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 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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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 1: Oct 21, 1992

My Journals:

I was born in 1962 and have kept some form of diary/sketchbook since age 6, but experienced a transformative relationship to my journaling in 1986 when I took Kitty Mykka‘s Creative Process class at Emily Carr College of Art and Design. She called our journals Image/Idea Files – that made sense to me. I now have a ludicrous collection of these files. Their purpose? They are not just for sketching, for keeping a record of life unfolding. A mother’s diary. They are a repository of anxiety. A safe place I can vomit out my despair, my observations, my joys, my doodles, quotes, my ideas, my trivial to-do’s, my bull-shit, my dark side, my anger directed at others and myself, my longing, my self-flagellation. I have always found journaling therapeutic. I realized the other day that they are actually my SHADOW WORK.

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Why “Unnecessary Violence”?

There is no greater bully who has victimized me more than me. I want to tell that bully that it is time to retire and shut the hell up. To tap the head of the bully and with an understanding smile, give it a stuffed animal and a comfortable place to rest for all eternity. Thanks for the lessons, but that’s enough now.

Shadow Work:

Taking it in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of the mysteries. Only monkeys parade with it. Carl Jung, The Integration of the Personality. (1939).

The archiving is about acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

The purpose of this daily project:

I am archiving the journals. Going through each one to remove excess bits and to wrap each one in a paper band and label them with the date. I am 58 now. Entering the (hopefully) wise chapter of my life. There are big personal shifts happening in how I work, how I create, how I am in the world in relation to others and to myself. To move forward, I will acknowledge the past. Once they are dated, I can see what my heart says about their legacy.

Are they letters to my kids?

Journal Start Date Oct 21, 1992

Cover

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Sample Page

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Writing

October 24, 1992

Took the kids up to Hollyburn Ridge for a picnic lunch. Wonderful! They complained just a little. No car sickness. Just a healthy, happy family! Growing up together.

I feel bad about things I think about my friends. I have such a critical mind. And I don’t feel good about myself in their company as a result, But I am consciously reforming, sort of. SORRY EVERYONE. Why am I being polite in my own fucking journal? Avoiding I___. She pisses me off.

October 25, 1992

Is there any hope for living artists? Who can possibly be original, an influence, a driving force? It is all pablum, chewed over and over and finally regurgitated out in desperate attempt to recapture the original thought. 

November 20, 1992

I feel such a spiritual connection to this house and those who have lived in it. And certainly when people enter it, they enter my life… Maybe that’s why certain visits exhaust me. T___’s visits never exhaust me. I___’s wipe me right out. What is it? Maybe a sense of tension on my part? On hers? My body trembles and feels violated. I recall her in the summer looking around my kitchen and at ____ saying, “At least I have everything.” Why did I not speak up, scream, demand to know what she meant? Didn’t I___ deserve my honesty? I didn’t confront or question. Did cowardice stifle me? 

Sample quote

“I’d see the bearded white man in the clouds. I tried to talk to him, but the clouds would just dissipate. He was unreasonable. He’d never answer me. In rage, I’d climb on top of the house and stand defiantly with a clenched fist raised in anger, shaking and screaming inside my head, “I’ll get you, you motherfucker, one day I’ll whip you.”

– Luisah Teish

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Turn the page- visualizing fading memory

My latest favourite daily practice is to quickly sketch and then saturate the drawing with watercolour crayon and coffee.  I love the feel of the wrinkled page. How the coffee ages the image.  The way a drenched drawing has a life of its own – beyond my control.

I am most in love with the drawing’s ghost.  What happens on the other side of the page.  I am moved by how the resulting image seems to illustrate the concept of fading memory.

“Not only something, but also someone could be there and not there at the same time. And that someone: me.”

– Gerda Saunders, In Memory’s Last Breath

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.

Vision 2019: COURAGE

Recall My Big Vision and Mission for 2018:

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Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. – Carl Jung

This vision board has stayed on my bathroom shelf all year as a daily check in.  And as I reflect on a year that just sped by, much faster than expected, I feel the greatest gift of this past year is that I found an ability to speak my truth (out loud).  Even if my voice shook.

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In 2018, I came to understand that my core value is TRUST- to be trusted that I know what I am doing.  And I have been challenged in this regard both by myself and by others many times this past year.  Even today.  Even in this moment,  As I encounter(ed) and work(ed) through those challenges, I hear(d) myself (not perfectly, mind you, and not always in the most succinct way) speaking up.

Inktober was life changing.  Bringing me into a deeper creative process- allowing me to experiment with colour and narrative.

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Molly has been in hiding (as some producers took a stab at her) but I am “taking her back” and my life’s biggest creative project now enters a new draft, a new creative process.  I hear the voices of the ghosts again and a sense of emancipation flows through the work.  (And a relaunch is imminent)

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I explored my 1977 diary on the blog and though I haven’t been working on it of late, being too busy with my bread and butter work, I had a great sense of peace working on it.  A pure comic book version is the ultimate goal.

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I simplified this past year.  Savoured family.  Visited San Francisco.  Twice. Here at home, I retreated from invites.  Staying in with the cats.  Working, constantly working.

I pulled an angel card before I started writing here, asking for a message as to how I should approach working on my Vision for 2019:

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Angel Card bowl by Alison Donnelly.  Angel Card holder, a gift from Emily Cowan.

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The card is blank.

We have to be willing to accept that “drawing a blank” to our questions is sometimes the very best response we can receive. It calls for us to look inward for the truth and access our own authentic power instead of looking to others to tell us what to do or think. – Angela Rider

So as I have been reflecting on the year in the last month, one word keeps circulating in my mind for 2019: COURAGE.

courage (n.)

c. 1300, corage, “heart (as the seat of emotions),” hence “spirit, temperament, state or frame of mind,”from Old French corage “heart, innermost feelings; temper” (12c., Modern French courage), from Vulgar Latin *coraticum (source of Italian coraggio, Spanish coraje), from Latin cor “heart” (from PIE root *kerd- “heart”).

Meaning “valor, quality of mind which enables one to meet danger and trouble without fear” is from late 14c. In this sense Old English had ellen, which also meant “zeal, strength.” Words for “heart” also commonly are metaphors for inner strength.

In Middle English, the word was used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery,” but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,” or any sort of inclination, and it was used in various phrases, such as bold corage “brave heart,” careful corage “sad heart,” fre corage “free will,” wikked corage “evil heart.” – SOURCE

Why this word?

I have become more and more aware of when the anxiety arises within me.  When the floor opens up and I fall through.

And a journal entry at the airport on my way to an extraordinary adventure in San Francisco clinched the work I need to do in 2019:

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That question often came up this year– what happened to my courage?  Asking myself that question actually kicked my ass into motion even though anxiety feels like a cheese grater scratching at my heart.

Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.” – Brené Brown

And so-

I will use my own esteem heart exercise:

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And focus on the word COURAGE as a tactile connection to my 2019 Vision.

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Head up.  Straight back.  Panic arising?  Yell- BRING IT ON!!! 

Speak.  Speak UP!  

Listen.  Carefully.  Mindfully.

And create.  Create.  Create.

Anytime you write something, you go through so many phases. You go through the ‘I’m a Fraud’ phase. You go through the ‘I’ll Never Finish’ phase. And every once in a while you think, ‘What if I actually have created what I set out to create, and it’s received as such?’
– Lin Manuel Miranda

It’s not that I don’t know what to do.

Regarding my passion project Molly- a true crime analysis2003-2016 was all about researching, drawing, accumulating, writing, collecting.  2017 was all about creating an online weekly draft, telling the story with images, words and music in whatever way it unfolded, sharing it openly, publicly.  2018 has been all about allowing others in, and letting go of control, and hiding the project and process away so that those others could take a run at it.  The outcome of all this is still unknown.  I admit it feels odd and strange.  

But what has been brewing inside me is another version of the story– one that only I know how to tell.  And I keep pacing about it.  It’s not that I don’t know what to do.  It’s that I  KNOW what I am supposed to do and it somehow scares the shit out of me.

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2019– I am ready.

Keeping a “don’t know mind” is important during this time as you may be somewhat confused and in a state of not knowing. Let spirit and your inner truth, wisdom and intuition sort it for you. Let go of any attachment to how it is supposed to look, who should be in the picture and how it needs to unfold.

There is freedom in trusting that everything will land where it should so take some time and enjoy your life, enjoy your community, enjoy the outdoors and enjoy your unique talents and creativity. Worry and obsession about whether or not you are “doing it right” will only rob you of your sleep. Let the energy of TRUTH assimilate into your being without any effort or hyper-vigilance. The word of the week is TRUST.

The Power Path November 2018 Forecast

 

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

Come back to me.

Come back to me, Molly.  It’s been a strange time- hiding you from the world in order to explore new ways of telling your story.   I’m not sure I like this anymore.

You chose me.  Remember?  At the library?  15 years ago.  As your spirit wandered restlessly on the  viaduct, you passed through me with a surprised breath and your soul snagged on mine.  Tell my story, you whispered.

And for 15 years, you and I have explored so many ways to tell it.  But of late, I feel like I’ve lost you.  I miss the unpeeling of the onion, the uncovering of truths, teasing out the knots to reveal the thread, the connections.  Your slow reveals.

I miss the smell of old newsprint, the texture of old flannel, the moss on the forest floor.

I miss you walking on Pender, you at the end of my lane, you sitting in my living room.

Have I let you down?  Did I fail to trust that you are guiding?  Have you met my mom and dad?  Are you safe?

Come back to me, Molly.  Let’s start again.  From the beginning.  I have paper and pen in hand.  Tell me what’s next.

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

 

What if memories are allies?

Researching a seemingly unrelated subject tonight, I was thrown down into a pit of dark memory of betrayal and attack to my heart.  How strange to be reminded of that time, of that sickening anger.

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How strange to have to grab my own hand and pull myself out of the pit– real quick– for it is not a place I should to spend time in.

I can revisit it for use in my creative expression, in my understanding of the human condition.  But I cannot spend a lot of time in that pit, for I know the anger that wells up is not towards the other but is actually directed at myself– for I am heart broken about how much energy I spent trying to save an illusion.

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But wait— maybe I need to spend a bit of time in that pit.

For perhaps, just perhaps, what the memory is telling me to do is to address any unfinished acts of self-forgiveness, to step fully into self-love and CONFIDENCE.

I am about to commit fully to a new stage of my passion project that will test me and empower me in ways I can’t even imagine yet.  IF I AM READY.

What if my vision board needs to be added to?

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What if not only others are allies… what if memories are allies?

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If I am to fly, I must first love myself.

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I promised myself a library…

When I turned 10, my parents gave me this book– Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales illustrated by Jiří Trnka (published by Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd, ©1959, 1972).  My father had purchased it at the Vancouver Airport.  I remember so clearly being woken up, with breakfast on a tray and receiving the book.  The $4.95 in pencil marked on the inside.  It smelled of that glorious new book smell.

I loved (and still love) this book so much– so enthralled by the stories and the illustrations.  The book was not my first, but it is my most memorable.  I promised myself  on my 10th birthday that I would collect myself a library.  My parents were always so supportive of the love of reading and never said no to book shopping.

And so, after multiple moves across the Atlantic back and forth, multiple homes, multiple life challenges, multiple spaces, multiple bookshelves… I kept my promise and still live surrounded by my beloved growing library of books.

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. – Jorge Luis Borges

Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. – Carl Sagan

I know each and everyone of them, read or not.

Check out:

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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

 

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.

 

Friday night check in: effortless action.

Checking in with the Power Path at mid-month:

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My form of meditation is to mind map it out:

My notes from reading the February Power Path show some amazing tidbits that reinforce my newfound practice of neutrality.

Relationship with time and fear of not being enough.

Ease, clarity, right timing, patience, alignment –> effortless action.

Unfold as a flower.  Bud –> full bloom.

Stability, grounding– new ways of being, doing.

Synchronicity, timing.

TRUST YOUR HEART.  Doubt –> magic!

BOUNDARIES.  Relationships with people, time, support, allies, self, nature.

HEAL BODY: Rest and recuperate.

Start project from right motivation.  EXAMINE MOTIVATIONS BEHIND INTENTIONS.

SERVE YOURSELF FIRST.  Self-service.

Time management –> hand over to SPIRIT.  Higher intelligence.

TRUST YOUR HEART WHEN IT SAYS YES AND QUESTION YOUR MIND WHEN IT SAYS ANYTHING.

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Being ace, full of peACE

In October 2016, I wrote: 

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On October 3, 2016 I wrote:

Opening up to defining myself as ace and what that means to me feels relieving right now.

• I have found my identity that really explains to me who I am now.

• Life is fluid and so am I.

• Every stage of my life has been magical, deep, rich.

Touch me life, not softly. – Maya Angelou

• I have experienced joy, lust, juice, frenzy, quiet, cozy, lovely, scary, gutsy, sensual heterosexual love.

• I have witnessed and been astounded by the earthy, gorgeous beauty of my body carrying and birthing two children.

• I have had crushes on men and women, madness, deep love, incredulous love, frustrating love, zany love.

• I have been happily married.

• I have been heartbroken.

• Though I have experienced heartache and trauma, I am not ace because of those experiences.

• I experienced intense freedom and a feeling of coming home when the pain of divorce finally subsided.

• I have been single since 2001.  No- scratch that, I’ve been me since 1962.

• I have zero interest in sexual relationships.

• I still love me though and my ever shifting body.

• I have zero interest in getting to know someone romantically.

• I do have crushes on minds.

• And I admit, I have romantic types- the whole gamut from Louis CK to Idris Elba and Tom Hardy, to Tilda Swinton, Janna Levin and Twyla Tharp, to Stephen Fry to Lynda Barry— you see what’s happening here- it’s about characters they portray or who they are in their lives or how they talk when they are being interviewed.  It’s not real life.

• The overarching crush though, I suppose, is Lol in This is England.  

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• But it shifts from having a crush to wanting to look like her.  Yeah, I want to look like her, wear Fred Perry clothes, maybe hang out as twins.  Kick some people in the ass or on the chin with shit covered boots.

• Not a single cell, molecule, atom in my body is interested in dating.

• There’s no interest in spending the time or making the room.

• I admit I have zero interest in small talk and getting to know new people at parties unless its about some kind of creative endeavour or really interesting stuff.

• Observing the game makes me tired and all I can think about is wanting to make a sock monkey or draw something and wish I was wearing PJs.

• I love my friends.

• I love my family.

• I love my kids and we are so damn close.

• I love my kids’ friends.  I sometimes steal them.

• I love having freedom to laugh and be myself.

 

February 14, 2018

I wrote it to state THIS IS ME.

So what happened after this declaration?

I received so many messages of camaraderie and the article was shared on Rebelle Society.  But what happened to me?

Upon reflection, I know that the declaration was an important statement to myself that I can and should express myself and my art fully.  And though the year that followed contained a roller coaster of emotions and strange adventures, what unfolded inside me– slowly over the year– was an inner peace.

By openly declaring THIS IS ME– I allowed my creative process to be mine– very important state of being as I spent the year vomiting out the third draft Molly.

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By declaring THIS IS ME– I was able to navigate an extremely deep depression and pull myself out.

By declaring THIS IS ME– I am able to choose my well-being over people pleasing, I am able to put up healthy boundaries while maintaining authentic connections, I am able to meet anxiety with self-compassion (and just let it be what it is instead of finding solutions).

I am able to sit at my kitchen table in a peACEful house, celebrate myself– and my life, my role as daughter and mother– celebrate myself for a job done as well as I am able, knowing everything from here on in is gravy as my children have reached their 30’s and I, me myself and I, rejoice in the joy of solitude.

On this Valentine’s Day– I am proud of being me- saggy, ugly, creative, lovely, too-loudly-laughing me.

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Something has come to pass, you think, something more important than a mere flight over the ravine – Gwendolyn MacEwen

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!