Saturday, May 28, 2016

alone time

being alone? how much do i love thee? let me count the ways...

~ eating spinach for dinner (i start by sauteeing an onion in butter, add spinach and a little dash of cream).
~ i can talk to the cats.
~ using cat voice (not that having other people around holds me back from that).
~ humming to myself and talking to molly in the greenhouse as i plant a few more things in pots, water and pull a few weeds.
~ listening to podcasts instead of watching television or netflix. check out the latest mini season from the heart. binge on millennial, new to the radiotopia family.

~ taking dozens of pictures of kittens.
~ mowing the lawn (while listening to the aforementioned podcasts).
~ folding the last of the laundry (the last of the laundry is such a welcome thing).
~ the privilege of a first read of a friend's novel.
~ talking to my dad in my head as i pick asparagus.

~ picking a lilac bouquet, bringing it in and enjoying the fragrance.
~ going to yoga for two hours every evening during my work week.
~ silence.
~ letting go of negativity and negative experiences...watching and physically feeling them float away in my mind's eye.
~ feeling in touch with myself, physically, emotionally, creatively and psychologically.

~ buttered radishes with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt as a snack.
~ appreciating my time together with others so much more.
~ being consciously happy.

* * *

what do you do when you're alone?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

when grown women act like they're in junior high

you know that moment when someone calls you out of the blue and is angry with you? you get a whole litany of complaints from them, some which are perfectly valid, but they were so off your radar that you’re taken aback by the whole thing? it’s an instant of insight into another perspective; one which you definitely would never have arrived at on your own.

during that phone conversation (which feels strange in and of itself, because honestly, who makes phone calls anymore these days?), you realise that the person actually just wants to be mad and doesn’t want to resolve anything with you. she just wants to communicate her anger. repeatedly and insistently. and she definitely does not want to listen to you, nor does she actually want the information that she claims you have been withholding from her. she mostly seems to want to give you lessons about a culture that you clearly don’t understand, what with your being a foreigner and all. and while it’s all very unpleasant, people are entitled to their emotions. and sometimes situations make us angry. but you’re actually quite zen about it because you have no vested emotions in this person. you’d met her a few times, but actually felt quite ambivalent about her, not disliking, but not liking either. and you chalk the whole thing up to what you have to endure if you’re going to head up a little artsy organisation involving a bunch of women. because women are always worst to one another (why is that?).

however, it doesn’t stop there. the angry person takes to facebook and airs her complaints publicly on the group’s facebook page. you’re traveling for work at the time and don’t have time to address the complaints in the public forum, but thankfully one of the other members does so. a few weeks later, when you try to do so and actually to thank her for motivating the board to start an electronic newsletter to keep members informed, you discover that you are blocked from commenting on the post. and also on another post, which is complaining that the angry woman can’t see the information you posted about an upcoming event. and you realise that the reason she can’t see it, or any of your other posts, is that she has blocked you. and you investigate how one goes about that on facebook and you realise that it’s not something that could have been done by accident – it had to have been intentional. she wanted to spew her complaints and she didn’t want you to be able to answer them. and while that’s normal behaviour on the internet, it’s actually not that often that you encounter it in real life. and you move away from ambivalence towards dislike.

but you try to actually curb your knee-jerk response to such a person and handle it from another, more zen place. so you send an email with the comment that you wanted to post, praising her for sharing her experience with the group and for prompting us to start a tiny letter newsletter. and you say that it’s perfectly ok that she has blocked you on facebook (and you actually mean it), but that she should know that it’s why she can’t see the information you post in the group and could she kindly refrain from publicly complaining about that when she has chosen it herself.

she responds with pleas of a lack of tech savvy and asks you to explain how she can fix it. so you play tech support and give her a detailed description of where/how you block and unblock people (after googling your way to how it's done). and when she stops by the exhibition, you also show her the same on your own computer, which you happen to have along. but you maintain a wary distance and are not warm and friendly, because hello, she did block you and now she’s standing right in front of you, lying to your face about it.

some hours later, you hear that she proceeded to go down to the square and talk shit about you to several of your friends. and with that, you’ve had enough and you write to her once again, kindly asking her to please take the conversation directly with you and not go around talking about you on the streets. and, while lying to you directly that she hadn’t done so, like a child, picking up their toys and going home – she petulantly picks up her paintings from the exhibition and says she is leaving the group. and you wonder how grown women (seriously, she's in her 60s) can behave like that.

maybe we really do learn how to behave when we’re in junior high.

and then your ambivalence returns. and you realise it’s all just fodder for an eventual novel. if people didn’t want you to write about them unfavourably, they should have been nicer.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

the view from sunday night

did you know that until this week, i'd never been to brussels? since i've started my new job, i've added two countries i'd not visited before - poland and belgium. i do hope things continue along those lines.

it's very exciting and wonderful to travel, but i miss writing on a daily basis like in the old days (read: five years ago). i find i get a congested feeling, not processing all of these experiences through my fingers and onto the page. i definitely need to find my way back to that. it feels like time has accelerated and i just don't have the same time to sit down and write that i once did. and i miss it a great deal.

but today, with glorious sunshine at last, i didn't manage it either (until now), despite my head spilling over with words that want to find their way out my fingers, thoughts that need to be processed. instead, i used my fingers to plant tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in the greenhouse, as well as starting broad beans, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes and kale. may 1 sounds late to start things, but it's been such a cold spring, they'd never have survived before this, not even in the greenhouse. but planting feels important as well and it's time i get with my precious molly, who is a garden kitty. she loves when i'm working in the garden, it's the one thing that visibly makes her happy.

i guess one of the reasons i've been writing less is that i'm working more on getting in touch with my body. my autumn back problems were a real wake-up call. i feel like it happened because i'd neglected the physical side of my being for years. i'm not sure i've ever actually been in touch with my body or really listened to how it's doing. when i'm in copenhagen, i go to yoga nearly every evening, so i'm working very diligently on getting in touch with my body. and trying to learn to listen to it. and it's not easy. while i'm holding a yoga position and i'm supposed to be concentrating on it, i find it hard to keep my mind from wandering off to lists of things to do, emails to write, photos to upload. but i love the feeling that my body is getting stronger and more reliable and i'm learning, slowly but surely, to listen to it and let it be the boss once in awhile, rather than living entirely in my head. it's about finding a balance. i'm not there yet, but i'm practicing.

the past week has been full of wonderful experiences and conversations. getting to know one of my new colleagues, who i really click with, and laughing a lot and buying plenty of belgian chocolate with her. getting together with an old friend and having a wonderful catch-up and deep philosophical discussion over good food. that evening made husband and i think about the way our relationship works and gave both of us a genuine (and thankfully positive) experience of seeing ourselves through someone else's eyes and coming to new appreciation for our relationship. then, a party full of music, dancing and good food in the heart of copenhagen. and today, seeing husband taking his first steps as a politician and candidate for the city council and then enjoying some hours of sunshine in the garden, preparing to grow food to nourish our bodies in the months ahead.

i just have a rich sense that it's all interconnected. i need both mind and body and awareness of both. i need travel to inspire me. i need deep conversations, wine and good food. and i need physical time with the soil and the cats and some sunshine and podcasts in my ears. put it all together, add a little time to write about it and i am filled up and ready for the week ahead. it holds a workshop and meeting a lot of new people. and they promise sunshine. what more can one ask? a couple of days off at the end of the week? go on then, i'll take those too.

enjoy the week ahead, one and all. you never know what's in store!