We’re at the height of its fiery heat,
though by the wheel’s turning we are already into the descent.
A banana tree in the back yard has grown by feet this past week alone,
one of the billowy leaves looking like a tired sojourner,
leaning heavily on the balcony railing for support.
Even the mosquitos are too wilted to mill as we wait for the sun to sink below the horizon; none come out now.
I’ve been reading the same page of my book over again without retaining a word.
I’ll try again later. Right now something cold and wet sounds good;
raspberry lemonade blended with trays of ice, swirled with some freshly cut strawberries, perhaps.
I will not complain about the heat, even as I stand in front of the fan with lifted shirt;
the air inside is so warm that standing anywhere feels as though one were in a bath without any steam.
But the glasses aren’t sweating – everything is dry, a little parched.
In a few months I’ll be lamenting the lack of warmth and aridity and sunshine;
for now I’ll bask in it, then, even if it hurts.
teeming summer bees and things
dragon fly-by buzzing the town
looking to give a ride to a damsel
it’s that time folks, step right up
trills and thrills mingle into one so
that neither are discernible from
the other; lake water lapping on
a shore beckons a toe then a foot
oh what the hell, let it claim all of
you – in neck deep now, might as
well dive in, even without the tire
swing to careen off of for leverage.
(c) 2014 Adriane Csicsmann Giberson
Yesterday was a good day. The weather would change about every half hour, so we had everything from sun to torrential rain. I think Gaia just couldn’t make up her mind.
Not so long ago I saw posted on Maya Stein’s Facebook page a call to “write a book” and a photo of the titles up for grabs. I picked “How to Navigate Loss” because me and loss? We’re close personal friends…
I’d written out the concept (on my usual preferred brainstorming medium of choice, index cards) and yesterday afternoon I finally started sketching. I’d gotten perhaps five spreads done and was going to leave it for the next day but knowing myself (and my gnat-like attention span) I figured that if I didn’t push through and get ‘er done, that it would languish unfinished until my fickle muse decided to stop applying multicoloured hair dye for long enough to finish the story.
So I pressed through, ignoring meals and most of everything else. I drew and coloured and folded and glued… and at a little after two o’clock this morning, I was done. Done! *patting self on back, because I FINISHED without a whole lot of anguished creative suffering!*
And, apart from this Accomplishment, I also plotted out a plan for the recategorization of the categories on this here blog, as well as rewriting my bio info, which will be added to my “About” tab (just as soon as I transcribe it from my index notes).
Progress and success comes in tiny (but equally immense) steps.
(And maybe smudging the whole house with white sage and palo santo really *did* move some stagnant energy out. I’ll take it!)
Not even the lure of a cup of coffee with fresh table cream was enough to convince me to brave the wet. The neighbourhood trees are growing into a riot of green, leaves bursting from branches like out of control afros and the petals of magnolia and cherry tree blossoms leaving a beautiful trail of detritus. But this is what the back balcony looks like today:
A nap is sounding much more my speed (the cat has the right idea methinks).
So on days like today one of my favourite things to do is to look through some books, and lately (perhaps ever), my favourite cook book has got to be Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and her blog a close follow up second for all things food inspiration
I often adhoc stuff in the kitchen. Yes folks, I have finally gotten to that enviable place that my mother was at (and who I was in awe of) in the kitchen to know enough about food chemistry and flavours to make ingredients submit to my will and have a dish turn out without the exacting process of following a recipe. Well, baking takes a little more finesse and accuracy, so I follow rules a lot more carefully there (as did my mother) but cooking dishes has become much more of an intuitive process. Which is why I love Deb’s recipes. She will pair things together that are intriguing to the palate and so obviously divine together in retrospect.
Last week’s double chocolate banana bread is still being talked about and lusted after (and will be made again just as soon as the bananas are ripe enough). But seriously… if it’s not on your cookbook shelf, and you aren’t afraid of embracing a variety of ingredients, this one should definitely be part of your repertoire. Tomorrow is Easter and I’m wondering what I should make for the two of us. Double chocolate banana bread for certain, but the rest? I’m not sure yet.
But what I do know is that I am now ready for that nap…
Today was the first most ab-so-lute-ly gorgeous day of the year. I’ve been leaving the door open for the cat so that she can venture outside at will.
Earlier a bee had come in through a small cracked window (we don’t have window screens on any but one window upstairs) and was buzzing frantically as it bounced between blind slats and glass, trying to crash its way out. I wasn’t sure how to get it outside – the window, as a safety measure, has a locking device that allows it to only slide open so much, which must be unscrewed and pushed along the window rail to allow for a wider opening. With a frustrated bee buzzing around, I wasn’t sure how I would manage to get the window open enough, and I didn’t want to squish it. Somehow I managed to push it open enough for there to be a good gap for the bee to make its escape but it was not moving toward the opening. I utilized my trusty plastic glass and index card method of catch-and-release. As soon as I tipped the cup toward the opening and removed the card it zipped out the window.
After enjoying the quiet of the house until mid-afternoon, a lot of that time spent perusing Pintrest, I stepped outside. With book tucked under my arm, I unfolded my picnic quilt and spread it out on the back balcony. In full afternoon sunlight splendour, I read and sunned for a couple of hours. The cat joined me for a spell, nudging my hand for a rub as I sat with my eyes closed, head and back leaning against the warm sun soaked wall. The sky was an impossible blue, clear and cloudless. Although comfortable because of the sunshine, the wind was blowing softly and required intermittent covering when I felt chilled in my short sleeved tee shirt. I breathed in air to my lungs and light through my pores. I can understand why the bees are gathering around the yard these days. The bushes in the back ooze the sweetest honey scent and drifted all the way upstairs without much effort.
I’ve been reading “Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up” by James Hollis, Ph.D. Earlier this week I read a blog post from Danielle Laporte, and on my Facebook share of this same link I had zeroed in on this excerpt:
“The point is: I was tired of being my version of good.
Because I’ve been good. Let me tell you. I’ve meditated. I’ve prayed. I’ve cleared my chakras and my ancestral ties. I’ve sent positive thoughts, white light, and handwritten thank you notes. And I have purified—my oh my, have I purified. Cleanses and sweats, colonics and karmic cord-cutting. I got rid of my microwave. I feng shui’d my shit into a transcendental temple. You see, I am a pro at better-fying. For the love of God and Buddha and The Goddess, I am a self-help author.”
I commented with the following:
“I’m with ya, sistah.
Yeah… not a self-help author, but I’ve spent so much time, money and energy on “self-help” (and, mind you, helping others self-help, because I’ve done everything from psychic readings – very briefly, online – to carving my own set of futhark runes (in stone, no less, that I gathered along the shores of the ocean, asking for permission from the earth for each reaping of stone), aromatherapy, energy healing, SoulCollage facilitation, body work encompassing everything from lymphatic drainage to deep tissue massage, and shamanic journeying and soul retrieval, not to mention forays into christianity via the Catholic, United, Methodist, Lutheran, LDS churches and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a six-month stint in a ISKCON -that’s the International Society of Krishna Consciousness- ashram, reading scripture from the Bah’ai, Buddhist and Islamic faiths, and soulful searches into heathen, pagan and occult paths (including those that think we’ve been “seeded” with extraterrestrial genomes, and/or the product of nephilim but those perhaps circle back to judeo-christianity, in some weird, convoluted way). My self-help library probably rivals the local public library’s. Oh… and I didn’t have a microwave for a while, but my son was happy when someone donated the behemoth of a nuke-tastic dinosaur microwave because he was once again able to make popcorn, and I, with equal thanks, can nuke my herbal and buckwheat heat pack for when the body aches.”
And essentially, it’s true. I’ve tried all the usual (and unusual) ways to make peace with myself and somehow the peace of mind that I have been reaching for is still eluding me. This signals to me that throughout all of my previous efforts, I have merely managed to placate a part rather than the whole of my spirit, and once I’d calmed down enough to allow my ego to regain control, I resumed my old ways of being in the world.
As I’m reading Dr. Hollis’ book, which I recommend to ANYone (everyone?) who is on a journey toward better understanding of self, I am discovering that no matter how well informed I have thought myself to be about myself, I am still very far from being self-aware, and further still from possessing self-mastery, no matter how much my ego wishes it were so (or thought it was so, ever).
I also, as I read deeper into the book (I’m at page 95 of 260, not including the bibliography and index), I wonder whether there is such a thing. We spend so much of our early lives becoming conditioned and then the rest of it running the auto-pilot programs (mostly without noticing them initialize) that even once we become aware of the fact that we are reacting (drawing from previous experience) in a specific way, we seem incapable of creating a newer path. The reaction is instantaneous. It has a physical and emotional component to it that is familiar; it floods our neurobiology and we react. At least that is what I do; I’m sure I’m not alone.
I’m hoping that as I read through this book, tools will be revealed on how to counter these (for the lack of a better, though sadly overused, term) triggers and replace the subsequent reactions with more favourable ones. I wish that I had access to a therapist. Therapy is costly, and, let’s face it, not all therapists are made equal, but I believe that someone outside of ourselves (who is trained to objectively observe, assess and guide) is a crucial element in the making of headway in this area… and man, am I ever ready to make some headway. Seriously. If not now, when?
It is mindbogglingly humbling to realize that every.single.human.interaction. is filtered through this process, bar none. We learn to behave and manipulate our way into accustomed dynamics. I can see it in each and every relationship I’ve ever had, each disconcerting interaction, each unsatisfying work experience, each unfinished project and each yearning for something other than what I’ve had.
So, to return to Danielle’s piece, and my comments to it, yes, I am tired of being on the self-improvement road, and all of the ways in which I’ve endeavoured to discover it from external sources. Clearly, always focusing on what is wrong and ails isn’t where the joy is. But without knowing, truly knowing, what lies beneath the stuff that drives us, the joy can never be found.
Oh… and this (whose smell is permeating the whole room and has ten more minutes of cooling, before I can cut into it and sample).
(P.S. The banana bread? Utterly divine….)
It’s been foggy most mornings and evenings, which lends a veiled mystery to the beginnings and endings of days. I took this photo Monday night.
Last night I took some antihistamines and went to bed fairly early, intending to read but incapable of even doing that. Instead I had a round of Sweet Tooth 2 – something like Candy Crush (I hear) only different.
My dreams were crazy wild, something about attending a wedding and getting lost on my way to the reception and losing my date (whose friends they were) and then finding him and the wedding party again, and having crazy long and artfully painted nails (if you know me, you know that my nails are paper thin, and short down to almost quick is how I sport them).
I awoke this morning with the realization that I was breathing deeply from my belly and thinking how good it feels – how much better rested I feel when I’ve had a night full of those. Mostly I don’t, my breathing abbreviated and mirroring the stress that hides itself so well in my body.