January: Stop Dicking Around

The snow fell. Fat fluffy flakes like a kid’s Gif. The trees were outlined white against a white/gray sky. The hills were draped in tulle clouds. It was quiet. The world was insulated against sound.

For three days a “snow on eyelashes” kind of magic surrounded us. And then it began to melt.

Because I lived in the North for nine years, I felt the urgency of changing the armature. I knew the melt and freeze was inevitable. I did not want to have an ice fort blocking in my car. I did not want to have a slide trough of ice leading to my front door.

So for every day I shovelled for an hour.

It is such an opening up when it snows. Like having a wet cloth on the face, the colder temperatures. And the neighbours reappear from their hot air caves. As I cleared the sidewalk, my neighbour came over and helped me. I went on to clear the next sidewalk where the couple is busy managing four children and, frankly, life.

The tree heavy with snow.

The tree heavy with snow.

The guy next door and I then went on to clear the walkway of my sister/friend (24 years and counting) who had put something out in the backish, hippish, thighish region. Usually she is so alert that she shovels the snow while it is still in the air.

Usually she is so thorough that not one patch of ice is ever found on her sidewalk.

And so I waved at the woman across the street with a little boy. I saw them getting out of the car and he is bigger. Since this summer he has entered another stage with another name to it: Baby to Toddler.

The pressure cooker of expectations and demands that we call a celebration has passed. Christmas is over. The snow comes almost as a “letting down” of tension, of the weather of gray pasty skies.

And the mind asks, “What now?”

Now is shovelling snow. Now is watching squirrels run along the tree branch highway. Now is seeing the stark outlines of the nest the crows built this summer in my 50 year old Maple tree.

It is time to establish new habits. It is time to align with new intentions. It is time to stop distracting, soothing, repeating unsuccessful habits.

As I stand in my front yard with my daffodil yellow snow shovel in my hand I say to myself, “It is time to stop dicking around at life.”

 

Stop Dicking Around

Stop Dicking Around

What is now is whatever you did in the past to bring it in.
Breathe and create. Clear the path. Make sure your vehicle can move. Don’t allow yourself to be blocked in, captured by the past.
Keep asking, “What now.”

How do you reform the mindscape?

Sloping

sunlight shoulder season

 

neurons are like pipes acting as conduits.

neurons are like pipes acting as conduits.

My discovery of books such as SWITCH and REWIRE always delights me. The experience reminds me of times when I have a sharp bit of tooth somewhere in my mouth and use a dentist’s mirror and a flashlight to see what is “going on”. Only it is my brain function, my mind set that I am trying to get an angle on and to cast a light on when I study books that explain the process of creating my mental landscape.

Something I read recently in the book Autobiography of a Yogi which I found in an on line bibliography of 12 spiritual books you should have read, really delivered a message.

The statement was that, essentially, our relationships with our bodies is a DNA type of Karma hangover from past lifetimes. So when we make a positive step forward, the good news is the change in habit behavior is inculcated into our very DNA which then carries on with us in the next lifetimes.

So the good news is, nothing learned and conquered is ever lost.

The bad news is we have strong habit memory from past lives as well as from this lifetime to address when we are ready to change into a more loving relationship with our own bodies and spirits. Lay onto that the belief that Buddhists and Taoists hold that family history also leaves a DNA karma habit on us in addition and it becomes clear why it can be such a struggle to shift.

 

 

photograph shows the possibilities of flow

photograph shows the possibilities of flow

No wonder when I simply decide I wish to move into a new territory of growth it takes such intention and will. I am trying to move out of what is to create what is more fully.

In REWIRE, Richard O’Connor made a statement which illuminated some dark mind cave space for me. He mentions countless studies where-by mindfulness practice can cause changes to the very structure of the brain. However, he states, mindfulness practice only allows us to see what thoughts we have and gives us the ability to not react to what is arising. The difficulty lies with the past experience informing the present dynamic. In order to think thoughts about being more powerful, creative, healthier, dynamic we need to build in those experiences. So for a while, we tread out onto thin ice and it feels risky.

For example, My mind will only allow me to think that I can pay down my debt slowly, with care and self sacrifice. My processes can take me out onto the new surface of knowing I can have my debt paid, my future secure and my financial struggle at an end. But at first it is thin ice because that “story” is not in my experience. I have not seen this in my parent’s lives, nor in mine.

O’Connor points to research that shows that it takes three months to rebuild, rewire the brain and it is through establishing new habits. The habits will have to be intentional, conscious efforts toward ease of selection. The steps are 1. Make a public commitment. 2. Recognize every step of your growth 3. When you slip get up and climb again.

All habits have a physical existence in the structure of the brain. O’Connor cheers the reader up by pointing to studies that show will power can increase will power. We become more proficient at heavy lifting.

 

2014-02-17 09.47.54

We are basically strangers to ourselves. We have a strong tendency to make unfamiliar things fit into our pre-programed assumptions about the world, or our stories. My reading leads me to believe these assumptive stories are laid down under the age of seven years of age. We are constantly dodging paradigms, narratives, scripts, schemata, mind sets and life traps.

Another statement that he made and I responded to strongly is how we need to learn the value of trying without succeeding. We can encourage growth by cheerleading our attempts at things that we know for sure will not work out at first, will be difficult, or stepping into the unknown.

We all know people who took that first step onto what looked like very thin, brittle ice and succeeded in walking out of a mediocre life. We all know people who changed their assumptions about what world they exist within.

For me, it is encouraging to see that mindscape can be redesigned. I am all for mindscape architecture which can be a build out from a risky, thin ice place on the path. Think of all those you know of from history, from people around you who have succeeded by failing. Building new conduits changes the brain which changes the thoughts which changes the results. Isn’t that wonderful to think about?

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?

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.

Fully Now. Fully Here

The question of when will I no longer be in a quantum blur often occurs to me. Like the field of energy around an object, I float, I pulsate.

Every Atom Belonging to Me as Good Belongs to You

Every Atom Belonging to Me as Good Belongs to You

My physic professor explained to the class that a table was not solid and rigid but was in fact constantly changing its shape. I was excited and thrilled to learn. I walked out of class looking at the clouds, at the trees and hillsides knowing I was incorrect in my perceptions. This moment was the first time that I had substantiation for my sense that the three dimensional universe was like a movie set. Facades. Ghost town. Structures build by the Scene crew.

Lately, I have been noticing some major shifts in my life. As I address the issues of flow, I have become more solid. Throwing out, giving away objects I no longer wish to cling to is creating a thick, downy feeling of peace surrounding me.

To be still is to grow

To be still is to grow

I feel driven. I feel like I am being on purpose to sort my jewellery, to throw out past income taxes, to dispose of past prescriptions. Linens which are worn, rings which were never worn all go.

And in the process I am bringing myself into a sharper focus. As I discard memorabilia for my 18 year marriage, I am grateful for the feelings that come up. Like a person checking a wrist which was broken to see if there is any residual damage, I find that I feel nothing but relief and gratitude for no longer being in the deep pain and sadness of that interaction.

Energy Management

Energy Management

So I release objects, I release memories, I put papers in order. My eye is looking around in my environment to see what else I am merely clinging to in order to make myself feel somehow impenetrable, secure, immortal.

Sitting on my freshly sanded and painted deck on a new chair at a new table under a new umbrella I see my blackberries are ripening. I hear the birds in the large Oriental richness tapestry of the 50 year old Maple tree.

I have siliconed the cracks in the water falling surfaces of the house built in 1946; refinished table tops; diamond coated the heavy traffic floor but most of all I have brought myself into the present. My eye is looking for what I can repair, discard, be done with. My eye is looking for what I am done with.

The surprising result is that along with working out consistently, I am feeling stronger. I am feeling that there are more possibilities. I am feeling that I can change the shape of my “destiny”.

Wearing my heart on my chest.

Wearing my heart on my chest.

I have an estimate coming in. This beautiful bungalow that houses me has one wall essentially uninsulated and a kitchen floor that I have been holding down in place with the yearly coat of appliance paint. That area of the house will be upgraded with a new sealed wall and a newly laid floor.

Yes my caution with money for three years has allowed me to pay down a fragment of the large debt my collapsed marriage created. However, in order to go forward, I have chosen to go forward.

I will finish the house. I will continue to get the physical world around me in order. And as I do, I feel stronger, quieter and more full of possibility.

I am not anchoring my Self by my attention to the material world. My spirit is starting to see that I am not living “around” myself. I am not tied by tendrils of objects, paperwork, photographs, jewellery, documents to an association which is done. The past is the past. And now. Well now is about caring for my body, my house, my finances, my family, my friendships. Out of these strong roots a new shape is growing.

Societal projection androgenous manikin and real self

Societal projection androgenous manikin and real self

I don’t know yet what it is and my mind does not go there. Because I do not want to live as a shimmering ghost energy in my life with the past, the present and the future all exchanging places in my mind. I know my body is “all over the place” according to quantum physics and that I am actually living all times at once. I accept that and it is kind of exciting.

The point of power, however, is in the present as I am now perceiving it. And the awareness that I am training my mind, working with my body to create a clarity leads me out of the chaos of too muchness which is where I was choosing to live.

It seems so counter intuitive that the more I release, the more rich my life becomes. It goes against the siren song that our culture teaches us. Even the homeless push carts full of plush toys, car parts, shining objects around with them.

I am enjoying the exploring. I am enjoying the travel in the orbit around myself without the space debris obstructing my journey.

And now. Now I feel full of possibility. For the first time in three years, I am no longer feeling like a patient in recovery. There is something just around the corner, and there is now. The breeze blowing on my back, grapes ripening on the vines in my yard, people coming into my house and saying, “This is an angel house.” There is now. Gratitude for all my lessons.

new growth, tender leaves

new growth, tender leaves

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.

Distant and Dealing

I have not posted for six weeks. The sense of making each day count has been the driving motivation for me lately. After reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I made a chart for my refrigerator. On the chart are those things which are most supportive of my well being, in other words the care of my body.

At the top of the list is drinking water. From all that I have read, getting enough water can offer immense support for the “plant.” Inflammation is a response which must be avoided. Inflammation damages the body, creates stress and can lead to a cancer response. Drinking enough water also keeps the body from signaling “hungry, hungry,” when in fact it is dehydrated. Toxins are also carried through with water. Honoponopono practice which is traditional Hawaiian spiritual practice has as its core drinking water. A blue bottle is placed in the sun (try that in the Okanagan winter). As the sun goes through the water, it is believed it activates it to heal. The thought that the practitioner is supposed to hold is that all past “scripts” are washing through the body. What happened to me when I was two or twenty or sixty is now flushed out. Now. That brings to you now. Without a story, a bag of past grievances slung over the shoulder. Just you, the ground, the breath and the flow of water washing through the body.
Sleep is the next item on my chart. Getting eight hours sleep can pull down the inflammation response very efficiently. When the body is rested, it feels strong and calm. The daily attacks: bills, broken appliances, family disasters, angry people are inevitable. But if the body feels strong and rested, a person is in a more capable state. Solutions are easier to discover. I also find that it is easier for me to not attach to the difficulty with an emotional state that strangely enough usually outlasts the problem. So often in the past I start to out run the tiger long after it has retreated to the dark forest again. The sound of my own hyperventilation and pounding anxiety would accompany me long after the threat had passed.
And friends are extremely important. In scientific experiments of people under stress, it was discovered that their telemeres shorted. These are the “shoelace” like tips of DNA strands. The longer they are, the longer your life span. Stress will shorter the telemeres whose job it is to repair cellular damage. So women under stress raising handi-capped children who formed into a support group had a slowing down of the telemere damage and in some cases actual repair to the repair kit.
My goal is to make contact with old friends or to meet new friends every day. As with all activities, it becomes easier the longer I do it. At first, going through the door after my long retreat was like breaking through one of those aluminum foil barriers on a jar… only it was over the door. One evening I went out just because I didn’t feel like going on.
These simple items top my list on my happiness project chart. Another part of the process, is to realize that it is a process. When I misstep or don’t have an X to put in the box, I realize that I am changing myself for the better. I celebrate that and treat myself with compassion because I am my friend as well. Right?

Christmas Clarity

The air is crisp and cool. The season is settling in throughout the continent. I saw a video of the opening of a new outdoor ice arena in Mexico.
In the Eastern section of Canada there was a meter and 1/2 of snow last night. The romantic image of snow on trees, two wet mitten covered hands linking a couple strolling through the diamond studded snow scape comes to mind. People digging out their dog houses and cars is not usually featured in this dream land.
The interesting work of being in the present means embracing what is and saying this is a season, this is a day. To look at the tree out my window and remember the fullness of green is to reject the beautiful lines of the black branches against the gray, winter sky. There are things to appreciate in even the harshness of the view.
Not being able to be happy in the now, is a practice. Living into the future is a practice. I am starting to “get” that only by being able to enjoy the moment can I get better at accepting the now.

the golden moment of now, a gift from the universe

May you live in joy this day.

Step by Step: How does the future unfold?

Today I worked more on getting the patio area outside my studio ready. I dug up the weeds, moved old wood, picked out the stones and laid out the big jig saw pattern. The handyman is coming next week to put in the last windows, make a plywood wall for behind the counter and then I can lay the entire studio out for work.

Hopefully a former student is coming to visit and look at my art.

Because it is 90 degrees out I am taking a break from working in the sun. Listening to Wayne Dyer under the air conditioning and drinking bubbly water is great. When it grows cooler, I will go out and finish laying the patio. It feels so good to get the back yard in order so that I can have a calmer life.

night sky image

night sky image

Next I am writing a poetry book from my old journals and making some applications for schools. Opening up to the wonderful possibilties in life. What a journey.