Thursday, May 15, 2014

Is That a Great Big Arrow Over My Head Pointing To Where I Should Go?

Two Big Things were on my schedule yesterday:

1.) The long-anticipated inspection for licensing of our cobbled-together little storefront had finally been arranged.  We were going to lift our collective feet for that giant step we needed to take in order to bring Café de la Rue (the concession business we have owned since 2001) not only back to life, but push it forth to a life it had not, up until now, been fortunate enough to enjoy—i.e.: a complete and human-being-sized production kitchen of its very own.

2.) I had an appointment for a job interview.

A job interview?  you ask.  Don't you hate job interviews?  Wouldn't you rather spend a year on a desert island with Sarah Palin than go to a job interview?  Oh hell yes.  That is true.  But money has been tight, scarce and running through our fingers like water since January.  Between trying to get that building finished without breaking the bank, running up a $5000 tab at the vet for an “undesirable outcome,” forking over the final 1/3 of our property taxes, and various and sundry little $200 here, $400 there minor disasters, we have been scraping the bottom of the piggy bank. 

On top of that, we discovered that the bonuses that husband had been receiving for the past year, in lieu of an actual raise in pay, had dried up and blown away, at least for the first quarter of 2014.  Silly me for thinking we were finally going to get a chance to dig ourselves out from under 8 years of stagnant wages and soaring inflation.  

So I was forced to conclude, since a raise in pay was not going to be in the cards for the husband this year, and our bills demanded an increase in our income, it was time for me to step up to the plate and acquire some gainful employment.  About two weeks ago, I started sending out resumes in earnest, just to see what would happen.

And what happened is that, of course, I got a call back.  Surprised me, really…I had convinced myself that no one would be interested in my experience, but I had to make an effort in some direction.  Call back requested an interview on the morning of our big health inspection.  Who was I to refuse?  I penciled it in.

But ah…what an interview!  I’m trying so hard to put it behind me that  I can hardly go into detail about it.  Let’s just say that when you ask what the rate of pay is and they say, “We don’t know.  It depends…” and trail off into silence, you start to get the feeling that you have indeed entered the Twilight Zone.  Actually, I had that feeling almost from the moment I shook hands with the two interviewers, sat in the indicated chair and was met with the most uncomfortable stony silence I had ever encountered in a job interview.  After 45 ridiculously interminable minutes of the male interviewer wheezing out points on my resume, and then the female interviewer being given leave to open her mouth only after the male interviewer had apparently finished pontificating, the session came to an ignominious end.  I hurried out the door chanting to myself, “Well, that’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back.”


And  I still had the other half of my day’s challenges staring me in the face:  our date with the health inspector.   Not-so-inwardly stressing about how long of a list she would hand us of things that would need to be corrected before we could get our license, I rolled up my sleeves and began my resigned last sweep and scrub before she was scheduled to arrive. 

Considering how the first part of my day had already gone, my stomach was in knots when she walked in the front door.

She walked in, opened her briefcase, and handed me my license.  She went over a few questions on the pre-opening questionnaire, walked around for fifteen minutes and said everything looked great, had me sign on the dotted line, and that was it.  Push-pull, click-click—we were licensed.  It was decidedly…anti-climactic.

Anybody who reads this blog with any regularity knows that I chronically over-think things.  And I habitually search for messages from the Universe in the smallest, most insignificant occurrences in my life.

But if yesterday wasn’t a clear message from the Almighty when it comes to choosing between becoming employed or remaining self-employed, I don’t know what it was.

Maybe I should listen this time.   

Friday, May 9, 2014

Comfort and Questions

Today is one of those red-letter days.  I will be taking another giant step (it is to be hoped) in my journey toward the next phase of my business life.  This is a journey I have embarked upon reluctantly and with the bare minimum of zeal needed to inch me toward the goal.  I have no doubt the café experience scarred me for life when it comes to having confidence in my own ability to make wise and well-considered decisions.  This crisis of self-confidence makes me seek out any excuse NOT to do the things that need to be done.  Or that I THINK need to be done.  Because I’m never sure if I’ve correctly assessed that they need to be done at all.  And so, when I am not completely paralyzed by self-doubt, I am inching forward at a glacial pace.

When I come to one of these days where I am absolutely forced to move forward more than the most minuscule toe stretch, I find I often turn to the Universe and try to hide my head in her robes. “Don’t make me do this.  I can’t do this.  I’m afraid.”

And the Universe unerringly comes up with a wise reply.  Usually this reply comes completely out of left field, but is immediately obvious that it is THE thing to grasp…rather than retaining a death grip on my doubts and fears.

In the back of my mind, these days, are the things I’ve always wanted…things that I thought we would have by now, having worked all our lives and nearing retirement.  Things that it looks, now, as if we will never have.  Like a trip to Europe.  A beach house.  A paid-off mortgage. A car that is less than ten years old. The possibility of actually being ABLE to retire. 

I think of these things, and I get angry.  I want to know why we can’t have these things.  What have we done wrong that we are facing an uncertain financial future at this stage of our lives, rather than coasting through the last few years of feathering our nest before retiring to it in peace and plenty?  I look at the things that other people have, like mansions and private islands and $150k designer cars and 3000 square foot “cabins” in the woods, and I think, “Why can’t we have a few small luxuries in our autumn years?”  Instead, I’m almost sixty years old and making my half-blind way toward a small business venture which will probably do little more than give me something to think about besides the fact that we are chronically broke. 

This morning, I ran to the Universe with my sage and my crystals and my arms up over my head in a panic, all these issues—present and future—weighing too heavily to bear alone.  I wanted to demand of her why I couldn’t have the nice things I would like to have, at this stage of my life.  I didn’t have to form the words, or even the thought, before the Universe conveyed her answer.  It went something like this:

Look at your life and you will see that I have provided what you need.  Understand that.  Be content with that.  Perhaps you will also get some of what you want.  But there are no guarantees in that direction…   

Hmmm.  I’m not really sure where to take this ball, now that it has been shot back into my court.  I don’t think it’s a crime to want things.  But I can’t become embittered if I don’t get what I want.  If I define what I need, I’m pretty sure I’ll find I already have most of those things.  On the other hand, if I ever stop working toward something, I might as well not bother getting out of bed.

Comfort…and more questions.  Happens every time I open myself to the counsel of the Universe… 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Come Back, Spider

Back in the first weeks after we closed the restaurant in 2011, I was just beginning to research shamanic spirituality, and my awareness to messages given through animal spirit guides was heightened; to my surprise, one of the first animals to step up and be recognized was Spider.

Spider is associated with a strong feminine viewpoint expressed through writing.  From the time I understood this relationship, I began to think of Spider as a sort of patron saint (talk about mixing religious traditions!) of my writing. 

Since last November, after a heroic effort to post an entry in one blog or another every day for a month straight, my connection to the blogs—indeed, my very zeal for writing—has flagged considerably.  And this has bothered me a lot.  Discovering the Land of Blog back in 2003 kindled a great fire inside my heart for a lost love—a love I had not seriously entertained for twenty years:  my love of writing.  For ten years, I wrote as if I had found my heart, my voice, my song.  And then, something just…ran out.  I feel as if I have written all I have to say.  Or, more accurately, all I have to say that anyone is interested in knowing.

Still, Spider has kept with me.  Appearing in my life and my dreams, reminding me of her presence, trying to prod me back to my spot in front of the computer, contentedly click-clacking away.  Unfortunately, I pay her less and less mind.  Too busy with everything else, or nothing else, to drag something new and beautiful out of my brain and splash it across a page or two.

A couple of months ago, a little black spider took up residence in the window above my staircase.  I saw her every morning as I trudged downstairs to start my day.  Greeted her several times each day as I went up and down the stairs in the course of my daily routine.  Every time I came into view, she would turn and look at me.   We had a relationship, that spider and I.  And I knew what she was trying to tell me.

But I didn’t act on it.

About a week ago, I noticed she was gone.  I think she gave up on me.

Then, last night, I had a Spider dream.

I dreamed I was sweeping up a pile of the endless construction dust with which I’ve been dealing at our project building—the project that has sapped my weak stockpile of creative energy since the beginning of the year.  In my dream, a huge spider crawled out of the pile of dust, and I tried to use the broom to shoo it out the back door.  But one overly ambitious swipe of the broom reduced the spider to a damp smear across the dusty concrete. 

I am not very pleased with the message this dream seems to impart…


Friday, May 2, 2014


Yesterday started out badly.  One of the cats decided he needed to be up, bouncing off things in the bedroom and yodeling, at 5:30 am.  This, of course, jolted me awake and I couldn’t go back to sleep.  I do NOT get up at 5:30 am. 

I decided to kill some time by checking out Facebook.  It was TBT—Throwback Thursday.  This is when various friends publish old photos they’ve dug out and dusted off and scanned onto the internet.  For some reason, a memory of a particularly ugly scene, starring my mother and me and a box of old family photographs at my sister’s house, shot into my brain.  It came upon me so suddenly it was physically painful.  I burst into tears.

It doesn’t take much these days to kill whatever small buzz of happiness or contentment I can muster.  I’m out of sorts, mildly depressed and fussy.  My life is not in a great or rewarding place, and I don’t know how to get out of the rut I’m in.  This was NOT a great time for a painful memory to raise its ugly head.  I was very nearly undone. 

I determined that I had very definitely "lost my peace."  I needed to take some sage, go out to my "coffee and prayer" deck and perform a self-smudging ritual, try to re-center and re-establish that peace.  I needed help cleansing away these ugly thoughts.  The Universe would help me.

When I finally got outside and started my ceremony, there were still tears in my eyes.  I couldn’t get rid of the picture of my mother looking at me as if I were a stranger, asking my sister, “Where is SHE going with MY pictures?”  I couldn’t seem to latch on to the fact that by that time, Mom was half-senile and not altogether right in the head.  I was wounded beyond endurance.  My own mother thought of me as “other.”  She.”   The pain caused by this ten-year-old memory was almost as sharp as when it was fresh. 

I was desperate for cleansing, for forgetfulness.  I set a match to the sage, but it kept going out.  What did that mean?  Did it mean that even the Universe had abandoned me?  That I was going to be left alone to writhe in my misery?  I began to stumble down a steep path into a true depression that would probably last at least the whole day, if not longer.  I was no good to anyone or anything, so I might as well BE no good to anyone or anything.  What did it matter?

And then a thought sprang into my head.  A completely calm and coherent thought.  “You can choose to wallow…”  It was as if a rope had been thrown around me and jerked me back, away from that steep slope. 

“You’re right.  I am choosing to wallow.  How else does an ancient memory of a long-dead conflict threaten to undo your life ten years later?  Not gonna do that…”

So I didn’t.  I went out and pulled some bushes out of the ground instead. 

I felt much better this morning.