Laugh.jpgI am watching “Notting Hill” for the hundredth time and laughing, again, at Spike’s t-shirt. If you’ve not seen the movie, it’s a good ‘un and so as not to be a ‘spoiler’, I’ll not elaborate further about Spike or his t-shirt. Just trust me, it’s funny. So is the movie. You see, it’s been a serious few days and I needed a laugh. This morning, it was Lily Tomlin as Ernestine talking to General Motors. If, like me, you watched Laugh In every week all those years ago, you’ll remember her snort. I snort when I laugh. Anywho, I’d not heard this bit before, and it sure hit the bull’s eye of political satire. The show was cutting edge… and cutting the Goliath’s, too. Great stuff.

My wish tonight is that we laugh more. Laughter lowers blood pressure, and increases serotonin. Both wonderful things for the body and mind. I can’t remember when I last laughed enough to start snorting, but plan to make that happen soon. There’s a lot of things going on in a day that requires seriousness. And then there’s the world! It’s a serious place. I think, for tonight, I’ll laugh.

Until tomorrow…

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Singin’ in the rain…

rainIt is raining. Buckets. Literally. The weather and my mood are similar. I’m as soggy as the deck, as droopy as the water sodden leaves, and all grey like the sky. Yes indeed, one and the same, me and the weather. Okay, that’s all wrong. Rain is cleansing, nurturing, healing. It refreshes the land, washes away dust and grime, and leaves behind a sweet smelling, shiny place. Rain is important, vital. Ask anyone living in drought. So, I shouldn’t be comparing my sadness to Ma Nature whose just doing her thing. I, on the other hand, am not doing my thang. If I was, surely I’d be happy. Instead, I’m grumpy, short tempered and glum. Blah. What to do?

First, I probably need to rant so here’s a disclaimer. The following views and opinions expressed are, as always, mine. If you need to avert your eyes, do so now.

<Begin rant>

I am sick to death of old fogies who cannot see anything good in the world around them – the world they helped create – I might add. They moan about a lack of money despite healthy pensions, mortgage free properties, and tax-free year-ends. The only worthwhile time on this planet, they contend, was some obscure year of their arbitrary choosing from long ago; the only decent music, tunes of their youth. They languish over the destruction of an idyllic past as progress shifts a landscape scarred by war. They espouse, ad nauseam, how everyone is out to get them while failing to notice they call out everyone with their aggressive attitudes. They hold that people with money are scoundrels, influential types are self-serving, and austerity is the only way forward, except for them, of course. Green initiatives are a waste of their time being schemes dreamt up by hippie tree hugger types who don’t want to work. They, therefore, take no responsibility for the state of the planet and continue to pollute while blaming any handy mega-corp for global warming. I could go on, but will not.

<End rant>

Whew, that’s better, except no, it’s not. My stomach is rolling and my jaw is clenched. I don’t feel relieved. I am angry and overwhelmed by my generation’s duplicitous, myopic gaze. Like Pontius Pilate, we wash our hands in self-righteous denial. Culpability is a judicial term applicable only in a courtroom. Wow. I am so sorry, yes, filled with sorrow, for fuelling this bunch of bile spitting sad sacks. Can we find our way back to harmony from our current state of fragmentation? Certainly.

All of this ugly I’m spewing has, of course, nothing to do with a particular person or group of people – not really. It’s about me. My projections merely mirror my own frustrations. Today, I’m downcast because I know that at one time or another, I’ve been the person the rant is directed at. Today, I am reacting to my own inadequacies. Hell, it can be so much easier to point fingers and cast dispersion instead of taking responsibility. Easier, but not better. I kind of want ‘better’.

So, today, I’m the observer. Not a particularly calm watcher because my guts are churning, but nevertheless, I’m detached enough to survey the ensuing chaos. I’m allowing the feelings – and trust me when I tell you they are far from pleasant – to have their day. Why would I do such a thing? Because I’ve a lesson to learn from it all, which is…?

If I truly desire harmony, I must be the harmony I desire.

So there’s my wish. Harmony. And what a beautiful word it is! “The quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole… being in concord.” Let’s imagine that, one big harmonious jumble. So, all I need to do is sing my notes with all the passion, zest, and care I can muster. Betcha in no time, I’ll be making a joyful noise. Care to join me? Do, re, mi!

Until tomorrow…

 

Every. Two. Hours.

sloth.jpgIf you’ve read a few, or better yet, several of my posts, you’ll know I often whine about being tired. It’s ridiculous to drone on about it, but I do. Apologies. Anyhoo, earlier this week, I realised I’m not so much tired as weary; that being the more appropriate description for what I experience, so I decided to investigate.

For more than ten years, I’ve woken every two hours, give or take, all night long. In fact, you can set the clock by me. Medication can help though not consistently. It’s the same for music, exercise, meditation, yoga etc. and etc. I’ve tried pretty much everything. Oh, yeah, alcohol in copious amount works well, but it’s not a preferred solution.

About six or seven years ago, a naturopath treating a case of tennis elbow I wanted gone, said this sleeping pattern is a side effect of grief. Hmm, now that wouldn’t have anything to do with me – ahem. Being the type of person I am, her diagnosis resonated even if I recognised how challenging it would be to resolve. It’s odd when you think of it, a trauma you can’t remember, or figured was no big deal at the time, so desperate to be healed it disrupts sleep. Seems too far-fetched. Nah, not really. Our mind-body connection is fractured and longs to be joined. This is one tiny little example. Oh, and I didn’t mention the sleep thing specifically, but it was on my list of things to sort out in the redo.

So, not thinking about anything particular, I shut down the other night around 10 PM and was asleep in no time. Falling asleep isn’t the problem. During the night, I might have visited the loo but can’t say for certain, and woke at 6 AM. Wow! I did a little dance of joy in my mind before rolling over and dozing till 7:30 AM. I felt amazing. Wait a second. No, I didn’t feel amazing at all.

Now, I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but on the rare occasion when I sleep well, it’s like I’m more tired than ever the next day. I’m groggy as heck first thing, then clump around for hours waiting for super dense brain fog to lift. It’s like having a hangover in your head while your body feels good instead of icky. Well, I mentioned investigating and here’s what I found out.

Inertia. That sluggishness is known as sleep inertia and happens because you’re still on expedition in Nod where your brain would prefer to stay instead of getting up. That makes sense to me. And while sometimes the day’s a write off, usually the fog lifts by mid-morning. So it’s all good. However, it got me to thinking about inertia.

Generally, I’m too inert. My mind begs me to get a move on and do, do, do – but I don’t, don’t, don’t as a rule. Perhaps I would’ve been more effective as a sloth. (I love them, don’t you? The Elvis hair, flattish heads, and bulgy eyes. So sweet!) I wasn’t born a sloth so the point’s moot. Still, this inert thing is not the best trait, and one I’ve a gazillion reasons for, but if I start listing them I’d be rationalising and I’m over that. No excuses for this former tragic heroine. The only thing I can say is, I’ve gotta accept it or change it. Maybe some of both is in order along with healing a grieving heart.

My wish tonight is for healing. Life, despite its beauty and joy, heaps heartache on us from time to time. We take part in events which bring extraordinary sorrows, from the death of loved ones, to natural disasters. We watch in helpless dismay as children are pulled, bloodied and dazed, from bombed out buildings. Our hearts are shattering almost daily, our minds floating in a persistent state of confusion and anguish. We need big bandages, tubs of salve, and the comfort of a mother’s kiss. We need understanding, patience, forgiveness, and maybe just a smidgen of inertia so we might relax enough to let the healing begin.

Until tomorrow…

 

To infinity…

Star.jpgI have a friend whose job it is to look up. His childhood pastime turned into a successful career. Decades later, he’s still looking up with the same youthful enthusiasm, but it’s through the lens of the most powerful telescopes on the planet instead of the naked eye. In fact, he led a space telescope project that’s been sending him pictures and other data since 2003. So cool.

My friend never grew up. If truth be told, he didn’t have to. He followed his bliss which kept him from getting all stuffy and arrogant and old. Plus, I’m guessing looking up and passing the day considering how planets and galaxies are born, keeps one humble. I mean, seriously, we are pretty tiny in the grand vastness of space.

This astrophysicist is at the top of his game these days. After almost a lifetime of study and teaching about looking up, and looking up to teach and study, he now gets to hang out with peeps who also look up while contemplating the meaning of life. The other day, for example, he was hangin’ with Captain James T. Kirk aka Bill Shatner. Yep, there they were, just two Canadian boys who both followed a direct line to the stars. I bet they had a lot to talk about.

I haven’t seen or chatted with my friend for a couple of years. It’s not like we were ever BFFs. We talked a few times, had drinks, and a couple dinners. We share a hometown but did not live near each other as adults. I just got to thinking of him today, him and his connection to stars. We are all part of those things, aren’t we? Fascinating.

My courage did not lie in chasing nebulae. I kept looking down. Once I would have had to write how regrettable my choice of gaze was. Not so, now.

I am thankful for those who look beyond. They help me avert my eyes from the horrors around me, and encourage dreams of galaxies far, far away. But I am thankful for my downward view, too. I have known birth, no different than that of a planet. I have breathed despair, desperation, and floated weightless in the void. I know the depths of human depravity, and the height of unconditional love. None of my experiences are less astronomical in nature than the wondrous Milky Way.

And so, when I write of wishes and magic, altering perspective, and choosing first and foremost to see things differently, it is because I believe those actions will help change the world for the better. It does not mean I am unaware, vapid, and out of touch. On the contrary, I am bound inextricably to each child’s fear-filled cry, each adults’ anguish, resentment, and hatred. I moan with the urgent screams of animals, and weep for the land and sea we are defiling. But aching, and pointing fingers of blame, does nothing to eradicate the suffering. What, then?

For me, all I can do is fill my heart with gratitude and then gather up all the ugliness and pain, hold it close, caress and sooth it, until it is transformed by love. This is my action. It is why I spent my life looking downwards, seeing and feeling what I have seen and felt.

So my darlings, my wish tonight is for you to find your gaze. Is it up, or down? Perhaps it is straight ahead. Wherever you focus your sight, be grateful for what you see, and find direction from that place. It’s not rocket science.

Until tomorrow…

 

 

 

 

 

Right here. Right now.

treeIt’s not uncommon to wait for the ball to drop, is it? After these last few days of revelations it would be uncharacteristic for me not to have some doubts. I just don’t want to give in to them, and am closely guarding the good feelings, aware of even the teeniest hint of a disparaging thought. When I hear them, and they’re pretty darn subtle, I tend to laugh at them. I can then sense them sulking, hating to get caught out. They want me back the way I was, the way I’ve been most of my life, negative and weak. Sorry, not going back. Couldn’t if I wanted to – for real.

Funnily enough, lately I hear a lot of people express the desire to go back. They tell me life was better ‘then’. When I hear it, I tend to recoil and think, ‘Really. Life was that much better? How so?’ The questions are rhetorical, but the point I’m making is that it’s nonsensical to long for the past. It’s not only a waste of time, but it makes being present impossible! I mean how can you be grateful for all you have going on in your life today if you’re thinking the only good time you ever had was summer vacation, 1963? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing reminiscences, they’re great! What I’m talking about is disengaging with your life in the here and now, finding tons of fault with the world ‘today’, and romanticising bygone days. There’s a difference.

Of course, this projection is more an age thing. Young people are active participants in their scene, aware, on top of what’s new, and trending. With the years, many stop trying, stay patterned, tire of change. I can see the cycle in that, can you? You ramp up, plateau, and then slowly back down. Ugh!

I like the music of my youth as much as the next person, but love new music, too. I change my hair, clothes, and make-up styles regularly. I redecorate, move, or try new things from food to exercise. Some of it is instinctive, some not so much, but I’ll hazard a guess changing things up promotes longevity.

So my wish tonight is to find your step, your pulse, your enthusiasm for life in this very moment. Look around. Are you judging something harshly because it is new? Are you longing for something to return to the way it ‘used to be’? If so, shake that shit off! It is not helpful. Stretch. Try some rap. It isn’t so bad. Listen to Shad’s Rose Garden. And enjoy your computer. It’s fun! Wikipedia something you always wanted to know about, or Google Earth yourself to an exotic place you’ve always wanted to see. Remember, yin/yang? You can choose what you see when you look. Choose to see what is great, and wonderful, harmonious, and exciting in your life. You’ll be surprised to see how much great and beautiful stuff is around right here, and right now.

Until tomorrow…

 

Enough!

fireLast night I went to a birthday party. It was outdoors and chilly, but a roaring fire kept us toasty. Luna lit up a cloudless sky while the host’s son entertained with his killer playlist. I enjoyed being in the fresh air and chatting with new friends. I boogied a little when no one was watching. I ate chocolate cake and a veggie burger. I drank Tonic Water with lemon. I felt happy.

Over the last few days, I’ve changed. It’s not immediately perceptible the way cutting all your hair off is so you’d not likely notice. This change is inside. I feel different. Is it the redo kicking in? Sure it is. And it is a good thing, Martha, a very good thing.

When I started Redo 365 I vowed to be honest. At the time I wasn’t certain what that entailed, but knew the promise had to be made so I’d not be spouting off and making stuff up all the time like tragic heroines typically do. I told you I’d work diligently behind the scenes to face the truth and bury that old victim image. That I’d chop away at blocks, take responsibility for myself, and deal with that whole unworthiness thang. Good news is, I’ve uncluttered a lot. I have to be patient cus after all, there’s six decades worth of shit to toss in that grave! However, here’s what I’ve realised lately and it’s pretty damn cool.

I understand the logic behind lessons, and they are important. In an effort to learn them, especially the big ones, I repeat the mantras, extol platitudes, and do my best to believe what I say. I get stuck on the doing. Of course, somethings are easier to learn and implement than others, but why is that, and does it matter? I can suggest the adage, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears” to the former question. As to the latter, all I have to say is, “You bet your sweet bippy it matters!

My life’s collage is one of loss, abandonment, lies, misunderstanding, and inconsistencies all before I could talk. Here’s what I did with that jumble. I kept adding to it. I made damn certain my life would continue on a similar trajectory. Why would any sane person do that? The answer is in the question.

So, poor me, you say? No! And not stupid me, sick me, silly me, fat me, ugly me, or any other “me” if it’s a put down. My life’s been fanfuckingtastic. You know why? Because I got to experience what’s it’s like to be nuts, to plummet into the abyss and hang out there. I know what it’s like to kick yourself so hard you bleed, to hate yourself so much you hurt yourself over and over and over again in countless ways. I know first-hand the ugliness of self-inflicted guilt and shame. I have wallowed in regret and self-pity. I have hurt people needlessly. I have lied, cheated, and blown off opportunities. And guess what? I can finally say, “thank you”. I am so grateful for each and every experience because I finally “get it”.

What do I get? I get that I can love every foible, every ugly, dark, stupid and mean bit of me because I am not just those things. That’s what has been escaping me. I couldn’t love the crap enough. I couldn’t see what it was showing me about the human condition, that we will not rid ourselves of pain until we stop inflicting it. And where does it start? With us. We have to stop hurting ourselves.

We are feeling beings. Our rational minds are amazing, but not at the expense of our emotions. We will go to extreme measures to heal a sick body but wobble at efforts to heal emotional wounds. We are getting better, but we’ve a long way to go. That’s okay. At least we’re trying.

As for me, I’ve realised I do not have to hold on to anything that isn’t in my best interest. Anything.

My wish tonight is an anonymous quote. “Happiness is a choice, and everything else is a matter of perspective.

Until tomorrow…

Expecting the expected…

snowLast night, I did something for the first time. Well, it wasn’t actually for the first time. In fact, I’ve done this thing many times, but last night I took a new approach to it, and the result was quite lovely. I’d recommend it.

I think that’s true of a lot of things. When I directed choir, I loathed routine. I was always looking for new music, or new ways to sing old music, for example. Sure, sometimes we get tired, and it’s all we can do to get through even the easiest task let alone come up with a new one, but changing things up can offer a whole new perspective to an otherwise mundane activity.

Last night’s alterations to routine were subtle, and although there was nothing earth shattering about the evening, no epiphanic revelations, I felt a renewed enthusiasm and sense of connection. I had a good time, and met the most interesting people, too, which seems to happen when I expect it. Isn’t that interesting?

So this is my wish tonight, to expect marvelous happenings. Expect them for you and for others. Expect peace, expect prosperity, expect wellness, and expect love. Sure, all that marvelousness might not manifest before your eyes, but your sincere desire for it is not wasted. Your desire is energy, and like a giant snowball rolling downhill, it is gaining momentum as it picks up similar desires from other people who also expect beautiful happenings. Let it snow marvelous happenings!

Until tomorrow…

 

 

Thankful tears…

IMG_2287.JPGThe night sky is beautiful here when clear. Because I live far from civilization no ambient light interferes with celestial viewing. There are no street lamps, or high rise office buildings illuminating the dark. It is easy to pick out constellations and gaze in awe at clusters like the Milky Way. You can also count satellites, dozens of them, flitting around taking photos, measuring things, listening, or doing whatever it is they do. Mostly, though, it is just the stars and planets twinkling and shining up above.

We are not on a flight path here, so there are seldom planes. The heavens, like the land, are quiet. At this time, approaching the witching hour, the rooks are hunkered in their nests, the owls have stopped chatting, the sheep are sleeping, and my world is quite still. The nearly full moon is reflecting off the window frames in shards of light that brighten my duvet. I welcome her.

Growing up surrounded by Canada’s Great Lakes, I’ve always found solace near the water, but here where there are tides, is a different experience. I get to feel the pull of Earth and Moon under my feet. It takes my breath away sometimes.

This afternoon, I wandered to the café at the cove. The tide was in despite the early hour and the scene was glorious to my eye. The little bistro was busy, filled with hikers enjoying the sun. I suddenly found myself fighting tears as I looked across the rocks at the vast seascape. A fishing boat, way out, was making its way slowly toward harbour. I focussed my gaze there until the feeling passed. I hate crying in public.

The reason for the emotion was joy. I adore being here in this place, in this country. I was filled to overflowing with gratitude, the gratefulness that comes when one realises how blessed she is to be seeing what she is seeing in a place that makes her heart soar. I felt like the luckiest person alive.

I still do.

My wish tonight is a simple one. If you are warm, safe, and loved, give thanks. If you are not, give thanks. Always remember to be thankful for the unseen gifts such as a beating heart. We are such miracles and sometimes we overlook the miraculous in our own lives. Tonight I give thanks.

Until tomorrow…

A perfect mantra…

writerIt’s been a while. I hesitate to apologise for my failure to communicate because I do have a life a part from writing and am not sorry about that. Wait a second…that’s a lie. The high point of my day is writing and I’ve not much of a life beyond that. It is a joyful thing, a heart’s desire, and a driving force, my writing, so what the hell? Why have I not been doing what I like doing? Me thinks it has something to do with an old nemesis.

Today is unofficially Roald Dahl day. He is quoted as saying “A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” I cannot boast such a belief. Writing is not a deeply honed skill or vocation from which I’ve managed a living. My imagination never conjured outlandishly glorious, if slightly terrifying, tales of childhood conflicts with the adult world. True enough, when younger, my daydreams were colourful, but I lacked the self-belief and determination to become a writer then. In point of fact, I lacked the determination to become anything. I simply let life happen to me. That’s what tragic heroines do, don’t they?

Most who fancy themselves artists struggle with self-esteem, yes? My natural inclinations and talents tended toward acting and singing. While I kept up the singing end of things, albeit moderately, I dropped the ball when it came to acting and, of course, it is a great regret of mine. Nevertheless, evolution plods along and now I find a passion for the written word reigniting. Once upon a time, I considered myself quite the wordsmith, poet, and story-teller if truth be told. Since I am no longer a tragic heroine and trying hard to carpe diem on the recent advice of a friend, the time seems right to forge ahead as a serious writer, except…

I’ve both vlogged and blogged about my nemesis often enough. Today she took a new form and I was able to see her clearly. Worthlessness is a cruel and relentless vixen whose presence and denigrating power I’ve not been able to shift despite my best effort. That written, I’m making progress.

When worthlessness skulks in your psyche, it feeds off stuff like enthusiasm, inspiration and passion. The more you get fired up with lovely ideas, the happier worthlessness is because it’s always hungry. Of course, you have to besmirch and malign those lovely ideas as the unworthy person typically does because only then can worthlessness chow down.

There could be tons of reasons why you feel worthless but none of them matter because mostly you just end up strengthening worthlessness by talking about why you feel unworthy. So here’s a plan. Stop it all. Drop it. How? I’ll tell you how.

Every time you want to do something you love doing but don’t because a little voice says, “You’re not really good enough to do that, you know” tell it to fuck off. That’s right, tell it to bugger the hell off and leave you alone because you are amazing, able, and apt and furthermore, you are going to do that very thing you love doing because you can. Say to worthlessness that you get the whole self-pitying, not good enough scenario, but while you might once have been BFFs, you are over the relationship and want a divorce. You’ll give it the low self-esteem, fear, and doubt and it can give you back your joie de vivre when it disappears from your life.

Is it really that easy? You bet it is. Oh sure, you might have to practice the mantra, but “fuck off” is easy enough to remember and it is worth all your efforts to ditch what keeps you dark. We all deserve to shine and be bright not all gloomy and hidden away feeling desperate, hopeless, unimportant and useless. What good are those feelings? Not very.

And so my friends, I wish tonight for more of all those things in your life that help you shine, that bring you joy, and open your heart to love. Maybe it is your new baby girl, or a twinkling star. Maybe it is a blossom in your garden, or the smile of a stranger. Look and see and know that you are the worthiest and most essential being. Perhaps you’ll write about it in a book. Wouldn’t that be a worthwhile thing to do? In the meantime, shine on!

Until tomorrow…