Saturday, August 28, 2010

What To Let Go Of, What To Take Back In, Learning To Balance & The Most Astonishing Thing Of All... Oh, And Would Anyone Like A Cup Of Tea?

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
~ Albert Einstein ~

 I think I've been trying to learn how to balance all of my life. Forget the bicycle. Forget the training wheels. I think I have to go back to my tricycle again and just learn how to pedal!

Just over a week ago I wrote the last post about leaving the internet for the most part. It was basically the right decision but I kind of threw the baby out with the bathwater. Here's what I mean by this. I cut out/closed down/deactivated every single thing on the net except this blog which has been here since 2007 and will remain here. I am working on two books and not getting anything done because I allowed myself to be sucked into the void and my real life was slipping away from me in an alarming way. I of course allowed this to happen. Part of being an artist-living-in-solitude is the grace and inspiration that living in silence, for the most part, brings, and it is as necessary as the air I breathe. I feel panicked if it seems that I am losing my footing and it is hurting my work which is not just a thing I do but my life's blood, my earthly work, my reason for being, and as an interfaith minister the life I create and the writing and art that come from it are the foundation for my ministry in myriad ways. 

Here's part of what happened. A little over a week ago I knew something was wrong with Sam. Sampson. My velcro pug that you see lying on my shoulder in the picture above. My beloved vet, who had come to my home to put my sweet little pug Babs to sleep in my arms on June 22 came for a visit to check all four dogs, the 3 remaining pugs and Big Dog Moe. I had a list of issues for each dog, but Sampson turned out to have more problems than I could have imagined. In short, by the end of the 2 1/2 hour housecall for all of the dogs, with lots of meds for all of my little seniors -- ears, eyes, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medicine for the arthritic ones and a new diet from the vet because we tend to be a little "fluffy" around here. Ahem. Read: Fluffy=Chubby. This is not good for pugs or people but Dr. B wouldn't give me any of the Hills Science diet that she prescribed for the dogs. I'm thinking about having a bowl in the morning anyway with my coffee. It sounds as though it supersedes anything else I have in my kitchen. As toenails were being clipped and (Pardon me, I hope you're not eating your breakfast!) anal glands tended to among various and sundry other things, Mark, Dr. B's husband and assistant extraordinaire was holding Sam while Dr. B was examining him with a very concerned look on her face. Several masses needing to be removed, and worse, enlarged lymph nodes. It was possible Sam had cancer. A lot of blood was drawn and had to be sent out of the area for the results. I clung to him as if for dear life, kissing and hugging him and crying for days in a row. In the middle of all of this I had that "Nothing in the world is going right, I can't get my work done, I've allowed myself to be nearly swallowed WHOLE by the internet, AND IT'S ALL GOT TO STOP. Hence the last blog entry and closing nearly everything in town DOWN. A week went by...

Several things have happened over the past week. Sampson, thank the Good Lord God! does NOT have cancer (sweating bullets doesn't even begin to describe what I was going through as all of you who have beloved animal companions will understand...), but he will be having surgery next Thursday to remove a number of unwanted, unusual, dreadful things from his poor little puggerly body. I have been walking around numb for days and the best part is that there is no cancer showing but I hate to have this little dog operated on. There is no choice of course but he had been so badly abused he really IS my velcro pug and thank God I can bring him home at the end of the day after the anesthesia wears off. He would not do well without me.

In the middle of all of this I started to notice a new kind of silence. The clamor of the internet with e-mail box always overflowing, twittering away, keeping up with Facebook, 2 blogs, an etsy store and more had all closed except this one blog. In the morning my mailbox was sadly empty-ish and it felt, well, lonely. I cannot have more than one blog and I must keep my time here to a minimum. It is not right for me to have an etsy shop or extra blogs or be involved in several social networking sites, all of which were cancelled, but I knew I had gone too far. That is sort of my Bi-Polarish All-or-Nothing way of doing things. If I become very afraid that something is going dreadfully wrong my only solution is to toss it all in the ocean, all except this one blog. And here it sat. And the rooms were echoing back at me... Is this quiet enough for you?

When the tests came back and it wasn't cancer my whole body relaxed into a big puddle on the floor. I lie there looking up through glassy eyes and realized that I really had done the right thing to eliminate most of what I was doing, maybe I had to chuck it all to see what it felt like and then re-evaluate where I was, how I felt, and if any of the things I'd gotten rid of might have a small space in my life as of yet. I could only deactivate Facebook. I reactivated it just a couple of days ago. I have a lot of friends there. I want to know what they are up to, how their work is going, how they are, and I wanted to re-instate Twitter. When I deleted that account it vanished into thin air. There were a lot of friends there but perhaps this is a new chapter and it is time to start fresh. I have 4 friends now in the last 2 days. I'd love for you to join if you'd be moved to do so and like this blog what with writing, art, puggerly tales and a rather odd woman at the center of it all. 

Even the title of the new Twitter account better suits where I am right now, even if subtle. It was Maitri's Heart. Now it's Maitri's Moments. As I return to a book that needs very little rewriting to complete, a Zen Tea book very nearly finished 3 years ago and set on the shelf because life was too bumpy and uneven to allow for much processing and finishing of a book, I am moving deeply into mindful tea-moments and this book which is such a calming, soothing experience. I shall brew a pot of tea from loose leaves ordered fresh and write for 2 hours over tea time every afternoon on that one book. 

I just ordered four teas from the two companies that are my mainstays, but I write about and order from very many more. Three from Stash Tea Company -- "Ginger Peach Green Tea," "Formosa Oolong Fancy," and "Lapsang Souchong." The one other tea I ordered is one that I fell in love with while doing two years of research on teas, receiving fresh, loose-leaf teas from around the world. The company is Scent By Spirit (SBS Teas), and still exists but under different management when I was working with them but still a wonderful company. They were my mainstay and I got a box of free teas to sample each month so a lot of what I reviewed and wrote about were theirs. The one tea,, out of very many glorious teas that I sampled, some few I bought for myself to have again and again after the sampling phase, and my favorite was Earl Grey de la Créme Tea. This tea is pure, unadulterated bliss. I had tried Earl Grey's before and wanted to like them but, well, something was always lacking. But Earl Grey de la Créme Tea was different. In addition to the bergamot always found in Earl Grey, this SBS variety has vanilla and cream added into the loose leaves and I'm here to tell you this tea could bring a body to their knees!

 And so yes, I have left the internet for the most part and this shall remain so. This blog will remain and be a little more active and by active I mean that I plan to update it twice a week. I have reactivated my Facebook account and started a new Twitter account, BUT, the big difference is that I will only visit those two place in the morning over coffee while doing e-mail so that I can stay in touch but still have my life. I will not be on either of those sites off and on all day. A brief interlude each morning will suffice. 

The Mose Astonishing Thing Of All? Well, it's that feeling that we can get when we feel like Life, just as in riding a wild horse bareback, has run away from us full-stop. "I've GOT to leave Facebook!!! Look what it's doing to me!!!" Pish-Tosh! Nonsense! Not Facebook, nor Twitter, nor any other blog, social networking site, or anything else on the net can take over our lives. We let them. We allow it, we even invite it, and when one day we feel that we are being swallowed up whole, let us remember that it is not "they" who are doing it, but "we" who are allowing it. So yes, most things are still gone and shall remain so. I have no qualms or regrets about these things leaving my life. And the things present or brought back will be used far more judiciously. These things have much to offer as long as we manage them in a way that suits our lives. I wasn't. I'm learning and continually re-evaluating. 

Finally I bought webspace for 3 years and the url I will use awhile back. I got a really good deal on the three years so I have been letting it coast until I was ready. Soon I shall perhaps dip a toe in but I will tell you it will be a long slow pace I will keep to while developing it. I started it to have a space to promote my art and self-published books as well as those published by publishing houses, and to offer other things that I like and believe in with many other wonderful little elements along the way. It will get done, when I'm ready. Soon I shall saddle up my snail and start moseying along into that website, take a look around, mosey back out and do it when it feels right, which might be next month or next year for that matter. 

My snail's name is Dudley Do-Right and he's gonna do right by me. No other mode of transportation can keep me in check. So I leave you as I unmount Dudley, head into the kitchen to make a pot of tea, and come back to my cozy chair with my boy Sam who is snuggled in and sleeping beside me. He's going to be alright, for now, and so am I. Dudley and a good pot of tea will keep us straight. Can I pour you a cup?


allison strine said...

Velcro pug lovers of the world, unite!

Laane said...

Yep, pour me one.

I'm glad it's not cancer and he can be operated. I hope all goes well.

To me online life provides contact and lots of education. When the schoolvacation is over I use the computer during coffee breaks and when my body needs a bit of rest.

I'm writing a book too and sometimes dropping is just a nice way of doing something when I'm trying to find just that right sentence.

I've opened a new site not too long ago:

Have a great weekend.

Jean said...

Wishing you well, Maitri! Life does have it's bumps. You seem to weather them well.

Victoria SkyDancer said...

Yes, please, I'll take a cup of tea. Some of that Earl Grey de la Creme sounds dee-vine, darling! :-)

Glynis said...

I think you have done the right thing. I have removed several blogs that were bogging me down. I rarely facebook, only look for my children's messages. I twitter once or twice a week. I am now contemplating stopping another blog. My writing suffers and I waste valuable time. I unplugged for a week and finished a novel, planned another and got housework done.

Enjoy your quiet time and I am so glad your little pug is doing well.

Lin said...

Well, welcome back. :)

Everything is okay, but in moderation. Isn't that what they say? It is a matter of controlling yourself with these technological venues and not letting them control you. Turn it off and walk a way a bit.

I'm so very happy about your Sam. He will be fine in surgery. See? Prayer does work after all. We'll say some more for the surgery as well. :)

Pams Fiber from Dream Come True Farm said...

Bless your little pug and you for the work you do with them. Go with your heart in terms of the Internet. You would be missed om sure if you completely left. The universe seems to always have something in mind for you. Prayer and meditation will guide you Maitri as you well know. Now yes p,ease a cup of tea sounds wonderful. I must go put some on!!

Lisa said...

It is interesting how we ALLOW the distractions. I have lost my direction many times and my own desire to complete a book is pushed further and further out.

Alas, I can't let go of anything so I must do everything, therefore, it seems, nothing get done.

Lidian said...

Thinking all good thoughts for you and dear Sam! I am trying to figure out a balance between my real-life writing and on-line stuff, too. I am hardly on FB or Twitter but I am going to keep them I guess. I feel awfully guilty about not replying to comments so much etc but I really can't do It All..Guess it is a matter of making the right choices (and trying to figure out what those are, and adjusting them because, as the Buddha said, it changes...)

And now I'm going to join your new Twitter :)

xx Lidian

Don said...

I've never been a fan of Twitter, don't like Facebook (although I have a business account and a martial arts account that I think I looked at both about a month ago...), and have pretty much whittled my "socializing" on the web to a blog exchange I own and a few forums. And they still take too much time up because, as you say, I allow them to. I should be studying Latin, writing a book that has been in my head for years and reading. So I feel what you are saying there.

I am very happy to hear your puppy (all dogs are puppies to me, regardless of age!)doesn't have cancer! I pray all goes well with his surgery!

snoring solutions said...

I'm glad it's not cancer and he can be operated. I hope all goes well.
I think you have done the right thing. I have removed several blogs that were bogging me down.


HI Maitri, just stop by to see how you're doing and send you Love and hugs. Whenever you want a break come by and visit us at our new networking site, we recently migrated from our ning site to here > where you may add your existing blog feed to our stream if you like...your love and inspiration should be syndicated wherever possible for you are such a blessing dear heart! x0xKaren

Auntie E said...

Glad you decided to keep one up. It is a struggle to balance so many ball in one hand. Life sometimes says slow down. I found it easy to get wrapped up in other things just to not think out loud.
Glad your beloved Dogs are doing better and no cancer in them.

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