappeared with no call or notice. Now with the job “done” except the fan does not work, I sit here no longer expectant. They did say 2016 so I know that part of the agreement will be fulfilled.
I took my car into get the oil changed and the guy at the counter came out and sat next to me.
I said,” Oh No! Just tell me the amount not the story.”
He looked at me kindly and suggested some three step process so that I would not have too much out lay at a time.
I just looked him in the eyes and said, “I am paying for a kitchen renovation with not real money so go ahead and do the entire operation to save ‘her’ with not real money. Makes no difference at this point.”
And then I came to understand where I can find a perverted sense of joy and a lighter heart. I will embrace victim mode during the month of February. I will sigh and moan and bitch and compare myself to every other person who, of course, has a better life than I do. If a branch falls from my Maple tree during a storm I will heighten the drama.
I will think to myself, “Even the tree is failing to hold up to its contract to stand against the sky in February. I can’t depend on anything.”
Just be a whiney bitch and get it over with
The problem lies in the tension between what I feel I should be experiencing and what the emotional reality of February is for me. I walk celibate, repeating patterns of responsibility, my life churning like the spinning wheel thing on my computer which isn’t even really turning but just trying to make me think it is turning but the colors all stay in the same damned place lying to me.
Maybe, I should just give in and go out the door with the broken twigs from my tree stuck in my hair; the partially painted fingernails flaking off garishly celebratory color; wearing two different I can’t be bothered socks poking up out of my unpolished ankle boots and drive myself everywhere so I don’t have to expend an ounce of my precious energy for WHAT!
Nevermind. I will take some more acidopholus, gulp down an untold amount of cod liver oil and order a S.A.D. light and delude myself that next February I will have learned something, or grown, or become less human. And I don’t have leprosy, so that is pretty wonderful.
I like a paper map. I like holding it in my hands. I like folding it up and putting it away when I have achieved the arrival. When it is open and I admit I am lost, I can get my bearings from all possible surrounding landforms, highways, rivers and adjacent topographies.
When I travel, I am frequently lost and it is challenging. To a person who decided in grade 9 what career she would pursue the fluky unforseen is a source of anxiety.
On Monday I sit and create my weekly calendar. I lay out what I think are necessary social interactions because I take them like my cod liver oil, as a preventative measure. I assess what days are best for working out with my weights. Walking is penciled in for aerobics. I establish what the major project is that I need to focus upon and carefully allot time for that goal.
At the present time, it is the book I am writing about my Alternate Reality trip to Europe. I am thinking of calling it Blood on the Street. Walking in my ancestor’s steps and experiencing the death of 90 people in Paris was not a vacation.
The difficulty I experience when things seem chaotic is that I sink down into a sense that I am, somehow, not up to the challenge. I know it is an old story. I know it is a left over narrative.
My new life since I have grown up, does not include being late, shuffling along in an unprepared state, showing up with no idea of what I am meant to do.
However, I sabotage my intentions. The walk never happens. It is too cold, or too wet, or too hot, or too gray or without purpose. I have learned that simply to walk somewhere without a purpose is as unlikely to happen as me suddenly liking sports. That is just a giant fail.
The concept of using up my resources keeps me in a tight little spinning circle. I become a spinning top… around and around.
My intention this week was to work on my book and I did well for four days and then…. I got sick.
Now my focus shifted to the battle between blame/resistance and selfcare/ submission. My mind always goes to the same questions. “Why did you get sick? When did you lower your energy and allow viruses to get in? What is wrong with your body, your spirit, your immune system, your habits?”
It is an interrogation but does not shift from good cop to bad cop. It is all bad cop.
A weak voice will be saying as background to the sound track , “You are building immunity to a new virus. That is good. You are working with your immune system to grow stronger.”
But it is a hardly discernible voice.
The project that I agreed to do entailed learning software and a new site. I spend over twelve hours trying to to navigate various software tools without success. I attempted for over 10 hours to load a video onto a new site without success. I was clenched. The failures piled upon one another as the deadline got closer. But I kept at it.
It is as if I am sailing along in a boat and think it is fine… then the wind shifts and I see there are gigantic tears in the sail.
And so I became frustrated and bent over and focused on all of the areas that I had no skill. My time line fell apart. My good intention calendar dropped its pages like a 1930’s movie graphic.
Godzilla had walked through my beautifully architected city and flattened it. And then I got sick.
I am confused as to why so many things did not work. I am confused as to why I can set up a beautifully designed calendar map unfolded to plot out the road of my week and yet I end up somewhere else.
There is so much destruction and reformation in life.
Growth: Keep Page Open
But one gift that has been brought to me after what I interpret as an abysmally unsuccessful week, is that I see exactly which signs I was not reading. I understand where I am going off the road. And that what my confusion is about.
Setting intention is only partially effective. Sometimes going up the wrong road all the way to the flat landing place that shows you the entire stretch of the landscape means chaos and acknowledging that you were on or took the wrong road.
The delight in the confusion is the light in the chaos. The seduction of side projects, working to pick up small checks, moving my focus from one thing to another is not working for me now nor has it ever worked. What is it I am passionately headed toward?
That is all that needs to happen now. Leave the flirtations behind.
There is so much that I hide from myself. Perhaps, this week of chaos is just an opportunity to truly get the party started. That is my story and I am sticking to it.