Do Not Bring An Ocean To The River

IMG_4034.JPG

Advertisements

The Hardest People to Care For

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'" ~Mary Anne Radmacher~

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow'”
~Mary Anne Radmacher~

Are you one of them? A professional caregiver; nurse, police officer, paramedic counselor, doctor, mortician, social worker., firefighter, soldier..???

If you fall anywhere in that professional-soup, you are likely one of the most difficult individuals to care for .

After a trying week and anxiety that has registered off the scale and into the stratosphere, I think I may finally be coming back to the land of the living.

I’ve had a couple of friends offer me the equivalent of a pat on the back and kick in the ass. Not really what I needed when dealing with trauma of the ugliest kind, and top of my own personal issues.

What I did not need was a ‘Lol’, or a, “Yah, but you’ve felt like that before”, or a, “You always land on your feet.”

What I needed turned out to be a  blessing that came out of the blue; another human being who knows what it’s like to see the things that I see, and yet maintain a professional demeanor and carry on with life when what you really want to do is vomit, curl up in a ball, and have someone rock you like a baby.

Caregivers and those of us who deal with human mortality on a daily basis are the hardest people to care for.  We can recognize patronizing bullshit a mile away, and smell apathy like a hound smells a panicked raccoon. We recognize personal authenticity and we know when someone could care less. We’re also too worn out to call you on your bullshit most of the time, so you’re safe.

We are the most difficult people to care for, because we know all the theory, and suck at self-care practice. We also are the most loyal friends. It was my best pal of over 25 years who listened, and said just the right things. She didn’t try to make it better or lessen the trauma. It was another pal who recognized my despair in a well-timed-once-a-year-email response who surprised me the most. Although we haven’t seen one another in over a decade, he too knows what it’s like to be woken by nightmares and have your day interrupted by unwelcome thoughts and images.

You already know to avoid your half-assed friends and lovers, but if you need reminding, just try reaching out to those folks when you really need support. They will teach you all you need to know about who is important and who is not.

If you are one of us, ‘the hardest people to care for’, I urge you to seek the support you need. It may be reaping the benefits of a decent EAP program or even as simple as a coffee with your truly good friends and the  colleagues who share the same joy and pain of working with the underbelly of what it means to be human.

Not Being In Love: The Truth From Someone Who’s Single

"Don't ever settle for a relationship that doesn't allow you to be yourself." ~Unkown~

“Don’t ever settle for a relationship that doesn’t allow you to be yourself.”
~Unkown~

When you’re not in love, life is a lot simpler.

That’s what my experience has been. When you are in love, your heart aches for that someone special, and you would twist yourself inside out to make their world a little brighter.

Being in love is ideal, and not being in love can be very liberating.

Not being in love allows you the freedom to be distracted from your real life and to be entertained. Flirting requires a cleverness that gets lost in relationships. Not being in love means not being attached. Not being attached means not being attached to any particular  outcome. Not being attached to outcome lends itself to a lighthearted freedom, and you know what Janis Joplin’s famous rendition of Me and Bobby McGee taught us about freedom;

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose

~Kris Kristofferson & Fred Foster~

One of the best parts of any great relationship that I have, whether it be romantic, or platonic, is that it was rooted in the deep muck of silliness, play and lack of inhibition.

Too many relationships have been about saving the other person. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like hanging around like that hideous orange and white life-preserver that dries out and cracks in the sun while everyone is having fun in the pool. I don’t want a needy partner looking to be saved. I want a relationship to be a place where we can both come to recharge our batteries, instead of sucking the energy from one another. It’s a fine balance my juicy little love-plums.

So if you’re not in love, the next best thing may be to be engaged in some sort of flirtatious shenanigans. These are the things that keep us young at heart, and there is nothing more deliciously sexy than someone who knows how to have fun. Wine doesn’t hurt either…but I digress.

Being in love can be safe, comfortable, and deeply satisfying. Not being in love often results in the singleton being told a plethora of platitudes from people who are only somewhat satisfied with their partners, some of the worst of which are; you’ll find someone when you’re not looking, don’t settle, and, have you tried on-line dating?

All the while, the singleton at the receiving end of this merciless load of poop is thinking, “Maybe you should try shutting up and going home to suffer in silence next to your boring partner who makes you feel mediocre at best.”

Not being in love does not offer the safety of two incomes. It does not offer an unconditional casual therapist. Not being in love leaves you free to choose when you want to wake up on your no-alarm clock days, and coming home to eat curry and drink beer in your undies after a long week at work. Not that I would personally ever do such a thing….

Not being in love also opens up a world of delight if only you can let yourself enjoy some harmless flirting. Which, has also been known to lead to falling head over heels into the sticky spider-web of love…proceed with caution my lovelies. Consider yourself warned.

Anxiety & Depression: Catch Someone Doing Something Right

 

fortune cookiesEach year my mumster takes us out to a Chinese restaurant at Christmas time. It’s a tradition that we look forward to every year, including the passing around of fortune cookies, and reading them out loud. Mum’s hubby has added the advanced silliness of adding, “…in bed“, at the end of each fortune.

As the sun seeks longer periods of shelter from her shining down on the northern hemisphere, my good mood also fades, and I’m left with anxiety and depression that is even more hard to clothe in something fabulous and breathtaking. During the winter months those two aspects of my psyche stand as huge grey pillars in the flat landscape of my mind, poking up new outcroppings along paths that in the past were clear.

It’s been a doozy of a winter to navigate darlings. Bourbon, bubbly and boys just get in the way. It’s a raw journey that one must always make alone.

Mumster’s Christmas dinner always marks the beginning of the dull, dark, grey months, so the fortune is something light and lovely, and I always, always, always, tuck it in my wallet and keep it until the next year. It’s a reminder to keep things light.

youwillberewardedFortunes often promise something, but this year it issued  a task. This year, my fortune read; “Catch someone doing something right”…in bed. That’s not fun! That’s more work? I have to actually do something? Well, I never…!!!

The fortune hit home, and it caught me off guard. Catch someone doing something right.

I hadn’t done that in a while. I hadn’t acknowledged just how right some things were going, and being done around me. Instead, the bleak landscape of winter had taken over my very own grey matter. Grey, bleak and as always, it seemed like it would never end.

As much as a fortune can be, I use it as a guidepost, a koan, and do the best that I can for what it has to offer.

I caught little Willie Nelson the cat curled up in my white duvet this morning, so that’s gotta be doing something right.

Reading Kelzbelzphotography this morning, I felt less alone in my suffering, even if I did feel a little indignant about some of the comments,  “Think of your children….chin up…” , one of them read. Oh please, save the platitudes. Buh-arf! But the short post was something right. Sharing these thoughts and feelings is difficult at best. Kelzbelz did something right by making the rest of us feel not so alone.

Catch someone doing something right, snuck into my head, and I began to think of all the things people do right;

1) My pal’s offer to drive to the movie theatre yesterday

2) An invitation to a birthday get-together

3) An invitation to a business lecture to help grow my fledgling writing business.

4) Texts despite being busy

5) Willie Nelson the cat, just being himself

6) Being lent a waterproof camera for a much-anticipated vacation

7) Someone else doing all of the planning for said vacation

8) Someone being my diet buddy

….the list goes on and on. I have so many wonderful people in my life who tolerate me during my expeditions into the depths of winter doldrums, that it’s hard not to find someone doing something right all of the time. inbed

Even though I may not have told you, and you all know who you are, I catch you doing something right all of the time, and I am grateful. Winter sucks, and you are the marshmallows in the warm cocoa of life.

Go ahead, try to catch someone doing something right, and see how it changes the landscape of your grey, winter mind. Who knows, I may even catch someone doing something right…in bed!

 

Reply All: A Guide To Email Etiquette

"Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much." ~Robert Greenleaf~

“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.”
~Robert Greenleaf~

I happen to have the very best friends a gal could ever wish for. I also happen to be associated with some incredibly gifted, kind and passionate professionals as well. Having said that, we all do crazy things now and then, like hit the ‘Reply All’ tab when we’re responding to email.

Reply All. Hmmm….

A great idea in theory, but it’s the digital equivalent of the paper junk mail that clutters my inbox and kills bazillions of trees. I have to admit being guilty of it in the past month, replying to a  group email that has to do with a vacation that I’m really, really, really excited about.  I’m guilty of reply-alling.

‘Reply All’ is usually unnecessary however. Generally the person who generates the email is the ‘organizer’, the nerve center of communication, and they will ultimately gather responses, send out information neatly tallied and succinctly explained in another email, thus avoiding the thousands of irritating responses.

Asking for directions and parking is a no-no in a ‘Reply All’ response. MapQuest? GPS? Yes, techno-wizard, use it. The other common and particularly stunning faux pas with ‘Reply All’ responses is asking, or delivering personal information that ought to remain personal between the emailer and emailee . Yes, consider those your first new words of 2015.

More often than not ‘Reply All’ is not necessary, overflows already bursting inboxes and annoys the ever-loving-shit out of most folks.

You can thank me for your modern etiquette lesson later on darlings, for now, just nod and carry on being your fabulous selves.

Another Reason to Be Grateful

"If you cannot find a good companion to walk with, walk alone like an elephant roaming the jungle. It is better to be alone than to be with those who will hinder your progress." ~Unknown~

“If you cannot find a good companion to walk with, walk alone like an elephant roaming the jungle. It is better to be alone than to be with those who will hinder your progress.”
~Unknown~

I’m nothing if not up for a little adventure. I believe in nurturing curiosity, being open to new experiences and meeting new people. I believe in letting the Universe know what I want.

I’m also getting used to the “Universe’s” twisted sense of humour.

I’m so tired of the twists and turns and encouragement to ‘be specific’ about the utterances and vibes that I give off, I’m tempted to switch from being a half-assed agnostic-Buddhist-left-wing-conservative-hippie, and start praying once again to the old Burn-In-Hell-Baptist-Old-Testament-God that I snuggled up with every night as a child.

Just kidding. I do not need an overbearing passive aggressive male figure in my life.

As you may have guessed, I have lived my life much by the seat of my pants, and it has been good. Good as in; I have cultivated friendships with good people, I have known the company of good men, and I’ve worked really hard at my academic and professional accomplishments. I also have pretty eyes and my legs aren’t that bad either.

...OR NOT....

…OR NOT….

So, it was with great confidence that I decided much like my professional life and parenting, I would put a strategic plan in place and execute it in such a way that outcomes could be measured and goals achieved when it came to finding love.

Sexy, I know darlings, but an intelligent woman is often heart-stopping to like-intellectually-gifted men.

Earlier today I arranged to meet Blind Date #1. Let me cut the story short in case you don’t have a lot of time; Today will also be the day that marks the end of my strategic dating plan for 2015.

Since Blind Date #1 had jumped into the deep end of the dating pool, and clearly needed to stay in the swamp, I have come up with a list of suggestions for gentlemen pursuing their potential one-and-only.

1) Teeth are important. That I even have to mention this makes me puke in my mouth a little bit. If a woman has to strain herself to make sure you do indeed have a solid set of upper central and lateral incisors, you likely should either A – ensure she has been afforded the courtesy of  a good full frontal Eric-Estrada-quality-smile photo of you prior to agreeing to a date, or B – seek the support of a cosmetic dentist. Since not everyone can afford a good dentist, and not every woman is totally turned off by toothless suitors, I suggest the less-expensive of the two above options.

2) Disclosing stomach ailments including vomiting and as my granny used to call it, “a good case of the shits”, is highly unlikely to score you a second date, or even another five minutes.

3) If you visibly tremble when meeting people for the first time, get therapy sweetie, because it makes it awkward for the lady you’re trying to impress. If you are shaking and have already disclosed number two (no pun intended), just turn around and leave. We don’t need an explanation.

4) No one expects to meet a man with a wallet as thick as Donald Trump, but we do not want to hear how difficult it is for you to pay your rent. If that’s the case, you should not be asking ladies out on a date. You should meet at the library or park.   Do not pass go, do not collect the two hundred dollars you need to make the rent and do not call, text or communicate any further. Just slither on out with the pathetic skin you came in with. Special note to ladies; do not feel guilty and pay the guy’s rent. Go get yourself a new pair of shoes and recognize your developing discerning wisdom.

5) Telling a woman you need a woman in your life is like giving them a front-seat tour through the main street of Red-Flag City.  We all need companionship, we’re just not all needy. Like you.

6) If on a blind date you do not hit it off, crying before you leave is just the most miserable kind of awkward.

Should you choose to make a mis-step and fall prey to any one of the above no-no’s, rest assured that you need to seek immediate professional help. I’m not being sarcastic, and I’m not joking.

If you think dating is going to solve your emotional, psychological, physical or financial problems, you need to stop and cultivate the wonderful person you have the potential to be. No one can do this for you sweetheart, so don’t waste our time. That’s what friends and therapists are for.

If nothing else, meeting a man who succumbed to all six boo-boo’s within fifteen minutes of meeting has made me extremely grateful, not to mention feeling my skin-crawl.

According to the Urban Dictionary gratitude means; The quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.  It is also the instruction of much of today’s pop-psychology hoo-ha preaching happiness. What tends to get left out is how much slogging through hard times has to do with learning about real gratitude.

Long story short, today I was reminded to be grateful that I am a woman with enough discernment to know when the universe is chuckling and shaking its head. I know what I need to be doing, and it’s not spending time on blind-dates planning an exit strategy.

No darlings, we have way too much to offer the world to waste our time like that.

 

 

 

 

Boomer Etiquette

"Let me help you while you pollute everyone else's space with your annoying phone etiquette." ~Anonymous~

“Let me help you with your phone.”
~Anonymous~

I have a lot of respect for my friends and colleagues when it comes to wisdom gained through experience. They’ve been there and done that, way before I even drew a breath.

What I don’t respect are mindless boobs who assume manners and common courtesies are something owed to them, but no deserved by those who share the world with them.

Let me break it down for you;

Rules of the road. If there are three lanes and you are anywhere but in the far left lane and being passed by other vehicles, move over. Traffic sucks for all of us, please play kindly.

Movie theatres. Yes, I used to think that teenagers were the most rude, but it’s no, it’s the silver haired set. It’s allllllll you. Teenagers may be attached to their devices, but they aren’t invading our space with noise.

Yes, you are the only people who let your phone ring in waiting rooms, restaurants, theatres and other public places and then go ahead and answer it.  Even in appointments with professionals.  Nothing is as important as the present moment. Love yourself enough to be in that moment.

Turn off your ringer, and if you don’t know how to do that, please, for the love of everyone’s blood pressure, leave your damn phone in the car. You are THE ONLY generation who answers your phone while in the theatre. I think this may be because you don’t know how to text.  Ask for a lesson. That’s not sarcasm, it’s a sincere plea. I promise you, once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it.

Also, sit the hell down!  My son timed some grey-haired-piece-of-annoying-as-hell-skin who stood in front of us at the theatre while the previews played. A full minute he stood and talked to the people he came to the theatre with. The only reason I didn’t lose it was that I would have mortified my teenager. Sit down, shut the hell up, and let everyone enjoy the movie.

This morning I went out for breakfast. I found a nice quiet table and was enjoying my coffee and reading the Sunday paper when a couple sat down right next to me. As in, less than 30cm away. They continued to talk about their bedtime playtime last night, and then Mr. Viagralovin proceeded to cough and snot and make calls. Seriously, it’s like finding a secluded spot on a beach and then having the only other person on the planet plant their pasty white ass down right next to you.

It took three phone calls before I picked up my jacket, purse, plate of food, newspaper and coffee and moved tables. His wife looked at me like I was crazy.  I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my breakfast in peace. I hope they on the other hand,  both get the shits.

What this all really boils down to is two things; first, I’m bitchy. I’ve been under the weather and had to be out to take the kiddo to practice, so I found the quietest, closest place I could and nestled in.  Second, people really need to learn how to respect one another’s space, especially as our population booms.

I try to keep to myself when I need quiet, like this morning. I try to be friendly when I meet someone on the street, hold a door, or push my cart through the store.

We are doing a lot of mindless living, multi-tasking not only tasks, but personal relationships.  We all deserve better.

Do the world a favour, when you see someone being rude, quietly address them, and if that doesn’t work, use your outside voice. Trust me, the rest of the world will thank you for policing the subtle things that make civilization civilized.

 

 

An Open Letter to Mothers With Young Children

"Mothers are the people who love us for no good reason. And those of us who are mothers know it's the most exquisite love of all." ~Maggie Gallagher~

“Mothers are the people who love us for no good reason. And those of us who are mothers know it’s the most exquisite love of all.”
~Maggie Gallagher~

I was you once – giddy with affection and unconditional love for my child.

Every moment was a miracle, and every second I could kiss, cuddle, snuggle or coo my little one, I did. Unapologetically.

I see you out there, proud as punch as you push your strollers and post your photos on social media of your naps, and first steps, and messy little-helping hands of your budding cookie bakers.

Don’t stop.

That’s right. You read that correctly. Don’t stop falling in love with your babies.

I’m the middle-aged woman you pass at the coffee shop, or in the shopping aisle who stops to tell you how beautiful your baby, toddler or young child is. I’m the woman who coos over the outfits and little faces, and even the tears.  I’m one of the kazillion middle-aged women who look at you through their newly increased lens prescription and says; “Enjoy them while they’re young.”

Don’t stop being amazed at every new stage. Ever.Don’t stop wondering how they are when they head off to school, and don’t stop bothering them for a hug, or stories about their day when they become teenagers. Trust me, they will challenge you sometimes.

Whatever happens and whatever they get up to, don’t stop being the ferociously loving mother that you are.

I’ll be honest with you. When my child turned three, I was tempted to see what the return policy was. Four was better. Like a light switch being turned on, the ‘terrible three’s’ (it was three not two) turned into the fabulous four’s, and I had my angel back.

It’s true, every age and stage holds some surprise. Some stages, much like the prize your potty-training-darling hands to you while proudly shouting, “Poo-Poo”  are less satisfying than others. Sometimes you will despair at how you will get through the day; emotionally, physically, financially. Sometimes, you will have nothing left to give. But that’s when us older gals come in.

We’ve been there; the smiling photo-posting-proud-as-pie times and the lonely-how-am-I-going-to-do-it-times. Pick up the phone, talk to us in line at Starbuck’s, or at the grocery store. We’ve been there sister, and lived to coach you through it.

For now, just keep doing what you do. You’re great at it, even when you’re not sure you’re doing it right, you are.

~Enjoy them while they’re little. They grow up too quickly.~

 

 

Decluttering Life

holdingonlettinggoDecluttering is an ongoing part of life, kind of like breathing. There is always a taking in what is needed and letting go of what is slowly killing us.  It’s usually the letting go that we find difficult; relationships, body issues, sentimental material goods….

Before I get rid of anything, I ask myself: Do I need this?

When it comes to ‘stuff’ my answer has more and more been a firm and effective no. Relationships on the other hand, well, let’s just say that I’m a tough old gal, and I’m starting to get the feel of ‘yes’. As in yes, I do need this. I do need love and nurturing and the occasional bout of being treated like someone’s true love.

Discernment has been at the forefront of my mind in recent months and I’ve realized that my life is cluttered, which is most likely at the root of my home being cluttered.

Wishing you and I both the discernment to know what to nurture and what to set free.

My life is stuffed-to-bursting with people and things that need to be dusted off and shipped out to new places and people who will cherish and love them.

The new year has renewed my restlessness and strong need to declutter. I’m craving rejuvenation. It’s time to clear out, move on, and get my groove back. It’s tough to be groovy when you’re weighed down with ‘stuff’, so today it started.

I don’t generally make resolutions, so I’m just going to honour the voice inside of me which is screaming; “I CAN’T BREATHE!”. The only way I can think of giving my beleaguered soul some peace is to declutter; my body, my home and my heart.

carlinedeclutterTime to let it all go. Time to set all of my ancient soul-junk on fire and release it on a swift ice-flow to the past. Time to exhale.

Today I dug out a baby shower gift that is long overdue. This week I will buy wrapping and deliver it to the proud grandmere. I also have a birthday gift now wrapped and ready to be sent in the post. Yes, today was about getting paper out-of-the-way.

The magazines are culled, with only a few Buddhist publications and décor magazines left to inspire the painting and decorating that was meant to happen last summer. Le sigh…life moves quickly indeed.

My kiddo has been assigned a huge pile of shredding, and the cat toys have been wrangled up and put away in his cozy little bed. Which, as you’ve guessed, he never uses. Wires have been hidden, houseplants have been brought in to restore air quality and an atmosphere of cozy tranquility.

A couple of months ago, I decluttered my phone contacts. I did it on a whim just before I slipped away to dreamland. What a liberating feeling.

Discernment and declutteing; I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s a start.

Getting Your Goddess Back

“There are only two types of women - goddesses and doormats”~Pablo Picasso~

“There are only two types of women – goddesses and doormats”
~Pablo Picasso~

With love in the air, and all things lining store shelves being red and pink, what better time to reminisce about the great loves of our life who have brought us to where we are today?

Hopefully it’s a place of great self-awareness and blossoming intimacy.

And then again, maybe you’re not in a place of self-awareness and blossoming intimacy.

Perhaps you need a little music to inspire your reminiscing. May I suggest; The Song Remembers When.

Wait.

Go back.

Click through and listen. Trust me – click.

Oh my stars! You do remember don’t you my precious little darlings? All of those deliciously silly things that we used to do when we were so much younger and carefree. All of the fun times we had with the delicious slices of man-pie we used to know so well?

Oh. My. Stars. Remember how fabulous we were? How fearless?

Ah yesle sigh my petite pumpkins, le sigh. Youth is wasted on the young. But it doesn’t have to be.

It seems, for most of us wonderful gals, that something has drugged the wild and crazy goddesses that we once were.  She is curled up resting. Dormant and waiting to stretch, yawn and come alive again. No matter if you’re with the love of your life, or just starting out again looking for your Mr. Right.

You may need to lose a few pounds or tidy up your closet to find that wild and crazy goddess whom you parted from so very long ago.

I have one piece of advice to get your wild and crazy goddess back;

Figure out what you want, and learn how to ask for it. Simple, Non?