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Grand Tour of Her Mind: Wear Shoes for Walking & Pack a Lunch

"There ain't now answer. There ain't  gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer." ~Gertrude Stein~
“There ain’t now answer. There ain’t gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.”
~Gertrude Stein~

This morning finds me a little under the weather and feeling like the only friend I want in the world is my duvet and a few really, really good books. Maybe a cup of tea and a deliciously groomed man at the business end giving my freshly pedicured toes a thorough and proper massage that leads to lazy, sleepy sex. He may or may not have a beard and be wearing an Irish-knit sweater…

But let’s go back to the books before we add the hero, shall we?

When I can’t make up my mind about what to read, I know I’m in a state of creative hurricane.

If you are a creative type with slight control issues like myself, the  process can get unwieldy, kinda like a long silk scarf on a windy Paris evening.  You aren’t sure why you need it, and you haven’t got a clue where it’s going.

Underlying my jitters is the need to get to work on a creative project to satisfy a not-so-creative, rather logical A-to-B strategic business plan. Talk about an identity crisis!

I know myself. I know my pattern. I trust that my sub-conscious will work away at grooming and awakening the beast until she’s tame enough to bring out of the cave and introduce to the world. Speaking about ideas and engaging an audience always energizes me, and I know no matter how carefully planned, there is unique alchemy between a room full people. I like to bring enough energy and ideas to ensure that the magic is joyful and empowering.

It just so happens that when I’m feeling most creative, I also feel the most stuck. I procrastinate in a  zillion ways, mostly by entertaining the glittering, fleeting thoughts that my brain shoots off like fireworks on Chinese New Year.

Some of these thoughts include;

1) Packing up and moving to a boat on the west coast.

2) Pursuing a relationship with a man who I’m sure is scared to death of me.

3) Painting my little apartment.

4) Getting a fish as a muse at my desk in my messy office.

5) Finally getting a real start on my second novel.

6) Catching up on personal email.

7) Having an affair with a  long-lost love in a city I’ve never visited.

8) Having my teeth professionally whitened.

9) Reminding myself that I need to buy a large envelope to return a wrong-sized shirt that I bought on Jost Van Dyke with a kind note, self-addressed envelope and a twenty-dollar bill for return postage.

10) I forgot to set a hair appointment for a gala event next week.

11) Why I feel torn between identifying as blue-collar or white-collar, and why it matters anyway.

12) Thinking of a man who would enjoy sharing the coffee I just bought in Puerto Rico.

The thoughts are so exhausting that I inevitably get trapped in my fun-house brain, let the minutes turn into hours, and then find myself at the stove cooking dinner, in bed and waking up to my alarm clock telling me it’s time to go to work. “Maybe I should get that fish,” I think to myself as I pull on my suit pants.

I can be super organized and businesslike. I am super organized and business like in my professional life which has tentacles that reach well beyond Monday to Friday and 9-to-5. I believe that’s why the creative mess and magic of my home and writing life makes me so happy. Regardless of what I ‘produce’, my piles of unread and half-read books, bag of empty canvases and half used watercolors remind me that potential in life, learning and relationships is infinite, and that my darlings is what makes it worth living.

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Uncorked

Friday Eve…



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Please Mr. Postman

pinterestpostmanThere are few things more precious to me than receiving a handwritten letter. It’s rare now, but the beauty of ‘slow’ is underappreciated.

I’m not talking about the notes you scrawl on sticky pads to remind your colleagues of something or other. I’m talking about real-live letters in the post.

Two of my dearest friends still bother to send letters and packages, and when they come, I set aside time to open their letters, and read them when the house is quiet and I’m finished with all of the ‘musts’ of the day.

Life is busy. I make my personal calls while I’m commuting. Tonight Siri dialed the Amazing C, and she told me that today she mailed a package to me.I now, have something to look forward to on Monday when it arrives. What better way to end a 14 hour work day than with a promise of a little hand-written happiness?

I have letters that were written to me over three decades ago; from family, friends, and pen-pals whom I’ve never met. I have every letter my ex-husband ever wrote to me.

This weekend, I had a long-lost love on my mind, and decided I’d pull out the letters he had written to me once-upon-a-time. For years I kept them in the same place, in the post-office package that he first sent to me, including the four printed photographs he’d carefully chosen.

Much like a journal, old letters can shed light on who you are, where you’ve come from, and maybe, in my case where you’ve gone wrong or right.

Love letters. Something I believe you should never throw away. Unless they’re from morons, and then by all means, have some strange burning ceremony and include their gochies if you have any hanging around your boudoir. Highly therapeutic darlings.

So this weekend I searched until I found these darn letters, and reread everyone. The question that was burning in my mind was; Did he ever say it? You know what I’m talking about, “I love you”.  I was looking for it because lately I’ve been asking myself some pretty tough questions about relationships.  I know, I know, it’s enough to ruin a girls’ complexion, but there you have it, I’ve been prancing around with much on my mind.

Now let me tell you, just the day before I had been speaking with a friend and telling them how rare it was for me to cry any  more.

Life has battered me about ruthlessly; body, soul and heart. I’ve seen humanity at it’s best and worst, and tears just don’t come anymore, and if they do, it’s often it’s in the dead of night upon waking from some breathtaking nightmare. Clearly I need more booze, followed by a lifetime membership at Psychoanalyst’s Plus.

Life lessonsSo, as it happened, I was about a page into these love letters from a tall, dark, handsome hunk of juicy mansteak, stretched out on my white duvet with the sun shining in my window  when I saw them. Those three words written in his all-capitals-block-letter-handwriting unlocked the classified secret code to my tears.

As I sobbed, and I do mean sob and sniffled and bawled, I read the rest of the letters.

The written word is so powerful, especially now when techno-language has bastardized the beauty and art of precisely chosen words.

Re-reading those letters from so many years ago was like putting on new prescription lenses. The world made more sense, was reflected more clearly, and I was aware of just how much I had let myself miss out on because of my past.

Time really does speed up as you age. Reviewing the past via written letters, can inspire longing nostalgia as well as hold a glowing torch, illuminating the future. Handwritten notes have the energy of spiritual alchemy that is missing in instant messaging and even the spoken word.

When life has been sour, it is very refreshing to read the sweet words of love and friendship.

Sweeter still is when reflection helps you understand something about your own self that you’ve been trying to figure out for a very, very, long time.

Buddhism · Buddhist Philosophy · Lean In · Life · Meaning of Life · Men's Issues · Shambhala Sun · Spiritual Living · Women's Issues

Boring Buddhist vs. Ballsy Buddhist; You decide

lotusmudAs many of you know, I’m a lover, philosopher, meditator, opinion-giver and writer.

I try to live by Buddhist philosophy, and also, when that doesn’t suit me, by the seat of my very well-tailored pants.

Lately I’ve been depressed, anxious, restless, and chiding myself for feeling this way, until I re-read part of an article about the virtues of boredom;

…Later on, in the bathroom picking up dingy wet towels, I notice the mildew creeping up the bottom of the shower curtain. This is not the life of precious tributes. It’s one you want to throw out. And many of us do. We replace people, places, and things that have grown charmless and tiresome – which they always do. Fascination fades and restlessness stirs.

Chasing the picture perfect, we can lose what we have in abundance – the times that teach us even more than the rare delight of butterflies or a robin’s blue eggs. We lose the hours, the days, and the decades when nothing much seems to happen at all. Time freezes. Paint dries. Mildew spreads. We’re bored out of our minds.

Boredom is the unappreciated path to patience, peace, and intimacy, so who would read a paean to it? Let that be your koan.

Booooring… by Karen Maezen Miller Shambabhala Sun, September 2012, p19.

Upon first reading, it makes sense, but then you think of attachment, and wonder what the virture is in remaining attached to people, places or things that may have already taught you what you need to learn from them.

What if this is just a platitude to keep us all little cogs in what really is a materialistic, capitalistic driven lifestyle in the west?

Hmmm?  Have a think darlings, but I know what my plan is for the next few years. It’s not about sticking with the charmless, or discarding it.

It’s about appreciating what I’ve learned and moving on to a more rich and full life, with new experiences. That doesn’t make me a bad Buddhist, that just makes me brave.

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Can’t Get to Paris? Call in the Reserves!

doitlaterThere are days when we reach our limit way before the work day ends.

That’s why as a species, we have developed such civilized alternatives as recreational wine drinking, shopping, spa days and hot, sweaty, life-affirming romps. Can I get an, “AMEN”, ladies?

As I often do during my long, and tedious, urban-gridlock-hell commute home, I called my nearest and dearest relative. Let’s call him Mark for the purposes of our little light reading liaison, shall we?

We chat about everything and anything, and tonight he allowed me to reflect upon my ambivalent take on life. I constantly teeter on the ledge of sensible middle-aged-single-mamma-bear, and the dark, abyss of, you-only-live-once-hell-cat. I’ve very rarely been bored, depressed or lonely when I lean to the hell-cat side.

To jet to Paris this fall for a dream concert, or to play it safe and remain at home, taking my annual December break to bake, wrap and cook so the house feels like Christmas?  I want Paris, but who knows which way it will all play out.

What it boils down to,” I said to Mark as I sped through another intersection-under-construction, “is that at this age, and by my genetic calculations, I’m well past middle age. I mean I see it every day. People think they have all the time in the world to do things, and then, “BAM,” they’re dead.”

We nattered about life, the ups the downs, the good things, the bad things, and various and sundry philosophical ideas that are far beyond the intellectual reach of the average human.

Whether you’re dreaming of Paris, Venice, or a secluded château in the Mediterranean, you really should have a go-to, completely achievable back-up plan that you can call in like the army calls in the reserves.

So tonight I called in the big gun. Pun absolutely, and deliciously intended.

Beyond an afternoon sipping wine in the member’s lounge at the art gallery, an evening sipping Bordeaux with one of your besties, or a jeans-and-sweater beer night with your colleagues, is a serious, hedonistic rendezvous that leaves your legs weak and your body spent.

Always, always, always have a back-up plan ladies, because sometimes what you need is to not think about Paris, or work, or home or your own personal morals values and ethics. Sometimes, if you feel as lost as I do, more than anything, you just need each and every cell in your body to relax, be nurtured, loved and let’s not forget…awakened. Mmm….

Sometimes the best thing to do is call in the reserves, and allow them to give you a thorough and proper love-making session. For those of you with partners, make it special. If you require an explanation or instructions about how to make it special, your partner likely needs a back-up and you need a kick in the ass.

If you are single, or particularly adventurous, you already know what to do, and how to make it ‘special’.

After an-I-lost-track-of-too-many-days-at-the-office, and a whole lot of sadness on my mind, I broke down tonight and called in the back-up, the big-guns, the reserves…

The conversation went a little like this; “Hey.”

Hey..” His voice always purrs.

“You know I wouldn’t call if it wasn’t and emergency..”

….and that was that. The wine is ready to be loosed in our bloodstream. The candles will be lit, the music will be just right, and I will time the end of my very hot, very relaxing bubble bath to coincide with the knock on my door…

It may not be a forever kind of love, but it’s a grand friendship and I’ve been able to count on him for a long time.

Pick up the phone and prepare to execute your battle plan.

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Middle-Aged & Single: Doing Whatever The Hell You Please

Man and Woman's Feet and ShoesTonight, as I sipped wine at a black-tie affair my mind politely wandered above the charitable small talk that chokes like  fog during such appearances.

My dinner companion and I spoke quietly to one another about a recent trip he had taken to a land far, far away from our little corner of urban Canadiana.

When we met just over a couple of years ago, we made fast friends. Not friends who go out together on the weekend, but kindred-spirit-friends. In each other we found camaraderie in our joint distain over anything unremarkable, and our unapologetic preference for the finer things in life; men, food and wine.

He understood when I told him about deeply scarring loss because he too had severed the ties of his youth and began a new life on his own. He has a pretty good idea where my mind travels off to when the music slows, and I’m emotionally and physically exhausted because I’ve worked too many hours.

So it was to him I confessed my middle-age anxiety about the true meaning of life, and plan to figure it out in the most fun, frisky and fickle ways.

“Go for it,” he said as his cuff-linked arm reached across to fill my wine glass…again.

Remaining single throughout life has not been an easy road, but he understands why I have chosen to remain so. He knows the impact of professional trauma, he’s lived in the same rural claustrophobia that I was suckled on, he knows what it’s like to be hurt and heal,  cover up the scars with designer suits and smile like he’s known nothing but joy his entire life.

When you meet someone like this, they are like a mooring ball in a sheltered harbor, safe from the storm. They are the diving bell you cling to when you stretch to make other human connections.

And so it was tonight, as we talked, I considered what exactly it means to re-connect with someone from my past who was pivotal in choosing the road I travelled in life and in love.

Is it another turning point? Is this where I swing wide the doors of my perception and take a path I’ve had a hunger for, for a very long time?

I’ve been very lucky to have had some wonderful lovers. I’ve been very free to do as I choose, and have adventures that none of my coupled friends would ever dream of having.  I do believe that taking and having lovers is highly under-rated.

We’ve defined this before my darlings. A lover is someone who adores you. They send you letters and flowers and thoughtful gifts. He serenades you at the baby-grand piano at his beach house while you sip champers on the picnic blanket he’s spread out for you on the floor, complete with fresh seafood, drawn butter, and pillows ready to cushion your head when he makes love to you on the floor..

Oh, and I do mean make love!  The lightest brush against a lovers lips should set your entire body on the edge of bursting.

A lover leaves a trail of rose petals to the bathtub where he has thoughtfully lit candles, purchased your favourite lemon-scented triple-milled soap and has the music of a classic jazz crooner playing.

Perhaps he has thoughtfully left a cold glass of freshly squeezed juice and two painkillers beside the bed to help the red-wine headache he knew you would have the morning after the night before and is currently down the hall in the kitchen preparing your very favourite hangover-breakfast, including salted tomatoes which he had to go to the store to buy while you continued to slumber undisturbed.

I suppose the point of all this is that at a certain age, a single woman realizes she is not going to have the love that lasts a lifetime. She realizes that all there is, is now, in this moment, and she’d better grab on with both hands and love the hell out of .

We all know that true love finds us where we least expect to be found; in the raw state of being human which so few people recognize.

So here’s to taking lovers, and living every precious moment with fearlessness and passion.