Sunday, August 30, 2009

Contemplative space and being Grammy

Getting part way through a blog about God and realizing that I am not finished with it yet - nor am I prepared to "publish" prematurely, I honestly just figured out that I have less profound things to say.

- isn't it funny how spending time with a baby slows the world down to a much more reasonable pace?
- eating take-out pizza for dinner on Sunday is a really good idea
- I am amazed at how many people don't have rousing conversations - like, ever, at all... how boring that would be!
- my work provides me with the opportunity to have spirited conversations almost all day long, any given day - how great is that?
- living here, gazing over the ocean is an indescribable blessing - which I am very grateful for
- today I got to hang out with my daughter, my grandson, my husband, my son-in-law - talk to my mom on the phone, a good friend by cell phone and a whole bunch of bloggy friends - life is good!
- AND I have left over pizza for lunch tomorrow mmm...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How will I know when I get there?

Ever had the feeling that you never get to the place that you are supposed to be? You know, when you reflect back on what your teenage dreams were and wonder (out loud sometimes, in my case), how did I get here?! I am sure you have, I think we all do - it is that curiosity and wondering that gets us into trouble.

(I wonder what it looks like over that hill? I wonder what will happen if eat those berries? I wonder what it would be like if I shaved all my hair off?)

I have been exploring consciously expressing my gratitude and appreciation for my life for some time now. I notice a signficant increase in my satisfaction with the day to day experience of being me and I really enjoy the little, funny moments that I might not have seen otherwise.

And still I am drawn to finding a measure that will let me know that I have "made it". I am done, baked, complete, satisfied and full. Since the typical financial watermark appears to be a huge stretch and in fact, I am convinced that calculating success by that standard has left us in this unsustainable mess, I can let that gauge go. In other realms of happiness, I am wealthy, I know this completely in my heart of hearts.

Perhaps this all has to do with the inner volcanic activity I am experiencing (okay, it is outward too - ask my husband about the flashpoints that he is subject to being close to me). One wise bloggy friend suggested that this stage of maturity, like adolescence, is in preparation for what is ahead. In other words, I will just know when I get there.

I hope there is a signpost!

Monday, August 17, 2009

ohhh... menopause

This is what they all meant - crackerjack headaches, body temperature altering in 10 seconds or less, volcanic eruptions of emotions and wildly out of control feelings...

My friend noted yesterday that we don't necessarily observe the effects of a powerful supplement until we stop taking it and last night I was lying in bed, sweltering, agreeing with her. For the past two years I have been taking a health food supplement Menosense (this is not a commercial endorsement, really) which was a little expensive and you know, I couldn't really tell you why I took it. I wasn't really having the menopausal symptoms. I thought I must be somehow superior to those other women who suffered so. Hah! My body has made sure that I am humbled. I stopped the Menosense about 2 weeks ago and all of sudden I am no longer friends with the sack of flesh that is my own.

Now, this really doesn't seem fair (I know, I know, the Universe didn't promise that it would be), 35-40 years of menstruation (is this getting too graphic for you guys and women under 35? Sorry, think of it as educational), with all the wonderful euphemisms for that cycle; childbirth, and they really do mean labour to finish that process and the general mistreatment that women have endured for, well, ever! And now this - being held hostage by a traitorous,, uncooperative body and possibly two more years before it is all over and done. Hmphhh - next time? I would like to be reincarnated as a man (or a male cat).

To be fair, I am actually thrilled that I am the age that I am. There is wonderful freedom in being over 50. I am completely looking forward to the next stage of my life. I love being a Grammy (in case you hadn't noticed), appreciate my body (most of the time...) in ways I never thought possible and this sense of perspective that I have gained, wisdom, I presume it would be called is marvelous. I have more fun, I am more at peace and I enjoy simple pleasures that my 20 year old self would have sneered at.

Now about the sudden meltdowns that start at my toes and zoom at light speed to the top of my sweating brow? I am about done with that!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

thank you, Joni Mitchell

You know those days when you just have to steel yourself to get up and when you have that conversation with yourself in the mirror (I just presume that everyone talks to themselves in the mirror like me) you say to self:

Carol: Okay, today is another day and you can find the energy to zoom through this day.

Other Carol: Yeah, right... and you are going to keep this up for the next 15 years??

Carol: Of course, it is all about finding the inspiration for today and the appreciation of what is working in your life.

Other Carol: (sneering slightly) Suzy Sunshine this morning aren't you? Did you notice that it is completely overcast and dark this morning and it is August?!

Carol: Certainly, but that is why the Universe emails me every morning and I check in on other blogs when I start my day.

Other Carol: Good luck with that...

Well, fortunately, several of my bloggy friends posted this today and altered my morning:

As I watched this and goosebumps raised on my arms (no, Other Carol, it was not just cold in here), I realized that I was extremely thankful for Joni Mitchell, through all the stages and phases of my life, she has been there. Car on a Hill was my theme song for a while...

And this morning she reminded me that:

We are stardust * Billion year old carbon * We are golden * Caught in the devils bargain * And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.

See you there... xo

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Not a self help manual

This is certainly not a "Life for Dummies" blog, I just want to make that clear! I realized that my last few entries have been titled "How to..." but I am less than an expert on most areas of my life. And I never imagined that I would find such a book cover and want also to let you know that I am not associated with the Watermark Community Church and this blog in no way reflects on them or their handbook.

The "How"in my previous titles is really a question. It is the most puzzling one that I tackle each day (ooh, deer just walked by my window and allowed me to be completely distracted briefly). Where was I? Oh yes, how? (Right now I would like to know how to take the operator of the chain saw who is disturbing me and drop him in the ocean?!). Hmm it seems that I am easily diverted from logical thoughts to watching my mind zig zag like the ball in a pinball machine. That seems much more entertaining this morning than the list of to-do's in front of me.

Sometimes, I just need a rest from earnest and serious writing, so I apologize if you thought you might learn something from me today. Instead, I am noting a desire to stay in the light and insignificant realm, not venture into the world where important and dreadful events are occurring. A friend shared with me yesterday about a speech that David Suzuki gave with business leaders in Toronto. Apparently he told them that we had replaced the monsters and gods we had to appease with the "economy" and "global tensions" and now we hide under the blankets in fear of the new boogymen. From what she told me, David was reminding us that we made up those old monsters and we have made up the new ones - we just have forgotten that part so they are very grave and menacing.

(Another interruption - the real estate agent - could my "borrowed" house have an offer to be sold? That would be a true disruption... pause to consider the 1.5 million boxes in the crawlspace...)

Fortunately for me, the sun is shining dispelling some myths and monsters this morning (and the chain saw just stopped) so I will put aside the wavering of intention and sally forth
(Verb1. sally forth - set out in a sudden, energetic or violent manner) into my day - perhaps over to the chain saw guy who started up again and give him a piece of my mind, since I appear to have a few to spare! Tally ho!

Monday, August 10, 2009

How to raise a child - Lesson One

Having spent most of a week adoring my wee grandson, I have also had time to consider how my parenting may have impacting my amazing son. He, like Kai, is a firstborn child. He did not have the advantage of grandparents at close hand, nor a community which even though they are not parents are so in support of my daughter and son-in-law being Mom and Dad, not just the same party-ing buddies they used to have. There are many more aspects of my son's childhood which haunt me and I would re-do given another kick at it, but here are the ways that he did get good lovin':

1. His mom & dad stayed together, through thick and thin (and many bizarre episodes in between), providing consistency and an example of a couple working through it all;

2. He had the balance of both maternal and paternal loving and while as the maternal influence, I often thought that the paternal impact was odd and not the way I would have done it, I have come to see that both aspects are needed for harmony in maturity;

3. He was brought up in a community where he was exposed to many loving adults and children, diverse situations which allowed him to see that there are many ways to be a family;

4. He had the opportunity to listen to a huge variety of music and choose his own favourites;

5. He saw live theatre, dance performances, numerous sporting events and music concerts;

6. He explored outdoors - on his own with little supervision in the relatively safe environment of our housing co-op and beyond in parks and wilderness with us on adventures;

7. He got a trip to Europe and a year of post-secondary education paid for by the parents and learned a great deal from both;

8. He travelled to Mexico with the family and saw both extreme poverty and tourist-y luxury;

9. He was encouraged to speak his mind, tell his truth and share without consequence;

10. He was always loved, loved and loved some more.

As a new grandparent, I can see the trepidation of the new parents, "what if we screw this up?" and the overriding desire to keep the little guy safe and protected. Since kids don't come with handbooks and even if they did, the continuous updates would make them useless, we all just do our best, trust that will be enough and love our children some more. Love is the final answer!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

How to stretch time?!

Here I am at the end of Day (oh wait, rapid calculation required...) SIX of my brief holiday and I am typically considering the end. Hmmm... it has been delightful, filled with all the kinds of pleasures that I was looking for. I have had hours holding my wee grandson, lots of laughter with my daughter, an artsy movie with my son, time to walk and window shop alone (ok, a little bit of actual shopping) (one has to buy undies in the city when you have the opportunity...) and even a sushi lunch at 2:30 in the afternoon. Try that in Duncan!

I haven't had sufficient alone time to explore the inner landscapes I was hoping, but have realized that can come in small bites - moments of meditation at yoga class - a deliberate walk with myself during the day - and in this contemplative exercise of writing onto the glowing screen. The internal monologue - sometimes, dialogue - I am a Gemini after all - gets aired for public viewing.

Still and all, I would love it if I could make tomorrow last for another week - because I still haven't:
1) Walked to the ocean
2) Walked past my old house and leaned on the fence to really take a look at the garden and wonder how the bones of my cats are doing in the pet cemetery in the corner of the yard (did we tell the new people that? "Oh, and don't dig there, you might find several burial mounds with various tattered cat toys carefully arranged around the corpses")
3) Gone for tea, anywhere (it is Victoria, after all)
4) Called my brother (oh, sh*^ , I really should have done that - even though he doesn't believe in computers, he might find out from somebody that I was here, feeling guilty for having not called him...)
5) Written in my old fashioned, hand written journal (with the new pen that I bought at Island Blue Print - well, HAD to buy - there is nothing like that store in Maple Bay!)
6) Come to realize that I am completely energized and ready to dive back in to work and life without hours on end to gaze at my gorgeous grandson.

But that is what Days Seven, Eight & Nine are for!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How do we ever survive?

Babies survive in spite of us, not because of us! Watching my daughter go through all the uncertainty and nervousness of being a first time mom, I realized that I went through exactly the same thing. It's inevitable - you react to every teeny noise they make, each motion of their bodies, each time they eat or don't eat, pee or don't pee - everything appears like a crisis in waiting. Without a current expert at your elbow every moment of the day one feels so alone. (And I say "current" because what was considered right or healthy for baby even 5 years ago is so silly, even laughable, you need to keep up with the immediate advice).

And since everyone has an opinion and the professionals often provide contradictory recommendations, it often boils down to our guts - does this "feel" right? Is my baby thriving and happy? Does this make sense? Seems scarcely enough data to raise a child on, yet most of us make it!

And I find that I wish I was a pediatrician, an experienced and gifted nurse or a trained adviser in some aspect of this journey they are on. My newborn experience was decades ago and in hindsight, is mostly a blur. Doctor's waiting rooms, emergency ward visits, consultations with other parents, I remember lots of those. Mostly I remember feeling very ill equipped for this role as someone's mom and somehow inadequate because it didn't all naturally come to me. What is with this idea that we should have all this knowledge inside of us?? Are human beings that more complex than the deer that roam around by my house? Mama Deers seems to know what to do. Yes, but what if their babies get constipated?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Time out?

In contemplating a number of days off in a row (how many you ask? good question-pause to check...9, NINE whole days), I have realized that I am not very good at taking the time off. Even at this moment I am considering, briefly, checking my webmail for work - it is okay, I am controlling the impulse; it is only Day One.

I ascertained, with the assistance of my very gifted coach, Fiona (see, she should have a blog that I could hyperlink here, then you could all meet her), that I have actually been giving my family the short end of the vacation stick for the last.. ummm, ten years or more. You see, I only pretend to be on holidays, mostly. The only exceptions to this have been on extravagant Mexican travels where we acted as if we were rich and ignored the rest of the world for weeks on end - well, four weeks on end. The travelogues for those trips are exotic and wonderful and not what my bank account can support for the next eight days.

The other, shorter holidays mostly consisted of me pausing to answer the b-berry, checking webmail and worrying that my role might be eliminated before I get back to my desk. Not very relaxing for anyone who traveled with me, I am sure. I am committed to changing that.

For the next eight days, I am putting down the corporate baton, having provided my boss/colleague/friend with everything she needs to cover me. (Oh wait, I still have to type out an instruction sheet for her - I can get that done on Monday - that doesn't count, does it?) I have determined that I will focus on my family and friends, let them know that they really are the most important people in my life.

I am also going to spend some time by myself, which occurs like a luxury. I am called to exploring my spiritual side and internal landscape too. This is timely as the summer peaks on this first day of August. Reveling in each sunny, hot day, relishing each moment outside with very few clothes on, that is what will propel me into the fall.

And I will take time to blog - this expression of my thoughts is most enjoyable. I like writing to readers that I may not even know, as if they are my friends too. If you are one of those, thanks for reading. Wish me luck on the time out part - I may have to remind myself on occasion!