I am here again, though somewhat reluctantly. I am like a well/river gone dry. I have little water/words to give. My flow is gone and I am stuttering along, scraping the bottom for dregs of wisdom/experience. I show up once in awhile to stir the pot, aggitate the scene a little to see what will come alive. I hope I still have some sparks left. I’m still taking my Omega 3’s, 1,000 mg. three times a day. Sheba is, too. We old gals need our fish oils to keep our brains and hips lubricated and working. Life can be a hard grind. I see it Sheba’s stiff and slow rise each morning.
I can’t hold back our advancing years and hips, no matter how much and hard I try. But I can slow it down a bit. We might not be as agile as in our youth. We can no longer jump and leap as well, but we can at least try to stay strong and land on our feet. It has been and still is an interesting and fulfilling ride. We still love and do many things. There have been times though that have been tough, painful and boring. What goes up must also come down. That is nature and the law. Would we want it any other way?
So I sigh a lot, bitch a little and carry on the best I can. I still love words, the tap, tap, tap of my fingers on the keyboard and seeing the letters march across my computer screen. I am thrilled when I get a lightbulb moment, tickled by a clever phrase that pops into my head. And when I find that photo that brings everything together, I am beyond words. In other words, I am elated. The struggle is worth the effort.
November is the hardest month, especially without snow to light up the grey. Yesterday it rained. Then snow came and melted. It was not an easy day. It was a day of pushing and prodding myself to show up and make my own sunshine. The less I show up, the less I want to. The less I talk, the less I have to say. Is there a message here? Is this a season of silence? Is it a time for me to rest and hibernate, to restore and refill my body and spirit?
There are so many things I rather not do, so many places where I don’t want to show up. It’s childish talk. I like to lay down, kick my legs up and down and have a tantrum. I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna! But who would pay attention and listen? I just have to suck it up and do those I rather nots. Life does go on, with or without me. Remember that rhetoric? It’s a truism. I don’t want to be left behind, not when I’m still breathing. I will go along for the ride. I might as well put in a good effort or else it will be a wasted trip.
I will have to pull up my socks again, stand tall and square my shoulders to face the world. It’s not so bad or hard once I’ve made the decision and begin. The words are coming back. They are marching across my screen, forming sentences and thoughts. Ideas are popping into my head and fingers as they tap on the keyboard. I feel the light and energy coming back into my body. Hope is not out of reach as fatigue and the humdrum of the everyday recedes. The ordinary is coming alive again for me. Perhaps seeing Picasso’s linocut collection on still life at the Remai Modern yesterday stirred some excitement in me. It made me think and look at things in different ways. Perhaps that’s the function of art.
Egad! I’ve been absent too often. Now I find it difficult to show up. Life has been difficult. How many times have I said it already? Enough, I need to get over myself. I need to get a job or something. It is a job trying to kick aside all the stuff that doesn’t work. It is a job trying not to whine like my old self. It’s hard to see from a different perspective. Sheba is helping me in that regard.
The other evening I was trying to coax her to go downstairs with me. She has no trouble scrambling down when someone comes in through the front door. She’s so excited she’s down there like a flash. But when she has to think about it, she’s unsure, hesitant and won’t go sometimes. I don’t know what she was thinking the other night. She paused, hesitated and jumped down the whole flight in two leaps. There was a great deal of noise as she bounced off midway and then on the landing. It was astonishing how she landed on her feet both times. My heart was in my mouth. It taught me a lesson. And that is to let her go down when she wants to, not when I want her to.
It led me also to look at the stairs from her eye level. I squatted down to her height. Them stairs do look pretty steep! Why she felt she had to jump them all at once is beyond me. Maybe when she is unsure and anxious, all she could focus on was the landing and not the individual steps. It’s a lesson not to outguess a dog’s mind or people’s. I have this thought that everyone’s mind works like mine. I might have this tendency to be preachy and give unwanted advice. I suppose I could be offensive. It’s hard to be objective about oneself. But I’m owning up to it from my present day perspective. I have to get over myself because I’m offended by me myself.
I remember an incidence at work years ago. I was a nurse in a teaching hospital, the Royal University Hospital to be exact. Some of our staff had a tendency to change the staffing sheet themselves if they don’t like the unit they’re assigned to or the people they don’t like to work with. I felt that this really wasn’t the right thing to do. I voiced my opinion in our communication book. What I said was to raise the question, if you don’t want to work in a certain unit or with someone, what makes you think that they would or that they want to work with you? And that you are not erasing a name on the worksheet. There’s a person to the name. I saw that it caused a buzz as I saw people poured over the book. Later at lunch, my manager chastised me in front of everyone that what I wrote was offensive. I myself found her offensive reprimanding me in the cafeteria and in front of everyone. I picked up my tray and left, not wanting to be more offensive.
Looking back now, I would probably do the same thing. It was the right thing to do even if some people are offended by it. I would try to be a little more dignified in the cafeteria though and not cry. I just have to get over myself, this constant worry about pleasing others. Well, I haven’t got 50 ways of getting over myself yet. Sheba and I are working on it.
I was so delighted by all that sunshine this morning. All the heaviness fell off my body. It helped too that I had a healthy dose of sleep last night – almost nine hours. AND the fact that I’m not that mouse on the tread wheel screaming: I have to fix it! I have to fix it! Yesterday, I gave myself permission to languish prn. Prn comes from the Latin ‘pro re nata’ meaning when necessary.
It’s the nurse in me coming out, though I am no longer a nurse. I’ve hung up my cap and taken off my duty shoes. Old memories are still alive and kicking around somewhere in my body and soul. The memories are ok. Some are good. Some are not but they all can stay. They all contributed to the sum total of who I am today. It is time to let go of the duty part though. It is always the right thing to help one another if I can. It is not my duty to fix anything, anyone or even myself. Just listen and let be. I have to knock the duty part off and have a happy retirement like my cake says.
It’s taken me a frigging long time to arrive here – 6 years post retirement. I’m not complaining. I’m marvelling. It’s been such an interesting journey. I’m feeling the lightness and weightlessness after dropping some self-taken burdens. What a dork! I could kick myself around the block but I won’t. I know we all have moments like these. We don’t know what we don’t know. We will when we’re ready.
Happy Thursday. Now I have to take Sheba around a few blocks, a happy self-imposed duty.
I don’t know what it is, but it seems like all my best laid plans have gone awry. My natural response has always been: I have to fix it! I have to fix it! I’m that mouse running on the wheel, getting dizzy, going nowhere. I’ve finally fell off. Not going to do the same any more. I’m not giving in or throwing up my hands in defeat. I just like to do something else. I want to get off the well beaten path. It’s hard to do. I know how tempting and comforting the old familiar is. But I’ll give it a good old try.
I’m sitting in my pjs and housecoat, basking in November’s weak tepid sunshine. It still brings my discouraged heart up a notch and a weak smile to my lips. I don’t have much to say but I like to feel the keys beneath my fingertips. It’s comforting to hear and feel the tap, tap, tap. I like to watch the black letters and words march across the page. It warms me from the inside out, much like watching Sheba languishing on her pillow last night. She has a face that makes my heart smile. I sit and let all these comforting feelings come into me. I rest in their comfort, remembering their essence.
There really is nothing that I must do. There is nothing to fix. Everything is as it should be. I have this time to linger and languish in my sunfilled room. Let nothing enter to cloud and clutter my mind. Let them all float by, the thoughts and the feelings, like clouds in the sky. I’ve been in sitting meditation with Mark Williams every morning now for months. Some of it is taking hold. Now I am able to sit in silence, with self guidance for 20 minutes. Some days are better than others. That is why it is call a practice. It is something I must do more of.
Life is messy. My house is messy. My head is messy. That’s how they feel to me. There’s a correlation between it all. I don’t know how to clean them up. I don’t know where to begin. I’m a little antsy. I’m a little stressed. I got a yen for something sweet. So I ate 2 little Coffee Crisp bars left from Hallowe’en. They’re very little. I’m having a green tea to counteract them. I know it’s faulty rationale but it is the best I can come up with.
I did enjoy the chocolate bars immensely. Sometimes I just have to indulge. I might as well get pleasure and not guilt from doing it. I did this the other day. I’ve just done it again today. I am feeling annoyed with everything in my universe lately. It’s just a feeling I’m not sure I’m entitled to. It helps me to tap about it. It helps to do something else besides obsessing about it. Nothing changes without action.
It’s about a week now since I wrote those words. It’s another Saturday – still my favourite day of the week. I haven’t fallen off my swimming wagon. I was late but I still showed up. I got in 16 lengths, in 30 minutes, 4 short of my usual 20. I was impressed with myself, feeling powerful. Not only that, yesterday I jumped up on 3 risers after our exercise class was over. Not long ago I was afraid to jump on just the platform without any risers. Every little extra thing I can do beyond myself gives me a little boost. It’s a good reason to indulge in an A&W whole enchilada breakfast.
My goal now is to get to the pool on time Saturday mornings and go for 22 lengths. I will practice a little while on jumping 3 risers till I gain enough confidence. Then I will try for 4 risers. It’s really mickey mouse when you look at this guy.
Some dreary November days, I feel a pang of depression passing through me. It’s akin to someone walking over my grave. I paid it due attention. I don’t like it. I feel my lips curling up with contempt. How dare it come to disturb me? I let it register itself in my body for a moment. I hate it. I will not let it take residence in me. It has to leave. I show it the door.
Some days I am the master of my mansion. There have been days when I have not. I have not always been the captain of my life. I have been adrift upon the open sea without an anchor. It’s taken me this long to see it but it IS better late than never. Now I can invest in some anchors, a compass to find the true north, a GPS to show me routes to my desired destination. It’s not too late. It’s not over till it’s over.
Getting lost is not the worse thing, the end of the world. I have learned many lessons in my years of floundering in the wilderness. For one thing, I would get lost less often if I had a map and a plan of how I was to get to point A or B. For another, letting lost was exactly the thing for me to do. There was a pot of gold waiting for me along the wrong round about. Maybe all roads do lead to Rome.
To tell the truth, I’ve never been bothered much being lost. I was comfortable and at home with it because I am lost all the time. In the same way, I am not bothered much by regrets. For sure, I moan alot like everybody else, that I wish I had done things differently. But now, here, in this moment, I know that if I could have done something else, I WOULD have. I have done the best I could in every moment of my life. I know that. I am happy with myself and my life. It doesn’t get any better than this.