Friday Roundup – Oprah, Being Alone and the Blues

It’s Friday! Here are some of the things that resonated with me this week.

On being Alone

After last weekend’s Valentine’s Day, this poem by Tanya Davis came across my FB feed. I’ve seen it before, but was struck by seeing it again how many of these “alone” things I do now and thoroughly enjoy. While I have yet to go dancing by myself (well, it public, anyway), I enjoy lots of alone activities – working on my art, going to movies by myself, eating out, going for walks, park benches.   A great poem with a great message.

Blog’s End

I had been following a blog called ‘One Thousand Single Days” by a woman who had committed to being single for a thousand days. Awhile ago she stopped posting.  This week she wrote about the reason why and then reflected on the experience in her last blog post. She writes,

The many hours both alone and in deep and beautiful conversation with friends, family and strangers has taught me that whether we take 1000 days off to try and nut it out, or we simply steal moments from the week where we are just going about daily, regular life we are all aiming to hit the same bullseye, trying to answer the same question: Who am I? Why did I let that person say that to me? What do I stand for and why didn’t I stand for it back when I had the chance? Am I likeable? Am I good? Is the past in the past? Or does it still gnaw at my achilles tendon? Am I an asshole? Was my dad an asshole? Do I really know my mother, am I learning whatever lesson I was supposed to be learning this whole time?……

In other words: What the hell man?

A good question to ask as we navigate the waters of our lives and our emotions and our relationships. What the hell, man …

Giving Up on Oprah

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Oprah is promoting Weight Watchers now.  As someone who has tried Weight Watchers several times (and any other number of “diets” and “food plans”), I felt my heart sink. For Oprah, whose message has always sort of been “you are enough”, to join the money making diet industry of “you aren’t good enough” was disheartening.

And, I also was thinking what this article by Caissie St. Onge so eloquently and humorously pointed out. If Oprah, with all her money and connections and time and resources, can’t be thin enough, then maybe it’s just time for me to quit the game entirely.

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Blues Lovin’

Lastly, one of my favourite songs by the incredible Matt Andersen. I saw him live last night. An amazing show by an amazing artist. If you get a chance to see him in concert, run do not walk! Have a great weekend!!

Stretch and Release

My word of the year for 2015 was stretch and it was a good word. A hard word. A rewarding word.

Hard because it required me to keep striving, to keep reaching, to keep working towards my dreams, my potential and to remember to rest but not to backslide.

Rewarding because I moved closer to, and achieved, so many things. I am in the full swing of being a novice glassblower. I’ve made friends to blow glass with, I’m practicing regularly and I’m near ready to take my “test” to move from Novice to Student. I have even sold a few pieces.

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On the left – my first plate. On the right – my most recent plate.

I bought a new condo in a neighbourhood where I’ve always wanted to live.  It enables me to ditch the car and bus, walk or water taxi just about everywhere (ironically except the glass studio!).  I am a 5 minute walk from the beach and seawall and can do most of my grocery shopping at a farmer’s market.

I made difficult changes in my spiritual practice that have resulted in moving away from the status quo, freeing me from rules that weren’t working for me. I spend more spiritual time outdoors, connecting with the earth and the land and the sea, and less time trying to colour within the lines of a picture that is not a vision I share.

And as I said in my mid-year stretch, I am “hashtag blessed” with good friends, meaningful work that pays me well, and a wonderful home. I lost two very dear friends to cancer this year and I am grateful for the time I had with them and for the love that rushes in to fill the empty space where I am missing them.

Other losses this year have been more difficult. Especially the friends who have just stopped talking to me. I never expect that people will agree with everything I do. Or that people won’t say “no” to my suggestions and requests. But I always find it difficult when friends choose to stop communicating rather than talking and explaining and understanding and resolving. I know that there are those who would say that those weren’t really friends if they do that. But, to me they are. Or, were, I suppose.

Which brings me to this year’s word … release.  In order to move forward, it means leaving some things behind.  To stretch, then release.  As I start to do more walking, I have to be careful with my Achilles tendon, which can become quite inflexible and painful. I have to actively stretch and release, stretch and release, in order to keep moving.

Isn’t the heart a muscle, as well?  As I stretch emotionally and in my relationships with myself and others, don’t I also need to release that which holds me back? To be conscious to take the time to process and let go. Actively release.

Release sadness and grief.

Release dreams and desires that are not going to be fulfilled.

Release self-doubt.

Release anger. And expectation.

Release what weighs me down, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

That is my aim for 2016. To release so that I can soar.

butterfly-rock

The Red Hat

My therapist once told me a story that goes like this –

Once upon a time there was a woman who really wanted a red hat. She went to a store and walked up to the counter and asked the salesperson for a red hat.

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell red hats.”

Disappointed, the woman walked away. Then, she thought, “Maybe I didn’t ask in the right way.”

So, she went back to the counter. “I’d like a garment in a crimson colour that fits on my head.”

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell those.”

Disappointed, the woman left. Then, she thought, “Maybe I didn’t enter the store from the right door.”

So, she walked around the block to another entrance and asked again.

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell those.”

Maybe she should try a different time of day? Or day of the week? She tried again.

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell those.”

Maybe she wasn’t dressed nicely enough? She changed into nicer clothes.

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell those.”

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And so it goes with you and me.

Looking for a red hat, I try again and again.

And because you love me, you offer me a blue hat. Or a purple hat. Or a red scarf.

And because I love you, I try to wear them and be happy. But they don’t fit right. And when I look at myself in the mirror, I no longer recognize myself.

I am left confused and unsure.

When my therapist asks, “what should this woman do?”, I answer without hesitation.

“She should walk away and look someplace else.”

Selfie_redhat

Life is short … and other clichés

This year seems to be one that is determined to make me think about mortality.

January started with the profound and intense experience of being with a close friend, and his wife, as he passed away from cancer at the too-young age of 48.

More recent events of a  friend undergoing life critical surgery, others battling cancer and those dealing with the shock of loved ones who have died suddenly and unexpectedly  have made me realize that so many of the clichés we use about life and death have probably become clichés because they are so true. I am reminded that life is short and that we all will die. Including me.

But the knowledge that has really settled into my bones and blood is that none of us know how short, or how long, our lives truly are.

What motivates me, and what lights a fire in my belly, is not that I will die someday. But that I could die tomorrow. Or today.

And I could die with things left undone. Words that have not been spoken. Places left unvisited. Time still wasted on actions without heart or passion.

I am finding myself becoming wildly determined to not to wait to do the things that are important to me.  After all, what am I waiting for? Last year’s journey of “fierce” has combined with this year’s journey of “stretch” to urge me forward on my path leaving behind the “I should’s” and moving toward the “I want’s”.

Two weeks ago an opportunity came up to buy a condo in an area of town in which I’ve always wanted to live. In nine days, I bought the new condo, got my place ready to sell and accepted an offer.  Nine days. And I took Sunday off to visit with friends!

My initial thought was “it’s too fast, I’m not ready, I can’t do this”.  But as the Committee in my head began the bickering process of why it wouldn’t work, I could also hear the insistent whisper of my heart saying, “this is what we want, what we’ve dreamed of, we can do it”. But is my blood and my bones that are new to the conversation and who are speaking up and saying “We are doing this and we are doing it now. So get it in gear and figure it out”.

So with help from friends, a good real estate agent, and an amazing mortgage broker, I made it happen. And, with the bit of money left over I am starting my travel fund to finally travel to Africa on safari. I want to see elephants in the wild.

I don’t know how long I have left. So I am doing it now. I am not waiting any longer.

As the cliché says, “there is nothing like death to make you appreciate life”.

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