I think too much. Today, I’m thinking about the place call home. Where is it for me – the China where I was born, Maidstone, Saskatchewan where I took grade 1-12 or here, in Saskatoon, where I have lived since?
Was it Thomas Wolfe who said you can never go home again? It’s true. On a trip to Hong Kong, I tried to speak Chinese to the store merchants while shopping for souvenirs. They could not understand me. My travel mates told me to speak English for heaven’s sake. I was crushed. On another trip to China, I tried to find my way back to my home village. No luck for various reasons. On my return home, my mother informed me that our cousin laughed about my clumsy Chinese when I tried to talk to her on the phone. More crushing. It’s not for lack of trying but lack of appreciation by others that I couldn’t find home.
Is home a place then? I spent most of my formative years (12) in Maidstone. I always refer it as my hometown. But is it home? We owned the house we lived in. My father and his cousin owned the Rex Cafe they operated together. I knew the teachers and most of the kids in school. The year I finished grade 12, my family moved to NYC. But even before the move, I sensed that we were really not part of the fabric. We were one of the 3 Chinese families in town. We had the cafe.
My parents didn’t belong/participate in any community groups or activities. My mother had only a spattering of English. I had never felt the aloneness and separation of homelessness till that end of that summer. I came back to Maidstone to pack up for going to university in Saskatoon. We had not yet all moved. My father was still in the process of finalizing the sale of the house and cafe. My grandparents were still in the house. But already I was feeling gone and invisible. It was as if the town had shifted and filled in the spaces we once occupied.
For me then, home is not so much a place as the warmth of feelings, the rushing arms of a welcoming. Home is the moment that Sheba runs out the door, tail wagging and squealing with delight after just a couple of days away. She gallops back and forth, unable to contain her happiness at seeing us. We watch her antics, misty-eyed and hearts full – owners and dog sitter. We were all home in the moment of pure love.
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
The words of William Wordsworth published in 1807. They very much describe what we are experiencing today. How strange that Wordsworth felt much the same – way back then!
The world is too much with me. It follows me wherever I go – all the news, good and bad. They seem to find me, no matter where I am, from every corner of the globe. I have no time or space to rest from all the restlessness of the world. I am connected all the time. I hear the good, bad and the ugly. I hear truths and I hear lies. I like to turn it off but I am addicted. I want to be in the real world, to be grounded and rooted like the big tree across the street.
But I am hooked, addicted to my little gizmo that glows in the dark. It vibrates though I thought I had shut it up. It wants to tell me everything. The world is too much with me. My brain is on fire with too much information. I see and hear all evil. I want it to stop. How do I start? What gods do I call up to give me strength and the will? Can I beseech the moon and the stars above or do I JUST DO IT?
This is the thing. I get hooked. I see these free courses on Facebook. I can’t help it. I investigate and sign up. Doesn’t hurt anything. They’re free, right? I sign up for Laurie Wagner’s 27 Wild Days of writing to be delivered right into my mailbox. Each day contains a little video where she reads a poem. Then she chooses 2 lines that would make great prompts. It sounds too good to be true – 27 free days. And it was.
I’m excited. Love the poems. Love Laurie. She is so vibrant. The prompts lines are great, propelling me into writing and writing for 15 minutes. On day 3, I’m wondering why there are 2 videos. The first video she talked about the exercises and her program which I’ve seen already. What I haven’t seen before was the sign $49 to sign up. It puzzled me a bit but thought it was for a more in depth program. I was okay with this short one so I moved on to the poem. Another great one for wild writing. I was ecstatic. I was productive.
This morning I was pumped up, wild and eager, looking forward to another wild writing. I opened my mail for another video and poem. I scrolled and scrolled. No mail from Laurie Wagner! I scrolled some more. Nada! I went to YouTube. No day 4 video, only the end. I realized then, that I was teased and dazzled by a sampler. I wished that they had been more upfront. Had I misunderstood, overlooked? I couldn’t tell. I couldn’t find the original pitch on FB.
I went through a bit of withdrawal – gnashing teeth and clenching fists. I thought about signing up. $49 US is not a lot of money. I am worth it. It would be worth it. Then I thought of my year-long online art class. I’ve abandoned it after 5 months. It’s still there for another year for me to access. It was a great starting point for me. It was worth it. Then I thought of the ebooks on writing on my Kindle app. I’ve barely glanced at them. I’ve had them for a few years. Maybe I could read them first.
I’ve decided that I will try to be wild on my own. I will find my own poems and inspirations and those great opening sentences. I can experiment my own brand of wild writing. Emily Dickinson is an intriguing person. But her poetry doesn’t do it for me. I will check out Leonard Cohen and Mary Oliver. Suggestions, anyone?
This I what life does. It wakes me. It is as dark as can be. It is 7 and I get up though I didn’t want to. I swim on Saturday mornings. I don’t really feel like it today. It’s dark and cool. It’s nice and warm in bed. But I know that I really do enjoy it once I get there. Saturday morning is the only time that I have a chance of a lane to myself.
It is a little after 8 when I find myself at a red light on 8th Street. I can still go back home, I thought. I will be really late when I get to the pool and there’ll be lots of people. I could do a bunch of stuff at home. Then the light turned green. I kept going. This is what life is. You have to keep going though the going gets tough.
I find myself at funerals more often nowadays. Is this the new outing for us now? Is this the message finally or is this just another day in the life of the newly arrived seniors? I try not to think too much upon things. I keep on driving. But things and conversations have a habit of popping into my head. “No, I don’t remember you. You probably don’t remember me either. ” I try not to mind the dismissive tone of someone from a long time ago. “Yes, I do”. I replied quickly without thought. And I did. Why would I pretend otherwise? For feeling the rebuff of dismissal?
Naw, I said to myself. It has been a long time. Some people have better memory than others. Besides, I had the satisfaction of seeing that she was a little hunchbacked. Oh, the bitchiness of a female! I am honest if nothing else. No more thoughts. I keep driving. I arrive, change and into the warmth of the pool. I have the last empty lane.
Bear with me. What I really want you to know is I hang on to stuff, afraid to let them go. What I’m afraid of is that if I let go of anything, life as I know it will be lost. Sometimes I’m afraid to breathe. What if I breathe wrong? Everything would go amok. So I hold it until I have to let go.
Last night after getting out of my bath, I was brushing my teeth, doing this and that. I saw on my vanity glasses filled with this and that. I saw one filled with various sizes of makeup brushes. Brushes years and years old. But they were still in good shape because I hardly used them. I thought: why do I still have them? Of what use are they? They are just collecting dust.
It took some moments before I could trash them. I could/might start using them again. What a waste throwing them out! Such thoughts passed through my head. Then sense prevailed. I haven’t used them for at least 15 years. Why would I now? Into the garbage they went, all 4 of them.
It was not painless. I felt uncomfortable, a sense of loss. As if a few makeup brushes could make or change life as I know it. I think that’s why we hang onto things/thoughts/habits. We are afraid that we/life will be less without them. We are not emptying/ridding what is passé to let in new life.
I will sit here for awhile with the discomfort. I am okay. It will pass. I will go on.
It’s another morning, another day. I’ve gotten up, dressed up in my day clothes and have I am. The mornings are still very dark at 7. There’s snow on the ground, on the spruce and on my lettuce bed. The buddhas sit unperturbed beneath their canopy. Their placidness amid all weathers is admirable. It’s what I strive for each day. I don’t always succeed but seeing them each time is a reminder. I try again and again.
Each day I get a new opportunity to try/do at what I yearn and have yet not achieved. How awesome is that? I need not dwell in the pit of self-pity and failure. Each day I can try something new, go down a different path. That’s what I have to remember. There is no point in keep doing the same thing, expecting different results. That’s wrong mathematics or insanity as Einstein and Dr. Phil would say.
I am a fan of quotes. They contain so much wisdom and truth in a sentence or two. Einstein said: “Nothing happens until something moves.” Wayne Dyer: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” I’ve been putting these quotes into practice over the last year. Change is slow as it is difficult to be awake and conscious. I’ve been mesmerized and swept along the routine of everyday life. Sometimes I forget to stop and smell the flowers or the coffee though I love that quote. I’m trying again – stopping to notice, to smell, to document.
Now I have to move and do something else.
I am fresh back from a little roadtrip. It was an interruption of the everyday grind, a little jolt from the taken- for- granted joys of home. Now I must use my new frame of reference to appreciate what I have here in the moment. Nothing stays the same, life is changing as we live it. As the moments pass, so do many things – some beautiful, some not. Or so it seems.
Life is and is not what it seems. I becry about its adversities so much. I find so much fault with people and relationships. But now, in this moment, I find that it is I, seeing the world with the wrong pair of eyes. My vision has cleared momentarily. Everything is as it should be. The world and life is a stage. We are but a temporary cast. The story lines and players are complex and forever changing.
I’ve come to appreciate all of life’s acts – the happy and tragic. They are all necessary and beautiful as one transitions into the next. There is flow. We cannot stop it. We have to play our part.
We should all be like our pet dogs. We were gone for just 2 days. It could have been weeks. When we got back to pick up Sheba at the sitter’s, she was beside herself with happiness. She ran out the door and galloped around Carol’s front yard. Back and forth she ran, kicking up her heels like a donkey, squealing with delight. She let us know that she was so happy to see us.
Why can’t we be like that, not afraid to show our feelings. If you care about someone, don’t hide and be coy about it. Show your appreciation. We might say and do all the right/polite things, but our body language gives us away. Let me tell you, there’s no mistaking Sheba’s body language. She loves us and she’s not afraid to show it.
Sheba has taught me much in our lives together. Love transcend many boundaries. You cannot measure love in the dollars or sense. Love touches you in that special space inside. And she surely has touched us there.
A change of pace, a change of scene is always good for the soul. It breaks up the routine. It breaks up thoughts. You can’t rely on the same old, same old. You are forced to see something different if not differently.
So here we are in another city, in a hotel. In recent days we’ve experienced the loss of family members. That alone has changed our lives forever. Our days are somehow never going to be the same. The thought makes the losses unbearable and the memories all the more precious.
I see those moments frozen in time. It is as if I could reach out my hand and touch those people. I can almost hear their voices and laughter. So I have not lost them really. I still have had the experience of them in my being. They are still part of who I am.
I am a little sad but I’m also full of their love and my love for them. So really I am happy after all.
It’s one thing to talk about getting real but another to do it. I was readily led off into cyberspace first thing this morning. I was off again chasing others’ lives rather than my own. But it’s out of the way now (I hope). I’ll work on getting back into my own now.
The morning is as gloomy as can be. I’ll try to rise above my inertia and shine this little light of mine. I can’t sit and count others to do it for me. It has never happened. Why would it now? I better sit up and polish up my stars so they can twinkle and light up my world. I’ve folded up some laundry and a load is in the washer. Some ripe tomatoes are sorted, washed, bagged and in the freezer. The heavy traffic floors are vacuumed. I’m sipping my second cup of tea here, tapping out my thoughts and progress.
What I know for sure is it is difficult to be in the here and now. Seems like my natural inclination to drift anywhere but here. It feels uncomfortable to deal with whatever it is in front of me. I can’t quite understand it but that’s the thing. I don’t know about you, but I push it (whatever it is) aside, behind me – in avoidance. Not that it helps. I still have that uncomfortable, nagging, dreading feeling all the while.
I’m beginning to think all these feelings of avoidance and dread come from the habit of avoidance. It’s a well worn groove now and I need some muscle power to boost myself out. I’ve been spinning and spinning, tap and tapping about it all this time. I fall back in time after time. I need to tell a new story. I need new and better habits. I just have to start with one – now.