January 29, 2009

band on the run

it's raining. in january. what are we, the west coast?

i like it. it's on the rolling filofax of grateful-fors. along with lotion, making templates, chocolate, cheese on popcorn (smoky cheese curds sprinkled on popcorn, ohhhh my) and that feeling of accomplishment that comes with cleaning all the old stuff out of my shelf in the fridge.

so much more. i'm grateful for scotch whiskey, my family trees, cats, nia, mystery novels, drummers, long lunches, cardigan sweaters, caribou (the band), great online comics, making links, writing letters and putting teabags, stickers and other delights in with the letters before i mail them, cute little stools, embracing abundance, well-written non-fiction and reggae music.

and wow, the beat-boxing flute player! i sure am grateful to that guy for sharing his talents, passions, discipline.

i have been considering my role models lately. all the people i unconsciously took after; teachers, fictional heroines, my parents, my sister. authors, artists, bosses. friends. it's important, i think, to revisit one's old role models to both thank them for helping us through and to let them retire. because as i grow, i know i need to learn different lessons and value systems from different teachers in my life.

anne of green gables doesn't always have the answer. neither does the energy-worker i had a big crush on for years (and learned a lot from. in fact, one might wonder if the crush was an example of unconsciously fulfilling the desire to learn). there's a point where zen masters don't know. but if i tune into what i want to learn and learn it from the people who can best teach me, i'll probably stay engaged enough to keep answering questions. and love what i do.

January 22, 2009

young grasshopper or elder-in-training?

having spent the last nine years, since my dad died, avoiding the deeper meaning in my life; i've been all a-search, but in reality, using the search mechanism to avoid myself. i have a sensitivity, and i need to manage it. like some folks have a great sense of smell, i have a great sense of emotion. i can honestly feel what other people are feeling, much of the time.

i generally just use this sense to feel out my environment for my own benefit, and to help my friends and occasionally other people understand the world and themselves. however, i've avoided any occasion to learn how to manage those abilities or train myself further, preferring to daydream and use my other skills to survive. it's generally safer not to let on that i'm a bit of an emotional barometer. people balk, joke, sneer, fear.

however, the intensity just kept on ramping up. first i gave up the festivals, parties are rare, anywhere there are groups of people is tough. and i live in a city. i'm tired of my opinion being swayed inevitably when i'm around someone who feels really strong about something (eventually, it's just easier to agree, even if i don't actually want what they want). i'm tired of feeling like it's the biggest deal just to walk through the farmer's market, due to the inevitable deflecting of the swirls of thoughts and emotions of others. it's like there are that many people talking in my head. it sucks. though it was worse when i thought those thoughts were all mine and i was schizophrenic.

and even though i've learned to identify others' emotions as separate from my own, i still need to be able to turn it off. so that i can go outside. so that i can travel. so that i can have sex with someone and not freak right out over the intensity of their emotions. so that i can choose proactively what i want in my life, not defensively.

so that's what i'm practicing. because it has the ability to fuck with every part of my life. and because it's part of why i'm here.

January 18, 2009

investigating the shame

what's the deal with random shame? it seems like a point of interest i return to. there are these moments of our lives that we have unconsciously agreed are shameful. shitting, for example, and clogging up the toilet. masturbation. pretty much anything that reflects our bodies having needs beyond the control of our minds (which seem to be part of our bodies, hello... or ARE they? the argument over the self continues). so... bodily needs are shameful because bodies are shameful? or is it the need that's shameful? i'm curious to follow the thought back through its evolution so i can see where the faulty premise lies.

maybe shame's natural purpose is to provide the mechanism of feedback on our behaviour. as humans, we experiment with all sorts of ways of being. we're social animals, so we experiment with and on each other. when one of us harms another, we need to be able to give feedback to help the behaviour evolve into a generally positive one. shame could help us stop, briefly, and motivate us to move beyond it into grief, change and betterment. maybe we're designed to stop there only briefly. but when shame gets mis-assigned to a regular part of being alive (having a body with needs), we end up visiting and re-visiting the feeling. far too often. it is no longer helpful.

so why is having needs shameful? for me, i think, it might be that they require energy to deal with. for a perfectionist, needs might be an equivalent to deficiencies or gaps. in reality, feeling need is part of how i know it's the correct time for a certain behaviour. hungry? eat. not hungry? don't eat. how do i know unless my body tells me? i can take the time to honour the need.

January 8, 2009

senses to the sensei

great read: mr mckenna says live without closure and work the love angle. sounds neat to me. i found the link on that empathy blog i mentioned last entry. saving it, reading only one entry a day thus far. meting it out.

haven't been interested in the books on my shelf lately. les misérables sits on the shelf, sighing in unison with the mediator's handbook. meanwhile, i leaf through borrowed and bought-on-the-fly fantasy and mystery. uh huh. it's january alright. escape...

still. i remembered today how lovely it is to walk at night in the winter. soft lights glowing, cool air crisp; somehow there's romance afoot. and silver. not all dark moments are unfortunate.

January 6, 2009

she's okay.

green grass and long days are not outside, but they are more coming than leaving now. some day in the next six weeks, it will still be light out when i get home from work.

people have all gone home again. the lovers are in love. the cat has a cold. and me? i venture forth from the upstairs occasionally. i groom myself. i show up at work. i pay my rent. this is winter, and this is enough. and while this time of year; dark, cold, broke, can often depress me, i am calling on softness within to remember that inside my head is an okay place to be.

a friend of mine has this krishnamurti quote up on his wall: "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." right. thanks. sometimes i forget that the distress i feel isn't necessarily mine. ahh, empathy. found this great blog about empaths. it's nice when i don't roll my eyes within the first paragraph. no, i don't need to "take the quiz" nor do i need to "come to terms" or "awaken my sleeping empath", thanks. i remember when a friend passed on the attributes of an empath to me. "oh," i said. i've never been so well described by someone who has not met me as in that list of seven or so characteristics. was speaking with yet another friend (i really don't get out much, honest) about how to set up semi-permeable membranes for my emotional state. because i don't want to set up a barrier. i don't want to be blind. i actually LIKE feeling a room full of people's emotions. i just want to continue feeling like me during that process. i guess it's a matter of grounding and strengthening my own sense of self, then. get back on the be-train.

January 2, 2009

drafts and dreams

it's challenging, the holiday season. and now it's done. for the first time, it seems, i recognize the magnitude of what i've accomplished: family gifted, time shared with the myriad of out-of-towners who came back to the nest to warm themselves, presence shown at various social gatherings, internal pressure only erupting a few times and seemingly having not caused any irreversible damage... seemingly. the cold, desolate months of january and february stretch emptily before me and i am grateful for their emptiness. space to grow in. stretch in. draw in.

i am stunningly broke. the cheque i received today is for less than bills and rent. suddenly, all that time off is seen in a new context. days of gallivanting, early morning sleeps, funerals, roadtrips and more. oops.

i still have a bit in the bank to help pad the fall, but we'll be hitting ground soon, baby. dipping into the currencies of luck and loved ones. enjoying eating lightly and paying the phone bill two weeks late. i understand why this is a little stressful, seeing as it's operating at a deficit and this touches my value of being self-sufficient and responsive to my own needs. however, i can only let the stress hit the point of gaza. or nigeria. my country is not war-torn. eternal occupation, starvation, normalized rape, these are not happening to me. phone bills? they're absurd. don't waste my time. love? you're on.

a moment of silence, and then it continues.