Thursday, 24 May 2012
we stuck to relatively safe topics like work and our pets, but still. i think we were gentler with our newly sprouting relationship during this talk. conversation was more superficial, but maybe that's all our connection can take right now.
blessedly, there were no discussions of our shared past or our mistakes or the awkward family dynamics that plague us and make people fume and rage at christmas. it feels a little false, but we might need this gentleness and lightness if we're going to go deeper at some point.
and you know what? i think i'm okay with that. there was a time when i wouldn't have been, but it's cool. maybe in these silly, superficial discussions we'll gradually remember that we sincerely like and appreciate each other on some level. we've been there before. i hope we can go there again. gently. with hands that hold this thing as it grows.
you know those times in life when it feels like the odds are stacked against a good outcome?
if you want me to be less delicate about it, i mean the times when you're standing in the middle of a relentless shitstorm of shitty shit. i know you know the kinda shitty shit i'm talking about.
well, in the midst of all this difficulty, she's feeling like she's torn out some stitches. metaphorically, i mean. undoing the life mending she's done recently.
what i told her was this: i'm learning that mending is a complicated thing...often it takes more than one pass to get the mend you want: to anchor it properly or to make it last or make it count. sometimes a mend that sticks isn't all that pretty and takes more tries than you might think. this has definitely been the case with the jeans i mended a while back.
if you remember, these are the jeans i was wearing when i got into my bike accident last year and, somehow, they keep on loosening and finding new ways to tear or come apart or fray.
it almost feels like a test or a metaphor, so here's my vow: i assure you, jeans, i will continue to come back to you again and again and again to figure out all the myriad ways that you (and, by extension, i) need mending. i'm going to stitch you up in every way i know how so that a way forward is possible. one with integrity and purpose.
so there it is. i almost feel like i should call out, "i can't quit you, boo!"
you know, as a dramatic finish to my post... :P
i haven't even been able to get back on a bicycle since my bike accident in march 2011. the last time i tried, i spent the morning weeping. it didn't go well at all. it makes me realize, you know, that sometimes mending can't be approached in a direct way.
i got around the intense, gripping, controlling fear of getting back on a bike by being a passenger instead of driving, by going out on a different kind of bike that feels different and sounds different and by going for that first ride in a different city altogether. these are the things that allowed me to go for it. i was being too literal before: of course i couldn't just get on a bicycle and calmly return to my daily riding habits - especially in the streets of the city that almost claimed my fucking life! as if! that's so clear now.
i'm not sure what the next step is in terms of getting over my block with biking, but i feel so much more brazen now. i feel more ready to tackle it since i got out there and went fast and leaned into the turns and felt the wind in my face and looked up at the wide open sky and remembered why i love biking so much. why i love when there's no steel cage around me.
and that, my friends, is a really good start.
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
i suppose it could be read as cool distance or dispassion or something, but that's not what it is. it's a kind of listening and noticing that i forgot i knew how to do. a cool side effect of keeping a loose hold on things is that my intuition - that gut-level sensing - is coming back to life as something i can call on and draw from and trust. so very very cool.
i had a performance in montreal tonight, and my lover, j, kept asking me - "so, have you chosen what you're going to perform? do you know what you're doing yet?" i kept saying a light-hearted no and laughing about it. i was waiting for things to call on me rather than choosing them in a more arbitrary way. that's better than deciding at a surface level. and it totally happened. all of a sudden, i knew what to perform: what i would feel connected to and what the audience might best respond to. it changed once more at the event itself. in a moment of quiet, i realized that one of the pieces didn't need to be performed and something else did. so i switched it out without any rehearsal at all.
i'm not sure where that ballsy trust came from, but i knew it would be just fine. i didn't need to look anything up or rehearse or double-check or doubt. i could feel that it was there. and it was. it worked out fine. how's that for mending self-trust? standing willingly on that beautiful precipice of risk. god, i've missed it.
because of looming money and health concerns, i sort of forgot about other people. specifically, how much i like to give and do for other people.
i admire the whole idea that, in helping others, you help yourself. not in a rescuing way, mind you. in a solidarity way. standing with people in whatever's happening. gently being with what is, no matter what the reality is.
one of the first things i decided to do was to restart this daily practice i used to do – a standing meditation that's all about filling yourself up with light and then giving of the overflow. i find it's a very healthy way of doing this whole giving thing.
i put out a call on facebook about a week-and-a-half ago to see who might be interested in receiving a little extra light, and do you know what? i got 41 requests! from people in all kinds of binds: living with cancer, preparing for surgery, recovering from surgery, dealing with old injuries, a sick mother, money stress, a dying husband, an ongoing battle with depression, addictions, chronic pain, a bad winter at work, loss of motivation, relationship struggles, feeling lost and wanting to find a good path again. in a different state of mind, it might have been overwhelming...but i found it sort of beautiful. we're united in struggle, as it were. how human we all are!
there are times when i feel utterly hopeless about all the suffering and trials and struggles that people face all around me. but, there's a measure of healing available in giving what i can instead of focusing on my attachments to a certain reality or outcome. simply sending washes of light to everyone on the list each day and letting the universe manage the details.
what a great balance this strikes between expressing care and accepting what is. also, it's amazing how much of a lift i feel in taking myself out of the centre of my concerns and remembering the collective whole. i'm sending out a hell yeah to the power of community!
as a freelance writer and editor and artist and community organizer, i don't claim much downtime. it seems like there's always something to do...nay, many many somethings i should do. it's gotten to the point where it feels normal to have demands on me every minute that i'm not sleeping. but, do you know what? i've been thinking lately that this is a crappy reality that needs my immediate attention; an immediate shift. it's something that needs to change. boundaries, folks. boundaries. they are wonderful things.
a few months back, i took a free, online energy audit: how much energy i have, what gives me energy, where i'm putting my energy. the results were scary. 16 out of 20 questions showed that my life habits were breaking down rather than building up my energy. the results further informed me that an energy crisis is imminent in my life. i don't disagree.
there are sooooo many demands. my brain is babysitting each of them at any given time: love, dynamics, work, money, goals, deadlines. it's hard to be disciplined enough to pull back from these demands and just be. to turn off my responses to everything, relax and go into my own world.
as i was unpacking my books tonight, it occurred to me that disappearing into some non-required reading that's purely for pleasure used to be one of the main ways i relaxed. for whatever reason, it's something that i haven't done much of lately.
i decided to change that. i dug out a book by isabel allende that i meant to read last summer. as i sat there, happily gulping down the story, i actually physically felt my brain knit itself back together and regroup from the myriad directions it had galloped off in since i woke up. this is the first step in what will, i'm sure, be a multi-stage process toward being more respectful of all my human needs: food, rest, recreation and the like.
other triumphs of may 18th: i took a 45-minute bath in the middle of a hectic day in order to ease a tension headache and accepted that my apartment would not be clean or organized before i left town for the weekend. bonus points on the latter because i trusted my friend, who was catsitting for me not to judge me about it. hell yeah.
Friday, 18 May 2012
we started out by swapping stories about our experiences of homophobia and other gender crap. as we talked, i recorded some of the words they used on little bits of paper: hate, fear, ignorance, hope, protection, rights, courage.
by the time our conversation started drawing to a close an hour later, we had dozens of words on little slips of paper. i spread them out on a big double-table so they were all visible, and the youth arranged and rearranged them on the table (magnetic poetry style) until they found word combos that inspired them or until the words formed statements they agreed with. some of them made it onto the banner.
it was really cool to watch them interact with the words and get excited about finding ways to talk about hate and love. it reminded me how essential it is to have words to use that accurately reflect experience. i loved seeing how making those connection between words and experience freed up brain space that had, before, been occupied by silence or question marks. such a beautiful thing.
i don't plan on becoming a parent, but i love being a mentor. at a certain point, it becomes a moral necessity to go back for the kids who are living the kinds of things you lived and offer them a leg up.
feels good and right to be there for them. to help mend the harm they face and encourage them and listen.