Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brokenhearted

The heart breaks and breaks
and lives by breaking.
It is necessary to go
through dark and deeper dark
and not to turn.
~~from "The Testing-Tree" by Stanley Kunitz

I have learned from love. And I have learned from heartbreak. Both are good teachers. I'm beginning to see that one opens the way for the other. Each time my heart is broken, it opens. More space is created for love to enter and flow through me. Doesn't mean it doesn't hurt like a son of a bitch though.

tall penguin

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Epiphanous Moment is Brought to you by the Letter "A"

I had another epiphanous moment last night. That moment where life becomes so completely clear and the threads lay out plain and you see the tapestry that every little yarn has weaved. And I laughed, hysterically. It's funny. Life is funny.

And the other thing I learned last night is that I am ever expanding in my ability to love, or rather channel love. We are all love. Most of us just don't know it yet. I know it. And it's pretty fucking cool.

And the other thing I learned last night, beside the other thing I learned last night, is that my sense of intuition is a strong and powerful force. Why did I ever doubt it?

There are things percolating in my universe. Things beyond my wildest imagination. I am going to have everything I've dreamed of in this life. I just know it. I knew it. But now I know that I know it.

Oh, and my body has officially decided that it's only sleeping every other night. And it's okay. It's all okay. I've come to accept this body and go with its flow. It's doing its body thing. The less I fight it, the more it loves me. Funny that. I think life is like that too. Fight less. Love more. Easy. Easy.

tall penguin

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Communication Anguish

I sometimes go back and read through this blog from beginning to end. Often my thought is, "Wow, there's some pretty good stuff here." Other times I think, "What the fuck am I talking about?" I have a tendency to anguish over communication, not knowing whether to say something or not. Is it the right time? The right place? The right words? Is what I'm saying true or am I weaving some bullshit story?

I have been attempting to take a "let it stand" approach to my life these days. I am doing my best to say what I need to say and then let it go, even when I see it's misunderstood or it's being reacted to in a way I didn't anticipate. We're all caught up in these stories in our minds of what we think we've just heard. We assume, make judgments, become afraid, pull away, draw close, shut down, get angry, become sad. Words. Letters. Sounds. They're just blips. Why do we take it all so seriously?

tall penguin

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What are you doing now?

So, I went to my High School Reunion. Well, it wasn't really a reunion so much as the 30th Anniversary of the school's opening. There were folks there from across the last thirty years. Only about a half dozen of them were from my time at the school. I was able to connect with a few of my old teachers though and that was cool.

What struck me though, more than going down memory lane at my old high school, was the walk to and from the building. I got off the bus early so I could take the stroll to school as I had so many times as a teen. I was struck by the beautiful trees that lined my route to school. Their fall colors washed that back-to-school feeling right through me. I stopped along the way and picked a few leaves to commemorate the journey.

After the reunion events, I walked back the same way and recalled that these trees were about the same age as I was. They had been planted when the development opened and my family moved in shortly after I was born. 34 year-old me. 34 year-old trees. Cool.

Reunions bring out one question in every interaction, "What are you doing now?" It's a silly question. As if the last 17 years can be encapsulated in your current job description. I ended up saying, "I paint, write and occasionally sell books in a bookstore." But the trees---they had a better answer. As I was walking home, I asked them, "So trees, what are you doing now?" And they said, "The same thing we've always done---we're being trees."

Being. Just being human. That's what I'm doing now.

tall penguin

Friday, October 17, 2008

Badass Goddess?

I blogged about my recent penchant for smoking cigarillos. Well, here I am in my first official smoking photo (right). And I dare say I make this look good. Deena says I look like legendary singer/songwriter/badass Patti Smith (left). Whacha think?

tall penguin

"Short and Shit"

This was how my neuropsychiatrist/sleep specialist described the state of my sleep, as indicated by the last sleep study I had done. Apparently my brain is in a state of hyper-arousal, even while I sleep, which interferes with the ole sleep cycle. Quantity and quality both get affected making my sleep experience "short and shit."

Doc regularly works in the U.S. with war vets suffering from PTSD and says my sleep patterns are similar to theirs. He figures that the traumas this mind/body have dealt with have landed me with a system that is hardwired for hyper-arousal. I've blogged about the sensory overwhelm I often feel while awake and how easily I enter that state of hyper-arousal; it would seem that the brain never quite winds down. Even when I'm sleeping, it's frantically processing both my internal and external environments, leaving me chronically sleep-deprived. It's also likely to be the greatest contributing factor to the chronic Fibromyalgia pain and fatigue. As it turns out, my joke about having an ADD mind in a Chronic Fatigue body is probably pretty accurate. No wonder it has always felt as if I have my foot on the brake and the gas at the same time.

The greatest part of all this? (Aside from getting to try yet another sleep med... cause the last one made me crave all things fried and fatty...geez I may as well have been smoking pot...all I wanted to do was eat...ALL THE TIME. When I wasn't eating, I was thinking about eating. Even when I was eating, I was still thinking about eating. All I could think was "What can I eat next?" Note to the world: At low doses, Remeron will help you sleep, but dammit, when you're awake, you'll eat yourself out of house and home. You've been warned. Okay, I digress.)

The greatest part of all this? Emotionally, I've never felt better in my life. Ya, I'm sleep-deprived. Ya, I experience chronic pain; it's the low-level hum in the background of my life. And ya, I have a sore throat, swollen lymph glands and general fatigue most of the time. But, for the first time in my life, none of these symptoms have me. I'm alive people; not just breathing alive, but alive alive. I want to be here. I want to live. And dammit, I'm having a jolly good time in this crazy thing called life.

As I walked out of the doctor's office and down the street, I found myself laughing out loud and then tears appeared from out of nowhere. I was laughing and smiling and crying, so completely delighted with myself, delighted with life, delighted with the fact that I'm here each day in spite of this mind/body and its particular challenges. I've done pretty damn good with the hand I've been dealt. And for the first time, I was thankful for everything--all of it. It's all okay.

As I was leaving the doc's office, he said, "It's great to see you doing so well." Yup. Me. Doing well. Or rather, me being well. Actually, it's just me being. Finally, just me being me and that being enough. Isn't this what I wished for a year ago? Remember this? I blogged there about what I wanted. My long wish list. Well, at the end, it all came down to:

"I want to know that even if I don’t accomplish any of these things, that I’m okay, that I’m loved and that my life is worth living."

A year. I can't believe it's only been a year since I wrote that. A year of presence. A year of love. A year of life. I have arrived. Everything else from here on out is gravy my friends. And I'm looking forward to every tasty bit of it.

tall penguin

Heart Smile...

The smile that comes from the heart lingers on the lips like the kiss of a lover.

tall penguin

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Connect With the Other...

In my travels through the world of psychotherapy, I once tried Gestalt Therapy. The one thing that has stayed with me from that experience is how often the facilitator would stop my current rant and story-telling and say to me, “Connect with the other," the other being him. With that, I would look into his eyes, breathe and become present again. And suddenly, what I was ranting about seemed of little consequence, or at least could be breathed with. There was something so very poignant about those brief moments of eye contact, and something as equally poignant about how much I would try to avoid them.

I reflect on what connection means, what love means, what relationship means, what it really means to be intimate with another human being. And that is it. It’s seeing the other. To see another, to truly connect with another is so very rare. We can make all sorts of eye contact, but do we really see the other person? Can we see them through the window of our heart, without the story going on in our minds about who this person is or who we think we are?

You know that man I’ve been blogging about—the one I claim to love? It hit me the other day that I am not even consciously aware of what color his eyes are. I’ve had numerous face-to-face conversations with this man and yet can’t even recall ever noticing the color of his eyes. Where have I been? (Edited to add: They're blue. A deep sea blue. I'm going to blame their vast beauty for my lack of awareness in their presence...I know, I know...gag you with a spoon.)

I’ve heard people express that they wake up after twenty years of marriage to a person in their bed they don’t even recognize. And I wonder if they ever saw their mate at all? Do we really see each other? Do we ever truly “connect with the other?”

tall penguin

Let It Stand.

I came home from work last night and read your comments on yesterday’s post and realized that what I was really trying to say didn’t come across. I sat and composed a reply comment to clarify. And then I stopped. I realized how many times in my life I’d began conversations or emails with “What I really wanted to say was…” How often I was afraid of my words being misconstrued, how very often I felt so alone because I thought no one understood me. I stopped. I didn’t post any clarifying comment. I decided to let it stand.

Language is an art form. Like any art, once created, it is left to the interpretation of the receiver. And that interpretation is inevitably shaded by all manner of perceptions. It is what it is. What is true for me now is that these words can never show you who I am. They can never portray the boundlessness of this being. And so, it doesn’t matter what I was trying to say. Nothing matters. And it’s okay.

tall penguin

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sigh...

I've been battling a cold for a week now. I'm PMSing. I feel like simultaneously crying, screaming and putting my fist through a window. And I have to work today because if I don't, the company won't shell out the Stat Holiday pay from our national holiday yesterday (some bullshit about having to work the scheduled shift before and after the holiday).

Getting ready for work, my head clouded with snot, rage and suppressed tears, I turn to my roomie and say, "If I weren't working today, I'd call in sick." Story of my life folks. Story of my life.

tall penguin

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hmm...

I was just reflecting on past relationships and my tendency to enter high-conflict situations. And the related tendency to create conflict, or at least feel drawn to create conflict, when there is peace. Somewhere within my psyche there is a belief system that the best learning comes from conflict. And I look at the world and can't help but think that most of the planet holds the same belief. Scary.

tall penguin

Turkey Time...

There is a twenty-pound dead animal thawing in my fridge. And for the first time in my life, it seems wrong to me.

I even found myself hesitating the other day when the roomie asked me to kill a spider in our apartment. If he's not around, I usually just let them live. Not sure what it all means. It's interesting though.

tall penguin

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Making Peace...

In my last entry, I wrote about feeling intense rage towards a God I don't even believe exists. There is a residue of the God I was raised with, the ideals I attributed towards this personage and my expectations of him. They were all in my mind, of course, as well as the collective conscious of the Jehovah's Witness group I belonged to. It seems strange for me now to be making peace with a God that I don't even believe is real. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that I am making peace with my previous conceptions of the Divine. It is a letting go of any expectations I had of this ideal.

And I think of how often we rage against ideals. How often I have set up my own "gods"--my parents being the prime examples. As children we deify our parents; we give them otherworldly abilities, as well as high expectations. And inevitably, they fall short. How could they not?

I realize that making peace with my parents, with God, with my past, is about healing the illusions, about letting go of what was never real to begin with. It is about allowing the events and people to be just as they are. This happened. That happened. She did this. He did that. If I take out all the emotional overlay about what should have happened or was supposed to happen or what could have happened, all that is left is what is. And what is, is neutral. Without all the emotional overlay and judgment, there is a just a retelling of events. And once you can get to that place, there is peace. The suffering subsides. It becomes just another chapter in the life of.

This blog has been filled with emotional overlay and judgment and what I wish could have happened and feel should have happened. I let it all unfold in real time. I hope it stands as a testimony to the insanity of the mind while it's in process. It has been said that one must tell their story until they don't need to tell their story anymore. I'm getting pretty bored with the story. It's why I haven't written as much of late. Sure, I still get pretty triggered up at times. And there is always something lurking in the subconscious waiting to be processed. But it matters less and less to me. It passes through me much easier and faster now. There is a greater and greater letting go.

Not much matters. It never did.

tall penguin

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Unrequited...

I have decided to open up a discussion on unrequited love. Well, it's not really a discussion, it's more of a lament. Unrequited love frustrates me so. There is no cut so deep, so real, so raw as the realization that an object of affection does not feel affection in return.

I remember once touring a museum which had on display a number of ancient torture devices. One consisted of a colander-like contraption which would be strapped over the victim's chest. A rat would be trapped under the device where its only means of escape would be to chew a hole through the victim's heart. It would be a slow, painful death both physically and psychologically as the victim watched the rat gnaw its way to freedom. Yup, I understand.

And yet the irony, (as my friend A decided to point out) is that the longing for the one we love is what drives great things. As I have discussed before, much of my art comes from this deep sense of wonder, the longing for what might be. I dare say unrequited love has been the basis for most great art across history.

And I wonder where it all stems from. I don't think we ever quite get over the original wounding of the loss of a parent's love. Somewhere along the neural pathway, abandonment creates such a deep yearning within us, an unquenchable thirst which we seek out in the most unavailable of partners. We pour salt on that first wound over and over again. And oddly enough, we reject those that are available to love us openly and truly. There is this theme of wanting what we can't have, a striving for the unreachable.

These recent brushes with unrequited love have raised to mind some outstanding issues I have with the God of my youth, the JW version of God I was raised with. I recall again and again having my choice of loves dissected, first by my mother, then by cult elders. "God wouldn't want you to love that person. He's not one of us, " or he'd be a JW but there was still something unacceptable about him--not tall enough, old enough, mature enough, good-looking enough. Yes, apparently God always knew better. He had a pretty narrow mind for what constituted an acceptable partner, but I was supposed to accept His judgment over my own every time.

Last week, when the rat of unrequitedness began chewing his way through my bare flesh, I found myself cursing God, a God I don't even believe exists. I was shouting at the sky: "Damn you! Why can't you just give me what I want?!" I cried for all the times my wants were substituted by someone else's; for every desire that was deemed inappropriate by "God", by the cult, by my mother; for every time I was diverted from going after something I wanted because someone, somewhere decided they knew better than I did. I cursed the heavens. I cursed every man who didn't love me. I cursed my mother for not seeing me then, for not seeing me now. I cursed myself for every breath I held believing that there was someone out there that gave a damn. And I cursed my foolish, foolish heart for loving again and again, knowing full well the rat lurks behind every ounce of longing. I cursed until they was nothing left to curse.

*****************

Today, the sun is shining in the sky. I still love the man that does not love me. (What good is love if it exists only when it is returned?)

The rat has found his way through my heart.

A sunbeam streams through the hole.

tall penguin

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Subway Connection...

Sometimes the deepest connections I experience are with strangers on the subway. There is this realization that we don't know each other, we'll probably never meet again, so there is only this moment. And all we have is eye contact. We know that words will suffice to say anything in such a short time. We know that this silent witnessing of the other is a divine gift. So we stare intently. We gaze into the truth of the other. And what do we find? We find ourselves looking back.

tall penguin