WORDS AND RITUALS

The roast is in the oven. Sheba and I have had our walk. She is fed and watered. The sun is still shining. Life is good again. I made it to my aerobics class this morning. It’s good not to feel like a mean person or a person with mean thoughts. My face is softer, less wrinkly and menacing. Smiles come without coaxing. I’m still humming, Heaven, I’m in heaven. It is one of the reasons why I write – to document these moments when the heavens shift whichever way it does. It is a testament of my moods, a referrel learning center to cast out shadows and doubts.

Memory can be tricky when I am not feeling my best. I can look back on my dated pages and see that my words and thoughts are not mean, dark or full of despair. They are my thoughts in words trying out different problem solving strategies. I document my light bulb moments and things that weigh on me. It’s a good thing so I shall carry on my daily ritual when possible.  How do you problem solve? What rituals do you have?

I’m getting to know myself well now through my writing. I do not always meet my goal of 1000 words a day. In fact I haven’t even done it once! It’s been 5 years and I’m still reaching. It’s what happens in the beginning of a new venture. I got excited and set a high goal. It is not a bad thing because it is reasonable, within reach. You wouldn’t want to set a low goal, would you? Where would be the challenge? I’m still aiming for that 1,000 words. But they have to be worthy for the ideas they represent and not for the word count.

This is all I have today. Will reach again tomorrow.

 

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HEAVEN, I’M IN HEAVEN

I’ve felt the heavens shift today. I think I’m going to be ok. I’ve painted my blues away. When the going gets tough, I fake it and keep going. What else can I do? Pout, stay in bed, cry, give up? I did none of those. I kept my daily schedule. I ate lots of chocolate chip cookies and some ice cream. I said no to exercise classes and swimming. I didn’t shower yesterday. I haven’t yet today. I don’t smell, not sweating much. It’s winter. I read. I painted and painted on my little index cards with watercolours. I’m working ahead on my 365 Somethings 2018 project. That’s what I do with my excessive energy. Now I’m feeling almost like an artist. I am an artist!

Suprisingly, I don’t feel any fatter. Not any slimmer either. I guess I have Sheba to thank. She still dragged me out for walks, like it or not. When I look around the house, it is not any messier than its usual state. Astounding! I must be doing something right, sticking to my good habits. They have stuck with me through thick and thin. I’m ecstatic. I’m in heaven. I could dance without music.

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ALIENS AND ADDICTION

It’s a friggin’ mystery to me why I waste so much time scrolling when I have so much I want to do. In no time at all, an hour goes by. I could have, would have if only…blah, blah, blah. I feel like I have no mind of my own. It’s been taken over by aliens. Another name for it would be ADDICTION. There’s no point in ruminating about the whys and wherefores. But I’ve finally got my ass in front of the keyboard to peck out a paragraph.

I’ve managed to get the dried washed woolies off the rack in the laundry room. Changing posture, being in a different room changes my perspectives, my energy. I feel a ‘desire’ to do, even if it’s fleeting. I take my clothes upstairs to the bedroom, folded the sweaters and put them in their drawer. The scarfs I hung on their hooks on the back of the door. There! Some stuff back in their own place.

Not everything is that easy. But I am trying to make everything easier. There is no point in making them harder, is there? I am learning to be more – of everything. I can be more receptive by being more quiet. That way I can hear when my angels are talking to me, telling me their wisdom. I can be more observant instead of more showy so that I can see the problems in front of me. I can be more attentive of Sheba. I knew right from the start, she is a gift from God. She shows me how to be. She comforts me and fills the empty spaces. She has schedules that needs to be met. In meeting hers, mine are too.

I am learning to be more out of myself so I can see others in their suffering. I saw this on an article on Oprah this morning: When someone asks for help, always give her something. You don’t have to give her what she asks for, but you can give her a word of encouragement, a helpful idea or a caring glance.  It’s very good advice. You never know how much kind words or a gesture can mean to a person. An acquaintance told me that after I dropped in to see her husband on my way to work.

He was a patient on the onocology ward at the hospital. I worked on the ward next to it. So it really wasn’t out of my way. The article reminded me of her words. “It might not be of anything to you but it meant alot to John,” she said. I have to confess. I’m not a mean person but I don’t always remember to be kind.

I have to remember to be more grateful, too. God has given me some powerful gifts. He has given me tools of expression. I would not be sitting here now tap, tapping out my innards if not for this gift of words. Do you know how powerful words are? I do. I use them to ease my dis-ease, to give me wings to fly, to create stories to encourage and heal what is hurting. I have great respect for them. I use them to speak only for and of myself here.

Then he gave me the pencil and brush to paint my blues away. I believe the blues is his gift, too. How else could the other two show up. One could not do without the other. It’s a tangle dance they do together. I am not sorry for having them. I would be lonely without them after all these years together. Are the blues an addiction? Should I try to rid them. For now, I’ll just try for finding easier ways to live with them. What do you think?

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THE I DON’T HAVE TO OPTION

I’ve been here on earth for decades now. Why is it that I am so slow and dense? I’ve just realized that life has many options. I have many choices in this store. Why do I get stuck being confused, angry and unhappy? This reminds me of a TED Talk by Malcolm Gladwell on choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce. I have to watch it again to refresh my memory.

He’s right that most people don’t know what they want. Given the question of coffee, I would say I like a rich dark roast. Who wants to say they like milky weak coffee? NOW I would if that’s what I like. I have a better sense of self, more confidence. I’m not worried about sounding stupid or milky weak like my coffee.

Have you ever counted the different kinds of spaghetti sauce, ketchup, toothpaste… in the store aisles? I haven’t literally counted but remember standing in the tootthpaste aisle trying to decide which toothpaste is the best. How can you tell even reading the labels? Can you trust the labels? It seems I have more trouble choosing as I get older, comparing brands, comparing prices. I remember once upon a long time ago, if I like something and it’s something I need, I would buy it. In more recent times, the more I investigate, the more confused and uncertain I am. Sometimes I go home empty handed, making the trip again on another day.

Today, I’m wiser. I value my time and well being more. I am using the I DON’T HAVE TO option more. I don’t have to toss, turn and fret about a decision. I listen to my gut instinct. This morning my body said NO to exercise class. I said OK. I need the time and the rest. There’s a stack of fabric for me to sort. I checked my emails to see if I got a confirmation for my Bernina sewing machine registration. None. I phoned The Sewing Machine Store to let them know as instructed.

Yes, I had bought my machine just like that for Christmas. A gift to myself. I looked at all the options. There were many. It didn’t take long. The Bernina was the more complex and expensive. But it spoke to me. My gut responded. No buyer’s regret. It took me 2 days to learn how to use the self threader. That was the hardest part but I can straight sew on it. I’m ready to get serious and explore some of its more complicated options. I don’t have to worry that I can’t learn. I know I can.

But first a walk with Sheba. That will be my exercise for the day. It’s a truly amazing crazy +3C degrees for January. The kids are sliding down the hill at the park. Sheba barks at them in excitement. All is joyous. I will store this moment in my brain. It will be my Jack in the box for those blue funky days. What goes up must come down. Where there’s clouds, there’s rain. The sun will shine again. All these are true.

The weather is something we cannot control. How we respond is something we can. There are so many options, the same number as kinds of spaghetti sauce, ketchup, toothpaste. If one doesn’t work, choose another, and another. Sometimes no one solution works. Then it’s time to try a combo. Have a smorgasbord. I tried 2 more chocolate chip cookies, remembering I DON’T HAVE TO fix anything – not even me.

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THERE ARE NO WONDERS

Something wonderful happens when I eat a chocolate chip cookie. I double the pleasure when I have two. My grumpiness melts. That headache fades. Sheba crowds near, hoping for an oops and a few crumbs. I give her a few little frozen carrots. She is happy and gets to clean her teeth on them. Now she gives a grunt of satisfaction. We’re both down for the count. She’s on the floor. I’m on the chair, tap, tap, tapping some insight and wisdom – I hope.

I know that I will pay for my chocolate frenzy this week. I know/have my boundaries. I can’t keep eating them every day. Maybe we will walk a little faster and further today. It is +3C right now. There is no point in wondering what’s wrong with me and the weather. Don’t waste time asking the unanswerable questions. This is how it is. Get on with it. I am – getting on with it. There is POWER in the getting on. There is movement and results. When you just wonder and wonder, all you get is a headache.

Let me tell you the story of my wonders. I could never accept things/people/situations as they are. I wonder WHY, THEY MUST, THERE MUST BE. I always want to find explanations for everything, everybody. I am never ready to face the truth of what is before me. There MUST be another reason, another time, another chance. It WILL be different….. It’s no wonder I’m where I am, eh?

I have to give up on that wonder lust and wander as on foot. Sheba and I have wandered far on our walk. It is a balmy +6C degrees. We took our time, sniffing the dead exposed grass, rolling on the icy backalley. All the quirks worked out. Paws wiped clean, Sheba goes into the house. Meanwhile, I tend to the messy business in the backyard. You guess it, Sheba’s poop. I could very well have turned a blind eye and not see. Somehow, those things can’t be ignored. They are there in the head without eyes.

I take it as a measure of my mental health that I CAN do it. I WILL HAVE to do it at some point in time. Why not now? If the need and the idea arises, why not do it now, if possible? I bend to the task. It is not difficult. One, two, another one…into the bag. It CAN be hard. It’s not glamourous. There is no skill requirement. I will not receive any accolades from anyone but myself and maybe other depressives. We know how difficult such tasks can be in our moods. I hear their applause in the recess of my mind. I take a bow. Thank you! Thank you! Much appreciated. The yard is looking better. I didn’t get it all but it was a full Superstore bagful.

What next? A cup of tea, of course. My life is measured by cupfuls. Not a bad measurement. My cup is always full. I do count my blessings. Mostly to myself though and here. I try to keep my stuff contained. It’s good to have boundaries. No need to broadcast. Hear ye! Hear ye! That’s is not me. It’s good have a safe space. I hope you have one. It’s not that I’m secretive. I’m discreet but I do share. Do you?

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THIS TIME TOGETHER

These days are really hard to weather. Two days ago, it was minus 30 something Celsius. Sheba and I were shivering with long johns and scarves on our walk. Today it is +6C. Sun shining, snow melting, puddles of water everywhere. Why am I not dancing for joy? If it was that easy, I would dance. I would kick up my heels and do a jig. The reality is I feel like hell. My shoulders feel heavy, weighed down like a linebacker. I am not loaded down with shoulder pads, just the weight of the universe. My legs feels like cement pillars. I can’t run anywhere. Where would I go anyways? I couldn’t even muster any power to go to aerobics today. Hell with it, was my attitude. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I am sure there are others feeling the same.

I know myself fairly well. I’ve always been aware of my bodily discomforts with change of weather/temperature. I know it. I should not doubt of my own reality and poo poo it and feeling guilty. If I don’t believe myself, who will? So I shall just buckle up my own self, Buttercup and deal with it. It is why I have created this very space – to inhale, exhale, to console myelf. Who else would believe when I talk about gremlins and evils, that they exist, that I feel them?

I am heavy with fatigue. My head thick as can be. My neck sore and stiff. My eyes ache in their recesses. But I am working out my kinks and quirks. I am unravelling my knots. I am not at all happy with how receptive my wiring is. It’s not as if I can pull a plug or take out a fuse. If I could, I would. I should work for the CIA. They would pay well. But all I can do to mute their signals is tap here and paint there. Both processes soothe and smooth me. I get some satisfaction in the end. It’s not paying well, though, not monetarily. However, I’m being paid well in that some have told me they find my blog helpful. That is a very big compliment. Imagine how good it made me feel on a bad day to read this post. Thank you, Des! And I am getting recognition for my art work within my Instagram world. I am quite happy with my progress in that direction. I’m still improving, too.

I’ve tapped away that lump in my throat. My shoulders feel looser, my heart lighter. Nothing is wrong. Do not worry, dear readers. It is my way of problem solving. I sound in dire straits and all but I am not. I have had people inquiring and offering me hlep and shelter in the past. I sounded that bad. But I am not there. We writers and artists tend to be melodramatic. We feel things deeply – pain, joy and all the doldrums. That’s how I am. Tomorrow I might still be in this space. Or I might wake up and feel the tightness gone. I will know. But in the meantime, I’m still doing, tapping, painting, giving Sheba shit. We did it all today – the walk, the dishes, ate those chocolate chip blocks. I probably should not make any more. Might not make it through the door by February. I could make some pretzels instead.

January/life is f***ing hard. I didn’t say the whole word though I’ve done that often when I was still working. Nurses are bad for cussing – out of earshot, of course. Somehow it always made me feel better. It’s like a big exhale. Whoosh! There, all that bad stuff is gone. I can make a fresh start now. What I’ve learned now is not to use any other pronoun other than I, me and myself. No you did this to me or it’s their fault. There’s to be no blame. It’s a hard lesson. I take full responsibility for my life. It’s all about me. I will forget now and then, being human. Remind me if you catch me. I would thank you for it – I think.

Since I am such a weather vane, it would be helpful to learn how it can affect the body. It might prepare them and spare me some hardships.  My curiosity now led me to google what happens when the temperature goes from -30 C to +6 C. All that comes up are lots about global warming. Take a look.  It’s here.

I feel that our lives are already never the same again. I know that our existance is greatly threaten. Tomorrow might be just another 10 years and no more. I like to spend this time well. I like to do my best as best as I can. I’m tired now. I like to sign off like Miss Carol Burnett.

 

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IF I HAD A MILLION DOLLARS

I felt my cloud of moods starting to permeate through me again this morning after breakfast. I put up a stop sign, took a breath, remembering my sense of control and power from yesterday. When I am doing, moving, working on my ‘stuff ‘ I feel I have control, power and purpose. I am not living my life according to someone else’s plan. So I brushed that bed head out of my hair, put on makeup and earrings. I started doing – making the bed, getting lunch stuff ready to be made, thinking about moving back to Hong Kong. I fired off an email to my friend. Here’s his reply:

Hi Lily,

The expats living in Hong Kong are either have a quarter provided or receiving a substantial housing allowance. The apartments in Hong Kong is so expensive that no local people can afford to buy them any more.

An apartment in Hung Home where you had once lived before moving to Canada is worth two thousand Canadian dollars per square foot. 

K C 

I did the math for 500 square feet. A million dollars! I have to rethink that and make it living there for 2-3 winter months of the year. I could check out possible living spaces and costs. Maybe I could check out possible relatives. Too bad all my mother’s family is in NYC. Now I’m thinking about a couple months there! I am small requiring little space. I don’t eat that much. Anyways, it would be an engagement for my brain. I could work out my blue fog. That thought led me thinking of Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments for writing.

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can’t create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

The advice could apply to life in general. Number 4 speaks loudly to me. Also 5. I’m working, keeping with the program. I’m cementing a little every day writing my posts, getting to know myself more. I’m exploring watercolours on little index cards, a new medium for me. I do see people and drink every evening. I have trouble with the pleasure but am trying. Here’s to sitting back with my tea and thinking about that million dollars.

 

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