Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Gratitude Monday --They're Here Edition

The mountain bluebirds are back and I am grateful.

On Saturday my husband and I went out to the Kootenay Plains --west of Rocky toward the Banff Park gate--to look for bluebirds, a favourite sign of spring.

We had 16 sightings though they were likely the same six birds spotted over and over. That doesn't matter. They're here and we saw them.




Monday, April 9, 2018

Gratitude Monday -- Country Mourning Edition

I am grateful I live in a country that mourns as a community when tragedy strikes.

I am grateful that so many people are stepping up to help out in any way they can.

It's a good country to live in, and I am grateful for it.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Gratitude Monday - The Good Rejection Edition

I received a wonderful manuscript rejection recently and for it I am grateful.
Why?
Because the rejector took the time to tell me several good points before pointing out a glaring issue that put her off.
This is constructive criticism. It doesn't happen that often. I consider this rejection a blessing because I know now what needs fixing and I can get it done.
I am getting it done now.
It will be out for submission again and when it is it will be better, cleaner, and stronger.
This is good, and for this help I am grateful.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Gratitude Monday - Substitution Edition

I've been experimenting with rice tortillas as substitutes for gluten products. It works, and I am grateful.
I used them on Saturday in the place of noodles for lasagna. They dissolved in the course of baking, but there were still there in spirit.
And they were tasty.

Yesterday I tried used them in place of phyllo pastry in spanakopita.  They held together well and made for a reasonable substitute. Also, they were tasty.

I am grateful such products exist and grateful that I am able to use them.
I did something similar a few years ago with gf tortillas, but had kale in the filling.

Here's the spanakopita:


Monday, March 19, 2018

Gratitude Monday --What Might Have Been Edition

I slipped on the ice in a filthy mud puddle in a driving lane between two parking lots, and I am grateful.
Here's why.
I am fine.
Last Thursday was a cold, wet, grey day. I had my car in for a wheel alignment and to pass the time I walked across the road to a store. On the way back I had to walk in the puddle to give room to oncoming traffic, had there been any, and slipped.

The fall wasn't that hard. I believe I hit my back first and probably kind of rolled before knocking the back of my head on the wet ground. It was a good thunk, but I was mostly down already so it was only a drop of an inch or two.
This makes a difference.
I got up and immediately did some neck stretches and rolls and have kept doing them.

After my initial assessment at ER I was left to wait for 45 minutes before being called in to a room. Once in a room I was left for an hour. Rather than complain I was grateful.
When you are left alone it means you aren't in any danger. It's when they take you straight in and fuss over you that you need to worry.

Now I've got much to whine about over this. I was soaked and cold and did not feel clean and I had a headache.
However, I could have cracked my skull open, gotten a concussion, bruised myself, fallen face first in the icy water, or even broken my hip.
But none of that happened.
Instead I am grateful that all I had was a wee bump at the back of my head that was all but gone the next morning, whiplash, and a few pulled muscles.
As I said at the top of the post I am fine, and for it I am grateful.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Minding My Body



I am not comfortable in my body.
No, I don't hate my body. Despite the best efforts of the cosmetic, diet, and personal hygiene industries to convince us we are fat, ugly, and we stink, I'm okay with it.
It's old and lumpy and a bit slow, but it is the body of a woman near 60 so all is normal as far as I am concerned.
What I say is I never accepted being in a body. I didn't realize it for years. I had a shallow idea of it, but only lately have I developed the visceral understanding: I resent being in a body.
It is inefficient.
It must be fed.
After it is fed it has to get rid of waste.
This always bothered me. I hated the fact I have to go to the bathroom. It's human. Everyone does it. Every living creature—as far as I know-eliminates waste from its body.
Denying it does no good. It's harmful. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.
I hardly ate anything when I was little unless I was at home. Even then I can't say I ate much unless it was fish. That I keep at, staying at the table, until it was all gone. Or that's how I recall it.
It wasn't due to feeling undeserving though that came along as a possibility once or twice. No, it went deeper. It was a denial of essential humanity.
It bothered me that I had to eat. It shouldn't be. Why do I have to put food in my body? It made no sense. It wasted time. Sure, it is pleasurable. I liked how food tastes, I just didn't like having to eat it.
Now this wasn't every day. For a good part of the time life went about normally with eating and drinking and sleeping and all the things one does while alive.
But the memory of other stayed with me.
I never felt attached to my body. Certainly I, whatever I am, is in it, but we are separate entities, this body and me.
I am in it and I use it and it serves me.
We are told we are more than our bodies, that it is just a vehicle. We are told that it is what is inside that matters.
This is a great thing to believe. Yet it is wrong on a few different levels. We are our bodies. They are what we present to the world. They are how we show ourselves to others. Not just in looks, but in carriage, in how we dress, how clean we are, our shapes, our health, our manners.
Even as I say this, and stand behind it, we are not just our bodies.
This is part of the problem. We are made to feel less than right if our bodies don't met a certain standard thus ignoring that what we are inside is what counts.
This sounds like contradictions and it is. That's the world we live in. We have to keep those contradictions in mind to live a proper life. We need to present ourselves and be aware of our bodies, yet cultivate the inner person, the soul as it projects through us.
In my case I have strong memories of being other. Over the  past years I have delved deeper and deeper into the memories of the being who visited me until I was three years old.
When she and I talked I was an adult. I am quite sure I was male. It feels like male energy when I think about it.
I can recall that we spoke about what I was going to do as a human. I have a plan for it and I know we went over it, we confirmed it, and I feel when I think about it, that I nodded, agreed and believed it would be relatively easy to accomplish.
I have no idea what that plan is. I hope I am following it.
She left when I was three. She said she couldn't come to see me anymore. The adult part of me understood, but the human child part didn't want her to leave.
Two things resulted from this. An intense feeling of abandonment I have had my entire life, and a thorough resentment of being human.
I hate being in a body, it doesn't do the things I think it ought. I have no real idea what those things are though flying is a strong possibility.
When I was young I liked to jump out of the hayloft or off the combine hopper. For those few seconds I was in the air I felt free.
 Landing was not an issue. Landing on the balls of my feet and rolling was instinctive until one day when it wasn't.
At the age of 10 this instinct went quiet. I was going to jump off the combine hopper to the grass, a distance of maybe 10 feet. I'd done it easily a dozen times in the past. At the time I hadn't done it in a long time, maybe more than a year and I'd stopped jumping out of the hayloft, too.
I stood peering over the hopper to the ground, thinking about it. It didn't feel right anymore. Thinking had never been part of jumping. It used to be pure action. Form the thought to do it, do it and feel free of gravity, and walk away.
As a tomboy I often had a gun and holster set which I loved. I wore it often. It seemed right and that day I had it on. I threw it down first. It survived, I told myself, and proceeded to take off my shoes and throw them down.
They landed fine.
If they can, then I can, I recall thinking.
I thought some more, crawled out to the hopper's edge, swallowed hard, and launched myself into the air.
The thinking should have told me something, but it didn't. Instinct was gone. Instead of the usual land and roll that had served me so well I dropped hard on my heels. So hard that I limped for three weeks when no one was around to see it.
I felt shame. What had been fun had hurt me.
It had been in the past that when I flew through the air for those brief seconds I was at one with the world. I didn't have a body.
Slamming my heels to the ground brought home that I was in a body. I didn't like it.
My body must have known I hated it. It did its best with what I gave it then. Now the signals from it have gotten stronger: asthma, heart failure and irregular heartbeat, colon cancer, and until recently I still didn't get it.
There's information all over the place about how one's body give signs and signals it's time for a change. Ignore them and they get louder, more painful, and take longer to recover from.
Over the years I've had some vague idea that I didn't like being in a body. I longed to be who I was before deciding that a stint as a human female was a good idea.
Now I see it is more complicated than that. It goes beyond not liking being in a human body to not really being in one.
Oh, I am, no question, but the essence of me has never merged with the body.
It and I are two different beings. This must stop. I am a human female in a woman's body and I have energy running it that must integrate with it in order to be whole.
All the diseases and disorders were my body resenting being ignored. I need to accept it and be it. We are our bodies, and yet we are so much more.
When those two sides merge in me I will be healthy and able to move on to whatever the plan for this life.
I know it is there. I remember agreeing to it in the barn during the visits. I can see and feel and all but be back to the days when the being and I spoke. I remember agreeing. I remember  going over the assignment and taking a logical, objective approach to it.
And I knew she had to leave because it was time for me to just be a human. To be a three year old kid and get on with the human experience.
But I never forgot her visiting me, and the drawing she put on the barn wall.
Over the years I came to see it as a clown. That was fear.
Initially, it was a picture of, what I am guessing, is one of us. What we look like.
After she left I'd go to the barn and sit gazing at it, remembering. I remembered our conversations and pretended she was there with me. I'd think about my plan and was a grown up again for those few minutes and I wasn't in a body.
For as much as I want to remember those moments and see her again, and know my life plan, it isn't healthy. Not right now.
I have to get to the point where I am okay being in a body, I have to love it and nurture it as I am nurturing me. I have done it, and like it, but resentment lurks below the surface. I feel the need to be more than I am without having first to be what I am.
I am working on it.

-excerpt from Star Heart, the working title of a memoir I am writing to get a handle on the contact I have had in my life.