STILL HOPEFUL AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

I’ve always been a hopeful person, even when I’m not, even when I’m in the throes of planning my own demise. I’ve often felt like I’m a hoax when I am filling out the forms for counselling. Things don’t add up at the end. That’s what I tell the therapist(s). I tell them the results of those forms – that I am not without hope. What was I doing there? They would laugh and tell me that it is a good thing.

I am still that hopeful person. I look forward to waking up every morning when I can start my day. There’s always something to learn, some new venture beckoning me. I am not the kind of adventurer that you’re probably thinking of. I’m not busting out, wanting to travel to the far corners of the world or outer space. I don’t want to bungee jump off a high rise in Las Vegas. I’m not a high roller at the casino either though I have played the slot machines. My kind of excitement might raise a few bored eyebrows. It’s learning about nematodes, soil health and Dr. Elaine Ingham. Then I stumbled upon Korean natural farming and Chris Trump. Are you yawning yet? These are the kind of things that excite me and give me hope for a greener planet.

I am hopeful but I do have dark days and moods but I am learning how to navigate them more constructively and creatively. I have so many teachers from family, friends, co-workers – all the people that I’ve come in contact with. You have, too. We become the sum of what they’ve impacted upon with, whether they know it or not. So it is important that we choose the right environment. We, like all growing things, need fertile soil to thrive in. I have found a wealth of knowledge and wisdom through books, television and online. I first learn of Caroline Myss on Oprah many years ago. She’s still my first go to source of inspiration and spiritual direction. I believe her when she says that this is the most exciting time in history. It is, don’t you agree?

What gives me hope this morning is watching this episode on Kirsten Dirksen’s YouTube channel. It’s about a simple home built by an architect who had spent his first years in a Japanese internment camp in Idaho. He talked about how that had influence him on his love for simplicity and what is important. Kirsten features many stories like this in different parts of the world. Through them I can see how much talent and abilities we all have. We are not all in this life just to make money and getting more stuff. There are many who care about the planet, sustainability, resilience and the quality of life. Therefore, I am always hopeful when I watch these kinds of programs. They help me change in some small way to contribute to the cause.

TOWARDS WINTER SOLSTICE

December 15th. Winter solstice is just a week away. I had good intentions of being here regularly but I’ve only shown up twice. Bad on me! Intentions don’t mean beans when they’re not kept. But I am here now. My moods still can turn on a dime. The difference now is I know the exact instant they do. I pull out my tools and do an inquiry. I’ve read enough of Byron Katie’s The Work. I know to ask the 4 questions:

  • Is it true?
  • Can you absolutely know that it is true?
  • How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?
  • Who would you be without that thought?

Then there’s Tara Brach’s RAIN. It stands for:

  • Recognize what is happening.
  • Allow the experience to be there, just as it is.
  • Investigate with interest and care.
  • Nurture with self-compassion.

Recognition of the moment gives me an opportunity to pause and to take note. I don’t have to react and behave in old patterns. I can choose how it is that I want to behave, therefore changing the way I feel. I tell myself that because this is new, I might not feel comfortable or good immediately or even soon. It will take time to gel. I tell myself it is a new adventure, a new skill like learning how to cross country ski, ride a bike, to swim, to make sourdough….

Going toward the shortest day of the year is a grand adventure this year. I’m thinking of the darkness as a warm nest wherein we can rest and sleep. Then we can emerge on the other side, rejuvenated and ready to face the lengthening days as we progress towards spring and all that it promises.

THE MIDDLE WAY

Another December morning. It is as dark as can be at 7:42. We are heading head long towards the darkest day of the year. 11 more days and we will come out on the other side. It is my best fall and December wherein I am not blaming the season for my moody blues. I have talked about how my feelings can turn on a dime. It is still true but now I can turn it around just as quickly. I have a self control button as well as auto pilot. I should have check my operation manual sooner. It is nice to know I have a choice of how I want to feel and be.

Mornings are my best time for everything. I always look forward to waking up and starting the day. It’s when I am fresh with a clean slate. No hangovers of toxic emotions and attitudes to weigh me down. I guess that’s why they advocate not watching the news or argue before bedtime. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve gone to bed upset. I am doing something right. Too bad one can’t keep the lid on 24/7. But life and humans are not perfect. I don’t think we can learn and advance if there are no bleeps along the way. I am grateful for each and everyone of them for what they have taught me.

I don’t like to admit it. I do tend to look at things in black and white, right and wrong, yes and no. I didn’t realized it until yesterday. How dumb can I be? I was stuck in a certain mindset. It was only by accident that I skidded out of the track. It was that light bulb moment that I could see there was a middle way. There’s much truth in age old sayings like: There’s more than one way of skinning a cat. All roads lead to Rome. More than one way to cook an egg. I was really surprised by my awakening. I didn’t know I had a hard set mind. I was not as opened minded as I had thought. Life would have been much easier had I known sooner. It is what it is. I wasn’t ready. I am happy to learn that there is grey, somethings are neither right or wrong and that there is a maybe of different strengths.

PROBLEM SOLVING – still a gerbil on a wheel

It’s hard to pull up my socks once they’ve fallen down. The struggle is real. Things are piling up on my desk, the dining room table and in my head again. I hope I have caught myself in time before I fall completely down the rabbit hole. I’ve stopped the conversation on the keyboard for just a week. It is hard starting again. I’ll just sit awhile and drink my tea and try to feel out where the difficulty lies. There’s no rush. It’s not going away. It’s waiting for me.

What I’ve learned from this is not to let things come to a grinding halt. It felt good the first day so I did it again the next and the next and so on. And here I am, trying to work myself back into a schedule, a routine of some sort wherein I can feel good and alive – that I am interacting with and a part of the world. I am not happy with persistent languor, hanging out amidst and buried under my unfiled, undelt with and unfinished piles.

When I think of clearing and dealing with it all, I feel overwhelmed and hopeless. I move a few things around and about. I have not made space or homes for anything and everything. It’s not a surprise that I got nowhere and gave up, moving on to familiar, more comfortable activities like watching Inspector Wexford on YouTube. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a British crime series, a Ruth Rendall mystery. The episodes have a story and plot. They are quite unlike a lot of modern American crime shows where the catch is violence, sex and fast car chases. Still, it is a crutch I fall on when it is hard for me to do what I need to be doing.

Talking about movies and distractions, I’ve come to realize that I am addicted to crime genres in movies, TV shows and books as well. I haven’t been always so. I used to like a good story and romance. Now I find them a bit tedious and slow going. My attention span have been shortened by action dramas and crime fiction. I’m trying to work my way back to being not so lazy. I used to read books like Marjorie Morningstar and East of Eden. Now I read Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery series and such. But I am working on J.R. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy. It’s slow going but she is a very good writer with lots of detailed descriptions. It’s a good exercise for slowing my brain and hopefully help increase my attention span.

I am having a wee bit of success. I’m concentrating on finishing this post. I am taking more time in proof reading and editing. Hopefully I am making more sense. I’ve identified a few of my clutter problems. I need to find homes for my things so that they are not strewn here and there. I need to deal with my mail (electronic and snail) daily. They build up quicker than I can think. Yesterday I deleted hundreds of emails, some from July. I’ve been in this spot more than a few times. I’m still the gerbil on the wheel. The best solution for me is to think things through slowly, identify, have an action plan and follow through.