Monday, July 30, 2007

facets of a mind exposed

I had this rather surreal experience last night.

My daughter added me to her skype account. That sounds fairly mundane but while I was in the kitchen on Preciousss (my macbook)...she was here in the lounge on Uni1 (the windoze machine), and we "talked" together in text for the very first time.

It was weird.

I've known my daughter for all her 15 years of life. At least I thought I did. Our pattern of conversation and communication has been set in that time and we have become used to our method of relating together as mother and daughter.

Text chat exposed me to her wit and intelligence like no other form of communication has thus far. For the first time I felt like I was communicating not with my "child" but with a new "friend"...a person of maturity and wisdom. If we had met online as strangers I would have assumed this girl was much older than I know she actually is.

Where will this new avenue of communication take us both I wonder? It will be interesting to (re?) discover my daughters mind in time as we talk through the strange and unique method of text-based chat. Perhaps I won't so much find a new version of my daughter but a new friend as well :) That'll be very cool.

addendum: Reading back this post a bit later on...I realised I hadn't mentioned that I don't condone using text chat as a primary method of communication if you actually live with someone under the same roof. Hahahaha! It goes without saying doesn't it? That communication using ones voice, eyes, body and spirit is by far a more intimate and effective way of telling others our thoughts and feelings. Hmmm? I don't know but put it this way... my daughter and i aren't about to stop actually talking to each other like mothers and daughters generally do. Text chat is just another method of communicating that will add to our lives not detract from it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

the aching decision

We are currently going through Mama's personal effects.

It's HARD.

Only 24 hours ago I really didn't want much at all. Seriously nothing if truth be told. We just had a garage sale to get rid of a pile of our stuff and now here were people foisting...demanding even... that I gather up Mama's abandoned stuff like the proverbial pirate. I hate the process.

I have come to a point in my life where I want to pare back and minimise my attachment to things. I have other things to worry about and surrounding myself with piles of stuff isn't in that agenda anymore. I want to be unshackled from having to mind the stuff in my life. I still like stuff...but I want only what I really need and love now. I don't want to be the keeper of things in trust for an elusive moment in the future when someone else "in the family" may want it or love it. If I can't love it or use it now...its NOT valuable! Not to me anyway.

Mama meant a lot to me as a person. She was of great age. She has a lot of very old, very attractive stuff. But do I really NEED all that in my home and life? Will her grandchildren ever feel the pangs of sentimental attachment to these things we have acquired because they belonged to a memory - to their history?

I had to process my feelings a lot about this last couple of days. It's been really hard to come to terms with the family's insistence that we remember Marion through her stuff. Family heirlooms I guess are valuable to the decendant generations for about 100 years...after that it can get really complicated as to the history of the items and the value the decendants place on that history waxes and wanes like the moon. It's JUST STUFF in the end.

Therein lies my own dilemma. Whilst I want our kids to remember with great fondness their beloved Mama... they are not really interested in keeping great hoards of her stuff right now. That feeling may change in them in time though so I guess its important that hubby and I do select some things that were of value to mama in her day so that when our kids do want to remember where they came from, we have items that may (or may not) become valuable to them by that association.

It's just sooooo hard for me to do.

Hubby has collected a few things that are quite utilitarian and practical which I applaud. I am totally happy to use good quality well-built kitchen tables, and easy-to-clean salad tongs. Those things we can use. But as for the beautiful pieces of fine china, the exquisite crystal bowls with no real "use" other than they were Mama's and are quite pretty.... I dunno. I struggle. Much of this type of thing can't be displayed easily in our home and subsequently will be wrapped and locked away for years until they are checked, re-wrapped, and re-locked away again. It just seems so pointless and a waste. If these items were out and about and could be used and appreciated with their inherent purpose within them utilized, then the attachment our kids would have to them would naturally grow by long association with family and memories of good times past. But, as it stands now, they must languish in tissue paper and cardboard in a dark cupboard. Such a waste.

There is no USE in stuff without a purpose. Even if each item over and above what I actually needed were made of gold and silver, or embedded with precious stones, if it can't have a useful purpose, then its not really that valuable as a piece to remember my beloved Mother-in-Law by. It might as well be sold to someone who does see value and a purpose in it!

I guess I sound really callous and hard-nosed about this process. I do like stuff. I'm not suggesting I don't. What I do question is my inclination to want or need stuff that really has no value or meaning AT THIS TIME to me or my family. I don't need a lot to remember Marion by. I have inside my heart and mind, wonderful memories of her and yes I have chosen a few lovely things that I associate with her, which I will use and enjoy with great pleasure. I just don't want a lot of stuff with no meaning cluttering up our home just because of some familial concept of generational keepership for a distant future!

It's just stuff.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

death is for the living

Mama passed away today 19th July 2007 at 4:20pm Eastern Standard Time.

I was not there to see her final breath.

I saw her lying in her death though; her face shrunk around the bones of her cheeks forehead and chin. Death is unbecoming to those who die in their old age. It isn't a pretty thing.

It is those we love and who remain alive after us; It is for them that death holds its greatest gift. In death we move on ....somewhere. (Perhaps.... who knows really in the end what the truth of that really is. As for me, my faith says it knows where she is :) And it is Good.). But in life, its those who are left to move on into the future - without the one who has died - that grow. In or out growth? It doesn't matter, it is still growth.

Marion Ruby Pitman left a massive legacy of love, humour and service to her fellow kind. She will be fondly remembered by many for years to come as a gracious and kind lady who gave of her time and resources in caring for others.

That is her gift to us. Memories of the things she did and shared amongst us; the changes she wrought in each of us through the impact of her life. Her death focuses our attention on these gifts and rewards us with a sweet and gentle imposition of her heart and soul, her spirit and her faith and how they've impacted on our own lives over the years. No one can underestimate the impact of a life on the future.

Therein lies the secret to immortality. When we live our lives in humility and grace, when we share ourselves openly with candour and compassion, when we grasp not for what is seen and held but for what is felt and understood - that is when we are immortalised in the love of those around us. They carry with them, into the future, the memory of our being and we are not easily forgotten when we are loved so well as this.

Death is not a punishment for the dead, but a gift for the living. It breathes new heart and focus into life so we might live it all the more abundantly. We shall miss Mama for sure - especially her cooking :). I for one am glad that I became a member of her family for she has brought me nothing but endless joy and blessed service over the years.

Thankyou God for the life of Marion Pitman.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Garage Sale

We are in the middle of having our very first garage sale here. I am sitting in our driveway after the initial rush and will just wait it out now until its "closing" time in about two hours.

We kept it very quiet about where our garage sale was going to be and we didn't advertise it until it was right on opening time. It was AMAZING the number of people that were cruising our street waiting for it to open. And as soon as I gave the nod they quite literally ran down our driveway to the tables!

It was like the Boxing Day Myer Stocktake sale!!! Wow! People everywhere hovering around the tables like hungry hyenas.

We have sold a bit of stuff but not nearly as much as I'd hoped of course. It appears there will be some trips to the charity stores in the morning to part with the rest.

I'm not really one for attending garage sales. Mainly because I like to DE-clutter rather than find space for even more stuff. I have this love/hate relationship with stuff. I "like" stuff but on my terms. So long as it has somewhere to "live" in my home and life it's okay to stay. But once it has outlived its usefulness or purpose then it MUST go and it drives me nuts if it doesn't go quickly. I can be patient of course but only for so long.

For many years now I've sent much of our surplus unwanted items to charity houses and been very happy to part with it that way. I shall continue to do that I think. There is a lot I've learned today about holding a garage sale and some of it is not all that pleasant. You need a lot of people power support and a strong will to survive the very determined efforts of others to get "a lot of stuff for nothing" etc etc.

It's actually less stressful to me to just donate it silently and anonymously. Stuff I have here that I "thought" would sell in a snap has not and stuff I thought was "trash" has walked out on wings. Amazing!

My feet are deathly cold sitting here though. That may be the biggest sacrifice to this event in the end. Trying to warm up my extremely cold feet once everything is packed up ready for donation tomorrow morning.

:) Life goes on and hopefully with less stuff attached! Hahahahaha!

Friday, July 13, 2007

chemical aftertaste

I had my first can of cola today for .... I think it must be around 3 months now.

I HAD been addicted to cola drinks for the past year or so opting not for the diet versions of these drinks but for the "Full leaded" versions thereof.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went cold turkey on drinking cola and other soft drinks. I basically detoxed my system by eating no wheat, dairy or "empty" carbohydrates for about a month. I lost a fair bit of weight in the process but what interested me today was my reaction to having my first taste of a diet cola drink after going through such a process.

The chemicals in the diet version of this particularly well-known brand of cola, were obvious to my tastebuds. It was not really a pleasant experience and I confess to leaving the can more or less on the bench for quite some time getting warmer by the hour :) I occasionally had a sip from it but those sips never satisfied and nor did they make me feel "good". In fact, I actually felt a little off-colour after a particularly bigger gulp than normal. I've never drunk diesel fuel, but to my thinking it couldn't be much worse than the taste of that can of cola really. That's how bad the aftertaste seemed to me. I ended up tipping a good two thirds of the can down the drain at the end of my working day.

The up-shot of this is that I have now learned that cola drinks are really not that much fun anymore. Not for me anyway. Perhaps if I try a fully leaded version, I might think differently but right now I couldn't think of anything worse. My tastes have perhaps changed. We shall see in time. Very old, long term habits of a life-time are difficult to break and cola addiction is not much different to nicotine addiction in that sense I suppose.

Right now, I feel like I need a total detox in my body again. It feels unloved, unfed and decidedly dehydrated! My poor tongue feels like it has been licking sandpaper too for the day which is an unexpected side-effect.

Back to the water bottle and the vegie stirfries for me thanks :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

the things I need to learn

What today has taught me.... (especially having seen the movie Eragon which has touched me quite significantly for many reasons)

One: To stop and listen more to the reasoned experience of others

Two: To not panic so quickly but to stop and listen more to the reasoned experience of others

Three: To accept calmly the moment as it comes and not fight it so much. To stand inside that moment rather than stab at it with unreasoned intentions and thoughtless action.

Four: To LISTEN to the people who love me and want to actually help me instead of assuming they are just telling me what to do.

Five: To let love over-rule everything else and not my ego or my pride.

I am given to reactive behaviours in stressful situations. I tend to "try" and make decisions quickly assuming that these decisions that I make are for the benefit of everyone around me. I have learned today that it may not always be the case. What I assume are reasonable decisions- borne out reactions to trying situations - can in fact, make the situation worse not better. Sometimes it is better to let life slow down and even stop before reacting. To let time not spin by so but to let it stall and just allow myself to "be" inside that moment for a minute or two, with a quiet attitude of observance and waiting.

You see I have a dragon too like Eragon.

My dragon chose me out of everyone else to be his rider. He is older than time and younger than me. His experience and wisdom are evident in how he handles difficult things. He knows exactly, the panic and burden of fear within my heart when i do not know what I should do...but he has also learned how to manage that fear and panic and now he is teaching me what he has known for a long, long time.

It's hard for me to learn. I hate and detest being told what to anyone :) I love my dragon though and need to respect him more and believe him when he tells me to calm down and be still. I can't ride him if I don't and he can't carry me if I don't. He is patient but also frustrated sometimes by my slowness to learn and absorb his words. But he chose me and nothing I do can break that bond between us now. We are tied together by an invisible and timeless ribbon of love and hope.

My dragon has courage but he is also vulnerable. I could survive my dragon but my dragon would never survive without me. That is not arrogant pride saying that either. My dragon would not...could a dragon without me. It's his purpose to be MY dragon and it is my purpose to learn to be one with him in mind and thought. If that happens then together we may finally be invincible and I will make better decisions when stressed.

I just need to slow down and listen more to the reasoned experience of others.