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It's a perfect snow scene; heavy huge flakes accumulating fast. It's dusk and the sky is one shade deeper grey than the snow. The temperature is hovering at freezing and there's no wind. This is the exact type of day that I long for towards the end of summer when I've been saturated in green for several months. This kind of white jeweled, snow ladened day. After shoveling heavy snow, I like to light a glowing candle and put it on my window sill to augment the contrast, then pour a glass of Merlot and start simmering the soup. Beautiful.
I have a new purpose in my life: I'm an official cat warmer :) The weather has finely reached 30 degrees, so kitty can go outside without me worrying about him. He stays in the backyard and comes in at will through the old doggy door, installed for our late precious dog. So kitty finds me when he returns inside and jumps up onto me and snuggles into my warm body. He puts his freezing paws directly onto my stomach by standing for a time before shifting his body to warm his other side. Note: Mom would have been 86 today.
I have to take responsibility for mistakes. I had a chance for a correction to a determination that shorted me $5000. It was a task that required some details, some gathering of facts, some wadding into waters of unknown territory where I was uncomfortable. So I put it off--all day yesterday, until midnight, when I decided to get the first section done so that today's details wouldn't seem that overwhelming. So, I read the fine print. It has to be mailed or delivered by today. Not faxed like the other step. I blew it. It's over. Big mistake, idiot!
This has been a harsh winter, with extraordinary cold and relentless snow! One bright fact is that I notice it stays light well beyond 6:00pm; a sure sign that days are lengthening and that spring is on the way. The harder the winter the more appreciative we'll all be for warmer temperatures. Today, two neighbors helped me with clearing out my driveway. So kind. This neighborhood is turning into a sweet spot in which to get old. There's going to be a neighborhood party next weekend. Our new neighbors are bold and brave and generous. I'm grateful for them.
On NPR today, Diane Rehm discussed with several people the outcomes of Affordable Care Act. One official man on the program expressed my views exactly. He said people now have more choices; they don't have to work more hours than would provide for their chosen standard of living, to keep their health insurance. Hurray! out of Job Jail and into life. An antagonist said, "people won't be productive, because now they don't have to!!" As if this was a crisis. Funny. This will change everything. The 40 hour work week is dead. It was a nasty dictator. Quality Life prevails!
The haves and the hav-nots: a universal distinction. It's bigger than race or gender. It's more specific and true. And now, after a beer, I'm going to say what needs expressing. The Haves have already got theirs and they don't want anyone to catch up. They view the world as a grand competition and if the middle class was to get comfortable and have more of the perks, then they couldn't justify all the life energy that they are throwing away chasing the dollar and setting up hurtles so that their space remains exclusive. Inclusiveness is a foreign concept.
This morning, and a little last night, I feel rejected by my cat. (Remember this: You have no more control of any human than a cat.) I make the same eyes at the cat, sweetly speak his name, but he's not interested in getting close to me, snuggling at my neck and purring, as before. Then I find myself retreating, ignoring his initiatives to play, dropping his mouse by my foot. I think maybe he'll miss my affections and try to make amends by doing what I want. Oh, the simple habits of manipulation! Even with a cat! Non acceptance!
What I Didn't Say to My Son
Developmental stages are a natural path through life. The magnificence is that one's awareness keeps opening up just as abilities develop. And human curiosity is the driving force that keeps us moving ever forward. We are hardwired to get satisfied each time we try something new. We find satisfaction individually and in groups. It has little to do with success. Humans love to be challenged, thus the Eiffel Tower and the pyramids and...moon missions. NO ONE IS MEASURING YOUR SUCCESS/FAILURE RATIO BUT YOU. There is only the path of exploration. Onward!
From This American Life: Man wants to follow tradition and take graduating son to steam room. He's startled by a couple having sex in steam room and leaves, leads son away from room, making up excuse. Later, father reports "Inappropriate Behavior" to owner. Son watches from window across the street, questions Dad, "what's up?" Answer: sex in steam room. Son says, "Oh yeah, awkward." Dad has epiphany. He labeled the Behavior with his judgement. Son, instead, shares a feeling it gave him, without judging it. Dad admires son and his generation and it fosters hope: he interprets it as evolution.
At therapy today, I talked sense into myself regarding following the expectation that I reciprocate gift giving for valentine's day. NO! It sends the wrong message. Yes, I'm uncomfortable with anticipating T's reaction. Oh, poor guy he'll be sad. But I'll get over it fast. Small steps to independence are important. Every action counts. Otherwise, it's just a pattern that hasn't changed. Which after another 5 years, I'd be wondering why I'm still in the same spot. Get used to those little uncomfortable moments. Start to like the feeling. It's the path to a new life, inside and out. Congruance.
I'm surrounded by smart, bold, articulate, assertive women. Which is great, but has a price. Everyone thinks they have THE idea that is perfect for my studio. Kay keeps using the word "we" as if she's my partner, as if we're going to share the ideas and the proceeds. NOT. T has her own ideas about how her group's event should be conceived, run, promoted. She does have good ideas, but that doesn't mean I don't have good ideas, too. I'm learning to listen, smile, nod and take what is useful. I say to myself, "Don't react. Let them spew."
Short winter days seem to zap my energy. Here it is, 8:00pm, I swear I could go to bed and sleep easily. If it was summer and still light out, I'd have energy to walk up to the ice cream store, or mow the lawn, hose down the car. Weird. I'll be so happy to have the temperatures back to freezing. We haven't seen anything above 20 degrees in several weeks. Even a walk around the block feels hurtful. And there is no way, I can get myself into a freezing cold pool. No exercise for me. Lazy days.
Best columnist, Hax, comments of fairness of time off from child duties for both husband and wife. Says she, "But the answer isnít to take away something he values (trip with buds.) Itís to make sure the work and the breaks are distributed fairly. Me: "but wait, isn't taking away from the individual what marriage is all about?...Choosing only what both of you agree with and forsaking everything else; trying to chop off the individual desires like Procrustean bed. Stymie your life. Make it simple, learn to say no to your dreams, your individual self. Get married.
I'm confused. I picked up the matriarchal bible, "Women Who Run With the Wolves." It's like a big hand gave me the come hither gesture; I can imagine a spooky voice saying, "you know you want more." On each page, there's an entry into deep understanding, engagement, mysterious answers. It's magical. But doesn't it just thrive on ego? More about me! Building specialness! Yes, understanding is really good...does it take us off the soul path if it's overdone? Like too much therapy? ? Letting go of self is part of the journey, too. I hesitate to re-focus. Feels backward.
NPR story told by a doctor who studies depression. In a war wreaked country, a small lady, war and tortured survivor, watched depressed women unable to care for their children. She devised a plan to heal them: 1. describe haunting stories they need to get rid of and replace with better stories. 2. get them working. These are the new concerns on which to focus. 3. Make them give each other manicures and pedicures. They had to learn to touch each other in non threatening ways in order to heal. This enabled them to look to each other for pleasure.
I've discovered a complex of mine, through the juxtaposition of two events. Friend A, sent me 4 pages of her precious ideas about signage and seasonal changes for my shop. Then, Friend B asked me to conduct a workshop for her office friends. I invited her to lend the theme, but she and her friend have begun to write the script. Where have I felt this emotion before? Oh yea, my whole life! Being the little sister, having my ideas discounted as inferior, being disregarded like a potted plant, manipulated to fit into her life script as the mighty princess.
It was a sad week, this week of Valentine's day. It's such a stupid holiday to honor a state of relationship that I don't even believe in. That said, my former husband loves buying as his only hobby. Buying fuels his interest in the world, otherwise he would become a hermit. The flowers came, the box of chocolate, the helpful gizmos, the photos. I almost fell into the trap of reciprocating, but held my ground. He received nothing. Well, a thanks for the gifts. But no card, no presents. There's a sad message in this. I hope he receive it.
I'm alone today, all day. I walk the line between comfort and scary loneliness. I've though of a few escapes...the movies, swimming, buying another cat. But I'll stay with it, watch my thoughts, understand the comfort of being accompanied through life with a partner. I've always known that singles have to try harder at having fun and finding contentment. I have a hundred books, a cupboard full of food, a beautiful scene out my window and a fine cat. I have heat, a tub for a hot bath, scaffolds of a poem to write, and nobody to interrupt me.
I might walk to work today. Finally the temperature is above freezing. Extreme cold robs me of pleasure in greeting the day. It seems harsh and dangerous. My mind goes into survival mode, with the accompaniment of anxiety. Daylight savings time is 21 days away. The sure sign of spring. Last year, my spring was absorbed in sorrow and anger and grief. I chose busyness as my coping method. I pounced on engaging myself in this new entrepreneurship, which I don't regret. But this spring, I'll remember dad from enough distance to hold blessings and losses together. Balance is better.
A complex: "Psychology: a system of interrelated, emotion charged ideas, feelings, memories, and impulses that is usually repressed and that gives rise to abnormal or pathological behavior"...AHAA! This wormhole of emotion sucking me back to childhood, there's a lot of energy that is put forth trying to cover it up with good manners and self censor. Frequently, I hold my tongue, put the thoughts and the feelings up on a shelf to be examined later. Only now am I having success at processing and squeezing the the dots through the wormhole into the light where they make sense. Bravo!
How did shopping become a pastime favorite? Because with no time to indulge in hobbies or activities, shopping provides a sense of fruition. It's a time to collect one's desires and fantasies about the future and fuel them with the required material goods to bring them to life, then put them on the back burner waiting for the fantasy to happen: the pretty dress in the closet, the BBQ grill in the box, in the garage, the coupons for discounted outdoor furniture, waiting for the next shopping trip to Home Depot. We trick ourselves into loving the plan. Consumerism mentality!
Mentor wants me to write about separate possibilities of my work space; each aspect expanded into full description. I'm resistant. I want to do it all. I'm careful to keep the wealth of possibilities alive in my commitments of buying, furnishing, promoting. I want to shuffle from one use to another and I think I will be successful. She wants to pin me down and define and narrow my focus. Probably, most consultants would agree with her. But I'm not ready for that. It feels premature to limit my options. I haven't written her back. $300 for advice I eschew.
Today, I realized that on my days off, I try to corral my space of time by putting parameters around the day. Early, I start a to-do list. It's a comfort to me. I envision the first chore and imagine the choice sound accompaniment (music or podcast.) I make the space for a nap if making up for sleep deprivation. I pair laundry with evening TV programs. Choose whether I'll be sipping wine while cooking, or while I eat leftovers. This differs from Sis's approach, "Let the day come to me." I guess I like (the sense of) control.
The back burner is heating up. I'm starting to sense the heat and move towards the stove. There's been a heavy door blocking my way to the kitchen, and I haven't had the strength to slide it open. Progressing now, I'm picking one tiny thing from the burner and bringing out to have a look-see. I only care that the project is investigated to its fruition. I'm willing to attend to it and then drop it in the wastebasket. The wastebasket file somehow has become one of the most valuable tools I own. Finishing up. Things in order. Yup.
My son has come back around from the depths of depression; he is circling in this path of debilitating mood swings. Like most with bi-polor disease, he hesitates to get it fixed because he enjoys the states of grandeur. It's a weird disorder. Welcome back Dear.
It's snowing heavily outside my window. Inside safety and coziness are enhanced. I love this snug feeling. It's unique to winterers.
Making plans for spring; looking at pictures of Japanese rock gardens. Would my neighbors be unhappy with innovations that don't require water or mowing? I so don't want to face grass cutting.
A complex: "Psychology: a system of interrelated, emotion charged ideas, feelings, memories, and impulses that is usually repressed and that gives rise to abnormal or pathological behavior"...AHAA! This wormhole of emotion sucking me back to childhood; there's a lot of energy that is put forth trying to cover it up with good manners and self censor. Frequently, I hold my tongue, put the thoughts and the feelings up on a shelf to be examined later. Only now am I having success processing and squeezing the emotional crumbs back through the wormhole into the light where they make sense. Bravo!
There are plumb birds circling and landing on my bird feeder. Due to the freezing temperatures outside, they need extra insulation, thus they puff their feathers. Keeping the feeder full, even though I don't have money to spare and the seed seems unreasonably high, I feel a link to Dad when I take care of the birds. He built the feeder and helped me erect it. He told me,
Once the birds depend on seed as a source of food, you can't quit on them.
Dad (now gone) and I are champions for the birds. We're part of the circle.
The store rented space to a new phenomena, social media linked "girls" group with local chapters. I think the intent is to strengthen a young girl's resolve to be who she is; authentically flawed and enough. Good message. The ages of the woman who attended the store were much older and, surely had gotten that message by now? I think they just want permission to gather and have a ladies night out. There are assignments which help clarify the journey and ones intentions. I keep wondering if similar groups of male could appreciate these bonding, clarifying experiences. A men's movement?
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