I believe…

Miracles.jpgHello again, friends!

I’m out to dinner and my host offered her Internet. Not being one to pass on an opportunity, I say “Sure! Thank you” and head into a cool (literally) room to send you all this note. Gotta love people’s generosity.

So, how was your day? Hope it was productive, crazy enough to keep you on your toes, and yet peacefully uneventful. Mine was grand (in my best Irish). That written, I’m in the midst of working through some old shit to make way for new… shit? That can’t be right. Anywho, I am indeed processing – again. Have to accept it because anything else is counterproductive, but a break is desired. I’ve been processing mucho stuff since the bad news was delivered (should rephrase and write “unexpected” news) mid-January. What a ride it’s been! And well, I’m starting to tire slightly. I mean, seriously, it’s been a tad on the chaotic side. Oh, and I’ve still no home, no income, and no plan. Of course, I’ve a roof over my head for which I’m deeply grateful. My cards still work when I buy groceries and for that I’m also grateful. But, the responsible thing would be to at least consider making a plan. Wait a second, I DO have a plan. I’m writing a book! Good, at least I’ve one check mark. Hehe.

Being a creature of habit is akin to slavery, shackled by behaviours that bind you to the dreariest of existences, you plod along doing your master’s bidding, making the tiniest of in roads, until you are knocked back or down by someone, or something. When you get up, if indeed you even do, the cycle begins again. And on and on it goes. (Okay, poetic license deployed there. Humour me.) Why do we do this? It’s great if you do not feel bound to your routines, but hell, if you do, why do you perpetuate the problem? And why am I going on about this? Because, I’m feeling a creature of my own habits, and while untraditional they may be, habits they are. So what to do? Discern. Meditate. Listen. Focus on rockets of desire, and blessings bestowed. Remember to adjust my view and assure I’m looking at only possibilities.

When I lost consciousness all those decades ago, I did not see a light, or family or friends. I saw myself, suspended above my lifeless body. I heard trusted voices speaking to me. A peace like none I’d known before or since enveloped me; there was no fear, regret, or panic. Whatever was to be, would be. When the world went black, it did so with a jolt so powerful I gasped and woke with a start, the lifeless me once again alive. I guess I’ve always believed in miracles. No matter the odds, the matter the situation. Believe.

So I’m wishing for the magic of miracles today. Never doubt. Do not give into fear. Trust in your power to break the chains that bind you. After all, you made them. Now, close your eyes. What do you see? Are you doing what you want to do; living where you want to live; loving the way you know you should? Of course, you are! Bravo.

Until tomorrow…

 

 

Advertisements

If truth be told…

tofino2.jpgHello Friends!

If you’ve seen the movie You’ve Got Mail, you might recall Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly writing to Tom Hank’s character Joe Fox saying she likes to start her email to him as if they are the oldest and dearest friends, and not two people who met in an Internet chat room. That’s how I’ve come to feel about you. Mind, I tend to be doing all the ‘mailing’ as it were, but enjoy your responses whenever they come. To that end, I need to talk to a friend, today, preferably one who is my oldest and dearest.

This month, I’ve zeroed in on relationships as you know. A recent post of mine was all positive and hopeful. I thought I’d broken free from an old pattern and was feeling rather cocky about it. Well, I’ve had a change of heart, or view, because apparently my heart is no different, no better off, than ever. Okay, that’s not true. Every experience is a chance to explore our emotional body and expand it, but shit, lessons should get learned, yes?

You have to love how easily we take credit for other people’s experiences. We do affect others to be sure. And despite how I’m on and on about responsibility and owning my life – that no one else makes my sun rise but me – a key part of being responsible is showing kindness and consideration to everyone. I fall down there, not always able to articulate the truth for fear of hurting someone, I too often selfishly cling to relationships for my own benefit. That’s not kind or considerate. However, the flip side of this is I am still, and always, responsible for my actions, only. Another’s actions are none of my business. Tough concept, eh? And way too tough for me to grapple right now. However, I think talking to you about this has helped. It’s made me remember that how I feel is always my choice no matter how many people I try to blame. LOL.

A complete change of gears now. If any of you are considering a trip to Vancouver Island, do it. This place is gorgeous, the people are friendly and the bears, cute. Well, the cubs are cute when watched from the safety of a car. There’s lots to do. I’m heading off to kayak tomorrow. Went salsa dancing last night, so indeed, plenty to keep you busy. Think about it. Oh, and if you do decide to visit in the next two months, please let me know.

Wishing for understanding and honesty in communication – no surprises. Telling the truth means informing openly, keeping your loved one in the loop. Exclusion of information, while not a lie, is not a kind or considerate action. Rather it is a selfish act which gives an advantage to one over the other. So, when all your friends know you’re planning a vacation, but the person you’re seeing does not, well that’s a disaster waiting to happen. You’ve set the stage for a miserable drama. No one can be expected to make a decision in a relationship unless they have all the facts. When information, even the simplest bits, are kept secret, it hurts. Exclusion hurts. NO body likes to be out of the loop. So tell people what’s going on. Be courageous enough to let someone else make a decision even if you might not like it.

Until tomorrow…

 

It works both ways…

Phone.jpgDearest friends!

Oh, how I continue to miss you! It’s true. And, because it’s true, and because I’m still focussing on the topic of relationships for at least a few more days, an obvious lesson is standing right in front of me.

As many of you know, and some of you might have figured out, I’ve still no Internet at home. I find going out for it, disruptive. Still, I feel out of the loop and fear you will think I am neglecting you on purpose. Nothing could be further from the truth. Furthermore, in my case, everyone is pretty much on the e-spectrum since I knew no one at all in this funky burg until a few weeks ago. I need a solution for this new experience of feeling disconnected to almost everyone because of a lack of connectivity.

A friend questioned what we did before connectivity. Well, we connected by whatever means was available to us then – the connectivity of the times – you could say. Imagine growing up in the ‘60s without a phone? My grandmother would have been lost had she not been able to write letters. I currently live in house with no Internet, yes. But there is no land line phone, either. I have a phone, of course, and wherever I go I buy a SIM card for that country. (I’m gathering a rather impressive array of them.) But, we all know, on a pay-as-you-go plan, calling England from Vancouver Island would cost a great deal. Solution? FaceTime of Skype, of course, both of which require Internet. Ah ha! See where I want to go with this?

We connect in whatever way works best for us. Sometimes we have to stretch ourselves, work hard, to stay connected. Other times, it’s just too much work. Perspective and choice. We always have both.

So my wish today is for easy connections. I’ve been stressed about not being able to keep in touch, answer mail, or respond to Facebook, but in fairness, I’m doing my best. And that’s good enough. Indeed, having Internet at home would be heaven, but I am doing far better than expected without it and creating a better balance between work and play. Bonus! Anyone up for a hike?

Until tomorrow…

No need to free fall…

SkydivingHello!  How is everyone? Goodness, I’ve been beyond neglectful of you, but trust me when I tell you how much I miss writing to you. Further, there is seldom a day that goes by when I do not try to get a note off. If, as has been too often the case, I can’t get connected, it frustrates me something awful. Still, I dutifully save the blog on my desktop in the hope I’ll use it later. Thing is, I seldom do. It just doesn’t cut it. The blog was always intended to be spur of the moment, not polished posts. For me, too, because the reflections are daily and meant to be, what I wrote yesterday is not necessarily relevant the next day. For example, I went hiking yesterday in this rough and rugged place. It was what I needed and I loved being out in the sun and warmth walking among the ancient cedars. Today, I’m at a small airport watching some friend skydive. Not sure I’ll jump, but if not today, perhaps another day. We drove to this facility, but I’ll fly back, sailing over the landscape I walked yesterday will be amazing enough.

The other day when I was talking to you about people who bite into life versus those who get bitten, I was talking specifically about some of the folks I’ve met lately. They certainly do not sit still and where once I would have been intimated by the likes of them, now I’m drinking in their enthusiasm. It is energizing and exhausting at the same time. It’s also driving home to me in this month of consideration on relationships, how compartmentalized my life is. I would prefer it to be more fluid. I would also like to accept companionship and more committed relationships when they are offered. Yes, I am well aware that my life style is not conducive, but I can work on that, too.

Our journey on this planet affords us nothing but opportunity. We stop or limit ourselves when we engage fear instead of joy. As I look back and review how I related to this person or that, it is easy to see not only how foolish I often was, but how afraid I was, too. I was afraid they would leave me, or misunderstand me, or tell me lies. Rather than let them have the upper hand, I would do exactly those things but blame them saying, “See. I told you, so.” Now, not so much. Yes, I still leave, but I am not running. I work diligently to be understood; but, only when it truly matters. As for the lies, I am more honest with each passing day.

I guess, if the above is to be believed, I’m successfully working through some deeper issues which is really good. Even better, I am working through this stuff in tandem – others are helping me with care and patience. They are helping guide me toward a new sweetness that comes from relationships. How lovely and appropriate as the month is coming to a close and a new topic must be chosen. It is comforting knowing this subject no longer twists me into knots.

Wishing you enough faith to trust in others. Wishing you enough love of self to know unquestionably that others want the best for you and want to help you be your best. Wishing you courage to let go and simply trust that you have your back – yes, you do!

Until tomorrow…

 

 

For the thrill of it all…

Butterfly1Hello! I am losing all track of time suddenly. How long has it been? If I actually checked, I think I’d find it’s only been a couple of days, it just feels like forever. Anywho, there is so much happening inside and out and I long to tell you everything!

For starters, the landscape around me is becoming a veritable green house. There are so many varieties of flowering this and blossoming that. I have two varieties of basil and one lemon thyme plant on my windowsill thriving. For those of you who are gardeners, this is Zone 7b and temperate enough for jasmine in protected locations. Sadly, there are fewer gorgeous gardens around than one might imagine. It’s not a particularly affluent part of town where I am, you see, and despite large lots, most yards are decorated with RVs, boats, or rusting cars instead of heather, azalea, or phlox. It makes me laugh, though. It is a part of this community’s eccentric charm, and believe me, eccentric it is.

A few views of the still snow covered mountains are blocked by new foliage on the largest trees, but against such a colourful backdrop, when I do see them, my breath catches in my throat more violently than ever. I love it. And then there’s the harbour. I never forget the water is close by but it is not a constant in my sight line so when, for example, I round a corner and see it, I am at once at peace.

Inside, my head is calm and my heart full. Muse is a constant help and together we’re writing thousands of words a day. Still, progress on the book is slow but the narrative is unfolding in wonderful ways with unexpected plot twists and character developments I could not have foreseen months ago. Of course, I miss England but am not languishing in longing, rather I am functioning on the joy thinking of it brings me. Such a change in perspective! All in all, I am doing well. I feel very fit mentally and physically. No, there’s no sign of money yet, but I will never give up hope that everything will work out and that I will be okay. Oh goodness, enough of this stuff. I am dying to tell you about yesterday.

I’ve met someone here who lives an extraordinary life. Directly involved in aviation (among other things), this person oversees the repair and restoration of two planes. Now, these aren’t your garden variety aircraft but two of the largest buckets of aluminium you can imagine. Once troop carriers, they were refitted after the war to take on water and have been used for decades to douse forest fires along the west coast of Canada and the US. Sitting in the pilot’s seat was thrilling. Even now, I find myself smiling. Oh, what would it be like to fly it? I can’t even imagine.

I admire people who bite into life instead of letting life bite into them. It’s almost impossible for someone like me to comprehend how they do it. I watch life, of course, but remain too afraid of failure and my own shadow to get truly involved. Outcomes loom large, and always envisioning the worst, I stay safe on the fringes. I am not sure I can shoulder the boldness required to jump in the fray at this late stage, but I so want to challenge my fears and put at least some of them aside. Or should I just continue to watch and see if I can learn anything? A healthy dose of both would be nice.

And with that, the sun has decided to make an appearance so this might be the right time to wander out and make my way toward Wi Fi. It’s early and I have lots more to do but want to let you know I’m thinking of you which I can only do if I get this online.

Wishing you lots and lots of thrilling moments. There is a trick to capturing them, though, me thinks. It means we accept that they are lying in wait for us in the most unexpected places. They wait patiently in the wings of airplanes and butterflies, in babies’ smiles and lovers’ sighs. They can be experienced in both tiny and massive measure many times a day. It might surprise us to know we do not need to seek thrills because they will find us when we open our heart to life’s mystery and magic. It matters not our age, only our ability to allow.

Until tomorrow…

My New Cathedral…

Cathdral Grove.jpgI’ve missed you! Of course it’s only been a couple of days, but my last note to you was so brief. I wrote it on my phone in that new spot I was telling you about, and while it is nice, there were too many distractions there that night. In other words, there was more I wanted to say! So, here goes.

I feel I’m settling into this place better than you might expect. Sure, at first I was paying attention to the things I disliked about the town, the house, and so on, you know how you do; but I gave myself a shake, which included a lecture on ‘perspective’, and decided to focus only on the beauty, and the quiet and colour of the place. That strategy is working brilliantly, I’m happy to report. My mood stays elevated, and I am quite contented, most of the time. It’s easy to laugh about the “parking lot” streetscape now that I’m not overwhelmed by it. And since drivers here stop, or at least slow down if I’m don’t manage to get to the curb, I’m a-okay. (Seriously, the streets are that wide!) Oh, and they don’t honk, either. Gotta love that.

My effort to make friends and find a social circle continues. It’s important to get out and explore locally from within rather than always the outsider. Getting connected will remain a work in progress, but I’ve already taken some decent sized steps in the right direction and continue to meet the loveliest people. I suppose there is an ease in a small community that can’t survive in the city. If you don’t include Dublin, my recent time has been spent in the countryside, and quite isolated. I am not that here, which is good. The fully stocked grocery store is only a few minutes by foot, not an hour like my abode in Devon, and offers cosy seating, Internet, coffee, and yummy take away. The quay is not far, either. OH, and I’m getting a bus schedule today. For a mere $2.00 which includes transfers, I can get to some of the more distant spots on my own. I’m looking forward to further exploration of one spot in particular.

This town boasts a natural wonder called Cathedral Grove. Deploy your Google skills and take a gander at one of the planet’s few remaining old growth forests. I am learning about this rarity and cannot wait to visit. There I will stand among trees that are 800 years old. They have stories to tell me, certainly, but I have a feeling the entire ecosystem is going to remind me that our relationship to Mother Earth is fractured – badly fractured. Oh, how we have wounded her! And my only response is that we need to start healing her, caring about her, and caring for her if for no other reason than to show our gratitude for her. We need to seek her forgiveness and try to make amends for our careless, thoughtless treatment of her. We have no excuse now, you know? We know better.

And so my wish today is for the grace needed to accept culpability for what is. We waste precious time pointing fingers when we are all responsible. Do not attempt to escape by saying, “I’m not the lawmaker or the logger. I did not rape the forests like the big bad company did!” We have bought the furniture, demanded more products, more herbs, more medicines, more – more – more, without ever asking where they came from. Our insatiable need to “have” has led to the destruction of air and land and water at such an alarming rate that even if we choose to disavow evidence of global warming, we cannot further deny that our water is polluted as is our air which has led to the extinction of countless species. And, have no fear, we will be among them. So I wish to take responsibility gracefully and learn what I can do. I believe we can all make changes. Small, simple changes are enough because thousands of us will be making them. Mother Earth will thank us, as will our children, and their children.

Until tomorrow…

 

 

 

Reminiscientses and a mermaid…

Hello every lovely body! 

Today I wrote all day. What joy! Late afternoon, because I expected to go to dinner, I washed up. Plans changed so I headed down to the quay alone on foot. 

Being in this small town has advantages. Probably because I’ve not sorted the Internet issue at home, I get out a lot. As a result, I’ve already been asked to read bits of my work at two separate events. True, only one request was made from a reader, but I’m still chuffed. It’s not something I saw myself doing but I relish the idea and will make sure I follow up with both requests. I swallowed the “I’m not worthy” attitude with my appetizer. 

Right now I’m in a really funky place, an artsy gem in this rustic backwater. Oh, how I admire people’s tenacity and creativity. This venue reminds me of a friend’s home, actually. I believe the owner and my friend are sisters from another mother. Their estethic is so similar. They even resemble each other. 

That’s the thing about travelling, or moving about the way I have. Everyday brings me a new something. And each day gets easier. 

My wish tonight is for ease. We can make things far more difficult than they need to be. Breathe. Allow. Relax and trust. Life has your back, you just have to believe it! 

Dismantling My Mines…

MinesDearest Readers,

Lately, I’ve taken to thinking of you all as the closest of friends, and that these posts are actually letters to you. Of course, I imagine you writing me back which is very nice. The idea that we are having a conversation makes it easier for me, and yet harder at the same time. Easy because there is a warmth and unconditional caring between loved ones (ideally). Hard because I fear being judged, or worse, scorned by you if you were to learn my darkest secrets. I long to tell everything, though, and I come close at times. That was the purpose, the raison d’etre, of Zigzagging Toward Zen, and Redo 365, though.

It’s uncommon for me to re-read my posts, but the other day I was clearing my desktop and ended up reading a couple. Goodness me, such repetition! How can you stand it? I blather on about the same things way too often. I wish you had told me, or will begin to tell me when I’m repeating myself. Please! It’s not my intention to bore you death, you know. More importantly, and from a purely selfish perspective, if I’m going on about the same stuff it means I’m not changing or addressing what I need to, which also kind of defeats the purpose of the blog. To that end, I’ll try to write something different today.

This month is supposed to be about relationships, yes? Not a strength of mine, certainly, but I’m slowly improving (in my humble opinion). And because the focus of my posts is specific, my attention is drawn to whatever the topic is. That’s kind of obvious. So the other day when I heard someone speaking about their friends, I was curious. ”How long have you known them?” I asked. “Since childhood” she answered. “We’ve grown up together and have been friends forever.”

The speaker is older than I am. She was born in this place and has left only to vacation. She grew up, worked, married a local, and raised her family in the home her parents bought decades ago. I found myself a bit breathless. Her life is so far removed from mine that I find it difficult to imagine. Then again, I do not need to imagine it. It is not my life nor would it have been my choice. Her life is a glorious representation of her choices. I asked if she is happy. She answered, yes. Clearly, she feels content with her life, a feeling I’m not particularly familiar with.

The day before meeting this local woman, I sat in a restaurant eavesdropping on a conversation that also took my breath away. Both highly skilled academicians, the Russian gentleman spoke about his twenty-second book and of shooting and skinning animals on cliff edges in the Alps. The Canadian scientist still teaches at one of BC’s universities and finished her first fiction piece last year. There seemed a genuine affection between the two. Listening to their conversation, I marvelled at their accomplishments and was overcome by regret. I felt so very small, so inconsequential in the big picture. When I left the restaurant, I didn’t feel good about myself. So, what else is new? But, I also realised I seldom feel content or good enough. The local woman felt enough and so do these professors. Different lives led via different choices. Why can’t I accept my choices?

So, ruminating on relationships is a bit of a minefield for me. I have already segued into self-doubt rather than constructive objectivity. I recall writing that this topic caused my stomach to turn. Hm. This might be a very tough month.

My wish is that we consider our choices with kindness, and understanding. Do we not do the best we can under any given set of circumstances? I believe we do and if that is the case, then looking back regretfully is not helpful. Reconsidering is only helpful if we are using the experience to make different choices in the present moment.

Until tomorrow…

Fixing me…

FIxA few uncomfortable feelings intensified into a moment of actual despair this morning. I threw up my hands and cried like a baby. Obviously, the angst passed. I squirreled my hair up onto my head, threw on some mascara, brushed my teeth and headed out. I was met by a cold wind. I walked to the market and have been on my arse since noon writing emails, researching, and simply making an effort to remind myself that my life is wonderful, and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. All will be, as the saying goes, well.

Remember the other day when I wrote about being better on my own? I’ve been thinking about that and how it’s true but equally false. I crave companionship, mates of the soul, comrades. I long to have someone to tell my stories to. I want someone to hold me and I want to hold someone. I can see you nodding your head and mouthing “of course you do”. But wait, there are solid conditions to support my contrariness – not everyone can, nor should they be able to, fill those desires. Relationships require give and take, patience, and most of all, a meeting of minds.

When we are born, our DNA carries in it a history of a certain group. We are most closely linked to those folks even if we end up with little in common with them. Whatever course we chart for ourselves, however, cannot negate a kind of contract we have with those relatives. The Buddhists consider blood family ties most important because therein exists our karmic connections. And so it follows that therein rests the opportunity to heal some ancient wounds or strengthen old ties all in an effort to further enlighten us, heighten our awareness, and lead to our expansion. This concept is a head-scratcher for many. How can having an abusive father be a good thing, for example? Well, it’s simple actually, at least in theory.

Whatever family we find ourselves in, no matter how severe or troubled, choices are always being laid out before us. We can choose to perpetuate or stop behaviours we find offensive. We can decide to live another way. Even if stepping away seems counterintuitive, if it is what your gut is telling you to do and you find you can look back with a loving glance, you have raised your awareness. As a result, you raise it for the collective.

Continuing in toxic or destructive behavioural patterns for the sake of “family” is folly. It is a misguided action that keeps us in a perpetual state of stress, anger, and war. No one else needs to change for us. We need to build ourselves up, strengthen our own reserves. As long as we are doing that, we are doing enough.

I seldom feel I do enough, but I keep trying. That’s pretty much all I can do these days. This somewhat convoluted journey I’m on is uncommon and has its risks, certainly, but I am becoming a kinder, more compassionate and mentally healthier person as a result. And that is enough for right now.

My wish today is for the confidence and clarity of mind to step up to step out when needed. It’s never your job to fix another. Hold space for them. Comfort them and listen to them but never step away from your true essence because someone else wants you to. There should not be judgement, coercion, or blame, ever. What we hope for each of us is a successful life which only we can determine for ourselves. Oh, and if someone else comes along for the ride, all the better.

Until tomorrow…

A Rainbow Message

Hello friends! 

I’m out tonight running errands in the rain and thinking of things, most of which will wait till another time. I’m without my computer, talking to you from my phone. It sounds so personal, doesn’t it? Anywho, I’m enjoying the wifi at Boston Pizza along with a vegan Mediterranean pasta dish. Heaven. And speaking of heaven, remember yesterday’s post about rainbows? Well, the picture tonight is of one that greeted me as I rounded the corner on the way to get some groceries last night. Amazed? I was. I took it as a sign, a sign that I’m okay and doing exactly what needs doing. And makes me believe that my relationship with myself is on a good course. 

My wish tonight is for rest. Resting isn’t a skill in this modern era. We term it “laziness” when folks keep ahead of stress by resting. Relaxation is a gift brought to the meditator and with it comes clarity of mind and spirit. You do not meditate without being at rest. So can I have an ohm, please? 🙂

Until tomorrow…