Tag Archives: writing

A life arrested

Opposite of Loneliness

There’s a theory that a person’s emotional development stops at the age at which one starts taking drugs.

Maybe this same theory can be expounded upon to include the whole of a life halted in its development due to a variety of reasons, whether family dysfunction or other external factors – arrested in a paradigm much like Bill Murray’s character’s was in Groundhog Day, manoeuvring through the same damned day until he finally gets it right, gets to move on to the next step, and the next, and so on. Bill’s protagonist has an antagonist who is also an ally, in whom he has a vested interest that propels him forward.

I have no such character assist. I don’t even know how to get started on the business of procuring one (though a huge chunk of my life was spent flailing around in the process of attempting to achieve just that). I was under the (clearly) erroneous assumption that in order to get to the next step I would absolutely have to find that other character in order to move forward with my own story. None of the varied and sundry ways I tried resulted in the opposite of loneliness, but I’ve come to find that I’ve become comfortable with my aloneness.

In this space, I write.
I write my way into corners.
I chase words in circles.

I follow the tail of an idea, of emotions whose teeth have gently clasped onto me, unwilling to let me go. I don’t know know where they want to take me, but I’ve come to trust the process, whether or not it amounts to a great piece of writing, or simply provides an outlet for a jumble of thoughts so that they may reach coherence.

I’ve begun reading The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. By the end of the introduction (by her professor Anne Fadiman), I was misty-eyed, sorry for fate of the arrested life of someone so promising. Upon reading the first essay (titled the same as the book) tears came anew along with a sense of kinship.

At 52, I can still relate to her words. They were true for a 22 year old, but I’ve come to find that they are just as true now for someone like me, thirty years older. I hold the same hopes, harbour the same feelings of inadequacy. I wonder how much of it is due to the arrested development of my younger self and how much of it is merely a byproduct of the human condition.

The truth is, we are still SO YOUNG, even me, at 52. And in Marina’s words, “…[w]e can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility, because in the end, it’s all we have.”

I do envy something that Marina had which I have in my 52 years of life been incapable of feeling: “remarkably, unbelievably safe”. Perhaps it is a character flaw, perhaps it’s merely a situational anomaly, that I’ve not for most of the years I’ve lived in this world, felt truly and unequivocally, safe.

It has, however, forced me toward a bravery that I am always astonished to discover that I can muster. I’ve overcome many things simply because I had to get to the other side of them in order to remain intact. I may have at times seemed to be spineless, may have sometimes been graceless, and at times been a downright asshole throughout the process, but I mostly always take something away from each of these experiences, whether immediately or through the distance that the passage of time affords.

It would be foolish of me to say that I have no regrets. I have many, and they multiply with every passing year, with each choice, each road taken (or not), but I release them after I think on them and mourn what could have been, and make more choices.

Whether mistakes or successes, life moves along at an incredible clip. This automated and electronically dense world we live in, it speeds along dizzyingly, doesn’t allow us to dwell on things for too long. I can only hope that the choices I am making now will lead me to where I eventually want to be, and that the vision of where that is becomes clearer as I move closer toward it.

We all need allies, though, and I hope to be as good a one as those who I hope to consort with on this journey. As much as writing is a solitary practice, it can not be done in a vacuum. It needs the eyes and hearts of others to keep it true to course. Onwards, then – bravely.

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on reading piles, writing


It’s chilly outside today. I can feel the bite in the air hinting at what the fallen leaves that have begun to litter the walkways for the last couple of weeks have been soundlessly saying: fall is almost here. It’s my favourite time of year.

Nothing is more appealing on days like today (or yesterday, for that matter) than to cozy up in a quilt and read. I can’t resist a good book, even though I should be writing one instead of diving headlong into my reading pile.

I read through Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yesterday. Since it essentially is a bound version of the play, it consists mostly of dialog and scene set-up.

I loved the story.

I think we often (as we move through our lives) wonder about the choices we make, and how a different one would have changed our circumstances. This story provides a means for us to vicariously travel along with these characters and see different outcomes. It highlights the perfect imperfection of the human condition, and how much of who we become depends upon those we choose to journey with during our lifetime, and how gracefully we accept our own and others’ periodical defeats.

Prior to even receiving the book (which was an unexpected and most appreciated gift from my son and his girlfriend) I had read through many online critiques of the plot line (and the spoilers, because that’s just who I am). They were a bit off-putting, to be honest, and so when I began to read yesterday I was pleasantly surprised that it was an immersive experience and brought me back into the make believe world that I’d come to love so much.

A week ago from last Friday I took a spill while rushing to the train station between jobs. I injured my right shoulder and it’s been slow to recover. I probably should go to the emergency unit and get it x-rayed but I keep putting it off because I have such little spare time and don’t particularly relish spending it in a hospital line up. I set yesterday as my getting better or going to have it looked at limit and ended up resting instead of going to hospital. It’s getting better but I still can’t properly lift my arm from a certain angle.

I plan on working on one of my own stories today. I have a four hour shift late afternoon but until then I want to get to know my characters a bit better, perhaps write some back story. Maybe I’ll even get to start on the next book in my reading pile. And there will be Dutch Babies for breakfast.

What are you reading these days?

Farewell TWSO, hello world

Wow. I can’t believe that I’m at the tail end of my writing program. The year whipped by fast, and the constant production of writing has (I think, I hope) finally gotten me to a consistent writing practice and given me more confidence in my ability as a writer.

The deadline to submit to the anthology is Friday at noon, so I only have a very small window of time to finalize my submission. It’s a bit nerve wracking but I’m also so very excited about the possibility of having something I’ve written be out in the real world (outside of my blog and whatever I share on social media). 

The first piece is an excerpt from The Story Wrangler, a novel that I’ve been workshopping this year. I also wanted to submit some poetry (since I spent the first half of the program workshopping those) and there may be room for two.

I’m excited and I’m wistful. I’ve enjoyed the company of my cohort; along with my other cohorts and our mentor, Fiona, they have all given me such valuable insight into my skill gaps and strengths.

Most of all, I’ve learned that I love writing. I am in love with writing. I write because it’s unthinkable for me not to. I write because stories call to me (so, so many of them) and they want to be told.

it had to be you

I love this movie.

I mean I bought the DVD probably about seven years ago and I’m sure I’ve watched it every couple of months (though sometimes every couple of weeks) since.

I saw it when it was first released in the theatre and I rented it when it became available on video cassette.

It NEVER.GETS.OLD.

Parts of it move me to tears even after having seen them so many times that I can almost recite the lines by heart. Parts have me laughing so hard I cry tears of mirth.

Nora Ephron was brilliant and this continues to inspire me as what to reach for insofar as romantic comedy screenplay writing is concerned.

The casting was also brilliant, up to and including casting Carrie Fisher as best friend to Meg Ryan’s Sally.

In the discussion on comedy screenplay given by Steve Kaplan during Story Expo last fall, it was discussed how there were not one but two main protagonists, the spot shared equally between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal (who STILL -in my humble opinion- is THE best EVER presenter of all time for the Oscars ceremonies).

They made magic together.

This movie gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, “It Had To Be You” might cue up during the rolling of an epic scene in the movie of my life.

Not-so-MORNING PAGES

Less than a half hour away from my final creativity group coaching session with Jill – at least for the time being.

I haven’t written since Friday. I guess I took the weekend off, and now it’s Tuesday and I’m lagging. The story gnaws at me, pulling at my edges while I continue to fumble my way through it. It is never far from my thoughts, but no words have come through yet.

I’ve been great with distracting myself. I spent the morning listening to Eminem and Pink on my iTunes, sifting through emails and multiple cups of coffee… I suppose I will graduate to a cup of tea – to be made before the call begins. That, and void my bladder.  (Yes, TMI.)

I’m still dispirited. I don’t really know what ails me. It’s back to gray and rainy again, though the last week has been quite bright and sunny and I haven’t gone outside since my birthday (or maybe it was the day after… but it’s been at least a week since I’ve presented myself to the world, fully dressed).

This morning I am doing the no-pants dance (literally… you should have seen me grooving in the kitchen while I was waiting for water to boil and my toast to brown), sitting in my t-shirt and striped underwear as I type this out. Eventually I’ll shower and dress – Rob Brezsny said that I should make my hair and face as shiny as can be… my best self. I’m sure he doesn’t mean the kind of shiny my hair is, in its current state (which is just greasy from skipping a day or two of shampooing). Damn overactive sebum glands. It keeps me young looking but more slick than I’d like.

I have been thinking that I really miss having a relationship. I miss the complicity. I miss the bodily contact, the comfortable familiarity of colliding atoms with another person, in good (at times pleasurable) ways. I miss another’s touch on my body – the tentative exploration, seeking visceral knowledge of pleasure and connection. The tangible feel of affection and love as it flows out of a hand.

I miss it but not enough to do anything about it.

So by virtue of these distracting thoughts, I’ve been struggling with writing on the story this morning (what else is new?). You’d think that desire fades with time, but it’s not true; not yet, anyway. I suppose fifty is still too young for it not to still be alive and well.

I “found” an old boyfriend on Facebook the other day. The mind is always curious about what has become of people we have known but not seen in a long while. He was my first mad love. We were crazy about each other, and also just plain crazy.

We didn’t know who we were, or how to be, and certainly we weren’t in a healthy relationship (because we didn’t even know what that looked like), but man, were we ever in love. At least I was. I think he was too. It seems so long ago… thirty years. We’ve both been married and divorced. He has been in another long term relationship with someone and is afraid to accept my friend request because it may make her jealous. So still, perhaps, not so healthy, relationship-wise.

Jealousy. What an interesting emotion it is; so detrimental, and yet so prevalent – and consuming. Thinking that permanent possession of something or someone is possible, and fearing its loss – the lesson of impermanence not yet gleaned. Nor the understanding that even when people stay together, things change and evolve – and different doesn’t necessarily mean bad.

Jealousy rears itself on its hind quarters like a spooked horse when one feels insecure in oneself or a relationship (or a situation). It takes gentle self-compassion (and for the other person likewise to show compassionate awareness) to move past it. Of being truthful, kind and transparent… and that level of exposure is fearsome and hard.

Life is too short to be spending it on not wearing yourself on your sleeve, though. Not doing so robs everyone of your best self, including you.

Transparency is important, I think. I learned that the hard way, over many relationships and many years of trial and error.

My last one was the hardest. It stretched me further than I had ever stretched before; it made me grow in ways I didn’t think I had to grow or didn’t know that I wanted to. It was at once one of the most intense and most terrifying relationships that I’d ever had.

It still saddens me that the experience wasn’t a reciprocal one – that the power of it was diminished because we weren’t equally open and present to each other. It taught me a lot about releasing expectation and what the meaning of responsibility was in the context of a relationship. It also taught me to be mindful of my instincts – my body knew what was happening even before things became known – the body knows; trust the body. It also taught me to trust my worth. I am worthy. I am worthy. I am worthy.

I think that the only way to evolve in this world is through relationship – to enjoy the process while growing in awareness. It is like walking in two worlds, really, one foot in the sacred, and one foot in the profane.

I miss it but not enough to do anything about it.

morning pages and cultivating roots…

Jan3CultivateRoot

(pencil undersketch penned over and painted with tube gouache. #30DayJournalProject)

Slow. Rain. Comfort. Coffee. Dream fragments. Hunger pangs. Hair and clothes that need washing. Lists made. Things to be done. All folding into this space and time of semi-wakefulness. This moment. WHAT do I want? What do I want to DO? Besides sleep some more. Oh sleep, how I love thee. It took months before I broke out of the cycle of awakening early every morning, filled with anxiety as though I’d missed the alarm. My rhythms are different now… back to what they naturally are inclined to do – late nights and not wakening until it’s light, which on these shortened winter days is late. Ah, yes… light. Not much of it again, these days. I think that I ought to go for a run and try fitness again but all I want to do is sleep. Keep warm and cozy and dry. Definitely not wet. Why do people like running in the cold rain?

It’s almost 10am and I am only just dragging myself up and about.  It’s grey outside and the grumbling in my stomach reminds me to put the kettle on. Coffee first. Then, when there are enough neurons firing, something else… food. Yogourt and granola. Love this granola but seriously – $8 for the bag made me cringe, but I got it anyway because it has Good Stuff in it, and I don’t have much Good Stuff so I need to make it count. I have a sort of dietic apathy.  I love food but the preparing and cooking of it doesn’t interest me, so quick and convenient (which usually doesn’t mean healthy). I did buy some pita bread and will experiment with making my own chips (*must steep fresh rosemary in olive oil*). I do like the experimental aspect of it. And when people enjoy what I make. There’s only the two of us and it gets old always being the one to be doing the cooking.

*pausing to make some coffee*

The smell of coffee is still on my hands. I love how it smells. How it tastes, too, but the smell is what brings it all together – the scent, the taste, the way it’s warmth spreads as it progresses down to my belly.

I had an image come to me this morning, for my art journal page, as I laid in bed with my arms clasped together over my lower abdomen, feeling it rise and fall with each breath. The awareness of my breath made me focus on it even more, and I breathed relaxation into it. I saw it as if it was burning, like a fire enlivened by the wind from the bellows. I had until now thought that my creativity stemmed from the root chakra, the elemental connection of our bodily selves to the spark that materialized us, but I see now that it’s at the second chakra where my breath is feeding the raging fires that it births from.

I made plans. I wrote them out (in my Notes, on the iPhone).

One is to do these… morning pages. To write for an hour. Another is to write on one of my stories. I haven’t touched the Telescope story in a while, and I feel it’s time to revisit it again. I’m just going to write. What else can I do but write it out? Yet another to-do item is to research freelance opportunities for writers and artists. I want to know where the markets are, what they require, so that I can build a repertoire of material that will likely be attractive. Targeted work. I always thought that making “art” to order would take away from my creative process, but I think in some ways it will fuel it, make me stretch in ways I would not have had it just been for me and my being left to my own devices. I hope it makes me a better writer and artist.

And then there is the roast for dinner. I am going to put it in the oven around 4PM. It’s a mammoth rolled pork blade roast, and I now realize that I will have to return to the grocery store because I think it needs to be accompanied by brussels sprouts. Yes, definitely. It will be poked and inserted with slivers of garlic and resemble Pinhead – Clive would be proud. I wish I had some rendered fat to rub on its surface. I have some duck fat and it works well as a fat for many things but it just doesn’t sound like it would taste right with the pork, which is lighter and more subtle in flavour and the duck fat doesn’t ever quite lose that wildness. I wish I could find some juniper berries. Not tons.. just a bit. I had a recipe call for some and it’s not something that regularly shows up between the peppercorn and nutmeg and turmeric.  I have a serious spice hoarding issue. Well… not hoarding – collecting. But I use them. I’m the one who makes lavender and thyme shortbread cookies. I love lavender. In food. Well, in anything, Period.

*pauses to go grab the mail that just got violently shoved through the mail slot by the postal carrier – it always startles me*

Nothing particularly exciting, though Organic Gardening was in there, and I know that preparing for the next growing season isn’t all that far off. I’m so grateful that Tyler and Amanda are keen gardeners and that they allow me to stick my hands into the dirt here, and also reap some of the bounty. I’ve been thinking that perhaps my (two boxes of!) paper making supplies could be put to use during this lull and that I make some seeded paper to sell. On etsy, maybe. I always wonder about whether it’s worth opening up an etsy storefront or not. Whether it’s more trouble than it’s worth; whether you need the demand already in place for the supply to be worth the trouble. Not quite buying the “if you build it they will come” paradigm. But who knows.

Well, the hour is about up. I’m ready for some granola and yogourt. Maybe another coffee, and then I’ll tackle something else on my list. One of which should be to take a shower.

oh what to do….

PrettyClothes

Sitting here this morning, sipping my second cup of coffee (*bliss*) while I figure out what I want to do with my time today.

Oh… and eating shortbread cookies for breakfast (because… well, I’m lazy and it’s right there and it is sooooooo good!).

Already most of the morning is gone and all I’ve done is enjoy coffee which I got at Starbucks yesterday, because I’ve been drinking Nabob and it’s… okay…. but OMG was I ever craving a really STELLAR cup of coffee, so I splurged and bought a pound of the Christmas Blend, which got me a $5 gift card, so technically it only cost me $13 for the pound… *sigh* coffee and chocolate are my two guilty pleasures and they certainly aren’t cheap ones. ANYway… At least I had had the foresight to load my Starbucks card up a while back so I didn’t actually spend any NEW money, but was using my coffee reserve $….

  • I want to get at least 20 minutes of sitting meditation in
  • I’m doing laundry (is that ever a sisyphean task or what?!)
  • I will eventually need to prepare something for dinner (I got some crusty bread and tomatoes, basil and garlic and want to make some bruschetta tonight, to go with our left overs from earlier in the week)
  • I have a pile of magazine pages sitting on the table from the aftermath of my image reaping session last night in an attempt to shrink my magazine pile… contemplating what to do with it – play with the images in a journal or put them in my stash
  • I want to write some more
  • I need to do some research on short fiction submissions (where, when, how, what)
  • I should really do some job hunting research as well (sigh)
  • I want to revamp my website and blog, and need to do research on how to go about doing that, and then play out direction, content, etc.
  • I want to monetize my artwork (and perhaps make some more of it, specifically for this) and set up a couple of store fronts via cafépress and society6, which appear to be the popular go-to’s these days for on-demand stuff

And really lusting after a coat and a dress that I saw in one of the magazines… pics at top (because I saved those pages). They are from the October issue of RealSimple. They are exorbitantly priced, of course, but *pretty*!! In heathery hues… and woven yarn goodness(!) and the shoot was set in what looks like the Scottish Highlands. (Some day…)

AND…… just wondering… how did I ever get so disconnected from the online arts community that I didn’t even know about people like Orly and Effy and Tamara, and the wild buzz around everyone? I think it’s really cool that people are following their bliss. I feel that trying to keep up on the pulse of (every)things is exhausting and… frankly… distracting… which might explain why I have been living under a rock and making rather than seeing.

Am I really missing out on anything?

Sometimes I feel like the whole craft industry feeds upon itself, because if new people didn’t jump on the bandwagon, everything would collapse upon itself (sort of like the mortgage crisis…). In searching for community and connection, people are capitalized upon.

I really miss connecting live with people (Kelly!). Not just in class settings but socially and creatively. The Art Bar and A Little Bizaar (now closed) were such great places for that. There doesn’t seem to be anything like that here, particularly in Port Moody. There is an arts community but it is either a bunch of little blue haired ladies painting perfectly horrible little watercolours (and THEY don’t care… they’re having FUN! which is the point…) and hogging up all of the committee seats in the local art organization, or there are people who take it waaaaaaaaaay too seriously, and are Artists, and there is decidedly less of a fun vibe… smacking of artistic snobbery.

I’m sure there are places in Vancouver… like there’s a really fun life drawing gig going on at a café every month or so, but they hold the event on Sunday evenings (http://drsketchyvancouver.com/) and it’s difficult to get to and from, from where I live, and it a bit of a sketchier (ha… a pun!) part of town…. but it’s like burlesque pin-up meets life drawing… how fun is that?! One of these days…..

Anyway… I’m rambling…. hope you guys are all having a fabulous day.

Adriane xo

thoughts on a Sunday morning

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It’s sunny this morning. I sit comfortably on the couch in the living room, watching steam rise from the roof as I gaze outside the window. A manic little fruit fly is insisting that it do a kamikaze nosedive into my coffee mug which rests upon, along with my feet, the wicker chest across from the couch. The sky is still a rich blue, not yet washed out by weeks and months of rain. The trees, some of which have been spewing leaves for at least a month, are still mostly green leafed, though some have been nipped by the chilly night air and are showing signs of yellowing. The sun feels warm against my skin, bits of leg exposed between where my flannel pyjama pant ends and my knit slippers begin.

My cat, unimaginatively named “Kitty”, restlessly paces from room to room, mewling quietly in frustration; she wants to be let outside, because the rain has stopped and it’s sunny, but I can’t risk her coming up the back porch, which is still tarped and received another layer of plastic coating recently, requiring 48 hours to set properly. Soon the view from the rear of the house will be restored. All is quiet and still in the house, besides the cat, but street noises filter in through the slightly cracked windows: a car alarm, emergency vehicle sirens (I have never been able to distinguish the separate agencies), the acceleration of buses and the shushing of tires against pavement, the squawking of crows and geese spearing their way through the sky in arrow formation.

I have things to do today. Chore things, and things that I’ve signed up for that I haven’t done, like reading pages of a book, and spending some time on self-contemplation and journaling, and to make moussaka (which will probably be made very late, because I only remembered to thaw out the frozen ground lamb trays at 4:15 this morning while sitting on the toilet contemplating what it was that I would have to do today because yesterday I mostly did nothing).

I wanted to write, too, to work on my story (or one of the many), and this is where I balk. Which one? Where to take it? I’d rather read some more on technique and how-to and endless pages of online text and blogs and Facebook wall posts than sit down and figure that out. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I really don’t know, or the inkling is so faint that it will take too much work to unearth, and there is already enough work that I have to do, isn’t this supposed to be the pleasurable part?

And then I think of pleasure, that kind, the kind that is mostly absent from my life and is otherwise self-inflicted if it happens at all. I miss it. I love the textures and the smells and the feeling of skin against skin and coarse pubic hair and how a person tastes and of course the obvious things as well, but it always has been more for me than plugging things into orifices -it’s a means of connecting with a person in physical and superphysical ways- and it’s obviously not that way for others; not all others.

The kettle has boiled and I’ve moved from coffee to tea. A stream of engine rumbling comes in from outside, perhaps a motorcycle procession, with lots of horn honking and intermittent whistle blows. I’m tempted to go outside to see what is going on, but I’m not sure which direction it’s all coming from, and I am, after all, still in my flannel pyjamas. I open the back door to see if the coating on the deck has set – it has. I let the cat out and she listens to the rumbling for a moment and decides she wants back in.

The rumbling persists, along with the honking and the whistle blowing. I am finally intrigued enough to move off the couch.

[* * * Pause while I go to the end of the street to investigate, in my flannel pyjamas and knit slippers slipped into my Birkenstocks. * * * ]

It turns out that there is an annual Vancouver Motorcycle Toy Run that starts from the Coquitlam Centre parking lot and rides up the road by the house up to the PNE. Mystery solved.

I resume my position on the couch with my wireless keyboard set cross on my lap and my iPad propped up on my knees. The cat wants onto my lap and decides that the iPad will serve as a suitable object to rub against, for the lack of a hand. I observe the little clumps of cat fur that litter the living room floor.

The cat has taken to yanking out tufts of fur with her mouth. This started shortly after her run in with another neighbourhood cat that ended in our living room and with her limping around for the better part of a week. She seems fine now, physically, but she is a tender thing, neurally, and it takes her lengthy stretches of time to come to terms with things that rattle her.

I find it difficult to ignore the mirror she holds up, parallels in our behaviour, since under high stress I have always reached for my hair and yanked, not figuratively but literally. During a particularly trying time in my early twenties I’d fully razed a whole area along my temples, so much so that it hurt to the touch, it had become so raw. It was then that they named it for me, this thing I was doing: trichotillomania. Along with the lip biting and inner cheek chewing, I’m sure they all relate to how I’ve learnt to deal with anxiety, and they all have fancy names in the DSM for body focused repetitive compulsive behaviours.

But the tufts of fur are yet another reminder of the growing list of “things” I must attend to but tend to ignore until I don’t. There’s laundry to be done, too, and dusting. I can’t seem to find it in me to do these things routinely. I used to. I was regimented, which perhaps had been worked into me by my mother despite them being unnatural inclinations. I love spatial esthetics and tidiness, but the clean part doesn’t bother me as much, not anymore (though truth be told, I will admit to being a bit of a germophobe, so while dust and cat fur balls don’t really faze me, I’ll wash my hands a gazillion times while preparing food, and will scrub the sink out to make sure that it doesn’t become a petrie dish of sorts).

Much has changed since I’ve ventured off on my own, without eyes to judge the places I fail to live up to invisible expectations. After her death ten years ago, while I missed my mother terribly (still do), as time went on it was as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, as though I could finally be who I really was and wanted to be.

It’s been a messy ball of yarn, this untangling of self, this figuring out which part was me and which part was conditioning and which parts I wanted to keep and which parts could use a fresh coat of paint. I never imagined that it would be so… complicated… but it has been.

This slow unfurling of self has been good, though, allowing for mindful and gentle observing, because if we can’t be that way with ourselves, how can we be that way with the world? It all starts with ourselves, it seems, no exceptions, otherwise we will judge the world and those in it as harshly as we judge ourselves, whether we admit it or not, and that is an epic fail, in my opinion. It hobbles us emotionally and keeps us from being able to connect with each other in meaningful ways, and what else, besides connection, is the highest goal of human life?

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.

in the silence, words find their way out

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The house is silent. Our upstairs neighbours must have left the building. My son is still asleep. The shushing from the light rainfall and car tires making their way through the wet are my backdrop. I just lit a stick of incense, too. Establishing sacred space in which to create, I guess. Waiting to hear what direction to go in, and which project to pursue. Silence. Ease.

Happy Saturday. I’m off to write…..