Warning: I talk about triggers and their affects.
NB This is not about my hubby, Rob, who is neither the original ‘hurter’ nor the trigger. The man who was the trigger for me yesterday is unaware of being a trigger for me in this respect but his emotional reaction in a discussion was explosive and extreme and although I wasn’t fully aware of it in that moment, it was a trigger for me.
Rewording broken. I will NOT have it that he (from a previous abusive relationship) has broken me or that I need to be fixed. I understand that he has hurt me on a very visceral level that I hadn’t perhaps fully experienced before. And that it brought me to tears to this morning. I hate that he has affected me like that. I hate that my response is to cry even though I feel anger (at him) but I appreciate that I need to cry so if nothing else it brings about a desire to comfort myself, to tend to the hurting parts. To acknowledge them. To acknowledge that this has happened. It has leaked into today. It will not contaminate my day. It makes me aware that I carry this inside me, not his anger, not his swordlike ways that have cut me, but a tenderness that I was unable to attend to at the time. What I experienced today was grief. What I did was acknowledge and name the source both yesterday with the trigger and all those 20 odd years ago. What I did was comfort myself. Perhaps I tucked my heart into my sleeve instead of onto it today. But that is as temporary or permanent as I choose it to be. That is my choice.
My choice too to see myself coping as best as I could all those years ago. Yesterday. And today. To say to myself, to all those parts of me which are ultimately me, ‘Hey I see you there.’ And, when ready, moving forward with love, recognising that I have all this inside me, recognising that it is okay, not that this happened, any of it, but it is okay to have these tears. They are neither shameful nor embarrassing. They are necessary and lead to self-compassion.
I felt shell-shocked after the trigger yesterday but went straight into a previously scheduled video call with one of my dearest friends, Bethe. A call which I knew could be honest but comforting as the inside of a bird’s feathered nest. I didn’t bring that conversation up. And I slept well although the explosive image lingered.
I remember one dream from last night: I was mowing a communal lawn with another woman and my lawnmower wheels got entangled with her lawnmower wheels. Rob was with me and this other woman had another woman with her and we were discussing the communal housing, at least Rob and the two women were. Only I noticed that our lawnmower wheels had tangled. I whispered to Rob and told him. I could neither move the lawnmower nor tell the woman myself. I had lost my voice and my ability to make positive changes for myself.
When I woke up, the trigger rehearsed itself in my mind, no matter how much I argued back with it, with my beliefs, then the tears came and I understood so much better. Nothing else was needed in that moment but to cry and let the tears fall and then to care for myself.
Words are my power. I wrote the following poem several years after ending the abusive relationship and won a prize for it.
At the Street Fair, Selling Books
At the street fair, you hurry to my stall.
I know I should know you,
can’t place you at first.
Unshaven, greying, hands puffy with edema.
Last year, a burst appendix;
last month, heart issues,
you tell me.
Spittle foams, dries white as you speak.
But you buy my book,
ask can I sign it.
Years ago, I signed another book for you.
With a shaky hand, I wrote:
‘Thanks for your support.’
I abhor the lie.
Remember you in a rage.
As I typed, you swiped
the keyboard onto the floor,
broke the table.
on my knee,
I still wrote frantically.
Until I wrote you, your bloodless lips,
the shirts you ripped,
out of my room, my home,
Now, in August warmth,
a steady hand, a calm heart,
I sign this book: ‘All the best!’
—and mean it.
But today my order from LUSH has arrived…so much karma. Karma is my favourite scent. Boundless self-care done with gift cards given with love no less.
From drama and trauma to karma. I’ll take that.
1. Across the mauve mums
a thickly-spun spider web
hammock of sunshine #265
Day 22 of Effy’s blogalong
Thank you for reading. Above all be compassionate with yourself.
Sometime mid-summer I bought a reading from Canadian medium Carmel Joy Baird in which she was to instruct me what to plant around my house as directed by my ancestors and spirit guides. I couldn’t resist. It sounded so intriguing. Roses by the front door as a reminder of beauty (I think). Thyme for wisdom somewhere on my property. Acorns on windowsills for abundance and prosperity. Sunflowers by the back door for pride. Ouch. Pride? Something in that hit hard. Mistaking arrogance for pride, I rarely fostered pride in anything. Certainly not my home. Not long after, a friend texted me a link from Honey Nut Cheerios for a free packet of sunflower seeds for the bees. So I got those and, combined with a packet I already had, I planted sunflower seeds in my back deck pots. Too late I thought. And far too shady back there for anything as sun loving as a sunflower.
But they grew. Spindly and twisting and turning every which way. I loved them all the more for that. I watched their buds fatten. Shivered on chilly mornings as I checked on them. Would they have chance to bloom before the cold killed them?
I wrote a haiku last week about how I was concentrating on the big buds right by the back door and had missed smaller ones further away begin to bloom. Lesson learned. Again, about concentrating on one thing (often negative) so long that the positive a step away is almost missed! Every day since I have delighted in those small lemon flowers. Then yesterday, I noticed one of the bigger buds had started to open. Petals unfurling, tentative but determined. Last night we had torrential rain and I worried that the cautious sunflower would be beaten down, drowned in a puddle on the back deck.
But no. It had bloomed fully overnight. I feel so proud.
south wind coaxes sunshine
Day 21 of Effy’s blogalong
NB I wanted to post a beautiful video I found of "Here Comes The Sun" by the Beatles but when this post is published, it doesn't show up but you can follow the direct link to YouTube for it. The song itself is lovely and heartwarming and uplifting but this accompanying video is also really beautiful. It's 3 minutes and 11 seconds long. Watch it if you can.
Perfect timing yesterday morning: I caught this gorgeous reflection of the old red glass dish on our kitchen counter. Stunning. I love those moments when everything lines up and something ordinary becomes extraordinary enough for me to notice. And I love that I do notice this tiny step above the mundane, this gift. The little dish itself (it is small, maybe four inches at its base) is special. I rescued it from Dad’s when he was clearing everything out in a frenzy when Sandy came into his life. It was one of the few things that we brought over from England. I remember salted peanuts in it at Christmas. Now I usually use it for my salsa.
Yesterday and today were balmy days, like summer and beautifully sunny. Tonight it’s pouring down and we had a short but exciting thunder storm. Rob and I voted (voting day in Canada) then went to Swiss Chalet for dinner where I had the biggest baked potato in the world. Yum. The potato, coupled with the deliciously drippy rain, made me super sleepy so I'm off to bed soon to snuggle down with a good cuppa and an absorbing book and to fall asleep at night (what a treat--I work midnights!) to the comforting sound of rain dripping through the trees. Yaawwwnnnn…
Sunday morning sun
shines through red dish from childhood
kitchen stained glass
Day 20 of Effy’s blogalong
The irony and unexpected joy of today is that I wrote my haiku earlyish this morning based on yesterday’s painting productivity and I had closed all the windows in the house but today turned out so warm and beautiful that I re-opened them all again. Today felt much more like summer (a lovely summer’s day not too hot and not at all muggy) than fall. That’s okay. Much as I love fall, I’ll take this too.
Painting is from A Year of Mary [Oliver] with Effy Wild through her patreon account. I finished her yesterday but she is April’s painting. We create a painting a month throughout 2021 based on a Mary Oliver poem. I love the course so much that I’m savouring it by doing a painting every couple of months! Not on purpose but I did realise that was happening. I love Effy’s style and way of presenting and interpreting the poems and I love being immersed in the world of Mary Oliver. Who wouldn’t? If you’re not familiar with Mary Oliver’s work, I envy you the joy of discovering it.
This is the prose poem in its entirety:
“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.” ~Mary Oliver
May your day be filled with unexpected joy. I can’t think of a better kind.
nature’s palette outside
Day 19 of Effy’s blogalong
Yesterday evening held a memory. When I was a young girl, maybe 8 or so, I would have tears in my eyes on a Sunday evening as Dad drove us home, often over the Yorkshire Moors, with the sun sitting low. Squished in the back seat with Nanna, Mam’s Mam who lived with us, and with Mam in the passenger seat, I listened to the car radio spouting hymns or old fashioned songs that Nanna knew. We’d had a happy day out, often at a little Yorkshire village, often having ice cream or tea somewhere but even though it had been a good day, now it felt sad, not totally sad, bittersweet, I suppose. Sad that a good day, a special day, was ending but also happy, glad that it had happened. It all felt mixed up for a little girl. But I never forgot that feeling, glimpsing the low orange sun, a good day ending.
Last night, a bright sunny fall evening, Rob and I drove out to a country market after he finished work. He picked up MacDonald french fries for me and grocery-store cooked chicken pieces for himself and we munched as we drove. The whimsical market is outside under awnings and has maybe a dozen stalls. It spoke completely to my soul. While we were there, a young woman emerged from the woods behind with a wicker basket in her hands full of grasses and greenery. I pondered a new mug from the pottery stall (Up At Dawn Pottery) but we have tons. Still I wanted something. Then I noticed the bowls. We bought two of these beautiful blue bowls. And I knew they’d hold more than cereal and chips.
Drive to country fair
buy bowls to hold memories
evening sun sits low
Day 18 of Effy’s blogalong
I love fall! Today especially has been one of those high cloud, blustery sunny days that defy you not to step outside and enjoy it. This time of year infuses me with energy—perhaps it’s just a relief after the slug of humid hot summer weather. Late last night, around midnight, we had an exciting thunder storm. Such changeable weather. Cool mornings and chilly evenings with the darkness drawing in. And so the leaves are changing and falling. I saw this gorgeous maple leaf yesterday and snapped the picture before the storm. Enjoy!
Red and yellow leaves
scattered on the welcome mat
school bus trundles by
What is your favourite season? Why? I can't really explain my increase in energy and surge of excitement in the fall except that it is a very physical experience which increases my enjoyment of such a beautiful season.
Day 17 of Effy’s blogalong
For decades now, ever since reading Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach, I’ve written a gratitude journal most nights. Over the years it’s evolved to the practice it is now and I thought I’d share it with you in this blog.
This particular journal was a gift from my step-daughter Crystal and granddaughter Maddie. So the physical journal becomes like a gratitude reminder all by itself. Similarly with the bookmark that I use in all my gratitude journals…a present from my lovely friend Maggie. We have known each other since we were five or six and call each other Souley. Both these things, indeed the practice itself, are a comfort to me and a delightful way to slip into slumber. I work midnights so on those days I still write the journal before bed for the day before including the immediate shift I’ve worked.
The first 5 entries are somewhat general things I’m grateful for during the course of the day. FTD stands for ‘From This Day’ and is 3 things/events from this day that made it unique. I can’t remember where I got this practice from but I like it because it takes me a step deeper than the 1st 5 things so I’m giving everything more thought and truly acknowledging this particular day. This doesn’t always include positive things but usually does. Then the starred final entry is like a big win of the day.
These are the last two day’s entries:
Tues. 14th Sept.
1. Freezer being fixable and not costing too too much.
2. Rain, sun, rain
4. Melts & air fresheners
FTD: 1. Lots of cleaning while waiting for Mr. Appliance—dishes and cat poop. 2. Jonathan’s Midday Mindful Moment live. 3. Setting up my tea for tomorrow morning—a little self-care I used to do.
* Freezer—again one day soon.*
Wed. 15th Sept.
2. NOWW readings
FTD: 1. Lovely long chat with Dane this aftie and catching up. 2. Sitting outside doing puzzles in the afternoon sun. Then mowing the lawn. 3. Arranging dinner out with Rob tomorrow night—I think as compensation for not getting time off work.
* Dane *
I’m feeling some sadness in cancelling my gym membership and need to remind myself of all the good I still have. I cancelled due to work and being only able to go to one class a week and only going for the tai chi class and feeling guilty for not keeping up with tai chi practice more on my own through the pandemic which I realise is a strange reason to cancel! I don’t know that I’ve ever had buyer’s remorse but I imagine this feeling is similar only in reverse…canceller’s remorse? Missing the camaraderie of the class and the feeling of belonging as well as health benefits. I've been taking tai chi for about 15 years and am feeling nostalgic about it, too, I think. Ah well…
night after night after night
portal into sleep
Day 16 of Effy’s blogalong
I love it when nature teaches me lessons. I planted sunflower seeds by the back door quite late in the summer and have been anxiously watching the biggest buds fatten, those immediately by the door. They are supposed to instigate and represent pride and something in that resonated with me.
The other day I noticed a fleck of yellow at the bottom of the steps in the dragon pot and investigated. The tiniest sunflowers, smaller than black-eyed susans, were opening! I’d almost missed them! Now I say hello to them every day and enjoy them…while I’m waiting for the big buds to burst open.
Another nature incident/accident/lesson occurred earlier this year. On a walk I’d noticed a silver birch missing a slice of its bark. I studied it and ran my fingers over its nubbly surface and finally took a photo of it. Only when I got home and looked at the photo did I see what I had missed in person.
Silver birch trunk
concentrating on the scar
I miss the carved heart
A reminder to not focus so much on the bad that I miss the good. I’m often concentrating so much on the negative or the darker scenario or even the ‘not-yet-happened’ that I miss what is directly in front of me.
Ah the teachings of sunflowers and birch trees.
Fat buds by back door
promise of large sunflowers
almost miss small blooms
Day 15 of Effy’s blogalong
Summer has definitely parted way for autumn without so much as a backward glance. But there is the greenhouse at my dad and step-mom’s house. Step in there and I swear you’ll be transported back to heady summer heat and nodding peonies. I stole so many photos from their garden—little capsules of summer. It’s the first full summer they’ve lived at this house and they bought it from a master gardener. Sandy herself is wonderful with flowers, plants and veggies so the gardens have been bountiful and beautiful despite the extra dry conditions this year.
Last night was a little disappointing. My friend Lyn from BC is travelling across country, as hurriedly as herself and her friend can drive with a not so healthy dog, Nova. We had hoped to connect as they drove through Thunder Bay but they arrived too late and were exhausted from an extra long day of travelling so it didn’t work out. Lyn and I haven’t seen each other for years. I don’t know the full story of Nova except that her family is in Nova Scotia and Lyn is trying to reunite the dog with her family. But Nova needs lots of medications and she has oxygen and syringes at the ready if needed. The journey has been carefully orchestrated with vets. To me it’s an epic hero’s adventure! Like many others I’m following their journey on facebook.
Facebook is funny. I won a couple of books from a publishing company through a random draw last week. They arrived yesterday. I posted on instagram and facebook to thank the publishing company with a photo of the books but I obviously didn’t explain it well enough as many friends started commenting and congratulating on my poetry success! It’s funny but lovely at the same time as they believe that I could have a published poetry book or that I’ve won a poetry contest.
Today was stressful for me as the repair person was coming to look at our freezer finally. But that meant someone would be in our house, in the basement even! So I spent the morning clearing and cleaning and spraying air freshener everywhere. The guy who came, Andrew, was young and chatty and ever so nice. We have to wait 3 to 10 business days for the parts to come in but the cost is much cheaper than we anticipated so I’m happy with that. When he’d finished (hardly here long enough to take several lungfulls of air!) he listened to the messages on his phone in his van before driving away. His phone was exceptionally loud. He had mentioned that he had a daughter and I heard a female voice on his message, lots of use of the word love then as he’s pulling away she says, “Oh yes, one more thing…love yoooooouuuuuu…” So sweet.
I woke up to rain this morning and it’s raining again now (about 10pm). I love sleeping when it’s raining and despite sometimes waking up at odd times and still not sleeping lots and lots, my body is totally loving being on holiday and not having to be awake and working overnight.
Thank you as always for reading and commenting if you choose. Wishing you a peaceful night or day whenever you’ve found your way here.
Straw gardening hat
on a bench in the greenhouse
bleached by summer sun
Day 14 Effy’s blogalong
Up in the still-dark morning. Are those song lyrics? I thought they were poetically mine but they arrived with a tune so maybe not. I woke up in a panic. Worry sits heavy on my chest. But right now it’s pre-dawn dark and I have my words and thoughts as swords or feathers. In bed, trying to stop catastrophic thoughts, lists of things that need my immediate attention, I ground myself by naming 5 things I can feel:
1. cool of the headboard with my arm and hand flung against it
2. Spook’s whiskers tickling my arm as she settles in beside me
Oh! A thought. Undergrowth reddens. I count out the syllables on my fingers. Five. Yes. I like that. It’ll do for the first line of my haiku. I had picked the picture already, one I’d taken a few days ago. I recite it to myself so I don’t forget it, my phone too bright for this early so putting it in there isn’t an option at the moment.
3. warmth of the cotton sheets
4. brushed cotton nightie soft against my hand
What about a second line? I want something autumnal. Hhmmm…
5. chilly breeze from the slightly open window
That’s it. Something about the chill in the air. I get up to write my haiku and post it on instagram with a somewhat related photo.
I feel like I had gotten lackadaisical with my daily haiku and want to bring in more specific details and make a more pointed connection. Of course not every day will be brilliant. At the very least they form stepping stones through my days. At their best, I hope they are touching in some way, lingering and thought-provoking. Some days it’s all I can do to string a bunch of words together and shove them, protesting, into three lines if not syllables.
But despite the early start, despite the worry and feeling of overwhelm and not being able to cope that squats in the dark, I finish my haiku, write it in my Moonlology diary, take a photo of it and post it online. I really like this one. I went to a friend’s retirement party yesterday and while it doesn’t sum up the mood of her party, it works with the mood of the haiku. I almost wish I hadn’t posted this one as it counts as publishing and I might have wanted to keep it to enter into a contest. But there it is. Out there now.
I read my tarot for the day. Not so bad. Two of cups is lovely. Nine of swords—oh yes! Was just in the middle of that! I read a blog or two and comment, loving the connection. Next I read my email. Then I feel ready to face the day. (This is also my routine after midnights before I go to bed during the day)
The day after the freezer quit on us and we had to find a repair service, Rob came upstairs while I was writing my haiku. He waved the phone at me. “So you’re just going to go through all your regular routines, aren’t you?” he said, obviously annoyed because I wasn’t immediately on the phone trying to find someone. I nodded. Yep. Tried not to feel guilty.
“These are my tent pegs,” I said as he went back downstairs. He didn’t hear and I’m not sure he would have understood. At least not in that moment. I know my inaction, as he saw it, exasperated him. But these routines first thing, especially the haiku, help hold down what are sometimes the errant flaps of my day. Today, especially, I needed them. I feel stronger, more in control with them behind me. Grounded I suppose.
Even if I do nothing else today, I wrote a haiku. (and now a blog as well! Lol!)
chill sweeps in on morning air
Day 13 of Effy’s blogalong
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.