Friday, 30 November 2012

Sun Coast Sun Kissed Some Kind of Happiness

It's Friday where I am, sitting at a high table in a cafe at an airport right now, in transit somewhere in the great wide small large world. I've spent this whole last week in transit, this whole last month, several months--year, really. What a year! But this is not a new years reflection.

This past week I have enjoyed the warm and sunny weather of Florida--a nice change from the snow I left behind, and no doubt a cruel change to the snow falling steadily and piling up on my car for my return home. A welcome nonetheless, though. 

I love airports; I realise I have made this statement before, and it surely will not be the last time. But really I do just love them. And I love the people I got to see on this Florida trip; friends I unexpectedly found out were in the area, childhood friends who live here, school fellows through a soccer match,  new acquaintances through business meetings, and completely delightful strangers.  

I spent hours in a cute little car my favourite shade of bright blue driving around the state, over huge bridges with towers like the sails of a ship, across marshlands, past Disney, by grove after organge grove, around fields and fields of cows--more cows here than in NY!--where old large trees stretched out their limbs languidly in the heat and covered themsevlves in drapes of grey moss falling down to meet the drying grass. So many different sights of beautiful. And even when I found myself despising the endless stretches of flat I rolled into wavy planes and found small small hills to smile in again. 

Sea sponge, fisherman's warves, eating Greek food. Blue water sparkling everywhere. 

I didnt go to Disney when I was near, didn't go because I hadn't the time to spare. Because I can't imagine doing Disney on one's own--you need a group to laugh with for an experience like that. I didn't do Disney because they advertised "come enjoy the most spectacular experience in the world," and maybe I'm a snob or maybe I'm just incredibly ignorant, but I can't imagine that the most spectacular experiences in the world will be found in an amusment park or in simulated adventures. I like to think that my own completely ordinary day to day moment to moment experiences are spectacular, and that I have done and seen and touched and tasted and shared in some of the most wonderful and inimitable experienes in the world and they were part of real life, not a place of pretend that is outside of reality. (And don't get me wrong. I LOVE movies and films and Harry Potter world and I would love to go fly a broom and drink pumpkin juice and have a try at Hogwarts--in UK--and all of that. I just don't think that it should be chalked up as the single most spectacular and life changing dream come true kind of thing... Though maybe it is. I don't know.)

But all that being said, I think I had a pretty fantastic experience even with some deeply frustrating moments strewn in. This morning before heading to the airport, I ran to the beach. (Shock, I know) And it was so beautiful to walk on the fragile broken rainbow of shells in the soft white powder sand along the gulf and look out and think how perfect. How perfect. And how happy I am to have seen the ocean this year from shore to shore to shore to shore to shore. So much. So happy.

Now comes it that November ends and tomorrow begins December, a month where seeing magic is so easy. A month where I'm going to be just as busy!! And I'm terribly excited to see how it goes. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

In Abstract

Sometimes as I sit at home, curled up on the floor toes tucked in and fingers curled around a warm mug, I catch myself wondering what in the world I'm doing. I'm the kind of person who lives a very very busy life--and not just busy, but deliberately full. That differentiation is crucial. Busy is mainly concerned with doing and quantity; full is rather more about being and quality.

This year has had an awful lot of busy, so that at times like this when I'm curled up at home, I wonder, what am I doing? What is my life about? Is it ok that I am taking a few moments of pure silence--not speaking to anyone for a few minutes or occasionally, whole days? How do I keep the balance for myself between just being "busy" and having a "full" life as I explore what life has just sitting around waiting for me to pick up and try out? I don't want to invalidate my existence.

I think that what I love most about my life is the people I get to meet going through it. People are also the hardest part for me because they are the most unpredictable. They come in, they go out. They live, they love, they leave. (And they will all leave, you know, even if it is just through death.) I love that my life is such that it allows for so very many people, and such different people at that.

And I think what I love even more about life is the beauty that can be found in it. The beauty of people, of their beings and how they choose to live their lives. Or the beauty of wonder. So much wonder! And the time to sit quietly like now and mull over the wonder of it all, this is good and still full. I think, I am so fortunate to be a witness to so much beauty, even the most painful piercing kinds of beauty that we find in the depths of life.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Experiencing the Governance of Government

It is election night in These United States, and for the first time in my life, I am a part of this process. I have been old enough to be legally permitted to cast my ballot for some years now (no, I will not specify how many), but was not ready until today to do so. Not that I actually was ready to do so today, either. But I would never be more ready than today, and so it is done. I voted.

As someone who has grown up ever on the outside of government, though always fiercly affected by them, this is a momentous occasion. To me it is not simply the act of voting, which is, honestly, pretty exciting in its own right. It is in the choosing to claim a privilege offered to me in a country which happens to have also offered me citizenship. It is the accepting of that privilege, and the desire to do right by it.

I love that in this election, I can actually know some of those whom I had the choice of voting for, too. It is one thing to be able to claim, I greeted the Queen of the Netherlands at the airport once, or to say, I shook hands with the President of Slovakia (back when he was president). But to say, I have looked at what such and such person did, and dialogued about it in the community, and met that person different times and heard in person for myself what they have to say, how they feel and think on issues of importance and relevance to my local community, to my extended community, even to my international home community--that is something different. And then to voice my opinion; do I want them to continue their mission? To continue working in my service, in the service of the people and localities around me? Who do I choose to shape my world, and who do I set in place to do that shaping?

These are new experiences.

I like the idea that this does not have to be a choice of life or death. I like that I can vote in peace. I like not having to wonder if after tonight there will still be a government or the same country at all. I like that there are so many reasons I can determine who I wish to vote for--did they do that thing i wanted them to? do they believe in my preferred form of government? (which if i may say--it is interesting that perhaps it is not always best to choose your preferred form of government. not all government is good for all places. Hmmm. easy to say when you look somewhere else and think--they shouldn't do that kind of government there! but when you have to look at your own world and say they shouldn't do my kind of government here.... that's funny.)

I like that I am sitting outside a cafe right now, my booted feet propped up on a fire pit, gloved hands typing this and spiced hot chocolate next to me, and i can watch the results come in on my free wifi to this device i'm using. I like that it is peaceful and quiet on such a big night here.

I have no idea what to expect or even what really to want, because who can ever possibly predict what the passing of the moon and the sun will bring. But I am proud of myself tonight for finally taking part in government; for accepting a privilege and for taking ownership over something. And I will sleep well for that reason alone.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A Brief Grief Journal

October has been such an exquisitely difficult month. I have felt the pain of loss keenly, reaching me from many different areas of my life. It has taken great effort to put energy into anything other than simply sitting and allowing myself to feel my way through sadness and pain to the other side of grief. Certainly I am not there yet, but I know I'm closer and that is good enough for now.

In the midst of hurt, though, I find myself thinking how fortunate I am to have things in my life that can hurt me. To have people you love so much that the loss of them is unspeakable agony--the kind that cramps your whole body up, the kind that makes you bend down over and curl up fetally, the kind that just turns you into a leaky sieve so that you start crying even in a happy moment. Funny how closely tied pain and hurt are to happiness and joy.

I think that while allowing oneself to experience grief is both good and necessary, giving yourself up to drown in it is not good. Wallowing is easy. Stasis is easy. After all, as I mentioned earlier, so much energy is spent just experiencing so much feeling at all, how do you have energy to do anything else? To move forward? And if there is one thing that I would look back at my life and say, it is that you cannot expect anyone else to pick you up when you are down. You have to choose to get up. For me, that means doing things even when I don't feel like doing them--especially things that give energy.

I derive energy from creativity, so I have taken on the project (BIG project) of painting one of the rooms in my house. Colours, primer, moving pianos and stacks of books and clothes and pictures and stuff stuff stuff. Painting. Creating. Repetitive motion.

I do derive energy from people. So don't cancel your parties, don't isolate yourself from others even when you don't feel like seeing anyone. Keep living and being and watching those around you live and be and remember how beautiful it is to love people, to love at all. If you are lonely, invite someone else who is alone. If you are hungry, make something and share it with someone, even if you don't see them, even if you are simply sending it to them.

Take conscious note of all the things you find beautiful. I was in Buffalo visiting one of my dear friends. I didn't feel social--I just felt sad. But I let myself let go and move outside of the sadness and enjoy something happy (and tasty!! mmm, Thai food.) And then, I went with her to visit an Nepali family she has gotten to know. It was so incredibly perfect, sitting on a couch somewhere in Buffalo talking about loss and exile and experiencing someone else's pain that you understand and drinking chai and knowing that life is beautiful anyway.

I've eaten sushi, picked pumpkins, receivedhugs, scheduled out things to keep doing til i'm finally starting to think a bit more spontaneously again.

Nearly a week ago now, I went to a fundraiser up there. What fun! Going on stage at Shea's--one of the biggest stages in the whole of the States! And going backstage and in the stars' dressing rooms, and underneath the stage where the trap doors are. I still have yet to shake my desire to go straight back into serious theatre. It's come in handy, though, with lots of costume parties the rest of this week. Snow White and Marilyn Monroe!

During the big "Frankenstorm" that just came around, I had a sleepover and pumpkin-carving and movie-night with another friend. Storms are one experience I hate to have alone, and it was so much fun to have a sleepover in response to my facebook post "now accepting applications for storm-sleepover-buddies" (or something like that) and to revel in good company.

What I know is that I hope November is a better month. No new losses to stagger under. No horrid storms, no deaths nor dying. To come out of this sleepwalking and back into smiles and quick laughter that just bubbles out again. To not have to work so hard at living and remembering the beautiful. Please, November--be restorative.