Those familiar feelings of being hopeless and overwhelmed set in after a call from my mechanic this morning when he told me that I needed to clean my van. I knew that.
I can laugh about it now but at the time I looked around and scaled the enormity of everything to be done if I wanted to live a respectable life.
And I do, most of the time.
I want to know where stuff is and not have everything destroyed because it’s piled together with food and sand.
I want to be able to walk across the floor without a serious toy impalement to the foot. I’d like to limit the clumsy trips across the room over slippery craft materials with baby on back.
Are other people dealing with this too?
Do you ever feel the enormity of it and think “what’s the point?”.
After Michael left for work, I sat on the couch and let it sink in. I wanted to stare at the wall, sob and rip my heart out for all my failings and stinky messes.
I let myself feel it without bringing in more thoughts of examples on for reasons I should be totally depressed. There’s always proof if you look. but…I’m not going there.
I reminded myself that I have important work to do here if I’m open to it. It matters. But it sure didn’t feel like it at the time. I felt like I could go into blame and lashing out. Probably at the kids since they are small and here.
And then it hit me…
What can I do of great importance? What can I do that would have the largest impact?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.
Where is my time most valuable and what is the most efficient thing to be doing right now. I’ve discovered that with exhaustion of a sleepless baby, efficiency can look like the food network in a dark room.
At this time though, I realized that it would be easy to tackle Michaels laundry and it would be a big deal for him. I could focus on it and get to it quickly before the repulsive front loading machine mildew sets in. I could fold them and have them all put away and ready for him. I could put his favourite essential oils on them. I can clean socks and have them all paired with fresh underwear. These things are truly an amazing thing to live.
Have you ever gone without?
So that’s what I’ve done and it feels so good to have this ready for him while he’s away and on someone’s roof in the cold so we can have money to buy boning knives and 200 lbs of honey and pig fat.
I sometimes forget the huge impact that I can have. I think myself down to nothing as I forget that we are all worthy and capable of something grand.
I don’t need to do it all. I just need to access my situation and do something. As a bonus, while doing that, I get better at everything. I gain more skills, many for organization and efficiency. I’m happy to be alive and not ranting over spilled everythings.
At first it was very painful for me to see and hear about my child being picked on. Bullying is a big deal these days and it’s rampant. It’s heard about and we see the pictures on fb of children holding up signs demanding to end bullying. I see the pictures and i wonder how does one end bullying? I allow my mind to wander as I wonder of demanding to end something is indeed bullying itself. Maybe we could be asking the hard questions like “why?”.
When my own child was “bullied”, I questioned how someone could be so cruel as well as the lasting effects it could have on shim. I saw the beginning of it last summer as shim was chased by boys on bikes with air soft guns. Then shim told me about some boys calling shim names as they drove up and down mainstreet.
The other day, Shim came to me quivering holding back tears after a group of children lured shim into the locker room after swimming and picked a fight. Shim was hit in the head a few times before escaping. I never expected to be able to feel pain like that for another persons experience. But perhaps it has less to do with my child and more to do from my own life during times when I became a target. I remember feelings of confusion, anger and most of all, being powerless and perhaps that’s not shims experience at all.
Immediately after the locker room incident, I went and spoke with the lifeguard who was just cleaning up after a busy swim night. I don’t think she knew what happened or what to do. I explained that I saw a severity in slippery half-naked violence. She said she couldn’t pick sides because she didn’t see. I realize at that moment that it didn’t really matter. Everyone needed to be safe and nobody was. I asked that she would call 911 should violence like that happen again and we figured out that shim could change in another location and that I could come along as well.
Now what? What is left after nasty words have been directed at your child? I went home and hugged shim. I took a step out of my skin and looked at the whole picture. I saw shim with the two good friends that shim has. I remember that sacred closeness that comes when most of the world doesn’t accept you. And then when you find someone who does, it feels like home and you appreciate its uniqueness. I decided to put my energies to that and to my own connection with shim. It has taught me to seek out that which is good for us and to be aware of other people’s pain. I’m going to even go so far as to say it’s not bad, the bullying. It is what it is…a step in our evolution to wholeness. If we look closer, we will see the hurt in the “bully” and the disconnection they have to life. As I write this I feel cautious as I know that other peoples experiences have been horrible and I wish empowerment over their lives for them. I wish for them to see their worth and goodness even when others don’t. That’s what we all want right? That’s what we are all striving for…to feel whole.
We may not be able to stop bullying but we can use it as an example and as a reminder of how we want to be. We can use it to bring us closer and ask what we can do to help. In this we are not bullied, but only reminded. We can remember that people are still hurting and that it’s not about us. We are powerful beyond measure. All I can say right now is thank you.
My life began to change once I started asking the right questions. Even without answers they were powerful reminders and directions to follow. I still ask a lot of questions and try to wait with an open mind and heart. I could feel myself lifting up out of despair and purposelessness when I asked myself things like “What wants to happen in this moment?”. The simplicity of it was profound enough to pull me out of my own beliefs of what should be happening and it allowed me to start listening, watching. Other questions I’ve asked during complete uncontrollable chaos is “What is being expressed right now? What wants to be expressed?”. I have discovered that the point for me is to be of service; to see the need without my own ideas and beliefs. To be available to fill that need with glasses of water, a warm hug, a bowl of soup or an ear to listen. We are all needed, so much more than we know. And it’s not about being a slave but rather being so clear in our purpose that we can be an incredible support to others and ourselves. Maybe what this moment is needing is a warm bath or a good cry or a nourishing bulletproof coffee for yourself? It is about doing small things with great love and purpose. And I get that it’s not always way and that it’s constant work. I’ll never be done opening myself up to what wants to come through. I wake up every morning having to re-commit. What is it like for you?
I’ve been reluctant to tell this story of the recent events in my life because I do not want to scare anyone from canning. I do want to let people know what can be done to prevent what happened to me and I still think that people should preserve food. It is one of the most rewarding and beneficial things to do. What happened to me is totally preventable, and maybe that makes me a bit of a dumbass. Here’s my story:
Sunday night I was pressure canning with the big 14 quart All American like I’ve done so many times before.
As I screwed on the lid I asked myself through groggy eyes and foggy pregnancy brain if I was doing everything safely.
I was doing it right at that point except that I had mismatched an old glass lid and rim jar with a gem jar meant for a short, metal lid and rim. Like this:
I had put Vaseline on the rim of the canner and screwed down the wingnuts evenly a little at a time. I sat in the kitchen and watched the pressure carefully as it climbed up to 11 lbs.
It took a couple of hours to can the stew and I was eager to get it out. I waited for it to depressurize and I screwed off the lid. Here’s my MAJOR mistake: The mismatched jar would not have mattered (other than it may not seal) if I had simply let the jars cool down in the canner before removing them.
LET THE JARS COOL IN THE CANNER BEFORE REMOVING.
As other advice I could add to not can when tired. Read your manual and proper recipes. Seek the advice of professional canners who use modern methods and canning companies. Another thing I will start doing is writing up a list of safety reminders and I will go over it at the start of the new canning season. I had simply forgotten this year.
As I went to pull the jar up, the lid blew off due to pressurized heat and the hot stew came spewing out onto my face, hip and almost my entire inside of my right arm. It also got my daughter a little on her back as she was in the kitchen when it happened.
Right after, I had my eyes closed and I didn’t quite know what had happened but Nova was screaming. I yelled for help and led her to the bathroom to wash it off to stop the burning.
I called my mom and she came over right away. All I could do to soothe the pain was to keep it under cool water, for hours. My mom sat with me for most of it. My neighbour and good friend came by and talked with me and then made food for everyone. My dad and partner got busy cleaning up the mess. I felt immersed in it all; in the pain and in their collective care.
I got into the shower to wash off the hot stew and contemplated what it will be like to be in my house in labour in pain and naked in the shower. This is coming up in just a few weeks.
Again, I found myself amazed and in awe of how beautifully people come together to help one another in an emergency. This time was different as I was the person being helped. It really shows the true colours of life when tragedy hits. It is the happening that highlights all of life making you see how whole it is. Through our vulnerability we bond and are reminded how fragile and precious life is.
I need these reminders.
Once the pain was at the point that I could have it out of water, we went to the hospital.
As I poured water over my arm while waiting for the nurse, and all I could think was “thank you, thank you, thank you.”
It felt a little insane, because for what would I be grateful in such hard time?
For cool water, for friends, for food,
for kind nurses, for family and for life. I always think to myself during hard times that something good will come of this. And it always does.
Just to be alive and to feel all that it means. Sometimes it means pain. And in the pain we find what matters:
Many people are giving me ideas
Of remedies to use and saying to go to the hospital. I’ve been going everyday where they re-dress the wounds and put flamazine (antibacterial silver) on it. Thank you so much everyone for the kind words, support and advice!
Lately I have been seeing people post links to my blog when asked which blogs people follow and loved. I am always surprised by this! It feels so natural and not a big deal for me to share my thoughts and stories. I don’t put a lot of thought into the blog posts exactly as I am not focused on editing or having a perfect blog. I put a lot of thought and heart into life and that’s what I am hoping to convey in my writing. I type my raw stories on a smartphone wherever the moment should strike. So I am always surprised when people follow and adore my stories. I forget how much our stories mean. Storytelling is what makes us so uniquely human. Everywhere I look I see life tangled up with our love of stories.
I’m downtown Gravelbourg right now after a snow storm, as you see in the picture above. I can see old men at coffee with their stories, probably the same ones they have been telling for thirty years. We can become so attached to our stories…
Deep snow tracks through main street along with the sound of shovels on cement and humming of snow blowers tell me the story of mother natures delivery last night. I can also predict a future story that says the fields will be wet and nourished for the spring planting. The dug outs will overflow with their watery life willing and ready to complete the cycles once again.
We have so many stories. Which ones of mine would you like to hear? We all have our tales of disbelief, and I am no exception. Many tell me to put my life in a book, but even at nearly 30 years old, the book would be too long.
I’ve lived many lives, tried on many faces.
The things that have really shaped me are the things I’ve loved so easily. Like when I was gifted a pair of rabbit fur mukluks as a child. I loved the softness and the warmth but mostly I loved how real the snow felt beneath my feet. I could feel all of its texture and contours.
I spent most of my teenage years seeking a place for a place to belong. No one had ever told me that where we are, we belong. And so I searched..
I was lucky enough to have one friend who truly felt like home after my parents separated when I was twelve. But my home was not often homey feeling even before the separation despite my amazing parents. Their stories had been too painful and it shadowed the natural instincts to raise a child, or two; my brother and I.
My mother was born on a reserve, the oldest of six children. She was moved to an orphanage when she was nine, I believe and then a foster home at twelve. Can you imagine her stories?
My father was a child of five children and one mother. I can see his story of brotherhood is deep and his admiration of a mother that gave everything with multiple jobs to show them every bit of her world. Art and music was, and still is, important to them. The story of the non-existent alcoholic father always lingered in the air, it still does. My Aunt, the only girl has sworn to never touch alcohol because of this. They are all do strong and amazingly unique with their stories. They could each be a book too, we all could.
So, my teenage years… I found a place with kinship and cooperation. It was a whole other world and I became obsessed with it.
It was a Mexican Circus.
For the next nine years I would dedicate my thoughts and heart to being a part of this circus. I didn’t realize that it was the thing we are all missing and truly desire: To feel like we belong.
The story gets even more interesting but I’m not quite there yet…
Thank you for listening to my story.
Tell me yours so we can be human.
where do thoughts come from?
I know that there are some that fly in, seemingly out of nowhere while I have other thoughts that are very intentional and controlled. Levels upon levels of thoughts.
I am keeping careful track and I am seeing just how and which thoughts create certain emotions.
Do only our thoughts create our emotions?
It seems that in time of “crisis” the same thoughts swirl around and create the same emotions that I have already experienced a million times! This is maddening to me when trying to sleep. the thoughts go like this:
He shouldn’t be out so late. He should have called. He lied to me. He doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t want to spend time with me. He is a self serving asshole. I can’t live like this. I am better than him. I don’t love him. I should just leave. I should cut him off from my affection. Make him suffer, like I do.
So, it seems that the real suffering that I face is coming from my thoughts. His time away out drinking really COULD be affecting me very little. I could be sleeping and not thinking about it.
Is this easy? I don’t know. There are times when it is and times when it isn’t.
When he breaks a promise to me it seems is when it is the hardest. Well, all I can do is tell him how I feel. But I still can not depend on him to change. I must find it within myself to be peaceful regardless of his actions. Especially since they are so tame. I do not have to be a part of it. I am free to live as I please, just as he is.
I understand all this, so why the sleepless night? I fall back into old patterns of being a victim. It gives me an identity:
Abandoned mother. Let down lover. Superior being, as I do not get so drunk. EGO. my ego feeds on his weaknesses. And are they even weaknesses? If he enjoys it, well..it is what it is. I can place whatever labels I want on it…I could call it social or happy rather than weak and stupid. So, I will look for the ways to let it go. And I mean really let it go…not just push it aside so it can fester and taint my heart.
Any suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.