Monday, April 26, 2010

Looking Back

I started talking about memory, and then it turned to comfort.

Memories, in their myriad of forms and guises, can often be very comforting, it's true, especially when dealing with a painful transformation, one that can't be easily navigated with the conventional tools.

I mined my new digital camera, a recent Christmas present, for some Christmas photos taken of me and my sister and two of our dear friends, also sisters, for a photograph of the four of us, taken by a family member, on Christmas day at their parents lovely warm home. There are, between our two sets of sisters, five children, and on that day, they were milling about, four little boys and one little girl, circling the periphery of toys that had just appeared that very morning, fascinated and overwhelmed.

We had exchanged our own gifts to each other, the four of us, moments before, and one gift was a frame with a space for a 4" by 6" sized photograph, beside which was written "My Heart Belongs to My Friends". A simple sentiment, a short statement, one that holds alot of weight, especially between the four of us.

I saw it when I was getting ready for work on Friday morning, the four of us captured in this Christmas moment, in the frame on my dining room table. It really took me back, back much further than that Christmas Day, only a few short months ago.

Recently in memory, I've noticed how darting and random my memories can be, and I guess this too, is a kind of comfort.
They are not, lately, a swirling orbit of doubts and fears about life, but more hopeful. I'm not sure exactly when this started, but it feels like a new cycle in my thought processes, so I'm going with it. I'm letting memory comfort me instead of torment me. When I'm talking to people in my life, I am really listening to what they are saying, and, perhaps more importantly, to what they are not saying. I silently thank whatever force it is, God, Fate, the spirits, who have brought the people in my life to me, for the wisdom of it, the planned feeling of it all, despite how utterly offside I know life can be.

The comfort of knowing they are making the journey with me helps me feel more secure and in turn, seems to be helping me appreciate them more, all of their wonderful qualities and their even more wonderful quirks and flaws.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I've been incredibly fortunate lately. There. I said it aloud. Without (total) fear.
After my decision a year ago to begin a blog where I can share my random thoughts, sponsor my own journey to becoming a 'writer', writing things that matter, at least to some, I had no idea the blogs I would encounter, myself, sometimes from a world away, and not that I found them; no, no, not at all--as do so many amazing books I read, restaurants I dine at, people I encounter--they found me.
Case in point is a blog I follow here on my page, written, courageously, self-revealingly, by a woman named K. I applaud K, and her writing. Her most recent post only confirms for me her startling originality and her writerly gift.
Another gifted blogger is named H. Her blog found me through a link of a link of a link.
She lost a little daughter last year, and I ache when I read H's posts. I don't know H. But I feel so much for her situation.
From H's blog, which I follow religiously, last week another blog, from a woman in far-off Australia, arrived another link. Full of pink-tinged photos, and extraordinary imagery. This woman, who is named S. is a professional photographer--one does not even have to read her blog and identify her professional website to recognize this is her profession. Her photos are breath-taking, second only to one attribute--her absolutely unbelievable prose, her thoughts, the raw-ness of her grief-laden blog, as she also lost a small child, and how she emanates such beauty from her sorrow is something I have never before experienced. S., in my opinion, needs to become a published writer and share this gift with the world. Not enough people have blogs to reach this site, and I fear that her writing will languish, read by only a small portion of the world, where EVERYONE could learn something from this amazing woman, mother, human.
A most recent post I read of hers stopped me cold.
It was about visting a fortune teller and being given an clue for a most devastating event, predicted years and years before said event was to occur. Even writing this it disturbs me, the concrete certainty of Fate, the cold gods, the random play, the utter hopelessness of our little planet and our little lives, all of us trying so hard to map out how things will go. When, really, if you believe in the Fates, and all of their far-reaching string-pulling, we are little more than puppets.
I said in my last post, I live every day like every one else, praying for the eventual future, hoping for it, but deep inside knowing that there is no guarantee for it, anymore than we can guarantee anything in life.
I have had friends enthrall me with stories of visiting fortune tellers and the tales they were told, and in some cases said tales did come true, with varying details, because as we can attest to, we can never truly know, truly, what lies ahead---what is waiting for us.
My own brush with fortune came about three years ago, a friend of a friend, an introspective, intellectual woman, with good emotional intelligence, read my palm. We did not know each other well, we know each other better now, as when we met our main thing in common was a mutual, dear friend, along with each possesing a disdain for society and a caustic wit, and a love of books. She took my hand to give it a quick read, at a wedding shower, one of those most fortuitous of events in itself.
For the most part, my fortune, my future, looked pretty sound. I felt re-assured, in control, that I was doing what I could to propel the ship I was given to watch into calm waters. Until she made a pronouncement about my past that rocked me a bit. She told me I had a long, strong life life; but that it had a hole in it. Meaning, that sometime (according to my palm) between the ages of 20 and 25, I had almost lost my life. I literally, inside my head, recoiled. I had to take a swallow, get my breath going, as she had hit upon something so literal that she could not have known I had to regain my composure. In August, 1998, the 23rd to be exact, I had been the victim of an armed robbery at the restaurant where I was working. It was the day before my 25th birthday. It was, in some way, a definite hole in my life--the things I believed about people that were helping me get through life were thrown off-balance and I became unhinged, for a period of time.
I always try to look at the meanings, the lessons, behind some of my posts, and in this one, I have to say, I'm not sure, but it came from somewhere. Maybe to throw out there the notion of utter chaos, in utter organization. Like the Greek myths--so random, but so perfect in the meting out of pure justice, pure karma. Not sure that life works so much like that---it seems more of this organized, "wait, I've got something for you" kind of plan, for lack of a better word, that you can rail against all you want.
My reading also mentioned a child, one that I have not yet had, and am not sure that I ever will. I've never, not really ever, been able to picture myself as a parent, as having a child of my own, to love and to bestow my legacy, however vague, upon. It is a lack of imagination, I think, spawned by fear, the fear of not getting it right, of growing up how I grew up, hating being a child, even though now I look back and realize it did not have to be that hard, that painful. I wonder if, somewhere deep in me, an old, old part of my soul, in another life, did have a child, and lost said child, resulting in him/her accompanying me, in my palm, for the journey in this life, this child-less life I lead.

It's a great great fear of mine.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

No Excuses

As a continually evolving spiritually-connected (most of the time) person on this revolving door planet, I look for ways to mark my personal growth, my progression (most of the time) to a higher level of being. Meaning, trying to BE. Not Buy. Not Better. But Be. As I once read--we are human Be-ings, not human Do-ings, and if you've never pondered the difference, believe me, there is one.

Which brings me to my latest challenge. The Vision Board.
Last year, it was the gratitude list, which, painfully shy-ly, I created and posted on this very blog. Now, this year, I do the same with my vision board. I offer it to you, as a learning tool, as a thought-provocation, all the things this blog does. (those 2 things pretty well sum it up).

In the last three posts, I referenced honouring the past, and then breaking a pattern, and now I give a nod to The Future. In the words of my hero-rock-star lyricist, Simon LeBon, the future to me, is 'like an old friend--ever expected but never knocking'. We intellectually know it's coming, but we often pretend that planning for it, asking for things, dreaming as an adult, is sure to send the evil eye swivelling our way, sure to doom us.

I don't assume the future--I ask for it, pray for it, the same way every one else does, by living each day.
Here is my Vision Board, in all its naive, glossy glory, in all its fonted, type-bite format.

The first thing I noticed was that for all its vision, my board was very
text-based, odd for a pastime associated with envisioning the future; instead, I seem to have created a set of instructions to follow.
My lists of reasons not to not exercise can apply to anything in life really; ' I don't have the time' (yep); 'I can't afford it' (ditto);
'It's too far' (again, right); 'I have to ask my husband' (many women struggle with this part of their lives); and 'I have to think about it'.
Wow. This list of excuses sums up my whole vision board. I'm trying to remind myself, with these images, this text, to stop overthinking it all and just jump into it.
The seascape, the green-blue water, the green-blue book spines, these are images I relate to, that feed my curiosity for what lies...ahead...beyond.
The bright yellow raincoat, the bright yellow watch, the bright green bag--all hopeful colours. Necessary items, but the necessary in life can also be inventive.
The Eiffel towers remind me there are lots of places I have yet to visit. The books again remind me I still have lots left to read, to learn. The images, iconic, if you will, of some of the women on my board, seem a bit stereotypical, type-cast. But then, although I identify myself as a modern woman, I am also, and I don't often admit this--VERY traditional. In ways that I think about the world--the value of my privacy, the strength of a well-guarded secret, the power of the unknown. The images of women in traditional dress hold enduring power for me. If the women of the past could do all that they did with what tools they had, then, when it comes right down to it then....

There are no excuses.