BEGINNING & ENDING WITH CERTAINTY

For Reverb14 – Day 21

IMG_1908What can I say with certainty today?  It is the shortest day with the longest night of the year.  It is winter solstice.

That was yesterday.  This morning we are still in complete darkness.  I was insistently nudged out of bed by Sheba’s wet nose.  Just as well.  I was wool weed gathering in bed, not sleeping nor tending my garden anyways.  I was having a little bit of the moody blues and the simmering of a low grade depression.

That was what I thought – until I read Anne Lamott’s post.  Then I realized I was just crazy and normal like everyone else at this time of year.  No need to talk to the therapist about it. I read another post and it gave me a little hope that there is good in the world.  I’ve been thinking about Christmas and gifting.  How can I not?  I’m not caught up with the masses and yet I am – in finding the perfect meaningful gift.  I’ve found it in the last paragraph of Anne’s post.

“Emily Dickinson said that hope causes the Good to reveal itself. So bring it on. When I bring people hope–cups of tea, poetry and art supplies–then I’m holding hope in my hands, but I can only receive it by giving it away, to you, and to me; to us. Here, have some; it’s on me. Just don’t give up before you get the miracle.”

What I know for sure today, as in all days, is that I always have hope.  I remember saying in therapy a long time ago that I am never without hope according to the questionnaire I had to fill.  I was wondering why I was there.  Did I wandered into the wrong place?

IMG_5023I am finding myself in the same place again.  What I know for sure is, it is good to have hope.  And it is good to have help, a little guidance, small nudges in the right direction when I have wandered off the path.  I am gifting myself for the coming year.  I’m preparing myself so that I will be opened to receive more of life.  I want to feel more joy and less anger.  I want more clarity to the yes(s) and no(s) I will be uttering.  I want to be saying in December 2015, It was a very good year.  I did the best I could.

SIGNS, SYMBOLS, SPACE

Reverb14 – Day 20

Today’s prompt comes from the phenomenal Jen Lee. Jen writes:

One thing I learned in 2014 was how to make space for joy and levity, even in the midst of challenging circumstances or sad times. 

How could you make space for joy in the year to come? How could you protect it?

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I hate to say I’m coming from behind, but that is what I am doing.  I appreciate the opportunity here on Kat’s Reverb14, to reflect on my past journey and to contemplate where I want to go in the new year.  Thank you for this space to reverb.

IMG_6937I’m trying hard, maybe too hard to find my words this morning.  I have laid them aside, neglected them too long and too often lately.  They are pouting and reluctant to come out. I will have to be patient but it is not easy – not with Sheba begging for attention.  She is throwing her rubber ducky onto my lap.  Play! Play!  The squealing purple duck is driving me insane.  What was I thinking when I bought it?  There is nothing else to do except acknowledge her and squeal the rubber ducky to her delight.  Afterall, she is my joy.

A little peace and quiet is restored, but my head is dazed and abuzzed with a swarm of bees.  My words have retreated even further into the recesses of my mind.  I rise to retrieve some laundry.  It is soothing to sort and fold and put them in their rightful drawer.  If one thing doesn’t work, I can do another.  I am creating space for the words to come out later. It’s better than wasting time and moaning about my upset applecart.

IMG_1178So here I am now at my keyboard.  My words are coming out one by one.  They are not perfect. They not my best words but at least they are dressed and showing up. What more can I ask from them?  They bring me clarity and meaning.  You need both to feel joy.  How else would I know when it comes?

 

 

Reverb14 – Day 19  Prompt from Kat McNally

Sometimes I feel like an intrepid explorer through the lush, terrifying, vibrant jungle that is daily life. When I am open, I start to notice clues everywhere; clues which guide me to questions that, in turn, lead to answers. I sense the very real possibility that I am not navigating my way on my own

Recently I realised that I had been gravitating to hot pink. This realisation led me to a photo which, in turn, brought back some memories which then led me to understand something about a burden I’d been carrying for a long time. And in that discovery, I was freed.

Today, I invite you to consider: what sorts of signs and symbols have recurred for you in 2014? Think: repeating colours, shapes, people, sayings, music, images, ideas. Where could they possibly be leading you?

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IMG_2062December can be a magical month, if you let it be, if you are not caught up in the ‘shoulds’ of Christmas frenzy.  I’m not saying to abandon the celebration of the birth of Christ.  I’m saying, pause and give a thought about how you really want to spend the season.  Do you have to be swept up with the crowd – in the malls and elsewhere, doing what THEY think you should do?

I’m not here to be an Ebinizer Scrooge and bah humbug Christmas.  But really a lot of the things for Christmas are commercial symbols of a religious celebration.  Think about it. The candy canes, the Poinsettas. the tree and decorations, Santa and the reindeers – what do they have to do with Jesus being born?  So why do so many of us feel compulsed to fit in with the general milieu?  And feel guilty if we don’t?

IMG_1686I try not to, though I have, through different years.  Afterall I like everyone else, want to fit in.  I still do but I am tired.  I have been for years.  Do I have to fit in at this stage in my life? Not really.  It’s time for me to stop. I’ve come to that crossroad.  I am all grown up.  I do not have to pretend, to do things just to fit in.

 

IMG_2920This has become my favourite sign.  When life becomes hectic and my head gets abuzz with bees, I see the STOP in my mind’s eye.  It stops and sooths me, clearing my head, mind and heart.  What I think, see and feel are not always the truth.  I can put a STOP to that steady stream of lies.  And in that STOP, that pause, there is space for truth and joy to enter.

JOY TO THE WORLD.  MAY PEACE AND LOVE FIND US ALL.

BAKING THE GREMLINS AWAY

For Reverb14Reverb BB

It’s December 18th, a week before Christmas.  It is a season of joy and sorrow.  Life has no time boundaries and neither has death.  You cannot have one without the other.  It happens when it happens.  I’m not behind and I’m not catching up.  I’m writing in this moment on these two prompts – 2 in 1.  What a bargain, heh?

Today’s prompt from Sophie Appleby aka Her Library Adventures.  Sophie writes:

In the busyness of the everyday, taking time to nourish the soul doesn’t reach the top of the ‘to do’ list as often as it should.  What nourishes your soul? How would you like to incorporate more of this into your life in 2015? 

Day 15 prompt from Kat McNally:

I’ve learnt over the years that the only way to get anywhere in life is just to notice what other people are doing, hear the gremlins, feel the fear and do it anyway. It never gets any easier but to keep on doing it is the point.  What are you really proud that you made happen in 2014, despite the gremlins? And what will you do anyway in 2015

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The gremlins are having their go at me the last few days.  I feel them buzzing and biting at me with their little mouths.  I am ignoring them.  I’m not wasting energy swatting them off.  I am letting them be.  Long ago I have learned to let the shoe drop.  I am not Humpty Dumpty.  I will not fall and break.

It has been a week of dishwater coloured days. The mornings are black as night.  I am full of lethargy.  It is hard to get out of bed.  But I do it anyways.  I get up, dress up and show up, albeit slower and later.  That’s what I do to respect and nurture my body and spirit.  I listen to them instead of fighting and conquering.

IMG_0515I take special care at these vulnerable times.  I do not have to be Wonder Woman and do it all.  Let her rest awhile.  No one needs rescuing at the moment.  I don’t have to be the hero.  I don’t need to have it all.  I don’t even want it.  I am happy in the smallness of my life.  I am happy here, tap, tapping out my words to you, sipping my tea.  Sheba is nearby. Voices and laughter come from children playing outside.

Perhaps this is not a good time to be reading Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller.  The story contains the horrors of the Holocaust but also about our humanity.  It’s appropriate for our present time and the horrors we are still seeing.  We can run but we can’t hide from the truth.  I need to bear witness and to acknowledge all that is happening.  It is paying honour to those who have died.  They matter.

imageI’m reading on into the book, into Sage’s story and how baking becomes her therapy.  It is also mine.  You might call me a born again baker for I didn’t know how to until a couple of years ago.  Now I’m happy when there’s flour flying in the kitchen.   How can you not rejoice when you see it rise?  It is so comforting to knead and punch down the dough. Take this! And this! My fist sinks into the soft mound.  Then I’m forming it into separate loaves, to rise again and be ready for the oven.

The house is filled with the aroma of bread baking. It is a smell of home, welcome and nourishment.  Come in and sit down.  Won’t you have a cup of tea and a slice of fresh baked bread?

This is what I do to chase the gremlins and other demons and gobblins away.  It also nourishes my soul.  It works so I will continue on into the new year.

ROOTING AND ANCHORING

I started this post on the 14th.  A few days have passed but I felt it was important to finish it.  So here it is for Reverb14 – Day 14.

Reverb BB

Today’s prompt and image come from Amy of The Anxious Hippie.  The idea of rooting down into your own personal beliefs and center of truth is an ongoing process, and many things can serve as anchors or roots as you move through life.

What rooted or anchored you in 2014?

And where do you want to put down roots in 2015?

I always believe that no matter what, where or when that everything and I will be all right. Time and time again has shown that THIS, whatever is at the time, shall pass.  Therefore, how can I ever despair?

IMG_1222What rooted and anchored me in 2014 and for always, is the belief in myself and the Universe. There is a reason and a season for everything under heaven.  These roots are strong and run deep and have served me well in this forest.  Though life have tried and hacked at me, I remain firmly anchored in my base.

Sometimes I have fallen, but never defeated.  Weary, lonely and broken have I been, but I have always risen, reaching for the sun, reaching for another challenge, for another day.  I may not be a mighty oak.  I’m rather like the slender willow, bending with the wind.  I bend but do not break.  God has given me a different gift to endure.

I may weep like the willow.  It is not a sign of weakness.  I’m just easing my pain, recouping and gathering strength.  I’m re-rooting for 2015 right here where I am.

A LOVE LETTER TO MYSELF

For Reverb14 – Day 12

Today’s prompt comes from the beautiful Amy Taylor-Kabbaz.

It all starts with kindness. Everything I have learnt, everyone I have interviewed, every word I have studied has guided me to this simple but profound conclusion: true happiness begins and ends with self-kindness.

No more guilt. No more shoulds. No more comparison.

And the very best way to give your weary soul some kindness at the end of this year? A love note.

Write a letter from you to you… filled with forgiveness, love, and a big bear hug.

 

morn chai

Dear Me:

It has been some year!  So many happenings, so many changes.  Four seasons have come and gone.  There have been comings and goings – weddings, births and funerals.  Even in the last week,  two dear souls have passed on to a better place for themselves.  It is hard for some of us to say goodbye, though that is what life is – helloes and farewells.

Go ahead my dear heart.  Go ahead.  Shed your tears of sadness.  Rejoice in your triumphs. Rest your head on my shoulder.  Take your comfort from me.  Tomorrow is another day. The sun will surely rise as always in the east.  The moon will light your path through the dark.  You may feel it’s a lonely road, but you are not travelling alone.  Take comfort in that knowledge.  You have many companions sharing your experience.

My dear heart, you have done the best you knew how.  That is enough.  Do not doubt yourself.  Do not berate yourself, thinking you could do more.  If you could, you would have.  Love yourself to the sun and moon and back.  And always respect what you have accomplished.  Otherwise no one else will.

From Me

Reverb BB

 

REVERB14 – DAY 11 RITUALS

Today’s prompt:  What tiny rituals: signal that your day is starting; help you ease into a creative project; give you closure from an intensive task; or mark other significant milestones in your day? What new rituals would you like to create in the new year?

IMG_6927For me everything begins and ends with a cup of tea – be it a cup of rich spicy Chai or the smooth woodsiness of Rooibos in the morning.  In the afternoon I enjoy a cup of Orange Pekoe for a pick-me-up.  Nothing soothes like chamomile with a bit of honey in the evening.  I would be in trouble if there is a prohibition on tea!

I have wondered what is it about this simple beverage that gives me such comfort and pleasure.  Having grown up mostly in Canada, I am not familar with the Chinese tea culture or ceremony.  I must have developed and perfected my own tea ceremony over the years.  It has served me well, giving me time and pause to breathe – to inhale and exhale, to rest, rejuvenate and to re-evaluate what road I need to go down next.

IMG_6929Taking time to rise and put the kettle on changes my perspective of many things besides my surrounding.  I am no longer inert and staring helpless and stuck at my keyboard.  Moving and filling the kettle stirs my brain and memory.  A word, an idea and sometimes a whole new sentence comes to me.  I sigh inside, my body whispering, ahhhh.  A conversation starts in my head.  I do not feel stuck anymore.

IMG_6931The water boils.  Steam comes in a steady stream from the spout.  I turn the burner off.  I open the cupboard door and finds my favourite mug.  I look through my array of teas to chooses one for my mood of the moment.  Do I need smoothing out, or do I want to step it up?  How about something in the middle to keep the flow of words coming?

My tea ceremony works well in easing me in and out of the day. In recent days, I have rediscovered my love of swimming laps.  The warmth of the water and the rhythm of my strokes smooth and sooth me.  I am caressed by the water as in a mother’s womb.  I am once again held by everlasting and unconditional love. My arms are reaching through the water, slicing away the worry and stress of an ordinary life.  It is a good routine and ritual to keep for the upcoming year.  I am feeling blessed.