The end of October at last! And it’s Hallowe’en. I have to admit that I don’t like Hallowe’en at all. Sheba doesn’t either. She is scared of the yards decorated with ghosts and goblins, witches, coffins, pumpkins et al. She growls as she looks over her shoulder at them trotting by sideways. There’s no comforting and reassuring her until they are out of site. Come time for those trick and treaters ringing the doorway, it’s ear deafening barking till they leave and another bunch comes. So what’s fun about that? Bah humbug! I don’t have a fun bone in my body.
Should I apologize for that? I am having a bit of a bad attitude at the moment. My sleep has been disturbed by malicious neighbour committing acts of vandalism. I know, I sound like a broken record. I know it all sounds petty. I’m sure that’s how bullied children feel. That it’s petty. That they will not be believed. It seeps into your pysche and fester like a sliver under your fingernails. I don’t feel any better for having reported to the police. I know that they are trained to be neutral but are they? The occasions that I have spoken with them lately, l felt I was the criminal. I felt I was going through customs.
I will get through this soon and my chatter will stop. In the meantime, I will educate myself how to deal with this shit better. I’ve listened to an Oprah podcast with Malcolm Gladwell on his book, Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know. Then there’s his David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. I think I sort of fit into the midget underdog category. I do feel intimidated by police and neighbour. I hope to glean some insight and tools from Malcolm. In the meantime I shall :
- Do the best as I can.
- Try to get more sleep.
- Keep to my exercise regime.
- Keep to my meditation regime.
- Stop thinking of neighbour problem. I have set things in motion. Let the process take care of it.
- Keep my regular writing practice.
- Try to develop a fun bone.
- Do the lunch dishes.
- Take Sheba out for her walk
The end. Amen.
Well so much for this October Ultimate Blog Challenge! I have not achieved my goals. I have not lived up to my words. My attention and energy have been drained by dealing with my neighbour. I feel totally defeated and depleted by what has transpired in the last couple of months. In the respect that I am talking about her, I am not respectful or being helpful. But I have always been truthful and hopeful. Better days will come.
There’s much about bullying on our. evening national news on CBC with with stabbing of a 14 year old. The talk will run its course and then what? There’s was the case of Rehteah Parson in 2013. Then there’s Amanda Todd in 2012. These girls committed suicide because of bullying. Now 14 year olds are stabbed to death in Winnipeg and another in Hamilton outside his school. Will this never end? I feel the planet itself is mentally ill and fatally infected. What can we do to help the young people and our planet?
That is why I have/am speaking out. Evil hides in darkness. That is why I have St. Teresa’sprayer with me/in me to safeguard and protect me. He words bring such comfort to me. Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. She who possesses God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.
Now I have some understanding of how these young people feel when bullied. What chance do they have at their tender age? I am an advanced adult with much more experience and I am suffering from my neighbour’s bullying. That is what it is. Yesterday morning we saw that she, with help from her friend across the street, had totally pulled out our sad little fence – our inconspicious little attempt to protect the mulch around our cedar trees. I wonder why destroying someone’s property should give them such a look of pleasure – a fait accompli as they both marched across the street to the man’s house.
I’ve been experiencing these things from her the last 10 – 12 years. I’m worn out, discouraged and depressed. I’ve had to use a sleeping pill some nights to get to sleep. The ability to sleep is the most important thing for me now. I can work slowly at the other things. So not playing the victim, I’ve already asked the City Bylaws dept. for help. They did give me some advice only regarding weeds. They gave no direct answer to property rights or boundaries. Their advice was to seek lawyer help. Now that it is clearly a case of destruction of property and trespassing, I have filed with the police department. In my present mood, I am not feeling hopeful at the moment.
But I have began to talk to the other neighbours, at least one anyways. I do feel somewhat better. I am exhausted though. I cannot go into it now. My intent here is not a tell-all but maybe someone else is going through this, too. Maybe this will help someone else. Sometimes I feel petty, making too much about nothing. Even though it is not I, who is the aggressor, trespassing, vandalizing, causing mischief, I do feel the guilty one.
Winter came in October this year. The snow fell. The temperature dropped. There was nothing I could do about it except sit back and enjoy all that it brings. The world is in repose. There’s no need to hurry and fuss. Nature rests and so must we.
The snow lights up the dark mornings and evenings. It covers the ground in holy whiteness. No need to wipe the dirt off Sheba’s paws. She can roll and dig in the snow to her hearts content. I feel a peace grow inside as I gaze at my surrounding architecture. Love is here. Serenity is here. I hear the words of St. Teresa of Avila.
“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.”
I hate getting pissed off, losing my cool, blowing my gasket. I hate getting defensive and then feeling guilty, that it is always my fault. But then it is, isn’t it? It is me, or is it I who does it all and feels it all? I have to stop all the crap, but how the hell do you do it?
How do you break the spell? I would have to borrow Tinkerbell’s wand or put on my own thinking cap. The better bet is putting on my cap. The magic has probably expired on the wand. Tinkerbell has been around for a long, long time. Her stick is probably quite rusty by now. Let me get off my duff and dust off that cap of mine. I’ve been lazy for too long. My telemeres will shrink, shrivel and die if I don’t use them.
I hopped over to Wikihow, the site on how to do everything. It’s a pretty good resource for many things. I like what it says about handling anger.
- Set a rule for not yelling, ever.
- Learn to spot anger cues.
- Address issues immediately.
- Do daily relaxation techniques.
- Practice self care.
- Talk to someone you trust.
You’ll have to read the articles yourself for all the fine details. For myself, I think the spell is broken now. I have been working on all the above points. They do work but I am not 100 % foolproof. Sometimes I fail. I yell, am blinded by anger and don’t do any of the above. I pay the price for it. Then I lick my wounds, tuck my tail between my legs and admit that I have more work to do.
So life goes on. There’s no stopping or pausing it. While my life is a bit less of everything, the colours are just as bright for everyone else. I’m caught in a fugue, a bubble devoid of colour and sound. It’s restful here. I think I’ll stay for awhile. It’s a jungle out there. Dog eat dog. Mother beats child. Your lover can dump you for another. Who can get the most? Who can get to the finish line first?
I’ll have none of it. Thanks anyways. I rather be a loser. I rather be defeated than get in the mix. I’m not a striver. I am not ambitious. I am no competition. You can wear my gown and laurels. I prefer the rags. I’ll wear my smile, put the shine in my eyes and keep my heart and sanity. I’ll let you be right. You can have the credits. You can have the voice, too. I prefer the silence and keep my council.
Yes, I am blue, green. yellow, black and a dot of red. I am alive and breathing. I’ve lost the fight – today. I’m no warrior, no samurai today. I’ve lost my courage to fatigue, sleeplessness, hopelessness and all the nesses you can name. In other words, I’m a failure. I like it. It means I don’t have to measure up to anything/anybody. I get to start from scratch. I can just be me. How wondrous! How exhilarating! Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
I’ve lost my spunk but I’ve found my words. Words are important, Caroline Myss says. They contain the whole universe. I believe her. Perhaps she is the only one that I do believe. Well, I think I’ve gone on long enough about nothing. To be brief, good night. Keep well. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.
I’m sleepless again. After wrestling unsuccessfully with the mattress, I decided to give it up. So I’m here, sipping my Orange Pekoe tea, trying to tap myself into ease and sleepiness. It is about the enigma, the woman next door again. I tell myself that there is clearly something wrong with her. Yet she has enough wits about her to run a business out of her house and a talent to irritate the hell out of us.
The frustration comes from not finding a solution/resolution to the problem. It’s difficult to conduct a conversation, never mind to enter into a negotiation with someone who makes her own rules/laws. Who does not allow you a voice at all. Who talks/yells over what you have to say. Who lies. I guess she could be called a bully.
What has she done this time? It’s the same thing – her obsession that she has rights on our property. She doesn’t like how we do our yard. She planted little spruce trees on our property next to the raised bed that she doesn’t like either. She ‘weeds’ and digs little trenches to ‘drain’ rain runoffs on our property. Somethings are just too small, petty and too tiring to fight over. So I had been ignoring all this before. Then she doesn’t like that we use woodchip mulch because it is a fire hazard. We mulched under our cedar trees adjacent to her driveway. Whatever we use, she would push, scrape back when we’re not aware. So we put up some low wire fencing along the trees to prevent her from doing that. We used black (dyed with vegetable oil) wood chip thinking that it’s the colour of dirt and she wouldn’t see. How can anyone object to that since it was on our property and with a fence to keep them from her driveway?
Of course she would see and object. Today I found the posts pulled almost out and the wire netting laying flat on the ground, the mulch pushed back. I took photos. I am not sure as what to do. I could report this to the police as this is clearly vandalism, mischief and destruction of property. But I’ve been dealing with this kind of stuff from her for years. She is ‘something else’ as one could put it. She clearly has a bead on me and knows what gets my goat. She is very clever in this way.
I’ve also been getting smarter about myself, how I let people push my buttons. I don’t like how bodily reactive I am. I don’t like how the blood and thoughts rush to my head and I can’t think anymore. I can only feel – the cortisol coursing through my system and the feeling of helplessness. I’m here taming my thoughts and adrenaline. This is not a bitch session nor a tell-all. I’m trying to find some peace. I’m trying to find some love and compassion for the woman next door. It must be terrible for her to be so obsessed about me, my yard and whatever. Don’t we all need love and compassion?
I want to end on a positive note with a video of Daniel Champagne. We saw him perform live at the Bassment the other evening. He’s travelling across Canada. If he comes to your town/city, do go and see him. His guitar picking and music are out of this world. I came away from it with total body relaxation. I suffer anxiety and high blood pressure. It’s hard to explain but I suffer a hundred deaths of fright getting my blood pressure check. It’s difficult to feel confident about how well controlled it is. I’m always high at the doctor’s (white coat syndrome). The last visit a couple of weeks ago, I registered a reading of 180/90. Eeeek! I’ve come down since then, desensitizing myself each day by taking it regularly. My reading after coming home from the concert was 108/79. Music is good therapy. I have to listen and attend live concerts more often. Forward, ho!
Here I am. I’m finally showing up after all the things I’ve said and done. I haven’t been living up to my written words. I’ve been tired and overwhelmed, caught up in no emergencies, but everyday life. All of a sudden, or so it seemed, I realized that I was stressed, smothered and snowed under. What other s word can I think of?
Here’s the thing. I had to stand back and let things go. I did get up, dress up and show up. What I couldn’t do was the doing part. I still held this space in my thoughts. Empty spaces are necessary. Silence has its beauty. We all need a break for something new to come in. I’m glad for having given myself this stretch of emptiness and silence. I’m more restful and peaceful now. My head was screaming and screeching something fierce. It took me a long time to hear it.
These last few days of October have been beautiful. The blue skies, the sunshine, the autumn leaves. I felt one with the universe. Sheba and I enjoyed longer afternoon walks, drinking and storing the ambience for lesser days. I’m making hay while the sun shines. I’m learning to take the good fortune when the opportunity comes. I’m learning to let go when I need to.
Thanksgiving Monday. All is well. The snow is falling gently on the spruce trees. The Buddhas sits unperturded, breathing in and out, beneath their branches. The earth is in repose, having worked hard all these days. I hear its rhythmic breathing along with the Buddhas. I do likewise. In 1 2 3 4. Hold 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. Out 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8. It’s so restful. Letting it all go.
For all the talk about letting go, I’ve just come to understand what it means. I suppose it’s the same with so many things. As we grow older, gathering moss and wisdom, our perceptions shift along with our body parts. We are the same and yet not the same. I see that now. There’s no need to berate myself for being stupid, dumb and all the other things. If I had known better back then, I would have done better then. But I didn’t. So here I am now. Resting. Restoring. Relaxing.
I’m giving thanks for the life I have. I’m grateful for this journey of hardships and wonderment. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to grasp that I was born a village girl in China, delivered by a midwife at home. Born but with no piece of paper called a birth certificate. I, myself am testament enough. Look at where I am now. Maybe that’s why I rant so much. I’ve been crying, I’m here! I’m here! all my life. It is to be heard. I like to say I will rant no more, but that’s most unlikely.
But I AM understanding and knowing about letting go. I’m learning from nature. Every year when it is time, the trees let go of their leaves, the flowers give up their blooms to seeds. The plants and animals go into hibernation. Now, when it is time for me to let go of ‘stuff’, I close my eyes and see myself as a tree, dropping its leaves. I hear Nat King Cole singing, Autumn Leaves.
Some enchanted afternoon I like to drop all my cares and to do list. To hell with them, I would say. I would put on my coat, scarf and toque. I would gather up Sheba, my fur baby and head out the door. We would open the gate and saunter out into the afternoon sunshine. The air might be a bit frosty but oh, it’s so refreshing.
All thoughts fall away and we are in the moment. We pick up our heels and kick a pile of fresh fallen leaves. They’re still ever so green. The frost caught them by surprise. Overhead, we can hear the rustle of the remaining leaves. They are not yet ready to let go. Just a little bit longer, just a little longer, they whispered.
This was our enchanted afternoon. The sky was blue and the grass still green. The yellow, orange and brown leaves crunched under my feet. My mind is idle but my senses are alive. I feel ever so enchanted by autumn’s palette before my eyes. I could ask no more of the day.
I’m still plugging away here, snacking on sour grapes off the vine and sipping tea. Not a great combo but it will have to do. I’m feeling a spark of better though last night’s news didn’t help at all. What is happening to young people today? Two teens were killed in two separate incidents. In Canada! Maybe sour grapes will clear the bad taste of life now gone wrong.
I mustn’t despair at the state of our world. I like to think that there is hope for humanity and for our planet though things look bleak. I have to concentrate on doing what gives me meaning and pleasure. I still have a desire to pursue excellence, love and what I love to do. I lose my way now and again. But I always return to my passions – of writing, reading, gardening. I am intoxicated by all the little things of this ordinary life. I mustn’t waste time despairing. I must indulge and celebrate living.
So let us sing the Anthem with Leonard.