Creating the Worlds I Want


Hello all, it's another gorgeous summer day in Portland - one of those cool, fresh mornings with a slight marine haze that reminds me of the Santa Monica of my youth. When the haze burns off the day is revealed, fresh and golden and deliciouus - that is until it gets too hot for the Oregonian me and I retreat into the house until dusk. But these summer mornings are truly incredible - the stuff you dream about in deep winter.
Because I am still totally limited by back pain, I mostly stick around the house, with brief forays into the world a couple of times a week. This means many, many days and hours stuck in a very small house with a very small yard. It has resulted in more than a few disappointments this summer - not the least of which are all the activities one would do to promote their new book!

We are exactly three weeks away from publication and I've been invited to be INTERVIEWED ON KBOO! And sadly I've had to reschedule. But, hopefully in August I will feel good enough to get down to the radio station and talk about where Bridge of the Gods came from - and why I wrote it. Stay tuned for updates on that front, and for any launch or signing events. Fingers crossed I can heal enough to do them!!!

So, having to breathe, meditate and worst of all accept this frustrating reality I also have to let it go. I can't be jealous of other people and their amazing lives, travel adventures and family vacations. I can't compare my life or my goals to theirs. I have to focus on enriching my own world to its full potential, however limited it might be. So, in order not to go COMPLETELY INSANE I must adjust my expectations, and focus on new and different things. It's hard at first, and you don't always get it right, but it gets easier every time, and definitely has its own unique rewards.
I've blogged about this in the past, I've called it "going small" - when your world is suddenly severely reduced because of an accident, or some unforeseen issue. It could even be someone else's issue or accident, but perhaps you have to be a caretaker for them - perhaps for a child or grandchild, or an elderly parent - and your daily world - both external and internal - suddenly shrinks to a shadow of its former self. What to do? 
I have learned, or decided, that this being "stuck" is simply an opportunity to CREATE the world I've always wanted to live in. I have to take control of my thoughts, and of the bit of the world I still can manipulate - or I will get depressed, and be even more immobilized. And really, being "forced" to think this way is a kind of gift. A bittersweet gift, true - but most gifts are. And because I can't go out and physically find the world I want to live in - I have to make it here, where I am.

And seeing as how I can still type if nothing else - then this "limitation" is actually compelling me to write. So "going small" actually results in me "going large" in a kind of way. My imagination runs wild while my fingers race over the keyboard. I write about my life, my experiences, my epiphanies, and at age 51 there have been a few of everything, and, as it turns out - as far as being housebound goes - this is a pretty exciting and different and new way to live, and I like it! I'm communicating with the universe, from my bed. 
Writing is all about creating worlds. So why not write happiness and joy into my life? In order to do that I like to think hard about what things have made me most happy in my life so far. I like to think about I loved when I was a kid - you know that bubbly feeling of joy and excitement you felt as a kid sometimes? It could be from anything -  beloved pets, best friends, fun xmas memories, early Saturday mornings waking up to pancakes and cartoons, family trips, swimming pools - it doesn't matter what it was, just how it made you feel. Once you remember what made you joyful in the past as a child - then you can actually re-create it as an adult. You can recreate the entire picture if you have the means to do so - or you can just re-create the feeling it gave you. 
For instance - some of my most joyful memories center around my brief visits with my grandparents in Santa Monica, after we'd lived in Eugene, Oregon for a decade. Their house on Georgina was so light, so beautiful to me - the long, low stucco house was filled with family antiques as well as modern California touches - and most magically, they had a pool and a lovely patio with plants and ceramic pots that were always warmed by the sun. I remember that sound of small airplanes lazily passing by overhead, and to this day whenever I hear a small airplane I get that feeling again. That early-morning, two blocks from the beach kind of feeling. I don't actually have to BE in Santa Monica to get it - instead I find myself arranging certain family antiques in a similar fashion as they had, or I cook things that they cooked - well, vegan versions anyway - and I like to play music that came from their kitchen, while I cook those things - Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, etc.  
Doing this instantly transports me beyond my room, my house - like a time machine. It's especially strong around xmas time when I trim the tree and bake cookies and remember my grandparents amazingly-decked-out tree, and seemingly endless supply of Swedish xmas cookies. When a Rankin & Bass xmas special comes on I am practically delirious with a delicious nostalgia. Ahhhh, so satisfying, so beautiful! 
Other cherished memories I have stem from certain moments in our hippy years. When I lived in our house truck for three years in the 1970's I had many cozy moments that I think of often, and try to summon up in my present day life. Mostly they center around my mother's tiny-yet-richly-fragrant kitchen. Pretty blue tiles surrounded the house truck sink, a stained glass window looked over it, and there were blue glass ball jars of rice and grains, and green leafy plants curling about. The smells of the herbs and spices, the promise of a hearty dinner on a cold night, perhaps the sound of Joni Mitchell or Crosby, Stills, and Nash playing in the background - these impressions are carved deep in my heart, and give me a beautifully comforting vision to play in my mind, and bring into my present world. I have pretty jars of spices and herbs on my shelves, I have leafy green plants around my little stained glass window, and I play Joni Mitchell and CS&N all the time. So even though I can't really travel right now, I feel like I'm parked somewhere along the McKenzie river in the house truck, or hanging out in 1970's Santa Monica on 2nd street, or somewhere up in Topanga Canyon in some groovy house. And I don't even have to go anywhere! 
One other thing that really expands my little world, during the summertime - watering. I loooove to water. Everything. The plants, the grass, the trees, and even the weeds, poor things - everything gets a drink, every day. There is something about drenching every hot, dry, parched blade of grass or struggling flower that just makes my soul feel better. I feel I am painting the world with instant relief. I hate to think of the plants and animals being hot and thirsty, I hate to think of them suffering when I have the means to alleviate it. I keep a bowl of fresh water available 24-7 for the critters and it's really a joy to see all kinds of birds, squirrels, and cats drinking from it. I keep two hummingbird feeders full of clean, cool nectar that I make myself, and I put out seeds and nuts in several places. It's like a wildlife education seminar, just watching all the behavior around the water bowl! 
Since we got our amazing new fence that surrounds the entire house I have felt far more able to spend time in the front of the house. Before it was just too public, too intimidating with all that incredibly loud traffic and god knows who lurching up 50th - sometimes there are some seriously wasted people right outside our doors -, and it can be scary. But since we got our fence I feel so much safer, more relaxed, and actually able to walk around my house, enjoying the sunlight and sound of the birds, and watering everything in sight. Also, I've hung creamy outdoor curtains and clear outdoor lights on both sides of the house. When my menopausal self wakes up at 3am the world outside has finally taken its drunken self home and all is quiet for the moment. That's when I take my first cup of coffee outside and walk under the lights and curtains, around the house, admiring how the lights make the yellow paint glow and set off the little white gingerbread trim on the porch, At that hour my house and grounds look like something out of a children's book. A sweet, fairy tale cottage with cozy lights and pancakes inside.  
Ahhhhh, my world may be small, but it's huge - it's the past, the present, and partly the future - and it's radiant. 
xoxoox happy Tuesday!!! Diane 

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