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Argghh! Left for work today to accommodate evening schedule for one lousy client. Drove in traffic for 45 minutes and when almost there she texted me and said "sorry I won't be able to make it tonight"...just like last Friday, except she called early enough to spare me the trip. So, some of this is my fault. I should have expressed the boundary issue...which I have been thinking about, but never said anything. Lesson learned -speak the f up! Ok, on to my ideal life, counseling from the studio, art in the wait time, it would be perfect.
Fall chores completed: hose, patio furniture in the garage, garage organized to accommodate car, air conditioner covered. While working, I found myself devising a poverty evoked plan C scenario: Could I live in the actual studio? If shelter was the issue, there is a building where I could go, that has a bathroom, a windowed office/"bedroom," a studio/"living room" no kitchen but plenty of walkable restaurants. With the money saved on insurance, heating only one place, renting my 3 bedroom home...it just comforted me to visualize the option rather than homelessness. Backup plans are scary and comforting.
Yesterday, in the pool, I had the idea of writing about experiences with water; a lake, an ocean, a pool has an influence on everyone. The reflective quality of water speaks to us...the way a lake will look dark and moody on a cloudy day, or how it sparkles and looks so joyful and inviting under sunny skies. Yesterday's high school pool experience had more to do with temperature than looks. There's really nothing as uncomfortable as immersing your body into too cold water. I asked myself, "why?, what makes you do this?" Health, for a dollar a week.
Swimming is a pure body experience. Total immersion into the cold water takes my breath away-- makes me charge into physicality to maintain my inner warmth. The first length I can manage without even taking a breath. I consider breathing; every two stokes? One and a half strokes? matching internal demands for oxygenation with my breath. I pay attention to the ache of muscles and vary my strokes; kicking for leg strength, skulling for arms. Posture effects the efficiency of my kick and I focus on my back position. I smile at my ability to smoothly glide across the pool.
Waters deep, cold and dark, Swimming in the middle of Lake Saint Clair off the boat for a cooling off before bed. There's a willy feeling in my stomach, from high intensity excitement...nerves and exhilaration, all at once. This is a scary, freeing feeling. The unknown and the known. I'm a strong swimmer, the water is peaceful and calm. There are no sharks or predatory animals underneath me. But I can't see anything. No horizon, no sight. The stationary stars are fiercely bright and shine out a splendid ambiance. This is embracing the unknown. I'm one with the dark.
Wading. A toe dip, then a foot. A wave blasts a chill up to my thigh and I retreat, back to the sand. Admiring the surf from a beach towel seems more sane. Three stripes fill my view, light cerulean blue with polka dot white clouds, navy blue sea and beige soft sand. Earthlings, all have admired the same beauty across time. Most likely felt the same relaxation, lulled by the rhythmic sound of the waves, the horizontal field. Dazzling water gems catch the sun light, sprayed from waves crashing to shore. Is there any better place to be? Ever?
River Float Day Gone Bad
From the bridge looking into the clean flowing water, we all agreed to take a break from driving north and rent the huge green innertubes. Mom was elderly, but what was there to do but relax and let the water take you? It wasn't her body, but her mind that had difficulty. She had lost the joy and got hung up, like the tubes on the banks of the very slow river. "What are we doing?" Two hours later...with only this question in her mind, we were glad for the end of the ride.
I'm splashing cold water on my plan to write about water this month. I need to process. I'm scared. I have to perform this week. I feel that everyone is watching me, and asking, "what is not working here?" "What is she doing? or not doing that's causing the problem?" I'm feeling judged, since I can't seem to get this art studio off the ground. People can keep throwing out all their ideas, and I'm listening, but that doesn't equal success. I have four events this week that I'm nervous about, insecure about. Newness. Challenges. Maybe just pray and hope.
I'm 13 days behind in writing. It's because I planned to write about the theme of water and I found that using my imagination takes more time than just writing the highlights of the day. So I have to make haste and get up to date before the end of the month. Why? Because it's still is a commitment I intend to honor, even while being a slacker with my intended theme. Tough shit. I can do whatever I want. I can change my mind, I can bug off, I can follow through. I am the boss of my life.
Backstroke, power surge, kicking, staring at the ceiling for the suspended flags. One, two, three four more strokes, flip, push off the wall. I love swimming laps. I've done it all my life. At every dingy "Y" nearby, at the outdoor pools in California, at my alma mater, and now back to my old high school, I swim; for health, for invigoration, for discipline, for dedication to my body, for the allevation of pain, for good sleep, for reduced stress and for fun. For the slippery feel and the feeling of accomplishment when it's done. I think I'll continue on.
This is the lonely time. The preparation for holiday that I'm spending alone. Sigh. It doesn't feel painful, or sad. It feels bereft of purpose and like I want to wander away from it. I recognize that so much of my mental comfort is safeguarded through being busy and purposeful. What I really want to do is sit here at my window and watch the trees blow, and the squirrels forage and not do anything. Take a true break from activity without leaving my space. There is no one to whom I must justify my actions or inaction. Just me.
I don't have to do anything. Just let it all be. What will change in the world? Is anyone noting your arrival, your departure? Is anyone caring what you accomplished today? Is your well being, your attitude, your means of living going to be altered by today's output? What is all this struggle? Let it go. Be one with the wind and the elements. Slow down. Practice no ambitions. There is no one judging you, grading you. No one owns you. You are free to do as you please. You have no obligations to anyone. Is that a good thing?
I kept falling asleep on the sofa last night, so I thought I might as well go to bed...at 7:30pm! I thought I'd probably wake up at 4:00 am; but no! I woke up at 7:00 am. Is it depression? Probably. I could crawl back to bed right now and be content. I don't know what it's going to take to become successful at the studio. That's probably the biggest boondoggle right now. I don't know what to do, I'm getting sick of trying this and that. I guess I'm running low on hope and motivation.
What is the best way to live in the world? We are consciousness. We are the filters of experience. We seek adventure, we feel emotions and physical stimulation. We report it to each other. We have self appointed experts keeping track of animal, or cultural phenomenon, say, the dying of bees. It is noted and dispersed around the world via media. Temperatures, storms, new math discoveries, dog behavior, extinction of lizards. It's a conglomeration of discoverers and reporters and human interest (or not.) Numbers and money and contemporary concepts to be reported on as well. Awareness, faddishness, curiosity, egos, amazing.
Remember the list of things to do the day before thanksgiving? Oh, the input for a dinner and for guests. It's true, the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. Investment and return. This year I'm going to be grateful to leave it all behind. To make my way myself. To take a bath in the afternoon. Don my fancy silk pajamas, knit by the window and watch the weather. Walk around the block. Do nothing when I get the urge for a project or another to do list. It will pass. Life will pass.
It was a fiasco; the Pine River Cruise of 1969 by high school students who were unprepared for the rain, the cold, the endurance it took to be stuck in a canoe with an unskilled canoe partner for 6 hours. There were tears and moaning. The was defeat and despair as only dramatic high schoolers can deliver. There were abandoned paddles floating faster than canoes. There was at least one hospitalization. There were colds and tents, but warm sleeping bags and a million stories to share around the campfire by all the survivors of the never to be forgotten ordeal.
November rain, a grey cold calling for warmth and coziness. No! to field trips to the art museum or even the drug store for the Sunday puzzle. No! to swimming. There is only me and the sofa and my cat today. We listen to the downpour and share looks at the lightening. I have a great book and a crockpot dinner waiting for evening. How lucky, and grateful I am; warmth, shelter, food.
All this, in the midst of news of the Philipines' million homeless people. "Homeless" is hard to grasp in terms of the prolonged suffering, minute by minute.
You're OK. You are ok. You are ok. You're not grand, or gorgeous or great or good. You are ok. You have some friends. You have a cat. You have the food you need and a warm home to shelter you. You are ok. You don't have a mother or father or sister or a son. You don't have a husband, or beloved dog, Mable. You have health and a future and potential and some years left to put things in order. You have time enough to write your little book, make your little shop. You have enough. You're OK.
Stoney Creek Park. I'd find the right spot for my beach towel, slather on baby oil, crack open a book. I'd take in this sort of beautiful vibe of sun and breeze and water's edge. It'd make me gloriously happy, with an excited peace. I'd spend the whole day sunning and swimming and napping. I loved being there unaccompanied, alone with the elements and the crowd. All of us soaking in contentment and happy memories to store in our minds; a nugget of resilience that could carry us through more challenging times. We were there, on the peaceful water's edge.
I think I'm wearing the mouse on my right ear. It's on top of the covers. I'm deducing this from the cat's still, looming silhouette in front of my face. He's waiting. He could pounce at any minute. Are all cats nocturnal? He is ever present in my sleep cycle. Sometimes, I wear a cat hat. That works pretty well, at least there's no fur in my face. Other times, he lays his body across my face, centering whatever organ he uses to purr right on my ear. Lately, he condenses his weight heavily atop my chest. Can love survive?
I'm having a little trouble keeping the joy in my work at the studio. There's no pay off for my efforts. Each day striving, engaged, present, but no one that comes to my door is there to pay money for my services. It's a problem! Maybe after the new year? A new hobby for the wife? husband? Please! Come and find my studio space! It could be such a fun place to spend time. Get away time of your own from family responsibilities, from work. I need a new sign, I need a new plan, I need some hope. Breathe!
There is nothing to be done. No action can right the relationship. It is lost. I have seen the true colors of the other and I choose not to have her in my life. The true colors are selfishness, shallowness, manipulation, controlling. What part of that would I allow in? The princess has fallen from her graceful pedestal. We both have such a different perspective now. Most of the shock is because of my own inability to see her in normal light, without the spotlight that's been shining on her throughout our lives together. It is shocking. I've been blind.
There is this lost connection between the reptilian brain and the intellectual brain. The reptilian is actually the "gut" as in gut reaction. Connection lost, means I am more likely to be guided by the part of me I use the most, intellectual. This is the part that seeks to "fit in;" to wear the fashion and to abide by protocols designed by culture. A gut reaction might be a surge of panic, or shame, but it is quickly covered up (recovering to status quo) before it is effectively processed and studied for its worthiness. I am a master coverer.
I am procrastinating the day away. It's 9:30 am. 100 words has nothing to do with my plans or productivity. And yet, I sit and type and smile and nod about all the wisdom and humor and facts I'm pouring out onto these pages. I want to stay in my PJs and watch the day roll by. I used to love the surge I'd get in formulating my to-do lists for the day. Now I'm adverse to even think about making a list. My list is useless. It's filled with all the minutia I know how to do.
I need a vacation. I need to stop worrying, build some contentment in my life, eat more and gain weight. I need to struggle to get comfortable with the company of just a cat. I'm practicing for old age. One should be able to evaluate the quality of one's life and know if it can be enhanced or if one should just give it up. Giving up needs to be an option. If I gave up, I'd spend my last dollars on a bike cruise. I'd go to Africa and see the animals and unspoiled nature. Say a grand goodbye.
I've no children, no grandkids; I'm sucking up air in my big, not so fancy house. I'm taking up space and using up the world's resources. I'm burning fuel and leaving a carbon trail. I'm not amusing anyone or giving anyone any joy. I'm my cat's caretaker. It's a very slim life. It feels selfish and petty. I live without purpose, unless God has a plan for me... What? I was enthralled with my new studies in Art Therapy. But now, I just want people to heal themselves, or not. I'm as apathetic about others as I am about myself.
The more I write, the more despondent I seem to get. If I examine the dots and then connect them, I find the core beliefs which are not fighting for buoyancy. If I discard all the personal hype; the "can do," the "look at me;" the "calling" the initiating the forces of interest, of conjuring, then there really is nothing but right now. Sunny, winter day. Time passing. Breathing. Peaceful. Quiet solitude. The struggle is in the mind. Wanting something to happen that isn't happening. Let it go. You could give up. You could find someone to take over. Choices.
I had a pleasant Thanksgiving day; my first alone. It was easy, peaceful, no TV. It was fine bordering on perfect. I wrote a poem, read, hung a wreath, walked around the block, took a bubble bath, made pumpkin soup, then heated and served all the usual Thanksgiving dishes. I even have left overs for a turkey sandwich or two. Appreciation of Enough is going to be my new mantra. I most always have enough of everything I need. If I'm unhappy I'll focus on the question, "not enough..what?" then turn my attention to how almost perfect already exists.
I know he got my message. You can't not get a texted message. "Happy Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for you." To type a response in three strokes: hit u 2 and send. If a son can't do that much for his mother...what's the real message? "I hate you, go away"? Seems it's something like that. OK. THIS is the mystery in your life that you will have to live with. It is ENOUGH that you bore a beautiful, healthy baby boy; that you got to raise him (mostly) and feel the joy and love in those days. Now they're over.
In the end, I want answers. If integrating each hard, sad, courageous lesson in life is a survival skill and also a coping skill, then, on my deathbed, I want God to be there to explain. Like: "I thought that growing up with a mother who bristled at the idea of making time for you, then have you be the opposite kind of mother and be rejected by your only son... would...what?... be dramatic?" What is the fucking take home? "You lived to be rejected at both ends of your life. You were here to experience rejection." Got it.
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