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I am the working mother of two little minions, just on a new adventure in another province away from my seaside home trying desperately to solve life's many riddles and find inner peace despite all the chaos...and when all else fails there's always wine.

Friday, February 8, 2013

ESCALATOR EPIPHANY



Yesterday, when I got off the train, I was swept up in the usual crowd of drones ambling toward the stairs that would lead us back to our home lives.  For anybody who has ever got off a train, at rush hour, at one of the most popular stops, you know that sometimes it takes longer to get up the bloody stairs and out of the station than it does to ride the train from down town to Crowfoot.
 
This is why, when I spotted that the escalator that is usually always rotating downward, was stationary, I thought to myself, "Score! I'm hauling my ass up that way."  Well, about one third of the way up............the escalator started moving...........downward. 
 
 I instantly felt like a moron, but figured, if I can....just......lunge.....upward........
 
A handsome man, all classy and businessy, looked at me with a great big smile on his face, laughing, in a nice, friendly way. 
 
"It wasn't moving when I got on!" I cried, "I figured I could be smart and beat the crowd." I said as I continued trying to lunge my way up. 
 
He laughed and replied, "Oh I think you just like it for the exercise."  I have to admit, it was actually pretty good exercise.
 
For a brief moment I thought about turning around and riding the stairs down. I'd feel like a total loser, and have to sheepishly make my way up the stone stairwell I had so cleverly attempted to avoid and....NO!
 
I told myself within a nano-second, "I CAN DO THIS!"  So I lunged harder, skirt practically up around my hips, and made it to the top, lungs burning, cheeks red from exertion or embarrassment, probably both, and exited the station, not sure at all that I had made it up any faster than the people on the "normal" staircase.
 
My heart was pounding as I walked across the ramp to the parking lot. "Now where the F&^$ is my truck? "
 
I wandered in a circle like a lost dog for about 30 seconds before I remembered that I had been late that morning and had to park, not in my usual spot but two rows over. "Ah, there it is."
 
I started the truck, pulled out of the parking lot and made my way onto the highway. 
 
As I merged, I flipped through radio stations.......Spanish (Hmm makes me want guacamole and an ice-cold beer), fundraising for the Children's Hospital (note to self, perhaps ask boss to make a donation), Christian "I Love Jesus" music (pass), Classical (nope would put me to sleep)..........Europe singing "The Final Countdown" OMG YES!!!  Don't ask me why but I LOVE this song, and consider it to be one of the greatest 80s songs EVER.  I turned it up and began badly singing along, flashing back to life in our trailer, wearing acid wash jeans and jelly shoes, eating brown beans and Tater Tots and watching Fragile Rock.........peace.
 
The song ended and suddenly I noticed that the road ahead of me was wide open. THAT NEVER HAPPENS!! 
 
Lately on the drive home I have been trying to keep my road rage at bay, despite being constantly trapped in traffic and stuck behind ignorant drivers who do not get at all that YOU KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS!! PASS, not maintain the same speed as the vehicle to the right of you so that nobody else can pass you and instead has to stare at those stupid "I have three kids and five dogs" stickers.
 
Anyway, the road ahead of me and way ahead of me was completely void of traffic....."The Path is Clear." I thought to myself.
 
And then it happened........I started giggle-crying. Like suddenly the past 10 minutes of my commute hit me like a giant, frickin' metaphor.  Something for me broke open and here is what I think my brain rapidly assimilated from what had just happened.
 
Struggling up the escalator, I had a fleeting moment of wanting to quit, but I didn't, and I made it to the top, just fine.   As I mentioned in my last post, I am tormented by my "Inner Lizard" the voice of constant pending doom. However, my escalator epiphany was that sure, things may get tough, there may be uphill battles but you won't know until you're in the middle of that battle whether you will quit and back-down, or push harder, and fight stronger to make your way out. 
 
It is not until you are right there, in the middle of an escalator with a choice to go up or down that you will truly know what you are made of and what you can do, and nor do you have to know, right now.
 
Looking for my truck in the parking lot, I realized that it is when we expect things to stay the same that we become lost. When we plod along thinking that life will not/has not changed, we can lose of sight of the fact that it will and has.
 
Listening to the Final Countdown, felt like a message from the stars saying "This is it girl, this is your final countdown to letting go, to finding a new way of looking at life and the attitude you have towards it." Blast off in Five, Four, Three, Two..........
 
And then the clear path......... In that moment I felt like the entire Universe was saying, "THE WAY is CLEAR." and not in a, "You will from this moment forth be blessed with not a single struggle or obstacle in your life," kind of way, but in a "You see you clouded fool? You see now?" kind of "Aha" way.
 
I imagine by now that either what I'm saying has rung true for you and you know what I'm getting at or you are currently dialing Adult Protective Services and giving them my address.  Rambling on about escalators, lost trucks and traffic? Right, totally sounds like universal enlightenment. PREPARE THE PADDED ROOM, WE'VE GOT ANOTHER WORKING-MOM WHO'S GONE OFF THE DEEP END! PUT HER RIGHT NEXT TO THE LADY WHO SAW JESUS IN HER GRILLED CHEESE!"
 
There is a passage in Eckhart Tolle's book "The Power of Now" where he talks about how you can't deal with the future because it doesn't exist, and that's okay. The answer, the strength, the resource you need to overcome any obstacle, will only be there in the exact moment you need it to, not before and not after.  I have this passage, highlighted, corner folded, circled, starred, underlined and stained with red wine but it wasn't until I was half way up an escalator, that was pulling me down, and I had the sudden realization that I COULD go up, that I really got it.
 
 
You will know what you can do and what you have to do only in the moment you have to do it.
 
Release your expectations for how you think things should be.
 
Find a place of peace and recall all the good things that have transpired in your life, big or small.
 
Know this, and........the way will be clear.
 
Who knew an incredibly embarrassing episode on an escalator could be so enlightening? Maybe tomorrow I'll discover a prophecy in my muffin crumbs.
 
 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

MY INNER LIZARD IS NAMED "DEMENTIA"

I just started reading this book by the amazing Martha Beck - titled "Steering by Starlight".  It is a must read if, like me, you often find yourself marathon worrying or constantly concocting "worst-case-scenarios" in your head.....I have turned it into an art. 

When trying to keep my crazy projections of doom and gloom in check, I have found it's helpful to ask myself, "Am I being attacked by a Lion?"  If not then I probably have nothing to fear.  So when I read Martha Beck's question of, "Are you currently being attacked by a Velociraptor?"  I chuckled to myself and  thought, "Hey, I like the way this lady thinks."

For those of you who have never heard of Martha Beck or read any of her work, she is an amazingly funny, wickedly smart woman who has written several books as well as regular articles for Oprah's magazine and websites. (And y'all know how much I like Oprah!)

In Steering By Starlight, Beck talks about "your inner lizard,"  the old-school, reptilian part of your brain, that thinks of nothing else but "lack and attack."  It's this part of my brain that is always coming up with thoughts such as....

 "YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE EVERYTHING AND BE HOMELESS AND HAVE TO EAT OUT OF DUMPSTERS OR EAT WORMS AND WEAR TREE BARK TO SURVIVE!! PREPARE FOR THE END!!!" or......

 "EVERYBODY YOU KNOW IS ANGRY WITH YOU AND IS CONSTANTLY ON THE VERGE OF CALLING YOU VERY BAD NAMES AND BLAMING YOU FOR EVERY BAD THING THAT'S EVER GONE WRONG IN THEIR LIVES INCLUDING SHIT THAT HAPPENED BEFORE YOU WERE BORN!!! PREPARE TO BE STONED!!!" 

Beck advises that it is helpful to recognize your inner lizard, in fact give it a name, visualize it, so that when you have these crazy "what-if or I am under attack!" thoughts, you can imagine patting your lizard on the head whilst telling it to calm down.  I would say to my lizard "there, there, you crazy F*&^ing lizard, have some fruit and shut your word hole."   Which brings me too........

DEMENTIA
 
 
This is what my lizard "Dementia" looks like. She's always tense, and edgy, and never has enough time, not even to fart or scratch her back (Given that she doesn't even have tiny, little, arms, she obviously cannot scratch her back which could partly explain why she is so edgy) 
 
She thinks of nothing all day besides imminent attack, like this.....
 
 
 
 

It is Dementia who comes up with all kinds of imaginary problems and scenarios that never come to pass.  It is Dementia who wakes me up in the middle of the night and wont let me return to sleep because she is sitting by my bedside screeching "YOUR HOUSE OF CARDS IS ABOUT TO COME TUMBLING DOWN YOU SILLY, SLEEPING FOOL!, GET UP, GET UP, YOU MUST BUILD A BOMB SHELTER OR FIGURE OUT HOW TO WIN THE LOTTERY AT 1 AM, GET UP, GET UP"

I hate her.

I understand the effect that a person's ego can have on their thought process, their personality and their movement through everyday life, and once you recognize the ego in you, it becomes much easier to stand back from your fearful thoughts and see them for what they are.......nothing of real materiality.  Worry, stress, fear, anger, etc. are all just shadows of ghosts.........images of things that do not really exist, not in this moment anyway. 

I love the "Inner Lizard" analogy, which is why I felt so compelled to share it. 

There are a great deal of people I know out there right now, dealing with all sorts of situations, and I hope you do not think in any way that I would ever be making light of anything you are going through. However, there is a great difference between a problem that is RIGHT NOW (like being under attack by a Lion or a Velociraptor or a Hawk) and a "problem" that may or may not come to pass and that even if it does, will likely not leave you behind as a homeless snack for a dinosaur...chances are, in one way or another, you're going to go on, and life will be just fine. 

"Everything comes to pass, and everything is already okay."
 

People......take a deep breath, tell your inner lizard to shut the hell up, and then give it some fruit. (Mine likes avocados). It's not going to go away (as it's firmly attached to your brain stem) but you'll likely find, as I have with Dementia, that you can recognize it for what it is, have a laugh at yourself and carry on.

And for anybondy who read my last blog post, I think it's fairly obvious......I finally got a good night's sleep :)




http://marthabeck.com/product/steering-by-starlight-the-science-and-magic-of-finding-your-destiny/





Monday, January 21, 2013

LOVE, DON'T LOVE

I have been wanting to come up with something witty, and entertaining and enlightening to write about but alas, I am just too exhausted to stick to a coherent thought or word these days. As such I am going to satisfy my inclination to blog about Alberta life by sharing some of the things I love, and definitely do not love about living here:



LOVE:
  • Snow - it's just so darn, pretty and wintry - a total post-cardish novelty for us west coasters
  • Plus 15s - not only are they warm and convenient but each time I navigate the maze I feel like I'm in some secret, futuristic world where everybody has to stay inside to survive (aka Calgary)
  • The Rockies - do I really need to explain? Just stunning
  • No Ferries - again, do I really need to explain?
  • Reading on the train
  • My job
  • Our neighbours
  • Logan's school - it's fantastic and listening to him sing french songs is so freakin' cute!
  • Garbage and recycling pick up - no sorting, just dump in the bin and drag to the side of the road, yes we have to pay for this service, but can you tell I'm a small town girl? I think the whole take my crap away (or in this case my cat's crap) feels like a total luxury.
  • Proximity of our mailbox
  • That everything is everywhere - I'm 30 seconds away from the post office, food, insurance offices, banks, dentist's, clothing stores, tailors, book stores etc. If I need to take care of something or find something on my lunch break, it's doable!
  • Cheap fuel - goes a long way when you have a long commute and a gas guzzling truck
  • Again No Ferries - this deserves mentioning again
  • I think it's darker in the morning here, but it's lighter later in the day
  • The city skyline in the early morning and at night
  • The sound and sight of the freight train rolling through Cochrane - even if it's every 20 minutes
  • I haven't seen rain in almost 4 months!!!
  • I'm closer to my Alberta family and friends
  • The excuse to wear leg warmers 
  • Safeway liquor store - airmiles and convenience

DO NOT LOVE:
  • Driving in the snow
  • Shoveling the snow
  • Sweeping snow off of the truck
  • Frozen, slippery snow (in other words I just like looking at snow)
  • Larry being away so much so far
  • Paper health care cards - I thought this province had money??
  • The photo on my new AB driver's licence - yikes!
  • Pushy, rude, inconsiderate, asshole commuters - what's wrong with you people?
  • How dirty the truck is all the time and the way the kids feel the need to rub themselves on it right after I've washed their jackets
  • How dry it is here - I am itchy all the time, my hair looks like a static experiment and I haven't been able to breath clearly out of my nose for 3 months
  • That it's a really, really, really, long walk to the ocean, let alone a drive - new for me
  • That it's a really, really, really, long walk to our friends and family back on the coast - also new for me.
  • No Rain - Though I don't miss being damp and wet all the time and the long, depressing grey of a west coast winter, I do honestly miss a good ole thunderstorm or Sundays when it would rain, ALL DAY, and as such you'd have the perfect excuse to stay in your jammies and eat breakfast for dinner, and watch movies or read or snuggle up by the fire and make chili on the wood stove.  Here it's so gall darn sunny, I have to close the blinds and curtains and "pretend" its not nice.
  • The Calgary Flames

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DRUNK DUDE ON THE TRAIN

This poor guy fell asleep on the train today. I'm pretty sure he missed his stop, perhaps somebody, including me, should have woken him up.  He kept dropping his beer on the floor but on the plus side he was very gracious and offered a beer to all the people around him, including the elderly east indian lady next to him who looked absolutely terrified. About three stops before the end of the line he passed out across the bench, after said, terrified lady, departed the train.  By two stops before end of line, he was snoring like he was in a coma, oh lord, what if he was in a coma? How awful.  The girl next to me was trying to sneakily, turn her phone this way and that to get a picture of him, she was failing miserably and kept retrying over and over again.  I have to admit, drunk, snoring guy passed out on the train was kind of funny, however, it struck me how awfully sad it was as well.  I have seen this same guy on the train before in his Dickies, work coveralls, worn and leathery face that looks as tired as my winter boots.  To look at him, you'd peg him instantly as old, drunk, working man, however one time, when I saw him fairly sober, and awake, he made a point of offering his seat to every woman that came on and off the train. If you've witnessed the complete and total lack of manners and respect almost 95% of train commuters have for their human comrades, you'd appreciate just how extraordinary and touching, drunk, passed out guy's gallantry was. Dude has more decency than anybody else I've yet to see come and go from the guts of the big, metal LRT beast. The train conductor woke him up and probably had some words about the smattering of empty beer cans covering his lap like settled flies.  I hope he got home safe and sound, and that he wasn't driving anywhere.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

AN INVISIBLE STAIRCASE

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"  I have been reading a lot of quotes lately and this one stuck (well they all tend to stick given that I go through a lot of post-its). 

In the grand scheme of life, things are wonderful.  I know that one should count their wealth not based on the dollars in the bank but rather on the blessings such as health, laughter, love etc. that accumulate in our lives; these are true riches.  By nature I am not naturally a positive person; it's something that I've really had to work at and that has evolved in my character, out of necessity, over the last few years.  Thus the insatiable appetite for positive, uplifting quotes and mantras.  I am also naturally risk averse and a planner. I like to have a plan, more appropriately, I feel like I NEED to have a plan.  I once said to Larry, as we joked about selling everything to sail around the world. "Sure, I'll do it, as long as we never see stormy weather."  This statement sums up my entire outlook.  "I will accept any challenge, as long as you promise nothing will ever go wrong."  A rather childish demand, for sure. 

There was a time in our lives when things were painfully status quo. We didn't think we'd ever move anywhere, or do anything, or travel anywhere, etc. etc.  Life was beautifully and yet painfully predictable. Our souls were starving but I could MAP everything perfectly. 

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"


Ever since I was laid off from my job with Lafarge in 2009 (which don't get me wrong, was quite possiblY the greatest thing to ever happen to me), I've lost my sense of thinking that the world was predictable, that I knew how it would all work out.  I understand that this event was the catalyst in my life to teach me to let go, to learn as I like to say, "not to hope for everything to be okay, but rather to hope to be okay with everything."   However, there is still the remnants of "I want my life to be predictable and stable, and predictable and stable, and all that Jenessa" that keeps wishing for things to "normalize" or calm down.  This is laughable.  We are on a staircase right now and I have no way of really knowing where it leads....this is okay....this is obviously what the universe intends. 

The other day, when I was driving home from work, I was thinking about how I'm totally the type of person that has to figure everything out. Movies, TV shows, books, board games, unsolved household mysteries...I need to figure it out.  Also a sign that I am hopelessly addicted to order, is that I became an Accountant....everything must be balanced, and forecasted, and "fit."  

From the moment I said yes to this journey to leave behind our ocean home, I have had to deal with the invisible staircase, the unknown, the unpredictable, the unplannable, it both excites and terrifies me.  We are so very blessed, so "rich" with all the amazing people, experiences, lessons, comforts and opportunities that have been woven into our lives through the years.  I never would have thought that one day I'd be typing this blog, from an office in Calgary, calling Alberta my home. I never would have thought that one day I'd be on Oprah, or that I'd snorkel in tropical waters (given my irrational fear of sharks and water).  There are so many things big and small that have transpired that I never could have guessed would come about.  Why, therefore, I keep insisting on trying to figure out where the staircase is going, I have no idea. 

I have days where I feel like sprinting up the staircase, without a care in the world and days where I feel like sitting on a step and hugging myself.  Where am I going? Excitement and Terror.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"

Life is beautiful and mysterious and unpredictable. "Did you hear that self?? UN-PRE-DICT-A-BLE.  Suck it up princess and take another step."