Monthly Archives: May 2011

Day 10: Anxiety and The Chorus of Dreams (Sing!)

I’m not sure what to call it:  this inexplicable feeling of unease, at times wafting through me unawares. I am going about my business, preparing for my daughter’s Brownie graduation, actually sewing (yes, me!) the final badges she’s received onto the veritable Brownie sash on the very last possible night – to be seen for all of 15 minutes in the briefest of ceremonies. (But the kids had fun.)

So what is this wafting sense of alarm as I am riding in the car? Or walking down the street? The birds are singing their usual chorus, I am walking to the beat, while the dog is running straight ahead.  Maybe it’s something like a bad dream that wakes you up in the middle of the most perfect summer night… There is no explaining it. We can try.

But it all comes down to this:  Does it really matter what fear is for? Does it really matter why we are afraid? Why we wake up in alarm, when there is no clear or present danger?  Maybe it is a signal from above, or from below. Maybe it is the carrier of change in the breeze.  The train coming at us, or for us, or the one we are riding on – it is all the same.  Some danger can be avoided; most is just our resistance to what lies ahead. Is it a cliff?  A drop-off point?  Or, the point of no return? Isn’t that…  a good thing?

Sometimes I am grateful for the sound of an alarm bell going off, when I really have to go.  And sometimes, it is best to bang the damn thing off and go back to sleep, lulling in the morning air and that faint and tasty dream; dispelling all rumours of noise and forgotten slings and arrows. It’s time to put our swords down – our impulse to protect and defend everything.  It’s time to Sing.

I find myself singing all the time lately…  Not professionally, though that was extraordinarily fun to sing in front of a live audience (and get paid!).  No, it is just as much fun, beyond fun – downright Joyous ! – to sing out loud in the midst of a chaotic front the world puts on.  All its soldiers lined up, coffee cups stained with resistant defense against the dawn.  No, this is the time to move on.  Move on, my friends, move on.  Join the choir of song that is sounding out loud in the  morning, even if you are still luxuriating in your treetop bed of surprises.  As I lay there, I think of what I am grateful for, even if I still feel a bit of distrust.

To join the day, unaware of what lies ahead, to join Life, not knowing what it or I shall bring, breeds excitement, not danger; is reason for celebration, not anxiety (or a host of other unsightly things). And maybe the pulse that beats in my heart (and in my eardrums) is not one of anxiety, but of Life itself calling me to Sing!

chorus of song

Mr. Percival and Babe sing! by John Frederick White

Sing! my friends, sing!  Though there be clear and present danger all about, Sing! Because the world needs You, Your voice, Your calling, Your sound!

The sound only You can make.

Day 9: The Pleasant Ever-After

I’m not sure why, but I’m so happy lately. A year ago I was suffering from a recurring case of depression, or what one expert called “a constant state of discontent”. It had taken its toll on my health and every area of my life. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and it felt like the end of the world.

Now, as I sit here in my backyard, looking at the chickadees and robins hanging out in the trees, feeling the cool damp breeze and my fingers tracing their story on the keys, I feel at ease… I feel a deep sense of peace unknown to me before…

Where did this come from? This pleasant ever-after? The long-awaited prize after years of grueling internal effort and uncertainty? It came from a combination of things, all brought on by my intention – no, my Determination – to be well, to be More than well: to BE HAPPY.

I deserve a life of happiness. So do you. There is no need to struggle and worry about everything. I’ve done plenty of that. I’ve been through lots of things – death, loss, but I haven’t suffered much. I have everything, I admit.  But that discontent underlying our lives can eat away at the most blessed of lives, including my own. I admit, I was spoiled. I didn’t know how lucky I am.  I am more than lucky – I worked for this, chose this, in fact. But when you don’t recognize what you have, you are impoverished indeed.

Sometimes it takes a crisis to get down on your knees.

Since then I have done many things:  Prayed and meditated, number one. Got the help I need.  Took some courses that elevated my spirits and connected me to a broader social community. Healed body, mind and soul. Did the work. Wrote it out. Talked it out. Cried it out! I found my voice. And now I am freed. I feel better today than I have felt in, well – ever!

happiness

This is the story of my life, unfolding one day at a time. May it be blessed, always with the recognition of what I have, and the good that is to come. This is my happily ever after. It’s not perfect. It’s not what I planned when I first started out (whose is?). I don’t live in Hollywood (thank God!), and in some ways, it is much, much better. Because you know what? I’ve only just begun!  And that makes me really smile…

I wish the same for you.

Day 8: Keeper of the Flame

I am back from Kingston, home of my birth, and feeling quite reflective on what I found there…  Not only did I find my grandmother in a new hospital by the lake, doing relatively well (see Let Sleeping Lions Lie);  I found myself with my mother, and countless photos and letters dug up among boxes and boxes of stuff in my grandmother’s sun-porch…

Nanna's sunporch

In these boxes, we found my great-great grandparents Lawrence E. Moore and Emma Belle Deacon staring out from their front porch rockers in Haileybury…

Lawrence and Emma Moore on the front porch in Haileybury 1920s

and their seven daughters (my great aunts), girls and women in tranquil Georgian-style dresses lounging on the front swing with flowers in their hair, or leaning with snowshoes and warm-mittened hands against the family’s seemingly chicken-wired fence;  my gr-great grandmother Emma standing solidly with her youngest one wrapped around her skirt, she looking quite tired but still strong in the heat of days… and another where she smiles brightly to camera, which delighted me beyond measure.

Moore Women in Cobalt

These are the Moores I had always wanted to know, to play cards with at the dining room table (which is now in my mother’s dining room); to tell stories with, laugh with…   I see Emma playing the  mouth organ (which is now in my grandmother’s hall closet); I hear their old Irish twang and crazy war-time songs (I shall never repeat them here – we were Protestant Northern Irish, if that says enough).

Moore women at dining table

Emma Moore playing the mouth organ

I feel like I know these women. I am bonded to them.  I am proud to be one of them. I see myself in their tall languid frames, the way they held their hands, tilted their heads, played up to camera. The Moore Women.

I am a part of a long, and timeless heritage of strength and self-assurance. Of continuity. Of beauty. And of rebuilding. Death after death has taken them. But their faces tell me another story; they are still here, in my blood and in those whom I love now.

My grandmother had protected and shielded these treasures for years and years. She didn’t have the heart to go through them, or dispose of anything. I’m glad she didn’t. I’m glad I had the opportunity with my mother to get on my hands and knees and know this family I inherited.

The details won’t matter so much. The garbage bins will go out; the trinkets will disappear. But their eyes, their hands, their laughter and their tears will never go out in me.

I am blessed to be here, the Keeper of the Flame.

Me in my red boots in Nanna's backyard

P.S. I will be posting more family finds in my other blog, That’s Relative!..    Thank you for visiting.

Day 7: Waiting

I thought I would be writing from Kingston today, the City of My Birth (more on that later). But I am still here, waiting for  my mother to come pick me up. We are going together to see my grandmother who is 93 (more in That’s Relative!)  Jeez, it seems I’m sending you everywhere today but here. HERE. HERE. HERE.

No, I am not proselytizing, but it did occur to me that this might be my lesson, my miracle, for the day. Waiting.

God, I hate waiting. Don’t you? I am a restless sort, and unless I am given to, in fact choosing to be downright lazy, waiting drives me crazy!

So, what’s the good that can come from it?  Well… today instead of preparing as I should for my mini-trip, I got up, did some quick work (more on that too, but I will try not to tease you anymore:), and in my angst went shopping. Yesterday (there I go again), I lost my dandelion picker. That’s my fancy term for it. So today, yes, today, instead of packing, I went to Canadian Tire and bought a new one. Along with:  2 solar lights, a barbecue lighter, paper towels, Murphy’s Oil (my favourite), and a bunch of other stuff I didn’t need. But I was very pleased with the dandelion picker. However, I had to wait in line for it.  A young couple held the line captive by presenting about 1900 coupons – they are apparently competing in one of those reality shows.  Good luck with that.  Now I tried to be zen about it, but was I really feeling all cozy inside? No. I wanted to scream. I did some “heart breathing” which is supposed to calm you down instantly, and I didn’t swear. That’s good.

When I got home instead of packing for  mini-trip or doing laundry, I “decided”, yes “decided” to have some ice-cream  on the deck.  But instead of doing the usual bowl of whatever (chocolate chip mint this time – yum…), I added some frozen blueberries to it – half out of guilt, and half out of curiosity. It tasted sublime. Kind of a crunchy freezie-smoothie.

Another hour or so to go before I say good-bye for two days and journey to the homeland. I hope I didn’t bore you too much with my tale about waiting in line for something more interesting to happen. Like tomorrow.

In the meantime, here I am, in the before, the after, and the in-between. Somewhere in there, I’m happy. Just being.

Somehow, someway, that’s good enough for me.

Day 6: New

There are some things I am still afraid of. Some people think being an actress makes me immune – instant courage. Not so. I admit I have a larger heaping teaspoonful of it, but sometimes I am not who I say I am. I’m…  shy.

When I was born my mother said I was a big crier – not for no reason – for the most part I was a very happy baby, and I have the ‘toothless grin’ photos to prove it.  (Hmm.. I’ll have to dig them up.)  I loved to eat anything my mother put in front of me, and once my mom and Aunt Jane took turns shoving teaspoonfuls of jam into my mouth (yum!), between which I would cry bloody murder if they were just a little too slow. I was, and still am, voraciously in love with life. This is fairly new. Although I started out that way, life got in the way. Moving. Loss. Failure, disappointment.  It’s called the 20s. My 30s were all about change. Huge transformative never-looking-back change. Phenomenal. And now that I’ve just entered my 40s, I’m on a new path – again.  Instead of the baby crying out for another huge heaping teaspoonful, I sometimes hold back. I wait. I wonder. I question. I ponder.

Where does this hesitance for life come from? Fear. Lack of experience – and too much experience.

This past week we were introduced to our new neighbours. For the past 12 years we’ve been hanging with our ‘old neighbours’, who had really become family. I was sad to see them go (even though they’re only 12 minutes away).  I also knew that change was good – for them and for us. They needed to grow as much as we did.  We still visit them in their new digs, and they are just like newlyweds fighting over paint chips (after 45 years of marriage).

For us, we are like new as well. Our ‘new neighbours’ are younger and have a baby. That old house where our old neighbours used to sing and burn sticks outside and host boxing day parties is slowly changing into a new time, a new shape.  Funny how perspective changes everything.

My shyness came in introducing myself, wanting to hang back and “give them some space”. I did that for about 3 weeks – well, almost 2 months.  Once we emerged from our dwelling places into the sun of our first summer day we noticed each other out back, waved hands, joked about the leaves and the pile-ups, everything home-owners lack.  The husband popped his head over the fence finally and asked, “Is it too early to ask Steve to have a beer?”  I laughed and said, “No, he’s about ready” as my husband came climbing down a ladder with eaves-trough goo in his hands.

men on a break

That night the young couple came over with their baby and his mother. We sat on our deck and had a few. Talked and talked, laughed and shared stories. It was grand. I felt so lucky to be there with these new people, welcoming them in, and them too. I felt just as new as they did. It opened up a new era in our lives, a new possibility for sharing, for being a couple who can go out for dinner and leave the kids behind (we’re lucky, ours are 8 and 14).  And of course, for our kids, babysitting. New days open up, sparkle and give new life, new energy, changes, comings and goings.

And – Ooh – Food!  Lots and lots of food. My inner child was very, very happy. We feasted that night, broke bread together, shared the wine and the beer, and sat over an open fire.

This is a life worth talking about. Worth sharing. Always and forever, New.

P.S. I have such great pictures to share – I’ll hunt them down and insert them later. Love.

Day 5: One Woman’s Weed…

dandelions

One woman's battle...

Springtime Canada. We have been encrusted by snow and trampled by rain for two long seasons, and now Summer is upon us. Out of our weary and dark dwelling places we roam, emerging from our comfortable habits of yesterday, cherished shows that got us through (American Idol anyone?), a shot too many or glass (or two) of wine, our warm beds to return to.  Suddenly, as the back doors slide open and the lids open in the shed, the brushes get a wiping, the tools get a shake, the cobwebs of  yesteryear flicked away….  What have we got now?

 Weeds, my friend. Weeds, weeds, and more weeds!

Yesterday I was on a walk with my daughter, and she is at that delicate age where her reason has suddenly shouted, “But that’s just a weed!”  What was once a precious dandelion flower given to her mother with great care and the sweetest of sweet smiles, is now a pesky weed, reduced to the order of no more, and not for me.  I corrected her immediately.

“Sweetheart, I love when you give me dandelions. They’re so beautiful. And I never, ever want you to say again that they are just weeds, do you hear me?!  Because I cherish every dandelion you ever give me. I always want you to give me dandelions. Never, never stop. OK?”   She looked at me like I was crazy and then she agreed.  She plucked one, then two and three up from the ground, bunched them in her usual array.  She placed them in the same container as the lovely tulips she picked that morning.

They are perfect, don’t you agree?

tulips and dandelions

P.S. As for the weeds, I am slowly digging my way out of hell.  I have almost recovered my Japanese garden walkway which was so perfectly manicured when I moved in. NOT!  The dandelions have made quite a home there. Don’t tell my daughter most of them ended up in the compost pile! Sorry little weeds! I tried! (bleeding heart that I am).

P.P.S.  Solution?  Put the kid to work!… 

no fair!

Special Edition: Halley’s Comet Anniversary and Me

Tonight I had an epiphany. Kind of like the night sky and then Whooosh! – a burst of life – the brightest possibility. I was sitting here writing at my dining room table – again. (Yes I do like this, don’t I?) and my husband came in and stood there a minute and said, “This is amazing. Listen….”  I heard my son playing Beethoven’s 5th on the guitar, tweaking for a song we needed for a film we made – his first commission. In the office was our daughter of 8 drawing a picture, also commissioned by her father, for which she was completely engrossed. And I at my table, with the laptop lighting my face, fingers tapping diligently, gleefully, was caught in mid-air.

“We have an amazing family, don’t we?” I said.  “Yes.”

What prompted me to write tonight?  He also told me that tonight is the night on May 14, 1910 that the earth passed through the tail of Halley’s Comet, which only comes around once every 74-75 years.  It came in the 1980s when I didn’t know or care about such things. And it will come again in 2061 when I am hopefully still alive to see it for myself.

‘Haley’ is also the main character in a script I am working on.  And the full  meaning of it is only coming clear as I revisit it tonight, along with this glorious comet. Again and again.

So, this is what I wrote about this project, my epiphany, after he kissed me and went away.  Unplugged.

Like Haley’s Comet, I revisit this theme, occasionally, but it glows bright when I do and then it seems to go out. I’m not sure what gave me the idea for Haley’s Comet, but I know it started with a rock I found in the Mojave desert, and a dream I had about its recovery and that it was special, a piece of Halley’s Comet. I thought I had lost it – but it was returned to me, at a full banquet with family and friends. I was very lucky indeed.  So I guess I know!  Why do we always pretend not to? Why does everything have to be a mystery?

‘They say’ it’s time for a romantic comedy.  ‘They say’ it’s time for Haley’s comet to come again. ‘They say’ that the world will end when it does – it never did.  They say a lot of things. But what say you, my Friend?  Haley. The one who called to me. I was calling myself to me.

Haley is a girl. She is myself. She is a dreamer. She is a well-wisher. She loves her friends, people too. She is shy, beloved, careful and predictable to most, special to a few, diverse, scary sometimes. Bursting forth and out of the blue.  She is miraculous, she adventures, she promises, she stares up at the night sky. She is full of rage and promise and she does not forget anything. She is a star.

Then why is she not up there? Why is she not doing anything that takes notice of who she is? Why do people not see her for what she really is?  Because she doesn’t know it yet. It’s hard to see yourself if you’re trailing for 24 million miles.

What would I like to do with this project, this rock, myself? I would like to tell the truth, only on fire, with passion, with desire, with love, with energy, with excitement, with sorrow and pain, with conviction, with death and dying, with coming back again. I’d like to see anew and have time be well spent. Cathartic, true, lovely, dreamlike, fun, amazing, silly, just the right thing to do.

It is my deepest wish, but ‘grown up’.  To really live. To be a part of – a partner – not separate. To find my true calling, and my partner all in one. The support, the love, the fun. To inspire.

We are free here. I am living the life I dreamed. I have my children, my partner, the creativity as much as I would have it at the time, and now the dream of being a writer fulfilled, right now, in this very moment. I am completely and utterly free. Who can say that? How many people do you know feel that? Know what that is like?  Who can face their grief, their pain and find ecstasy again? Find satisfaction? Happiness, even?  I have found everything. There is no more waiting. I have become the thing I was waiting for. Literally. Profoundly. It is fun to create. It fun to be here. Now.

Day 4: Walk On

It is Day 4. Even though it is really like, Day 18 since I last wrote. I swallow my embarrassment, and do it again. Because I want to. I made a commitment and I’m going to stick with it. Even though I went to see my grandmother because she was sick in the hospital. Even though the kids were busy and needed my help with an essay and a math game throwing coins in the air. Even though it was raining and I didn’t feel like it, or I thought that what I had to say wasn’t a miracle, or was too personal to display…

I do it again. And again. If you’ve left behind something you thought you’ve lost for good, go back and find it. Do it again. Or try something new. Don’t give up on the good and the true. You know what to do.

Yesterday I had a terrible audition. I mean just awful (at least in my mind).  I don’t believe I was awful, but the circumstances felt off. And what I was asked to do felt off.  And nothing seemed right to me no matter what I did differently. No matter how hard I tried to make it right, it was just wrong! I walked away feeling embarrassed with myself, not angry exactly, though I may have had a right to be. But kind of disappointed that something I thought I wanted was not to be. And then passing all my stubbornness and will to succeed, I realized I didn’t want this thing in the first place! It wasn’t for me. I could have walked away berating myself or pouting for a very long time, doubting myself and my talent and ability, and then trying to please ‘those people’ even more. Wrong. No. Not now. Now I walk away with my head held high and I listen to the little voice inside that says: I didn’t want it anyway. That’s not defensiveness. It’s true. Simple.

Now go on. Carry on. Get on with it, damnit!

Because there is so much  more to do. God, never give up on that.