Tag Archives: human journey

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

updates and revisions, thoughts on what the fuss about blogging is all about (and why I do it)

Awwww… I know – bummer. No picture to tempt you to click on the link. I hope you’ll follow it anyway.

I have begun the onerous undertaking of revising all of the categories that I’ve used on my blog and consolidating them into less random groups. Now down to 14 pages (there were initially 18), and 270 categories (seriously?! who needs that many flippin’ categories?!), I still have a long, long way to go. This is a tiny part of the very slow process of streamlining and updating my blog, which I have thought of doing many a time but dismissed as too unwieldy a project – until now.

With a little more time at my disposal, I can at least clean it up so that when I have a little more money at my disposal I will be able to give it the facelift that I intended to give it for some time now. I am still uncertain what parts will be nipped and tucked though. I’m not sure where I’ll be going with the blog, if any deviation to its current trajectory will happen.

When I first started posting stuff to the interwebz, it was a vast expanse of open land, kind of like the Wild Wild West. Lots of scrub brush and sage, some tumbleweed and only a few shanty towns along the road. Only a few people were generating enough income (through syndication) via their blogging to make a decent living doing it, and the publishing industry was still predominantly a tactile one. Not so much anymore. Publishing has embraced digital technology with open arms (though I imagine it was a difficult transition for many operations) but this new forum is enabling smaller publications (which is a VERY good thing) the sort of voice that was no longer possible within the print world (at least not without a whole lot of financial backing, which let’s face it most small prints didn’t and still don’t have at their disposal).

Remember Livejournal?

Initially, blogging was an extension of personal journaling, either to a closed group (i.e., family and friends who would be given access to the online material via a link) or publicly, but it was mostly accessible in an aggregate sort of way by visiting the sites themselves. They looked far less pretty than they do now, and even when they started becoming more customizable and wysiwyg, they required at least a little bit of coding knowledge if you wanted them to do what you wanted them to do. Or, if you wanted to pull away from the flock, you had to integrate them into your personal website, but doing that also made it difficult to generate the traffic necessary for it to actually be a monetized enterprise unless you already had a decent readership in place.

When I first started posting this stuff, it was really as a way to connect with people that I knew from various art boards or local art community, or those who were specifically interested in my art process and its results; those who enjoyed reading my writing, who embarked willingly upon the wild ride that my mental gymnastics would more often than not take them on. My great idea of “monetizing” was to jump on the affiliate bandwagon, or to adopt banner ads, neither of which generated anything remotely adequate as a living income. I thought that signing on as an Amazon associate was brilliant because a) I read a lot of books, and b) I purchased a lot of books, and I would often share with my blog viewers info on my purchases. This was relatable information because we had common interests. I still share my book links, and hope that it will in some small part drop a few coins into my revenue jar, at least enough to supplement my book addiction costs (which have been severely curtailed over the last half decade, but especially now that I have become unemployed).

Now because I have so many diverse interests, I suppose my posts can draw a very diverse crowd, not necessarily interested in each other or even in every possible tangent that I may write about.

But really, this whole blogging thing that I do continues to be what it started off as – a live (and very personal) accounting of my journey through life and my attempt to make sense of it as I go along. I can’t be alone in having these (admittedly at times bizarre) thoughts, but I appreciate the fact that I can share it with people even if I really don’t get a sense of it being heard so much as disseminated, because nobody comments much anymore. I get notified of a post being “liked” but that is the extent of it.

I’ve always expected this to be a sort of dialog, though, so in some respects I would like to scoop into my inner well and pull out the stuff that might be useful – relatable – relevant – to someone other than merely myself – things that resonate with those of you who have chosen to add my blog to your reading list; the sort things that keep you clicking on the links when the alert goes out that a new blog post is up.

I don’t have any how-to’s about much of anything – clearly (as you know, if you read), I am stumbling through this journey like most of the rest of the world. I haven’t achieved any celebrity, notoriety (except, perhaps, in tiny circles and in ways which wouldn’t be useful, per se), higher wisdom, great skill, wealth (or the arcane knowledge as to how to generate it), physical perfection, spiritual enlightenment or any associated message relating thereto, academic accolades, professional success, and any other variant of the things that people are looking for on blogs (or in general) these days.

I don’t have the answers. I just have more questions, and those mostly lead to the next ones rather than the answers.

With that said, I’d like to know which ones you would like me to ask more of, because it would be nice to know that you are asking the same ones, or yours might spur me into asking others that I might not have thought of. Perhaps we might come up with some answers, and if not, maybe we’ll just have a helluva good time on the journey.

Peace xo

Okay… so I ended up sketching something this afternoon and I’m sharing it… a little “small art”. Enjoy.

20140421-195506.jpg

an unfinished human

I’ve been on a bit of a downward spiral lately, and though there are some specific reasons for it, I don’t really feel that I should address them here. I will, however, talk about what I am (and have, for many, many years been) doing to get through to the other side.

Caveat: this works for me; I am an individual and we all have different ways of processing things. Take what resonates with you, and leave the rest; offer insight if you think it might be helpful, to me or anyone else.

Double-edged sword: I’ve been feeling creative lately, and writing more. What that means is that I am having to go into vulnerable places in order to access the meaty stuff that makes for good writing. On the flip side of that, things have been happening in my exterior world that are directly affecting my interior one. Things like news of possible lay-offs and general unrest at the workplace; financial issues with potential court room drama that come at a time when I am still in a tenuous financial situation; increased expenses without an increase in salary (for instance my rent went from $1100 a month to $1665 a month with utilities; that’s a slightly more than a 50% increase in rental costs alone); an old relationship resurfacing when the healing process had still not yet been completed. I could go on.

This is a small sampling, but there is an added amount of stress, real or imagined, that is pushing me into a kind of frantic state that I have a hard time dealing with, especially on my own. If you ask me about a support system (the kind that we normally look to: family, friends, etc.), I can say that I can’t really rely on any since I don’t have one in place, not really. This is, however, something I’m quite used to, so I have learnt that I have to reach out and find solutions because, contrary to popular believe, “going it alone” doesn’t ever work very well, and “sucking it up” doesn’t resolve the issues nor does it provide any relief for the anxiety. I’ve tried both, even recently, and it only ends up manifesting in physical ailment. Hint: it’s not a good course of action.

So enter the “self-help queen” – I must have one of the most extensive motivational, inspirational and self-help libraries around, but there are always new books (i.e., tools) that come out that I am (until the moment when I’m having a quasi-meltdown) unaware of. So I purchase more, because over the long haul, even a handful of books costs less than sitting through weeks and months of therapy. I’m not saying that therapy isn’t helpful, with the right counsellor, but the costs are quite prohibitive and it would behoove me to become proactive in my own getting out of my mire process. If all else fails and I’m still not able to find some mending, I would of course get some external assistance.

At the moment I’ve begun reading a couple of books:

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown; and
The Muse Is In: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity by Jill Badonsky

I was already reading:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain; and
Women Who Run With The Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

So… I read slowly, bits of whichever of these happen to resonate at any given moment, over a period of time.

Well, that’s not quite true. I am reading Women Who Run With The Wolves with an online group and we are reading through a chapter every couple weeks, which, since the content is really dense and the exercises we are working through quite deep, it’s a bit of a crawling along (though rewarding) process.

The Gifts of Imperfection will be needed for an online workshop I signed up for with Brené, and similarly, I signed up for an online month-long teleconference/remote coaching group session with Jill Badonsky to help deal with some of my creativity issues, which essentially just boil down to the more basic issues that are the foundation of many of the other things that keep me from living as someone who is (as Brené calls it) Wholehearted.

I have moments of being in this state, so I know what I’m missing out on when I’m not. And I can tell you that it is wonderful. But like anything that’s worth working for, it takes some effort to maintain, and (clearly) I have many times that I downright fall right off the wagon.

So I’ve come to the meat of this post; the reason I wanted to write about this in the first place.

I know I am not alone.

YOU are not alone.

If there is ever a moment of inquiry that you pause in and wonder how you could be doing ‘this’ better, not because you are inadequate at doing whatever it is that you are doing, but because there is perhaps another way that might yield better results, you are drawing on your courage, and that is remarkable.

It is often said that happiness is a state of mind; I believe this to be true – it *is* a state of mind, and not dependent upon many of the things that we associate with happiness – money, success, love, sex, material acquisitions – because I have seen so many people with so much and yet they are not happy.

Truthfully, we all long for connection, and how we individually interpret that differs tremendously, but the more we can come to understand ourselves and what connection really means to us, the further along the path we can move to becoming a slightly less unfinished human.

Creative chaos…

A little upheaval going on here these last few months… major changes (I changed workplaces and am still adjusting)… successive visitors from Canada, which was a real treat, because I got to hang with my buds and took some time off from work during the second visit, which was of a little longer duration than the first one (I’ll post some photos from each in a little while). All this to say that my art “stuffs” have been suffering somewhat… little time and energy (and hence not much motivation) to sit down and play. Frankly, I’ve been in this strange nesting mode (and it’s not because I’m pregnant, so scratch that thought), straightening up and clearing out, and organizing, and cleaning… up to the point, of course, when the energy gives out. I feel like I’m anemic again (chewing on the ice cubes is a good indication of such) and so I’ve begun popping slow release iron again, which I invariably forget to take or tire of taking (I worry about taking too much of it, over time… it IS a heavy metal).

In any case, I started playing with this month’s postcards, whose color theme is “salmon and turquoise.” As you can see, I’ve not got very far with the experimenting, but I’m a bit slow on production these days. My workbench has been piled so high with “stuff” that there wasn’t any room to work on it, so I’ve had to extend my work space with another little table. Wish I had a studio space to work in, but alas, it’s not going to happen in our little two-bedroom apartment.

Changing… shifting… into self

 

Not yet completed entry from Moleskine Journal

I have been listening to Rick Jarow’s The Ultimate Anti-Career Guide: The Inner Path to Finding Your Work in the World  in which he says that in order to effect change, one must get angry enough. Perhaps I have not quite gotten there, but I feel it simmering just below my surface. I believe that the anger must be strong enough to overcome the fear. I am almost there and ready to plunge into my destiny.As a trained SoulCollage facilitator, I received the most recent newsletter in which founder Seena Frost commented on how it is her hope “…that SoulCollage has the capacity, through all of you, to awaken people to greater consciousness. I hope that by balancing chaotic energies within one’s personal soul, this soul will go on to help balance chaotic energies in families and communities and even administrations!” She goes on to say that she will be listening in to the Oprah/Eckhart Tolle Skype discussions, which debuted on Monday. I also listened to this talk after the fact and may well listen in to the rest. My feeling was that the last thing I needed to do was to read another book of this type. There are so many already out there, and all of them simply rehash the same concepts and present them in a different manner.

My thoughts on the awakening of the soul is this: there has to be an innate desire to do so, and if a person is not “ready” to receive the information, it will all seem like so much mumbo-jumbo. I believe that people are either born with the capacity for a higher consciousness or they are not, or that some life-altering event triggers something in the soul and makes them so. I think that the broad reach of many of these lines of thought is wonderful, and exposes people to new possibilities who would perhaps not have been exposed due to the cultural or social conditions they live in.

I find human nature disturbing. Not the various parts of ourselves, which through SoulCollage many (myself included) are able to reintegrate into themselves and honor, instead of disown. How much better each of us would be if we recognized within ourselves all of the different aspects of ourselves and acknowledged them, seen who was showing up and were able to greet them with familiarity and respect? Perhaps all of our parts would behave at a higher level then, not just acting out like ignored children yearning for attention, but as honored guests who know they can contribute something worthwhile.

But all of this work takes immense courage, the courage to delve into the messy middle of ourselves, and those who dwell on the surface of themselves… their lives… simply do not want to undertake the expedition. Some are busy being victims and victors, and are so exhausted from their daily battles that taking on the task of excavating themselves is simply overwhelming. Others simply go about with a sort of head static interrupting the soul’s signaling for expansion. They are the judges and jurors… the pigeon-holers… the ones who criticize everyone they come into contact with and yet are unable to recognize their own inadequacies, but will justify their behavior, good or otherwise, because they must in order to ignore the inner gnawing that occasionally manages to emerge… to tell them that something is off. These are but a few examples of many possible variations.

Perhaps there is a sense in all of us of a great, impending change that must occur soon, and because change is perceived as a bad thing and triggers the reflexes that reverts the brain into a rather primitive state, there is a scramble for upholding the status quo until the very last moment. It will get uglier before it gets better I think. And we are back to these wonderful tools that are available to those who are ready to make the shift… to go within… to look at the world from the inside of themselves before turning their eyes outward.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What a day it’s been… looooong… but I was so tickled this morning when I got a call to go down to the lobby to pick up a vase of red roses from Steve. I can’t remember when the last time it was that he got me a dozen red roses… and the card moved me to tears. A busy day ensued at work and then I left to pick up some things at the store for a very special Valentine’s day feast I was planning… by the time I got all of the shopping done and dinner cooked, it was very late… like 10 o’clock late. *sigh* I tried… but it was all delish, and the photo above is the aftermath, replete with empty dessert plates.

The House That Dad Built

Mail Attachment
The House That Dad Built
Artist Trading Card

I saw a post a while back on one of the message boards I frequent on Yahoo, asking for participants in an ATC swap regarding a school research project someone was conducting. The subject matter was to focus on “homeland” and the card will be displayed with many others who participated in the project.

This subject intrigued me, because I feel rather rootless. I live in California, yet I was born in Canada, to a set of Hungarian immigrant parents who still considered themselves Hungarians foremost. My parents have passed on. My sister and I are estranged. Now I simply feel a citizen of the world, but when I peer back into the various incarnations of “me” a sad little part of me emerges… one who misses the connection to family, but knows that what is lost shall never be regained.