Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cat Prints: An October Tale

Chelsea had an interest in astrology and other subjects that dealt with the workings of the inner churnings of her mind and spirit. One memory in particular stood out in her mind: A Tarot reading she had while on vacation on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. She had been walking with a heavy weight upon her being about certain decisions that were out of her hands. She saw a woman sitting at a small table in an outdoor market and decided to get her cards read. The woman saw favorable conditions with regard to her situation and when the time came, the reading proved true. That moment had piqued Chelsea’s curiosity and down the road, over the years, she would learn more about the cards and find other ritualistic ways to work with them.

That evening before Chelsea went to bed, she thought about her day. She thought about how unhappy she was in her job, yet she didn’t know what else to do. She worked in an office and she liked office work, but this particular office was not in an area of knowledge that she wished to grow in. How could she bring more meaning into her life? How could she make the pieces fit together? She slowly drifted off to sleep and she began to dream.

She saw a dark figure. It was a man in a raggedy black raincoat. He wore a purple top hat, pointy black shoes, and carried a red umbrella. He came towards her using his red umbrella like a cane with his head held high. Chelsea asked, “Do I know you?”  He had been whistling a strange tune that she couldn’t make out. He stopped whistling when she asked the question. “My name is Milton and you must be…Chelsea.”

“Why am I here?”

“Somehow your path has crossed with someone else’s and it is the soul of that person that has brought you here. It is not important who that soul is. However, it is very important that you heed what I am about to tell you.”

“Is this your dream or is it my dream?”

“It is your dream, Chelsea, but it seems this soul has been trying to use your dreams because you both have something in common.”

“And what is that?”

Those were the last words she spoke that night.

The morning sunshine pushed itself through the window as the breeze caressed Chelsea’s cheek. She stretched, reached for her slippers and went down to make coffee. She sat at the small kitchen table waiting for the coffee to brew. She sat and rested her chin on her palms, in a daze, sensing that she had a strange dream but unable to remember. She stood up. The aroma of coffee filled the kitchen causing Chelsea to perk up. She poured a cup and got ready for her workday. But first, she would write.

At work, she settled into her desk; then noticing the calendar, as if for the first time, she began to daydream slightly. “Chelsea, Chelsea?, hey Chelsea!” She didn’t know how long she was sitting there before she heard her boss calling for her. It seems she was there an eternity, but only moments had gone by and she had entered into a waking dream state. She went into her boss’s office, received his instructions, and went back to her desk. Though her job wasn’t difficult, she often felt like a tired old car puttering along going through the same passionless motions each day.

That evening when Chelsea settled into bed, she began reading a book. She couldn’t focus, so she put the book away. She decided to pull a single tarot card from her deck. It had been a while since she had pulled a card. This was a ritual that she had done in the mornings for a time. She flipped the bed covers off, went to her bookshelf and picked up the tarot cards and a book that she liked to consult. With the cards and book in hand, she entered the kitchen, sat at the table and began to shuffle the cards. She closed her eyes, concentrated on the day and also concentrated on any sort of general guidance on her life that might accompany her in her dreams. She opened her eyes and fanned the cards out on the table. She closed her eyes again, passed her hands above the cards, going back and forth, until she had a feeling and chose a card.

There looking back at her: The Emperor. A powerful card, representing the “universal principle of power and leadership.” She held the card in her hand and gazed at the reds and yellows that were like a sunset ablaze; the Emperor exuded strength. It was a card she did not feel worthy of, yet she knew it had something to offer.

She read the full description from her tarot book and wrote in her journal. She flipped the pages of her journal and saw all the unfinished ideas: beginnings of essays, stories, and poems. What she didn’t see there was the children’s book in her mind’s eye. She had gone over the small bits, playing them over and over in her head, trying to visualize the words and how an illustrator would bring the images to life. Something was holding her back. She closed her journal and dragged herself off to bed.

Tap. Tap. Tap. It was the sound of the man’s cane. She approached him just as he was sitting down at a round table to have a cup of coffee.

“Well there you are,” he said. “Please do sit down.”

“I feel a little out of sorts.”

“Do you remember?”

“Remember what?”

“How you got here.”

She rubbed her eyes. “I know that I’m dreaming…I don’t want to wake up just yet. I know I can’t control it. I couldn’t remember when I woke up, but now—

“Try to concentrate. I want to know how you happened upon this same space.”

“Alright. I’ll try. Give me a moment…I see something…yes,  I’m at work. I’m standing in front of my calendar at work, gazing into the month of October. The image was of a white horse flying across the October sky with a champagne moon in the distance. I heard the phone ring; at the same time my boss was calling me. As I started to turn, I felt something touch my hand and a cool chill ran down my body. The last thing I heard was the pounding of a stapler from the far office. I looked up at the calendar and then I felt a pull and I fell through the page.

It wasn’t like swirling through a dark tunnel; it was more like sparkling leaves shimmering on a windy day, and the sun shining like a large crystal and then all went dark. I saw a familiar neighborhood. I looked around the rain-covered pavement of uneven cobbled shapes. I heard a voice, not your voice, a different voice. And then I saw you.”

“Ah, yes, the voice. That my dear, Chelsea, is the voice of a soul who has become entwined with your own, and that’s what I was beginning to tell you before you left. But this is your last visit to this particular dream world. I saw that you brought your tarot cards out before you went to sleep.”

“Bu—how did you know that!”

“Chelsea, we haven’t much time. I can only share with you the information that is relevant for your trip back. Now tell me what the voice says.”

He says, ‘In life, October has always been his favorite month. He feels like he’s locked in one of Dante's circles, in the sense that he would repeat and repeat some motion, some journey, each and every night in search of his soul.’ She stops.

“Go on,” he urges.

“And then he answers my thoughts and says, ‘ how is it that I am able to communicate this to you, you wonder? Well, I can't explain it completely myself, except to say that in your sleep, I enter your dream space at night. I know you’re a writer you see, and there is one other connection. As a little girl, you were surrounded by cats—lots and lots of cats. You understood them, and they understood you. The car you drive is your late grandfather’s car. It was left to you. That's the other connection. Every night I try to unlock my soul through you. You have become entwined with my You have become entwined with my connection to the world of the living. You hold my soul locked inside of you, as you also hold your own soul—locked away. The only way that I can be free is by your writing about me. And you must remember: My connection to you is a bit of a fluke, you see. It’s a connection where my soul became lost and locked onto your connection to your grandparent’s. It is a purely emotional connection.’

She has been speaking quickly and energetically, which is unlike her character.

Chelsea lets out a deep sigh and hunches over, looking into the man’s large eyes.
“His path has crossed yours for another common reason. He was a failed writer in life. Only it was not his writing—it was his own thoughts. It’s a sort of spell, a spell of self-infliction. It is the spell of self-doubt. He senses that in your own soul and before you leave this dream world, you must remember…and when you begin your day, you must take heed of the clue that “wakes” you up. In a way, you have become one with this other soul. If you strive for your potential, his soul, and yours for that matter, will be at peace.”
“I will try my best. I don’t want to leave here. And you say I won’t be back to this particular dream space?”
“That is correct. We may meet again in another dream, but you won’t recognize me as such. You will have a feeling, a feeling that you know me, but chances are, you will have forgotten. We can only remember what we need to at any given moment. It’s a cycle that continues and continues until we’ve moved through our life’s lessons.”
“Yes, I know that feeling all too well. Ah, another commonality. Sometimes the facts are bumping right up against our noses and still we don’t always see.”

“Farewell, my dear, Chelsea.” The man tipped his hat, got up from the chair and began walking down the dark cobbled streets into the darkness, whistling a strange tune.

When Chelsea woke that morning, she felt exhausted. She went through her morning routine. As she approached her car, she noticed little markings around the edges of the rooftop. It appeared as though someone took a flower stamp and stamped pollen flowers all over the car’s edge. She thought nothing of it, opened the door of the car, and plopped down on the seat. She looked ahead as she started the engine and she saw the same prints on her window.

Now she could clearly see they were cat prints. “So that’s what those markings are,” she said out loud. As she waited for the car to warm up, she felt a smile form on her face. She remembered how every morning she would run up to her grandmother’s house, two doors away, and the first place she would go after kissing her grandmother was the backyard to sit with all the kittens and cats. She was a child of nature. She sat in her pink nightgown and robe and placed as many kittens on her lap as she could. She would pet them and cuddle with them and speak to them and tell them all about the morning of adventure she had planned. Her grandparent’s home was her paradise.

Chelsea snapped out of her reverie. She started to have a vague remnant of a dream she had the previous night. It was fuzzy. She kept hearing a voice. Right now though, in this moment, the voice that she heard was of her grandmother telling her to study hard. Her grandmother had always believed in her. Though, Chelsea hadn’t finished college, she felt that she had gained something special in the many college courses that she took and from the people she had met along the way. She didn’t have a plan or focus. She always liked too many things to choose just one. The constants in her life were writing, learning, and reading. She sensed a strong presence from her dream but could not remember the dream itself. She had always struggled with self-doubt and she thought about this at this very moment and thinking of her journal pages. The veil of self-doubt must be moved. She felt a surge of energy. She released the brake and pulled out onto the road toward work thinking of the children’s book she would begin writing when she got home.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fire and Water

Yesterday was a perfectly fine day, and I went and let my mood buttons get the best of me. I've observed in myself these tendencies–they've been no secret to me for quite some time, too long, perhaps, since childhood, really. It doesn't make it any better. When my emotions are running rampant, more so during those particular times of the month–the feminine cycles, well, those are the times I know even better to bite my tongue, to let things roll off my back, but it never fails that something will push my button during those times, and it usually happens at work and it's usually the boss. I sometimes will speak my mind, unable to carefully think before I speak. If a button gets pushed–usually it's the "don't take it personal" button–I get caught up in the moment and before I know it, I'm letting the boss know how I feel. He doesn't really listen. He says "uh-huh" and looks down at what's he's doing, but he doesn't give the courtesy to act like he's interested, to at least acknowledge–something, anything. 

Yesterday, I was ready to come to the page, to my blog and get it out of my system–to vent. But I try...I have an unspoken rule...that if I must vent, it has to be while I'm not angry any longer or at least not as angry. The thing is, I'm mad at myself. I can't stand it when I let others get the best of me. I can't stand it that sometimes I'm too sensitive for my own good, and at the same time I can be a tough cookie. I'm a sensitive, soft, crisp cookie that will help you out, but if you speak to me in a way that pushes my buttons, if you think you're going to do something that I don't like or agree with and not think I'm going to speak up if it's important enough to me, well, those Cancer claws come out and the Aires moon in me charges forward before she can pull her words back and the Leo in me, that's an interesting balance, amongst my quiet, sensitive, reserved Cancer nature.

One thing I'll say in hindsight is that yesterday was absolutely partially "my stuff." It was something that I shouldn't have reacted to, but that's the thing...when you haven't worked through the anger that is beneath the surface, the big things are set off by the little, insignificant things. The issue itself is a philosophical difference and I have accepted it to an extent. It's a different way of managing, a different style. I have a choice of course. To leave or stay. But at the end of the day, I don't see the benefits of leaving over a few trifles. 

I feel better already...One thing that keeps ringing in my ears is when I asked my uncle about a month back if I was like my mother or how was I like my mother. I guess I wanted to hear his perspective. I know they were close. It's hard to get much out of my uncle. He doesn't believe in family history. He's a tough cookie too. I think it runs in the family. What he said in response to my question is this: "You know what I like about you? You don't take any crap from anyone–just like your mother. You don't let people walk all over you. You speak your mind."

That was his way of answering the question and that's all he had for me. I thought about it and nodded. Yes, I guess he's right. And I've had to take a stand with my uncle on a few occasions. In general, I'm a softy. You'd never know that I have occasion to lose my temper, and that if I must, I will defend myself verbally. I mean, I do try to find balance, but sometimes, the needle leans to the other side of balance.

I embrace myself with all of my emotions and expressions of self. Even if I annoy myself and get angry at myself for being me, I wouldn't change a thing about myself because these qualities are who I am. I can always try to be better at controlling my emotions, but without the mix of these often, contradictory emotions and feelings, the positive sides wouldn't be there either. In the end, there is balance.

I am fire and water, the moon and the sun–Yin and Yang. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Morning Drive ~ The Trees

My mind starts thinking about things as I'm driving along and then I ground myself in the trees that are especially animated this morning, stretching their arms, like dancers, swaying to the music of the heavy breeze. I take my mind from tree to tree wondering what questions I have for them today, what wisdom do I seek this morning? But then I realize that just being there, fully present with the tees in this moment, allowing myself to surrender, right before my drive to work comes to an end is enough. They will speak again; I will listen. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Evening Page ~ Music

A few months back I wondered what it would be like to keep a journal of remembrances: 365 days of Music--or something along those lines. What if I took a song and compiled a journal that included a strong memory for each song? I don't's just that songs have a way of evoking so much...memories, events, milestones. Music is a big part of my life. Each person that has meant something to me has left their mark in the form of music. I grew up listening to music played by my older brothers. They listened to rock, soul, R&B, country, classical. When I was a little girl and I was alone, I would put on my brother's Wham record and dance around the house. One of my other favorites that is still a favorite to this day is Jingo by Santana. I still dance around the house when I play that song. The drums speak to every bone in my body. 

I like just about every type of music there is. And just like with books, there will be countless artists that I never hear or learn about because it's impossible.

Evening Page ~ Deviating

I cooked dinner, cleaned dishes, and decided that I still needed some deviation time from studying and doing homework. I bought some fresh flowers today, a mix of white alstromeria and orange freesia kissed with yellow. Freesia is one of my favorite scented flowers. I can't even describe how it smells. What does it remind me's like the fairy princess of flowers. It's the sweetest note, the brightest nectar. I walk by the few stems that I put in the handsome water glass that sits on the kitchen counter and each time I walk by, the scent draws me down. I put my nose down and inhale the brightness. Goodness...if I could embed the scent here on this page, how magical would that be? I also have a few stems mixed in with the alstromeria that sit on the kitchen table where I'm typing right now and the scent is embracing me. 

My significant other is watching television while I'm typing here on this blank page and one of the many things I love about him is his sense of humor. I love laughing and he brings me plenty of laughter. I usually don't listen to music with headphones on, but since I'm in the same room with him, I do have my headphones on. Right now Donna Summer's "I will go with you" is playing. A wonderful disco version of the song. So, while I'm sitting here, losing myself in the page, I see and hear a text message come through and it's my significant other telling me to stop checking the web and drinking beer and to do my homework. I let out a good laugh and take a sip of my beer. He's joking, but he's also right. I text him back saying I'm just taking a mini break and will do my homework soon. I don't drink beer as much as I used to, mostly because I sometimes get headaches and today I already got a headache and took one of my migraine pills and the headache didn't escalate and went away. I figured what the hell, I want a beer. I already had a headache. What's the difference now. 

Being away from the page I feel rusty, not loose. That's what happens to me. I get unloose. I need to let that wild child out from time to time, but well, she mostly stays bottled up. I've had my wild days and I'm sure there will be more. I have a couple of short stories that I wanted to post. I wrote them last fall, but I haven't gotten around to it. I figure, I may as well post whatever to my blog, so that I can have some sort of a log and hopefully they won't get lost in space because it's getting more difficult to keep track of everything on my computers and devices and regular paper journals. 

Right now a classical piece started playing and I have to tell you this piece has brought me to tears when I have allowed my body to go with the movements that it evokes in me. It's Camille Saint-Saens, "Introduction and Rondo Capriciosso."  This is one of the most powerful classical pieces for me. There is so much going on and how it begins is somewhat subdued and then it goes into this intense...I don't have the musical vocabulary to describe's like a beautiful woman picking flowers in a most enchanted garden, violins going high and low and then the piano and the rhythm and beat changes and picks up, her pace goes faster and she is looking all around and she knows she is being watched. It's just one of those classical pieces that absolutely speaks to a primal part of me that I simply cannot describe....and it crescendos, rises and falls and continues to climax and then levels out again to a most sensitive and tender moment.

Morning Page ~ Class & Coming up for Air

My head has been filled with numbers, numbers, numbers. I knew this class would be demanding. What I didn't expect was for my other class to be just as much work. I have had one slight stress blow up so far with my significant other, but bless his heart,  he knows me well, understands, and goes with it. I turned into a nag a few days, which I detest. I don't like hearing the nag in me. I remember it well from my mother. I also realize that from my older brother, I may have just picked up his perfectionist ways, his need to have things in their right place; on the flip side, I also have tendencies to be sloppy and collect piles of stuff--a clutter bug--or as my signifiant said to me when we were moving, "you're a hoarder! Look at all this stuff." I told him that of course I'm not a hoarder. I mostly have books, even if I don't read them all and look, I need all of these little mementos. Each and every book stays for now. They can have a home inside these boxes in the garage. I will only bring a few into the house. Don't worry...I will keep the clutter under control. If he only saw my mother's home when I was growing up. Now, she was a hoarder, but I like to refer to her as a person who needed her clutter. The sickness is in my blood. I never really had a room of my own until she passed and I never knew which bed I would be sleeping in, always shared with her. She had to take clothes and whatever was piled on any given bed and move it to another spot, so that we could have a place to sleep. Why all this is coming out now, I do not know. I needed to come to the page, take a break from accounting. 

I did go the the last GIANTS baseball game on Sunday. It was awesome. They won and it was a great game. We also went to a local street fair last weekend, so I'm am taking my nose out of the text books, but have not had enough time to read books for pleasure. I feel guilty and also I don't want to fall behind and deviate from the class work. I'm struggling to understand the material enough to keep moving forward. I'm actually doing much better than I thought I would (knock-on-wood). I have to look back a lot, but other concepts I feel that I understand, even though I will probably never use most of this information. 

And so...that's that. I bought the small slate vase in the photo at the fair. I love the style and the naturalness of the vessel. Only thing is, I have to put water in it two times a day, since the space is so small.