Thursday, March 31, 2005

sky-blue corn flowers

Now I've never worn hats, but I have wanted to. I particularly love the little hats like a frittillaria blossom a la the era of the flappers.

So, here's a little laugh: Laurie, in her post of March 16, obviously doesn't appreciate the fun to be had with hats. Those women in the photos appear to be having a roaring good time!

I think Laurie needs to lighten up (relax, its not contagious, but yes, with luck, you are inevitably heading in that direction of older age as well, dear) (without luck--well...maybe that's why those ladies are laughing! they are alive, and they have not submitted themselves to torturous diets or surgeries to look younger. Or if they did, they have finally let themselves off the hook and and are allowing themselves to have FUN.) Remember "fun", Laurie?

There's still a huge part of me that cares what other people think, so I would probably hesitate to wear the hats too...but given the right mood, and a sunny day, I would probably feel wonderful!! Maybe that is one of the benefits of getting older. You just have fun and you don't give a damn anymore about what other people think.

Then again, before young children learn about adult rules of "proper" dress, they just have fun. I remember being shattered as a child to learn that what I thought was gorgeous, the adults thought ridiculous. I had spied some sky-blue corn flowers growing among my uncle's oats in a field and I picked bunches of them. Then I teased my hair (that was the 60's). Into my wonderful pouffy 'do, I tucked in as many corn flowers as I could. I thought I was so fabulous I was floating two feet off the ground as I ran to the house to show my mom and Aunt Hilkka. Their reaction? Do I need to tell you? Although they tried to stiffle their laughter, I was no fool. I could tell immediately that they thought I looked silly.

Unfortunately, their opinion mattered too much. Their ideas became a deeply etched part of my beliefs. And although to this day, I really think a pouffy 'do full of sky-blue corn flowers is Fabulous!, I wouldn't have the nerve to wear my hair that way in public.

Where's the joy in living like that! Damn it, I am going to plan a "pouffy-'do-with-corn-flowers-in-your-hair" Celebration! I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

my version of karmic law

I offer my thanks to Christian, for reading, and making the comments on how we seem to have so little time to appreciate the good things in our lives, and it does seem to be true.

Feeling a terrible lack of time for so many years when my children were little, I dreamed of a vacation sans kids, sans husband, when I could lay in a Muskoka chair, wrapped up in a Hudson's Bay blanket and read all day. Maybe an efficient person could appear regularly with more hot coffee...

These days, after deliberately making more time in my life (well, ok, I'll admit it, not completely deliberately-- I was really sort of pushed to do it for health reasons--long story) I still find I complain of a lack of time. Without wanting these things in my life, I can easily find many things that require attention, must be done right away, should be looked after...That part is not hard. Not hard at all!

It is probably my habitual way of looking at life. I'm quite accustomed to making long lists for myself of things I then use to punish myself with because I cannot possible accomplish them all. Then comes the guilt, another time waster!

My reading of various inspired writers leads me to the same conclusion over and over again: The Universal Source of all things is incredibly generous, kind and loving. We keep allowing our ego to get in the way.

Esther Hicks is said to have discovered that writing her "to do list" on a menu one morning, putting what she absolutely could and would do today in one column, and putting all the other things she wanted to do in a separate column on the other side, clarified her day. She left the menu behind on the table wherever it was, trusting that the Universal Source would take care of the much, much longer "want" list.

My ego would have great difficulty with that.

Somewhere on the way, I have heard that the ego loves the word "should". So I tried to eliminate that...To anyone out there who has a lot of shoulds in their life, I release you from should!

Lately, I just try to pay attention to whatever little good things I see. I believe that one little good thing will set off good higher vibrations that will eventually eliminate the lower vibrations of the bad things. I believe that what you focus on is what you will get more of.

So, instead of saying I barely have time to gulp down a cup of coffee, I say to myself, I'm so glad I have time to feel the comforting warmth of this coffee sliding down my throat!

Ann and I started a little game yesterday. We are wearing an elastic band on our wrist for a week. We will snap our wrist with this elastic band whenever our thoughts stray into whining or feeling sorry for ourselves or berating ourselves for not "measuring up". No000... my wrist isn't raw yet, even though I did have to snap the elastic a couple of times. I chose a bright red elastic so it would catch my eye as I go through my day. Many negative thoughts probably slid under the radar out of habit, but I did notice some of them approaching and changed my thinking, even if it was to notice only that I was able to notice the thought arriving and let it go. The old ego could make this a torture test as well, do you notice? I choose to appreciate that I did notice some thoughts before I got into the wallowing-in-the-cascade-of-negative-thoughts routine...I intend to notice more, and think better thoughts more and more. I'm enjoying the process. And I will never be "finished".

Being in the moment without judging it, ourselves or others is what releases us from bad karma. The ego loves to protect us and judges everything! Once it starts, look out: here comes another cascade-of-the-negative-thoughts routine! That's what keeps us trapped in the cycle of bad karma. If we can be open, in the moment, and say Namaste to ourselves and the other people in it, absolute magic happens.

(Namaste literally means "I humbly bow to you" in the Sanskrit language, one of the official languages of India. Namas: "to bow, obeisance, reverential salutation", and Te: "to you".
A more exalted way to understand this word is to accept the following --ie in your thinking--when greeting another one while bowing with both hands clasped togther:
'The God in me greets the God in you
The Spirit in me meets the same Spirit in you'
In other words, it recognizes the equality of all, and pays honour to the sacredness of all. )

It helps to remember: I am a human being, not a human doing.
(ps: Thanks Carrol!)
(pps: I got my love of cliches, the catchy phrase, from my Dad who spouted them every day. Now they are a part of the fabric of my thoughts--many of them, unfortunately, negative.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

suddenly it's spring

Suddenly the snow is disappearing fast.

After a week of mild day-time temperatures and sunny days, the only snow that remains is sheltered from the sun by trees.

What is hiding under that snow is still a mystery, and actually, most of the garden is still a mystery because what is appearing from under the snow is piles of dead leaves...

Never fear. Pansies are in bloom is some spots where the melting snow uncovered them. Some remnants of last years garden, such as grey stalks of artemisia are identifiable. Grey dead stalks do excite gardeners, particularly when they forecast the glories of perennial plants to come.

Because the ground is too wet and soft, one can't really walk about to explore like I plan to. Maybe another week.

It's Mud Season. Dog lovers bear with it.

Ann has potted up some rooted cuttings of a gorgeous variegated impatiens with magenta blooms. Today, long before I woke up, she took cutting of that coleus I mentioned before.

We haven't put anything into the greenhouse yet. I'm afraid the freezing nights might do them in. Not being all that familiar with greenhouse-gardening, I'm on a steep learning curve here, having only the theoritical knowledge. There is a propane heater, an automatic ventilating system, a bottom -heated propagating box and a grow light in there, but none of them seems to be in working order. Some of it works, sometimes, a lot of it doesn't work at all. We will have to have all that stuff checked over by someone with a little expertise, really, before I will feel it's safe to use without worry.

Had a long chat by phone with my brother in Alaska last night. During our conversation, gangs of raccoons came to scratch in the pile of sunflower hulls under the bird feeder in the apple tree. Not too pleased to see them, fearing they might plunder the vegetable gardens when they get going.

Aforementioned brother is coming to visit in May. Any suggestions of ethnic neighborhoods, restaurants, shops etc that we should visit in Toronto, would be welcomed. We both love food and wine...

Friday, March 18, 2005

the little things

I have not posted here for a while, for which I feel bad. I hate it when blogs I like to read have not posted for a while, because I look forward to their news. So I feel bad that I haven't posted regularly recently. I have news of little things, little happenings...

It seems like my inner and outer life is going through profound changes, but if I were asked to describe them, I might have some difficulty. Partly, it would be reticence and shyness. Partly it would be because of my difficulties in finding words to describe what is happening. (I mistyped 'words' initially as 'worlds'!!--is that a freudian slip?)

Maybe it would help if I said I've been studying some of T.Harv Eker's teachings about money? So many of the inspired teachers I have read over the years just seem to dovetail together into an ever-expanding way I am learning, my growing way of looking at my world.

People who know me very well, know that money has been difficult for me in my life. That's the reticence part. I was raised in a household where money was not discussed, unless I asked for something. Then money was something we 'did not have'. As I've been studying Eker's ideas, I've come to realize that I have a lot of unhelpful and downright dangerous beliefs about money. I am now trying to un-learn these and replace them with thoughts and behaviors which will make that side of my life better.

The other part is the little things. I practice appreciation every day and can spend hours watching, noticing, observing little things. What a wonderful place I live in! There are the birds. There are the various trees. There are the other little creatures.

The other day, I noticed again the cup-shape pattern of the needles of a volunteer red pine to the north of the house. The dark green, finely needled bundles crowded at the tips of the branches were holding little balls of snow, like cotton balls. The repeating pattern all over the tree had me standing like a fool for many minutes, staring out the window.

Yesterday, my coffee got cold as I forgot to drink it, watching two red squirrels under the bird feeder in the apple tree to the south of the house. About the same size as chipmunks, these two little squirrels were very entertaining. Nervous, they flitted up and down the tree when alarmed. Then they would sit very still, watching with bright eyes, the tension in their feathery tails twitching every few seconds. When they scampered about, their feet moved too fast to see, making their movements seem like water rippling, lighting fast, flowing, rather than 'climbing' up or down the tree. Then the branches of the tree became their aerial highway to the branches of the maples at the south of the yard. Down the limbs they flowed, down the trunk, then hopping and skipping across the tops of the zigzag old cedar-rail fence, out of sight.

I have come to realize that as I have thought about and appreciated my 'birds' and the rural life I appreciate, it has been coming into my life in a greater and greater way. Unconsciously, I have been attracting more of what I want into my life and I'm grateful for it! I did however have to let go of my old life and go into a sort of free-fall which was very frightening.

What a contrast to an acquaintance of mine who has been so busy holding on to what she has worked so hard for, at the same time being extremely unhappy in her marriage: damned if she is going to let him have any of what she believes is rightfully hers...and the mess keeps getting bigger and bigger. I think she is so much more frightened of what "might" be, that she is more comfortable holding to the awfulness of what she knows now, holding on with a death grip. She would rather strangle what she has now, holding on, than face any future without what she believes she has rightfully 'earned'.

It has become very obvious to me that what you focus on is what you get. So, consciously, I am trying to focus on what brings me joy, peace and fulfillment.

That is not always easy, for example, in the workplace of my paying job. Conversations sort of lose their momentum, sometimes coming to a screetching halt when I put in my 2 cents-worth.

One woman who shall remain nameless, mostly because I don't like her or trust her, started to tell me about how hard she works and complained about how lazy her peers are, how they leave all this work undone. She boasted that she loves to work hard and do a good job.
I finally said, I would rather play. (I was trying to change the subject, because I frankly found I could not agree with her and it was tiring.) I think playing is much more important. To be kind, I did try to explain that when I'm doing something that I love, although to another it might seem like work, to me it is play.

As an example of how different we each are, in terms of what we find is play/work, I told her about my Oldest Daughter, who loves anything to do with cosmetics. Oldest Daughter recently found a book about some make-up artist who took Hollywood stars and made them up to look like another Hollywood star completely. This to her is fascinating. To me it is barely interesting...To me it would be work to delve into it in any depth. To Oldest Daughter, gardening is work--to me it's play.

But, you know, I could tell this woman would rather have stayed in the mode of complaining about her peers and how hard she know what I mean? And as a result, this woman is embroiled in too many fights to count: with her bosses, peers and nearly everyone around her, who all have complaints about how she does her work...

Observing this, I'm struck again by the idea that what you focus on, is what you attract into your life!

So as I sit here, my back to the windows, the sun shining in is so warm on my back that it is comforting, like an embrace or a hot water bottle.

I smile, as I think about Molly's walk (Molly is my English Bulldog, for those who are new to my journal), a head-swinging waddle. But even she is trimmer, more fit and the weight keeps dropping off as she gets her exercise with us.

A new bird sighting for me: a pileated wood-pecker, who Ann describes so colourfully as 'putting a hurtin' on the trees' around here. An ugly, surprisingly large bird, inmy opinion, not surprising it puts such a hurtin' on trees!

Long stare into the yellow eyes of the grey owl as it makes a regular reappearance around our home, a strange heart-stopping moment each time, appreciating the muted elegance of it's colouring.

My laughing-Hoti sculpture disappeared under the snow after I moved him here into this garden. Maybe when he reappears as the snow melts, I'll be able to report on our seedlings as they sprout in our greenhouse.

During the day, the greenhouse is positively tropical. It is not heated, however, so, fearing the night-time temperature drop, we haven't dared to start any tender seedlings yet. Besides, we have set ourselves the task of painting the laundry room first...then we'll start our play in the greenhouse.

My friends Connie and Kim giggle at me as I serve them a lunch of taco-salad..."I've never eaten avocado before. Have you eaten this before?" they ask each other, in giggly whispers."Kidney beans...have you eaten this before? Me neither." Imagine me asking Kim to peel and cut up some avocado! They are having a marvelous adventure while I'm worrying they will not like it. Thank goodness they love me anyway.

Amazing that from apparently totally different life-paths, my housemate Ann and I have come together and are so compatible in many ways. If that is not the universe conspiring to make our lives richer, I don't know what it is. I pretty much took one look at Ann as she opened up the door that wintry afternoon in December,and I knew I liked her. If we were too different in life-styles, it could have been so much more difficult.

And I know, when she goes off to California as she has planned, life will unfold for me as well, here or in some other great place, in some good way that I cannot as yet envision. That Ann's life and mine are running parallel to each other for a while will be another rich strand in the colourful lives we are each weaving.

Those are some of the little things I am appreciating, little words that hold worlds of meaning for me.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

spinning again

After three months or so, I finally was able to attend our monthly spinning group meeting. Yesterday, I nearly agreed to work a shift at my paying job, realizing just in time that I could not. My spinning group is important to me.

I really enjoyed practicing woolen/long-draw spinning and comparing it to worsted spinning...

And then there is the post office! I did pay for 30 days of mail-forwarding from my old address--in case there was someone I forgot to notify that I've moved -- you know? Not one piece of mail has been forwarded to me here thus far by the post office with their tell-tale yellow forwarding stickers, not one! Mail has been sent to my old address, which my former landlady kindly brought to my paying workplace for me. So...Canada Post, please explain? What exactly did my $30 plus tax pay for? I will be, receipt in hand, at the local post office tomorrow to find out, ok?

An error has been made. I had been thinking that the red-bellied woodpeckers who come to our feeders were flickers. Wrong. What a funny name for woodpeckers who actually have a very vividly red head, vs belly! Anyhow, as far as I can tell, according to my bird-book, I have been wrong, as I said.

Granddaughter came to dinner on Sunday with her mom and dad. She did a little walkabout, finger pointing: "That is yours, Gramma, from you old house, that is yours, and I remember that too, Gramma." Later, when she asked if she could play with one of my teddy-bears, I remembered that I could take Cleo (my teddybears are named) out of the box I had opened the other day, leaving it unpacked in my workroom. "No, George," Granddaughter corrected. "But I don't know where George is," I said. Granddaughter knew. She had noticed poor George tucked into a deep,dark corner of a closet in my bedroom! So with her own Teddy Bear who goes everywhere with her, Granddaughter had tea for the all four of them.

I find it amazing how children notice everything, observing, looking, watching and learning all the time, like bottomless knowledge sponges! That is a confusing mixed-metaphor thingy, but I can't think of anything better at the moment...

Need to eat something...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

more thoughts on taboos

As I've been unpacking, I have come across some of my books that I have not read in a long time. So again, taking advantage of my ability to nearly completely forget what I have read pretty quickly, I have been re-reading, and enjoying, some of my books at random.

As it happens, last night, I picked up Susie Bright's "Full Exposure, Opening up to Your Sexual Creativity & Erotic Expression." And since I have been thinking about how sex is ok to use in our schizophrenic
(of, relating to, or characterized by the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic elements). culture to sell things, but pretty frightening otherwise, I was surprised to come across this:

" the mainstream world of advertising and entertainment, sex is used strictly as titillation, and the viewer is left holding the bag. Almost everything we see on commercial media is powered by sexual titillation.... Commercial titillation has the gimmicky personality that fits perfectly with our obsession with making real sexual pleasure either an enigma or a sham....What, you actually thought we were going to deliver on this choice
little thrill? Sucker!"
(Darn! And here I thought that buying that Expensive Perfume would land me in the hot embrace of some exotic European man, for sure!)

Bright notes that while "erotic censorship has become an American fetish, an institution, and a superstition--a faith in material success and excess", her greatest ally in her erotic judgment is her "constant observation that the aphrodisiac of a price, of a dazzlingly crafted come-on, is a genuine disappointment."

Are we mixed up, or what? The portrayal or even the thought of real people in a real sexual act is gross and pornographic, while the glossy, extravagant, phony and exclusive titillation of advertising is considered more aesthetically pleasing and rarely catches the censors eye.

a flight of steps

Speaking of flying (see previous post re lessons in dreams), I find the phrase "a flight of steps" interesting.

In many gardens in my past, I have dreamed of and tried to create stairs from one level of the garden to another. Here, at Lugar do Olhar Feliz, is an opinionated and interesting site by 'les jardiniers, Ann Kenny et Jean Paul Brigand', with some observations on stairs in the garden. Parts of it certainly are in English/French, so pretty accessible. It makes me dream of creating flights of steps...

a lesson in a dream

I had a marvelous dream last night. I was wearing a very frilly dress (a la Scarlet O'Hara), soaring like a bird through the air, and drinking champagne out of a green bottle! As I flew higher through the trees, I looked up and noticed that I could see, through the leaves, clouds dotted across the sky too, like the leaves. With everything back-lit by the sun, it was as if everything was edged with sparkling lights.

Then, I looked down.

To my right, I noticed I was passing a large house, and a lady was out on a balcony. Right away, I was embarrassed. It just would not do to be seen flying like I was. I tried to come down, using swimming motions as I do when I dream of flying, but I was not coming down at all!

I glanced at the woman at the house. What was she doing? She was climbing out to the edge of the balcony, dressed in serious flying gear: a white body suit and a white close-fitting flying hat, like the old-fashioned motorcycle helmets (a la Amelia Earheart!!). She leaned gracefully out into the air and soared off!

What was I worried about? I have laughed about my dream all day!