Super Warrior Biatch to the Rescue!

Posted September 1st, 2011 by Susie Ekberg. Comment (0).

It started on Monday evening. Remember the restlessness? Well, fully paralyzed by 7PM, I took a few deep breaths and looked at my options. One: stay paralyzed and keep complaining about life’s difficulties and unfairness, or Two: summon all of my inner Warrior Biatch to come to the forefront. I got interested. Maybe I’ll try number Two. I dropped all of my previous feelings about overwhelm and messes and garbage and sorting and put on my mantle (or it mantel? Am I a fireplace?) of Zena imperviousness. I already know how to ululate, so I’m that much more prepared already.

Shirley and I drove to Bismarck Tuesday morning. We stopped at Staple’s and picked up 10 boxes, then went to Dan’s County Market and bought 10 tote boxes, then went to Captain Jack’s and bought a bottle of wine. Fully equipped, we went back to the house. As we looked around at the piles and piles of stuff, we made a plan. I knew what needed to be done, but didn’t know quite HOW to get it done. Shirley started talking. It’s interesting to me that at that point I was looking right at her, and I knew she was talking, but I couldn’t comprehend anything she was saying. I think my brain just shut down with the sheer mountain of work facing us. Our house is beautiful – almost 3000 square feet on the river – high ceilings, high countertops, lots of light and open space. I could retire there. And it was inevitable that I’d have to sort through Mom’s makeup, Dad’s computer equipment, family archives and documents, papers, furniture, pictures, and everything else accumulated in 88 years of living.

Two piles: Dakota Boy’s Ranch and dumpster. 200 garbage sacks. Go. We worked straight for 7 hours with nary an extra breath. At one point I remember telling Shirley that I’m channeling my inner princess because I most certainly know how to point and give commands, but I’m not so keen on the physical labor part of it all. We moved quickly from the kitchen to the front room to the master bedroom to the master bathroom. I opened the cupboard and there it all was. Mom’s brush with her hair still on it, her favorite lipsticks and perfumes, all lined up in neat rows. I ran my hand over all of it, closing my eyes, feeling her presence. I felt my energy shrinking inside of me and I leaned against the sink, whispering, “oh oh oh”. Shirley walked in, took my elbow and said, “Let’s go out to the deck and have some wine.”

I wanted to save Mom’s brush with her hair in it, but I knew I had to shove it into the garbage sack and let it go. Let her go. Is it even possible for us to get through the entire house in 24 hours? Most definitely not. Let’s go. And go and go. We finished the master bathroom and moved upstairs to the loft and the hundreds (thousands?) of books in the bookshelves, the back storage room full of documents, Dad’s computer stuff and files. Go go go go go go. Off to lunch, then Shirley has to head back to Fargo. I take a deep breath and walk into the downstairs office, the last of the beasts, piled 6 feet high with furniture, tote boxes, pillows, books, photo albums. Go go go. I remember Warrior Biatch and call upon her, emptying dresser drawers, looking through every single piece of every single everything. Go go go go. Make a pile for my sisters, another pile for my dad to go through, another pile for me. Go go go. The movers are coming at 5 to transfer everything out to the garage. I have almost all of the garbage (hey – there’s only one extra letter in the word ‘garbage’ than ‘garage’) put into bags, and all of the giveaway in boxes. The doorbell rings – I look up, glazed and dazed; my back is frozen, I can’t stand upright. I can’t walk. I take a deep breath, try to get centered, and look around me. The office is done. I can’t believe it. In 24 hours we managed to do the impossible, and Shirley tells me she’s impressed, but I think she’s more shocked than anything. She admitted that she thought she’d have to pry everything out of my hands, yet she found herself pulling out the swirled glass water pitcher for me to keep.

I kept three mixing bowls to take back to Fargo because mine are all broken and I don’t want to buy more. The house is totally empty except for a bed in the master bedroom, a futon in the front room, and the dining room hutch we never moved. I saved two small dressers for the basement so we could set up extra bedrooms for the kids. I saved some books for my sisters to go through later, not wanting to haul them all to Fargo. The moving men packed the entire back of my car with things for my sisters, and piled the rest of the house into the garage.

Exhausted, I decide to sweep and mop the floors before I leave. Sure, why not? One hours later, I find I can’t stand up again. I crawl to the futon, let the sun hit me in the face, and drinking my water, feel the silence and the openness all around me. This is work well done. I want to stay overnight, to rest, to have silence, but family obligations pull me eastward and I’m home by 9:30. 2 1/2 hours, 85 miles an hour, no stops.

I won’t tell you what happened at our house this morning, but I will tell you that if I ever thought I’d catch a break, or get to rest one second, I apparently am mistaken. Life continues to squeeze at me and I get to continue to figure out my responses. Apparently I am some warrior biatch because I keep getting opportunities to kick butt. But if I am honest with you, I would rather just sleep right now. I would rather get on an airplane and fly to a spa, where I would get massages, and mint juleps, and foot rubs and facials, and disappear for a while. Yes, that would be nice. Even warrior biatches need breaks, too.

Let’s Get Ethical

Posted August 26th, 2011 by Susie Ekberg. Comment (0).

Why does anyone become a vegetarian? I imagine there are as many reasons as vegetarians. Why did I choose to give up red meat and pork? It was an energy thing, an experiment, I was curious. Was it an ethical thing? Okay, maybe. I will tell you a story. I hope you don’t think I’m odd, but chances are it’s already gone way beyond that by now.

I was standing at my stove stirring hamburger. I think it was in 1998. I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular, just looking down at the skillet. Then I heard it. A moo. Inside my head. That’s it. It barely registered at the time. What did that have to do with me cooking hamburger? How far removed I was from the whole butchering process that I spaced out the source of my dinner? That’s probably WHY we can do it, maybe. Eat meat. It’s sterile, hygienic, detached, separate. We don’t SEE the live cow, or see the butchering process, see the stockyards, see the terror in the cows, see the whole hamburgerizing. I wanted to type more details, but my stomach started turning just hearing the words forming in my head, so I won’t type more. I’m assuming everyone knows where hamburger comes from.

So that one incident was significant for me, because for the first time I really chose to put two and two together and I got a cow. A live cow. That mooed in my head. I still ate the hamburger, and it became easy to just go back to sleep. But not much anymore. I fear I am waking up with a vengeance, but I think I’m also becoming aware of subtle shades of gray beyond the usual black or white. What are the shades? Well, here are some.

It is true that we eat animals. We have always eaten animals, for thousands of years. We can hunt them, fish them, gut them ourselves, clean them, cook them, give thanks for our abundance of riches in the form of food for our bellies. We can raise them humanely on small farms, letting them roam free, feeding them good food, giving them room. We can only eat meat on special occasions, not as an every meal option. We can still be very healthy and eat moderate amounts of animal protein, I think, if it is organic, low-fat, and raised in a healthy way. It is becoming more evident, I think, that raising things (any things) in crowded conditions leads to disease and illness. E coli from not only beef, but spinach and sprouts.

I don’t like all or nothing of anything. I really don’t. The rebel in me wants to be free to do whatever I want to do. And I want to decide what I want to do, I don’t want anyone else telling me what to do. Sure, maybe it’s immature – it’s just the way I am. How can I make good, healthy decisions for myself if everyone is yelling at me that they know what’s best for me, for the rest of the world? I think that’s crap – we have to be stewards of our own bodies and our own lives. We must be allowed to make decisions for ourselves, within the confines of society, of course, but otherwise we become puppets and remain emotionally dependent children for the rest of our lives.

I can feel the future of the world, and it is this: hubs of locally grown produce and meat, available to the general public within a 100 mile radius. If everyone could do this, there would be enough for everyone, and everyone could get what they wanted without having to get something from Chile or Brazil. Okay, I might not be able to get pineapples or oranges, it IS North Dakota, after all, but we could figure that out. It’s probably a good idea to cut down on this nation’s consumption of animal protein, anyway, so the demand would drop and the huge megafarms of Tyson would lose their footing. We’d get to know our neighbors as we trade and barter goods (another wave of the future), and we’d get more connected to our world. We should probably do away with fast food because there’s not much good I can see that comes from it. Hey – family dinners! Home cooking! Dinner parties with friends!

There are so many choices and options and things to think about when it comes to changing lifestyles and making conscious decisions about how to live a full, rich life that doesn’t involve sprinting and gulping and sugaring and chemicalling ourselves to death. There’s just no need. That era is over. This is a good time for gentleness, ethics, and moral decisions based on what might be good for everybody, not just me, or you, or you. Yes, I’ve decided no more cows or pigs, and eggs are mysteriously falling by the wayside as well, and for me that’s a really good thing. Do I ever judge someone else’s choices? No, I don’t. You do what you need to do – see how it works for you, see how you feel, see how good your health is, and if you think you’d like to do something different, maybe even call me to go out for some coffee. I’d love to talk with you about it. Oh – you don’t drink coffee? How is that going for you? I can’t seem to stop.

Oh Brother, Mother

Posted August 25th, 2011 by Susie Ekberg. Comment (0).

I’ve been a mother for almost 26 years now. When I was a child, I thought there were three types of people: men, women, and mothers. I honestly thought they were a different species, void of feeling, needs, opinions. I thought they lived to serve us children. I have always wanted children, since I was 7 years old. I love my kids. They have my whole heart. I think about them, worry about them, care for them, take care of them, love them, laugh with them, praise them.

I dropped my 11 year old off today at middle school. As he slammed the door and walked confidently toward the door, I felt my eyes tear up and breathed in the emotion instead of laughing it away. It surprised me, this reaction. After all, he’d bee in school for 5 years already, it wasn’t like this was NEW. But I decided to follow the thread of my feelings as I drove away. I felt a big hole open in the middle of my body, and felt a rush of air as my whole life flew through me. I felt myself as a young child, then a teenager, then as a young mother, to now, and on to being a grandmother, growing old, then dying.

I felt as if I were falling as I gripped the steering wheel tighter, trying to hang on. I stayed with the feeling all the way home, but immediately after slamming the garage door felt a HUGE pull to go to my computer and buy everything I could see. I DESERVE that Chanel 2.55 bag, I NEED that beautiful leather couch for our house in Bismarck, I NEED that fire pit in the backyard – I’ll call the concrete guy today. The hole in my stomach opened wider and I looked down into the abyss and saw no end. So I decided just to sit with it all.

“Hello, body – sup?”

“Uhm, uncomfortable here – duh…”

“What is it that you need? I see that you’re in some pain. I want to help.”

“Well, I would like to get outside in the green and the breezes. And I would like to stretch. Oh, and while we’re at it, I’d like to lift some weights.”

So I snapped the leash onto my wild child puppy and headed outside. I matched my stride as much as possible to my wiry dog and followed my breath – in out in out. I looked up at the sky, up at the trees, not down at my feet. They know what they’re doing. Is this getting any easier, this not spending money? Well, it’s easier to not eat cows or pigs, I’ll tell you that, although there WAS that perilous bacon temptation moment a few days ago.

I wonder if this is changing my life, really, or if I’m just deluding myself again, pretending to do some oh so cool stuff. I look around my house. It’s still messy. But at least I’m not bringing anything NEW into it, and my credit card balances aren’t going UP anymore. So if the water isn’t totally stopped, at least it isn’t overflowing anymore. That’s something.

I stir my lentil curry soup and let the smell of onion and garlic soak into my consciousness. I slice the artisan whole grain bread and place the warm slabs on each of our plates. I cut the local watermelon into three big slices and put them on the table. I am so rich, I think, this life of mine. Full of abundance. I have three beautiful children, a beautiful husband, a beautiful home, beautiful Work, beautiful clothes, a beautiful backyard, beautiful health, beautiful beautiful. Do I like this new life? Do I like me? Do I even like being with me in this 100% way? These are questions I’ll have to keep asking, but I DO know one thing for sure: I really don’t want to eat cows or pigs anymore. As for the rest of it – we’ll just have to see.

Sweet Surrender

Posted August 24th, 2011 by Susie Ekberg. Comment (1).

Surrender. Let silence have you. And if you find you are still swimming on the surface of the ocean, let go and sink into the depths of love. ♥ ~~      –Kar Kirpa Sahib

My enlightened friend Juliet posted this on Facebook today, and I thought (as I think 100 times a day), “What a coincidence! I was JUST thinking about this!” (see previous blog post from two days ago). All about going deep not wide, sinking into my life instead of hydroplaning on the surface. Am I silent? I pull out my fuschia yoga mat and turn on my 101 Yoga Poses on my iPhone. Standing tall (do I have a choice?) with my hands in front me, palms together, elbows up, I take a few deep breaths and look out the window at the wind blowing through the leaves of our silver maple in our backyard. I become the tree, rooted, deep, letting the wind of life move through my branches, moving me but not breaking me. I think, ‘is this corny?’ I don’t know, but it makes sense. I put my focus in my belly, my trunk, and breathe my energy deep down through the bottoms of my feet. I’m not the most grounded person I know. Hah. Understatement much? That is my desire – to be connected not only deeply to the earth, but to every single other being in this whole Universe, every ‘thing’, every particle, molecule. Why? Because I believe we ARE all One – we are made up of that same ‘thing’ whatever that is – that golden sparkle of Divinity, maybe? I don’t know what it IS, really, I just know I feel it and believe it.
So if that’s true, then there IS no separation, anywhere, anytime. If I’m angry at THAT person, I’m angry at something in myself. I feel my reality shifting and my brain pulls and stretches with the possibilities. There’s no one out there. There’s just me and a kazillion googleplex of mirrors of me reflecting me back to me. And you back to you. Ow – my brain is stretching again, so I step back from my soaring reflections and feel myself present in this moment. I feel the fullness of my being, the richness, the honor of being able to inhabit this beautiful, healthy body. Our bodies are temples of our souls? Is that biblical? It has new meaning for me.
I have said many times that I give up. People have asked me that what means, and I answer, “I don’t know.” It usually means life has become too frenetic, too stressful, too much, and I want it to change. But that’s not surrender. Surrender isn’t the white flag that says I give up, but the peace flag that says, “I am here fully and I understand.” I stop my pushing, my conniving, plotting, planning. I stop my bullsh*t and my judging, my justifying and my explanations. Just stop it. Close my eyes, lean back, and just fall into the warm waters of surrender. Let them carry me downstream to the Ocean. No more fighting. There was never anything to fight about in the first place. I made it all up. I thought it was real. It isn’t. THIS is real. The wind through the trees, my breath through my nose, my toes wriggling off the end of the chair, the smile on my face. The rest? Fluff and stuff. I want real. That’s all.