Grand Delusions or Just Plain Faith?

delusaional unicorn woman

Yesterday I woke heavy, sore, fuzzy-headed. After dragging myself out of bed, I walked into my living room and over to my paper-and-book-mess ‘desk’ (which is really a crappy wooden dining table) and picked up the Hillberg & Berk catalogue that I had gotten in Regina recently.

My best friend had bought me a pair of emerald sparkle balls from the jewellery store when I was visiting her for her wedding. She told me the story of Hillberg & Berk, how the (female) owner of the small business now sells jewellery to the stars, was on the Dragon’s Den and has even been on Oprah…all a pretty big deal.

I’ve never really considered myself a fancy jewellery person; owning a bunch of it is not high on my list of priorities. These earrings are probably the fanciest ones I’ve ever owned, and it was so kind of her to gift them to me.

I love jewellery, I want to look good, but the priority has always been ‘cheap.’ And besides that, in my attempt to be fairly non-materialistic, I’ve never aspired to real diamonds, whether I buy them for myself or not.

For my entire adult life, I’ve worked full-time (and gone to school) but still have been in debt and living mostly paycheck-to-paycheck. This is what is normal to me. I also tend to buy cheap crappy things because (even though I realize it’s not the most ethical thing), that is ‘all I can afford.’

My mom did her best to teach me how to manage my money, and conceptually I understand this. Yet I find myself caught in a cycle of scarcity, a situation which runs much deeper than just ‘how’ we manage our money. I accept some of the responsibility for not being as good with money as I could be.

But there are deeper issues to consider… like quality.

Lately I’ve been getting more and more frustrated about my crappy furniture, the fact that I can’t really afford to replace my good quality boots, the fact that just getting a new (cheap) laptop to work on is a big huge expense.

It’s hard to have lived single for so long in an expensive city. No partners to split the rent, to take vacations with, to even split the chores. Not even enough leeway to do a car co-op thing. My friends are endlessly generous, and sometimes a date will pick up the dinner bill, which is a huge treat.

Mostly it’s just me, and I want to treat myself and my friends/dates too. I would like for it to not feel like a struggle to spend a little money on self-care, or get someone a special (local/handmade) gift.

After a brunch out and a small grocery shop yesterday, I walked home in the hard November rain. Carrying too-heavy groceries that were making my arms ache, feet soaked and cold, breathing heavier than I should be after only two short flights of stairs, I almost broke down.

Being this independent is simultaneously glorious and exhausting.

I’ve known for a long time that I have to start doing things differently in order to change this feeling of constantly being stuck, and for a while now I’ve believed that I can. I realized a few months ago how much the job that supposedly keeps me sustained is actually what’s keeping me down.

But it’s almost like I feel guilty for wanting something ‘more’; I mean in the end, who cares how much money my earrings cost? I feel like if I say that I want to be able to afford (somewhat) expensive things, I will sound like a pretentious boob, or like I have a (false) sense of entitlement. I will sound superficial, which is not me at all.

Or if I talk about how Oprah (writing for her website/magazine at least) is on my life ‘goal’ list, I would sound delusional. People would think I was crazy.

It’s just a pipe dream, they’d say. It will probably never happen. And besides, they’d say, why would you quit a job that has such great benefits? How are you going to support yourself? Do you have a plan? What about retirement?

What hit me yesterday as I was looking through that pretty catalogue, and wishing that I at least had the choice to purchase something a little bit luxurious for myself is that it’s about the choice, not the stuff.

The choice is about noticing those moments of feeling inspired yet tingly-terrified. When my heart is beating a little bit faster and my tummy feels butterflies because someone tells me that my writing has made their day better. Or that I’ve made them think about things a little bit differently. Or I’ve helped them to remember what makes them cry out of relief, or shine a little bit brighter.

And the choice is about choosing the quality work-the work that makes you happy and the world better-and not worrying so much about the cash flow.

Most real diamonds aren’t even ethical purchases so they are not important to my life. But what they do represent is (not romance!) quality, longevity, authenticity.

I may not have an exact plan, but I have a feeling. A really strong one-like, I actually believe that I will design an even more authentic, quality, free life.

And the more I feel like this, the more light I have to reflect back into the world.

So now when I wear those sparkle ball earrings, I’m going to remember that it’s about giving myself permission to want a more comfortable life. It will probably come in the form of joy, flow and freedom.

Kinda-sorta-maybe living the dream.

So my plan, really, is to go with the momentum, the feeling that I’m moving in the right direction. Because in the end that’s all we’ve got.

They didn’t know I was watching

I sat silently on my second floor perch, peering at bits and pieces of city life.

From here I’ve watched: staggering drunks weave their path along the sidewalk; the solo rapper; a man brushing his teeth; raucous groups of teenagers; dedicated walkers carrying plastic bags and plugged into their ipods; the wheelchair couple racing each other; a man fall asleep at the bus stop; the older, native, chihuahua-bearing fellow with the walker.

You know, regular East Van pedestrian stuff.

Last night, it was two sets of neighbours, gorgeous couples crossing paths with a friendly hello at the door.  I sensed a lightness in their steps.

One set into the cool crisp night, the other up the stairs to the cozy abode above.

I meant to say hello.  I saw that they were safe and good, and that made me happy.

I’m surprised at how few people notice me: they don’t often look up. They don’t hear much above the steady stream of busses, cars, accidents, ambulances.  And that’s okay.

For a street fairly pedestrian-free, I have seen a lot from here.

Sometimes, instead, I might be nestled in the darkness of the audience, watching mouths move, settling into the words and music and song and other bodily sounds bursting out and bouncing off walls.  Revelling in that moment of creation.

Creepy?  I don’t mean to be.  I am still and quiet and observing.  Not judging, or criticizing.  Not about to swoop in, or down.  Just sensing, absorbing, listening, letting your essence float over to me, gently.

I’m looking out at you, for you, into you.  Silently, unintentionally intuiting your energy.

And when I catch your eye (if only for a moment) we might just engage, partially or fully.

I hope you don’t mind that this exchange matters to me… even if it sounds like fluttery- flattery (that’s not really what it’s meant to be).
owl plus moon

Mostly, I’m glad to just sit, reflect and digest, reconstitute those thoughts into a new set of metaphors.

This is inspiration, evolution.

I’m not in any rush to hop on that stage: my truth (mostly) comes forth in subtler ways, from silent, sacred dream-spaces and shadowy places, where conversation flows and looks linger longer.

If you want to know this, please stop, listen, see.

Sit. Be. Talk with me.    

Reframing

I do wish this was my view. I dream of living somewhere warm.
I do wish this was my view. I dream of living somewhere warm.

Reframe.  Find a new vantage point.  Shift your perspective.  Change the lens with which you view the world.  Are you familiar with these concepts?

I repeat all of these metaphors to myself all the time.  I know it’s important to continually do this for yourself, no matter what that means to you.

I had a bit of an existential crisis last night.  Oh who am I kidding, I don’t really know what that means.

It was pouring rain.  My apartment was cold so I had a bath.  I was sitting in the bath actually praying (I’ve never been a ‘prayer’) for a sign, some guidance just leading me to the next step in my life, or, for a sign that maybe waiting or sitting still is the right choice right now.

I know damn well that answers don’t just fall from the sky, that the only thing stopping me is ‘me’, that I write my own story, etc.

I know damn well that I get to put the work in first, that I have to do something to make more happen.  I just don’t know what more I can do, or am supposed to do.

ocean_surfaceI feel I’m floating in the middle of a huge saltwater lake.  I’m floating, not drowning, which means I’m feeling generally secure, relatively comfortable.  The shore is a swimmable distance, but still a long way, and there may or may not be people on land waiting to greet me.  I don’t have a fancy flotation thing to lie on, or a drink in my hand…this isn’t the lap of luxury, but I’m not scared.  I’m OK, but feel invisible.  A few people know that I’m safe, but noone knows exactly where I am.

I have some strength to swim in some direction, but I have no idea or intuition which direction I need to go.  I can’t see anything.

Anyhow, through all the weird thoughts that passed through my mind last night, I remembered something that I’ve known for a long time: I need to reframe everything in order to make change.

But how do I reframe when I’m finding it difficult to get to a different place to even see in a new light?  (This is a metaphor, but it also can apply geographically).

According to Gabby Bernstein (quoted from this blogpost on the Daily Love), ‘a “a miracle is a shift in perspective from fear to Love.’

I do follow and genuinely like all the new agey spiritual leaders, the kind that are featured on this website.  I like what they have to say.  And I get it, Gabby ‘chose Love’ one day and that was her miracle.  She quit drinking, etc. and changed her life around.  So, she did that, a similar story as many of her colleagues.  They did that, so they are an example of a shining, happy life.

They do alot.  They are people to be admired, no doubt.  But they also make their living off of talking about it.  I can talk about these things too.  I can write it here, or talk about it until my lips are numb.  I can pontificate and philosophize with the best of them.

But what I don’t understand is what it takes to be the change.  It takes a leap of faith, sure  But what has to happen to take the first step, especially when you feel like you don’t have a lot of wiggle room, or no real idea of which direction to move into?  I really can’t just quit my job tomorrow and go travel around the world.  Well, I could, but it wouldn’t be the smartest decision.  Not when I’m living in debt, alone and paycheck to paycheck.

What I don’t know about shifting perspective: does it just happen, does it come when you build it, how much will it feel like work?

What if I want some help?  How do I ask for this?

Maybe I’m not looking through the right window.  Funnily enough, I am at work right now, and the window that is open on my screen, the one with my WordPress site, is the only one I truly want to look at, so, I’m not really ‘working’.  This says something.  This, doing this right now, is one of the few things that feels right and good in my life right now.

I’ve always been scared to write the real, visceral, diary stuff for the public.  I’ve considered my audience for most of my posts.

But this article on Elephant Journal perhaps was the sign that I needed.  It reminded me that the right thing is to heart-write and if just one other person reads it and feels better, that’s what matters.

So my perspective regarding just plain writing is changing.  But what about the rest of my life?  And, what about practicing writing from different perspectives?

This Freshly Pressed article also hit home for me.  I am in awe of the capacity that the writer has to imagine a different perspective so clearly that they can still write about this horrific experience from the heart.  This is what is so important about writing.

I also watched a documentary called Bearing Witness the other day (I highly recommend it, although there are a few disturbing scenes).  It follows 5 female journalists working in military zones, one of which is Marie Colvin, the well-known journalist who was killed in Syria almost a year ago.

These things reminded me of why we write: to report on the world, we have to be able to write (or photograph, or draw, or whatever creative form we choose) outside of our heads, to see things through other people’s eyes.  

I know that I have a million ideas daily, not all of which are about me.  They swarm around in my brain, bee-like, difficult to grasp for long enough to form a clear set of thoughts about them, sometimes linking together in ways that don’t make sense.  It’s a struggle to get them down here in an organized way sometimes.

So I’m just going to get them out as best I can now.  And I’ll continue to seek out a new vantage point to write from.   Maybe the next post will have a fresh perspective, will be a new story.  Maybe not.  But I’ll write anyhow.