Thursday, December 9, 2010

John Lennon is Still With Us (at least he's with me)

I posted on Facebook recently that I think I may operate with the same brand of crazy as did John Lennon.  A little spot in my heart mourns our loss due to his assassination.  But he was a man who really and truly believed in peace.  A great quote- "A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream we dream together is reality."  He was talking, as ever, about peace.  And, quite obviously, John understood about consensus reality. (Yes, here she goes again.)  Because it's true.  If we all just decided there should be peace, we would just work towards it, the government would be irrelevant.  We simply wouldn't pick up their guns and we would work for everyone, not ourselves.  But, thing is, we're so far from that now.  I'm not sure how to live the life Lennon recommended.  He said to do everything for peace.  That every action or word we share should be in the name of peace.  I think that's true but I don't live it.  I believe in it, with all my heart.  But I'm just one little human out here living and I get downright frustrated sometimes.  The point, I think, is that I keep coming back to peace.  I know it's right because it feels right.  But what does my life look like?    

I had a strange experience last weekend that, at that time, seemed such a great metaphor for my life.  I'd found a can of vegetarian baked beans in the pantry and decided that would make a fine lunch.  I went to my cupboard and got out my electric can opener, only then remembering that the last time I'd used it, it wasn't working properly.  But I tried.  I'm not sure what was wrong, but it would either cut or turn the can.  Not both at the same time.  So I fussed with it for a while and made some progress- some cuts along the inner rim, but the can was not open.  Then I decided the electrical opener wasn't opening so I got out my handy-dandy manual version- forgetting that it was also jammed.  Since my hands aren't strong enough to turn the key, (jammed good), I opened and closed the contraption on the edge of the can, piercing away, till it was cut free from its lid.  Of course, I then had to use a fork to work and pry the lid out of the can to get to the beans. 

In the time it took to open this can, I probably could have opened, heated, and eaten the beans if things had gone smoothly.  I couldn't help but think to myself: "Ya know, in other peoples' lives, this is not such a hassle.  People open cans all the time.  They take the can to the opener, push that little button and TADA! they have beans.  But not me.  Nope.  I spend 10 minutes just working to get to those yummy legumes." What does this say about my life?  I often feel like I have to work so hard to get so little- like I can't understand how some things seem to come so easily to some people.  I often feel as though there is entirely too much struggle in my life, like something should just come easily.  On the other hand, I already admitted that I knew the can opener wasn't working properly.  Why did I put it back in the cupboard at all?  Why haven't I replaced it?  I've surely had ten dollars to spare at some time in the past few months.  Maybe just barely, but still.  So maybe I actually make my life harder than it has to be in some ways.  Maybe there are simple things I could do for myself that would make my days move a bit more smoothly.

Then another thing happened and I thought, let this be a metaphor for my life.  I like this better.  Before I moved last February, I packed a necklace that is very important to me.  For Winter Solstice and Christmas, one of my best friends commissioned her husband, (another dear friend of mine), to carve baskets out of peach pits and make necklaces for myself and our two other friends.  This is an unique and beautiful gift.  It's something I would have liked if I'd seen it in a store but you won't, my friend made this for me.  Obviously this is an important item.  So, I vividly remember taking the necklace down from where it hung in my bathroom and putting it in something where I was sure it would be safe and get to the new house safely. 

I moved and I unpacked bathroom and bedroom stuff.  I found my jewelry but not that necklace.  I started to wonder- hadn't I opened every box?  But I KNEW.  For SURE.  Beyond a SHADOW of a DOUBT that it was somewhere.  After all, I packed it special, right?  Some time last January.

At the beginning of the week I was cleaning my bedside table where I have a big basket of journals and writing.  Inside that is a small Japanese vase, (about the size of a soup can.  or a bean can), that holds pens.  I use pens from this vase almost every day.  I took it out of the basket and looked inside, yep.  There was my necklace!  And the Goddess book mark I'd made myself years ago that always dis- and re-appears.  I couldn't believe it! 

But I could.  Because this is my life.  And maybe this metaphor makes sense too.  What's important to me is closer than I think.  I protect what's dear to me, even if I'm not sure how.  The little pieces of what really matters are close to me, in my days and in my dreams.  So maybe that nugget of peace I want to live is fuller than I give it credit for.  Maybe I already decided to devote my life to peace, and put it inside in a really safe place.  Maybe I can even admit that I should trust myself and do that.  Maybe, in the screaming crazy tumult that is life here on Earth, I'm closer than I think.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Plans

It's December first and I can't remember the last time I wrote a blog post that wasn't poetry.  So, I characteristically ask myself: "What's up?".  I think it mostly comes down to being busy.  This is always such a stressful time of year, and there have been so many things whizzing around in my brain that none of them have been able to sit still long enough to become a complete and blogable thought.  Since I love my blog and can really see how it's improved my writing, (and I miss all my fellow bloggers!), I decided to drag something out of there.

First of all, my plans for the winter.  I've been feeling spread thin for a while now- like I'm trying to do too many things, I'm not doing all the things I should be doing, and, hence, things start becoming messy.  Like: my house, my conversations, my intentions, my brain...  What was I saying?  Oh! Yes, messy...  I feel as if I'm not giving my all to anything.  I feel unfocused and impatient, nervous and lonely, confused and worn-out.  Tasks take on a looming, monumental heft and my defense is to ignore them till they grow even more.  Plans I had got lost, some buried forever and some waiting to be found.  Intentions have become foggy, unsure.  Creativity has been spotty at best.  ( I always maintain that as long as I'm writing, things aren't really all that bad. I've been writing.)  I've been fussy and picky, moody and tired.  I've felt exposed and raw, been misunderstood and offended, and probably offensive.  I've remembered what panic feels like- not good.  I've remembered what complacency is- not good.  But through this all, the optimist is shining.

Have you ever noticed how a truth you need to tell yourself is often found in what you desperately want to say to another person?  I recently found myself overwhelmed by the beauty of another person and felt compelled to point it out.  Wondering about it later, I got it- like a migraine:  I need to realize and remember that I am beautiful.  I need to take better care of myself.  I am amazing and talented and kind and I deserve love and a happy life.  Whew... that's good to know.

So I find myself needing to re-group.  I've made a decision to scale back my social schedule this winter in order to really focus on my self and my life.  I've gotten quite good at self-therapy, calling myself on my own shit and being open to the possibility that I'm often very wrong and my motivations are questionable.  This has offered up a massive amount of questions (and even a few answers).

One of the things I need to focus on is my house.  The Little House is, currently, the Little Warehouse- as I've emptied my storage into my home.  Now, I live in a three room house with my daughter. (three rooms not counting the bathroom which is much more closely related to a closet)  I have amassed, over the years, way more books that any one person needs, (that is until said person has a home with a library), and much other lovable but not necessarily useful stuff.  One of my revelations in self therapy was the realization that my compulsive collecting started around the time my last relationship became abusive.  Wow!  That's a big deal!  That means that at that time, I felt that all this stuff was, in some way, protecting me.  I don't need protection anymore!  I can't tell you how much easier it has become to let go of things now that I know why I have them in the first place.  I need to excavate my house and make it a home- especially working on my daughter's room because it has dealt with the brunt of the storage.  Two things that are contributing to my ability to make space: many friends coming this weekend to adopt books, then some helping me to donate the leftovers, AND my landlord gave me more storage space!!  This project that felt so impossible and shameful, (yes, we pack-rats do, sometimes, actually feel guilty about what we have), now seems doable and simple.  Well, not physically simple but certainly easier than it was before.  My house is like my temple.  It's where I rest and live, it's where I create, it's where I practice spirituality, it's the heart of my experience here on earth.  Not to put to fine a point on it, but if I love my house so much in the bizarre state it's in, imagine how much I will love it this spring when it's straightened around and my daughter's room is decorated!

Aside from that, I just want to slow down.  I want to work on crafts and work through some of the meditation books I've been reading.  I want to cuddle my cats and watch movies with my daughter.  I want to go sledding and drink hot-chocolate.  I'm going to learn to cook some amazing vegetarian soups!!  I want to work out and I want to rest.  I want to, as much as possible, make my own schedule.  I want to be gentle with me, see what other amazing things I can learn about myself.  I want to attend to the most important relationship- mine with myself.

So- I will most certainly make time for my best friends (because I would surely cease to breath if I had to go longer than a couple weeks without them).  I will go to poetry readings and witches' nights out and that's it.  I'm grounded!  It feels good!!

Hope you all have a wonderful winter.  Since I'll be home, another hope is that I'll be blogging more!!