Treats and tricks.

In the midst of overhauling the studio, a whole bunch of my favorite things have gathered in one corner of the room. These things seem to tell a story about who I have been, and I find myself wondering, which ones will continue on to tell the story of who I’m yet to be?

corner-of-the-studio

This has been a challenging autumn (or year, or life…in fact; I don’t know if there’s a life that exists without a whole lotta challenge, now that I think of it) and I’ve been doing a bunch of healing and growing and wondering what is coming around the bend.  Every day is a new adventure, though I am often convinced that it’s definitely going to be the same as yesterday, or last week. As if it could ever be.  This has been a time of shedding skins and trying on new clothes.

Today I got the message from my essential, inner dancing girl self that she needed a play day. No fighting inner demons today…just a day to play.  So I danced around the studio; I smashed some stuff in my yard with a sledgehammer (that was on my bucket list; totally awesome), and I am now playing with rubber stamps.  Not sure what’s next.

I’ve been playing around with the idea that, for me, a treat can often just be the next best-feeling thing.  And sometimes the treat is in the looking forward to and the doing (as with watching a favorite show, eating a divine cookie, watching the sunset, or having tea with a friend) and sometimes the treat is maybe in the doing and mostly in the result (cleaning the bathroom, doing my bookkeeping, washing the dishes for what feels like the gazillionth time in a day, or taking out the trash).

Today a treat for me is looking forward to and getting to take photos of a beautiful, dear friend.  Another treat is looking forward to watching a new silly TV show I like called “No Tomorrow”.  Another treat is making a card for a friend and popping it in the mailbox.  And another treat might be getting out on my bicycle…if it feels good.

I like the idea that anything can be a treat on one day, and that it may not feel so treat-like on the next.  I do my best work and have my best feeling life when I trust the treats of today and move towards whichever one tastes the sweetest in this moment.  And in the moments when the world seems devoid of treats, when everything seems like a chore or drudge work, then it’s probably time for me to pause and reconnect with my essential self.

I have a few tricks I use to link back up with my inner dancing girl.  It might be time to ask myself, “what would feel downright naughty right now?” or maybe,”what is the thing that has been on my to-do list the longest that would make the most difference to complete or let go?” Or it might be time to take a look and see: “is there anything in my schedule coming up, today or any day in the future, that I really and truly do not want to do even though I said I would, or thought I could, or think I should?”

Sometimes when there is stuck energy about something in my life, even the treaty-est sweet treats don’t hold the juice and the joy that I am looking for, and ordinary non-treaty things just seem like the absolute pits.  In those times, we can check out and eat or drink or smoke or shop or whatever we do to keep our tough feelings away for awhile, or we can extend the utmost kindness to our wretched-feeling selves and get curious (and honestly, I usually end up doing a bit of both).

“What’s up, honey?”, we can ask ourselves,  “I hear you that it seems like nothing would feel good and there’s no way to make it better.  Can you say anything else about what you’re feeling right now?”.  And often this is the perfect time to call a friend, real (or imaginary if that’s what you’ve got), and find someone to hold our hand, to ask us loving questions and to listen while we unfurl whatever tornado is twisting up our insides.  And then go find ourselves a dang good treat.

aquinnah-sunset-dusk
Dusk at the cliffs in Aquinnah, late summer. Treat! Treat!

When the timing is right…and my ducks are in a row.

I have watched myself, throughout life, move in and out of action towards what seems to be my purpose here on this planet. It has probably looked from a distance like I am winding a crazy labyrinth through life, but for me it has always been about following a feeling of aliveness, and finding a life path that precipitates that feeling. The times when I experience myself going astray are times when I am unsure of the stability, or have a clear lack, of one of my basic needs. The times that I see myself thriving and moving forward with clear passion and purpose are instances when it occurs to me that I have my basic ducks in a row.

During a recent two-week road trip to Canada I saw the difference it makes to have my basic needs taken care of.  I observed the futility of trying to focus on any other thing when I had not secured – and felt unsure of how to procure – food, fuel or shelter.

I stayed for a few days with a friend of my dad’s who works as a county councillor and he was sharing with me his thoughts on the governance of a community.  We explored the possibility that never before now, in our culture, have we ignored the need for security in all three of what are considered to be humans’ basic needs at the same time.  Instead, we are putting our focus on “progress” and expansion to the detriment of our lives and communities.  I am seeing the possible effect of this misstep in my own experience as I live on the virtual edge of homelessness and fear of exposure to the elements.  There is essentially no extra energy or attention for self-expression, expansion or creation.

In the last few years, my urge to have a home of my own has been getting stronger. I didn’t realize until recently that I probably won’t be able to get on with my life, so to speak, until I get that sorted out.  Author Sonia Choquette talks about the idea that we can really only take on and have miraculous results with our current heart’s desires. She speaks of having had an urge to write a book but not being able to get going with it. Upon further reflection she realized that, at that moment, what she desired most was rest, tidiness in her home, and a chance to spend quality time with her young children.

There is a time for every purpose, and I am seeing that the going can be maddeningly slow when I am taking on a purpose of mine that is meant for a later date, or when I am looking for inspiration in my work without having secured a roof (literal or metaphorical) over my head.  Lately I have been coming up with all sorts of ideas for my work in the future, but I haven’t been able to get myself moving with any one of them. Just as Choquette shared in her story, my failure  in having these ideas take flight doesn’t seem to be for fear of success, though that may play a small role in my hesitation. Instead it seems to be more a case of timing, and lining up my ducks (and getting roofs over their heads). Currently I am hearing the call, loud and clear, that it is time for this cancerian homebody to find a rock of my own, and when I do, when my basic needs are taken care of…watch out world, because here I come!