HAPPY FOR NO REASON

I’m happy for no reason on this 3rd day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. A good night’s sleep and a walk in the park always help. It is a warm sunny day – +10℃ outside and 27.9℃ in the greenhouse with 3 vents opened. The greens are doing very well. So are the 3 Red Alert Tomatoes and the 2 cucumbers. I’m looking forward to happy gardening and fresh salad greens. Maybe there will be a tomato or two at the end of May. Cross my fingers and toes.

Talking about feet, my left heel pain is gone. It’s a good reason to be happy. I’ve had that pain for months, if not for a year. It doesn’t hurt all the time but I sure feel it when I get up from sitting or laying. I would hobble around for it a bit before it would ease. I’ve been doing heel stretches for weeks at a stretch with no result. I’ve lived with this pain for so long that it’s part of me. I hadn’t noticed the exact moment it left. I am sure it was the functional exercise class Friday that did it. It’s such a good class, seemingly easy and simple with no heavy breathing or sweating. This is the set of exercises. We did it for 8 minutes or so.

  • leaning hands on wall for support at an angle, lift heels up 20 times
  • then leaning with back on wall at an angle, lift toes up 20 times
  • walk a straight line on toes x 10 steps then walk backwards on toes
  • walk a straight line on heels x 10 steps then walk backwards on heels

I hope my happiness lasts or is a frequent visitor. My get-with-the-program is going well. I am on my 50th day of #the100dayproject. I’m drawing/painting my memories and history. I am learning and understanding more of myself and life. How’s that for killing a few birds with a pen/pencil and a paint brush?

I think this is enough for today. I have to admit that I am a little distracted and frazzled with my projects. I have to save some time and quiet for myself. I lost on Wordle today. It’s a good thing we can play only once a day. Otherwise, I might not get here having this conversation.

LIFE NOT AS USUAL

So here I am again….finally…stumbling…exhausted…sad. There is no life as usual anymore. Was there ever? I am no longer filled with false hopes and bravado. Life truly sucks and I am not here to gloss over the muck. Sorry for negativity but I am exhausted and crazed living next door to a pyschopathic neighbour for over 10 years.

I know I should not give her this space and energy. That’s what feeds her but I am unable to let it go. Just let it go. It’s such a familiar phrase, a panacea for everything. Let it go. I wish I could. If only I could stop my thoughts and feelings at will. Then I would be sleeping  peacefully now. Instead I am  sitting here in the dark, tapping out all the ugliest inside of me. It’s the worst part of me, the hanging on to the evil and uglies of others. In this, I’m like a dog with a bone. I chew and chew on it till I’m eaten up by the hate I feel.

I’m not sounding like Pollyanna now, am I? I am grieved by Sheba’s passing. My sorrow changes from moment to moment and day to day. Thoughts and pictures bring tears to my eyes. Panic gathers as I realize she is gone forever and now I stand alone. I have to be brave on my own without her by my side. Still, I am braver and a better human having had her for these years.

I am ok again for awhile having spew forth the truths of new this life. I have spoken with and filed a report about this neighbour with the police. This probably will not be the end of her trespassing and mischief. Any hindrance and deterrent buys more peace. An ear for my troubles is always a relief.

WHEN THINGS FALL APART

Some days are harder to show up than others. I meant to come yesterday. When that didn’t happen I was trying for this morning but somehow I lost my way here. Distractions, thoughts, feelings, putting off and avoidance all contribute. It is always so much easier to go with the flow, not commit and not show up. But I am finally here in the after glow of supper and wine.

I have to admit that I’m feeling the boogeyman again.He shows up now and again. I’m awashed with the heebie jeebies. I’m ok though. I’m not off and running away to anywhere. I tell myself to stay. It’s just sensations.  I’ve been practicing and applying mindfulness. It’s such synchronicity that I am reading Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart at this time, too. She tells us that fear and anxiety are all part of being human along with all the other emotions. They all serve a purpose. I am learning to see my feelings in a different way, trying not to label them as good or bad and not trying to rid them.  I am the guest house as in Rumi’s poem.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

I could say that I have been falling apart for quite awhile now. I do not consider it a bad thing. There was great pain with the shattering of what I was that no longer worked. Pain is a great teacher. It is also very cleansing. It sweeps out all the debris. After the pain subsides, I feel such sweetness and I can see so much clearer. It is a time for reconstructing, putting back the parts of myself that I like and the parts that works. This is not to say that I will live happily ever after or that the boogeyman is vanquished forever. I am sure there will be more falling apart. The next time the boogeyman comes, I will think of him as Mr. Sandman. He is less edgy and much more friendly.

MY PRETEND SWIM

These cloudy wet autumn days are starting to get on my nerve! Sheba is getting on that one nerve that’s left, too. Every time I get up, I feel like I’m getting a FBI escort. Most of the time I’m just heading to the kitchen to get a cuppa. She’s thinking food. Me also if I was telling the truth.

I can do absolutely nothing about the weather. I sure feel its changes though – summer, autumn, winter and spring. I’m a sensory being. I feel all the changes of temperature, pressure and probably even wind velocity. I probably have more feelers than most people. You would think I’m a spider with all these feelers. It has its advantages and disadvantages. I’m only aware of the disadvantages right now – the aches, pains, fatigue, sleepiness and then there’s the moods.

The advantages are maybe coping has pushed me to investigate the whys, wherefores and hows to have a good life despite everything. I’ve been an avid reader of anything and everything pertaining to depression, chronic pain, SAD, nutrition, supplements, mindfulness, etc. I’ve eased up a bit in the last few years. I’m spending more time dabbling with my paints and sewing machine. Being engaged in meaningful and rewarding activities take my mind off those nagging and distressful symptoms of pain and anxiety. I must be producing those feel good endorphins with my paint brushes and Bernina.

These days, I try to think of solutions instead of staying in my pit of misery. I didn’t make it to my Saturday morning swim yesterday. I did today even though I felt like hell. I felt green with total body pain and fatigue. I didn’t voiced any declarations the night before in case I couldn’t live up to it. To make it a successful mission, I had to plan for success. I packed my gym bag with all my necessities way ahead. When the time came, I just had to walk out the door with it. I eliminated excuses and delays. There was no searching for my shampoo, goggles, earplugs, etc.

I didn’t plan for an Olympic swim today. It was just a splash or two. It was just to wet and loosen up my body. It was just a pretend swim. And that’s what it was – 6 lengths up and down the pool. Then a few minutes in the whirlpool. Mission completed. I stopped and visited my mother on the way home. She fed me goji soup and gave me some Chinese pastries given to her from her friends. I don’t say no to my mother when she offers me her soup. I am happy that she is still able to make it. I can’t say no either when she gives me stuff. That’s my mother – giving.

DREAMS AND SCREAMS

Bummer! My left hip has been giving me some grief lately. It takes the pleasure out of going to the park with Sheba and everything else. Though I’ve cut our outings shorter and walking slower and with more care, I’m still suffering. I’m sure the weather is aggravating my arthritic bones. I can also feel my nasal and jaw bones aching. It’s all on my left side where I feel most of the tension. So a tylenol and some yoga later, I’m attending to business.

I had a dream again last night. I am sure I do it every night. Only most of the time I don’t remember. I couldn’t remember much this morning either but I knew I had dreamt. I was opened to let it come back to me. It did. It did not involve an intruder. It was rather mundane so no screaming. Talking about dreaming and screaming, I realize now that I do scream out loud. When I dreamt about ghosts sitting and paralyzing me, I felt I couldn’t get my screams out. In reality I must have screamed and screamed. That was scared the cat off the bed and NOT the ghost. I was living alone then. I had no idea.

Now that I’ve had supper and a glass of wine, my hip feels a bit better. I try not to favour it too much and get totally out of alignment. Already I’m walking like Charlie Chaplin without a cane. Some days are better than others but today was not a total loss. I did not get any transplanting seedlings done. Nor did I make it to swimming. But I did get to a class on quilting software at The Sewing Machine Store this morning. I coloured another cloth with Inktense blocks and heat setted the colours with a dry iron. It seemed to work. No colour run-offs when I washed the block under the tap. Little blocks of success – that’s all I ask for. They do add up to make the big picture. Time to say good night.

 

RETURNING – day 106 in a year of….

Day 106, November 8, 2016 @10:49 am

img_8338The morning is grey.  I bring myself back to this space to dispel it.  I’m returning to my journey of making changes in a conscious way.  If I don’t, they will happen to me willy, nilly.  Better to go into them with eyes wide open.

I sat with Timothea Goddard’s session of the Mindfulness Summit 2015 to review the 3 insights from practicing mindfulness and cultivating kindness.

  1. Pain can’t be avoided.
  2. Everything is impermanent.
  3. The self – the me, I, mine is always changing and not permanent.

In short you can sum the insights up as life sucks, everything changes and don’t take anything personally.  If I can really accept the first two and learn to live the third, life could be a lot easier.  And it is.  I have been practicing.  Sometimes I have become distracted and wandered off.  I’m learning to come back and come back more readily and often.  I’m less inclined to throw up my hands and say, I CAN’T do it!

This morning I’ve returned to the task of clearing my work table in the basement. It was not hard.  It was not easy.  It felt unpleasant.  I stood and felt my avoidance/nausea for a moment, not knowing where to start.  Then I just plunged in, opening an envelope, a shoebox, taking out papers, shredding them, bagging them.  I let the feelings be.  I did not try to chase them away.  Then an understanding of what they are/why they are came.  It was okay.  I was okay. It was like what Oprah calls peeling an onion.  I’ve peeled the first layer, the beginning of an opening.  It is enough.  I will return tomorrow.

What box have you opened today?

CHALLENGED – Day 63 – 65 in a year of…

Day 63 – 65, September 25, 2016 @4:57 pm

Challenges are difficult amid fatigue and pain.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m lazy.  Am I using it as a excuse.  Other times, I wonder if I have fibromyalagia and/or chronic fatigue.  Or is it from my sinus anomoly? Does it matter what it is called or if it is diagnosed?  It is all the same symptons.  It adds up to feeling fatigued, pained and generally lousy.  I’ve had bouts of these since early adulthood.  I’ve survived and learned to cope.

It has improved. Maybe I’m living healthier.  I’m certainly getting more sleep and exercise.  I have a dog.  I do yoga, qigong and meditation off and on.  I guess everything counts.  Still, there are days when – I want to throw myself img_0896into bed with fatigue.  The pain is the gnawing kind through the whole body and I feel heavy as lead.  These are the tough days when it is hard even to think of walking the dog.  I’m thinking I’m making my life harder by having one.  What was I thinking?  And a Lab/Border Collie at that!

Well, I have a dog.  She demands to be walked every day.  I put a collar and leash on her and running shoes on me. Off we go, one foot in front of the other at a slow steady pace.  I don’t feel any more pain.  I don’t feel any less pain.  Another walk.  Another day.  It’s the same coming to this space except some days I haven’t shown up.  But I am here today, covering for 3 days.

img_2546I have to admit this challenge is harder than my 100 days of art.  The more difficult part is the analyzing of how my ‘different’ made a difference and finding the words.  Some days it takes more energy than I have.  So I have chosen to write when I can instead of giving up altogether.  I will chug along to day 365. That’s how life is lived – as best as we can to the end.

 

ON PAIN – Day 28 in a year of…

Day 28, August 19, 2016 @ 2:02 pm

imageToday’s August Break’s prompt, my hands, is a reminder of the pain in the fourth finger on my right hand. It has been a constant, sometimes waking me in the night for the past year. Then in recent months the pain lessened. The finger straightened, not locking as often. This morning, I realized that the pain is totally gone. And I can make a fist and open it freely. Hallelujah!

I am no stranger to pain, being a witness to its many faces as a nurse. Then there’s my very own experience within its grip – physically, mentally and emotionally. I am sure we have all known it. Some more intimately than others.

Pain is our friend, though I have not held it in high regard. I have flinched and fled. When I could not, I suffered and endured. My doing different now is to let it come as it will. I greet it as a friend. It tells me something has changed or is remiss. It tells me I need to do something different. Not running or flinching in its face has lessen my suffering. This, too, shall pass is my mantra. It works. What is yours?

Till tomorrow.

SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE

I’m feeling the pain more than the gain.  Perhaps that’s how it is at first.  I’m exercising my stay-with-it muscle.  I’m taking my writing seriously for the first time.  First I take the writing.  Then I will tackle the art.  Who knows how far I can go.  If I don’t succeed, try and try again.  I am full of clichés this morning.

Image from google.ca
Image from google.ca

Perhaps I should not try to be so clever.  I feel I’m blocking myself in already.  It’s a good thing my own copy of Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and  Life” is on the way from Amazon.  I need help on both.

Her voice is one that you can’t help but hear.  It is an excellent reference and such a pleasure to read.  I tell everyone who is interested in writing about it.  I talk about Anne Lamott and her writing alot.

She came to mind again yesterday when I was digging through my cedar chests, looking for a cross-stitch of teddy bears I had done many years ago.  I found everything, mostly unfinished projects, except that.  Among the stuff these squares showed up:

They almost ended up in the trash.  I did throw out the little cutout pieces, thinking I will never have the time or patience to work on them again.  I had to rescue them when I opened these folded squares of cloth.  Their beauty took my breath away.  It was as if I’ve found parts of myself that I had misplaced.

Lamott is right.  There’s treasures hidden among our mess and clutter.  Use it and whatever angst that’s gnawing your butt.  They are fodder to fuel our creative souls.  If you’re lonely and have worries, don’t run away from those feelings.  Use them.  You could have written a song like Downtown.

Or penned a poem like Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it love
Tell me about your despair and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Who knows?  You could have – if you pick up that pen and start.  So go ahead, start.

Someone is calling me about breakfast and something about not enough clean plates.  He is supportive in my writing endeavours.  I have warned him that I might be a little distracted and absent minded in the next while. Sometimes the sandwiches will not have lettuce.  You have to tell the person you’re living with what you are planning and what to expect.

Today is a better day.  There will be spagetti with fresh homemade tomatoe meat sauce – a break and a reward for days of plain old sandwiches without lettuce.  But first Sheba needs her walk.

FLUX AND FLOW

IMG_0489By now you must know that I’m not a jubilant kind of person in the morning – even if it is summer.  My feet rarely hits the floorboards in a joyous bounce.  Rather, they reluctantly and languidly test the waters, ready to withdraw back under the covers if it is not to their liking.  I try not to give it too much importance, this nature of mine.  It is just ME.

IMG_1969And I always get up, dress up and show up for my life – every day. Some days are, of course, better than others.  Today is a reluctant day.  It is just a feeling.  I get up, dress, wash face, brush teeth and fix my bed head.  I am into the flux and flow of the day.

I read a little, tinkered some on the piano, stir fried pork with Chinese broccoli on my new cast iron frying pan for lunch.  It was a pretty good morning.  I was neither maudlin nor manic.  I was just right, if there is such a state.

IMG_6727The afternoon was spent digging in the flower garden, trying to tame the weeds and runaway ground covers.  How had I let everything  gets so wild?  My flower garden was as cluttered as my house and head.   It was so satisfying and therapeutic digging and clearing space.  It was time to become conscious and let the sun in.

Digging in the yard uncovered many things as I scooped up layer after layer of dead leaves and pulled away the Gout Weed.  I had spent too much time feeling others’ pain.  I had no time to feel my own.

Can you believe it?  I’ve just knocked a glass of white wine, thank goodness it’s small, onto my Mac laptop.  I watched motionless for a nano second before turning the laptop upside down.  Meanwhile it shorted and I was unable to turn it off.  I dried it off as well as I could.  I closed the lid to put it into a bag of rice and it lit up.  I was able to turn off then. I decided to leave it open, upside down to dry.

It is really the flux and flow.  I’m more in flux right now.  I’m flowing away on the wine.  I am surprise I am not more upset.  I could lose everything on my Mac as I did not back up anything.  Oh well, I will have a clean slate.  I can start over.  I can be a born again.

In the meantime I am poking along on my PC.  There is no hurry , is there?  You will pardon me if I am a little lax on the tenses and grammar.  I am sorry that I can’t show my peonies almost ready to bloom….maybe tomorrow I can take more pictures.

Tomorrow is another day in the flux and flow of life.