It’s not my write day today but I feel like talking. When that comes, it’s good to listen. It’s another overcast and cloudy day. It had rained some overnight. I think it is going to be this kind of summer – cool and unpredictable. The forecast for Saturday is sunny and 34℃. Can you believe it? That’s 2 days away. By then things could change and anything is possible. Maybe not snow though.
I feel uneasy. It is a frequent visitor. Coming home from exercise yesterday, I had a sense that we’re living in a Stephen King novel. Something is terribly wrong with our world and we’re just watching and waiting and not doing. I’m feeling this discomfort of avoidance and helplessness. It’s a good reason to come to my keyboard and tap. It stops my mind from pacing uselessly back and forth. I’m focused on the words and sentences. With luck I can tap out some comfort and a course of action.
Right now there are things I need to and can do. They are the small acts of daily living. No matter what, we need to get up, dress up and show up for what is here. The yogurt needs to be made. The milk is close to its expiration date. It is an easy process. Steam the milk for 1 minute in the Instant Pot. Then cool for 20 minutes till it’s 120℉ or less. Put in a scoop of plain yogurt and ¼ cup of powder milk. Stir well. Pour into yogurt jars and place in yogurt maker. Cover and plug in. Leave for 4 hours till yogurt forms to desired consistency. Easy peasy. Not so if I don’t have a plan of action for uneasy days.
I can override my natural tendency for these feelings of unease. These are good times to pay attention to areas of need – like cupboards and closets. Sorting and cleaning my outer space gives me a sense of sorting and cleaning my inner space/thoughts and feelings. It can give me a sense of control and empowerment. Sometimes those areas are not the right thing to tackle. Then I’m ok to use escapism, like diving into a book that takes me completely away. The Chamber by John Grisham is such a book. It’s about death row, the death penalty, the KKK and racism – not exactly light hearted and a feel good kind of book. It was very impactful, making me rethink almost everything about life, how we are/were and how to go forward.
Now the morning is almost gone. I’ve got the yogurt yogurting. I’ve cleaned up the equipment I used in the process. Now to harvest some lettuce and radishes for a salad for lunch. The phone rang just now. A recording said it was Amazon and that they will be billing $35.00 to my account. Who are these people who are so technically capable of cheating us? Why don’t they use their abilities to help people instead? Such is the world we live in.
I think I am uncomfortable with the emptiness of spaciousness. Hence all my clutter. It’s not that I am a hoarder. It’s not that my house is jammed full of stuff. I have pockets of stuff here and there. My desk, diningroom table, sewing table, coffee tables…There’s a common theme here. Tables! Things do not get thrown out or put away. I have an inability of finishing tasks. They are sitting out, waiting for me to come back. It is the same way with a trip. I love the tripping but I don’t want to get to the end. It’s when I get there, what will I do? That is the discomfort, the emptiness, the unknown. Then the unknown is forced upon me because a trip does end.
How silly is that fear and whence did it come? There are no answers to some questions so I shall not waste time mulling it over. I let the feeling come and work through it. Now when I start something, I try to finish it in a reasonable timeline. I work on it with simple tasks. When the dishes are done, I dry and put them away. I hang up the laundry after it is finished. When it is dried, I take them down, fold and put them away. I haven’t made great strides but I do feel a change. It took a lot of effort at first. The inclination to leave things for ‘later’ was so strong. It’s much easier than. There’s almost a pleasure in completing a job and doing it well.
I have the same aversion to ’empty time’, too. It is uncomfortable/strange to do nothing. I am always doing something, reading, writing, drawing, cooking…..It’s not that I can do nothing now. I just do fewer things. I do things slower. I make more time for slow walks, slow baths, sleeping in a bit. I’m getting back to more how I used to be. I used to be able to sit, sip tea and just listen to CBC radio and do nothing else. There was time for my brain to rest. There was time for me to feel the pleasure of just being. Now I am almost afraid of empty time and spaciousness. It is time for recovery and retrieval.
Beginnings are hard. How many times have I said that already? A zillion and yet I have found no easy solution. I just have to make a mark somewhere; say something, anything; make a decision one way or another; etc. etc. So often, too often, I’m frozen with indecision, speechless with no words, immobilized with inaction. Sometimes this is worse than doing and saying the wrong things. This is what I’m trying to push through today.
It is very disconcerting. I’m squirming with the discomfort but I’m learning to sit with it, however long it will take. I’m too addicted to the idea of speed, that it shouldn’t take time and effort to do anything. I’ve bought into the idea I can tap, search, enter, and presto! The thing is done. I’ve been short circuiting my brain and short changing myself the experience of doing, following through and completing. No wonder I’m absent minded and forgetful. I have no grooves to store anything. I flit from thing to thing, one idea to another in nana seconds. I do not allow feelings to sink in.
It’s been a few days since I wrote the above. I’m having a writer’s block. It could be I’m just lazy. I’m having a tough go finding meaningful ideas and words. In this moment I am hot and overcome with malaise. But I can still tap with my fingers. How strange that I could feel cold upon waking at 6 this morning. I don’t know what the temperature was then. By 10 am it was already 21 degrees Celsius. Now it is 28 Celsius. I’m feeling all the distress of daily fluctuating temperatures.
So what can I do to alleviate my distress? Coming back to this space helps. The rhythm of tapping on the keyboard is soothing. I’m flexing my small muscles. Asking the question starts me thinking about solutions. It lessens the feeling of being trapped and helpless. I’m quieting my mind and body, taking some deep slow breaths. Recently I came upon Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique where you breathe in to the count of 4, hold for count of 7 and breathe out to the count of 8 for 4 breath cycles. I’ve been doing this twice a day for a few days. I hope to keep it up for a month at least. It takes very little time and the benefits are huge.
The only one who likes change is a wet baby. – Mark Twain
Another witty truism! Wish it was coined by me. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are well known to me but I can’t say that I’ve read the books in entirety, only excerpts. I wonder why that is. I wonder why we dislike change so much. It feels like a nail scratching a chalk board. Ugh!
I’m understanding and doing better with change after reading Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. I try not to fall back into the pit of being comfortable rather than change for the better. I’ve deduced that anything unfamiliar brings out the uncomfortable feeling of ugh! Let me out of here and even back to what doesn’t work anymore. At least I know how that feels. It’s not unchartered waters. It sounds crazy but that’s how my lazy brain works.
Sometimes I have to grit and bare my teeth but I am putting up with the ugh! I let it ripple through and out my body. There, it wasn’t so bad after all. Just a dose of adrenaline jolting me out of my comfort induced stupor. Next time it will be just a minor buzz. I’m feeling a pleasant buzz from my apres supper wine. It has been a wonderful day with good creative results. I am not so secretly pleased. Sometimes I want to let the world know that.
Life seems to conspire against me but I’m not going to let that trip me up. It’s a gentle reminder to look after things, otherwise the next reminder might not be as gentle. There’s nothing like a leak with things getting wet and water running onto the floor to wake me up. Even though I was tired and getting ready for bed, I investigated and dealt with the leak. I wouldn’t want to have a flood on my hands, would I?
It took longer than I thought. It was a bit messy. I hated doing it but I had to. I hate dealing with almost everything. It’s easier to let things go in the short run. It catches up and is harder in the long run. But my lazy brain likes the immediate easy. My seeing different today is I need to deal with all life’s leaks as they come along. Better to suffer the discomfort now than to experience disaster later.
It is late. I shall dispense with the photos. All I have tonight are my words. They will have to do. I’m learning to be flexible. I am seeing my path clearer each day. I breathe a little easier with each step. Some days I can almost sing Hallelujah. I am not slip, sliding away.
It’s a Friday in France. My apple cart is still upset, sleeping only every other night. What can you do when you fly over an ocean and cross time zones? Unfortunately my body is not a machine. It does not go on and on like an EverReady battery.
I am missing the smallness of my life back home – my morning rituals, writing in my sun room with my fur baby at my feet. She knows my moods. She licks my wounds and picks me up. I miss my flow of words.
It is not a bad thing missing the familiarity and comfort of home. It makes me appreciate what I have. I work a little harder and pay a little more attention to the here of France. I am not skilled at details nor at gathering information. I absorb things but can’t spit anything back.
Maybe it seems foolish of me to keep up my writing but it helps my focus. It trains and disciplines mind. It’s not that I want to develop multi-tasking. But if I want to be serious about my writing, I want to learn to be more flexible and be consistent at it.
My routine is disrupted but I can still put my mind in that 15 minute space and in that one-inch picture frame. My concentration and train of thought are scattered to the wind. Can I put my mind to what is right before me, in this place now?
I put aside my small discomforts of travelling as much as I am able. I appreciate the special place I am presently in. Now is the time for expirencing and learning. I look around and take in as much as I am able. It is mentally challenging and tiring at the same time, not knowing the language, not familiar with the culture.
I am a strange woman in a strange place. I am in the desert of my dreams. The shadows of the old have followed me across the ocean. They are nipping closely at my heels. I feel their hot breath against my skin. I hear the snap of their teeth close by. But I elude them.
At times I feel as if I had wandered into another’s life. I am THE Alice who fell down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Can I write her story? More importantly, can I write my way out?
That is the key, of course. We have the key to unlock the doors to Wonderland. We can write a different story if we don’t like the one we’re in. We are not trapped. There are ways out of rabbit holes.
How often have you heard, Walk a mile in my shoes? I, for one, would like to just walk in my own shoes. Too long have I walked in others’. They are ill-fitting, causing me callouses, corns, bunions, anger, hate….discomfort and unhappiness all around. And they’re not even of my own making!
No more, I say. From now on, I only want to walk my own walk, talk my own talk. Let everyone else do their own trip and make their own speech.
Walk a mile in my own shoes
La di da da
Skip a mile in my own shoes
See if anyone cares
What are you waiting for
Do it for your own good
And everyone else’s too
Stumble in your own shoes
Mistakes are part of life
Strut a mile on your own steam
Make Mama proud of you
Do it right now
La di da da
Oh, Y E A H!