Monday, October 5, 2015

NOMADIC CONTEMPORARIES


Lives today are as mobile as they have ever been, in a flux of activity wether on our phones or lifestyles, more and more of us will lead transient lives that span countries and oceans, making the world a smaller place.

I've been on the move since I could remember; my first move was at 1 from Tokyo to Nagoya, I only have recollection of vague memories, and familiar sensations. I have lived a nomadic life, where all appears so seamless and borderless, where international moves are done in less than a month; reality feels a bit warped and there are those pangs in space and time where I so long for stable ground to call home.  Home for me has never been a destination or place, but wherever I am within, and the safe space I temporarily create for myself.

Life is constantly ebbing and flowing, but it would be nice to be able to snuggle up to a reliable significant other, a doggie companion, preferably in a place that is not a rental, to feel safe and to belong.  Is this even possible or a figment of my imagination?  I wonder what life is like to live in one place for longer than a few years without chunks of life missing to illness or other life lessons that are now distant memories.  

These moves have brought our family closer together (although this too was a turbulent path to get to where we are today), as who else would have our backs? Teaching us (my brother and I) the value of complete trust and loyalty to the death, with an honesty and openness that is uncommon; something I treasure and have infinite gratitude.  Maybe home will be wherever I end up creating my own family?  It makes me wonder of the adventures to come, although I am getting very tired of doing international moves, not to mention cost and stamina required.  The only thing that could possibly move me at this point in my life is for love/to support someone I love.


Sometimes I think that having moved so much, has kept me extremely pure at heart, uncluttered, and truly appreciating the simple things in life; actually, that's probably not travel related but a host of life experiences, values, and character?  Who knows~ I'm just thinking aloud...         

Where is the future of modern society going with such nomadic contemporaries?  How will individuals and people adapt and learn to transition, or will there be an influx of instability and some sort of transition/transient/displacement disorder?  Will families look after one another and get closer or disintegrate? I don't know of the trends to come but curious to see how we evolve with the times.

For the time being, focusing on the task at hand; an anchor for when I float off into the stratosphere is an irreplaceable lifeline.  I'm steadily getting there, 300 (originally 475 at my highest) to 187.5 is remarkable progress:)      






           

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Little Encouragement


Some days you just don't know how you can possibly get through another day.  The weight of life is heavy.  Right now frustration abounds, and I am trying to tame my serial overachieving multitasking inhuman nature. How to quiet the mind while synapses are being tampered with and juggling an international move, two jobs, reconnecting with social aspects, concerns and worries, etc etc etc.  Such is life.  

You do the best you can, and focus on the simple pleasures of life, the good (or you try to), and get through the rough patches, one unstable sand dune step at a time.  

You know you'll live, but sometimes you want to believe in something bigger than yourself; the hopes and possibilities keep you motivated, sheer gut strength, and commitment to live life fully without fear, regret, close-mindedness, and a vast undying compassionate heart keeps me afloat.  

Forgiveness, tolerance, and a malleable core also helps in seeing various  perspectives and embodying empathy. After a collision, some beeline for the phone to call 911, others react however way, and I knee-jerk react straight to the individual who needs emotional/psychological support.  We're all wired differently, some can see it, and appreciate it, others oblivious, most pass judgement. Thats all right, we all have our past experiences and scars unresolved, easily aggravated, its all a learning experience and we're all evolving on the journey.  After a while you're just grateful for every experience, good, bad, the completely ugly.  You love every bit of it, as you've lived a life where in an instant it can be taken away from you, changed, void.

Might I add, who you are, 'being', also makes the world of difference.  We are not only what we do, but whom we embody.  

Note to self: pull through, M, you've got this;)   
 

  

              

Thursday, August 20, 2015

INTERNATIONAL DATELINES APPLY: Extensive Honest Shpeal on Dating. Love.

?
I recently came across this article on TINDER AND THE DAWN OF THE 'DATING APOCALYPSE' in the 2015 September issue of Vanity Fair Magazine, and I was lost for words... this is the saddest thing I've come across in a while, in unison with the state to Japan's lack of sex drive and/or desire for relationships.  Here is the article here: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating


Reading the article got me to thinking of recent concerns of female and male friends, as well as the realities I've had to face, dating on one side of the planet to the other; international date lines are in effect up in here~ I'm no dating/relationship expert and I can't say what is right or wrong, but only what I know is true to me and my own opinions.  I will try to be as gender neutral as possible and offer varying perspectives (although no matter what it will end up being biased as I'm female and can't speak for being a man).  This is my lengthy, probably the first and last shpeal on the subject. 

Dating in one side of the globe and the other has some differences due to cultural and surrounding environments but the premise is the same.  Everyone is looking for human connection; in the realm of dating, a romantic/intimate partnership or hook up (if you're like these guys going after girls/women like they appear on the NASDAQ).  

If I must, I can go into further detail; for example in Tokyo, being in a Japanese environment and a culture that is a bit misguided (勘違いしてる)focusing on the more superficial, puts those with 'gaijin' or foreign/western/anglo saxon features on a pedestal, giving them false sense of pride/power/superiority.  I have encountered on numerous occasions whilst dating where the other individual would casually say: 'don't worry the cab drivers will stop as I'm white' or 'they will stop for a foreigner', as I instinctually try to stop them from jaywalking across the street as cars were approaching, and didn't want them to get hit.  My comment was, (mainly at the start of my time in Tokyo as you get desensitised to these quips after a while); 'you've been here way too long, and you're more "Japanese" than I am'... my facial expression; did I really hear you correctly?!  But this is a reality, that just is, and although I think it to be sad, it is one that both foreign and Japanese are responsible.
    
I need to state the fact that I am Japanese, although in Japan probably more foreign than some of the foreigners, and I have experienced both sides of the double edged sword as well as the rainbow-and-unicorn-on-a-bed-of-pink-clouds treatment of being 'different' (and confidently so in my own unique way).  So I believe I have a good inside out/outside in perspective.  I have also experienced the reverse, of being in a completely American environment where I was the only asian in the whole school.  Culture shock on varying degrees throughout my life existed.  I've also been in two major long term relationships (of 7 years and 5 with my ex boyfriends), been single for the last two years, and at 33 I do date.  

In Toronto it is more; we're all human, anything goes, and a mishmash of multiculturalism, amidst the other aspects like socio-economic status, age, and other factors that go into one finding a mate.  But still complicated none the less as one has to be vigilant or sensitive to the cultural backgrounds, customs, language differences of the other you are meeting, etc. I've only been here since May this year, and when I lived here before, I was in a committed long term relationship, so I can't provide as much insight into the realities of dating here, although I do get asked out on coffee and dinner dates often. Wether it goes anywhere beyond that, well, when you know yourself, needs, and wants... I'm very discerning and selective to whom I give my time, energy, and self.  I am also currently going through a lot medically that requires my attention, but I'm trying my best not to let that get in the way of leading the greatest possible life (under the circumstances).  




This is going to be quite a generalised post on this topic, but a few things I've learned along the way and some words of advice that may or may not help or apply.

As you mature, perspectives, priorities, non-negotiable's, standards, and values also evolve.  Constantly learning as you go, tweaking what it is that you want and need in yourself, your future, your significant other.  Only you know yourself best, and you trust that the other individual does themselves, and will respectfully act accordingly without taking advantage or being a douchebagasswipe dick/batshitcrazy bitch. 

I have had the fortunate experience of meeting those whom were extremely respectful (intentional or not), and genuine individuals who had my best interests at heart who have had the courage, despite their 'liking' 'desiring' me, let me go, breaking my heart.  If you've invested your time and energy, had reasonable expectations and believed in the other persons actions and advances accordingly, you feel shattered, disappointed, sometimes feeling mislead, mind-fucked, and the hurricane of emotions and thoughts, depending on the situation. But thinking of it now I realise that they probably knew themselves best and if they believed they could not be a/the man in my life, then it wasn't meant to be.  I also have to add, breaking another persons heart can be the hardest thing one can do, and one that takes a lot of courage.  It just sucks, and there is a shitload of hurt on both sides (dating and more so in relationships).



Dating, exposing your heart, allowing someone else into your world, risking rejection, all requires vulnerability; something we don't do well in the modern age. Especially if you end up dating someone like me who goes straight to the heart of reality or truth, of pure depth and are challenged to face one self, and to be the best they can be, yes, it must be extremely scary (especially as guys/men don't do emotions and 'psychological' stuff very well).  Those you date or attract usually in some part reflect your current state of being and where you are in your life.  The universe has a funny way of presenting what you put out.  You never really know if the individual you meet and date, in the present, are meant to be or not, only time will tell.  And dating in the 21st century where everyone is mobile and where distance can happen; you become creative and push comfort zones, wether through Skype, FaceTime, phone calls, emails, FB, plane ride~ you work it out.    



You learn from your past, face shortcomings, create new strategies, evolve and grow from mistakes.  Change is possible no matter how old you are, its just a question of being brave enough to face your own demons, being flexible and adapting to new circumstances.  I mean I'm head strong and stubborn as heck, but bring on a challenge and you bet I'll be roughin' it head on, determined to overcome any obstacle and ready to step up completely.  

And standards; as long as they are realistic and reflects who you are and the life you've lead, and you personally would be able to uphold them yourself, do not ever lower. For example; I've had men older than I am, take flights to come see me (although I've only known them shortly and have met them a few times), flash their matte black, millionaire, high flying Master Card, and after dinner invite me over to their place expecting to get jiggy with me, at which point I tell them 'no, while you're high flying around the world, you haven't shown me concrete proof of who you are and what it is that you do, you don't know where you are going to end up, and are in the process of looking for the next investment/project/venture, a bit iffy on the commitment front, not much stability, expecting me to trust you completely?'  Nope, no can do.  I've no qualms, regardless of CEO status, earning power, profession, savant level mind, drop dead gorgeous looks, or anything other than value, respect, honesty, integrity, rationale, I WILL speak my mind, and/or stand up and leave, go catch the next bus/train/drive/take a flight/walk away, being polite and respectful, all the smooth while with concern for the other individuals feelings and ego, while I firmly stand up for myself, values, and standards.




Women and men alike; 

Its just a self sabotaging cycle where if neither stands up for their standards or operates on values, without respect for one another; it becomes a fuck fest re: Tinder, where individuals are objectified, hot or not?!  That is very animalistic and a low radar to be operating, not to mention risk of STDs and safety... although I am sure there are a minority who are on Tinder innocently enough who do end up in relationships.

Know yourself well enough to trust you'll make the right choices when they come about. 

In the case of confrontation and conflict where rationale and actions don't match words, you speak your mind.  I rarely get mad, but if you anger me, I fight like a drunk psychiatrist in a bar brawl; conflict resolution like bullet points, put it all out on the table, and work everything out.  See, some are outliers in programming or sport, but I am an outlier in the realm of psycho analysis and kicking with the punches.  Grow with me, explore and adventure with me.  Please step up and be down for an amazing life!  



So this thing we chase after called love, is sensitive, messy, riddled with hurt, rejection, tears, anxiety and uncertainty, but something worth fighting for and finding, as there is no other sensation greater than being in love and being loved by another, knowing that no matter what, someone else will have your back, as you traverse through this crazy adventure that is life.  So to find this significant other, you date.  


What do successful women (not girls) want and what are they attracted to?
An alpha male, who takes charge of his life, takes care of himself, and what he wants, with drive and ambition for his purpose, and future vision.  A man (not a boy or guy, but a man) that takes full responsibility for his actions and aspects in life, who has the ability to be fierce when in need.  Reliable, responsible, trustworthy, and dependable, a leader, who will protect and make one feel safe to be a feminine woman, and potential to be the provider and protector and the head of the household. That is a HUGE! responsibility, and it must be daunting to even consider for many, but in return a woman will bring with her a whole set of skills and gifts that makes a man's life that much better and easier (regardless of all the complaining and things you often hear about).  Hey we need one another!  For the commitment phobic guys out there, research seems to show benefits to improved health and higher earning for those who are in successful long term relationships.  

   
Some go into dating with the end goal and neon sign of ring, marriage, wedding, happily ever after (don't you love the garish colours I used there;), or god forbid to fill a void in their lives... then you miss the mark completely, the true meaning of a partnership and loving another for who they are and for the life that you respect and care for, as the beautiful whole individual you chose to allow into your life, and fallen in love.  I personally think weddings are taken out of proportion and ridiculous in their materialism and cost, but its a nice staged performance to attend and see~  Who knows, I may think differently if I ever get to that place.  I believe commitment is extremely important, and how you show or express that is up to you, but a 'contract' I'm still on the fence; when in doubt get a prenup, I guess...? This is one that needs to be discussed with whomever you are seriously considering being with.  But what I'm saying is marriage/commitment is not the end game in dating; its only the very beginning of a new adventure, with another individual by your side.  Enjoy the process of getting to know them and totally suss them out as they will you!    

In the mean time enjoy your life!, your single life, embrace and learn about who you are, at your core.  Be the best individual you can be, assess the dating situations you find yourself, and those you encounter in your life (dating or otherwise!).  Destiny, fate, meant to be's; believe it.  Being in love will bring out aspects of yourself you never thought imaginable, challenging your deepest darkest hidden fears, but empowering you to step up, be present for another, and to be your best possible self.

Don't you love being human!?  I love it, I think life is fascinating in all its facets, regardless of the darkest deepest crevices you may have to endure.


      

Sunday, August 16, 2015

a SURVIVOR and/or a THRIVER?

Waking up this very warm and sunny Sunday morning to Andrea Bocelli singing in Portofino Italy was such a joy, even if it was only on TV, it was beautiful, and instantly transported me to a soulful place.
   

Earlier in the week being full of doubts, and re-strategising the course of action, coming up with a detailed day by day plan for the rest of 2015 in milligrams; completely humbling and disturbing, but necessary, I was able to find some resolve.  A direction, some clarity within the muck!  You realise your strength, and then an empowered drive bubbles up from within; you're not only a survivor but a thriver.  You've known this, but until you can own the sensation, can you appreciate its full weight.

Throughout life you are faced with a mine field of aspects that challenge your value, worth, belief, gumption, and truth, questioning reason and wondering of perspectives outside of your own, but after a while you realise this is a futile process, and only through personal experience and actualising the place that you are standing can you embody a life well lived, and are reminded to never underestimate yourself.

Things may not happen right way, as you wanted them to, but all seems to unfold in time as they should.  If it is meant to be, it will be.  There is only so much you can control, a concept difficult for this one to swallow; lack of patience and highly self critical nature is a double edged sword, but a characteristic that drives us to be better and thrive in any situation we are placed.  And fear, amplified by knowing all can be lost in an instant (and then some), you treasure and live every moment fully.  Learning as you go, EXUBERANTLY. 

Coming back to Toronto, I'm not sure what it is but the comment; 'you are glowing' has been a pattern I haven't really heard people say to me before, why thank you... maybe it is my suuuper healthy lifestyle that I am sticking to while I go through the shit of getting off meds, but I'd like to think I'm evolving from within and that growth/enlightenment/wisdom/whatever-ya-wanna-call-it glow, feminine beauty (Haha!LOL!) emanates from within!  



Well I've got until Friday to enjoy the bit of stability, then another 37.5 down *wink*.  New strategy to rip off the duct tape (so to speak) has been motivating; week of Nov. 4th is the new target.  What's to come of this, so help me god~ but it's ok, I'll always be better off than the 'liver guy' (Prometheus):)  

  
         

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Sleepless Night

There is an eerie quiet that befalls the city, a completely sleepless night, in the dim of adjacent office building lights; that all too familiar feeling, in Toronto, memories of past.

How much we all change over time.
Some days are harder than others, battle wounds difficult to mend.  But you pick up the shattered pieces, reminding ourselves that time will heal, and the sun will rise again in the morning.


  


  


Thursday, July 2, 2015

FIGHT FOR THE LIFE YOU WANT: Pharmaceutical Withdrawal



I am going to share this as I believe the process I am going through will help those in similar situations and may gain some insight, comfort and support in knowing that they are not alone.  This maybe a bit lengthy, I apologise, but it is important that I accurately and honestly describe.


We all have our personal journeys, experiences explored, a life full of challenges; wether it be a one time excruciating blip, or a recurring pattern of hardship. They are the myriad of life's adventures, that walk along side the beautiful joys and exuberance of what is life.  In a post prior I believe I mentioned that I'd refocus my attention on reasons I moved countries in the first place, and so I've proceeded to do just that.

I knew what I was facing and getting into, I was scared (and there isn't much that ever stops me in life, but this took A LOT more guts than I had imagined).  But a decision making process of over many months in Tokyo, to leave wonderful opportunities and career prospects/offers, amazing individuals, and a piece of my heart were made; not only physical, and emotional implications of leaving and making life changing choices, but the financial implications of such a move/decision is fear at its worst, and the uncertainty, completely unsettling.  

June 18th I 'jumped' and started this gruelling process that if ever experienced, those can relate, and others I can only try to explain and beg for understanding, respect, and patience.  But there is only so much you can do to describe to those who are not in your intimate inner circle or are not yet comfortable divulging your personal mission; ultimately life is often a lonely path as we are all independently traversing our unpaved paths.  We have our own individual battles and fights to fight.  And in my weakness (or so society has conditioned us to believe) I can't tell you how much I miss having a significant other in my life whom I can trust completely, to rely and lean on while going through this, but that is where true friends come into play, and just knowing that they are there, wherever they are in the world, has offered more support and strength than they would ever know.  Sometimes a word or two are all you need to get through the moments.  Pure gratitude, and that 'knowing look' without words is all you need.  And those you've only recently met or gotten to know; try to explain and tell them: 
"Please know that I am usually much more outgoing, and not this out of it or exhausted, appearance or otherwise", "I am just doing battle with life's hiccups, and it's only temporary", "if you are indeed someone who is worth my time and have a warm heart, please don't stigmatise or judge me too harshly, and stick around" (well, I dunno if you'd say that out loud, but don't we all silently think and would like to scream that at times).            


What is your Fidozac?  Going through medical files with the professionals here in Toronto, I've been on mine for over twelve years.  I have my opinions about pharmaceutical companies; both favourable and extremely unfavourable, but don't we all.  They can save your life, but there is also much they don't disclose; especially the younger medications without solid research or evidence needed over time.  Definitely what they don't tell you about is the hell you will endure trying to get off of them (IF you do ever try); WITHDRAWAL when your body has been on a high dosage of powerful pharmaceuticals for over a decade is REAL.

  
No, this is a completely different process than getting off or ending your cough meds, as many often associate, but a lengthy process of a complete reshuffling of brain chemistry.  This affects the core of your physiology, psychology, emotionality, mentality, strategy and life style (social or otherwise), through months and maybe even years.  But my life is one I don't squander lightly and as I succeed in tapering off these medications, other opportunities will open in my life; the length of the rest of my life, my future, and who knows, 'if' I do decide to have kids, first, I would be able to, and second, another generation.  But for me the ease of being able to travel or relocate without the worry, strategic planning, or hassle of a hoard of prescription medications are the simple joys I hold on to.

PMS on crack; check.  Drug addict going cold turkey; check.  A sweaty hairless cat outside in minus 30 degree Canadian weather; check.  A defective firecracker; check. A weepy three year old kid; check.  A three day all nighter; check.  Chronic insomniac; check.  A flat 'carbonated' drink; check.  Check, check, check~  These are some metaphors that reflect a few of the completely unpredictable effects and scary uncertain situations I can find myself.  So yes, I am being EXTREMELY GENTLE with myself, and not being so available is more due to 'self preservation'.  I am doing everything in my power to make this process as least sucky as possible.


This means; going about my day as normal as possible, finding a job that is satisfactory and can keep me afloat, going out despite my anxieties around the uncertainties I can't control, utilising ALL of the resources I have available within myself to cope and deal with the onslaught of unstable emotional/psychological states, keep speaking, expressing, creating, sharing, staying connected with especially those I feel comfortable and can trust wherever they are in the world, and not giving into my usual nature to 'be strong' and not reach out when in need, living as healthy a life as possible, allowing myself to be in this completely vulnerable and helpless state and being forced to be OK with it as I don't have much choice.

Every day, every moment is a new or different state of being.  Hyper awareness of all levels of condition(s) at all times, keeping a detailed document of symptoms; physical, psychological, emotional, etc. being in very close touch with medical professional support networks is top priority (in person, through Skype, any means necessary, esp if you have histories such as mine).  Then hold on to your social support networks for dear life when things get impossible, and breathe through the sensations and situations.     


To those who are going through similar struggles, know that you are not alone (although it may at times feel convincingly so), and literally one moment at a time.  BE EXTREMELY GENTLE WITH YOURSELF, lean on the goodness/positives of humanity, and when it gets really downright sucky, just focus on the breath, or try distractions such as music, candle light, bath, or even South Park... (*wink*), an alternate option is to dive into the discomfort and allow yourself to ride the waves; all are appropriate depending on each and every circumstance.

(note: I have purposefully kept out specifics of medication or condition for which I am on the medications, as to not deter from objectifying or diffusing the importance of that very human gift of empathy and understanding; we can all relate to experiences like these, whatever our struggle or medical condition.  Free of borders, wearing blinders, or discrimination).     

         
               


     

Monday, June 15, 2015

ANCHOR in ROUGH SEAS, NEW ART, BOOKS


The books I am currently enjoying (minus Outliers as I just finished it a few days ago); I am starting to think I may be better off getting a kindle, but I can't help letting go of the tactile... I also like the visual aspect of being able to reach one I'm in the mood for as I usually have more than three books I read at a time.  But when I think of my lifestyle, the weight and volume of books are counterintuitive.  

The other day I was at the St. Lawrence Market area, out on the patio having a nice tea break before heading off to an exhibit gathering, having the most lovely conversation online with someone in Tokyo, making faces unable to keep from smiling and chuckling, the lady with a stroller next to me looking at me as if I were crazy, I was grateful for advancements in technology keeping me connected to those from all over the world.  

The last week has been particularly difficult with much on my mind; of sorting out priorities, calculating and planning.  Oftentimes we become so busy and caught up in 'doing' and 'going', 'achieving' and 'defying' that the plot gets lost.  Amidst such stormy seas, an anchor to keep you from straying too far off; in heart, care, love, and reassurance, it can be a family member, relative, best friend, significant other, someone whom you can connect and provide perspective.  You'd be surprised who steps up to the plate in times of need; in Chicago I found it in a store clerk who was extremely generous! but usually a list of individuals you can count, in one or two hands, are those you treasure with all of your heart.

I am focusing on my priorities and the reason I moved countries in the first place.  

For the time being, a reflection from earlier this week:

OF COWARDS AND MEN
2015, 16 x 12 x 1.5 in., acrylic on braced birch diptych
 The presence of the duality within all of us; in the face of fear; flight or fight?  What is it that brings the best and most courageous out of that which we didn't even know existed?  A metaphor: boys vs. men, girl vs. woman?  What is it to be human; its a Rorschach minefield, adventure, and/or amazing gift?  It can be interpreted however you see fit, I know the layers of meaning this has for me (detail: you can see the various layers of colour on the edges of the dancing line).      

CERTAIN UNCERTAINTY will be the title of the one above when it is complete.

Sunnybrook (hospital) please get me through this.
-M 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

SEARCHING in MYSTERIOUS times

While I go about searching and applying for possible work opportunities of good fit, many questions come to light allowing discoveries and new found ease in being (which is separate from lacking worry or anxiety due to the uncertainty of security; but over the years you learn to feel them as they come, and let them go, as focusing on it will only intensify stress and wont help matters).  

I find myself in a different place where I am not sharing too much of myself; instead focusing on nurturing and protecting this odd gift of pure authenticity, compassion and a powerful way about me that seems to influence and move individuals to be their best selves (good or bad), an encouraging spirit where I share a piece of my soul and heart, that when tampered with can affect equilibrium.

I never thought of myself as 'mysterious', but there have been a few instances here in Toronto where others have commented that they find me mysterious.  It is not my intention, this is just how I'm being in the present, but I'd say I'm more cautious, careful, and discerning.  You protect that which can get hurt or are fragile.  Whilst to the outer world, physically, things seem settled and its as if I haven't even left traveling the world at all, internally is another story and I know from experience that time and patience are the only antidote.  I'm carefully processing, observing, listening, and  being selective as everything percolates.

In times like these I tend to resort back to creating; there are a few things on the table that I am considering and working on.  


I have been exploring and getting to know Toronto all over again, enjoying the summer weather and finding footing.

Searching, discovering, recalibrating.  

-M

                  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

In The Murky Waters of Transition

The view outside my balcony in my new Toronto place, with the sunshine peaking through downtown's forest of buildings, I hear a sparrow singing its heart out; he has a family under the rafters to protect.  There is life in every corner, even amongst concrete, I find fascinating and warms my heart.  

With transitions comes trying to grab onto anything that feels substantial/solid/trustworthy, where murky waters make visibility low.  You'd think that after a lifetime of moving and transitions that one would start getting used to the process; this isn't so, and the day I do I will be a lesser being.  The more meaning, connection, dedication, and loyalty you create, the harder the separation and longer the grieving process.  Last time I left Toronto, I not only left the city, but also a relationship of 5 years. Now I'm back in Toronto where I left the city and all that was; my ex now in a different country, both in a completely different place in our lives than before; new mindsets, perceptions, more scars, and notches on the belt buckle of life.  I am glad and proud of being on my own and having traversed the path I have chosen for myself; no regrets, but one not without struggles and a lot of heart ache.  That's the thing; the bigger the risks, and decisions, the greater the loss, consequences, the emotions and sensations that ripple.    

Where am I now?  What does Toronto mean to me, at this point in my life?  I sit here in a unit on the top floor of this older intimate building, where the ceiling height makes me feel a bit small, but I've designed the interiors to have a cozy homey familiarity, with reused furniture from my old studio, with paint splatters all over, and that I had replaced with smooth natural stone handles (I only bought new bookshelves and a couch as the ones I did own lasted way beyond their investment; over ten years of early IKEA furniture, YUP, FOR SURE!); but like my works of art, my space is full of texture, layers, and so much meaning in every piece/object.  There is a reason it is there, a story that goes along, with a special place in my memory and heart.  So yes, there is soul, wherever I go and whatever I touch.

Looking in on the present, and forward, I still can not shake those I miss, the pangs of sadness that remain in the moments of stillness, along with the beautiful sweet aftertaste, that is the gratitude someone/something/someplace worth missing exists.  

What do you have in store for me this time around Toronto?  I will make the most of it, in my own time, at my own pace, in my unconventional and unique ways.  I do appreciate all facets of life; ecstatic, good, bad, and/or downright ugly.  What a breadth of experience and adventure; curious of the countless possibilities.

As I returned from a meeting today, there sat a gurney and body bag; apparently someone on my floor passed away.  *Life* is happening all around, even in death.

  

Grateful, and contemplative, I. am. here.  


-M

              

Thursday, April 30, 2015

DARING GREATLY and COMFORTABLE UNCERTAINTY

How am I supposed to start packing for Toronto when I've got this face staring at me...
I can't take her with me as my new place doesn't allow animals(;_;) she knows when the suit cases start coming out that I will be leaving, and it breaks my heart every time.  Next place I move will have to permit pets (before she gets too old as she is already 10), shall miss her terribly.

There were a few points I wanted to discuss; about uncertainty and fear, also what brought me back from the dire situation I was in during my late teens and into my twenties, as well as what it is that drives me to constantly be better, and leading an exuberant, truly remarkable life.


This is true, scientist or otherwise, but that initial step to wonder, uncovering curiosity by taking the risk to make experiments happen, and to discover their results, takes a huge amount of gumption and courage.  The following is an amazing quote that I love:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  

-Theodore Roosevelt

Along the lines of daring greatly, I've recently been working on this ad nauseam, and one that is extremely challenging:

"The quality of you life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with."
-Tony Robbins

Regardless, I charge forwards fighting my battles as they arise on this journey I call life.  I don't think I can explain or describe in words how scary it is to be in these situations of uncertainty and not knowing.  I am afraid, but then again this immense fear is one of the main factors responsible for where I am now and that propels me further.  I have large dreams, but my fears are that much bigger.
  
The fears that keep me going?  What I fear more than not trying?

-I am more afraid of living with regrets, and the should've/could've/would've/ifs and buts.
-I am more afraid of the depths of depression and my experience of hell.  (here's a piece I did when I wasn't so well, from over 12 years ago...
...one piece I have never shared publicly, and to this day difficult to look at, but my experience of true hell is even more sinister and darker still, existing on the other side of death).
-I am more afraid of lacking sensations, not feeling, and the inability to think; this happens when you are so starved of nutrition and so far gone in the throws of illness/disorder that you literally lose your mind, and your body starts cannibalising its own organs.
-I am more afraid of inaction, complacence, and mediocrity.
-I am more afraid of the unforgiving nature, and inner critic that will haunt my consciousness for being dishonest, inauthentic, and not facing challenges head on.

Those are a few things I am more afraid of than the fears of daring greatly, and being outside my comfort zones. What are yours?  


Along with that, prepare for and put in gut-wrenching hard work; as I was packing up my books, I realised the sheer NUMBER and amount of studying I did in order to get myself better, and the process it took to get my life back.  The extent of effort was not of this world!  I'm going to have an unconventional library along my new living room wall.  

Sometimes we need to be kind to ourselves, acknowledge the strides we've made, and the fact that our being is near miraculous.  The potential within us all is far greater than we can comprehend.  The strength to endure, to get through hellish circumstances and hardships, to succeed in marked progress are deep within us; we just need to promise ourselves to never give up, and keep trying. When in need reach out and ask for help (professional or otherwise), believe in possibilities, and lean on love.

LEAN ON LOVE by Mackenzie Thorpe 
(I'd like to one day own an original of his, images of this piece along with others in a leaflet has hung above my work area since I first encountered them in a Sausalito, CA gallery a decade ago, it has such meaning and significance to me)

BELIEVE. IMAGINE IT. HOLD ONTO YOUR DREAMS.  
TAKE ACTIONS TOWARDS THOSE BELIEFS/DREAMS/VISIONS.
They do and will come true, I can say this from experience.  






Monday, April 13, 2015

Down Memory Lane: Uncovered Notes from a First Love

As I was sorting out and packing up all of the books for my move, I came across two somewhat neatly folded pieces of notebook paper shoved into the pages; a walk down memory lane, of my first love.



The sophistication and detail of the letters, of a 6th grader (so around 11/12, although I think he may have been 13) is quite impressive!  He must have gotten a lot of his English class writing practice from these notes; I can say this, as I remember he was the most popular boy in the grade, with a black belt in karate too(!), whoa, hahaha (yeah right... in the middle of the cornfields in Indiana, highly unlikely), and a smooth operator with the girls, before he got in with the not-so-great, monster truck loving, pill popping, smoking, high/stoned crowds later on as we became teenagers.  I was the new kid on the block, moving in from the suburbs of Detroit MI, I looked different in a predominantly caucasian environment, and from an apparently stable home life (to put the situation into context; the headquarters of the KKK were in the county or township adjacent to ours, and the area was well known for having the earliest and highest percentage of pre-teen/teenage pregnancies, and my hand was one of the only ones in the class raised, as we were asked about parents whom were still together).

I was oblivious to any of the realities of life, I was still a kid who was maybe only beginning to get out of the 'boys have cooties' phase; I remember to this day, as he was 'asking me out' during recess, out on the school field/playground, my response was 'ummm, I'm not sure if I can, I have to ask my mom first, I'll let you know later', and the group of boys and girls stood and stared at me like I was from another planet... I mean how was I supposed to know!?  And back then, I used to turn literally bright red in the face when put in embarrassing or 'on the spot' situations, so you could imagine the caliber of red I was turning!  

But there is such innocence, and honesty in the letters, it warms your heart, with even a bit of drama, that I find so adorable!  I mean you'd be hard pressed to find a man these days putting his whole heart on the line in this manner; well, such is growing up and becoming adults with responsibilities and other aspects to consider.  

I do remember the soul crushing heart break I was in after the umpteenth phone conversation when we 'broke up'; I cried, like the little girl that I was.  I didn't go out with anyone after that until I was 16 as I focused on my classical ballet career goals, another move back to a completely different environment that was an all girls Catholic private international school in Tokyo; a 180 from the public school system in the county an hour south of Indianapolis.
                
Maybe this will conjure up your experience of firsts in love, down memory lane.

-M



Friday, April 10, 2015

Not Knowing, Holding Patterns and Feeling Perplexed


This year has been one full of transitions, uncertainties, and circumstances that have challenged my patience (I am extremely tolerant, but patient; not so much...), and as I prepare to move to Toronto I am at once excited, apprehensive, and curious.  Where to next, life?


BRING IT ON!!!  Am all in.  Which brings me to another point I've been wondering about recently... I have never done things half way, or 'just cuz', and as I approach a place in my life where I do like the comforts of life, I am faced with a looming 'will I have to back off on an area of passion to compensate for the other as we only have 24 hours a day and 7 days a week' in order to maintain this 'comfort(s) in life'?  The Gemini in me stirs as I am faced with limitations; I weigh out the options as I begin scheduling the many meetings that will take place once moved into my new 'home base', from May 1st.  Having been cooped up in Detroit suburbia, I am more than ready to be back in the city and continue moving forwards, making things happen.  

For me personally, there is significance in


...wether it be in the arts, mental healthcare, or wherever else.

But there will always be that uncertainty, that fear that creeps back in, or the

and/or


and/or


and/or



BUT YOU DO IT ANYWAYS
&


by living each and every moment authentically without regrets. 


Honestly, right now I am feeling; perplexed~  That's where I'm at, again, a

   

*SMILE*
-M