EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING

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I’m sitting here tap, tapping away on my keyboard.  The words are spilling from my fingertips.  I hope they will be good words.  I hope the words are healing words.  I am not always sure what will come out.  I am only sure that it is better they come out than fester inside of me.  We know that splinters hurt.  It is best that they are dug out than left to infect.

I am not saying that all bad things hurt.  Sometimes they are  guidance from above.  They are examples of where we have erred.  It is hard to face our own mistakes until it glaringly shows up in others.  It hits you in the belly and you feel the air go out.   Ahhhh! The famous light bulb moment.  Oh, THAT is me.  So, THAT is what I have been doing.  You are ever so grateful that now you see.

So do not ever despair of bad days or cloudy days.  They, too, will pass and under every cloud, there IS a silver lining.  All you have to do is look.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY or A LITTLE OF THIS AND THAT

Photo on 2011-02-02 at 18.45The nights are over and I am in recovery mode.  After all these years, I am still trying to figure out how best to exit the night shifts and into the day.  What is the best way to rejoin the rest of the world?  Of course now, most of the world is out of kelter, too.  We are all shifting in every which direction.  So why try?

However, not trying does not feel good.  So I give up sitting in front of the computer.  My hair is standing on end.  I cannot read.  Nothing sinks in.  My mouth feels like yesterday’s socks.  I am tired and restless at the same time.  I do not want to go to bed.  The sun is out and the world is moving and I feel I should, too.

In the end, I give in to what my body needs….sleep.  I brush my teeth and rinse the grit out of my mouth.  I lay down and sleep only lasted 3 hours.  Well, it is better than nothing.  Oh the joy of shift or social jetlag!  Thou is doing me in.

It is a week and a couple of day shifts later.   I am still feeling like hell.  What excuse do I use now…the weather and changing barometric pressures?  Why not.  End of April and I am still bundling up in winter coat and scarf one day.  The next, I’m in short sleeves and leveling the snow pile in the garden and I’m sweating.  Is that normal?

I woke up this morning with all my bones aching.  My fingers are swollen and my hands sore and throbbing.  I felt nauseous with pain.  I was whiny and miserable.  I felt like throwing a temper tantrum but I am just a little too old for that.   So a painkiller was the next best thing.  It saved the day and a few nerves.

The pill put out the fire in my hands and a small smile on my lips.  It eased my way out the door for a walk with Sheba in the morning and the afternoon.  I was not what you call a ball of fire but I did a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  The laundry got done.  My uniforms got ironed.  Yesterday’s shopping of meat got cleaned, packed, labeled and put in the freezer.  The floor did not get vacuumed but they were swept.  I remembered not to dwell on perfection.  I remembered to start where I am.  I remembered that I am not responsible for everything, that it’s not my fault that people are unhappy.  I remembered.

Now the day is done.  The sun has set and I am sipping wine.

COFFEE WITH MY MOTHER

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What really matters to me is that I am able to give back to my mother what she has given to me….love and attention.  So when she tells me that she is missing her sister and that she is feeling so not all right and could I take her out for coffee, it is my pleasure to do so.

I had been wondering how she would deal with my auntie’s death.  Even though they were separated by many miles, they spoke frequently on the telephone up to 2 weeks before my auntie’s death.  By then she was not herself anymore.  She was sometimes confused and angry, hitting and scratching at my cousins, too weak to speak with my mother.  But she died peacefully at home.

My mother was a bit surprised by her own grief.  She felt a bit ashamed of her ‘weakness’.  She said that all her siblings were like that.  My uncles all cried unabashedly at the funeral.  When someone said that they shouldn’t be crying because my aunt was, after all 93, they cried all the harder.  So that’s my mother’s side of the family.  They lived in each others’ hearts.

My coffee times with my mother are somewhat akin to Tuesdays with Morrie.  It’s been a long time since I have read the book, but I remember that those Tuesdays were filled with love, communication and acceptance.  That’s how I feel about my time I spent with my mother.  She is a great storyteller and a very wise woman despite her lack of formal education.  I am who I am because of my mother.  And it is a wonderful thing.

KEEP DRIVING ON AHEAD

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The world is still reeling from the Boston marathon bombing.  How can we understand such a tragedy?  We cannot.  I cannot so I will not even try.

Would it be safe, accurate or fair to say that the marathon is just a bigger arena for society’s ills to be played?  I could say that sometimes these dramas are frequent occurrences at my work place…only on a much smaller scale.   Just last week an incarcerated patient with two guards escaped from their care and went down the back elevator.  How all this happen is a mystery.

When I got to work, the hospital grounds were full of police cars. Breakfast was late as the hospital was shut down and the police combed every room and closet.  Patients asked what they were looking for.  A bomb?  How do you reassure them.  I thought a person was better than a bomb.  But I didn’t specify.  We got the ALL CLEAR by 9:30.  And he was found later in the day in a car downtown.

This is just one of many incidences where our safety is at risk that we have to deal with, along with the usual duties of saving lives, emptying bedpans, reassuring patients and families.  Sometimes we forget about ourselves.  Who can understand what has happened to our world?

But I still try to take in the what is right and the beautiful in the world – the yin and the yang, the shadow and the light.  Perhaps we need both to guide us.  So I breathe, relax and keep driving ahead, with them windshield wipers slapping time and singing along.

ON REACHING A HUNDRED

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I have reached a hundred the other day, a hundred posts that is!  It is a big success for me.  I have to reward myself and pat myself on the back.

I am tap, tapping at my keyboard.  I love the rhythm of my fingers on the keys.  I love the words that come out.  I am writing because I love the beauty of words and ideas that flow from my finger tips.  I don’t know from where they come but I welcome them.

If perchance you read some of my words, do not stress or worry if I sound melancholy or in trouble.  My work environment can be very toxic and sometimes I can’t help but take some of the fumes in.  And life can be ever so taxing.  Tapping out words is my way of breathing and releasing the poison out.  It is how I heal myself so that I can work and live again.

Words are my best friend.  They hold me close with their warmth.  They help me see with their clarity and they calm me down with their truth. I honour them by putting them in print.  I do hope that you will stop by often and read them.  I love sharing what I have learned by putting words and pictures together.

ON LEOPARDS, ZEBRAS AND ME

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Okay people, I think I’m back to normal – my normal that is.  But that is all that counts, isn’t it?

For a couple of days, I had lost my balance, my center….my zen.  I was back to the old self of trying to figure people out, wondering why they are the way they are, wanting them to change – for me, bashing my head against a concrete wall.  I was judging, criticizing, non-accepting.  I kept up a litany of :  If only leopards could change their spots and zebras could change their stripes.  Oh, what a bore I was until I saw that it was I who need to change my spots and stripes.

I haven’t figured out the how’s yet but seeing my error is a big bing, bing, bing.  I am sure that Oprah would approve.  Do you know that she is coming to Saskatoon on Sunday and that she is sold out and they had to add 400 extra seats?  That is what I heard anyways.  I am surprised that I have no desire to go, being a huge fan of hers for many years.

I think I have finally grown up.  I do not need heroes any more.  I have decided to be my own hero and listen to the whispers of my own heart.  I am getting to know who I am.  I am okay.  I know what to do.  The world is a good place.  The leopards can keep their spots.  Zebras have stripes and I am okay with all that.  Peace and love.

ON THE COUCH

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So it is Saturday morning.  It is the morning after the morning after.  I wake with no boundless joy.  It is perhaps the after taste of my night shifts and last night’s wine.  And yes, the weather is __ !  Let it snow. Let it snow.  Sometimes life feels nauseating.

But I know that these are just the physical symptoms, my body’s reactions to the environment, both the physical and psychological.  And it is a good thing.  It is an alert for me to waken up, to pay attention, and to restore my homeostasis.

I spent a great part of yesterday on my couch, interrupted by one medium walk with Sheba.  No amount of will power nor self pep talk could budge my body.  After all these years, I’ve learned to listen to my body.  I was glad that I had swept the water from the garage and cleaned the yard the day before.  I had heard my little inner voice telling me that the sun is out and you can move today.  Tomorrow might be a different thing.

My body is a pretty accurate barometer,  for it did snow…pretty soft flakes the morning long.  It is really not what most of us want…more snow.  But…we do live in Canada and there is nothing we can do to stop the snow when it comes.  And that is the truth.  It does legitimize being a sloth and I took advantage.  Tomorrow is another day.

Today is yesterday’s tomorrow.  I do not feel like tap dancing.  It is not my nature but I am up and dressed.  I am tap, tapping away on my keyboard.  I am drawn not so much as to how much I can ‘accomplished’ but to how aware and conscious I am.   It is cloudy again but they say under every cloud, there’s a silver lining.  It is for me to decide what that is.

AS IF

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I woke up this morning with a sense of ‘wishy washy’, not wanting to get out of bed.  Somehow my body knew that the day was overcast and cloudy…not inviting at all.  I was not filled with vim but maybe vinegar.

But at least I was not filled with dread, a sense of impending doom.  My heart was not in my mouth.  My heart was not anywhere. But I got out of bed anyways, washed my face, brushed my teeth, made my tea….the whole morning thing.  I read another part of Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.

The book is helping me to understand my ‘eccentricity’, my quirks, my not enjoying having fun.  Is that a contradictory phrase?  I am understanding myself as an introvert and my Chinese-ness.  We have a propensity for thoughtfulness, study, the quiet….like Confucius and Lao Tzu.  So what chance do I really have of being a gregarious Chinese cheerleader?

At long last, I’m beginning to accept myself as I am.  This morning I tell myself it is okay that I don’t feel overwhelming joy.  I don’t have to cheer, ZIP, BOOM, BAM, HURRAH!  I can just mosey along at my snail’s pace.  I’ve just cracked my first smile of the day.

Routine and good habits are wonderful.  They can save your day and life when you can’t.  Though I feel slow as a turtle and ugly as a frog, I’m moving right along.  In my head I’m moving as if I have the speed and ease of a gazelle and the grace and beauty of fairy princess.  I can enjoy life as a quiet feast.  And we, the Chinese certainly enjoy feasting.

Breakfast and dishes are done and put away.  Sheba and I have tripped the light fantastic around the neighbourhood.  The sun is out.  It is as if the clouds never were.