now, not later

“the trouble is you think you have time”

I came across this quote today and thought instantly how much I needed to hear it today. It caught something in me and struck a nerve in that I have been seeing so much lately that I am procrastinating. From the plants that I want to re-pot to the furniture I want to refinish to the book I have been saying I’ll get to being serious about – it all just simmers under the surface and I keep telling myself that I will get to it…soon…just not today.

So I saw this quote and immediately all of this popped into my head and I thought, “I should write a little something about this and try to sort my head out with it all” and then I thought, “I’ll make a note to do it later so I don’t forget” …and there you have it. I have an entire list of notes of things that made me go “yeah! I want to write about that!”, but not the writing to go with the notes.

But instead, this time (after laughing out loud at the irony of that) I stopped what I was doing and opened up a new blank document and started typing.

The fact is that we don;t know how much time we have. Even if it’s not something final like death that will be the thing that stops us (and really,in that case, we probably won’t care too much, we’ll be dead), any number of things can pop up that will affect whether or not a dream or a goal can be followed through on.

I had great aspirations when I was 15 years old of all the things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see. I’m 44 now and none have been realized. I’m not dead, life just got in the way and I kept pushing things off and making other things a priority and voila, here I am almost 30 years later and still saying “someday”. If I’m not smart, 30 more years will be gone and I’ll be wishing I had chosen differently. Regret is not something I want to have with me in my golden years. Days have a way of running by and piling up, making days into weeks and weeks into months and before I know it, that draft of a book of writings if still just a draft and I am still going to start seriously working on it – someday.

The problem is that I keep thinking that I will get to those things eventually. These are things that I really want to do or achieve, so why don’t I? I’m not afraid of hard work or effort. That’s not it. So what it comes down to is that here is no reason. Turning over a new page and taking this to heart – and a blog post is written…now, and not “later”.

Advertisements

capturing happy

There have been a lot of blogs and videos popping up lately about being grateful and expressing  gratitude. Especially as it relates to people who have overcome tragedy or experienced a loss that has shaken their ability to be happy and feel happiness. I came across one last week that made me think deeply about what it means to be grateful and how I could maybe start to play with that idea in order to try to keep moving forward through what have been some rollercoaster times the last while. With the Winter Solstice just passed I have been searching for a way to celebrate the new start that it brings within me and the chance to begin something that will grow over the next year.

 

Grateful has always been a word that I have had a hard time embracing. My personal take on the word is that it insinuates that you are grateful, or thankful, to someone or something. Whether that is a spiritual belief in god or more vaguely, the universe, it leans towards giving thanks in a specific direction. Just never really found a place in me that the concept resonated with me in a way that I felt it should. Yet at the same time, I see and understand the concept and wanted to find a way to make it mean something to me as I start this new year.

 

Living with grief and finding happiness with grief and loss as a part of day to day life is rough. Some days it’s harder than others to find something that makes me smile. There are days that it feels like all I’m doing is just putting one foot in front of the other, and that isn’t how I want to live. That isn’t what I want for the rest of my life. There are other days though that are filled with joy and smiles and being happy that I’m here to live that day and have those moments. Those days are happening more and more. What’s also there is that even on the hard days, I am starting to be able to see the little things within those days that give me even a little something the be glad that I’m there to experience.

 

So the new year has started for me and with it, the chance to be aware. To purposely look for, and record, the happy in every day. Even on, especially on, those days that don’t seem to have any. A project for myself more than anything else. A picture every day to show myself that not only have I acknowledged that moment but that when I think there aren’t things to smile about I can look back and see that indeed there are.

 

Sometimes it’s hours lived loudly and fully and being so full of life that I want to scream. Sometimes it’s merely a little smile at the pretty sunset as I walk home quietly along the oceanfront. It doesn’t matter whether it’s big or small, just that it’s there, and it is.

 

The Foundation

So here’s the thing that is a basic fact. For something to be strong, it needs a solid, well constructed and well laid foundation. Whether it’s something physical, like a house, or something less tangible, such as a way of life or company. It all starts with the foundation. If the base is strong and secure then it will support whatever is piled on top of it.

About 6 or 7 years ago I hit a point in my life that I took a long hard look at my structural integrity and at what I had chosen to lay as my foundation and I realized that there were some serious issues going on that needed attending to. Nothing that was going to cause things to crumble but just that it wasn’t quite “right”. So I started to do what is needed.

Let’s use the analogy of a house, for ease of the written word meandering and the mind’s eye conjuring.

When you look and see cracks in the foundation or notice that it was built faulty, you fix it. Maybe the original plan for the structure of the house was good but over the years, the purpose of the house took a different angle than what it was originally built for… and the foundation isn’t quite right for what it’s meant to support. Maybe an extra load was built on top and now the foundation needs to be reinforced to bear the force that it’s being asked to carry. Maybe there have been some nasty storms and damage and the base has been hit hard by some quakes and it needs some rebuilding. All very much fixable and what you would do when you notice it needs doing. Simple.

So I did that. I saw the changes needed and I started. Chipping away here and there to work away the rot and angles that just weren’t right. Paying close attention to the areas that needed shoring up and some extra ground work done to make the base capable and substantial.Along the way, with every strength built I saw the stability and the confidence of the structure of me grow. It went that way for a couple of years. There were some storms in there that hit hard and knocked me back a bit, but the foundation was setting as it was laid. A work in progress, yes, but very much progressing.

Then something happened that not only halted the work, it pretty much blew the whole damn thing apart. Torn apart, the structure was gone in a split second. A blast of loss that hit hard enough to shatter the base as well. Never mind cracks,most of the foundation was just simply not there anymore.

Quite simply, the roots of me that had been struggling to find their grasp and dig in were gone. Feels like they are still gone. My confidence in my Self, my abilities, my capabilities, it’s broken. My belief in Me – fundamentally fractured. Damaged.

There was a time when I may have had the odd bout of issues with self confidence or doubting myself but on a base level – I knew my power. My strength. My will. I never had any doubt that I would be ok at the end of the day. I knew, without a doubt that I was solid and unmovable. I knew Me, who I was and what I was capable of – and it was something to be reckoned with.

Loss, and grief, took that. Still has it actually.

There was a time that I knew my skills and my abilities – knew them and felt how good I was at them. There was a time that I may have had nerves going on but they were never because I didn’t think I knew my stuff or that I had the right to be giving the presentation or facing the room. I knew the truth of my capabilities.

There was a time that I didn’t doubt whether my lover would find pleasure under my hands or with our time spent intimately together. Times that I didn’t doubt if I was worth someone’s time.

There was a time that I didn’t doubt whether I could pick up a new skill or technique. I knew I could. I knew that all I needed was to be shown and to learn and that I would get it. Without a doubt.

Now, after that blast three and a half years ago, still rebuilding, I do doubt. Deeply and profoundly. Deep enough to feel shaken and to question the very base structure of my Self. Every little bit of groundwork laid so tenuous and loosely balanced it feels like it can be blown off with a whisper – and it is, often and repeatedly. Only to be picked up again and laid back in place, trying to make it stick. Trying to rebuild.

Sometimes it’s laughter and not tears

A gathering lately of friends -people who are, oddly, not necessarily closely connected yet are also,more close than can be explained. Tribe. Family. A weekend that words don’t really do justice.

11667233_10155791293000385_946011986_n 20150626_193332

Words that still elude me trying to bring essence to the awareness of my experience. A soft knowing that happened in a moment when a smile broke out instead of tears. When I knew that, at that moment, healing meant laughter and silliness and the elation of flying and sharing space with a few amazing women. An oddly secluded and intimate space of time, safe, secure, simple and easy and just… yes. No words. Just feeling.

Feeling that in welcoming joy in, it wasn’t going to be with tears and pain. The wind blowing in my hair and ruffling my skirt around my legs as I giggled and joked and connected – with my Self – and more importantly with the people who I was blessed to be with during that time. The wind and the sunshine, the calmness and the joy in the women with me, the water, the trees, the dirt, the rock that brought me back to my senses even, all of it bringing feeling back.

Words try, but they can’t tell what has to be felt and seen with the heart instead of the mind. Sometimes it takes something so deeply in your body to take you so deeply out of it.

Unguarded

Since 2001 I have run with the same hat. A security blanket disguised as practicality. I have been known to chose to not run rather than to go out without it. A simple plain white cap that has so many simple plain reasons for always being with me as I run.

It shields my eyes from the sun… I can’t’ run with sunglasses on. Perfectly practical.

It keeps my face covered from the sun. Pale skin that burns easily, just being responsible.

When it rains and the wind is heavy it shelters my head and offers me some protection from the harsh elements.

As my hair has become long it is a handy place to tuck it up under and keep it contained so it stays out of my face and under control.

It’s simply….Practical and responsible and perfectly under control. Safe. From what. From being open to the elements and unprotected. It keeps me guarded…shielded…sheltered.

As my evening unfolded tonight it brought with it a growing feeling of the familiar unsettled gnawing. Not quite anger but close enough. Emotions that can’t quite come to the surface as what they are so they growl and writhe and start to whisper.

The familiar urge to run… to chase them down and push them away rises. Giving in, the water is where my sight sets to find some calm and release.

But tonight something else unfolds as I reach the water. The waves are huge tonight with the wind on the narrow beach that I find myself after my run. I stand and reach down to feel the water on my hands. It creeps higher up the beach than I thought it would and my feet are enveloped. The cold and shock feel good. My hands tingle from the cold and my entire body aches to go in. Instead, I stand, close my eyes and the tears come. I lift my arms and feel the wind moving around and over me. The emotions I can’t quite touch finds their voices and the scream feels good lost in the waves. I can feel the wind blowing and I reach up and take my hat off, letting my hair loose. The wind catches my hair and the chill send shivers through me…

Racing as fast as I can up the steps from the beach to the trail… hat in hand, feet soaked and hands almost numb from the water I splashed on my face as I left… This time as I run the trail along the cliff top the wind blows hard against me again, but differently. The change in how it feels to run with hair being blown in my face and to feel – really feel – the chill and the bite of the wind is striking. My pace quickens and I run as fast as I can… the sense of being not quite fully in control hasn’t been felt in a long time…and it feels good. A little scary, but good. Laughing, smiling, tears… what comes up is let out as I race myself along the shore until I’m winded and have to slow to an easy run. I settle and find my stride at a softer pace as I follow the path that leads away from the water and towards home.

Hat still off and hair flying as it’s blown by the blustery wind…No longer guarded, no longer sheltered and shielded. Open to the elements and feeling.
It feels good.

Thank You

Thank you to the lies. You have taught me to be more mindful with where I place my trust.

Thank you to the pain. You have allowed me to see what I can endure.

Thank you to deception. You have shown me to question and to not just accept.

Thank you to the struggles. You have proven to me my ability to overcome.

Thank you to emptiness. You have made me appreciate when my heart and my arms are full.

Thank you to sadness. You have shown me the joy in simple happiness.

Thank you to grief. You have shown me to appreciate and be thankful for my life.

Thank you to loneliness. You have shown me how to love being alone.

Thank you to hatred. You have helped me learn to let go.

Thank you to my darkness. You have shown me how to love the depth of it as a part of me.

Thank you to the days that felt like they would never end because of the hurt. You have taught me to savour the days that go by too fast.

Thank you to the ugliness of life. You have allowed me to see the beauty that is life as well.

What dog are you most like?

Taking one of those silly internet quizzes today and the questions came up “My friends would describe me as…” with a list of the usual options.

Now this is a bit of a trick question because it rides the edge of us picking what we think our friends think of us *or* we pick how we see ourselves under the guise of what we would want our friends to say.

This used to be a pretty simple thing for me to pick. I knew who and how and what I was and I was pretty much “what you see is what you get” and transparent to everyone so I knew what my friends would say *and* that matched how I saw myself. A no brainer really. Not now.

Now, I saw that question today in a silly online quiz and I got stuck. Stuck because of a couple of things. First and foremost came the voice in my head that stated that I have no friends that pop to mind that know me well enough to be able to answer that question. Not to mention the larger issue that I don’t even know the answer to it anymore. What qualities would my friends say most accurately describe me? What or who am I? I read over the list… loyal? great sense of humour? adventurous? caring and loving? daredevil? generous? What would “they” pick, what would I pick to describe myself?

All of the above, none of the above, things not mentioned? What’s more upsetting to me… that I don’t know me anymore or that I have so isolated and withdrawn myself that I don’t think anyone else does either? That’s the hardest question that came up from that silly little internet time waster.

And by the way, I’m most like a Pit Bull, just in case you were wondering… not too far off the mark probably.