HUMILITY – The Fall and Rise of the Phoenix

I wonder why I always feel I have to fix everything that is not right. I don’t. I was told by a therapist that I am not that powerful. I am not. But somehow that feeling is so persistent. I wonder when and how I got the job of being God? I am sucking on a Fisherman’s lozenge and tapping out my ire. Did you know that I could suck on a lozenge and do my swimmer’s breathing under water at the same time. I can. That is my one and only unique talent.

The good news is I’m feeling physically better. My cough has abated with the help of an inhaler. My doctor gave me a sampler – Zenhale. It has earned its name. My breathing is much more zen. No more wheezing. The bad news is that the inhaler is not covered by the drug plan and costs about $125 – $140. The sampler has 60 puffs and I’ve used 6. I have 54 puffs left. 4 more puffs tomorrow and I should be good – for the year, I hope.

I do have other good news. I’m getting better at problem solving. After reading so many of Sue Grafton’s novels, I’m learning a few detective tricks on sleuthing and organizing. I’m using Kinsey’s Millhone’s idea of jotting down important notes on index cards. I’m actually getting my life in order that way. Caroline Myss’ teachings are true wisdom. Her putting your head in the toilet for 7 minutes have snapped me out of ‘feeling sorry for myself blues’ over and over. Her blunt, bare bone honesty has enough humour that makes what she says tolerable. She can be harsh but she gives good counsel.

Times that I find myself so distraught, I would have done so many silly and maybe harmful things – had I not heard her voice in my ear. Go ahead, eat that ice cream. You might feel better for the moment. But…she lost that one. I did eat some delicious hot chocolate sundae. Her voice was not harsh enough. I did listen to the haircut one. I could be sorry. Even if I’m not, does that change anything? Buying something expensive and extravagant – hah! What does that fix except a bigger hole in your expense? Go put your head in the toilet for 7 minutes! And so that 7 minutes was walking off my distress. Then I was fine. I looked into all the stores and saw all the junk. I don’t want to buy any of that.

The lesson I’ve learned over and over is I don’t have to fix everything right now or at all. I can’t make all bad feeling go away. They don’t have to go. They can stay where they are. I can walk away from them leave them behind. Who says I have to carry them around?

It is the next afternoon. I’m eating apple pie and drinking tea. I can’t say that I feel on top of the world but I’m aiming for it. My success is probably minimal. Pessimistic, I know. My cold is still hanging on, though not with deep hooks. I find laying down to sleep is still a problem so I will have to do the best I can. But my attitude SUCKS.

My biggest problem is that I accept all the blame for everything that goes wrong. You see it is about my so felt inadequacies, my jealousies, my lack of generosity and kindness, my selfishness and meanness, my obsession with taking things personally. How many times do I have to kick myself in the teeth? Shall I come to you on wounded knees? Shall I beg for forgivenness and redemption? Am I really guilty of all these infractions? Is it really true? Shall I give up ‘all my, though not really mine fault’ so that I can feel happier? So how the hell am I going to do that? I suppose now I have to figure that out.

One thing I have learnt well is to speak in the first person singular – always. It is all about me. It is not about blame. It is all about bringing clarity to mind. It is all about being vulnerable. I do tell – but it is on me. I’m learning about humility – the falling and rising of the Phoenix. What I know for sure if you come upon an obstacle/problem, you can skirt it, jump/fly over it, pretend it is not there, whatever…There are no magic tricks to make it go away. The only solution is to solve it. Don’t ask me how.


Summer is overrated. That’s what I think. Sometimes I feel mean spirited, like Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother. Am I, though? Is it true? Is it really true? That’s the question Byron Katie would ask. Am I mean spirited and wicked or am I just expressing how I am feeling about summer? Am I putting a monkey wrench into others’ summers? Then what about those people who hate winter?

Framed by those questions, I am not Lady Tremaine. I’m not out to spoil another’s summer. I am not feeling super duper cartwheeling happy at the moment. I am experiencing a pollen attack the last few days. My ribs are sore from coughing. My throat, constricted, itching and ready to cough my stomach contents out. My tongue feels burnt from sucking Fisherman’s Lozenges. What are they made of? I cannot blame myself for feeling miserable. I don’t lay my miseries on anyone but I’m guessing I’m not pleasant company.

I’m watching all those winged maple and poplar seeds flying through the air in great gusts. I haven’t seen such  big infestations as this year. They look like swarms of bees or other flying insects. They could be geese flying south but it’s the wrong time of the year. Nothing is the same anymore. Were they ever? I better tell myself to suck it up, buttercup. Better get use to it. The world has never been as it is now. It is truly amazing times we are living in. That is what Caroline Myss keeps saying. She is my guru.

Not to make myself a complete sour puss, I am feeling somewhat better. I started gargling with warm salty water since yesterday. My throat is not so tight. My cough can turn over now. The great saline solution! No wonder salt was such an important commodity in India back in the days when  Ghandi led their independence movement against the British. The saline solution is valuable today, too. As an intraveous solution, I see that it’s cheap to make. According to a 1993 source it fluctuates between 44 cents to a $1. But to buy is another thing. $85 for 500 mls. and $42.00 for a liter. Nothing about medical supplies costs makes sense.

That, as they say, is par for the course. Nothing much is making sense to me now. I’ll have to wait till my head clears. Maybe by then my throat would have lost its grip. I can talk then instead of croak. I better get some rest. My sleep has been interrupted by intermittent coughing fits in the night. Grrrr!


Day 47, September 7, 2016 @6:49

image-1Voices in the head are quite intrusive.  Mine are.  They tell me this is hard, that is difficult. They tell me after that I should have, could have.  They make me feel lazy, tired and worse of all – guilty.  They rob me of energy, time and well-being.  Autumn is a vulnerable season for me with its shortened daylight and especially on cloudy days.  I pay special care.  Iquestion those voices in my head.  I ask:  Is that true?

The question gives me time for a pause and do a turn around.  I tell those voices to be quiet.  I tell myself I can do better.  I can do that thing that they tell me is hard.  I start. I move towards my goal.  Once I start, I’m surprised to find that it wasn’t so hard afterall. If an unpleasant mood rises, I ask myself why and is it true.  Can I feel another way?  It’s that second of asking.  It gives me time to change.  Sometimes it doesn’t work.  It’s not the end of the world.  I feel what I feel.  What isn’t done isn’t done.  If I feel guilty about it, I feel guilty.  I feel it until it goes away.

IMG_6562How was my day?  I felt tired.  I didn’t want to go out.  I didn’t want to do what needed to be done.  It gnawed at me. I went out anyways and did what I had to do.  It felt good.  While I was out, I ran into someone who made me realized how good living is and how much I have to be grateful for.  If I hadn’t gone out, I would have missed that opportunity.  I would have been sorry.  Instead, I’m inspired again.

How was your day?  Till tomorrow.

INQUIRY – Day 17 in a year of……

Day 17, August 8, 2016 @4:17

IMG_7017The rain is making me sleepy and all I want to do is nap, nap, nap.  Motivation is low. Routine and habit brought me back to this space.  I have to sit and sip my tea before words and ideas can form.  Maybe a snack will help, too.  When all else fails, snack!  I have to tell you my bean casserole turned out okay.  But oven time was over 1 1/2 hours instead of 25 minutes. Next time, if I’m using fresh beans from the garden, I will parboil them first.

I have been listening to Byron Katie the last two days. I am familiar with her work but I always come away with learning something new each time.  You always hear and see with new ears and eyes each time.  Never dismiss or roll your eyes when someone is repeating his/her story.  There’s always nuances, important ones that might change your life.

DWCN2274I love the 4 questions that she asks.

  1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

The work may be difficult to grasp, but now I do see it is a beautiful process.  My perceptions have shifted, my mind expanding and my heart opening a little more.  Are the thoughts in my head real?  What is reality – the past, the future, or only now?  Lots to ponder.  If you are interested, you can visit her link here.

DAY 2 in the year of…

IMG_6239Each morning brings a new beginning, a new page, a new story.  I get to choose how I see the world.  Isn’t it wonderful that it is July – the sun is shining and my petunias are in full bloom?  I am marking my calendar.  July 23rd is my Happy New Year.

Photo on 2016-07-24 at 9.21 AMI never did put makeup on yesterday.  I did today.  So here I am – in makeup AND earrings! I even put my eyebrows on for the occasion.  It is important to set my intention of doing something new for the day.  That special space in time when my head and mind is clear and pure is very short.  Life crowds in with its many intrusive thoughts.  I feel my heart clutching itself with the onslaught of false impressions and feelings.  I pause in the moment, letting the feelings come.  They are real even if they are from false thoughts.  In Byron Katie’s words, I ask myself:  Is it true?  I will file that for later.

What I have learned in these 2 short days is that I’m not a natural self nurturer.  I often feel selfish and mean.  I am caught in the habit of caring and giving to others.  I am not sure whether it is in the right spirit.  I know that I’m incapable of not doing the right thing.  But now I am going to learn how to pamper myself.

Habits and routines are healthy and good for us.  But we can get into too much of a rut.  I can and have been- living by rote.  I prided myself that I’m not a fussy person.  I’m easy to please.  Whatever, It doesn’t matter – are my mantras.  I use them towards myself, food, clothes, whatever.  That’s also another mantra.  I want to eliminate those phrases. I am learning to be fussy.

IMG_6593This morning breakfast mattered.  Instead of my usual toast, I had steel cut porridge with blueberries.  Making the decision to do something new every day opened up my senses.  Yesterday, when the rain came, I realized how much I love watching and listening to the rain.  I rushed out to the deck to watch and listen to nature’s beauty.  I’m making a list of my loves as they come to me.  I’m not a list maker either.  I store everything in my head.  No wonder it hurts.  It’s crammed and overflowing with too much.  We have to go and sort, discard and file.  Till tomorrow.

What are you doing different today?





Photo on 2014-07-21 at 2.29 PMYesterday, I discovered exercise was the best medicine for my nervous jumping heart.  I was grateful for the loud music next door that pushed me onto my bike.  It was nice my SO (Significant Other) accompanied me.  We headed off to the library.

I kept my nervousness to myself.  No point voicing it, giving it strength.  I inhaled and exhaled.  I pedalled, pumping my legs up and down.  I saw them as pistons firing smoothly, moving the blood through my heart chambers, then out to the rest of my body.  I was safe.

We are at the library.  I find 2 books by my favourite kick-ass author, Janet Evanovich, Notorious Nineteen and Smokin’ Seventeen.  The titles alone give off more energy than spinach.  Look out, Popeye!  Wait, I’m not done yet.  Here is Olivia Chow’s memoir, My Journey waiting for me.  I hope she will win the mayorship of Toronto.  That Rob Ford need to be ousted.  You must know who he is.  He has been talked about on all the late shows in the U.S.A. – Kimmel, Letterman, Jon Stewart….

I found Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement in the next aisle.  I discovered her through the movie, The Joy Luck Club.  Reading her memoir, The Opposite of Fate, was like finding myself.  I recognized myself in her, my mother in her mother Daisy.  The lives of Chinese immigrants in America had the same familiar ringtone – even Olivia Chow’s.  I felt that Amy and Olivia were like my sisters.

I found one more book I could not resist – Byron Katie’s I Need Your Love – Is That True? I know, I know.  I wasn’t going to read any more self-help books for awhile but who could resist a topic like love.  And she asked a good question, Is it true?

photo curtesy of Rod McLaren
photo curtesy of Rod McLaren

Now I am done.  We load my treasures in my SO’s cargo bike and head for home.  I am relaxed, breathing in and out, pedalling easy and steady, not rushing, not worrying, not anxious.  My heart is in its place.  It’s pumping rhythmically in even strokes.  It’s singing that everything is fine.  And it is true.