writingmybrain

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Masks—Perfect in our Imperfection

What masks do you wear? There is a lot of talk about masks these days; wearing them to protect ourselves from co-vid 19. Beyond this skin deep protection, I’ve been wondering about masks. The masks I’ve worn in my life to protect myself. Protect myself from what; vulnerability of one sort or another?

As a woman and stage lover, I could talk about the mask of make-up and how that plays out on stage and in life as an example. As a life lover, I could talk about all the ways I slap on a mask to protect myself from emotions, words, actions, or pain that surround me and the world in just about anything I could name like media (social and main), politics, economics, conversation, a witness to incongruences that impact my consciousness moment by moment, and the masks of indifference, denial, aggression, or apathy that I wear and switch-out within a day, a circumstance; each time in the hope of avoiding vulnerability and pain. 

So what is this thing named vulnerability that I, like billions attempt to avoid, numb, or deny? Why are we afraid to hurt, to be seen as a human being with all our imperfections?  Is it simply a human condition? Is it our spirit trapped in form—a body that seeks something beyond what is; presence, spirituality; a sense of belonging, connection?

I wonder. In my wondering I also reflect.  Somehow, like others I complicate through attachment to stuff like drama, acquisition, achievement, comparison, opinion and judgment to name a few generalities.

I see it to a lesser or greater degree playing out in my life which is really only a microcosm of the whole. It is in this recognition that I witness our interconnection. This helps me recognize my own imperfection; identify how I can only change myself, and how I respond, not anyone, or anything else. It falls on my shoulders to change and make different choices; no one else.   

For example; the pallet deer fence I built recently. I am not a carpenter so imperfection and intention were its key components as was its practicality. It is repurposing at its best (or worst) depending on which side of the fence you choose (!) It serves its purpose to provide privacy for my neighbour and prevent deer jumping over it to eat all things green. My neighbour sees it as a blot on the landscape, and an eyesore. Other comments include functional art, it works, its funky, what a good use of pallets, I like it…

Perspective is everything. How we alter it is about choices. We can be critical and judgemental and remain within the boundaries of our preconceived notions of how things are, and should remain—or we can adapt and change finding a different perspective. In making an altered choice we also bring in a light of opportunity. In choosing—to walk in another’s shoes for a moment—we can see with different eyes and discard the same old masks.

I’m all for shedding the same old, masks and all. How else can I let in the light? Vulnerability is one path to that light. Masks have temporary protection yet UV light cleanses dis-ease including co-vid 19, so I am willing to let in the light, literally and metaphorically—boldly too—even when I feel vulnerable to another’s opinion and judgement that differs from mine. It is not personal, simply different.  

Writing Practice: What masks do you witness in yourself? How are they mirrored in your life, others, the world as a whole? Write about it as often as you choose!


Big Shit in Our World of Instant—

Bobcat in my yard…what a gift

The first duty of love is to listen—Paul Tillich

Listening is an act of love; however I am split between contradictions. One being, the act of listening really means paying attention, and paying attention really means listening with both attention and focus, and the second being—trust my silence—for a different time.

An act of listening is something I find myself appearing to do, however my mind wanders. It wanders in a multitude of directions: what is really being said; how do I respond to this in kindness and respect; how do I navigate this expression ; what do I have to offer in this situation; to name a few of the things going on simultaneously in my head.

I consider myself a problem solver. When someone talks to me, I am ready to find a solution to their situation or dilemma and provide feedback that may or may not be in service. Repeatedly, especially within my family, I am reminded they are not looking for a solution; they just want to be heard.

This is a constant reminder to me, to stop with the interjections, pay attention to what is being said, and hold-off saying a darn thing. Be silent. I have noticed that waiting for right timing to respond takes time, often weeks, maybe even months before that particular person is ready for a response, or can actually hear what is being offered. And I have to remind myself that perhaps that time will not arise, and be willing to let it go.

This is a challenge; hold my council. Be silent. There are two things at play with me over this: simply I may forget what I wanted to say and second, in the event the topic arises again, will I be able to respond in the moment?  But the cool thing about this unrest I experience, I also know that when I breath into my heart, wait, then move into trust, my heart will express itself through my voice, and what needs to be said, will be said.

The challenge lies in the instant need to get, give, and receive feedback whether it is on one of our varied devises or in person.  It seems to me, because it is so difficult, that holding council is the true gift of love. What I mean by holding council is by waiting for another time, trusting that what needs to be said, will be said, and breathing into the heart to provide the necessary words of expression—big shit in our world of instant.

Taking and giving that space is essential for our mental and physical health and it is really, in my view, my first duty to love. The second is to listen and void all my questions, hold back my own words, and trust my heart to lead me to the right time when that person is able to listen and a mutual conversation arises out of love, listening and hearing.

Writing Practice:  When you find yourself faced with wanting to give guidance, hold back, listen to what is being said by the other person, breathe deeply, again and again; breathe deeply. Wait. Stay silent. Speak if you are so moved.  Journal your experience; how did this new practice feel? What did you discover?  Is the practice something you are willing, ready, and able to integrate into your life? What are your challenges, break throughs, and insights? Journal some more.   


Summer’s Children – Part One

Summer's Children-2 copy

Summer is vital (we get to PLAY), energy is vital, combined there is no stopping us—any time of the year.

All we need is a simple unfoldment of time, experience with a dash of hutzpah then combine this with our know-how, open mind and our sense of curiosity—and in the words of my 98 year old former mother-in-law—bingo, bango. Her expression when something is complete or understood—my interpretation—you’ve got it, all is good, let’s do it, there you go… 

These six ingredients: time, experience, hutzpah, know-how, openness and curiosity individually or collectively give us the backbone to embrace our lives, the ups and downs and the ho-hums.

Last week I spent the day with two very wise elders’ also known and dubbed wrinklies by my elderly folks. As a boomer wrinkly myself, I am not insulted by either the name, or the implication. It’s true, wrinkles emerge. Reality is such, we are born, we die and it is what is done in the in-between times that can change the world, for better or worse, and that is a choice we make in each moment of our life, knowingly, or unknowingly slowly, at the same rate as our wrinkles surface. They are the indicators of time and a life lived fully. They are the contours that represent our journey.

One woman, born in Holland was nine-years old during the occupation of WW2, the other was born on the coast of Nova Scotia. One travelled over a mountain pass with a baby in a hand carved papoose on horseback to the back country with her Park Warden husband with four months’ supply of food; the other lived in the States, Mexico, Montreal each time following her husband in his work, learning the language, raising the family and adapting to the cultures. One became a well accomplished wood carver, the other a well-rounded pianist. Both hold the keys of engagement in a life well-lived, well-embraced and well-balanced.

Recipe copy

Writing Practice: What is your recipe for a good life? What are your six main ingredients? Play with it; bring joy into the experience. Create a visual representation of your recipe. Tack it on a fridge, on a mirror. Smile at it, embrace its sentiment. If your recipe alters, change it, write another. The choice is all-ways yours!