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!
S P A C I O U S N E S S.
Longing for a sense of spaciousness and less pressure, I haven't written in awhile - not for myself; not for work, blood, love nor money.
Sometimes not writing is a marker of avoidance, of myself, of my inner world, of things that need attention. This time it was a signal of another process. Exploring my living space in a new way, the space of living in my body and my outer home. Unknowingly, my deeper need and pursuit of spaciousness has launched my personal reorganizing renovation, divesting, recycling campaign.
My soul went on strike. Demands were simple: a little more breathing space amidst the daily visual noise. It was much easier to turn off the radio or the computer, than the constant visual demands of paper piles, undone tasks, and groceries that needed transforming into edible dishes. Although the demands were simple, the tasks to fulfill this deceptively simple request, were not. Emotionally overwhelming and physically demanding, the pressure had actually been accumulating my entire life in the growing inertia of nostalgia.
In keeping with the rising zeitgeist toward minimalism and the magical life changing decluttering a la Marie Kondo*, these phenomenons highlight and sharply contrast the sheer consumer madness afoot. For many a post war decade now, consumerism and excess has been growing, hitting a fever pitch through the 80's up until, well,.....now. Western capitalism and entitlement has created a gluttony of junk accumulation, an economic crisis several times over, based in north American debt load, and the rising obesity and sloth of inactivity, purchase power(nee rather, ease) and technology. These realities, although well known by society, are sadly potently anaesthetizing the public into somnolent numbness and apathy. 'Potently' I say, because this is how many corporations and advertisers design it to be. The need for clearing space is directly linked to consumer culture. IT counters the panicked sensation of drowning. IF you are like me this bombardment creates tension within.
Back to, 'AH!' Exhale. The pursuit of spaciousness. Did you notice your shoulders soften with the conscious breath? Fortunately, we can always choose to wake up from this robotic, ceaseless onslaught.
Other good news is there is also a rise of more conscious, ethical business, with eco friendly and fair trade emphasis fuelling their vision. Probably even within reach of your very own neighborhood.
With the popularity of the aforementioned*, ' life changing magic of Tidying up' and the meteoric rise of the minimalists*, something else is emerging.
There is clearly a broader yearning afoot. A yearning for spaciousness. Room to breathe. Room to stretch. To let go. Release. Lighten the psychic burden.
My spirit was feeling cramped, and while I value yoga, I needed a deeper stretch and room to expand that I couldn't yet access. Perhaps even deeper, clearing space is a vehicle to heal ourselves and clear the past . Perhaps most importantly clearing helps heal the planet we have so callously and blindly used as a garbage receptacle. Being mindful of new purchases, recycling, upcycling, giving away, sharing resources.
In dance, reference to the sacredness of movement and its power and healing in our lives to ground us-- dovetails effortlessly with the joy of an empty space to do so! Whether your personal medicine is an afternoon espresso, a yoga warrior pose or a titillating book, consider that stillness, space and beauty calm our far too frequently vexed spirit . We are then able to release tension. E x-p-a-n--d--i---n----g.
My writing had been bottling up. I've missed it. Felt guilt, pressure, confusion, ache and even despair and pointlessness—but through all of these incarnations I held the internal space to witness, observe and not react. Clearing the story; the 'shoulds', the confusion, until a deeper truth emerged. This Parallels the eerie hovering of the wildfire smoke and haze this summer blanketing most of BC; we were forced to be in it, powerless to impact it, and yet learned to be with it, until it lifted; simply awaking one morning to a new, clearer landscape.
Breathing easier, once again.
Sometimes taking a break from something important to you is not in fact avoidance, but rather reverence. Reverence for the space we seek, the refuge we require, the value we wish to add. The fervour of committed play.
I have made this the year for massive give aways and clearing of my space. It continues. No coincidence I am sure, hitting my half century mark. A new identity wishes to emerge, chafing at the old constraints, limitations and programming. I regret, I still have a long way to go and recognize it is a process, an ongoing process. IT is also fun to see positive contagion spread though, as your shift draws your whole family to the quest.
Visual clutter it seems, is a stressor which I never fully understood. I rationalized it as representative of a full life, creativity, stimulating, an active mind, a busy life. Perhaps I am simply not willing to be so torn to pieces anymore filling too many responsibilities. A chaotic desk top now feels overwhelming instead of creative. Confusing.
Yes, in truth, the patina of living is messy and wrinkled and leaves its stains and scratches. Entropy happens. Laws of nature need to be understood to avoid self reproach. But the practice of clearing is becoming a deep-seated need toward a deeper calm and ease, saving both time and energy. I am already breathing easier. And when I maintain consistent movement toward
it is freeing. Emancipation by simply, lightening the load. By taking this action, The gifts are plentiful in return. One can breathe easier. Spaciousness graciously allows the yielding, the surrender more readily. Clearing allows Personal pain, heavy density and stuckness to transform to inner power.
S p a c i o u s n e s s allows the essential to e m e r g e.
1. *The life-changing magic of tidying up, Marie Kondo, c 2014. (see also Books blog 'a brief affair', jan 2016)
2. *IF you are unfamiliar with them, check them out at, the minimalists for their blog and podcast, netflix documentary and several books. http://www.theminimalists.com/ two average American young guys simply deeply committed to a principle of less is more. Their work elegantly demonstrates the power and beauty of clarity, simplicity and living intentionally.
3. * Nia dance, a holistic approach to movement and wellness in your body, see also my blog, the genius of movement, june-2016, and look for classes in your area it's worldwide! FInd your joy and an ability to maintain a ready, aware and waiting (RAW -a NIA priniciple) openness to daily life.