Sunday, March 28, 2010

Something's Afoot

From Freewill Astrology

NASA scientist Richard Gross believes that the recent 8.8 earthquake in Chile was so strong that it shifted the planet's axis and shortened the length of the day. The amounts were relatively small -- three inches and 1.26 microseconds -- but it was enough to make "the Earth ring like a bell." I predict a somewhat comparable seismic shift for you in the coming weeks. The main difference is that yours will not be generated by a painful jolt but rather by a breakthrough that's half smart and half lucky.

I have been working with two people lately on a branding project and it has been enlightening, affirming and empowering. I am writing more lately and looking for ways to express myself, walking those unexplored avenues. I am waiting for an answer, a sign, a big hand to point me in a direction. That sign out on the highway that promises a warm bed and cable TV. I am watching for that while I am performing my daily practice of eating well, walking, limiting my alcohol consumption and actively staying connected to all the other humans in my sphere who either need my attention or who's attention I benefit so greatly from.

Today I went to the driving range with my dad and Mark. It was perfect. Golf just might be my game as it combines two of my favorite things, awareness of my body and engagement of my mind. Plus, it takes place in beautiful albeit over fertilized environments. Today we went to UBC in Vancouver and I was overtaken with nostalgia of the place where I spent many of my youthful years, riding bikes along the beach and through the neighborhoods on tree lined streets. The magnolias are in bloom with their big waxy petals. I am going to paint one and I will show it to you. I can't promise that it will express the rush of affirmation, of gladness and optimism I feel right now but I will do it just to see what it feels like.

What are you working on, toward?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Change in Venue

Cross section of Russian nesting dolls, an apt illustration of my routine within a routine

I am naturally restless. I believe it's got something to do with my existentialist beliefs. On one hand my routine is what keeps me together, on the other hand the sameness sometimes feels like a noose around my neck. Where this feeling manifests itself the most is with teeth brushing. I am pretty committed to excellent oral hygiene but occasionally at bedtime I just don't have it in me to perform this small meaningless task. I see myself before the mirror growing old, brushing my teeth each night getting closer to death. It's heavy. But like everything in life there are dichotomies and dualities and the routines that horrify me at times are also enjoyable and keep me on the straight and narrow. "Off the streets, and out of the river," as my father says.

Mark comes to my place at the weekends and generally retires to his home north of the border on Mondays, at the latest Tuesday. This week was a little different and of course it got me thinking about this routine. Whilst out retrieving a pizza for us on Tuesday his car refused to start and so set into motion a particular chain of events. His Wednesday radio show at CITR in Vancouver was canceled and the whole week was altered.

I need to be delicate here in how I describe this because I would not want anyone to infer that I do not enjoy more than life itself being with my partner. I did however recognize this week how much I enjoy the time I spend completely alone at home during the week. Now granted I did consult my calendar and noted that I was in a particular phase of my menstrual cycle, irrational crankiness abounding. It was fun having Mark there on Wednesday, it was novel. We went to a friends house for a little birthday party. It's always nice to go out as a couple/family. Thursday found Mark replacing the baseboards in a few spots in the house that never had them, very helpful. I focused on work and stayed close to my office, and took a walk in the rain to try and calm my anxiety about additional cooking duties and the general chaos two more people in the small house generate. Friday came and we were all still together. I felt guilty about wanting to be alone in my routine and it made me realize just how lucky we both are that we have this amazing flexibility in our relationship.

Friday afternoon we packed up our stuff, tidied the house and set out north. Driving out of my driveway I felt relaxed and excited to be going somewhere else, a change of scene, a change in latitude albeit very small is comforting to me. Now I just have to work on my little control issues around the house. My mother had this too, she feared chaos and worked hard to keep it all under control. I do it too and it can be a lot of work and really hard on the people around me. I need the structure of the big routine and the small sub-routines with the addition of the occasional anomaly in the form of a side-trip away or surprise house-guests. The tooth-brushing still has to be done but it feels less desperate when done in different bathrooms, in different countries.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Experimental Walking

For some time now, I have been waking in the night, disoriented, with the overwhelming feeling that I may be dead. I suspect it is anxiety. About what? I am not sure that even matters. A modern person such as myself has a myriad of anxiety sources. These are trying times, these are the times that try men’s souls, in fact. Miraculously and without warning a few days ago I slept through the night without waking up in a full body thrash, heart pounding, senses on high alert, wondering where the fuck I am, WHO the fuck am I, and are the people I love alive or dead or in the next the room. What is happening? As my heart pounds back to a normal state and I once again fall asleep dreaming my confused over populated dreams that I have no recollection of when I finally wake up the following morning. I have had a few such peaceful nights since Monday or so and I am terribly grateful.
On Thursday I took a walk while Pearl participated in her dance recital rehearsal. I set out down a road I had never walked on before unconcerned with where I was going, where I might end up. My gate was unhurried. I had my camera with me and the dog. I stopped often to photograph the bare trees and dead fields that I encountered along the road, enjoying the slow pace. I needed exercise as I had been sitting working at my desk for many consecutive hours over the past several weeks but I also needed meditation as I had been working hard, creating, making things, solving problems.
In the past 12 months my whole way of walking has changed as has the way I am living. I am still goal oriented but am happier to enjoy the small ordinary moments of my life. What else do we have? The past is gone, the future is a dream, why not walk slowly and savor every step.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Me and the Trees

January to March

Daylight Savings Time starts today and it is the psychological end to the short days of winter. It is also the milestone that says once again I have lived through the worst part of the year without slipping into a deep depression or worse. The winter was not so bad all in all. I stuck to my routine of waking up at 6 in the dark and writing for 30 minutes before getting Pearl up for school. There were really only a few days when we drove in the pitch black. On the way to school we would make a point of noticing the condition and level of the light. By the time I had dropped her off and was on my way back the sky would be light and I got into the habit of noticing the stands of trees that line the edges of the blueberry and raspberry fields near my home.

Last fall when the wind was blowing hard and the leaves were coming off the trees I heard a story on the radio about what is actually happening inside the trees during that time. We naturally assume that the leaves after drying out become brittle and fall, lifeless from the tree limbs and we think the wind has something to do with it but in fact that is not what is happening at all. In fall, the trees, having gained strength all summer exude a hormone which forces the leaves off so they can begin the process of preparing to grow the fresh leaves for spring, it's not a passive act. They do it with great determination, it's their life force. With that knowledge in my head, as I drove and walked past the trees in my area I didn't see them as dormant and void of life as I have in the past. Instead of succumbing myself to feelings of darkness and hopelessness, I saw them as alive and growing without the cheerful costume of their leaves. I saw them as the beautiful bare sculptures they are, the super structures of their trunks as they wind upward out of the ground and the delicate shapes the branches make when free of the weight of all that organic matter, their clean lines overlapping eachother. I saw them standing at the edges of the river, the parks where I walk, farmers fields, vigilant filigreed soldiers softening the edges of the gray wintry skies.

It feels good to see things in a new light. I walked a lot this winter and took my camera with me often to document all these trees. They are starting very slowly to put on leaves now, to dress themselves for my summer pleasure. The landscape will bulk back up and next year instead of dreading fall and winter I will look forward to seeing my old friends the bare trees again.

City trees, country trees

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Feeling reflective this afternoon and could write about it but I have work to do. I need to path a few images, clone some arms and lighten up a dog. It's never ending. What to put on the front of a trio of baby garments that will be appealing to passers by? I have no idea. I will sleep on it and in the meantime I will path the images and clone the arms, and lighten up the dog so that someone in Boston, upon arriving at work tomorrow can scratch paths, arms and dogs, off their to do list.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


One of my sage friends suggested today that perhaps there was some inherent discipline associated with my blogging. After all I have been managing to do it in a regular way for over a year now, perhaps even two years. I assured him that there was no such discipline at play. It's a compulsion or a reflex, like needing to throw up suddenly when you were feeling fine or kicking out your leg when someone bangs on your knee. It's like nature calling and I have no control over when it will happen, but when the mood strikes me I respond without question. It's the least I can do to hold up my end of the bargain.

This thing we call creativity is allusive to me. I live in fear that it will leave me or that when I am called upon to perform I will have nothing to contribute. Creativity seems to fall out of me when I least expect it. It wakes me up in the night, it jumps out of books and food. I see glimpses of it in toothpaste and rabbits feet. What I have learned is to just keep my eyes open and my mouth shut and gather in ideas or shards of ideas or leaves or eggs or whatever there is to be gathered. And then I wait for an opportunity to use what I have gathered, sometimes I wait a long time and sometimes I don't wait at all. Those are the lucky days. So I guess the discipline lies in being conscious everyday which on the whole is fairly easy to do. The rest of it is out of my control so why worry about it.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Feel free to think of the Stevie Nicks song while you read this.

In the last little while I have had two dreams about landslides. In the first one I was in a dry rocky valley and a landslide was chasing me down. I drove my car until the road disappeared and then I ran, pulling Pearl along with me until we were in a safe place. The air was filled with dust and it was hard to breathe. I could look up into the mountains and see the devastation above me. Last night was different. I was in a verdant environment and they were many people and I could see the imminent danger, a cliff edge that was soft and crumbling, falling away into a deep valley. Suddenly, I felt the earth begin to slip beneath my feet but instead of trying to fight it I surfed the moss covered wave, grasping at the tops of the trees as I fell. My only thought was that I hoped I would lose consciousness before I hit the bottom. I landed in another dream where I was at a wild house party and everything was fine.
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