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“I am the life-force power of the universe.”

“I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is.” Jill Bolte Taylor – My Stroke Of Insight

The 1st time I saw Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED video – Stroke of Insight – I cried. Not because I felt sad for Jill, but because she described so well the inner peace she felt as a result of the stroke that she was aware she was having. She called it “La La Land.”

I felt La La Land too – although not to the extent that Jill did. (Bummer).

Nirvana. Euphoria. Who wouldn’t want that?

I tell everyone I can about Jill’s video, because it is a clue as to how our brain’s can think differently from one another. It’s those differences that make us unique. Those differences are marvellous! (WordBook App: “being or having the character of a miracle”). We need to marvel at these things… n’est pas?

The photo above, is some art work I did recently with the help of Kim. Kim is helping me ‘express myself’ these days which seems very difficult… hence A Blanc Canvas. If you want to befuddle me these days, just ask me an open ended question, such as, “How are you doing?’ Or, “How are you feeling?” I’m likely to walk away. How can I answer that?

Kim used an article from Brain Pickings as inspiration for the art piece we worked on: Why Emotional Excess is Essential to Writing and Creativity. This art is an expression of the article and how it made me feel. A visual rendition.

Red – Represents needing to be or feel ‘anchored’. To this world I guess. Red is also the colour for the Root Chakra – that ‘grounds’ us.

Blue – Represents ‘borders’. Helps keep you in. Keeps you safe in the confines of open space.

Yellow – Represents ‘energy, light, personal power.’

Orange – Represents ‘physical connection’ between the Red anchors and the Yellow energy.

Violet – Represents ‘spirituality’ of the inner physical being.

White – Represents the ‘spiritual connection’. Reaching out beyond the physical.

It’s no surprise then, that Violet and White together are bursting from the confines of both – anchors and borders.

Compare the above art vs. that below.

I call this one – my brain on a bad day.

I Am The Captain Of My Soul

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Invictus
William Earnest Henley (published 1875)
(Invictus means “Unconquered” in Latin)

Out of the night that covers me
black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
my head is bloody, but unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
looms but the horror of the shade
and yet the menace of the years
finds, and shall find me, unafraid

It matters not how strait the gate
how charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul

*****************

“How do you know I have a brain injury?” I asked.

That’s what I asked when my (now) Occupational Therapist first came to see me.

On March 5, 2011, my husband, dog and I left Orangeville with some special dog food (which is why we had him with us) and started on our drive back home.

The next thing I remember is being in a hospital. Sunnybrook. I was strangely ‘unperturbed’ by this – which should have told me something right there.

I went home shortly after that with a letter from Sunnybrook saying I suffered a ‘traumatic brain injury’ or TBI for short. I didn’t know what a TBI was or how it would affect me. The remaining part of 2011 is a blur now. We’re half way through 2012, and I’m still struggling to understand TBI in what I can and cannot do. But that… as I am finding out – is the lot of having a TBI.

There I said it. T-r-a-u-m-a-t-i-c B-r-a-i-n I-n-j-u-r-y. I’m not looking for sympathy. I am looking for patience, understanding and to educate. TBI doesn’t just affect the victim. It affects family as well.

My family is everything to me right now. I have other wonderful people helping me too and friends that are concerned.

I am not the same.

I’m not sure what that even means to be ‘the same’, but I am ok.

On Noobs & Beans

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Ok… I’m a noob (novice, beginner… noob).

I was happily squeezing in a blog post, before a dog walk, threatened by rain even. Finished it and promptly deleted it by mistake. Crap!

I was to title it… Beans, Beans Good For The Heart, but now I’ve lost all my giddy momentum. [Aside: “Is ‘giddy’ right? Shoulder shrug… Enh, don’t care].

Here’s what I deleted earlier.

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Beans, Beans Good For The Heart

Yesterday I had a craving for ‘beans’ for breakfast. I think because I needed protein.

Digging through my cupboard, I happily found a can of mixed beans – 6 bean medley – I think they call it.

I started with the beans, but it quickly became a concoction (photo) inspired by a recent visit to the Bulk Barn where i picked up a number of odd bits and jars to keep them in. [Aside: Actually when I opened the cupboard to look for beans – all the beautiful jars and bits were staring at me!]

Yes, I started with the beans, and added other ingredients as I asked myself what is was I wanted – to taste and experience.

Here’s the concoction (as it occurred):
– beans – 6 kinds (protein)
– some chopped up spring onions (green and oniony)
– flax oil (oily, satisfying)
– sushi/sashimi soy sauce (salty)
– a little rice wine vinegar (tangy)
– almond slivers (not over powering and crunchy + more protein)
– some chia seeds (tiny crunchy)
– some barberries (small, pretty red, some sweet, but very tart)

I think that’s all. M-m-m-m-m de-lish!

September 11 & Adagio For Strings Opus 11

I feel an overwhelming sadness today.

Over the last few weeks, a piece of classical music has been going through my head. I can’t remember which piece it is, but know it’s intense and part of a music score from a war movie. The Killing Fields? Apocalypse Now? No. It’s Samuel Barber’s – Adagio for Strings Op. 11 from the movie Platoon.

In trying to find this piece of music, I found through my research that it had been played to commemorate the victims of September 11. No surprise. I play the music all day.

*****************

It’s 2001. It’s Tuesday and it is a beautiful fall day. I’m at home with the kids today. They are 4 and 2 years old.

I normally work Monday, Wednesday and Friday at a financial investment firm. Today the sky is a clear, clear blue. There is not a cloud in the sky.

Just after 8:30 AM my husband calls from work – downtown Toronto. “You may want to turn the TV on. They’re saying a plane flew into one of the Trade Towers in New York.”

“What?! Do you know what kind of plane?”

I turn on the TV. Voices sound strained. Details chaotic. Before too long – I discover not only did a plane fly into one of the Towers, but it was commercial passenger plane.

I am fixated on the TV coverage of this bizarre event. Just after 9:00 AM another commercial plane rips into the second Tower. Right before my eyes. I’m horrified. I let out a sound that I can’t even describe. My kids busy with morning activity and fun are not comprehending my stress. “Can you watch some kid TV upstairs?” Tearful, I usher them up into our bedroom and the comfort of the ‘big bed’ and try to get them settled.

I call my husband and tell him that I watched a second commercial plane fly into Tower 2. I’m crying.

As the day unfolds, I try to make sense of what is happening. What was to happen? How many planes? How many people? Would there be retaliation?

I keep a rough pen scrawled count of fight #’s and passengers lost on our calendar. It’s Tuesday, September 11. There is no more room in the calendar date box for more details. Please… no more details.

The kids don’t understand why I am crying so much, but know that I’m sad. My husband heads home early from work, but he takes the train transit system and it is now clogged with the chaos of people trying to get home. “Please… be home soon.”

For days and weeks after September 11, I stay up late watching the news for anything… anything that would help me make sense of what happened that day. I find no real answers. A life is very small and fragile and can be brushed away rather quickly. That vulnerability makes me anxious. For me. For everyone.

What was going through Samuel Barber’s mind when he composed Adagio for Strings that sweeps people away – so movingly. I want to know.

For years before I had children, I flew all over Canada for work. I was on the road a lot. Flying became second nature and I often fell asleep before the plane left the tarmac. During that period, I would often have dreams about passenger planes. I was usually in them, but not always. I would often wake up as we entered nose dives or flew impossibly under bridges. In my mind I kept saying, “Planes-going-where-they-should-not-go. Planes-going-where-they-should-not-go.” After September 11 – I stopped having those dreams.

*****************

It’s fall 2009. Before my husband prepares to take our sailboat out of the water for yet another season – he invites his brother and father for a week-long sojourn on Georgian Bay. It’s Friday before the weekend and I’m at home with the kids. It’s dark. My mother calls from Nova Scotia. “I’m afraid I have bad news. You’re father died earlier today.”

It’s September 11, 2009. I have no answers.

Pink

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Posting this picture is so unlike me. Why? Because this pink flower seems so vulnerable, soft and delicate. Yet it lives in this world which can be cruel and terrifying at times. I think that’s why I like it – because of the contrast in qualities. There’s nothing more engaging than a waif standing up to a bully and holding her own. A homeless child? I think not. You go Pinky – the feisty girl!

Cat Scratch Fever

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Multi Tasking Squirrel!

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I was amazed at the number of squirrels running around today gathering various foodstuffs. It seems as though a switch was triggered. Run, run, run!

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