A Full Moon and Mortality

It is a time of sadness. I am sleeping deeply with the comfort of my habitual sadness blanket wrapping me alone. I am a mummy in my bed, the cold air cracking in my window strokes my face.

meditation on Christmas
The Ice full moon burns cold in the empty sky and next door my neighbours have colored lights strung on every branch in their yard. They are unafraid of child wonder excess in their unfenced territory.
I have a single ornament swinging from the hook meant to cradle newspapers. The gold star is all that I have left from what I threw out when I changed my life.
Under the fat moon the snow was blue, last night, and sequined. But I could not capture my reality with my camera as I stood there. It would not read whether I stood or crouched.
Reaching out. Not reaching out. All the same, my ego tells me. I am a vessel sink and the memories pass through me like water carried away somewhere I cannot know. The seven families that I have passed through are present at Christmas.

Just now, I lack the fire to excite myself. Teaching myself patience day by day, I sit meditation and feel into my thoughts like breath, like water passing in and through me.
I watch the desire for the perfect self appear and pass away.
And I listen to my ego chastising me for the errors that I insist upon repeating.
I wrestle with the desire not to wrestle with my thoughts and simply drop my eyes to feel so much grief for being human. The grief of yearning for more than I could possibly hold in my own two fists is singing to me.
The mind keeps making list maps to glory.

 
I watch and endure the waiting for the end of waiting. I think of the magnificent sparkler moments when I just burst into the light an ecstasy moment of love.
I am sitting waiting for passion to carry me out of this frozen time, to carry me above the rigidness of anger. I endure the invasions of barbarian thoughts destroying everything in their path.

We create the self. We go beyond the self
I work on myself learning how to accommodate the chaos of being alive in a body in this time, at this time, marked by the franking of my sex, my family, my culture, my identification.

The only untainted goal is to be between restless desires for a split moment and let the tears like water flow from me, flow through me to clarify my vision so that I maybe present when I am called upon to love.
I sit and watch the invasions of my barbarian thoughts and forgive myself for being merely and so magnificently human.

What next? Staying grounded.

The Waking
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
XXX
My goal is to walk so softly on the ground. But there are times I stumble, swear, feel blinded by some fog created by my urge to keep myself safe and protected.
The tension between the urge to create, go big, just fucking DO something and the necessity to be careful, orderly, not to take risks or attract too much attention from the Eye of Sauron has pretty much been the back beat track of the movie of my life.
What my ego is constantly whispering to me is ,”Not good enough. Not enough effort. You could have been so much bigger than this version of yourself. Why did you waste your time, your focus, your energy, your day, your week, your life!”
I think of those heart-felt movies where in a marathon runner has his crippled little brother on his back.  He chooses to run with the weight of the destroyed relative throughout the race. At times, I see my ego that way. I just keep carrying him or her or it with me and sometimes the being is just too heavy for me to run the marathon with any spectacular results.
But that image and message, too, are from the ego weight creature I carry.
At present I have been evolving in the way I almost inevitably do. It seems to be my style. I am stoic and patient for a time with an issue and use my super human suppression skills to cloak the problem in a field of invisibility. And then I stumble onto the next plan hidden behind the bushes.
My neck has disintegrating discs which have radiated migraines, ear aches and jackhammer skull pain for decades. It has gradually gotten better as I build the strength in my body and learn to work on flexibility.
My digestion has been a mess since I witnessed the Paris Attacks on the street where I was staying in November.
My message to myself is highly nuanced: I am doing well. I am armoured and impervious.
I had only one flashback after seeing the blood and hearing the screams of those dying. I have had no nightmares at all. I congratulated myself for staying in a field of love during and after the attack. There was no hatred or personal fear arising.
But my body has had unpredictable purges since December. I am clearing. I am clearing unexpectedly, rather constantly.
So somewhere along the way, I decided to deal with the ignored messages from my body.
xxx
First I went to body talk and the reader said I was carrying massive amounts of pain but it was not my pain. It was pain from others that had lodged in my body. She placed her hands on my spine and released tension which I could feel leaving like water from a burst pipe. The flowing out of that which I had been holding was something palpable.
Next, I decided to go for physio. I had two treatments releasing some locked areas in my body around my neck. After the second treatment, I suffered barely endurable pain. And I am tough. I have prided myself on my ability to “take it.”
I felt as if my skull were being attacked with a jackhammer from inside, from my brain. I had a massive migraine, pain shooting up my neck and out of my ears and the constant presence of nausea. I awoke in so much simultaneous distress it was impossible to focus on any one area.
I allowed myself a sugary drink, took a tylenol 3 and decided to just drug myself asleep with gravol.
When I went back for my third treatment, the physio indicated  that unlocking knots in the body can allow for information to start flowing that has been repressed. On the right side of my neck is an area that refuses to let go, he informed me.
I pointed out that I had a shard of bone standing up on that side on the front of my shoulder.
He stepped back and looked concerned. He said that it was an indicator of a dislocated shoulder at some time in my past.
When I went home with the new information to add to the missing puzzle bits of my life, I sat with the idea that this happened when I was under the amnesia blanket of my blacked out childhood. I have protected myself by not remembering. I have allowed myself to move forward in a healthy manner by not “knowing” what happened to me.
What is behind the doors.

What is behind the doors.

So in the last four years I have been able to gather further evidence. A energy therapist told me of my broken cheek bone. A woman’s retreat presented the information that not only my father but my grandfather were dangerous to me. And now I own the information that my shoulder was dislocated and never reset properly.
When parents hide the damage to their children so that they will not be found guilty, so much becomes unvalidated experience.
What I have come to understand is that my journey has been about using my mind to reclaim my full presence. I studied. I read. I attended conferences. I went for counselling to Elizabeth Fry on and off for eight years. And then I let it rest.
connecting with spirit
Next I moved onto working with spirit. I found a group of Catholic nuns who worked with energy and it was while I was attending their support group the entire understanding came to me. I was attacked at 18 months on by those who should have been my protectors.
What I came to accept is that I was lucky to be alive.
The grief was mammoth. I cried almost steadily for three months. I had not know. I had not let myself see. I had not consciously “experienced” the attacks at all. But the suppression was not working in my life.
The spiritual work continued with the guidance of Gabor Mate in a retreat and through his books. My meditation practice became the anchoring center of my life. I began to be able to love and not hide how much others meant to me.
I sat with Peruvian Shamans and with a Black Foot Medicine man. And I read. I read everything about how the brain works, the patterning of DNA. I studied Buddhism, Tao, Hinduism and I opened myself up to the deep connection with spirit.
What I have done in the last three weeks is a result of my adventure. I worked first on knowing that I was determined to survive. Then I used my mind to understand on that first level. The spirit work was only possible because I intellectually understood how important it was to get beyond the mind.
Finally, reconnecting with the messages in my body is the final and most illuminating step. I can only allow those neurological connections to bring messages because I am strong enough now. I have worked out, used weights, established habits of nurture and strengthening my body so that I can actually see how strong I am. That has helped me tremendously.
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What happens next? Don’t ask me. I didn’t plan this journey. I just let it take me to where it will. It is only afterward that I can see how “on purpose” my path has been.
“What falls away is always, and is near.”
I no longer fear to be seen. I no longer fear the Eye of Sauron. The greatest evil is to not see who we are and why. The greatest evil is to not allow ourselves to grow by doing whatever it takes. And I wait for the next directives with a vast curiosity. Life is such an adventure.
The kiss that has awakened me from sleep is my own.

September: Is it Sexy?

Sexy Summer

Sexy Summer

The onset of Summer always brings with it copious manifestations of optimism. Crocus, tulips, roses pushing out to the sky liven our hearts. However, the Latin meaning for the month of September is in no way “flash” or evocative.

It is the 7th months. It comes after the dog drooling days of August heat. Inevitably August was the month where we reacted like someone at a spa who had had a four hour massage. Our legs became rubberish. Our goal was just put something in the body to satisfy hunger and we practice the mantra, “Later. I will get to it later.” And then we have naps. We have naps at noon, or three o’clock or at six to prepare for a long night of sleep.

garden sculpture with pumpkins

garden sculpture with pumpkins

I wonder if we in our work and status focused society could institute a competition for August, Dog day naps. Maybe, then we would treasure them more fully.

The gardens go to ruin. The workout plan dissolves in the face of the continuous presence of heat and the arrival of family and guests. August is when we finally attain what the promise of summer brought to us: long slow days of not particularly anything happening.

And then we have the seventh month. I pasted my calendar on the wall this morning and filled in the dates that I have already made an appointment with myself.

My intention was to work out today… but so far I have only had time to workout what my intentions are for September.

The birds are not so noisy today. The black squirrels are manic in their attempts to bury walnut every where that is possible. My planters are dug up. I saw one trying to start a tree in my neighbours untended, over flowing ease troughs. They fly along the branch highways from roof to roof flicking their tails. Quick! Get Ready!

Tarot card image, the world 5 1/2 1 3/4 $10

Tarot card image, the world 5 1/2 1 3/4 $10

September does not bring the perfume and seduction of summer. One ponders more quietly the coming days. They form a rhythm. It is up to us to make the music.

 

Finding Connection: What I learned in San Francisco

This year is the first year I will be totally alone at Christmas. Because of circumstances, I will not spend time with either my daughter’s family or with my son.

In a way, it opens up the season as if a construct is changing the very shape of expectation. What Christmas will become to me in the future, I do not know. What is certain is that the present is engineering a new formulation of what is coming.

 

getting caught in the whirl wind

getting caught in the whirl wind

I overlook a stretch of space, of time and there are stepping stones ink- scratched on my calendar saying,’ in this place is a coffee with a friend, in this place is an appointment’. Having these scheduled events anchors the flow of days.

When I sit with others and hear their lives cycling unresolved issues, it causes me to examine my own. One day an image appeared. It is as if there were a pool of vomit on the floor in front of the refrigerator. As the dweller prepares meals and puts things away, he or she steps around the splatter of chaos. The smell becomes stronger and stronger and still, the dweller simply avoids the nasty thing. There is a mess of what could not be digested, processed and passed through in that life. Its presence causes greater and greater tension.

When I explained the metaphor one day to a friend she corrected me. “No,” she said, “we walk right through it because we don’t even register the presence of the mess.” I burst out in laughter at the picture.

But what if the decision was made to simply clean up? What things in my life do not work, what aspects are recycling negative outcomes? What emotional, spiritual, physical, financial messes am I stepping around?

 

love waits

When I returned from a conference in San Francisco, I concentrated on the physical. I painted scratched trim, I took all of the hidden treasures out of drawers, cupboards and closets. Most of the items taking up space were ridiculously old, dried up, never used or three or four partial bottles of the same fluids. So with joy I just threw the unnecessary out.

Next I have a hanging lamp I have owned for almost 10 years. I called a handy man and paid to have it hung.

It is such a pleasing thing to see how it shifts the energy when the environment becomes cleaner, more orderly and calmer. I had the area rug cleaned. Over 12 years ago I laid that in my livingroom and twice have taken it to the back yard to run water through it from my hose.

The carpet cleaner asked when I had had it cleaned professionally, because he said the black water was coming out of it for a long time, and the sand. Lots of sand fell though it (maybe it was time). I said, “Never.”

My computer housed thousands of files and pictures. With a mind to action, I ordered, labeled, put then into folders that my future self could discern. Then I dragged them off to Dropbox to be stored.

I thought about the possibilities, the almost touching filaments that could carry energy and bring prosperity into me. The facebook, twitter, linked in, red bubble, google plus should flow to one another. They could work together to fling information from site to site exciting the internet neurons. So I loaded 45 images into the red bubble account, selected products and started posting and reposting with links from one window to the other.

Loneliness has been leaving me feeling as if a cannon ball had blown my heart out. “And whose fault is that?” Yep. I was talking to myself again. So I started reaching out to friends and setting up coffee dates. On Mondays I now establish a schedule of events for the week. In the past I eye the calendar and just sigh myself deeper into my covers But now I have come to realize that like most other things in life, if I want friendships I need to maintain them.

 

neon

I think back to when I was just a discarded rag doll on the floor five years ago and how I got better and went to Chapters to sit. I was around people but not with people. How much deficit I have created from my attitude of marginality.

So if it something just stinking in life; if it is making more work ignoring it than it is dealing with it; if it is creating drama when the desire is for peace and laughter, then clean it up.

Today I hired a dating coach. At 70 years of age, I have finally learned I need help. There are things that are not working. There are things in my life that I don’t know how to do, how to solve, how to correct.

But one thing I learned from the conference organizers in San Francisco, is that those billionaires who I talked to there learned to ask for help. They hired life coaches, and tech workers, and personal trainers. And they did it when they were barely hanging on financially.

It isn’t weakness to bend down and clean things up. But maybe looking at a you tube video about the best way to go about it is a good idea.

If something is not working, make it work. Find somebody who knows how to make it work. Get rid of the old crap in life and the old drama. Stop hoarding and ignoring. And don’t worry about being bored. There will always be more smelly mess to deal with. No worries, there.

 

flow stab water thumb 3

DIY is it an Illusion?

Embracing the Power Dragon

Embracing the Power Dragon

This last month there have been so many lessons learned. When Pay Pal made a deposit to my account twice and then had to remove a payment, I flipped the anxiety switch off. Like a current of negative electricity that threatened to run through my mind, the story started to play. Flip the switch.

open draw

My thoughts immediately went to a statement which I had read in a library book, Zen and the Art of Falling in Love by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna.

She asked the question, “What is the host and what is the guest.” It was simply put. It got through to me. Is a feeling of being at home, loved, supported and respected the host in my house of emotions? Or is the sense of lack, scarcity, vulnerability the host? Are moments of sorrow, grief, anger, numbness the elements that take up most of my mental floor space? Or do these emotions just visit for a while to a place that is more fulsome and joyous?

So $600 that I had not expected to flow out of my account would leave. First, I said to myself, “That was never your money. You are glad to pay back that which is not yours.” Secondly, I went into my practice of asking, “What are you supposed to learn?”

Going to that place lead me to understand more fully how my relationship with money is less than adult. Do I know how much is in my account as if I were an adult? Am I anticipating payments that must come out such as my house insurance which I had “forgotten” about?

So much of managing my money has been about deprivation because that is what I have become an expert at living. My parents worked four jobs yet when we went shopping my mother would visit every store on both sides of the Columbia river to see what items were cheapest. When she died she still had every receipt for each and every item she had purchased since 1960.

I was in graduate school for an extended period of time and lived with no heat and little money. My way of living has always been as a poor student. With over 2,000 books, I moved from one boarding house to another. The thrift stores provided me with clothing and household items. Each time my life fell apart it cost me thousands of dollars and I had to begin again.

So being cold, underfed and wearing thrift clothing became a sign of competence. It meant I could live within the constraints of my pay check. But this month, I was once again directed in a more powerful mind set. What if you took your assets and managed them more mindfully to allow plenty to flow in?

I went to the bank and sat down with the investment banker. I was reassured that my understanding of the world economy was accurate. I do have two years before inflation will begin. I have two years to pay down my “reverse dowry” line of credit obligation taken out to buy my freedom.

I felt actual fear as I took the money out of the self directed account to allow the bank to manage it. But the jar of coins under the bed attitude was not serving me. The wrap up in a blanket and keep the lights off mentality was not serving me.

It is against my very cautious nature to go out and buy expensive items just to feel powerful. Today, I replaced the stove element on the second hand simple appliance all by myself. It cost $37 and it worked. But I have the heat up and bought some lovely food items on sale.

centered

centered

It is walking that territory between fear and delusion that is the trick.

I am so proud of myself for the head way (and don’t you just love that word!) that I have made. For the first time since my divorce, I have begun to eat breakfast sitting at the breakfast table. I went through the double financial lessons of house insurance payment and having to pay back $600 without drama. It was a lesson and I took the homework with me to the bank. I called a handy woman to repair the tiles that have not worked properly in the bathroom.

Only quietly, like a whisper down a well, was I hearing the anxious beasty voice telling me I would shrivel and die dehydrated and starved. And as I was watching my mind, I could see that I did not have what I call “push back” on the ego voice. I just left it whimpering in the well.

surrounded by blessings

surrounded by blessings

The other wonderful awakening has come through using the tests for the seeds of intention that I found in the book E2. The first test is to ask the universe for an unexpected/unusual gift. The test was for 48 hours. I noticed my negative, ego voice growing louder and louder. “It is 40 hours now and nothing.” “It is 42 hours now and nothing.”

At 46 hours a friend came to my house with five CD’s some by Liquid Mind. I had heard of the artist and thought I wanted to check him out. And now I am standing with his works in my hand. People bought me coffee, Three polka dotted zipper bags showed up in my mail. An old friend left me with a big bottle of Lavender oil she had crafted from her garden.

So what my lessons have all pointed to this month is a sense that I am using the skills I have worked toward. I have been able in the moment of an event to shut off the negative current, to get down into the structure of the thing and ask, “What am I supposed to learn?”

The biggest realization for me has been that it is not about solving problems. It is about developing technique. I was on the tennis team in high school and spent hours hitting balls that were coming at me fast. Some I had to hit back handed. Some I had to smoothly connect with on the forehand side. Some bounced wildly and the ability to calm the ball down with the surface of my racquet and then send it with intention was necessary.

I understand now that that is exactly what is happening. Balls are coming at you. Lessons are coming at you. They will not stop. Hitting one does not mean there will never be another. It is a deluded mind that thinks, “I will solve this problem in order to solve all problems forever.”

IMG_5978

The light came on for me. It is about the skill. Am I standing with my feet balanced holding the centre? Are my hands relaxed? Is my mind calm and alert? As things come toward me, there is no place for negative emotion. As I watch myself, I understand that over time, with intention and patience I am building skills.

How did I reach this place where peace, joy and gratitude are the hosts and lower energies are the guest? It is because of my coaches, because of those who have taught me in books, on you tube. It is because of my friends who have moved forward to live more authentically and fully. It is because of my spirits, angels, guides surrounding me.

I eat at the table. I repair those things which need to be repaired. I watch my financial situation with a more alert eye. I am not a Do It Yourselfer. I have been taught with loving wisdom. I am growing to trust myself and others more fully for the first time in my life. Now where is that screw driver?

My Relationship with Food

Winter darkness closes in. The fog sits like a fat puffed out hen nesting on the top of the mountains surrounding the valley. The Maple leaves in my back yard are falling more like moulting this year than any Pre-Raphaelite depiction of staged, colorful drama.

Maple leaves drop suddenly

Maple leaves drop suddenly

And now is the time that facebook and twitter starts to show the “fix” for the season of impeding death. Brownies, bacon, bacon brownies. Turkey stuffed with bread and sausage. Thick fat and sugar layers glisten on the designer created mock food pictures that people are grabbing from the internet pantry and laying down on the status pages. “Here,” the words and images say, “here is how to cope with the dark, cold enclosed time of year.”

Food is one of our greatest distractions in North America. We want it fast and fat. As I travelled through the grocery store today, I marvelled at the plethora of prepared sauces, dips, spreads, soups which simply did not exist in my childhood.

We had Campbell’s Soup and then prepared spaghetti sauce. But the gourmet-pseudo amalgams that I saw today were far from our imaginations in the ’50’s and ’60’s.

My mother whose family was from England, wrapped everything in aluminum foil and allowed it to bake in the oven until the parsnips, carrots, potatoes and steak were largely indistinguishable from one another. As she got more daring into the ’60’s she would throw in celery and garlic. Good wholesome food cooked to beyond death. Yum. And you could eat it with a spoon.

I remember in the ’70’s when chips started to appear. The salty slices would be placed in a large punch bowl with dried soup (usually onion) mixed in with cream cheese as a dip. It was at this point that my mother’s size 4 body ballooned up to a size 16. Each time I returned home she was transformed. At night in the winter, the rain fell.

Her second marriage was not working out in the way she had hoped. This man was silent, withdrawn, uneducated and stood every evening at the back of the room chain smoking.

She had her fat and salt to keep her happy.

The evolution of my own fear/romance with food existed within the topography of both the societal shifts and the change in familial patterns.

As a baby, my mother tells me, I cried. I cried a lot for months. She told me she would force a bottle into my mouth to keep me quiet. I apparently did some kind of “damage” to her breasts so she could not nurse, she informed me.

At meal times, the tension meter went up to red rage. We would sit each to a side at the table and eat head down. It was in those moments when I would swallow each bite with sand like fear. My father’s temper could result in a chair being hurdled into a corner of the room. I remember distinctly when I said I did not like something and he shattered my plate on the wall next to my head. The blood ketchup wept down the wall.

As I grew older, my mother began to see me as competition. It was at this time that she spent considerable energy “feeding” me up. “Here, have some pie,” she would say with her eyes narrowing daring me to reject it. There was always more food than I could comfortably eat. I went from a size 6 to a size 12 by the time I left home.

She would always buy me clothing that was too big when I was a teenager. “Oh, you look that size,” she would say at Christmas or my birthday.

She was asked to be a model on the runway of several local fashion and hair dressing shows. Once when we were walking beneath a construction site when I was 13, high above us workers called out, “Hey there beautiful!” I looked up. “Not you,” the male voice said, “the other one.” My mother’s body small, trim, and attracting attention was something I lived with as she fed me up.

So today, I realize that my relationship with food is driven by past experiences. I do not enjoy sitting in a group eating. Anxiety, fear, a sense of vulnerability arise. In addition, the food that is offered in social settings is problematic. The result of having cancer is that I am now intolerant of many “common” foods.

Working on body, mind, food connection.

Working on body, mind, food connection.

The result of being a chunky daughter of a gorgeous mother is that I am intolerant of what is considered “normal” foods on a deeper, psychological level. My defence mechanisms come into play.

Today, I am grateful that I am a new person. I have worked out for almost two years and built a muscular, thin body. However, the negative force field that surrounds food is still evidenced in my thought patterns. If I eat grapes, I feel guilty. For years, I would go almost all day without eating anything. When I was in university, I would eat bags of candy when I had an exam in a course that was challenging. Even this last winter I went to bed with a bag of gluten free cookies when my son was in danger. I awoke with crumbs stuck to my skin as if I were coated and ready to cook. It is my equivalent to an alcoholic melt down.

So in the past I have had stuffing sessions but never purging. I have been an incomplete bulimic. So in the past I have had anorexic periods without the crazy exercise or extended behavior. Always within a carefully monitored range, I have had a kind enough relationship with my body to snap out of it within a day or two.

In addition, to the dinner table abuse of violence and forced feeding, I also was left to prepare most of the meals from the age of 13 on because my mother worked shift hours. Today, I dislike cooking. I dislike eating in public with a group. Most of the foods which are considered normal, average, usual cannot be processed in my body. Even when I am at home alone, I do not eat a meal at the table. It is over the computer, distracted by a book, watching television. So the act of eating is not the focus. Eating is a way for me to sustain the body that I love, to keep me healthy, to build muscle and keep my mind alert. It is surrounded by guilt and anxiety.

What I am observing is the legacy of memories. How I rewrite that script, how I reconstruct my relationship with food will be an interesting journey. I begin by talking about it.

Quo Vadis losing the way

Quo Vadis losing the way

Dave with the Diamond, The Language of Love

As the baking heat of summer abates, I walk along the waterfront. The experience is so much like the last sip of mango juice, the last kiss of a loved one, the fragrance of the remaining rose standing singular on the stretching branch. Knowing that it is drawing to a close makes me open up my senses all the more.

I think to myself, “Soon you will not see the loose, relaxed bodies of family tribes strolling with a shared rhythm. Soon the skin, arms and legs will be hidden away for winter like putting away seasonal clothing, these exposed limbs. Soon the evening air will not be perfumed by the release of fragrant flowers like a retelling of the narrative of the heat soaked day.”

Sunset City Park

Sunset City Park

It is in the denouement or in the anticipation that we most awaken to our own lives. Studies have show the point of greatest happiness is when an individual is working toward a goal. Olympic athletes report a loss of joy at the end of an event, even if they have garnered a prize.

Quo Vadis losing the way

Quo Vadis losing the way

The ability to be awake to my own life is and has been my focus for several years. How do I stay in a place of contentment even as the seasons change, through the trajectory of plans, effort and achievement? How do I allow emotions, deep grieving memories like forest monsters be recognized and acknowledged? Can I remain aware of what I hold in my body and of what I hold in the grinding fine mill of my brain?

Feel, release. Listen, release.

When I wake up the dreams are tangled around me like dark sheets. For decades I would have nightmares about being killed. The residual fear of my father coming in my room would be presented to me in dreams. My subconscious would be saying, ” Deal with this. Feel this.”

For decades I would awaken sobbing with my heart already shattered.

Through my vision quests; through my sitting at the feet of Shamans, teachers; through my listening to broadcasts from life coaches; through my reading DIY reconstruct your life books I have come to a place where there is an opening.

My eyes unclench at the start of day. I am encased in sadness like a gray, smudging cloud and then I move to gratitude. I put my hand on my heart and thank it for being so committed to staying alive. My heart has kept me here. I thank my heart for being so open and child like. The spirit I am wants to be in love, to share love, to be innocent and expectant. “Thank you, heart,” I say.

Seeing the love

Seeing the love

I lay my warm hand on the place where I held cancer. The place where I have growths removed every five years and I say, “You are healthy. You are fully alive. You live in freedom. You are beautiful. Thank you body.”

As I swing my feet over the edge of the bed, I envision jumping off of the edge of a ledge into the day.

“What kind of a day will you have?” I ask myself.

“Any kind of day you create,” I answer.

“Oh great. Then, it will be wonderful and full of love.”

How do I know my focused study is working? Because there are times when I do not hear a dozen crows and fifteen monkies all chattering in my mind at once.

How do I know my dedication to feeling and healing is effective?

As I walked along the boardwalk a little boy under the age of two was being pushed in his stroller by his parents. He was wearing a wonderful, expensive fedora. I did not smile at him. I did not stop and make faces at him.

I only thought, “Dude. I see your spirit. You are one rocking dude.” He broke into a smile and put his hand up to high five me. His parents stopped, looked at him. They looked at me and were puzzled. And then we all laughed.

I went to the bank and behind the counter was an attractive, thin, very stylish new bank clerk. His name tag said: Dave.

“Dave,” I said, “are you new here?”

“No,” he responded, ” I usually work in another bank.”

I thought how much I liked him daring to be so trim so stylish so unmundane. And then I saw the gigantic engagement ring on his left hand.

“Oh,” I said, “aren’t you the lucky one.”

“I know,” he said, ” and it isn’t because of the ring.”

We smiled together about his love, his claiming who he is in the world, my recognizing how wonderful he was. We just stood smiling together.

As I walked down the street, I saw a car enwrapped in love. On the windshield were two generous bouquets of gladiiolas. An aluminum heart balloon saying, “I love you,” was on the windshield. And balloons, balloons so pink and plasticy were floating from all of the wiper blades.

t I love you ballon

I am so grateful when I see the bravery of love. I am so lifted up when I see two people kiss on a street corner, exchanging tenderness. My heart sings when a baby waves at me.

t power feet

The nightmare world of helplessness, having my bones broken and my spirit invaded are giving way. These days I step out into a world of surprising, magical moments of love. Thank you Dave for wearing your diamond and sparkling bright.

It is not a new season. It will not slip away like summer. It is where I plant my feet. Now.

My thoughts still attach to the narrative trajectory… anticipation, tension, release but I am thankful that I can be aware of what is appearing on my “reality screen.” And sometimes, I can even switch the channel.

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.

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.

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.

energy


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.