Trashy Talk

 

I am inspired. I’m inspired by books, movies, nature AND the great people in this world.  There are many that I appreciate. I appreciate what some people do to make my world nicer to look at. Here’s just a few who have made an impact and caused me to do what I can to help keep this world beautiful.

Andy Sward ran coast to coast, simply to pick up bottles, cans, coffee cups etc. He loves this country and wants it to be a nice green place for all and future generations to enjoy. In fact, he pledged to not stop the runs until he picked up a Million Bottles!

His willingness to do his part has given me cause to re-think my ability to contribute. Yes I go on ‘fresh air’ and ‘exercise’ walks. I too, could help keep places greener by bringing a bag to collect abandoned garbage. I see people-usually of the older generation-regularly doing this on community trails near where I live.

A very active young hiker and travel writer, Teresa the Traveler, gave her Facebook followers the “Plus One Challenge”. She challenges hikers and travelers using natural areas to bring out their own garbage, ‘plus one’ that is found.  It’s easy to do. Yes, it’s other people leaving it behind; yes I’m cleaning up ‘their’ mess. Yes, unfortunately, they don’t know how helpful they could be–yet!

Guess who else cleans up after us? The dumpster divers. They do us a favor, if you can believe it. They pick out and recycle the returnables that are so carelessly discarded with trash. Thanks for saving those plastics and cans from going to landfills.

Hopefully more people will catch on and do their part to keep the world greener in whichever way they can. One person makes a small change; several people set an awesome example. Thanks to all of you who care and do what you can.

The perfect not perfect partners

I once wrote a letter to the universe outlining the desired qualities for my potential partner. This came some time after my first marriage ended. I figured he could have a sense of humor, be loving, be financially seccure, yada, yada, yada. I was quite thorough with what I thought would suit me. My partners since then have had some of those qualities and I realized it’s a big list; impossible for one man to be all of it. Of course, I did not get the one ‘perfect partner’ that I sought yet I have been learning through interactions with men who have come my way.

Now, I am gifted with having a man in my life who is not perfect. He is not my ideal spouse nor does he act perfect. He is more. He is more than I could hope for or know that I needed when I wrote that letter to the universe. He is more than I thought I wanted. He loves me. He is committed to finding one truth that works for all and living in love and in alignment with God.

We have times that are challenging, times that are simple, funny, loving, tender, and surprising. We are learning to allow each other to be new. Of course, this happens by finding out how and when my ego activity doesn’t allow him to be new. I don’t know him. I cannot predict behaviour or events, much as I might try. I cannot base my interpretation of now based on what I think I know of the past. I can be curious and interested in my partner, and discuss what shows up for us.

He has had the experience of a long term relationship. I’m a newbie and I get scared. I sometimes forget to allow growth, mistakes, eruptions, frustrations and expressions–all of which can show up within a loving, forgiving, intimate relationship that is first committed to remembering that we are not separate from our Source and not from each other. Interesting though, that we are all unique. I want him to be a man, coming home to himself; his true Self, not who he or I think he should be. It is a perfect relationship, designed to stretch us.

I am not a perfect partner. I get caught in habits and ego struggles. When I am confused, forgetful and doubtful, I tend to withdraw. I read, I write, I cry, walk, make a fuss and feel remorse. I witness all the garbage in my mind until it clears and my heart remembers what I am here for. By grace, clarity comes. Recently I read in one of my favorite books, a passage that speaks the essence of any kind of vows that I would make for this relationship.


Paul Ferrini shares from the ending of his book, Silence of the Heart

“Namaste. I accept your humanness and mine. And I also bow to the divinity in each of us. I accept our absolute spiritual equality as beings. And I also accept that we each forget who we are.

I celebrate the fact that we are waking up together, and I appreciate the fact that, as each of us pushes up against our fear, we nod off to sleep… [may God’s patient Heart be found in our hearts. May we awaken to the truth of who we are]” (original words have been changed in last part)


These paragraphs sruck me as particularly helpful for viewing my spousal relationship but essentially apply to any relationship I find myself in whether it’s with my boss, my family, neighbors or strangers on the street. How different this world may be if we could all greet each other with this respect and forgiveness. Can we allow each other and ourselves to be not perfect? Can we see that what we need is, perfectly, right before us?

 

Gifted with Opera

As I walked outdoors the other day in downtown of the city, I heard a deep operatic voice. While a little perplexed, I thought it might be coming from a neighbor’s house but it seemed to float down from above me. Then I located the singer; a man was making his way down a sidewalk on a street above the neighborhood. He wore headphones while he walked and shared his song. I felt uplifted and thankful for being treated to this resonant voice for moments of my day.

I wondered about the freedom he may have felt as he walked, just simply singing alongside the busy traffic; his opera intermingling with the thundering city busses. I felt glad that people in this world choose to share their gifts. I mean ‘gifts’ to be whatever people do well (or choose to practice till mastered) that brings others some improvement of life quality.

I’m speaking of the feeling I get when someone makes it look easy and enjoyable to deliver mail, pick up garbage, serve a meal or direct traffic with a smile. I appreciate artists of all kinds who put forth their personal perspectives and passions. I also refer to the man who pushes a cart containing his belongings along city sidewalks. He has a smile for everyone and asks nothing of us other than the reminder that’s hand-lettered on cardboard and attached to his cart. It speaks of loving others in a way that they remain free. He too, is sharing his gifts. I feel blessed to notice the extraordinary people I live among and get to experience life’s gifts with. I want to share myself freely that others may know life more deeply.

It’s a watercolor life

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I attended my first watercolor painting class and my eyes may never see the same. The class was very basic. I made a color wheel and did some technical practice. The class involves sketching so I will practice that regularly also. I am surprised how instantly my perception of the world changed. Now when I look at mountains, trees, flowers or the river, I notice colors; I wonder how to sketch what I see. There are many leaves and branches on a tree! How do I sketch a bunch of leaves so they will look like leaves? My mind knows what the leaves look like but will I be able to portray the vision; texture, color, movement to paper? What colors make the bark look that way or the mountain look bluish or greyish?

I started sketching practice right away–I need to have something to paint, right? I drew a scene of water, shore and shrubs. There’s so much detail in this world. How much do I include? How do I make wavy water? What a lot of work! The world is in constant motion and change — what a joke, to draw a two-dimensional representation of a multi-dimensional reality. What a challenge. The ordinary is revealed extraordinary.

I think that perhaps much of reality’s detail can/should be absent from a sketch, leaving just a hint. Then there’s more for the viewer to ‘see’ with their imagination, and each viewer’s rendering will be different. Oh yeah, I remember now, ‘Less is more.’

I’m enjoying seeing the world in watercolor. I could sit in one place for 1/2 an hour and draw or paint a 2-dimensional version of a tree on my paper. Then as soon as I stand and walk slightly one way or another, there’s a new version–a new picture! There are infinite moments and representations of this beautiful world. I wonder what I look like; infinite possibilities. What moment of this day could be captured with cadmium yellow, alizarin crimson or cobalt blue? By the time the choice is made, the moment has changed and we get just a hint of Reality; just one version of infinite watercolor life. What do you see?

At Your Service

Do more for others than yourself. In a world mostly concerned with self, is that even possible? Don’t I have to look after myself? Don’t I have to protect and defend what’s mine? What is it to live a life of service yet still take care my my own needs? Where is the balance? How on earth could we measure? What really matters–is love. Can I give love freely whenever possible? I can focus on that.

It is loving to:

  • volunteer your time
  • be a quiet shoulder for someone to cry on. Resist the urge to fix or ask questions. No explanations are really needed. Just be a gift of listening.
  • mend a rip in your spouse’s jeans–because you can
  • bring your sister tea when she’s been feeling grouchy and upset even though you may want to ‘give it right back’
  • tell the truth-the one truth that works for all
  • visit your folks and make them dinner
  • get groceries for someone who isn’t easily mobile
  • clean a home together and be proud of a job well done
  • give a caring hug or some physical touch
  • smile, let down your walls
  • help someone who has difficulty going through a door

All of this is being in service–but to what? I want to be in service to humans waking up to a potential–a potential to live in love, speak truth and remember that we are made from one source. I recently read the suggestion that it takes less energy to cooperate than to keep a fight going. When you work for the good of all you will not lose yourself. Perhaps you will be more in touch with your real loving self.

I want to remember that we are all in this experience together; that I am not alone and that something greater embraces all. Pass it on. Pay it forward. Do whatever works for you to become one who serves ‘in love’ for the greater good.

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

When I got the news that one of the two fractures in my foot hadn’t healed since the injury that happened 6 months previously, I replied, “Well, that’s interesting.” In that moment I wondered why this had to be so. Why did I now need to be using crutches and off my foot for 8 weeks? What would come of this? I dutifully went to get my cast and crutches and soon sank into a meltdown. I thought I couldn’t manage and I didn’t even want to have to figure out how. I didn’t see how I could still be effective in my job as a Nanny. Wouldn’t they want to hire someone else who could do it all? I didn’t even want to think about how cleaning would pile up at home. How could I cook meals or shower?

I just wanted to quit. I had a tantrum. Silly? Of course. Necessary? Not really. I had help and I had offers of help continuously. While I was only thinking about poor me, I couldn’t realize that I didn’t have to make a go of it alone. People care about me. Help happened. Even total strangers offered assistance and I learned to adapt; to do things differently. I also learned to accept help and (the big one) to ask for it. It kinda changed my identity; my idea of capable me, the one who does, the one who serves. I like to do more for others than for myself.

So why did this 8 weeks of ‘different living’ happen? I get hints now and then. I think something different needs to happen occasionally so that patterns and habits get a chance to shift. This time forced me to slow down; to have time to consider what’s really important to me–and who. My family assisted. My employer made exceptions. My friends listened. My spouse ‘had my back’ like he said he would–it was a chance to ‘honor’. When the crutches and cast were done, I had to learn to walk again. I had to accept myself and learn to love my new self. This is still in progress! The fracture isn’t completely healed yet; I still limp a bit but for a time, I let people into my world in different ways. I let others do some of the doing and serving; really–the caring. It is a gift to do more for others. That is a great segue to my next post. Read on 🙂

Let the Fighting Rest

I, like many others had been following a popular tv show for the last few years. We gathered bi-weekly to eat, talk and watch together. It’s a show with a good story–fighting for survival, but recently I just became sad to see all the fighting. The show’s characters are fighting for life, fighting for territory, fighting for nourishment. I think I’ve seen enough fighting. I started to realize there’s questions in me.

Why does someone have to be better, mightier while the other weaker–shut down? We talk about fighting, watch it on tv, bet on it, debate on fighting others who are fighting and continue our own fighting. We fight with ourselves; shut down our goodness and fight cancers and disease. We fight others–even our loved ones (yes I am including myself here) on a regular basis. I think there’s enough fighting in this world with plenty to go around–wars, strikes, political ‘fights’. I start to feel helpless and stuck in a never-ending dis-eased state of being. Who wants to give up the fight and life for and in Love?

I chose to stop watching the tv show and a few others that just didn’t feel right any more. Now I like to watch something inspiring or uplifting or helpful. I want to focus on working together, compromising, on not resisting. *Much harder said than done* But I have to start. I want to contribute my energy to good. I suspect and hope that eventually, caring intention will have to make more difference and influence than the ‘sides’, the ‘wars’, the power struggles and fights.

I have to believe and practice being more than what seems to be the norm. Yes, a tiny step at a time. Can I fall into love with the world-even with its faults, immaturity, mistakes and fails? I find examples every day of the world’s beauty and inspiration; the ordinary revealed extraordinary. Can I find strength in the one truth that aligns us? Can I choose life? My heart craves peace. I want to light a candle within and be one of the glowing lights that show the path for others who wish to remember who they really are. Can you remember that you are love? Can we let some of our own fights rest even while others continue to choose war?

Drive Into Your World

‘Why do I not go for drives more often?’ I thought to myself, as I was starting out on a road trip to visit family this Easter. I’d forgotten how I love to drive out of the city and get into wide open landscapes. I love seeing the huge hills, deep valleys and curving rivers. For a while, I feel less crowded. I feel much bigger, open and excited about seeing new things. I’m so glad that I got to travel around BC with my family while I was a child and young teen. I appreciated our short Sunday drives in the country and felt fortunate to experience summer vacations at lakes and go on special trips.

As I travel the road now, I see places I’d like to stop and feel for long, quiet moments–but this time we have a schedule to keep. I get curious about what it’d be like to live at some of the places we pass–well, I’m still bound to a home and job. So, it’s great to drive and dream, and plan what I’d like my life to be someday. I know I have to start that ‘someday’ now before it slips away.

I have to make plans and put tiny steps into action; visualize and then actualize. Because every potential exists, I just have to get started. The outcome may not be what I originally thought, but I need to start creating what I want and what makes me feel good–starting now. I will plan a future road trip for me! Perhaps I’ll head out with no destination and a very loose time schedule to see where life drives me. I can choose to drive for a day or for a few hours. I can stop for 20 minutes or stare at a lake for an hour. I am sure that I will benefit from whatever experience finds me. Where will you go?

My Happy Clock and Me

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So, the clock caught my eye in the thrift store–the colors of blues and sparkly glass reflecting the light. As I described to my curious and puzzled daughter, “I’ll see those colors in the morning and feel good.” It’ll be my happy clock. It’s a creation of glass pieces, fused into a tile. There’s delicate white flowers that mark the quarter hours. All it needed was a battery and I hoped that it would work and keep time well. It should–it’s brand new. It still had a sticker on the front, ‘Made in Italy. Venezia. Murano.’

I found the right battery and set the clock in its new happy place on my night stand. And then I realized that I had forgotten something in all of this. While I was caught up with the light, sparkly colors and admiring my happy clock, I forgot that real clocks tick. They tick and tock. Over and over–all night long! I’m so used to digital and electronic timekeepers–they’re quiet!

I laughed. My happy clock is giving me more than I expected; an everpresent audible reminder that time passes (so long as I am within earshot). Luckily, I already wear earplugs to bed most times to block out other, not-so-happy-clock-sounds. We’ll see how this works out; me and my ‘ticking’ clock. I really want to give it a chance before I hastily do a batterectomy. Then it would only look pretty but not be functional and that’s a waste, isn’t it? For some reason this clock found me and I will give it a fair chance.

The Flip Side: And the Other Side

When it gets bad, it seems really bad. When my mood turns dark, I lose hope of change. I just want to be alone and I push everyone else away. It seems like this will not lift because the ‘wanting to’ is not coming through. Why don’t I want to continue? Because life seems like an endless circle of behavior patterns-cycles of good, bad, good bad, and the dark times obscure any reason to ‘weather them out’. I’d rather give up but I can’t seem to escape this planet and I can’t seem to escape the patterns. Yes, I push people away and I know I’m doing it. It’s for their own good, right? My reasoning fails me during these times. I judge-they don’t live up to my expectations; my ideas of how things should be. I’m not fit for relationships. Why did I pick this partner? Why the hell did he pick me? Why can’t I be an effective influence on my kids-I’m a poor Mother. Why don’t I want to know others, be intimate? I am not good enough for the people who-for some crazy reason-continue to love me. Why can’t I just love them back, no matter what? Doesn’t this mean that something is drastically wrong? Doesn’t this mean that I should just be alone? Why am I not grateful for my situation just the way it is? All of it seems unbearable and hopeless. This is madness, the world is insane. I get so tired of this, yet I can’t sustain the happiness, the ‘good’ times and I just hope something magical will happen to lift me out of this funk.

But guess what? I have to do it myself. I have to-as soon as I see an opportunity-set about making things right. I have to get involved in life, nature or relationships somehow and just be present or just find a way to make a connection. Most recently, while in one one of these funky times (and not completely out yet) I decided to keep commitments to visit family because it’s Easter weekend. Mostly everyone else did the talking and visiting and I was as polite as possible and listening. And I was sad that I didn’t feel like my usual self. I saw an opportunity though, when home again last night. I hosted an Easter egg hunt early, since the 4 of us will be going separate ways to visit different families today. This helped me start to pull out of the dark time. I was doing more for others than (thinking about) myself-and my ‘situation’.

I am told that the dark times can serve a purpose if I can ‘feel’ what’s going on yet remember that:

  • It will shift!
  • People still love me
  • I am valued and appreciated
  • I can choose to come out of this by ‘getting to work’

There is not a magic cure. I need to feel things deeply; spend time alone and in contemplation. I have to choose to put myself forward. The universe means me no harm. Life is benevolent.