Monday, November 16, 2015

Still there is Much that is Fair

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands- love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."- J.R.R. Tolkein

Indeed the world may have many dark places... Love is once again mingled with grief. Grasping on to the daily ordinary with wild appreciation and heartfelt gratitude for THIS moment of safety, we add to that greatness. Christmas trees, warm beds, water and stolen moments with loved ones are now perhaps all the greater...Right now it's crucial to remember all that is fair.

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." - Roald Dahl

Do not loose your muchness. Do not give into the demons that fill up the holes of your soul in fear. There is still magic to be found. Innocent laughter and worlds of pure imagination.  "Take a look and you'll see into your imagination. We'll begin with a spin, travelling in a world of my creation, what you see will defy explanation. Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight, someone's thinking of you and loving you might be miles beyond the moon or right here where you stand, just keep an open mind, and suddenly you find Neverland...and that's my home where dreams are born and time is never planned. Just think of lovely things and your heart will fly on wings forever...if you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to- DO it. Want to change the world? There is nothing to it. Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination....There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination, living there, you'll be free, if you truly wish to be...somewhere out there, if love can see us through..." *Lyrics from Neverland Melody sung by Kenny Loggins.  If we can imagine the beauty, we can slowly open ourselves to the beauty that IS.

I often find myself quoting Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan. Ironically these are some of my least favourite stories. However, the authors had wit, imagination and a penchant for crafting profound words. In times of trial, hold on to what makes you unique, don't lose your muchness and never loose that spark. Let's pull out our collective and individual imaginations...the lovers, the bonkers, dreamers, bohemians, eccentrics, and all those with childlike wonder. Think of lovely things. Believe in the good that is still perhaps all the greater in the darkness. When we lose our way the paths may disappear but we can sing each other home.

There is still so much that is fair.

"If you love something, love it completely, cherish it, say it, but most importantly, show it. Life is finite and fragile, and just because something is there for one day, it might not be for the next. Never take that for granted. Say what you need to say, the say a little more. Say too much. Show too much. Love too much. Everything is temporary but love. Love outlives us all." (-author?)

The greatest gift we can give each other during hardships is the allowance to be...without question. We can find pockets of home across the globe. Dwelling in our hearts is the longing for a haven. It's what we fight to protect...our innocence, children, imaginations and freedom. Rooted in the beautiful is our TIME. Those of us who have the freedom to decide what we can make of our ordinary, what we can infuse into a moment, can gift ourselves and those around us with an amazing journey.
"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses, no one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours. It is an amazing journey and you alone are responsible for the quality of it..." - Bob Moawad

Just because someone else is having a tougher trial does not dismiss the daily struggle. Nor if someone seems to have more beauty, does it diminish the beauty of your life. We are responsible for our imagination and the choices we are capable of, but we are not responsible for some of what happens in life to us. The worst disservice we can do to ourselves and others is dim the light or ignore the darkness. We deserve to tell our stories and be in our stories. Life is dramatic. It's raw, its grinding but it also can sparkle. The greatest secrets lie in the most ordinary moments. When the sun seeps through a window and illuminates a corner as the dust flies and connects or when the stomach is satiated with nutrients or when our minds are filled with the whimsy of imagination, we find hope.

"As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."- Nelson Mandela. Let your light shine by allowing your ordinary to take on meaning. "The world IS full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."- W. B. Yeats. This does not cancel out tragedy instead it enhances compassion. Grow your senses. Discover.

 The bigger than life people I know have had a life full of tragedy, trials or constant battles. Some have not fit in and have had to find their own way. My favourite books and film characters have the most massive scars. They own a depth that has been earned through little discoveries along the way. There is a timeless beauty that can not wither and die even if they pass onward. Their beauty leaves an imprint that can not be taken.

"I swear to you, there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell."- Walt Whitman.

"Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement."- Albert Camus

Be Brave. Bravery is found in being yourself fully and completely. It is about accepting your complexities...the dark corners of your mind along with the illuminated.  Bravery is not comparing your journey to anyone else's. It is not about going on a grand adventure, though that could be part of your story, but it is owning that you are already in a grand adventure- YOUR story. This minute is yours. You have an imagination to capture the beauty and escape into worlds we were meant to enjoy. I promise you, in these worlds of the mind, of literature, of film, we find much that is real. Just because it is in your mind, does not mean it is not real.

What we think begins to become what we are, which in turn helps create our worlds. There ARE divine things in our world. There is beauty. There is hope. Still there is much that is fair.

I wish this for me, I wish this for my children, I wish this for you...

* (I have no idea about the images in this video but picked it because of the full song version.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A luscious Work of Art

(Picture of my grey- I'm going with it for now! Pic of my nephew and I that captures my usual dark circles despite a few layers of cover up:)

My friend Hillary often evokes the softer side of my words. I have two sides that are both true- the logical, frank side that I find easier to write with, and the imaginative, bohemian, wonderlusty (I know its not a word:) side that takes longer to craft sentences but delves into the deepest heart of me. Hillary brings out the second side with her words. She often asks in her love letters to her followers, "How will you make your life a luscious work of art today?"

Hillary inspires that deep seated romantic in me. I do not understand poetry but I do love her imagery when she writes. I LIVE that soulful bliss on most days which may seem a paradox for someone with chronic illness but I surround myself with lavish beauty and every day I find myself in a work of art. My writing though is often the opposite, with the vulnerable exception of a post maybe once or twice a year (see previous post.) I often save my blog words for hashing out something that is bothering me, or to bring awareness or practical comfort because it's a side of me that needs expression. But in the daily, it may surprise most of my readers to know that I live like Hillary writes.

Last night, on the new moon, Hillary sent some soul prompts. I wanted to answer two of them:

1.)What needs some attending? What seeds need to be pressed with love into the earth? Often the richest earth is black with lush nutrients and oxygen to nourish delicate roots.  What tiny plants need to be moved to deeper, richer soil? 

 Currently, I feel the push into my HYGGE (click for a post from Hillary on this concept) season. I live in hygge mode most of the year, but the dark Canadian winters press this concept deeper into my haven. I have found that once again, my children need attending. Tis the season to savour their beauty, hugs and time that is always running. This means less electronics, more music and plunking on the piano together, and more dance parties.

In a practical body way, the questions above show what I am lacking. I am lacking the richest nutrients in my blood. I am still lacking Ferritin at a level to thrive. My hemoglobin is now within normal range which is deceiving because it gives me the illusion that I am well. I no longer qualify as anemic unless the doctor sees my Ferritin...and then I am considered at risk for many conditions. I finally have fought my way to a 7 when hair loss does not even begin to turn around till a 70! It took me seven months to get from a 2 to a 7. I feel my lack of lush oxygen. My roots are withered. My leaves are finally reaching the sun but my roots are still small. I feel it deeply. It's a physical, literal answer to her question but it's one that still needs tending for me to feel whole. 

2.) What kind of difference would it make for you to surrender to the cycles instead of spinning your wheels resisting them? What does surrender look like to you? How does it feel in your body? 

This year illness has taught it's FORCED me, which then taught me, to honour my cycles. I had no choice. For a few months I could do nothing but lie in bed wondering what life will look like in a few months. I often could not even find energy for the computer. My words were taken from the lack of oxygen going to my brain and I felt a loss for the intelligence I once had. I had to mourn my concept of self. I went through a existential crisis (click) which is normal for me once a year, but this one was additional and shook to the core. I still have not found all my words. Every day I murmur or stutter over what I want to say and my kids fill in the blanks. I ask them to fold the clothes in the refrigerator and eat their shoes. I say a lot of nonsense and it's frustrating because inside I KNOW what I meant to say but it came out completely wrong all the time and not just when I have suffered a bad night. 

I resisted this at first. I hated sounding like a airhead or someone who doesn't know. This wounded me because inside I KNOW. I research, I am full of information and my mind swirls with intelligent thought and creative bliss...but I can not express that often. Words are painfully not what I often want to say. My husband and children get a kick out of it and they know me enough to often get what I am saying. I feel relief in that fact. But I have had to learn to surrender to my slurs and the times when the words are not there and the thoughts flee. The times people doubt me because I can not back up what I just said because I suddenly can not remember where I am or who I am with. It's terrifying. I thought I had the start of dementia...but my doctor assures me it can happen with chronic illness and lack of blood to the brain...and once my Ferritin reaches 70 it will all turn around...but I'm at a 7. Reading  Audrey-B's experience I found validation but I realized that this could be a two year journey at least. By then my words could be forever changed and my hair considerably thinner than it already is.

I thought I surrendered this summer when I hashed it out on my blog and started to be able to walk around and do basic chores. I thought I surrendered when I was laying in bed or lying in the sun thinking about how many would die to have the opportunity to lounge around for months on end. But the fact is- I was simply living. I loved many aspects of my life...I am not one to waste any time or not savour what I have- BUT my body could not be forced into much else so technically I wasn't surrendering- I was enduring.

I have a tough time remembering people's names or who I am friends with due to executive functioning issues. I could never remember in conversations with people the facts I was speaking about and what I KNOW to be true. I am better on paper due to Asperger's Syndrome. I have an easier time conveying through print. I have always remembered my next thought or concepts to convey facing a blank page. When that is almost completely taken away, I feel like I don't have a strong voice anywhere. I have had to find ways of existing that do not require a voice. This means soaking up the physical yet the physical for me is already struggling to be.

Surrender can be a tough concept. I have already surrendered so much in my lifetime. I have surrendered my reputation, my concept of self, my mindsets, my beliefs...I have come to existential questions and revamped my life consistently. I know how hard surrender is but I also know how beautiful it is. 

 I would be lying to say it's easy to surrender my hair falling out in clumps and not be horrified. I am feeling the deep loss of grief at something that others would perceive trivial. It means another surrender of my concept of self...It means surrendering the youth concept...which I thought I had already surrendered because of chronic illness but I realized I had simply given up the concept of vitality and energy in youth. I had not given up concepts of beauty in youth. I had previously learned through weight and loosing weight that my beauty concepts were relative and illusive, but hair loss took another layer of concepts and twisted them.

I feel I have surrendered all only to surrender once again. Perhaps this is why my life is so rich even though it seems so small? It's a humbling process but also a strengthening one. When one's complete concepts of life are continually turning, one has to go to the very core, the centre of life, to realize value. I have seen my value despite all. It is why I fight so hard for the value and worth of others...why I despise the concepts of achievement and ableism. I have had it taken away and I know that there is so much beauty without. The tears of the phoenix heal.

Surrender in my body means accepting the thin strands of hair and being thankful for them. It means accepting that I feel sick 90% of my life and that I still have to live through that and find beauty and meaning. It means consistently letting go yet still holding on enough to BE.  It's looking at the rashes and boils that come up for reasons we still can't figure out and instead of cursing my fate once again or changing yet another aspect of eating, it means telling myself, "You have done this before and it goes away. Until we know you have to do the best with what you know. You can not KNOW every aspect of life or health. You are still YOU. Still beautiful in your own way and you are still HERE." Surrender during an 'attack' means tethering my soul to sanity (CLICK) It means living right NOW. In this moment I am clicking on my keyboard as my gut churns with pain from eating some mistaken gluten. I feel my feet under my blankets cold despite the warmth. I hear my children giggling upstairs and realize that part of the reason I still write though my words are not my best, are because of them. I want them to just BE. I want them to see their value in whatever or whoever they are AT THIS MOMENT. Because at this moment will become another moment and another. I don't want them consistently torn by what they could or may be or what they were. I want them to BE. I have to struggle to remind myself that I AM too.

This writing is not a waste of time because it enables me to process. It's another form of surrender. It also distracts me a bit from pain but I do what is necessary to thrive in my body's own definition of thriving. It may not seem like it, but to those who can see beyond...I am a luscious work of art. Not despite these things, though that may be a legitimate factor, but also BECAUSE of who I am in them. I may not look luscious. I may look like a beaten up victim with a glamour spell but I am rich inside. One of my real middle names is Allura. It means divine counsellor and to entice and attract. I am capable of this. I am also capable of enticing and attracting pain but the flip side is beauty.

My dark circles are shadows of triumph. My scared body is a testament of endurance. My hair loss is a reminder of cultural concepts. I am a walking reminder to LIVE NOW.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Women like Me...We "Drown Oceans."

*This is a post for me on my birthday week. A post I would have written on my private blog to get out thoughts. It has secret references and points most will not understand unless they have a soul like mine. This is written solely for me and the few readers who it resonates with. I dedicate this to the original blog girls and to Nyssa, Glynis, Sangha, Rachel, Kirstin, Hillary Rain, Amy, Keren, Sara and Shelley O. *

My husband often calls me a witch in the most flattering tone. He says it with reverence and slight believing, to the point I almost think that I am. I know he is sensing the muchness in me. He is seeing what most do not or would see as negative. "Women like you drown oceans." Instead of insulting this pleases the type 4w5 (enneagram personality) heart. I know how to contain my oceans to cause the least harm.

 I keep dreams coiled beneath my bones and passion flows through my blood like a river. He starves my fears and I feed his freedom. My mantra is to have the grace to accept all walks of life but this does not mean to accept abuse. This grace to accept is also for myself. I need to accept the beauty and grace given to me in order to accept it in others. 

My husband says I scare him a little in the best possible way. He says I remind him of  LIFE. He does not take me for granted for the soul fire I am. Nor do I take his calming tonic for granted. He sees the fire in my eyes and instead of running or challenging he wants to play with it.

 I accept my capability for darkness. I know my type of darkness and know what I can do. I do not feel my type of darkness is a threat but I do believe we all have capabilities inside our souls. I accept mine. This means that I am not a Snow. I am more of a Season 3 Regina. A reference only Once Upon a Timers will get. My husband often says, "She is you..." (after season two of course and her balancing of light love.) I'm a force to be reckoned with and I will get past my feelings to do what is necessary.

Sensing the shadows and becoming part dark and light I feel rejected by most of culture that embraces the lies and is believed by the masses. Yet, also I see beauty in them. I simply do not want to partake of it. I am a commotion, an ocean, waves upon waves of lavish water that can drown or quench. I often burn to brightly for this world. It can cause pain.

I know I am great and I feel that is resented. But the women and men who don't resent this are my fellow fires or my calming tonics. They are strong and true. I have had many try and break me. For a moment I shattered but this was simply because I am already beautifully broken. I break myself more than most and NO ONE can dish out the challenges I give myself. I need no one who tries to do this to me because I can be my own worst enemy. But I am also my greatest advocate after a long journey of being less than I should be.

I wrestle daily with disability. My paradoxes. Dealing with disability ever balances and softens the side that believes so much in my muchness. I know I am worthy and have fought years to believe in that. I have everything going for me and yet nothing at all...and in this I am free. For some reason this tempts people to interrupt my greatness. Don't.

"She is the phoenix who has risen from the ashes to which she has been reduced, this time wiser, stronger, and more powerful in her own right. She is the fire. Looking for someone to warm…to enlighten…but never to burn…she is a bird in flight, that one can only see if they believe in her…she cries tears that can heal wounded hearts, souls, and bodies in her rising she is cautious and aware of her own vulnerability yet still just as inquisitive and observant as she ever was ...she is a little dark and very mysterious. But will not omit truth and overlooks nothing. Contrary to the shallow minds of the world she is alive. She does exist. She is the phoenix and she has risen again…" K.W. G.

 Because I will stand my ground once I return to ash.  I deal with pain like a Phoenix. I will crumble and be destroyed at first, but then I will rise more beautiful and stronger than before.
 I know I am ash. I also know I am beauty.

 I live life on my own terms due to great privilege and freedom...yet it is also due to great heartache and choices. I am aware and ever grateful of this dichotomy. It's a humble sort of rising from my terrible depths to the beauty of my surfaces.

*Quote above by Warsan Shire*

 I'm something not everyone knows how to love. That used to stick to my bones. I have had moments where I thought it would be easier to disguise the brilliance in me...the brilliance each one of us owns but feels we should hide. I realized I can not make homes out of human beings...only a home for myself.  I have tried being "normal." I have dealt in depth with different religions, stances and perceptions of life that were not mine to be...and I found chains.
 I do not believe I am above anyone but I believe I am individualistic and free. Freedom has a bit of grey. My own beauty does not diminish any other, but it IS my own to celebrate.
 Caging me is the most disruptive action anyone can take against me. I will break the cage and possibly the person trying to cage me. When the metal strikes they may find themselves on the ground crumpled under the iron forced by their own hands. It's not a threat- simply what happens. For the most part, I am safe.
 I am worth it and I'm not afraid to be on my own. We each have a choice to stand up, grow up, show up or get up and leave. I allow people to leave. It's the ultimate belief in freedom. But I also ask of those I love to show up, grow up (but not out of childlike wonder- just grow up in boundaries and grace) or stand up. I ask of myself this the most.

 Some people need to be told what to do. In order to be free they need to follow a leader. I am not that person. I drown oceans. I contain multitudes. I find myself in places not many have been before. I find myself in thought patterns and abstracts that most in their lifetimes do not entertain. For me these can change in a matter of minutes. I'm a glorious mess.
Within all this, I know I am perfectly imperfect. I am ok with my flaws and believe most of them enhance who I am. This soul flies. This soul drowns. This soul IS. In disasters we find the rawest forms of simple beauty. We catch the fragile pieces and find hope spark.

My darkness sparkles. My love crackles. I wander off the edges of the world.

*My husband dedicated this song to me:)

My daughter suggested this song after I read this post out lovely little firecracker...For me this song is the opposite...I am a pearl but I used to be a shell of myself...allowing others to snuff out my light or make me believe my darkness is wrong. Then I woke up and grew strong: