(photo courtesy of catalyzingchange.org)
Today marks the end of my “staycation”, during which I did very little.
I worked two nights and two weekend days (though I will tonight as well, but have not counted it yet).
I nursed the wound of losing my Kittie to a sudden illness.
I rejoiced in welcoming two new (and very big) furry pusses into our family fold (not without some level of drama, I might add).
[I revel in the wisdom of my son and his lovely girlfriend who knew that these purring new additions would lessen my sorrow.]
I cooked for and entertained a handful of good friends.
I cleaned the fridge.
Did some household chores.
Slept (or tried to, despite bouts of insomnia compounded by construction noise).
Journeyed through ten days of a new(ish) meditative practice with Carrie Anne Moss via her Milk and Honey online course (which was delightful, though due to the aforementioned nursing of wounds, I must say I was less than focused on regular practice).
I spent some time thinking. Thinking about what I wanted (and didn’t).
I moved furniture around.
I spent a lot of time musing about how fleeting all of this is.
I thought about how much importance we impart to our meaning.
I wonder at the dichotomy of finding meaning in all of this and our establishing self-importance through the act of finding meaning.
Does either serve us well? Do both, simultaneously?
I pondered on how “meaning” and my understanding of it has shifted over the years; what I thought meaningful at different stages of my life.
How the shift in paradigm could not have occurred by any other means but through the passage of time and experiential knowledge, the grinding away of my external “skin” to smooth away all of the edges that I held on to as parts of who I believed I was integral to the journey.
I considered that perhaps some of those edges were necessary (and, now that they are no longer there, have changed me in inexorable ways – not always for the better).
I considered ways in which I could tap into the juice that those edges brought into being through other means more aligned with who I am now.
I marvel at my ever-changing nature.
I honour her.
There is love in my heart. It flows through me and over me and out into the world. Our world.
This love feeds back into me in ways that I would never have noticed a decade ago… or perhaps even yesterday.
I give thanks.
I have much to do.
As of last 10:01PM last night, I have officially been on a three day long vacation (staycation?).
The humidity levels have thankfully dropped and there is a breeze flowing through the house. I look forward to meeting up with a friend this evening for a full moon gathering.
It’s late (10:11pm) but the night sky is still tinged with light, pinkish-purple clouds crowding the horizon.
Every now and then I see a flash of light that looks like a lightening flash. It may well be one. It’s been hot (unusually hot) this last week, especially, and the air in the house is stifled.
It’s cooler outside than it is inside. I’m sitting out on the back deck contemplating taking a shower, though what I really feel like doing is simply sleeping, which won’t come easy because not only is it hot in my room and the air refuses to move, Gabriel is playing video games and the noise of gun fire and explosions streams all too easily into my room from his with our doors open. Open doors are a must on these hot, stagnant air nights.
I’ve watered the potted herb planters sitting outside on the deck and now the scent of thyme, oregano and lavender mingles in the light breeze. I pray for rain even as I search the sky for thickening clouds. The wind is picking up a bit; maybe my prayer is working a little.
I will be off for three whole days next week and I am hopeful that the weather will cooperate with sunny but not too hot temperatures. I wanted my time off to be fruitful, to catch up on housework and chores and still have time and energy left for a bit of hiking and perhaps an excursion to Granville or a beach. Maybe. If it gets too hot my energy gets sapped before I am able to accomplish much of anything.
I’ve been drinking lots of water, too, which is unusual for me. I’m not normally a huge fan but it’s all that seems to adequately quench my thirst, which seems bottomless.
My intention was to do some journaling this evening but I didn’t get much past eating, cleaning up the dishes and counter, watering plants, catching up on email and online posts and giving the cat some love.
I did work today, so I will cut myself some slack. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
Recently I had the pleasure of a four week excursion into Motherhood via Annapurna Living’s offering. Co-helmed by Carrie-Anne Moss and Natalie Christensen, MOTHER was a gentle and affirming journey throughout.
Motherhood is an adventure. In many ways, when we bear children, we either want to right the wrongs of our own experiences or we perpetuate them unknowingly (or perhaps it is a little of both).
I would have especially loved this course when my son was little and I was the juggler of many, many balls and felt very much alone in the process.
Young children take it out of you. They rely on you for everything and you must continue to do everything else that you did prior in addition to being the rock at the centre of their world. If you yourself have no rock at the centre of yours, you soon become depleted. I know this far too intimately.
I spent a lot of time and energy searching for that rock.
I looked for it outside of myself in relationships (with my husband, with friends and neighbours and colleagues) and through spirituality.
Let me add that I had been seeking religion for many years, looking to become an adherent to something that would resonate true, that I could share with my family. I was continually disappointed and disillusioned throughout this process.
My ex-husband was not interested in any institutionalized religion (nor spirituality, for that matter), and while I had strived to find one that we could participate in as a family, I found that in the end all I had been successful in cultivating was quiet annoyance at best, indifference at worst.
My own interest in what was dismissed as “woo-woo” essentially distanced my son’s interest in even the more commonplace spirituality that many enjoy as a central tenet.
So as I continued the journey on my own, one I had been on since childhood, really, I tried to regiment the rest of my life into submission.
(That failed miserably.)
I had assumed that simply handing out tasks would guarantee their completion. I had assumed that I was at the helm of a ship and by proxy was its captain, completely discounting the fact that there was another person whose buy-in I had to seek, through discussion and agreement (something we continually faltered at).
I had been on the managerial track within a large multinational corporation, aiming to go from an administrative position into lower management.
I wasn’t sure where that would take me, exactly, but I knew I wanted to do something different and that was what I envisioned as being the next step.
I had done all the work.
I had become expert certified in all the software packages we used.
I had started on Six Sigma training.
I had attended the Franklin-Covey “What Matters Most” and “7-Habits” training sessions, wielding a leather-bound and monogramed daytimer as proof of that accomplishment.
I had mined the tools of the Heart Math Institute as they were offered back then.
I had sat through many workshops on work-life balance.
I had confidence in my skills and my intrinsic value.
(Enter year 2000/2001 : all the balls I had been juggling started falling one at time to the ground, with no relief in sight; I had what could only be termed as a massive meltdown.)
This singular event changed me.
It changed how I viewed myself.
It changed how a collective of people (husband, family, employers and coworkers) viewed me.
It changed how I would walk in the world, going forward.
No other event in my life, other than my father’s passing in 1991, had had such a stark and startling effect.
I felt alone and unsupported.
(Perhaps I had always felt that way, throughout the length of my life on this hurtling rock.)
Let it be known that I would have benefitted greatly from a good psychologist at this point. Good ones are hard to find, though, and while I was seen by several not much had been worked through. Most of the breakthroughs occurred through means initiated on my own.
I had been building a self-help library, but going forward it became heavingly larger.
I turned to the expressive arts to work things out.
I started blogging my journey.
Then my mother died, in 2003.
Nothing puts everything into question more than the loss of a parent. My second parent had left the building and if I had felt alone before through the morass that had become my life, I felt it even more keenly then.
There is much I have learned in the many years since then.
A sense of liberation grows as children age. Parenting (particularly single parenting) a young child is enormously difficult, but as they grow into themselves and become more self-sufficient, you can focus less on their physical and logistical needs and more on building a relationship with them. Not to say that that isn’t already an established thread throughout, but one which can be focused upon more deeply.
I was blessed with an easy child. He was, as a young one, loving, kind and relatively even-tempered. I was always able to reach him and we had a deep level of sympathetic understanding. He has grown into a young man with much the same qualities, although for about a three year period I had to hunt and peck in order to find those parts of him. I had to remind him of who he was (in a way that would reach him, and that was at times difficult).
I had to hunt and peck in order to find those parts of myself, too, and at times that was difficult as well.
Most of the training I had undertaken those long years ago is now pretty much obsolete.
Job hunting is a new animal, and I am still unsure how to position myself, and how the game works.
Aside from that, I don’t like games. I never have. I like to come to the table with the truths, as I know them.
(I have been wrong about truths, but my caveat has always been the admission of my own fallibility in that regard.)
I grow in confidence but continue to balk at how to find my place in this changing world.
My strengths lie in areas that are more intrinsic than measurable, and so much of today’s standards are about quantitative skills and measurable accomplishments.
Yet another thing I balk at. I am a whole package, a human being, not a set of charts and lists.
As a woman, a mother, a human, I continue to seek support, as well as find ways in which to offer the same in kind.
The online community is huge and changing, and just as volatile as the real one (perhaps even more so).
There exist little pockets of belonging in the world and I am glad that I am finding them, little by little, bird by bird.
I was so very tired tonight. It was a do-not-pass-go and go directly to bed night. I scooped maple walnut ice cream into a cone and had that before retiring (and of course now, at 2:41am, I am a tad hungry) but lunch was had at Nuba today (with a small group of former McT coworkers whom I adore!) and one large meal a day works, sometimes.
I slept soundly from 7-ish to after midnight… then I started reading emails and posts and it was all downhill from there.
(**where have I been and why have I not seen the word “microaggression” before?!)
Two hours later and now fully aware of the grumbling belly and other things.
I was just thinking how busy I have been; so busy that I barely have time to reflect on anything that is not Immediately Important. Makes it hard to plan ahead, if you know what I mean. And also to .. self-reflect, which in turns acts as a sort of growth stunting mechanism.
I am not normally this tired. Not sure what that is about, apart from working the job and a half, other than perhaps cumulative fatigue because some of my excessive Haven binge-watching marathon. That lasted a couple of weeks and ended a week or so ago (but it was good… almost as good – no, definitely better – than my current daily ice cream fixation).
Anyway… it’s mostly quiet outside and inside now (if I ignore the occasional and mild grumbling protests issuing forth from my belly). Cars driving along St. John. Train cars crashing into each other to hook up, their wheels squealing metal on metal as they grind along the tracks.
The quiet is relative, I suppose, but these individual sounds are all the more apparent because they lack competition.
And then there is the inner dialog (in my head). I can hear myself now, feel myself inhabiting this body from the inside, feel myself straining against the edges of it as it leans into the flannel covered mattress, the almost weightless flannel top sheet envelopment.
A fluid awareness of alternately familiar and foreign aspects of myself.
I start planning the morning (intentions of pan searing the marinating short ribs and diced veggies for a crockpot stew). We’ll see if I keep my commitments.
Later, maybe, I’ll sort out the rest of my life, too.
Now I will indulge in an ear worm – the theme from The Highlander – to lull myself to sleep with.
Good night Monsieur Lambert.
Good night Freddie.