Renaming Grief and Other Shit

After a mostly sleepless night, I have a throbbing headache but have maxed out my painkiller quota for the next four hours.  Having sciatica issues makes it difficult to sleep.  I cannot get comfortable and my legs, (sometimes one, sometimes both) burn, tingle and ache.  Yoga and stretching are not helping and I have decided to seek some medical help and get them to look into what is going on with my lower back.   I am a light sleeper and one of the problems I had last night was hearing this strange scratching noise outside.  I lay awake in bed listening, trying to figure out what it was and then heard what sounded like a bear giving a frustrated long grunt, the dogs started barking and I flew out of bed. The dogs live outside and I don’t want them tangling with a frustrated bear.  Shawn and I are outside with flashlights having a look around, the dogs quieted down and we were left cold and wide awake. There is a beautiful creek right beside our property and the salmon are spawning so it is like a bear picnic at the edge of the yard.  Shawn thinks it was a raccoon, but he did not hear the noise the animal made.  I decided that he can think whatever he likes, but I heard a bear.

Okay, 2:45 am and I am wide awake.  We watch a little TV and head back to bed but the pain in my back and legs won’t let me get back to sleep.  So it is now 5am and I am still awake and in pain.  So I try meditating, becoming one with the pain, breathing into it, just breathing and finally drifted off to sleep for a few hours.  I don’t think people who have never dealt with chronic pain have any idea how debilitating and tiring it can be.  I look fine, you would not know that I have been in constant pain or discomfort for 3 weeks if you looked at me.  This happened to me about seven years ago and lasted for over a year.  Chiropractor visits, massage, acupuncture, yoga, and meditation were all part of my healing.  It got to the point where I could not put on my own pants, socks or shoes and was unable to lift my leg high enough to get in the tub.   I also could not drive because I could not move my foot quickly enough from the gas to the brake pedal and almost ended up in the ditch at the end of my driveway.  This was a year from hell.

However, it as nothing compared to the emotional, mental and spiritual pain I suffered when Howard was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a few months later.  While physical pain is a “damn pain” it has a different quality than grief and emotional pain.  It is not just the loss of someone you love, but also your hopes and dreams, and in my case my business, job and home as well.  Yes, it was my choice to close my business and to stop working.  I could have made other arrangements to take care of those things.  But, I did not have it in me to still manage those things behind the scenes while Howard and I navigated cancer world.  One thing that a lot of people do not realize is that the moment you or your loved one are diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness is that the grieving can start immediately.  Life as you knew it has ended and you are thrust into a world full doctors, appts, chemo treatments, medications, and the never-ending supply of people who are only too happy to tell you what they think you should do, or criticize what you are doing.  Just navigating the medical system and being pushed to have this treatment or that treatment without being given enough information to make an informed decision had me wanting to pull my hair out and scream. The man I loved was dying and it seemed that some people, even those in the medical profession did not care, it was just another day at work for them.  He was just another cancer patient.  They did not know his story, or our combined story.  They did not know he had the biggest heart of anyone I knew and spent most of his life doing things for others or that he had finally started doing something he loved and was creating the most beautiful sculptures out of recycled metal. They did not know that I was terrified.  They did not know us and did not have the time or the desire in some cases to get to know us.  They did not know.

I made it my mission to let them know.  I talked to people, I annoyed some people, I got pushy with some people and I even told some people off.  They said I was angry.  Your damn right I was angry.  I was angry, terrified,  heartbroken, and I was watching this big strong man who was my rock waste away and there was nothing I could do to stop any of it.  One of the most annoying questions I was asked when people found out Howard had cancer was,” Oh, what type of cancer is it?”  What the hell does that matter?  I would tell them lung cancer and immediately their next question was “did he smoke”?  So if he smoked then he deserved to have this cancer, he brought it on himself.  If that was the case, then all assholes should get colon cancer, and heartless greedy people should have cancer of the heart, well they do have a type of cancer already, it is cancer of the soul.  Don’t be one of those people!  So my guy is fighting for his life and some people don’t ask if there is anything they can do, they just want to know what type of cancer he has so they can go to sleep at night knowing it will not happen to them because they don’t smoke.  Yup, I was a little angry.  But that is also one of the stages of grief, so are denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  The experts in the field of grieving and loss bandy these stages around and some think it can all be summed up just like that.  The bad news is it is much more complex, sometimes you are in one stage, sometimes the stages overlap and other times (at least for me) there seemed to be whole new stages that had no label.

What are these new stages you ask? When the shit hits the fan make them laugh,  they will never know how torn up inside you are.  If you have read any of my earlier posts you may have the idea that I have a sense of humor and you would be right.  My sense of humor along with dear friends and family helped me get through one of the toughest periods of my life.  If you have a sense of humour use it, if you don’t then cultivate one and watch comedies that make you laugh or do whatever you need to do to laugh.  Laughter heals, even hysterical grieving laughter heals.  My sense of humour is a little warped sometimes and it is one of the ways I deal with life,  my inner comedian comes out. It is one of my strategies for coping with life.  It came out at my mother’s funeral, it came out at my father’s deathbed and it came out when the six of us ( Howard’s parents Pat and Bob, Me and 3 dear friends) were sitting in the living room with Howard waiting for the funeral home to come take his body away.  I sat on the bed beside him and did the only thing I was capable of doing at the time.  I told funny stories about our life together and we all cried and laughed together.  I was exhausted, I was heartbroken, I was relieved it was over, I was terrified and consumed with guilt for feeling relieved that it was over.  I made everyone leave around 4:30 am and collapsed on my bed.  I did not remember anything for six hours.

Did I mention, that I did not get much sleep last night?  Well, now I am really tired and having trouble getting my thoughts out through my fingers so I will end this here.  If you want to know more and haven’t already clicked on something more entertaining, then I will  let you know what I called the other stages in the next few days.  I think they should all be renamed.  All that is going through my head at the moment is the seven dwarves but that would be way too Disney for me. I think the stages of grief need some new labels that have a little edge and a little humor in them.  I definitely think one needs to be called, How dare you die and leave me here all alone to deal with this shit!  Can’t believe I just typed that but it is true.  Don’t judge too harshly.  Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to the pub I go.

Love you all

Donna

PS  That is one of Howard’s sculptures in the picture and one of my favorites!

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Fear and Mirrors

Sometimes things have to break completely before you can fix them. Life is funny that way. There is a cat that lives on the property, we call her Lucky. I guess she is lucky in a way. She has survived outside on her own for about twelve years, though that is just a guess on my part. I put a bowl of food out for her every night and I lived here for about six months before I ever caught a glimpse of her. Sometimes I wondered if she even existed before I saw her. She is a small, almost white cat with beige and brown markings on her paws, tail and ears. She is tiny, almost delicate like every other female in my man Shawn’s life. She is small but she has a fierce heart. She is a survivor. Every so often I sit with her while she eats and once in a while she lets me pet her and jumps on my lap for a cuddle. Lately, there has been a larger black cat that comes up to the deck to eat the food I set out for Lucky. I call him Spirit. God this black cat is fast! He fights with Lucky over the food and I don’t like that. I think he is a bit of a bully. I say he, even though I don’t know if the cat is male or female. Tonight he ran up the stairs and was across the deck and almost on top of Lucky before I moved and scared him off. I want to protect Lucky but I can’t be by her side all the time. So, I do what I can when I am present, though I am not sure if it helps. I am just the person that fills the silver metal bowl with cat food every night and most mornings before the sun comes up. I have my role to play and I do it with love most times.  Other times, there is more impatience and annoyance than love.

This reminds me that we all have our role to play. Sometimes it is the lead role and other times it is a small cameo. Regardless, the extent of the part we play in the world and others lives is not important, but the role itself big or small is of the utmost importance. It matters to the world and the people we interact with. Remember that. Your part matters. The world would not be the same without you.  The role we play in others lives, in my opinion, is one of the most important things in the world. People and our connections to them shape and change us all.  Lately, my interactions with others have made it quite clear to me that I need to make some changes.  Great more changes!  I had tea and lunch with a friend last week and she pointed out the number of changes that have taken place in my life in the last few years.  I was shocked by the amount even though I have lived, and in some ways thrived, through them.  I left my job, closed my business, wrestled with the illness and loss of the man I loved, sold my house, moved, started a new relationship, moved again and adopted a new circle of friends and family.  There are more changes but those are the most significant ones, and the ones I am willing to share with you.  My new life does not even closely resemble the life I had two years ago.  I sometimes feel as though I am adrift in a huge sea of change and am just waiting to spot land where I can once again feel the solidity of the earth under my feet.

Okay, back to people and fixing things.  I am no longer comfortable with the roles I have previously played.  The life I had disintegrated and while that was extremely difficult it has also given me the opportunity to create a new one and in essence, create a new me.  I have led a very self-centered life up to this point.  I am not proud of this and have been taking a good look at this aspect of my life.  I have also realized that I do like to have time for myself even though I enjoy having lots of people around and finding the balance between the two has been challenging.  In the last month, the universe has kindly provided me with many opportunities that have shone a bright light on my character and pointed out the parts I want to change.  I don’t think I have been a great friend, daughter, sister or partner.  So, I am looking at each of these relationships and the role I play.  If there is a problem with any of these relationships, I need to look at myself first.  The only thing all of these relationships has in common is me.  So sometimes your life needs to fall apart before you can fix it or turn it into something you are proud of.   You need to strip away all the extraneous bullshit of your personality (ego) before you can change it.  Love yourself and love others as unconditionally as you are able to do.  All the things about yourself that you don’t like are magnified in others.  Some say others provide us with a mirror,  I think it is more of a funhouse mirror at the fair that distorts and twists things so they don’t really show what is in front of them as they really are.  The ego is a tricky little thing!  The universe is tricky too and will present you with the same thing over and over in different ways until you are able to see it clearly.

I have come up with many reasons in the last six months that I am unable to write.  I don’t have time, I don’t have a space of my own that inspires me to write,  I have nothing to say, I cannot write about the people in my life because they are entitled to their privacy, and the list of excuses goes on and on.  The reality of it all is that I am afraid.  Afraid I will be judged, afraid that I will fail, afraid that I will succeed and afraid that people will see what lies beneath this facade that I try so hard to protect.  I am taking a big leap next week.  I am attending a writers conference in Orlando with my older sister Margaret.  One part of me is looking forward to the conference and another part of me is afraid. I have mentioned before that I have anxiety attacks.  One of the tricks I have learned in dealing with these anxiety attacks over the years is I ask myself what is the worst thing that can happen.  I spend a few minutes visualizing these worst-case scenarios then visualize ways to deal with them.  Things are never as bad as I imagine they could be, they are usually more wonderful than I ever thought possible.

So, next week will be my 55th birthday and I am off on an adventure with my sister and have no idea how things will turn out.  I am looking forward to spending some time alone with Margaret and sharing this experience with her.  One thing is for sure, there will be lots of laughter and a few glasses of wine in store for us.

 

Hug everyone
Look into the fun-house mirror without fear
xoxoxo
Donna

Two Years Later

I can’t sleep tonight and the need to write is strong. I have a feeling that this might be my last blog post on a Life in a Slightly Soiled Chair. There is a new blog taking shape in my heart and in my mind, but I am unable to describe it for you at the moment. This new chapter in my life and my writing is still taking shape and in all honesty, I don’t think I will know what it is until I start to write it. It has been exactly two years since Howard passed away and my world crumbled and I think this last post needs to be a letter to him but I have decided to share it with you. For some reason I think that if I put this out there, it will travel to all the corners of the universe and Howard will read it somewhere, somehow.

Hi Howard, it has been two years since you left this earth and sometimes it feels like yesterday and at other times it seems like centuries. I still miss you and think I always will. You know that I don’t remember dates for anything, all that well, but I think that my heart and body remember on a cellular level the moment that you left. I am not the same person, your life changed me and your death changed me again. I would not alter one moment of our life together, but I would trade everything to change the end of it for you. Oh yeah, I would like a redo on the day our house was raided and we were arrested, yup, I would change that. That was a crazy day and I am still convinced that they had the wrong house regardless of what the paperwork said. All they had to do was look at the dead plants on the deck to realize that I couldn’t grow a potted plant let alone a pot plant. We had the last laugh on that one, didn’t we!

I did plant a garden from seeds this year, but you already know that. This garden turned out much better than the year I decided to plant one in our backyard. Even the raven sitting on the pagoda laughed at my attempt to garden. I remember that you came out of the shop and asked, “Did that raven just laugh at you?” I managed to keep most of this one alive, with some help, and have had some wonderful meals with the vegetables from it. You remember how much I love bok choy? Well, apparently the deer love it more because I did not get to eat any of it. I did have an abundance of radishes. Deer do not eat radishes. Who knew? I tried to feed some to the cow Oatsie, but she didn’t want them either. Note to self, do not plant that many radishes ever again.

Yesterday I was in a friends store and saw some spirit bells. I was fascinated with these bells and took one home with me. I just could not keep this bell out of my hands and jiggled it around the whole time I was in the store. After I got home I remembered that in the last few weeks of your life you said you would ring bells. I gave you a bell beside your bed when you couldn’t get up by yourself so if you needed me I would hear it. Did you know that I slept with that bell beside my bed for months after you passed away waiting for you to ring it? I had a dream last night that I woke up and it was the exact moment that you passed away. All those emotions rose up in me like a huge wave threatening to drown me and you in spirit form kissed my head and told me it was okay. You also said a few other things and I went back to sleep feeling peaceful and loved.

I miss talking to you and sometimes have conversations with you in my head. I would talk to you out loud, but people already think I’m a little odd. Once in a while, I feel your presence and an image of you pops into my head. You always have a huge smile on your face and that light in your eyes that you always had when you were up to something. I loved that face. I keep thinking about your hands for some reason. They were large sturdy hands that were always covered in cuts and scrapes. Your hands were always busy sculpting, fixing, welding, weeding, cooking or petting a dog. Those large calloused hands were also gentle and I don’t think I ever felt safe in my life until you held my face in your hands and kissed me. I don’t think I ever felt safe or loved in my life until I met you.

There are so many things I want to tell you. I also believe that you already know everything that is in my heart. There is a space in my heart that will never be filled. One thing you did teach me is that our hearts are big and I can keep that space for you and still have enough room for other people. I took a risk last year and have someone new in my life. He too is teaching me much about love and life. He challenges me sometimes, makes me laugh constantly and encourages me to try new things and grow. We have a great group of friends and get together regularly at the pub or in our kitchen, which is filled with food, love and laughter. We both believe that you set the stage for us to get together when you sold him my raven sculpture. I remember how excited you were with the trade the two of you made. He also has a big heart and since the two of you were friends there is a place in his heart for you as well. We have the first sculpture you made called Victorious ( I affectionately call her Booba) and the last one you finished, the rhino, in our yard. The raven you sold him sits on top of the gatepost at the end of the driveway and when I moved in we put the second raven that you made for me on the other gatepost. I always think of them and you watching over us and protecting us. We also have the gorilla sculpture peering out of the bamboo. That was my favorite of all your sculptures even though I teased you about becoming a gorilla while you were creating it.

I want you to know that I am happy in my new life. Shawn and I are having many adventures together and in some way take a part of you with us on each of them. We took your toolbox with us when we went to Bonneville this year and God knows we could have used your mechanical skills while we were there. The racing did not go as well as expected. It was still an amazing trip though because of the people we met and old friends we got to see again. That is the most important thing anyway, the people in our lives. I am so glad that I got to be part of your life and hope I brought some joy and laughter to yours. I do know that some of my crazy antics brought some comic relief and I can still see you looking at me and shaking your head with that what am I going to do with her expression on your face. We had a few hard times and we had many more great times. Howard, you were an amazing man and the thing that amazed me the most was that you loved me. You loved me so much that I can still feel it.

Love the people in your life
Hug each other and laugh over the stupid stuff
Donna

Grief Part 682

I will start this post by saying that I am no expert when it comes to grief. I have danced with grief a number of times from a young age to today, at 54 years of age. I say dance with it because grief has a rhythm to it that moves you. I have experienced the death of two grandparents, a number of friends, my baby girl, both my parents, my older brother and finally the man I loved and lived with for twelve years. Each experience was different and each person’s death brought about a change within me. Howard’s passing happened Sept 15th, 2015 and I have to say that his presence in my life and his exit from it has changed me in ways no other experience has. Howard’s life and death had a profound effect on me and in some ways I am still discovering what those are. I will tell you that the grief never ends but it changes over time and becomes more of a slow heart warming waltz instead of a heart racing paso doble that spins you around and shakes your world. Grief changes you and grief changes.

I am one of those people who cries when I am happy and laughs when I am sad. This is not to say that I do not cry when I am sad. Howard’s death brought me to my knees, but I did not cry, I wailed a deep soul shattering sob that robbed me of breath and thought. I would cry myself to sleep at night and when I woke up in the morning for just a moment I would forget that he was gone and then the sobbing would begin as reality came into focus again. I cried at the grocery store, I sobbed in my car and had to leave a few places, (the bank for one) when my emotions overtook me. I wouldn’t change a minute of the grief. It was heartbreaking but it was also heart opening. I do not see the world in the same way, my vision is clearer because I see with my heart, not my eyes. So a year and a half later something will catch me by surprise and the loss of him will overwhelm me. I was visiting the hair salon that I frequent a few weeks ago and a song came on the radio there that had special meaning to me and Howard and the tears started flowing. This is a song by Shawn Mendes called “Never Be Alone” and here are some of the lyrics:

I promise that one day I’ll be around
I’ll keep you safe
I’ll keep you sound
Right now it’s pretty crazy
And I don’t know how to stop
Or slow it down
Hey
I know there are some things we need to talk about
And I can’t stay
Just let me hold you for a little longer now
Take a piece of my heart
And make it all your own
So when we are apart
You’ll never be alone
You’ll never be alone
You’ll never be alone
When you miss me close your eyes
I may be far but never gone
When you fall asleep tonight
Just remember that we lay under the same stars
And hey
I know there are some things we need to talk about
And I can’t stay
Just let me hold you for a little longer now

Howard passed this song on to me through a friend who is a medium. This happened while he was still alive but could not talk much. He did manage to say a lot to my friend in spirit while he was still alive even though they did not really know each other well. He chose his words sparingly at this point and did not waste his energy. Well, I played the song as Howard lay in his bed in our living room, while a few friends were visiting, Howard had his eyes closed with a big smile on his face and his toes were dancing to the music while the rest of us had tears streaming down our faces. After Howard was gone every time I started my car (for a few weeks) this song would be on the radio, it was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It made me cry and reminded me that I am never alone.

So, here I am early in the morning finishing a post that I started over 4 months ago. I want you to know that I still miss him and think about him every day. I also want you to know that some days I still struggle to find my place in this new life I have created. Sometimes I still struggle. Howard’s artwork graces the yard and walls of the new home I share with Shawn the new amazing man in my life. He has brought much joy and laughter to my life. He loves me, he challenges me and encourages me to dream and grow. But, grief is a funny thing and I don’t think it ever goes away or is something you can overcome. I believe that it is always there, always a part of you. Grief changes you and grief changes you again, but your dance with it also changes the grief.
Now, it is not so much about the loss of Howard in my life, but the end of the life that Howard had cut short when he was just beginning to blossom as an artist and had found something he was so passionate about.

I believe that I have a difficult time finishing this post simply because there is no end to this story. Nor can I sum it all up and leave you with a something to think about. This is just a snapshot of day 682 of grief.

Be kind
Love ya
Donna

Know Who You Are

I have witnessed three beautiful sunrises this week from the east coast of Canada. I am in Halifax, where I was born and spent the first 23 years of my life. The city has changed so much I barely recognize it. I have lived on the west coast for more than 24 years so I have officially spent more time there. I still refer to Halifax as home. For us east coasters our roots run deep. If we meet people anywhere in the world and they are also from the east coast there is an instant bond, a shared understanding of a culture and way of being in the world. I love the accent that rolls off tongues in that sing song drawl and can recognize it wherever I am. The accent will vary depending on whether you are from a big city, or one of the smaller towns which each seem to put their own twist on a way of speaking. For now, I just want to sit and listen to the people speak. I find comfort in those familiar patterns of speech from my childhood.
I woke up at 4:30 am this morning listening to the birds sing the beginning of the day into existence and even they sing a song that is different now. I lay in my borrowed bed comparing them to the bird songs of the west, unable to identify any but the crows. I am hoping to see a blue jay while I am here, they hold a special significance for me and they don’t exist on Vancouver island. We have jays on the island but the Stellar Jays of the west are slightly different. The eastern jays are brighter in colour and slightly smaller, though their screech is very similar. This trip has me comparing many things between the east of my childhood and the west of my adulthood.
I did think about moving east after Howard left this earth. I spent hours looking through the real estate listings and dreaming about a waterfront home along the Atlantic. My heart is in the west now though, with the people who have come to mean so much to me. I call them my soul family. I fit there amongst the cedars, bald eagles, mild weather and the laid back lifestyle of small town Sooke. I belong there now. Perhaps I had to leave there to know that. I wish I had the ability to be in two places at the same time. I just started laughing cause the word bicoastal ran through my mind. I am bicoastal!
When I arrived at my sisters home and unpacked my suitcase I found a note from the special man in my life. This man was kind enough to wake up at 3:30 am to drive me to the airport, I think he likes me. This small note brought tears to my eyes and melted my heart. His presence in my life has helped me to wake up parts of myself that have been dormant for a very long time. I thank the universe for him every day and appreciate the fact that he has the strength to walk beside me and encourages me to grow, heal, and live my dreams. His note was a little reminder of all that is waiting for me when I return. This was a trip of necessity, I needed to revisit the past and make peace with it to move forward with clarity and purpose. I needed to remember who I am. So, today I am going to visit with some of my cousins. I am looking forward to reconnecting with them and getting to know them again. They too will help me remember who I am.  
So while I was away living my life on the west coast the east coast has changed. I guess time stood still in my mind and I expected things to be the same. We change and grow and places change and grow. I am not the same person that left Nova Scotia many years ago. This trip has confirmed one thing for me, while the east will always be part of me I belong among the cedars of the west.  I have also learned that you need to know and understand the past to move in a different way into the future. Learn from the past but don’t dwell there or live from there, learn from it . Know who you are. Live your life with no regrets, just live!
Love to all

Donna

Electrical Tape and Shrink Wrap

I am back!  It is just after five in the morning and I have my sunny yellow mug filled with steaming coffee and though my slightly soiled chair is in the room I now sit on my brand new sofa instead.  The need to write has resurfaced in a new way, perhaps because of my new perspective from the sofa.  I am looking around this yet unfamiliar room and seeing the old blended with the new.  That is also who I am, the old Donna intertwined with the new Donna.  A wonderful synthesis of all I was and all I can be.  Transformation can be beautiful and difficult at the same time.

I am driving back to Sooke this morning to visit the post office, drop off some things to a friend and plan on visiting my favourite coffee shop to see who is around.  I am also going to buy a piece of art that spoke to my soul and am keeping my fingers crossed that it is still hanging on the shop wall.  If it is not, it wasn’t meant to be mine.  If I am going to make a frivolous purchase that is over a hundred dollars I usually walk away from it for a few days.  I want to explore my feelings about it and know why I am buying it.  This piece of art is a local Native American thunderbird mask that gave me goosebumps.  It is a symbol of many things and the thunderbird holds special meaning for me.  The mask itself reminds me of the masks we all wear in our daily life and how important it is for me to walk this earth unmasked.  This is what the universe is asking of me.  Well the universe is demanding it really and every time I try to hide it thrusts me naked into the world and makes me deal with it.  Sometimes the universe has a funny sense of humour!

I like the fact that the universe and its strange sense of humour keeps me humble and on my toes.  It challenges me in the same way that the people I care about challenge me to be a better person.  The universe encourages me to grow and stretch the limits my own mind imposes on me.  My mind can sometimes be a dark and lonely place, but when I use it in combination with my heart and all the love it holds there are no limits to what can be.  There are no limits.  Unless you live in a constant state of fear, then there are limits.  This is what I think about fear, because I do have moments of sometimes overwhelming fear, what is the worst thing that could happen?  So, I visualize the worst thing that could happen and then think oh what the hell!

My entire life for the last year has been about overcoming fear, loss and doubt.  I think I am handling it really well, but I am not going to get cocky about it cause then the universe will send something my way to remind me that I am not all that.  I have done things in the last six months that I would have never thought of doing before.  I have started this blog, I have deep conversations with complete strangers, and I have reached out to other people in ways I never thought I would even though I am shy.  There is a contradiction for you, I am extremely outspoken and extremely shy.I have no idea where my life is headed or what my next great adventure will be.  Somedays I am okay with that and other days the uncertainty drives me crazy. Oh Hell, I drive me crazy!

I have met a young woman recently, who I absolutely adore.  She is brave, funny, strong, and has a huge heart.  I admire the fact that she is who she is without apology.  I also admire the gentle spirit she has when dealing with other people.  She has taught me much and I am sure will continue to do so.  So in the spirit of our blossoming friendship I will leave you with the following thought today.  Having trouble with something in your life?  Just visualize yourself using electrical tape and shrink wrap on it until it is small enough to handle.  Yup,  electrical tape and shrink wrap will help you fix anything!

Much love to all of you
Donna

Freedom

Well, the move is complete and I hand over the keys to the new owners of my home today!  It is a bittersweet moment.  I knew who I was in Sooke and am not sure who I am in Langford, if that makes any sense.  I guess I felt that I belonged in Sooke and don’t feel that way in the new place yet.  I will give it some time, but know this is only temporary.  Let’s see where the universe sends me next!

Now the unpacking and further sorting and sifting through the material parts of my life begin.  My goal is to get rid of all the things that are not necessary or bring me joy.  Cannot part with my car Lola though and I am so happy she has a warm and safe place to wait for me.  It is going to be so much fun driving her this summer!

Wow, the last year has been quite a roller coaster ride.  Lots of highs and many low spots to navigate through.  My life has been completely changed because of Howard’s life and death, mainly his life though.  It has also been changed by the new people who have entered and become so important to me.  I am blessed to know and care for each of them.  It can be hard sometimes when life turns shitty to find the positive aspects of it.  I am one of the lucky people who can experience and see both sides of every situation.  Even during the darkest moments there was light visible.

I had better get this day started and over with.  There is a freedom that comes with not being tied to a property and animals.  A freedom I have not had in a very long time and I’m not quite sure how to respond to it.  There are so many options open to me that it is hard to pick one.  For now I will just keep sorting and sifting and see what direction the universe sends me in.  I do know one thing, it will include many wonderful new people and I am looking forward to meeting them and getting to know them.  I also get to build on the relationships that have already formed for me and that is exciting too.  Even freedom has a price.

Peace and love to you all
Donna

Odd Shit and Potatoes

Well once again it is just after five thirty in the morning and I am sitting in a mostly empty house waiting for the coffee to brew. In a few more days this house will be occupied by a young family. I wonder how the house will feel, it has never had children living in it before. The energy of this house is very calm and peaceful so it will be interesting to know how the family and the house react to each other. I know it sounds a little odd for me to write about the house like it has a personality and feelings but I think about these things. Perhaps it is the energy of the people that permeate the building, like the house is a container for their spiritual energy. I may never know.

Speaking of odd, some people would describe me and my lifestyle as odd and that is the way I like it. I am open to all the possibilities and if that makes me a little odd so be it. One really strange and funny thing happened this week. I was talking on the phone to a friend who also happens to be a medium and she started laughing. When she starts to laugh it always makes me nervous and curious at the same time. She had Alfred Hitchcock show up on the ceiling of her little sitting room. I started laughing as well, really Alfred Hitchcock. So, I asked what does Alfred have to say?
Well his message was for me to keep writing but in a more creative form. He told me to make up stories. Who am I to argue with Alfred Hitchcock? So once I am in my new place and life has settled down I will start writing in a more creative form, which has always been my passion, reading and writing fiction. No idea what I will write about at this point but you can bet it will have a spiritual theme and some odd characters.

The universe has a funny way of leading me to things. I also notice this happening in the lives of the people around me. We are lead where we need to go, even if at the time the method of getting us there does not appear to be beneficial at first. You lose your job unexpectedly then out of nowhere the perfect job for you appears. This has happened to me a few times! I was lead to this new place I will be living and there were lots of applicants for the suite, but I knew that it would be mine. People show up out of the blue just when I need them. I always get what I need though most times that is rarely what I want or perhaps it would be better to say what I think I want. The universe is much wiser than I am.

Some would say that our thoughts create our reality and for the most part I would agree with them. However, sometimes shit just happens. Sometimes big shit or unfair shit just happens to you or to those around you. I don’t think our thoughts manifested that situation but I do think that our thoughts determine how we respond to the shit! Keep expecting negative things to happen and negative things will happen, expect the positive and you get positive. I am always surprised that the universe thinks I deserve all the wonderful things that it brings me. I am no more special than the next person, but am constantly amazed at the things that happen to me and around me. Not all of them have been pleasant but each one has been a learning experience. Some lessons are easier to learn than others of course!

Well it is now three hours later and a wonderful friend just left driving my 51 Caddy called Lola. It was hard to see her leave the garage with someone else behind the wheel but I know she will be treated with care and is being stored in a safe place. I love that car with her curvy behind and all the little things that come with owning an old piece of rolling art. I especially love the colour, which was a happy accident. Someday I will tell you the story of the creation of Lola and all the laughter, happy coincidences that happened and how she got her name. Today is not the day for that. I had tears in my eyes as she went down the driveway with me standing in an empty garage. Here I am once again saying goodbye, alone with tears in my eyes. This portion of my life has almost come to an end, no more standing here by myself watching people and things leave my life. Just got the phone call, Lola and driver have arrived safely, woohoo!

Friends are arriving this morning to help me move the last few things from the house. Don’t know if I will sleep here again. Maybe one more time to say goodbye.
Life is funny and messy and beautiful and tragic and miraculous and difficult, it is all good, all the ups and downs are good. So my final words today are, if a man asks you to hold his potatoes walk away, even if they are warm!

Peace and love to all of you
Donna

Kind or Polite

Seems like I am finding my groove again after a week of waking up at odd hours and feeling an edgy restlessness. I would imagine that things will settle out even more once I hand over the keys to the house and am living in the new place. I am looking forward to being there on a regular basis instead of visiting there to empty boxes. I bought one of those coffee makers that takes the little cups and have not enjoyed one cup of coffee out of it yet. I don’t like the prepackaged coffee so I bought one of the refillable cups and cannot for the life of me get the coffee to taste right. Does anyone have a need for a Keurig machine? I guess it will be back to the French press style of coffee maker for me! I like my coffee strong with a hint of cinnamon. After I wrote that the thought I had was that’s how I like men too, strong with a hint of spice and I started laughing. Who compares men to coffee? Apparently I do.

I got to spend some time yesterday with a female friend that I haven’t seen in months. We spend most of our time laughing when we are together and it has always been easy to be around her. So we were catching up on our lives for the last few months. She lost her significant other just a month after Howard passed away. Two totally different experiences for sure, but same results. We are each handling things differently too but it does not matter, what matters is that we approach each other without judgement and are supportive and encouraging. That is what it is all about. Do not assume you know the best way to handle anything for anybody. Let them do it their own way and be happy for them.   Let them be, but be there if they need you.

Lots of people told me to call them if I needed anything. Some people meant it and some didn’t. Oh, I can spot phoniness a mile away so I know who is just being what they think is polite and what I think of as bullshit dressed up to look nice. I would rather people be kind than polite, because I find most times the polite ones have another agenda all together. They want to look good, but don’t mean a word they say. Be kind! Show up with someone’s favourite take out and eat it with them or show up with a bucket of cleaning supplies, but do not wait for someone to call you to do something. Kind people get shit done, polite people just talk about it.

It is funny comparing the terms polite and kind. Politeness seems to me to be an external thing and kindness an internal attribute. Don’t get me wrong I do not like rude people as a rule, but sometimes a little rudeness is needed to get the point across, some people don’t get the picture any other way. I would rather have someone be honest and rude than polite and deceitful. Kindness is a whole different ball game. It shows a respect for others without restriction and doesn’t have strings attached to it. Kindness comes from your heart, politeness comes from your mind.  Politeness is dictated by societal standards and by the looks of what is going on in the world, is on its way out. Kindness, even the word has a softer sound to it and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Politeness is exclusive where kindness is inclusive. Polite society will donate money to a cause, a kind society would create change to benefit all and get their hands dirty. I like dirty handed people!

Now there is something else that fascinates me, people’s hands. I am always looking at peoples hands! I look at their eyes a lot as well and have a thing for butts and shoulders too! But their hands can tell a lot about them. Don’t assume you know what the hands are saying. I know some hard working hands that are very soft thanks to hand cream and work gloves! You will just have to trust me on this one but take a look at the hands of the next person you have a coffee with. How comfortable are they with their own hands, do they use them when they talk? I have noticed that when people are uncomfortable their hand gestures are as well. I have also noticed that I put my hands together like I am praying in front of my mouth when I am trying not to say anything and focusing on what the other person is saying. It gives my brain a cue to shut up and listen I guess. Watch their hands and let me know what you see! Bet you start noticing your own hands as well.

Peace and love to all
Hug people and trees and animals
Donna

 

 

 

 

 

Guardians of Stone and Trees

I am sitting here on the sofa and it is quiet this morning, my slightly soiled chair is at the new house. My yellow mug is filled with steaming coffee and the rooster next door is not awake yet. Oh let me correct that, he just woke up and has started broadcasting his manliness to the other roosters in the neighbourhood. Once he starts the rest of them get going, he seems to be the ringleader though. I hear him but I rarely see him. He’s like a sneaky little ninja rooster!

My magnolia tree in the back yard has bloomed and I was hoping it would before I move permanently in two weeks. I was given the tree as a gift on Valentines day twelve years ago and it is now over 14 feet high and overflowing with beautiful white blossoms. I am amazed it is even alive because the neighbour’s goats ate it down to a small nub when it was still in the pot. I do not like goats. Interesting tree, it has no leaves when it blooms, the leaves come later and it is still beautiful after the flowers are gone. Most of the trees planted around the koi pond were gifts. There is a twisted baby black locust tree that has leaves that hang like little ringlets, a waterfall maple that turns a brilliant red in the fall, a fig tree, an assortment of replanted trees that were used in the house for Christmas trees and a gorgeous rhododendron that was transplanted here and has blessed us with huge red flowers every June.

It is not the house I am going to miss but the land and the trees. I am surrounded by tall pine trees, cedars, alders and other trees I am unable to identify.   I feel safe and secure here surrounded by these green sentinels. I have lived in a nurturing green cocoon for years, but now it’s time for me to leave and it is much harder than I thought it would be. I don’t know if I will come back to visit, it would be like stepping back into the past where there are only echoes of the time I lived here. Things change, people move on and new people and things take their place. I hope the new family is happy and that they thrive here. This land is special and has a way of becoming part of your blood and bones.

My new place has no back yard. All I can see out of my windows is this massive rock that has little niches that are just begging for some potted plants, steps carved into it that essentially go nowhere, moss strategically growing in the best spots and my raven sculpture sits on it greeting anyone who walks the path to my door. I love rocks, so it is a wonderful view in my opinion. I feel safe and protected there with this huge guardian of stone keeping watch. It is the perfect place for me to be for the next year. Ooh I have to remember to take my stone gargoyle and find him a spot on the rock!

I have had lots of help with the move and things are clearing out quickly. I cannot believe how empty this place feels. It almost feels as though with everything that has left the property a little of the spirit of the place has left too. More and more of the things that were part of Howard have been sold or given away and every time something leaves it is like he is slowly letting go of this place as well. We both had a lot of letting go to do. The hardest thing for me was to see Howard’s mountain gorilla sculpture leave. I know it is going to a great home where it will be loved, but he has guarded the gate for a long time and the yard feels bare without him. There is also a huge rock in the front yard that looks like the head of a gorilla and the picture for today’s post is a shot of it. The one below is a picture of Howard and his Mountain Guardian sculpture that I took before he got sick. It was rare to see Howard smile in a picture so I really like this shot.

Mountain Gorilla

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful day and that you are able to let go of the things, people and places you need to with grace and love. Much love and big squishy hugs to you all.

 

Please don’t kill spiders

Be kind to everyone

Donna