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Tacos with John Mayer

taco truckI was in New York City last night with John Mayer. I adore his music. This summer I’m headed out to my very first Dead and Company show, all the way south of our beautiful Canadian border.

Anyway, about last night. John, myself and a bunch of pals were at a buddy’s place in the city, and we were all jonesing for some tacos. I suggested a taco truck that I remembered was a short walk away from the apartment- kinda close to Times Square, but far enough away that it wasn’t right in the mix. It was this funky little truck, painted high gloss black with a scrolling white logo that took up the entire side. It looked neat, tidy, and clean; all good things when it comes to street food.

We all got a little side tracked just before we were going to head out. Someone handed me the most pudgy, little, white, kitten, and it was all I could do to put it down. I just had to have a cuddle, so I sat down, right where I was standing, and let the little guy stretch out on my lap for a belly rub.

The guys couldn’t resist. They all gathered around and bent down to give the little guy a pet. Some of the guys were  naked, (if the kitten weren’t so cute, I would have been distracted by their junk wiggling in my face). Whatever. I had a roly kitten to snuggle. Once you’ve seen a dude’s wiggler, there’s not much else you can be distracted by…except kittens. Hey, I’m over 40, I only wanna see the junk of men I adore, thank you very much.

giphy-4

Wait, where was I? The kitten…??? What happened to the naked guys? Where did John Mayer go during this whole kitten and men’s pubic hair fiasco? Why on earth was I bothering to go get tacos when just last week I vowed I’d had my fill of tacos for life? What I really wanted was a couple of really yummy authentic pork tamales. Oh, and that damn noise to stop….

…my alarm…

Turns out I wasn’t with a  kitten and a bunch of well-hung naked men. John Mayer was defo not just at the door putting his sneakers on to go find a taco truck with me in New York City.  Waking up to reality can really suck, especially when you’ve just been in NYC with your musical fave, fat kittens, naked men, and the promise of a really good taco.

Ah well….a lady can dream.

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Nightmares: When Your Intuition Is Tired of Knocking

dreamylandscape

I’ve been having a lot of nightmares lately.

Which means something long-buried is coming to the surface. And that my darlings, means there’s a lot of psychological and spiritual work in my future.

Don’t worry. I have a pretty good idea what it’s all about. I’ve been ‘Team Jung’ for over 20 years now, and it seems to be working.

I pay attention to whether the water was murky or clear, churning or calm, the colours, the language, whether or not I could dial the number or sound came out of my mouth when I tried to scream. You see, in dreams it matters, because we like to gloss over these things in real life.

Nightmares have always been a sign that something is off. Not quite right. In the past, they have signaled betrayal, inspired me to pay attention to my intuition, and often times, to make significant changes in my life. Often (for me) nightmares are  premonition. You know, a little postcard before the main event. Sometimes they are my intuition tired of knocking and now shouting at me to pay attention to what isn’t being said. I think that’s the case this morning.

I woke at precisely 6:18am, stomach churning and teary eyed. It was a hell of a dream, with conversations and people in my life who aren’t exactly trustworthy or worthy to be invading my head while I’m trying to get my beauty sleep.

Secret keeping has been a common theme in the lives of some people very dear to me lately. Lies of omission are still lies. Being starved for self-care is a terrible form of self-neglect. Telling yourself something is ok when it’s not causes nightmares. Betrayal comes in many forms often defended by the betrayer.

During a conversation with one of my best friends, I said that  people who have never experienced great suffering, don’t know how to care for those who are suffering. Those who have never been betrayed are ignorant of the damage they do.

I’m wise enough to know our wee little human brains love living in black and white. I’m also experienced enough to know that we live in the vast, grey area that constitutes the majority of our mental and emotional landscapes.  I am also a woman who believes in the superior value of trusting one’s instincts over trying to rationalize everything.

Just because we have learned to value logic over emotion, doesn’t mean they  are equally important when it comes to their contribution to personal and global wisdom. We have been duped into thinking logic is king.

Nightmares remind us that our souls are alive and that we must shine light into the shadow side of our selves in order to experience the wonder of life. Without the dark emotions, we cannot celebrate the light and without the light, we cannot fully examine and understand the dark.

My nightmares are telling me to pay attention to what I know to be true. To demand that I have the quality of relationships at work, home and in love that I desire.

Sometimes before I go to sleep at night, I pray for a good dream. Good as in one that will let my subconscious unravel and teach me what I need to know at the soul level. Nightmares shake me up, but in a way that always puts me back on track to happiness, even if it’s a bit of a hike.

 

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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.

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Dreaming in the Gray Area

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act but dream; not only plan, but also believe." ~Anatole France~
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act but dream; not only plan, but also believe.”
~Anatole France~

Last night I had the strangest dream…

I sailed away to China, in a little row boat to find ya….

If you’re a child of the 80’s, you just sang that didn’t you?

Anyway, last night I had a dream. I really do have the strangest dreams, and I pay attention to them.

If I really took the time to listen to the quiet whispering of my dreams and intuition, I’d likely be a lot happier.  Since most people consider me some kind of weird genius twist on a Buddhist-suit-wearing-hippie-mortician, it’s surprising that I don’t do more crazy stuff.

I pay a whole lot more attention to my intuition than the average fabulous man or woman. I make a lot of decisions based on what feels right, and they usually turn out to be exactly the right thing.

Most people see the world in black and white, right and wrong. Sometimes things are that simple, but most of the time they’re not. We only like those kind of definites because our wee little human brains need to compartmentalize in order to keep us relatively sane.

Those of us with creative spirits and open hearts who actually care about the quality of life rather than the quantifiable materialism that seems to define what is normal, know that we live within the gray, and that black and white are merely the adult security blankies of our fragile psyches.

A  few weeks ago, as I was tromping my way up a staircase in high heels and freshly dry-cleaned suit, feeling like death’s older, much more sinister big sister, I thought, “I can’t do this any more”.

Then guess what I did my sweet little peaches? Did I drop to my knees in tears? Did I pack up my big, black briefcase and hand in my name badge? Did march through the office with a bass drum singing, “I quit”? No. I did none of those things. I didn’t even collapse and wave a metaphorical white flag.

Instead, I laughed. Out loud.

I laughed because immediately after I told myself, ” I can’t do this any more”, I immediately thought, “You don’t have to”. That’s what made me laugh.

That crazy well-informed and well schooled voice deep down inside my crazy-wild-woman soul was exactly right.

We always, always, always have a choice. The choices may not be ideal, or the stuff of your favourite fairytale, but we always have a choice.

Since then I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where I want to steer this crazy bus of a life. I haven’t made a list of pro’s and con’s. I haven’t loaded up on self-help books and popular psycho-babble poo-ha.

I have let the uncertainty roam freely about in the glorious unknown corners of my human spirit. Eventually something will come to light out of the darkness, and I will be off in what will likely be an unexpected direction to an unknown destination. It is after all, about the journey folks.

I don’t know when, I don’t know how, what, where, or if anyone will accompany me. I just know that it will happen.

So, last night I had this dream, and it was a weird one, fueled by a late  dinner, wine, vampire stories  and a fever. But I trust it. I bother with it. I consider it, look up the meaning of elements that make up the whole, and I learn what my soul is trying so hard to  to tell me.

Shhh. If you listen, you’ll know what to do next. I promise sweetheart,  I promise.

 

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“Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothin’ Left to Lose”

200365584-001I can’t recall when I lost it.

It was somewhere between someone else’s dream, and when I forgot that my own dreams mattered.

It was beautiful really. I had it all planned out, but there was something or maybe even someone, missing.

For the longest time I could close my eyes at night, and picture just exactly what it was I was working so hard for; My son to be raised, my bills to be paid, and a small writing desk in a quaint little cottage that overlooked the water.

After more than a dozen years, that dream has gotten much more difficult to see through the fog of every-day-living anxiety. In fact, I had forgotten about it altogether until a few weeks ago.

I always love to hear Janis Joplin sing her famous lyrics, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose”.  I know exactly what she meant and how that freedom feels. I have been, and will always be my own woman. With no family other than my kid and the cat, I have more freedom to move than anyone I know.

I don’t know when and I don’t know why I gave up on my dream of my cozy little home, and my desk by the window. I’ve been thinking about it lately, and somewhere as I was trying to get it all right, it just crept away and curled up in the corner of my being. Slumbering, but not gone.

Maybe it was that I couldn’t face each day not knowing how I would make that dream come true, and be a good mom, giving my kiddo the stability he needed to step out into the world with a strong sense of who he is. It’s become apparent that my parenting is and always has been, more than adequate, and that my kiddo has become a lovely young man on all counts.

Although it will be awhile before I can pack up camp and move along, I can see it on the horizon, and that makes me happy. I think I might even see a gorgeous hunk of sexy man-steak walking towards it with me too.

At least I hope that’s what it is, because goodness knows I don’t need another cat!

 

 

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Needing Darkness to See Light

madeleineI woke up, gasping for breath and  pasted flat on my back against the hot sheets.  I was sobbing and my sobs were so deep and hard that I thought….Nothing.

I wasn’t thinking.

The dream that had woken me was beautiful, bittersweet and incredibly painful.

For a second or two, it felt like I couldn’t move, like I was smothering, like more than anything else, I needed to run.

I flailed my way out of bed and ran to the living room, opened the patio door and stepped outside, still trying to catch my breath.

Although my breath came, I breathed purposefully, deeply, counting as my Sifu had taught me when I first learned to meditate.  But the tears still flooded my eyes, and poured down my cheeks.

My breath was jagged. I had to concentrate on inhaling and exhaling. I breathed deeply and started counting again. My hands shook, and my entire body felt like it was vibrating, getting ready to fight or flee.

I’m not a pretty crier by the way, and I can’t remember the last time I cried like that. It’s been years. My tears are usually reserved for the bathtub, my pillow, or late at night when I’m the only one awake.

The dream woke me early in the morning, and I’m loathe to ever breaking my own rule of ‘don’t call before 10’. But I knew I had to talk to someone. Two phone calls later and two cups of coffee under my belt, the tears still flowed.

That was a full week ago, and I’ve been in a deep funk ever since. My mood and thoughts took a steep tumble, and I thought that I’d shake it off later that day. But I didn’t.

After a week of trying to push the dream out of my mind, and spending a weekend in seclusion, I decided to go to my go-to-make-it-all-better; men, booze and shenanigans.

I got in last night at goodness-only-knows-what-time, and fell immediately into bed. Apparently I had the good sense to take my contacts out, put on a nightie and not bring any of the less-fair sex back home with me.

At 6am I woke with pain (this has nothing to do with the drinking or the dream), and fumbled around for a sports drink to help ward off what was working up to be a doozy of a hangover.  The dulcet tones of the Jimmy Buffett classic, “My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink & I Don’t Love Jesus”, briefly flashed through my mind.

I curled back up in bed, the cat clamouring over me to inspect my state of disrepair. “I’m not  dying Willie Nelson, ” I said to his little pink nose and bright green eyes. That seemed to satisfy his curiosity, and he curled up next to the pain in my abdomen.

My head did hurt. My feet likely did stink, and I was starting to wonder why in Jesus’s name I didn’t stop after the single glass of wine I had intended to have. Bourbon, I have decided, is a fickle, fickle friend.  We’re not on speaking terms this morning.

However, as I lie there, tucked into the fetal position, hungover, and recouping from what was supposed to be a ‘minor procedure’ that has dragged out into a painful two week-hell, it came to me! Like a cool drop of water on the hangover carpet of my tongue.

As adults, we relive trauma in our lives just like children. Children re-process past trauma or crisis as they move through different stages of development. I had that ‘duh’ moment in the clarity of my hangover. Adults re-process as well, and this year is a landmark number for me.

I’m re-processing under rather crisis-like circumstances. Not the getting older circumstance, just the subject of the dream.

So, I thought to myself, maybe that’s why I found the bottom of a few bottles last night. Maybe I needed to feel miserable enough not to sweep this under the rug any more and question why the hell someone as wonderful as myself has been so down in the dumps.

As rationally as I tried to explain away this deeply emotional and yet beautiful dream, there is nothing rational or logical about it. It is emotion, and you just can’t counter emotion with logic. It’s like mixing water and oil. Sometimes we do need the darkness to see light.  Sometimes hitting rock bottom emotionally, leaves you with nothing but the firmest of ground upon which to build a solid foundation.