TRIGGERS – Winds of Change

Thursday evening. I thought I would start my thoughts since it’s running. It’s another day with strange weather. I felt it coming on last night though I didn’t know it then. What I felt was irritability, a sense of dissatisfaction. I didn’t act out or on it though. Hooray for me! Instead I thought each thought and feeling through. It was only in the morning that I checked the weather forecast. It was after I had carried all my trays of seedlings outside. The guy asked me why I did that. It was going to be cold and windy by 10. I was surprised because it was so beautiful and sunny. I thought I would give the plants an early outing.

Now I am quite sure that weather changes are a trigger for when I am not so copacetic. I hate being a weather vane but knowing it enables me to have more control if not sleep. It is Friday morning. I’ve been up forever – since 1 am. I tried reading and taking a tylenol. I did fall asleep after awhile only to wake up again when I went back to bed. Instead of tossing and turning in bed, I got up, made LAB for my plants and then drawing and painting a watercolour for #the100dayproject. They are 2 things today that needed doing. I won’t fall too far behind or apart if I tank out during the day. Now I will be heading off to my exercise class. I don’t have to drive. So no worries.

Now it is almost 10 pm. The day was a bit of a blur but not at all a disaster. I did not nap and even read a bit here and there. Nothing to brag about but not crying the woes either. I hope we get some sun and heat soon. It does not look like we will get summer


I used to take pride in how little sleep I need. I thought I did fabulous on 4-5 hours sleep a day/night. I used to be an idiot, a crabby one at that. I was deluding myself on many fronts. Now that I’ve recovered from my sleeplessness mostly, I know I don’t do well when I have a sleepless night. I had one last night for whatever reason. I like to blame the weather for many of my miseries. I am sure it is warranted.

I’m muddling through my day the best I can. I’m happy that the bread and rhubarb crisp got made yesterday. The good habits that I’ve developed are carrying me over. I can probably bake bread in my sleep. After a few years, using the same recipe I know all the measurements of all the ingredients. Mishaps do happen sometimes. It’s not a disaster. I still get bread of a sort. It happened only once. Then the bread became biscuits for Sheba. It made excellent flatbread and probably pizza dough if I had been thus inclined.

I probably had only 2-3 hours of sleep last night. I’m feeling slightly proud that I’ve been up since 5 am. I planted most of my raised beds this morning before it got too hot. Now it’s all clouded over. I can hear the wind and we’ve had a splash of rain. Turbulent weather and me don’t go well together. I probably felt the storm brewing during the night. Well, it’s good for the garden. There’s always a positive side.

I’m not really sleepy. I could take a nap if I was. Instead, I’m just strung out. I have an ache in the furrow between my eyes. My throat is scratchy and sore. I hope I don’t get sick. Perhaps I shall brew a pot of Moringa tea. I’ll see if it’s as good as they say. It’ll probably take more than one cup and more than one day’s drinking. Do I have the patience? Will I like it enough or will I revert back to my Orange Pekoe? I’m like a child not wanting to try new tastes. I will practice savouring. Perhaps I could develop a ceremony with it every afternoon while I am in my tapping mode.

I’ve finished one cup of tea. I’m less edgy. The furl between my eyes more relaxed. Whoa! I better go and get another cup. Oh, the sun has popped out again. O happy day after all.


It happens. I’ve had a couple of not so good sleep nights. I suffer for it. I really do. I notice it all the more now that I’m a recovered sleeping person. But like all recovered/recovering people, I fall off the wagon occasionally. The good thing is that I haven’t resorted to all my previous coping methods or behaviour – much. I haven’t fallen back into the teapot, staying with my 2 cuppa day limit. I was tempted. You know that feeling, groping towards comfort drinks and food. I was tempted to head out to A&W for that promise of an awesome breakfast yesterday. 2 eggs, 3 strips of bacon, 2 slices of toast, a hash brown and a small coffee for only $4.99!

As luck would have it, that coupon had expired the previous day.  To do myself proud I had already nixed the idea before I realized that. I have worked hard all winter learning how to break the habit of myself. Apparently Dr. Joe Dispenza knows his stuff. His method is working for me. For sure I am struggling a bit alot. It shows that I’m not caving into my previous habitual self. No pain, no gain as they say. I’m accepting my flaws. I’m embracing my humanity.

I must admit that I have a bit of the blues, not the curled-up-in-a-ball, down and out kind of depression. I’ve never had that kind. I’ve always struggled up. I’m an irksome, annoying kind of Chinese chick. I keep getting up and wanting to improve on things. I think I’m good enough now. I’m working on things. Finally most of university and nursing textbooks are recycled. I’ve kept the one for my class on the Philosophy of Religion. The class and the professor were privotal in my young life. He could see that I was troubled and floundering. He cancelled a scheduled class to spend the hour with me.

“The class today is cancelled. Miss Leung, may I see you in my office?” He announced. I can still hear the shuffle of feet and gathering of books as my classmates rose from their desk. They cast glances at me on their way out. I wonder what she did, their expressions queried. I followed my professor to his office. The memory is more precious to me now than at the time. It is only in the present I recognized how valuable that hour was. I’m not feeling at all insignificant but valued. Even though my mentor, Caroline Myss says nobody is special, I’m feeling special.

It’s a cool day. It’s almost 2 pm and only 11 degrees Celsius. I’m not feeling overly ambitious but I’m still piddling steadily along. Like the FlyLady says, I’m not behind. I’m starting where I am. Though I didn’t feel like it, I’ve put all my bedding plants out again on the deck. They’ll toughen up and get sturdier for their permanent transplant in the beds later. I’ve cleared off another small area in the basement, organized my sewing stuff, collapsed and folded up the table. I’m finishing my thoughts here and taking the last sips of my Rooibos tea. Yup, going herbal and organic. Now to tend to the lunch dishes.


It’s not quite 2 in the afternoon. I’m doing very well for not having slept hardly last night. It’s no surprise then that I didn’t dream. I felt like screaming though. My hip was giving me grief. It was hard getting in and out of bed. Forget about rolling onto my left side. The pain was too much. And when you can’t, you want it all the more. After an hour of sleeplessness, flat on my back alternating with rolling onto the right side, I got up with great difficulty. I made myself a cup of tea, took a Tyleno 3 and read for awhile.

Even though I was feeling a little groggy after an hour or so, I could not get to sleep. I was aggravating my hip getting in and out of bed. Next, I navagated to the couch with a block of frozen wonton wrappers to ice my hip. It would decrease inflammation if it was bursitis. It couldn’t make it worse. It might numb the pain. The couch was a better option for getting in and out. I didn’t have so far to swing my legs. The leather was soft and curvy. I could nestle against the back for support. I managed to sleep for an hour or two.

The thing worse than pain is sleeplessness. When you got both, it’s a double whammy. I’ve learned from experience not to fret about it. Fretting only adds to the distress. I counted my blessings instead. I don’t have to go to work anymore. In other words, I don’t have to perform. I wiped my coming week’s calendar clean except for absolute have to’s. I will reschedule Sheba’s checkup and vaccinations for the following week. No exercise classes. No swimming. Nothing. Nada. I will add things back as I am able. No pressure, no stress, no straining. More relaxing, stretching and letting go.

Pain can be all consuming if you let it. Same goes for sleeplessness. It is very easy to fall into a dark pit. It would be a long way to climb back out. I’ve learned to stop and be still in these moments and assess the situation. Ask some questions. How can I improve my situation? Do I need help? And go from there.

I’ve done some stretching and stengthening exercises through the day. I’ve taken Sheba around the block slowly. I try not to sit too long. I stand up from sitting regularly. I do my qi gong routine. I will ice my hip when I’m watching the news tonight. Surprisingly, I can keep up with life just poking along steadily. Not all is lost.



Have I told you lately how hard life is? Okay, I have. Just about every other post. Not apologizing for it. It’s true. It is so hard, especially when you hit a spell of sleepless nights. After 3 in a week, I started worrying. Should I just take that damn pill for awhile? Then I start worrying about not ever getting to sleep without one.

I decided to have a little faith and tough it out a little longer. I researched and found that nutmeg promotes relaxation and sleepiness. It never hurts to dig deep. Sometimes we think we know it all but there is always something else out there. I went to Dr.Mercola’s site.  He has some good information on getting a good night’s sleep and its benefits.

I tried the nutmeg solution last evening an hour before bedtime. I made a cup of hot chocolate with a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon and ceyenne. It worked. I slept well, waking up only once during the night for a bathroom trip. I had no trouble getting back to sleep again. To be truthful, I was a little sleepy before the nutmeg. A little insurance doesn’t hurt and it is a nice evening ritual. I shall try it again tonight.

Life truly is frigging hard. There is no doubt about it. Getting a good night of sleep is the best way of getting myself out of a wet paper bag. I’m saved again! I’m sticking to the things that work. Get up, dress up, show up. I am happy to show up at the pool this morning. I front crawl up the lane and back stroke down, blowing bubbles and cares away. Looking forward to sleep again tonight.



Marianne Williamson wrote on her blog yesterday:  It would be easy to slip into hopelessness now, to resign ourselves to the idea that the concentrated assaults on everything from the planet to our democracy have succeeded to such a degree that it’s no longer possible to stop them.

I understand those feelings and find comfort that another person is expressing them. I am not alone. However, I am resisting the urge to go down that slippery hopeless slope. I live on the same precarious planet but Donald Trump is not our leader. There is hope though I’m not feeling optimistic today. Can you, if you’ve had another sleepless night? Too much stimulation yesterday? Or too much smoke from forest fires in the air?

It is very true that I am not myself. I will be a different person after a good night’s sleep. I’m envious of Sheba sleeping so peacefully next to me as I sit and tap here. She is stinking me out though with her quiet, lethal farts. Phew! But she is sweet, so bonelessly relaxed with her floppy ears. It is soothing to have her near. She comforts me with her soft animal spirit. I am grateful for her presence.

I will try not to fret too much about my sleeplessness. I will sleep when I am ready. I am not totally incapcitated. I am half way through a book. It is an easy read. And I’ve primed two wood panels. They’re ready for a creative streak. This is a day for easy stuff, not a day for brain surgery even if I knew how. It’s not a time for serious contemplation either. I tell myself, don’t think. Just do and you’ll be fine. Yes, I’m resisting the urge to slip and slide. It’s a day for kindness towards myself.  Tomorrow I can Wonder Woman again.


IMG_2275There is always something to be grateful for – even in anxiety and sleepless nights.  You suffer in both, sometimes unbearably.  Never a stoic, someone who can keep a stiff upper lip, I seek for relief relentlessly. It is no surprise that I have a whole library of self-help books.  By now, I could write my own.  I should start making notes.  What I know for sure is, there is no permanent fix.  But you can learn from each episode and make it easier for your next time.  It’s still about doing your best and then letting go.  Perhaps, you might find me too direct, up front and revealing.  But what/who does that hurt – admitting that I am human and flawed?  I am with you all in the milieu catastrophe of life.

IMG_1895In the middle of a sleepless angst, I rose from my bed one night and migrated to the kitchen.  I made a cup of ginger tea and cuddled up under my Hudson’s Bay blanket with an old friend – Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living.  I’ve read it a time or two and have practiced some of the exercises in it.  You know how we human beings are. When the going gets tough, we are so serious and dedicated.  Once the crisis is over, we stray and then abandon the practice altogether – till the next time.

This is my next time.  I’m doing the practice again – of sitting and watching my breath for 15 minutes.  The first time was not too bad, being the first.  I was full of resolve.  I can do anything in that state.  I felt some discomfort the 2nd time.  My thoughts strayed.  I wanted to water the plants.  I wanted to make soup. I wanted to get out of my skin!  I breathed and felt the rise and fall of my belly.  The 15 minutes passed.

Today is my 3rd day.  The 15 minutes are easier.  The mind wanders.  I accept it.  It is what it is.  I have 4 more days to complete the week.  Then it is 7 more weeks, working up to 45 minutes of formal meditation, of watching my breath.  Can I do it?  Yes! Yes! Yes!  It is worth the effort to come out from under the thumb of my misfiring mind.  If I don’t try, it won’t happen.  I can always do my best, whatever it is on any given day.

IMG_6946Miraculously I am myself again.  It is as if someone has put the patches on my chest and defibrillated me.  I am at ease.  It is as if it never happened.  It’s like a bad dream, a nightmare.  I shake my head and wonder what the hell had happened.  It matters not. I pick myself up, dust myself off and truck on down the road.  Life goes on.  So do I – not quite an EverReady battery.




The thing worse than having the blues is having the summer time blues.  You have no excuse for your feelings then.  There are all those upbeat songs about being happy like Mungo Jerry’s In the Summertime.  Even my downbeat feet beat time to the rhythm.

If you’re in the need of mellowing, Ella can soothe you with her crooning.

I would not advise listening to Janis Joplin. Not only are the fish jumping but so is my heart, from watching a little of her rendition.  Better leave that one for a brighter day and a more stable heart.  Be still, my heart!  Nothing can harm you.

The clouds have returned and I am feeling my heeby jeebies.  Nothing to worry about.  I am quite familiar with them.  We are old friends now.  I will breathe and have another cup of tea and tap out a few more words, if I can.  The piano is there waiting for me.  I have almost conquered My Heart Will Go On.  I am ready to tackle Fur Elise.  I don’t pick easy pieces, do I?

Learning to count and to keep time resets my heart and quiets my mind.  That’s why I like the tap, tapping of my keyboard.  It’s much like the steady rhythm of knitting needles. Click, click, click.  I’m killing several birds with one stone.  I’m not wasting time, tied in knots, huddled in fetal position or getting trouble with other people because I am not ‘feeling up to par’.  At the end of the day, I have something to show – a piece of writing, a scarf, learned a piece of music.  Not all in the same day, of course, but you know what I mean.

Cruise DinnerIt’s good that time does not stand still.  I have to move along and not wallow in old feelings and old memories.  Sometimes when I see old photos, I do want to hang onto my youthful self with all my might.  But you know how impossible that is.  So I give it up, remembering that I did not appreciate it at the time.  It is how it is.  You are always envying what you had.  It is our human nature.

I have come to appreciate my ‘down’ time.  I am a little more reflective and aware, not so caught up the usual.  It is the same with my sleepless episodes.  It is what happens.  I value the insights I get with my altered mental state.  Things are not clear and more clear at the same time.  I go Wow!  I tell myself not to stress myself so much the next time when I am blue or sleepless.  It is just the rhythm of life.  Learn from it if you can but do not beat yourself over it.




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Today was a no kick-ass day.  The only ass kicking was done was by Stephanie Plum and her side kick, Lulu, two characters from Janet Evanovich’s detective series.  I spent some hours reading Fearless Fourteen.

Her books are a good read when you are low and need a picker upper.  It’s hard to stay down with all the action and humour.  How can you not smirk and laugh out loud at this:

“Lulu is a former ‘ho turned bonds office file clerk and wheelman.  She’s a plus-size black woman who likes to squash herself into too small clothes featuring animal print and spandex.  Lulu’s cup runneth over from head to toe.”

See what I mean?  It works for me almost every time, even today.

Today was after a night of sleeplessness. I got a couple of hours but I wouldn’t call it sleep.  It was filled with fitful dreams.  Not restful at all.  I haven’t had one of these for a long time but I am familiar with them.  It used to be the norm in my 34 plus years of shift work.

I had hoped on doing a major decluttering but like all plans it was dashed.  I felt hung over, stretched out, spent.  There was no karate chopping today.  My best today was learning from Stephanie and Lulu as they stormed and sped through the pages, getting their man/woman.  I didn’t waste time trying to be a heroine.  Instead, I gathered energy by living through them.  Did I somehow, unconsciously planned this – to have some guilt-free idle time?

IMG_6635I must be innocent.  I feel wretched but not guilty.  Even Sheba is feeling the lazy today. She’s dragging after me with just a few dispirited barks through the day.  I wonder if it was the moon last night, lighting up too many dark corners, keeping me awake.  Let me sleep tonight, Mr. Moon.