Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tis the season

LADIES, summer in all its humid glory is upon us once more, demanding the observance of this most tedious personal ritual...yes you're right, the dreaded daily shaving of the legs. Even if you are not regular skirt wearers, some of you are year round slaves to the practice but my belief is that one of the chief function of jeans, aside from making your butt look good while hiding cellulite and making free movement possible, is to allow one to go unshaven for weeks on end.

In the beginning of my relationship, I whipped through boxes of razorblades every month, due to frequency of shaving and the fact that my leg hair was as coarse as a bear. 25 years down the road, as is inevetible — the bloom is somewhat off the rose — the frequency is not so much and (one blessing of getting older) my leg hair has thinned substantially.

But come the hot weather the water beckons to me and I must heed its call without grossing others out and so the ritual is practiced with more regularity. But this wasn't always the case...

Guy: "Say, what's a nice little thing like you doing here all alone?"
Me: Enjoying myself
Guy: "I mean you're not a bad looking woman...mmm,mmm NOT BAD AT ALL."
ME: This calls for drastic measures
ME: Leg hair was invented for times like this.
This cartoon was done during my deep commitment to the feminist, earth mother-godess ideals of the times; to shave one's legs was sacrilege. And, though at any other pool in Victoria back then, I would catch nary a glance from the opposite sex, for some reason this particular establishment drew some guys desperately on the prowl. Maybe it was the odd half wall between the hot tub and the lap pool which afforded a nice vantage point for the gawkers, encouraging their bold outright stares; I don't know.

Aside from this petty annoyance the pool was fabulous, large and with a skylight over it allowing the sun to shine in, plus it was open late into the night for that before bed swim (hmmm, O.K. maybe that was part of this pools allure for this type of character). Anyway...

I'm serious about my workouts and have never used pools, gyms or weight rooms to socialize or hook up with anyone. Having been a former weight-training instructor I have no time for men or women using such places as dating venues. I exude the air of, Don't mess with me when I'm doing my thing. I like to be left alone. When swimming or resting between laps at the end of the pool, if I felt in any way that I was going to be approached I'd just get out and the dark, shaggy, soggy leg hair clinging to my calves would work its magic — instant man repellant!

Yikes! Technical difficulties - I've got a new scanner and the image is terrible. I need to get it sorted out!!! The image is blurry and can't be enlarged so I've typed it out as you can see. Words in italics are thoughts (see the little circles coming from my head?)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The island of the ancestors

He spins the dramatic story of the healing journey we are about to take. Every word is enunciated for dramatic effect and he speaks in a commanding, resonant voice, "You will go down to the sea. A boatman is waiting for you, to take you across the waters, which may be very turbulent. Though you may feel fear there is no need to be afraid as he knows the way and is a very skilled seaman. You will arrive at the island of the ancestors where all those in your lineage reside, from the most recently crossed over to the dead who existed eons ago."

"As you make your crossing, riding the waves and the storms, ask yourself: who am I seeking, what questions do I have for those who have gone before me who can see across time and space, who can tell me about the afterlife, the time between lives or gift me with insight regarding the earthly life I am presently living." His voice trails off as the beat of a drum faintly echoes in the distance, becoming  stronger and closer with each strike of the beater.

Filled with anticipation and excitement I ride on the beat of the drum, the heartbeat of mother earth herself as my heart falls in sync and breaks open.

This is like no place I know; part Hawaiian but also other. The undergrowth breaks under foot with each step and I realize I am walking through the cool shade of a rainforest. The turquoise blue of the ocean is just beyond the dense foliage; the waves break rhythmically on the shore. As I am about to step onto the expansive beach, something stops me. From my place in the shadows I see, a few yards away, a rustling in the dense brush that borders the deserted white, sand beach. A tiny, frail, figure wanders out, stepping tentatively as one lost in a dream. The sun, shining too brightly from a brilliant, unblemished blue sky causes her to squint and cower just a little. Pale, grey, bleached out after 90 years of life, she and her faded, flower print nightdress almost blend into the sandy backdrop.

She looks around for the first time in a very long time and begins to ask herself, for the first time in a very long time, Where am I? What is this place? How did I get here? Where did I come from?
Instinctively, she looks out to the sea knowing that it has all the answers.

The sunlight dances on the water like tiny glistening diamonds. They merge into the form of a young dark haired man who comes forth from the ocean. A tanned, dashing figure with sea blue eyes and heart-filled smile; he gently approaches her. She warily stands her ground, looks him up and down through dim eyes under her furrowed brow.

"I've been waiting for you for so long and now you're here," he reaches for her hand but she pulls away. "You were lost but you've found your way now. It's alright. It's time to go but first you have to change." She clutches her hands to her chest gathering up the folds of her nightgown close to her body, turns away from him then looks over her shoulder. He waits patiently. Finally, sensing he poses no threat she eases her position.

"Step out of this," he makes a sweeping gesture over her tired, old form. She looks over her arms and her hands. And then as she touches her face a shock wave of memories pass through her. Her dulled hazel eyes clear, allowing her to see that it is her beloved who beckons with an outstretched hand and loving heart. Looking into his eyes she remembers all and in that moment her old body drops to the sand; a discarded cloak revealing her true self returned, resplendent in the vibrancy of  youth resurrected. The lovers see each other for the first time in a long time. She reaches out to him, puts her hand in his and their hearts unite.

I remained spellbound unable to come out of the shadows nor walk away. How long I stayed I couldn't tell. After some time resting in each other's embrace they looked to the sea, strode into the surf, dove under the waves and became one with the dancing, sunlit waters.

The crashing waves became the drum calling me back.

I did not get to the island of the ancestors instead I serve as a witness to tell of their union and their journey home. Perhaps the locks of her hair that I strew out into the ocean in Hawaii in ordinary reality opened the way for crossing over into non-ordinary reality and the island of the ancestors.

In the spirit of ALOHA, A HUI HO Mom and Dad!
MAHALO for the opportunity Robert!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Over there...

HI all,

As you may know I now am managing 2 blog sites, this one and AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS which appears at my website of the same name. On the latter site I'll explore all things related to dreams and dreaming - how to, Dreaming 101, history and interesting facts on dreams as well as experiences at workshops as a participant and a teacher (as long as students are willing to share their experiences/dreams with my readers).

I figure dreamwork is best shared with a sold audience, though I can't imagine what it would be like not to be interested in dreams, I'm not out to convert anyone.

Having said that, I find it difficult to compartmentalize my life - I work at what I love and dreaming spills into everyday life for me so you will still get dream stuff here but most likely dreams will provide sources for creative writing - we'll see how this works. This site is about heart, soul and mind matters as I travel through the mind fields of life so it's kind of a mish-mash; like my mind.

I'll notify you when a post appears on the other site so you can pop over there if you are interested in dreams. So, please bear with me as I get the hang of working the 2 sites.

Click on the link to go over to AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS for the latest post on how I work with Robert Moss' Lightning Dreamwork Process, especially if you are interested in working with your dreams or attending the dreamcircle this Wed night June 20 from 7 - 9 p.m. at AKASHA'S DEN in Oakville. I'd love to see you there!

Sweet Dreams,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Who's NOT the fairest of them all

A facebook friend said that he hadn't looked in a mirror for about 4 days and that he didn't know how he felt about that. He'd been walking around with a scratch on his forehead; hadn't noticed it til it started itching and, I'm guessing, looked in the mirror to check out what was going on. And, that's when the realization hit him that it was about 4 days prior that he'd most likely sustained the scratch and so, to his surprise, it had been that long since he'd really looked at himself.

I felt envious. I consider this a surprisingly healthy attitude to have towards oneself considering what a narcissistic and self-obsessed culture we live in.

One family I house-sat for in Victoria in the '80's had only a tiny medicine cabinet mirror in the bathroom. There were no other mirrors of any kind in their house. And, to my horror, no full length mirrors. The couple had lived in Africa for a year working for the Peace Corps and that experience rubbed off on them, giving them an outlook on life and values that were perhaps different from the typical middle class north American family. As I understood it, the wife (and mother of the household) felt that mirrors promoted: vanity, comparison, judgment and dissatisfaction with one's self. Not only that, but the solution to this dissatisfaction for many is to buy products to improve one's appearance and thus fuel the cosmetics industry, of which she was not a great fan.

Honestly, at the time, I thought it was a little weird which if you really think about it was weird coming from one who had battled anorexia. The image that I had seen reflected back at me had fed into those very qualities in myself and fuelled great discontent though not many trips to the cosmetics counter.

I look in the mirror far too often — seeking perfection and self-approval — though I know the reflection I experience is totally subjective depending on the way I feel about myself. Most often, like many women, by the end of my mirror gazing I only see flaws. Mirrors have proven time and time again that they are not my friend as these cartoons (and the one in the previous post) attest. So why am I so damn loyal to them? I'm thinking of taking the plunge like my FB friend and breaking up our relationship!

Thacker Cartoon
©Nance Thacker 1990
Thacker Cartoons
©Nance Thacker 1990

Friday, June 1, 2012

Equanimity, equanimity where art thou equanimity?

My mind is an amusement park run by an idiotic, frenzied monkey.
©Nance Thacker '90
I go to the hairdresser. The young apprentice, while scrubbing and massaging my scalp and salt 'n pepper (more salt than pepper) hair with her magically relaxing fingers, remarks, "Wow, have you ever got nice skin. Not a pore on you and hardly any wrinkles."
Though I know she's just engaging in shop banter (my pores, courtesy of teenage acne carried into my late 30's with the occasional special appearance — around "special" occasions —  are craters and though I'm not the owner of a wizened apple-face, it displays signs of a long term, slightly messy tenant) I fall for it. I FEEL GOOD.
"How old are you?" She asks as I jump into the styling chair and tuck my legs under me assuming my usual half-lotus position. "Whoa, look at you. I wish I was that supple. I'm so stiff."
FEELING LESS GOOD NOW. Both the question and the comment reveals that she truly thinks I'm old. " I just turned 60." I did just say "I" — the person who feels 20 - turned 60?
"Oh, I'm 60 too." A voice from behind us chimes in. The aesthetician with flawless cappuccino-coloured Indian skin, pitch black dark hair and limpid brown eyes steps forward.
"Wow, you don't look 60!" These words, dripping with envy, spill out of my mouth. Envy. Beside her I don't look so hot now. I FEEL BAD

I go for a coffee with my, 4 years, younger sister. We stand side by side as we place our orders. The young barista's eyes dart back and forth from face to face.
"You guys are related aren't you?"she says like she's caught someone trying to pull the wool over her eyes.
Always delighted to be told that I look like the very attractive C (she of poreless, wrikleless skin, highlighted, thick, blonde hair; who could easily pass for 20 years younger) - I FEEL GOOD.
We look at each other. "Nah, never met her before," we say in unison which makes us laugh. YUP, FEELIN' GOOD.
"Yah, my Mom and I always get taken for sisters" she says as she nonchalantly completes the transaction.
My sister has the grace to walk away as if she heard nothing. She knows it's the grey-haired babe who's been taken for Mom. And, though my mind is screaming OUCH (and hers probably laughing, maybe even smirking a little), not a word is uttered about the incident as we chat.
2 people walk into a coffee shop. They look similar. One has grey hair the other not grey. You have them at "you guys are related, aren't you?" One of them will want to stab your eyes out with a fork if you continue on.

Doing yoga in our hotel room, the curtains are open to let the light in and it shines its warmth upon me as I move. I FEEL GOOD.
I've forgotten my yoga pants so I wear the boy legged undies that serve as part of my PJ's and my cotton T as I practice. Gazing beyond my newly shaven legs in downward dog my eyes light on my firm calves and my heels anchored into the mat as I stretch even deeper. My body is strong and supple and I FEEL GREAT!
My gaze travels up my knees. Wrinkles. Are those wrinkles around my knees?
And up my thighs. Yikes, even more? What the heck happened? Where did my skin tone go? Why wasn't I told about this? Wasn't someone supposed to tell  me about this?

All I can say about this roller coaster life is, cultivate the witness AND laugh — not hysterically mind you, but a sense of humour does help.