If Wishes were Horses….

Being in life, being in a body and standing on some floor or ground in wide bare feet, toes splayed or wearing shoes with toes strapped together, is puzzling.
To find a place to stand has been the journey for me. Wearing a body with the inherited stories chiseled into my DNA is confusing. I question where I begin. I question which decisions are done from intention and which from distraction. I question my questions.
There have been so many times in my journey that I liken to driving alone in a low-down to the road car in a where the hell did the world go blizzard. Is the road under me? Have I veered into some one else’s lane? Do I know how far I have come?
Even looking for the signposts, milestones, markers is hopeless because of the “obstructions”. The ego voice is chatting away, the memories replaying hijacking me into the past so the present just spins under my wheels unheeded, flattened out.

 

And the passenger was so frequently Anxiety nagging away in the seat next to mine.
With the massive amount of reading and study I have undertaken about inheritance, imprinting, brain formation, it becomes clear that everything is about habit. Forming a new habit is the ultimate act of faith. It is driving the road blindly knowing that the very effort of staying on that road will eventually lead to a clearing.

 

April workshop

April workshop

One day it will be easier. Up ahead will be a calming, a slight hill side which allows for a clear view.
At the present time, I am seeking to build out habits that will make me more fit, more deeply committed to my meditation practice and a better friend.
I found a site on line that lays out a fitness program and I am happily into day four. My arms and back are warm with the fresh awakening of those muscles. I am super feeding and every three hours I am eating a high protein meal. I make contact with my sweet sister/friends continually. These are the new aspects of my life that I have plotted on my GPS and as they appear I welcome in.
It is a life upgrade, new software, faster connection, better quality existence.
I am continuing to draw to me people who are in crisis with the feeling that there is no purpose in the life he or she is leading. I am continuing to run my week end workshops to teach others the science of how they became so blinded to what and who they actually are in the world.

maybe angels
My journey makes sense now. All of the broken bones, violence, chaotic turmoil of my childhood were for a reason. When I speak, people know I am not speaking down to them. I get it. I get it.
It is the struggle that makes us heroic. It is the continuing to drive blind with the hope that soon the weather will shift. Belief that we are on a road that leads somewhere, is enough to sustain our focus.
I am living on purpose. But it is not a magical fairy land. It is not a sparkling meadow of fresh singing streams and the lion snuggled up to the lamb.

Relax into life

Relax into life

This life takes courage and stamina and most of all someone who is further down the road who can call back to us the encouragement that it gets better. Keep going and soon you will be able to see where you are, what you have left behind you and it is easier to create a future. Just stay on the road, keep your hands relaxed on the wheel, tell the Anxiety passenger join you in singing a silly song.

Vicious Toast and Weak Sunshine

I am turning a corner; shifting gears; flipping a leaf, a finger; snarling at my own snarling; stepping up; pushing the inertia; daring to hope; planting the seeds; tired of the tired; yearning for change. It is the cusp, the edge, the definitive line dot dot dot tear along here, the boundary of a new country, reality, dimension, brane of existence.

Weak sun whispers promises

Weak sun whispers promises

The breath in for so many days has not connected to vibrancy. It has been about clearing, clearing, clearing. It is like an existential Japanese movie wherein the sand just keeps flooding in. The sand of gritty thoughts. The best I could hope for was stillness.
Every day I would begin again and the wind would rise around 10 am and bring more sand. Clogging up the works. Obscuring the vision. Choking off the fresh air expanding sweep of possibilities.
But today, there is weak sun outside. It teases and seduces. It touches the black trees and if one looks closely cups the budding baby leaves.
I have done well are refusing to walk down the alleyway’s dark back of thought structured buildings and stayed on the sunny side of the street. I walked there even in the rain, the atmospheric gray down to the ankles of winter. I stayed there knowing that there would be sun on my back eventually.

 

where am I
On Thursday I broke a front tooth on a piece of toast. My first thought was it isn’t even darkly baked toast. I removed the fragment and looked at it in my hand.
Because of my training, I took my thoughts immediately to the sunny side and said, “You have all of your teeth. You can still chew. It isn’t big. It isn’t painful.” I continued on with the plotting of possibly disastrous alternatives. But a piece of me had fallen off.
The drama queen voice played its dialogue. “What do you expect. You have lived a long time. You will fall apart. Things will fail.” I could feel the ego witch searching around for other things to add to the list. This would be a great time to list every single fall from the perfection of a new born body. Oh, she wanted to go there. She was pulling hard at me the ego witch.

Reaching

Reaching

And then I decided. “It is fine. The dentist will repair your tooth. You will continue to write your book. You will continue to eat well, sleep well, draw opportunities to you. And one thing I can damn well guarantee you, you will grow. Because, “my beautiful Empress parent said to me, “because I got this.”
And then I just looked out the window at the weak first attempts at Spring and shut up.

Dealing with Stress at Christmas

Since November 6th my life has held many changes and surprises for me. So often we walk along a clearly marked path. There is a rhythm, a predictability to the days. It can become boring, comfortable, unchallenging. Sleep walking through the routine, one feels less than human.

I left Kelowna on November 6th to fly to Calgary and from there to the Netherlands. The clouds were layered over Amsterdam like puffy cartoon crop fields of whiteness. The consistent distance, size and even distribution made the vista outside the plane window appear as a cartoon depiction of a fantasy land.

netherlands skyAfter a brief stop, I was on the plane hop to Leeds.

The journey to Leeds left me puzzled standing on a sidewalk trying to find where I could find a bus to York and discover the whereabouts of my airbnb “home”. I did not understand the UK money so when I bought something, I simply put my money on the shelf of my flattened hand. I was frequently lost and disorientated. Having stumbled about York for two days, the next step was to go by train to London across recumbent open land that at times looked remarkably like Washington State except for the structures of the heritage stone buildings.

Stone city of York my mother's relatives.

Stone city of York my mother’s relatives.

 

Wandering around London for two days gave way to hopping the Train to Paris. Again, I did not understand the money. And by now I was used to the feeling of being lost and disoriented. The Paris Attacks occurred on the very street where my apartment was. I saw wounded. I heard death and machine guns. I walked next to pools of blood the next day. I used all of the skill I had as a meditator to keep myself centered.

From Paris, I hopped a plane to Zagreb and then to Dubrovnik where I was again unfamiliar with currency, the lay of the land and in addition, I was surrounded by people who did not speak English. When I arrived in Dubrovnik it was the day of lighting lanterns along the streets to commemorate the victims from Vukovar and Škabrnja on 18 November…

Lanterns to remember those killed. War. Remembrance. Grief.

Lanterns to remember those killed. War. Remembrance. Grief.

The ancient city of Dubrovnik, Croatia

The ancient city of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Once I returned home, I was tired and my body allowed the entry of  a virus. Lowered resistence lead to ten days in bed, miserable nights and dizziness from an inner ear infection.

As soon as I began to feel better, I got a call to report to the hospital for my colonoscopy  with laproscopic surgery. Every five years I must drink 4 liters of what I think is one of the most foul liquids I have ever experienced, go without food and go through the cutting out of suspicious bits. It is what has prevented a recurrence and kept me alive for 18 years after a very established cancer.

I crawled home, lay in bed and thought about all of the changes, challenges, instances of loss of control, the shifting time zones, the lack of sleep that had flashed through my life in the last 47 days.

Sometimes it makes me think of a kaleidoscope. There is a clear, reflected pattern that the eye grows accustomed to. One is accustomed to the sharp definition of shape. The comforting selections of colors mirrored back at one another.

And then, you want to shake it up. You are bored and feel stuck. I set out to walk in my ancestors footsteps in York and in Dubrovnik and I learned about war and invasions. I learned about slaughter, resistance, bodies stacked blocking the gates of towns.

My family’s roots were in war torn stone built fortresses. And then in Paris, I saw the modern war being waged based on ideology and religion and wounded hearts.

Blood on the Paris street of the murdered.

Blood on the Paris street of the murdered.

 

I watched myself rise to challenges that I had set and anticipated and also to even greater challenges I could never expect. When I returned home, I was irritated with myself for allowing myself to fall ill. I was disappointed with myself for once again becoming depressed over Christmas. I was curious about my fearful approach to the cancer screening and the surgeon told me it is PSTD. The body that has gone through a long illness with cancer reacts. She said it is basically imprinted trauma.

And I thought about the imprinted trauma of war that has passed through my DNA from York and from the Balkans.

My dreams and goals are to get beyond the programming. But, I am only human. And sometimes the explosions of too many challenges in a short period of time will just cause grief, sadness, and shutting down.

I can see that I have a long way to go before I can forgive myself for simply being human.

There is always more to learn. When I get greater distance, I will see more clearly what the lessons were over the last 47 days. It will be like stepping back and looking at a mural. Oh! I will say. That is what was being drawn for me.

What lies between Boredom and Chaos?

Flour sifting snow is falling so fine it clings to tree limbs. Their black emphatic death outline against the white gray sky is etched again by the vibrant reflected pearly layer.

snow trees 3 thumb sharp

And I have carried within me my own hibernation mind. “Soon,” I keep thinking, “soon my life will begin.”

The habits of patterns of hypnotic reformation that I experienced in my past keep me recyling, recircling when I seek drama, when I move into despair.

My growth place is when I feel boundless. So often these past months, I feel as if I am not body, or past, or narrative but just this now.

I am curious about who I am if I am not a reiteration. Who am I if I am not a montage of past pictures, glued ticket stubs, marriage certificates, death certificates, scars and stories?

Somewhere on the landscape design, is a creation. Somewhere in the molded clay self is a new construct.

I watch my mind and know and see.

There is boredom. As I get out of bed, it feels repressive, dull, predictable, lonely. There is a hardness to the shape of the day. It appears to be unbending to my will. It is a maze that I enter already knowing which turns to take to get me to the end.

My adrenal glands will not kick in. My workaholic buzz will give me no relief that day, or those days, or that week. It is so safe and bland. Thirty years in the same valley. Twenty years in the same house. A twelve page resume of art shows, publications, degrees earned seems like reading some stranger’s life.

too much can never be the sky

too much can never be the sky

And then I think, there are others who have done less and have more to show. There are others who stand taller on fewer attempts. The collapsing back to “oh well” becomes the strategy when I am projecting this flat, lifeless prairie vision.

I think of the times of chaos with envy. Until I get there. White water rafting down the week of poetry readings, deadlines, renters coming anew every two days leaves me looking ahead for calmer times. “This is too much,” I say to myself. That is when I let the “old” script play out. Climbing the side of the house touching up the paint on the second story; lugging rocks across the yard; or digging turf hurriedly before the next clock tick event, I hear my mind whimpering, “too much, out of control, you haven’t done the dishes yet.”

There are some studies which show the prevalent personality of poets is manic depressive. I do know I swing these days. I do know I am content for weeks on end.

But I cycle into the pollution of depression and gray days. Even on a day where the world is reflected light from the snow scape, I fall.

Watching my mind is such a gift for me, because I see. I see that the pre recorded message is at play. I see that my ancient, unconscious being lives between two states. One is the land of Boredom and the other is Chaos.

the darkness and the light are entire

the darkness and the light are entire

What if it is neither? What if I have reached a place where I am sheltered by my home; I have worked hard and long to teach myself routine and discipline; I have earned the times of peace?

What if working hard by itself does not achieve a goal but rather holding the goal close with a calm state of mind allows me to make the right move at the right time?

What if times of growth, times of incoming exciting events are not a threat? What if times of opportunities and passion and taking chances are the times of breaking up the field?

The mind is so often just plain wrong. Hearing only two notes does not mean we hear the melody. To see the seeker falling from grace is a gift.

To see the child like snuffling in the dark when all she has to do is open up her eyes, is a revelation.

What if life was simply more than a state of Boredom or a state of Chaos?

What if I stopped labeling what I think I see and just start living? I could walk into a new land for which I hold no diminishing language.

Be curious, transform

Be curious, transform

I know this is where true power lies: What if?

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.

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.

August Fades

The clouds overhead today floated in a brilliant light tone of prussian blue sky. At the start of day the clouds were muted but as the sun moved across the sky to flare the blue to a vibrant pastel the clouds burned white. Now, as the sun sets the edge of all the clouds is neon rayed. Like the last days of summer, for a few lingering moments the intensity of smudged color hangs in the air.

long shadows moving on summer lawn

The sky is shifting. Grays in multitude of shades hang in the silver air. Seasons shift. Lights shift. Colors shift in this period between seasons.

I mowed my lawn today with my wonky, cartoon-wheeled lawn mower. The axel is bent on all of the wheels so they roll around at various positions of 45 % angles. It works. It cuts the grass. And it didn’t cost me much. The green kingdom with its six mum plants and the last two roses waving their orange flag looks orderly. The care and attention I put into my lawn is easy to see.

I have trimmed back the lavender bushes so that a body can pass up my walkway to the front door without having to kick back the seedy stem heads. All that was trimmed, I am placing in net bags to give to friends. Their purpose is to promote tranquility.

Squeezing the bag causes the air to fill with the memory of the purple blossoms swarming with bees in the warm air of summer. The pollinating, the creating of blossoms are instantly recalled as the thumb sinks into the tiny pillow of dried plants.

I love summer and inevitably go through a kind of reluctant farewell to the heat and brilliant colors. There is sadness in the chill air after sundown.

The beginning of summer always holds promise. This year I will play more. This year I will find the loved one. This year I will be the carefree child creature I am at core.

As the promise of summer passes away, I recall which promises I have kept to myself.

being aware t

my choices help to create who I am

I have gotten the yard in shape; painted the fences; painted the deck; renovated the kitchen; dug up and replanted my garden beds; gone to school in Boulder, Colorado where I earned an A on my M.F.A. course; maintained my commitment to body building; connected with new people in order to build friendships. My nearly 4 thousand kilometer trip from Kelowna to Boulder, Colorado; on to Denver, Colorado; visiting Portland, Oregon and returning home was out of my comfort zone and an accomplishment.

However within myself, I have carried with me a certain sadness that has been there most of my life. Some days it is active and pressing on me. Others I just ignore it by getting busy and moving toward my goals. Feelings of not being safe when I was young, not being loved are smaller and less insistent.

Roses my neighbour bought for my birthday

What I have learned in this last year is to ask for help. I am going out the door more often to be in the company of friends. I stay calm in difficult situations and can solve what needs to be solved without drama.

My body is healthier. My outlook is more optimistic. I am finding it much easier to understand what is happening when negative emotions arise. It is very rarely that I find myself justifying my behaviour or condemning myself for a stupid error.

Body building, eating well and eight hours of sleep

What has helped me the most in my journey is the idea of no story. Things just happen. The sun has set. The sky is now edging turquoise to navy blue clouds. It just is.

companionship in the falling light

I am proud of myself for not sinking down into distracting negative behaviors to deal with emotions which come up. I have seen what drinking alcohol does to the mind, to the ego, to the personality. I have observed my financial tail spin when I tried to buy my way out of distress. So standing emotionally “undressed” in the wind of what is, is my choice. Ultimately, it is easier.

Why did that happen? Why did the relationships not work out? Why am I feeling stuck or lost in a particular moment? It just is. When the cold water of the lake is moving up my ankles and then drawing back again, I watch the movement and feel the temperature and texture. It just is.

We all have our own lessons. We are like children sitting in school with a worksheet, head resting on a hand. It is hard, so hard that we stick out our tongues, we hold the pencil awkwardly. We try an answer. We hope.

May you continue to dance through the autumn with a smile upon your face.

Learning, Loneliness and Acceptance

One would think that sitting alone in a small house, not being able to bathe, put weight on my foot, drive and seeing no one would basically protect me from making any social faux pas, would give me time to reflect and grow; basically I am on an enforced retreat.

Well the only difficulty is self. Learning to forgive the mistakes that I have made in the past and to forgive the errors that I am committing in the present is on- going.

No amount of isolation can still the inner voice. And how wonderful to have the internet so that I can make graceless and judgmental responses to others. Yes, the shadow self is alive and well no matter how I try to quell the beast, no matter how isolated I am there are still opportunities to go to school.

Images of self

Yesterday was a black day. A day full of sunshine can be a black night of the soul. So much grief was coming up about the stupid choices I had made. Sorrow was my company and tears my shroud. A friend dropped by and I pulled myself together enough to get through a conversation looking fairly normal. She looked beautiful and spoke of cheerful, hopeful things. I warmed myself in her presence.

Yesterday I also took the 83 short poems I posted on Facebook and put them into text files. The first edit took most of the day.

So I am learning, I am grieving, I am clearing my past life and past hopes that were held in my marriage. I am not restless in the sense that I want to get past this stage. Acceptance for the physical restriction, the isolation, the surfacing of deep sadness is inevitable. But I do set out to create new possibilities through my writing and art.

interlocking light and dark

Hay House Radio had a wonderful broadcast a few days ago which spoke to my heart. The broadcast was called Enchanted Love. The statement contained in that broadcast is helping me to understand and forgive myself for my paralysis. “To be cheated on by one you love takes a toll from your sense of well-being and is a life-force injury.” The understanding that came to me when I heard this was that I have lost the steam in my engine this last 19 months. Never before have I been so stalled and felt so lost. I haven’t felt like I had the energy to move forward. So forgiving myself for the situation is where I begin.

Another lesson this session brought me has to do with one of my great weaknesses: “Listen to others without reacting.” My desire to “fix” others, to offer help, advice, a way out is not appropriate. My judging, analyzing etc are wrong- headed. People just want to be loved and accepted for who they are. Rushing in without permission is a boundary violation. So the advice to ,”Listen to others, without reacting,” was something I really needed to connect with.

Another gem from the show is exactly what I was talking about earlier in this blog. “The universe always has an assignment for you.” So be as hermit-like as you will, the lessons will come in. Judge not others: judge not yourself. How can I be loving and compassionate even when I make stupid, bone-headed mistakes.

Another area of discussion was surrender. ” Detox your life by placing problems in God’s hands.” Or for others it might be changed to say, let go and trust that an answer will come. I have always been of a mind that I had to control myself, others and my environment. The horrendous chaos in my childhood was partially responsible for my creating this coping skill.

And, perhaps, my very nature is that of one who is disciplined and demanding.

So there is grief. Grief over my lost dreams and deep, heart-felt connectedness to my husband. Disappointment that at my age I have to find a way to recover my financial strength. And the issue of watching myself in the world with the intention of being loving, failing at times because my very nature is surfacing.
Forgiveness is the answer and the freedom.

I need to feel desire again. I need to feel a passionate sense of connectedness again… to life, to other people and to myself. No matter how imperfect I am, I need to trust that “Your desires become your destiny.

I get my stitches out September 6th and will be able to have a bath, perhaps put my heel down and my world will expand. There is so much to learn. I wonder what assignment the universe has for me in the next phase of my life. Perhaps, I can dance again soon.

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.