Pages Not Turning Yet

The last pages of my life’s narrative seem to have stuck together, locking me into this current lull. Is it the heat? The body’s response to stress, albeit positive? My mind’s ambition butting up against physical limitation? Likely a bit of each.

We’ve already written the opening paragraph for the next chapter: purchased a new home, sold our current one. Ric’s been busy arranging the transfer of services, engaging a painter, plumber, and electrician. By the end of August, we should be comfortably settled in.

Meanwhile, I’ve packed all I can for the moment, and while I know I should be resting for the next wave of momentum, I am feeling mired in the mud of emotions and psychological muck. Non of it rational, all of it debilitating.

The next chapter will unfold as it will; we’ve already set the framework. Meantime, taking care of self has become the priority.

Today, I will not fight the stuck places. Instead, I’ll surrender to each moment, remember to breathe, and be mindful of the choices I make.

***

Thank you to all who participated this week, each bringing your own brilliance to the theme: next chapter.

On a Break, I Write Her
Metamorphosis, radhikasreflection
Besides…, Eugi’s Causerie II
Magical Guest, Stuff and what if…
The Next Chapter, Sgeoil
When Jokes Cross the Line, MMA Storyline
Night after night, paeansunplugged
Final Victory, Shilpa Nairy
To Be Continued, parallax
The Next Chapter, one letter UP

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

All Worth Mentioning

The things that inspire us,
a moving read,
steps we have taken
epiphanies,
perceptions,
quotations,
magical spaces,
truths,
a kiss…
all worth mentioning.

Thanks to all who participated this week!

Word-Whelmed Woman
Proscenium
Reena Saxena
Stuff and what if…
one letter UP
Sgeoil
AWISEWOMANSJOURNEY
parallax

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

(Featured image from personal collection and available through Society6 and Redbubble.)

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #59: Worth Mentioning

Reading is as important to my day as breathing, and for a long while I was gasping for breath in a spurt of uninspired works.

Then I stumbled on Staceyann Chin’s memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, and found myself panting for more. The audio version of Chin’s life story is narrated by the author herself, and so captivating that I couldn’t stop listening.

Clay Girl by Heather Tucker, had the same effect. Tucker’s novel is a poetic wonder – written with such imagination that it has raised my own literary bar. Narrated by Morgan Hallett, I give the reader, the story, and the overall production five stars.

Since I seldom read one book at a time, I have also been engrossed in North of Normal, another memoir, written by Cea Sunrise Persons.

All three books deal with growing up in the midst of the chaos of abuse and neglect. Each heroine proves to be resourceful and courageous. Perhaps these discoveries will be the catalyst I need to return to my own work in process.

What has inspired you lately? A song, an image, a quotation? This week’s challenge is to share something “worth mentioning”.

To participate, just create a post and then link back here. All are welcome!

Look forward to your responses.

Sacred Witness

Illness affords me time,
and time begs observation.

Used to think that if I prayed enough,
was enlightened enough, I could call upon
the presence of a divine spirit to intervene,
change the course of suffering.

Now, I know that we are not called upon
to alter God’s plans, control not within
our mortal hands, but we are commanded

to observe, and in that observation
to be witness to a presence
that is already here.

***

This week’s focus was presence. I have continued my practice of mindfulness, offering up a prayer and then setting aside all other distractions in order to be fully present during my nature outings. Today’s poem came to me in one of those outings.

Thank you to all who participated this week. Your responses delighted and surprised me, and a few even moved me to tears.

Reena Saxena
Proscenium
Stuff and what if…
Sgeoil
AWISEWOMANSJOURNEY
one letter UP
parallax

Shift

Synchronicity nurturing wonder,
relationships, books, mystery,
accomplishment and celebration –
home.

Conversation, point of view,
personification, questions,
foundation irony,
shadows baseline

Attention gathering
distance river
veil sacrifice
character deviation –
un-lived lives.

***

The challenge this week was to gather titles from our own writing and reveal a new message through lining them up.  The poem above has been created from the weekly challenge prompts, beginning with the original: shift.  

What a week of discovery it has been!  Please check out the writings of each of the contributors:

Proscenium

Sgeoil

Keyhole Poetry

Willow Poetry

Stuff and what if…

Wind Rush

The Sunshine Artist

one letter UP

Thank you to all, and see you tomorrow for another challenge.

A Bevy of Characters

“The light is not very good for taking photographs,” Ric remarks as we turn onto the road along the river which has fast become our favourite drive.

“I know.”  

It’s not in my character to give up just because circumstances are not ideal.  In my mind, there are always photo opportunities.

The river flows inky blue, and as Ric slows the car on the lookout for birds, the wind blows up, bringing with it a shower of wet snow.  

“Stop!”  An eerie mist is hovering over the land and I want to get a picture.

‘Stop’ is our agreed upon command for when we see something worth photographing.  This road is gravel, and seldom travelled, so it is safe to pull over frequently.   

“Might be too cold for the birds.”

I refuse to be daunted, determined to capture a reasonable number of photos.  Barren trees line the road, deserted nests reminders of the vibrancy of this place just weeks ago.  It is almost haunting.

We creep along, and just as I begin to think that Ric might be right about the birds, there is a flurry of activity.

“Stop!”

We roll down our windows as blue jays, chickadees, juncos and woodpeckers flock to nearby branches.  Despite the greyness of the day, I am pleased with how some of these characters showed up:

Blue jays are seldom this compliant.

There is nothing sweeter than the chirp of a chickadee.

I think I feel a painting or two coming on.

***

This week’s focus has been on character.  A special thanks to all who participated:

Proscenium

Somewhere Sea

Culture Shocks

Willow Poetry

Cactus Cats

Sgoeil

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

Relationship Wrap Up

Relationship, I realized after posting my weekly challenge, is too broad of a subject.  We need a lifetime to examine and appreciate our interconnections, and then, likely, we’d need to begin again – such is the nature of relationship.  It slips and slides, rewards and betrays, teaches and takes away.

That said, I appreciate those who dared to jump in.  Proscenium cheekily responded by noting the relationship between spires as depicted in a photograph, calling it almost “religious”.  Had to smile at this one.   Puja Mendiratta offered many insights about the complexity of relationships, both familial and chosen, categorizing them as symbiotic or parasitic.  Sgeoil rose to the challenge by sharing the importance of listening – a skill I myself would like to better.

As for me, I have spent the week examining relationships on many levels – from time spent with a dear friend, to memories of father, sparked by his birthday’s passage, to the ever-expanding joy I derive from my grandchildren, and of course, the relationship with myself (always tenuous at best).

I promise that tomorrow’s challenge will be lighter, or at the very least, not as taxing.

Cheers all!

V.J.

 

Reflections on Nurturing Wonder

Thanks to all who participated in this week’s challenge.  (It is never too late to join in, if you feel so inspired.)

Tammy at Tammy’s Reading/Writing Life wrote a post about feeling magic that so resonated with our theme, I invited her to share.  She speaks of finding magic in children’s rapt attention, Christmas, bookstores, anticipation, and writing, among other things.

Proscenium describes wonder as the “investigative curiosity of my inner child”.

Sgeoil also finds wonder in working with children (five and six-year olds) and challenged herself to rise early in order to have time to stroll her garden in order to nurture wonder.

Demystifying Destiny describes wonder as the happiness that comes from acting out of passion.

I am inspired and encouraged by all the responses.  Life is many things, including struggle and strife, and the ability to adopt the attitude of wonder helps keep our perspectives in balance.

Keep wonder alive all, and see you tomorrow for next week’s challenge.

Cheers!

V.J.

Reflections on Synchronicity

First, a thank you to all who participated in this week’s challenge, and to those who took the time to comment.  This interaction means so much to me – maybe more than I can ever articulate.

Up until 2004 – when I returned to university to become a teacher – I practiced an examined life:  dared myself to ask the big questions, followed a spiritual path, and considered myself a student of the universe.  I felt connected to life, with a sense of purpose, which was to be the best me I could be, in service to others.  The all-consuming reality of teaching, shifted my priorities, and I became immersed in a different way of serving, and set aside my former pursuits.

While I started this challenge, in part to replace the hole left by Word Press, I see now that it is motivated by a deeper need – the longing for community and a shared quest.

Another oriole flew in front of our vehicle again this week, but this time Ric saw it coming and avoided the collision.  Sometimes, we drive through life on automaton, missing the miraculous.  Being aware, we are more fully engaged.

I am engaging again – asking questions, opening to answers, revelling in the greater mystery.  I hope that the same is true for you, too.

If you have not already done so, please take time to read the links and comments on the original challenge page, and my first response.

Not all answers reveal themselves right away (and some never do); it is the asking of questions that matters.  Tomorrow’s challenge poses more pondering.

In the meantime, Ric’s health is good, so all is looking up, for the moment.

Till tomorrow.

V.J.

Brief Connections

THstreamThe morning drizzle gave way to sunshine by noon and even though I’ve been tired today, I decide to take advantage of the clearing before retiring for the evening.  I grab my camera and go in search of worthy images, but my legs are useless today,  so I decide to sit instead, on a picnic table beside the stream.  I hear, before seeing, the family of geese I’ve been tracking making their way towards the water.  A I raise my camera I see movement in my peripheral vision.

The man approaching is a regular here; I see him walking past several times a day.  I raise my hand to wave.

“Do I know you?” he asks.  “I’m sorry, but I’ve had a stroke and this doesn’t work very well.”  He taps on his temple.

“I know how you feel,” I say.  “I have inflammation on the brain.  Mine’s not in the best working order either.”

MakeawishHis eyes open wider and he steps closer to me.

“I’m Ric’s wife,” I say and point to our motor home.

He nods.

“I’m photographing the baby geese.  Trying to keep track of them.”

He nods again and then steps back as if he’s in my way.

“You’re okay.”

“They grow fast.”

“Sure do.  Good thing kids don’t grow that fast.”

He smiles, then blurts out:  “The hardest thing is that I feel like such a burden.”

He has caught me off guard – hit a nerve.  I glance at him and see that his eyes have filled.  My tears come too.

“I do, too,” I croak.

“I came here thinking I could make a difference,” he continues.  “I wanted to help out, and now I rely fully on my sister.”

orangehammocks“We are lucky to have someone who loves us enough to care.”

“We are.”

“All we can do is focus on our progress – even if it seems awfully slow.”

“Oh for sure.  They thought I was dead – had to force feed me.”  And then:  “I’m sorry about that.  I’m over it now.”

“You’re doing well,” I say.  “I see you walking every day.”

“I made it through the winter,” he says, still fixated on his own story.  “I guess that is something.”

“It sure is!”

“I was here all alone, too.”

“Wow.  That is something. Good for you.”

He thanks me for my time and walks away.  I linger and take a few more pictures of the goslings, then limp my way back to our home.

Everyone has a story.  Everyone is battling something. The best way we help one another is just to listen.