Training for Mindfulness #mentalhealth #addiction #recovery

February 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

The sunlight is streaming through the southeast bay windows. Shadows cast by the spidery winter branches of the Lombardi Polar hang suspended in the air. A low growl curls in my big shepherd’s throat as he goes to the window. “No!” I say, in my gravelly cold soaked voice. “Get Down.” He turns and wanders away from the window aimlessly patrolling the east window. Strolling back, he hops into a high backed chair in the bay windows and curls up with his nose tucked over his paws.

My elderly fox terrier is cozy in his own sunbeam, snuggled in his favourite sleeping bag. Upstairs the bathtub is running as Husband prepares to leave for his regular Sunday job, anchoring the bass section in a church choir. I am ensconced on a leather loveseat, my empty coffee cup signalling it is time to get up and get busy. Writing is a convenient way to hold off the inevitable dog walk and house cleaning that lie before me today.

I’m feeling a little wretched with this cold. I don’t mind so much the sinusitis or constantly having to clear my throat. I hate having a sore throat. As a child I endured constant sore throats until finally, at the age of eight or nine, my tonsils were removed. I’m not sure the procedure helped or not. What I do know is that whenever I get a cold, I get the most painful sore throat and it is almost impossible to alleviate the pain, no matter what I try.

I will describe my living room. The flooring was laid in 1906. It is first growth fir, a little worse for wear but a lovely golden colour. A week’s worth of dog hair and boot dirt is visible from where I sit, with extra hair balls accumulated under the grand piano near the matching dog crates. In one corner is my double bass, on its stand, still in its case from the last concert I played with the amateur orchestra. Beside it are my two ukeleles and two guitars, all in their cases, all unplayed for some months.

Crammed in a shelf is the big shepherd’s stuffed Duckie. He is good for a game of fetch, as long as it only lasts two tosses. After that he loses interest and wants to do something else, like attack passersby. Also on the shelf are my buckets of pencil crayons and pens. These, too, are unused for many months. Two large binders on the shelf contain the course materials for passing the first level of carpentry apprenticeship. Both Husband and I are committed, he at the age of 55 and me at the age of 59, to becoming red seal carpenters. These binders are our first step in the formal process of acquiring that certification.

In the bay window are ranged four comfortable chairs, two of them occupied by dogs, as mentioned earlier. Directly across the room from me, in the far corner of the bay windows, is a small, modest coffee table. Sitting on that table is an inch and a half of paper neatly stacked. On top of that paper is another five page document, stapled, and settled slightly askew of the main stack of paper. These papers represent the cumulation of seven years of work on a doctoral dissertation. The main stack is the thesis itself, printed off in hard copy with annotations from my ex-supervisor and my new supervisor.

In the southwest corner of the room the grand piano sits, passed to Husband, from his dearly departed mother, a family heirloom from his grandmother’s generation. Various collections of music clutter the music stand and the top of the piano. Also sitting on the piano is the book recently published by my daughter, a provocative collection of photographs and journal notes from the mid-seventies through the mid-eighties. The book portrays the life of tree-planting culture at that time, and I figure in the story as her pregnant mother who gave birth to her in a tree planting camp.

Looking at the pictures in the book inspired me to dig out some of my photos and drawings from that period. A small collection of these images are also stacked on the piano, awaiting scanning and posting on the social media site were friends and family, past and present, are gathering to share stories.

The grand entry to the living room has a curtain rod that no longer holds curtains, but now serves as a drying rack for washed coveralls and other work clothes.

The sun is rising in the morning sky and the light now floods through the unwashed windows and bounces off the warm fir floors. The light reverberates through the room, drawings lines of perspective with shadows across the ceiling.

The big dog is on the move again. This time he growled at something on the street and voluntarily got down off his chair. Ah. Progress.

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