December 18, 2008

hanging in the balance

i read this comic today, and was immediately struck by how simply it conveys a societal tendency that catches us all up. how do we equate the unknown with danger when often, it is the familiar that hurts us? if i took a poll... though surely, the desire for the familiar is clearly beneficial in many senses - healthy patterns like diets, bedtimes, grooming, friendships, communities. it's simply not universally applicable. (agents of the search for the universally applicable continue on, disappointed but stoic.)

the mystery of the unknown can also be attractive. but that needs to be our choice, to investigate or be open to the unknown. as a statement of freedom, independence, choice, stepping into the unknown is amazing. being hucked into the black hole of who-knows-what by circumstances beyond our own powers is often a little rougher to swallow than a "ooo, i'll take door #3, please" situation.

the love affair with the familiar. the romance with the unknown. the inevitable chaos of the future, rolling invisibly toward us.

an old roommate told me matter-of-factly once that when it's happening to someone else, it's a soap opera. but when it's happening to you: "it's my life!!" ah yes, yogi. for each of us, it is of vital importance, to the highest standards, the immediate circumstances of this one life.

how do we deal with the moments when it seems so hard to keep living? when the blackness is threatening to swallow us whole, when we must flee but there is nowhere left to go? when we check in with our hearts and the reply is a cryptic "wait". when the suspense is killing us.

may we learn to forgive ourselves. over and over and over again. seek new ways the universe is friendly. remember how often we've assumed the worst and it turned out to be something simple. and if we aren't big risk-takers, take small risks instead. so often, i reach out and the other person says "i was hoping you would. i myself was too scared."

December 16, 2008

love yourself justly

calling sadness. alienation, anxiety, loss, listlessness. can we be gentle? can we laugh? can we explore in softness, can we support common independent forays into our selves, our needs and feelings? can we, like zorba, give the last laugh to our hearts?

if we're going to be alone, each of us, can we play with reflection? can we form language, expand upon it, use it to convey our deepest fears and wants... oh yes we can.

i've had a magnet on a fridge in my home for a number of years. i have no memory of its original publication. it says "the situationists maintained that ordinary people have all the tools they need for revolution. the only thing missing is a perceptual shift - a tantalizing glimpse of a new way of being - that suddenly brings everything into focus."

every day brings another tantalizing glimpse.

December 14, 2008

stomach sings the blues

examining the misery. what are some of the premises my sadness rests in, and are those valid? one of the things i noticed yesterday in a conversation with a warm spirit is my degree of upset with the 'positivity at any cost' attitude. when i hear "just focus on the positive, and the negative will dissipate," i respond with "oh, you mean denial?" i feel very strongly, for example, that even as we learn how to live in harmony with a living planet, it's important to grieve the species we lost along the way; the price of our education.

but there's a difference between being present with my emotions and dwelling on them. i know that since sadness is how i got to my needs initially (how i noticed there was something out of balance), my default attitude is to trust sadness more than happiness. sadness has proven to be of value. which is different than awarding it 'cure-all' status.

i wonder what gifts happiness could offer me. in a story i wrote, what would happen to my character? she would come full circle while continuing to rock the spiral. she would learn to appreciate what she has while benefiting from her efforts toward service and personal development. she would grow up. the broken social scene lyrics come through: "you know it's time that we grow old and do some shit." she would grow old and do some shit. and she would have a buddy. but she would need to shift her emotional settings to accommodate the happiness.

i wonder what that would look like?

December 5, 2008

darkness and co.

new news, more news, old news.

our lovely household is facing a shuffle in roommates. while we currently have the most amazing coalition of folks, one of our fold is leaving for a 'house in the country'. the garden and the solitude will feed his peaceful soul. meanwhile, a yogic healer with nerdy tendencies is moving in to the orange room. i have lived with this character before. consciousness is brought to the most insignificant actions. i look forward to it.

i have also begun a job this week, after a month of unemployment. i'm enjoying the pace, and have been able to work from home for a few days this week. the job has scored well on three of my job standards (money, geography and people), and neutral on the fourth (the change i want to see in the world). it's hard for a web development company to really echo my values, although i suppose they could be a little closer. but then they wouldn't necessarily be the same people, and i like these people.

this seems like a boring entry, but winter has hit, and i dutifully record the occurrence. today it's freezing rain. yesterday i was out for five minutes and my hands were painfully numb. i'm not sure how they can be both numb and in pain, but it is possible. the increasing darkness is also afoot. ah well, two or three months and then i can breathe freely again. meanwhile, huddle under the full-spectrum bulb. last week i was doing so well with the approaching winter. plans to go snowshoeing, deep breaths into the cold... now i'm all "man the hot chocolate machine!" and grumpy bunny slippers. ah well.

been reading philosophy or poetry in the mornings (though this morning i forgot and read about heinous crimes and terrorism in the guardian while i drank coffee). trying to let that part of my brain breathe. mostly it's been a zen book, though occasionally some rilke. it's nice. i read about some guy in the atlantic monthly or maybe the walrus who maintains this practice and attributes his happiness in part to that. i don't know about that; it seems to be the rule that people don't really know why we're happy, and don't even continue to identify with what makes us happy from one moment to the next. i find that amusing, who knows why.

November 30, 2008

some friends hold the best silence

i visited a forest ecosystem today. there were brambly types and lofty types, there were blue jays, birds of prey and an enormous white cat. there were deer track and dog tracks, and one lone beer bottle. not too bad for an hour out of town. and oh! the river.

at night, the milky way was stunning. i watched orion drift across the sky, the pleiades amuse themselves (they're like the people who hang out in the kitchen at parties. there's nothing different about them, but they seem to have more fun nonetheless), a star fall like a lone firework quietly streaking through the night.

i thought about trees. about the huge banyan tree i'd seen in honolulu, the branches cascading down into roots, how i could walk through them. i thought about palm trees, how they seem to dance in the wind like shaggy fraggles rockin' out to the sweetest tunes. i thought about the tree on 108st i usually touch as i walk by, its trunk expanding past the skinny public swath of green between the road and the sidewalk, its roots upheaving the poured cement. i thought about all the tress i won't meet, the trees destroyed by storms and clearcut by humans who don't know or don't care that those kinds of drastic methods are neither necessary or even beneficial to the value system that's emerging. reading this book is helpful and inspiring, but the best thing is just getting out there. i want to go to california and hang out with redwoods.

i wrote this in my journal: "with just our ignorance, we could get by. it's our shame that debilitates us. making mistakes is one thing, not fixing them is another." we could fix things so easily, we're so clever. but we would often rather be windbags. strange how shame is so powerful. how did we let it grip us so tightly?

i feel re-inspired, like i can smell again. i want to love the parts of life that are awesome.

November 25, 2008

sense of gratitude

i don't know if it's the free time on my hands, the book i'm reading being a handy reminder of my ability to choose my family, living with a child or even something as simple as an actual autumn this year (instead of the short visit of falling leaves to which i am accustomed), but i've been rockin' with gratitude in the past few days.

what occurred to me this morning as i read and drank tea was the bravery required to love again. to love the first time is to master the fear of the unknown. to then experience death and loss, heartwrenching. but then. to realize that love can recur, with all of the loss and suffering inherent with daily living, and with the added fear stemming from how easily it can all be lost... the strength of will and heart required (even through the argument of 'what else can we do, what else is there?') to try again brought me to a moment's silence.

there is honour there.

enjoying and exerting my freedom and facilitating the opportunity for others to exert their own freedom, this is all that i ask of myself. the exertion and facilitation of freedom can come through so many activities! supporting art, supporting human rights, supporting the sharing of information, supporting self-awareness and respect... sharing my own process, loving and caring for the world around me, listening, asking myself where my food comes from, laughing, playing, seeking out new muses... bringing awareness to the daily processes and difficulties of eking out a dignified life; being compassionate.

November 18, 2008

time again

it's so easy to become distracted, especially when new toys cross one's path. the reminders, however, are nearly as frequent as the distractions, and today i was reminded again.

the important point isn't what kind of relationship i am forming with someone, it is whether or not i can be vulnerable in front of them.

imagine laying gentle waste to the soul-draining methods of yesteryear. imagine growing according to permaculture, not linear false perfection. imagine listening to the wind and actually being able to understand.

i was getting caught up in the action of a vacation, another land and a fat severance cheque. i was reveling in distraction. beauty has been bubbling up through the cat's shapes on soft surfaces.

and now? and now?

>>attention!<< huxley's birds call. is this ominous? or enchanting? unemployment rolls away the days. painlessly i relax, with wonderful journal entries and trips to the pool shaping the drifts and hollows of almost two weeks.

when i slow down, information comes out through my pores in a way that efficiency invariably avoids. their natures oppose each other; silent saunas and by-the-second management: don't seat them near each other at parties.

October 26, 2008

i ordered coffee, but not vice versa

i'm writhing gently in a delicious new sweater. we met at a freestore. perfect arm length, smoky orange, comfortable texture; luscious.

recent interactions have been nourishing and playful. they include meetings, cuddles, breakfasts, children and old friends. also, tzadeka's album, available here, although you have to email them. this album is worth ten bucks.

it's interesting watching misplaced emotions in myself. events from the past that threaten to recur feel, well, threatening. but my sub-conscious, while intuitive, is not foolproof when it comes to identifying threats. a friend and i were chatting about how the subconscious can sometimes latch onto erroneous reasoning simply because it wants to latch onto something Now. like a dog afraid of the tree that got stuck by lightning. i feel like saying to my subconscious "dude, you don't have to solve the problems of your past over and over in your friends, romances, jobs. they're done. if you want to get all pissy about it, judge whether you passed or failed, but please recognise that the test is over." i keep replaying it.

great talk with an old friend over poutine and a bison sausage breakfast dish at B's diner. he reminded me that my opinion of people being unhappy or things being sad is my opinion only. that was helpful in assuaging the guilt i feel in regards to a recent series of events. namely, i tried to help someone who reminded me of a major player in my past. it was emotionally dangerous, of dubious use and rather difficult, but i really needed to try. no, i was not detached. no, it didn't work. yes, i still feel responsible for things outside of my control. no, that makes no sense.

it's good to be honest with myself about how ridiculous my actions can be. humour softens. these things are done best over breakfasts at diners. watch out for the coffee though. i got fried on it and then went to a meeting, and had some trouble staying focused. and not vibrating off the couch. i'm still getting occasional spikes of 'wired' coursing through my system. and and and.

i like getting out more and involving myself with community, but i missed solo time to relax this weekend. now i find myself tired on a sunday night, still with things undone (granted, that's normal), and slightly more stressed out than i might have been if i had spent a slow weekend doing 'my thing'. but i also feel happy. like i have a larger purpose and i am fulfilling it.

October 20, 2008

repainting the interior walls

lots of great inspiration this week about being true to oneself. my roommate came home with a book about why working on yourself doesn't work. i haven't read it so i won't recommend it, but the premise was an interpretation of the law of attraction which for once, didn't irritate me (stop telling me how to manifest a mansion in an age of seemingly endless greed, thanks). i won't sum the book up, because again, i haven't read it, but i will say that it helps to consider that i might not be best served by moving a mountain of strange childhood. instead, just notice where on the mountain i am right now.

that kind of simplicity accounted for most of my weekend. the simplicity of it is almost as amazing as how easily i forget how simple being happy can be. even as i was writing about it, i was forgetting: surround yourself with the things that actually make you happy, like food and friends and co-creation. these things are inexpensive, they are locally found, they are common. then i found this great TEDtalk about how intimacy is healing. guy went and proved it! ah, life is sweet. so i emerged from my cocoon of misery. and connected with an old friend in a way that renewed my trust. i love it when my trust gets renewed without any pressure on the part of my ego.

finally, today i found a neat blog with an inspirational string about changing habits and setting goals. and i realized that through the healing i have been giving myself, i actually feel way better about my body (and how it deserves to be healthy, not because it's my responsibility, but because my body is a clean, lovely awesome piece of earth, not the dirty garbage society claims it to be).

i found that when i allowed myself to really, really feel crappy, things changed. but it was hard to just let myself feel that way. not dwell in it or rationalize it, but not try and solve it either. what happened was something along the lines of me listening to myself. and once my two-year-old, ten-year-old and twenty-year-old all felt listened to, they could stop repeating their fears, crimes and sorrow.

i have no doubt that the emotional self-care i've been practising for years helped that process. but the actual healing involved no journals.

October 17, 2008

oh, that wasn't the peak after all!

i feel like my heart hurts, but as the untitled rumi poem states,

whoever finds love
beneath hurt and grief

disappears into emptiness
with a thousand new disguises.

i looked into why i let go and found that love was underneath my actions. specifically, i found my shortcomings and my efforts to sabotage something i wasn't actually ready for, even as i wanted it. to let go now instead of "try, try again" is to trust my judgment, my feelings on where i am at and what i am willing and committed to. i took off the rose-coloured spectacles, and maybe less pain will happen because of that. there doesn't seem to be a shortage of pain.

i'm finding an adventurous aspect of pain, well, it's interesting. it's engaging. it's not a well-balanced diet but there is something to it that nurtures me. a friend once told me of his gradual conversion plan to re-label time that could be called "depression" as self-care time; quiet, soft, nurturing little licks of attention and gentleness given by him to him.

and you know, i'm still hungry for life. still ready to rejoice in a thousand new disguises. still wondering what i'll do next and where it will take me. looking forward to unpacking it.

October 7, 2008

small gem

trust might not be necessary in order to love, but trust seems to be required in order to be loved. how can i receive your love if i do not trust you? why would you open to my affections and attentions when you doubt my motives?

trust is a cornerstone of reciprocal love.

October 6, 2008

pushups for pushovers

i had a strong day today, as a lovely friend of mine might say. it's funny how when i'm feeling depressed, even strong days are muted.

but it's refreshing to be able to identify depression more often in the present, instead of in hindsight. and sometimes, it can be like water; makes moving harder, but easily negotiated, simply requiring knowledge of its state. once i know i'm moving in water, i can swim instead of walk, i can learn from my environment and adapt my behaviour. so what does the state of depression offer my intelligent scrutiny? not trying to solve it, just notice it.

convinces me it's heavy.
space inside feels smaller.
activities seem futile, how? change seems just out of reach... order reigns.

i was reading today about diversity and life needing it. oops! right, just in case. how could we forget? more than one way. right. got it. diversity. of course. yet i forget my own life needs it. or rather, i assume it will exist always. i mean, it's chaos, know what i'm sayin? but i guess we can beat it out of ourselves. or at least, into retreat. so, champion disorder. but, but, my mind insists, messiness isn't always the sign of a creative mind, sometimes it's a sign of a sick one.

i think the balance is harmony. bits of buzz n flutter; occasionally sweeping out the leaves. not ordered to death, not unsustainable tumult. so easy on paper. diversity. harmony.

right. on it. zzzzzen away! lightly, spaciously.

October 5, 2008

follow the cat's example

i think a rejuvenation of sorts has occurred. i skipped all gatherings (except a board meeting), washed the walls, did laundry, journalled about love and abundance and read the newspaper. i talked to the practical, happy people in my life. i thought about lovely things and made a big meal. i hugged the cat.

i feel more well. a lovely friend was talking about taking her fresh new lifestyles with a grain of salt, knowing that they tend not to overcome the ingrained habits right away all at once, but also of knowing when enough was enough and she had best get up off her ass and get to it. it was a nice mixture of 'take it easy' and 'just do it'.

i still feel tired and uncertain, a little wound up. a daily practice of basking in love will probably ease out all that old tension. it's so interesting to remember how many directions i receive love from: the role of giving in love and the pleasure of reciprocity, and how all this sharing happens within me as well as outside me. intralove and interlove. treehugging, childrearing, meditation. oh my.

October 1, 2008

swearing doesn't change things

dang. just when everything is getting sorted out, a wrench gets tossed in by some dissident aspect of fate. the log cabin turns out to have been a house of cards. can't blame the wind for blowing.

sometimes i wonder how much our actions actually affect our fates. i think it's our 'big picture' beliefs (acted out in tiny ways) that affect our fates more than the discernible, labeled actions that we use to justify and blame ourselves and each other (it's not the cheating, it's the belief that you deserved it last time so it will happen again, right?). every now and then, the fog of self-destructive patterns lift. and we see. and it's amazing and all okay. but... it's hard to act on the pivotal moments that 'change everything' when the world-shrinking beliefs are so familiar. and they promise to change nothing.

except they do. the rotten beliefs we quietly invest in about 'how people are' and 'what happens when i'm vulnerable' just lie about reality to us. "no no, you won't have to change a bit. everything will be the way you expect it to be." and then they steal our power to change. "can i borrow this? you won't need it," they say silkily into our ears. and we shiver, but we ignore it. we take the offer. after all, we're so tired.

days, weeks, months, never, later we realize what we lost. the ability to work for the life we want and belief in our own power to make change. and that's another lie. we lost nothing but the chances that passed in the meantime. chances are part of the weather system; they will generally come around again, we just need to be prepared.

for now, i think i'll cry. maybe tomorrow, scarlett. maybe tomorrow the pieces will line up like they always do, and i'll walk away instead of playing to lose.

September 26, 2008

wish list, while i remember

i'm at that point (again!) where i'm feeling overwhelmed by the day to day. it's amazing, really. i know so many people who "do" so much more than i. yet i find the balance that brings about peace compromised so easily. invariably, i decide i either work too much, have too many friends or really shouldn't be in love. awesome. glad we've solved that one.

i just wish i had one of those days coming up where there was nothing going on. where i could allow my good friend to finally fix the dreads that have been forming, unguided, in my hair for months. where i could hack away at my mending box, filled to the brim with clothes i have forgotten. where i could vacuum under my bed. whatever. attend to the things that aren't screeching in my life, just waiting.

what do i do with my days? get up, let cat out, have shower, make coffee, make breakfast, make lunch, go to work. work work work. use lunch to catch up on email, especially volunteer-related email. walk home. lie down, do yoga or engage in some kind of "relaxing" activity. make supper (or don't). engage in one or more of the following activities: read, listen to music, give childcare, do house chores, go grocery-shopping, run errands, play with cat, write or entertain.

weekends: go to market, go to meetings, get saturday's globe and mail, have dates, make food, catch up on errands and house chores, entertain, sit or do yoga. but rarely do i do any of those things as much as i want to. often the globe is only partially read, the yoga is cut short because of obligations, or the market gets postponed until next week. sometimes i sleep in and stare at the wall, but even those have pretty much been cut out. these days, sleeping in lasts until 9.

i wish my job was only four days a week. the other activities give me more joy or care, relative to the amount of time i put forward for each of them. but part-time jobs are rarely as engaging as the full-time jobs that are available. i wish i could run a b&b in the woods while raising some tiny little zen kid. imagine; occasionally writing, building eco-friendly cabins in the woods with my hunky partner, and the little zen kid being home-schooled by ourselves and the friends that would drop by to recover from their hectic city lives in our beautiful mountain retreat. i mean, if we're going to make a wishlist, that's on mine. too bad no one can afford to drive there!

second choice, go to school. at least it's a change. and i can spend more time at home in bed with the cat. "doing my readings". yeah. sounds like an appropriate second choice. that whole "change is as good as a rest" idea that i occasionally think was made up by workaholics. actually, in light of that, let's drop school to third choice, b&b to second choice and introduce number one as: society recovers from stress-induced, high speed, one-winner-only competition to be the world's biggest, "smartest", "most powerful and respected" greedy idiot. there we go. that would be great. then we could all relax, instead of just the lucky folks who own b&bs.

am i whiny? spoiled? should i be thankful that i don't have to run from bombs, eat bugs to stay alive or attend to my arranged-marriage-husband's every 'need'? yes, definitely yes. and i am glad of all those things. until i forget.

September 22, 2008

brilliant and beauty-filled

the grass got greener, on my side of the fence! wait, did the fence actually just come down? maybe i wandered away from the fence and toward the field over yonder. where we can't be bothered to measure how green it is.

the greenest solutions seem to pop up when i stop aiming for the highest profit. and although that sounds painfully simple (especially when applied to capitalism), it's the painfully simple things that often go unnoticed by the personal ego-on-a-rampage-for-something-better. "oh, those laws apply to my life too?"

returning from an intentional gathering this past weekend, i had a great homeward-bound conversation. we chatted about how many people attracted to the alternative lifestyle and alternative communities, whether they be blissful zippies or passionate activists, have had traumatizing or difficult pasts. who would be attracted to something different but the people the status quo is failing? i've thought about this before, but it shed new light on the increasing friction and dissension i have noticed running amuck through the communication pathways. it reinforces the need to educate myself on as many perspectives of a disagreement within the community as i can, before forming an opinion. because people tend to leave things out. and in the heat of the moment, it's hard to notice how we ourselves are contributing to the trauma/drama. but we are. oh, are we ever.

and as much as i feel concern over the disagreements, i am also impressed and excited over the growth. this weekend, i saw old wounds healing, i saw once-awkward people way more relaxed and natural, i saw those who once had a tendency to overdo it sitting serenely, having contributed their gift and now witnessing others do the same. it was incredible.

i also participated in a great workshop that actually inspired me to eat food again! who knew gorillas were vegan? and how awesome parsley is? wow. As soon as it's available in canada, i'll be purchasing this book. i feel energized and motivated to eat more raw food. who knew it was going to be easy? i love it when i feel uninspired to cook beans all day and then it turns out i don't have to.

September 19, 2008

rolling out the dough

it's that spot where the emergencies seem to be over but normalcy has not returned, and systems are still on yellow alert.

decisions are on the table. and i cannot shelve them. things like "how does forgiveness work in a relationship that has taken a major blow but still has strong roots?" and "when a friend screws another friend over, or when friends gang up on a friend without taking the time to investigate the full story, who are my friends and do i get involved?" (yeah, that's about forty questions) or even the simple "what do i sacrifice when i can't have it all?" which i wonder why i don't put into practice when the answer is so obvious. sacrifice my lazy habits. not my rewards, my lazy habits. eating out three times a week because i can't be bothered to pack a lunch ends up being far more expensive than a once-a-month camping trip.

okay. solve the simple ones and work backwards. from finances, we move on to love and self-care. uhhh, maybe go back to finances. can i solve someone else's problems? so much easier... (i am willing to trade: email me! just kidding - it's like peeing for someone else. the logistics get all messy. okay, i'll get off the couch and move the cat)

i guess my uncertainty and self-doubt is broken down into two sets. one, the "haven't done this before" set. i tend to walk away when people suck. but when someone acknowledges they sucked, apologizes, doesn't attempt to justify, takes away the means that enabled their suckiness, commits to working on the source of the trouble AND i still care for them and value the relationship, then i'm all for a second chance. it's just that people don't tend to go for that option. but someone has! which makes them pretty freaking fabulous for an erring human, i think.

this leads into the second set of self-doubt. i call this the "yeah, but i tend to talk myself into repeating the same lousy judgment patterns over again" set. the counter-argument notes that i have stated facts, not judgments. except for the word "commit". how have they committed to seeking the source(s) of their behaviour? how long until i am certain of their commitment? it's good that i have identified my own need for safety, but can i really rely on someone else's priorities being the same as mine? this is the question i come back to. i don't want eternal proof (mostly since it would take an eternity to get, and somewhat because i continue to believe i am not that anal). but i need to decide when to trust the process and that person. sounds like my brain has taken me pretty far, and time to check in with my heart.

friends. no. brain resists. another day. the gossip-mill will continue to find fodder, and more victims will likely fall before we, as a community, realize how obnoxious and poisonous it can be to listen to one version and not the other before forming an opinion. if my peer group was late teens, i would be more sympathetic. kwan yin gets displaced by grandma shocked-and-appalled.

September 18, 2008

blogger confused me

i feel old; i'm resisting change. i don't even remember what i wanted to blog about, because when i tried to sign in, blogger had a new, far more confusing method to sign me in, involving obtuse passwords. i mean, i am sober, and i've had coffee. why was that so hard?

taking a short break at work, intending to blog about... it's floating off in the distance of my brain, i know i can catch it, have some chana masala and ruminate for a moment. being grumpy? resisting change seems to be the theme. oh wait! i remember now: it was about letting the daily grind wear me down.

as autumn persists, my days get shorter mentally as well. i stop earlier, give up sooner, do less. and to some degree, that's lovely. take a break! rest! north americans have a shortage of rest vibes floating around. i do my best work when i do less of it.

but! that's not the same as letting the day float away from my good things. writing, keeping things tidy, flossing; these bring me peace, a sense of being present and taking care of myself. and judging from the skirts of previous days piled up (on my bed by day, on the floor by night), dishes on the table (not fly-worthy yet, but soon), empty pages and zonked out me, it isn't joyful nothing. it's drained nothing.

my roommate purchased some liquid vitamins, and i think i might go the same way. liquid is absorbed more easily by our bodies than solids, and it just feels right to dose myself with B goodness and all such. it's not like i've been very inspired to eat. (thinking guiltily about too-soft avocado in my fruit bowl right now) i could use an external boost.

September 15, 2008

expectations killed the cat, but PR hid the fact

everyday things are sometimes nicer than the special events. this weekend, we held a free sale in our front yard. it was quite lovely, many lovely people came by. but in the end, my roommate and i felt a bit drained, and that we really didn't want to spend the whole weekend sitting on the lawn saying "no really - it's free" to the doubters. although now that it's done, i'm quite proud of us.

between the free sale, the board meeting (the first time the board had met since spring; eek) and the regular household required activities (where did those dishes come from? i mean, they must multiply, but only when they're dirty. it's some kind of science issue, where the sink allows for high-energy transactions that let the dishes temporarily break the "do not create or destroy" law. as soon as they're washed, the universe notices the exception to the rule and *poof!* they opt out of existence, leaving us once again with only six butter knives.) i feel like the coming full-time workweek is going to be more relaxing than my weekend was. though i engaged in what, in retrospect, turned out to be a date. that was lovely.

however, the influx of lovely folks to the free sale re-inspired me to try and get to the equinox event. i wasn't previously very excited about it. i feel like i've had enough of groups that are trying to organize but keep getting pulled into ego and drama. but the visitors this weekend reminded me that the level of enjoyment is directly related to my expectations for the event. i have previously set the bar higher than i intend to set it this time. i think i have wanted an environment where everyone respects the space of others. a bit tricky to manage when definitions of 'respect' vary wildly. this time, i just want to go to see what they've been up to.

curiosity. so much more fun than expectations. hey, that's been applied to my love interest lately too!

September 12, 2008

kwan yin rides again

i've been remembering grace. you know, when someone's a total turd to you, and you opt to let it go? i've definitely forgotten that, and been locked up in ideas of Justice (ie revenge) and Properness (ie treating me the way i think i deserve). kids are great at reminding me of the importance of compassion. many people rise to the challenge when quietly given the opportunity to do so, and besides, i'm not interested in focusing on the shortcomings of others.

previously, i'd expressed an interest in full disclosure, but i'm learning that it can be a sign of respect to not drag someone out into the limelight when they eff up. most of us, if we're honest with ourselves, know when we've errred. feedback is important, but is there really a need to go on and on about it, blow it out of proportion, or make a person feel worse? i think not. unless it's a big fucking deal, like hate crimes, genocide, repeated assault, etc.

i've definitely experienced some randomly crappy behaviour directed my way. and certainly i've been the giver of smarmy judgment masked by an attitude of pretentious "well-meaning" or "constructive feedback". being judged is a lousy feeling. when i've effed up, i know it. and you know it. and we know each other knows it. so either we move on or we part ways and move on. do i really need to "let them know" my opinion so they can agree with me and i can feel good about knowing How To Behave?

fuck that. i don't need to change the behaviour of drivers, record store clerks, exes or other people's teenagers. i don't have to be "on record" as vehemently opposing someone's attitude.

i don't need to right every wrong. whew. that was a biggie.

September 8, 2008

more beginnings

too long since last post. but many activities have been pulling me away. not to mention (okay this is really it) that i can't seem to connect to the wireless at my new house. i blame pc set-ups.

however, the moving out, moving in, trying to get a passport and all such have probably been sucking up my willingness to leave the house for internet capabilities. and the new creative writing book my friend dumpstered is probably meeting my creative writing needs right now. back to the morning pages i have been. and they actually help. i am tentatively renewing my opinion of myself as a clever conveyor of ideas through words.

mostly, i feel upset that i am doing too many "bad" things and not enough "good" things for myself. ah, the judgment place, usually leading right into a shame-motivated increase of "bad" things. repeat until rendered useless. check self into treatment program.

no really though, it's that time again: self-checks. the lungs have been wheezing unnecessarily after bike ride to work. the yoga mat has been threatening to leave the relationship. the brain has been asking "why am i so slow?" about five times a week.

and i've had way too much fun on silly but awesome websites.

the new digs are super amazing. it's one of those things where you don't notice how increasingly unsuitable was the old until the new comes along and fits like a glove. the new bedroom allows for different activities, such as writing and yoga, without having to "do it all from the bed". my gosh was that old room ever tiny. new roommates are fewer in number, which makes any communication easier. rent is cheaper, vibe is flowing, i shaved two minutes off my commute and am closer to my favourite organic foodstore. even the cat seems to be acclimatizing.

now pray i get my passport. pray, atheists, pray.

August 25, 2008

attention; dance.

when everything changes, how do we find what's familiar again? or what feels normal, if we don't want familiarity (or if it feels out of reach)?

i move in a month. the house i move out of loses two roommates, and only gains one. people are coming over to look at my room.

my job is looking unsuitable and possibly unstable. i need to work on my résumé again.

i'm single, and trying to figure out how to grieve and what i'm grieving for. what we had been building toward definitely ended yet we both still care for each other and wonder how best to express that. so i grieve a loss of structure and growing intimacy, but not an end to the string between us. my personal safety got rattled, and i'm not sure if i am 'doing best' by myself to hope for a future. there is no certainty of ever being safe with anyone, and while that tends not to worry me, i don't want to put myself in a path of known danger. to keep an open mind while maintaining some caution. hmm. sounds like an i ching paradox.

so i do little, inconspicuous projects i've been meaning to do for a while, and i fiddle around with my dream board, and i journal... somewhere in there i'm sure i'm mustering up the courage to think about my résumé. and the future. and what i want from myself in it.

somehow, in the random extra moments, given an environment of general awareness and loving attention, things actually seem to sort themselves out. a sloppy, hands-on approach usually isn't required, but the situation(s) still requires my energy and my attention. pay attention and don't fuck it up. if there were a theme, that would be it. oh, and dance.

August 21, 2008

high-jumping the fence

not sure how to sum it all up, especially when i'd rather move on. which i guess i am doing; moving on to another home. which is exciting, even as it is sad.

there seem to be many things going on, and while i wish to think with a clear head, the processing feels like it might take a while. so when am i detached enough to make a decision? usually long past the time i need to make one. alternatively i could act now and review later. it's a trend.

ha. asking myself what i would like to do, i find that i wish i had predicted this and avoided it. aversion, here you are again. so much stronger than desire. but in terms of dragging me around, exactly the same. i must have asked for a lesson in 'grin and bear it', because i am really avoiding that. on the other hand, maybe it's the 'stand up for your rights in quiet, unexciting ways' lesson i'm getting. so many to choose from.

uh, gee. i guess i'll just look to the gentlest part of me to take care of. and get on that.

August 20, 2008

and yet...

i read once, i think it was in an orson scott card book, that history is comprised of long periods of little activity interspersed with short periods in which nearly everything happens. sometimes it seems like life follows that principle way too vehemently. like most people, i sleep (and complain) through the periods of very litle activity, then act surprised when life goes nuts. again.

i've been trying to figure out what to do about the 'bad stress' in my life. i've been aiming to mitigate it, and while that is somewhat successful, i'm noticing stress is being barfed repeatedly into my life (maybe i'm barfing it, not ruling anything out). i think part of mitigating the stress is choosing less stressful situations. to live in, to work in, to love in.

so i've been looking at the aspects of my life that i find 'too stressful' on a regular basis and trying on the idea of changing them. it's weird, because in the past, i've changed these (job, home, lover) far too often. i need to make sure that i am not going to end up with 'different but the same', and be faced with the same things not working later.

it's tough to live in a large household with diverse needs. i've found it difficult to keep track of my needs when faced with the, apparently conflicting, needs of others. i know that i have a very specific plan for what my life is (though i admit i refuse to sum it up, often pretending, even to myself, that i don't know). what i stand for. and while there are things i really don't like about my life currently, that doesn't mean that those things (petty bickering, social slights, stubborn people) go against my values.

i value the self, the 'individual' separate from a larger whole in some way (even if that way is illusive). i value consciousness, that aspect of being present that is simply present, without a plan. i value expression. i value communication, the attempt to express outward and be understood.

these are my values.

August 19, 2008

credit due

i'm still so much healthier than i used to be, even when i'm feeling tired, sore, damaged.
it's like the evolution of my version of the healthy diet. it used to include funky pickle pizza, with the argument of vegetables. now that gets ruled out for wheat, not to mention flagged for cheese from sad, sick cows. my fast food is usually rice-based, largely vegetarian and trying to happen less often. organice produce gets delivered to our household. sometimes i use it.

my mental health is quite lovely. i like spending time with myself. i've sought out the company of folks of aspiring consciousness and emotional development. i've found work that's somewhat meaningful, though occasionally chaotic. i'm learning even more how to work for myself, let stuff go, keep in touch. when i recently had my trust broken, i went to a friend and got help feeling safe. i communicated what i needed. i am taking care of myself.


this post is from August 18th, i simply didn't have access to the blog until now:

traumatizing as it is, i scrub away the layers of conditioning that have been painted over my behaviour like cheap paint covering up hardwood. the phrase "why does this always happen to me?" is terrifying in this context. it 'always' happens, it repeats itself, i make the same choices i made before, it happens again.

drifting through the same old. i keep to the paths; so many old friends. but i'm not happy here. i am here to fix the problems and then get out, get out.

i insist upon a happy childhood, am determined to 'do what it takes' to have one. ummm, too late. sorry. as a friend of mine said to me the other day, "you did everything right and it didn't matter."


perhaps if i try, try again? every axiom in the book, sure. something's gotta work. it's like willow, refusing to accept tara's death was an accident, it was natural and, in short, because it was a part of the 'regular' world, it couldn't be fucked with. mmm, nope. does not compute. how bout this way? how much? everything has a price, right?

what makes a peaceful, nurturing upbringing so great anyway? who's to say it's what i would order from a bigger picture perspective? am i so hard off? as i told someone else today, there's a lot of worthy stuff going on in here. i just need to work with it, to help me get better.

August 17, 2008

myriad thoughts lead to future!

scattered. didn't really have a plan for the day; it came out full. 

urban foraging turned up an apple tree, but not the infamous pear tree. 
my free bicycle (soo cute!) cost $100 in accessories. but i'm safe, the bike is safe, and the basket comes off for convenient shopping. which i used tonight to get ice cream. sj came over, the household sat down for dinner. 

spent afternoon with m&m at the fringe. brunch was nice, but there are too many people in that throng to make easy my passage. i picked up a skirt from elvery, the pockets are big enough to fit a paperback!

artzd n craftzd tonight. interrupted by a drunken messenger bearing bad news. of the hopeless variety. tried damage control, but eventually compassion became pulling the plug. hopefully the messenger will sleep it off. i would really like to hear that again. to make sure. because it sounded like a terminal diagnosis. 

still not sure what to do. decided to eat chocolate and read magazines. read an interesting piece about street art here

now this. what next?

August 15, 2008

domestic affairs

household learning, different curves for everyone. 

living with six other adults (and there's a difference between recently-moved-out 19-year-olds who think milk crates are the coolest and adults, notwithstanding that i think milk crates are pretty damn cool) can be a bit stressful when it comes to communication. we've got a big whiteboard, but of course not everything gets put up there. and seven people don't always agree on what 'enough notice' is, let alone when to have a house meeting. 

i think there's just way too many variables to make it easy, unless all roommates are really similar in culture (or maybe that general accord just makes it all the more difficult when disagreements arise). the more we live together, the more differences we realize we have. 

currently, we're feeling the pain of disparity in regards to household projects. some people care a lot about having a certain thing done, and others do not. i think the pain arises when there is no distinguishing between "yeah, that's a cool idea" and "yeah, i'll help with that". i know that personally, i sometimes want to contribute toward a project but end up feeling disenfranchised by character leaders (consciously or not) taking over the process. other times i never intended to help, as i don't really care. and then there are the times i wish someone would tell me what to do. rare, but they do happen. 

i tend to err on the side of finding smaller things to do on my own or contributing minimally to larger projects as a peon. when i put on my peon hat, i don't care what anything ends up looking like, i just put in an hour of labour and wander off.

how do we live? how do we live together?

August 11, 2008

heatstroke is like drugs

folk fest this weekend. such a kickback to childhood. 22 years since my first, and i still revisit all of them. some are better than others. imagination market, three dead trolls in a baggie, back when the tarps at the bottom of the hill were still isolated from the tents of rowdies at the top... bill bourne with dark hair, rolling down gallagher hill, sliding in the mud. negotiating seeing my mom while in a teenage social milieu, volunteering in the beer tent, sneaking in (only one year, swear to the folk gods). different moments float up to conscious memory, recall feeling good or crappy, and the experience was a bit of a 'coaster. this weekend i also definitely felt the sheer number of people present. zow. mostly in the present, a few in the past, and maybe one or two in the future. 

it's funny, but i have no sequential memory (only a few isolated events pop up, and that's how it's been ever since i remember checking) previous to being seven. is it a coincidence that was the year everything changed? parents divorce, and a lifestyle shift inevitably comes along. who could bother to remember when i was learning everything anew?

and i liked that change. most of the interesting things from that vicious cycle of naivety crashing around a room full of mirrors came about because the circumstances were deviant: poverty, latchkey kid, isolated parents, frequent moves... ya know: new neighbours, interesting neighbours, free (unsupervised) time, more responsibility. 

i listen to bela fleck and jim white, i think about dancing to the carolina chocolate drops and broken social scene and the release that comes with all music (even while i savour an emotion, somehow it's already going gone), especially outdoor music. i try and come back to the intense sensations and minor epiphanies, but i am already in a wholly different place. all i can recall is the decision to try slowness again, but this time, without caution. it hadn't occurred to me to separate the two, and thus, self-directed life til now has tended to be either crazy or boring. 

imagine: a day-to-day life that's slowly and sincerely risky. kind of a thrilling feeling. 

cue the crescendo. at 80 bpm

August 8, 2008

secretly attentive

it seems the age-old debate about time rages on unabated. whatever i am doing with my time, whether it be working, volunteering or laying about, isn't what i would be doing (i tell myself) if i had just a bit more time. i would be creating, i think to myself. i would write music columns, sew funky clothes, make large pots of stew, pull back the carpet in my room and finish the hardwood underneath, build that little drainage canal in the front yard (because the sidewalk has a low spot, and changing it would require bringing out the jackhammer again).

it doesn't matter, how much time i have. it doesn't matter, but i mind. my stomach twists with anxiety. i feel myself giving in to the slide, the inevitable slide of personal affairs into the petty and pitiable state common to miserable people.

even as i worry, i do stop to giggle about how far out of the range of normal some of my behaviour is, and how i'm probably not in much danger of becoming a hollow reproduction of a free person. my houseplants have dreads in them. i create art. i dumpster-dive. i suppose dorking out isn't as rare as it once was, but i do like to wander around font websites, make endless themed playlists on itunes and mentally re-plan the city's transportation networks to be more pedestrian-friendly. in my spare time. which explains a bit about the time-scarcity: how much gets lost in the tunnels of my imagination?

but i think that the imagining is more than seems. i think i relax in that kind of a blank, 'mindless' space, and process the shit that happens to me. without having to analyse it, reason it out? maybe. or without needing a conscious point to all the pondering.

the worry, though. that's probably pretty useless. it might not be, if i could predict the future. but since i don't...

August 4, 2008

quietly masquerading as grace

sharing is weird. i love it, need it and caress, in my heart, the situations in which it happens. but sharing also has a strange and discomforting side to it. 

today i discussed breakfast plans with k, who then wandered off to water the garden (an honourable decision, i figured). i made coffee, then toast, which i ate while browsing the business section. when k came in with herbs and started frying up some food, i surprised myself with some guilt. i guess i'd figured our plans had been forgotten.

as i was served, i got myself a fork while forgetting to get one for k. in haste, i wiped off a section of the table, strewn all over by my saturday paper. eventually, k asked me how the food was. honestly, it was tasty, but i was still thinking about 'being a good guest'. quietly, k mentioned this had been the first cooking session in a while. 

ah, the things of import. and how i miss seeing them. and love being shown, when i can get over myself long enough to appreciate it. who gives a shit about forks? they aren't the gift. 

we're learning how to share, k and i. when we hang out a lot, i notice our behaviour cycling in patterns of teasing, mock defensiveness and 'haughty judgement', followed by more teasing. 
i think we use it as means to step back from the intense emotional sharing, a method that allows us to continue sharing physical space while breaking from the mad dance of love. 

mind you, maybe i'm not seeing the reason for the teasin'
an aspect to our play that's soul-pleasin'. 

August 3, 2008

uh oh, where'd my pretension go?

especially in the light of the square one post, i'm noticing the self-masturbatory aspect of blogging. i'm wondering how far i can take this story-telling and still avoid common pitfalls of wankery: My philosophy, The truth, Nobody understands me...

so much cyberspace, so little accountability. they aren't mutually exclusive, no. just rarely occurring together. why i love wikipedia. but that's another story. 

listening to coingutter (lovely, noise-y, like four tet but more raw) and occasionally glancing out to the clouds changing colour, feeling the pain in my lower back. this is today. the latent guilt trapped in the throat and unedited raw worry crammed into a tense jaw lying alongside a fierce desire for something different and the growing, joyous realisation that this is it and it's gorgeous.

these moments, when i notice them, they aren't frozen in time so much as brought to a halt and then revivified, and i feel it like a skipped heartbeat, like a hitch in my breath. i clear my throat, it's gone. 

'what was that? it felt weird.' sometimes i happily derail from the highway, but often, it seems like i actively ignore really interesting options. like i can't be bothered by the magic, i need to pay my bills right now. (uh, right, cuz they won't wait.) am i waiting for a moment where i feel like i've earned it, or am i scared to give up my drudgery? are the day-to-dayisms really drudgery, or have i just been led to believe that, in effort to make me more unhappy and insecure?

i keep trying to find the perfect temperature inside. covering and uncovering truths.

square one / we

the beginning of anything seems like a dubious place to start. 'i think it's the beginning' translates to 'i call it the beginning' because i just woke up to something: a concept, an experience, a realization. something scrubbed my perspective clean of all the mini-rules set up for optimum survival. 

i find square one a more appropriate moniker for that experience. square one doesn't assume the story starts here. square one is the first square, but not the first of everything. in light of a game of hopscotch, it's where i am when i can breathe most evenly. i feel calmness. equanimity. 
in no state of emergency, square one is a space from which i see clearly. so, being here, i look around. 

we is what i see, and of that, me is what sees. occasionally, i even remember that.