November 21. Another new day and blank page. I am feeling better and not so broken. I’m heading towards copacethic. Sometimes it takes falling off the wall like Humpty Dumpty, breaking before I could see where I was going. I’m happy to say that I didn’t need all the king’s horses and men to put me back together again. I’m moving cautiously, not wanting to fall into the same hole again. I’m learning from Portia Nelson’s poem.
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am hopeless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in this same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in… it’s a habit… but, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
I am not ambitious today. I skipped today’s exercise class to rest and put myself back together. We don’t have to keep busy. It’s ok to stop and just hang out. I haven’t languish for ever so long. I’ve lost my knack for it. I’ve been busy all day but it’s at a good pace, not rushing anywhere or striving to accomplish. I’m keeping things simple. I’m liking my new look on WordPress. I would like to figure out how to get the word count back. However, I am satisfied to let that rest for now.
Day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. 6 more posts to write. I hope for no writer’s block or stumbling and falling off my keyboard till after they’re all written. Let me start by offering my 3 gratitude for the day.
I’m grateful for another beautiful sunny day. The greenhouse got up to a high of 21.4℃ in the afternoon. There’s hope of the baby bitter melons maturing. I harvested 4 small ones to give my mother. It’s enough for a meal for her and my father.
I’m grateful Zoom was working for my online class from our university. We had 2 very interesting speakers on the post pandemic world. One spoke on the politics before, during and now. The other speaker was a nursing faculty. He spoke on nursing education, nursing and the pandemic. I am a retired nurse so it was of special interest. I was in it for over 30 years and retired 9 years ago. I loved my job but I never defined myself as a nurse. Curious. One day I will give it some thought.
I am grateful for my walk this afternoon to the guy’s boat workshop. I haven’t gone for many walks since we’ve lost our dog, Sheba. It was a 20 minute walk along the same route Sheba and I walked many times. I caught a ride home. I think it would be another good daily habit. I greatly enjoyed the exercise, fresh air and scenery along the way.
I’m looking through my list of 21 tiny habits. I think it’s a good habit to do it daily if I can.
I did exercise upon waking. I go through my c.a.r.s daily. I feel, move and sleep the better for it. It takes just minutes in the morning while I wait for the kettle to boil. I like to do a longer version in the evening while watching television.
Discover one thing a month. I discovered Tarot cards from another blogger in the UBC. I’m surprised it’s so interesting. I am reading The New Tarot Handbook by Rachel Pollack now and hope to get my cards soon, like tonight or tomorrow.
I have and tried to throw out one or 2 no longer needed things. I’ve trashed some obsolete photos from my desktop.
I think I’m doing pretty hunky dory for old gal. I’m still plunking away on the piano, making small progress. It is very small progress with the scales in my Brown Scale Book. I’m still working on the first 2 sets of C Major. But I’ve added Lavender’s Blue to my repertoire. It’s helping me make videos and it does help my playing hearing myself. My timing isn’t terrible but I’m too slow and I hesitate.
Beginnings are hard and uncomfortable. Even though I want to start, I do all kinds of evasions, mental and physical. I second guess and doubt myself. Is it a good time to start? I put it off to tomorrow what I can start today. And by now everyone must know the saying, Tomorrow never comes. It is also true that what you don’t use, you lose. I have lost some of my writing muscle. It’s been 7 days since I’ve come to this space. Where once it had been easy to show up every day, now it is difficult to show up even weekly. It is the reason I’ve decided to join in the Ultimate Blog Challenge for October. I want to develop and maintain my discipline muscle. I know it is not October yet. I’m not putting off what I can start today. I’m doing my warmups and stretching for the days ahead.
I’ve always love the sounds and nuances of words. They paint pictures the same way photos paint words for me. Putting the two together in a post is art for me. I love the process. I have not been nurturing the process this past year. Somehow it got lost in this new and bewildering climate I find myself in. I’ve become mindless and lazy. It has been so easy to lose myself in technology and the digital and not think for myself. But I am a curious person by nature and could not stay in my robotic mode. Perhaps September and the autumn colours are the stimulus. Once again I am excited by new things to see and learn. I am back in the school of life.
I’ve been feeling bitchy and grouchy as hell of late. I haven’t been my old positive I can conquer the world self for a long time. Instead, I am quite critical, pessimistic and cynical. I don’t like this version of myself at all. I rather liked my old Pollyanna-ish, I believe in everything and everybody self. But Polly doesn’t live here anymore. There is no way of getting her back. I try not to act out on my inner feelings but to dissipate them on the keyboard. I don’t want to infect my immediate environment with my negativity. If turning off a malfunctioning device works, might it not work for me? In the words of Ann Lamott:
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
I shall unplug my overworking brain and sympathetic system or is it the parasympathetic system as best I can. Just like I can’t handle too many people in my life, I can’t handle alot of activity. I would like to be a party girl because party girls seem to have so much more fun. Alas, I am not built that way. However much I envy all their popularity, glammer and glitter, I hate it. I love alone, quiet and seemingly boring stuff. I love the time here, rhymically tapping out the keys, finding the words and sentences. It has been a long time since I fell in love with a new word though. The last one was copacetic a million years ago. I haven’t used it for the same amount of time. What has happened to me?
I guess Covid hasn’t helped but I can’t lay the whole blame on it. It brought many changes. Well, it stopped us/me in our tracks. It is certainly making me think of the global world and how we have been living. It’s too big a topic to discuss right here, right now. Maybe I can post some thoughts after I have finished my online course on “Imagining a Post Pandemic World” from the University of Saskatchewan. It’s wonderful how much technology has advanced that I have the option of taking this class without having to catch a bus or find parking if I drive. On the other hand, I believe technology has helped to decrease my attention span. I want things to happen faster and faster. Now I have little patience in sitting through and watching a long instructional/educational video. It’s a Catch-22.
For now I am appreciating the positives of technology. It gives me the ability to sit here and have this conversation. My tapping soothes my brain and I am able to unplug parts of it that are fussing and fretting over the small bugs in my life. I am able to suspend critiquing and passing judgement on myself. Instead my thoughts have been otherwise engaged, even if just for a short while. It’s a good rest.
Once in awhile I take Laurie Wagner’s free mini writing course on Wild Writing. She recites a poem. We listen and then write nonstop for 10 minutes. It’s a good practice. The poem I listened to this morning was Today’s Sermon by Cheryl Dumesnil. The poem, especially the first line ‘is slop buckets knocking against each other‘ really resonated with me. I feel somewhat like a slop bucket carrying everyone’s messy and tragic stories. Sometimes I feel like a mop sopping it up. Yes, I haven’t let go of the things that I should have. I can still hear the words of the neighbour from whom I sought commiseration. I’m still there, not letting go. I was in utter anger and distress at the time.
“Oh, Lily, you are just ripe for her. That’s just what she wants. That’s what she thrives on. I don’t know what I can say but you brought it on yourself. I don’t mind you coming over to visit but don’t bring your drama. This stuff is very hard on me.” A stillness came over me. I guess it was lightbulb moment. I said I was very sorry. She said she believed me.
The strangeness and stillness of the moment stay with me. Why strange? Because this woman have been living in my ‘hood for 20 years. We are in sight of each other but have not spoken or known each other’s names. That is until last year. By then we knew just that much and that was all. She had knocked on our door one day in October, gave us a card and burst into tears. The card was the funeral service for her son a couple of months prior. We did not know him or of him. She did not want to divulge the cause of death. We provided commiseration, hugs and offer of tea. The purpose of the visit was made clear moments later. Could we look after her house and plants when she will be away over Christmas? We gladly did. It was the right thing to do.
Then not long after I received a phone call asking me the name of my ‘ troublesome’ neighbour. She was at the polic station filing a complaint against her. Later, we listened to her long story for over an hour. Then we never heard from her again till late in December with offer of being ‘friends’ on FB. We accepted. Then the day before she was leaving for the Christmas holidays, a text message for me to come over for instructions. It was no small thing what we did for her. We checked her house every day for almost 2 weeks in the cold of winter. She has lots of plants to water all over the house. She just barely got back when I received at text at 11:pm telling me that her daughter had just died. I had not known she had a daughter. I wonder why she need to tell me and so late at night.
I texted condolences the next morning. I did not think it was appropriate for me to bother her at this time about returning the key. I did not have to worry about it for too long. She phoned me, requesting house sitting services again to tend to the tragedy. This time she will be away for 7 days. So how can one refuse in light of this? This was still in the middle of winter. She did thank us through a text message but did not come to retrieve her key as I had requested. I gave her time but in the end I delivered it into her mailbox. I texted her first of course.
I’m writing wildly, without censorship. I am writing wildly for clarity and healing. Obviously I was wrong in the assumption that I could count on her returning comfort and understanding. My drama was only one fold while hers was 3. I’m doing accounting but I am not mad or angry or even disappointed. I am just puzzled by the reception I received from her. She clearly showed me that we all see the same thing so differently. So I thanked her for a lesson learned. After all this tapping and bitching I’ve been doing, I discovered I do like myself. I like being open and vulnerable to others’ cries. I don’t think I am able to tell someone in their hour of distress not to bring their drama along.
I can live with the sound of slop buckets slopping in my head. I can sit with this discomfort, let it slop over onto the page, and or let it splash as art onto an index card. It’s much better not to sit with it. Being a drama queen is not such a bad thing. It’s not some terrible sin. It’s discharging distress. It just might save my life. But the next time someone knocks on my door, I’ll be more discerning. I like to help people but I don’t like being used.
I am feeling so much better now that I’ve opt out of the thread loop in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am no longer obliged to read the 2 posts above mine. It frees up not only time but my sense of obligation which is very weighty. I like rules. I think they promote order. I think I am taking them and the UBC too seriously. It is also time for me to take a break from the challenging element of showing up every day. I am remembering a Wayne Dyer quote: When change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
I wrote about working/writing smarter the other day. One of my faults is not knowing when to quit. I do know that now. I am walking my talk. Being committed to too many things is stressful. It does not lead to productivity nor sense of restfulness or peace. My mind was always engaged, having no time to rest. There was no time to organize my surroundings and to declutter. I yearned for time to read a story book like I used to. When I found some time, my mind was too distracted and frazzled to concentrate on the words.
I made the decision to opt out of parts of UBC just two days ago. I am surprised at how restful my brain is feeling already. I had time yesterday to watch Professor Paul Gilbert’s video on compassion and how it can help us lead happier lives. It is an hour and 17 minutes long but well worth it. It explains the tricky brains we’re born with. It is faulty by design but it is not our fault. But if we learn and understand how it works, it will help us live better lives. Learning is and always has been my passion. There’s always things to learn and opportunities to improve from where we are now. Every day is another first day of the rest of our lives.
February 8, 8:38 am. 2℃ outside and -1.1℃ in the greenhouse. Crazy temperatures! Past Februaries had been our coldest month. I’m trying not to think of climate change, Covid-19 and the freedom convoy. I am, of course, thinking of them all just the same. Let me acknowledge it. But I still started my day with 20 minutes of sitting and being in the moment with Mark Williams. My mind wanders as it is apt to do. I bring it back again and again. I do my best. It is still restful no matter what, being grounded in my sitting posture.
I’m at my optimum mentally, emotionally and spiritually in the morning. I’ve had no time to accumulate any debris to cloud my chakras. It is my best time to learn and build myself up if I need uplifting. It’s the best time for a class in YouTube University. Today I was motivated by this video:
You can also read about this project on this website. It reminded me of my first 100 Day Project on Instagram in 2016. I made a piece of art every day. It was my first step towards making art after a life time just talking about it.
February 9. 5:57pm. A grey day. I am feeling grey as well. It is 1℃ outside and 2.2℃ in the greenhouse. I feel totally limp with no energy. You can probably guess that I didn’t go ski in the park today. I thought it was a wise decision. The tracks are probably icy as hell. I compensated by doing a mindful yoga on YouTube. It’s a very good video I found a few years ago and haven’t done for awhile. It’s good to change up my exercise program now and then. It’s good to work different sets of muscles. I followed up by doing a few minutes of hula hooping and arm exercises with light weights.
I’m feeling a bit crappy but I haven’t idle the day away. I did my daily draw and grocery shopping in the morning. I had my 2 hour class on the Goddesses of India after lunch. Now I am finishing this post. Not a great write but I am charting my days. It’s a recording I can look back on to see my progress or lack of what I’m trying to accomplish.
January 15, day 15 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. The half way mark. Do I have it in me to do the second half? Today is just as hard as yesterday. I woke up at 3 am. My nose was as dry as all get up, my tongue thick and furry. I could hardly swallow. I’m thinking allergies. Damn that snow mold! We’re having melting temperatures after some very frigid days. Then I wonder if it could be the coronavirus. I got up to wet my mouth and squirt some salinex nasal spray and went back to bed.
Luckily I got back to sleep. In the morning, just to be sure I did a rapid test. I was pretty sure I am negative but I have an in-person watercolour art class today. I want to be responsible and be sure and not risk other people’s health. I tested negative. It was still a relief even though I am triple vaccinated. I could relax and go to my class without worry.
Being in the classroom again is one of the things I missed in 2021. Before Covid I had an aerobic class Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I had swimming on Saturdays. I attended an adult learning class once a week at the University of Saskatchewan. Yes, I missed them, the exercises, the in-person learning and the people. I am happy that I had signed up for the art class way back in December. Of course, I had morning jitters, wishing that I hadn’t. It was signer’s regret but I got quickly over it once I arrived at the studio. Today there was 5 of us plus the instructor, all masked.
I didn’t pull off any master pieces. I was learning the basics of watercolours. What’s good, what’s not. What to cheap on and what not to. Definitely get good paints and paper but you can cheap on brushes. We practiced a few brush techniques and how to mix colours. I like the instructor. She’s a good teacher. I learned that I missed talking in 2021. I found myself talking quite a bit in class -asking questions. Maybe it was just an excuse to talk. It surprised me. It felt good.
I’ve always been a hopeful person, even when I’m not, even when I’m in the throes of planning my own demise. I’ve often felt like I’m a hoax when I am filling out the forms for counselling. Things don’t add up at the end. That’s what I tell the therapist(s). I tell them the results of those forms – that I am not without hope. What was I doing there? They would laugh and tell me that it is a good thing.
I am still that hopeful person. I look forward to waking up every morning when I can start my day. There’s always something to learn, some new venture beckoning me. I am not the kind of adventurer that you’re probably thinking of. I’m not busting out, wanting to travel to the far corners of the world or outer space. I don’t want to bungee jump off a high rise in Las Vegas. I’m not a high roller at the casino either though I have played the slot machines. My kind of excitement might raise a few bored eyebrows. It’s learning about nematodes, soil health and Dr. Elaine Ingham. Then I stumbled upon Korean natural farming and Chris Trump. Are you yawning yet? These are the kind of things that excite me and give me hope for a greener planet.
I am hopeful but I do have dark days and moods but I am learning how to navigate them more constructively and creatively. I have so many teachers from family, friends, co-workers – all the people that I’ve come in contact with. You have, too. We become the sum of what they’ve impacted upon with, whether they know it or not. So it is important that we choose the right environment. We, like all growing things, need fertile soil to thrive in. I have found a wealth of knowledge and wisdom through books, television and online. I first learn of Caroline Myss on Oprah many years ago. She’s still my first go to source of inspiration and spiritual direction. I believe her when she says that this is the most exciting time in history. It is, don’t you agree?
What gives me hope this morning is watching this episode on Kirsten Dirksen’s YouTube channel. It’s about a simple home built by an architect who had spent his first years in a Japanese internment camp in Idaho. He talked about how that had influence him on his love for simplicity and what is important. Kirsten features many stories like this in different parts of the world. Through them I can see how much talent and abilities we all have. We are not all in this life just to make money and getting more stuff. There are many who care about the planet, sustainability, resilience and the quality of life. Therefore, I am always hopeful when I watch these kinds of programs. They help me change in some small way to contribute to the cause.
Here we are on day 2 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m set to write the ultimate post on all about me. It’s a few years since I wrote the ABOUT and ABOUT ME pages for this blog in 2012. It’s time for an update.
I like to think I haven’t changed much but time has a way of showing up. I have a few more bags under my eyes and chin. My hair is still pretty dark. There’s but a few strands of white. It’s finer and much softer, the things I wished for in younger years. Now I wish I had the then coarseness and thickness. There’s no pleasing me. Then suddenly this year the crepey skin appeared. No amount of moisturizing could fix it. I guess I can join the club of women echoing that I’ve earned every line and wrinkle. I accept it but I can’t realy feel proud. I rather be wrinkle-free. Perhaps I am vain.
My goals/purpose for this space are still the same. I am still excavating, peeling back the layers, discovering and getting to know myself. I have had long periods when I am stuck, my archeology pickaxe dull and ineffectual. The layers refused to budge. I was stagnant, unable to go forth and grow. Looking back now I have a clearer vistage of my life journey and how I came to be. I can almost say, Ah, I see how it is! It is rather an exciting moment.
This November Ultimate Blog Challenge feels akin to a beginning of a school year. I have always loved school. I was never one wishing for summer holidays. I was that way about working also. There were some very hard stressful days, months and years. But I always found something exciting, meaningful and fulfilling in my work. I never counted down the days and hours to retirement. And here I am, retired for 8 years. I had a little difficulty deciding on the date and suffered PTSD (self-diagnosed) for 3 years in retirement. I suppose this blog gave me space to ventilate. It’s my Sit Spot. I come here to observe and tap. Tapping on the keyboards and seeing the letters march across the screen was comforting and gave me solace somehow.
I have lost some of that magic over the last year or so. You would think that the pandemic would be a catalyst for more writing. But not. It was the same with retirement. I had so many stories from work. I had time to write about them. When retirement came, all the stories, memories and desire to tell went. Maybe, no, definitely the stress of things wore and eroded my zest for learning and life. I had been feeling no pleasure and meaning in the things that used to please me. But I am feeling a spark again. I will be working this month to fan the spark. I want to bring more joy and meaning back to my days. I hope I can share them with you.