A cup of tea on the edge of the abyss

pink teacup
What deals have you negotiated within yourself? What if it’s time to honour them? Leaning out over the abyss, I strain to find form beneath the morning mist. There’s a chill in this mountaintop air; my teacup is chattering in its saucer.

A warm arm wraps around me to steady the shiver. “You’re ready.” The voice is familiar, a stronger version of my own. “You’re ready. Just step off. The path will find your feet.”

Language is fascinating. The abyss is only the abyss because its depths are as yet unknown. And so we cling with quivering fingers to our rituals. But their heat fades so fast, leaving us wanting… wanting. I’ve run swearing and screaming with laughter down enough mountain trails to trust that this voice is speaking the truth. But this cliff is so much higher, so much scarier than a fire tower trail in Quebec. Here there is no father or brother to lead the way. Just me, and the damp, quiet opacity of morning cloud.

“But what if I pushed it too far – my brain, my body?” I ask. “What if I’ve made too many mistakes? You know I’ve really f-ed stuff up.” My teacup suddenly weighs a hundred pounds. “What if I’m already dying? What if…” I whisper because it’s so scary, “…you never exist.”

The woman with the long white braid and dangerous smile holds me tighter and chuckles in my ear. She won’t let me go back, even an inch. “Oh silly girl. I am as real today as I ever will be. Every decision you invest in me anchors me in time – all time. Don’t you see that? When you love me, I am as real as you are.”

With her hand around mine, I set down the teacup on the dew covered moss and tip (just) the toes of my sneakers over the edge.
“Do you remember the deal we made?” my (very cool custom clothed) future asks. “Before you started this climb?”

I nod. I remember. Without it I would never have dared come this far. The deal: that even if I only ever have one day living as my true self – routing past fear and open in wonder to my own next stage of this human experience thing – it would all have been worth it! When every breath is an entire life lived unto itself, a whole day is cresting on eternity. Not that I’d argue with immortality or anything, but a gal’s got to start somewhere.

I feel a nudge from behind and my balance shifts. The voice is coming now from somewhere even closer to my core. “Now stop talking to yourself and make a move! Today is the only day. Make all your mindfulness bullshit matter and take that step! You don’t need to see the bottom. You’ve done the work now trust your feet. Trust the world to show you where you need to be, what you are here to give. I promise there are so many hands reaching up for ones just like yours to hold. I promise. Go!”

Let’s take this leap of faith together, dear readers. Because this tea has gotten way too darn cold!

Exercise in Engagement: Do you have any unspoken deals you’ve made with yourself? Because every deal creates its own story – your story. Do you remember what prompted you to make them? Do they still serve your most authentic future self? Today, take a few minutes meditation to ask her/him directly. Now is the time to choose whether to step up and honour them, or let them go.

Letting go of Sex and the City


We mold our womanhood from a thousand bits of clay, not the cool wet river mud of our deepest stories, but countless social scripts that shape our permissions. We learn to bypass our biology and ignore the quiet moments with our mothers in favour of the symbols and rituals of an artificial construct. But bring time into the equation and that construct begins to fade away.

I spent much of high school hiding out in my boyfriend’s basement, a precious geode of shimmering pop cans and pizza boxes. We gorged on Star Trek and our own future fantasies. And, his parents got HBO…Sex and the City! Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda glowed white hot in my little cave. Whatever chaos was rumbling above ground, I knew 100% that I would someday join those girls in their life-sustaining glamour. It was inevitable; those man-eating Manolos would be mine. Faith takes many forms.

Now I’m the age they were, still are, and always will be. Two nights ago I found myself youtubing all my favorite scenes with an almost frantic desperation. I just couldn’t catch hold of that familiar glow. I’ve felt the fantasy, with its comfort and safety, slipping for a while now, but I’ve been so reluctant to let it go. I had to burrow my way out of my boyfriend’s basement all those years ago, and I know that to stand blinking in this new sun I have to leave Sex and the City behind. I haven’t been able to watch a full episode of Star Trek since the breakup and I wonder if this will be the same?

Womanhood is an evolution. Our clay never dries. And now, as I move into an exciting new stage, I’ve found my own glamour – which looks very different – and reached into the very bowels of existence to claim its voice. Don’t be afraid of your own evolution, or your biology. Your strength and beauty are yours to define. And your new story will find you when you’re ready.

But, just for the record, I’ll always be a Samantha ~wink.

Born in a Walmart parking lot… The Urban Yoke

It’s been 10 years of blogging!! Here’s a vintage SavingCymbria post to celebrate this month’s milestone…

SavingCymbria

Ever notice how a shopping cart is almost exactly the size of a car’s trunk? Both can comfortably fit a body and/or the spoils of a Sunday morning mission to Walmart. This revelation came too late for yours truly, who recently found herself stranded in the middle of a snowy Walmart parking lot with a cart’s worth pile of loot heaped at her feet, but no car, no trunk, and no options – and stubbornness can only take a girl so far.

Just then, a small sedan pulled up out of nowhere. The driver opened his door and leaned out. “Are you ok? Do you need a hand there?”

Now, I’m a great believer in chivalry; I take an opened door with all due grace and appreciation. But I draw the line at accepting rides – however fortuitous – from strange men in Walmart parking lots, men who quite possibly…

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3 Dreams that are getting in the way of your dreams – Part 2

After defining the three types of dreams that keep us from pursuing our own – Part 1 (click to catch up!) – it’s time to get down and dirty about resetting our brains. Because why let how you woke up keep you from the glorious blank canvas morning you deserve!

The most efficient way in terms of brain chemistry to hit the refresh button is to treat yourself to a manual brain bliss – nudge nudge know what I mean. But a quick mindfulness sense scroll or gratitude meditation also do a pretty decent job at getting you back in the groove. Also, don’t underestimate the power of prayer, and hey, if you’re in that club may as well double down on your morning brain priming benefits by reading a few passages. Yes, I totally put that first and last suggestion in the same paragraph.

Talking to another human being is another surefire way to get into a less amygdala-indulgent brain space. A short conversation is sometimes enough to knock your brain back into its regular gear by bumping you through habit into the wavelength of your shared reality. So call your mom or poke your hubby, doesn’t matter as long as you don’t go on about the doom thing… still trying to learn that lesson. Tends to compound the problem and not just biologically…sigh.

The first two dreams, false awakenings and false solutions, can be rationalized into the background, but the sense of doom dream is a real mindf*ck. Maybe we have to reach well beyond ourselves for this one, and not just into the next room. I had a double whammy 2/3 yesterday morning and while I already find the Australian thing hilarious, it took me forever to shake that lingering doom. Probably wasn’t the best idea log into my online banking…groan. Then, trying to get on with the practical, I accidentally ripped off some paint off the wall while removing a reading light over my pillows. Oh for F’s sake! But it inspired a solution – in craft form (the best kind lol) – I’d left back in grade 4 Canadian studies. Turns out it’s the perfect spot to hold a personalized dreamcatcher. Because sometimes to survive this crazy thing called life, we just have to throw ourselves on the mercy of the universe.

dreamcatcher-instructions

Total craft mode here… notch and glue together three paintbrushes, then wrap with thin yarn – I just went round in a circle looping under-over for the central section and then over-under for the rest. Decorate with embroidery floss, beads, feathers, and whatever personal talismans you want. I used pins and fortunes (if you you’re a Star Trek fan zoom in on the far right pin and fortune ~wink)

3 Dreams that are getting in the way of your dreams – Part 1

dreamingThe world we wake up to is so often a hazy mix of dreamworld and reality. Fortunately there are ways to prevent the taint of the following three types of dreams from lingering until lunchtime:

1- False awakening dream: The alarm goes off. You get up…yada yada. Rinse and repeat. Last week I braved the skin screaming chill of a Calgary morning 3 entirely separate times getting up to plug in my phone before waking up cozy and smug… just to see my phone still on the bed beside me. So not impressed.

2- False solution dream: You wake up with the full confidence of having solved, if not perpetual motion, than at least that problem you went to bed gnawing on. No joke I woke up this morning with a full blog post prepared (plus visual!) ready to publish. It took almost a good full minute to realize that I wasn’t an Australian Outback chef who’d designed an paradigm shifting appetizer display that finally won the respect of my male coworkers. I’m pretty sure it involved… triangles? My fault for watching this (don’t ask) before bed – and ya ya I already know about the whole blue light thing.

3- The sense of doom dream: There is no deeper taint on the day than the sense of doom dream. When you wake up from a nightmare into a life or death battle you already know you’re going to lose. This isn’t the world you wished goodnight sweet dreams to. This is a bleak, apocalyptic landscape where familiar forms take on malevolent intentions. And gawd help us all if the phone rings! There is no future here, no hope, and when your parter tell you to just “get over it” his/her future begins to look very bleak indeed.

So how do you stop these 3 types of dreams from messing up your mornings? How do you press your brain’s reset button so you can concentrate on working towards your real dreams? Keep reading… (go to part 2)

Warm Portobello salad: A mushroom faces his mortality

portobello-mushroom-salad
Men do not deal well with mortality, especially on Mondays. Virile and meaty, with an impressive masculine girth, Don had always stood his ground as king of the crop. He was the last great hope for the weakened mycelial network that had shot him forth, the magic coupling of hyphae now depleting the nutrients that had brought them together.

Now, gills plump with purpose, Don is just on the edge of blasting his spores. But Monday brings its doom. Don feels a looming presence behind him… and then a cattle car transport in cramped crates to some gawd forsaken health food store. Finally, just as he’s getting his bearings, he feels feminine fingers groping and stroking all over his brown body. They poke at his most intimate parts and rub his gills, and then this thing sniffs at him, eyes widening at the rich earthy thrill.

This feral creature is without mercy and, in her kitchen, makes the mushroom witness to his own mortality. It’s an out of body experience as Don watches her saute 4 sliced green onions in butter then add his sectioned corpse to sizzle in the pan. Just as everything begins to crisp and brown, she throws in a handful of flat leaf parsley and turns off the heat. A sprinkle of hemp seeds is the final mockery, the last shovel of sand (literally if they’re stale ~wink) on his open grave.

The injustice is too much for Don. The only solace is to any man’s ego at seeing the exquisite pleasure on a woman’s face as he gives all of himself to her. But even that is tainted by her lewd, almost pornographic enjoyment of his flesh. But somehow she can’t seem to bring herself to look him in the eye. And as she places his little face gently in the trash, his mouth still open in horror, the last words he hears are: “so I guess this is how vegetarians feel about meat?”

To all the men who’ve tried to save us

donald-trump-cartoonDid you really think it would be so easy? Insert here and watch us born again, in your own image no less? But why are we still playing along? We are a culture intent on destroying our women by middle-age. We work too hard and we care too much. Go, go, go, go we tell our girls, achieve, be beautiful, be good. Screw that! Why are you always trying to save us from ourselves, our true selves, the parts of our coding so exquisitely tailored to channel forms of abundance you wouldn’t even recognize. Problem is, so many of us have been pulled so far into your worldview that we can’t even see these gifts anymore.

Ironic, especially considering the abundance we bring you. Forget money, fame, power… whatev. Women extend your genetics through time. We make you immortal… which last time I checked was priority numero uno for most of you guys. I am a feminist because I believe men and women are of equal value and should have equal access to quality of life… but quality of life is a charmingly subjective bit of business.

While every human experiences a unique world through the miracle of their individuality, we function as a society by honouring our language code and patterned expectations of behaviour. Hence, the trouble with Donald Trump’s consummate breaking of both! And wouldn’t cha know, we have such an investment in this shared reality that we actually believed he might “change” when he took office. HA!!!

Millions of bright, loving, sane women rejected Hillary Clinton for this lunatic? Ya, I’m pissed! But I get it. When a hand reaches out to you (no matter what size), you’ll grab it. And how many women survive their struggles every day by re-creating their own man, the one they chose, as hero? We story our world to make it livable, because really, there’s shit we all go through that wouldn’t be bearable without a few rewrites, and Disney is brain-bait for a reason. Plus men are so darn lovable it’s disorienting. But what happens when we send back the script?

Men, seriously, stop trying to save us! Stop trying to drag us into your story! We’ve got this. And women, for the love of gawd stop buying in!! Donald Trump is a wakeup call. Dare to define your own quality of life! Own your own value hierarchy. This madness has to stop. We have to write a new story together. We need to support business models that celebrate our female strengths and passions, that honour and reflect the glorious female brain. We could actually reengineer our culture so we aren’t pushing burn-out by 50 – which is when things get really interesting anyway. And our girls! Our girls! Let’s teach them to learn their bodies through their own eyes and hands, so it always belongs to them. I’m in my 30s and I love that the texture of my skin is changing, because my body is my playground and every day is a curiosity satisfied. And I do mean satisfied!

So many men have tried to “save” me from my precious, magical self: strong men, neurotic men, wild men, giant cocks and gentler, more manageable ones; men with PhDs and big chairs, men with soft fur and men weathered tough like old sailors. I’ve climbed mountainous men and danced with timid ones in all their dark corners. Because of my father I have always been their equal – a remarkable gift. But just the first step, because it’s only now that I’ve built, with my own hands, a story strong enough to hold fast in this Trump tornado. So strong in fact, that men, you’re welcome to come in to shelter from the storm.