This morning, I sat in meditation, a practice I have had on and off for years. I have sometimes wondered why a person would meditate and I’ve concluded that meditation is necessary because quieting the mind is how I can hear messages from the spirit world. Today, as I sat in meditation, I focused, as I have been recently, on remembering what it was like to meditate and listen in past lives. This takes patience because I, like everyone else, get distracted by mundane things. Everything but silence is a distraction but it seems that when I tell myself to remember, things get gradually more calm.
A message came to me today, when I opened my eyes. Like a snap of fingers, I realized or remembered that the heart is the centre of all that exists. I had a vision of a spiral around me, my heart being the eye of the storm that is our existence on Earth. I remembered realizing this as a child. I would have thoughts about what would happen if ever I lost absolutely everything. Essentially, stripped of every material security, what would be left is the heart. The very core of my being cannot be erased.
We are now living in a period of transition. The world is seemingly under siege and I am not at all immune from the chaos although, I am still in the best place possible given the circumstances (geographically speaking). I often forget that at the very core of the heart is a place of stillness that can always be accessed.
I think of the title of the Jules Verne classic “Journey to the Center of the Earth”and I feel like I am on a similar journey to the core of my Self. I am so grateful that in this time in history, so many works on the subject are available and from so many perspectives. I have three books on the way to further my research. I have never even considered the Christian approach (despite being raised Catholic and having been a church musician for the past 16 years). However, I recently realized that there are Christian mystics and Saints who had radical ways of being and that their search for truth surpassed religion. I always doubted the need for intermediaries between humans and God. I believe, like they did, that we absolutely can access this closeness to divinity through meditation (or inner prayer, depending on the context). The books on the way are a collection of works by St. Teresa of Avila and the Third Spiritual Alphabet by Fransisco de Osuna which was her inspiration for living the life she chose. I look forward to diving deeper into the subject of mysticism and what wisdom the words of these mystics can have for this 21st century existence.
Everything is ok, I’m in my car now and am starting to breathe normally again. It’s times like these that I truly appreciate having this old beater car faithfully providing a calm and at least semi-private place for me to go between things. If there was critical point, a fork in the road where I could have left this program and just gone to work, I have passed it. It would seem foolish to leave my degree now without finishing when I’ve already done most of it. At this point, this workload is constantly at the very limit of what I can handle at there is no time left for life. I’ve been haunted by something my counsellor asked: “What do you like to do for fun?”. I had no answer. I couldn’t remember if ever there had been an answer to that question but I hoped so and I still have a sliver of hope that I’ll someday have the luxury of time for fun. I’ve always strived to do my best and to rise above the competition but since I started my degree, I can only pray that I don’t get swept away. I’m not thriving, I’m holding on for dear life and hoping I survive. Sometimes I think that I might be over-dramatizing these feelings, but then I get another anxiety attack and I have nothing left but numbness afterwards. I wonder if it’s just pride keeping me from quitting or the fear of disappointing the people around me. My next class is in 10 minutes… back to it, I guess.
PS. I survived, of course, since I am here writing this. As incredibly difficult as it was finishing my music degree, it forced me to see the value of free time. I work as a private music teacher now, with part-time hours, and that allows me to have the most free time I’ve ever had. I had to learn the hard way but balance is truly essential for a healthy life. Fun fact: I keep a running list of things I like to do as a note on my phone so that I won’t be stuck on that question again. I hope you, my dear readers, never forget to have fun.
The irony of not being able to write is that when I think about being stuck, I think of it in a most poetic way. I haven’t written anything for a little over a year. It’s been a big year filled with many wonderful things. I write from my house again where I’m overjoyed to be once more. My creativity has been dormant or maybe just on hold while my life whirls around me. I’ve learned that I’m both tough enough to handle big obstacles and come out on top. I’ve also learned, in contrast, that I am not invincible. I’ve been learning a lot about what it means to be a highly sensitive person. I didn’t know until recently that this is a thing. I had to have two full week-long burnouts to figure this out (thanks random video that came up on youtube talking about it). This is a very candid post about mental health and true self-care. I discovered that being a highly sensitive person is genetic and isn’t a defect, just a different way of processing the world around me. I read a few books on the subject and now I feel like I have more tools to deal with the fast pace of western society. I’m saying all this because I know I’m not alone in being overwhelmed by the speed of life. I know also that there’s nothing wrong with being someone who needs lots of quiet time because I naturally absorb others’ feelings and get easily drained by this. I didn’t realize how much this could affect my life until this year. This is not a complaint about my life, it’s a realization of growth and gratitude for it. Cheers to continuous growth toward ever better health and happiness!
Now for the actual vignette (which turned out to be shorter than the introduction):
As I sit down to write, I know that I am not the first to face a blank page with a blank mind. I feel the grey fog gather where there should be ideas and words to express them. I wait a moment, hoping that through the fog, I’ll find a few golden threads that I can tie together to write a story worth reading. Sometimes I think I should read more novels. Would it help to be inspired by great writers? My stories are short, like a sprint to the finish line. I love beauty in small packages. I pray for a muse to amuse. As personal as writing is, it seems that I can’t help but think of how a reader might perceive my stories. Are they relatable? Do they stop you in your tracks because something I wrote sparked a memory or a feeling? In any case, this little meta-vignette is me pulling the curtain open for just a moment to say “hello and thank you for reading”.
I was sitting at work tonight, dreading this weekend. Christmas Eve is Sunday and I’m in charge of music. I don’t know at what point I started dreading Christmas so much but it seems that after twenty years of Christmas masses, I’d rather be home with my cat. All through my shift I was elsewhere, dreaming of escaping to Spain and drinking wine in the sun. It’s too late now, maybe next year. I realized while I sat there thinking that the isolation is what’s eating me up. I don’t have many friends in the city as they have all moved away. Then it hit me, there’s only one person I really want to see and he’s still here. I haven’t seen him in two months but he’s the only one who makes me feel like I’m not alone. I have to see him, it’s an emergency!
Don’t worry, I only think of you as I think of the sweet violet weed that grows in a garden to far to reach. The elusive and heavenly fragrant little flower that I can admire but never possess. I think of you like I think the deep purple beauty that can never grow in my garden. Still I remember it’s intoxicating essence, though now is feels like only a dream. I held you once and the memory holds me still.
Un petit texte sur la raison pourquoi je n’écris presque jamais en français, ma langue maternelle, malgré ma maitrise de cette langue.
Je ne sais pas quoi dire en français. Sur la page, ça perd son sens. Je pense à la poésie acadienne que j’aime avec envie. Le français écrit, ce n’est pas ma langue. Je trébuche sur les règles qui se faufilent entre mon coeur et mon crayon. Je trébuche aussi sur l’accent faux que je façonne quand je parle avec quelqu’un qui n’est pas de chez moi. La langue française me tient réellement à coeur mais, je suis muette devant ses attentes, ses préjugés et ses politiques.
A little text on why I rarely write in French, my mother tongue, despite my thorough knowledge of the language.
I don’t know what to say in French. On the page, it loses it’s sense. I think of the Acadian poetry that I love with envy. French in written form is not my language. I stumble on the grammar rules that create a rift between my heart and my pencil. I stumble upon the accident I fabricate when I speak to someone who isn’t from the same neighbourhood. The French language is very dear to me but I find myself mute against it’s expectations, it’s prejudices and it’s politics.
It’s my third week at the ashram and I’m exhausted. We wake up every morning at 5:30 and they keep us up until 10:30pm, sometimes 11. I now see what the taxi driver who dropped me off at the beginning meant, this really is yoga boot camp. I’m enjoying the beauty all around on what is literally called Paradise Island and I can’t complain about 23C average in February but there is hardly time to appreciate any of it. I came here on purpose because part of me will always be a purist and I didn’t want some watered down yoga school full of new age nonsense. I wanted the most authentic experience and I’m getting it now. I’m feeling disillusioned, however, because I don’t think this is for me. It took a year of savings and a trip out of the country for a month to realize that what I thought I wanted wasn’t it at all. I listen to the philosophy, I learn the methods and the words to be said but the rigidity is unnatural. I don’t agree with this way of life; the shutting out of the senses especially. It’s ironic to have the ashram in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and being taught asceticism. I’ve got one more week left and all I can think about is my next stop in Montreal. I’ve been dreaming about decadent foods and drinks and wearing my own clothes again. Never have I felt like such a formless blob in an outfit (our mandatory uniform). There has to be another way to make the most of this life than to deprive oneself of sensual experiences.
PS. True story, actual picture of the graduation. I’m somewhere in the picture with very pouffy hair.
When I was driving home from a date tonight, I couldn’t help feeling lonely. The date went well, he was pleasant enough but there was no connection and at this point, I’m not sure such a thing exists. I can practically hear my friends telling me that I’m rushing and it’s too early to be out and dating again after the breakup. I don’t think that’s it though. I’m looking for conversation, sharing ideas and laughing with someone. It seems so simple when I think of it but when I go on a date with someone new, I realize what a lost art conversation seems to be. Is it because we’re now so used to the limited space of texting? Short phrases, to the point but not really because the essence of what needs to be said often gets lost in transit. I guess tonight, I just wanted to talk to someone face to face. I wanted to hear a voice and to see facial expressions. Otherwise, there is just a screen and waiting for a response.
I just got back from another workshop.Three days to learn this new energy healing modality. It makes me wonder how authentic this “new” knowledge is. I’ve taken several such workshops in the past year and after this one, I’ve begun to realize that it’s just more intellectual stuff and marketing that I’ve fallen for. I was bored at the workshop, feeling also that I had wasted hard earned money on what turned out to be something I already knew said in different words. I think it’s time I focus on practice and real experiences. I already have the knowledge I need. Now comes the scary part of actually trusting myself enough to go forward on my own.
I finally went for the first bike ride of the season, The winter seemed to have lingered on and we barely had a spring this year. Today, the weather was finally perfect. The early flowers were so fragrant in the unusual heat. I had forgotten for many years the feeling of cruising through the streets on a bicycle. I had forgotten the pure joy of feeling the wind on my face when I coast down a hill. I know I must have looked like a fool, smiling so much on my green bicycle but I couldn’t help it. I hope I never forget that feeling again. Today was golden.
ps. Pictured here is myself on my beloved bicycle. Special thanks to Erik Lebrun for taking this action shot.