Sunday, December 25, 2016

Women Power at Christmas

 Evergreens stretching to the light
Parksville, BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. December 2016

Last night I dreamt about someone I used to be with back when I lived in Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in the 1980s. That was my longest relationship - probably because we understood the madness we both carried and transported from us and within us as artists in a world that loves money above all else.

In my dream, we were together again only I was me now - 55, menopausal and changed by the PTSD that triggered through the events of this past year; the PTSD that originated from assaults and abuse and for which I've spent thousands in recovery and I have recovered, except that I am muted now, muted in ways that I won't discuss here, but ways that are permanent and have changed the way I go through my life. Maybe one day I'll go into it more - just not here and not now.

So, in this dream I am me now but my girlfriend starts the dream at the same age as when we were together in our late 20s and she gets younger and more healthy as the dream progresses and I age and become more debilitated on the other side - Very strange and kind of Dorian Grey with a twist...

It set me to wondering how that woman from my dream is now. I think she would be around 60 and I have just turned 55. I wonder if she is happy and if she ever thinks of me. I hope she is happy. I think of all the lives I've weaved in and out of and how hard it has been for me to be the kind of partner I have wanted to be because of the crimes that were perpetrated against me and the impact they have had. I think of the women I have loved and how I hope I did not harm them through contact despite having spent decades and tens of thousands on regaining my well-being.

It's Christmas morning and all I can think that any child, any woman, needs more than anything, for Christmas and everyday of her life, is to be safe and powerful, to have her body as her own and to always have the choice to share it on her own terms.

To all the perpetrators of sexual violence, mine and others, stop hurting people. You are sick and violent criminals and you need to stop. To all the people who wield physical, cultural, financial and social power against women, stop. You are damaging the world, the life force and yourselves.

To the people who turn away in feigned ignorance, believing it's best to silently ignore it, stop it. Stand up and say no to sexual violence. We must use all of the positive ways we can to stand together in loving kindness and give with good hearts in ways that feed the mother force of the world.

To that woman back across time that I dreamt of last night, how I hope you are well and happy. How I hope you are well-loved and cared for. How I have this wish for everyone I love and have loved.

On this Christmas morning, my gift to myself and all of you is that I remember and cherish the good and continue to lay down the burden of the hurt put upon me.

To those who have been hurt, I send you love. Please know you are valued and essential to the well-being of the mother force that feeds this world with love and life.

To those who have hurt me: I'm still here. I'm still standing. I am still feeding the world with the mother force of life. I am a woman, worthy of respect and love and you will never destroy what remains of me - a core of pure love fed by the great mother and creator of life.

Light, love, peace, space, time and resource to grow strong - this is my wish to each of you.

Happy holidays.

Gillian Cornwall December 25, 2016.
Dedicated to EM

Crisp, white snow - Over the 'hat - Vancouver Island
Gillian Cornwall, c. December 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Comfort and Joy

Christmas Time
Gillian Cornwall, c. December 2010

Christmas time, I lay under the tree staring up through the boughs and inhaling the fresh, outdoor scent of the scotch pine, my eyes blurring with the mystery in the strings of painted bulbs of blue and orange and green and red. The delicate, sparkling, colourful ornaments of an impossibly thin glass dangled precariously from the ends of the branches and the stretch of golden garland was carefully wound around the circumference of the tree from the angel atop to the bottom boughs. The whole process was completed by my brothers and me, as strings of silver, tinsel icicles were artfully tossed on select branches. We tried to keep these out of reach of Sarah, our Siamese cat, lest she ingest them in some sort of untimely, seasonal attempt at her own demise. Occasionally, we found evidence of her tinsel snacking in sparkling litter box parcels. 

Back under the tree, I lay pyjama-clad and lost in the magic of the season - small enough that this tree land was a fort unto itself. For a day, perhaps even more, there would be peace and I would be lost in a world where kindness prevailed amid the songs of the season played on our Zenith High Fidelity Stereo System. This was a world of reindeer and Santa Claus, surrounded by mysterious packages wrapped in paper depicting dreamworlds of sleighs and horses, snowmen and silver bells, snowflakes and stockings spilling over with treats. 

May it always be a time to rest, to spend in loving kindness with those for whom we are grateful and may the scent of a fresh forest or a string of sparkling lights always be enough to bring you comfort and joy. 

With gratitude to each of you, for your love, your kindness, and your willingness to get up every day and do your best through good times and bad. You are loved and I am blessed for all the wonder you share - simply through your desire to live with love and kindness. Plant yourself in healthy, clean soil and grow with strong, solid roots; reach for the sky and the light with every sunrise.

May every one of you share comfort and joy this season and every wish for a happy and healthy new year. 

-Gillian Cornwall, Re-posted on December 18, 2016
Original Post, c. December 22, 2013

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Patient Love

The Rose
Photograph by Gillian Cornwall, c.2012

I am re-posting a version of this because I feel it is valuable and I think that patient love is the ideal Christmas gift to one another.

There Once Was a Kid who Asked, "Why?"

Every kid asks, "Why?" Some of us grow into adults who ask, "Why?" I am one of those people. It's who I am. At times, it exhausts and erodes me and the people around me. At times I am granite and at times I am worn to sand. I am an explorer of that which is claimed to be known and that which is beyond. I am not one to accept, simply because it is said. If that were the case, I would never have taken the risk of marching in a Pride parade over 30 years ago or refusing to accept a gender binary. I never would have been the first girl in my hometown to take wood shop and metal shop instead of sewing and cooking and I never would have followed my heart to the coast and learned to surf. I never would have kept writing in the face of my own parent telling me I would never be good enough. 

Today, I read a friend's post and she used the term 'patient love". The two words resonated with me and, being who I am, I had to unpack this phrase to understand "why" it has imprinted on my heart and in my vocabulary:

Patient - According to the Oxford English Dictionary, as an adjective or noun:
...enduring pain, affliction, inconvenience, etc., calmly without discontent or complaint; characterized by or showing such endurance...

as a verb: trans.To make patient; (refl.) to calm or quiet oneself; to be patient

Love v. trans. To have or feel love towards (a person, a thing personified) (for a quality or attribute); to entertain a great affection, fondness or regard for; to hold dear...

So... calmly, without discontent or complaint, holding someone dear - this is patient love. I like it. I like it very much. This is a great response to those who perpetually ask, "Why?" Perhaps it is not a common response when one continues to question and remain inquisitive past childhood but it is a good response. May there be more patient love in the world and may there always be people who ask, "Why?" 

May there always be those who stop to question, to question injustice, hate, hurt and that which is widely known or accepted. May we have patient love for those in our lives through sickness and in health. May we not assume we know each other or what we are feeling or how justified our pain or fear or love may be. May we learn and grow with patient love. 

May we allow ourselves and one another the space to reinvent ourselves daily and may we all be blessed to share our lives with those who make us stop to consider patient love.

I dedicate this post to the people with whom I have a bond - to all the people who show me patient love, at a soul-cellular level. I originally dedicated this post to a person who has the capacity to place just what I need before me, sometimes before I even know that I need it. This person is my dear friend, Sheila Jeffries. Sheila is an exceptionally talented artist and writer and one who embodies the term, "patient love". 

Have a look at her website and read her books: 

-Gillian Cornwall, December 11, 2016
(Original post date, c. September 21, 2014)

Heart Rock
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2014

Photo by Gillian Cornwall, c. 2014

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Health, Time and Loved Ones

Christmas Cheer at the Fairmont Empress, Victoria, BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. December 2015

As I do from time to time, I have decided to re-post this piece from 2014 - about two years ago this time. It still stands. It still rings as true as a sleigh bell for me. I hope it is of use to you too:

I have learned so much about myself in the last few weeks - how fear can still overcome me, hindering reason, health, love and truth and how I can get in my own way when it comes to showing people how much I love them and that there is NOTHING more valuable in this world than our health, time to live and the opportunity to be with the people we love. 

When I say I get in my own way, I mean that I can let petty trivialities of day to day living and fear of failure block me from exactly that in which I wish to succeed. As I move forward, I will look at ways of doing a better job of letting go, being in the moment, being of service to those in my life and thinking before speaking. 

I'm not saying I'm awful and I'm not writing this as an act of contrition. This is what I have seen of myself. This is what I wish to change. This is what I choose to share with you in the hope it may be meaningful and useful to you as you walk your own way. 

As always, I will be engaging in the work I recently mentioned: regaining the rudder and resetting my course. I will take time to stop, to be and to help others and, I will help myself. I will restore and open that which is blocked within. I will release the holding which is keeping me from functioning in an open and fluid way. Also, I will write!

The holiday season approaches. This is an ideal time to reflect on how we are living and giving, how we spend our time and our other resources and where we are placing our value of life. Consider taking a thing out of your life and trading it for a block of time, even if the act is a symbolic one. Give away something you no longer need, be it an object or a thought that is negative (or no longer serves your well-being) and release it to the universe with love. In return, give yourself the gift of time to fill that space with love - for yourself, for others and for the blessing of good health, the blessing of life. Reset your inner clock with time for you, for your well-being and for those you love. This is your life and the most precious gift you have with which to give and receive. Use it well and with great appreciation - for nothing else matters before this. 

With love to each of you.
-Gillian Cornwall, December 4, 2016
Re-posted from Original copyright date, November 30, 2014

The family home, Hertfordshire, UK
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2015.
Edited with text, December 2015.