Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yea, it's National ________ Day!

Wow, I don't know about you but I'm exhausted! Face Book (aka FB) has opened up a whole new world to me. I have connected with long lost university housemates, promoted my dream classes and workshops on my FB site AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS, most recently my class on CONSCIOUS DREAMING - Dreaming Story on my events page, shared posts of social importance, and participated in many lively, and (mostly inane) debates just between old friends. And, don't get me started on how seriously I take my responsibility to pass on videos: extolling cat love, cute animal "aw" inducing tales, and those inspiring sagas of interspecies couplings…yes, why can't we be more tolerant, accepting, and loving, just like them?

But…that's not all FB has to offer me.

No sir-eee!

How could I not know that the world is full of amazing celebrations, and I'm invited? Celebrations, that were heretofore only enjoyed by a very exclusive set, are (with a few exceptions) now open to one and all; we're all invited. That means you too!

Why, just a few weeks ago, it was National Friendship Week, which occurs pretty much every few months. Then there was National Crochet Your Chicken a Sweater Week, I could barely contain my enthusiasm for that one. I swear I could hear the yarn spinning through the hooks and smell the smoke coming off of them, due to the world-wide frenzy that ensued.

National Left-handers Day gave some of you "righties" a well deserved break, but not me. This southpaw partied like there was no tomorrow, displaying her sinistral skills to the amazement, nay, astonishment of envious right-handers who had the good fortune to gaze upon her. I had to resort to using my right hand for days afterwards…but since I'm fairly ambidextrous it's not such a big deal. Say, there must be a day for ambidextrites (is that a word?) too!

It seemed that there was no let-up in sight as just yesterday I was told that…Today is National Short Girl Appreciation Day. Which brings back, ah yes, such joyous memories.

© Nance Thacker 1984


Why are tall men and short women attracted to each other? I've had tall boyfriends. One was 6 feet tall (182.88 cm) ; another 6 foot 4 inches tall (193.04 cm). For all intents and purposes, I'm 4'10" (177.8 cm) - actually 4 foot, nine and ¾ inches to be exact but let's just round that up. Hmm…I just found out that I qualify as a very tall "little" person… there's the internet for you.

Anyway, I got caught up in the attraction thing for a while but I found out that it wasn't what it was cracked up to be. One day, I caught sight of the reflections of Mr 6'4" walking hand in hand with Ms 4 foot 9 and ¾ inches in a store window. With my elbow bent at an awkward angle and dangling above my shoulder it looked like it he had custody for the day and was taking his kid out (I looked way younger than my years back then).

But dancing? That's the worst! Have you ever had to endure a full dance being carried around the dance floor? Well, I have. Then there was the guy I met at a university dance, held in the residence hallway, who spent the whole night on his knees so that we could converse eye to eye. He later danced with me while on his knees. I knew that, that relationship would last only as long as his knees could hold out.

But, my all time favourite was the guy with weak abs, that thought the best way to deal with the situation was to lean his full weight over and onto my shoulders. As the music droned on and on, his core gave out, I felt like a participant in the dance marathon from the scene in *THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY?



O.K. maybe I'm being a little bit overdramatic…but, now that I have someone with whom I can dance, with my head resting on his shoulder…after such traumatic experiences if he threatens to take me in his embrace for a dance, I'll wrestle him to the floor.

*       *       *

* On a serious note THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY is a very good movie about the dance marathon craze in the '20's and '30's. My Mom was a kid then and she remembered hearing about such events being held during the "dust bowl" days in the USA. As I understand it, people would compete because they got food and lodging during the competition, they achieved a little bit of fame, and the cash rewards for the winners were relatively substantial.
"It seems unbelievable now but there were once fifteen thousand people – promoters, emcees, floor judges, trainers, nurses, cooks, janitors, cashiers, ticket-takers, publicity agents, promotion men, musicians, contestants and even a lawyer – whose main source of income over a number of years came from endurance shows." High Times Hard Times, Anita O'Day, pg. 34.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ack, say it isn't so

I'm reading Amanda Palmer's THE ART of ASKING and it's taking me down memory lane. Parallels of her life's experience collide with my earlier life as a struggling cartoonist/yoga teacher/artists' model/house-sitter living in Victoria in the early '80's.

What resonates most for me right now is her struggle to accept help offered in monetary form. I suspect that if you have never been an artist you might have difficulty understanding this particular challenge especially when the whole point of being a "professional" artist is to make your living at it.

The thing is, I (like Amanda) needed help along the way and often it was given. I couldn't afford rent above the $50 that I was paying for my studio space at Xchanges Gallery so I became a house sitter. Many people provided a haven for me between house-sits letting me stay on in a spare room, or couch surf, after they'd returned from their trips. My great friend, confidante and fellow aspiring artist, Bud even house-sat for friends in the country (despite the fact that they really didn't have need of his services) so that I could house-sit for him as I was about to become homeless.

One day I would be a paid cartoonist; able to "pay my own way" using my artistic skills which to me meant having that money go into "my" bank account. When I was in my early twenties I vowed that I'd never get into a committed relationship until I could pay my own way…but fate had other plans.

My father, when he realized that his 34 year old daughter was, seriously, getting married, overturning her heretofore repeated protestations that she'd never get married because she didn't want her "wings clipped", took my intended aside with this advice for matrimonial harmony… "Don't try and make a nine to fiver out of her, it'll never happen." He took Dad's advice and we're still together.

I eventually packed in my aspirations as a cartoonist, and all the associated jobs that I required to support my chosen "profession", and took up what I thought would be a much more profitable profession and still give me the freedom that I required. I became s a Shiatsu Therapist…and I still couldn't pay my own way. Like many alternative health practitioners, I was able to practice only because my work was supported… by my husband.

A fellow therapist said that though she didn't make much money she and her husband felt that she was gaining them financial karmic points. As a result of her services, his business was thriving. Their businesses were intimately linked, not through word of mouth, but rather, her good vibes were drawing clients to him.

I tried that concept on for size as my husband's business did thrive…but I couldn't make it stick.

I tried different venues for my work, added Certified Hypnotist to the mix and threw up a shingle offering hypnosis and Shiatsu in a medical aesthetics clinic in East Oakville, on the "other side" of the creek in my hometown.

This was surreal! If ever there was a fish out of water, it was me.

The women were welcoming and lovely…beautiful, actually…and well turned out, confident and successful. All the things that I was not. I was, as Palmer often judged herself…a fraud. But, I could and would, make this work.

I won't say that things went swimmingly. I spent more time hanging out in a cubicle near the receptionists desk, setting up this blog, than in my own treatment room. I  heard prospective clients interviewed over the phone, shying away from the perfectly effective Shiatsu and hypnosis, opting instead for the insurance coverage of massage therapy and psychotherapy.

Some days no one came into my treatment room but they flocked in for medical aesthetics procedures, massage, psychotherapy - ca ching, ca ching.

My soul was slowly bleeding. I swore I wouldn't supplement my work here with the meagre profits from the home based practice that I still maintained. This vow I kept. The next rent increase was beyond my limit and I was out before a year had gone by. But, let's go back to the early days…

Once the "team" got established the owner/operator put on a pot luck celebration to kick off our venture. I couldn't go. How could I go to the other side of the creek? I didn't fit in…but you can fake it. Haven't you been doing that all the time you've lived in Oakville? 

So, I psyched myself up and went. Surely you can do it for just one night!

"Guess what everyone, I'm treating us all to a psychic! Isn't that great?" our host excitedly announced as we sat down to share our culinary delights.

Everyone was thrilled…but me. I'm going to be busted, I know it.

What were people going to ask about? Money, business ventures, relationships, children; the usual stuff. Each came away from their 15 minutes glowing with reports of success, success, success, success.

And then it was my turn…

I walked in; my spirit trudged in. She asked for my hand and I put my hand in hers. "What do you want to know?"

"Will my business be financially successful?"

And, this is what she said…

© Nance Thacker 2015
"You will always have enough. You know from past experience that you've been supported. You REALLY aren't striving for the same things the others are, are you? You never have. You have always been supported as payment for what you do for others."

Busted.

When asked how it went, I said with a nod, "Great!" And, I think once I got over the initial shock, I meant it. She was right…but I still struggle to accept this from time to time.

NOTE: This is my first strip cartoon in 24 years - WOW
Something I read in Palmer's book yesterday triggered the bit and it wouldn't leave me alone.
"All right, already"
I dug out my old boards and erased an uninked, unfinished rough (found a stash of drawn but unlinked strips that I'd forgotten about) and drew this new one today. 
Amazing! I can draw, ink, take a photo, upload it onto the computer AND get it out into cyberspace all in one day; incredible!
So, it's going on for 2 a.m. (Don't believe the time stamp, still can't figure out how to adjust it to PST. If anybody knows how to do this let me know.)
Can I go to bed now?
Nothing, I think that's a yes.

Sat Jan 17th 4:00 - Just had to pop in again and thank all those who have supported me, and continue to do so, all those years. I truly am deeply grateful.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

ENOUGH

© Nance Thacker 1991
It's 17 months into my husband's retirement, our move to Vancouver Island and scaled down lifestyle.

Over the past few weeks the implications of this reality is finally settling into my bones. 17 months ago we stepped off the treadmill and into the kind of life that many of my friends have repeatedly told me they "can only dream about".

Yet, I've resisted the "R" word. "My husband's retired, not me", I'd protest. But, the reality is that I'm not exactly employed. I've given workshops and classes here and there; many of them for free. I haven't been able to transplant my business here as effortlessly as I'd expected. I've spent more time in developing and promoting my projects (something I don't enjoy) than actually presenting them (which I love), that's the reality of starting over again. And, it's bummed me out, but clearly, enjoyment is tipping the scales against what I don't enjoy and desired financial gain.

I've railed at the idea of retirement until one day it hit me. What am I doing? What am I fighting to maintain? My aspirations for success - what I have striven for all my working life - has been defined by others and has only served to keep me discontented and clinging to a value system that I never embraced. I'm still reaching for the carrot at the end of the stick.

Wait a minute…I've got Stockholm syndrome!

I'm finally freed from my captor yet I keep on defending their notions of: value, self-worth, and responsible engagement in our social, cultural and financial structure.

Arrgh.

Many of my friends are envious of us. How we could just pack it in and drop out? We've always lived simply and been mindful of where our money goes. It's not like we had a lot of bucks at our disposal compared to what financial analysts proclaim one needs to retire "comfortably". It is a matter of dropping all those misconceived notions of having enough.

If we waited until we "had enough" money to retire, we'd still be back in Ontario, doing what we were doing. Face it, you'll never "have enough", until you "have enough" of the striving to "have enough" and realize that you have all you really need.  It's not "freedom 55" but it's enough and that's pretty good!

We came out west while we are in good health, able and young enough to do things we enjoy and discover new things along the way. I'm in the discovery phase and I can proudly say that I'm retiring my old value systems.

I'll still offer workshops and classes until I've had enough and I'll keep exploring and developing other special areas of expertise in this realm of retirement.

I used to think life was a school and so I received many lessons; now I think of it as a place to have fun and I'm enjoying it a lot more.

Retired one definition I found includes: (of a place) quiet and secluded; not seen or frequented by many people.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with FB

No posts here since Sept 11th…wow! Where does the time go?
I've only written 3 entries since then on AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS. Where have I been?

On that time-sucker Facebook, that's where.

Since my last entry I've been involved in a lot of "real life" stuff; really I have.

I've been stared at by Maya, a lot
I came across this little Stonehenge at one of my fave places
at the beach…AND, I repositioned 3 that had toppled over.
A man is holding back his kid from throwing stuff at it as I take the picture.
I don't know just how long others resisted the urge to destroy it.
Just last Saturday I went skating at the Empress.
The new owners have erected this tent which takes up one half
of the front lawn. You can rent skates, hats and gloves. The far end
is open to the view of the harbour. No stale, sweaty, mildewy arena smell here!
View from the outside, very festive.
They have music and hot chocolate and treats at reasonable prices.
I've had earth-shattering, life-changing thoughts; realizations worth sharing with the world. But…there's FB. Little "dings" emanate from my phone at random moments. Someone's out there reaching out, seeking connection with you. Come on, just check it out. You know you want to, you're soooo far away…

And, I'm snared. Just see what family and friends from all over the world are up to, have a "conversation" with them through comments, share a tidbit from your life, post a pic or 2. In the shake of a rabbit's tail you'll be done.

HA, ya right!?

I get sucked into the world of FB and I become less discriminate as the minutes tick by. Tick, tick, tick. Initially, friends' shares and comments link me to informative videos and newspaper articles. I get involved too! I sign petitions; I share them embellished with my own comments. I don't donate. One could go broke with the number of sites out there begging for donations. But, I'm proudly, socially informed, responsible and engaged, for a while…

Gradually, usually while I'm reading up on crucial news-rich entries of the day, my eyes begin to wander to the great supplier of brain candy; the sidebar. Little snippets caught at the corner of my eye begin to gnaw at my innards until, suddenly, I can't stand it anymore, I JUST HAVE TO KNOW. I HAVE TO KNOW about: the 10 Celebrities' Faces Most Botched Up From Plastic Surgeries, Celebrities Who You Didn't Know Were Related, Celebrities Who Live In Modest Homes Despite Having Millions, "Celebrities" doing or being this or that…

Educational nature, environmental and science entries supplied by my most learned, scholarly, friends, somehow have shifted over into the realm of cute animal videos: dancing penguins, piano playing cats, talking dogs, until the witching hour descends upon the members of my own animal kingdom - Flippy and Maya. Leaprotic* frenzy breaks out all around me, stirring me out of my FB-induced stupor.

I pull down the task bar. It's closing in on 1 a.m. and, though tired, I can barely pull myself away from the clutches of this most engrossing material.

Well, no more! 

After reading a discussion between 2 very creative friends about FB, on FB last night, I vowed to follow their lead. I'm pulling back, people!

30 minutes allowed today. I set my timer. Dig in and scroll down. 30 minutes; time is precious. I read only the most compelling entries. I comment on a selected few. I share only 3 items, my original limit when I first got on FB but which has since grown over time to 8 or more entries per day.

My phone glows as I write this. The latest FB comment directed to me appears on the screen. A thank you, I think, sent in response to a Happy Birthday message I'd sent to her. Does this glancing count as time used. I didn't enter into FB to get the info from FB, it just came…hmmm. 

A scant few moments after I'd signed off with…Damn! I was just about to check the exact wording that I'd used on FB, by going in but I'm going to resist. Let's try this again.

A scant few moments after I'd signed off on my status, to the effect that, I'd reached the quota I'd set for myself today, so I'm done; my longest-time friend (who's on vacation in Mexico…so far away but she's connecting with me) made some comments. I know this cus the screen on my phone glowed, it "dinged" and I caught a glimpse of the text, just enough to know it was from her but not what her comments were about, before it timed out and the message disappeared.

Oh, the temptation!

But I'm NOT BITING.

I'm not even going to post this til tomorrow.

"TAKE THAT FB!"

"Ya, we'll see how long this lasts!"

Who said that?
*       *       *

Follow up: It's now going on for 3 p.m. ( I know it says 6p.m., haven't figured out how to change the settings from Eastern Standard to Pacific time) the next day and I haven't gotten onto FB despite the fact that 19 messages await me. Another just came in, dropped it's way into the screen on my phone. 
This post will be one of my "shares" for the day so I needed to wait til I'm ready. Ready, here I go.
_____________________________________________________________________________

* LEAPROSY - Cats display a penchant for LEAPROSY - not to be confused with leprosy. One moment they are lazing around as only cats can and suddenly, as if a bee has bitten their butt, they jump up and as if possessed run around in fits and starts. This usually occurs at about the same time each day or night, depending on your cat. In Maya's case leaprosy hits just after we have gone to bed. She announces it with a brrritt, brrritt sound followed by stampeding through the house, bashing things about along the way, eventually pounding her little cat feet and skidding around the corner into my room, leaping onto my bed, running over my body, then catapulting herself (very appropriate for a cat to do) off of it to tear around the apartment again. An episode of leaprosy ends just as quickly as it begins with a sudden stop, and a look comes over their face (like you get when you way into a room and have forgotten just why you came in) followed with consolation bathing ( for the cat, not us, though this would be a good idea.)
INFO here taken and adapted from the original post NANCE'S WORD EMPORIUM

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cartoon Break III

click on cartoon to enlarge
© Nance Thacker 1984
Some things don't change. I was just thinking I "should" write something for my blog…but I don't feel inspired enough to write. And then my cartoon stash started calling out to me, as it sometimes does when a cartoon thinks it might fit whatever's going on in my life.

So, I went into the kitchen, grabbed myself a small bowl of Tostidos with a hint of lime "flavour" ( I know, can't you just taste the salty goodness in each bite) and a tea, plonked down in front of the computer, began browsing and… there it was.

Yup, that's about as inspired as it gets tonight.

Til next time sleep tight y'all.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

#TrashBucketChallenge




NOTE correction: Bahar Yaghoubi and J.r. Missoula started the challenge in Oahu on Aug 19th (a mere 17 days ago) and it is going viral! WOO HOO!

On March 2013 I sent this out on Face Book
FACE BOOK CHALLENGE - Clutter clear a park, a sidewalk and post it on FB. Let's see if we can get a movement happening.

…Ya, I know, not too inspiring. My sister-in-law, Diane responded.

BUT NOW over a year later, people are getting enthusiastic about keeping our parks, beaches and public spaces litter free and Face Book is providing the perfect forum for coming together, spreading the word, and sharing our passion with creativity and fun.

I have found my people…or rather they have found me.

I can't tell you how excited I was to see the Trash Bucket Challenge show up on FB. Bahar Yaghoubi and J.r. Missoula in Oahu on Aug 19th, inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, set up this one.

Basically:
- Get a bucket
- Go to a location
- Fill the bucket full with the garbage that you collect there
- With the hashtag TrashBucketChallenge post your video or pictures online of your bucket, location and appropriate disposal of garbage.
- In your video or text challenge others to do the same - 3 seems to be a popular number
- Timelines to fulfill the challenge range from 24 hrs to a week to open ended.

Here's what Bahar Yaghoubi wrote on Aug 19…
"We had the good fortune to spend a beautiful weekend camping on the North Shore, and walk along some of the most pristine beaches. However, on our walks we came across the not so pretty sights of humanity: trash, trash, and more trash (not to mention plenty of dead fish that probably ate some of the trash). On our walk we FOUND a 5-gallon bucket on the beach and in less than 30 minutes filled it up to the brim. We challenge you to do the same, post a pic or video of yourself with a bucket (or bag) full of trash you picked up from either a beach, a park, neighborhood, or anywhere that can use a cleaning and properly dispose of it. Don't forget to tag it: #trashbucketchallenge. Tell your family, tell students, tell your neighbors, let's do this together, and let's make a difference... It's Earth Day, everyday. I challenge YOU! #trashbucketchallenge

He posted a video to go along with it but I couldn't get it to appear so you'll have to go to the FB site TrashBucketChallenge. Check out the video that started it all (you have to go to the beginning of the site) and the rest. It's so amazing to see this happening as a world-wide movement!

I was thrilled to join the challenge with others who feel passionate about our environment.

I've always wanted to be able to put together something "film-like" so I looked on this as a FUN project to put together. Well, I can tell ya, it really challenged my limited tekkie skills but with A LOT (and I mean tons) of trial and error, and dogged determination here it is.

…the challenge now will be to remember just how I did this whole thing.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Trash talk

From Osho Zen Tarot
Consciousness - Ace of clouds
Thursday Aug 28th - I walk the streets of Victoria looking for places to post my flyers advertising upcoming offerings; feeling vaguely down.

I've just come from mingling with a community of yoga practitioners at a brief memorial tribute to BKS Iyengar at a local yoga centre. I was once an active member of the original group from which this one evolved. Many of those long-time, pivotal members of this vital community, are present today.  It's surreal. Detached, I watch them mingle and chat, a simple interaction so familiar yet so far away. We have all moved on.
"How are you doing?" a yoga friend/teacher kindly asks.
"Good. I love being here" I say. However, I surprise myself when, "but it takes time to settle in," spills out of my mouth. As I speak, this truth, the emotion of it washes through me and my inner voice asks Where do I fit in?

A little over a year ago I returned to Victoria but only in the last few weeks have I felt myself setting down roots. They reach, spread, and dig deep down into the soil of this island. It is a lonely, and of necessity, a solitary, visceral experience: painful, comforting, frightening, uplifting all at once.

My task completed; I continue my wandering. What else pulls at me? The faint voice of my inner whiner spins old, worn out, all too familiar stories of woe is me…doomed to failure…Blah, blah, blah, on and on, round and round getting louder and louder now that it has an audience. The wheel of samskara threatens to etch deepening ruts. I let her run on. No new insights to be found here. I know the stories she tells and how she drags me down and I am done with it.

What to do?

My hand brushes against the net, outer pocket of my back pack and the bags within crinkle to the touch as I reach Clover Point. Without a thought, I pull them out and begin clearing the litter in the park on the bluffs as the ocean waves crash below on a somewhat blustery day. Becoming absorbed in my task,  involved in something far bigger than myself, everything else falls away. Peace at last!

After some time a disembodied voice asks, "What are you doing?"

"Clearing litter," I answer as I straighten up to see the beautiful woman that is attached to the voice.

"Why?"

"Because I'm bummed." WTF, because I'm bummed? Really, you say this to a stranger!

Without missing a beat she exclaims, "Oh, ya me too. What are you bummed about?"

I skim the surface with a brief, vague answer.

She immediately confides in me not only the story and source of her suffering but the wisdom she knows is needed in order to let it play itself out: to listen to her whole story, to feel it, to see the judgment, the accusations, the finger pointing, the blame, guilt and shame, to take responsibility for her actions, her thoughts and her emotions but not take on that which belongs to another, to stand back and to surrender to what is essentially a state of no-mind.

I'm dumbfounded. She has come to me as if in a dream. Her story is my story; the personal, untold one that grips me most deeply in a life where everything has changed.

After considerable time spent conversing like two long lost friends we exchange contact information, hug, wish each other well and go our separate ways.

This is the information she gave me.
Take a moment to listen to GIVE ME A MOMENT by VERONICA IZA


Her words of wisdom echo the card I drew this morning from the OSHO Zen Tarot to gain some insight for the day as no dream was recalled upon awakening.

CONSCIOUSNESS - the state of no-mind "is available to all who have become a master of the mind and can use it as the servant it is meant to be…there is a crystal clarity available right now, detached, rooted in the deep stillness that lies at the core of your being. There is no desire to understand from the perspective of the mind - the understanding you have now is existential, whole, in harmony with the pulse of life itself. Accept this great gift, and share it.

Thank you Veronica. It was very nice meeting you and I'm honoured to share the gift of your beautiful voice.

Proving once again that one doesn't have to sleep in order to dream.