Pandemic Day 5 – Self-Compassion

Day 5 – I cant. I just can’t today.

My dreams all night last night were about losing our house, our livelihood, our children. One was sick and we were hiding the news. One was defying us and making all kinds of other people sick. Our car fell into a bog. Our house was in the car. Our lives had disintegrated with nothing but our own grit remaining.

IRL: Q woke up in the middle of the night, frantic. Shouting. Terrified that she’d poured a virus onto our couch.

M cried herself to sleep, worried that her friends would forget her and she’d return to school, someday, alone.

Ken and I grapple with the news coming out of every corner, our own potential exposure. We waffle between dark and light, doom, smart preparation, and trying to create some sense of ease.

We high-fived ourselves for taking a walk in the dark last night and surviving our first adventure in the Zombie Apocalypse. It seemed funny, but my head instantly went to infected zombies forcing their way through our front door. I hate zombies. Have always seriously feared them without any reason.

Now . . .

Deep breaths, I see you. May each moment I choose to pause and breath offer space and ease. Thank you for the blessing.

Morning tea, I see you. I feel you comfort and routine. Thank you for the blessing.

The sun. I see you and find myself basking in your loyalty. Thank you for the blessing.

Comfortable home and health of my wee tribe, I see you. I set the wards and make the bread we break. Thank you for the blessing.

My work, that I can do from home. I see you. Let me be of service to all who need it. Thank you for the blessing.

Fear, I see you. I acknowledge you from a place of love for the people around me. That love creates worry for their well-being. That worry creates whatever I allow it to. Let it not be the paralysis with which I contend this morning. Thank you for the blessing.

The need to provide solutions, and the panic of being unable to control things, I see you. I ask myself where I can be of service, and work to place my efforts there. I am one being who can serve best in one way. Thank you for the blessing.

Nightmares, I see you. May you be the way my mind rids itself of its own irrationality. Thank you for the blessing.

I can. I just can, today, hold compassion for myself and others.

Go rise, beauties. Take it easy on yourselves. It’s really scary out there.

Pandemic, Day 3 – Manifesting Happiness

woman-with-sad-unhappy-face-holding-mask-fake-smile_88813-245Day 3: What is it with all the “your attitude needs to be gratitude” being shoveled at us by the be-happy crowd these days?

I have to tell you, I find this whole find-the-good-in-everything jibber-jabber is really irritating when everything has gone into the sewage pit of a crap day or a crap series of days—or in the case of 2020 so far, a crap year.

We’ve all had them, this brutal, soul-squelching run of nothing but negative. Getting out of the hole is nothing short of miraculous.

Or is it?

Like I said yesterday, I’m big into manifestation. The curious part is, it goes both ways. We joke around our house that it turns out I AM the center of the universe (ha). However, the reality is that when I am focused on human flaws or my own insecurities when I worry about things I cannot control or am running around the house stomping my feet, things get ugly fast in my little pod of peeps. I actually create more negativity. It’s like, well, a virus.

Does that mean I have the power to offer a mending sensibility when it comes to this already crap year? Hmmm, that seems like a lot of pressure.

No time for wallowing, because the answer is yes.

I’ve always known this. For whatever reason, the energy of the family is mine to maintain. I can send others to war or negotiate peace.

Again with the pressure. Can’t I just wallow without being nagged about these kinds of responsibilities?

I complain, yet, when I step into thoughtful dialogue and compassionate contact, hmmm, amazing, everyone is chill. When I lose my shit, well, you can imagine the tsunami.

The other morning, I read this article on the art of being grateful on the hardest of days. It got me right where I needed it because, well, these last few weeks have been a whopper at our house well beyond the coronavirus.

I’d started to descend into the fear and anger of it all—snarky, distant, demanding.

War was brewing.

Waking up proved harder and harder. Those be-happy people became incredibly irritating once again. I tore up my lists of all the things I love and ripped down all of my little post-it notes with “go slay this day” sort of quotes that dot spaces in the house where I regularly go.

I am, on the good days, one of those be-happy people. I stretch into it and slather myself with a dig-in mentality about keeping in the flow of goodness. When it gets hard, the mask gets ripped off. Be gone, easy happy tasks. Life was pissing me off and being grateful proved stupid.

Then, I watched what was happening around me while I was on fire. Kids=snarky. Husband=distant. Friendships=quiet. The bigger my flames grew, the bigger the pile of crazy that manifested.

“Um, dude, are you like seriously this sadistic?” I asked myself. “Change your approach, woman. See what happens.”

The observation, after I chilled the hell out, reconnected with several of my most favourite people, and focused on my house full of beautiful humans proved, dare I say it, that I could single-handedly manifest happiness.

The wee one started making movies, the big kid reconnected with old friends who have been out of her life for ages, Ken started a new personal project that he’s been delaying for a year.

Well, dammit, it would seem that the art of gratitude on the hardest of days is all about the choices we make in the midst of those challenges.

It’s not for me to say to you, “Go make a list of what you are grateful for” or anything like that because gratitude and that satisfaction with life is manifested in so many different, beautiful, and impactful ways.

My challenge to you is to simply go manifest something beautiful during these really hard days.

I see it in people such as Robin Blackburn who posts gorgeous architecture and photos of the majesty of the human body every day.

I’m in love with the topics Kate Schofield Beem is having that bring forth prescient issues that require contemplation and conversation.

Elisabeth Rae Collett took us all on a tour through her Italy yesterday that brought me to tears with its beauty and personal connection.

We don’t have to fake happy. This time in our lives is hard. However, we can be the center of our universe and raise the energy of that universe up, giving others a bit of relief.

I’m going to go celebrate the fact that everyone in my house is still asleep and I can go work on the novel for another hour or so.

Go rise, my friends. We got this.

Lunch With My Grandparents

When I was a kid, my grandfather would go out to the garden first thing in the morning and come back around noon with an armful of cucumbers and tomatoes.

My grandmother would cut and serve them for lunch. Fresh garden veg is one of my most profound memories of my grandparents.

Today, garden-fresh cukes and tomatoes for lunch.

Just like at my grandparent’s house.

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My Great-Grandmother’s Magic Pencils

When I was a child, my favourite pastime during Summers at my grandmother’s house was to go through her drawers. They were packed with beautiful treasures from all over the world, as well as from generations of my Polish family.

When I was maybe 8, she gifted me with two of my great grandmother’s mechanical pencils. I loved them beyond measure and wrote every day with them until the lead ran out. Then, they sat, nothing more than trinkets of the past.

Until today.

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My great-grandmother’s mechanical pencils. One even clips to a Chatelaine.

 

In a few days, we will honour the fourth year since my mother’s passing. I have struggled deeply in my relationship with her before and after her death.

This past year, the work my brother and I have done to reclaim our roots, heal generational wounds, and pull ourselves out of shadow has transformed that struggle into understanding and my own ability to step beyond what was never spoken between her and myself in life.

These pencils, tools of the storyteller I never knew, surfaced today without explanation at a moment when I required a provocative sign. From there, I understood what my mother and the women before her had waited nearly 50 years for me to hear.

Magic is always with you—even when it lays dormant until you are ready for it.

Argumentative

My 13-year-old is, well, kinda vocal about her position in the world. I’m one of those moms who isn’t going to let general opinionated ways go unchecked. So, when she ventures into argumentative territory, the English teacher in me unleashes to test her skills with a little essay writing 🙂  .

I love it when she reminds me that she is my daughter. Words are powerful:

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The Imprint of Flowers

As a child, nothing ever manifested in quite such a glorious way as our backyard garden. If there was one thing my mother could do, it was to grow beautiful things (she had many talents). Our eclectic, high-altitude heaven included everything from blooming cacti and yucca plants to lilacs, Iris, and my personal favourite, the Bridal Wreath Spirea.

When I came across it this morning as bees and butterflies danced their way through the masses of blooms in our neighbour’s yard, I found myself slipping through time back to the concrete steps in Colorado Springs where I would belt out You Light Up My Life while the couple next door regretted their lives. Upon completion of the serenade, I picked unending mitts full of delicate, ivory sweetness to stuff into my mother’s best vase.

A few dog walkers and runners asked if I was OK? I couldn’t move, mesmerized by the blankets of blooms.

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From today, courtesy of my neighbour’s stunning garden.

Explaining the method of transport I took back to my 8-year-old self proved awkward. How can one’s mind be heaved through time with such drama in a mere second, with a mere whiff, at the whim of a mere 1cm-by-1cm of flower?

The power within that moment awed me, as if the tiny buds spoke a bit of Zagavory word magic (Kat used the ancient Slavic charm in Geist) to enchant me, offer me a reprieve from the grumpiness lingering after picking up my taxes from the accountant, and deliver a message from my mother whom I lost four years ago.

After my visit to 1979, I stood in my own garden, amongst the valerian, poppies, and lavender as usual, so grateful for the quick trip. Sweet spirea portal, how I will always love thee. 🙂