People say it all the time.
Someone I recently met expressed to me their frustration about this local (to North America, as far as I know) saying/custom/practice. It seems that often, this is said without actually wanting to know how a person is doing. Like, it’s just the thing you say and don’t really expect an answer other than “Fine, and you?” I felt totally on-board with this person’s assessment and thought to myself “I surely never do this”.
But then, in the weeks that passed, I noticed that I do.
More interestingly, I noticed that I do it when I’m uncomfortable or maybe more accurately, unsure, in some way and my “How are you?” becomes shorthand for, “I’m not sure what your energy is right now, and I’d like some kind of verbal indication so I can know how to proceed with this interaction”.
I think that since many people interpret this shorthand as a platitude, I should practice my way toward asking more completely for the information I’m after. I think another part of it is to practice reading non-verbal cues more accurately. And I think part of this practice must also include answering the question fully, when asked of me, if the context is appropriate. I’m not going to tell some random dude at work about my existential crisis, for example. But maybe I would say that I’m feeling on top of my game when it comes to my current projects at the office.
In which ways are you receptive to people’s inquisitiveness about how you are doing? Which approaches turn you away from sharing?
On this day:
On November 25, 1999, my father died.
I didn’t really deal with it. We weren’t close, emotionally. We also lived 5 hours apart from each other and only saw each other a handful of times per year for the last 4 years of his life.
Before his death, he made sure my name was on the deed to his cottage, and he leased it to his friend for fifteen years, so I’d have time to grow the fuck up before having to take care of a property.
For the past few years I knew that once I regained possession, I would sell it. It’s so far away, and inconvenient. But after a year on the market, there have been no bites.
In the past few months, I’ve done some growing inward, outward, and through. I’m seeing the ways in which ancestry and progeny are part of a continuum and also how they are indistinct from one another. I’m seeing the ways in which land and plant and animal are all basically just different parts of a whole. I’m starting to see the ways that souls leave permanent marks.
She came into my life at the time my father died. I have to deal with his death all over again, with this new perspective. But instead of it being a continuation of this end of life, I find myself welcoming my father into my heart. Back into my heart? Into my heart for the first time?
I suddenly feel that it would be a Great Tragedy to sell this land, handed down to me from my father.
We now have a relationship I can manage, I can understand it, where I failed to before. I feel comfort within it. I want to continue to nurture this relationship between me and my father and this land.
But where does that leave me with my living relatives? I feel uncomfortable with some among them. I don’t feel particular close to any, in that chummy way I read about, in that lay-down-our-lives-for-one-another way I see in movies. I don’t know how to pursue bonds that are satisfying. I don’t know how to move on from all the hurts.
I don’t trust them.
I don’t know how to reconcile my desire to honour ancestry and lineage with my lack of ability to connect more deeply with those who remain.
On this day:
My body doesn’t recover as well as it once did, and I dare say, is degenerating noticeably, but my spiritual and emotional self becomes more capable with time.
Maybe death is the letting go of the need for a body and moving all energy into consciousness.
The last couple months are the ones were it finally happened. That knowing of death in the less and less distant future. Gone are the days that although I KNOW no one lives forever, it still doesn’t feel real that I might cease to exist.
So what am I doing?
How am I spending my time?
What is important?
On this day:
Sewing, Knitting, Wood-carving, Figure-Drawing…
These are all things I’ve been into sometimes or another and then have let go of a bit (or a lot).
It’s typical for me to do a thing for a while and then move on to a new thing.
Lately, my mind has turned to foraging and, more specifically, mycology.
It started about a month or so ago, when I was preparing for my first ever canoe-camping trip. I wanted to look up the edible foods of the region where Shawn and I were staying and I found a wonderful resource (which I forgot to bookmark and am now worried I’ll never find again) which showed imaged of the mushrooms as well as warnings for similarities to non-edible varieties, and information on their growing conditions, which gives clues for where to look.
And it continued when I successfully identified some mushrooms on a day-trip to Meech, but was still too nervous to do any picking.
And it has been compounded by the amount of money I’ve been spending on chanterelles lately.
AND THEN, I read this article about my favorite author/artist as a child, who was a mycologist herself and produced illustrations which are still referred to now (she died in 1943) for identification purposes.
So this is my newest interest. I feel like I’ll do some self-guided learning until I’m comfortable enough to go on my own, or maybe I’ll find some kind of Mycology Master to go out a-foraging with.
On this day: