Archive for the ‘Life of Carmen’ Category

In Canada people are breathing

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

In Canada people are breathing. I notice this the moment I step off the plane. There is spaciousness here, where people still draw full breaths down to the belly and then, in a natural and relaxed manner, release the diaphragm and gently exhale. In America it is different.

In America people breathe shallowly, fearfully. As if they are hiding under the stairs hoping the Gestapo will pass on by. Under the veneer of extroverted Americanness is a layer of subcutaneous anxiety. A readiness to duck and cover at any moment. The throat is constricted, muscles primed for fight or flight.

I step out of the tube into YVR and draw cool air deep, deep into my lungs. It has been been four months since I breathed so fully. Fully here, fully home.

Photo borrowed from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pajamas-for-llamas/20022253772/in/photostream/

Dreaming of a small world

Monday, November 7th, 2016

I dream of a world where people live small. It’s happening. It’s a meme.ben-chuns-friends-tiny-house

Small houses, small gardens, small vehicles, small pleasures. Small incomes. Small needs.

My path is to live and to model that life. Enrich my networks. Take care of what I have and get rid of what I don’t need. Place myself in situations of humility and of trust: monasteries, communities, neighbourhoods, islands. You can’t be small in isolation. Living small means asking for help, accepting it, giving it back.

My caution is to resist letting my needs mushroom mindlessly. The goal is to simply stay small.

 

The monkish (married?) life

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

buslife2I’m living the monk’s life in my green turtle bus, up on the bluff over the lagoon.

Wake up, chop wood and carry water, wash my panties in a pail and hang them to dry in the sun. Sit a bit, stretch a bit, watch the tides roll out and in. Out, and in. Soak some beans, then boil them slowly on the two-burner hotplate, seasoned with garden tomatoes, zucchini and herbs. Eat. Wash. Empty toilet bucket into pit. Sleep. Start again.

I wonder how my monk life will mesh with my married life … I wonder, but can’t know. The beauty is, we are grownups. We make up the rules.  It is my life, it is our life, it is art: all one grand experiment.

Carmen getting hitched

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

dc-collage-signed-smDig this: Carmen is getting married. Yes you heard that right: CARMEN is getting MARRIED.

I’ve been super skittish about outing myself on this because frankly, it is about the scariest thing i’ve ever done in my life (and i’ve done some pretty scary things).

What is most scary about it I realize – what is actually flipping my stomach over and keeping me awake nights – is not that i don’t want to do it, or that i think it is a bad idea. I’m into it. What is scaring the living shit out of me is that getting married totally messes with the carefully constructed edifice of identity that i have spent 53 years building up. I swore I would never do this, and ha ha, the gods laughed. (The gods on their mountain snicker into their sleeves when they hear the words ‘never’ and ‘forever’.) (more…)

A little pink notebook

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am having an identity crisis in the fancy-ass stationery store on Granville Island. A little pink notebook is messing with my head.

You see, I am the Kind of Person who carries a notebook all the time. It is the repository and record of my life, from to-do lists to major epiphanies. I get twitchy when I don’t have a notebook (and working pen) within reach. It is what people see when they see me. The notebook is me, it defines who I am. I am the Kind of Person whose notebook is black—serious, beat-poet, anarchist black. (more…)

Tree: 1 Island: 0

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

treeShe did not go gentle into that good night, oh no. A windstorm took her head off and her body soon followed. When she fell this 700-yr-old grandmother fir shook the ground, swiping the power lines and taking the island down with her.

We were 30 hrs without power, the silenced grid a soft blanket. A generator chugged here and there, a whiff of gasoline dissipating in still air. Bertha’s General Store quiet and dim but the till still open, popsicles and beer kept cold by the genny growling out back. But away from the puffing engines, so quiet, and at night the darkness so rich. (more…)

Just for the…

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Gilean Todd was moored over at the landing, said to have rockfish, halibut, and cod. Spattering rain, gale warning in effect. But the tide had just turned so I put on my all-purpose bike gear, hauled out the blue kayak (like a split milk-jug), and set out for the wharf. With one boot full of seawater and the wind at my back.

I pulled up alongside and shouted up to the boat: Hey—you got fish?! Yup. Halibut. But only whole fish, said Silas, hoisting a glossy 14-pounder. Both eyes on one side, shiny as live. Just yesterday swimming off Comox.

I paddled round the wharf and dragged the kayak up the beach. (more…)

And this is why i quit my job

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

CBHsUmZUQAEO5lS.jpg_largeNo hard feelings Hollyhock. Its been a nice cozy winter, sitting in my corner office overlooking the ocean, three days a week, tap-tapping away on my (thank god) Mac with the nice big monitor, grooving with the marketing team. I think I’ve done a pretty good job. But that’s enough—I’m too old for this nonsense.

This nonsense being, the act of sitting in front of a computer for 8 hrs a day (well ok less than that, with lunch and plenty of stretch breaks), investing my heart and soul into something which isn’t my passion. Don’t get me wrong—I totally respect Hollyhock and the good people that make it tick. If I didn’t, I couldn’t work there for even five minutes, in any capacity. I respect, and I support. But I am 50 years old and I’ve only got so much juice in me. Life is too short to atrophy my body, or to pour out my soul, for something that isn’t the very reason why I am alive on this earth. (more…)


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