Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 40: August 26, 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 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

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Today: Journal start date August 26, 1997

Cover

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Sample Pages

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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

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

Cover

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Sample Pages

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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

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Sample Quote

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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.

 

Give yourself the opportunity to discover your own imagery

Dreams of my art being attached to some kind of imaginary romantic self-sustaining monetary outcome no longer serve me.  If my creative process is to continue to be my sacred practice, continue to develop, if my creative process is where I let go of attachment, let go of comparing myself to others, let go of control, then I also let go of those dreams.

Let

Them

Go.

And instead embrace the simple and healing journey of process.  Of self-discovery.

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From Revolution From Within- a book of self-esteem, by Gloria Steinem (1992, Little Brown and Company, New York, NY):

… But the point of the journey is not just the healing.  It’s also recovering the truest, most spontaneous, joyful, and creative core of ourselves.  If any of the stories you have just read strikes an emotional chord, that’s a possible signal from your inner self.  If anything in the present brings you unreasonable pleasure or sadness, that’s a clue, too.  The important thing is to make the connections between past and present.  And, of course, not everything is in our power to know.  We need faith in a future that will redeem the past…

… Any one of our human capacities, if unused out of fear or shame, leaves a small hole in the fabric of our self-esteem.  Think of the times you have said: “I can’t write,” “I can’t paint,” “I can’t run,” “I can’t shout,” “I can’t dance,” “I can’t sing.”  Since this was not literally true, you were really saying: “I can’t meet some outside standard. I’m not acceptable as I am.

… Give yourself the opportunity to discover your own imagery… your true self made visible.

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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! 

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 11: Fear 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

1. Journal exercise:

WRITE FOR 10 MINUTES ON LETTING GO AND STARTING FRESH.  YOU OWE NO ONE ANYTHING.  YOU CAN START TOTALLY FRESH TODAY.  

Allowing myself to start fresh.  To go into the cave.  To be in solitude.

Loving less interaction.  Loving not trying.  Happy to be doing less.

Healing the sick body and the exhausted mind.

Let it go.

Let it all go. 

Hey! Not feeling valued these days?  Let it go.

Need to feel  more assured?  Let it go.

Figure out next steps?  Let it go.

Should be should be— let it go.

Simplify? Yes.


2. Capture chapter highlights:

Our fear of death is our fear of the uncontrollable unknown.  It is the same old fear.  It lies in wait behind our eyelids as we awake each morning.  It is the fear of fears.  It needs space to breathe.

When attempts at control become a prison only letting go of control will result in freedom.

– Stephen Levine 

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

What is that hair ball of old energy you have been choking on?
… Let go of the need to heal old emotional wounds.The Power Path

4. Today’s angel card(s):

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!

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 8- Noticing

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.

I vomited out shit yesterday and received an overwhelming positive response.  Thank you for that!  Glad you related!  Let’s see what is in store today.

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

1. Exercise- take note of small joys in your living space.  Care for your space gently.  

It is Sunday.  And an open day ahead to draw, to create, to be, to leave the to-do for tomorrow.  I began the day today by resting.  By staying in bed.  By slowing down and being in the moment.  Then I cleaned my apartment, changed the sheets, hung out with my parrot, did the laundry, organized art work, my books, dusted, watered plants, opened the windows wide, puttered around, tending my space.  No rush.  Staying in gratitude.

2. Capture chapter highlights:

What we describe as “our life” is not the sum total of what has passed through our hands but has passed through our minds.  Our life isn’t only a collection of people and places, it is a continuum of the ever-changing feelings they engender…

Our life only lasts a moment.  Note those moments.  Acknowledge to yourself, silently in the heart, the various states passing through.  Call them by name.  Note “fear,” note “doubt,” note “compassion” as these states pass through.  Let this naming of states be a gentle whisper in the heart, not a grasping at conceptual straws of the mind…

Because noting states of mind as they arise keeps us present, it allows us to meet difficulties at their inception– before they become more real than we are…

Noting is a remembering of the present.

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

It is in the bored moments that the beauty of life right before us can actually open.  It is in the moments of stillness that a portal is open to our inner lives. – Michele Lilyanna

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Check out:

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4. Today’s angel card(s):

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From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 7: Fear of Fear

It’s been a while.  It’s been a lot lately.  But let’s see how this chapter unfolds.  What it reveals.

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

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I have been struggling between staying in curiosity/trust and floundering in fear.  And lo and behold, I open the book to the next chapter and it is titled:

Part 7: Fear of Fear

1. Journal exercise:

Get out a big piece of paper.  Write out the shit.  I mean really acknowledge what is making you fearful right now.  Really acknowledge what you are sick of.  Fuck affirmations for a bit.  Fuck gratitude. Fuck getting out of the way.  Fuck not allowing negative speak.  Stand up to it.  Face it.   It’s actually OK to acknowledge the pain that stirs within.

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I am tired of trying. I am sick of being broke, struggling through each month. I am sick of trusting the universe. I am so sad I had to cancel New York. No, I am mad. I am sick of churning stomach, applying for jobs, fearful of what is next. I am sick of PRAISE. For I am sick of counting coins while planning projects. I am sick of the word OPPORTUNITY. I can’t plan ahead if I can’t buy groceries or pay my bills today. It is never enough. I am wanting to land, but do I? I want to not have to take a giant student loan to get credentials I already have. I am sick of loving my home so much yet always being in fear that I can’t afford it. I am sick of not being rewarded for living frugally so I can afford to live in a place I deserve. I am sick of guilt. I am sick of fear that I do not know how to do this. Fear of failure is a failure, isn’t it? I want a clear calendar so I can start again.

Once you have vomited it all out, see if you dare to share it with someone- or read it out loud to yourself- or post it.  I learn from you.  You learn from me and we hold each other up.

Now alter it.  Any way you like.  You are in charge.

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Now throw it out!

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And hug yourself with humour and gratitude for YOU.  TODAY  it is ok to be in your own way.  TODAY it is OK not to flip all this vomit into a positive.  Cause we shouldn’t eat our own vomit.  Ideally.

TODAY IS TODAY and THIS MOMENT IS AWESOME.

2. Capture chapter highlights:

All fear has an element of resistance and a leaning away from the moment.  Its dynamic is not unlike that of strong desire except that fear leans backward into the last safe moment while desire leans forward toward the next possibility of satisfaction.  Each lacks presence.

Our unwillingness to enter each moment fully, without judgment or the need to control it, simply produces more fear and resistance to that fear.

“If I have only a year in which to soften my belly where do I begin?”

“In your heart.”

SOFT BELLY MEDITATION

Soft-belly is a trigger for our letting go. Softening melts the armoring over the heart, experienced as hardness in the belly. Each time we remember to be present, to be mindful, we soften into the moment. Softening becomes a call to the heart that it is safe to be alive in the body once again. Soft-belly brings an end to our fear of fear.

Taking a few deep breaths, feel the body you breathe in.
Feel the body expanding and contracting with each breath.
Focus on the rising and falling of the abdomen.
Let awareness receive the beginning, middle, and end
of each inbreath, of each outbreath
expanding and contracting the belly.
Note the constantly changing flow of sensation
in each inhalation, in each exhalation.
And begin to soften all around these sensations.
Let the breath breathe itself in a softening belly.
Soften the belly to receive the breath,
to receive sensation, to experience life in the body.
Soften the muscles that have held the fear for so long.
Soften the tissue, the blood vessels, the flesh.
Letting go of the holding of a lifetime.
Letting go into soft-belly, merciful belly.
Soften the grief, the distrust, the anger
held so hard in the belly.
Levels and levels of softening, levels and levels of letting go.
Moment to moment allow each breath its full expression
in soft-belly.
Let go of the hardness. Let if float
in something softer and kinder.
Let thoughts come and let them go,
floating like bubbles in the spaciousness of soft-belly.
Holding to nothing, softening, softening.
Let the healing in.
Let the pain go.
Have mercy on yourself, soften the belly,
open passageway to the heart.
In soft-belly there is room to be born at last,
and room to die when the moment comes.
In soft-belly the vast spaciousness in which to heal,
in which to discover our unbounded nature.
Letting go into the softness,
fear floats in the gentle vastness we call the heart.
Soft-belly is the practice that accompanies us throughout the day
and finds us at day’s end still alive and well.

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

If you are older, trust that the world has been educating you all along.  You already know so much more than you think you know.  You are not finished; you are merely ready.  After a certain age, no matter how you’ve been spending your time, you have very likely earned a doctorate in living.  If you’re still here– if you have survived this long– it is because you know things.  We need you to reveal to us what you know, what you have learned, what you have seen and felt.  If you are older, chances are strong that you may already possess absolutely everything  you need to possess in order to live a more creative life– except the confidence to actually do your work.  But we need you to do your work.  – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic- Creative Living Beyond Fear

4. Today’s angel card(s):

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From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise Part 6

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

1. I copy a panel from The Song of Roland

This panel– I copied a panel from the book and drew it with china marker and oil pastels and olive oil of Siberian Pine– is so comforting for me as it reminds me of the beauty of caring for my parents.  It eases my heart.

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Read this book!!!!!

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2. Capture chapter highlights:

What words would you actually utter as you expelled your last breath?

This stage of growth, of looking ourselves squarely in the eye and recognizing the work still necessary to become whole, the hearts to be touched, the amends to be made, and the thank-you cards to be sent, is painful and life-expanding for everyone…

Prepare now for death so as to intensify and fulfill your life.  Don’t imagine your endorphins are going to do it for you “when the time comes.”  When the time actually comes, what is found then will be what is found now…

We die the way we live.

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

“He smelled the garden, the yellow shield of light smote his eyes, and he whispered, “Life is so beautiful.”

Yes, he thought, if I can die saying, “Life is so beautiful,” then nothing else is important.”
― Mario Puzo, The Godfather

4. Today’s angel card(s):

Angel cards

You can read the book I created with my father here:

DRAWN TOGETHER 

(page contains PDF link) 

From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise Part 5

I dedicate today’s post to my soul-sister Patti Henderson and to our deep HEART chats.

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

1. CREATE freely.  Do what you love.  What relaxes you?  For me, it is drawing and embroidering.

I recall a piece from 3 years ago:

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From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise: Part 3

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

1. Embroider your heart

Here is a PDF of one of my drawings for you to print out: Heart

Color it.  –> Cut it out.  –> Glue it on card stock.  –> Cut it out again.  –> Embroider!

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Photo by Erin Banda

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Check out:

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2. Capture chapter highlights:

If you had only one year to live, what would you do?

[I think about the beautiful, heartbreaking, incredible mother-daughter year my mother and I had from her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer November 2007 to her death November 2008.]

… To have a whole year to examine one’s life consciously in the context of approaching death is almost unique in the human experience…

As we begin to see where we have been absent from life, increasing possibilities audition for our approval.  The heart suggests that we become more present, that we sharpen our focus…

Those who insist they’ve got their “shit together” are usually standing in it at the time…

Sometime it takes a journey to come home.  We may even have to leave our comfortable (though always rented, never owned) domicile to do it.  Life is like that and so is death…

Thus, in the one year experiment… focus, instead, on the heart that loves as is.  This means completing one life before we start another, taking one evolutionary leap at a time.

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

WE ALREADY HAVE everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.
― Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

4. Today’s angel card:

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My ugliness, my solitude, my experiences have built a protective wall

Diary entry April 17, 2017

Once I have reached my energy limit- my body/mind/spirit experiences a type of fatigue migraine– it comes on when I finally relax and have a day to stop- and seemingly ALL threatens to stop.  My eyes can’t stay open in the tub, my heart feels tender, my to-do list seems unfriendly.  But I know this is my pattern, my rollercoaster of creative process.

Remedy: on with the sweatpants, old tee, old cardigan, thick socks, clogs, rain coat, tote bag full of books and head out to the lagoon.

That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies.

I walk around the lagoon in absolute solitude- despite the crowds.  I may smile at someone if they smile, but generally I only care about nature and the birds, the raccoons, squirrels.  I have no interest in people on days like this; I have no interest in speaking.

My mind does not churn with angst but processes and there is a strange sensation of an impending cry.  A cry never comes.  I know this is the rubber band pulling back during creative process.  The entire body fatigues.

Once around the lagoon, I stumble my way to the grocery store and more shyness takes over.  I sweat.  My hair is greasy.  I really don’t care because I am protected by my age.  My ugliness, my solitude, my experiences have built a protective wall and inside I am content.  On the outside not so much- but inside.

And in that strange bubble of clumsy solitude and shyness and recoil and disdain for crowds, I feel strangely FREE.

Now I am sitting at a coffee shop, head down, writing- blissful in my ugliness- that same girl who spat at herself in the mirror in Grade 8 but who at the same time had a secret place deep in her heart that was free and loved and powerful.

I had my family.  I had my art.

I have my family.  I have my art.

There are days I have countless hours of energy for output.  Then it dips when I rest and I get that fatigue migraine again.  I am safe here at this table.  Surrounded by others in their solitude bubble.  The muse sits with me.  She reaches out to touch my hand and inaudibly whispers- time to write.  She guides.

The energy comes back.  The body lightens.  And the comfort of ugliness in old shitty clothes envelop me.  I am safe in here.

Gas mask

What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue. – Henri Matisse

Routine? No, ROOTine.

The word ROOTine came up for me the other day when I was texting with my daughter who is on a life-changing journey, travelling in SE Asia:

Looking back on your life from a mom’s perspective as to when you have felt the most happiest is during developing an idea and planning transitions.  When you have gotten “grey” is when things settle into routine.  Your core competencies are definitely on experiencing and facilitating those transitions… what’s beautiful is that by identifying that this trip is about making space for change, that you yourself have the power to facilitate change, has opened you to also embrace DEVELOPING ROOTS.  

As long as where you land, where you you work, who you love, fosters that change power in you–  you will be happy.  Some people need routine and no change.  Predictability.  You- no.  That’s why you will love being a mom as it’s all about facilitating growth and change in your children.  The routine or ROOT-ine in that and in loving a partner is not at all suffocating- as long as you continue to develop yourself

 

The word ROOTine made sense to me as it came up in my text to her.  When I personally feel the angst of being disconnected from the predictability and routine of home (like this past Friday when I headed over to the island for 5 nights to work and and spend time with friends), I know that is the time for self-reflection and mindfulness.  In the way that works for me.

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I don’t seek sameness in my life- that is certainly why I immerse myself in the creative process- it is about CHANGE.

My psychological or even physiological makeup is not one that suits the routine of a 9 to 5 predictable schedule.

I find a rich sense of freedom in the uniqueness of my personal routine.  In what makes me relax IN MY WAY.

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Qualicum Beach, April 2, 2017

So, I guess the angst that arises is when the flow is disrupted?  I’ve been thinking about this a lot.  Is it ROUTINE or ROOTS?  I am fully rooted in my purpose- blessed to have found it.

My niece Emma just sent me this poem and it seems fitting:

What to Remember When Waking by David Whyte

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake, coming back to this life from the other more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world where everything began, there is a small opening into the new day which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.

What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.

To remember the other world in this world is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth, you are not an accident amidst other accidents you were invited from another and greater night than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window toward the mountain presence of everything that can be what urgency calls you to your one love?

What shape waits in the seed of you to grow and spread its branches against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?

In the trees beyond the house?

In the life you can imagine for yourself?

In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?

The ROOTine is where I find my flow.  And when the flow is disrupted, I feel uneasy.  And that’s OK.

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Dear my body… a love letter.

 

Dear my body,
We shy away from the camera; we always have.
We are like the Sasquatch– rare sightings on FB.
I am not interested in what you look like.  I don’t want to see.  I don’t need to see.
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RARE sighting.  You, my flesh bag, as captured by Merv Glip, May 13, 2016.
I prefer the role of the observer, not the observed.
I love REALITY and being in the world,
SEEING the world,
and being myself, totally, completely,
not pretending,
not wearing a mask- yet,
I don’t want to capture you in photographs.

Humans come in categories.  And you know, my dear body, I define us as ugly.  That is MY TRUTH- maybe not yours, and I don’t mind that.   I have always identified you as such.  That is my category for us.  I embrace it.  It is not about self-deprecation.  It just is.  I know you get it.  I can hear you giggle.  And that is where our beauty lies.  Aging.  Ugly.  Funny.  We are who we are.  We are unfashionable.

j

Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow
did to you;

I am old when it is fashionable to be
young;

I cry when it is fashionable to laugh.
I hated you when it would have taken less courage
to love.

– Charles Bukowski

And here we are, at age 54, reaching the end stage of menopause- without doctors, without hormone replacements, without tranquilizers, without raging against the dying of the light.  I am blessed to have you carry me around.  I love that I am aging you naturally.  We watched our mother struggle and medicate and we chose another route.  A quieter, simpler one.   She wore an elegant mask.  And I loved her.  I hurt for her.  I learned from her.  I chose not to put one on you.
Oh, my body- I will not fret about your sags, and swells and the wrinkles.  All your scars and moles.  Your ugly face and thin hair.  I look at you in the mirror and I shrug.
You are my best friend and I let you be who you are.  And you are MINE.  And we continue to create and explore and LAUGH together.  I am blessed to still be here to experience your changes.  To see mom and dad in your features.  Our aging is simply— beautiful.  And simple.  In this flesh bag.  Come what may!
I know you’re not comfortable in certain clothing and that you really don’t give a shit. You are going to do what you need to do and I will just have to go along!
You have danced and loved and gestated and birthed and nursed and nurtured and grieved.  You have been muscular, at the top of your form, and you have been ravaged by radiation.  You have been cared for and bathed.  You have been violated and criticized.  You have been told by a lover that you looked good- you should get sick more often- when inside we felt sick, shaky and emaciated.  You have been celebrated and you have strutted.  You shrank when our heart was broken.  Together we have contemplated the end; yet simultaneously, we have felt the delirium of being truly alive.
You, my dear sweet body, have kept on going.
You eat, shit, piss, sleep, laugh, cry, sigh, hold, hug, care and continue to walk me through the world with innocence and overriding joy.  I sometimes, often, want to hide, but you continue to lead me forward.  And one day you will need to stop, and I accept that.
Until then, my fading eyes look out through your sagging, expanding, aged, wise flesh and take in the world.  Your muscles move your hands that create as my mind interprets.  My mind is carried on your strong legs and spreading ass.
Biology leads.
 WE, you and I, are free and single and our own and no one can criticize us anymore (not even I can).  WE ARE FREE.
As mentioned, I don’t want to capture you in photographs because I don’t want to be captured.
You are MY BODY.  I, personally, in this moment, feel lucky.  Oh, so lucky!  I hope you do too.
I love you.  <3
– Katarina