January Fever

After the 20 hour bus trip back from Houston, I was fairly depleted. I often remark how the “let down” period is usually two days after the life marathon event. Les Mis with friends was a total sob fest for me.
The combination of being physically tired; bored at the routine existence; having no project of passion in my life; missing my daughter, her family and my grandchildren probably played into the prodigious sobbing.

Canadian Beige series Capri Bean Scene

Also, lately I have been feeling so much that I am at a fork in the road. I see others my age who are choosing to leave. The thought of the “legacy” that I haven’t completed plagues me. What if I were gone? What have I done to fulfill my dreams? What gifts have I left in the lives of others?

My life seems so small in comparison to my dreams. The choices that I have made to play safe, stay in the ridges of routine, keep myself disciplined have left me feeling disappointed in myself.

When I was young, I saw myself as an aerialist swinging high on a trapeze. The risk taking, the physical skill, the star power was in me. I could feel it. Power. Power in sequins.

So when did my life become so mundane?

Capri Bean Scene Art Show Kelowna in January

In the past three years, I have come off of work addiction; relationship addiction and have learned to sit calmly in my center. But the sound of the big top still plays in the background.

How can I be myself; hold to my dreams and be so cautious?

One of the biggest difficulties for me is learning acceptance. I accept the fact that I always double think everything. I am cautious until I react as if someone has hit me by a dart of some kind of adrenal intensifying plant. Then I suddenly lurch out into action. Do I think I can do things differently?

For instance, after the Les Mis sobathon that began as the lights dimmed (I have seen the movies and stage plays), I got very ill.

Keeping my spiritual practice in focus, I began to support my body. I stayed home. I drank lots of fluids. I kept my mind calm with meditation and affirmations. Prayers for healing were offered up.

Underneath was the foley like music. Underneath the intention and spiritual practice was the voice, “See. You never start. There is always something you create that keeps you small. Now you can’t start because you are sick.”

As I watch myself, I think of how everything is spiritual practice. Can I just watch my self-denigrating voice and learn from it? What is it that holds me to a place that makes me so restless and yearning? How much of these impatient thoughts are because it is time to reform my life and how much of them are old habits of mind?

When it is time, it will be time. This is what I tell myself.

But I made a chart which covers my intentions. I can check it off in a daily manner. I can walk along the lines of intention. Disciplining myself even further, when in my heart I wish to run away to the circus, stand in the centre ring and astound myself and others with my courage and my fashion sense.

The illusion of Stillness

Mundane, repetitive, stuck, cycling gray
bare cutting into the sky
branches dividing the flat planes.

Over two yards a tree
is busy with dead small leaves
standing texturing the view somewhat.
I seek continuity of
over and over the same
gestures, habits of delusion.
Mind full of thought crows
brassing sounds
comparisons, directions
attempts to keep me scared
and small.

One day looks like the next
a river’s flat silver surface
all turbulence underneath
where water meets the rocks.

To be still, quiet and accepting of one state or another is a monumental practice. My urge to weave a story keeps presenting itself. Today after a month of taking my laundry to the laundromat because some mysterious parts are no longer functioning in my second hand washing machine I see my mind is at work. Up there, in the tree head I weave narratives.

We create turbulence

The higher place is where I try to stand. I call it the balcony view. I picture myself standing on a balcony looking down at my thoughts as if I were a cultural anthropologist and the primitive society was ME.
As I bagged up the laundry, I checked in. So far so good. No story. Just putting the bags in the car. Then I remembered the times when I was in Europe doing laundry and as a grad student. So here was the version I was constructing: I was on an adventure. I was going to a new place.

At the laundromat, I realized I had no soap. That made me laugh. It had been so long I guess I imagined the soap just trickled down like pixie dust from the soap fairy.

When I went next door to the deli/grocery store, a sample pushing woman approached me in her pseudo maid’s outfit lofting a silver tray. After exchanging information about my gluten intolerance, she ran off to check on the two miniature hamburger shaped chocolate eclairs. They were “safe”. She gave me both.

On the way back to the laundromat, I breathed deeply, looked at the sky and thought about how wonderful my day was. Two amazingly delicious, sugar saturated chocolate eclairs melted in my mouth one after the other. The machines were gigantic and tipped on their sides could be a power smart car. Fast. They were done in 20 minutes. I put the wet clothes in the car and drove home singing to the Glee CD I am determined to wear out.

So I did create a story. It was a story of finding the adventure in the flat places of winter. It was a story of seeing my being alone as being free. It was a story of unexpected pleasure when I dropped the turbid drama weavings, the cat’s cradle of catastrophe.

The washer still isn’t working. The repair men went away but after looking at the back of my dryer they explained that the luke warm hours of turning are a result of bad venting. Because they came today, I will have both the washer problem and the dryer problem resolved.

As I sit here with the tepid light coming in my window, I know that there are more things that will appear to be unrepaired, too slow, stultified which are in fact only incubating. Under the shell, under the soil there is growth going on. And that is a story that I allow to dance in my head.

Whaaat is Happening Here isn’t quite clear.

Up against the wall

elbows out

fighting to feel.

The background glass

allows the light of leaves,

mosaics the yellow

next to my bed.

The pain of being body,

swollen round

arthritic pulse of flow.

I will not curse

the heart at work.

Art Walk and the standing for hours each day have taken their toll. I awoke with stabbing pain in my wrists, knees, ankles and feet. My stomach was burning. Strangely hard to settle on one spot when back, neck, head and all of the rest are screaming at me like an unruly group of children all demanding attention. I moved the bag of lavendar closer to my head and let the aroma flood over me.” Resistance is futile,” I reminded myself. Just let the high notes play like a zylophone first here then there. A tune of physical despair. I listened until I sank back into sleep.

poetry in the folds

poetry in the folds

Today I had the wonderful gifts of emails from friends sending love and congratulations on my work. Even my taciturn brother said, “You know you are good, now go get buyers.” From him, that is high praise. He speaks little, infrequently and usually laces the comments with sarcasm.

Trying to get the house back in order and return my focus to those things which I have promised that I would do for people was what entertained me in the afternoon.

But the morning was sheer frivolity. We awoke at 7 were at Valu Village at 8:30 where I purchased $300 worth of thrift store clothing for myself, Cameron and my grand daughter Rhane for $150. This grand girl skyped me to inform me that “I have nothing to wear in my closet. I have no dressed for preschool, grandma.” Actually she says gandma. So today I got her dresses, skirts, blouses, sweaters and a pair of shoes. Mostly pink. Mostly very, very pink.

So what of this day? What of any day? Where did I make good decisions? Where did I go wrong?

The body is asking for care. Order and quiet needs to be vigilantly but gently reinstituted. The quest for more galleries to carry my work must be taken up again.

And the breeze that flows past me from the door asks me to come outside.

When will the bottom fall out?

So many people have their eyes on the bottom of the stock market, the bottom line and what their bottoms look like as they walk away swaying their jeans. Today is a day to look up. The sky is blue. There is sun light and we are still alive.

The optimistic frame of mind comes from the news that I have received lately that three people who were close to me when I lived in Houston, B.C have either died or had a close relative die. The school secretary  offered me comfort and solutions to many problems when I moved up north, alone with few possessions, and having two children under the age of six who had chicken pox in tow. My car had a hole in the floor next to the gas pedal that allowed the 30 below air to sweep over us. It was not an easy existence but Margaret made my life tolerable. She has moved on from her battle with cancer and is gone.

By the time I moved back to the Okanagan I had established myself as bloody minded and stubborn. I had spent all of my time working as an English teacher, Drama teacher and had no  emotional or physical support for raising my two children. I had not accumulated friends. Friends take time and effort which I did not have to spare.

On moving day only two people showed up to help us move a household of four bedrooms into a u rent van and a small car and set off on the new life. George, who suddenly died of am embolism after a routine surgery, was one of the two. I think of him gratefully.

My stepfather is refusing to get out of bed after an accident which left him with three broken ribs. He has, basically, given up. We will be going down to sit with him as soon as our classes finish in the next week. He who never spoke to us and was distant at best has in his drugged state allowed my brother to hold his hand.

So, as a person who almost hemorrhaged to death in 1974… losing 1/2 of the blood in my body; survived cancer in 1997 that was a close call, and walked away from a car accident that saw our car spiraling from guard rail to guard rail directly in front of a semi-truck, I know fully that  there is a bottom line. It is not financial or cosmetic. The bottom line is the termination contract that we have all signed.

With grief, comes appreciation. Today the sun is shining and I think kindly of those who were there for me in the best way they could be. Thank you.

The door beyond

The door beyond