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

dreamcatcher
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.

My most shameful permission

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You know you’re in trouble when you’re following Muammar Gaddafi’s lead! The documentary told how a young on-the-move Gaddafi broke cultural tradition by not going back home to contribute when his family could really have benefited. “Oh,” I remember saying to myself, “his independence from paradigm norms and rules freed him to create his own world.” And it’s kinda scary how easily a piece of random information can dig itself into your own story. Of course, these specific randoms are often being hunted for by a brain that wants to validate the story it’s already got simmering, but cart/horse, both models end up allowing some pretty surprising permissions.

I guess I should have thought twice before modeling my life choices on those of a psychopath. But whatever, like this (click here) abomination, it seemed like a good idea at the time. So I’ve got to do this alone, I figured, never realizing how far I’d take this particularly dangerous permission.

And I’m sorry. I am so so sorry!! I’ve ignored holidays, left emails dangling lost and lonely for months – and you can forget about my tradition of handmade cards. I’ve neglected my most basic social responsibilities, all in the name of some ambiguous quest to find a mental framework that would let me be me to the best of my abilities… and happy.

I’m not an idiot; I know our people are our happiness! But I am an introvert whose private world is delightfully intoxicating – in so many ways. And so I built my Gaddafi compound in a cave wallpapered with ideas. Like one way mirrors they let me see to infinity but only reflected outsiders back upon themselves. As an highly sensitive perfectionist, it’s that darned “happy” that’s been so elusive. And now that I’m nibbling on its edges, I have to admit that maybe I didn’t have to take my story to its all or nothing extreme. I was wrong. Big time. And I apologize to everyone that I love from the bottom of my heart.

When you dare to question your personal narrative, your most intimate story, dare to challenge it right down to its very core. With mindfulness brain training, you build an observer self right into your grey matter. And from this vantage point you can poke around safely without bringing your value or true identity into question. Withdrawing is my most shameful permission because shame is a social contract broken. When mindfulness is practiced with unrelenting compassion, in this case for self, shame and guilt are tools that inform us when we’ve deviated from clean energy flow – aka when we’ve f-ed up. With further meditation you can engage with your universal self and that’s one hell of a high.

So coming back to earth, how do you negotiate your permissions? One way is to go in hard and shake things loose by changing your behaviours brute force to see if a new story starts to take shape. Basically fake it till ya make it. I don’t have to fake loving my family and friends. I’m no Gaddafi – except for one day a month but he didn’t even have that excuse. But I do have to modify my priority scale now that I’ve got that framework I’d been dying, literally, to define. A group of wonderful gals need cards and two very special men are waiting for emails. And another man, my man, is waiting for the woman he loves to finally come back home.

Breaking up with celebrity gossip

imageCelebrity gossip is to women what sports are to men. We live the hunt vicariously, for love, for the revenge body, for the perfect shoe/bag combo… and just for the record I was on “Team Jen.” There’s no shame here; I delight in relational dramz as much as the next gal. It’s just how our brains are wired. Why do we let men belittle our passions? Especially when those idiots are out there literally losing sleep over whether some other dude gets a ball in a hole – way to go buddy, way to go.

But celebrity gossip is life and death! The problem of course is that it’s not our life…. and so basically becomes some other permutation of balls and holes (sorry). I’ve defended my distraction as resetting my alpha brainwaves, social reaction research for social media, and other “smart” rationalizations, but there’s no harm in admitting the simple truth: it’s fun. So why breakup?

They say when you fall back into addiction you hit right where you left off. After a dry January, noble if bleak, I pitched headlong back into the abyss. I lost all track of time, where I was, what I was ‘supposed’ to be doing. But I had a goal, imbued with the exquisite purity of purpose of any addictive brain. I wanted, needed satisfaction!!! And so at 6:04am on February 1st when I finally came to my senses I discovered I’d been watching old youtube radio show clips of post-divorce Kevin Federline while simultaneously wading around in the bilge waters of old Britney interviews (love her) trying to flush out the authenticity of her parents reactions in episode 5 of her reality show Chaotic …you know you want to click through…come on…everybody’s doing it. It’s not the furthest I’ve fallen, but for an overthinking autodidact like myself, it’s a pretty slippery slope.

Funny thing was, I didn’t miss it for all of my gossip free January. Note: except, of course, for a brief moment of panic at not being able to poke around ScarJo’s latest separation. Email me if you know anything extra juicy! I’ll be honest, I did allow myself quite a bit of Donald Trump methadone, because politics is a grey area and, like, seriously, no sane human could in good conscious pass up that level of DRAMZ. I didn’t miss the hollywood stuff because I’m not emotionally involved – they ain’t my people – and because once we make a decision that feels congruent on all levels of consciousness the brain is quick to adapt our motivations. When you’re ready to quit something, you quit. But that tiny Feb. 1st permission was enough to show me that I’ve carved those particular pathways in my neural network too deep to mess with. I am safe as long as I keep my decision solid. I know my brain.

Should you give it a rest? Should you breakup with celebrity gossip? Can you give up Kim and Kanye? Only if it’s dragging you away from your reality… but wait, isn’t that the whole point? Yes, but distraction is an accessory, a complement to whole. In the original Harpers Bazaar photo from the collage above, Kim has a garish purple bag. It may have been Dior, but I cut it out.