reflections on empowerment – daily moments Dec 7/19

A story keeps sneaking to the forefront of her consciousness. For 2 hours he talked about his plan that could be accessible anytime he wanted.   The scary thing about it was that he could make it look like an accident and no one would ever be the wiser. Writing about it today actually appeases her compared to last week. His plan scared her for days, lingering in the back of her mind but now she sees it more as his survival…empowering him.  He now has a choice, whether he executes it or not, and that, may be something he never had growing up…a choice.

Some young adults may finally have a chance to feel what it is like to be free from the clutches of their oppressor(s) and it might be too much to handle on their own…too much to process, let alone, heal. They may feel bombarded with too many  nightmares they have lived growing up.

And that is the part of her job that she loves…being there at a moment if and when the may feel ready to reach out and try and make some sense of their nightmares. Sifting through the memories and challenges together. She often feels like a silent sounding board but with a slight difference. “Kindness is language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain

Maybe reaching adulthood actually means taking back what was rightfully theirs.

light finally shines
mysteries start to unravel
taking back the night

© tournesol ‘2019/12/07

First snowfall – Daily Moments – Troibun

A disturbing nudge on her shoulder kicks her out of her sleep. Her longtime friend and foe is ever consistent. It’s November, and dawn has not yet shown its face. Her cold dark room reminds her of death. It is after all, the month of death. She hears a neighbour roll over in bed. The springs are probably as old as his grandfather but hardly a nuisance to hear. In fact, it’s comforting to hear the expected. There is life upstairs.

She pulls the duvet over her head and whispers her morning mantra, “Please help me be a better person and make this day slightly different…Amen.” Shuffling to the washroom, she peaks in the room at the end of the hall. Squinting, she sees her black feline sleeping soundly by the windowsill.

In the kitchen she starts the coffee. She grinds the coffee beans at night to ensure quiet in the morning. Pulling the curtain in the living room, she sees dark purple shades painted across the sky. What a gift to see this performance offering hope for a new day…yet, it’s all a lie, really. Nothing changes.
Tiptoeing to the washroom, she closes the door runs her morning bath while the coffee maker does its magic. Hot water oils her joints…sort of, at least to function, maybe enough to walk to the bus stop today. Lowering her body so her shoulders are covered in the hot steaming water, she lets out a soft groan exhaling the bad.

The last gasps of the coffee wizard announce the end of her bath.
Sitting in her mother’s old rocker, she sips her first taste of happiness leaning on two ice packs. The aroma fills the air. The ice slowly numbs the pain on her neck and lower back; the rising sun puts a smile on her parched lips. Who knows? Maybe today will be different.

For decades, she’s always told herself that pain is her friend. If she feels aches, it means she’s alive rather than paralysed and unfeeling. She has the energy to work, to love, the passion to care despite the lulls in the day or night, she still lives and feels.

Accepting her limits is the secret. Walking too far or housecleaning in one shot will force her into inaction for a day or two. On days she cannot function, she reads, writes, edits photos or binges on Netflix…always pleasures to take her mind off physical discomforts…the nagging, accusing poking of her stalker or long-time partner?

dawn squints
billowy shadows linger
first snowfall

dawn squints
cringing at intruders
morning strain

billowy shadows linger
shift in autumn’s speed
chasing winter

first snowfall
brightening muddy paths
cooling giddy tongues

(c) Tournesol 19/11/07

A haibun and a Dear Emma journal…just thinking on paper

 

It’s driving her bonkers visiting so many condos. She is working still but this new place should be affordable when she no longer works and accessible to basic needs. Public transportation must be achievable so she can still get around at all hours of the day and evening. She loves the city for the culture, education and so many interesting events. She loves to read and if her new location does not provide what she needs in books, she wants to be able to hop on a bus and go to her Alma mater, having access to it’s library.

visiting
searching
a place to call home

visiting
private homes
of strangers

searching
impossible dreams
peace of mine

a place to call home
yet, fearing isolation
single … not alone

(c) Tournesol ’19/10/30

Yesterday she heard a radio broadcast of a man who retired. He talked about how it was a terrible shock to him. She has been planning to write more and teach English part time on line or in person when she retires. She planned on volunteering doing group work like she did a few years ago but somehow she did not feel “at home” in community outreach programmes like she did in Toronto. Why was that? Was she tired of volunteering in the mental health world where she has worked for almost 4 decades, volunteering and working? Well, that would make sense. Even if she offered workshops, she knows she would still be drawn into their narratives that pull at the heartstrings.

And, to hear this man voice his misery with retirement, jolted her. She thought about the time when it will be an END…rather than her usually way of thinking that it will be a new beginning. Even if she got certified to teach last fall, she never really grasped the idea of cutting ties to workforce. She remembers not working for one year when the children were little and she found work to do from home to keep her sanity. Somehow, being productive AND connected to people was a need and not just a desire.

How did she get here? She has always talked about volunteering and working part time here and there to fill her time. She has relished the idea of going to a library or coffee shop with her laptop and writing to her heart’s content. And yet when it is a choice and something in the future, it looks like a dream come true. When it gets closer, it feels like a death sentence. Oh my, why is she seeing her future so bleak? Is it that time of year?

November approaching is like opening your heart and home to death. The only good thing about this month was her first child was born on the 7th. She feels herself slipping into the darkness of despair and numbness. Knowing it is going to happen; understanding the why’s and how’s makes it even more frustrating because that mood just takes control over her. It snickers and sometimes bellows at her weakness. It weighs on her like a heavy duvet with iron fists keeping her under, and all she can do is concentrate on breathing…waiting for a break in that dark sky. Until then, she will go through the motions…work three days a week; listening to the darkest stories from callers, searching for hope. She sometimes, feels like a hypocrite not being able to take her own advice. She can hear them, feel them, open her heart to them and engage them and help them get to a safer and lighter place even if it’s just for a night, one more day, one more week. If only she could have someone like that to do the same for her.

It is probably one of the toughest parts of being in the service profession. Police officers, first responders, nurses, physiotherapists, massage therapists, doctors, teachers and social service workers and any other outreach career, have the same risks of slipping. Some take comfort with their family, friends and balancing self-care. Others drink too much or eat too much. The things they see or hear are not things you can share and vent with a friend.

In Toronto she had a great therapist (doctor/masters in social work) covered by healthcare. She was even her doctor and her support was helpful and refreshing. Even her doctor would pick her brain on ideas for clients she had who were parents.

She doesn’t feel it really matters where you live. It is how she feels inside…the heart of any home is the soul of the person living there. The living space can be spotless or cluttered, shiny or dreary, quiet or noisy, it all depends on what is going on inside that person. However, lots of windows make a huge difference…just being able to look at the sky; looking out and also seeing life around her like pedestrians, cars, squirrels and chipmunks. Seeing life is vital…it is a connection to the living and she can relate more and more to older people she worked with years ago. She is minutes away from any of these persons now.

She so admired their energy and persistence to keep moving and staying involved with social events. She wonders what their secret was when that heavy duvet weighed them in the morning or when it hurt to move a muscle or hurt even more to open their eyes. She did get advice from her 90 yr old aunt one time. Roll out of bed, shuffle to the bath and run a nice hot bath to oil the joints; then you can move!
She does this on most mornings now.

Maybe she could learn from more retired people. Experience is worth its weight in gold…now she is feeling a bit more hopeful. Thanks, Emma, for listening.

Daily moments Oct 30 2019, clr

 

Reading Julie Parenteau…haibun

Reading Julie Parenteau, Femme Cherche  Homme Aimant le Meutre

(C)Clr’9-10-16

The train moved faster trying to make up for a late departure. She leans her head on the window and watches all the colours of the season embracing her like an old woolen shawl…the one GrandMaman used to wear. The skies are grey and the fall colours flash even more through the mist of the pouring rain.

This is a time to bundle up on a comfy couch or chair and read a book. She turns the page on the mystery novel “Femme Cherche Homme aimant le Meutre” she started reading at the station. The author, Julie Parenteau begins the first page with a jolt inciting the reader to read more, more, more…unfortunately she must read slowly. When she reads in French, she has to sound out each word to understand properly and she sure doesn’t want to miss anything her new favourite Quebec author has written.

Language is so different written from spoken and she learned French on the streets. She had not read a French novel in a while her last one was « Sur le Seuil » by Patrick Senécal, another Québécois writer. His writing affects the reader like Stephen King does…no kidding! And she remembers finding this a real page turner.

After about twenty pages, she usually gets into a different mindset and falls into the world of the author where she no longer notices what language she is reading. How she likes when that happens…her curiosity and love of words take over as well as a thrilling plot!

The muffled sound of the train whistling as it passes through small towns, caught her attention and she looks out on the fields. It is late in the season and she notices the perfectly round bales of hay sitting in the meadow, waiting to bed their new home for the winter.

Mesmerized
A panorama of autumn
Slipping away
from a rear view seat
Nature bids farewell

© Tournesol’19-10-16

If you are interested in reading Julie’s newly published novel, check it out at Indigo, Amazon, Archambault and Renaud Bray. Also look up Julie’s Facebook page to get to know more about this talented writer.

https://www.facebook.com/Julie-Parenteau-auteure-279004306368883/.

reflections (haibun)

31,479 hours and still counting…

31, 479 hours to date, she has picked up the phone or sat at her desk replying to youths on the world wide web. She wonders how many hours one has to work before they start seeing pink rabbits and blue dinosaurs…

purple turtles
crawling ever slowly
weight on her heart

purple turtles
light and vulnerable
once upon a time

crawling ever slowly
feeding on every teardrop
nutrients within

weight on her heart
so called “innovation”
betrayed by giants

Giants make important decisions but may not have all the variables. Sadly, they are too tall and high, they cannot always hear the true believers…

hearts beating
to the sounds of their cries
fears, pain and suffering

Pushing the heart to beat faster, longer; lungs that sometimes collapse…not enough time to come up for air; maintenance does not seem to be the giant’s option. Push harder, drown, bury, replace, rebranding…looking to the future, they stick their chests out snapping their suspenders woven out of self-righteousness. Gatekeepers hold onto to their purple turtles so they don’t slip away. Hiding from poachers and giants who claim that Father Knows Best.

pink rabbits scatter
creating a diversion
blue dinosaurs roam

pink rabbits scatter
compassion their fuel
keeping turtles safe

creating a diversion
here, there, up and down
giants can’t keep up

blue dinosaurs roam
keeping watch night and day
the Universal Rule

when does an ideal begin to crumble?
what happens to noble dreams?
why do new stakeholders falter?
where have those primary dreamers gone?
when have visionaries replaced compassion and humility?
why have giants slipped away so far…from that Golden Rule?

She remembers going to see a new mechanic in Mississauga in 1997 when she had just moved to GTA. Her car had just passed the five year mark and was no longer on warranty. She had a list in October…to change the spark plugs, oil and filter and clean or change the brakes. She had her winter tires (which very few had there but she was from Montreal…better safe than sorry was their motto).

Mike, the mechanic (Yeah, I know like the song) did the oil change and put on her snow tires and told her everything else was fine. He told her that always cleaned brakes when doing an oil change; he said, “A garage will never make much money from a customer like you, Cl. You come in October to prepare your car for the winter…most people come around in at the end of November or even December and often when their car won’t start…prevention and good maintenance is the key to keep your car for a long time.” Of course, the winters were not as cold and snowy as in Quebec and that car held on up to 2008. The motor was still fine (thank you Mitsubishi) but it was not as safe to travel to visit her family in Quebec…her ailing mother and beautiful grandson merited more visits now.

She required a more dependable vehicle to manage the trek from Toronto to Montreal. A humble 4 cylinder, Eagle Summit was still working after 16 years, however. It felt as if it was time for retirement, but she would not be able to visit it as it; it would now be running slower and less frequently. Just like we do when we retire…we put less demand on ourselves, stretching our lives with quality time and less stress.

Isn’t that how dependable and high functioning people should be treated in a workplace? Maintaining their overall health which includes physical and mental wellbeing is crucial. Is she wrong in believing this?

pushing
faster, harder
dropping like flies

© Tournesol 19-10-08

Daily Moments  October 8 2019

Daily moments September 25, 2019 “missing Dom’ ” ~Troibun

 

You know how the smells of certain food, the images of certain things like flowers or sounds like a song all bring you back in time reminding you of that special someone?  Time stops for a moment to allow you to place yourself back with that person. That is what was happening today as she waited by the stove preparing her lunch. 

The eggs were simmering over roasted garlic and rice.  It would take a few minutes longer, she knew, but they would be “just right”, like that amazing omelette she had years ago in her friend’s kitchen in St Basil le Grand.  She remembers sitting at the counter and chatting with her as she would go back and forth leisurely but expertly, to the stove, preparing their brunch.

miss her smile
warm and genuine hugs
shimmering baby blues

miss her smile
sharing joys of music
blues and indie songs

warm and genuine hugs
former colleague that became her friend
on her first shift

shimmering baby blues
telling so many stories
spill with emotion

© Tournesol ‘19/09/25

Daily moments September 25, 2019  missing Dom’   Troibun

Godspeed Stéphanie!

rooftop sunset
(c) Clr’19 Rooftop sunset on de Gaspé, Mile End

Another person’s leaving and I can’t help but feel sad today, thinking back on that sparkle in her eyes when she first started. Watching the complicities and banters her night team had together was touching. Enjoying her photos of vacation spots exploring the world with her partner, was my way of living vicariously through a select few people I admire here.

And as if, those eyes could not take ‘shimmer’ to another level, blossoming into a beautiful woman and mother. For those who ‘get it’ when you look at your child and your heart wants to burst through your chest, there is so much love there, one could see this so clearly on her whole being as well.

Something changes dramatically when you have a child. Seeing her reminded me how those days when I returned to work with my first born. Work took second place and slowly I became to carve a new path for myself… a turning point that took a long time but brought me to my place, my passion, I still have today.

Over time, that sparkle dimmed in her eyes when she returned and I could see how she too was slowly weaving a new tapestry that would include her true self, her family and her passion. A place to breathe and feel valued and recognize the light around her again. And so, selfishly I am sad to see her go, I truly, get it.

This time it is not a new chapter but a new book. Remember how those first pages are gleaming and welcome a new story?  This is her new narrative etched with her passion and dedication to herself, her family and to those new souls who will benefit from her professionalism, her expertise, her savoir-faire and mostly her kindness.

summer waves goodbye
autumn announces change, yet…
vibrant and alive

Godspeed, Stéphanie!

© Tournesol ‘19/09/20

September 20 2019 Daily moments, Godspeed Stéphanie Haibun

ladies are wild Haibun Daily Moments Sept 11 2019

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting

Some people have friends over for coffee or tea; others meet at a coffee shop or restaurant. But today, these lovely ladies met at a food court to play cards. How sweet is that? Once in a while another group of women would pop by their table to talk and laugh. She couldn’t understand because they were speaking something other than French or English but they sure were having a grand time!


kings, queens
party at their weekly haunt
jokers are wild

© Tournesol ‘19/09/11

Nirvana (Daily moments) Haibun

Finally! She sits motionless to savour the moment exhaling slowly…relief, at last. The night was long waking up to hammers in her head. Finally by the end of the day, knockers slowly left, one by one.

She remembers reading that heroin users are often looking for that high…reaching nirvana. She read that there were many ways to reach this ultimate summit of pure bliss. She was a bit shocked when a monk listed orgasm on his list of “highs” but thinking about it now, that did make sense along with reaching spiritual enlightenment.

Demerol was another drug that brought some to nirvana after hours of labour in childbirth. Her grandmother was a midwife and many mothers would ask for a second “shot”…she smiles at the memory of her grandmother telling her birth stories.

It must be like this for people who use opiates for painkillers as well, she ponders. She always steered away from that because she knew how easily one gets addicted. Her doctor once prescribed a procedure that would relieve her of her neck pain for about one month. It was very costly but it was not the cost that turned her off. She lives with chronic pain day and night. For the past three decades it has married her by now. To separate the pain only briefly, might be a relief…even heaven but hell would surely await after the effects wore off. No, she thought, that would be worse. She preferred to endure the soft murmurs of her partner who drummed on joints and bones and off and on would invite his knockers for a poker game in her head and neck. But when that game ended, guests left one by one…the relief swaddled her…the other joints dulled in comparison to that last performance…a concert of sheer hell.

Right now, at this very moment, she is drunk with this relief she calls, her nirvana.

Steel drums echo

Beating to a steady rhythm

Repeating an angry verse

Robbing her of any comfort

In the name of pain

© Tournesol ‘19/09/06