Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Mercies and Muffins

If I were to say the word mercy to you, what would you think I was talking about? A little while ago I posted Eliza Gilkyson's song ' Tender Mercies' at the end of one of my posts, and again today, after listening to that song I found myself contemplating the concept while sipping a lunchtime cup of coffee in my so-in-need-of-a-thorough-cleanup kitchen. And by the way, I am hoping that the oncoming polar night, when the sun doesn't rise at all all only barely peeks above the horizon, will take care of that. Well, that and candlelight. But back to mercy. I actually took a peek at my dictionary, and it said the word means compassion, benevolence, kindness and yes, forgiveness. Wow. A pretty big word that one.

Obviously, in a religious context, the word is used a lot. God is merciful. At least to some. To others, he is judgmental and terrifying. Well, I hope that whomever or whatever your god is, that s/he is a merciful one. Because we humans are weak and fragile creatures, and mercy is what we most need, every single day. 

But not just mercy as seen from a religious viewpoint, but as shown towards each others every single day. Compassion. Kindness. Benevolence. Forgiveness. I'm thinking I might embroider those words on a piece of fabric and hang them on a wall in a place where I could be certain of seeing them often. Because that is how I would like to live my life. Let the others keep the tough. I'll take the inner strength. Let them keep the selfishness, the my-right-to-gain, the insensitivity, the distrust. I'll take the trusting, crying-over-cruelty-in-headlines sensitivity over that any day. Call me stupid if you want. For I know it has nothing to do with my IQ. Tell me that the world is cruel, that for sure one day I will loose my silly compassionate heart and learn to live by the ''true standards'' of our world, and I will tell you that I have seen the kind of cruelty most people never will. I know exactly what lies in wait when people stop showing mercy. And no, I will not go there again. Ever. Call me silly all you want.

Right on.

And it's not half bad an idea to show some, no, make that a lot, mercy towards ourselves as well. Don't know about you but I certainly beat myself up the head all the time about things I should do, things I forgot, things I didn't do fast enough, well enough. About things in myself that I would like to be different. Damn this is a hard road! Why don't I just curl up on the sofa and watch Big Brother 24/7 or something?? Why do I torment myself, like my darling Harley Hairy Person says, by thinking way too much and way too complicated?

Because that's how I am. I am a fruit loop. There. I admit it. And mercy is what I shall try to show towards myself for being, indeed, this strangely wired, probably maddeningly loopy creature. And because mercy is also those little mercies of life, here is a couple I decided to give myself the other day...

Just click on the header
for the recipe.
They're very, very easy to make
and perfect for brightening
up a dreary
November day.
And you can use those
about-to-go-black bananas
lurking at the bottom
of the fruit bowl...

And as the day is now turning towards the afternoon and I can already see the sun setting, I shall light those candles and tuck the vacuum cleaner even further away in the cleaning cupboard. Got some lovely ribbons and fabrics from a charity shop, some of which I used to decorate a brown velvet skirt also bought at the shop...

...and some of which I am planning on using on an angel doll I am making for the Daughter for Christmas and which I shall continue on now. The dust is not going anywhere. 

So have a lovely evening and show yourself some little tender mercies, won't you.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Project Happiness or Happiness Project

Happiness. Isn't that the most elusive concept on the planet. What is it exactly? How do you go about getting it? Can you do anything about it or is it something that either comes out of nowhere or just simply keeps its distance  no matter what we do? Well, drop me a note if you know. Me, I tend to think that even though I can not exactly say that I am fundamentally, exultingly happy all the time, there are days, moments during the day when I find myself being quietly, peacefully happy. Satisfied. Though granted, this autumn has been an extremely difficult one on that respect as peace has been seriously lacking in my soul. I am still looking for it. Maybe it will come with the first snow. Cover me like the snow covers the wet, muddy ground. Here's to hoping.

Meanwhile, I read this post by one of my favorite bloggers, Love Out Loud, and it got me thinking about how there really are things in life that can not be changed, no matter how much you might want to. In my case, for example, the place I am living in now is not my 'dream town' but I have ( had ) to come to realise that this is where I am planted and shall have to continue growing in. My entire adult life I have been a drifter. Even if I did stay in one place a couple of years, I was always ready to up and leave, pack my bags and boxes and go where the wind took me. I did not belong anywhere. It was a mental state of rootlessness which I savored and was happy with. No ties, or if there were, I wouldn't think twice about breaking them. People came and went. Places too. In some, I would be invited to become a part of a community, but because of my inability to allow myself to just be still, I would always say thanks-but-no-thanks and leave, sooner or later.

Now here I am. In an ugly little town at the arctic circle. Sure, the nature is fantastic, but so it is in many other places on this big planet of ours, so why here? Because of people. Because of my family. And if I think about what is balanced in the scales of life for me here, I can honestly say that it is no great sacrifice, really. I think that in the world of no borders we live in today, it is all too easy to think that indeed, you can plant yourself anywhere, and while theoretically, you can, I have experienced that it comes with a price. The price of being on my own. And while for a long time that was a concept I cherished, I no longer do. We live in a society where generations are cut off from each other and where independence is a trait so cherished that some people actually talk about teaching their children to be independent when they are practically still babies. Well, no thank you.

So, I now live in a town where you are guaranteed to be speaking to somebody who knows someone from your family, your dad, your cousin, your sister. Or someone who went to school with someone you know. A thought that would only some years ago driven me up the wall. And, gasp, I have actually begun to think that yeah, this is the place I could very likely live the rest of my life in and be buried somewhere next to my grandparents in the same graveyard I used to work in the summer as a kid tending the flowerbeds. Boring? Maybe. But somehow, there is something strangely reassuring about that thought as well. Oh wow. 

My Daughter 
with her
at a creek this autumn.

My Mother
my adorable little Niece.

You see what I am talking about?

Does it mean that I will never leave this place again? No. I love traveling, and will continue doing so. Most of my traveling I have done alone, and loved the total freedom of that, but even if in the future certain things might put a curb on that, like, well, health, then I shall simply travel with other people. And learn to look at these other people as something other than hindrances on my 'freedom'. 

A little while ago I read a book in which a character asks another if they consider themselves happy. And gets the answer that sure, they do. Afterwards the person having been asked thinks to herself how ''white people always wonder if they are happy enough''. White or black or blue, I believe this is where we go wrong. We keep wasting our time asking ourselves if we are happy enough instead of just, well, learning to derive happiness from all those things in our lives that are well and good. And if you are reading this then you are among those people on our planet that does have things to be happy about. Believe me. If I can say that I have things to be happy about, so can you. And I am not exaggerating here. 

But as to sheer unhappiness. Are we then supposed to just accept everything as it is given to us and live our lives with all those things that make us unhappy? No, at least I don't think so. If there is something in your life that is making you seriously unhappy, and that is in your power to change, do so. But if it is something that you have no power over, remember, knowing how to pick your battles is one heck of a life lesson I too am still all to painfully learning about. 
So, now I am going to go and have a cup of tea with a friend of mine who is working in a lovely little cafe downtown that also sells all sorts of local handicrafts, have a chat, ponder a little about life, go pick up my little one from the kindergarten, cook some dinner, bake a cookie or two, and end the day with a book, a kiss and a hug. Happy? I don't know. But if in the evening I can say that it was another day spent without having to take a ridiculous amount of painkillers, without having to resort to my walking stick, without having to cry because of emotional and physical stress, if it has been a day without fear, then at least I am going to say that if not happy, it was, after all, a day I can be satisfied with.