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Still deep in it, hot water bottle strapped around my middle, I breathe and sway with the red tides inside. Movement is slow, and so are thoughts, while sleep is never far away. Problems weigh heavily on the surface of my mind, but down here the pressure is global, like seabottom, and solutions are dim and distant, difficult to discern.
I wish for the Red Tent, the sister-gathering sacred womb room, earthy floor lined with cedar boughs, hot with fragrant smoke. I would sink into Her darkness until it was time to gather my essence and re-emerge into the world.
It comes back to this moment in which I breathe, my heart beats counterpoint with my pulse, and my fingers perform their stuttering keyboard dance. Forget last moment when similar things happened, and moments from now, when anything might happen. I speak of tuning my consciousness to the precise intersection of time and space where past meets future: here and now.
After a half-century of living, such basics are still news. Admittedly, it took me a while to begin the actual living part of life, but itís an expanding process. The future is bright and vivid in my sight.
I am thrilled to turn fifty. I havenít been so excited about flipping decades since I was ten. Ten was my passage into menarche, womanhood insofar as that is defined by hormonal surges and monthly blood-purges. Fifty is my passage to moonpause, womanhood marked by the absence of such surging and purging. A joyous prospect!
I have been debilated by bloat, cramps, low energy, seeing through dark red-tinted lenses for three days of every twenty-five for nearly forty years, and, while honouring that phase of life and blessing the babes I bore, I am now beyond ready for my freedom.
Canít always be positive, not even most of the time. Right now, Iím in a life sucks moment, and I accept it as I accept the many darknesses I share only with me, myself and those kindred souls who accept their own. I donít pretend superiority except when I do, when Iím temporarily stupid or forgetful. Such lapses pass, and I forgive myself.
Presence of darkside selves doesnít mean schizoid transformation into victim moaning, Ďnothing goes well for me.í I know too much in too many places to fall into that too-easy trap.
StillÖ itís tough to be me tonight.
So what is the real issue? Parting the tissues in my numb forebrain, I peer through the veil to view skeletons, clattering like castanets in that box I thought Iíd thrown away long since. I should know by now, that never works.
Shreds of flesh still cling; they may be revivable. I have become a believer in recycling as the path to Ďenlightenment.í I no longer discard my old fears; I love them, listen and give them what they need. When they are milked of life and meaning, the essence freed from its rigored hell, I shed the empty shell.
When I was a child, fears were my friends, but not good ones, for they kept me from others who might have befriended me. Heeding fearís guidance, I shunned all beings and circumstances. Fear was my savior, for I believed it would keep me safe. Frightened, I need not risk, I need not test wings that might prove too weak to bear my weight.
The weight I carried was mainly fear, hence my wingsí failure on those occasions I dared feebly flap. Fear proved itself right, repeatedly.
Now, as shells of fear fall away, risk appears in a new light.
Breathing in clouds of mildew is not the way to have a nice day. My head hurts and sinuses swell, but what the hell, the thing needs cleaning. Next time Iíll wrap a handkerchief over my face. A surgical mask is best for that task, but Iíll use whatís available.
The weight of work awaiting doing in this finite span of time hangs around my neck, anvil-like, but only when I Ďthink about the future, Jack.í Donít think about the future! Root here in the now, while somehow maintaining awareness of what needs doing when itís time to do it.
Iím hardwired to weather. My tears flow readily when it rains, and itís poured all blessed day, a catalyst for pent-up emotions seeking release. Visions of a fire on the beach tomorrow are withering, but tomorrow Iíll bring wood in to dry and hope for the best.
Tomorrowís forecast is a forty-percent chance of rain. Is that a sixty-percent chance of no rain, or rain forty-percent of the day? If it rains and more than twelve people show up in this teensy house, weíll be sitting in each othersí laps.
Hmm... come to think of it, that could be fun...
It happened, and it was fun, magical, special, nearly everything I could have wished. About one in five of the people who said they would come showed up (typical), so the house wasnít too small after all. They were the right people and it was a lovely night. I received gifts and honourings, played music, sang, drank homemade beer and even had a deliciously pleasurable cry when Brett gave me an abundant angel shower of appreciation for my songs and singing.
Made me realize how seldom I receive musical feedback. That was the sweetest gift and I shanít soon forget!
I went to the other birthday party after mine. It was delightful in a darker, drunker way, as I switched from homebrew to Bombay Sapphire gin. Music, dancing, sexy snuggles and laughter, yum. It ended on a sour note with my car in a ditch, compelling me to walk too far for my state of being at four a.m. How it happened, I canít recall, but I was clearly in no state to drive.
My friend Kimís sure-fire cure for depression: get pissed, stagger home in the dark, the farther the better. It might work, except for the hangover (groan).
The future is bright, but the present is busy and where did the time go? Iíll be at the housing conference for the next couple of days, blazing a trail with an interestingly diverse group. Something may start here tomorrow to bring good changes to our home front. Shift must happen, or this community will become just another ritzy resort where broke folks commute from off-island to serve the rich fogey residents.
Wherever I go, this is still one of my homes, and I will help as I can to co-create ways to foster sustainable living on this island.
The housing conference was Ďa watershedí, many peeps impassioned, ready for action on the sustainable, affordable, community-friendly home front. Me too. Still, am left with letdown feelings of, Ďwhat nowí? Where is the group, where is the support, how do I do this?
Isolation is my issue. It comes from growing up in the bush with so few people around me; I donít know how to reach out, to join in. As a kid, I lurked at the edges of whatever was happening, shyness compounded by isolation, alone in my oddity, the one piece that didnít quite fit the puzzle.
My mind is blocked right now. I drift and dream, conceiving wild and wonderful visions of froth and foam, but translating these fancies to linear words that obey certain conventions of grammar and readability feels like slave labour right now. Existence is a dreadful burden at times, my body too heavy to carry, my thoughts too dense and complex to unravel into anything like understanding.
Still, fresh epiphanic moments, lightning-struck with truth and beauty, transcendent, transpersonal, transformational eternities, endlessly and reliably revivifying my experience do make it all worthwhile, no questions asked. Life, new and improved, asks, hey, why not?
Opening the heart is a good goal. It happens regularly in any case, without prompting or forcing, so no need to stress about it. The weight on my brain is not me, not the self that lives in this moment here and now, itís just old habit pressing in with a life of its own, commanding my attention, pointing out this and that, what if and who knows?
These habits of thought pretend to be consciousness, but when questioned, they have no answers to offer, merely further seductions of loopy logic, dragging my mind into their vortex of sinking thinking.
Go with the flow, wherever it takes you, even if the direction is down. Stay awake the whole time, take acute interest in everything you experience. Breathe, be, and allow all without judgment. Down there, beneath everything you have protected yourself from, below the humdrum layers of everyday, new discoveries await you, new forgotten selves quiver hungrily, eager to escape their endless compression, waiting to be noticed.
So, notice them, embrace them, cry their tears and welcome them home to yourself. They are your saviors, as you are theirs. Without you, they are lost. Without them, you are not whole.
ďDonít take your guns to schoolÖĒ
The new craze: mad at your girlfriend, shoot everybody in sight. Todayís headlines positively oozed lurid thrills, a slow news period broken by Real! Exciting! News! The masses sharing a vicarious simultaneous orgasm.
ďOoh! How dreadful! Do tell! How, when, who, why?Ē
Why this urge to delve into behind-the-scenes dirt? Everybody wants to know what made the guy so angry. I wonít be surprised to find the girlfriend blamed for it.
reality TV, the ultimate get-off. Interview the survivors, roll the cameras, have the victims cry on cue.
Next: hire shooters, raise ratingsÖ
Cynicism aside, these events catch me deep in the quease pit of my gut. Empathy grips me, wondering what must it have been like for them? The clip-vested killer cruising from class to class, opening fire systematically, panicking people leaping from second-floor windows to escape the deadly hailÖ
He, though, escapes my empathy radar. I canít imagine him. I view him only through the lens of Ďmonsterí. Yet my heart knows that canít be right. What forces made him? What drove him to do it? The urge to know is driven by pity for the child in the killer.
I said I would, and I did. I am now punctured and proudly pierced; my recent transition across the invisible line, turning over a half-century, felt significant enough to make me want to visibly mark it.
This is a serious initiation. I wanted to make a statement about my commitment to wandering this fey path. Iím all in favour of alternatives to the so-called Ďnormí. So I now sport a rather large magenta nose-ring. This means I can no longer be mistaken for an ordinary middle-aged woman. Hallelujah! Why on earth should I
to? I am anything but ordinary.
I am a drummer, singer-songwriter, goddess-loving, tribalist, astrologer, psychic, artist, reader-of-oracle, wild dancer, yes! I donít have to pass for normal, and no further desire to pretend that I want to. I did, once. I originally pretended for my very-conservative childrensí sake, but theyíre not children anymore, are they? Besides, the wisdom of denying my ownself Ďfor themí was always questionable.
And now Iím all grown up. As a hobbit Iíve come of age, and I chose to nose-pierce to mark my passage. I might have tried tattooing, but tatts are expensive and I had a barter going with Amber.
Amber, my flesh-puncturing friend, used a monstrously large hollow needle, of the approximate thickness of a toilet plunger. The logic was that if you made the hole a bit bigger than the object occupying it, it would be more comfortable to install. Sure. Why not?
The hollowness of the needle made sense tooóI could see that it would punch out a thin plug of, well, me, leaving a neat hole, which makes proper engineering sense to my mechanical brain. I can spare that little bit of me; I bleed out more of myself than that every month. No biggie.
Half the time, I donít know what Iím talking about. No matter what anybody tells me, itís only one perception of a story that has multiple facets. Sometimes, I make the mistake of swallowing anotherís perception whole, shifting my own point of view over to theirs, which is sheer laziness, abandoning my ability to evaluate situation from my own perspective.
ďDo tell! Why, you poor thing. You neverÖ they neverÖ
Ē This is one way that gossip is born. Then, because my own perception is inescapable, my judgments and assumptions warp the story into sheer fiction, assumed to be truth.
As I struggle to break free of archaic rules of obligation and friendship, I find myself tangled in othersí mixed perceptions. Who to believe? Who is telling the truth? Is it either-or? No, itís both-and.
Really, it doesnít matter. I canít know whoís Ďrightí. There IS no Ďtruthí, only stories. Someone tells me his story, and I can empathize with his pain and support his feelings without reinforcing his point of view or allowing him to corral my consensus. Another tells me her story and I can do the same. No right. No wrong. Just people, their pain and pleasure.
ďI got it straight from the horseís mouth.Ē ďI trust you, I believe you.Ē ďIf you hate X, then I hate X too.Ē
Iím so annoyed by the knee-jerk way I adopt othersí opinions as my own without thinking. Iím conditioned to call that Ďfriendshipí. Abandon my brain, abandon what I know to be true, i.e. that there are not just two but many sides to any story. How person A feels about or perceives person B is not necessarily how I should perceive that person. It is quite possible for me to like two people who hate each other.
Life might be so simple if only we could find easy answers to complicated problems of human relationships. We believe that life IS simple, itís just a question of finding the right formula, the magic pill to render and purify problems down to their component elements so we may choose correctly without fear of mistake.
simple, itís chaotically and fractally complex. It only becomes simple in practice if we surrender to its inherent mystery. There are no sides to choose. There are only shifting points of view and fascinating stories to listen to, share and learn from.
I donít have a lot to say on certain days of the month. Something about blood loss brings me down, directionally speaking. Changing the subject now. Packing and readying to move on Monday is occupying all my waking focus, saying goodbye-for-now to all that I love about this place.
We weathered a lot of storms here, some more successfully than others. Itís sad to leave just when things are calming and warming. The energy is sweetening, and I am leaving, again. One day, Iíll root in and actually live someplace. Meantime, Iím practicing mobility and non-attachment to material things. Sigh.
It feels (and certainly smells) like spring. Stepping outside to pee, baring my butt to warm floral winds is an exercise in upliftment. These spring breezes would waft me away if not for gravityís annoying reality.
Iíll be surrounded by flowers soon, awash in floral scents and flower faeries. I dropped a load of stuff at the Shawnigan Lake place this past weekend, and the garden is all very neatly weeded and trimmed. This time of the year things have just started growing well; you can still see each plant for what it is, with stretches of bare dirt between.
Beauty is an incredibly delicious tonic, though itís possible to become jaded by the same beautiful sights every day. This may well be one of the earthís most gorgeous settings, but the thought of that lush garden is a thrill! Iíll be freshly thrilled to return here, too. Best of all possible worlds.
The most exciting thing about the garden is that Iíll be able to take close-up photos of new kinds of flowers. I love that super macro settingÖ Iím hungry for new things to photograph; Iíve pretty much milked this island dry of new sights. Change is good.
Here at the new place, the daffodillies are already browning but the other flowers havenít bloomed yet. I need to get out there to plant veggies, but itís raining, so Iíll catch up on my words instead. Iíve fallen behind, what with packing, moving and general all-around busyness. Even at the moment, I canít think of anything fascinating to write, just lists of what I need to do. Unpack boxes, plant garden, pick nettles to get them started drying, start indoor seeds (hoping itís not too late), buy seeds I donít have, like squash and cucumber, and tomato bedding plants.
Thinking about it all is so much work it makes me tired. Iím leaving for several days on Friday morning so wonít have time over the weekend while the weather is (supposedly) nice. Still, it will be worth it, a business vacation with goddesses on San Juan Island. Feasting with friends will jumpstart my lagging batteries and I plan to return full of vim (love that word).
Meantime, Iím huddled in confusion, having unpacked little but my clothes and food. What else is there? Oh man, Iíve asked myself that too. I have way too much yet still not enough.
Immediate goals: water the plants, unpack sewing materials, move things I canít unpack out of the way to make room for the things I need to put where they are, rearrange furniture, come up with a way to make money to live on while Iím here, and do it. I canít pick flowers to put out for sale yet, because Iím between crops, what with brown-edged daffodils and nothing else up yet. In a way thatís a relief, because itís one less thing to do, but the flowers are a moneymaking device and I am in sore need of such.
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