Saturday, June 30, 2007

counting the sleeps

counting sleeps is a relative concept right now because most nights i'm actually staying up, while working with the loveliest babies and moms. but none the less, i need to countdown some sleeps!

23 sleeps
until i turn 30

12 sleeps
until folk fest (my favourite 3 days of the entire year)

10 sleeps
until sanfran meets van (a visitor from s.f.)

7 sleeps
until the next femmely dinner (a monthly dinner party with femme friends)

1 sleep
until i go to portland to see my sister

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

confessions of a music snob

I am a music snob. Its not really a secret. I love music more than i love food (and i love food)! That said, I can be a bit righteous about what I like to listen to. More than one ex-partner has commented that they didn't really listen to their own music during our entire relationship (thats not to say they didn't enjoy listening to mine)!

I also don't like to be told what to listen to. I consider the radio as doing just that (except for the cbc of course). So I often don't give pop musicians a chance until they aren't really popular anymore (or unless i hear about them before they get big!). So I'm rather taken aback by the latest album to find its way onto my pretty pink ipod.

Mandy Moore. Yes, Mandy Moore. What is your first impression when you here that name. Teen-pop-queen-cheesy-movie-regular. Am i correct? I think folks, that we may have gotten it wrong.

She came out with an album last week and I had heard about it because one of my favourite bands, The Weepies, have been working on it with her. Hmm....puzzling. How would that sound? Then I find out Lori McKenna, another musician I like, is also co-writing with Ms. Moore. I knew I'd have to at least check it out.

Its beautiful. I admit it. I, music snob extrordonaire, like Mandy Moore's music. You can hear the influence of the weepies and lori mckenna, but it doesn't sound like her singing their songs. She's sure got a voice of her own (and i don't mean just the singing). Seems like she's stepping away from what is expected of her and doing what she wants and what reflects who she is.

Isn't that what we all want? (well, us independant thinkers that is) I know that is my constant challenge, to let go of what society expects of me and just keep on working on being my authentic self. And now i have a lovely addition to the soundtrack of a life well lived.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

the journey

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver

Saturday, June 23, 2007

a month and a day

my birthday is a month away (and 1 day). I'm turning 30. I am so ready to say 'goodbye, thank god we're done' to the 20's. i've been pondering ever since i turned 29 about what to do for the next bday. my actual bday is on a tuesday, and i've been thinking i'd like to spend it alone (or perhaps a mutual-bday-celebration-lunch with my birthday buddy).

last year i had a bbq, which went well. but i'm a bad hostess, because i'm a good one. i need to make sure everyone has the their vegan/meat/glutenfree/alcoholic/non-alcoholic/kids/peanut-free self taken care of. and then i don't end up eating and drink too much. and i was right in the middle of my super-funk time, so i found myself taking secret crying moments in the bathroom despite the loveliness that was outside. another challenge with a gathering of friends is i have very diverse friends who don't know each other and though lots do, there are a few who do don't get along that well. it went ok on that front, and i'm even more willing this year to let go of responsibililty of that...if they can't handle it don't come!

so, i've been getting visions of a celebration. really its felt like little nuggets of beauty my spirit has been shooting me. i'll be sitting on the bus and then all of a sudden think 'tiered platter with cupcakes' or 'picnic blankets with art supplies' and so it is developing....i'm pondering a sunday afternoon art picnic

with lots of lemonade, painting, cupcake decorating and a whole lot of pink!

i'm thinking sunshine (hoping) and nourishment. i'm thinking photo taking, collaging, painting and journal writing.

i'll have a bbq perhaps for those who are too macho for crafts. and a kid craft blanket for wee-ones. i'm thinking dress-up (whatever dress up means to you).

i'm thinking a tea party and i'm especially thinking that in lieu of gifts i'd like people to pick me (or buy if they really want to) flowers so i'll be left with wee bouquets of wildflowers around the house

and i'm thinking of asking a few people to help me host so i don't get all flustery!

all this already...lordy. and a month more to increase the extravagance potential!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thank you Lavender

Today one of my favourite 3 year olds called me her 'best friend'. It is mutual.

I had such a beautiful, present day hanging out with my lil' buddies. They are amazing and kind and we learn so much together. They had been pulling dead leaves off of a tree and said 'sorry' to the tree. I offered up that perhaps we might want to say 'thank you' because the plant is giving us something. As we continued on our walk we came across a big patch of lavender and picked bouquets saying 'thank you lavender, thank you lavender' as we picked. These are the moments i love so much.

I'm feeling a return to myself.

And life on the interweb lately is so so lovely.

Andrea's post sharing this amazingly beautiful and grounding poem.

Mon amie Harmony inviting me to join her in an online creative adventure

My new print came in the mail the other day from Mati. Its called Beauty in the Breakdown and is so gorgeous!

I'm feeling really grateful for all of the lovely blogging ladies that brighten my day. Grateful for the inquisitive best friends that always bring me back to living in the moment. For my daily learning about how i can become a more whole and healthy self. I'm feeling really blessed at how the creative force is entering my life full force. I am especially grateful for all the good opportunities that are coming my way these days. The rough patches only remind me how important all these things are.

more thoughts on self-care

When talking about self-care, my friend Z says that its a 'moment by moment' process. I love this both that it makes me be concious of how much i need to be on top of making sure I am active in self-care, but also that there is always oppourtunity to make changes. Yesterday exhausted (emotionally and physically) me was just curled up on the couch, and then the moment changed and i got up, got dressed, got on my bike and started fresh. Here's where i ended up:

My thoughts have been really fixated lately, and i've been feeling a lot like i did a couple years ago, not knowing how to get out of my mood. But i know in every situation there is a level of personal responsibility that i have to look at. Sometimes i sure don't want to, or i can't see it, but its so there. So finally I had some clarity on what has been frustrating me. I can't hold on to what someone said or did. That doesn't serve me. I can meet possiblities of the future, but i just can't hold onto the past. It only gets me stuck. So I'm going to try to remember all the wonderful calmness i found in s.carolina and connect to it. To remember that it only takes a moment to get off track, but just one more to get back.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Don't Be Afraid

What a rollercoaster. Today went like this:

Exhaustion, Cry, Work, Sleep, Cry, Cry on the Bus, Work, Overjoyed, Cry, Cry, Calmness.

There is so much from my day that i wish i could just let flood out of my fingertips right now but i can't. Some out of respect for myself, some because its too personal, some because its so exciting and i just can't tell you (sorry...i'm working on keeping secrets).

Some of the crying sessions, particularly the 2 at the end of the day, were in response to courage and emmense pride. I came across this youtube post and it just blows me away. Paul is so earnest and so incredibly beautifuly talented. It is not hard to connect to his humble hopeful dreams and when he opens his mouth to sing its like this force of beauty emerging.

the next cry wasn't too long after. a dear sweet friend of mine is a budding rock star. right now he is playing the 'True Colors' Tour with Cyndi Lauper, Debby Harry, Margaret Cho, Rosie O'Donnell and many more. I checked out this clip of the finale of one of their shows and watching this clip especially at the very end when Cyndi shouts out DON'T BE AFRAID and they all raise their fists. Thats it...i start weeping. Every time. I am so incredibly proud of him. Lucas is the first transgendered frontman signed to a major label. I've been enjoying reading up on how the tour is going, especially this post on their myspace blog. Check out the post called 'on being transgendered'. He is an amazing musician, a humble role model and he and his lovely ladyfriend h are two of my favourite people who walk this earth. I feel so blessed to be witnessing his success. It is oh so deserved and I can't think of anyone better to spread trans awareness, simply by not being afraid to be who he is. (He's second from the end on the left by the way, being hugged by Margaret Cho).

You know how sometimes you sit down to write something and don't quite know what it is about until it all comes together? This has been one of those moments. I have spent a lot of the last few days trying not to face fear but invariably living in it: fear of being hurt, fear of living with an open heart, fear of being exposed as my messy messy self. But here it is. I'm getting ready to crawl into bed with two lovely cats. Getting ready to wake up to a better day.

Mantra for Today

I am deserving and worthy of some seriously delicious loving (from myself and others). I won't be blindsighted anymore by lost souls, half-present lovers and those needing a mother-figure. I am lovely and kind and someday, yes someday, all will happen as it should. Until that day and beyond that day, I've gotta love myself fiercely. So yes, dear self, you are deserving and worthy of seriously delicious loving. Keep your heart open for it. And don't be afraid to shut other doors. Close up histories. Change more patterns. It'll all be worth it in the end.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

out of focus

Some days it feels as though everything is out of alignment. Like some details are excessively clear and others are out of focus. The last few days have been that way. I'm grateful to wake today feeling more like myself again.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happiness is work: Part 2

This has been on my mind a lot. The quote and the actions maintaining happiness involves. I must say that although it is 'work' it is probably the most worthwhile work imaginable. Just like my day job, I love doing it. For the last couple years it was not easy work....forcing myself to stop destructive behaviours, going through a period of isolation and then re-emerging but feeling rather lost as to how to integrated such simple things as joy, friendship and connection into my life! But finally, about 2 years after the whole change began, I feel like I'm finally at the fun work...maintaining happiness can't be a struggle...getting back here was. And except for a few moments, during all the struggle, I knew it was all worthwhile and remained faithful that i would emerge a 'healthier' version of myself. So now the fun stuff...i've been craving to write down all the things that are helping to keep me happy...not a complete list of course, but a beginning.

-dreamseeds sundays: our small but dedicated crew of lovely ladies have made these last few months so rich. i have established my goal of bringing art into my life on a more regular basis and has brought down the barrier for me in accessing that creative source.

-the oprah channel on satellite radio: i can't help it. i love oprah. and maya angelou and dr. robin and even gayle king. i listen to this radio station when i'm upstairs doing my daily tasks and the discussions are so meaningful, the tone so peaceful (well, maybe not gayle, but she is funny) and it makes putting dishes away a very thought provoking experience.

-taking pictures....i'm so smitten with taking photos...especially of dogs, cats, flowers and of course myself. And its no secret that this leo loves taking self portraits. especially in bathrooms, on escalators, and in store mirrors. What most people end up seeing on various internet thingies (friendster, facebook, etc) are the purdy fancy photos of myself i've captured. although those make me happy, taking these really makes me giggle.

-um, well, what i wear has always been a big part of my identity....sometimes it speaks louder than i do. and that of course has changed as well. these days soft flowing comfy yet fancy shirts are making me happy, pinks and browns, black and white, my silver birks take my everywhere it seems, and my fancy side has been emmerging....lots and lots of earrings and necklaces...especially my beloved superhero necklace.

-my daily adventures: nothing makes me happier than getting on a bike or bus and just going. sometimes i have a master plan, which can be as simple as 'to get that delicious wheat-free bar from the bean on main st' or 'to the seawall' or to an event like todays commercial drive fest. all trips i am armed with my camera and journal and is my favourite kind of alone time. you never know what yer gonna this:

very tall bikes

alien-esque buildings

rad stickers

lovely dancing bike ladies

so there it is....the beginning of the happy-list...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Happiness is work

"People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you would leak away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."

This is from the book 'eat, pray, love' which I adore so much (by elizabeth gilbert). Ever since I read this I have been breathing it in, putting it into action. At the time, when I was on vacation, I was in the midst of making this transition from a very difficult time into exploring my new healthier self....but not really feeling like i had the skills to retain happiness, to be resiliant. And then this...everytime I have an emotional drop since I read this quote I remember that 'happiness is the consequence of personal effort' so i breathe deeper, sort through what can change my mood. That is not to say I don't plan to honour my grumpy messy moments...but i am so grateful to be stepping away from every little dissapointment feeling like a dramatic setback. i allow that to happen and I feel like this whole year of just being where i was, working through my loneliness, sorting out my fear and paranoia (especially from being robbed) and letting those parts of me that were just empty to be filled, slowly......but now its time to go day by day, maintaining all this healing....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Femmely Dinner

We sat around a small table, candlelit, with potato salad, ginger carrot soup, lychees, watermelon, brownies and wine. It was the first of an intended many gatherings of a collection of women brought together by their identification as 'femme' women.
This city has recently opened its arms (and its heart to me) and I back at it. After 2 long years of solitude, my world is opening up again and the sweetness of connection is even more beautiful now because i was so clearly needing to be able to spend time in the first chakra, working on connection to myself before i could move on/up.

One of us asked 'What is your dream job?' and there began a confessing around the table of our most lovely dreams of our futures. Beautiful confessions our little/big dreams, none of which are far from reality. When it came to me, I wasn't sure what was going to come out of my mouth.

"I want my primary job to be as a mother'. There it is. My secret confession and though everyone who know me knows that I want to be a mother, what people don't know is that it is as exciting to me as being a teacher or a ceo or a doctor. It is intellectually, emotionally and spiritually inspiring to me. A confession such as this felt so great because for the last decade i have been so caught up in trying to figure out what i should 'become'...and though i want the most prominent unpaid job possible....i like my new dreams. It doesn't stop there though.....I have snippets of other dreams integrated into this one. I want to make art, make music, bring them to the world. I want to develop skills in helping professions, maybe counselling. All I know for sure is that I don't plan on working for the man ever again. I have a taste of working for myself (and contracting out) and it is a lovely life.

I won't pass on the confessions of others. I wasn't sworn to secrecy, and they weren't even said as secrets, but that time at the table felt so sweet and lovely, I want to let it stay there. I am so looking forward to this new wave of happiness in my life. It tastes delicious