Day 8 Magic from the Gold Dust Tour with Renee Magnusson
The magic in my life is noticing little things like going away for a few days in the States with a couple of friends on Mothers Day this year (days before the biopsy that spun my life into a hurricane of fear and disbelief) and turning my wordaday calendar to the date and the word is 'debonair'. My friend's name who was picking me up to go to the States is Deb. For years her email address was debonair. I laughed and laughed and took a photo cos who believes this anyway? But we all loved it.
On my midnight shift two weeks before my surgery, our 24 hour work clock stopped at 10:45 or so. No right batteries, it still sat there upside down on the desk when I got in for my final 3 shifts before being off work for 6 weeks. I had noticed that night before coming into work that my chiming clock on the wall at home had stopped at 5 to 11. I made a mental note to change it asap...a pain with a chiming clock as you have to go through all the chimes for all the hours so I left it until I could do it at 11.
At work someone I was training suggested I tape the battery tightly in to reconnect the points for the work clock. I did and the clock started so I set it to 9 the time my shift started and I kept on going. But when I returned to the office the clock had stopped again at just past 10:45 even though it is perfectly capable of going past that time.
So I told people that I thought that meant my surgery would be around that time. Then at my pre-admitting appointment I was told it would be at 10am. Oh. So maybe it'll be over by 11 I told people.
My surgery was delayed until about 10:55. I texted my son at 10:50...he had sent me a "I can't wait for you to read this after your surgery..." text and I replied, "I haven’t gone in yet. Her first case went over time. The anaesthetist was just here. I'm going to surgery in a few mins. Remember the clocks..." "It's 10:50!!! Mom, that is so funny!" he texted back.
This magic, this noticing, reassures me and perhaps others, that there's something somewhere that holds us. A universal witnessing and handholding, even a joke like with ‘debonair’. I'm sure I miss much and perhaps I find meaning in nothing sometimes but for me this is the gold glimmering in the mundane.
Gold Dust Tour with Renee Magnusson #golddusttour
Day 4 Surrender
This prompt really spoke to me.
to the state of my body
to needing surgery
to the dizzying speed of it
to the seeming loss of control in one way yet the freedom in another...easier to let go of other people's expectations...not true. Easier for me to let go of my expectations of attending to/worrying so much about the needs or feelings of others.
On Monday I felt emotionally exhausted. On Tuesday I felt out of sorts until tai chi that evening. I had expected so much of myself this week...windows washed, bedroom (well all rooms) tidied and cleaned even though some hold clutter from many years before, the fallen back yard tree to be all cut up, all garden to be tamed and all flowers planted, car washed, arting up to date, sorting out a new memory card in my phone, trying to figure out Spotify in my car...oh just on and on. I wanted everything to be perfect for before and after surgery. So I could start everything fresh. I did manage to give a friend some bleeding hearts then I found I had an hour spare before tai chi. So much to do! I collapsed in a chair, feet up, and gazed out of my dirty windows at the birds and squirrels flitting through the unruly trees. And I surrendered to it all, threw it all on the ground. And left most of it there. Who cares? With my arms emptier, my heart felt fuller and my mind lighter. I had wondered how cancer might change me, some great revelation. Maybe it wouldn’t. It took an hour of doing nothing but surrendering to show me that that was one of its gifts. All of these pressures I put on myself but don't need to. My life is a continuum. All this stuff will still be there. I have 6 weeks off work. I can tend to it then, pick it up as I go along…or not.
Below is my picture and haiku for tomorrow. It will be day 167 of #365daysofsybwriting23 through my instagram account. I'll be posting it when I wake up tomorrow morning (Friday 16th June). I'll be storing my rings in the little box you see there--a gift to my mam from Fran in Tasmania who is now one of my dearest friends even though we've never met. Ain't life strange?
rings I always wear
removed for surgery--
Last day of March and a quick blog to celebrate or note at least. Despite a mixed weather palette, I don’t mind March the way many others who live here in northwestern Ontario may. It is what it is. For me April can be more fickle…feels so much like spring but then a major snowstorm and all we can say is ‘well it won’t stay long.’ And spring itself takes so long to appear here and is often mucky and messy in its doing so. A true birth perhaps!
Day 10 Just Be Feel Good Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
For the last day, my go-to feel good practice. Two haiku. Small moments of just being and noticing from yesterday and this morning.
drive home from night shift
orange band of sunrise
promise of fresh starts
little paw prints
don’t venture far
Day 9 Inspiration Feel Good Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
Fluffed-up sparrows and chickadees at the feeders. How can they survive such cold? Minus 18 this morning with a windchill (and there is a wind today) of minus 30.
Squirrel nests high up in tree branches that sway with the wind but never dislodge.
My car that works despite not being plugged in and gets me to tai chi practice on time.
Music. Always music and the playlists (oh so many!) that I create for all my moods.
Tai chi and qi gong and feeling the energy.
My friend Louise who skies daily and did today even though she reported it as a ‘4 hat day’. And my neighbour who walks everywhere and refused a lift this morning declaring that he wasn’t cold and that it’s even colder up north.
Friends who are so organised they send gifts early so I came home to a soft package stuffed in my mailbox.
House plants that grow healthy and all the ones that bloom.
Stumbling across videos of my favourite artists creating.
Some of my photos from the conservatory visit the other day.
My phone and all its abilities and how it connects me immediately and equally to Fran in Tasmania and Jo-Anne across town.
These prompts which take me places I hadn’t anticipated and which help me sink deeper into each day.
yellow trumpet flower
tall enough to stand beneath
Day 8 Lineage Feel Good Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
I immediately thought of hanging washing outside to dry. My clothesline broke years ago and I mean to fix it every summer but of all the things I do, this is what links me most directly to Mam and Nanna but even beyond that. It feels like such a healthy primal act. Tremendously grounding.
Also adding barley to homemade soups and dishes and each time hearing Mam say how it's chock full of B vitamins and how it keeps you calm and is good for you, especially for your nerves.
And 'threepenny-bit potatoes'...a corned beef casserole...which I haven't made for years but which was my favourite meal growing up. So-called by me as a little girl cos the potatoes ended up being peeled in a way that looked like threepenny pieces. These (the coins) haven’t existed for decades and I don't even know if I'm spelling it right. To my ears and accent it's pronounced threpenny. But I knew what I meant and so did Mam and that casserole (with or without the corned beef from a peel-open can!) is delicious and absolute comfort to me.
fresh earth, flowers, waterfall
Day 7 Enchantment Feel Good Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
Strange but the gravitational pull of garbage with fresh snow on a winter night put out for collection the next day from neighbours I hardly see up and down the street. Could be standing behind them in a grocery line and never know and how that's sad really but how everyone comes together on garbage day as if by some invisible force for some communal good and the spark it gives that these strangers might just be here for each other if needed.
Friend posted a video on f/b of a pancake run her village has had since 1445. While the run is sexist (only open to females) they run holding a cast iron frying pan with a cooked pancake in it. I found it charming to watch and to listen to the accents of people in the crowd as they check with each other 'Can you see?' 'Are you good?'
My friend’s service dog, an exuberant golden retriever with snuffly energy and a brow furrowed with concentration. The weight of his head heavy in my hand today when he was resting. Absolute enchantment and magic and sensory delight this afternoon for a couple of hours in the local conservatory with my friend, sitting on a bench in the warmth with the sounds of a waterfall and the indescribable smell of greenery and fresh earth when outside is still covered with deep snow.
Our tai chi instructor telling us that Home Depot (his day job) is the only one in Northwestern Ontario that welcomes dogs into its space, not only service dogs but pet dogs. I never knew that until today but find it enchanting.
mauve rosebud petals
edges shrivel and crinkle
loved ones gone too soon
Day 6 Wonder Feel Good Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
‘Believe’ is painted on a rock by my front door—a reminder, a lift me up, a why not in the face of a gravel-crushed day.
Today I noticed the magic of sparkling snow crystals being tossed upwards and I felt like I was in a snow globe. And I heard a snippet on the radio about the cat's meow music piece. I can’t remember who the composer was but he loved cats and his cat often walked across his piano so one day he composed a piece of music (I think called ‘The Cat’s Meow’) based on the notes his cat walked on. This sort of thing delights me and fills me with wonder and I never doubt that I didn’t hear it for a reason which may or may not become obvious.
I nurture the belief of time as elastic and pliable and woke up this morning with the cobwebs from a dream that made me think that somewhere in a different time, my teen self was setting out alone on a Sunday afternoon walk through a peaceful tree-lined cemetery to dream. And that this was that day that I encountered another teen, someone I’d never met, walking his dog and we walked together and we kissed on top of a stone overpass. Even though nothing came of it cos I was scared of what my parents would do or say about such a random meeting, the day was fun and magical anyway no matter how it ended. In a strange way it can be a comfort to think that my younger self could be experiencing that right now.
Recently a close friend of mine had been feeling tremendous guilt over decisions with her mom, thinking she had wrongly influenced her. I knew her mom and reminded her how her mom told me she was ok after she'd died (sometimes spirits send something or some sign to me to say they're ok after death). After my friend’s mom died, she sent a small hawk that banged into my front window so for sure I'd notice it and at the same time I 'knew' it was her. The hawk had carrion of some sort and ate it perched in a tree. I watched, entranced. Then when it left it banged into the window again and flew away. I was stunned. My friend and I weren't in such constant touch at the time but I messaged her cos I thought it might comfort her to know that so I told her and she said yes that sounded like her mom. So a couple of weeks ago when my friend was hurting so much, wracked with guilt, I reminded her of her mom's ferocity. Most people send little pranks or dragonflies or blue jays or deer to say they’re doing ok but her mom sent a hawk with carrion that banged on the window twice so I'd notice. How could she think she could ever sway such a force? My friend laughed through her tears as she recognised the truth in never being able to influence such a strong personality. She sought further help to cope with her grief and burden. But all week long we both carried that image with us as if it was still happening in the next room, as if it hadn’t happened several years ago but had just happened now to break through her grief and guilt. What if that was true? Who knows for sure? Enough simply to believe.
simple meal—soup and sushi
talk, small as the bowls
Day 5 The Doing Feel Good Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
I notice things, little things. I write daily haiku. I love this feeling of accomplishment and of being aware as I go through my days. I love taking photos which may or may not inspire haiku and I love the opposite—sometimes having a haiku or emotion and searching for a thing which may reflect it.
I send ecards because I'm in love with the cards from a particular site and have gotten cards from them for years and I'll often seek out occasions to send them to people.
I boogie as I drive and sing at the top of my lungs to my cds. I love to dance and am considering Body Groove cos it looks like so much fun. When I was a girl, from a baby to maybe 11, I used to jump up and down with excitement, looking at catalogues and making up stories in my head, and watching tv shows (the neighbours across the street used to say that they could tell when something good was on tv cos they could see me jumping up and down. Lol). This later transferred into dancing by myself to my records turned up loud. Dancing to all my favourite records at night alone in the basement of my parents’ house when I first moved to Canada and knew no-one got me through some of the loneliest times in my life. But somewhere the dancing stopped although I will still move a little and every so often my hubby and I will pass each other in the kitchen but grab hold of each other instead and dance around the island together to a good song on the radio.
I have lunches with friends. On Friday, at a new restaurant with an old friend, we were given free tea and coffee and refills and custard tarts cos the owner was having a rough morning (2 flat tires) and was late getting to the place so he wasn't able to prepare his usual lunch fare. I collect stories of kindnesses like this to buffer sad world news and as a reminder to myself and others that kindness and humanity still exist.
I’m working through a yearlong free yourself from clutter course both through a book and online (same author but different courses). The steps are minute (just my size!) but changes are happening. More than anything the course is helping me just sit with and observe my feelings, seeing them as weather but seeing myself as the sky. I recognise that this helps me and reinforces my mantra of ‘little x little = lots + lots’.
after tai chi
toilet handle’s patina
Grey Cat asleep
tangle of legs and tail
sunbeam’s job is done
"I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories... water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom." ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Day 4 YOU Feel Good Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
When you think of yourself, what is about you that feels good?
What is good about me is my tenacity, my stick-with-it-ness and commitment. I wouldn’t have thought of this particularly but several people said I was tenacious re my daily haiku. And I decided I liked that and realised that I was tenacious in other ways too—keeping up with tai chi practice, keeping commitments with people and, in talking to Val last night, I realised I’m tenacious with paying myself first before anything and anyone else, at least 10% of every paycheque.
How I adapt when necessary to circumstances.
My colour sense, clothes-wise and decorating.
I have a great sense of the sadness, the melancholy, in life and I’m highly aware of nuances and signs. I love my psychic abilities, being aware of visits from departed souls and being able to sense spirits. Also, my ability to read tarot cards. And I love collecting different decks.
I hold stories for others remembering some of their best or interesting moments even if they forget. I catch on to things quickly and comprehend things involving people's feelings.
I love my long hair and knew from a very young age that it is a huge part of my physical identity. I love that my eyes are grey really.
I love gathering things be it playlists or cushions or clothes or incense or perfume or candles or tea that reflect my different moods.
I love that parts of my home really reflect my spirit—scarves, stars and bells hanging from door frames for instance and prisms and beads and glass ornaments from window frames. The sound of bells and the sway of material as I pass through portals in my home delights me.
I love that I create stories and that my imagination is so fertile and that I can touch people with my writing.
I love that I can listen with compassion.
always a warm welcome home
Day 3 Reclamation Feel Good Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
Some of the following reclamations were never fully mine but they contain the essence of what I want to reach for and nurture.
I want to reclaim love and kisses and hearts and hugs and kindness like there's no tomorrow with no expectation of return, whether or not it makes me vulnerable. I’m drawn to hearts and writing love at the end of letters, even emails, to friends and putting kisses and I want to reclaim writing all that and showering facebook with hearts to show love and support without worry that it’s too gushy or too much.
Losing the friendship with Nancy almost made me turn away, shrivel inward, become too self-conscious, to not want to critique stories honestly but kindly which is what I thought I had done. Really which is what I did do. But why turn away or rein back honest comments if they’re delivered with compassion and kindness and reinforcement that this is only my view, one opinion? That helps no one.
Given firm boundaries, I can still open more with love. Being brittle in the wind of life helps no one especially myself. I'll just end up broken.
I want to be as kind as Vinh and risk not having enough roses for everyone. On Valentine’s Day she bought ten red roses along with her restaurant’s food order intending to give them to customers. At the checkout the cashier mentioned that she hadn’t gotten any flowers that day. Vinh carried everything to her car, looking at the roses all the way. Then she went back into the store and gave a rose to each of the cashiers, leaving her with six for the restaurant. As a thank you for my hubby’s work in helping her and husband with business accounts and taxes, she invited us for a free meal at the restaurant and gave me a rose. We sat and talked over the table and with two more roses between us which she also offered to me. I said no, she needed them for her customers and surely one at least for herself. She said she had one and pointed it out behind the counter and pushed the other two over to me. So I ended up with three red roses from her. And a couple of other customers left with big smiles, smelling their roses.
I reclaim hugging as long and hard as Mary in my own way.
I want to show up for my own health the way our tai chi instructor does, turning up at the gym voluntarily to practice with us since our classes there were cancelled.
And I want to reclaim the joy of attending live theatre, going to all the local productions, smiling hard and wiping away tears, leaving my heart on the stage.
cold wind, drifting snow
lean into spiraling depths
of a soft white rose
Day Two Deprivation Feel Good Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
Yesterday, on a spontaneous drive to the Terry Fox scenic lookout, I realised I often deprive myself of the big picture—the panoramic view. My world is so much about detail, the little things. Writing haiku everyday, the smallest poetry form, creates a head-down kind of approach from me, noticing the rusty nail rather than the whole building.
This extends to vision—the vision of a dream, of not knowing how big that dream could be and of letting that be okay, of an open heart and a heart open to possibilities. I suppose being in that place inspired those thoughts. Terry Fox is a Canadian hero. He never set out to be. When he was 22, he hoped to raise awareness and some money on a run across Canada having lost one of his legs to cancer a few years earlier. His monument sits a few miles east of Thunder Bay, the place where his run had to end as cancer had moved into his lungs. So it’s natural to stand there and remember and to dream big with the monument at my back and with the literal vision of a panoramic view in front of me…the Sleeping Giant from way up high and the expanse of Lake Superior with a weak morning sun on its icy surface.
Also I realised I deprive myself of spontaneity in expressing love and friendship and loving gestures. I bumped into an old co-worker yesterday who I hadn’t seen for years. “Sue!” she exclaimed, “Let me hug you!” And we hugged and swayed and hugged some more and laughed as we parted. Another co-worker, watching this exchange, said, “That's the loveliest hug I've ever seen.” I carried the warmth of it with me all day.
I deprive myself of regularly (ie daily) tai chi practice even though I love it. Ditto for giving myself regular tarot readings even though they thrill me and I love to check their accuracy with the day itself. And massages too.
from snow, fences, roads
to vast lake and sky
Day One The Things Wild Musings Feel Good Tour with Renee Magnusson
My comfy bed with its teal and purple quilt, hand made by a treasured friend, and a spritz of locally made room spray on the sheets before making my bed.
My cell phone which holds my thoughts, notes and potential haiku and pictures. Creating my daily haiku—constancy of this habit and of using the same book (Moonology Diary by Yasmin Boland) to record the haiku and photograph it to post on Instagram.
Loud ticking and chiming of clocks which I find immensely comforting.
My home surrounded by trees and hearing birds chirp, crows caw and squirrels chatter.
I love the big bags of ‘naturally imperfect’ fruit that I use some mornings for breakfast. And how naturally imperfect makes me smile and think of us humans.
Spotify playlists which echo my moods and catching some beautiful Chinese music on the radio and jotting the song title into my phone’s memo pad to add to a playlist later.
My studio, stocked full of gorgeous supplies, so I can create and today paint along to Effy Wild’s Prayers to the Moon.
The convenience of my PVR so I can record whatever I want. Today I caught part of a foreign film on TV which intrigued me and I recorded a full movie by the same director.
My kitties always and their weaving in and out of my day.
Planned video calls and surprise phone calls and messages and emails from family and friends. Our monthly writing group through zoom and camaraderie and laughter.
Scented candles and incense—presently obsessed with ‘rose patchouli’.
My cupboards full of flavoured teas…a tea for every mood!
Rocks and crystals which ground and surround me. And pictures and quilted hangings and handiwork on every wall, all of which amuse, delight, uplift or comfort me. I’m just starting to shift energy by moving/removing things that no longer serve me.
ex-friend’s photo gone
instead a white tin love heart
I chose not to go to Thad’s (long time work client who died at the beginning of December—see an earlier post) celebration of life this evening. As I write this, the celebration is in full swing across town at an accessible location which is of course fitting and everything that Thad would have wanted. I imagine he would be astounded by the number of people there and possibly blushing and shrugging as best he could, being humble, at the speech which has probably just finished. I’m there with everyone in spirit. And tonight at work I will help to bed those who have been there and I’ll hear all about it.
But for now I’m at home in the semi-darkness: one lamp, the bright computer screen and a lit three-wicked candle as my light as I remember and honour Thad in my own way. Writing and thinking. I’m inbetween midnight shifts and for that reason alone, it felt easy to not go. I find it difficult to leave things like that, once you’re connecting with everyone and sharing memories, but I’d have to leave early to get to work. But I’m not sure I wanted to face all that then work a long midnight shift alone with his locked door, his apartment stripped of everything meaningful.
I lit this candle purposefully—it smells of pine forest and Thad was all about the wilderness. Before his accident, he flew planes, explored the wilds, camped in the wilderness with wolves howling nearby, trekked across lakes to watch the northern lights, canoed lakes and rivers and so much more, I’m sure that I never got to hear. His accident which left him a quadriplegic occurred when he dived into a rock pool. He knew the tide levels, knew that his timing was off but dove anyway and hit rock. He somehow learned to live with that. He was snarly at first, many were terrified of feeding him, telling stories of how their hands shook as they brought the food to his mouth. He was controlling and precise. The first time I met him when I was training I held the straw the wrong way (I was used to working with quads and held it the way my other client preferred) and he snapped at me. The person training me told him off and I learned how Thad preferred it. But over time, with meds, he mellowed considerably and it became a pleasure to see him.
Thad was one of my biggest supporters with my writing, always asking how I was doing, reading and often commenting on my haiku on instagram, determined he was going to write haiku too. He did write a very moving memoir. He was a pioneer with everything he accomplished. Melissa, our coordinator at one point, commented how amazing it was that he ran his wheelchair by blowing into a straw. It’s true, he did. Used to Thad, we had long since taken it for granted. Long before voice controlled devices, Thad used a straw to open his doors, write on his computer, call phone numbers, watch TV and participate in meetings.
I was working the midnight of the day Thad died. I had worked the night before and had become very worried about him as the night progressed. My co-worker and relief sent him to hospital where he later died in ICU later that day. I found out about his death an hour and a quarter before leaving for work and I was a mess. Crying uncontrollably, no longer wiping tears away, letting my face mask absorb my tears and snot, I entered our office. A blue disposable glove was on the floor which was unusual. My co-worker who I was relieving was busy but came in briefly to make sure I knew about Thad. He knew I knew by one look at my tear-stained face and he left to finish his routine. Alone again, I put on a blue glove from the box that had been on the table the evening before, from the box of perfect gloves. No problem. The next glove I pulled from the box was ripped up the middle. And the next. And the next. And the next. And the next. All ripped, all unusable. I felt like a magician pulling handkerchiefs from my sleeve, only I was pulling ripped gloves from a box. Finally, a glove that wasn’t torn. I put it on. It ripped up the middle. I swear I could hear Thad laughing. He could be a jokester. I banged my fist on the table and said aloud, “Okay, Thad, this isn’t funny any more!” The next glove I pulled out was fine. And the next and the next and the next and all the rest of the gloves that night were good and all the rest of the gloves the next night were good too. But I felt reassured that Thad was fine now. I didn’t feel alone working that night. It’s even funnier now. A few days later I met with Melissa and told her this story. “Ah yes,” she said, “Thad always hated us wearing those gloves, didn’t he?” Indeed he did. I had forgotten but appreciated that validation that yes that made even more sense that that had been Thad’s way of connecting with me after his death. His last gift to me had been the gift of laughter.
Stories and memories. That is how I can keep Thad’s memory, him in this earthly form, alive. Thad wrote his own legacy by the life he lived and the person he was.
Day Six Simplicity from Practical Magic/Slow Living with Renee Magnusson
Sometimes there is the choice to keep thoughts simple, I realised today. To not go there, to stop the dark, complicated wagon train of thoughts at the pass and send them tumbling over the cliff and not even watch them fall. The trick is to hear their distant thunder before they round the corner into full view.
One such recurring thought that I’ve had since my client Thad died on Friday is “Could I have done more? Should I have?” My co-worker sent him to hospital first thing in the morning, right after my shift. He’d woken up when she saw him and, perhaps alerted by my concerns, she realised how confused he was. I fretted. Maybe I should have sent him in on my shift. What difference would that have made? And, of course, bringing up the clattering rear of the wagon train of dark thoughts: would he still be alive if I’d done that? I’d had concerns about the concentration of his urine but otherwise he was sleeping soundly and deeply. He was breathing…
None of this makes any difference now. Deep down I know that I couldn’t have known that this night might have been any different from any others. I confronted my co-worker with my concerns. “Don’t even go there,” she said. “You know, we all know, how Thad was. His health. How it could change in a minute. You weren’t to know. How could you? How could any of us?”
Keeping my thoughts as simple as possible helps, not going into the if onlys when I know in my heart that I haven’t been neglectful. It’s not always easy and sometimes I find I’m riding that wagon train along a precarious mountain path until I’m jolted into the simple now of this moment I’m in and I can leap off and send the thoughts over the cliff.
On a lighter note, addressing Renee’s question of do I believe anything worth having or doing must be complicated, a poem arrived a couple of weeks ago, pretty much fully formed as I worked. I jotted it down, fiddled with a line which I finally took out. Then I embraced it and sent it to my poetry group for their critiques. Everyone loved it, found it profound, didn’t think they would be able to write around the heart of it the way I had and so on. I felt pleased and proud yet found myself shrugging it all off because I didn’t have to really work at it. Did I really deserve all that praise if it arrived ready-made? No matter that maybe my daily practice of haiku has led me to easily pare down my bigger poems. No matter that I read between the lines of a conversation to reach what was not being said and mulled it over enough that a poem formed. No matter that I trust my process enough, that I’ve honed it over the years, to be there, to flow out of my fingertips as I type because that’s how I work, so last minute having no choice but to trust the process. Because it came simply and directly I felt I had to downplay, almost disown, it. I realise now: a good poem is a good poem, no matter how it arrives.
old tree split open
weight of ice and snow on boughs
our grieving hearts
Day Four Relationships from Practical Magic/Slow Living with Renee Magnusson
I had a bunch of stuff to write about this that I was mulling over and I loved the idea of listing things I have a relationship with, started a mental list, but I found out less than an hour ago that one of my clients of over 20 years died today. I was worried about him last night at work and this morning he went to ICU in hospital. He was an amazing man in many ways and very 'human' in many more ways. He didn't always sleep well and was often a constant companion on my midnight shifts. I'm leaving for work in 15 minutes and it will be a strange and quiet shift knowing Thad has gone. I've been crying on and off knowing that I and so many others, including his 2 cockatiels, will miss him greatly. A relationship that transcended the work environment. One I hadn't thought of too much until now.
Thank you for reading and witnessing my rather raw feelings.*
*Posted to the private facebook group for Renee's class at about 8:15 p.m. om Friday 2nd December 2022. It was a strange and sometimes tough shift but many people sent love and reached out to me.
Day Three Expectations from Practical Magic Slow Living with Renee Magnusson
I didn’t post yesterday even though I had intended to. It had been a bit of a runaway day and time and focus went to many physical time- intensive activities like clearing snow, trying to remove a tree limb that had split from the weight of ice and snow and fallen onto the neighbour’s metal-framed shed but our chainsaw (our neighbour used it) got stuck then it wouldn’t work and trying to sync my tablet to my email and download an advent calendar a friend had bought me. Then there was laundry and Survivor and I felt like I had a spent a day with them all on an adjacent island (not in the sun) so I let go of the self-expectation of posting. And I felt better for it.
I also felt better for going through my day at the end with a What’s Hot/ What’s Not list only focussing on that day. Because it had some beautiful sparkling moments, too, even though it became far from the day I’d been expecting. A friend drove on snowy streets to hand deliver about 80 home-made cat treats that her hubby made just for my cats. Their cat doesn’t like them but mine do. Another friend from my poetry group sent a lovely email saying how much she appreciates my critiques, not just for her work but for how I approach everyone’s poems. “A work of art in themselves” she called my critiques. And the surprise of three huge crows marching across the snow to the seed under the feeder. And the beauty of an unexpected peach sunset on a cloudy day which shone through ice encrusted branches.
I know I tolerate a lot with the state of my house, the clutter, the unfinished (not even started but need to be done) projects and it…no my expectations about it, about how it should all be (an aha moment of catching myself!)…limit me in even inviting people across the threshold. But yesterday when my friend Val dropped by I invited her to step inside and of course the irony of all this was that by then we had a sad looking chainsaw sitting in the hallway! But Val is Val and never even blinked at any of it. When she left the blustery wind caught the screen door and she flew out with it and onto the deck. She was fine, albeit surprised at the strength of the wind, but for me it seemed like an exclamation point to punctuate her kindness. Back to where I was…I’m working through a couple of year long clutter clearing courses where the advice is to simply take everything slowly, recognising that the change comes from within. Slowly, slowly, I’m shifting expectations about the state of my home and recognising how it could be while acknowledging how it is. And being okay with both.
weighted by snow
cedar boughs bend
extra blankets on the bed
Day Two Love Languages from Practical Magic Slow Living with Renee Magnusson
What feels good no matter what? My favourite scents I realise. And favourite songs. Both of these can lift my mood instantly. Yesterday while having lunch and shopping with a good friend I discovered rose patchouli. I never knew there was such a thing and felt a pang at not discovering it sooner. Patchouli is one of my favourite scents but pair it with rose and it’s amazing, instantly calming. I bought incense and solid perfume for myself. When we got back to my car, I had a parking ticket (ugh. I thought I had paid but neglected to confirm the final step I think) and Lisa and I joked that I would need to douse myself in the perfume to calm and comfort myself on the drive home.
Today I painted this week’s Prayers to the Moon with Effy Wild on replay, a practice that I’ve done faithfully since Effy started it up. It’s often the only art I do all week but I find it (and the live YouTube feed) wonderfully centring. Art always feels good. Whatever thoughts or intentions I paint into the piece or journal about, stay with me all week because I place the finished painting beside my computer. This week we talked about comfort. I wrote ‘re-connect with comfort’ on mine as a reminder, even to treat myself gently. Not always easy.
Tai chi is another love language, something that always feels good no matter what. Again, grounding and slowing down. But I skipped tonight’s practice. I wanted to go but it’s snowing here and I already have to go out no matter what the weather 3 nights a week for work so I opted to stay home tonight but now I’m feeling that I should have gone. Sigh! I can do the practice at home though and even though I didn’t do a whole lot of anything with the time at home, I’ve been comfy, warm and toasty and will have a lovely LUSH filled bath before bed. Those delicious scents again. They’ll soothe me.
time with a good friend
frame the day in fragrance
Day One: Self-Loyalty & The Source from Practical Magic with Renee Magnusson
Self-loyalty for me is writing a haiku every morning and posting it on instagram with an accompanying photo. This is also my source whether as gentle as stepping stones across a slow moving stream or as fierce as a rickety rope bridge over a ravine, my grounding path to myself, an acknowledgement of what I noticed and, sometimes, of what I made of what I noticed. This is my second full year of daily haiku and I love to look back on what inspired me over the years and my take on what spoke to me. If I feel lost, I read the haiku, look at the photos and step by step I find myself again. The quote from Joan Didion that Renee began today’s email with really spoke to me: “On that bankrupt morning…”
“See enough and write it down, I tell myself, and then some morning when the world seems drained of wonder, some day when I am only going through the motions of doing what I am supposed to do... on that bankrupt morning I will simply open my notebook and there it will all be, a forgotten account with accumulated interest, paid passage back to the world out there...” ~ Joan Didion
This is my fiercest self-loyalty, I realise. And I may have recently lost a friendship over it, someone who criticised my haiku style without being asked (I shared some haiku with her as writing them was a shared interest and I wanted to fill her in on some of my recent days) and who sent me six consecutive emails (none of which I responded to) expanding on her views. I began to doubt my ability and in what felt like a dashing act of self-loyalty, I left a writing group she had recently joined when a similar pattern emerged. It hurt as we had rekindled the friendship not long ago (and may still, I’m not sure) but a deep-seated part of myself applauded loudly. And so I continue my daily haiku.
all those eighty-five years passed
cake crumbs line the plate
down the street
a tiny sweet dragon
trick or treat!
Such a gorgeous, warm and sunny day today. Perfect for the kids to go trick or treating. We had one kid more than we had chips for (Rob picked up BIG bags of chips as we get so few kids) and so had to break into the box of Wagon Wheels. That was 12 kids in total which is a lot for our little block, cut off by the railway tracks. A fun night. Rob hit upon the idea of big bags of chips several years ago--cheaper than a couple of boxes of Halloween candy which, given my diabetes, I really don't need to finish (much as I love to!) if there are any leftovers. Chips always find a ready home. Maybe slightly healthier for me at least. Lol.
The kids all sent photos of the grandkids and their costumes. Always a treat to see. Hahaha. But I was even more mesmerized by Carole's porch which had three skeletons scaling the wall, stretching their hamstrings and just lounging around.
Nothing too much to write. Life is trucking a long at a lovely pace, rather leisurely really. I'm working through a clutter clearing book and online course by Stephanie Bennett Vogt which actually seems to be working well. It's all about little steps and internal shifts. I can feel a huge difference. Perhaps also because of a combination of the other two books I'm reading at the moment: 'Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself' by Dr Joe Dispenza and 'Elemental Witchcraft' by Heron Michelle. They both emphasise meditation which I'm about to get more fully immersed in. At tai chi practice, we do a 5 minute standing meditation which is really quite wonderful although I resist doing it most of the time by myself.
I'm still creating a daily haiku and photo. The top haiku was today's. That little dragon a few doors down is so cute. I captured his photo one morning after work.
Following are a few more of this month's haiku.
nestles in purple mums
I snooze after work
past fiery shrubs
and bleached-bone birches,
shadows flow downstream
gift of pink roses
surprise at sunset
love on each petal
A couple of deaths this month of friends made me sad, of course, and made me reflect as well. This last haiku was written in response and is very true, something we all know but tend to forget, as what we think of as life gets in the in the way. Cherish your passion, follow your heart and stay true to yourself. Thank you for reading.
time together too short
use prettiest plates
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.