Ownership

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ownership. As someone who is highly sensitive to the emotions of others, I have this habit of not only feeling and relating to the emotions and energy of others, but owning them as well. It’s sometimes so fluid it’s difficult to detach the source of someone else’s “stuff” from my own.

I have this theory (and please understand that this is based on my own beliefs and perceptions of the world) that there are varying degrees of innate intuition in all of us. We all have the ability in us to feel energy, but as is the case with the creative selves we’re born with we become desensitized or immune, exhausted by responsibility and expectation, and we abandon ship. We are influenced, I believe, by mainstream survival. If someone is overly sensitive it’s seen as weak or unpredictable so  protection is about drowning out the noise.

Last night we took the dog out for a walk quite late and on the way back into our building we noticed one of the cars in the parking lot had its lights on. We knew who belonged to the car but not where they lived. We stood around the car for several minutes trying to decide what to do. We talked about trying to get into the car but figured if we were caught doing so, the consequences would be worse than just a dead car battery. So, after several minutes of contemplation we took the dog inside.

This morning I ran into the owners of the car and told them their lights had been left on. Many others had walked by the car throughout the course of the night and morning but nobody resolved the issue or seeked out the owners. When I told him, the man turned to me and asked why we didn’t shut them off or do more to fix the situation. I told him that we didn’t know where he lived and didn’t feel comfortable breaking into the car, but I stewed on it for a minute. The situation sounds small, but there was a time in my life when his anger and blame would have sent me into a tailspin for a good remainder of the day. I would have owned it. I do still feel a sense of guilt lingering in the background, wondering if I should have found a way into the car or tried to find someone who knew him. I offered to drive him to work to help fix the situation but he declined, having called a friend for a boost.

The whole of the situation got me to a place where I began contemplating ownership. All those people that walked by and said and did nothing didn’t have to face the driver in the morning when he discovered it, and even if they did they didn’t have to own up to knowing anything. I was walking by when I encountered him and waved hello. Should I have kept my mouth shut? Should I feel guilty about a problem that isn’t mine? Last week I witnessed a terrible traffic accident and was faced with the very same questions.

It’s all a metaphor for something much bigger. It’s easier now than ever not to own or be a part of what we don’t want to see. Small scale or large, it’s more convenient to look at the world and believe that it’s problems are not ours.

Disconnection.

We decide how much ownership we take and we decide how much the pieces of each other overlap.

Community.

We are all in this wide and crazy world together.

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Every Moment Counts

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2016 has been a hard year. That’s not news. Personally for me, it’s been a pretty big year of firsts and with that of growth and sometimes pain. I’ve lost my way a bunch, found it, then lost it again. I’ve cried a lot of tears and I’ve learned what it is to walk beside someone else in life and share the heavy burdens of everyday. I’ve discovered that when I suffer, he suffers too and I’ve discovered that when I feel joy- likewise so does he.

It took me a long while to understand that when I live my life with someone else, it impacts them too. I think sometimes we all somehow believe we don’t have the impact we think on one another. Random encounters with strangers can have impact on their lives good and bad and of course so does the impact sit with those we live with day-to-day. We all leave an impression on one another- a residue of our energy that stays on long after we’ve gone.

I’ve thought about this through the tragic and sudden death of a young friend this year. He was kind. He lived his life in a way that shone light on others. He smiled the biggest, hugged the tightest, laughed the loudest. He had so much joy about him that in his absence, I think it’s still here. His happiness was so big you couldn’t be in his presence and not be touched by it. Isn’t that how we should all live our lives? He only got 30 years here but I think he’d figured out the secret to a full life no matter how short the years. He was present and he felt so much joy I can’t think of him without smiling.

This year has been a tough one but if I have learned anything, it has been the importance of living in joy and in being true to me. I feel like I’ve strayed from that this year more so than ever. I’ve wandered off the trail in search of happiness for others. I’ve tried to be different so I don’t upset those around me and ultimately I think it is the thing that takes me the furthest from my writing and my ability to stay in touch with who I am. The desire to make others happy is something that weighs on my mind often. Sometimes it’s like a tidal wave that takes away every true perception I have of who I am until I have no voice. Without a voice, I have no opportunity to be great in this life and I think it is the realness of this that overwhelms me most.

It’s not about the year or the circumstances within it, it’s about being true every second, making the most of the time we have, not letting life slip away. It’s about hugging one another tight when we have the chance, taking quiet moments for ourselves, being gentle with others and with ourselves always. It’s also about knowing that each and every one of us has a purpose and it is to be great in the little moments we have everyday to shine.

My friend was not famous- he didn’t invent anything to change the world and my children won’t read about him in history books. He joked a lot, laughed a lot, hugged a lot, and loved a lot. He taught me that every moment counts. My only regret this year is that I’ve wasted too many on sadness. I’ve wasted too many moments in my own head spinning wheels that make the pain of not feeling enough more real.

I’ve convinced myself that I am small when I have every opportunity to be more.

I hesitated to write this because it’s been painful but I’m taking the moments back and turning them into something I can use to be better, stronger and more resilient because truly, every moment counts.

Finding Joy

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I struggle out of bed each day, stumbling to the bathroom with my eyes half shut, taking on the day as if it’s a burden just to be me. I’m 27. I’ve only had 27 years to become this jaded but here I am. I’m cranky, and in the comfort of my home I cry for no reason- more lately if I’m honest.

I stress and worry and agonize and sometimes it’s over the things I can control and sometimes it’s over the things I can not. There’s no off switch. I don’t think the way I feel is anything out of the ordinary. I think I’m amongst friends with a whole generation of lost souls starting out with debt, a technologically-fueled competition at life and no purpose.

Every now and then I stumble onto my path in a drunken stupor and realize I’ve gained clarity in my life that has set me “right”. In those moments I feel like I have it all together and the fog clears and I have a way out. In those moments I begin to know who I am. They’re fleeting. They are like a dream I wake up from too soon. As they slip away I try to hang on to the edges so I remember what it feels like to be me.

Last week I took time away from work to join an art workshop and get re-connected with that creative side of me I keep tucked away. I’ve gone down paths in my career that have led me further and further away from the authenticity I feel when I create. At the end of the week I felt good, but I wanted the magic of creating to save me and it didn’t. I wanted it to give me back all of the things I’ve been lacking and I wanted to come off the week knowing my work reflected me and I was proud of it. It didn’t because I’ve lost my sense of what that is and one week was just a teaser. One week was re-acquainting with an old friend just long enough to scratch the surface.

Brene Brown said, “Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame”.

The visual in that is so great, it forces me to understand this as a real thing- not a hysterical making of my imagination. It is a real whole piece of me that is turning sour with suppression. It’s not the whole problem but it’s a big one. I wonder how many others are on this journey, carrying only pieces of themselves through the day-to-day?

I had to get real. I had to begin the treacherous climb out of the rabbit hole.

There is no shame in admitting that success is not a paycheque and a life that looks good from the outside. Maybe it is for some but for me, success is a joy that starts at the center of your chest and spreads out through your whole body. It’s an expression of love and a connection with your real self that is untethered to anything but your personal journey. It shines out through your eyes and breathes out through your mouth in peaceful little wisps of certainty. I’ve seen it in others, but until now I didn’t recognize its value.

 

Dreaming Goodbye

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Three years ago my very strong, courageous, beautiful grandmother passed away. She has had such a significant impact on my life, even now that she’s gone. She was witty and independent and strong and she was all this in a time when women were only beginning to understand their own strength and the impact they could have. She met my first boyfriend when I was 15. She eyed up all six feet of him then and said, “Rhianna’s going to university you know,” as if to warn him off in case he thought to change my plans. She approached every single day with such a feisty sense of humour and spirit that it’s hard not to feel an empty space without her. She was larger than life and so how fitting that the morning she died she requested to be dressed early (something she never did) and went out to the dining room to socialize, where she passed away surrounded by people. How fitting that less than a week after she died I had a dream about her and 3 years later I still remember it in detail like a memory of her that never fades. I’ve wrestled with how to write about it for a while because it felt too big to capture. I’ve cried my way through the words and the pages to get the right stuff to describe the way she came to me and said goodbye…

Dreaming Goodbye

I sit between the mantel’s warmth,

And my tearful last goodbye.

The cassettes spread,

In a listless promenade of dusty memories

Of a life in rearview.

Wandering cagey triumph,

Full of the possibility of tomorrow’s embrace.

Dipping low on the pink horizon.

Cotton candy and despair kissing the earth.

She knocks and I rise to understand.

She’s warm but she’s cold to the touch.

I am hushed but the realness of her movements burn the moment.

And I am crushed by the weight of the world,

In this last embrace.

She is everything I may never be,

And it catches in my throat and my eyes,

Until nothing is clear.

And I am alone here.

And she is okay but she is gone.

The old white house with the crooked barn

And the quilted roof remain.

Empty vessels brimming with the clutter of happiness.

Vacant rooms buzzing with thirsty excitement and quietude.

And all along there she was.

At the center of a distant vision.

Warm light,

Smiling in the peace of its glow.

Fat tears of longing wash through my heart.

Gentle waves on the ocean back home.

Retreating Moon

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Sipping the wealth of a moment

The mockery of light,

Stenciling a wayward smile across your face.

Bleeding me of jade. 

A prisoner to the faults.

The wretched desire of my own disgrace

Whimsical in its masquerade. 

 

The bated breath of the journey

Hauntingly beautiful

Amidst the taste of my gloried bravado.

Like the thickness of open water

Downcast by the moon.

Lapping the stars in a taunt of precision and greed.

Marrying the lightness and dark,

To the mockery of desperate need.

 

Destitute blindness leaning heavily,

On an eclipse of happenstance.

In the sheen of a forgiving tune

Evangelistic expectations,

Exposed,

Menaced,

By the ribbons of a retreating moon.

Cracked Wide Open

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Aching hollowed flutter

On the edge of joyful remoteness.

The pleasure cruise of a dream world full of connection.

Just at its wings,

Newness fading into familiarity.

Light peaking over the ridge of truth,

And washing away the stillness.

Washing away the ‘us’ that never was.

Beneath a faulty cloud of tenderness.

Two strangers-

Broken.

Sewn together by wounded thread and pricks of bitter disarray.

Lying naked

Before one another under a crescent of flighty jumbled words.

Synthetic laughter tainting the pleasure of happenstance.

Loneliness a size too big for perfection.

Thumping along to the beat

Of a heart cracked wide open.

The centrepiece in a world full of ruined plenty,

And carefully, shaken faith.

Night

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Flavoured by the intuition of a fragrant dream.

Wrapped in the embers of a wish.

Constructed unbroken heartsickness.

Wanderlust,

Waking hope in the abyss.

Lonely Wanting

Too far removed from petty cares.

The root of creative pleasure

Stolen by the bustle of busy affairs.

Tantric melancholic visions

Washed and mended by the light.

Frozen, moodied fragile motion,

Tinted by a distant fierceness.

Night.