UPDATE ON: Burning it down…

UPDATE: May 8, 2018 8PM:

I received an extension and all is good in blog land!  Thank you WORDPRESS

 

Tonight at midnight, this blog’s business plan will expire.  Not able to renew it, I am letting it go and allowing it to do what it will.  Information will likely be lost, but that is OK.

… It is actually quite liberating- much like my street art, much like burning my art in 2003.

 My creative process is about letting go.

 

From The Power Path May 2018 Forecast:

The month may feel more unstable than it really is. Just remember that it is all driving us to where we need to be. So, take it all in stride and do not resist the energy of change whether it is your inspired idea or someone else initiating a change that affects you.

The biggest area of value reflection is related to things of the earth plane and the physical possessions you have collected over this lifetime. How do you value them? Do you put too much value on something that is not truly important? Do you not value something in your life enough? What have you created in your life that you really would rather not have at this time? Are you cluttered and burdened by too many “things” in your life that you now need to take care of and keep track of?

 

Dream. Letters. Thought and Memory.

I had a terrible dream last night.

In the dream, I haven’t been home to visit my parents for four years.  In the dream, they are still living at the house on Braemar (the one we moved into in 1977, the one before they downsized in 2004).  In the dream, they are both as sick as they were before they died.  My dad after his stroke, unwinding with bladder cancer.  My mom shrinking from pancreatic cancer.  I haven’t been home for 4 years and the realization happens as I am sitting in my car (which I don’t have anymore).  In the dream, I choke on panic and try to open the car door, but it so heavy as if pushing against water.  I finally get out and start running up Lonsdale… but it is like wading through mud and I am screaming at the top of my lungs but there is no sound.  I keep calculating in my head obsessively- it’s been 9 years and 4 months since mom passed away.  It’s been 5 years and 4 months since Dad died.  It’s been 15 years since we moved from the Sunshine Coast…  I keep lining up all the pets that have passed, calculating, calculating.  The crushing panic of not having visited mom and dad is drowning me…

I woke soaked in sweat.

I sit here now at the kitchen table…

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… staring at a package of letters.

I received the package in Dec 2013.

Recall:

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The first letter written 50 years ago this year:

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And I have managed to only get through one since receiving them.  For though the letters are likely optimistic, I know my mother’s pain.  And I am preparing, now that it is 9 years and 4 months since mom passed away.  It’s been 5 years and 4 months since Dad died.  It’s been 15 years since we moved from the Sunshine Coast… 50 years since we first moved here from Sweden, 40 years since we came back… preparing to finally to process my grief about mom by translating those letters.  My relationship with my mom was extraordinary and complicated.

As I start to work through the pile at last, I feel the (re)connection to my heritage.  The THOUGHTS and MEMORIES contained in those letters, in my DNA, are now ready to surface.

Huginn (THOUGHT) and Muninn (MEMORY)

The other day I found a photo in the big family mish-mash photo box.   I don’t recall ever seeing it before.  My mom and dad look happy and at peace.

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What about the dream?  In reality, I did caregive for mom and dad as best as I could.  In reality, I saw them almost every day.  They were my partners in crime on the Molly project, which is entering it’s 15th year and which is entering a new exciting phase.

Maybe the dream was some kind of cleansing.

A gift from mom and dad to let me know they are OK, and that I am OK, and that I am free now to flow with the current.  I made it.

 

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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:

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Forgiveness popped out as well.

His shrine gives me comfort.

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My sweet sweet boy.

 

Related:

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From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 13: The Act of Dying

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Part 7: Fear of Fear

Part 8- Noticing

Part 9: A Commitment to Life

Part 10: Fear of Dying

Part 11: Fear of Death

Part 12: The Moment of Death

Part 13: The Act of Dying

1. I return to a journal entry October 26, 2012:

In keeping with Dad’s wishes, I documented our last day together.

I came up early in the morning yesterday and spent some hours by myself with Dad before the rest of the family arrived for our daily vigil.

I set up the space  I had an intense need to offer some kind of guidance for him.

I played the Tibetan Book of the Dead audio for Dad.  We were not interrupted and it was very powerful.

My father’s feet showed signs of mottling, so I had a lovely gentle conversation with the nurse and we inspected him and nodded silently to each other.  Dad continued his rhythmic breathing. interrupted here and there with some abrupt harsh intakes of breath.  His heart beat on, but there were arrhythmic moments and his pulse was weak.

His senses were shutting down.  Hearing though may be one of the last things to go.

I felt he needed to hear more gentle guidance, so I played him Swedish lullabies into his left ear, sung by his favorite actor, Allan Edwall:

The family arrived and we spent another beautiful day together.

My friend, Darcy, dropped off Sunshine Cake:

We played some of Dad’s favorite Swedish comedy and some of his favorite Disney movies:

The artist’s hand lies still.

Staff came in regularly to tend him and to check in.  The doctor felt Dad could hang on another two weeks.  I was confused as it did not feel right intuitively, and felt a panic well up.  I did not want Dad to suffer any more.

We had a lot of family discussions and then we packed up around 8:00/8:30 PM and turned off the lights except for the Christmas lights and diffuser.  Dad was peaceful and apparently painfree.  I sensed he needed time to concentrate and to complete the journey on his own.

15 minutes after we left, care aide Kim went in and checked on him and he was still breathing.  Then care aide Mike went in and discovered that Dad had stopped breathing.  I received the call as my son and I bit into our dinner at Burgoo.

We quickly headed up and when we walked into the room, Dad was surrounded by his beloved caregivers.  They had tended him so beautifully.

My son Julian, my brother Fredrik, my brother Anders and my sister-in-law Charmaine and I sat for an hour talking, laughing, sighing, breathing, planning, sharing shots of Dad’s whiskey in his honor.  Dad’s “baby,” Tobey, lay on Dad’s legs as we awaited the transfer of Dad’s body.

Today we will be sorting his room.  I am filled with joy, relief, love, sadness and all the beautiful emotions a daughter can feel losing her beloved father.  I have also lost my best friend and I sense that once the numbness wears off, I will experience intense loss in this regard, but I accept and welcome it for I am so lucky to have had such a friendship.

Much love to all of you.

I feel my Dad doing his signature thumbs up!

You can read the book I created with my father (PDF file):

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2. Capture chapter highlights:

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This is how it is to die:

A sense of lightening, an expanding, a floating free…

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3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

(“The Sheltering Sky” – Paul Bowles)

[Thank you, Emma Varley]

4. Today’s angel card(s):

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When I draw a blank angel card, I smile, as I take it as my mom and dad telling me: YOU GOT THIS.  It is up to you.  Trust.  Stay in the “don’t know mind.”

Check out:

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From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 12: the moment of death

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Part 7: Fear of Fear

Part 8- Noticing

Part 9: A Commitment to Life

Part 10: Fear of Dying

Part 11: Fear of Death

Part 12: The Moment of Death

1. Journal exercise:  What are you saying goodbye to today in order to expand?

I am saying goodbye to NYC 2017.  Can’t afford it. Wasn’t meant to be.  But I say hello to what NYC truly means to me.  Deep in my heart.  For I am an artist.  That is my NYC.

 

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2. Capture chapter highlights:

Some say the moment of death occurs when the heart stops.  But the heart never stops, for when it is no longer contained between opposing ventricles it expands slowly into its inherent vastness without missing a beat, expressing the truth it has embraced for a lifetime…

Death like birth is not an emergency but an emergence.  Like a flower opening, it is nearly impossible to tell exactly when the bud starts to become the blossom, or when the seed-laden blossom begins to burst and release its bounty.

– Stephen Levine 

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3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So the question becomes: what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our ability to stick with something we care about is our ability to handle the rough patches and ride out the inevitable rotten days.

If you want to be a brilliant tech entrepreneur, but you can’t handle failure, then you’re not going to make it far. If you want to be a professional artist, but you aren’t willing to see your work rejected hundreds, if not thousands of times, then you’re done before you start. If you want to be a hotshot court lawyer, but can’t stand the 80-hour workweeks, then I’ve got bad news for you.

What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle? Are you able to stay up all night coding? Are you able to put off starting a family for 10 years? Are you able to have people laugh you off the stage over and over again until you get it right?

What shit sandwich do you want to eat? Because we all get served one eventually.

Might as well pick one with an olive.

– Mark Manson

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4. Today’s angel card(s):

 

 STAY TUNED FOR A SPECIAL ART PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT! 

To live until we say good-bye. Tobey: Jan. 14, 2000-Dec. 23, 2015

December 23, 2015 3:52 PM

As I write this, I await my brother to pick me up to take Tobey to the vet.  I awoke yesterday with a painful heart, knowing it was time to help Tobey let go.

My nephew and Tobey, Stanley Park, 2014.

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I said goodbye to my sweet Tobey at 5:45 PM. So much love and gratitude for my companion.  

 

Tobey with my father, October 2012, shortly before my father passed away.

 

Recall: Can a dog live forever?  In this case, yes.

Tobey by my street wall, Downtown Eastside, 2012.

 

Tobey loving to run at the field at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary, 2011.

 

Tobey guarding his master, as we await Hollyburn Funeral Services to move my father’s body, October 25, 2012.

 

My “life-partner.”  Always present.  My buddy.  My comfort.

 

Getting shampooed- again…

 

Tobey would always come along- and I’d look to my right while driving and see this face.

 

Deep Cove.

 

Tobey was my father’s dog initially. He’d always be with my Dad and I at the Lion’s Gate Hospital cafeteria.

 

Remembering him digging in the garden at Evergreen House as Dad and I worked on our book.

 

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Tobey this morning. December 23, 2015.





 


  I love you, Tobey

Special thank you to my brother Anders and to Dr. Caroline Wark and the kind staff at:

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Self-imposed exile- let it go, let it go.o

Curled up in my chair in self-imposed exile.  Wrapped in old knits.

Personal art therapy- drawing fan art
Personal art therapy- drawing fan art

Loving less interaction. Loving not working on my to-do’s. Happy to be doing less.

Should I worry and fret?  Feel guilty?

No.  Nah.

Let it go.

Let it all go.

So fatigued- let it go.
Heavy grief dreams these days- let them go.

Dreamt about running, easily, in a race, Olympic level, through the forest- let it go.

Dreamt about mom- and both of us not getting off the ferry in time and being separated from our kids- let it go.

Frida let go
“Let go of the need to heal old emotional wounds.” – The Power Path

Hey!  Feeling valued these days!  Let it go.
Feeling more assured- let it go.
Loving the new work- let it go.
Should be illustrating- let it go.
Should be should be- let it go.

Hey, waking up without anxiety! Let it go.
Should I be worried about—? Let it go.
What about resolving—? Let it go.
Organize those papers- let it go.
Push yourself- let it go.
The sun through the kitchen window- let it go.
Look how far you’ve come- let it go.
I need to think. Let it go.
Loving solitude. Let it go.

Simplify? Yes.

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Personal craft therapy- picking up old scraps of cloth and just letting whatever happens, happen.

By letting it go, it all gets done. – Lao Tzu

Attachments to the familiar- 10 years later, taking pictures off the fridge

I like the familiar.  I like a cozy visual environment.  I like clutter.  Now I am readying my place to sell and to move and it’s time to detach.  For 10.5 years I have had certain images taped to the fridge and added a few over time.  I am attached to these images.  They comfort me.  They are wrinkled from the years of steam of cooking.  They are torn and over-taped, stained, loved.  They aren’t expensive or even just photos, but they are my familiar.  Now they are in a plastic folder.

FRIDGE 1
A bookmark from Banyen Books (from 1990)
FRIDGE 3
Rio, now passed away. Aaron White’s incredible, terrifying, funny-as-hell, cockatoo on the Sunshine Coast
FRIDGE 6
The first time we met our cat, Violet (now age 10.5).
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Old cards signifying the start of my sock monkey obsession.
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Old quotes that carried significance in 2003.
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One of my favorite spots on the planet. Stortorget, Stockholm. My aunt and uncle live in the apartment building to the left, first floor.
FRIDGE 9
A card from Claudia, 2003. She struggled with debilitating MS in the last 6 years of her life and passed away in 2007. She was a very special person. And this card is a treasure.

FRIDGE 13 FRIDGE 12

FRIDGE 8
A sketch on a paperbag by Jasper Lastoria.
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Riley and Violet. Riley passed away on Jan 1, 2014.
FRIDGE 2
An old sketch by my son, Julian Bowers.

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Holding on or letting go… lessons from my nephew.

As I watch my nephew taking his steps towards his independence, I am struck with the battle we all struggle with between holding on and letting go.

Just by watching Henrik, I find a metaphor for those battles inside myself.

From the simple holding on to the pinky finger to feel safe- to letting go of the perceived safety net and taking those steps…

To finding simple treasures and admiring them for a moment, enjoying the lift the experience gives, then flinging them back…

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To voraciously holding on, ingesting all that life has to offer, feeling grounded in the holding on to the known, seeking more by grabbing more, collecting no matter what or how…

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To just observing life and death and its wonders, allowing, flying, being light…

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To revisiting and redoing, reassessing, keeping, holding, allowing…

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Breathing through the fear and blocks…

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And drawing through it.  Always drawing through it…

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All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. ~Havelock Ellis