Can I tell you something? It is difficult to write and work on being stuck when you are! Sometimes I feel so disgusted with myself. I try not to stay there. Yesterday I talked about how much time we spend on scrolling. I know that I haven’t always done so. I was a very late comer to the computer and smart phone. I was the smart one then. I’m not so now. It’s really not my fault. I fell into the same trap as many other people. Now I am determined to get out.
Instead of wasting time fighting my urges, I gave in and let my fingers wandered over the buttons, the mouse and keyboard. My brain still has some control over where they go. It can still say, enough now! I found this video this morning on clutter. It was a bit long, an hour. But since that’s what I am working on, it was well worth my time. I made my breakfast while I listened to it. I got some value from it.
I agree that the 3 things to work on are my emotions, time and stuff. And to work slow and prioritize, of course. I am not what you would call a hoarder. My house is not jam packed with stuff. I am a clutterer from way back, getting worse with each day. I tend to drop things wherever they happen to land. They never seem to be able to find a home. My worse traps are the dining room table and my desk.
The best time to work on anything is the present moment. That cuts the procrastination. I took her hint, got a box and cleared off my dining room table into it. That is, whatever could fit. Other times, I used a shoebox. I have a few of them around, waiting to be sorted and emptied. Next, I whipped off the tablecloths and threw them, along with a few other items into the washer. What a relief! I’ve been wanting to do that for quite a few days, but unable to, being paralyzed by emotions of I don’t know how. I know it sounds silly and lame. It is what it is.
I know my laundry is done by now. Time to hang it/put in dryer. I’ve done some dreaded dusting in the bedroom. The drapes are taken down and in the washer. It’s the blackout ones I made and hung last year. I’m sure they would appreciate a wash. Now that I’ve done that, I am not sure why it was so hard. I guess the hard part is if you don’t move, it’s hard to get it done. By taking ClutterClarity’s advice on going slow, I did kinda enjoy the process. It is nice to have a cleared table again. The next stop is my desk.
These last days of 2020 seem the hardest. It’s a good reason to return to the keyboard – to put words onto the page instead of getting lost in my emotions. Be here. Be now. I try not to give myself a hard time. It is cloudy and oppressive. I stand up, pick up and straighten a few things. I look out and see the children playing outside at the daycare, one house over. It is good to see and feel their energy. I put the kettle on. I damp mop the livingroom and kitchen in the meantime. I make a cup of black instant decaf. I welcome the change of taste.
There, I’ve gotten a hold of myself! I didn’t let myself drift off into the wave of what should I call it – lassitude, boredom, listlessness, anxiety, hopelessness, depression? A medley, a stirfry of negative energy/emotions. I think I’m just being human. Who can honestly say that they haven’t been feeling any of these? Perhaps it is an overworked phrase but we are in hard times. We’re in the muck of Covid-19. It is not the first in the history of the planet. It’s only one of many but it could be the beginning of the end of us. So let us learn from it, shall we?
There’s no use crying over spilt milk or locking the barn door after the horse is gone. We must work together to make our world healthier and safer. How will you contribute? The first step forward is not to deny we have a problem. I have done that. The next step for me is not to feel hopeless and defeated by my and our world’s problems. There are good days, not so good ones and then there will be bad days. No two days are equal. But I can choose to do my best for the day I’m in. I can trade up with one paperclip at a time.
It is afternoon. The day is still cloudy as can be. I have managed to stirfry something for lunch, do the dishes and make a list for my errands. I could not find my car or house keys. My head is as heavy as lead. No point in a desperate search. I used the guy’s keys. At Freshco I picked up my prescription and a few things for my mother and myself. It was a long wait at the cashier line. Someone was having a coupon issue. I waited with patient forbearance. I was silent behind my mask, breathing in and out. I was through in due time. I did a little meandering through the mall in search of something. Strange to see a coffeeshop with tables removed and bottles of sanitizer on an empty table. Strange to see people having coffee in such surroundings.
It is now late afternoon. My mother was happy with my delivery – super fresh daikon, pasta, bananas, grapes, pasta and 2 Hawaiian pizzas. I took her some of my baked pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and cookies, too. She was delighted with the steamed Chinese buns I gave her over Christmas. She said that if I added a bit of sugar to the dough, it would be just perfect. There was a time when it was my mother who gave me home cooked stuff. And I couldn’t say no. Now the shoe is on the other foot.
These may not be the best of times. It certainly is the strangest of times. Most of all, it is the only time we have. I’m trying to find a way to make the most of it. I’ve been a little frustrated, irritated, a little angry, a little up and a little down, feeling the whole kaleidoscope of emotions. Today I’m feeling more at ease and relaxed. I’ve come through the clouds though it is a cloudy day. No sun at all but it is a mild December day. It is -1 degrees Celsius. It is cooler in the greenhouse, -1.6.
I’ve been frustrated with my clutter, my inefficiency. It seems I’ve been working at it for years. Or have I? I’m probably just spinning in my tracks, going nowhere. I have Stephanie Bennett Vogt’s A Year to Clear on my Kindle app. Maybe it’s time for me to open it and follow it daily. The chapters are in weeks and within days. Surely I can tackle a single day at a time. It will be good training for my errant brain. I really have difficulty concentrating and doing things step by step in order. I often skip the middle of the book and read the ending. I am impatient. I can’t tolerate/enjoy the whole process. Often I don’t make it back to read the whole story.
I’m practicing on being more patient, tapping slowing and patiently on my keyboard. Sometimes my thoughts race ahead of my fingers. It’s torture to proofread but I will start to do that from now on. I’m good at figuring out computer glitches. I tap here and there until everything works. I can’t tell you how or why though. That’s what my brain is like – a mess of synapses snapping away. Order inside and out is what I desire. I will put that down on my list on my Notes app.
The day has progressed into evening. I will shut it down soon. I have opened A Year to Clear. I will take the time to work through the days and weeks. I am taking this week to relax into the process and to reflect on what it is that I want to clear and what to keep. It is not just about stuff. My mind is as cluttered as my dining room table. I will take it slow and easy. I have a whole year ahead.
I’m feeling a bit challenged now. Once you’ve known anxiety, it comes back to visit now and again. It shivers through my body. I sit with it, offering acceptance and friendship. We are well acquainted. There’s no need to be afraid. We can sip tea and chat together. We have the time. There is no frenzy, no hustle and bustle. No mad rushing off to anywhere. We are hunkered down here in this space and time. Perhaps we can learn how to retrieve our souls.
It is another bright sunny April day. Snow is still on the ground. Sheba and I walk around the neighbourhood and to the nearby park. There’s a couple of kids in the back alley. They’re loading a toboggan in the back of a car. A young mother and her little boy walks by. We keep our distance. We come to the playground. Yellow ribbons hang from the swings. Signs posted it’s closed till further notice. All is quiet and sad under the April sun.
On our way home, we pass a few people walking, all observing social distancing. There is little conversation or greeting. There is little signs of joy.We see our neighbour unloading groceries from her car as we neared our back alley. We waved and greeted each other. We had a loud conversation at a distance. Sheba had to join in, making it harder. My neighbour looked tired. I am sure she is. I am sure we all are. We need some soul work.
We are still in a state of emergency. We have this time and experience to rethink of what is essential, what is not and what adds quality to our lives. I’m doing the exercise of taking notes daily of how everything is affecting me during this time of the pandemic. What makes me feel good? What makes me feel bad, sad or frighten? Right now, I’m feeling a little nervous, a little sad. It’s the end of the day. I’m allowed. Maybe I will have a glass of wine.
Some days are harder to show up than others. I meant to come yesterday. When that didn’t happen I was trying for this morning but somehow I lost my way here. Distractions, thoughts, feelings, putting off and avoidance all contribute. It is always so much easier to go with the flow, not commit and not show up. But I am finally here in the after glow of supper and wine.
I have to admit that I’m feeling the boogeyman again.He shows up now and again. I’m awashed with the heebie jeebies. I’m ok though. I’m not off and running away to anywhere. I tell myself to stay. It’s just sensations. I’ve been practicing and applying mindfulness. It’s such synchronicity that I am reading Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart at this time, too. She tells us that fear and anxiety are all part of being human along with all the other emotions. They all serve a purpose. I am learning to see my feelings in a different way, trying not to label them as good or bad and not trying to rid them. I am the guest house as in Rumi’s poem.
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
I could say that I have been falling apart for quite awhile now. I do not consider it a bad thing. There was great pain with the shattering of what I was that no longer worked. Pain is a great teacher. It is also very cleansing. It sweeps out all the debris. After the pain subsides, I feel such sweetness and I can see so much clearer. It is a time for reconstructing, putting back the parts of myself that I like and the parts that works. This is not to say that I will live happily ever after or that the boogeyman is vanquished forever. I am sure there will be more falling apart. The next time the boogeyman comes, I will think of him as Mr. Sandman. He is less edgy and much more friendly.
It is March. We’ve left cold, cold February behind. The days are longer. The temperature is more moderate. The snow piles in the back alleys are slowly going down, revealing a lot of dog poo left behind by dog owners not looking after their shit. I see it on sidewalks as well. It does make me wonder and shake my head. I DO the responsible thing and pick up but I have been attacked more than a few times without probable cause. Not only that, I got yelled at once for making sure I got every piece that Sheba left, bagged and put in the garbage. The trouble was, I had put it in HER garbage bin in the back alley.
I was so surprised to hear this loud tapping as I was putting the doggy bag into the garbage. I felt like a deer in headlight. I looked up to see this woman in her window gesturing wildly at me and the bag fell out of my hand into HER garbage bin. She rushed to the door and flung it open. Her porky face was all red. “You don’t put your dog’s mess into my garbage!” She yelled. I was mesmerized, still a deer in headlights. Wow! It was like watching a movie. She got so upset that I was so careful kicking the snow to find all Sheba’s shit to bag and put into the garbage. It was February, the coldest February in the last 80 years. It will be frozen within minutes. What was the worry? Her bin was in the alley, city property.
I wonder if my emotions had been frozen by the temperature. I was unusally calm. I smiled at her, apologized and promised never to do it again. It left me with such a good feeling because I am normally a very reactive person. Maybe I have learned to tame and curb my reactiveness after all these long years. I still have that tape playing in my head, the loud tap, tapping on the window like a woodpecker’s. I see her chunky body in the door frame, her flushed fleshy face and her anger. All that because I had picked up and bagged my dog’s shit and put it in the garbage bin.
I wonder if I’ve myself behaved similarly. The answer is probably yes. How silly and trivial anything is, is all in the eye of the beholder and reactor. But I did swear after that incident, that I would be a little more discerning about the shit I lose my temper and sanity to. Some shit is just not worthy to lose my gasket and health over. I am sure I lose bits and pieces of myself when I do that. I am going to stop reacting and retaliating. I’m going to rethink and respond instead. I know I will fail some days. Then I will try to forgive myself. I’m learning about self care and the ADHD in me as well.
Sunday morning I heard and saw my spruce trees whispered to me as I stood by the window. A feeling of calm and knowing came over me. Everything is going to be alright. The message became clearer later when I was watching Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. She was interviewing Shauna Niequist on her new book, Present Over Perfect. While I got over being impressed by Shauna in a hurry, her one sentence stayed with me. ‘Listen to your life.’
I have not been listening. I felt the danger of listening and hearing. I would then have to act on what it is that I’m hearing from me. There’s always this urge to run and run fast, stick my head under the pillow, put my fingers in my ears and go lalalalala! Catch me when you can. I think I’ve been caught. I don’t feel trapped. I’ve finally stop running. That is all. I’m out of breath, exhausted by my efforts. It doesn’t work anyways. Underneath the ignored knowing is all that unease fighting to get out.
I’ve been feeling all the fatigue, the aches and pains of futile efforts in this part of the year. Maybe it is January. Maybe it’s my SAD. Today I’ve given up and in to the struggle. I don’t have to keep a stiff upper lip. I am not British after all. I am allowing all my feelings their freedom. They have a right to be heard. All the emotions – sad, glad, mad, every shade, are part of the human equation. I suppose we all feel a sense of shame and failure when we can’t live up to our own expectations. I know I do.
Today I’m takings off my Wonder Woman costume. I’m tired of leaping over tall buildings and holding up the world. My shoulders are sore. My tiara and boots need polishing. My lasso needs repairing. I’m not young anymore either. There’s grey in my hair and crow’s feet around my eyes. I need to hang up my rescue gear alongside the nurse’s duty shoes. I need to rest in the retirement of my careers. Drop all that busyness of distraction. Listen to the spruce trees talk. Hear what my life is telling me. Rest in the nothing of the day. There is nothing that I have to do and nowhere that I have to go. I can hear the sound of my one hand clapping. It is my life calling.
Love After Love
The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
It’s wise men who say don’t watch the news before bedtime. All the world’s tragedies flashed before your eyes in a matter of minutes. The gas explosion in a bakery in Paris, killing 3 people, the bus crash in Ottawa, killing 3, injurying 23. The story on where our plastic waste ends up (in Malaysia) sent me into despair and depression. I felt the ridiculous efforts of our recycling. I threw in my innocent and laughable hopes and went to bed.
All this is still with me this morning. No such luck as to sleeping it off. I feel depressed, down but not out – yet. I’ve fallen off doing Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. I’ve come here instead. Who says you have to write it out longhand with pen and paper? Tapping on the keyboard is an effective tool for me. Adding photos and videos satisfies some of that creative need in me. Doing all that defuses some of my negative feelings.
Talking about negative emotions, are they so bad? Is it shameful to admit we get depressed, disappointed and unhappy? Must we feel elated all the time? What about when bad things happen? It’s only normal that we feel ‘bad’. There are times when anger/whatever is the only logical and healthy reaction to have. I feel so confused when people put on a polite front. I feel such a failure in their presence.
At the same time I’m so sick of hearing about wounds and healing. Are we all walking around ripped open and bleeding? I don’t mean to be insensitive. I am was/still is in woundology (Caroline Myss’s terminology) myself. Sometimes I DO hear myself (now). It’s time to change my tune.
I’ve gone on long enough. Talked and revealed too much. Time to shut up and say good night on day 13 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m feeling challenged.
I’m stretching myself, trying to move a little faster. I poke along like a snail with my head inside my shell. I have no vision or plan. It’s no wonder I get nowhere expediently. I’m just riding a stationary bike. I can’t even tread water. At the moment, I’m sipping tea and snacking on sweet potato chips. It’s not great for staving off drowsiness. It’s something once started, hard to stop. I’ve instructed the guy not to buy them for me any more.
I was talking about forgetting how to turn on my headlights the other night. It was such a strange thing. This morning in the car I could plainly see where the lever was. How could I possibly forget? It was as if there was an empty spot in my brain at the time. A black hole. I vowed to strive for better brain health. I’m giving it some serious thought.
Aside from a little snacking now and again, I eat a pretty healthy diet. I’ve cut out endless cups of coffee since I’ve retired. I’m catching and making up for my sleep deprivation from shift work. I think I have 2 more years to go according to some research. I go to aerobics 3 times a week. I swim once a week. I walk Sheba every day.
I’ve been monitoring myself for toxic emotions. It’s my biggest fault and downfall. I’m a highly sensitive person. I feels things deeply – the good and the bad. I hang onto feelings for a long time. I take things personally. Not so good. I could at one time feel my cortisol level rise with my emotions. I have better control now. I’m slowly learning to relax and to let go a little. I have a long ways to go yet. I’m aware and working on it. Then there’s the toxic relationships. Nothing kills more brain cells than toxic emotions and relationships. It’s something to talk about for another day.
I’m finally here to see if I can impart some thought, some wee bit of wisdom. Mostly I’m here to tap myself well. It’s not that I am ill or anything. I am languishing too much. I’ve let go of the glue that binds me. I want to stem the flow before all my goodness is gone. Lately, all that I can feel is the acridness of life. Can it seep into me from the forest fire smokes? It’s not a nice feeling. I want to curl my lips at everything. Sarcasm and cynicism course through me. Where happened to my annoying Pollyanna attitude? I want it back. I miss it.
Life is strange. I feel strange. It’s difficult to find kindred souls to hash it out. It’s not that I am afraid to talk. On the contrary. I tend to talk too much – but not to the right people. It’s gets me into trouble sometimes. The right ones are seldom visible. Not many are brave or generous enough to share face to face. I am happy to find a group of young and not so young women on social media who can and does talk about their experiences and feelings. They tag their posts with #encouragersociety. Bravo to them.
I don’t think it’s all about bravery or generosity that prevents people from talking and sharing. It also takes an enormous amount of energy. It does for me – to be present here and tapping out my words. I have this huge feeling of sleepiness. I would much rather lay on the couch with my tea and read my book. I would really like to just sit and close my eyes, not thinking or doing. It’s taking me two days to write this post. Finish today, I must.
I am sure that the approaching autumn and the shortening of days are affecting me. I am not usually bubbling over with energy or glee. That is not my natural self but I’m usually more alive than this. While I don’t think I am totally glum, I really have to work at feeling joy. I have to dig into self-help books. It makes me feel not so alone or weird to hear another express it on Instagram. On top of that she encourage others to keep on, that they’re doing great. Yes, encouraging each other helps alot. It helps to be reminded that we have a tricky brain. Everything passes. So carry on and pass it on. Light each other’s torch.
Mission accomplished. I can go back to my book. An easy read by Joy Fielding – The Bad Daughter. Ironically the main character is a therapist who gets bad anxiety attacks. Not very good reviews but it is easy reading. Works for my malfunctioning brain.