Just a Glimmer

Well, I woke up this morning [Sunday] and that feeling of immense space was still with me.  How about that?  I felt some energy moving down my body, towards my stomach.  A very quiet energy.  The moments were there and there was nothing to add to them.

The morning cold was bearable but my body really turned it on in the p.m.  No nose breathing that I could discover.  And I was zooming along the 401 at 110 kph.  Those two facts would normally have completely dominated my consciousness.  But not today.  There was a subtle current of ok-ness below.  Scarlet was going so fast but I was very slow inside.

The space would often close in just as my nose did, sometimes as a car changed lanes right in front of me.  But the stillness kept edging back into my drive.  Sweet.

Now I’m watching the Nashville Predators battle the Pittsburg Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final.  In the spirit of doing something about my problems, I’m shoving gobs of mentholatum up my nose.  But still precious little breathing.  And then there’s my stomach again – not a pain but a fine awareness down there.  It’s as if my body is helping me recenter myself, again and again.

And now the softness is gone and I’m my closed nose again.  Still I think of nasally normal moments in my future.  Will I be able to access yesterday’s peace at will when my body isn’t distracting me?  Maybe.  But it seems to me that I can create other distractions pretty easily.

And so what if I’ll often be able to reach an open state of being?  How can that better the world?  Assuming that I’ll be able to do this (without effort), perhaps other people will resonate with the same energy.  Maybe our minds will be so calm that our doing becomes a blessing.

Then again, all these musings could be so much horsepucky, the meanderings of a deluded one.

***

Shortly after the reference to horsepucky, I’d had enough vertical life and went to bed.  Where I slept for the next twelve hours, nose and all.  I’m up now and the spaciousness is gone.  Well, let’s see.  Maybe I’m wrong.  I’ll go searching.  But searching isn’t it.  That’s just more effort.  Peace is as clear as the nose on my face or it’s not there.  No.  Nothing.  But that’s okay.

Y’all come back sometime …

Ramping Down

I think driving is such a metaphor for life, and what someone does on the road is a fair indicator of how they treat their family and friends.

I often take Highway 401 from Belmont into London, Ontario.  It’s a freeway, and I usually go about 110 kilometres per hour (65 miles per hour).  The Wellington Road exit ramp is a long one, maybe half a kilometre.  It blends into a city street, where the maximum speed is 50 kph (30 mph).

When I move onto the ramp, I take my foot off the gas and coast towards the 50 kph sign.  Invariably I’m tailgated and at busy times there are four or five cars bumper to bumper behind me.  I’m curious about this but not really surprised.

Life is full of transitions from one condition to another.  I enjoy blending from the first to the second, instead of jolting.  On the 401, it’s the coasting rather than the slamming of brakes.  At the dinner table, it’s a pause between the main course and dessert, rather than launching into pie as soon as the dinner plate is empty.

Life for sure has its twists and turns but I’ve never been keen on the hairpins.  It seems that my spirit is happiest when I embrace the changes and let myself flow through them.  Abruptness will come my way, such as the morning I woke up with a blood clot in my leg, but overall the transitions feel smooth.  It’s like a dance – and a waltz instead of a frantic disco tune.  A soaring symphony rather than the smashing of a drum.  A film full of love rather than the latest shoot-’em-up thriller.

Am I “right” about this?  Not at all.  It just feels good.

Not Writing

I haven’t put pen to paper (so to speak) for a week.  I’ve just been too tired.  I’ve hired an interior designer to prep my home for listing on June 25 and to help me create great spaces in my future condo in Belmont.  Jane and I have been working full speed ahead to declutter in a major way.  There have been loads for an auction company, one for a donation centre and two for the dump.  Wow.  Jody and I accumulated so much stuff in thirty years.  Objects that were important to her, me or us now don’t hold meaning … and so I let them go.  It’s a cleansing.  A new start.  But still infused with the spirit of my lovely wife.

I feel guilty for not writing, but I’ve always considered guilt to be a useless emotion.  So bye bye to that too.

Tomorrow I fly.  First to Vancouver for four days of exploring my old haunts.  And then another plane will take me to Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands).  I’ll get on a tall ship and sail amid the islands for eight days.  Oh my goodness, I’m really doing this.  Good for me.  Humpback whales, an infinity of birds and Haida elders.

I think I’ll be a different person by the end of my trip, or maybe just a deeper Bruce.

There’s no Internet on the ship and I’ve decided not to take my laptop to Vancouver.  So another period of not communicating spreads out before me.  I’ll resume my blog during the week of June 20.  I hope you’ll tune in.

Be well
Be happy
Be you

Saying Goodbye To Stuff

Yesterday Jeff and Rick from Shackelton Auctioneering came by to pick up items for their spring lawn/gardening sale.  It was the first step in getting rid of things that Jody and I shared for years but that I don’t want at my condo.  I thought the process would be sweatless.

Nope.

Even though they were just “things”, some of the objects held the love that Jody and I still share.  A round patio table inlaid with dark shiny squares accompanied by matching wicker chairs.  Jody and I sat there in a little alcove at the front of our home, enjoying a lemonade.  Just chatting.  A large rectangular table with ceramic squares on the deck out back … the site of many summer meals.  Two comfy loungers where we’d sit beside each other, reading our books and listening to the birds.  All vehicles for togetherness.  Goodbye vehicles.  The magic that you hold will stay in my heart, alongside my lovely wife Jodiette.

Then there was the Roper lawn tractor that breezed over the grass for many a year.  How marvelous to change the world from scruffiness to parkland in an hour.  And our snowblower.  I felt so accomplished in transforming impassible to a clear path for Hugo and Scarlet.

Later in the day, I struggled with weights in my strength training at Wellington Fitness.  Odd, I thought.  I didn’t have trouble with this amount of weight a few days ago.  Then I realized … not odd at all.  The emotional and the spiritual morph into the physical.  Such a journey we’re all on, of gain and loss.  May I embrace them both because both is what I will continue to receive.

Old chapter, new chapter.  Nice book.

Condo … Part One

Here I sit in my big home, surrounded by nearly an acre of grass.  This is where Jody and I thrived and suffered, and thrived some more.  My dear wife is everywhere here, cheering me on.  I’m looking over to the couch where we cuddled for many a movie.  And there’s the kitchen, where Jodiette created brilliant meals.  (Sigh)

What’s true is that I don’t want to live here anymore.  The energy within is loving.  It’s also of the past.  I need a new start.  Part of my bursting forth is becoming a member at the Tarandowah Golfers Club near Avon, Ontario.  I love the beauty there.  Saw a red fox a couple of days ago.  But Tarandowah is a 40 minute drive from Union.  Can’t I live somewhere closer?

Two weeks ago, I discovered the aura of Belmont, a town of maybe 2000 west of the golf course.  I was trying to create the perfect golfing day, and unearthed a breakfast spot (The Belmont Diner), a place to read (The Belmont Library) and a pub (The Barking Cat).  Cool.  But now that I had set up my perfect day, where would I hang my hat?  (Actually I don’t wear one.)

On Friday, April 29, I asked Chrystal, the owner of the Diner, if there were any condos in Belmont.  I was guessing there weren’t.  “I think that one of my customers is building some out on Manning Drive.  Go check it out.”  So I moseyed over to the northwest edge of town and found lovely new single family dwellings … but no condos.  Oh well, I guess Chrystal was wrong.

A few days before, I stood in the presentation centre of a future condo building in St. Thomas, a city of 35000 just north of Union (about 30 minutes from Tarandowah).  I liked the layout of a small unit and over time decided to put down a deposit of $5000.  I didn’t really enjoy the area of town, but it was a condo, and I didn’t want any more yard work.

On Saturday, April 30, I left home with a cheque in my pocket.  I remembered that Chrystal had said she’d talk to Glenn, the builder, about me being interested in a condo.  Oh, what the heck, why not drive out to Belmont for breakfast first, and then go back to St. Thomas for the deposit?  Couldn’t hurt.

It didn’t.

 

Creating Happiness

 

A few days ago, I went to a London Lightning basketball game with two friends.  Last night, I was at a London Knights hockey game on my own.  I didn’t like either game.

I’ve always loved seeing sports events but clearly “always” no longer fits.  It’s more of the same internal conversation that I’ve been having with myself since coming back from the meditation retreat – “Bruce is …” > “Actually no, he isn’t.”

There weren’t many people at the basketball game.  “That’s it.  I feed off the crowd’s energy.  No wonder I was flat.”  But there were 9000 souls in Budweiser Gardens last night.  Lots of crowd noise.  Except for the guy sitting in Section 303, Row H, Seat 6.

“I need to share the experience with someone.”  Jody and I went to lots of Knights games and had a good time.  Well, my friends were right beside me at the basketball game but none of us “entered the excitement”.

Last night, I was way up high in the arena.  It was a good view, but the players looked really small.  “Okay then, I need to be close to the action, to feel the thrill of Mitch Marner exploding down the ice and blasting a shot into the net.”  However, we sat only ten rows from the court at the basketball game.

Well, Bruce.  You know this.  Happiness is an inside job.  You can keep adding marvelous events to your life, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Actually that’s exactly what you’re doing in the next few months … Toronto; Cuba; Haida Gwaii; Cambridge, Ontario.  But what will you bring forth in those strings of moments?  That’s up to you.  It appears that team sports no longer draw you, even though you enjoy the sports section of the newspaper.  But the experiences that currently animate your life – lovely friends, concerts, beaches, tall ships and golf tournaments – are all on the outside.  Bring forth you.

Unusual and Unexpected

“Bruce is this.”  Or so I’ve said.  But sometimes I’m not right.

1.  Bruce loves blogging and does so about two days out of three.

Except when he doesn’t, such as the last three days.  Firstly, I didn’t want to.  “But you always want to.” >  “No, actually, I don’t.”  I watched my unwillingness, sometimes scared about what it meant, and sometimes just fascinated with another part of me.  Secondly, I couldn’t think of anything to say.  “But you always think of something, even if it doesn’t come until your fingers are poised over the keys.” > “No, I’ve been blank.  And then the fear came of not having anything to say for the rest of my life.”  Wow.  Look at my brain going off into a doomsday scenario.  How strange.

Hmm … I appear to be typing.

2.  Bruce loves watching the world junior hockey tournament every year, cheering on Canada.

I turned on the TV yesterday for game one:  Canada versus the USA.  I watched for ten minutes.  I wasn’t excited by the flow of play.  I didn’t care about Canada winning.  I wasn’t interested in seeing Mitch Marner on the ice.  He’s a member of our local junior hockey team – the London Knights.  “Oh my goodness.  Who has taken over my couch?  Have I turned into this perpetually peaceful person who no longer gets excited by his experiences in this physical world?” > “No, I don’t think so.  Maybe I’m just getting excited by other things these days, such as going to the gym for strength training.”  And maybe the sports section of The London Free Press is a thing of the past for me.  In any event, I sense that whatever draws me in the future will bring forth zest.

3.  Bruce loves action films and can’t wait to see the next Star Wars movie.

Renato and I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night.  I was bored.  I got tired of the chases and the shooting.  I got tired of everything going so fast.  I glommed on to the tender moments, such as when Leia and Han Solo were looking into each other’s eyes.  “But Bruce, you’ve always enjoyed the Die Hard movies, Keifer Sutherland in 24, a good old disaster flick.” > “Well, now it seems that I want to watch good stories, love stories, human beings being oh so human.”  Such as a movie I saw last week – Room – in which a mom and her young son are imprisoned by a predator for years.  To see the love between the two of them, plus the heartache, was so sweet.

***

I am inconsistent.  I contain multitudes
Walt Whitman