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Sunday, December 04, 2011

December Reflections: No More Garden of Shame.

I go through phases where I feel positively ravenous for more learning, more creativity, and more activity than time and energy seems to allow. Then I become immobilized and overwhelmed, because I have perfectionist tendencies that end up defeating me before I begin. I often just give up before I've started. At other times, I will start with a bang, only to fizzle out. I'm still beating myself up for what I call "my Garden of Shame”.1 Now, to be fair, we'd only just moved into a new rental house in February of this year, so starting a new garden (as an absolute beginner) was quite ambitious. Additionally, we were decompressing from a cross-country move a few months previously, as well as reeling from Warren's unexpected unemployment, not to mention acrimonious court shenanigans over the Christmas holidays involving my ex-husband and his impulsive and ill-advised plans to relocate both of my kids from Qualicum Beach to Fort McMurray within weeks of our relocation from Montreal to Victoria. 2

Factor in as well that I had a new (and unreasonably stressful) job, and subsequently had to find a new gig while Warren adjusted to his own newly-found employment. We shivered through a few weeks without any heat in the house in February, and Warren and I didn't have a proper bed. We couldn't afford a kitchen table or chairs until well into Spring. We planned our extremely bare-bones wedding for August 1, which we were were not willing to put off any longer. We'd been engaged since 2008, and some sort of crisis was always coming up to put our wedding plans off for another year. 

2011 was not easy, but we got through it and finally feel that we can actually exhale.

I'm thankful to have relatively steady work – and, even if the pay is not quite enough to do anything but live paycheque-to-paycheque, I've been there long enough to now have benefits. I'm learning a lot, have good relationships with my managers, colleagues and authors, and am in an environment that's harmonious with my interests and goals. Warren, laid off since September, is building his freelance editing and copywriting career. He is already is making at least as much – and increasingly more - than when he was working for someone else. And he's doing something that he's perfectly suited to.

It was too much of a whirlwind last year to do a December reflection of any real consequence, to take stock of the year we'd just been through, and to look forward to the future. But things look better – much better, now, in fact. Warren and I feel hopeful about our shared interests and complimentary vocations. My son is having a fantastic time living in Victoria and is thriving in his first year of high school. My daughter has a room of her own here in our house, and I love that she considers her time here as “coming home”, kind of like a visiting college student. While she's in Victoria, she's got a flexible part-time job at Cabin 12, with some terrific experience and mentoring opportunities that she's enthusiastic about. We have new friendships that we're slowly and steadily building on and look forward to investing in for the years to come. 

Things are genuinely good. My inspiration, interests, and levels of curiosity are increasingly ravenous, and that's a good sign. I'm taking the month of December to create a more focused strategy for learning, creating, and growing in 2012, and I'm sketching out plans to cultivate health, education, friendships, and innovation in the months to come.




1 The piece of land in the backyard that I didn't nurture after Warren broke the ground and I planted the seeds.

2 Leah and Daniel had been living with Warren and I in Montreal since 2008 (after my separation and divorce in 2005). After a time, the kids wanted very much to move back out out West to be with their father - and to get away from the language politics, harsh weather, and urban landscape. They'd had to adjust to a lot in the last handful of years with their parents breaking up and relocating, so Warren and I thought it best if we'd move to where they'd flourish. Within 72 hours of our arrival here, I was meeting with a court mediator to find a way to stop my kids from being taken to the Alberta Tar Sands. My daughter chose to go with her father to Alberta, and my son chose to move to Victoria with us in February 2011. Leah has since returned to Vancouver Island as of September 2011, stays with us here in Victoria every second weekend and on holidays, and spends the rest of her time in Qualicum Beach with a Home Stay family while she completes her final year of high school.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Simple Pleasure

19 Sept 11

A fresh cake of soap
In a newly-scrubbed shower
On Monday morning.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

08 Sept 11

The Earth is drowsy
And the sun's light has shifted
To Fall's wistful slant.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

07 Sept 11

Tears in the morning
Makes for an exhausting day,
But this too shall pass.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Labour Day

I've big plans for labouring around the house today. I've been terribly negligent about housekeeping this summer. Warren's new freelance status and Daniel's return to school is inspiring that autumnal nesting instinct, however.

Still working through Writing the Natural Way, but finding it a bit strenuous (in a positive way).

I'm still going with my Haiku a day for September:

04 Sept 11

Dredged-up sediment
In my mind's deeper waters
Ruined a good night's sleep.

05 Sept 11

French toast and coffee
Being made by my husband
Brightens the morning.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

September Haiki

Seems I've begun a new habit without consciously meaning to:

01Sept11
First of September 
and there's a hint of color
blushing in the leaves


02Sept11
In one squished accord
Claustrophobic commuters
Endure one more day.


03Sept11
Spider's silken web
Placed softly on pine needles
Gleams with morning's light.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The day before a full moon

It's the day before a full moon, and I find myself rather feeling a bit introspective and somewhat restless. Also, for the last two weeks, I've been experiencing repeated moments of synchronicity, too mundane to relate, but significant to me in their precision.

Today, I received an email from a new friend, with whom I had occasion to share the following excerpt (from Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale). She told me that only an hour before speaking with me yesterday, someone that she'd just met had encouraged her to read this very same book. Her enthusiasm about this synchronicity was a tremendous encouragement to me this morning. I am pleased that, despite my relative distraction and introspection about my upcoming wedding, I am inexplicably plugged-in on some other level. Comforting.

The following words were shared with me a number of years ago while I was in a tempestuous relationship that ended up completely falling apart...and quite contentiously, at that. It never got talked through or sorted out, and I accepted some time ago that it likely never would be. Sometimes closure is found without the other individual's assistance or participation.

Still, I'm grateful that this relationship delivered Winter's Tale to me. As time continues to heal that part of my life, the bad parts fade from my mind more and more. And I suspect that he would be glad that what memory I retain of him is associated with these words:


Nothing is random, nor will anything ever be, whether a long string of perfectly blue days that begin and end in golden dimness, the most seemingly chaotic political acts, the rise of a great city, the crystalline structure of a gem that has never seen the light, the distributions of fortune, what time the milkman gets up, the position of the electron, or the occurrence of one astonishingly frigid winter after another.


Even electrons, supposedly the paragons of unpredictability, are tame and obsequious little creatures that rush around at the speed of light, going precisely where they are supposed to go. They make faint whistling sounds that when apprehended in varying combinations are as pleasant as the wind flying through a forest, and they do exactly as they are told. Of this, one can be certain.


And yet there is a wonderful anarchy, in that the milkman chooses when to arise, the rat picks the tunnel into which he will dive when the subway comes rushing down the track from Borough Hall, and the snowflake will fall as it will. How can this be? If nothing is random, and everything is predetermined, how can there be free will? The answer to that is simple.


Nothing is predetermined; it is determined, or was determined, or will be determined. No matter, it all happened at once, in less than an instant, and time was invented because we cannot comprehend in one glance the enormous and detailed canvas that we have been given – so we track it, in linear fashion, piece by piece. Time, however, can be easily overcome; not by chasing light, but by standing back far enough to see it all at once.


The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is; everything that ever will be, is – and so on, in all possible combinations. Though in perceiving it we imagine that it is in motion, and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful.


In the end, or rather, as things really are, any event, no matter how small, is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible; and, when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but as something that is.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

04/07/11

Obligatory blog entry. Since my last post, I secured a position with a local magazine that was, well, a mutually poor fit. It afforded me some local credibility and publishing experience and a segueway into a much more suitable position in the self-publishing industry. Warren, too, found a job as a writer/editor/researcher with an SEO company and is getting some valuable training. Between the two of us, we're building some marketable skills that are going to be the vehicle for becoming self-employed (ideally), which is something we've been talking about for a few years. Yes, we are so sickeningly into one another that we can't stand being apart for ten hours a day. 4.5 years of being together and we still exchange easily 20 emails a day.

Anyways, since my last post (as I said earlier), we've found work and moved into a new abode, a nice, solid little house with a huge deck and backyard near the water. Daniel has moved in with us, and Leah has relocated to Alberta with her dad, who's working in the oilpatch. I'm getting to know lots of people in Victoria and finding that it's a pretty welcoming community. My office is in the Antique Row district downtown, and is a mere 20 minutes on the bus from my place to the front door.

All in all, life is more settled, but it's taking me awhile to adjust to it physically, spiritually and mentally. It's happening bit by bit, though.

More soon!