50 SHADES OF SEEING TRUTHS

Egad, it is 11:21 already! The morning flew away on me. Too much wondering and fretting about this and that. I wasn’t going to do that anymore, right? Things are not as easy as you think. People are not who you think they are. It’s ok. I’m just muttering, my preamble into the words. I don’t mean any of it. I am happy to be here. In My Writing Space, I am the star. No one interrupts me. No one contradicts me. I like it.

I think I’ve lost my writing mojo. I feel staid, stale to be exact. I’ve lost my fire, my disagreeable self, the wringing of hands and heart. I try to be careful not to step on toes, doing and saying the proper things. Because life gets tiresome trying to be just yourself, it is easier to be agreeable or silent. Maybe there’s no more words to be said. I’ve been listening to Dr. Phil’s rant too much. ‘Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right?’ I want both.

I know this interlude won’t last forever. I’m sure I will return to ranting soon. I am who I am. I might as well enjoy my peace and get a few things done. Enjoy and live every moment! I hate mottos, don’t you? See! My sarcasm has returned. We can’t help being who we are. I do try. It’s another reason I come here to tap. I try to tap out my bad thoughts, emotions. I put them on the page so I can examine them, turn them inside out, upside down, backwards and frontward. Are they true or are they just about me? Will they help or hurt me? Will they hurt another? These are the questions I ask before I hit the PUBLISH button. I know. I think and worry too much.

In essence, I am not really brave as some people have told me. I am being me, yes, but I try to make sure it is all about me and not about others. I have slipped from time to time. What can I do? I am human. I err. While I am a very honest and open person, I do know about discretion. I don’t air dirty laundry, mine or others. Sometimes I am too honest, blurting out truths. You know how that happens. It wouldn’t hurt to hold back by being silent. Mum is a good word.

Day 3

George Washington might have fessed up about the cherry tree but I wonder what Martha would have to say about him. Honest Abe was known for his honesty, but had he been totally truthful? He was a politician after all. Things are never black and white. That’s what they tell me. I see my truths in startling stark black and white. I’m trying to learn about the 50 shades of grey. That’s why I paint. I’m exploring the many shades of being artistic. I think I am making some progress. Do you think I have some potential?

 

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TORN BETWEEN DECISIONS

It’s 2:55 pm and I’ve just sat down. 5 minutes before Sheba’s supper hour, 5 minutes to have a bit of fun with disciplining and waiting. She does a sit and down beautifully. I give her praise and talk. She’s bobs up like a Jack-in-the box. I thought it best if we just do and down and stay with no talk. We did a companiable look into each other’s eyes until the eating hour. Then it’s tossing and squeaking that damn chicken with her before I can have some peace and tapping time.

Life is full, complex and perplexing. I look forward to my Saturday morning swim all week. When the time came, I was torn wanting to stay at home with my tea and book instead of heading out in almost complete darkness. Getting into the water is not very appealing on a dark winter’s morning. Neither choice is bad. I made up my mind that I was not going to feel guilty whichever one I decided on. I was not going to suffer the guilt. Because what would be the point of that?

Being that I swim only once a week on Saturdays and that it was the best possible time decided for me. I stopped thinking, packed my bag and went out the door. Everything is easier when you stop going back and forth. It doesn’t matter which choice. Just choose one and enjoy. Many times this past week, I’ve caught myself agonizing over small decisions. Then I fret the guilts following such decisions. When the truth is It Really Doesn’t Matter. The world is not going to collapse because I did/said one thing instead of another. The only one to suffer would be me.

I’ve suffered through many such moments of stupidity. They have spoiled good times. They have distracted me to no ends with useless intruding thoughts and guilt. Oh, why did I say that? Why did I do that? I shouldn’t have. I could’ve. The litany of self admonishment ran endlessly through my head. They would have rendered me deaf and sightless to whatever was going around me. In other words, I would be lost to the world.

I console myself for having recognized my behaviour. Now I can try to change some of that. It won’t be easy, I know, but now that the light bulb is lit, I can’t hide in the dark. I wouldn’t want to. I can slowly inch towards the light. No one need to know that I trash myself over and over. I don’t need to announce my shortcomings. There’s no need to toot my horn either. I will not gnash my teeth at my failures or gloat over successes.

The day is coming to an end. I need to give it a rest. Some days are better than others. Some words are better than others. Tomorrow is another day.

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CLICKASNAP, SHEBA AND MR. SCROOGE

A full stomach and sunshine makes me satisfied and sleepy. Somebody else is that way, too. Sheba is curled up peacefully on her bed. I should not speak too soon. You know how that can jinx a situation. Shhhh!

Yesterday I came upon someone’s post about Clickasnap, a photo sharing site that allows free hosting of your photos and opportunity of sharing and earning some money. It all sounds great as I have had to upgrade my free WordPress plan to a paid personal one because I ran out of storage space. Clickasnap sounded like the perfect soloution. But on second thought after reading about it, it sounded complicated to my non-techy brain. It would take me a long time to figure it out.

I will perhaps keep it in mind to investigate at my leisure. Since my plan gives me priority support, I might ask the Happiness Engineers about it. That would be time consuming, too. I really want to concentrate on my writing. My free plan lasted 5 years before I ran out of space. If I am not such a clutterbug, had organized my photos and not duplicated many of them, I am sure my storage space would be fine. It pays to be more organized. I will not fret about it. $5/month will help keep me in line. I will be watching my GBs closely and editing and labelling photos.

The furry monster has woken and has ears on back of her head. She hears people on the street from the back of the house. She can hear me peel a banana in another room. She barks alot and loudly. We have another hour to go before her supper. We’ll see how patient and consistent we are today. I have the kettle on for another cup of tea. Somehow that always help. It’s better than lighting up another cigarette like the olden days.

We are making good progress. Sheba knows the drill now. She is whimpering softly but she is obediently doing her ‘down.’  She is very cute and causes me to smile with her little whimper. It is hard to resist her but I do. I know she is not that hungry. Only 3 more minutes before chow time. She gives another little whimper.

So it goes. 3:00 pm. She forgets herself and rushes at the bowl. I almost forgot, too but admonishes her. She sits back and waits till I’m finished pouring her kibbles and gives her ‘okay’. See how easily things can slide back if you are not paying attention?

It is the first of December. I have been thinking about Christmas. I have done away with the gifting part of it. How will I celebrate it? How can I make it meaningful and joyous? And exactly what is its true meaning? We talk so much about it. We talk a lot about simplifying but often it ends up more complicated. I wonder, too, how my ungifting Christmas will affect my family. I like to think that it is just about me, but it does affect others. It’s that pebble casting ripples through the universe. Christmas is not where I want that effect to work. I do not want to be the Scrooge who ruins everyone’s Christmas. But to be authentic, you have to be brave and do what you say you want. I’m doing it.

Now it is time for our walk.

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BODY POSTURES, BODY EMOTIONS

It’s exciting to hear that one of my Instagram friends is a nanowrimo winner with her 50,274 words. It is quite a feat. I know that for a fact. I’ve tried a couple of times to write that novel in 30 days and have failed. To win you have to come up with 1,667 words a day. I have trouble coming up with 500. It’s getting easier though. Stretching, trying for more does make a difference.

Talking about excitement, I noticed how my body felt the jubilation at the news. I felt hopeful for myself – that I COULD be a nanowrimo winner, too. I wanted to sit at my keyboard and start writing then. But I was right in the midst of mixing bread dough. Those 1600 some words would have to wait – probably longer than today. I have learned that excitement doesn’t get me very far. Hard work and persistence are the tools.

I’m waiting for the dough to proof. Meanwhile I’m sipping lemon tea and tapping out my meager words. The sun is shining through the windows, warming my back. Sheba is napping on her bed in sunshine. It is still morning. I am changing my routine a bit. Maybe it’ll bring me more productivity. I’m being conscious, paying attention – to everything.

My body betrays me sometimes. I hate it that I am such a truthful person. Life could be easier if I could lie – a little bit even if just to myself. But no, I can’t. I feel so disappointed and annoyed at the inability to accept myself as I am or to change so far. Maybe if I can change my body posture, I can change the way it feels. It doesn’t hurt to investigate and try. Fake it till I make it.

*****

When you change anything, you change everything. I changed my morning routine, now I am not running behind. I’m picking up where I left off. My poofed bread dough, covered by Saran wrap, was in the refrigerator while we went out for lunch. Our lunch was longer than we thought – 3 hours. But it is all is good. The dough is warming up to room temperature on the kitchen island. I’m trying to finish my cast off thoughts here. Sheba got her lunch. Of course, now she is whining for her walk. She can and will wait.

My body now fed, is feeling much better. Food and blood sugar does matter. My thoughts and words are flowing smoother and easier. Life does not feel as heavy or serious. A little yeast helps everything besides the dough to rise. I will savour and remember this feeling. The next time my body gets too serious and rigid, I will remember the effervescence of yeast. I will be resurrected.

The dough is now warm and pliable. I best get on with shaping it into loaves. They will need to be proofed again before baking. Meanwhile Sheba and I can go for our walk. We have time before the bread goes into the oven. She needs chilling.

 

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HOW TO GET ANYTHING DONE

The trick with getting anything done is making a beginning. Elementary, my dear, you say. It is at that but a very important elementary point. So we’ve begun, Sheba and I. It is 2:59, not quite 3:00 pm. She rises and whimpers. I said no. Down. She does. We are both sitting, she on all fours, me on the chair. We will wait it out. The minute passes. She rises on her fours. I continue to sit and tap. Patience is a virtue. So is discipline.

I could easily become a hermit given my disposition and inclinations. I know very well it is not healthy to isolate myself socially. I was also brought up and trained to to live properly. Those things have saved me from myself. I always try to do the right thing or else it would nag at me. Even having bad improper thoughts gnaw at my conscience. I could never be a thief but I have sinned.

Sheba passed her test. 3:10 and I reward her with her supper. She is getting it. Obedience and Patience = food. I’m getting it, too. Consistency and Patience = success. Our successes comes slowly and in increments, sometimes sliding back and forth. The furry princess tries and does get on my nerve in the afternoons. At 11 years old she is still full of vim and vinegar. After eating, she energetically humps her bed. Then she wants to play, insisting that I play toss her squeaky toys with her. What a mad house! I lose my patience.

That’s how it is at our house. Most mornings I’m not geared up or look forward to doing anything. Today is a Wednesday, an exercise day. I have breakfast, pack my gym bag, vacuum a room or two and head off to the YWCA. I’m trained by habit and routine. It’s not a big deal or painful as in the beginning. Some ruts are healthy. It get things done. I repeat this every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Sometimes I bored myself writing every day. What could I possibly have to say – every day. It’s a discipline I want to keep up – within reason, of course. It gives me clarity and direction. I hope I am not boring you. I write mostly for myself but I do appreciate the support and readership. I’m now pushing and struggling to increase the length and the quality of my writing. I’m doing the best I can. Today is not a day when words flow. They come slowly after much thought.

Another daily practice I’m doing is my art. It has been dormant many, many years. It came alive last year much to my own surprise. It has been mostly talk on my part. You know how it goes. It’s my passion but I was too this and that – all the usual excuses. It takes very little time to pick up a pencil or a paint brush and art. So that’s what I do every day, a little practice. It takes minutes sometimes, an hour another day. The thing is to begin and do it. I admit starting can be difficult. I just do it.

 

 

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TIME AND ENERGY

It is 1:18 pm. Sheba and I are having a mini session of sitting, get down and staying. It’s what we do in the afternoon. Obedience training for her, patience training for me. She is momentarily distracted by the guy leaving for his workshop. There is some excited barks and prancing around. We refocus. Now she’s on her bed licking per paws . A quiet interlude. We will go to the park for her reward later.

It’s a beautiful sunny and warm day. A lot of the snow have melted. I should be jubilant. Instead, I am in an undetermined mood -somewhat despondent, somewhat mellow yellow. No, I’m not under the influence of drugs. Maybe languid is a better word. Energized is not my frequent state. It is no wonder that nothing seems to matter to me. To care takes a lot of energy, energy that I don’t have.

But in order to live and thrive in this world, one has to give a shit somehow. I know what happens when you don’t. You fall through the ‘cracks’. I imagine they are the same cracks that lets the light in in Leonard Cohen’s song, Anthem. All the same, I rather stay out of them. I’m experimenting on how to manage the energy that I do have.

******

I took time and Sheba out in the middle of this post. We went to the dog park and had us some time. Some days you just have to make that effort. Some days are made for sniffing snow and to look up at the blue of the sky. Sheba found a few furry bums to sniff, too. All the better. She did get into a scrap or two but it was all good. No blood was shed. We came home tired and hungry but also refreshed. So it was double the pleasure to sit with my tea, toast and jam while Sheba devoured her kibbles.

Now it is evening. I’m sitting with my wine, trying to tap the end to my mumblings. Perhaps the wine isn’t helping my thinking or writing. What I can say is morning is the best time for an energy burst. I indulge myself with reading in my tea time before breakfast. I’m still engrossed in Last Night in Twisted River. I love it. There’s lots on cooking in it since it is about a cook and his son. After breakfast I try to do the hard stuff – those chores of keeping house and lives in order. If I leave those for later, it doesn’t happen.

You must know by now that after lunch, my energy leaves town and me with it. Afternoon is the time I sit to tap even though I feel like napping. It’s working out. I’m succeeding and stretching for more. I’m learning to adapt my activities to my energy and time of day. It is a struggle but if I don’t struggle and stretch, I would end up being a puddle on the floor. I’m struggling now and will struggle to review and edit this – practicing to be patient.

 

 

 

 

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WHAT DOES IT MATTER?

 

I’m so irritated with others and myself lately. I wonder why it matters to me when someone is frequently late for a class. I’m not the one that is losing out. If the instructor is not voicing any objections, what does it matter – to me? Who am I to criticize? Am I so perfect? The question gave me reason to pause. I find myself applying that question to other situations and other people. It’s giving me great discomfort and dissatisfaction with myself.

Having asked the question, I am now conscious as they say. I’m trying to be less judgemental about situations and people. The problem is, it is having the opposite effect. I’m getting more and more judgemental instead. I am also getting a tad angry. It’s a good thing that I like talking on the keyboard. It’s soothing to see my thoughts march across the page without interruption from the sidelines. If there are other voices more valid than my own, I’m not hearing it. Ha! Take that, goody two shoes. I own up to my shortcomings. Do you?

There, I do feel better. It’s good to get things off my chest, not that I have a lot there. The dog is behaving better. It is 2:39 pm and she ‘s sleeping peacely on her bed. I am happy some of my efforts are working. She is not fussing for her supper yet. Consistency does matter in this case. I’ve been disciplining her to wait and not push the clock ahead for her supper. I used to give in to her demands frequently. She has been training us. Now it is time to take it back.

Yup, it is time to take it back – the control of my thoughts. In this world everything, big or small matters. The tiniest pebble can cause huge ripples that reverberates to the other side of the world. What anyone does affects the whole. Yet in the grand scheme of things, nothing really matters. Your life can be gone in an instant. So what does it matter if … and if….?

So, I shall sweat it no more. Some questions have no answers and some problems have no solutions. I have to give up my demands for them. Better that I spend the time pursuing excellence in living. It seems to my cynical and pessimistic view that the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. I don’t think I’m the only one. Here’s an interesting article about the future of humanity. I’ve only glanced through it. I’m too scared to read the whole thing.

I’m not above hiding my head in the sand, putting off bad news for awhile if not forever. These days I have my head in John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River. I love getting lost in thick books with strong, memorable characters. I love stories of times before emails and text messages, Facebook and other social media. Things seem more real back then. Perception is everything when everything and nothing matters.

Don’t get me wrong. I like my electronics and am as addicted to them as the next person. They can be wonderful tools. I’ve learned how to cook through Google. Social Media is wonderful for socializing and making friends. Sometimes I am confused when I see complaints about them. Don’t people know it is really we who decides how we use them, how much or how little? Ok, enough. I’m tired of my voice.

PS: Sheba was right on the money. She woke at 3 pm on the dot and said supper time!

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