Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Message in a Bottle

As I walked the sun dappled, stony shore of Lake Ontario this morning a faint glint of green caught my eye. Instantly a familiar fascination washed over me. I knelt down and plucked the object from its bed of muted, multi-coloured pebbles. Many times I had, as a child, spent languid summer days beachcombing in search of such weathered treasures shaped by the elements.

As I lifted it up into the sunlight this is what it said to me:

Grains gathered
Heat fused
Glistening glass
Use to contain
Now shattered
Wave eroded
Sand dispersed

copyright Nance Thacker 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009


As a kid, when I wasn’t climbing trees, riding my bike or doing some other physical activity, I was drawing. I loved the feel of the pencil in my hand and the glide of the graphite on the empty sheet of white before me. As I worked its graphite into as varied lines or shades of grey as possible my mind became focused, all else slipped away and a doorway into the realm of creation opened into which I would enter and remain for hours on end, oblivious to everything and everyone else around me.

Sometimes it seemed the more activity and noise around me the better and since our small house contained 7 people this was the ideal environment in which to hone my skills. My “studio” was located at the kitchen table or on the family room floor where I sprawled out on the rug with pencils strewn around me providing a live obstacle course for other family members.

Over the years I became skilled at portraiture as meticulous renderings of celebrity photos became replaced with real life observations. And, it was around that time that Dad began requesting a sitting for himself and would sit before me in mock serious poses, sticking his chin out in a regal manner so that the best profile could be captured for all eternity. Well, there was no way that this was going to happen; no way that I could see myself undertaking such a challenge, and a challenge it would be. How would I keep myself from laughing?

The years went by and every once in a while this request would come up and every time resistance to the task arose within me. Until one day, after I’d returned from Victoria with 4 years of cartooning under my belt, Dad animatedly recounted a humourous episode he’d endured while undergoing heart tests. “You should make a cartoon of that, Nanca. Make a cartoon of that and I’ll take it back to the cardiologists.” His enthusiasm was contagious and so, to his delight, the cartoon came about and I think the rendering in the second block does in fact bare a pretty good resemblance of him. I feel that this “portrait” reveals his character, as does BLOW UP YOUR T.V., far better than one static image could convey. The best reward of all - it made him laugh.

Dad, though Scotty’s beamed you aboard the big Enterprise in the sky, here’s to you. Thanks for the memories.


*(cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1990)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

WEIRD - Life's Like This

Woke up yesterday feeling weird. WEIRD, is all I can say – not here not there, as if suspended somewhere between sleeping and waking. And, all kinds of weird stuff happened.

The night before, after many unreturned phone messages (so unlike her) I finally reach my friend in Montreal. Her voice is listless and emotionless as she says “Hello.”
“It’s Nance,” I exclaim, hoping that maybe she is just momentarily distracted but knowing in my gut that this isn’t so.
“Hi,” same tone.
“What’s wrong?”
She tells me her 2 year old grandson has had a stroke. She has literally just walked in the door after being at the hospital.
We sit on either end of the phone in disbelief. She begins to tell me his story but within minutes finds herself overwhelmed by images of past, present and future and promises to call when she can.

Her pain is palpable and has echoed in my heart; maybe that’s the reason I’m off kilter. We are all connected. One person’s pain is the pain of all.

Chipped the lovely ceramic coffee mug Rod gave me for Christmas. It’s very playful, colourful and unique, with a big loopy handle that for months now I have feared would get broken off so I stopped taking it into coffee shops and it has been safely sitting on my shelf for occasional in home use. Distracted by my not here not there state of being, sure enough I knocked it over as I was clearing the counter. Luckily the handle remains intact and the chip is on an outer service. In a weird way, now that my fear has become manifest in a much gentler way I can relax and feel gratitude that I can still enjoy drinking from it. I take this as a special reminder to watch my mind today and be present.

My sister Candy and I went biking into Oakville and back. I almost cancelled as it looked like rain, but decided to go when Candy said “I have rain gear.”
“O.K. great” I reply but when I hang up I realize that I don’t. Hmmm.

Getting ready to go; one cat not accounted for. Maya, her little black self had disappeared into God knows where. After looking high and low for her, even into cupboards and closets I decide that for some reason she doesn’t want to be seen and that even if I was looking straight at her this would indeed be so. Sure enough when we return there she is tucked up into a tight little origami ball in the corner of the top step.

Sitting in a café in Oakville a young woman at the next table says, “You look familiar. I know you from somewhere.”
She looks familiar to me too but we can’t find a connection. “I get this all the time, there’s a woman around that looks like me and” pointing to my sister, “it’s not her is it?”
“No…my God, you look just like my skating teacher!”
Then she proceeds to write down her teachers name and where she teaches.
I had just been thinking about my double last week. I hadn’t heard about her for a few months now and thought maybe she’d moved; apparently not.
Today I pull up the information. I’m flattered. I have been mistaken for someone who does look a lot better than I. She is younger, slimmer, taller, much prettier (before I cut my hair and stopped colouring it, it was like hers) and way more accomplished than I. But, apparently we talk and move the same and wear similar clothes.

Candy and I go into L’Atelier Grigorian in search of some music for her. Just the day before, as I turned the ignition key in my car, the beautiful, gentle voice of Kenny Rankin surfed, dipped and glided through the airwaves and filled my heart and soul with such joy (STOP READING NOW. CLICK ON THAT LINK I JUST GAVE YOU. SIT BACK AND TAKE IN THE LOVELINESS!) I’ve rarely head his music on the radio, I though to myself, and as I sat there listening, I felt a renewed appreciation for his work. I had most of his albums at one time, played them so much that they were virtually unplayable and had vowed to replace them and go to see him in concert. Now would be a great time to embark on that plan.
“Do you have any Kenny Rankin CD’s?”
“Yes, right here,” the owner begins sorting through the display case while casually mentioning, he died just last week I think.”
“What!? But, I was just thinking the other day that I’d go to see him in concert someday” I protest in disbelief, as if this would make any difference.
I am stunned, deeply saddened and feel an unexplainably intense sense of loss.

I have a Lomi to do today. Lomi days often open up all kinds of stuff into the universe as intentions are set we are in effect dreaming the universe into being. Maybe that’s the cause for all of this weirdness.

After the lomi session I feel the overwhelming need to hang upside down, fortunately for me, I have a yoga pelvic swing suspended from my ceiling with which to do so. Ahh, relief ! Somehow this makes me feel so much better as if I am aligning myself to a new perspective.

My 30 minute daily clutter clearing commitment (that I began writing about in the last post)brings me to stored information. I am an information junkie. Notes from Shiatsu School (graduated in ‘97), STAO newsletters and old Yoga Centre (the centre has since evolved into the Iyengar Yoga Centre of Victoria) of Victoria Newsletters (from ’87 on to 2002) are the focus. Memories surface and cherished stories and pictures are unearthed from the masses of paper. Shirley’s 70th birthday celebration issue; tributes to Swami Radha; faces and stories of others parade through my hands and my mind – Derek and family, Marlene, Jim and Jennifer, Leslie and Giles, Carol and Harvey, Sue and Bruce, Padmananda, Norman, Cecilia, Penny, Tanya, Susan and the dreamgroup, Anne, Gay and Rob, Lauren, Kiko, Linda, and so many others. And, included in their pages are stories and pictures of the many teachers I have been so honoured to study with: Ramanand, Aadhil, Felicity, Judith, Angela and Victor, Donald, Norma (the teacher who first brought Iyengar yoga to Yoga Centre of Victoria), even Iyengar himself in one brief workshop during his visit to Victoria.
Old issues of Yasodhara’s Ascent magazine appear – not the glossy one which, coincidentally, has its last issue now on the newsstand – but the small local publication from decades ago with then current writings of Swami Radha herself.

Maybe I’m overloaded by all of these memories. As I read THE FOUR INSIGHTS by Alberto Villoldo this comment jumps out at me. “Allow yourself to release the expectations you had of yourself, and accept that you’ve made different choices.” In its simplicity it speaks volumes regarding my life’s path and I find my attitude undergoing a monumental shift in a most positive direction.

I’m considering yet again, “What is the purpose of your life?” – part of the 28 day Soul Coaching work, which I wrote about in the last post. While watching IN TREATMENT (the episode – the first visit with Walter) a light bulb moment occurs when Gabriel Bryne says this line that resonates deep within me, “Some people spend their whole lives seeking Self-awareness” or something like that as I can’t find the specific episode in question (weird).

I receive an E-mail message which in part reads, “Thanks Nance. Does that mean I can use the latest?” This is part of an ongoing correspondence between me and an editor of a book on yoga stories. Since I last wrote to her in April/09, I have no idea!

And, you guessed it, I was just thinking about her that day but I really didn’t expect to hear from her til next spring. WEIRD.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

spring spiritual detox

Here I am contentedly sitting cross-legged on the floor of my treatment room amongst bins, boxes, piles of papers to be categorized and files to be sorted, feeding page after page of now obsolete info into my paper shredder; the one with “ferocious” shredding power.

Occasionally I linger over way out of date financial records, client lists, appointment books just long enough to appreciate that all of these people and associations have helped me develop my therapeutic practice. They were my teachers as much as I was there therapist. Some relationships continue to this day while others were passing experiences. And I feel deep gratitude towards them all.

The air becomes silent. The most gratifying sounds of material being chomped, crunched and devoured; music to my ear for the past 2 hours, has come to a dead halt.

I turn the machine off and let it rest while I putter about making order out of the chaos strewn around me.

When I turn the shredder on again the little green light shines and I delicately offer up one folded paper, placing it gently into the mouth of “ferocious” but… nothing. Even its little red light, indicating overheated, has fallen dull and lifeless.


It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Mailmate a plucky little shredder that, now I find out, “will handle 51-100 uses per day.”


Well, its ferocity couldn’t match my enthusiasm for clearing clutter.

You see I am working through Soul Coaching - 28 Days to Discover Your Authentic Self by Denise Linn; actually doing all of all the exercises. What with a business association come to an end, work being slow, and having just gotten through Mom’s most recent health crisis I find myself declaring, “I am so done.”

And, with this declaration comes the greatest sense of release! The timing couldn’t be better.

Who am I? Where am I going and why have I, all my life, been in such a hurry to get there? What am I doing with my life right now? Can I not allow myself to enjoy every day as it unfolds? What have I got to be grateful for?

It feels as if I have a lot of stuff – material, mental, emotional and spiritual - to clear out of my life because it’s worn a too familiar pathway in my psyche, bogging me down and draining my energy. How can I make way for new possibilities if I keep doing the same thing, thinking the same thoughts? Who I am is clearly in need of an overhaul.

For 2 and 1/2 years, as a house-sitter living in Victoria, B.C., I moved on average every 6 weeks, more or less. Our co-op house had disbanded and as a house-sitter I lived in and took care of other people’s houses – pets, gardens, and on my first instance 1 teenager – in lieu of rent, while they were away.

I rented, for $50./month, a studio space in Xchanges Gallery (when it was located above Canadian Linen on North Park St.) where I kept a mattress, my essential record player and record collection, a cinder block and board bookcase and all the art supplies I needed as a cartoonist – the portable drawing board my brother made for me, art board, pens, ink etc. Some house hold items got stored in the basement of my first house sitting assignment.

Other than that every item I owned I carried from house to house transported in green garbage bags. I was affectionately called by my friends an “aspiring bag lady” or the “little hunza” (which I was told was a group of small, sturdy, sherpa-like people).

How quickly I got tired of packing and unpacking; carrying everything I owned literally on my back. Soon I began to question just what was important, useful, desirable, necessary or simply treasured. Some items never made their way out of my garbage bags from sit to sit. So things just fell by the wayside as the time went on. Two garbage bags became one and any item that I desired to add to my stash meant that another would have to be released.

And here I am today having accumulated so much stuff that I don’t even know just what I have let alone appreciate it.

On day 2 of the program, rejecting one of the suggested options - “Dance with wild abandon for 10 minutes” as being too familiar, I have vowed to do “Clutter-clearing for 30 mins per day” for the duration of the commitment.

The criterion I am using to determine whether it stays or it goes are these:

Financial – get rid of anything beyond 7 years ago.
Treatment related – get rid of files over 10 years old, unless the client has seen me within the last 10 years.
Active files are those clients who have seen me within the last 2 years.
Files for storage – between the 2 & 10 year period

- have I used the item in the last 6 months
- do I love it, appreciate it or does it please me to have it
- Does it have positive associations – do I feel good when I see it. If I feel bad or my energy feels drained out it goes.
- does it represent who I am now or is it simply memory of days gone by (been there done that – bye bye)
- Does it move me towards a future possibility – does it give me a sense of expansion

Although the duration of the program is 28 days, I am doing all 3 levels for each day so triple that = 84 days. Some of the exercises have taken me more than one day. So with an attitude of “it takes what it takes” I’ll be sorting out for more than 3 months guaranteed.

Linn says that de-cluttering resides in the aspect of air and is associated with “clearing mental debris”. Believing that the best beginnings start with good endings, as I release each item I do so with appreciation – for at one time, whether I am conscious of it or not, they served some purpose.

This is taking me on a journey into every nook and cranny of my house both literally and figuratively. It is more than just clearing clutter. Think of it as a Spiritual Detox.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

the deer, the antelope, and me

Wow, a number of my friends have responded to the last blog that I wrote (which you’ll have to read to make any sense of this one). I know you’re looking at the comments section and see the number 0 and think that I’m lying, but this is because they communicate to me by e-mail (you’ll have to take my word for it).

This one from my sister-in-law caught me by surprise:

I was feeling fairly certain that I had forwarded on that one from my friend Norm who lives in Nova Scotia, but perhaps I'm being delusional, and that's allowed because my sinuses are blocking my brain from having a ..... something or other.....
The concept was (like the game show) that everyone’s answers had to be different, and by golly, they sure have been. Also I believe meant to be close to one word answers, but being the writer, you're given a pass on that one.
And what's with the deer thing??!! Have I missed something since the lasts time we talked?? It's too late to call, and I just read it, so I'm kind of freaked out because you mentioned the cell phone thing. So whazzzzup?
Love Di,
The girl with red snot. ewwww (going to the Dr. tomorrow)

I was touched and somewhat puzzled by her concern over something that I wrote for fun. So, I began to send her a reassuring response and as I did so this question popped into my mind, “what does the tale I wrote about the deer, the antelope and the cel phone feel like?” It FELT exactly like the events of Tues April 28th and before you know it all kinds of “mind stuff” spilled into my awareness. Lo and behold, her momsense was not nonsense after all.

Even as I lived through the events of Tues April 28th I thought to myself how like a dream it all seemed, riddled with frustrating, unexpected, weird events and breakdown in communication. My subconscious mind had created a dream of sorts, related to that day in the form of the metaphorical tale of the deer, the antelope and me and, in so doing, allowed my heart to speak.

In true dreamwork fashion here’s BACKGROUND INFO. about the events that lead up to the creation of “dream”.
- Mon April 27th – We are told Mom may be able to come home tomorrow. (I doubt that this will take place) I plan to pop into the nursing home tomorrow to get some questions answered re: her increased needs and get ideas of how to rearrange her room now that she needs to be in a wheelchair. Coincidently tomorrow is also my last day working at WMA and I will be moving my stuff out then.
- Tues morning April 28th – my brother Rob calls - Mom is going home this morning. (minor annoyance as I will have to be more involved than planned) but this is a good thing for her. He will take her out of the hospital and I will meet them at the nursing home to help her get settled in.
- 10 minutes later my sister’s e-mail indicates that she left my I-pod that I’d lent Mom for the duration of her stay in the top drawer of the hospital side table. Oddly, I have just begun a major sorting out, a regrouping after my failed business venture and I’m reviewing everything that I own – what to keep, what to get rid of so that I can clear old “stuff” out and allow new energy to enter into my life. My I-pod is definitely a keeper. Concerned that Rob won’t check out the top drawer, and with no way to reach him – he has his cel phone turned off in the hospital - I have to go to the hospital to get it. (Major irritation)
- At the hospital I find Rob, being his meticulous self of course, has scoured the place and safely secured my I-pod. I help clear some things out, set out for the nursing home, arranging to meet him and Mom there later on to help get her settled in. He will call me when he is leaving the hospital and I’ll be at the door with wheelchair. (resigned to the situation)
- In midst of meeting with supervisor at nursing home – Rob calls. I don’t have time to finish my conversation nor deal with her room. (annoyed)
- Waiting, waiting, waiting at front door. Receptionist comes over. My sister is on the phone. What? I check to find my cel has been accidentally turned off. (internal Tourettes-like outburst &#&*^%^*^%@+.....!!!!). Rob, with no way to reach me and without the nursing home phone number had called Candy to enlist her help.
- She tells me that Rob’s car has broken down on the way. He has called ambulance to take her the rest of the way. (In comparison my day’s not looking so bad!). Initially they want to take her back to the hospital as they usually don’t get called to shuttle some old lady stranded at the side of the road off to a nursing home. He convinces them of the purity of his intent and they comply.
- Waiting, waiting, waiting... I call to let WMA know that I’ll only be able to be there for my 3:00 apt. This change in plans means I end this association in a stressed and distracted state (major disappointment and sadness on many levels).
- Mom arrives. The paramedics comment on how sweet she is and how my brother seemed “a little stressed (major understatement), especially when they indicated they’d have to return her to the hospital”. She gets wheeled through the dining room on the stretcher to a chorus of “Hi Edith, welcome back” from staff and residents, doling out the “Royal wave” as she passes (this lifts my heart). We put her to bed and she immediately falls into a contented, relieved sleep. Mission accomplished. (sense of satisfaction)
- I make it in time for my 3:00 apt at WMA, dismantle my “office”, pile everything into my car and rush home for a session with a client at my home office. Too busy and emotionally wiped to unload my vehicle I drive around for days with everything from WMA in the back of my car (feeling like a nomad as I reinvent myself, the right place for my work and just what it is eludes me).



Hi Di,

Don't worry about the deer thing. Creative mind wanderings.

I first answered the question about what wouldn't you want to find on your windshield - something that no one else would think of and one word - deer came up, but then when I came to the question about phrase with home in it "home home on the range..." came into my mind and lo and behold there was a deer reference in the next line and then my mind went on like a Rorschach test so when I spoke about the dead deer I connected to being pissed off that my cel phone was turned off by mistake when I most needed it (Mom's transfer). It has been turned on by mistake and run out of juice without me knowing til I come to use it many times in the past and it would be just as likely to happen in a situation like this.

Wow, now when I write about it I'm thinking it's kind of like a dream that I could have had (had I been sleeping) and a metaphor for how that transfer day went.

*So dream working it, the elements look like this:
Deer = Mom who has experienced a decline; a death of an aspect of herself.
Antelope = Rob, the “sad antelope hanging around” waiting for the tow truck to take away his “dying” car.
playing = their relationship is one full of word play and humour which they both enjoy.
The deer and the antelope play on the range but I have veered off the road and hit them = my day went off track and I became involved
cel phone with dead battery = difficulty in communication and ensuing energy drain that I was experiencing on many levels.

Huh, weird and cool! Thanks for the question. No wonder I felt so good after writing it - it was funny (at least to my mind) and a provided a big release - better than screaming, crying etc.

Needless to say I was really pissed off about the phone and realized that we need to get a new phone. That was before answering the questionnaire!

Hope your snot turns green soon!



There is so much more contained in this “dream” and so many different ways it can be approached but, this gives you an idea of how to begin to listen to and receive messages from the heart and in so doing participate in a healing journey of body/mind and spirit.

Monday, June 1, 2009


First off, no I wasn't on Staycation.

Some of my friends hadn't read beyond that blog entry, so when they didn't get a response to this latest questionnaire (I'm a sucker for these things. I am their answer to "Who is most likely to respond?") they assumed I was having a great time going on day trips with my husband for long drives in the country, dining in fine restaurants and chilling at home instead of playing musical chairs with my family at my Mom's bedside and being whisked away to places of her imagining.

I don't know why they call this one family feud, but here goes.

1. Name something you use in the shower. Water, way too much of it, a throwback from my modelling days when, after being exposed to cold, damp and drafts (artists' studios are never cozy and warm) I'd bike down to the Y (I had a free membership for teaching yoga there) and stand all blue and shivering for mucho minutos before I becoming pink and still.

2. Name something a football player wears under his uniform. A body in pain, said my childhood friend Dan after he got recruited for the football team as an ideal defense man. When he broke his already broken nose he packed it in and went back to art and photography and, as far as I know, sustained no further injuries as a result of these past-times.

3. Name something people hate to find on their windshield. A deer cus that means that I'm out in the boonies late at night, am tired, have veered off the road and though I'm O.K. my car is totalled. I'm crying my eyes out cus of the deer and the fact that my antiquated cel phone's power button got triggered by mistake 24 hours ago so that the deer's not the only dead thing, my battery is too. And there's a very sad antelope hanging around...

4. Name something a man might buy before a date. Courage, metaphorically speaking as he has to invest in himself.

5. What is another word for blemish? Oh, crap! Sorry, that's my response when I look in the mirror and see one festering on my face.

6. What is something you cook in the microwave? Atoms - well, technically you don't make them cook, they just dance around a little quicker.

7. Name a piece of furniture people need help moving. Depends on how strong you are and how angry, determined or frustrated you are. If I'm really pissed off just get out of my way; I could move a bus. I know a bus isn't furniture, but that's how strong I am. But then, if I'm really laughing hard my muscles go weak (try it, you'll see it's the same for you) and I'm done for; you could push me over with a feather.

8. Name a reason a younger man might like an older woman. Because she's amazing, he's smart, really likes women and is done with games!

9. Name something a dog does that embarasses its owner. That depends on the owner.

10. Name a kind of test you cannot study for. Life - let's face it don't you feel like you're being tested all the time and that the Gods are up there making bets on how you are going to do, what decisions you are going to make and one of them is raking it in cus they've got you figured out? And, they're all killing themselves laughing and drinking some elixir out of gold cups and deciding what challenge to put in front of you next.

11. Name something a boy scout gets a badge for. I think they get a badge for everything, don't they? And, they continue to want badges for everything thereafter.

12. Name a phrase with the word home in it. Home, home on the range where the deer and antelope play; where seldom is heard a discouraging word...that is before I hit the deer with my car and then I couldn't stop swearing and crying.

13. Name a sport where players lose teeth. Strip poker for old folks - it's as close to a sport as many of them will get.

14. Name something a teacher can do to ruin a student's day. Wake me from my reverie, unless it involves cars and deers.

15. Name the person that is least likely to respond. Bob, cus I don't know him and I didn't send this to him.

16. Name a bird you wouldn't want to eat. A T-bird with or without a deer draped over its hood.

17. Name something a person wears even if it has a hole in it. Skin...and you know the hole I'm thinking about, but you wouldn't want to patch it up.

18. Name something that gets smaller the more you use it. Our bodies, Mom used to be 5'3" or so and now she's just about my height 4'10". I'm in big trouble.

19. Name the person that is most likely to respond. No one, cus I cheated and put this on my blog.