Kathi Hot and Cold
Jesus H. Christ this city is on fire. This September has been the hottest experience I’ve had ever. I’ve been sick as a dog and a grumpy old hermit.
But this morning I found myself in the kitchen, music blasting, oven cranked, almonds roasting for nut butter, sweat flying and I was singing into my silicone scraper like a rock star. Tell me more …? OK.
Let me start at the beginning. Or before, at least. I took a course over the summer that allows me to call myself a “life coach”. I don’t know what that means for me yet or how it’s going to unfold. (Although if you want to sign on with me you are more than welcome to join me for private sessions).
In the process of doing this, there has been a lot of soul searching, some self discovery and A LOT of reading on the topic of “positive psychology”. Be clear now, in no way am I engaging in “therapy”. Therapists go to big accredited schools for like, 10 years, and they are wicked smart and pass a lot of tests in their journey.
That’s not me. I am on the downward slope of my career years and I am simply amplifying my natural skill set to help others find their blissful way forward.
In the process I have been preparing the KoolAid.
You can change your thoughts;
You must respond, not react;
You can change the course of your future in your head;
You alone are responsible for your life and how it unfolds;
You are in charge.
Fast forward to a week in September when I went to Cordoba, Spain to take a week long study of the Art of Islamic Pattern. Geometry. I did it with the Art of Islamic Pattern and I can’t recommend them enough. Adam and Richard are not only really solidly decent humans, they are both SO accomplished and really, really, really smart.
At the start it was a shit show. First of all, no one told me that Cordoba, Spain is built into the side of a furnace. It was humid and it was damn hot. I spend the entire week in a full body sweat that would not end.
The first 2 hours of class I spent trying to make my hands work a compass so I could draw a circle. Left hand or right? Anti clockwise or clockwise? Push it or drag it?
Then Richard said something about an isosceles triangle, some numbers flew and a SQUARE ROOT got mentioned and I literal saw bright lights flashing in my eyes and I think I had some sort of a brain event. I thought, “No, shit, I can’t do this. There is math. I don’t math. Ever. There is no capacity in my brain for this. I might as well go home.”
Two hours later I was whirling that compass like a dirvish on fire and doing hexadecimal arthimetic. I’m not even kidding.
And that thing you see the kids talking about these days? About finding your “flow state”?????
“The mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
Also known as “bliss”. When I had that ruler in my hands drawing lines from one point to the next, blindly following the instructions with no idea of how it would end – you guys – I WAS LOST IN SPACE. It was so much better than heroine. (I assume). I loved it. LOVED IT. Pure joy. Nothing less.
We did an exercise where we each made triangle thingies and I was just living from one second to the next. My only goal was to not screw up so badly I had to start over. I was hanging on by a thread.
And THEN we put our pieces all together on the wall so our 12 bits aligned….I don’t think any project has ever held more satisfaction for me. Tears. Literally.
After this amazing week of Spanish fun, I returned to Marrakech all ready to set the world on fire, only to find out that it was already burning and all the heat was living in my house. Damn it’s hot. I’m Canadian. I need socks, and sleeves and a cool breeze. I need it to survive! But alas, no. Since I have been home it has been in the area of 38 to 40 celsius every day. And for the foreseeable future on my weather app. I just CAN’T.
I got sick with a horrible cold. I locked myself in my apartment in front of the A/C or a fan at all times, and I searched flights out. ANYWHERE. I was prepared to go out for one week to escape and I was considering Sweden. But Ryanair was all booked and then I got bored and gave up looking.
Also, I’ve been away for the better part of 4 months, so there is NO food in this place. Freezer is empty, cupboards are bare. And I live in a shit location. I don’t have a car. So not only do I need to go to the grocery store, I need to go on foot, and it’s a 10/15 minute walk, in 40 degree heat, and I have to HAUL my groceries back, in a combo of backpack and grocery bag. And go to the bank. And I was sick. There was anger. There was take out. There was a call to “bring me a van for 1 hour”. There was A LOT of Netflix. There was isolation and depression and thoughts of moving to Belgium. (I don’t know why – it was the heat!). Even the talk of impeachment wasn’t helping.
I rallied yesterday and went out early in the morning. I had breakfast out. I needed to see other human beings. I went to the art store for drawing supplies, hit the grocery store for some more veggies. And I ran into one of my dearest friends. Let’s call her Clara.
I haven’t seen Clara since June and we need to connect and have a good long catch up. She’s busy. I’m hot. It hasn’t happened. But standing in the grocery store, she was the vision of composure. I was a wet, soggy, damp , dripping mass.
Yes, she has lived in the tropics for 20 years. Yes she is 1/80th of my body mass. Yes she has hair that goes up and back. Yes she was driving and I had been walking. But still. We chatted for a good long time and parted ways. I came back to my ice castle and sealed the windows and doors.
This morning I woke up and remembered something Clara had said at one point. “You are so lucky to have the option of leaving. So many people can’t. They have to just live with the heat.” (Truth and gratitude.) Hell I have 2 (TWO) psychos friends that don’t have air conditioning at all. And it all started to come together for me.
I remembered my flow state from Spain and the pure bliss that came with it. The dopamine rush was delicious. I remembered that I CHOOSE to live here, for better or for worse. I remembered I make my own happiness. It’s in my BRAIN, not my environment. I remembered that I’m not sick anymore. I remembered I have to respond to the world, not react to it. I remembered that I have a BOATLOAD of work to get at. And I remembered my little BOSE speaker that goes with me everywhere.
Time to drink the refreshing KoolAid. Screw the heat. It’s just sweat. It won’t last. It’s SNOWING in Alberta. I have a ruler and compass. I have every single thing on this earth that I could possibly want. I make my own happiness. Today is just as good as any other.
So I went to the kitchen, turned on the oven, and roasted some nuts. I grabbed my microphone (spatula) and cranked up the Monkey’s, and I got down to the business of singing at the top of my lungs.
RESPOND. Don’t react.