When You’re Too Busy to Write About the Important Stuff

woman-reading-letterBefore I settle in to do some serious creative writing today, I must fulfill an obligation of friendship. I must escape the keyboard, and put pen to paper. I’ve been negligent of my duty to keep my friends abreast of my girl-news via proper letter writing.

My mailman hates me. You see, my mailbox doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.

I only make visits bi-weekly to clear out the junk mail; real estate flyers, fast-food coupons, and annoying letters from our Conservative political rep. Buh-arf.

On occasion there’s a little treat in the mailbox.  My friend in Newfoundland will take time to write a letter, despite her aching hands, and my gal-pal in the great-white-north, The Amazing C, will take time from her busy family life, writing to me about the things that matter to her (on sparkly paper no less).

There is something about the feel of a hand-written letter that’s so much different from something we type at our worn-out keyboards. There’s something about anticipating what’s inside the envelope, taking time to sit and savour the words that someone dear to us has thought to put on a piece of paper. There’s something about knowing that someone cared enough to get off their spectacular tushie and find a mailbox.

Perhaps it’s because I’m such a tactile person that I so enjoy holding that letter in my hands. Perhaps it’s because I’m a lover of words that I take so much pleasure from being able to read a dear one’s thoughts. Regardless, I do believe that the alchemy of letter writing is a stronger connection than digital light flashing and dying, being able to be turned off instead of being placed in my bedside drawer where a letter can be unfolded and read during those nights when sleep is somewhere far, far away, and my mind won’t be still.

The problem with letter writing is that it takes a bit of time. Not only do I type much faster than I write, but letter writing requires stationary, a pen, a stamp. It requires getting out of the house and finding a post box. It requires the person on the other end to  get their mail, open the letter, and pause to take in the news that was so important it had to be written down.

I’ve been terrible with my letters during the past two months. The speed of life has whisked away all but the essential functions; work, eat, sleep and work again. This is the first weekend I’ve been able to stop for more than 24 hours and catch my breath.

When my Newfie friend sent a text saying he was in town, I realized that I’d yet to write to his wife about the new love in my life. I kept thinking; This requires a letter. This requires her to stop, get a cup of tea, snuggle up in her chair, and take in the words that I had married together to tell her my thoughts and feelings, and how my life had changed. Communicating in a letter is the closest thing that I could do to sitting down together in her living room and seeing her eyes light up or fill with tears as I told her about my losses and my love.

Alas, time passes quickly when it’s not my own. Before I could do a damn thing about it darlings, her hubby was at my door and shaking hands with Mr. Wonderful. Mr. Wonderful of course thinking that if he were indeed that wonderful, why hadn’t I mentioned him to some of my closest friends.

I’m sure my pal on the east-coast is wondering the same thing.

All I can say is, sometimes it’s worth waiting to spread really good news. Sometimes, when it comes to the kindred spirits of true friendship, it’s worth making the effort to make the news as special as the story of your life actually is.

This rainy Saturday is a wake-up call, shaking me and telling me to catch up on some of the things that I’ve been too busy for, for far too long.

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You Can’t Go Around It – You Must Go Through It…

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love." ~Washington Irving~

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”
~Washington Irving~

There are very few people in this world whom I consider true kindred spirits; the ones who live and die by the Mark McGuinn Lyrics,

I don’t believe you can get too much love, but you can get too much advice.

You can get too much advice. Sometimes any advice is just too much. It’s irritating and hurtful, and painful to hear.

Often it’s not advice that we need. No darling, we already know where the chinks in our personal armor are. We were there when it happened after all. We felt the flesh wound and saw the blood. It’s just that sometimes, as unpleasant as it is,  we must return to the scene of the crime to continue to make sense of it all.

Instead of advice, we need a hug, a snuggle, a hot cup of tea, and a long hot bath by candlelight where we can weep in private and our mascara won’t run. We need to let it all out where no one can see or hear or reach out. Because, the rationale goes, if they know how to comfort, they will know how to wound.

I’m almost a little too aware of what a roller coaster grief is, how it can grab hold, and throw you in the middle of the ring without you even knowing you’re a contender. It’s a fickle bastard with a wry smile and salivating lips. It has the patience of a saint, and the stealth of a lightening bolt. No matter how fast you run, or where you hide, it will find you.

Like most fabulous ladies, I’m a big fan of avoiding emotional discussions until I’m tucked safely away with a stiff drink, some Leonard Cohen, and no place to go until the swelling under my tired eyes goes down. Better yet, I like to avoid emotional discussions in which my emotions are the ones under scrutiny. In other words, I foolishly avoid my own sadness until it overwhelms me, but offer a shoulder when a friend is in need.

It becomes a matter of timing. I hear myself rationalizing, ” I can’t do it now, my kiddo will see me. I can’t do it now, I have to get some sleep. Maybe tomorrow right after work, that way I can pat my eyes in the car. I can’t possibly bother them with this stuff because it’s way too depressing.”

Maybe I’m such a hard ass because I’m not a big lover of well-meaning-platitude-spewing-amateur-therapists. Maybe it’s because when I cry I feel vulnerable and foolish, and the thought of someone minimizing it makes me feel weak. After all, I know what’s happening, so why feel it so deeply?

Maybe it’s because I’m trying to rationalize something that can’t possibly be coaxed into the tidy identity of the woman-who-has-it-all-together, which I’ve worked so hard to create and maintain.

Or maybe, maybe it’s just  hard to talk about things that cause me emotional pain because I’m human too.

The Practice of Practicing Loving

decisions todayI’m not a re-reader. I have re-read less than a handful of books and a few articles.

There is one article that I’ve kept around, read and re-read, copied and passed along to friends; Let Me Count the Ways, by John Tarrant, Shambala Sun, September 2011.

I’ve kept it around because I’ve needed it. It made sense to my heart, but I couldn’t assimilate it into my being, into my practice, into my every-day-can-I-not drag-the-pain-of-my-past-into-my-future.

As I write this, the love of my life is nestled in front of me. I look into his blue eyes and see the hope, the joy, the pain of the past and all of the questions about the future, and I practice loving. All of it. The joy, the pain, what happened in the past to bring us to one another, and the wonderful mystery of what joys the future will bring us if we just surrender.

You remember your first kiss or when you met the one you love. Youemember where you were, what the weather was like, what you were wearing, who else was with you, and what song was playing. Such a memory is one of the compass points of life. It doesn’t mean that the love was smart of worked out or you understood what it meant, but it means that you surrendered. You risked the taste of life, and that changed things.

When you sit across from a man who makes your heart beat faster, your loins become outrageously moist, and your mind stop churning, you know that you’re in trouble.

The question is, how do you stop thinking? How do you stop bringing old wounds out into the light to be re-opened, dissected and left to fester? How do you live in a deliciously perfect moment that life has been conspiring to present to you since the day you were born?

It’s about risk.  It’s about surrender. It’s about letting go of everything that you ever thought made any sense to a bruised and battered heart. It’s about not calculating and just simply letting go.

When things come into being involuntarily, everything shakes: the universe appears, expanding rapidly, poems arrive out of nowhere, coincidences occur, and the mind is rearranged. In love you do things, that don’t make rational sense. Like enlightenment, love teaches you how to live down a level, to follow instructions that come from deep inside.

So this practice of practicing loving is an unforgiving master. This practice of practice of loving strips me bare of everything I’ve ever thought about myself and my values. Love makes you wake up, feel alive, and grateful for each and every sensation.

You notice what gives you pain, what hardens your heart –  how when you dislike someone or hold a grudge, or embark on a crusade, or are jealous and principled, you make yourself and others around you unhappy. Noticing is a practice of love. You don’t have to exclude, extinguish, or dislike anything that the mind presents. Life becomes an adventure. You take the ride.

So in the on-going practice of practice of loving, as we venture into mid-life and the increased awareness of what-might-have-been, I choose to stick my thumb out and take the ride.

Always Choose the Frilly Panties

ginintonicWhen choosing between books and frilly undies, my advisor  Dr. Tanqueray strongly suggests the frilly undies.

You see, we were bonding this evening over the chapters.ca website. when my wee-girl-brain started to envision my man’s shirt off and trousers around his ankels.

Whilst staring off into space while the book-nerd website waited patiently in front of me, dear old Dr. Tanqueray asked the question that begged answering, “Would you rather have the book, or the panties.

I’m delighted to say that the panties won out. Hands down. Thank you Tanqueray. Had my senior advisor, Coffee, been around, the book would definitely be en route.

Now, don’t roll your eyes and click away from me darling. You must understand that this comes from a woman who refuses to spend a dime on wedding magazines, and hates shopping malls.

What we’re talking about here is just letting ourselves indulge in a bit of, well, indulgence.

At this age and stage, I’m proud to tell you that I’ve purchased, worn, and test-driven every silky, sensual and sleazy bit of paraphernalia that anyone could ever hope to romp around in with an excruciatingly decadent lover.

But I was over that. So very over that. I thought that it was gone forever. I thought I was destined to my regularly scheduled program of back-up men and really, really good books, booze and gal-chats.

Then it happened. From somewhere out in the great unknown, Mr. Deliciously-Perfect-and-Uber-Sexy man appeared in my life. And now I need pretty things again.

Not for him. Oh no, my sweet little cherries of love, I need them for me!

That’s right darlings, moi. You see, nothing makes me feel any sexier than a hot, candle-lit soak, accompanied by some Cava, soft, warm legs with freshly applied lotion, and some lacey bits. Life is too short to deny oneself the pleasure of pleasures of the flesh.

Trust me ladies, when you’re fantasizing about it, not matter how old, how robust, or how many times you’ve been around the block, a new lover deserves a freshly rejuvenated you. A new once-in-a-lifetime

Always, always, always, go for the panties. If you have any doubts, consult with Dr. Tangueray.

Priorities of the Heart

leobuscagliaTender moments are rare and beautiful.

They are moments we increasingly hide behind closed doors and sneak in during the scarce moments leftover for real life  and authentic, emotionally intimate interaction.

These are the moments we stroke our lovers sleeping face, pull their arms around our half-sleeping body and rest our head on their relaxed, rising and falling chest.

This morning, a young man, barely 25, stood in the haze of a muggy late spring morning and tenderly placed his right hand on the small of his girlfriend’s back as he reached gently for her face and kissed her good-bye.

With the advent of six and seven-day weeks combined with twelve and fifteen hour days, it was easy to forget leaving moments like those behind.

As I watched this couple complete their morning good-bye ritual in the private space of the shaded parking lot, I was taken back to my reverie   about how very quickly time slips away from us. Business takes away from the joy of making a life. There is little time or energy left over for all of the essential relationships we work so hard and blindly to sustain.

It wasn’t the tender touch of young love that made the breath catch in the back of my throat this morning. It was the timeless nature of true love and connection that stopped me in my tracks.

You see, after almost fifteen years of waking and sleeping alone, I’ve recently been reminded of the deep contentment that comes with emotional commitment.

Regardless of age, those moments when we expose our human frailty to our beloved are the moments that give our days meaning. These are the moments that crack open our consciousness and breathe life into our clock-work days.

This morning, as I paused for a moment to witness this act of tenderness, I was reminded that these moments are precious and few.

It was a reminder to receive the blessing of intimacy with grace, to prioritize according to what my spirit has been whispering to me about, for what seems like forever.

Watch For It

watchoutfor

Time Keeps on Slipping

slippingintothefutureTime management used to be my bitch.

You see, I was good at it, like super-good and super-in-control. I had my life planned down to the second, including time allotted for libertine duties, as appropriate, for a lady with designated preferences.

But then stuff happened. Like,  life-stuff happened, and I lost hold of the bridle. The damn thing got away from me.

It all wouldn’t bother me so much if I didn’t know how wonderful it was to be in control and so damn sure of myself.

Somewhere between triumph and heartbreak, long days and even longer work-weeks, it all just slipped away.

Time broke free and it seems that these days all I can do is watch it pass by like a beautiful summer storm that roars in off the lake, leaving you breathless, awestruck  hoping for one more rumble of thunder and a few flashes of dry lightning in the distance when the world is quiet and dark.

Today a phone call from my friend Carlo served as the mediation bell reminder that I had been meaning to get my camera out and get the lens fixed for oh, I don’t know, three years. Three years!   Three.   Years

…and so time passes this way for me; Alarm clocks, appointment after appointment after appointment, followed by obligations only the truly insanely ‘called’ to service professionals in my line of work would tolerate.

Here we are at the top of summer. I can see it rolling out in front of me; seasons of fresh produce still dewy at farmer’s markets, sunshine and beaches and wine on the grass at twilight, the summer season at Stratford, days lazing by the lake, and humid nights under light, cool sheets tangled up in my lover’s body.

Having a new relationship in my life has turned my attention to time; perception and the  perpetual passing of the baton between tasks that I no longer wish to be doing or hold meaning for me.

Ah yes, the almighty dollar at work in our false economy keeps us subordinate to alarm clocks and interest rates. Yet, it also keeps us ultra-aware of what brings us meaning, peace and joy.

terrifymeLight cannot exist without darkness, and let’s face it darlings, no one wants to live in the dim-light between needing and satisfaction. It’s like having to pee in the bushes when there’s a beautiful powder room complete with triple-milled jasmine soap, just waiting for you delicate tush.

Perhaps it’s age, or being in the throes of new love that has me evaluating how I broker my time and where I want my energy to be spent.

More and more, it’s less and less,  that I feel I need. My new beau often asks, “What is your want?”

My wants are significantly simple.  My current situation reflects the obvious gaps between what I wanted then and what I want now; the price I’m paying for figuring it all out.

Time is now doing double duty; catching up on what once might have been, and the distance I’ve travelled to get where I am now.

A fickle, fickle, teacher is time. My only hope is to quietly and in my own way, make peace with the miserable beast, so that I may continue to frolic in the land of my perceptions and carnal delights.

The Kindness of Strangers

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.”
~Oscar Wilde~

Today I thought that my only lifeline would be a bag of marshmallow bananas and nap.

I was wrong. As usual.

Our authentic selves have a  funny way of  being teased out from the darkness during difficult moments, uncanny timing, and serendipitous encounters.

Each day I try to put my best foot forward, wear a true smile, and treat other people the way that I wish to be treated; with respect, an open heart, and eagerness to make each encounter a kind one. At the very least, I try my best not to be a worry-mongering busy-body (read; miserable twatcycle).

Today was not a great example of that. Today was one of the rare days that I felt tired, worn-out, and frankly my sweet little plums, just a tad concerned about how I was doing. I. As in me. As in, this calls for a totally emotionally, nutritionally unsound trip through the drive-through for my no-fail-depression-and-sadness-indulging lunch of synthetic food and a jumbo sized-diet-going-to-chew-through-your guts cola.

Yah, it was one of those days.

As I raised my card to tap-through my payment for food that was sure to make my insides feel even more crappola, the lady at the window paused and said, ” You have children don’t you?”

Her comment caught me by surprise, and I simply answered, “Yes”. Honesty, you see, is my default. Yes, yes, I know that’s naïve, but it works for me, despite popular practice to the contrary.

“They are so lucky to have a beautiful mother like you.”

What a kind thing to say. What a shining bright spot in my otherwise bleak day. What a way to be reminded that there are other people out there in the world who take time for kindness.

It was enough of a boost to make me pause. Evaluate. Pull myself up by the black-patent-pump straps of life and formulate a plan.

As I munched away on my I’m-having-a-feeling-sorry-for-myself lunch, I made a couple of personal calls, and then carried on with what turned out to be a rather unsuccessful day.

By the end of the day, my greasy, fatty, nutritionally decrepit lunch had settled in my tummy  like a physical manifestation of the way I had been feeling. The comment about how lucky my children were had slid off my over-tired, damp-from-the-humidity face, and clung somewhere to the bottom of my trouser leg like a tattle-telling piece of toilet tissue.

My last stop of the day was a must-stop, and I was sure my facial expression could be saying nothing less than, “Please show me to your quiet room where I can take a nap and suck my manicured thumb”.

Instead of being rushed out, I was shown gracious hospitality, and was charmed by a gentleman who, during the ten minutes it took to meet, exchange pleasantries and do the business of the day, managed to have delivered a beautiful flower to my vehicle to thank me for being so kind.

It was all I could do not to fall apart when these two strangers took time to smile from their heart, communicate from their soul, and spend the extra few seconds to make a difference in my life.

Often it’s the kindness of strangers that keeps us buoyed up during turbulent times. Many people have good intentions, but very few ever are moved to act in kindness. The best intentions are meaningless without action.

Never underestimate the power of your smile, the value of taking a few extra moments to care, and the treasure you are given by way of these simple things during your moments of darkness.

Tonight I’m sad, and I can only go to bed hoping that tomorrow might be a little brighter,that the seeds I planted in the days and weeks and months before, will come to fruition and bless my life with beauty. For now, all I can do is hope.

Tomorrow I will wake up and meet the world as that kind ‘stranger’, because that’s just how I roll.

It’s a madhouse darlings, so make the best of it and travel with people who love you for who you are.

What is that taste?

rockin good wayThere are some moments in life that are meant to be savoured; long, lingering, mid-winter dinners spent at wizened harvest tables with too much wine and just enough friendship, being curled up with your lover in a breathless, sweaty limp-from-loving half-sleep on blushing, rumpled sheets or watching the slow spread of delight cross an old woman’s face and creep into her eyes.

These are all delightful moments. These are the moments which reveal themselves without pretense or ceremony  to our cluttered minds.

But there are other moments to be savoured. The ones that are not so easily recognized, cause your brow to crease, and the corners of your mouth to turn down before they turn up.

There have been a few instances in my life where my wee, little, girl brain has spun quickly ’round and come to a sudden, and definitive conclusion after asking, “What is that taste in my mouth?”

Much like a long-ago  Friday evening when I arrived home after a long stretch of twelve-hour days feeling alone and unloved. Don’t lie to me darlings, you’ve also visited that, nobody-loves-me-everybody-hates-me-place.  

Anyway, I arrive home to the quiet, solitude of singledom, kick off my shoes and pad into my boudoir, only to be taken by surprise at the sight of a pair of dust-bunny-ravaged men’s gitch which had been mercilessly dragged from the unholy darkness of underneath-her-bed by the cat.

It was a split second; my brow creased, the corners of my mouth turned down and then up as my girl-brain came to a screeching halt and definitive conclusion; some poor bastard had gone home commando.

And I laughed.

I laughed the tears-rolling-down-your-cheeks-kind-of-laugh all alone in my bedroom. In that moment I knew that the price of my loneliness was worth every second of my solitude.

The man-gitch were most certainly a souvenir from a morning-after that found my first thoughts asking, “What is that taste“?

Usually that taste was accompanied by some fuzzy memory of the night before; dirty gin martinis, laughter, the company of a delightfully sensual gentleman and whatever the flavor of the 3 a.m. craving was. It was usually a granola bar that only half fulfilled its destiny of reaching my tummy. The other bits would be found clinging to unlikely places on my sticky, hungover flesh.

After having spent a much-anticipated evening of mutual adoration with the love of my life, I was drifting off to sleep and thought, “What’s that taste“?

In the sputtering candlelight, wrapped in a once-in-a-lifetime-drifting-off-to-dreamland-full-body-embrace, my little girl-brain did not need to spin.

A slow, smile in all its fullness spread across my face and seeped into my body. “I know what that taste is”, a delicate fleeting thought crossed my consciousness just as it slipped away, “It’s gin, my man and joy. Now go to sleep darling, you have everything you’ve ever wanted”.

We make our memories in every moment. Sometimes they are the brow-furrowing, laugh-until-you-cry-memories that leave you asking, “What is that taste”?

All The Heaven We’ve Got…

It’s that time. Time to shed the mid-work-week skin, and slide into our own little piece of heaven. Fill your cup darlings. Sit back, relax, close your eyes…”This is all the heaven we’ve got, right here where we are. In our Shangri-La.”