ONWARD AND FORWARD HO!

It’s hard to find that great opening line whether it’s to greet a stranger or to start a blog post. I’m happy to say that I’m feeling more like my normal self, though normal is up for debate. I feel as if I’ve had a psychotic episode. It’s like that after each encounter with my difficult neighbour. The time before this was 3 years ago. I’ve slipped in that she tricks me into engaging with her. I pay for it whenever I do that. There are no two sides. There is only one – hers. I’ve had to relearn my lesson over again. I am not 100% fool proof. This video is a great reminder for me.

In the same way, Pema Chodron is a great teacher. She shows up when I most need to hear her gentle powerful words. I’m reminded to look at things in a different way. I remember a photography class where our instructor told us, Don’t forget to look behind you as well to get a different view. Now I’m trying to reframe how I see my troublemaker neighbour as an opportunity – to develop patience. The incidence has shown me the benefits of my sitting meditation practice. I’ve been faithfully doing 20 minutes every morning for the last couple of months. Though I have been stressed and distraught, I have had less negative physical and mental impact on me this time around. I can testify that I’ve been tested and tried. Meditation, being mindful is good for me. So, onward and forward ho!

 

 

AFTER THE STORM

I did not get much sleep last night after all. But then I was not completely sleepless either. Sheba continued to be restless through the night, pacing, whimpering, and wanting in and out of the house. I talked and stroked her in between, trying to lengthen each period of calm. I remained relax, acting confident, assuring her everything was ok. I listened to Tara Brach’s podcast on my iPhone. It was an appropriate topic – The Path of Spiritual Surrender. But I can’t tell you the gist of it this morning. My mind is completely blank. It’s something I would hope for through meditation. So it’s not all bad.

Remaining calm and acting normal helped Sheba and myself as well. There had been flashes of lightning in the early part of the night but no thunder. The house was hot so most of the windows were opened. I was drifting off to sleep when the storm broke. It was furious, the wind and rain, thunder and lightning. The doors to the bathroom and bedroom slammed shut. Sheba came scampering to me, quivering. After closing the windows, we settled back in bed. I could hear her panting on her cushion. It was after 3:30 am. She felt the storm before it came.

We are none the worse for the night. We got up at our usual time, though probably not as spry. The garden got a good soaking. The raised beds are a bit soggy with the excessive water dripping from the drains. The rain barrels got refilled. The lettuce and carrots got a little flattened, but they’ve recovered. Already it is hot with the sun shining brightly. If not for the puddles of water and the dirt and debris from the fast and hard driving rain, you would not suspect there had been a thunder storm.

We’ve have had our morning constitutional walk. Now I am enjoying another cuppa in my outdoor space before it gets too hot. Sheba is catching up on her sleep. There’s a hum of a lawnmower and the whoosh of traffic. Above them, the birds are serenading me. It’s a beautiful Sunday morning. I have no wants but the present moment.

I’ve been reading a little bit of Pema Chondron’s writings every day. Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change contains wisdom I need. The wisdom soaks in, little by little every day. Understanding is the key to change. When I finally ‘get it’, it is illuminating. No wonder they call it a ‘lightbulb moment’. Understanding can and has eased my anguish over many things. I am more at peace with myself and the world. That is not to say I GOT IT and that is the end of the story.

No, I’m still struggling. The struggle never ends. When it does, I think that’s when life is over. I’m struggling still, but I am kinder to myself. I cut myself some slack. I try not to take ownership of everything, good or bad. I am not that powerful. I am not God. I’m more awake, more engaged, more interested, more eager. I am committed in living a meaningful, in the moment life. I will keep on brainstorming and learning in this, my own creative space.

 

 

AND THE RAINS CAME

Saturday rainy morning coming down. I’m counting our good fortunes. I can’t imagine anyone complaining about more rain. Our corner of this earth is very dry. I am trying to move forward in my day. It is easier said than done. So many things are easier said than done. I have been reading Pema Chodron’s Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change. It is beautifully written and full of wisdom. I’m soaking up tiny drops of it every morning.

What I value most of all is that I am softening up inside, slowly letting go of my rigidity, of things that no longer work. It is not an easy process. This morning I am feeling my heart closing up again. I am who I am. And you can’t make me change, it declares. Alrighto! I will not fight it. Nothing good comes out of ill fought struggles. The heart feel what it feels. I will observe and honour it. The time will come when it can willingly soften and open its door. The time will come when I can receive and accept whatever that comes without judgement and resentment. I can and I will!

I am happy that I have shown up here before my keyboard. I am sitting here amid the clutter of my desk. I’m not waiting for the perfect moment. I’m not waiting till everything is in perfect order. I am not waiting till I feel ‘fine’ and in ‘working condition’. I am showing up, sitting down and letting my fingers do the walking and talking. Somehow, they find the words and sentences. I sit and watch them march across the screen. I wonder where they come from. I wonder where they will go and when they will return.

Now that I have some words and thoughts out, I can settle into the day. I will not be distracted and lost in my head and feelings. Lunch is the next thing on my agenda. I bought some hemp hearts and chia seeds yesterday. I am eager to try them out in salads. I have a bag of spinach harvested from our raised beds begging to be eaten.

It is after lunch. The rain is pouring down. I hope that it’s not too much of a good thing all at once. All our rain barrels are full. We can stand to save some rain for later in the season. It is what it is. We can not hold back nature but we can learn to live in harmony with nature to ensure the health of our planet. What we do to nature, we do to ourselves. So how much do we care – about our earth and ourselves?

IN THE CUL-DE-SAC

I should listen to my own advice about starting. It’s not that I don’t want to. Sometimes I have to go through the period of being stalled, being hung in limbo, midair, not wanting to commit. Call it what you will. Maybe it’s my ritual of some sort. It’s good to have rest periods. I do feel an obligation not to waste time, to fill every moment of useful doings.

I’ve been caught in the limbo of not doing for days now. Every evening I catch myself saying, I will start in the morning. In the morning I find it is so much easier to sink into tomorrow is another day. It’s not that I’ve been a couch potato. On the contrary I’ve been on the ‘busy routine’ of living every day, doing the famous ‘busy stuff’ that everyone does.

It’s not that I have so many important things to do or to contribute. It’s that I’ve been  stuck in the cul-de-sac of lassitude, of not caring, of not having meaning, of not being important, of not being present. Perhaps it is called feeling sorry for myself or being in a depressive mood. My favourite excuse is that summer is not my favourite season. It brings out not so good memories of growing up in small town Saskatchewan. Everyone in town goes away to the lake or wherever on holidays, except the Chinese people who has the cafe. Oh, I remember those hot summer days of watching flies drone against the window screen and looking out at the empty dusty streets.

It’s strange how memories live in the very marrow of me. They are hidden deep inside and seep out on hot summer days. No need to worry about me. It’s just the way I talk/write. It’s healthy to be curious and investigate my feelings. It’s good to lay them down on the page in black and white. These ebb and flow of feelings are part of being alive. Feelings come and go like the tide. It’s like breathing in and out. Some are good and some not so. I’m still learning to accept them all, to sit with them as I must.

I’ve been reading Pema Chodron’s The Places That Scare You. I’m learning about Bodhichitta, being a warrior and staying in those scary places. It’s helping me to finally relax into life and not take things so seriously. Life is serious but things are not. I’m seeing the light now. Times when I don’t will come again. I have the words now. They could go away tomorrow. It’s all a cyle, the yin and the yan. That’s what I know for sure.

 

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.

STUCK AND UNSTUCK – Day 22 in a year of…

Day 22,August 13, 2016 @2:00 pm

Life is frigging hard.  I blame my brain.  It likes to be stuck in old habits.  It likes easy. Then I blame the weather.  I feel every storm brewing, every drop and rise of pressure.  The clouds are building again.  I am stuck so now I’m having a cup of tea.  That’s my remedy for everything.

IMG_7151Life was clear this morning.  The day was fresh.  I was on a new page – reading Ruth Rendall’s The Crocodile Bird.  I had already read it once but I have forgotten everything.  It read like the first time.  I was hooked on the first page!  I felt my eyes racing forward, skimming over the words, missing the descriptives for the action.  I stopped and read the second paragraph again – how the tail lights went over the bridge and the headlights came around the bend.  I found that scene so descriptive.  I see it in my head.

My intention for today is to enjoy the whole read.  It’s good to be hooked, but I should be able read all the words, see the setting and characters and let the story unfold chronologically.  Quite often I read the beginning and the ending.  I might go back to the middle.  Then sometimes I don’t.  So far so good.  I’ve read two chapters.  Can’t remember the ending from the first read and I haven’t gone to the end.

Patience, forbearance and happiness are what I am trying to develop in this project of choosing different ways/things.  I’m tired of bogged in insufficiency, ruts and having hard times.  Even little things/ways are hard to change.  They’re probably all biggies.  According to Pema Chodron the 3 big difficult practices are:

  1. Acknowledging what is happening
  2. Choosing a different alternative
  3. Making it a way of life.

It makes a lot of sense to me.  What do you think?  I’m a little unstuck.  Back to what I was working on.  Till tomorrow.