a short and sweet visit to London and Liverpool in May primed the creative pump with art and inspiration! xo
'How do I surrender?'
Hostage to the overwhelm, simply turn your back, step away.
A heavy snowfall muffles the incessant buzz of collective anxiety
stillness settles in like a large heaving beast
Resistance shows up. Tension and anxiety arrive; yammering and gripping bags of disaster supplies,
bickering, as they do, urgently tapping toes and watches;
'no time, no time!' they urge.
whistling tea kettles announce boiling temperatures while too many balls in the air juggle treacherously through the pages of an appointment book; fighting gravity, cancellation emails shoot their infinite vectors furiously across the ether.
Finally, it's done.
The willfulness collapses.
Ego's tight red corset strings let go
releasing the illusion
my animal body softens
the belly tension melts like an ice cube to a puddle
finding this sudden ease
I surrender to nature's barricade.
......there i breathe again.
Simplicity has arrived and swept up the harsh shards left by broken expectations. She is a steadfast ally like that, elegant and wise.
I Surrender. Nothing matters if nothing can be done.
There is another slow exhale..........
There is joy to be mined, after all.
There is beauty to be admired.
'I surrender.' (I whisper this).
There is a quiet to deafen us with it's rare splendour.
Without the tension there is e x p a n s i o n.
I SURRENDER. (arms open, my voice is jubilant.)
I wave my white flag as snow angel wings.
There is awe.
Ms Ngh/c. Feb 2019/
AH! Nothing like Beginning of a new year enthusiasm, rife with juicy expectations, lofty goals and laser focused energy.
Fast forward 30 days; one long, purple nosed, rib dislocating cough, several debilitating chronic migraines and a scotch infused, tear soaked tragic funeral.
S Q U A S H the river of enthusiasm down to a rather erratic trickle.
Wait! I'm still here, still trying...hang on, back it up!
"Please slow down 2019.”
So, if you too feel off course, fear not, for you're not alone.
In this PUMP it UP zeitgeist, 'be your best self' 'lightness and love' culture,
it is extra hard to be fuzzy brained, ugly tired, ill, velcroed to your sofa in a dinosaur onsie and under functioning.
But it's all temporary.
The pitfalls. The success. The failure. The enthusiasm. The malaise.
Everything changes rather constantly. 2019 won't slow down despite my bribes and pleas.
I don't think it's an act of malice, it's just the universe has its own intention, which , as far as I can tell, no one, including academics and scientists, is clear on.
SO finding one's own intention and sticking to it, despite the slings and arrows disguised as paper shredder fires and broken salad dressing bottles on what was a just washed kitchen floor---take heart.
Life is still like that. No matter the new calendar year. It's not personal. It will always be full of tensions and setbacks. I keep forgetting that...Clear sailing is only a fantasy we fuel on glossy instagram accounts.
Not real. So in case you are worried, full of self doubt or suffering with sniffles and heartaches, I'm here to say, go team!
You still got this, it's going to be okay; just never as easy or smooth as we hope.
VIva la crazy ride, 2019!
courage and vita d,
xo Ms NGH
I hear a phantom knock
After heavy ghost steps resonate throughout, no one appears
waiting for the dead of night
'is it only 4 in the afternoon?'
it's delusion or derision
strange things creep in the long night
wind threatens to cut us in half
trees thrown about like toothpicks by some callous GIANT--
I hear you knocking--
I am trying.
I am listening to your call-
but when I rise
you blast me in the face so hard i bruise
the light whimpers one last meagre flicker
before the return to cold blackness of original time
gravity plays tricks
marbles bounce, the animals vanish,
buildings tumble like the last careless round of jenga
The cat sniffs the imaginary stranger that has settled in my bones,
taking uncomfortable residence
poking at my discontent.
I serve it cold tea.
c. Dec 2018 n.hoeppner
Unexpected Conversations lighting the way...
‘Enlightenment. It’s a strange concept most will never understand,’
I was told by a middle aged man on the ferry yesterday, on my long commute home.
He had approached cautiously, gestured whether he could join me. I prepared for the unwanted possibilities but decided to remain open and non assumptive. Why shouldn’t we welcome engagement and conversation in public? Community is one of my alleged values I need to embrace.
So he sat down.
And we talked.
And he opened with, “I wanted to talk to you because you are a stylish woman who appears intelligent and educated, and as a heterosexual male...” (okay, so I am tensing up at this point waiting for the other shoe to drop, )and he continues,
“... how do I be a man now? It used to be fun. Talking to women used to be fun, now everyone is so tense about what to say, how to be.”
And my younger self might have been angry, defensive, righteous; but I chose to listen and offered my counterpoint and we engaged in a conversation as strangers across the gender divide. I believe this needs to happen far more often now as part of the antidote to the poison atmosphere in the world. I believe it is our collective responsibility to change the conversation. To invite conversation.
I shared that it wasn’t just the news that made us tense, these weren’t isolated incidents of a handful of individuals, but rather (tragically) the everyday commonplace experience of almost all women at some point.
We discussed how men generally don’t communicate well or in-depth. How they often don’t risk challenging each other in group think either. I suggested it was high time they did.
He spoke of his choice for a zen lifestyle, an American who moved to Canada for 6 months of the year many decades ago. He spoke of his own choices working toward enlightenment, and although my critical mind questioned his bold statement, I held his sharing as respectfully as I could, recognizing I also felt envious and interested about his spiritual exploration and experiences with ‘all life as light.’ He described that his belief was all life came from the same light source and how much darkness was present merely indicates how attached we are to ego.
In other words, pain is largely manufactured I added.
He was respectful, pointed in his personal questions, curious and interested.
Still, it would have been much easier to disengage. A v o i d. Politely decline needing to go to the loo.
I noticed waves of tension and clenching in my body come and go, but I decided to sit with it. Stay open and engaged. I questioned whether I was just doing the polite female thing indulging him, and in part that was initially true.
‘I am safe.’ I kept reminding myself. ‘You can handle it if it goes sideways. ‘ And inherent in that reminder is the underlying issue with women’s experience. Because we so often are not safe. Sometimes in more subtle but equally toxic ways, such as being dismissed, disbelieved, minimized, negatively labelled for sharing our view or experience.
But we sat together and shared and listened for an hour. Then we parted ways. A little Lighter.
I am grateful for brave, open hearted men. And I thanked him for taking a risk.
I heard the geese splash across the sky this morning
i saw the spider patient in the center of her web
i watched the ant cross quietly along the window, meandering like a river through heavy silt
(as i sat and ate toast)
these are moments; fleeting. Ordinary. captured by my eye,
while spirit whispers to my hip hopping mind, gently imprinting their fossils on my life breath
the ant hypnotized me-- transforming thoughts into captured words, as though the spider
spun her web to weave a tale
the geese call to winter coming
the familiar bugle trumpeting the change of season clearly
all of these moments,
my cat's crushed whiskers like a rumpled garment as she rises startled from a deep sleep
the vegetables left carefully by the neighboring farmer at the door
(bouquets of grand expansive leaves i've never seen before,)
the trill of the red winged black birds echo summer's ghost, as I slide the window closed
these primordial matters call me from my preoccupation with the internet (with 'important work' and 'urgent priorities' )
within a few mere decades, modern life heralding massive rapid change and disconnection,
from these tiny treasured calls of the wild.
My inhale has forgotten them, but my exhale remembers well
and gently coaxes my flesh and senses to recall.
These tiny things reclaim my breath.
REALITY: Truth or Fiction?
There are 118 elements in the periodic table. True.
26 letters in the English alphabet. True.
Both serve as building blocks to creating endless realities. True.
Dreams, memory, perception, sensation, emotion; all real experiences within your unfolding reality, but not necessarily the truth.
Opinion is not fact. True; (despite popular effort to make it so).
A fact is a thing that is indisputably true.
Fiction is 'a belief or statement that is false, but that is often held to be true because it is expedient to do so.
"the notion of that country being a democracy is a polite fiction".
How do you create your current reality? How do you decipher your Truth from Fictions?
"Just the facts ma'am..." if you please.
'My mythology', Ms NGH
(artwork N. Hoeppner)
'We adore chaos because we love to produce order.' M.C. Escher
Shazam and Sizzle warm up
Howdy and thanks so much for dropping by! I apologize for my cyber absence. I have been wandering in circles searching for the inspiration fairies and magic pixie dust, while tunneling into hidden passages of the psyche. 'ooooh, scary kids!' Translation?: I am busy preparing for a solo art show at the Salt Spring Gallery, opening apr 13-25. Check back for postings of the show or please drop by the Gallery on beautiful Salt spring island, BC.
Growing up, the youngest of the roving neighbourhood brood, I often felt desperate to keep up. At about age 5, before we moved from that old, two storey, looming drafty house with the pine green trim, I was embroiled in treacherous games with the big kids. Hide and Seek was one such game. I didn't play the usual 5 yr old brand of closing my own eyes, only half hidden by a bush, legs still obviously sticking out!
I played to win.
A long time ago, in a land far, far away, children were simply not supervised, coddled and duct-taped to couches, while holding techie gadgets that hadn't even been dreamed up yet. No, they balanced eggs on spoons while madly running about and tripped recklessly through muddy three legged races, saddled to their snotty nosed neighbour. Playing always happened outdoors.
The trees were our companions and play structures. Rather than sunscreen, we found shade.
In my 'hood, the other kids were older, taller, faster—I knew I was at a disadvantage. I realized one way to remain untouchable in this game, was not to go under, or in, or behind, but rather...UP.
And so I did.
When the time to hide arrived and we ran in opposite directions, I climbed the wood pile to the lean too, reached for the sloping garage roof, from where, a bit of another s t r e t c h and scramble, I could just make it to the porch of our very steep roof via an obliging oak tree.
I adored that view. I earned it. I owned it.
Lying flat on my soft belly so as not to be spotted, I would watch the tallest boys and smartest girls circle the houses and wander the back-lane, until they were far enough away, and I could scuttle down unseen, just enough time to find home-free, safe and sound! Victorious.
They never figured out how I did it and they hated that fact. And I never told. I felt like a puffed up colourful bird, chest out, confident and strong.
It makes me gulp in fear and wonder now, thinking about it. I am just back from a recent visit where I drove by that looming old house and I can tell you confidently, I wouldn't climb it today.
That childhood discovery of a bird's eye view taught me the simple joys of a breeze blowing through my messy hair and the hidden power of raising your perspective, changing your vantage point, heading UPward.
Hide and seek was my secret glee.
A lifelong love of hiking to vistas was cemented in that childhood game. To this day, when I feel stuck, stagnant, or drained I walk, drive or climb to higher ground, to lift and open my thinking, my energy, my horizon. IT seems to reconnect me with that young confidence we all have as small, yet mighty children. To remind me of what we can accomplish when we know no fear. I had no fear of what might happen during my crazy climbs because I was too young to understand or care. What a blissful state to realign with, imagining only possibility. Your eye only on the goal. The opportunity for wind in your hair and a tremendous sense of joy and pride.
May you find a worthy view and feel your own joy rising in this new year ahead. What's your childhood confident spot?
Have a yummy and surprising new year and don't forget to scare yourself!