Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 46: June 11, 1988

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.

During this journal, my daughter is 2.5, my son 0.6 and I am 26.

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

Sample 44 June 22, 2012

Sample 45 December 16, 2004

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Today: Journal start date June 11, 1988

Cover 

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

June 22, 1988

It’s hard to keep up with the daily grind of living. Right now, just finished cleaning the entire apartment and that is a spectacular sense of relief. I know my life is “obsessed” with cleaning and children and cleaning children. But I really don’t mind. I really want to let go of dance. It gives me a gut ache thinking about performing, etc. Not until I get my son off the boob… And I get my energy up. Feel run down. Taking on too much in my head. Time to clean out the attic in my mind and start anew… Must stop biting my nails. And also allow myself to keep this journal going. Always have an insidious notion that someone is analyzing it and critiquing it whereas it’s really just a daily record of me.

Sample Drawings

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Sample Quote

“What is the price of an afternoon when a small girl is soothed in your arms, when the sun bolts through a doorway and both you and the child are very young?” – Dorothy Evslin

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 39: July 15, 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.

During this journal, I was maintaining the veneer of a happy marriage, but struggling behind the scenes with events that threatened the nest.  I was accused of having “too high standards.”

What hurts the most in all these pages is my inability to maintain healthy friendships. My issues with my mother and my husband had me pulled thin in two seemingly opposing directions, though looking back, they were very similar people. I had no ability to make the two of them deal with each other instead of using me as buffer.

In a need for control and a need to express anger, I was a terrible friend, expressing unnecessary bitterness and misdirected anger in my letters. And their letters back to me are understandably filled with hurt and confusion.

My boundaries were rice paper thin. Today, I forgive myself. And send out an apology to all those I have hurt.

 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

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Today: Journal start date July 15, 1997

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

July 25, 1997

Dream upon me, the theatre of the soul.

July 29, 1997

Sitting at the pool in Grand Pacific Hotel in Victoria. The kids are in the pool confronting some other kid about something or other… Seems they are resolving the conflict OK. Dropped Anna’s bestie off after our three days together. It is exhausting for Anna to be “on” all the time. J_____ is at the TV station. He was in a serious mood today and I always try to figure out what I can do to get him to feel better. But I should give myself a break and allow him his emotion. He and I tend too much to want each other to be HAPPY all the time. 

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“as the spirit wanes the form appears.” – Charles Bukowski

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 38: February 21, 1999

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection.

 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

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Today: Journal start date February 21, 1999

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

February 21, 1999

Back home after a wonderful, intense weekend in Vancouver at our beloved Rosedale. Recall my conversations with J___. A new time in our life, the need to develop the ego, to cut my umbilical cord that ties me to my guilt to mom.

February 23, 1999

In March I go for a mammogram- my first and it does well up a lot of old memories of the parotid gland tumour. I do not want to find myself using this moment as an escape from the guilt as I continuously feel around mom. I hope I can also simply forget about it and not have that little kernel of “hope” that something is wrong, so that I am “released”… sickness is a “way out” from guilt. It always has been.

March 9, 1999

Oh, precious life! I am reprieved – healthy and well! Julian and Anna are doing so well at school. J____ is undergoing a change, a new awareness… I watch Julian’s chest moving up and down as he breathes, as he sleeps. Hear Anna’s sweet call “good night!” And I don’t need any more than this – just to love, to tend this family, and to create some art.

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“he sat naked and drunk in a room of summer night,
running the blade of the knife under his fingernails, smiling,
thinking of all the letters he had received
telling him that the way he lived and wrote about that–
it had kept them going when all seemed truly hopeless.
putting the blade on the table, he flicked it with a finger
and it whirled in a flashing circle under the light.
who the hell is going to save me? he thought.
as the knife stopped spinning the answer came:
you’re going to have to save yourself.
still smiling,
a: he lit a cigarette
b: he poured another drink
c: gave the blade another spin.”

– Charles Bukowski

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 20: October 12, 1994

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection. Several samples have left me a bit raw. This sample, however, is another lighter one … Family life seemingly puttering along in Kitsilano.

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

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Today: Journal Start Date October 12, 1994

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Myth does to time what metaphor does to space.” – Northrop Frye

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 17: Jan 1, 1992

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.

Many moments I have completely forgotten – so it is astounding (and painful) to find them in my journals. And how remarkable to find that the latest three: Samples 15, 16 and 17 (random selections from the shelf) are very connected.

“We can never go back again, that much is certain. The past is still close to us. The things we have tried to forget and put behind us would stir again, and that sense of fear, of furtive unrest, struggling at length to blind unreasoning panic.” – Daphne du Maurier

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

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Today: Journal Start Date January 1, 1992

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

January 6, 1992

Went to Mom’s for the first time since Dec 20. It was an odd experience. Somehow I ended up with a $100 cheque from her and an invoice for the medical insurance of $272.90 from Dad. I was really glad seeing the kids run around, but mom was venomous. Dad seems to want nothing to do with me and very little to do with the children. I don’t think I’d see him again for the rest of my life if it were up to him. Mom was the one that invited me. I don’t exist for them anymore except through my children and their hatred of J____. 

January 24, 1992

Victoria trip tomorrow. First time I’m going on a trip without letting my parents know. 

I am the black sheep.

I am a…

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February 7, 1992

Alley Cat Gallery had good things to say about my new dancer series. She interprets them as me coming to terms with myself, being more at peace and I tend to agree. Wants them framed to exhibit on February 11. 

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Those who cut off usually do so because they feel powerless. They think the other person has all the power and they don’t see a way to be themselves in a close relationship with that powerful person.” – Dr. Richard W. Richardson, Family Ties that Bind

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The importance of doodling…

Thank you’s to Tove Jansson for her “Lilla My” character that I can’t seem to stop doodling

Spontaneous drawings may relieve psychological distress, making it easier to attend to things. We like to make sense of our lives by making up coherent stories, but sometimes there are gaps that cannot be filled, no matter how hard we try. Doodles fill these gaps, possibly by activating the brain’s time travel machine,” allowing it to find lost puzzle pieces of memories, bringing them to the present, and making the picture of our lives more whole again. With this greater sense of self and meaning, we may be able to feel more relaxed and concentrate more.

Srini Pillay, MD

There is one moment in Pippi Longstocking that nailed it for me…

As a child, I desperately searched for characters in books that aligned with my anxious outward ways and my happy reclusive interior.  Charlie Brown came close, but he was always seeking connection.  I was seeking alone time.  Like Charlie, school terrified and exhausted me.  Home, my room, my books were my calming tools.  I found many characters (especially in Astrid Lindgren’s works– like Lotta, Emil, Pippi) that I looked up to for their passion, ability to express anger, for their independent spirits.

There is one moment, however, in Pippi Longstocking that nailed it for me- when I felt Pippi and I were aligned- and I would read that scene over and over again. To this day, think about it often, and connect with it even more.

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Annika was standing at the window of their room in pink pyjamas, looking over toward Villa Villekulla.  “Look, I see Pippi!” she called out, delighted.

Tommy rushed over to the window too.  Yes, there she was.  Now that the trees didn’t have any leaves they could look right into Pippi’s kitchen.

Pippi was sitting at the table with her head propped against her arms.  She was staring at the little flickering flames of a candle that was standing in front of her.  She seemed to be dreaming.

“She– she looks so alone,” said Annika, and her voice trembled a little.  “Oh, Tommy, of it were only morning do that we could go to her right away!”

They stood there in silence and looked out into the winter night.  The stars shining over Villa Villekula’s roof.  Pippi was inside.  She would always be there.  That was a comforting thought…

… And the most wonderful, comforting thought was that Pippi would always be in Villa Villekulla.

“If she would only look in this direction we could wave at her,” said Tommy.

But Pippi continued to stare straight ahead with a dreamy look.  Then she blew out the light. 

– Astrid Lindgren, Pippi in the South Seas (translated by Gerry Bothmer)

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See also:

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I am not depressed today.

 

May 18, 2019

Saturdays I tend to have– a type of Saturday Migraine what I call- spiritual migraines- as the time to myself hits after sleeping in an extra hour after a full week of so much output– I can either be in euphoric creative mode, or despair/exhaustion.  Of course, I enjoy the euphoria.  I get a lot done!  The despair tends to look like this:

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Today I did have plans.  Several of them were canceled.  And instead of filling up the space with other get together requests– I took a walk alone, checked in on the herons, and settled myself here on a rock at Second Beach.

What do I hear?

Seagulls, small birds, bike bells, this paper, crows, planes, squeaky  bike wheels, waves, boats, jet skis, children by the water, people on the seawall.

The tide is out and I am surrounded by tide pools.

I am not depressed today.  I am not euphoric.  I don’t owe anybody my time today.  I don’t need to hear anyone’s despair, or help organize their thoughts.  Even my own.

 

I keep the broken bits. They illustrate the subtext.

I keep the broken bits. I honour the cracks. They illustrate the subtext. There in I seek the true story.

Subtext or undertone is any content of a creative work which is not announced explicitly by the characters or author, but is implicit or becomes something understood by the observer of the work as the production unfolds.  – source

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Observing minute details is a solitary experience.

I find myself breathing in the stories that emanate from mysterious places.  The subtext of the old, the dead, the new, the fresh.  Gives me life.  Helps me create.

This post is dedicated to my soul-sister, Patti.

Silent interiors…

Fort Langley National Historic Site, Easter, April 21, 2019

I spent a wonderful afternoon with my family in Fort Langley today.

While the egg scramble mayhem and sugar highs rang out outside, I was drawn to the silent interiors.

Form follows function—that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.

– Frank Lloyd Wright

Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.

– Frank Gehry

I don’t enjoy living in a white box flooded with light. I like shadows, small spaces, old furniture.

– Kevin McCloud

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Every city is a ghost.
New buildings rise upon the bones of the old so that each shiny steel bean, each tower of brick carries within it the memories of what has gone before, an architectural haunting. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of these former incarnations in the awkward angle of a street or filigreed gate, an old oak door peeking out from a new facade, the plaque commemorating the spot that was once a battleground, which became a saloon and is now a park. 

Libba Bray

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Sunday pause. Sunday paws.

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Sunday pause. ☕️📰📚 Sunday paws. 🐾

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Couldn’t sleep well last night- overthinking- work, responsibilities.  But this morning I pause, knowing I’ve worked dang hard to get here.  To get to this moment.  To get to a place where I can sit at a kitchen table alone on a Sunday morning with the New York Times and a good book.

My children grown and expanding their lives.  What could be better?  I have to remember to pat myself on the back.  And to expand gently into whatever lies ahead, knowing it’s all good- in this moment.

This pause is well-deserved and I have nothing else to figure out today, this second day of being age Fifty-Seven.

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Bird spotting with a yellow legal pad and a walk in the park.

I walked around Lost Lagoon this afternoon.

In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.
Robert Lynd

I found a heron nest on the ground after a windstorm broke a large tree branch.

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I saw signs of early Spring.

And hope springs eternal.  What else did I see?  Well…

There is an unreasonable joy to be had from the observation of small birds going about their bright, oblivious business.
Grant Hutchison, The Complete Lachlan

Every bird at the marsh filled us with a little light. I wondered if I was just so simple that this was all it took. But then I thought, I’m lucky that this is all it takes.”
Lynn Thomson, Birding with Yeats: A Mother’s Memoir

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings. – Unknown

She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. And birds fluttered around her, writing “yes” in the sky.
Monique Duval

I get this ways sometimes.

Ever get this way? Staring at your to do list, and not moving?

Feels like a slow bleed, but the blood is flowing backwards causing a brain sting.

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I get this ways sometimes. Trying to figure out too many things and struggling with feeling useless and unproductive, even strangely irresponsible, yet knowing I deserve just some time to stop.  Especially at this stage in my life.

It’s ok.

My overactive, stinging mind and my weary heart compete for who can most distract me from simply celebrating self.  Being responsible for just myself.

Tonight, I sit a little stunned, knowing I need to make some seemingly big shifts.

But maybe the shifts can be big through small steps?

If I am not going to catch up on reporting tonight, I can at least answer one email from an anxious student.

If I am not working research materials tonight, I can at least watch Escape from Dannemora.

If I am not going to work on the screenplay tonight, then I should simply just write something, anything.  Like this blog entry.

If I am not going to work on the illustration project that I need to get finished this week, I must at least sew on a drawing.

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If I am not setting up inquiry meetings about career shifts, I can check in with my vision boards.

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And trust.

 

 

 

 

Potato Nose Diaries (1977): Instalment 8- The Letter

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Previously on PND:

Instalment 1: Introduction

Instalment 2: The First Entries

Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance

Instalment 4: Sex Education

Instalment 5: They Don’t Know What It Is

Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: I am 15 now

Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: The Audition

Instalment 6: The Trip to Paris

Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: Steven

Instalment 7: Grad and the Part

Today’s instalment

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© Katarina Thorsen 2018

Bird School: The first rule

I am obsessed with birds.  I have this strange belief that I will not uncover truths that I seek in my art without first understanding birds fully.  So I am taking myself through my own Bird School– developing my own rudimentary curriculum and drawing out the answers and stitching together the truths.

Recall:

Parts of a Songbird

Head Feather Groups

Today’s lesson: The First Rule

Sketching and taking notes in the field are exercises that will force you to look more closely, reinforce your memory, and greatly increase the rate at which you learn.  The joy of small discoveries is part of the great appeal of birding, and patient study is always rewarded. 

– David Sibley

The first rule is simple: LOOK AT THE BIRD… Watch what the bird does, watch it fly away, and only then try to find it in your book. 

 

Resource:

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Bird School- Head feather groups

I am obsessed with birds.  I have this strange belief that I will not uncover truths that I seek in my art without first understanding birds fully.  So I am taking myself through my own Bird School– developing my own rudimentary curriculum and drawing out the answers and stitching together the truths.

Recall:

Part- Parts of a Songbird

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Today’s lesson: Head Feather Groups

The head feathers can be divided into five main groups:

Other subdivisions of head feathers:

Resource:

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Journal exercise: find a message in your words

Journal exercise:

1. Identify something that is blocking you from living fully and loving yourself.  

I chose my goddamn fucking ugly mug.

2. Write for several minutes on the subject or whatever comes to mind.  Just let it unfold.

“What is really perseverating in my mind is my ugly face.  I keep saying it over and over in my mind mind mind- you are ugly, you are ugly.  Being on camera really through threw me for a loop.  I even developed debilitating neuralgia and canker sores similar to way back in 1977 when I would be plagued with pain, obsessing with hating my face.  [How is it possible that I am back to age 15 staring into the mirror like some kind of narcissistic anxious troll, spitting at my own image?].  If I am to survive this next phase, and dare to step fully into me being me, I must learn to love my ugliness.  Ugly is the new beauty.  I am blessed to be able to speak, hear, taste out of this ugly beautiful face.”

3. Pull out words that pop out for you. Don’t overthink it.

CONSCIOUSNESS

PERSEVERATING

FACE

MIND

UGLY

THROUGH

LOOP

SORES

PAIN

OBSESSING

SURVIVE

STEP

BEING

UGLY

NEW

BLESSED

FACE

4. Find a message in those words that address your barrier in a positive way.

The perseverating loop pains the mind with obsessing sores. To survive step through the ugly to a new and blessed consciousness.

5. Breathe it out.  Let it go.  Be grateful for this moment.  Remember to meet it with humor. Give yourself a gift.

I see the love in her eyes. If she loves my face- a face I am so grateful for quite honestly- then surely I can love my face. One day.

Small steps.

Every stitch a thought- problem solving embroidering drawings.

I’ve got a lot to think about these days.  (Not really any different from other days, I guess, but seriously, there is some amazing stuff brewing).

To stay on track with massive projects, to dos and ideas racing around in the head, I have found great solace in pulling out embroidered drawings.

As I stitch, my mind relaxes and somehow- magically, solutions arise, anxiety dissipates, energy refreshes, ideas come to light.  Fascinating.

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It’s all about following the lines of my drawings, just wandering along the pathways, new ways of looking at things, no attachment to the thread or how things unfold.  Just let it unfold.  And I think that is my greatest lesson in all this- let it unfold.

When you can step back at moments like these and see what is happening, when you watch people you love under fire or evaporating, you realize that the secret of life is patch patch patch. Thread your needle, make a knot, find one place on the other piece of torn cloth where you can make one stitch that will hold. And do it again. And again. And again.
Anne Lamott, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair

You have to keep taking the next necessary stitch, and the next one, and the next. Without stitches, you just have rags. And we are not rags.”
Anne Lamott, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

 

Journal entry April 16, 2018 San Jose Airport

Journal entry April 16, 2018 San Jose Airport [unedited]

It is so odd to take time out from the trajectory of every day in these journeys… to get off the tracks so to speak.  The experience both relaxes the brain, and creates unease.  You feel like you spend too much money and you are wondering about day to day reality, but you also give yourself to the situation and throw caution to the wind.  

Does it shake off the cobwebs?  This importance of eating well, looking at new things, and INPUT before gearing up to hustle when back home.  

But what if I RELAX into the RETURN as well?  NOT worry about it.  TRUST and FLOW and let the sand sift through the fingers?  Just release.  

Not only trust that others are allies, but that LIFE is an ALLY.

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca

Staying in process…

Just when I think– Oh shit, I put myself out there, and now I am all vulnerable and shit and feeling old pangs of, oh shit, what am I doing, where is this going, how will I get there, will it go anywhere, what is this creative career bullshit, shit – a flood of creative process infuses every cell and I am back at the drawing board, literally drawing and working because I never left…  Even though there are times I feel lost and off the rails regarding my creative process, I am starting to understand that my insatiable habits of writing and drawing every day, no matter what the technique is– be it copying a quote, scratching out a doodle, sewing a stitch– is working, keeping me on track, even if my inner critic tries to convince me otherwise.

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Bears repeating:  “Start writing. I don’t mean to sound dismissive, but START WRITING. There is NO SUCH THING as “too late” in the arts. Trust me. START.” – PATTON OSWALT

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CHECK OUT:
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“Ted Hughes gave me this advice and it works wonders: Record moments, fleeting impressions, overheard dialogue, your own sadnesses and bewilderments and joys.” – MICHAEL MORPURGO

 

When public goes private, do I lose you?

When public goes private, do I lose you?

I am so used to sharing my creative process openly– and now I find myself in a new state of being, where in order to discuss and develop the project further, I have to stop sharing it.

This is all exciting and unreal– so why do I feel anxious?  It is weird.  Unfamiliar.

A soul reached out and I was chosen to tell her story… but…

When public goes private, do I lose her?

What a strange feeling this is.

Anxiety is potentially a huge by-product of the energy this month as we try to navigate through all of what is coming our way. It is much like a run-away train. We will simply need to trust that the tracks we put down will hold, and the train will end up settling in the right place.

– The Power Path April 2018 Monthly Forecast

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.

 

My narrative.

Something new is brewing.  

This new thing will require that I dig deeper, reveal more and share some things previously unshared.  

But in order to do that– I need to prepare…

Wait.  

Hold on…

[—–]

I just deleted a massive amount of verbosity and ramblings. I don’t need to PREPARE.  I am already prepared.

For—

I own my own narrative.

I own my narrative.

My narrative.

Something new is brewing.

 

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The crown ripped away. Journal musings.

My head hurts.  Not the inside of my head.  The outside.  The muscles on top of my skull.  The ligaments.

I sat under a young tree yesterday and leaned my head back and my head was and is tender, so tender.


I swear my skull has changed shape in the past few years- at the very top.  It feels like it has sunken in- or maybe it has always been like that since the top of my skull met a lamp post on my 5th birthday— I didn’t know how to use the kick brake on my new bicycle and I headed straight into the lamp post at the bottom of the hill by the grocery store.

 

I don’t know.

But the indentation feels different.

I’ve lost hair of late- my already thin hair is becoming a whisper at the crown of my skull.  I can chalk it up to menopause, but it feels like something else.

The top of my head is tender, yes, like an open wound.

Like the old crown I wore in my old life (the skin having grown around it) has been ripped away and exposed the dermis.  My crown that sat there for 55 years and is now pried away.  All my old roles stripped away.

And it’s OK.  It’s OK.  Oh my god, it is OK.  All as it should be.

But it is quiet and strange.

And sometimes I scramble around on my knees with blurry eyes and the light so low, searching for the crown, with pieces of old skin still attached… thinking I need to put it back on.

I feel the air brushing against the exposed part of my skull.  Perhaps it is a new fontanelle… for certainly this, this life, my life is all anew.

My parents released like birds.

My kids all grown and flying.

The apartment, my nest, so quiet.

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As a woman, as a daughter, as a mother, as a human, I do not want to take this lightly.  To let it pass unnoticed or to try to numb it all away.  This is truly something to PAY ATTENTION too.  To allow the emotions.  The quiet.  To not rush this.  To allow the sacredness.  To know the tap tap on the shoulder by the darkness is creativity daring me now to step into my time.

With breadth, space, grace and humour.


And it is GOOD.  This stunned/stunning graduation.

And what now?  Do I await a new crown?  A stepping into… what?

I feel kind of like that deer in that church, walking around in a silent house, a little lost, a little curious…

Growing.  Not a crown.  But protective horns.  A new cycle.  A new chapter.  Regenerating.

What if today, I just NOT worry?

Today I am giving myself the permission to be just in the moment.  

When fear and worry arise, I will try to let it dissipate without trying to figure out solutions.  I give myself permission to just do what I have committed to today.  TODAY.

I give myself permission to not worry about what is next, what needs to happen, what I need to hustle, what I need to survive.

Today, I have enough bus fare to get to the session, enough supplies for the students, enough coffee in the cupboard.

Today is a gift.

Much love to you all.

You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you today…. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness. – Brother David Steindl-Rast

Recommended reading:


(This book a gift from my sweet friend, Pamela Post)

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 9: A Commitment to Life

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

1. Journal exercise:

What are you committed to today?  I am staying committed to yesterday’s energy of not rushing.  I am getting things done, yes, but not rushing each item.  Staying present and staying innocent.  Staying with the energy of starting fresh.  I can’t solve anything today.  I can only stay aware and present.

Draw/doodle/write life renewal.  What comes to mind?

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2. Capture chapter highlights:

Awareness is itself a healing quality.  Where awareness is focused the deepest potentials for clarity and balance present themselves.  Though what we are aware of may be incessantly changing, awareness itself remains a constant, a luminous spaciousness without beginning or end, without birth or death.  It is the essence of life itself.  It is what remains when all that is impermanent falls away.  It is the deathless…

We must integrate our insights and encourage the weary mind to settle into the expansive heart…

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Chinamarker, acrylic and coffee on newsprint

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

I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.
― Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

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4. Today’s angel card(s):

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The bite marks are from my parrot!

My Stanley Park observations find their way into “Molly” at unexpected times

Our usual spring awakening is late this year.

I recall a walk around Beaver Lake a year ago…  I was infused by the profound beauty of nature.  Warm sun.  Blossoms.  Skunk cabbage.  Herons were dancing in the wind above the lake, ducks were courting and playing, chipmunks and squirrels scurrying.  Chestnut-backed chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches landed on my hands.  I described the feeling as angel whispers.

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Drawing: March 28, 2016. China Marker on Newsprint 16″ x 24″ 

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