Where do we exist?

The question of where we exist in time and space often occurs to me. At times, such as the weeks when I was recovering from bunion surgery I feel almost invisible. Like the tree clapping in the forest or a ripple of lightened water, I was without witness. The boundaries of self begin to dissolve when movement is restricted and the house is an isolate place.

the self

energy of self

From the time I had the surgery until the day I drove myself to the final x-ray by the surgeon I was mainly alone. Forty days of being unable to drive, to work, to consume and lord knows I like to talk. The silence kept me company.
However, when I begin to drive again I noticed that I tended to go out less frequently. It was easier to maintain a level of frugality and channel whatever funds arrived into my massive line of credit debt. The only distraction/craving which I was swept right back into was sugar. While I ate no cookies or treats for forty days, I am now storing gluten free oreos around me to prepare for the long days of winter.

mending, reforming

Today is the beginning of the new cycle of fruition according to the Aztec calendar. So I celebrated by working ten hours editing and loading in my books to Lulu.com.http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cheriehanson.
I find it less than pleasant to edit in Open Office which keeps shutting down when it is loaded with my images. Watching the mocking wheel grind its way to no where on the screen feels less than fulfilling. However, I persisted and I have the first anthology Facing It in both ebook format and in paperback book file. Facing In, the more recent short poems that I have posted on Facebook during the year 2011 is loaded up as a paperback as well. This time I put in a request to have all of the books appear in the google search. It is eight weeks before that happens.
So I continue to work toward the goals I have set on my resolution chart that I composed from Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project. I am walking 30 minutes a day, doing crunches. Today I added a few repetitions with 10 pound weights.
My writing is moving forward and the next project may well be making a book of my blog postings. Gretchen suggested the idea and it really appeals to me.


One of the things my writing teachers and mentors have always said is to respect what you have written. Cherish it. Keep it in a good notebook. And don’t be afraid to publish.
I am teaching myself more about the software of Photoshop Elements after fifteen years of using Paint Shop Pro. The similarity of driving a certain type of vehicle which becomes an extension of your body and then trying to find your way around a rental vehicle comes to mind.
I teach two classes in the coming weeks for UBC-O Continuing studies on painting into a print and on blogging. Teaching is such a joy for me. I have an actual physical reaction in my body. I feel lighter, more energized and excited about life.
Now to try to figure out how to get my television to work again. I put the computer down on the remote and apparently ordered a movie from Shaw which I couldn’t get to go away so I just shut it off. Perhaps, some kind soul will wonder past the house and I will run barefoot into the street to ask for an interpretation of the technology. I often feel like an immigrant to a planet I don’t understand. But I am used to it.

Going Around the Bend, Is it a Good Thing?

Life can sometimes be a winding road. As I sit with my foot up, waiting for my healthy, vibrant body to heal the bones, I ask. The questions are many-faceted. Where do I live? What do I do to make a living? Am I ready to be with a partner or will the bitterness from the last relationship work its way into the next?

Two souls reaching for one another: love

Should I sit still, save my money, get work or should I be more expansive and take opportunities for further healing work with Gabor Mate?

earth a grounding

Have all of my protective strategies become a constrictive bunker stopping my growth. Sonia Choquette suggests that a person perplexed ask the divine and then sit quietly. Surety. That is what I seek. But it is an insane quest. How do we have any guarantee that being safe is safe or that taking a risk is bound to end badly?
One thing I do know is that I am definitely becoming healthier. The very restlessness is a clue to that.
Last night I had a very accurate dream. I was in a hotel room with my ex and we both were about to go to work. The difficulty was that we had a giant, pet elephant. Could we leave it alone all day in the hotel room? I had premonitions (which wouldn’t be difficult based on the situation) that all would go badly. I pulled up all of the carpets and turned the television on because the gray beast liked television. There was another, smaller pet-being in the room but I couldn’t see clear what it was. It was skittering around on the surfaces basically unseen.
So my subconscious mind is a witty and amusing creator of dreams. Yes, I feel sad. But did I always want to be afraid of the elephant in the room destroying the home?
I awoke with a back-ground head ache which is an indication that I was grinding my teeth. Where did this tension come from? My sensitivity continually surprises me. I moved the screens in the yard and there was his saw that he has left here for pick up. Seeing the saw unleashed all of the fear, the memory of deep pain and a sense of insecurity in my own environment. Perhaps dreaming about it is one way of releasing it.

Looking beyond where I am now, asking to see around the corner is my goal. Make a plan. Four hundred steps towards the future. No matter how much it looks like a hop on my healing foot. There is a better life around the Bend. I am a seeker.

Gray Skies, Rain and Hope

Last night my ambitious day of moving through the house putting small things in order resulted in an evening of pain. My foot had deep aching in the bone. If I wasn’t quite clear where the surgery had taken place in the days since August 17th, it was patently clear when I tried to go to sleep.

Because of my aversion to taking pain killers, my aching foot had to talk to me for a good half an hour before I reached for the tylenol 3 and the anti-inflammatory. The day was long and lonely. When I have no contact with others during the day, I see myself slipping down. The negative thoughts which surround me during this isolate period accompany me. My practice is to neither resist them, nor become angry with myself for not evolving more quickly. Compassion.

an opening not seen clearly

What I do know is that this is not the existence that I desired for myself. There is so much that I am doing right. There is so much that I am doing to sustain myself, to grow my spiritual practice. But the critical perfectionist nature that has allowed me to bull dog my way through obstacles is ineffective when I am constrained.

I listened to Sonia Choquette on Hay House Radio last night and her rebroadcast from April had an uplifting effect upon me.http://www.hayhouseradio.com/nowplaying.php She asked the question, “What is your adventure?” As I listened to her, I realized my adventure is to allow myself to pass through this transition from the old life to the new and be patient with the retreat that I am undertaking right now. If I were at the Vipassana Centre I could not write, analyze with words the realizations that are coming to me.

So my healing retreat is partial. My time alone is limited. What needs to be surrendered is knowing the time line.

What is screamingly clear to me is that I cannot remain in this cinder house of grief and fear. Making choices with no guarantee of the outcome is extremely difficult for me.This period has lead me to classic approach/avoidance resentment. Seeing that staying still without making choices is only bringing tears of frustration may be the only way for me to realize that I need to take action.

silver blue mosaic: sky and cloud

I have had my guide’s voice which speaks to me in my right ear tell me, “It is time.” The voice first came to me when I was at the Ayahuasca retreat in Peru. Since then it speaks very, very occasionally.

When I asked, “Time for what?” there was silence. Like a stern parent, the guide just was there amazed at the ridiculous ignorance I was showing. So I know when I can walk again without crutches, it is time… for whatever it is time for. Change, choice, risk taking, making a life for myself beyond this period of grief and regret.

Sonia suggested that at night before you go to sleep you ask the universe to surprise you with a show of bounty, a gift of abundance. After trying it, I awoke to find the Blue Cross very small check for repayment on my drugs. It wasn’t much but it was something. Immediately, I put it on my line of credit. My intention is to lower my large debt from my pay out on the separation. It is a step and steps add up.

While I was reading a meditation book this morning I came across some wonderful thoughts which I will share with you.Taking Flight was a find at Mosaic Books in Kelowna. Written by Jesuit Priest Anthony de Mello who incorporated a Buddhist practice with his priesthood, the book has many pearls of wisdom.

1.”Both what you run away from and what you yearn for- is within you.”
2.”If you think you are what your friends and enemies say you are, you obviously don’t know yourself.”
3. “To know things is to be learned. To know others is to be wise. To know self is to be enlightened.”
4.” God is in the I of the beholder.”
5. “If you want a perfect world, get rid of the people.”
6. “Pain is the process of the craft entering into the apprentice.”
7. “I am the sower and the sown.”

My morning meditation practice does not indicate one who is highly disciplined. I allow it to slide to 2 pm some days. The time I sit changes. I answer the telephone. Some days I light candles and incense and chant. Other days I am quiet. Most frequently my meditation turns to a check of my body and my spirit and I find that I carry much sorrow. Instead of trying to run from it, I face it.

What I have observed over the last year and a half is that my shock, my denial of my situation was like one who was awakened from a dream. All that I knew to be my reality is gone. My mirrors had shattered around me, leaving me in darkness. It was a death; a sudden death of the type that you expect to wake up and find it to be untrue.

I pushed myself to get a job, to work, to do that which needed to be done. Moving through the tunnel felt like progress. But there was no joy.

Sitting meditation has helped me to find ways to be more loving and have more compassion for myself. When the negative voice begins, I could say you have done the best you knew how to do. There is no going back. Both the mistakes and the memories are gone. It is best to leave it all behind.

Sitting meditation allows me to make minute changes to my patterns of thought. The urge for control, for activity, for validation from others, for perfectionistic performances all surface. I observed the yearning to be a good girl, to please others in an attempt to prove that I am loveable.

I sit with it: it sits with me.

Right now, I can only be thankful to the friends who make contact with me. Right now, I can only ask why I have made such painful mistakes in my life choices. And I ask the universe to forgive me. I ask that I forgive myself.

But it is time to find another way to be. I pray for guidance. And I say thank you for all that I learn.

We are darkness, light and angers dance.

My goal is no longer self-improvement and has become self-acceptance. This is the Map. You are here.

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

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.