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I’m not so successful clearing my mind this morning so I did a little clearing of my table. What is without is within. I’m heading out to my exercise class in a few minutes. I’m making a few marks here to get the words and thoughts flowing for later. Mark making is an important step in getting started. Later, baby, as they say.

This is the later I spoke of this morning. I’m afraid this is one of those time that the words will not flow. I will have to work for them. Talking about making marks, I don’t think I’ve made even a dent, never mind a mark in the world. I feel a bit sad and inadequate. I don’t really want to be a big splash but I like to think that I’ve made a difference, that I matter. It’s what we all want. I hate being human and vulnerable, don’t you?

The day has sped by. It is not a warm one. I’m warming up with a cuppa Ovaltine. I’m learning to change up my drinks as not to get addicted to any one. Ovaltine was a favourite when I was a child in Hong Kong. My mother and I had moved there from mainland China when I was 6. That was also when we were introduced to Red Rose Orange Pekoe Tea and toast. It was all so new and tasted so good. That’s what I have to remember – to change up often. Not only with drinks and food but with everything in life. I remember the delight of discovering and learning new things and tastes. Too much of one thing deadens and dulls the senses. It’s my lightbulb moment from my thoughts for the 24th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

WILD WRITING – Slop Bucket in My Head

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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.


Another December morning. It is as dark as can be at 7:42. We are heading head long towards the darkest day of the year. 11 more days and we will come out on the other side. It is my best fall and December wherein I am not blaming the season for my moody blues. I have talked about how my feelings can turn on a dime. It is still true but now I can turn it around just as quickly. I have a self control button as well as auto pilot. I should have check my operation manual sooner. It is nice to know I have a choice of how I want to feel and be.

Mornings are my best time for everything. I always look forward to waking up and starting the day. It’s when I am fresh with a clean slate. No hangovers of toxic emotions and attitudes to weigh me down. I guess that’s why they advocate not watching the news or argue before bedtime. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve gone to bed upset. I am doing something right. Too bad one can’t keep the lid on 24/7. But life and humans are not perfect. I don’t think we can learn and advance if there are no bleeps along the way. I am grateful for each and everyone of them for what they have taught me.

I don’t like to admit it. I do tend to look at things in black and white, right and wrong, yes and no. I didn’t realized it until yesterday. How dumb can I be? I was stuck in a certain mindset. It was only by accident that I skidded out of the track. It was that light bulb moment that I could see there was a middle way. There’s much truth in age old sayings like: There’s more than one way of skinning a cat. All roads lead to Rome. More than one way to cook an egg. I was really surprised by my awakening. I didn’t know I had a hard set mind. I was not as opened minded as I had thought. Life would have been much easier had I known sooner. It is what it is. I wasn’t ready. I am happy to learn that there is grey, somethings are neither right or wrong and that there is a maybe of different strengths.


Happy At Last

It’s a cool overcast morning. It’s the kind of day I want to curl up with my quilt and while away the moments. Instead, I’m sitting here tapping and eating left over pizza. It tastes mighty fine. I think I shall have more. I have to give in to these urges now and then. I have to give myself a break or two. I wanted to cancel my exercise class this morning. I meditated and talked myself out of it. Then the exercise cancelled me! A water main problem. No water at the facility.

The universe does listen to us and give us what we need. I’m more attentive now. I try to respond instead of blindly react. I’ve had some very full days and in need of a rest. I’m happy nature is giving it to me. I don’t have to feel guilty about being out and making hay while the sun shines. It’s taking time out, too. There is a reason and season for everything.

This is the season of seeing and understanding for me. My fellow bloggers in this UBC seemed to be writing for me, about things that I specifically need to see right now. How wonderful of them! And the things are not really new to me. It is that I’m seeing and understanding in a different light. It makes me think, Well, how stupid was I! It makes me give my head a shake and a slap to my face. Most of all, I’m singing to myself. I’m happy. At last I’m happy.

And what might those things be, you wonder. They are really simple. I’ve probably written about them myself many many times before. But until they hit, electrofied and lit me up like a LED bulb, I never truly understood the concepts. I think we each have to figure out for ourselves what adds and what takes away from our lives.


I’ve never been comfortable in my own life. It never felt like it was mine. I’ve been living for others, not for myself. Nobody asked me to. Perhaps I received the message from the great collect. I absorbed it through osmosis through the years. And now, realizing that my years has a finite number, I’m having a lightbulb moment. Hey, this isn’t how it’s suppose to be! Where is my life, my legacy? I have no moments for my video of highlights. In this moment I can only think of compromises and good enoughs.

Still, sitting here, tapping away on this beautiful August morning, I’m pretty satisfied. I hear the caw caw of a crow. Sheba’s laying at my feet. It is warm. I have the laundry hanging on the racks – one on the deck and the other out in the yard. It is still relatively comfortable in the shade. But if you catch the sun bouncing off a surface, it is so hot. The earth is burning up. We are still here. It is good to be living in this moment in time. I hope there is time to rescue our planet. I hope there is time to live my own life.

I’m ruminating, chewing my cud, on what is truly of value to me. It’s a worthy subject to come back to, again and again. It’s a question that I’ve been unconsciously avoiding with all my busy doings. The chaos of summer drove me to seek counsel and wisdom. Its very nature demanded attention and action. I have often found much wisdom from Caroline Myss. Now days after her 9 day online retreat, I’m not all that much wiser.

I’m not wiser but I have taken the time off from my usual routine of do this, do that and do this again. I sat still and listen to the quiet. I fasted. I returned to the part of me that loved stilllness and doing nothing. In doing so, I realized how relentless I’ve become in ‘creating’, doing, exercising, so on and forth. I had a busy schedule in retirement. Life was a frenzy. Somehow that was okay. My mind and physical being were occupied. I didn’t have to think about the hard stuff – the uncertainties and anxieties. I was busy.

Being ‘busy’ and ‘creative’ gives legitimacy to being distracted and absent from my life. I didn’t smell the coffee or the flowers. I THOUGHT I did. I hadn’t tended my garden or myself regularly. I did it haphazardly, by gosh and darn – like everything I do. Now that I know better, I’ll try to do better. But it is difficult to break out of set patterns. Having an addictive personality doesn’t help. Already I want to sign up for another course given by Caroline Myss and Andrew Harvey on our shadow selves. It would not be a bad thing but it would be another thing I’ll be chasing, being distracted and busy.

I will resist, staying in the here and now. I have enough. I am enough. It is time to bring in the laundry. It is time to push the stove back in its place. It took something falling behind it for me to clean underneath. What alot of dust, grime and dog hair! Now it’s all swept, washed and dried. Good for another 10 years.