dimanche 9 mars 2008

The ship that sails - poem

I'd rather be the ship that sails
And rides the billows wild and free;
Than to be the ship that always fails 
To leave its port and go to sea.

I'd rather feel the sting of strife,
Where gales are born and tempests roar;
Than settle down to useless life
And rot in dry dock on the shore.

I'd rather fight some mighty wave
with honor in supreme command;
And fill at last a well-earned grave,
Than die in ease upon the sand.

I'd rather drive where sea storms blow,
And be the ship that always failed 
To make the ports where it would go,
Than be the ship that never sailed.

Author unknown

dimanche 2 mars 2008

Ma table de chevet

Selon mes expériences, les tables de chevets sont omniprésentes. Toutefois, c’est mon avis qu’elles ne sont pas essentielles. Si utilitaires ou si polyvalentes soient-elles, tout le monde n’a pas assez d’espace dans les chambres pour mettre une table de chevet. Quand même l’idée ne m’est jamais venue qu’elles puisse être une chose inaccessibles à certaines personnnes. Je mens. Si, je le savais mais je n'y ai jamais pensé qu'elle puisse être un luxe.

À l’origine, la table de chevet a été crée pour cacher le pot de chambre. À travers les époques, elle a changé de fonction selon nos préférences et nos activités nocturnes. On peut dire qu’il existe tout un côté de décryptage qui peut être intéressant même important comme révélateur de notre style individuel, notre passion, et notre "moi" intime. 'Un psy à notre chevet...' par Colette Piveteau dans Femina 2005 m'a beaucoup captivé. Le chevet est aussi témoin de tout. Voir ces deux poèmes qui mentionnent la table de chevet, Apologia et My bedside table.

Et voilà, mon chevet !



Eh oui…ce sont deux rebords de fenêtres, et en plus, quand je dors seule, tout est éparpillé sur une moitié du lit. 

Sur le premier rebord, plus proche du lit, j’ai des bouquins et magazines en cours, un pot de confiture rempli de sous que j'utilise aussi comme un serre-livre, et des trucs à cheveux comme des bandeaux, des épingles, etc. Une paire de lunettes est toujours là. Une copie de Living Faith est là pour les prières. J’ai aussi un petit carnet de Post-It, un dictionnaire, et quelques crayons et stylos pour noter les mots que je dois chercher dedans. Il y a aussi une bouteille d’Alcolado glacial.  À côté, un panier pour mes « merdouilles ». 

Je bouquine. 

L’ autre « chevet » est plus gai. Là on trouve mes colliers, bijoux, et les boîtes à bijoux. J’ai toujours apprécié les boîtes faites à main comme ça. Je peux mettre n’importe quoi dedans ou rien du tout, si ça me plaît. Les deux poupées sont un cadeau. Je les conserve parce qu’elles me font penser aux amis qui me les ont offertes. Et en plus, elles sont très belles assises comme ça. Vous ne pouvez pas imaginer ma joie quand j’ai trouvé les petites chaises en fer forgé dans un magasin !!

Ce que  je voudrais sur mon chevet quand je me lève (un mème intéressant, n’est-ce pas ?). Deux choses : une petite horloge à l’ancienne avec un large cadran qui luit dans le noir ; et un dictaphone qui marche dès que je parle (pourquoi pas avant) pour enregistrer mes pensées évanescentes même embrumées ; pour capturer les moments de génie, mes rêves.

C’est à vous maintenant…

mercredi 27 février 2008

Three Beautiful Things (1)

What a great meme, to write about three beautiful things! What a great way to practice mindfulness! There are so many beautiful things in our lives, may we all exercise this gift often. I endeavour to make such an entry at least once a month.

Here goes:

kissing couple   
I saw them unpacking her bags from his car in a flurry of door-openings and door-closings and awkward gestures. To me, it looked like the confusion that new love and excitement can create. Not long after making their way through the garden, they stopped to re-distribute the three small bags. That is when he took her face in his hands, looked at her, then kissed her. A simple act which I believe masked a certain giddiness. It made me smile.                                                                                                                                                      
mauve crocuses  
Only saw them out of the corner of my eye. So pretty, for a moment I forgot that I was tired and hungry.         
empty plate   
He had eaten his dinner. I am glad.

dimanche 24 février 2008

Anything that moves

I look good riding a bicycle. So people tell me, and I believe them. Perhaps that is why even perfect strangers ask why I cycle without a helmet. After four such "interventions" over the past three years I thought I had better buy myself one. That was a fortnight ago, and not a moment too soon either. My almost-daily hour-long cycle is very nearly an obstacle course.

Many pedestrians seem to be deaf to bells, other cyclists cut across and most do not stop when the obstruction is on their side, and some motorists use intimidation tactics. This is a recurring problem, and one which affects not only me. So, what can the matter be? Most probably, people in general are not mindful of one another. So, what`s a cyclist to do? Mind the others. Anything that moves.

There are countless exercises to focus attention and improve concentration. One such exercise, for example, involves thinking about everything green and writing it down, and as I cycle I would look out for anything green, as it were. This eventually changed to other cyclists, cars, and is now no longer an exercise but a habit. I look for anything that moves. It is very easy to have an accident, even when one is careful. I have not had any accidents, but recent close calls make me glad that I have a helmet, and remind me to mind the others.

No one wears helmets to look good. According to my unscientific survey, not one single (beauty/fashion) magazine cover features bicycle helmets. That said, the man in the shop told me I looked good in mine, and I believe him. For the past fortnight, I have been greeted by different reactions when I am cycling: curious or unreadable looks, and smiles and chuckles. I answer all of them with smiles, aware that I could look odd, what with my serious cyclist look and rented city bike (by city bike I mean no gears!). 

On a serious note, in many countries it is still a matter of personal choice whether or not to wear a helmet, and one should choose intelligently by considering the facts (law, accidents, safety etc). 

For my part, I won`t be using my brains for brakes, not for anything that moves.

Don't use your brains for brakes!
Image from plan-itsafe.com



mercredi 20 février 2008

Femme adulte, libre, indépendente... Comment exister à soi-même? Tentative de réponse

I noticed her as she walked in to take a seat closer to the front. Hair cut short, blond, with a bold stenciled pattern in black. Interesting, I thought. The introductions had just concluded and one author was answering the first questions when the little girl sitting with the young woman began fidgeting and fussing loudly; a bit too loudly to my mind, for her size. That the little girl's antics were a distraction to some in the audience was made clear by quick glances in her direction. Then author A loses her train of thought and glares at the pair. The interviewer poses his question another time, apparently oblivious of the distraction, and author A, muttering that she is unable to carry on, fixes a terrible look at the woman and girl. Getting the message, the woman gathered her child and things and left. No one said a word. Author A reined in her ideas and finally replied, and the evening went on to its usual conclusion.

Where I come from, someone would have supported the person I believe was the child`s mother by rebuking the child or by suggesting that they both sit in the back. My own mother would have taken me downstairs for a 'good talking to' and maybe a hard smack, then return to the session where I would have been expected to behave, like a child of course, but quietly. That`s another story.

My tentative de réponse in 5 points:

1. Femmes adultes, libres, indépendentes is not a group apart. Women are their sisters` keepers. Women must be careful of the fences they construct, unwittingly or otherwise, that keep out other women (mothers to exclude the childless; wives to exclude singles; those who work for a living and those who must not; and so on), because they do not fit what is in fashion. As a community, women need one another, and that includes successive generations.

2. "Girl, you look nice!" Then adds, half-teasing, half-serious, "But listen, what did your husband say when you went home with short hair." She would cut her hair too, but for her husband who likes it long, she tells me. Her voice has a ring of regret to it.  What I do not say, but what I truly wonder, is why does she not cut her hair if she wants to? I did it and what is more, I would not discuss it with my husband first. After all, am I not a liberated woman? 

Should the truth be told, all that means is that I am not taking care to be what he wants. This is what my friend knows, and what every woman who wants to get and keep a man, must reconcile to and practice. In the series, Star Trek, they are called 'metamorphs', defined by Memory Alpha as "a woman genetically pre-disposed to suit the desires of any man she is with". Whether one is `genetically pre-disposed`is not the point here. You can see the power in being what he desires, can`t you? If you get it, go to point 3, if not, let me try again..read on.

Once I saw a couple shopping in a designer lingerie store. I was horrified that he had to check the elastic and help her choose; and though I did not follow them around, I am sure she left with what she wanted: sexy, expensive underwear. ( I did mention 'designer' so what with all the tests, right? ) Me, too, I left satisfied with my purchases. My then new lover remarked with a sort of smile that I had not bought anything interesting. "They are all so plain," he said. Misunderstanding the lesson to be learned here, I gently replied (because he had to NOT know this), "This is what I always buy." I chose those utilitarian plain Janes of my own free will. I am an independent woman. Who needs a man to help her shop for underwear? 

You get the picture?

3. A room of one`s own can be a luxury in many households. With three single 30-something women to every man in France, some women might be glad to share, but take warning, it is essential. It does not have to be a physical space, although that is perfect, some space to have your own thoughts, to attend to the "bricolage à soi-même", to escape and rest when family(/activities) become(s) overwhelming. Where is the femme adulte, libre etc. in this? It takes resolve to get a room of one`s own and to occupy it usefully. Not men alone, women too, have very traditional ideas of house-hold roles, that belie what they say the femmes adultes, libres, etc. are about. Many believe, as I do, that it is as a result of the way women are socialized, the impression made by the media (of the day), and all those damned fairy-tales. 

4. I, too, am a sensual creature. I set my rhythm by festivals and seasons. I change curtains in the Spring and in the Winter; eat all the berries I can in the Spring and what I cannot eat then I drink in the Winter. My mother-in-law remarked to her son that there was no need to change the curtains. Perhaps it bothered her, but whatever the reason, she could not see the sense of it. And that is fine by me. I cannot see how it is possible to do otherwise. There is culture and there is culture. I guess the femme adulte, libre etc. is sometimes lonely. You just have to do what you know and be who you are. No one said it would be easy.

5. Garnier says it best, Prends soin de toi. You would think anyone can do this, and I had no fifth point to make, and you might be doubting whether I even use Garnier products. Well, if everyone could, life coaches would be less in demand, I do use Garnier products, but I am not referring to cosmetics now.

To take care of yourself is to strive for and maintain a healthy balance of mind and body. Juggling family and work commitments, the demanding family cat, responding to life when it gets in the way of your carefully made plans are only some reasons why it is not a simple thing to take care of oneself, and which illustrate how easy it is to gradually slip down on your personal 'to do' list or list of 'priorities'. Based on my own experience, just how to take care of oneself includes some of the following. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, get regular exercise, get enough sleep for a start. Find your passion and explore it; laugh; go out when you want to, even by yourself. Treat yourself to something pretty; learn something new; create some free time and do nothing. Keep close to family and friends, and give them of your best.

samedi 9 février 2008

30 - something et alors!

So, I am 30-something. It is true, it has finally happened, but I have none of the 'half-way along' inspiring words to say. The truth is, I am 30-something, and my bra is my new best friend. 
And I am in good company too, as it were.