Archive for January, 2008

Don’t Look Down

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

My friends are very patient with me. I may have become a source of curiosity and wonder too. “How long is she going to stay up in that attic without DOING anything?” Good question. I may have created a situation up here not unlike reality TV. Nothing is happening but great portent is read into it. A part of me is ashamed at the emotion and despondency I’ve felt from going on one little job interview last week. It undid me. I made a great big deal about it. I am straddling a couple of attitudes, now that it is the new year. One is that I should keep it in perspective, an income is needed. I’m a big girl; I’ve done it, I can do it, just do it. The other is that there is something just for me, not for anybody else. It’s out there, it’s coming, it’s mine. If I will just keep listening and be willing to hear my own heart.

The first attitude had me following a good lead. What I thought was saying yes to the universe, showing that I am willing and watching to see where I’m meant to go. It was a six hour trip for me just to go to Guildford Mall area for the interview. The rain was bouncing as high as my knees. I went very early so I could find the address. The bus is the place where you can find the most faces all lined up and seated of those that lead lives of quiet desperation. Already I felt rebellious as I paid my fare. I do not want to live that way, nor quietly. Time for Osho:

“What a life!” said one new soldier. “Miles from anywhere, a sergeant who thinks he’s Attila the Hun, no women, no booze, no leave – and on top of all that, my boots are two sizes too small.”

“You don’t want to put up with that, chum,” said his neighbour. “Why don’t you put in for another pair?”

“Not likely,” came the reply. “Taking ’em off is the only pleasure I’ve got!”

I needed to get in out of the rain once I’d located the address. That meant the mall which is never a good idea for me. I sink. I disappear. The excess overwhelms. Before Christmas I made the mistake of walking through Metrotown and I thought my heart was going to throw up. Okay, it’s time. Get over to the building. Pep talk myself. Do the interview. Felt somewhat revived just from interaction with good people. Unfortunately the mall after; the washroom, checking the bus schedule, and then racing through the parking lots to catch it. The poor connections. Nothing when it’s summer and the light is there longer to read by, but it’s still raining. I cannot see the sky, only feel its tears. The smokers have claimed all the shelters but invite me to, “Come in out of the rain, are you nuts?” Six hours to navigate through an urban landscape devoid of depth and soul. Faltering on attitude number one.

Attitude number two; I think of Henry Miller…I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.

I am DianeOutLoud, aka QuietNotLikely. Leap and the net will appear. I will alchemize this suspension into words that I can reach for. Words that will hold me up as long as it takes for that net to be fashioned. Where are my placebo wings? They will do while my faith fades in and out between attitude number one, and attitude number two.

I wonder if my path was set so long ago. My first job was at sixteen, playing the piano at a ballet studio. Margaret, my best friend, took dance all through our school years, at a ballet studio at the edge of downtown, from a ballet mistress called Maria. Maria was a Polish single woman, “married to the dance.” She walked with her feet out turned in a perpetual first position, wore her hair in a strict bun, had the posture of one who was still standing at the barre. Maria talked, lived, breathed ballet. Margaret told me that she had played piano accompaniment for a few Saturday classes rather than the usual records that Maria used. Ding! I stored that fact. And when I was ready to quit high school I took myself down there and introduced myself to Maria.

For two years my job began after school hours when the students would arrive. Classes ran at hourly and hour and a half intervals; from four o’clock, through the supper hour and on through the evening. The studio was in a little bungalow across the street from where Maria still lived with her parents. The living room had the barres running the length of the room, the floors were beautiful wood. There were large mirrors at both the front and back of the room. I played the piano in the kitchen, with the gorgeous Heintzman piano pushed into the doorway. From my bench I could see Maria and the class and she and I could communicate with each other. We did well, she and I. She would ask for a waltz, a march, something up tempo or a certain beat, 3/4 or 2/4 time. I had a repertoire of suitable music and I would hastily think of something and play a few bars to which she inevitably would give her enthusiastic approval. And I was proud of how tuned in to each other Maria and I became. After two years we got to the point where she could demonstrate a few steps and I would know the perfect piece for the class to dance to.

Those were heady, creative times. My sweet boyfriend Roland would slip into the waiting room towards the end of the last class, and wait for me. So many nights the three of us stayed late; telling stories, listening to music, drinking herbal tea and hot chocolate in the kitchen. Talking, talking, talking. Maria adored us. Roland was such an idealistic intellectual, and a boy from Paris to boot. Maria took me under her wing. We took busses to the big city, Toronto, to the National Ballet School, and to see performances by the very best dance companies. I saw Karen Kain, Frank Augustyn, Veronica Tennant, Erik Bruhn; visions in flight. If you ever get the chance to see BILLY ELLIOT, that last scene in the movie, that last shot, that’s the one. Those were the times; what take your breath away. Maria also exploited me shamelessly. She paid me peanuts per hour, nothing on par with the type of creative service I was providing her studio. I was too young and too proud to ask for more money. Shocked by my tiny, little paycheque and the reality of how cheap my rented rooms had to be, and how spartan my needs. As I’ve written these words and relived these memories, I see how the path and the pattern has continued. Share my creativity, never get paid my worth. (Note to self…)

But now I can’t help but think I have done well after all. I’ve stayed true to myself. Avoided the mcjobs as much as possible. Can still laugh at myself and say, that’s my motto: Live and never learn! (And never believe it for a second.) It’s a good exercise to do. Write down an experience or memory from your younger, fabulous self. You may be surprised at who you were then and what it was you valued. And whether you still recognize that self, and feel either grief at the spirit you’ve let go of, or triumphant for that trusting, joyous child that has walked into the future and is still standing, dancing, leaping.

I love this Ojibway wisdom. It has hushed my ingratitudes and stopped me in my fear many, many times…Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind is bearing me across the sky.

Us. Bearing all of us across the sky.

Good Life

We Are So Lightly Here…

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

It just feels so auspicious. I can feel that calendar page being lifted, turned and settling down. It’s a new day, new year, new breath to take. What I wish is for us all to wake up to it. We are so privileged. If we have access to this blog then undoubtedly we are somewhere lit, and somewhere warm. Probably safe, and have the time to either live, or waste. There is a roof over our heads, we are the lucky ones; we have a home on this earth. We have our great joys and our petty concerns. And so on, and so on. How privileged is that.

We need to surpass ourselves.
Grow our selves.
Use our hearts.
Take chances.
Listen in.
Look out.

Leonard, I always hear you singing something that catches my attention. “We are so lightly here…” How true. We are fragile. And yet so strong. And then, we’re gone! But we have the chance and the opportunity and the privilege to leave a mark on every single day of every month of this new calendar year. Already it’s close to midnight, January 1st, 2008. Go!

Let’s shine. Make it illuminating, stellar…of the stars.

Good Life