Let’s pretend…

changeDarling friends!

I’ve been up for hours, well before dawn, on this day that eclipses others. (See what I did there? Hehe.) Now, as the sun and moon move out of each other’s way, I find I am beyond weary. My lids are heavy and while my heart is not, I’m fighting back tears for what seems the zillionth time of late. When I open my eyes, time has leapt ahead. (No, I did not doze off.) It is after 12 and for the third time today, I see double numbers. First 10:10, then 11:11 and now it is 12:12. I am not alone, so say the numbers and it makes sense then that I should have a heart to heart with the collective of which I am the centre. I’m going to remind myself and anyone listening that enough is enough.

From this moment forward, I intend a different life. No more of this wishy-washy stuff. Have you ever done that? Sort of grabbed yourself by the proverbial arse and said “NO MORE”. Of course I’ll waiver an hour from now, but with each attempt to dig in, I think I’m helping myself deepen my resolve overall and make my way clearer. I’m certainly clearer about what I do NOT want. I just need to visualize what I do want and make that my permanent vision. In the meantime, I’m going to pretend I’m there.

Yesterday I met a woman whose life I admire. We’re nothing alike – or rather we were nothing alike because with the exception of two variables we’ve many similarities now. One of the variables is that she has the freedom and security afforded by money. Unlike many woman, she is self-made as well, her wealth the result of her success. She told me she achieved by pretending. When she doubted herself, she pretended. That strategy worked well for her and I like it, so I’m going to pretend.

I’m going to pretend I’m a successful writer who is making a living with her stories. I’m going to pretend I have a home. I’m going to pretend “Just for Today” is fully operational. I’m going to pretend I am okay. And I believe if I pretend with bravery and courage, I’ll be okay – eventually.

So my wish is for the confidence to pretend. Pretend wisely, pretend with valour. Pretend you are looking at a new earth, cherished and healthy. Pretend all peoples are fed and housed, healthy in mind and body. Pretend there is peace. Pretend you are happy, pretend you love and are loved. Pretend you are grateful. Pretend for no one else but yourself so that you can be the most you can be.  Keep pretending with your head held high. Pretend and see what happens.

Until tomorrow…

Dreams…

Unicorn.jpgDear Friends,

In a small room overlooking the sea, a child sits dreaming of faraway lands, of queens and kings and crowns of silver and gold. Her vista includes verdant pastures where horses graze with sheep and cattle. Gardens overflow with colourful foodstuffs, and lavender scents the air. The homes are safe and warm, and people smile and sing and dance in celebration of life in its most abundant state.

As the sun sets in the west, the child squints to catch the last glimpse of sails on ships disappearing into the horizon. Aboard those vessels are all her hopes. She watches until her eyes find heavenly bodies shining above and her lids grow heavy knowing she is guarded by the firmament.

Farewell, good night, adieu. Take my wish with you as sleep beckons. Rest peacefully, surrounded by all that you cherish. Dream of what you long for. Hold to your belief that you, those you love, and the very universe itself, will be okay.

Until tomorrow…

Seeing utopia…

Utopia.jpgHiya lovely ones!

As I walk to the coffee shop that has become my “office”, I marvel at the blue sky and clear air. Over the weekend, the wind shifted direction, there was a bit of rain, and the smoky air dissipated as quickly as it came. My ears are unplugged and I’m breathing deeply. It helps lift my mood considerably.

So, my landlady has written and my leave date is Wednesday next week. I’ve been in her home four months. It’s been a roller coaster, no question, but the privacy I’ve been afforded has helped me. It’s given me a chance to face myself without prying or concerned eyes interrupting my “process”. And, I do have a process. I can’t bottle it, but it’s there. The space and solitude has enabled me to write my first book and while I’ve lost momentum these last few weeks, I’ll get it back. I’m working on a process for that, too. Have no doubt.

This afternoon I am applying for jobs. Keep your fingers crossed. And with that, I’m going to end because I need some time to digest what is happening in our world. I need to visualize a peaceful place where any speech that isn’t compassionate and kind, is not spoken, not tolerated. I need to see us living harmoniously.

My wish is for Sesame Street and for Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, places where difference is tolerated, communication is encouraged, and learning is valued. In the last few days we have heard a western leader defend hate speech and denounce those who oppose it. Let us not run and hide in fear. Let us not be apathetic but let us instead regroup determined to face off with love, stillness and calm, and peace in our hearts.

Until tomorrow…

Deja vu-ing…

Hiya compadres! (Needed to alter the salutation, yeah?)

I’m drinking Guinness on a patio facing the harbour in Ganges. Yep, I am on Salt Spring Island and feeling the love if not the beverage. (Seriously, the scrumptiousness level  after imbibing in Ireland is slightly lower. I am NOT complaining. Just stating the obvious.) However, the air is fresh and salty and there is hope in my breath. Realistic? My thoughts, my attitude, are the driver to any success, aren’t they?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m terrified, still, just tempering with briney sea and hippies.

My wish? Hope that floats despite the weight. Passion that sustains despite oppression. Calm that is found amidst the chaos. Solutions for every problem. And for everything, love.

Until tomorrow…

Let it be…

Emotional StormDear friends,

My night was filled with energy so sleep did not come. As blackness gave way to shapes and colours I released the desire to relax, inclined instead to accept fully an absolutely sleepless night. It was the first time in many years. In fact, I can’t recall when I last passed a night without getting so much as a wink. Anywho, let me share some of the flowers that appeared amidst the compost I was wading through in my sleepless state. While not exceptional revelations, they are noteworthy because they hold a key to transformation.

We are, as you know I believe, responsible for our lives alone. Certainly we touch others’ lives and must be held accountable, though. After all, we live in a society amidst other humans and flora and fauna. We owe it to the other to clear up misunderstandings whenever possible and must assume culpability for our carelessness or any damage we do, but that is part and parcel of maturity and authenticity. We must learn to communicate no matter how difficult, empathetically if possible. We must make restitution when necessary, and choose kindness always. But, and this is the big one for me which goes both ways, I cannot be held responsible for your emotion. And, “both ways” means, neither should you feel responsible for mine. If I choose to carry anger, resentment, worry, judgement or disgust rather than love, compassion and acceptance, it is my choice. By choosing those former emotions, I’m most likely blaming someone else for my feelings, too. Vicious circle, that, which of course means healing is impossible. But as you know, I’ve been doing a heap of breaking lately, but have chosen to mend myself with gold and platinum, diamonds and emeralds. Again, it is the stuff of transformation and I want to shine.

Because I am still editing my manuscript, its characters are often on my mind. Last night was no exception. In the wee hours they shared a few more secrets with me about their struggles and how they are working to overcome them. Through this “sharing” my recent chaos began to look different, more positive.

The ups and downs I experience regularly are mostly due to deeply embedded patterns – that makes sense. What my protagonist brought to my attention was the degree of subtlety. The reactions are habitual and as natural as breathing. Subconsciously driven. Wow. I’d not realized that. But now I can begin to address some of these almost intrinsic responses more adeptly. I asked myself if it’s really that easy. Probably not. The application of something that seems simple enough is often hard. Why is that? Well, it’s my opinion that it’s because we avoid. We are programmed to erase pain as quickly as possible by any means possible. If, however, we stand our ground, feel the onslaught, surrender to the devastation emotional storms can wreak on us, we will rise determined to return to joy.

For some time now, I have been aware that I do not need to carry anguish, sorrow, and pain any longer than is necessary. However, it is relative. If I cannot go to the depth the feeling is asking me to go to, it will linger and niggle. If I ignore it, pretend it is someone else’s problem, or if I make it bigger or smaller than it actually is, it will stick around. However, being an Awakened Woman means I am prepared to surrender to what is happening in the moment, knowing full well the grief, or anger, the sorrow or fear is there and needs attention – my full attention. I might need help. I might waiver, wobble or even fall, but I will rise. Being awakened does not mean I will not suffer. On the contrary, I cannot go high without going low. The trick is to keep the lows short-lived. And that means, letting them come on as strong as they will. Yuck, eh?

So here’s my wish today. Let emotion be your guide. Do not run in fear but cling to something sturdy if the wave is too big. The water will lower. When, however, the wind is gentle and both feet are firmly planted, breathe deeply of the feeling and let it speak to you. It will tell you how you are and where you need to go next. Let emotion be.

Until tomorrow…

 

 

Only the good ones…

Good.jpgDearest friends,

How I long to write something upbeat, something fun and light-hearted. I’m not sure I can dig that deep except to recall for you that in these last few months I have experienced profound happiness, spontaneous laughter, and moments of confidence, not to mention, extreme gratitude. I was graced with calm surety regarding my writing project, too, certain it was exactly what I was supposed to be doing – furthermore – meant to do. Oh, what joy! And then I flipped. Of course, there was a catalyst – there usually is – but unlike the last several, this one has left me feeling more uprooted and alone than I’ve felt in a very long time. That written, I cling to the joy I felt and try to envision and reimagine the happiness and self-confidence I felt. And while my efforts have not been hugely successful, I do have moments, however fleeting.

So my wish today is for only the good thoughts and feelings. Of course, we cannot sustain that state, but we can strive to, and hope to. In the meantime, I can work toward being kind, patient, and gentle with myself. I’m not at my best, but will endeavour to forgive myself and go easy. Others have extended themselves and shown me extreme kindness. Their spontaneous generosity and patience is holding me up and giving me the courage I need to seek out the good thoughts and feelings. So my wish is manifested, isn’t it? Oh, what joy!

Until tomorrow…

In need…

Chaos.jpgDear friends,

Today I cannot put thoughts down at all. I’ve tried repeatedly, but I’m sick to my stomach and filled with too much emotion. So, I’ll ask for good thoughts and healing energy. That’s the best I can do.

My wish is for peace of mind, the kind of peace that settles in when a good plan presents itself – a worthy plan – that can be undertaken with ease.

Until tomorrow…

Surrendering…

Surrender

Dearest friends,

It’s another hot day here. Almost 40 degrees. The air is dense and the mountains are veiled completely. A fire was set outside of town and while under control, the aftermath adds to the smog. As for me, the pressure is a bit much. Both my ears are plugged shut so I feel like I’m in a vacuum. On the flip side, it is superbly quiet which helps me sleep. Always a plus. Sleep is my friend. In fact, we all need to befriend it. Our mind and body cannot function optimally without it.

I’m softer today than I’ve been for a while. My heart still aches, but perhaps because I can hear so little of the outside world, my inside voices don’t feel the need to shout. Or maybe they’ve simply decided to cut me some slack. Am I allowing? Yes. I’ve raised the white flag. It’s time to stop chasing and searching and grasping. However, I’m aware of feeling betrayed by the process I believe in. I still believe in it for you, of course, just not for me. However, surrendering means all that’s left is acceptance – acceptance for all that is – all of it. It’s like stripping bare and feeling no fear for what is showing, for what can be seen. It’s vulnerability at its purest. And I’m not scared – not really. It’s time to sit still and allow other people to step up and step in. It’s time for me to watch and forgive, hug and nurture my tender self.

My wish for today is for tenderness. I’ve experienced it fully lately and it is a glorious thing indeed. To that end, I must hold my tongue and stop lashing out at people. The anger I feel is for me, no one else. Not really. Furthermore, when I judge, I’m actually hurting myself, degrading and diminishing myself, which only serves to exacerbate the anger. I long to love the world and its people with a tender heart, but will be able to accomplish that only if I can accept and love myself. I can hug the anger away over time. After all I am a part of the world and one of its people. So, here’s to accepting gently, allowing completely, and bathing in surrender. Oh, that sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Until tomorrow…

 

If only for a second…

Yoda.jpgDear friends,

I’m bombarding you these days, aren’t I? Apologies, but what’s going on feels rather new and is powerful, so powerful that I feel compelled to write. Writing prevents me from exploding, which is what I feel like doing most of the time these days.

It’s possible I’ve too much time on my hands. Perhaps distractions would help. On the other hand, there are moments when I feel too afraid to even breathe (yes, I realize I have little control over that which is the point) and no matter which diversion I enter into, I end up coming back to what’s going on inside me. The other night is an example.

I garnered the courage to put on makeup and wander to karaoke Sunday. I had fun. People I’ve seen little or nothing of in weeks, seemed genuinely pleased to see me. I had a few beers and ‘let my hair down’. Unfortunately, I talked to a couple of folks about how I’m feeling these days and was offered some advice which has ended up wrestling me to the ground. I feel worse than before I went! Thing is, I know better. No one can resolve any of this for me. No one else can be in my head, heart, or body. No one else can know why I’m in this situation. But the conversations were also a good reminder to me to be cautious, pause often, and consider carefully before speaking to a person who is vulnerable. Why? Because someone who is hurting might be too wounded to understand your take on their issue.

Today it is hot here which adds to my discomfort. We’re under a heat wave that promises to hang around for some time. With the smoke from the mainland blowing our way, and Africa-like temps, my nausea is more intense than normal. I feel like crawling out of skin that burns and no longer fits me. My poor head is light and heavy at the same time. How is that possible? Oh, and then there’s my ears. They ring and are blocked pretty regularly now. My hearing is gravely restricted. As a result, I feel like I’m locked inside my body. Generally, I just feel awful. I’m sad and teary, awkward and bloated, and pretty much a mess. Adding insult to it all is that I’ve not a clue what to do to feel better! Sleep helps. Thankfully. But nothing else. Not the earth or the water. Only writing.

So, my wish today is that if any of you feel frightened, out of sorts, and alone, you are able to find an outlet that enables you to collect some peace of mind. Whether it’s sitting on a rock and breathing deeply, or leaning fully into the open arms of a loved one, it does not matter. All that matters is that if only for a second (there’s that phrase again), you let go. And when you let go, breathe in that feeling. Now try to hold onto it. Recall it often. Pull that feeling close. I believe it will sustain you, hold you up, shelter you, and guide you, if only for a second.

Until tomorrow my darling ones…

While smiling…

BreathingDear friends,

I want to thank you for your messages of encouragement. It amazes me to think anyone reads my ‘diary’ in the first place, but when you care enough to post to me, it boosts me up. A lot. Rest assured, I am woefully tired of crying and am making every effort to find happy thoughts. I do have some. They are anxiously waiting in the wings for their cue to dance and sing their way into my day. They confidently know the play they want starring roles in, but I’m the director and it seems I’m casting currently for a Dostoevsky-like tragedy instead of Singin’ in the Rain.

And so I confess today is as harsh as any. I cannot quiet the voice reminding me that ‘I’m no good’. I can’t quell the longing for what was or what I’d hoped would be. I cannot stem the fresh rush of sadness. I fear sitting still and moving at the same time. I want to talk but keep quiet for fear I’ll be misunderstood. I want to be held in arms that put no conditions on me, but push all arms away. I want to never rise from corpse pose. I want to sit by the sea but do not make my way there for fear of being seen. I want to die. I want to live. Most of all, I want home.

We assume a lot about what motivates us and others. We see what we want to see and seldom muster the courage to peak behind the veil. Is it because we know it is there the dark heart beats? Probably. But here’s the rub, it rests right beside its bright companion heart. The two are inseparable. We do our best to keep them a part, though, don’t we? We chase extremes so we can boast to feeling the heights, yet intentionally numb and run to escape our lows. We want to be on the edge and take the edge off, too. Such complex things we human beings are.

Sitting for meditation this morning, I posed a question I ask when I need to sort myself. “If I had all the money and all the time in the world, what would my life look like? What would I do, where would I live?” The answer is always the same. I want to do what I’m doing except for Just for Today (the gifting org I wish to found) which I can’t quite figure out how to kick off without funding. I know where I’d live – both here in BC, and the UK – but secure in my own space in these places, not bouncing between houses owned by others.

In my mind’s eye my life has looked the same for years and segments of my imaginings have manifested, if only fleetingly. I do strive to involve myself in activities and expand my community when possible, but being transient restricts a deeper commitment. I believe I’m working to fix this. The biggest obstacle I face is poverty. It’s exhausting and depletes the enthusiasm and resilience required for involvement. I believe I’m facing that issue, too, though it’s slow to correct.

So, at the end of the day, or meditation in my case, I know what makes me feel most alive. I just need to get aligned to make it all flow together. Apparently I’m creating barriers and don’t have the wherewithal to readily break them down. Still, I have faith in my dreams because I’ve touched parts of them and know the joy they bring. I do hold to those feelings when possible.

One aspect of the “dream” is how much I want to be loved. It’s a tall order when I struggle to love myself. My self-destructive patterns are powerful and regardless of being more aware of them, they get the best me which is horribly painful. Some change is easier than others, yes?

How do we succeed at anything when our trajectory seems faulty? I’m both the problem and the solution, right now posing obstacles to my heart’s desire. I’m outspoken and brash, quick to interject when silence would be the wiser course. I judge. I’m programmed for the outrageous. I can appear bigger than life but in fact, live a very tiny one. I’m a fabricator – a liar whose deceptions are so convincing, few catch me up. This persona does not serve me well. It makes me almost impossible to get close to. It means I’m a fraud.

Redo365 was begun to address the above, and I’ve changed a great deal. However, like many behaviours, there is carry-over. My conscious script is well rehearsed, certainly, but the more destructive sub-conscious one is embedded and, I might go so far as to say, virulent. After all, it’s been decades, maybe several lives, in the making so what happens when I open myself is that, in almost every case, I end up misunderstood because I anticipate failure. I ask, “How can anyone love this?” Then, as the connection begins to sever, panic ensues. I default to my defensive self in an effort to salvage what is being lost. Communication breaks down further as I criticise myself and others, lapsing into self-pity and cynicism. In the context of a relationship, these behaviours sound the death knell. I’m no longer likable, self-reliant, or interesting. I destroy the essence of anything worthwhile, including my own compassionate heart. Then I can say, “See? You’re unlovable.”

That’s why I hurt so badly. It’s never about the other, it’s always about what we do to ourselves. Loving is never, not ever, wrong! Opening to another is hard. Showing who you are to someone is terrifying, and it doesn’t always go well. Especially when you’re trying to hide things you’re convinced are too ugly to let anyone see. Even at this age, when I should have it together, I don’t. Of course, the whole “age thingy” is another kettle of tofu, isn’t it? I should write about that, how the voices love to wax non-stop about how I’m too old for this or that. Shit, when does this self-criticism, self-doubt, and unworthiness let up? Maybe the Grim Reaper knows the answer.

So here’s my wish today. For just a second, hold yourself with no judgment, no complaint or critique, no harsh words, and no doubt. For just a second, picture your heart beating, unconditionally and faithfully, and smile your thanks. For just a second, picture the people you want to hold and only those you want to hold. Put no conditions on them, do not think, rather feel your love for them and smile your thanks. For just a second, let gratitude enter your heart. Let it fill you. Smile your thanks. And, just for a second, believe you can heal and forgive and appreciate endlessly, if only for a second while smiling in thanks.

Until tomorrow my friends…