Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 44: June 22, 2012

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work.

Today’s journal spans poignant time. My father, Roar Thorsen, was unwinding and had just a few months left to live. We shared a deep friendship. We were working hard on our book knowing time was of essence.

2-back-cover-photo-of-roar-and-katarina

You can read the book here:

img_9525

PDF VERSION: Drawn Together

My son created this beautiful short documentary as part of the process:

 

See previous samples:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

Sample 14 April 20, 2013

Sample 15 January 31, 1997

Sample 16 January 5, 2012

Sample 17 January 1, 1992

Sample 18 June 14, 2000

Sample 19 November 29,2000

Sample 20 October 22, 1994

Sample 21 February 15, 2002

Samples 22-37

Sample 38 February 21, 1999

Sample 39 July 15, 1997

Sample 40 August 26, 1997

Sample 41 April 21, 2014

Sample 42 January 2, 2002

Sample 43 January 13, 2007

IMG_2552

Today: Journal start date June 22, 2012

Cover

IMG_3521

Sample Pages

IMG_3526

IMG_3527

 

Sample Writing

IMG_3525

IMG_3531

IMG_3532

IMG_3533

IMG_3534

IMG_3535

IMG_3536

IMG_3541

Sample Drawings

IMG_3529

IMG_3537

IMG_3538

IMG_3539

Sample Quote 

IMG_3530

IMG_3542

Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 43: January 13, 2007

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work.

See previous samples:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

Sample 14 April 20, 2013

Sample 15 January 31, 1997

Sample 16 January 5, 2012

Sample 17 January 1, 1992

Sample 18 June 14, 2000

Sample 19 November 29,2000

Sample 20 October 22, 1994

Sample 21 February 15, 2002

Samples 22-37

Sample 38 February 21, 1999

Sample 39 July 15, 1997

Sample 40 August 26, 1997

Sample 41 April 21, 2014

Sample 42 January 2, 2002

IMG_2552

Today: Journal start date January 13, 2007

Cover

IMG_3479

Sample Pages

IMG_3483

IMG_3484

IMG_3485

IMG_3486

IMG_3487

IMG_3488

IMG_3489

IMG_3492

IMG_3494

IMG_3495

IMG_3497

IMG_3498

Sample Writing

IMG_3501

IMG_3502

IMG_3503

IMG_3504

IMG_3505

Sample Drawing

IMG_3491

 

Sample Quote

IMG_3490

IMG_3480

Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 41: April 21, 2014

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work.

See previous samples:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

Sample 14 April 20, 2013

Sample 15 January 31, 1997

Sample 16 January 5, 2012

Sample 17 January 1, 1992

Sample 18 June 14, 2000

Sample 19 November 29,2000

Sample 20 October 22, 1994

Sample 21 February 15, 2002

Samples 22-37

Sample 38 February 21, 1999

Sample 39 July 15, 1997

Sample 40 August 26, 1997

IMG_2552

Today: Journal start date April 21, 2014

Cover

IMG_3374

IMG_3375

IMG_3376

IMG_3379

IMG_3381

IMG_3382

IMG_3384

Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 21: February 15, 2002

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection. Today’s sample journal starts about a month and a half after J_____ and I decided we were going to divorce. He is living in Vancouver and I am on the Sunshine Coast with the kids.

 See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

Sample 14 April 20, 2013

Sample 15 January 31, 1997

Sample 16 January 5, 2012

Sample 17 January 1, 1992

Sample 18 June 14, 2000

Sample 19 November 29,2000

Sample 20 October 22, 1994

IMG_2552

Today: Journal Start Date February 15, 2002

Cover

IMG_3169

Sample Pages

IMG_3171

IMG_3173

IMG_3174

IMG_3175

Sample Writing

February 20, 2002

It’s early and I’ve been reading in bed. Anna is doing her makeup and Julian is still asleep. I have a tired cup of coffee beside me. My life seems to be a waiting game of sorts. I want to shed that feeling. I’m about to turn 40. I wonder how long I am destined to live? I am alone, that’s OK. But I want to travel and fuck and share and laugh. I want to be mind blasted by love. Magic. I want to see the world with Anna and Julian. I feel full of direction. In my parenting, my studies, my art. But my spirit is tired or asleep or something. At this moment I could easily shed my clothes and go into the ocean and just drift away. But it’s too cold, and I’d just get a bladder infection. No- this house BEATS with LIFE and I am glad to be a mother. Sometimes, though, I have the overwhelming feeling of: “What is it that is happening?” “What is coming?” “When?” 

February 26, 2002

Trying and loving –> then trying not to love. But this didn’t work. So don’t try and let love simply exist. 

Too tired to go to North Vancouver today. My kidneys cry to stay home…

What is my destiny?

February 28, 2002

I have to let J____ go – OUT of my being. Out of my heart and my soul. I don’t trust myself to survive another heartache. With him. With anyone. Why does my heart remain committed to him? How do I turn off the light? Do I even know how to live anymore? Where’s the innocence? 

March 3, 2002

I am profoundly sad for losing him, but also profoundly sad for not letting him go after the affair with M____. I want to undo myself from our history. Our love. I need to stop thinking. I can’t offer him friendship now.

March 7, 2002

I wish there was a way to have total silence. So that J____ and I can experience life without each other. But we are connected through blood… We are engulfed in each other. But there is unlocking occurring. A disillusionment. The disappointment has passed. Discarded hearts thrown against cement walls. Trampled on by each other. But I have shoved my heart back into my chest, bruised but not defeated. Chewed up, but not beyond recognition. Beating, despite. That’s what I don’t understand? How can it continue to beat? 

March 8, 2002

There were two distinct times that J____ expressed to me that he felt a COMPLETE CONNECTION to me: 

  1. When he was in the tub and talked about his deep love for his lover C____ to me while I sat on the bathroom floor and listened…
  2. When he complained about her and their problems while I listened to him on the phone…

But I had removed myself in those moments in order to listen to him speak of his lover- the woman he had been with for more than a year without my knowledge. I split from my soul… and yet he claims to have felt completely connected to me.  Who was he connecting to then?

Psychologically, this is when I broke.

And I realize it was not me he sought– he sought a friend who would just listen. But as a wife, listening to his confusion about his lover, I asked too much of myself.

He didn’t see ME. I could have been anyone. So…

I accept that what I longed for was to be SEEN by him. That I have longed for a life that doesn’t exist. He needs a friend. But I am not the right person. What I need is to be MYSELF when I interact with another person. The alternative is suicide of self.

It is OK to have made mistakes and choices that make me wince. 

IMG_3172

Sample Drawing

IMG_3176

Sample Quote

“Accepting the unacceptable needs no special skills. It only needs awareness.” – SARK

IMG_3170

Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 15: Jan 31, 1997

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

Sample 14 April 20, 2013

IMG_2552

Today: Journal Start Date January 31, 1997

Cover

IMG_2962.jpg

Sample Pages

IMG_2964.jpg

IMG_2963.jpg

IMG_2967.jpg

IMG_2965.jpg

Sample Writing

January 31, 1997

Julian’s birthday! A good day, no, an EXCELLENT day to start a new journal.

The sun is glorious and the place decorated for after school festivities!

Meat grinder feelings last night as Mom went psychotic after not hearing from us all day.

I went to Vancouver with the kids and J____ to have a fun family day and hadn’t thought of telling Mom. School was closed due to a rampant flu. When we got home later in the day there were 30 messages on the machine, my mom in tears and panic. We had only been out of touch for 12 hours! When I called mom, I was yelled at by Dad. Mom is now not speaking to me, 

 But I feel stronger today even though I beat myself up about it last night. So life continues and today is Julian’s birthday. Yipee! Took the kids to Science World yesterday – took the tour and bought the treats – lunch at Sushi Box at Library Square, then Virgin Records and Manhattan Books.

February 1, 1997

Fax from my father: [translated from Swedish]

“Nina, I have to ask you to call Mamma. She is still sad. The other day when she didn’t get any answers when she called, she cried the whole day. To calm her down, I called your neighbours and your realtor. The whole thing was a bit dumb and unnecessary. That you went to Vancouver for some time for yourselves is totally understandable. You could have called or sent a fax though. You know how Mom is. She really only has you to talk to and she is used to doing that every day. It is not an easy time for her right now. Her hands and arms hurt all the time. The carpal tunnel operation is not until March, and now – no contact with you. She cries so often I don’t dare say anything for fear of being misunderstood.”

February 2, 1997

I have decided to treat Mom as a special needs case. I feel good that I have contacted the pain clinic. If I am her daughter – be it good or bad – I’m being it my way. It’s the first time where I’m not devastated by her anger towards me.

My letter to the Pain Rehabilitation Clinic

You have been treating my mother, Karin, for the past few months for what is now diagnosed as severe carpal tunnel syndrome. I realize that you may not discuss her case without consent, but I wanted to write you a letter to fill you in on aspects of her life she is most likely unwilling to share. She is an extremely private person, I know the embarrassment  she would feel about my sharing my concerns. 

I am very impressed by the team working with my mother, but I am saddened that she is refusing to deal with the psychological aspects of her disorder. My mother has had bouts of depressions before, and needless to say, her present hardships have led to another onset. She has dealt with her depressions and pain (arthritis, migraine) with Tylenol 1 (takes daily for many years, at some count 50/day) and alcohol. This is done secretively and silently. She now gets little or no sleep, which is now appearing to incapacitate her. She cries readily and easily, feels a loss of control over her (grown) children and her life. 

Sample Drawing

IMG_2966.jpg

Sample Quote

“Despite the unmistakable resentment she could feel from her mother, Nina could not fathom what she had done wrong.” – Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting

IMG_2991.jpg

Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 14: April 20, 2013

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

Trying to figure it out.

How can today’s journal be 7 years ago?! How can last Saturday be a week ago already? How can it be 53 years since I stood trembling in Kindergarten?

“Time is rhythm: the insect rhythm of a warm humid night, brain ripple, breathing, the drum in my temple—these are our faithful timekeepers; and reason corrects the feverish beat.” ― Vladimir Nabokov

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

IMG_2552

Today: Journal Start Date April 20, 2013

Cover

IMG_2937.jpg

Sample Pages

IMG_2942.jpg

IMG_2943.jpg

IMG_2944.jpg

Sample Writing

April 20 2013

I hesitate to start writing probably because I don’t trust my ability to tell the story. Or even draw it out properly. All I know is I can’t feel this way anymore. The hands along the railing. The ground coming towards me. The change of heart as the wires break the fall. The sense of failure.

April 23, 2013

Was it good to leave the house today? It was actually. For the first time, I woke up with less anxiety and managed to get up early in the sun daylight and get work done at a leisurely pace. 

May 2 2013

The living room. Our relationships with the dead continue as we move on. They are still alive in us. Introduce the loss. My immediate default is to talk about Dad, but I need to talk about Mom. It is coming. 

May 26, 2013

BIG VISION: “I no longer drive around heart in throat trying to figure out where I can find money to cover debt. I am debt free. I earn more money per month than goes out. I am saving money. I am enjoying a blissful, peaceful, sorted out life.”

In this moment, in this particular Starbucks, that reality could be true. In this moment all is well. I no longer want to anticipate events. Just be.

I am starting the difficult delightful chapter, developing a financial plan. I feel that familiar sense of shame, fear, low self-esteem, lack of trust. Lack of trust that the vision will work. 

June 26 2013

Feeling like I have no skin. Feel like the boundaries have indeed eroded…

Sample Drawing

IMG_2939.jpg

Sample Quote

“To investigate that part of myself that refuses to take birth fully and hops about as though it still had one foot in the womb… But when the heart acknowledges how much pain there is in the mind, it turns like a mother toward a frightened child. – Stephen Levine

IMG_2938.jpg

Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 12: October 23, 2001

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness. There is much joy in the pages. There is also a lot of pain.

The process is getting to me. I feel strange, dumb, self-obsessed as I thumb through pages. I pull out a random journal and in disgust shove it back in the shelf as I don’t want to address its contents right now.

There is something keeping me going though. Processing the journals through these trivial posts helps me gain perspective. After all, this blog is my journal as well. Posting gives me the overview and structure that I need; it is my personal therapy. It keeps me in writing process, making other projects flow easier. I also think the process of revisiting –and then wrapping up the journal after posting sample pages and then archiving it – means I am done that chapter at last. Maybe that journal won’t be opened again in my lifetime.

And today’s journal is difficult. It starts about 6 months after my (then) life partner divulged a year-plus long relationship with another woman. 

And in this journal, I see myself spending too much energy doing CPR on a dead marriage. 

This post-it though (that I found inside) is pretty cool, as I am actually that future self now.

IMG_2879.jpg

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

IMG_2552

Today: Journal Start Date November 6, 1989

Cover

IMG_2869.jpg

Sample Pages

IMG_2880.jpg

IMG_2882.jpg

Sample Writing

September 22, 2001

Email from J_____ :

“I am yours. Fully, I am coming home forever with a heart fully in love with you – no doubts…”

October 22, 2001

Email from J_____ :

“I want again to say sorry for making this weekend a difficult one. I do not want to ever entertain the thought of leaving you again…”

October 26, 2001

My body remembers and awakens. Old aches and pains will surface and intensify while they are being dealt with and discarded. A new biography. 

November 1, 2001

When we have compassion, pain dissolves into love.

November 19, 2001

I don’t know about J____ but I am so acutely aware of all we’ve been through… and I feel so much bigger as a result. Sometimes shaky, but steeped in love. I can say I am in love with him. Deeply in love with new feelings and gorgeous old familiar love.

November 21, 2001

Go back to this bitter event in my past and keep it alive for me, and then bring me the harvest from it.

November 22, 2001

Do I need reassurance or do I just need to let go(d)?

December 2, 2001

Don’t try so hard. I can’t give my heart or trust my life to J_____. That is realization and acceptance. My heart is my own. My life is my own. He had another life/love unbeknownst to me. Which made me less. To not know. And I have no idea how that other life exists now. But I can trust that I am not less anymore. 

December 10, 2001

I am so glad our family is together at Christmas.  And I wish for peace, balance, love and glowing growing open hearts…

December 17, 2001

Email from J_____ :

“It is you I wish to be with. Thank you for letting me stay with you.”

December 22, 2001

[I recall getting up in the middle of the night with a panic attack to write this note in my journal.]

IMG_2873.jpg

December 26, 2001

“My trust”

Just two words written on a little card.

I am glad I tried to give this little card to J_____ for Xmas. But it was too hard and I couldn’t. And it opened us to more truths as a result. If our marriage ends here, I accept, I understand, I am ready. If our marriage endures, I accept, I understand, I am ready.

J______ if you are reading this, am I dead?

IMG_2876.jpg

Sample Drawing

IMG_2871.jpg

Sample Quote

“Finishing business is opening unconditionally into love.” – Stephen Levine

IMG_2870.jpg

Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 9: September 1, 2004

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

There is much joy in the pages. There is also a lot of pain. I try not to judge my younger self. Who I was then, who I am now- inseparable. I continue to be sculpted.

Some pages are just… yuck. In particular, the divorce process.

Holy fucking shit. I have come a long way. Big breath in, big breath out and release.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

IMG_2552
 [My “hard copy” collection- this blog has certainly been a journal as well]
Today: Journal Start Date September 1, 2004

Cover

IMG_2735.jpeg

Sample Pages

IMG_2719.jpeg

IMG_2728.jpeg

IMG_2731.jpeg

IMG_2732.jpeg

IMG_2721.jpeg

IMG_2723.jpeg

Sample Writing

September 1, 2004

Interacting leaves me tired. I’ve got to start anew, again. 

September 4, 2004

Maybe this is my lesson. That I can be right. To not diminish my rightness. Recall the Seattle bus incident and dumbing myself down to appease J____.

There is new grief and loss with each lesson learned. Did I waste all that energy silencing myself? Afraid to argue? Afraid to hurt others? Is this not me trying to control?! Is this not passive-aggressive on my  part?! Does it not diminish me when I try to avoid conflict?

September 8, 2004

The feeling of being in limbo is itself a loss. Even if the situation turns out fine. 

September 13, 2004

Can one express anger yet remain eloquently silent?

“I forgive you.” What does this mean? To me it means letting go of the past and its negative power over me. It means accepting all of it – good, bad, beautiful, ugly – and understanding it has shaped me…

Safe space. This is what I have created for myself and my children within the walls of my home. Can I extend this to my interaction with others in my life? 

Therapy notes: I and Other- presence, but maintaining I. Read Harriet Lerner’s “Dance with Anger” and the children’s book, “The Giving Tree.” PTSD, years of process, grieving, trauma, caregiving. Unprocessed grief. How to accept anger, express it, control it. Tactile, values, routine –> MUST divorce, in all its definitions. Art, analysis, family ties, self-confidence, decisions, archetypes, concrete examples, suicide, choices, independence, disentangling.

September 15, 2004

What are my goals?

My children’s independence, to write books, to work with teens, self-sufficiency, quiet life. Muteness.

September 26, 2004

Had a meeting over coffee on the porch at Mamma and Pappa. Pappa and I felt like there was a light directing us back to routine, back to excitement over work.

October 3, 2004

The seven drops [from “The Out of Sync Child has Fun”]

  1. Drop your voice
  2. Drop your body
  3. Drop your TV remote
  4. Drop your guard
  5. Drop your defenses
  6. Drop your batteries
  7. Drop your misconceptions.

Sample Drawing

IMG_2734.jpeg

Sample Quote

2020-05-03 16-37.jpg

Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 4: August 14, 2002

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

IMG_2552

Today: Journal Start Date August 14, 2002

Cover

IMG_2606.jpg

Sample Pages

IMG_2611.jpg

IMG_2608.jpg

IMG_2612.jpg

IMG_2613.jpg

IMG_2610.jpg

IMG_2614.jpg

Sample Writing

August 16, 2002

I need to divorce. I am disappearing physically. And I feel in limbo. I actually feel like I am dying from it. I need to be free. I need to clean all relationships in my life and I am trying to start fresh with all of them. I want the possibility of going out for dinner with someone I trust- to look in someone’s eyes and feel like the person reflected back is free. And I want that freedom for him.

September 7, 2002

I guess I am just not made of the necessary stuff. I will never be the the wonderful friend and woman he says C_____ is in his life. I feel demoted and pushed away. I do not hold a place in his life that I like. I do not want to be a friend in the multitudes of women in his life. I can’t place myself in that vulnerable position anymore. I do not trust- that is the most tragic thing. 

October 1, 2002

I committed a great sin yesterday when I told him I don’t know what love is anymore. Love is the simplest thing to understand and I live it everyday. It is a relief to leave that ludicrous thought in the past. I have questioned love because I was hurt. I have given power to women who I don’t respect. It is not love I don’t understand. It’s him. I married him for better or for worse. I divorce him for better. The disentanglement will take awhile and every day is a new beginning. I sometimes lose patience and that is OK too. 

November 2, 2002

I don’t know if C____ was on the ferry tonight- I saw a blond dome of curls and big lips… I didn’t want to attempt any more contact. I didn’t feel sadness or fear or nothing. Not even loss. I just wonder if all those blond curls were worth it. 

November 3, 2002

I am excited and gratified. My eyes are open as I plunge into a world where death is not to be feared. Where the dead and the scene speaks truths that need no words. Where the ultimate goal is justice, protection, integrity, bravery, truth and caring. The kids showed me last night when I came home how much I mean to them. As they grow into brilliant adults so quickly and I am free, I know there is a place in the world where I may make a difference. And if I should die tonight, I feel at peace. For I am not pursuing a goal. I am LIVING. 

Sample Quote

IMG_2609.jpg

IMG_2607.jpg

p1030660.jpg
The Blonde, 2003. My personal art therapy. China Marker on Masonite Board.

“She drank alone…” Journal entry

She walks– arms crossed, cold hands tucked into armpits, chin tucked into chest.

The familiar dark ink pool spreads around her feet.

She bends down this time. Curious?

Her reflection- just fragmented spirals.

She slips! lurching upward and backward, around.

The black ink fills her mouth.

Hog-tied, she lets out a fluid-filled silent scream.

A violent blow to the back of her head.

The angel sings

Do I hear 21, 21, 21…

I’ll give you 21, 21, 21…

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

She floats now… in a soft pool of light, enclosed in a red tomb, bathed in an oxygenated salted sea,

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

A shadow moves across the the field.

She inserts her thumb into her mouth and sleeps.

For Kajsa

 

For my aunt Siv

These two women- my great aunt Helga, and my aunt Siv, had the most compassionate impact on my life. Helga- she taught me to follow my heart- MY HEART. Mine. Siv- she taught me to stay neutral and in joy and embrace children as fully formed human beings to be celebrated, not moulded. I remember so much laughter. Siv died peacefully in her sleep last night at the hospital after a fall. I am so grateful I had a chance to talk deeply with her in June and we held each other and acknowledged it was likely the last time and we both just knew that it was ok. 🇸🇪♥️💐

Recall:

60 years ago my mother became a mother. (Karin Kristina Orwald 1936 – 2008)

Decades are significant.

60 years ago my mother became a mother.

img_3627

img_3628
My older brother born Summer 1958

img_3635-1

50 years ago we moved to Canada from Sweden.

img_3423
Leaving Grums, Sweden, October 31, 1968

50 years ago, my mother started to write letters home to Sweden.

 

 

30 years ago, my mother’s second grandchild was born.

12647158_10208769988149215_2134728535419465651_n
My son born January 1988

10 years ago, I had my ear to my mother’s chest and listened as her heart slowed down and then stop.  My brother held her face and guided her through.  Surrounded by family. Her final exhale liberated her soul and I felt right then she flew straight down to San Francisco to be with my daughter who flew home ta few days later.

10 years.

On this day, I am lucky enough to work from home and simply be in my space in peace and joy.  I did what I learned so well from mamma- I cleaned the bathroom, did the dishes, mopped the floors (making sure to go behind the furniture).

I ate food so iconically mamma- pannkaka and cookies and egg.

Drank coffee.  And bit into an apple.

The apple is significant.

Mamma’s full name is Karin Kristina Orwald (Thorsen).

The Emigrant Saga Series by Wilhelm Moberg has so many parallels to mamma’s journey.  And the main character, Kristina, is wrapped in the metaphor her beloved apple tree at home in Sweden and on her death bed holds a ripe apple from her tree in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 1.55.04 PM

fruits1
The Apple Tree, by Roar Thorsen, 2010

I remember that final year, when I mopped mom’s floors and she lay on her bed and we laughed and shared stories and talked about Pinesol.

1918364_1279981081792_339588_n
Karin Summer 2008

I love you, Mamma.

This post is dedicated to my cousin, Dan Orwald, who passed away suddenly last week.

My aunt Siv with my Cousin Annika, Dan in the middle and Mamma holding my older brother, Christmas 1958.

On this one year anniversary since Asterix passed, something poignant happened.

In the early morning of September 24, 2018, it will be one year since I lost my beloved parrot, Asterix.

Recall:

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 7.21.15 PM

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 7.21.46 PM

Losing him was deeply painful.  I lost my companion.  I lost our family history keeper.  I lost my parents’ voices.  Taking care of his little body, saying our goodbyes, wrapping him in a little shroud– all felt deeply ritualistic and tender.

Recall:

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 7.26.15 PM

Photo 2017-09-24, 7 31 57 AM

I have been thinking a lot about how I might mark this day, an especially powerful anniversary with the Autumn Equinox and the Harvest Moon.

This morning my daughter and I were in the living room, and I said to her, “Isn’t it amazing that not before or since the day Asterix died has a bird landed and looked in our window?”  (I was remembering the crow that landed on the windowsill the day Asterix died and sat there looking in, acknowledging.)

Our cat, Reina, was playing with my china markers and my daughter said, “Reina is channeling Asterix’s spirit!”  (Asterix LOVED playing with my china markers.)

We carried on Sunday morning lounging, me drawing and Squeak, our other cat, snuggling with my daughter.  After only a minute or two we heard a sound, like a knock on the window.  A poignant thing happened.  Our cat, Reina, came into the living room and made a strange and unusual meow.  My daughter checked and she was very surprised to see a dead bird on the rug.

We have not had a cat bring us a dead bird since Riley brought them in when we lived on the Sunshine Coast when he was an outdoor cat.  (We moved from there 15 years ago and Riley retired to become and indoor cat in 2003.)

Reina was shooed away from the bird and we took the cats into my bedroom.  My breath was taken away when I saw my pillow and bedding sprinkled with little feathers, in the sunshine under our window.  A bird had obviously hit the window and Reina had grabbed it.  But this was more that that.  The timing, profound.  This seemed nothing less than magical.  Especially considering my deep connection with birds.

img_2639

I went back to the living room and picked up the bird carefully and placed it in a container and placed it in the freezer.  (We have not had a dead bird in the freezer since we wrapped Asterix, a year ago, and gently placed him in there for safe keeping until his cremation.)

Before taking the bird to the park to bury it, I took some photographs.  Thanking this sweet heartbreaking creature for its life and message.

I went alone and walked into the park to find a special place.  A little squirrel guided me to this spot.  I dug a deep hole, gave my thanks and left.

 

“A bird is symbolic of perspective and freedom.  When a bird hits your window the spiritual meaning of the bird is something you need to take notice of.  Due to the fact that birds swoop up high up in the sky, it is believed that birds are God’s messengers – providing a bridge between the spiritual life and the mundane.  They can be a positive sign of great luck.  Since time immemorial, birds are in folklore symbols to many cultures.  Now, to see one single bird that approaches your window peacefully or just sits and looks inside your home – in ancient times was thought to be a sign of the spirit of your dead loved ones.  In some folklore books, a bird hitting the window can mean an angel wants you to take notice. I t could be that your angel is trying to communicate that they are around helping you, and watching over you or spiritually.  Make sure you are aware of the day – it could be an anniversary when the bird appears.  Look up the date, does this day or month mean something?  It is a lovely sign and you can use your intuition to get the right message from the bird.  The message is of a loving nature.  sparrow hitting your window represent emotions, heart healing, socializing, generosity, romance, and the power of spirit.” – auntyflo.com

I love you, Asterix.

Mamma- a portrait.

“If You Forget Me”

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists:
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Pablo Neruda

Karin Thorsen  Sept. 17, 1936 – Nov. 8, 2008

It is hard to imagine that it is ten years since she passed.  I wanted to write a letter to my mother on her birthday.  The letter became a portrait, inspired from a photo my father took during their honeymoon.  I chose to surround Mamma with her favorites: daisies, lily of the valley and chantarelles.

Saudade waves.

Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.  It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.  It’s related to the feelings of longing, yearning.  

I have written about Saudade before.  For example: November 3, 2012 SAUDADE: THE EMOTION OF MISSING. #GRIEF

December 28, 2012 THE DARKENING CATHEDRAL: PROCESSING THE EMOTION OF MISSING

March 7, 2017 A REMINDER THAT SOMETIMES IT IS OK TO DO LESS.

November 17, 2017 PERHAPS I AM SIMPLY AN EXPLORER.  NOT SEEKING ANSWERS…

Today

I felt a tad out of sorts this afternoon, burnt out– sensing the spaces under my wings too occupied, knowing it is time to shush out those taking shelter there.  [Yep- time for new boundaries.]

My anxiety hovered trying to find a place to land.  Then a familiar intense wave of suadade washed over me.

0

It is that thick-heart feeling right before a deep cry.  It is a longing to visit times past.

Pulling out old photos provided comfort and allowed gentle tears to flow.  I sat all smiling, conversing with the memories.

img_6843.jpg

img_6848

img_6849

img_6850

img_6852

img_6853

img_6855

Thank goodness my father loved to record family life.  And thank goodness for these massive albums and boxes of tactile images .

The second letter. November 5, 1968.

Why when I close my eyes and think about myself at a young age do I find myself immediately at the age of 6?  What makes me go back to that little girl?  That time?

These days I feel tears well up easily.  Not of sadness, but of fullness.  Today I walked home from the bus stop the long way via the heron nests.  I stopped, breathing in the scent of blossoms, looking up at the springtime activity as the birds were busy showing off for each other, building nests.  I was overwhelmed by the beauty of it all– my heart full, knowing that I am ready.  That tonight I would finally commit to translating mom’s letters here in this sacred space of mine, my blog.

I don’t write this blog for anyone but myself.  It is a depository.  A way to journal.  I only write it for me.  Sharing it in the ether gives me perspective.  I get a chance to step back.  To process.  So this is the place for me to translate the letters.

photo
Sweden before we left for Canada

It is November, 1968.

My mom is 32 , the same age my daughter is now, and she is writing letters home to her best friends in Sweden.  Newly arrived to Canada.  And I am 6.  And she is writing letters.  And I have those letters in a pile here.  I have had them since December 2013.  I have only read the first one.

Previous posts:

Package of letters to Sweden

A letter home. November 1, 1968

Dream. Letters. Thought and Memory.

Writing exercise.

From what I see, as I sift through them, is that they are positive reflections of a young mother sitting at the kitchen table, likely children in bed, or at school, scratching out a connection to her best friends back home.  So why have I left the package untouched in my bookshelf on top of my father’s drawings all this time?  Me- the person that voraciously sifts through historical documents?

What is it that makes me well up in tears as I make this commitment now to go through the letters?  What is it I am grieving?  Remembering?

That young woman at the kitchen table, writing to her best friends.  The words flowing out of her mind, onto paper, into envelope, into mailbox, over the ocean, into her friends’ hand, 45 years later back into envelope, back across the ocean, into my hands.

And so…

Mom’s first letter to her friends was written the day after we arrived in Canada (we arrived October 31, 1968).  Today’s letter was written a few days later.

unnamed

Vancouver 5/11-68

Hi!

I was so damn mad- the freezer has mould, so I have stood with my head in it all day scrubbing.  [We had that freezer until 2004].  I guess I didn’t wipe it dry properly and it has been developing mould for 5 weeks.  Now, at least, it is ship-shape.  We have now furnished and decorated the house and as usual every corner is full.  It actually turned out really well.  I am so mad at this wall-to-wall carpeting they have here.  They get dirty just by looking at them.  

If you only knew how gorgeous it is to lie on the bed and look out the bedroom window.  All the mountaintops were totally white this morning.  The restaurant [at the top of Grouse Mountain] is always all lit up.  The gondola is not far from here.  There is also  park not far from here with mysterious totems for the kids and a suspension bridge that swings too darn much.

There are quite lovely things all over the place here.  It is funny that in the house next door there is a two year old girl named Nickolina.  Fredrik’s head is spinning [our friends’ son in Sweden, also 2 at the time, is named Niklas].  Fredrik, by the way, is still saying “damn” whenever something happens.  He throws the toothbrush in the toilet every morning and looks at me and there comes the long drawn out “daaaaaaamn.”  I am not buying anymore toothbrushes until he stops that.  

The meat here is so cheap and juice of all sorts cost just a few cents per can.  Other than that, things are pretty much the same.  Please say hello to everyone at the grocery store, by the way.  I bet there is loss of revenue now that I am not shopping there for hundreds of dollars every month.  

How is Rolf doing without me?  Hope he doesn’t fall out too badly.  Roar is connecting a lamp today and is swearing as nothing fits and he is saying, “What a stupid country.”  You know how he gets when he is going to do something.  

Have any bills arrived?  Please let me know if funds are needed.  (Of course, I mean not regarding you!)  It is a long weekend here, so Roar has three days off.  I guess we will head home to [?] if you don’t invite us on Saturday?  How goes the pyramid scheme?

Do you know that we have 11 channels here to choose from every evening?  We are up to our necks with TV but I have to say there are some beautiful movies.  They run from 10 in the morning to 5-6 AM the next day.  

A response is requested within the next three years, otherwise it is too late.

Karin

PS.  Kiss the kids.  Would give a million dollars to look after them while you are at the gym.

photo 2
In Canada, early 1969

Why do I keep the journals?  Is there any value in the pain contained within?

Why have I kept all my journals/sketchbooks?

Yes- they are filled with sprinklings of magical memories about raising children- that is definitely the best part.  But they are also filled with extraordinary pain, confusion, stupidity…

I pull out an old journal from 1991, and sit and smile and laugh as I find little scrawls about the kids, but then turn the pages and my heart is ripped out of my chest as I so desperately tried to make sense of what didn’t make sense.  Letters from my family that sting my cheeks.  I lacked tools and experience to navigate the relationships in my life.  I did the best I could, but how did that affect my children?

So why do I keep the journals?  Is there any value in the pain contained within along with the scratchings of creative process, or even those happy memories?  Is the vice that strangles my heart when I turn the pages strengthened by me keeping them?

I have dragged them with me so many years.  From place to place.

Is it time to let them go?  And if so- how?  One big purge and never look back?

They do prove I have tried my best, that I, even in the darkest despair, scrape pen on paper to remind myself- I AM HERE.  I AM HERE.

Photo 2018-01-09, 8 11 11 PM

“Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.” – JOAN DIDION

Perhaps I am simply an explorer.  Not seeking answers…

I sit on the 23, heading home… leaning my head against the window.  The bus is full.  It’s damp outside and damp inside.  I have a seat, a warm seat on the left side- I always get a seat as I always get on at the first stop.  No need to anticipate and worry about trying to get off and navigate the crowd in the tiny bus for my stop is the last one along the route.

Heading West means heading home.  The 23 is the last rung on the journey- be it coming from Coquitlam, Surrey, Fraser and Broadway…

The bus driver is the nice one, who chats all friendly always, this time to passengers from out of town.  The driver talks about his life, born and raised in Mexico City.  He is so kind to anyone getting on, anyone getting off.  He talks about his favorite food, neighborhoods.

I do a lot of thinking on this bus.  Heading West means the day is done.  I shift my brain from youth work to family and creative work.  I write in my head, I draw in my mind.  I long to get back at it.  But I remind myself that I am at it.  I seem to stay in the creative process at all times.

The mantra tonight in my head as I lean against the window, as I stare out into the rain runs:

I don’t care if anyone likes my writing or drawings.

I don’t care if I like my writing or drawings.

I only care that I am writing and drawing.

I take this shit pretty seriously.

I get off the bus by the Laughing Statues with a thank you and You are a wonderful person to the bus driver.  Stepping off that bus, every time, no matter how tired I am, how many bags I carry, how hungry I am, how distracted- I am always infused with intense gratitude and love for my neighborhood with that first step.

In the daylight, usually in the morning on the way to the 23, I stop every time I see a bird, an animal.  Smiling at the towhees, the sparrows, the gulls, geese, crows, robins, finches, chickadees, the herons on the roofs, the squirrels…  In the dark, the animals are quiet.  But the trees are fresh.  The lights are on inside the apartments.  And the sounds of domesticity comfort.

There is a melancholia, a history, a soulfulness and full-of-souls-fullness to my neighborhood.  And I find myself being able to stay present in this neighborhood.  I find myself fed.  There is a sense of grief in this neighborhood that I align with.  And that seems to feed my process.

There is a melancholia, a history, a soulfulness and full-of-souls-fullness to my creative process, to my stuff that I keep.  I begin to understand that I prefer to write and draw and read about grief.  And I find myself being able to stay present surrounded by my books, my creations, my collections, the family photo albums.  I find my creative process fed.  More and more I understand that I am an archivist, a self-appointed family historian because I find a strange comfort in saudade.

Grief seems to both feed and be my creative process.  And all along I thought I was seeking freedom, that my current project, Molly, is about freedom, but I think my overarching theme is actually grief– how it shapes and directs us.  Perhaps I am simply an explorer.  Not seeking answers as such, just shining a little flashlight getting glimpses on something that I may never grasp but am drawn to.  Curious.  And therein lies the freedom.  My soul is being fed.

Freedom is not about the size of your cage, or power of your wings, or non-attachment to a person or a thing. Freedom is about being so deeply, madly and truly attached to your own soul that you can’t bear, if only for a moment, a life that doesn’t honor it.
– Andrea Balt

I’m back on the 23,  three large tote bags filled with notes and supplies and youth work on my lap, heading west, the end of another day and tonight my mantra shifts to:

There is so much I want to write about, draw about.  

And I make a list in my head as I mull over how grief is intertwined in my personal timeline.  The list seemingly senseless but somehow important.

Mom losing her mom

Oscar Wilde and the Nightingale and the Rose

Molly

Mom, Tolstoy and the moment of

The blog- to deposit

Dad, Drawn Together and being in process

Dead birds and writing

Drawn to books

Process and reflection

The decision to stay and the beauty of being

Why this list?  Why do these stand out?  I don’t need to answer.

I only care that I am writing and drawing.

21728041_10214512309263654_3798445705878039885_n
Qualicum Beach, September 2017.  With gratitude to Darcy and Norman.

Until we meet again… dropping off Asterix 

Letting go

In order to hold on

I gradually understand

How poems are made…

– Alice Walker

 

Recall September 24, 2017:

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 11.25.00 AM

Well, I did it.   Finally.  It was time for Asterix’s cremation.

I pulled my parrot out of the freezer this morning and placed his wrapped body (decorated with a drawing by my nephew) inside an IKEA freezer bag(!) and then placed him in a tote.  In all honesty, I have found it comforting to have his body in that freezer, but it was definitely time.

img_5522

I wanted to do the trip alone, so I didn’t remind the family and headed out to the bus stop, grateful that the weather was below zero.

A gorgeous Fall day.

img_5525

I carried my buddy, my companion, my secret onto the bus and headed across the bridge.

The herons usually don’t return to the rooftops till February in the West End, but when I stepped outside my apartment with Asterix- I saw three were sitting on the roofs on Chilco Street.

 

And little birds and seagulls and crows everywhere.

img_4954

Oh my goodness!  Until We Meet Again.  Such a sweet place and two cats greeted me! Their cremation services are on site.

img_5524

Asterix will get a lovely cedar box with a latch.  He loved chewing on wood, so I found it appropriate.

I pulled out the angel cards he had chosen to chew on a while back:

img_5530

Forgiveness popped out as well.

His shrine gives me comfort.

img_5532

 

My sweet sweet boy.

 

Related:

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 11.15.22 AM