CROSSROADS

Summer time. The living is not quite as easy as the song goes but morning has broken and I have slept a good sleep. The sun was already shining bright at 7. Looks like another hot August day but at least it’s still a cool 17 now at 8 o’clock. By now yesterday, it was already over 21℃. How is my day going to be? Will it run me or will I control it? That is the question. I have many memories of bad hot August days. When I really think about it, they weren’t really bad days but rather bad choices or decisions of actions I’ve made. They led to ‘bad’ feelings which still rear their ugly heads now and again. It really does me no good to blame myself for them. I did the best I could/knew how then.

Now I am at crossroads again. When am I not? Which way or how to go? I know I do not want to dwell in the valley of depression. I will make make a detour and bypass that junction. I have so many options. I can sit in nature as I am now with my tea, tap, tapping for solutions. I can watch a uplifting video like this one of a grandfather and granddaughter doing a tap dance. Joy is contagious. I feel my feet tapping and my heart lifting. I am making an active choice of being in the light and music of life. Sometimes it is not easy but it is a choice we can make.

https://fb.watch/e_8AcHVxyn/

I am choosing this morning not to be so frenzied with thoughts and doings. I am choosing to be still and in this sit spot, resting and enjoying the view before me. The frog is sitting in contemplation amid the squashes and the pot of nasturtiums. The squash leaves are swaying in the gentle breeze, the bees buzzing around the Globe Thistle and the petunias and bougainvilleas blooming on the deck. The laughter and screeches are finally quietening down from daycare one house away as playtime outside is over. All is well. I still have a little bit more time to sit out here and enjoy. Noon is slowly approaching along with the heat.

CHOICES, SABBATICALS, WORDS

Three more days till the end of January. Three more days till the end of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I do have alot to say today as in every day. The getting them out is not the easy thing. How do I start? is always the question. How to introduce and lead in, is difficult. There is the natural flow and rhythm of a conversation between people/friends. With some people, I don’t have to think about it. We get together, greet each other and talk happens. It’s effortless.

Other times, I have to give it some careful thought. How do I want the direction of our time together and conversation go? What is the nature of our relationship? How well do I know this person? Do I want to keep the relationship? In the past, I have not practiced due tact and wisdom. I have not been discerning. It is not that I am a blunt and tactless person. I know manners and proper etiquette. I have never told anyone to their face that I hate their guts, or that their outfit is really bad, never mind what their hair looks like. Maybe I would have been better off if I had been THAT honest.

AND to be honest I have to admit, I haven’t won many valentines for being the proper, polite, honest and helpful person that I am. Obviously that hasn’t been working for me. I have started to mend my ways. I try not to be so frigging uptight.  I don’t have to be the proper all the time. I probably ended up doing all the wrong things by trying so hard. I have failed on a few occasions, of course but I am learning. Now, I’ve given in to just tending to myself for awhile. I’m doing little things like sleeping in a bit, taking a little sabbatical from my aerobics class, minding my own business and wearing blinders. I do not want to hear/see any SOS calls. Sometimes I think I’m more powerful than I am. I am NOT powerful at all.

You know what? I’m feeling better already in one week. I wasn’t liking myself. I wasn’t like how I was going about life. Not that I know how to go about it now. I’m taking a sabbatical from knowing, too. I’m just going to chill and observe. I do feel a softness opening up in me. I think I needed this week’s rest from going with the beat and pumping iron. I’ve gotten a few ideas from Jennifer Louden on how to get back my creative flow. I also use the tips for creative living. The tips I got today are:

  1. Relaxing my body before I do anything so that I can be opened to receive creative energy
  2. Taking back time from being addicted to technology for better use.
  3. Choosing an art and doing it – a small project /day. Choose a medium and act on it.

I have chosen words for today. I’ll get into the paint and pencils another day. For the Ultimate Blog Challenge, out and over till tomorrow.

 

ON TRACK

I’m still on track. My dining table is still clear. I know it’s only a few days into September. I should not be crowing success yet but it does cheer me. I will use whatever tools that will help. Getting up, dressing up and showing up every day works. I’m feeling more positive and energized. I wasn’t that way when I woke at 6 this morning. It was still dark. I was stiff and feeling yucky, for lack of a better word. I do not want to stay in this world of yucks. That’s my reason for embarking on my year of inquiry into everything.

I inquire of myself: Is it true? Do I really feel yucky? I tried to sink into that feeling. Then I asked how I would feel if I didn’t believe in that thought. I tell myself my body was just in the motion of waking and warming up. It’s not sick. It’s not depressed. Somehow the questions lifted some of the nauseous heaviness. Yes, nauseous was how yucky felt. At least I’ve identified it.

How are you on rising? Are you one who rises smiling and shining? You are indeed lucky if you are. However, I now believe that I can choose how I feel. I’ve given much lip service to the adage fake it till you make it. Now I’m doing it. If I practice an action enough, it will become a habit. Granted that I am but human, I know I will not be successful all the time. For one thing, it is not always appropriate. Nobody can or should smile and shine in times of a catastrophe or grief. But I can try to be a more positive and silent person. I don’t have to whine so much.

How was your day? My day turned out pretty well after all. The sun was out at 7 am. I took time to drink in all its delight. I let it infuse me with its light. It warmed and soothed my sore spots. It set the tone for the rest of the day. My step was lighter as I left the house for my exercise class. I worked a little harder, stretching a little more to reach that unreachable star. This is my quest. One should always have dreams. And I do.

 

 

 

 

TALKING ON MOTHER’S DAY

A hot 26 degrees Celsius on a Mother’s Day. I agree with Anne Lamott’s article on Why I Hate Mother’s Day.  The article didn’t make Anne popular. She received a lot of hate mail for it. Agreeing with her probabley won’t make me loved either. Though I haven’t receive any hate mail, I can feel the disapproval. I’m not unfamiliar with those feelings. While Miss Lamott is considered a trail blazer for her frankness, I am not bestowed with such.

Shucks! I will have to bear the brunt of my words. Words do have alot of power as Caroline Myss proclaims. She has lectured about it many times. I shall have to give words more respect and use them with care. There is a possibility that I do voiced what others would only think. It would be wise of me not to give my opinions and feelings so freely. I do not have to be an open book. At the same time I need not be a clam with lips sealed tight. I could learn from these wise and wonderful words.

Talking is fantastically overrated. Too many people do too much of it. It stuns the hell out of me how so many people like to talk. Sharkey, for example. If talking is so good for you, what the hell is Sharkey doing here? The guy tears me up. Talking does not heal you. Talking just adds to the noise pollution in the world. If we were really serious about going green, then maybe we’d all just be quiet.” 
― Benjamin Alire SáenzLast Night I Sang to the Monster

“I choose to choose few words each day. Yes! few words that count. Few words that can make impact. Few words that talk much. Few words that can make people ponder to wonder. Few words that are indelible. Few words that can leave distinctive footprints on minds. Though we may fail to mind our words, we shall never fail to mind the works of our words.” 
― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Ah, I wish that I had written those words! I may be able to come up with some of equal power if I talk and share less. Wise is a woman who keeps her counsel. I’ve never betrayed another secret nor spread malicious lies. I have been a victim though. Who hasn’t? People who tell their secrets should never ask another not to repeat it. It’s asking for too much. IF you don’t want people to tell, you should not tell yourself. The power lies in the choices we make.

What I know for sure is I try to speak always in the first person singular – I.  I get tripped up frequently.  I’m reminded with the question: Who’s THEY? What I know for sure are the things that pertain to myself only. Everything else is guess work. What I know for sure today is, I do love my mother and we celebrated the occasion with a meal. I have not been buying her gifts she seldom wear/use for a few years now. Like Anne Lamott I do not care for these ‘special days’ when you are expected to celebrate in certain ways. These ‘special days’ include Father’s Day as well as Mother’s Day, Christmas, Easter and birthdays. I know it is not a popular sentiment.

Growing up, my siblings and I did not have birthday parties or presents. My mother always made something special to eat like a chicken drumstick and a hard boiled egg. I’m sure there is a significance to them but I am not sure what. I am not a very good Chinese. I am somewhat ashamed to say that we have not done anything for my parents’ birthdays. They have never voiced any disappointment nor displeasure. My mother is quite proud of us. She should be. She has raised us well. As for my father, I am not sure. He is not a demonstrative man. He did not participate in our upbringing. He was the breadwinner.

So I did not grow up in the normal Western traditional family. I am a child of immigrant parents. We adlibbed, adopting some Western traditions while tweaking the traditional Chinese ones as necessary in our circumstances. We had Charlie Brown Christmas trees and celebrations. I am tired of it all, fitting in, trying to be ‘normal’. Now I want to cast off what is not true for me. I want to get up every morning feeling that EVERY day is special. I like to celebrate by being a kind considerate person who will greet each day and each person with kindness and cheer. I struggle with it every day. Gee Wheez, I am talking too much again.

 

 

 

AN UNLOADER’S REGRET

Sometimes I feel foolish being here, day after day. But it is the need of conversation and  a friend that I return. It is true that I am my own best friend. Who has walked in my shoes and see my exact point of view? I feel it is foolish to tell another, “I understand. I get it. I know where you are. Been there. Done that.” We each have our own unique experiences and way of seeing the world. We couldn’t possibly understand another’s. All I can do is accept another’s when they tell me. Believe and don’t try to change or contradict. That is my motto.

It is here that I get to talk without interruption or correction. No one will say, Who’s THEY?  No one will tell me I’m making assumptions. Before I go on and forget, I can tell you now who THEY are. They are our human tribe. I hope no one will demand who the THEY are from me any more. In my space, I can speak without judgement. No one will tell me that I say outloud what others would think only. It’s good I’ve unleashed my dark twin. I am getting a load off my mind.

Speaking of loads, it is quite difficult to rid them. Attachments have deep holds even though they serve no purpose. I felt so elated after doing my tax return this morning. It was a heavy load off my mind. In the process, I found that I’m not totally dizzy, ditzy and disorganized. I felt it was a good time to unload more of my outdated nursing texts and journals into the recycle bin. I gathered all the hard covered Nursing Skills manual. They were in excellent condition. I don’t think I’ve ever actually read one. Regret coursed through my body. I put them back on the shelf. Then I gathered them up again and ran outside. Into the bin they went. My logical self had asked: Of what purpose do they serve on the shelf for another 30 years?

My book shelves are getting thinned and dusted. I am sure I will experience more regret as I rid more of what is not needed anymore. It is not the books or objects that I am attached to. It is the memories they invoke. The regret over choices made, things not done, etc. There is only one path we can go down at any one time. Too bad we can’t straddle them all. Maybe hanging onto stuff is the straddle.  I’m afraid of letting go. It is really being stuck and unable to go forward.

The feelings of regret and pining over choices not made are human. They are short lived like the ones of a buyer’s regret. I remember I’ve said  “My God, what have I done!” over many purchases. All that evorporated with the enjoyment of the piano, house renovations, my Bernina sewing machine. I’m making real progress now, however slow it may be. An inch, a book, a square a day can add up to quite a bit in a year. I have alot of books but not 365 – I think.

 

 

THE I DON’T HAVE TO OPTION

I’ve been here on earth for decades now. Why is it that I am so slow and dense? I’ve just realized that life has many options. I have many choices in this store. Why do I get stuck being confused, angry and unhappy? This reminds me of a TED Talk by Malcolm Gladwell on choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce. I have to watch it again to refresh my memory.

He’s right that most people don’t know what they want. Given the question of coffee, I would say I like a rich dark roast. Who wants to say they like milky weak coffee? NOW I would if that’s what I like. I have a better sense of self, more confidence. I’m not worried about sounding stupid or milky weak like my coffee.

Have you ever counted the different kinds of spaghetti sauce, ketchup, toothpaste… in the store aisles? I haven’t literally counted but remember standing in the tootthpaste aisle trying to decide which toothpaste is the best. How can you tell even reading the labels? Can you trust the labels? It seems I have more trouble choosing as I get older, comparing brands, comparing prices. I remember once upon a long time ago, if I like something and it’s something I need, I would buy it. In more recent times, the more I investigate, the more confused and uncertain I am. Sometimes I go home empty handed, making the trip again on another day.

Today, I’m wiser. I value my time and well being more. I am using the I DON’T HAVE TO option more. I don’t have to toss, turn and fret about a decision. I listen to my gut instinct. This morning my body said NO to exercise class. I said OK. I need the time and the rest. There’s a stack of fabric for me to sort. I checked my emails to see if I got a confirmation for my Bernina sewing machine registration. None. I phoned The Sewing Machine Store to let them know as instructed.

Yes, I had bought my machine just like that for Christmas. A gift to myself. I looked at all the options. There were many. It didn’t take long. The Bernina was the more complex and expensive. But it spoke to me. My gut responded. No buyer’s regret. It took me 2 days to learn how to use the self threader. That was the hardest part but I can straight sew on it. I’m ready to get serious and explore some of its more complicated options. I don’t have to worry that I can’t learn. I know I can.

But first a walk with Sheba. That will be my exercise for the day. It’s a truly amazing crazy +3C degrees for January. The kids are sliding down the hill at the park. Sheba barks at them in excitement. All is joyous. I will store this moment in my brain. It will be my Jack in the box for those blue funky days. What goes up must come down. Where there’s clouds, there’s rain. The sun will shine again. All these are true.

The weather is something we cannot control. How we respond is something we can. There are so many options, the same number as kinds of spaghetti sauce, ketchup, toothpaste. If one doesn’t work, choose another, and another. Sometimes no one solution works. Then it’s time to try a combo. Have a smorgasbord. I tried 2 more chocolate chip cookies, remembering I DON’T HAVE TO fix anything – not even me.

I AM

A very cold start to the day. The door knob to the back door was frozen. It wouldn’t turn. Lucky we had electricity for the hairdryer to thaw it out. A few weeks ago, the lock was frozen. The key wouldn’t turn. Lucky the front door wasn’t that way, too. Sheba and I would be shit out of luck and be left in the cold after our walk. Oh yes, I forget. There’s the garage. It has an electric space heater. We have options.

I should not be so hard on myself for my moodiness. Nature can be a cruel mood leveler. I found out that I wasn’t the only one that skipped out on aerobics Friday. Only 4 people showed. I did showed up today as well as our instructor. What a gal! She just had carpal tunnel surgery this morning, too. That’s way beyond the call of dedication and duty. But it was good for me. I needed someone to pump me up. And just her presence can do it.

I wasn’t really quite with the program. I certainly was not on fire. But I moved and did worked up a sweat. I felt my lethargy changed. My mood moved up a notch. Then I sensed a feeling of empowerment flowing through my being. Somewhere in my brain, a speck of cognition got lit. I felt lighter. Some of the heaviness lifted. I can really move my body. I picked up my feet and threw my arms up in the air. I recognized my depression comes from feeling helplessn, a sense of powerlessness, of no control.

But I did not feel powerless in that moment. I was in charge. I was running, pumping my arms and breathing easy. I do have control. I have choices of how to be. I do not have to be weak and maudlin. Neither do I have to be bossy, mean or unkind. I do not have to be depressed or sad. I can choose. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.

 

WHAT DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE

It was  Gene Siskel along with his colleague, Roger Ebert who asks the question, What do you know for sure? at the end of each show. I think it’s a good question to ask to start each day. What do I know for sure? It is Saturday morning. The air is fresh. It’s sunny and warm. The yard is lush with green foliage and the blues and purples of blooming petunias. I hear birds singing. I see them fly here and there.

I’m sitting on the deck with Sheba, drinking tea and tapping on the keyboard. I’m thinking about what is true and what is not. I’m thinking about where do I want to go for lunch. I’m thinking of how to be more flamboyant, what is fun and what makes me feel good.

What makes me feel good is getting an immediate ping back from the Universe. I am somewhat of a human laboratory. I am experimenting on the HOWS of pursuing excellence in living. Silence is a good tool. I still my brain from thinking, from forming an opinion, a judgement.  Secrets reveal themselves. The answers are there for me to see. I silence my lips and let others speak. I hear everyone’s wisdom. I hear my own heart beat.

There are many things that I cannot control. Let me not waste time there. Let me not moan about what cannot be changed. Let me use my energy in the things I can. I can chart the course of my day, how I feel. I am captain of my ship. I can choose the direction I want to sail. I can choose from my own menu – the appetizer, the main course, dessert, the condiments. I do not have to stay in the storm. I can head for friendly waters and a safe haven.

Life is good. I have choices and options. This is what I know for sure today.

TURBULENCE, IMPERMANENCE, CHOICES – Day 361 and 362 in a year of…

Day 361 – July 24, 2017 @8:20 am

Some days are easier than others but all days are hard. At one time I thought it best not to use that word – hard. I’ve changed my mind. Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s best to face the facts. Life is hard. Days are hard. This morning the sky was overcast, ominous, the trees whipped about by the wind. I felt nature’s turbulence within.

Day 362 – July 25, 2017 @9:34 am

Seems like I’m waking up to Groundhog Day – the same sky and turbulence. The difference is the turbulence is not within me. As I speak the clouds have scattered and the sun is peeking out. Nothing stays the same. In these last days of my year of, I’m ever conscious of our/my shifting world. It has always been so, the impermanence – “transient, evanescent, inconstant.”

In my new state of awareness, I have this feeling that everything and nothing matters. I get to decide which. I am the master/captain of my destiny/ship. I choose everything matters. It is in my genetic code. I am an explorer, a striver and a survivor. I choose life. I choose to make it a good life. This decision gives me direction in every moment. It makes a difference in the days, weeks, months, years to come.

They are not momentous. They are little decisions/changes in little moments.  They make my day just a little easier. I am not monumental. I am but a woman of little stature. I like it.

 

 

LEARNING TO LIVE – day 114 and 115 in a year of…

Day 114 and 115, November 17, 2016 @7:25 pm

img_8230As the day ebbs into afternoon and evening, I feel my energy and my spirit go likewise.  I remind myself that’s the nature of my body and mind sometimes.  The day is getting shorter.  The night casting longer shadows.  I tell myself not to lose heart and do not beat myself up. I can fake it till I make it.  It works to act and behave in a desirable manner.  I have a choice of how to behave for a desired outcome.

I’m sitting here with my keyboard to tap out a few words.  It’s not what l’m liking to do now, but it is my choice.  It would be so easy to just curl up and pull the blanket over my head.  I feel a bit of the early Christmas blues coming on. Are you feeling it – the what to do’s, the what to give and to whom, the how to celebrate and who with?  These are all squirming beneath the surface.  But now I’ve brought them up on top.

Today, I saw the ‘blues’ in our waiter at a restaurant.  The normally energetic, bubbly young man was quiet and clearly not happy.  He was subdued and polite, apologizing in whispers for our long wait.  I felt so much for him.  I wanted to ask if he was alright.  I did not, respecting him.  I wondered if I have absorbed his energy.  I tend to do that.  That is my nature.

I’m sitting, tapping and being aware of my nature.  I’m talking with the Lord.  It is comforting with each tap on a key.  I’m learning from my spiritual teachers. I’m learning to sit and be still with my discomfort.  I’m learning about choices – what is significant and what is not.  I’m learning to live.