Monthly Archives: August 2017

Solitary

via Daily Prompt: Solitary

There are many ways to be alone.

There are things I cannot do alone, and I am grateful for it.

They say you can’t feel two opposing emotions at once, but you can get darn close. I never feel so cut off from the world as when I am on land looking out to the water, or on the water looking in to the land. There is nothing I think that offers so much freedom while carrying the potential to effect so much loss, harbours so much peace and yet contains so much violence.

Swimming in the ocean is, for me, one of life’s greatest pleasures. But getting there is not easy. It shows me how unpredictable life is, how important friends are, (west coast water is, shall we say ‘refreshing’ at the best of times –not everyone is prepared to take that punishment, twice) and how terrible my balance really is. It drives home the benefits and rewards of acceptance and adaptation, commitment and communication.

The waves don’t have to be rogue. They can still knock you down, knock anyone down anytime. Celebrate, because you made it this far, but don’t forget you also have to haul your ass out again, and it never gets any easier.

So, go ahead! Take the plunge, but make sure you have your ‘exit buddy’ 🙂

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has ever come with me into and onto the sea!

–Sam

 

 

The good life (1)

via Daily Prompt: Unfurl

First thing that came to mind? Ferns and fiddle heads unfurling. I’m that fiddle head, rolled carefully inward, slowly reaching toward sunshine. I miss the colour green and the smell of the forest and ocean, and hugs. I feel so achingly vulnerable right now, and I don’t know how else to put it. I’m so tired and yet no less inspired.

It’s been an interesting balancing act these past few months. I am really looking forward to having a restful weekend, where “I must get up!!!” is not part of my morning mantra and instead I get to lie on the floor and giggle back at a pair of warm brown eyes in a furry little face. Also, having time to slow down and click those next pieces into place, hang out with my sister and possibly dunk in the sea. Finding quiet-time without the aid of noise-cancelling headphones will be thrilling, to say the least. I have high hopes 🙂

Past but still present

via Daily Prompt: Grainy

I can’t help it! Grainy = old film and photos.

I don’t take many pictures, and in the age of selfies and snapping what’s for breakfast, my supply is pretty much non-existent. Still, I’m sure given the right circumstance, I could easily become obsessed with this medium.

Nine times out of ten, any pictures I took were of dogs: my dogs, other people’s dogs, random dogs belonging to persons unknown… I used to work teaching dog agility and obedience classes, and when I wasn’t teaching I was tasked with (among other things) capturing the canines and their humans in action — which I loved, and surprisingly even managed a few wow-worthy shots. They say often you have to take thousands of photos to find that one perfect shot. And over several years, certainly there were many, many dogs to shoot!

My favourite series of photos was taken using film; I followed my dog Kita around for a day in the summer. They are grainy and probably pretty terrible, but looking at them always makes me feel so happy, seeing those small candid moments.

I miss you so much, girl ❤ 🙂

–Sam

People over paper!

via Daily Prompt: Willy-nilly

In a roundabout response to the prompt today…

This is something that I fight tooth and nail to make better every single day. It makes me angry when, intentional or not, people and organizations put paper over people. In a culture where weight is given most to that which is written down, the hope or assumption is that what looks good on paper should work well in real life – that once it’s put down it is complete. Tada! But words on paper can’t capture all the facets, pitfalls and shortfalls of real life.

Related to this is the fact that often people seem to think processes and ideas have no afterlife or any past-lives, that they simply come into being fully formed, exist and keel over in one fell swoop. Done. Dead. The end.

Maybe it’s as a result of having to deal with all the other daily struggles, or of being simply too far removed from them, but I will often get calls where the speaker claims they asked for a referral, that a referral was made and yet they still haven’t heard anything (occurring anywhere from 2 hours to 2 months after the first action). Or a higher-up lays the bare-bones of policy down and is surprised to hear of the complications arising once that policy is put into practice.

So, in this way of thinking: they asked for support, the minimum required info was submitted to someone believed to be an authority, and now it’s in the hands of the universe. Everything should be super. There is nothing else as can be done. They can sit back and fade to black, and so can the whole idea and process…

Let me just say that this is definitely not how my own brain works. I often wonder if I could be on the autism spectrum, because of the fact that I see so many different avenues and possibilities, frequently find the world and all that sensory input overwhelming to the point where I would like to scream, often think in pictures and spend a good deal of time by myself in my head, reading, writing and seeking out patterns and logic…

For example, preparing to move offices… HR thinks: ‘Take persons #1, #2, and #3 from Point A to Point B’. Piece of cake. Move complete. Everything else stays the same or will work itself out in short order. Dude! I am a fan of making things less complicated and more accessible, don’t get me wrong, but this isn’t at all that simple. People are not filing cabinets –you can just take them off a truck, plunk them down and leave — but you really shouldn’t. You don’t appear to have thought this through at all. Have you considered this? And how about that? And the answer is almost always: ‘Geez! We hadn’t thought of that. Let us look into it a bit more and we’ll get back to you.’

Don’t become a zombie, don’t zombify the process, or kill the idea. Things can grow and bear amazing fruits if you give them half a chance, a little bit of Oomph and some common-sense and consideration.

–Sam

Devil’s club

via Daily Prompt: Prickle

During high-school, English, Biology and French were my favourite subjects. I had some wonderful teachers. I was in Ms. C’s English class for Grade 8, 9 and 10 and never wanted to leave when class was over 🙂 I never have been fan of novel studies, I prefer novel reading, or novel enjoyment. In Ms. C’s class, that wasn’t a problem.

One of my favourite reads was Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen. I could relate to the characters and found the mythology and West Coast forest setting both comforting and inspiring.

devils-walking-stick-thorns-2513624_640

The protagonist, struggles from the get-go and at one point, in survival mode while in an uncontrolled fall in unforgiving terrain, reaches out blindly and grabs hold of a passing Devil’s club plant in an attempt to halt his descent. He survives the fall, but does not come through unscathed, with the plant’s fearsome spines embedded in his palms.

In constructing this post, my thought process went something like this… 🙂

Prompt: Prickle > ?

Me: Prickle > ? > creepy > pokey > big spines > ouch! > English 9 > novel study > Touching Spirit Bear > Devil’s Club > big spines.

And that’s all for today!

In no time, almost.

via Daily Prompt: Jiffy

Today has been great. I had pancakes, I’m going to have tea, and I know what’s for dinner. I also had a good chat with friends and am at a stable temperature; many thanks go out to the world today 🙂

The energy in the room is good. The energy in me is good.

I have to go put the rice on. Dinner will be ready shortly.

–Sam

To be continued…indefinitely

via Daily Prompt: Organize

I like to be organized. Seeing as I goofed on syncing the prompts with dates the past few days by not writing on prompts the day of, this blog might not be the best evidence of this in the digital world (now I’m committed to catching all the way up today) but, hey… It is a slow and on-going process for me. In both worlds a few more boxes and labels would help tons. I don’t know what the opposite of hoarding is? Shedding? I can be ruthless that way. If it’s not being used or useful and it doesn’t make me happy, it’s going.

But here’s what’s coming: boxes, labels and beeswax candles — and a pillow or two!

That’s all 🙂

Atypical Saturday

via Daily Prompt: Delivery

Saturday was filled to the gills.

I was awake ’til late on Friday night and then got up early to attend a half-day course on suicide intervention. Afterwards, I spent the afternoon walking up and down Main street taking in local history, music and culture before coming home exhausted, but pleased, skidding out at the back door — “Hello, pavement! It’s been a while,” — and hopping up the stairs to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and watch Netflix’s new series Atypical and later re-reading bits of Voyager in preparation for the big reveal in September 🙂

~

The training, safeTALK, was fantastic and I highly recommend it (find out more here). It gave me the idea for a tie-in for this prompt, actually.

I learned some grim statistics and heard some heart-wrenching stories. One thing that was shared was how, often even when a person acts on thoughts of suicide, how in the middle of falling from that bridge or ending their own lives, if they survive, how often they say that in that moment between life and death, that they had doubts — that they realized they wanted to live, more than they wanted to die.

For all of the complexities that make up our lives and inform our choices, if there comes a time when we see no escape from the pain we feel, and we make a decision to end our life to be delivered from it, and we act on that decision, still in that moment the will to live can exist. That is a powerful thing.

Alice: ‘How long is forever?’ White Rabbit: ‘Sometimes, just one second.’
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Life can and does turn on a dime, in the blink of an eye, moment to moment. And this training saves lives… Take people’s pain seriously. If they tell you they are struggling don’t brush it off. Ask if they are thinking of suicide; if the answer is a definite ‘No,’ that’s great. If the answer is ‘Yes,’ listen and do what you can to keep them (and yourself) safe. It only takes a second, but it opens the conversation up — a conversation you might never get the chance to have again, if you don’t ask.

It was a very intense and emotional morning, and I’m so happy I was finally able to attend.

~

The afternoon was more relaxed. I walked through the local Mural Festival around the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood infused with oodles of art, community stories and vendors and listened to some First Nations histories, songs and drumming. And I stopped later for a bit to eat out on the patio before transiting back home to fall briefly but deeply into oblivion before waking to continue a most enjoyable evening.

It was an awesome day, bar the gravel in my knees.

Sunny and smoke-free, too!

More to come,

Sam

 

Well-travelled?

via Daily Prompt: Glaring

Like it or not, life is full of hiccups. Sometimes they are quiet and pass almost unnoticed, sometimes they provide comic relief. They could be downright annoying, disruptive, or even cringeworthy.

I was watching a video on Youtube the other day, where the artists were taking questions from the audience, and I was surprised at how many thoughtful, and non-repeat queries there were.

One audience member asked about the differences in culture/language on the project, if through their work the artists had learned any new phrases or expressions and if so, what were their favourites? Interesting question, I thought.

Except that the person asking the question offered a personal and completely bungled example and their ignorance became glaringly obvious, though everyone was very supportive and chimed in with ‘No worries! Easy mistake to make, happens all the time….’

It reminded me of the time I was on the bus downtown, surrounded by languages from around the globe — sandwiched between two cheerful Spanish chatterers (¡Hola!) and two other rather confused English conversationalists — with a friend who is fluent in both languages. The English speakers were having a guess at what language the Spaniards were speaking… “Is it German, do you think?”

What?! I mean, those two languages sound pretty different, for starters (Danke vs ¡Gracias!)… Not everyone knows or can hear the difference, apparently. I found it bizaare, and my friend just rolled her eyes.

–Sam