It is again a very, very grey day. The sun made no appearance. En route to our exercise class, the morning seemed so bright and clear before me. It felt rather strange. I felt very good. I thought, Wow! I’m feeling like I could work a 12 hour shift. That was just a feeling. I don’t want to but I felt quite capable. It must be my endorphins talking.
I’m into day 126 of my year of doing different. I’m thinking I must be into the heart of my journey. I’m feeling a bit DIFFERENT. I’m feeling I could see the tree through the forest. It is quite euphoric though fleeting. It is okay. I’m in a little clearing. I have navigated my way through the darkness. I’m not completely lost anymore. I will chip away at the dense undergrowth. I am sure there will be many more obstacles – rocks, roots, stumps, maybe even poison ivy and a monster or two. For now, I am happy and secure in my little Eden. I will enjoy and rest for the morrow.
Make hay while the sun shines. I love proverbs, don’t you? Life could be easier and better if we heed them. I was glad that I did yesterday. I made hay while the sun shone. I basked in the warmth of my sunroom, letting everything fall off my shoulders.
Today is another story. No sun and no warmth from the greyness surrounding me. I was not happy, needing the sun to stimulate my feel good cells. But I faked it and carried on. I made my own sunshine.
I remembered my nephew used to phone and leave messages for me when he was very little. One time I came home from a 12 hour work shift and found his message. ” You are my sunshine, My only sunshine…” I thought of him today. I remembered going to my sister’s one day and found him doing his chore – washing the stairs. That was when he was a little older, of course. I thought that it was something I could do today. It would be one step closer to having a clean and neat house for the new year. Since I am bigger than a little boy, I washed the upstair and downstair bathrooms as well.
I am feeling proud having fooled my gloomy cells and rising above them. I keep telling myself, I CAN, I CAN. With bold steps, Sheba and I strode into the grey. We found that it was not as grey once out from our shackled thinking and feelings. The world exploded into colours that widened our lenses and opened our hearts.
So good to have this space to come to at the end of the day and unload. Good night and God bless.
Thank God that no two days are equal. I am having a much better after lunch feeling. There’s none of the fatigue, sleepiness and I-want-to-throw-up looking at the dishes.The pots, pans, and stove top are cleaned. The washers, dish and laundry are going. There’s the weak washed out wintry sun coming in the windows. We are having a quiet peaceful interlude, letting the food digest and having a spot of tea.
I’m puttering through my days and year slowly but steadily. Some days I am more energetic and ambitious than others. But I am always passionate about this learning process. I am always excited about what nuggets of myself/ourselves I can excavate and examine in the light. It has always been the purpose of this blog. Yes, I do wander now and then. That is my/our nature. But I always come back again and again to do the work. What is my purpose? What is my nature? How can I do better? The answer comes to: I have to know (myself) better.
This journey has many crossroads. Which path do I take? Can I face my own truths, or would I rather not know? Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy? Can’t I have both? I’m choosing the path of truth. At this stage in my life, I cannot afford any more games. I do not want to hide. I am seeking. I want to do the work. I am guided by the works of Byron Katie, Caroline Myss and Norm Shealy. In this age of the Internet, there are so many tools at our disposal. Access is almost at the speed of light. There is no need to stay in the dark.
Here, in my real physical world, I’m doing the work at Fitness on 25th/YWCA. Mondays we do aerobics. Wednesday we do step aerobics. Fridays, obstacle course. All classes are not straight anythings. They can have weights training and they are all geared towards improving our functioning in activities of daily living. Our awesome instructor is Val. I am stronger mentally, emotionally and physically since I have stumbled into her class last December. I can’t fly yet, but I can vacuum my whole main floor at one go without stopping to rest. Here’s a sample of functional training from YouTuble:
Ta-Da! My sweater is finished on the third go around. I can’t recall when I bought the yarn or how long the last start sat in my knitting basket. I do remember that it was before the Internet, Google and iPhones. In short, a long time ago. Checking back through my Instagram photos, I started the latest version on August 15th, this year – a little over 3 months ago. So I can start and go the whole 9 yards. It feels good not to give up and quit, time and time again.
I do have this pattern of quitting on myself, not believing in my own worth. I do things mostly for other people because I don’t want to be a selfish, self-centered person. I did not understand that it is our nature to be self-ish wanting things for ourselves, to look after our needs, to want love and respect. At almost 30, I gave up on part of myself. I left a marriage but never sought a divorce, an ending to an end. Why pay twice? I was never going to marry again. But I’ve paid more than twice for that decision in ways that I don’t even know.
I did not understand this necessity of finishing then. I do now. ‘It’ catches up with you and you have to write ‘the end’ somehow if you want to be free to live the life you want. So – many years after and with divine help, I did write THE END to one chapter. Now I can start on the next chapter, sweater or whatever, in whatever colour, pattern or stitch I want. Knit one, purl one, knit two, purl two….THE END
Day 120 in a year of doing different brought grey clouds and a spattering of snow. I baked through the valley of shadows to the other side. Now I’m enjoying a cup of tea and a second slice of fresh baked bread, wishing I had some jam. The only time I’m craving it is when I don’t have any. Isn’t that the nature of things.
So here I sit, tap, tapping and pushing the shadows further back. My magic bullet (Sheba) is beside me, squeaking her toy ferociously as if to chase out demons. She is doing a wild dog war dance, barking and squeaking. I had to reassure her that we were okay. We were safe. Could she please do a down? She obliged prettily.
I rest into the peace and quiet, reflecting on this life of mine. Into each of us some darkness must fall. It is the darkness that leads me out to the light. It is a guide, my North Star. I sit in prayer, giving thanks for all that I have and all that I am. Thank you, Lord, for your wisdom and guidance. Thank you for your compassion. May you bless us with wisdom, understanding and compassion for each other and for our earth. Amen.
Life is hard. The road stretches long, hard and cold before me. It is full of ruts and holes. If I’m not careful, I could sprain an ankle and/or fall down. It has happened before. Now I’m more alert and aware of where I’m going. In these short/long 119 days, I have at least learned not to waste my energy asking unanswerable questions. I will not be discouraged and disheartened by no answers. Wisdom comes in slow drops in the bucket. The bucket will fill eventually – if there are no leaks.
I cannot afford to leak out energy. So I must always nourish myself first regardless. Then I can tend to what’s out there. That is the law. That is my nature. If I am empty, I have nothing to give. Right now I’m slaking my thirst with a cup of tea, generously sweetened with honey. Sometimes I need a little extra. The world is filled with confusion and darkness. I see shadows and the malevolent everywhere. They waiting for me to trip and fall. I feel their presence but I am not afraid. I find solace in the words of the Divine.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I am sure that Sheba is the most photographed dog in the world. I can’t help capturing her multiple times in a day. She is my fur baby and she is pretty. She is darn smart, too. Those things have saved her from going to the dog pound. She was not an easy puppy. I was not a trained owner. We had a very rocky beginning.
She was destined to be mine so no amount of difficulty could separate us. We were stuck like glue. She could sit so pretty and look at me with those expressive eyes. She could shake a paw, then the other one. She could roll over, do the crawl. She could even pick up her leash and carry it over the doorway. She would do anything for food.
As a puppy she was full of zest, too much zest and so full of opinions. She was like the Lone Ranger thundering up and down the hills at the dog park. She was a bunny hopping in and out of the snow. She is still full of it. She could still thunder but only a short distance. But she is as vocal as ever. She’s gotten us into trouble numerous, numerous times being a black exuberant energetic dog who likes to jump and bark.
After ten years, she is somewhat obedient. I’m somewhat trained. We are still together after ten years. She is my magic bullet, keeping me safe and spirited. She gets me up and out even when I don’t want to. I have raised her from a 2 month puppy – a complete job. She is loved and exercised religiously. Though not obedient in some ways, she is perfect in others. She does not go on furniture or destroy them. She is exuberant and lavish in her loving. And she is barking now: Time to go to the park!
I’m fortifying myself with a cup of rose hip tea before descending into the depths of the basement. I am a chicken shit, scared of jacks in the boxes and things that go bump in the night. I’m hoping this sweet amber elixir will infuse me with courage. I gathered the hips at the lake at the end of summer. The tea is very subtle and delicious. I can taste the sunshine, spruce pine and the fresh breeze on my tongue. I’m feeling the softening of anxiety in the drop of my shoulders, the smoothing of the crease between my brows. I will be A ok.
I did small, small this morning. I rid one small box. It is not easy on a grey November day to stare into the debris of your life. It is never easy but it has to be done. Those scary Jacks in the box do not go away. They never go away on their own. I have to chase them out with a broom. My goal is to clear them for the New Year. It is Chinese custom to sweep the house clean for the coming year. You do it before, never on. It’s bad luck. You might sweep out the good with the bad.
I come to this space today in better mood and spirits. It helps that it is early afternoon and the sun lighting up the room. I’m encouraged that I’m almost a third through my journey. But then, this journey does not have an ending. I will still be on the road till I have reached my mortal end. Till then, I am obliged to struggle on. I am not daunted by it. I love journeys more than the destination for when I get there, I find that it’s not there.
On this 116th day, I find so many things have shifted for me since yesterday. I’m back to being the novice of learning. I’m listening and observing with an opened heart and mind. There is much wisdom in Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements. I need to review them. They offer the possibility of personal freedom from suffering.
BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD. Speak only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.
As the day ebbs into afternoon and evening, I feel my energy and my spirit go likewise. I remind myself that’s the nature of my body and mind sometimes. The day is getting shorter. The night casting longer shadows. I tell myself not to lose heart and do not beat myself up. I can fake it till I make it. It works to act and behave in a desirable manner. I have a choice of how to behave for a desired outcome.
I’m sitting here with my keyboard to tap out a few words. It’s not what l’m liking to do now, but it is my choice. It would be so easy to just curl up and pull the blanket over my head. I feel a bit of the early Christmas blues coming on. Are you feeling it – the what to do’s, the what to give and to whom, the how to celebrate and who with? These are all squirming beneath the surface. But now I’ve brought them up on top.
Today, I saw the ‘blues’ in our waiter at a restaurant. The normally energetic, bubbly young man was quiet and clearly not happy. He was subdued and polite, apologizing in whispers for our long wait. I felt so much for him. I wanted to ask if he was alright. I did not, respecting him. I wondered if I have absorbed his energy. I tend to do that. That is my nature.
I’m sitting, tapping and being aware of my nature. I’m talking with the Lord. It is comforting with each tap on a key. I’m learning from my spiritual teachers. I’m learning to sit and be still with my discomfort. I’m learning about choices – what is significant and what is not. I’m learning to live.