Archive for February, 2013

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Choices

February 16, 2013

What a horrific problem it is to have too many! <– I realize it’s difficult to tell if I wrote this sentence sarcastically or not and while I started it that way, it ended up in a very sincere place.

Being that we are on the threshold of spring (speaking as I do from the northern hemisphere) it feels like the time to decide where this year will take me. I’ve long subscribed to that ancient roman notion that the beginning of the year starts in April. It used to stem from a decidedly more egocentric place (my birthday is in April, so when I discovered that the new year had been stolen by january, for reasons that still elude me, I decided to secretly celebrate onset of the year when it made more sense to me) and perhaps that has some bearing still, but now it’s more physical and emotional. It’s a time when everything comes back to life, the plans that were schemed in the dark of winter seem feasible now, achievable. Everything old is new again, etc.

At this point in my life, there are three things I’d like to do. Three that appeal more than any other I can think of right this second. That are reasonable and likely to be able to implement without any miraculous cash windfalls or winning some contest I didn’t even know that I had entered. Because of course, there are waaaaay more than three things I’d like to do.

-go dancing in Iceland
-have tea on the giant’s causeway
-tango in buenos aires
-see the sunrise over istanbul
-be a chanteuse in a paris nightclub
-sailing across a warm pirateless sea and swimming in darkness where there is no land to be seen and not being eaten by a shark
-learning to sail
-eating a mango/avocado ripe from a tree
-surfing every day without a wetsuit because it’s warm enough, not because I”m crazy and trying to kill myself with hypothermia
and on and on and on….

But for now, until Gala and I have a stronger relationship (we can travel together without her being infected by border collie crazy eyes to the extent that nothing, especially not the sound of my voice will bring her back to being aware of what’s happening beyond that squirrel that she is determined to bark at for the afternoon, in case you aren’t sure, yes, she is a dog) I’m mostly here and that’s not terrible. There are far worse places to be.

When I was younger, I couldn’t wait until the day I could leave here and see all the exotic and beautiful places waiting for me. I would pore over pictoral atlases (atlas’s? atlasi?) dreaming of being an intrepid traveller and getting to know the planet in the way that only national geographic writers and photographers could. Unfortunately, I never formulated any plan that would allow me to do that. I think perhaps this is the crux of many of my troubles with regard to achieving my goals. I set those goals (I’m going to go to Australia!) but I don’t actually consider HOW to get myself there. It’s as though I (somewhat arrogantly?) expect that at some point, since I’m so obviously meant to go, it will magically happen.

Fortunately at some point, it kind of magically did. When I say magically, I mean a friend was moving to Paris, asked if I wanted to come and I said yes, after convincing my dad to put my plane ticket on his credit card (I still didn’t have one at age 29, thanks dad.) And I set off on an adventure which was wonderful and illuminating and humbling and many other -ing words that may or may not encapsulate the experience accurately. One recurring event of this adventure was a general excitement on the part of people, when discovering that I was a resident of British Columbia, sharing with me their adventures in the wilds of the province I had been born in. I cannot count on both hands together the amount of times I was told about the beauty of locales in my home territory that I had never been to.
I had spent so much time trying to get away, to see the world at large, I never gave any thought or effort to seeing the world at small. A world that people I was meeting and thinking of as cosmopolitan and experienced as to the ways of culture and general amazingness thought of as a most rewarding and worthwhile place to be. Their surprise that I had never seen these places so close in proximity to my home was surpassed only by my surprise that anyone could think that where I came from could be as beautiful and exciting as someplace like Paris. Or at least as sought out, because the excitement of Paris is incomparable to the excitement of a place where bears roam freely.

So recently, I’ve been finding myself at odds with what will happen next.  I have three, as far as I consider them viable and rational and fun and intriguing to me, options for sustainable ideas that could contribute not only culturally and financially to my well-being, but instrumental to my ever imaginative progress as a human doing her thing on a floating greeny-blue space orb. One of those things I feel calls me towards a long awaited (6 years removed) exploration of this province I call home. A girl (me), a dog (Gala), a truck (Nina), an accordion (Marchesa) on a mission to explore and know the wilds of BC, a beautiful place to get to know better.  Who knows what the adventure will bring?

But then I think, ‘oh look, I’m doing that thing I do..yet again…where I have this need to explore the world (BC, north of Vernon, which to be fair is most of it) I don’t know, regardless of the fact that there are places within a 30 minute drive of where I live right this second that I’ve never seen and are worthy of visiting many times over. I don’t understand why I have this inability to see the beauty of where I am until I am so far removed from it that I spend an insane amount of time trying to get back there and check it out and know it the way people who aren’t even from here see it for what it is. An amazing place to call home.

 

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Letting go is hard.

February 7, 2013

Knowing when to do it can be harder. Sometimes you hang onto something over long in the hope that it will stay yours even if you know it’s not and when you finally loose your grasp on it, you find that a part of it died while you were clinging tenaciously like a limpet on a rock. 

Walking away when you want something so much is never easy, allowing someone else to have what you might have been convinced should be yours is difficult. The very notion of someone else getting it, regardless of whether you know them or not, might make you see red. In the angry way, not the strawberries and sunsets way. 

And even at the last, still not quite ready to let go of that dream
Hoping the 11th hour will summon forth a miracle
Scared to walk away from something perceived as deserved
Petrified of confusing obsession with devotion
If resentment comes of impatience
Then calm must follow detachment
And demanding it must be mine for no other reason than right
Ends up feeling undeserved and wrong.

I’ve been coveting for far too long, expecting at some point, I’ll end up in a place I want, just because I want it. And feeling hateful towards the prospect of anyone else getting it, even to the point of deciding I would actively hate the person who, if by some strange chance the universe messed up and allowed someone else in there, got it instead of me.

It’s exhausting, hating someone who may not even exist. And silly. But it’s impractical to hang on to something that is so highly improbable, it’s nearly intangible even while it exists in the physical world.

So okay.

710 Wildhorse Creek Road, if indeed you are as much a reality for me as you are my dream, it will happen. But I can’t cling to the notion that I might be the only person who deserves to live there. It’s selfish. So I’m done holding on. I’m letting you out of my grasp and if someone else buys you and plants a lovely garden and takes care of the fruit trees and the endangered salamanders and has a slip and slide down that perfectly gradual slope in the summer and sled run in the winter and has tea parties in the sun or the moonlight and builds wonderful swings and treehouses and and fills the house with music and light and laughter and joy then it’s worth it and I’m glad they found you. And if that person turns out to be me, that’s lovely too. 

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Self sabotage! Not this time!

February 5, 2013

Old habits die hard, so I’ve heard from time to time. But how come it’s the destructive habits that die harder than the healthier options? This might not apply to everyone, but for me, those things that are easiest to follow through on are those things that aren’t so amazing for me in the long term.
I could blame society, with it’s proliferation of rampant consumerism, disposable technology and inability to see further than 2 weeks into the future (that’s the only way I can possibly explain why we’re still fully dependent on petroleum regardless of the insurmountable evidence that it’s destroying everything that will help us to maintain a comfortable existence in a future 3 weeks from now) but the reality is, I’m a member of that society and so the blame rests just as readily with me as with anyone else. But this rant is not about the world at large, it’s about me and my ability to make myself feel small. No more! This is an old habit that needs to die. Regardless of how, be it easy or hard, smooth or chunky, it needs to go.

The fact that I stopped smoking after 20 years gives me hope that I’m growing and learning and evolving into someone who realizes that if I am going to live to see a healthy 111 (eleventy-one) some of the make-you-out-of-breath-when-you-climb-stairs habits need to change. And while it was a big one, it wasn’t enough.

I have this tendency to get lazy when I do something that seems impressive to me. It doesn’t usually last too long, but there can be a fair bit of laurel resting around here if I don’t keep watch. For example, I stopped smoking on December 21, 2011. For an entire year I rode that wave of self control and when, after that year was up, I was still expelling 20 years of excess and tar from my lungs, I started to cotton to the notion that perhaps stopping smoking wasn’t enough to ensure my health and well being until I’m old and grey (though I’m certain I’d be grey now if I didn’t dye my hair incessantly..being an unnatural redhead takes work). Perhaps I would have to meet my health halfway and exercise or something. I’ve never been great at it, not a super sporty type of person by any means. Not opposed to activity, but organized sports tends to fall into the same category as organized religion for me, which is a statement I will pontificate on another time. Until recently, I used the excuse of ‘being a smoker, I just don’t have the lung capacity to be really active’ which is a crazy bullshit copout. And I got tired of not only the copout, but the breathlessness. The only thing that should be breathless is a french new wave movie by Jean-Luc Godard. Again, a subject for another time. 

I’ve grown so accustomed to my propensity for this behaviour that I will find numerous ways to make excuses for it. Which leads to the inevitable self-sabotage. I’ll exercise for 2 days in a row…wow! And feel justified in giving myself a day off. Which myself is happy to accept. And then it becomes easier to continue this habit of opting out, rather than knuckling down and working through the laziness. Until such time as I’m disappointed enough in myself that the fire under my ass is lit, the regime is started once more and….the same again. Eventually I’ll get to the point where I’ll decide that isn’t working and determine a new regime must be what’s needed. I’ll need to do some research and figure out the best course of action. Ironically, the best course of action? Action. Just do some damn pushups already! You don’t need to google how to do a pushup, though there is a plethora of instructional videos out there on how to do a proper pushup I’m sure. The issue isn’t pushups or activity though. It’s commitment to the belief that my time, my energy, my very existence has a value to it that demands it be filled with activities that create health and satisfaction.  It’s when I stop believing in my self-worth or do just enough to convince myself that I’m honoring my obligation to care about myself that the sabotage makes itself known. 

This is what I’m on the verge of doing right now. Of late, I’ve been feeling really good about what I’ve been writing. And people have been telling me so, which is wonderful! To have people with minds and opinions I respect and admire encouraging me to continue validates me in a way that is intoxicating at times.

So herein lies the conundrum.
It would be so easy to slip back into either the habit of trying to force myself to write everyday, regardless of inspiration or not, demanding of myself that I be clever and prolific and inevitably finding fault when I can’t, because I have set an expectation for myself that is unreasonable, knowing that I’ll fail. Self-sabotage habit number one. 
The other way I tend to kick the pedastal out from under myself happens when I start to actually get somewhere in my existential ramblings, start to uncover the whys and wherefores as to my inherent nature in the hope that I can affect positive change into my everyday existence, and instead of pushing forward I’ll use the cloak of superficial self love to disguise how afraid I am to shine the light into the shadows. The whole I-love-myself-so-why-would-I-cause-myself-undue-pain-by-actually-probing-into-why-these-bad-habits-are-so-deeply-ingrained ploy. And while it’s true that with every excursion, the light gets a little brighter, there’s still a long way to go. 

I do want to write or at least post something every day, it’s the best way to offer a control to this scientific experiment that is the evolution of a barefoot light goddess, but since this is the year of expectationless joy, I refuse to demand of myself that every day I be witty and pertinent and humorous and wise. So there might be days that I miss and there might be days that I have nothing to say about anything other than Jean-Pierre Melville movies (you should watch them, seriously, any film noir buffs who don’t know that name are missing out…) and that’s totally okay. Because being mindful of one’s actions is just as important as the actions themselves, especially if those actions involve insisting that self-sabotage find another place to live. 

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February! Aka that time of the year….

February 2, 2013

Here we are again. February. The tuesday of the year. Which is kind of sad because every month of the year, like every day of the week, has it’s own charms. Regardless of this, february seems to be the time of the year when I really start thinking about what I’m doing with my life and wishing I were someplace other than where I’m at. I’d love to say that the exception was that february I was in Paris, but I recall wishing I was in Ireland or Barcelona at the time. Is it the proximity to winter and spring? It’s a state of meterological limbo? I’m sure that is the reason why the holiday of Imbolc exists. A celebration of the inbetween time.  A day dedicated to St Brigid, (I imagine her flame haired) virginal patron of sacred fires and midwives, rumored to be the origins of another familiar virginal icon, Mary (who knows what colour her hair is under that covering) .Complete with weather predictions (judged by snake, badger or size of divine hag’s fire) it’s a brilliant way to ensure that spirits are raised at what might be the darkest time of the year for some. Of course, this ancient tradition has given way to more christian friendly ritual, including Candlemas and later still Groundhog’s Day. A celebration of the halfway point between the darkest day of the year and the first day of spring, just in time to let us know that an end is in sight.
And yes, I’m totally one of those people who, upon waking on february second, rejoices to overcast weather, because that means the shadow won’t be seen, the groundhog won’t be scared of it’s own shadow and race back into it’s den to await spring, guaranteeing us six more weeks of winter. Which is really funny, since the first day of spring is 6 weeks from now regardless of whether that underground denizen of weather prediction is scared into hiding by something as seemingly innocuous as his shadow or not. I say seemingly innocuous because I have had moments of being terrified by some part of myself in a place I wasn’t necessarily expecting to see it, be it shadow, mirrored reflection or severed thumb. Perhaps we should congratulate the groundhog on it’s ability to still surprise itself, even after all these years. 

Celebrations of happy mediums aside, it still remains that february carries the burden of being the month of disgruntlement at least to me. There are bright spots, in the form of the birthdays of some of my very favorite people on the planet, and I love that it’s short, sometimes contains an extra day just because and it makes people think of the colour red(a personal favorite), romantic poetry and Lupercalia! Ok, perhaps the only person still thinking of lupercalia is a certain flame haired patron saint of trickster gods with Kokopelli/Pan tattooed on her shoulder writing this blog right now. And now that I think about it, it actually makes perfect sense that my recently acquired canine familiar would most resemble a fox or coyote, both tricksters of the animal kingdom. 

So why is it that every year, without exception it would seem, given that it’s shorter than the rest of the months, I still find the leisure to expound on where I’d rather be, rather than be completely satisfied about where I am. For the most part, where I’m at in my head is a place of contentment, perhaps stemming from  the knowledge that soon enough I’ll start feeling restless in body, so my head should compensate with a moderation of calm. An emotional balm for itchy feet that are stuck wearing shoes for at least another couple of months. Also because my head is often still concerned with the rationale of hibernation this time of year. This year, perhaps that is more pertinent than ever, considering that I’m temporarily in a position of not paying into either rent or mortgage. It’s a challenge for my head to be the reasonable one within the mind body relationship right this second because the wintertime-nesting-hibernatey urge is so very strong. I think body is starting to think she might win out on the road trip argument because of perceived habitat-less circumstances, but until brain figures out a steady income circumstance, body is just going to have to wait a little longer.  

I know this is a month when many people take vacations, an escape from the everyday and while I totally get the need to step away from time to time, whenever I consider such a course of action, it’s more of a desire to step into a life away. That is to say, I want the escape to encompass the life. I want the roadtrip, the excursion, the adventure to be the everyday. And that is the crux of my thoughtful meanderings surrounding February, as it does every year. By the time march rolls around and spring is more evident, change and life and birdsong filling the air with possibility and the promise of summer to come, the need to be active in the face of dark winter and hibernation abates somewhat. But every year, there is a thought that if I can spur myself to action in this, the shortest dark month of the season, that momentum will easily carry me throughout the year. I’ll be like a shark, consistent in movement, travelling the world in the pursuit of whatever it is I’m looking for, content even if it takes the rest of my long and happy life.
But knowing as I do, that this feeling will pass when spring grows closer, perhaps this will make me more readily find comfort within the discomfort of wanting to be anywhere other than where I am. Because here is not so bad.  

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