Monthly Archives: March 2019

ruminations

MARCH 27, 2019

Early-ish start today, considering I worked late last night and didn’t get home until after midnight… and to sleep for another hour still, after that. I was thirsty for water, and a couple of weeks ago I finally bought a Britta pitcher but hadn’t yet washed it and run the precursory three jugfuls of water through it before first use, so I did that, finally. The water quality is awesome here in B.C. but these old pipes in our building (that keep making themselves known by bursting on the regular) produce a pale yellow coloured water (rust, maybe?) and I’ve been thinking that maybe consuming it in copious amounts might not be that great for my own inner plumbing.

Anyway… I digress…

In the last month, I’d fallen back into the unenviable habit of ruminating. I say this because I used to do this all the time, in my teens, twenties, thirties, forties. It seemed to have switched off, thankfully, finally, in my fifties. I recognize that not all people are so afflicted, and that ruminating serves a purpose. It helps us become self-aware, and allows us to process things. I have learned, though, that there is a point at which the cud just needs to be swallowed and allowed to pass through.

It’s a tough call, that one. It’s like deciding when a piece of art work or writing is finished. Should I dab on another little bit of paint? Do another read through and edit with a fine-toothed comb? How much do I want to lean into perfectionism and where and when does it stop serving me, or others?

I’m rereading the material from the mystery school that I have joined. It sort of goes hand-in-hand with the ancestral healing work I’ve also decided to walk the path of. Whether looked at literally or figuratively, this work is important to my inner life, which in the end also affects my outer one, and by default the lives of those around me. Self-examination is a huge part of the process.

I’m rambling. Clearly a shortage of coffee in my yet morning-addled brain…. so circling back around.

Ruminating serves a purpose, though I’ve come to realize that it can also be fettered down by beliefs about the self or perceptions of external factors that keep me locked down in a loop, sometimes a self-defeating one.

So I choose to bear witness to the thoughts and then I let them go. I choose which actionable things I can do in order to get to the crux of the issue and then release the rest. I continue to work towards being the best version of myself, and that, I’ve found, is a persistent and life-long process.

I leave you with this. The road to improvement, whether of the self or the environment around us, can be hard or soft. For most of my life I’ve chosen the harder path, the one dubbed “hard-knocks”. Though I never knew quite how they would become realized, I consciously chose the most difficult ways to accomplish things, to learn the lessons my spirit seemed to need to learn. Man, it’s a rough way to go about life, and it breaks you, over and over again, and then some more. There are only so many times a pot can break and be fixed before it becomes irreparable, no matter how much I lean into the concepts of wabi-sabi and Kintsugi.

As I wished a friend for her birthday, I wish you all the same:

May the road meet your feet with gentleness and grace,

may the winds bring you all you need,

may the fires burn brightly in your heart and warm you,

(and I add this, now…)

may the waters quench your thirst and cleanse that which no longer serves you.

xo

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one Sunday afternoon

I’m sitting at the kitchen table, drinking my third mug of coffee, flipping through the pages of my mother’s old phone book. What I hope to glean through doing this, I have no clue.

Names had been added and crossed out. I recognize my own handwriting in it, my mother’s, my father’s. I recognize the handwriting of a family friend, who used to live in Kingston, but now I wonder if she, too, has died. Probably.

There are names in it that I don’t recognize, names beside which there are Hungarian addresses. Excavating a life becomes difficult, post-mortem – as in life, we only seem to discover the things they want us to know while the rest is buried within them, within the past.

This tracking of my genealogical history has been difficult and unsatisfying. There are more questions that arise than answers, even in this time of technology and the relentless categorization and tracking of data. I do online searches today and find nothing. Ten years ago I could plug in the name of a person and find all kinds of various hits, but now that data is controlled and funnelled through a “smart” A.I. program, only the ones it thinks are relevant pop up. Only what the world deems important comes to our eyes.

So it’s always the squeaky wheel, the loudest voice, the most vociferous opinion that we see on the platforms which for two decades provided us with a wealth of information.

Today? Not so much. I might as well hole up somewhere with a box of microfiche and get to it. I feel like answers might be found in Hungary, but my command of the language has suffered much since my mother’s death, and was never that proficient to begin with. English is my language of choice, the language I have been educated in, learned to be curious in, to think in.

In light of the discussions within my ancestral healing group over the last several weeks, I mourn that loss of language, because within the language, its context and use, are the secrets of my past, the ones I can intuit in my bones.

Words hold meanings, the memories of things. In one language a word could mean the same thing as in another, superficially, but in each language it has a timbre to it that is relevant to the people whose mouths made those words, who spoke those words, a meaning that I will never really know as a member of a diaspora.

These meanings… they can be passed down, if people choose to, but often there is too much of a burden that is carried in their wake, one each generation that comes before the next wants to burden itself with but to not pass on to the ones that come after because they want them to have a better life, a brighter outlook, an untainted future.

But with that loss, there is also a loss of rootedness, a kind of cultural and historic amnesia. It is no small wonder that we find ourselves in a world that holds itself to nothing, that consumes without thought, where everything within it becomes disposable. Some days I wonder if we’ll recover from this illness of spirit, for that is truly what it feels like.

We find ourselves living on the lands of others, people who have suffered, just as our old peoples had, at the hands of others. They are still here, listening to the murmurings of the waterways, the flailing of the trees as they fall to deforestation, to the sound of the thick blood of the earth as it is getting bled out while its face is pitted with the byproducts that make teenage acne look like a walk in the park.

Our elders had gone silent in an effort to shield us from the pains they carried over centuries. We had a chance for a new start, but without their wisdom and the knowledge of all that came before, we made the same mistakes all over again.

When I was a teenager, I distinctly remember refusing to acknowledge any worth to the words of my parents. The separation required to become an adult is a tough journey, especially if those that teach us have become complacent in the comfort of their own lives by the time they come to witness our transformation, and don’t find a good way to guide us, to lead us through by example.

Maybe they are still struggling too.

Maybe by that point we’ve already seen too much of the darker sides of humanity to want to trust anyone else in this process.

I was young and brash, yet I was also sheltered, naive, and wholly unprepared for the world and its people, especially the ones who saw me coming and couldn’t help themselves in taking advantage of me – but I didn’t know that I had this deficit until it gouged holes in my spirit. I took advantage too, in my own way. I suppose that is how I learnt, but I can’t help but feel that there must be a better way to do this.

So here I am, on a Sunday afternoon, alternately staring out of the dining room window, typing this with two fingers on my phone’s keypad, listening to the birds calling outside (seagulls, crows, and another I can’t identify), to the chirping of the cross-walk signal, wondering what I will do with the rest of my day.

There is so much I want to do. I have a long list of chores that I keep ignoring, books that I want to read piling up into stacks that I may never finish reading in this lifetime, stories I have written but that have languished uncompleted, dishes piled in the sink that need washing, a refrigerator that needs to be sorted and cleared, choices to make on food plans for the week, clothes that need to be laundered and stowed, a cat litter box to clean out… to name a few.

In this overload of choices, I often choose… nothing.