Wednesday, February 23, 2011

At an Impasse

One early February morning a few weeks ago, as I’m riding the bus to work, I noticed a number of (new?) nests perched steadfastly on bare trees alongside a very busy Vancouver street. I’m reminded of the cycle of death and birth or rather death and rebirth, whether physically or metaphorically.

As the song title “All My Life’s a Circle” implies, these cycles continue throughout our lives. They come in forms such as the 24-hour day, the seasons, and so on. And one cycle I occasionally experience is feeling stuck in my life (as we all do from time to time).

I felt like I came to an impasse – that is the word that came to me – the past few months. I wondered if this was in correlation with my vision therapy which felt like it had come to a halt. Did my vision come at an impasse first or my life? Did one affect the other and vice versa? This was my guess. Robert-Michael Kaplan, my original vision therapist, concurred with my speculation.

Feeling stuck to me is like feeling dead. Being at an impasse made me feel somewhat dead, lifeless to some degree in not living fully (including my passions). This is unusual for me not only because I love to learn and grow – my favourite word growing up was potential - but also because most of my life (until a couple of years ago), I prayed the most feverous appeals to know and live my purpose, mission, and passions.

This urge, this hunger to know was the (pronounced as thee) most important thing to me, even more so than a loving, committed relationship which I desired (and still do). That intensity, that urge to know fueled my life and was a persistent lingering in the back of my mind. It rarely left me.

Somehow something happened to make this fuel disappear and I’m not sure what it was. Was it because I turned 50?

No, I still had it as I worked hard to launch a dream last summer. (I wrote about this in one of my earliest blogs. In essence, even though I spent seemingly every free minute on fulfilling this dream which entailed early mornings and very late evenings, I felt so alive like never before.)

Was it because I needed a break from life with my busyness of searching for a roommate for a couple of months, then deciding to move instead, and all that that decision entailed? It was certainly an intense and stressful period.

I don’t think it was necessarily any of these things.

Yet, something in me felt drawn to attend a writing group last night. I chose a card from a deck that ‘spoke’ to me. On the front was written, “Life is Always in Motion, so I cannot be stuck” while on the back were the words, “It is not possible to stand still or be stuck because Energy, and thus life, is always in motion. Things are always changing. The reason it may feel to you as if you are stuck is because while you are continuing to think the same thoughts, things are changing – but they are changing to the same thing over and over.”

Wow!, I thought, ‘How interesting!’ This card affirmed that life is a cycle not only with my thoughts, but also the results of my thoughts even if they are the same ones!

Of course I can look back and see what might have caused this standstill. However, in looking forward, the more important question here is: How can I get out of feeling stuck? Even though (according to the card), there’s no such thing as the outcomes are repeatedly the same.

In answering that question, I realized, or rather remembered, that it takes only one step, even just a baby step (forward) to feel unstuck. So my actions this week – auditioning for the third time in my life and attending a writing group (something that I’ve been wanting to do for some time) – helped to propel me onward in a positive direction.

These steps are moving me forward, incrementally, as they are calling me, pulling open my heart and body as I progress while pursuing my passions of the creative and performing arts. This for me is, indeed, a step in the right direction!

Now, my turn to ask you: How are you feeling with the way your life is going (or moving)? What direction have you taken? Are you at a crossroads? Feeling stuck? Or are you moving forward, even gradually, towards your dream(s)? What steps or actions are you taking?

I commend you if you are moving forward. But even if not, I commend you for being aware. For being aware is the first key to change. It is only then that you can take action, any action, even seemingly small to fulfill your heart’s desires and your soul’s purpose.

Come travel alongside me as we journey together…forward and onward. Ho!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Death Befalls Me

The face of death has appeared twice within approximately the past year-and-a-half with work colleagues. One woman was about a year or so older than me, the other a bit older perhaps.

This makes me question my health: Am I a potential candidate for diabetes (which can be a cause of death) as I love sweets!? For a heart attack as I can be intense at times? For cancer as I suppress a lot of emotions especially anger and sadness?

This also makes me question my own mortality. Though I used to have a personal death wish, I generally don’t wish to die anytime soon (except for the odd time when I’m experiencing intense emotional pain which does happen on occasion).

Whenever I’m in extreme pain and/or severely ill (and feel like I may be dying), it might be better if I put this into perspective. That this is better than the alternative so-to-speak.

This reminds of an incident when the building manager where I used to work spoke to me about her pains associated with a fall she experienced. She remarked, "Better than the alternative to not getting old." I was puzzled by her comment as I didn’t understand what she was alluding to and thus asked her what she meant. She repeated herself.

Ah! I chuckled. I understood and certainly agreed, but of course! However, when I am physically and/or psychologically in pain, sometimes the pain is so excruciating that one would rather be dead, at least momentarily. If that were at all possible. Well, perhaps it is!

Perhaps I have and still do. I mean, how often do I dull or desensitize (think ‘deaden’) my feelings and/or pain with addiction? I know that whenever I am feeling vulnerable, especially if I feel emotionally sensitive or ‘on edge,’ whether sad or depressed, lonely, angry, etc., that I am usually prone to addictive behaviour.

I used to believe only certain types of people were ‘guilty’ of experiencing addictions. I’ve since come to believe that we all suffer from at least one form of addiction that masks our true essence, whether mild or extreme or anywhere in between. Addictions that can include alcohol and/or drugs, gambling, shopping, food, internet (social networking, porn), sex, and so on.

I’ve also come to believe that there are many addictions, even ones that may not be considered as such, like – as I just read in a book – addicted to the approval of others, also known as ‘people pleasing.’ Or how about worrying? Or perfectionism? Or being a control freak?

Addictions can be and feel like death or a mini-death can’t they? Numbing our senses, even temporarily, and our true self in the hope of zoning out and escaping our pain.

What is/are your addiction(s) and how do you deal with them? Do you have support? If so, from whom? A support group? Friends? Family? Does your support system help keep you sane and focused? Or controlled enough to stay away from your addiction(s) temporarily or long term?

Spare me all the details. I am only offering an opportunity for speculation as you ponder over these questions. However, I am open to your feedback and suggestions, including helping me with mine! ; )

BTW (by the way), speaking on the topic of death, I noticed today that the angel is gone! (The one I wrote about in my previous blog.) It was like she died and perhaps I did too just a tad as I felt so disheartened. Yet I was extremely grateful that I took photos of her before she totally disappeared. Now I wonder: Who took her (away) and why?! : (