Saturday, March 26, 2016

maybe i'll become a monk

Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.
- Leo Tolstoy
I went to the book store the other night.
I was picking up my son at a friend’s house at 9pm,
so I decided to drop into a local book store
for a bit before I picked him up.
My mind’s been going a little crazy lately –
all over the place.
So when I walked into Chapters that night,
here's what was going on in my head:

So I'm back at work. Again.
If i know I don't fit in there,
why do I keep going back?
For the same reason everyone else works.
For money.

I can’t believe Donald Trump made it this far.
I'm afraid terrorism has become the new normal.
So much anger in the world.

I miss mom…
I think back at when she was in the hospital,
and how much she suffered.
Life isn't always easy.
I wish _____ didn't drink so much.
I wish _____ was more at peace with himself.

I’m so happy _____ met _____.
They seem so good together.
I think it takes a lot of courage to divorce.
Some couple just shouldn’t stay together.
They start out ok, but something happens along
the way & they lose one another.
Too many people stay together
for the wrong reasons.
I loved that movie we watched
about Jean-Michel Basquiat.
I love that he did his own thing.
I hate that drugs took over his life
and we lost him much too soon.

I wonder if I'll ever "make it" as an artist?
And what does that really mean anyway?
To be in a gallery?
To be known?
To die young & tormented?
I'm so happy I have writing and art.

Being an artist is more about
how you feel on the inside
than about what happens on the outside.
It's about knowing your heart.
What more needs to be said & done?
So I walk into Chapters
with these thoughts flying through my head
like birds around a branch
and I stop at the first table I see.
Books on meditation and well-being and yoga.
Not books I would normally look at.
I pick up a small book by Thich Nhat Hanh,
the Vietnamese Buddhist monk,
on brush painting.
I flip to a page,
and I see these beautifully
hand brushed words:
a cloud never dies.

And all at once,
my mind was quiet.
I began to picture a blue sky,
with a slow moving cloud…
the way it moves and changes
and rearranges itself in the sky
– and then it slowly dissipates.
At one point, 
it is there
and moments later
it is gone.
I stood there with the book in my hands,
staring at the beautiful,
simple brush strokes…
imagining his hand writing
these few simple words
that said so much me
in that one moment.

My thoughts dissipated
just like the cloud.

And I understood.

All of the buzzing in my head
only moments before
no longer mattered.
It never had.
Life is suffering
and confusing
and frustrating at times.

But it is also beauty and truth and love.

These opposites always co-exist
and always will.

I can choose to go against the tide – or with it.
I can choose to see only darkness
or to see both light & dark.

I can choose to be the suffering,
or I can choose to be the dissipating cloud.

I much prefer being the cloud.
Thank you all for being here.
Wishing you all a fabulous weekend!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Malala and going back to work

If I win Nobel Peace Prize,
it would be a great opportunity for me,
but if I don't get it,
it's not important because my goal is not to
get Nobel Peace Prize, my goal is to get peace
and my goal is to see the education of every child.
- Malala Yousafzai

I love this girl.
I have nothing but respect and love
for someone so young,
so dedicated and so brave.
Unless you live under a rock,
you know that Malala was shot in the head
by the Taliban in October 2012,
on her way home from school.
She was shot - and survived.

Most of us would have gone into hiding after that.
Malala continued to speak out
on the importance of education for girls.
She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014
the youngest person to ever received the award.
This was painted rather quickly,
acrylic on paper
but i plan on doing a painting of her
on a large canvas eventually.
Can you imaging being so brave?
I can't.
I have nothing but admiration
for those who recognize when things are wrong
and try to make them right.

On another note,
there's been a slight bump in the road
for me lately.
I started working again.
Same place, same work,
When they called me,
I did some serious weighing of options,
the pros and cons of going back there,
but in the end, I said yes,
and I think this time will be different.
First of all,
did I mention I was not on the phones? ;)
I set my own hours, 
so i'll be working 7:30am to 3:30pm
(instead of 9 to 5 and sometimes 10 to 6pm!)
and the contract ends on July 21st,
so i get the tail end of summer
and the joy of being here for the fall.

Back in 2011, I had done a Vision Board (images above).
I'm still aiming for these things in my life.
Some have become my reality.
Others - not (yet). ;)
Doing a vision board was something
I had never done.
It was part of an on-line class i had taken.
I did the board, put it on my wall for a while
but eventually put it away & forgot about it.
When I found it the other day,
it cracked me up.
Especially the "ME" in the middle doing yoga. :)
(No, that's not my body. It's a cut & paste)
Seeing it again actually made me
want to do another one.
And I was a bit surprised at how many things
were actually part of my life.
And I believe that one of the reasons
why I don't feel so depressed this time
about having to go back to a job
that doesn't fulfill me in any way
other than the paycheque -
is because of the yoga & meditation.
It's helping me develop a bit more patience
and tolerance and acceptance.
Kinda like what prayer does
for a lot of people.  :)
And of course, 
knowing that it's temporary helps too. 
So I bought myself some new Sketchers
(no high heels for this girl)
and off to work I went!
David Letterman used to stack all his coffee cups
after every one of his shows.
As you can see - it's a wall of cups. 
Maybe I'll do this at work -
like a lifer in prison counting his days
with chalk on the walls. ;)
I know one thing.
I won't let that place get to me
the way it did last year.
The sun is shining
and every little thing
is gonna be alright.