I’ve been having more frequent moments of missing Sheba the last couple of days. It has been acute today. I haven’t gotten around to storing her bowls yet, but I did bag up her Kong bed yesterday. It did make me feel better in moments. Other times it gave me such an acute longing and missing her. Fourteen years is hard to erase and process.
Though both we and Sheba knew that our time together was coming to end it is still very difficult. Towards the last couple of months of her life, Sheba stopped sleeping in the bedroom with us. She retreated to the livingroom or the sunroom. Perhaps she was preparing us. So my tears come. My tears flow this morning as I biked down the alleys we used to walk. I see that the squash grower has planted potatoes this year instead. Memories, images and tears come as I pedal.
I tell myself I have to do something else beside cry. So I practice riding with just one hand on the handlebar, then the other. I’m not good enough yet to use one hand on and to signal with the other. I can manage a quick scratch of my nose. I practice looking behind me for traffic. I want to get enough confidence to ride down busier streets. I still have goals. I’m still interested in improving my skills of living.
I took a little break from my sadness. I worked in the front yard. I put myself in every corner, reclaiming every inch of it. I am not letting the neighbour bully and throw her weight on my property. I wonder what kind of person would plant little trees on a neighbour’s property, right along my raised garden bed. I wonder what kind of person would have the Weedman spray pesticide right along that bed of vegetables. I’m wondering but not expecting any answers. Living next to this person has deepened my sadness in these times.
Now it is almost 8 o’clock in the evening. I love sitting out here and watch the sun playing shadows on the garage wall. In other times, Sheba would be laying here beside my feet. She is ok. I don’t have to worry about her now. I’m ok. We’ve had our time together. I am no longer angry with the neighbour. However, I am a little afraid of her venom and malice. I do not care about the row of little evergreens beside the raised bed. They have nowhere to grow but over her driveway. .
The wind still blows in Saskatoon. No rain nor snow. We sure could use some moisture. It is what it is. Sometimes wants and needs are not met. But our solar panels are producing electricity. April will be our best month.
I am a wee bit restless today, having that feeling that I should ‘accomplish’ things. I try to relax with my new read – Sue Grafton’s N is for Noose. I was not successful. I gave that up after a few pages and took Sheba out for her walk. The wind was cold and wicked, blowing grit into my mouth and eyes. It was not pleasant but we got some exercise and fresh air.
It’s Saturday but it feels like Sunday. I skipped swimming this morning. I thought I would just enjoy the day, not trying to doing anything and everything. I think it was a bust. Some days are like that. There’s nothing I can do except practice doing nothing more often. Maybe then I could be more at home with it.
The wind has not abated one bit. I’m a little more at ease with it even though I had gone to bed with trepidation last night. Another shooting at a California synagogue. What is happening in the world? What is happening in us? These things nagged me in the dark of the night and early morning.
Daylight disperses fear. The dawn brings hope and renewed faith. I continue my morning routine of tea and qigong. It’s soothing to move through the ancient movements of my ancestors. They work, energizing me to carry on breathing, living and learning. I’m very excited about the Brain Change Summit. Today I watched The Science and Principles of a Plant-Bassed Ketogenic Diet with Dr. Will Cole. I’m eager to watch the Psychological Impact of Climate Crisis with Dr. Lise Van Susteren next. There’s still 3 more days of the Summit after today if you are interested. It is free.
Have you ever been anxious? Have you ever been frightened? I’ve been both. It’s no fun. Any little thing can set things in motion. I’m afraid to look over my shoulder. I keep my head down, eyes averted, not wanting to see anything. I am afraid to take a breath, make any move. Afraid of what? I can’t tell you. It’s a sense of impending doom. I’m like Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall. I could fall off any minute.
I’ve been like this for a long, long time. I hadn’t recognize it as anxiety though. I used to call it ‘having a hard time’. It has been very, very hard. But I’m having fewer and shorter episodes of them now. What probably set it off last night was a delayed reaction to the bombing in Sri Lanka. My friend there was okay. But then the news with names and faces of those killed seeped into my consciousness. And it probably didn’t help that I’ve been reading about Anne Frank and the holocaust. Throw in climate change and the fact that we are so dry here. No rain yet this spring. No hope either.
It’s no wonder I was unable to sleep. No tossing and turning for me. I was afraid to relax, move, let go and even breathe. I was a stiff, tightly clenched body. I saw a sleepless night ahead of me and a terrible day following. I gave myself a silent talking to and willed myself to do a body scan. It failed, of course. I couldn’t willed myself. I was too taut. I had to get up and do something.
So I got up, made myself a cup of peppermint ginger tea. I cleaned the humidifier of scale deposits using Sheba’s toothbrush. It has a brush on both ends, one big and one small. It was perfect for the job. She does not allow me to use it on her. Now I have a use for it. No waste of a good brush. It was relaxing and soothing. Sheba came out to join me. She plopped herself at my feet as I stood at the kitchen sink. I felt comforted by her prescence. The job was soon done. I left it on the counter to dry – ready for next winter.
I was not yet ready to lay down again. I took my tea and sat in my Lazy Boy recliner. I try not to fret, I try not to do anything. I sipped my tea in the dark. I listened to the wind howl and watched the spruce trees sway in the night. I’m learning to sooth myself. I let whatever feelings come as they will. I heard St. Teresa Avila’s prayer and was comforted.
Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.
Sitting still with myself is a tough task. I am not comfortable with myself. Are you, with yourself? It’s like facing a panel of judges, answering questions, facing up to truths. Yes, let me out of here! I squirm and wiggle. Finally I sit. Okay, I’m ready. I can be still. I can face reality. Let me have the cold facts.
How silly I am. I know the truths already. They’re unspoken, unacknowledged, just beneath the skin. Not saying them outloud does not diminished their roar, their need to be heard and tended to. Why are we am I so afraid of truths? Now my mask is off. I am not so afraid anymore. Just a bit. Being afraid brought more suffering along that of fear. I don’t want that. Get out. Stop it.
A moment of victory, conquering fear and anxiety. I just have to string the moments together to have an hour, a day, a week to a life of living bravely in the moment.
Sitting with myself is harder than I thought. I had to leave for a few days in the heat. The seat was hotter than I can tolerant. It’s cooler today and so am I. I am exhausted by it all. I am fresher in the morning. There’s things to do. No time for sitting or contemplation. By late afternoon I am on the downward spiral. I struggle to feel bubbly. I struggle for energy to do my art challenges. I know from experience that if I start, the struggle is resolved. That’s what I do. I stand up. I move. I do.
It is after 9 pm. I’ve made and ate supper. The dishes are done. The garbage out. I’ve thinned the carrots and filled one raised bed with water on the way back from taking the garbage out. That’s how I get things done when doing is difficult. It is one little thing followed by one little thing. It’s moving one foot in front of the other.
If I sound a little melancholy, it is because I am. It is the evening of the day. I sit and tap out my words and feelings. I am not sure if they are true. What I know for sure is life is miraclous and unpredictable. It always has been but I’m truly recognizing it now. I’m learning not to question the whys and wherefores, the ones without answers. I am a little more comfortable with myself now. I am appreciating the peace and the silence my tapping has bought me. It is time to say goodnight.
A few days have lapsed since day 2002. My needs are still the same. I am still a clutterbug. The difference is I feel empowered. No longer quite as helpless. No longer a victim. I can help myself. I can work my way out of a wet paper bag if need to. I am learning and progressing in my year of doing different.
Sometimes you just have to stare fear right in the eye. It’s better than being trapped in helplessness, shaking like a leaf in the wind. Some things you cannot change or avoid. That’s all there is to it. You might as well face the music and do the things you most dread – taking/being responsible. You might find it the most freeing thing. The shackles open and fall off. You can move, think and have a plan of action. You find yourself smiling and feeling pliant, moving to your heart’s demands.
On days like these, the sun is always shining. Life is clear as crystal. You can see and feel through all sides of your life. You feel blessed and wondered why you have fought against all of this so hard. This moment is so peaceful. You see all the smiles and kindness bestowed without asking.
It is fleeting. You accept it, knowing it will come again and again. It is the nature of the universe. Our days on earth are short and breathtakingly beautiful as well as painful. Storm clouds gather at the horizon. But there’s always a silver lining. Look for it.
I am finally reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic after buying it a year ago. I’m making progress reading just a few pages each day. The profound thing for me is her description of courage. Having courage does not mean you are fearless. Fearless people are sometimes rash and reckless. Courage is when you carry on despite the fear. I like the idea of not fighting it but to make space for it. Let it be a companion but not to let fear drive you. I feel its presence but it’s not running me.
I’m making slow magic, bit by bit, stroke by brush stroke each day. They build on each other. There’s a timidity in them but one day, my courage is going to be BIG and I will let my brushes have their way. They will whoosh across the canvas in brave broad strokes and in bold colours. It will happen. Meanwhile I’m learning my craft, experimenting with the magic, building my confidence, making peace with my fear.
My angels are around me on this 160th day in my year of doing different, on this 2nd day of 2017. I hear the whisper of their wings as they hover near. Peace be with everyone.
Here it is, the first day of a new year. The morning is still dark though there is a rosy glow in the eastern sky. I’m sitting here hoping to tap out something profound. I am stuck though, mistaken in my belief that today is special. It is just another day. It is us who gives it meaning. The day has no power. It cannot give me wings to fly. It is I who must grow and power those wings.
I shall sit and tap. Maybe magic will come to these fingers. They will fly over the keyboard, leaving words of wisdom and courage. My hands are feeling weak and limp. My head and heart faint. I cannot blame it on late night celebrations and fireworks. I can only say it is the way I am in this moment, wishing for magic with no wand. I have only my fingertips and the keyboard. I shall do the best tap dance I can. Maybe I need another cup of tea for fuel.
I’m back with my tea. I can tap a few more sentences. I’m weak and limp with the fear of change. I hang on to my paper clutter because they are bills and receipts. They are RECORDS in WRITING. How foolish – as if records can protect me from anything or anyone. There! I’ve said it outloud. I have gathered a small box of such faux protection last night. They will be shredded in a few minutes. Every day in January I will do a little bit. I know the power of every day small.
It’s Wednesday and I’m ready for Friday Fictioneers. We are hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple. This is my story of 100 words to the photo prompt. This story is for Sheba (my dog) and I. We are both trying to work through our fears, both seen and unseen. Together we will conquer.
She was so afraid. Perspiration blinded her as she ran. Her heart was thumping in her chest. It roared in her ears. Her breaths came in jagged rasps. She could see them in the frosty air. She wiped her hand across her eyes.
She was almost there. She quickened her pace. Dusk was coming. The sun was receding beyond the bridge. She must be on it before it gets dark.
Please, God! She pleaded. I won’t ask you for another thing.
She gathered her strength, pumped her arms and stretched her legs. She was flying. Her foot touched down. Safe!