Dear Nan…

Age is never so old as youth would measure it. -Jack London

I love my grandmother.

She has always been like a mother to me.

This summer she is moving out of the tiny outport town she’s lived in since her birth in the early 1930’s.

I’m certain she knows every tree, every movement of the tides in the harbour and is intimately acquainted with the fine lines in cliffs towering over the little salt box houses.

As of late, she’s celebrated her older sister’s approach to her mid-nineties, the death of dear friends and relatives and she’s outlived 2 husbands.

She never gets a cold.

Yet she says to me, “please god, if I’m alive next year, you’ll be home for the reunion,”

“nanny, don’t be silly, ofcourse you will,” I reply.

By comparison, my grandmother has her all-bran cereal, one orange and a cup of tea for breakfast every morning.

She has done this for decades.

Even into my mid-thirties, I can keenly remember the smell, the pop of citrus as she breaks the skin on her orange and pays attention to gently opening the juicy flesh over a paper towel, rocking sleepily in the chair behind her listening to CBC radio morning as a ten year old.

How could she not outlive me?

I rush into Starbucks, grab an Americano and some processed pastry, eat and text and zip off to work.

She walks miles every day, knits, makes her own bread, is always busy, has an active social life and a healthy spirituality.

Me, I hop on rapid transit,attempt to get some time at the gym and I’m satisfied opening a can of ‘whatever’ for meals.

I will always love her, respect her and listen to her carefully when she advises me.

That is the least I can do for all she has given me. Life, wisdom, unconditional love and safety in the storms of my parents’ divorce.

This summer when she moves into the city, to live next door to my aunt, the youngest of my father’s sisters, I will miss that tiny town as well.

But as long as I have her, I have my foundation and my safety.

I will love you always nanny…xo forever

For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

monkiss

Let Go

 

On hearing of the passing of Adam Yauch…

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/beastie-boys-co-founder-adam-yauch-dead-at-48-20120504

…I began to ponder my own Buddhist beliefs on death.

As a great help to the Free Tibet movement, I believe he must have felt some connection to Buddhism.

It is a sad truth that death comes to us all….(aren’t I a ray of sunshine for Sunday?)

My mother-in-law is a nurse and through her, I’ve come to learn alot about people’s irrational need to cling to a life of suffering, just to keep existing.

I also know through my own experience, and as a permanent skeptic of things like ‘near death experiences’ and ‘the great beyond’ I can tell you this:

When I lay a hair’s width away from death in 2003, it was a peaceful and calm experience.

Once I was too tired to be scared anymore, I was calm and accepting and said to myself ok, if now is the time, I can deal with that.

This was after I begged the universe to let me see age 25 by the way, I’m no super human or awesome Buddhist…I wanted to keep living just like anyone else.

With that experience behind me, when it was questionable again what might be wrong with me a few months ago, I came to the experience with a little more acceptance and peace. I was a little more proud of my accomplishments the second time round.

When you face it, Buddhist teachings say, accept it with peace and grace that death is not the end of life but a transition between types of existence.

When you think about it, death is not the worst thing that could happen to us.

We do not feel anything once our spirits leave our bodies.

But when you break up with someone, when you lose a friend or a job or get sick, you feel all sorts of negative things.

Don’t cling to suffering. Let go my dear, let go.

Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend or a meaningful day.

-Dalai Lama

 

 

The Week In Quotes

Nothing brings people together more, than mutual hatred- Henry Rollins
I like Henry, he’s a good guy and I respect his honesty about life, his and life in general.
He’s my first choice because at 7am the other morning, I was headed to my volunteer job feeling crusty and mad that no one, as usual, got up to let me sit…I’m not lazy, it’s legit pain…
and this one woman kept saying ‘excuse me’ and muttering expletives to herself…and I couldn’t move, the bus was still rolling to a stop and I’m not hopping on one leg to roll out the red carpet….so I gave her the look of death and allowed her to brush past me, annoyed and groggy in the chill of the morning air.

Don’t minimize the importance of luck in determining life’s course. – Alex Trebek

I got a text a few days ago that I didn’t respond to until today.

The woman was a job lead who remembered me, told me there were 2 positions open for the crisis centre I want to work at and she would put in a good word for me!

She said, “I remember you. You’re awesome, if I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t recommend you,” I’m always thrown for a loop when receiving praise.

If I get this job my salary and work experience for psychology will jump exponentially.

So random and lucky –I feel blessed.

“We are changed souls; we don’t look at things the same way anymore. For there was a time when we expected the worst. But then the worst happened, did it not? And so we will never be surprised again.”  ―    Douglas Coupland

My clients remind me of how things happen to them that are so changing, they affect you on a molecular level.

Traumas affect them that are so unspeakable that I cannot wrap my mind around the reason for their insistence on continued survival.

For that, I respect them and honouring them by shutting the fuck up and listening…I offer no solutions and sit with them like a silent witness to their pain.

For that genuine knowledge that sometimes my silent observance is my best offering, is something I think that makes them track my shifts and call me when they know I am there and the spotlight is all theirs and I won’t be stupid or presumptuous with them.

I am their willing student. They are my dear and tender teachers.

The concept of two people living together for 25 years without a serious dispute suggests a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep. –A.P Herbert
I think my wife and I have about 1 fight per week and those are just snits we get in over random things.
The other day she was growing a little obsessive about something that we’re both working on and I might’ve snapped a little.
I didn’t say anything rude or swear but I was short with her.
It’s her reaction to me when I snap that brings me back and makes me think, ‘hey monkiss, shut your hole and stop your temper tantrum’.
Her pretty eyes and her softened voice breaks my heart a little and then I realise….she’s often the more dominant of the 2 of us…
I suppose it’s shocking to both of us when I go off the rails.
Oh pms you bastard.