Tag Archives: feelings

Introspective Perspective

Random thoughts while driving…

The meeting was set for 1:00 pm on Saturday in the quaint coffee house, Pebble Ridge, in Rocky Mountain House. My new author is from Red Deer and it would be a short drive west for him to finally meet to discuss his book project.

I started out from home at 8:00 am, filled the tank, and got a cold drink to go. I couldn’t understand why I was so thirsty so early, but realized it might have been the consumption of wine the evening before… Rested and raring to go, it was easy to rise and pack and hit the road early. Although another route was more direct, I chose the longer way to enjoy the journey. It’s not always about the destination – although that can be important – how you get there, too, makes all the difference sometimes. For one – heading west always feels right and, for two, taking the Cowboy Trail is a good choice because it feels right, too. I’ve been this way before a few times lately (highway 16 west to highway 22 south), but I love the drive – the feel of it relaxes me and sets my mind free of city encumbrances. Driving alone, however, is open game for thinking – good and bad. If I don’t want to think, I play music to drown out the persistent voices, the constant thoughts, the never ending discussion between the realist and the dreamer. The radio station fades away and I play the soundtrack from Cavalia or Maroon 5.

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A robin poses for a close up shot.

A bumblebee buzzes around the windows looking for in or through or whatever. Sunshine sits in the Miette Hot Springs parking lot looking like a big yellow flower in a meadow of concrete – tasty temptation for the timid little bee. I roll my driver’s side window up and two seconds later it attempts to say a closer hello. A robin hops nearby on the pathway along the trees, and I mega zoom in on it – magnifying its feathers and bright eyed curiosity. I sit contemplating my move. I remain there for about an hour, reading, calming frazzled nerves that poke in and out of the relaxing peace. I cannot explain the diametrically opposed pieces of my mind. Happy. Sad. Inspired. Depressed. Peaceful. Anxious. The parking lot fills up – it’s time to move on.

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I could see the same view day after day and it would still humble me, overwhelm me with its magnificence.

When I drive the mountain roads I cannot believe the feelings that wash over me. I often wonder if those people who speed by in fast cars, neglecting the stop at look outs, ignoring points of interest, not even slowing down to enjoy the wildlife – I wonder, if they ever feel the emotion I do in the mountains. Perhaps, they did the trip before and it’s no big thing. Perhaps, they are too focused on the end point to notice the points of interest along the way. My emotions run the gamut – my mind stops, starts, and suspends itself in the magnificence of my surroundings. I am soothed by its beauty, overwhelmed and humbled by its magnitude. I cry at the thought of leaving this world and never seeing such beauty again. Then, I admonish myself for silliness and return to revel in the moment.

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Distant waterfall cascades down the mountain.

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An eagle flies o’er mountain high…

At a roadside turnout, high above the river below, I stop along the guardrail to take in the vast panorama. Mountains with snow covered peaks, shimmering shale rocks, greenery of all shades. A distant waterfall cascades down the mountainside. The telephoto lens brings the river from the valley floor and the highest shimmering rock face to me as if in reach. Out of the corner of my eye I see it – circling, circling, circling… Soaring on upper air currents, the large bird covers the sky in wide spread wings, so high it is even a speck in my lens. I am not sure of the species of raptor, but the bird is magnificent. The words to the sound about love lifting us up, come to mind and ring in my head, prompting tears to spring to my eyes, again.

The trip wasn’t totally about doing everything I love, but it encompassed some of the ‘musts’. I already mentioned the Highway 22 South route – well, 11 West is a dream and being in Rocky Mountain House with a free night ahead of me meant I couldn’t pass up the chance to see things I love and traverse the route with such beauty. My travels now include limits, however. Due to health issues, there are limits I never had to consider before, but there they are, forefront in planning and executing events. Accepting I have limitations both angers and frustrates me. In moments of appreciation, I think of all the things I’ve done and all the things I still can do. I digress and say thanks – at peace with the body’s changes. With those thoughts, I decided I would explore some different things/places amongst the wonderfully familiar, while taking time to clear my head and rest my back and knees.

For the most part, driving is easy until I log too many hours in the Sunshine saddle – then the back begins to remind me of its chronic pain. I need to stretch and walk a bit to loosen up the muscles and work the knees. Refreshing road weary eyes is always a good thing, too. My stops are frequent because of the awe I feel – lots of pictures return home with me – but, I temper my attempt at each stop depending upon my ability. Many times, I am the best darned truck window photographer! Since I stopped at Athabasca Falls last year on the reverse trip, I decided I would stop at Sunwapta Falls this time. However, I couldn’t proceed past the parking lot because, although only a .1 km hike to the vantage points overlooking the water, all of the pathway is a downhill grade and that is a no-no for the knees. Acceptance of limitation. I listened to the roar of the water rushing below, thankful for my sense of hearing and sight.

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A decision to stop for the day to rest weary bones offered me opportunity to stay in a place I never stayed before… another new experience.

The need to keep in motion produces undesirable effects. The conundrum being more movement = activity = weight loss, but more movement = pain = exasperation! The pills I am on to manage pain help with numbing it so I can sleep and I don’t get overtired, sometimes. Depending on the activity (and the weather) my pain is what it is – constant. At times, it is excruciating, forcing me to just take things easy. Doctor’s orders are movement, keep active, but my body’s response is anything but accommodating. I most likely will need double knee replacement surgery, but the weight loss is a must in order to proceed in that direction. The weekend needed to be modified with extended rest to recover bothersome knee pain. The prior long weekend retreat tired me out – 2nd floor rooms in a lodge meant stairs multiple times per day. I mentioned this concern to my doctor on a previous visit. I took it very slow. Writing, yes. Stair master, no.

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6th Bridge – the sounds of birds and rushing water soothed. When the small parking filled, I escaped with pictures to remember it by.

It was exciting to travel familiar roads, but also intriguing to discover new ones. I took some time to discover 6th Bridge where I sat for some time reading. I took some pictures of the water and the bridge, then vacated when it started to get busy. Bikers, hikers, and other sightseers. The road to Miette Hot Springs was awesome – winding, curving, bordered by cliffs, rises, and lots of trees. It took me deeper into the back country. Again, I parked and listened to the birds, did some reading, and took pictures. As before, I backtracked and headed to the highway and proceeded east on 16. East is not good. It means leaving behind something as profound as the images of the Rockies in my mirror that soon fade from sight. My mood soured despite respite in the glorious mountains. How can one feel so inflated, yet depressed? So inspired, yet so empty? So determined to do better with renewed vigor – all the while, feeling overwhelmed with all that lays ahead… Prospects and potential paralyze – how can that be?

The comfort I take in all of this is my ability to see the beauty, appreciate the wonder, realize the potential for danger or recognize opportunity, and even laugh at myself with good humor, as necessary. The feelings described above hit me every time I leave the mountains to return home, leaving me to wonder why I never moved there if such a connection rips my very soul by their separation from my view. I concede – I was fearless in my youth and have become jaded in my aging even though I would certainly consider the move – looking around the little cabin I rented I surmised – “I could live here.”

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Amazing colors… there’s probably shiny things and a squirrel in there, too 😉

So to end this blog about perspective and its inward retrospection while getting away – I leave you with a tip while driving throughout the Alberta countryside. Be aware that if Main Street is blocked off in Small Town, Alberta – and there are people pulling lawn chairs to the curb side – it could mean there is a celebration you are not privy to. I wondered why that little girl waved to me… All I could think was how lucky I was I had such a beautiful, bright truck! Sunshine was in her glory parading by the locals… oh, look, what a beautiful tree!

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January 5, 2015 – 30 day Photo / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 5>> After Dark

Day 5 - 30 day challenge After Dark

The darkness can be your friend where you can hide from the bright lights that act as spotlights upon your every day move. Is the darkness a mask that conceals the truth? Our minds never turn off the memories. After dark, when other things around us slow down, recollections can be much brighter in our minds.

SONNET 43

“When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow’s form form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!
All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me. ”

~William Shakespeare

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All Things Considered

Although I have frequently admitted to myself that some aspects of my life will never be the same, there is an underlying current that wraps me up and sweeps me along the river of familiarity. It’s an ongoing and never-ending course with changes and morph-isms as needed, rising and falling, slowing and free-flowing… but one thing is prevalent – it is always dynamic and all-encompassing. I will admit there are times when I feel stagnant, as if industrious water animals have dammed up my waterways, their unexpected blockages stopping the flow of creativity from mind to hand to page.

In my attempt to learn, create, and share along my writing journey, consistency of content and commitment rate high on my list. To be true to what you believe way down deep in your soul is the only thing that matters when it all washes up on the banks. If I ever feel as if I am not living up to my own level of creative expectation, I just have to stop and look – truly see – all that I have done and all there is to do. I appreciate my friends who are constant supporters, and only remind myself of my accomplishments to justify why I have not posted another blog, why I have not written a new article, or why I have not engaged in the weekly writing prompts.

This short repartee is in no way to be considered masterful or all-inclusive. It is merely a brief composition of what’s been on my mind, what’ been accumulating for the past few weeks. However, it is heartfelt… all things considered.

Oh, look, beautiful fall things…

Fall Leaves

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Things that make me smile…

Things that make me smile 1

2 things

Things that make me smile 3

Things that make me smile 4

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Not a Bad Day

blogging wordleAs a writer, many moments surround me that have to do with words and the opportunity for expression exists even though I feel my own creative writing is not as frequent an event as I would like it to be – right now. Right now being a time when I am immersed in the promises and projects of my own publishing company while maintaining my full time employment status, balancing personal time and commitment with volunteer and public appearance. In addition to all these things – life goes on and I am still coming to grips with me and different feelings, processing my reaction to those emotions, and dealing with “how it is” since things have so dramatically and drastically changed. It is said time heals all and, although it is the catalyst enabling us to eventually move on – it does not hide, change, or even make things better. They are merely, different… The situation and all its affects remain constant to me even though the hurt is most often reduced to a dull ache; it is still there, always, reminding. Is that the pensive artist speaking? Or the lamenting poet bemusing? Is it the need to continually grasp that which makes me feel something since there are times when I feel nothing? I am yet unable to write the negative out of me… knowing that I must, in order to purge the inner infestation and ease my own healing. The days are roller coaster weeks of emotional and physical restraints, ups and downs, periods of calm and nothingness erupting into those of stress and tension.

 I recently experienced what I thought was “not a bad day” having felt no extremes of sadness or pain; it was a Monday and I embraced it, got up and ventured out into my work world. Then, having accomplished a productive day there I followed it up with attention to other business, and then I spent the latter part of the evening in relaxation and conversation. Imagine my surprise when my daughter countered my expression of “it was not a bad day today” with “why can’t it just be a good day?”

Why can’t it, I asked myself, perplexed with my own realization of how it was stated. We discussed the ramifications of declaring the negative over the positive. The only thing I knew for sure was it felt to be better than some days of late, having experience bad days. I feel that to have a “good day” might mean moving beyond that which I know does not truly exist for me. They are different days with some that are not as bad as others. Why can’t I declare it a good day? For the same reason I am not a “jump up and down exuberantly” happy person. I know I am allowed to feel good. I am entitled to be happy. I am willing to make changes, when and if I can… but I am also taking the time I need to move into that acceptance, allowance, and happiness. I am hopeful it exists in the future; in the meantime, I go on with “not a bad day” being those with the least amount of pain – emotional and physical.

 (I was, however, personally pleased and grateful with the offspring who exhibited beyond her years intelligence. She is truly my reason for being; as are my dearest and closest friends who give me reason and cause to smile.)   

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A Note to the Empty Page

“Writing is a struggle against silence.” ~ Carlos Fuentes

I sit here, my expression as blank as the sprawling white before me… the emptiness that has haunted my nights for the past month yawns into an abyss of never ending eternity. Words dance before my eyes and tease my mind yet refuse to get in line and flow with creative verbosity onto the page… instead, they hide in crevices created by life stresses and soon an overwhelming desire tempts me to just walk away. I am here and there, back and forth, up and down – every which way but clichéd loose… So many good ideas want to be at the top of the list yet I am loathe to let them creep there in case I lose myself in them and neglect some other duty or responsibility. But in refusing to accept their inevitability, I fight them and, alas, get nothing constructive done.

I could write about my week and my accomplishments and in that I might find comfort. The places I have been and yet others I could not go. I could write about the joys which filled me yet falter with an explanation about how I don’t feel fulfilled; I could share the happy times had with friends and the meeting of other wonderful people yet true happiness eludes me; I could recall the loving memories and haunting pasts revisited; I could admit I am trying to do too much – tongue in cheek – as I hold my hand out to take more; I could smile through tears and boldly stride ahead despite my fears.

There is no need to worry – for in me is the strength to move forward despite the weight of emotional baggage. I am here. Through all these things there winds a common thread upon the silver lining of hope: I feel, therefore, I live.

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September Long Weekend

I don’t know what it is about this weekend that makes it so striking in its memories.

Perhaps, it is just because the time of year finds some things ending and others just beginning. It is like spring in that regard where newness takes on a personality of its own guiding us into the upcoming unknown – whether it is season, project, or feeling, with seemingly little effort. We don’t struggle as much with this season because it eases us into the change with such beauty – all of nature calls to us: cooling winds and comfortable sleep, shorter days cut by silent seconds, calling geese practise overhead, and trees slip silent into their golden frocks. There is a change that comes with turning the calendar page to read: September. The long weekend is like taking another stab at failing summer, hoping to get in one last… … …

For me, one of my favorite short stories is written based on a trip to the mountains I took many years ago. It has morphed in length and words to become the compact piece provided below. In recent memory, the long weekend signaled the true ending to several emotional events including acceptance that a trip east did not work out as planned and a passionate one night stand signed off a no hope relationship. It also warns of impending work over the long stretch ahead and planning is realized. But of the simpler times when young hormones raged and understanding love was yet to be discovered, Keep on Smiling is a memory written from those emotional depths and as the Stones said… I was looking for an “emotional rescue.”  

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I remember the day I met RJ like it was yesterday. It was the long weekend in September and my friend and I had driven to the mountains just to get away. At 23, I was having difficulties with dating and love. I was “sowing my wild oats,” if you could refer to a woman as such; working hard and partying harder. I equated sex with love and if it were true I might have found happiness.

I had recently dropped out of University and was searching for myself yet wondering if Mr. Right would ever come along. My efforts to find him were futile. “Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places” was my theme song. I thought I was supposed to find Mr. Right and get married. Up until then I had been so sure of my future. It would have included law school but when I discovered I enjoyed immediate things, I picked the easy way out.

That weekend in Banff found us doing things we loved. We did a lot of sight-seeing and a little shopping. A cool breeze was already starting to blow down from the snow-covered peaks but it was a glorious weekend.

After a full day, we changed and headed back to the evening crowds. We chose a quaint little restaurant where we ordered our meal complete with wine. After nine o’clock, most of the local eateries transformed into dance clubs and we remained there for the rest of the evening. The crowds, the dance beat, the drinking until all hours; “Emotional Rescue” by the Stones was playing. And there he was.

He was medium height and athletic; dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. What I noticed were his eyes ~ they pierced your very soul. His dark hair was on the long side with one of those light patches in the front. Striking!

We danced. We connected. My heart was lost in one fell swoop… again. We talked. He was going to Vancouver to make his way in the world. He was fun to be with. He stole my heart. We spent the night together holding each other close trying to make the magic last. I remember lying awake at one point thinking about the morning fast approaching. Daylight. It would soon be here and we would be leaving. So would he.

I tended to forget I was with my friend and by morning she was frantic when I hadn’t returned. Didn’t she realize I was clinging to another chance at love? My indignation was unfounded as my feelings usually came first with my exploits leaving someone in the lurch while I went about my quest.

I left RJ in the early morning. My friend had packed in a frenzied worry. She cruised the streets; making a stop at the local RCMP detachment, she was advised I was not yet considered a missing person. She returned to the B&B. There I was. She was not impressed but I offered no excuses.

As we drove away, it was not just silence that returned home with me. I couldn’t explain my feelings. My heart ached in that empty sort of way. RJ had come to mean so much in such a short time, it was painfully hard to accept, let alone explain. I felt like I left something behind.

Looking back over that weekend and my fondness for it, I remember something he said to me; something that has remained with me all these years. When we parted ways (me in that tearful way I do), he gently touched my face. He didn’t say good-bye. He just said, “Keep on smiling.” Then… he went his way… and I, mine.

That chance meeting remains one of my fondest memories. I often wonder what happened to RJ. I never did know him by anything other than RJ. I don’t even know what RJ stood for. To me, now, it represents the temporary happiness of the time even if the void I felt afterwards lingered. The memory of the time embraces me with a warmth I cannot explain and when I am filled with yearning I just remember all I have to do is…”keep on smiling.”   

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Writing Real

The 3rd week into the New Year proved to be an eventful one in many respects. The week passed for everyone in my area of the world as the coldest one this winter and with some accompanying snow just to confirm for all of us – this is winter in Alberta. Mid-month stormed in with a fury as temperatures plummeted and things froze up. And even though my own mobility was hampered by this inconvenience, it amazed me how calmly I took the set-back and want to thank those who contributed to my ability to get to where I needed to go during all this. As the sun shines today, things are on the plus side of zero and all appears to be running as it should.

It is such calmness that encourages and comforts me as I view the contents of the plate before me – I am all too aware of deadlines, upcoming events, and the need to complete projects and move forward. It doesn’t seem to concern me yet I do realize the need for time management and the necessity of planning for an optimal outcome in all this craziness. Feelings ran the gamut this week if one were to be cliché in expression. Along with humbled and honored, I felt the force of not only weather but also the wondrous ability of the people in my life to accept limitations and encourage growth, face change and speak will all honesty. There was a tease, a test, a temptation; health, hope, happiness; seriousness, sincerity, socialization, seclusion; dependence, determination, detriment; acceptance, assurance, and so much more. If we look back over the week and take stock of all that happened, we will realize the plethora of ponderings to which we lay claim.

For a writer real life interactions and personal feelings are what fuel writing and bring emotion to the scenes and characters we portray on the page. It’s not just writing what you know; it’s writing what you feel. We all have the potential of creating powerful images through our words and we may even end up displaying our own self in the process, but that is what writing is all about. It does not matter whether you are pouring your heart out in a poem, writing to attract an audience with your blog, or creating a novel grounded in a universal reality of life. As writers, we are passionate about the words we write and there can never be a more grounded connection to our words than those expressed through the experience of real circumstances. Real situations that we live through and feel and deal with… we connect with our readers on a human level if our words express our true feelings.

Our relationship with words ranges from the deep soul-searching type to the superficial kind thrown off the cuff with a blaze of bold keystrokes. Those words are a part of us and as we release them to the world they become a part of a greater being, one that lives on forever in the minds, and possibly the hearts, of our readers.

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Writing on a Late Summer Day

It feels more like a late autumn day as the temperature is a mere four degrees and another night calls for frost. The summer mostly behind us as we set upon its final days, the equinox just around the corner – looking back on projects started and continued, I realize this has been a most productive year so far, and it is not over yet. Often I think the consumption of available, and valuable, time is disproportionately skewed to things not “write” until I look over the list of to-dos already done. It is then that I relax my self-reprobation knowing I have done all that I can possibly do and getting to the rest of it, is part of my journey.

At times it feels as if a chore to keep pen to paper, thinking I’ve not written near enough or that I am not near as diligent as I must be – and then I stop to think of all I have written. No one type of work defines my writing life as I take steps in many directions, pulled at times but grounded, I stretch my creativity, my imagination and my ability. When do you sleep, they ask, and I reply – I do just fine.

Like falling leaves on a windy soon-to-be autumn day, my words fall to the page, worked and crunched beneath my pen, in ways similar to an accountant and his numbers, often with desired outcomes but mostly with destinations unknown.

Herding projects is like sheep to try to keep them even and together, but when one lags behind it becomes weak, and needs more attention. The directed focus is distracted as the other sheep now fall behind and it is a major job as their leader, to shepherd them to higher, safer, level ground. There they will not drown among the status quo unwilling to be more than just commonplace. Instead they will become honed and practiced, drilled and driven, until they reach a zenith from where they will plummet to forever.

I take a break because my mind is not focused on the word but hears millions of other words and knows that ideas come and go and those that deserve life will live so. There is time to contemplate the world around us, absorb those experiences upon which so much of our writer’s emotion is based. Things happen and will continue to happen, whether we choose to sit at the page and write or put it off until another night. It should not be forced unless it is a type of work that requires technical coordination and masterful manipulation often found in position papers, business plans and advertising. Precise placement of those words not only fills a communicative process but speaks to another part of the human need for objective suggestion.

Words not forced flow freely and speak to the inner soul in a manner that might not even need the sound of words but rather the feel of them, or the touch of them upon our heart. Reading words that make you feel are the most important kind for they connect you to others in a universal way, compassion and contemplation – hand in hand, heart to heart.

My thoughts are subjective and true to my own nature, but I find a fellowship among those who are driven to them in whatever way – they know their power and respect them. My abandonment is short-lived as my passion dwells somewhere between my soul and the paper with words the longed for desire.

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