Experiments in green.
One of my co-conspirators of the Facebook group I am co-admin on suggested we do a virtual art journal swap. We decided that each month a different colour would be featured and that those who wanted to participate could share the fruits of their labour by posting photos of our collectively created art in a group album.
I’d already started playing with green a little (with yesterday’s small art posting) and this one is today’s result.
If nothing else, at least it’s getting me to play in my sketchbook again. That’s always a good thing.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
The sound of metal hitting metal permeates the house. It is relentless. They are driving steel rods into the earth for the Skytrain station being built across the street, and the construction noise is nerve-wracking.
When the banging stops the silence in the wake of the noise is so loud that it almost hurts. I’ve been drowning it out with music but I want to write and I can’t focus as well on the writing when I am listening to music, so the unsilent silence is what I will have to live with.
Somewhere in there is a metaphor for my present moment, I’m sure.
I awoke late this morning, at a few minutes short of ten, and by the time I’d gotten the coffee making, breakfast eating sorted out, personal hygiene and other things done, it is now twenty-five after eleven. I want to work on my Cauliflower story. I have a group coaching call with Jill at noon and so there isn’t much time to get into the momentum of writing – it will have to wait until afterwards. I’ve written my dream log (first thing, upon waking) and I’ve checked my email, flicked and unsubscribed from the endless sea of spam messages as they came in, and went to the Esso station to pick up a half litre of half & half so I can have my coffee. I’ve eaten some yogurt and granola and I’ve showered. I’ve cleaned out the cat’s litter box and swept the entryway.
The days are flowing by more quickly than I’d like them to, although I am also anxiously awaiting the arrival of some money which will not be for another couple of weeks yet. It’s been difficult, but I am learning to sink into ease despite the discomfort. I’ve been creatively productive, though, if I have to dig around for a silver lining.
*oh! the mail… through the mail slot… always makes me jump…*
Well, the mail brought a bill for our health coverage services and I am unable to pay it, so I called them and they’ve put a temporary hold on collection services and I can also apply for the waiving of the fees during my unemployment. Which is a relief because I don’t want to have to choose between food and healthcare coverage, or rather be forced to pay for the coverage at the expense of having food.
Well. So here I am again in this really uncomfortable place of not having. And it sucks. And I’m tired of being here over and over and over again.
And I’m also trying to not feel sorry for myself. I’m trying to be optimistic while sharing my story.
And I’m noting that I am in constant struggle with my inner critic who says things like “I have not been doing anything constructive”, which is something that is mirrored by others around me. “WHAT have you been doing with your time?” they ask. “WHY haven’t you found work yet?” “You need a job – stop being so picky.”
All sort of true things. True in that it is obvious that I must work again (or generate an income in some way), but also not true in that I must be hasty in my selection of the work I choose. Yes, there is a sense of urgency but I have to trust that the steps I am taking, in concert, will yield the results that I wish to gain. And I’m figuring it out as I am going along. New territory is always tough to breach. I don’t have a map, really. Just some landmarks to follow as I stumble across the terrain, trying to get to the other side, to where I really want to be. Today that would be a nice sunny soft sand oceanside beach, with a good book and a picnic basket. With wine. LOTS of wine.
I know there are other people that are way worse off than I am or are having some insane life challenges that are way beyond my little woes (like a woman from one of our online art groups who had to go in to surgery yesterday to have her tongue removed because of the big “C” … or … after looking at the photo essay by Lisa Kristine on Modern Day Slavery, my life looks like a cake walk in comparison). So much courage out there and I feel laughably ridiculous with my little woes. First World Problems. But problems nonetheless.
They are my woes, and I still have to deal with them, and it still feels … hard. By honouring that I am allowed to find things difficult validates me in a way that I have not been able to find validation from any other source: it gives me courage to dig deeper and go just a little beyond myself.
Being vulnerable is often considered a character flaw. I don’t mean vulnerable in the sense of being at risk of injury but the kind that is to authentically share what it feels like being you, including the nasty bits that make you (and possibly other people) uncomfortable. Scary.
I have very little idea who reads this blog or how it is received. I don’t want to further burden an already over-burdened world. I do want to share, though, my unadulterated journey because I’m sure that there are others who feel exactly the same way I do about something but they feel isolated and marginalized in some way, and UNHEARD.
So this is what I want to create, I suppose … a vehicle to hear and to be heard.
I choose to do it by writing my own story. I open up a window for others to peer in to – sometimes that simple act allows others to create their own opening and show just a little more of themselves.
I consider the showing and the witnessing a sacred act.
And I consider that unfolding to be a victory.
I’m sitting here at a quarter to noon with a black skin clarification mask smeared on my chin (an attempt to rid it of a spot that is and one that isn’t quite yet) post-yet-another-freebie-coaching call (this one with Stacy Nelson – who was awesome, by the way), freshly showered and dressed in what I fondly refer to as my gene string footless tights and a faded and hole-y lounging tunic.
I’ve been a blog whore lately, abundantly engaging in All That Is Free in the blogosphere (because, seriously, I’ve got less than thirty bucks to rub together until my very first EI check arrives some time during the first week of February, and I’m also wondering whether I should spend any of it on a card for my son’s birthday, which is the day after tomorrow, or just focus on what’s important and buy ingredients to make him a birthday cake instead). Decisions.
And really, that is all I have been focusing on… decisions.
Decisions I’ve made.
Decisions I have to make.
How my decisions will affect my life and the ones of those in my intimate circle.
The question that keeps coming up in all of these is:
What Feeds Me?
That’s a big question.
So much feeds me. And much also doesn’t.
Coming back to center and figuring out what truly feeds me rather than what I turn to when I seek to be fed is where I struggle. It has been a struggle that I’ve had for a very long time, and clearly I have not yet found a way to operate which truly allows for that balance to manifest.
And… I’ve been avoiding this sitting with myself bit. Over and over again. When I have (in the past), I’ve come upon the uncomfortable realization that nothing that I was or am doing, professionally (and I’m using that as a loose term because “legal administrative assistant” may sound like a profession, but really? let’s get serious…) is getting me closer to how I want to be and feel in the world. So I stuff it all down and hunker down for another bout of sucking it up and trying to be myself as best as I can in an environment that stifles and rejects uniqueness and most of the values that I, well, value most.
I make a choice. Then another. And another.
Like a pendulum, I swing wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other.
I make a choice that ends up taking me further away from center… it swings to the farthest reaches of discomfort and then, at the end of its course it has no choice but to start swinging backwards.
Then I make a polar opposite choice (or one is made for me) and I swing in the other direction… still an unbalanced way to work things, right?
One extreme; another extreme.
So despite my myriad yearnings for many other things or feelings… what I need to find first is balance. But what does that look like? How can I find middle ground without feeling like I’ve sold my soul?
Stacy asked me what it is that truly lights me up… what feelings are the ones that make me feel most seated in myself? They were:
The act of creating
Connection / Communion
Those two things are the feelings that resonate the most with me, and they drive everything that I do in my life, including that pendulum that swings back and forth, back and forth. I reach for those two feelings and sometimes get them sustainably, and sometimes get them at great expense. The process I am trying to wade through now is what expense is necessary in order to sustainably reach both of those feelings most of the time.
I mean… we all need a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. And I’d like to up the ante a bit and say that I want to maintain a nice, beautiful and comfortable home and good food, not just sumptuous and delicious but good, vital, food. I want to not have to worry about getting to the check out counter and have to remove things from the basket in order to have enough money to pay for the groceries. I want to not have to choose between a birthday card for my son and a delicious meal to serve him on his birthday and a birthday cake.
These are all things I didn’t think too much about until a few months ago. I had enough to have and do these things, in moderation, but not more. Everything was always carefully calculated and stretched out just so. I lived pretty much within my means (give or take about a $500 gap) but couldn’t account for any contingency plan should my income disappear or greatly diminish for any length of time. I tried to plan my escape route and line up another job, but it didn’t happen in time.
Since then I’ve worked with a legal placement agency (because that is where two decades of my experience lies) and I’ve been presented as a candidate for several positions.
The radio silence is numbing. In many ways it also shadows the very feelings I have when I am in the sort of environment that I’ve worked in for the last several decades. Numb. It definitely doesn’t evoke either of those two core feelings that I wish to feel that I listed above, and while I feel connection with the people I work side-by-side with, seldom do I feel deep connection to the companies I’ve worked for, or to the driving ideology that underlies them.
For one, many of them support the kinds of things that I am diametrically opposed to (like supporting natural resource exploitation spin doctored to sound like they are being done in a “corporately responsible” way but… yeah, right… and the corporate shortsighted focus on the bottom line at the expense of sustained socio-economic stability).
I don’t have answers to the socio-economic issues that plague the modern day world and expect that there are other far more skilled and able people out there working on viable solutions, but I do know that I don’t want to further contribute to its failings by being an active participant, even peripherally.
Which greatly limits my options at the moment.
So I find myself having to make some decisions.
I’m having to search out what my core values are, and realign with them once again.
I’m having to seek opportunities for earning a livelihood that will create the sort of feelings I want to embody, in which all of my needs are met. By needs, I don’t mean surface needs – I mean the ones that underlie those surface needs and anchor us to who we are in the world.
I’m having to not feel ashamed that I have needs in the first place, and that having needs doesn’t mean that I am needy.
I’m having to view my limitations, and really look at them to figure out whether they are actual or perceived, and figure out what to do about them.
I’m having to swim through an overwhelming sea of information and figure out what is pertinent, and pick out what will be useful to me to get me back to feeling those two key core feelings that I am most happy in.
I’m having to counterbalance my wish for right-work and right-livelihood with my skills and experience, and the marketplace, and see if there is any wiggle room in there that will allow me to contribute in meaningful ways without the credentials and the experience and, frankly, perhaps even a demand for what I have to offer.
I don’t suffer fools easily, and this paradox applies to myself, equally. I can very much be the fool at times, and being the fool puts me on a journey towards self-discovery. It always leads back to self… to spirit, and that connection that I yearn for with others as well as with myself.
This is a walk of the highest vibration, which I must struggle to maintain because if I don’t, I’ll make another counter-intuitive choice. I must constantly be aware of where my thoughts are, and how everything feels in my body.
And my body is telling me this:
It’s taken almost TWO MONTHS to recover from the dis-ease created by TWO YEARS (compounded upon TWO DECADES) of walking around in someone else’s life.
Find yours. Find your life. Find your place.
And really? I’m just trying to stop from become the screaming dude in Edvard Munch’s painting…
Peace. (or peach… as I incorrectly typed and then changed, but oddly, it’s fitting, because *juicy*!) xo
Another Art Journal page … collaged some images and a coloured pencil sketch and because I was really impatient it’s all wrinkly but OH well… still in progress and will add some “core desired feelings” to the images (as referred to in Danielle Laporte’s interview on Sounds True).