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Archive for the ‘Existential Crises & Epiphanies’ Category

well, it is officially time to say goodbye to 2005. Once again, I am glad to see the end of this year, and excited at what the next year might bring. This was a tough year, but also one filled with a lot of wonderful times. Here's a recap:

  • January 2005 – started going to school full time with a full course load (Sept 2004 had me taking three classes) while working 40 hours a week at my job (which I hated).
  • February 2005 – had a fantastic time on spring break with one of my best friends in Toronto, including a week of Oscar movies and an Oscar party!
  • March 2005 – got fired from my job (which I hated).
  • April 2005 – went on Unemployment Insurance for the first time.
  • April 2005 – my best friend returned home after a Big Trip – I missed her so!
  • May 2005 – was forced to move home with my parents (OUCH!). Lucky I had a place to go, and that my relationship with my parents allowed me to return in a way that doesn't cramp my style too much.
  • May 2005 – started working a bit with my friends who own a small business. This provided me with a lot of enjoyment, good laughs, and a bit of money for my bills! Thanks forever Tan and Leah!
  • July 2005 – turned 29 – my last year of being 20-something!
  • July 2005 – took my first feminist theory class, and found a theoretical base for much of my future work and studies.
  • July 2005 – had a visit from my Dad's sister, her husband and their daughter. I had never met my cousin, and had only met my uncle when I was too small to remember. We had a wonderful time together!
  • September 2005 – saw the Rolling Stones live in concert with Maroon 5 and the Tragically Hip with 79,999 other people!
  • September 2005 – stopped hearing from one of my closest friends after her engagement. weird, and sad to lose the friendship. hopefully things will turn around one day.
  • September 2005 – started my third year of my philosophy degree; decided to change to a combined honours in Philosophy and Gender and Women's Studies.
  • October 2005 – started a new job working for a plastic surgery clinic. It suits me just fine, part-time hours for a decent wage and no weekends or evenings and no work I don't want to do! It's just about the perfect job for me! FINALLY, after three years of the worst working experiences ever!
  • October 2005 – had a very sad split with a best friend after finding out about something she was up to that I just couldn't support and didn't know how to handle for myself. I'll forever be sad about this, and I hope one day we will be able to reconcile. I hope she is moving on with her life and that things are going just great for her. I miss her like crazy.
  • December 2005 – met my cousin (son of the aunt and uncle who visited in July). He's going to be living in my city for a while, so I'm looking forward to spending some more time with him.
  • December 2005 – paid off a loan – what a great feeling, especially with the financial hardships I endured this year!
  • December 2005 – had a quiet break after successfully finishing all my classes. It was a tough term at school with a lot of reading and writing assignments. So far, I have two A grades… can't wait to find out about the other three marks!

I guess that sums things up. Also, in general, this year was one in which I became more politically aware than ever before. I found myself much more committed to myself, in making decisions that were best for me, whether they were what I wanted or not, and whether or not other people understood them. I made an increased commitment to my health and reducing stress. I became more organized in regards to my space and my time, and I began to get on track financially after years of incurring debt to support my shoe habit. I made an increased commitment to living according to my own beliefs rather than doing what others would want me to do. I'm proud of my progress this year, and I think I'm ready to move into a new phase of goals for this year.Happy 2006 everyone! I hope this year brings you health, much happiness, laughter, joy in your hearts, and success in all your endeavours! Peace!

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I've been kind of neglecting posting lately, instead using self-portrait Tuesday as an excuse not to actually write something in this space. I have been enjoying putting together visual images, but it's not really why I wanted to create this space for myself. I may post something photography related over the weekend, but I might just skip this last week altogether. Perhaps it's for the best for now.

I wanted to write about something that has happened in my life recently that is very personal and very difficult for me, and that has given me cause to pause. This week, I made a decision to walk away from a very close long-standing personal friendship, based on something this person did that I believe to be detrimental to herself, and indirectly, to me and our friendship. I won't go into details, of course, but this person is very dear to my heart, and I think our friendship is a bit more complicated than most in many ways, so it was a difficult decision, and it has made me quite sad.

Rather than going into reasons why I felt I had to walk away, I'd like to work through my feelings about the idea of unconditionality in regards to love and friendship. I think unconditionality is something that is extremely hard to reach. It's the idea that no matter what another person does, you will love them and support them. In the case with my friend, my love for her is absolutely unconditional. I will never stop loving her, no matter what, and although I don't feel I can be friends with her now, I will always cherish the friendship we had together, and I really feel that this is the best way for me to be her friend, which requires more explaining than I am willing to do here.

When do you stop loving someone? Is it when they are no longer interesting to you, when you don't feel any fire or passion for that person? Is it when they have done something that hurts you very much, or when they do something that is hurtful to someone else? Is it when they hurt themselves? I guess everyone has their personal dealbreakers, things they simply cannot tolerate from another person. But does that mean you can continue to love the person – love the sinner, hate the sin?

These questions are rolling around in my mind, mostly because I tried to be very clear with my friend that I haven't stopped loving her. I'm not sure if she understood that or not, but I hope so. I don't even love her any less. I do, however, feel that there are things I can't stand for, things I can't accept from another person. Some of these things have to do with harms I couldn't bear for myself, like physical abuse or emotional degradation, or lying. But others have to do more with my own personal moral code, and whether or not I can stand by and support someone whose behaviour is not in accordance with what I believe in. If, for instance, I had a friend whom I knew to be a criminal, I could not sustain the friendship anymore.

I guess what it comes down to for me is consistency of moral character, or integrity. It is the things I strive for in my own life everyday – to be exactly who I puport to be, to be myself and honest in every situation, to be true to my own definition and not act in ways that subvert my sense of who I am. I think integrity is something you can take to the bank in many ways – the emotional bank, that is. When someone does something that shows me they are other than what they say they are, I lose faith and trust in them. I just don't know how to reconcile that with the idea I have of who they are, who they have said they are, who they always have shown me they are in the past. And I begin to doubt myself, my choices, my sense of character. I begin to think of myself as naive, gullible, a chump. It's important to me that I be able to trust the people in my life to be who they say they are. In that way, when I find out something about someone that makes me question who they are, it makes me question everything about them, all their reasons for behaviours, and it makes me question myself.

I know I will always love my friend, even if we are never close again. I hope she is well, and that in time we are able to mend our shortcomings. I don't feel like I have put conditions on my love for her, but perhaps I have put conditions on our friendship. That makes me feel sad, because I never thought I would have to do that with her. But, as another very dear friend pointed out, the love I have is my own: It was never hers at all, it was always mine, always in my heart. And I will continue to have that love in my heart, and own it, and that will always make me happy.

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I like being me. I have a good life. I am blessed with a lot of wonderful people in my life. I have been lucky in a lot of ways, endowed with natural talents and abilities that have given me great joy. I am fortunate to be situated in this world in a way that gives me opportunities that many people don't have.

 

I like lots of things about me. I like that I am silly, smart, creative, honest, warm, kind, generous, a good and loyal friend, independent, optimistic, sarcastic. I like that I am tall, that I have brown hair, green eyes, and curves. I like that I can laugh at myself – I'm usually the first to do it! I like that I can see multiple sides to any issue. I like that I can sing, play piano, swim. I like that I enjoy and thrive on change, and welcome new experiences and points of view. I like that I am open-minded, particularly in regards to other people, and that I try my best not to judge others. I like that I have a strong sense of justice. There's lots of good things about me.

 

 

Now, all of this is not to toot my own horn. There are also lots of things I don't like about myself, too: I procrastinate, I eat too much chocolate, I have little will power, I spend too much money, I can be whiny when I'm sick, I sleep too much, I read too slowly, I drive too fast, I am quick to anger, I have a bad knee, I get stressed out easily, I bottle up my feelings, I'm scared of bugs, I hate camping, I take showers that are too long, I get road rage, I can be cruel with words. So the picture is far from perfect. But all in all, I'd have to say I like who I am, and I wouldn't want to be anyone else – and if the faults are included, I'll take them and deal with them as I go.

 

 

I have always believed there is an essence to a person; we all have an specific identity that is essential, and cannot change. This is not to say that I don't believe people can change, because I wholly believe it. But I think there are certain things we definitely cannot change about ourselves, no matter how we try. This is what I try to see in people – the essence of who they are.

 

 

I want to discover more about myself, and what it means to be me. I know that no matter where I go, what I become, who I am with, that I want to be ME. To me, this is what integrity means: to integrate all the aspects of oneself into one consistent persona; to be all parts of oneself in all situations. I think being a person of integrity necessarily means that no matter the situation, I will never act out of character, that I will always retain my identity, and that I will not give up any part of my system of beliefs and ideals.

 

 

As I move through life, this sometimes isn't easy, but it is an idea I am committed to. I'm curious to see what life will throw at me to test this commitment. I hope I am up to the challenge, and that on the day I die, I will look back at my life and smile, knowing that I never gave up on myself, that I always stayed true to my essence.

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I saw an old friend the other day. We met several years ago, and despite various circumstances, we always stayed in touch. We always used to have great talks, good discussions. He is one person who sees the world in a similar way to the way I see do, and so our chats always end up on the same note, the same page, or in a similar way. He had been away in a foreign country for a long time, and we hadn't seen each other in quite a while, so we had lots to catch up on. What we mainly talked about was how we felt we had changed in response to things that had happened in our lives during that span of time. It was fun to find out we had both learned similar lessons, and had both changed in similar ways.

 

One thing that kept coming up in our chat was the way we had overcome various limitations that we felt had constrained us in the past, how patterns of behaviour keep on cropping up, and how difficult it sometimes could be to succumb to the old ways of thinking or doing things. For him, he was able to sustain some major changes while he was away from his friends and family, and he was very pleased about that. Now that he is back home, certain pressures to conform to the old idea of who he was and how he acted are coming up all the time. I found this was true for me, as well, when I came back home from only a few short months of living away. I had made changes that I was happy with, and when I returned, it was very easy to revert back to old habits. For example, both of us, when we lived away from home, were very active and fit. When we came back, we stopped working out. Why? Because when we lived here, we were not active and fit, and so it's easy to revert back to the old familiar life.

 

The main thing we agreed on in regard to limitations was that most often, nobody hold us back but us. If you think of something that you have "always wanted to do", but haven't yet done, 9 times out of 10, the reason you haven't done it is because you haven't allowed yourself. It's not that somebody else is preventing you from doing that thing – it's you! So, then, the question becomes: do you truly want it? If you haven't allowed yourself to accomplish that thing, why not? Do you really want it, truly? Or are you perhaps afraid of what will happen if you actually do it?

 

I have discovered a limitation of my own, or rather, I have rediscovered a limitation that I have always had. I enrolled in a class this year that I thought would be difficult but interesting: philosophy of biology. Difficult, because I do not have an affinity for science, and I didn't study even the basics of any science in high school, which was 11 years ago. Interesting, mainly because of the philosophy of Darwin. Anyway, I went to my first class the other day, and I was completely overwhelmed. It was a two hour lecture, which didn't help, but I felt like I couldn't keep up at all. My head hurt by the end of the lecture. I went home dejected. I started the readings for next week. By the third sentence, my mind was wandering and I had that headache again. I was disappointed in myself. When I signed up, I really felt as though I could do it; I could take this course and do well, and learn a lot and enjoy it. After the first day, I realized that was a pipe dream. There was no way I was going to be able to write knowledgeably about biology – NO WAY! So, this seemed to me to be a natural limitation. But, it's not, really. I could, if I so chose, study really hard, read additional text books, talk to people who know lots about biology, get extra help from the prof or TA, study with a partner, etc. However, I am making the decision not to do that, because it just isn't that important to me. I dropped the class and transferred into one I know I will do well in – philosophy of language.

 

I hold myself back in all sorts of ways. I prevent myself from being as creative and artistic as I think I could be, and want to be. Nobody is stopping me from playing piano everyday, or painting, or writing stories. Just me. I prevent myself from being as active and fit as I want to be. Nobody keeps me from working out, or doing yoga, or going running, or lifting weights. Just me. I prevent myself from doing all sorts of things that I would love to do, like travel, buy a home, be debt-free, learn a language. I just don't do it! But I am slowly getting there, breaking down the limitations I have set up for myself. After all, I always wanted to study philosophy, and look at me now! It just requires the right amount of energy and dedication, and I know I will be able to do all the things I want to do in life, one limitation at a time.

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I started back to school at the end of last week. Because I am now taking the bus to Halifax daily rather than driving, I arrived about 20 minutes early for my first class (which is good, because usually when I drive, I leave too late and sort of think my car is magic and will get me there much faster than it really does, so I end up late for class most times). Since I was early, I decided to take a few minutes to myself, to get centred for the day. I found a nice little spot outside, and I began to think. It ended up being an epiphanous moment. Here's what I came up with:

It's kind of neat to discover myself here, now. If someone had asked a few years ago what I would expect to be doing at this point in my life, I would have given the usual answers: married, maybe kids, settled into a career, house, etc. I wouldn't have thought I would be single and unattached, or that I wouldn't have the slightest interest in motherhood. I wouldn't have guessed I would have made poor financial decisions that would have left me struggling to pay bills. I wouldn't have guessed I would be unemployed. I wouldn't have guessed I would be on the brink of leaving a 10 year long career. I wouldn't have guessed I would still be living in the same city. I wouldn't have guessed that I would have started and sold a moderately successful business. I wouldn't have thought I would be a student again, and loving the depth of insight it would bring me. It's so interesting to see the people who have come in and out of my life, and how those who have remained constant have also changed and developed. It's neat to find how my moral and religious beliefs have changed. I wouldn't have guessed that my life would follow a path that would turn back on itself.

It's interesting that I have never pushed myself in certain directions, either physically or intellectually. I am ruled more by my emotions that by my reason, despite being capable of reason and intellectual pursuits. Things happen in my mind mostly as a result of how things make me feel. I find this fascinating. If I had never experienced professional boredom, I may not have been led to return to school. If I had not been emotionally affected by world events such as 9/11 and the war on Iraq, I may not have been led to the political beliefs I hold. If I had not been negatively emotionally impacted by my former business partner, I might have stayed, and still be a business owner. If I had not been emotionally impacted by my experiences in the baptist church, I might still believe in god. My thought processes are almost entirely in response to or based on how I feel about things going on around me. How fascinating!

I am finding my own way, and in my own time. I am who I am, and I do what feels right to me. I am not to be rushed in this life. No one can push me or coerce me into being or doing certain things. Things happen within me in their own time. To truly learn the lessons I am presented with, to internalize them, they must be natural processes – natural to ME.

I'm more and more like my astrological sign all the time: the crab. Just like a crab, I need time and space to come out of my shell. Just like a crab, if you poke at me I will hide, and if you poke at me persistently enough, I'll snap off your fingers with my pinchers! Just like a crab, I am soft and tender under my shell, but you have to be willing to break through it to get to the good stuff. Just like a crab, I hide in the sand until trouble blows over. Just like a crab, I carry my home on my back and can be at home anywhere in the world. Just like a crab, I sidestep around obstacles in the most interesting ways. Just like a crab, I am a delicacy – if you can catch me!

I love the process I am undergoing, of learning more and more about who I am. Sometimes this involves finding out how others view me; sometimes it's more about finding new things about myself, on my own. Sometimes it's all about admitting things about myself, to myself and others. Sometimes, it's about finding things out about the world in which I live, and what hurts me and what makes me happy about that world. I am finding my way, each day, in my own way, in my own time. And that feels wonderful!

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in dreams

I am being tortured through my dreams on an almost-nightly basis. I love dreams, I have very vivid dreams and I remember a lot of them. As a child, I could do amazing things in my dreams, like fly and become invisible at will. I used to dream about epic adventures. Most times when I dream, I am fully aware that I am dreaming, and sometimes I can control what happens. I always dream in colour, and I always see myself in my dreams, as if I am watching myself on video. This allows me a degree of consciousness, because I am aware of being the director behind the camera, if you will.

A couple of years ago, I went to a Jungian analyst who told me that Jungian theory said a lot about dreams. Of primary concern was the theory that every person in your dream is actually a part of you. In a lot of ways, I think this makes good sense. For example, I had this one recurring theme in my dream of a shadowy character who was chasing after me. Sometimes he – it was a man – wanted to take something away from me (in one dream, it was a package, in another, it was a baby). I was afraid of this man, and yet I could not escape him. I tried my best, I ran and hid, I drove far away, but he would always come up, as if he already knew where I was going and could beat me there every time. After some discussion, the analyst told me he thought I was struggling to integrate different parts of my own psyche: a part that was a bit dark, with the very surface part that was raised to be "good". The good part was struggling against the dark part, but both parts were me, and so the dark character could never be eliminated, but must be integrated. When I began to allow myself to feel emotions I normally would label as "negative", and expressed myself in more productive ways, the dreams stopped. Coincidence? maybe… but ever since then, I have accepted this theory.

So, as I said, I am being tortured through my dreams almost nightly. By… myself, on this theory! However, the dreams are all about the same person: I keep having dreams about my ex-boyfriend. This is a person I have been split from for 3.5 years, and I haven't physically seen him for more than a year. Except in my dreams every single bloody night! I have had these dreams on and off for a long time, but sporatically. But now it's every night! It started about two weeks ago. The circumstances of each dream vary in major ways, but the theme seems to be the same: I am still in love with him, and he has moved on. Most of these dreams centre on me trying to ruin and undermine his new relationship. In one of these dreams, I was actively and repeatedly trying to kill him and his dream-fiance (all of these attempts were unsuccessful)! It is tormenting me.

The thing is, I don't feel any love for this person anymore, save for the love I have for every member of the human race. I don't wish bad things for him, but I simply do not want anything to do with him any more. I am not in love with him. I would not want to be with him again. I would rather that I never run into him ever again. So, what are these dreams about?

I do have a theory about this. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about love being a fairy tale. Well, all my life, I have been a romantic, incurable. I always believed in true love, soul mates, all of that. When I met this person, I thought I had found all of that, and I loved this person as much as I could, and that love deepened over the five years we were together. My love was unselfish and generous, abundant. He loved me, too, but his capacity was not the same, and he couldn't match what I gave. When we broke up, I believed that was it for me: I had had my chance at love, and it was gone; that man was my soul mate, and I was doomed to a life that would not include love like that again. Imagine my distress! From that point on, I was cynical about love. I didn't believe it was going to happen to me again, and from the amount of pain I was going through, I didn't want to fall in love and be that vulnerable again.

I think that in my dreams, perhaps even in my consciousness, this person represents love, the part of me that is loving and romantic and still believes in soul mates and never-ending love. I think that in my dreams, this part of me is ready to move on, ready to begin again. And the conscious part of my psyche is scared by it, and is trying to prevent that from happening. It's safer to pass through life as a single. No one can hurt you if you don't let them.

So, that is my analysis. I wonder what my analyst would have said about my interpretation?!?! Perhaps if I was still going to visit with him, I would have arrived at this conclusion a bit sooner.

I won't say I'm really totally ready to begin looking for a new mate. But, I think perhaps I am becoming more open to the idea. I do miss it sometimes, being in love.

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Lately, I've been considering my beliefs. I thought to myself the other day, "I don't believe in anything," but that's not quite true. I do believe in lots of things. I realize that, to be more accurate, I don't have a specific belief in one particular religion or philosophy. In this discussion, to be clear, if something has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, one cannot BELIEVE in it; it simply IS SO. One cannot BELIEVE in a FACT. (I don't believe the earth is round, I know that it is so.) A belief involves faith, without evidence. A belief in a thing could easily be countered by another belief in its exact opposite – and neither thing can be shown to be true.

As a philosophy student, I am constantly forced to examine difficult issues, some moral, some psychological, some metaphysical. One might think this would lead to a firm set of beliefs. One would, however, be wrong. I find it difficult sometimes, after examining all the arguments involved in an issue, to come down firmly and clearly on one side or the other (or the other). Sometimes I find it easy to decide on a position, based on beliefs that I already hold and have stood up against other issues with some consistency.

I have come to see that most of the beliefs I have are based on one of two things: evidence, or logic. For example, I believe in the existence of "aleins". I believe that there are extra-terrestrial beings out there somewhere. Why do I hold this opinion? No conclusive evidence exists to support this idea, but in my mind, it is simply logical that somewhere else in our bigger-than-we-can-imagine universe, there is at least one other planet on which there is some form of life. Just makes sense to me.

There are other intangible things in which I believe – moral principles. I believe in freedom, equality and justice. I believe in honesty, respect, responsibility and compassion. I believe it is best to live one's life according to these principles, among others. I believe it is wrong to judge other people, and I believe it is wrong to do things to deliberately hurt others. There are also certain theories I ascribe to, such as forms of pacifism and utlitarianism. These beliefs help to form my opinions on several issues, such as the american "war on terror", the property rights of First Nations people, same-sex marriage, and abortion. (Bad, bad, evil idea, terrible abuse of power that has not been amended by any stretch of the imagination, so obvious it seems silly that people argue about it, and every woman has a right to have the option to choose it, respectively.)

This could be referred to as a set of beliefs, linguistically, but they do not quite fit my definition. There is evidence that the world operates better under moral rules such as freedom, equality, justice, honesty, respect, responsibility and compassion. Our laws certainly reflect these ideas, and more people seem happier and have better qualities of life when these ideas are upheld. So, to me, these principles come a bit closer to fact than to belief, although I'm sure some do not live their lives according to these principles and will disagree. At best, they are values, principles to which I firmly ascribe that give me a moral framework for moving about in the world. However, none of these values make it any easier for me to decide on major, metaphysical questions, such as what happens when we die. This is where I have difficulty. Nobody can conclusively tell me what it is like after death, if consciousness continues, if there is a spiritual "place" that our "souls" go to reside. There is no evidence. There is only belief.

So, this is where I have trouble. I was raised in the christian baptist religion, but it fights with my sense of logic – lots of things just don't make sense to me, and these things are not exclusive to baptist faith, but run common throughout all christian theology. For that same reason, I cannot ascribe to other major religions, such as judaism or islam. The theory of reincarnation makes sense to me, but yet I cannot put my foot firmly down on it, and so I cannot ascribe to either buddhism or hinduism, nor any other religion that uses reincarnation heavily in its moral theory. The idea of one all-powerful god does not appeal to me, and neither does the idea of several gods.

And so, I remain unsure and undevoted. It is the one area of my life in which I feel at odds, and no amount of reading or research into other theological schools seems to help. The religious idea I can come closest to ascribing to is classical Taoism, but lots of forms of Taoism do not make sense to me either. In any case, it is a struggle for me that has been going on most of my life, despite any activity in christianity in which I have participated. I don't feel I am any closer to answers, but I do feel that it is something that needs resolution. I am not sure about the existence of "soul", but if I have one, I'd like it to be at peace with this before death comes knocking.

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Today I started my day an hour earlier. I am amazed at how much more time this seems to give me. I was up and out of the house before 9 today (I had an appointment), and now it is 11 and I feel as though I've been up for hours and hours! So I have decided that I am going to get up earlier all the time now. I feel like I could get so much more stuff done.

 

Time is a valuable thing, often wasted and squandered as though there would always be more to come. Time is kind of a mind-boggler for me. I have trouble thinking in terms of infinities. Time is also an invention, and so that is kind of weird as well, because it is and it isn't… it's something that is there, but someone actually named it, claimed it, put a purpose to it. It's hard to think about life without time, because we are always so structured around it: what time I will be at a certain place, what time I will leave, how much time it takes me to get from my home to the place I have promised to be. How old I am. (29 and 2 weeks) How fast the seasons go by. How fast the years go by. Time is inescapable and irreversible; you can't get it back once it's gone.

 

So how can I be more mindful of my time? I have always kind of liked not wearing a watch, not caring what time it was, and going by my own rhythm. Ignoring time. Doing what feels right, when it feels right, rather than when someone wants me to. But, rather acutely lately, I am feeling time. It is pressing on me, catching up to me. It is whispering to me, taunting me. Soon, I will have more things that must be crammed into the same amount of hours in each day, each week. Not as much free time, time to spend just as I like, being leisurely and savouring the minutes that pass. Soon I will have to account for every minute, with few to spare.

 

I am fairly good at organizing my time if need be. I can stick to a schedule quite well. But then the irrepressible urge to rebel takes over. I can't explain the reasons for the rebellion that overtakes my life sometimes. Chalk it up to my controlled childhood. I dislike being confined into a role, into a set of restrictions. I dislike being told what to do, how to do it and when it must be done. And so, the rebellion begins. It starts small and grows, rather quickly, until the whole day that I had planned to do X, Y and Z becomes a day in which part of X was done and I watched old movies on TV and made a big batch of cookies and cleaned my closet.

 

I think this might be a turning point. Although I don't want to be controlled by time, eventually, it will win. Time always wins. So I have to think in terms of working with time, so that I can have more control over the time that I have been given, and so that I can be more efficient and enjoy more of the time I have that is free, that is mine and that I have not sold to a business or promised to an institution. My time IS valuable, and so I must start treating it as such.

 

Time, bring it on. I can handle the passing of each moment, the ticking of the clock.

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I was chatting yesterday with my best friend, M, and we were talking about what we thought we might be doing in a few years. It all came about from a discussion of what made us each feel good, feel at peace, feel alive.For me, I feel most peaceful when I am by the ocean. I could sit and watch the sky and the waves and the birds all day. I like beaches, but that's not really what I mean. I don't need the surf and the sand and the sun, although it makes me happy to have a beachy day. I need to just be with the ocean. What I need is the ions in the air, the salty taste of the spray on my lips, beachcombing for its treasures, and endless hours of sitting and just staring at the vastness of it all. I can imagine being out on the water, across the great expanse of eternal waves.

I think that's what I like about the ocean – I love that no matter what, it is always in motion, always in flux, always changing and still unchanging. it is constant; it will always be there, lapping at the shores of the land that is so lucky to touch it. what we see on the surface is so little – so much lies beneath, waiting to be discovered. and the ocean is both so simple, so benign as water is, and yet so powerful, so moody, so changeable. simplicity and power all at once.

I always come away from the ocean feeling rooted to this place, this earth, this life. I feel at home in my heart and mind. I feel comforted and nurtured. I feel connected. I feel recharged. I feel as if I am exactly where and who I should be. it is a great sense of peace… tao. that I am, and that all the things that I am are just as they are, as they should be, and there is no need to be or do any differently. that whatever becomes of me will be perfectly suited.

This is only half of the picture for me. I find the balance in big cities. When I am in a big city, I feel a sense of excitement, of possibility, of big dreams that can come true, of hopefulness. The energy and vitality a city brings to my step, my eye, my heart and my mind is powerful for me. It is inspiring, and it makes my heart want to sing and shout and dance! I love just being in a city. I love discovering new things, new places, seeing new wonders – not wonders of nature, but the creativity of modern humans in design, technology, architecture, art. I love the history of big cities, how they came to be the beautiful behemoths they are. I love the sense of connection with other people – millions of people milling around a city all on the same day, going about their own individual stuff, all at the same time. It's so exciting, so interesting. It makes me want to know them all, to find out where they are going, what they are thinking, how they are feeling. It gives me so much empathy for the human condition. It leaves me feeling revitalized, refreshed.

And so, how to have both of these things? It seems clear to me that I need both the ocean and a large city, on a fairly regular basis. Do I live in a city and go to the ocean to visit, or vice versa? How to achieve the perfect degree of balance is problematic for me at this point in my life, since I live in a small city – which does not give me the sense of vitality I crave – that is situated on the ocean – not the ideal; I see the ocean everyday, but I do not have the solitude that I desire to just be with the ocean. Perhaps I need a city near the ocean so I can escape when I need to…

this is not the only problem.

When I actually picture myself in the future, my vision is very clear. I see myself living in Europe, between Geneva and Amsterdam. I see my flat very clearly in Amsterdam; it has a large window directly onto the street, five stairs down. It has a fireplace, and high ceilings. It has a yellowish face, smooth stone, and is the main floor of a townhouse. There are red walls in the living room. I have beautiful art on the walls. Geneva is much different – everything is made of glass and steel, a little colder. It seems a bit more impersonal; home base is definitely Amsterdam. I can even see myself; my hair is shorter, a stylish long bob. My clothing is classic and fashionable, not quite understated. In both places, I live alone.

I have one more vision of myself in the future. In it, I have a small, old, rambling house, situated on a cliff overlooking an angry ocean. It is darker here, grey skies and sea to match. It feels like Europe, but English – maybe one of the British Isles, Scotland, Ireland? There is fog, and cold. I have a magnificent garden that surrounds the house. I am alone in this house as well, but here, I am sad. There is a sadness that surrounds this vision that I cannot shake; I try to picture it in the daytime, under the sun, but no sun comes. It is a bit haunting, this image. I am an old woman in this place.

Are these visions clairvoyant? Are they possible outcomes to various paths I might take? Will there be a juncture in my life at which I will make a choice that will cost me one of these visions? Will all of these visions become reality? Or are they simply imagination?

time will tell…

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