Being ultra-conscious is to be alive and to live a full and vigorous and vivid life. You don’t turn off your mind; that is not possible; especially if you have other things to think about like “how you are going to live?” You may be terminally ill, you may be homeless, you may have a terrible injury, you may not know where your next meal is coming from, you may suffer from mental illness; you may be a victim of racism, classism, gender bias and so much more. You may also be living a privileged life devoid of these circumstances but find that happiness is illusive. At that critical point your mind becomes your currency and it can be used to help change your reality. Rather than turning it off you turn it on with pleasant things.
Antidepressants can only do so much to shift your serotonin, and for me it was not enough. My form of depression is stubborn and drug resistant; constantly making me focus on heartache. Because of the way the mind works you cannot completely stop the thoughts that hold you back but you can move beyond them. To do so, I create new stories from good memories as a little girl to calm myself with the images that gave me a sense of comfort and safety. I think back to those days and my nostrils are full of the scent of roses. It does not have to be about roses and rose gardens; it could be about lemons or a lovely scene that you walked into years ago when you were happy or a new happy one that you can create around things that you like. You need to feel blessed; you need to feel worthy and when you dream and believe it you will gradually begin to move toward those good feelings and those good things as you leave the bad things behind. For me today, this uplifting scene is of roses.
I remember when I was a very little girl living in my Island home I had some very vivid thoughts that were always real to me. Some of the best of those were in the rose garden that grew under one of the front windows of the house. They were tall and thorny and grew almost to the top of my favourite window sill. They were a remarkable sight and I often looked at them through the window sitting up backwards on my chair with my head towards the window and my eyes situated on the rose bushes. I always felt my best when I was outside and could be with my rose friends. I admired them dearly.
I remember when I was a very little girl living in my Island home I had some very vivid thoughts that were always real to me. Some of the best of those were in the rose garden that grew under one of the front windows of the house. They were tall and thorny and grew almost to the top of my favorite window sill. They were a remarkable sight and I often looked at them through the window sitting up backwards on my chair with my head towards the window and my eyes situated on the rose bushes. I always felt my best when I was outside and could be with my rose friends. I admired them dearly.
The closest thing to that was when I had moved abroad and my parents moved into their first house. It was a little green and white house at the end of a long street in the suburbs. I was about eight years old by then and we had just moved from the downtown core. As our apartment grew smaller my father found this sweet little house on Vimy Road. The name Vimy was synonymous with the war at Vimy Ridge and we had no idea that we were about to fight one of our own.
Across from the little green and white bungalow was a field of wild prickly roses that grew there in the hot summers. The roses were short and stubby but beautiful in their shape; they were a pinkish red and had perfect petals and the most beautiful fragrance. They were almost like the Rose of Sharon but those grow on larger bushes that make pretty hedges. These roses were loners, they did not grow together but preferred to have their own space here and there flourishing in the wild grass and poor soil. The little wild roses in the field, juxtaposed beautifully across against our little house at the end of the street. It was a neat little house with flowering bushes that grew right under my window just as the roses grew under my favorite window when I was three years old in my Island home. My father planted red and white flowers in the front of the house; it always looked so pretty. Our house looked like a child’s drawing; a simple square with two large windows in front. We had a long fence that my father had painted white; but spray painted on it was the “N” word; burnt straw and dead birds in our mailbox and dog feces on our car windows. I was afraid and didn’t know who wanted to hurt me and hurt my family. I was afraid to walk on the streets, afraid when my father had to clean these messes. He had to do this so many times and sometimes the offences were worse than others.
When I was homeless as an adult woman, I remember walking down streets playing a game I called “where are the roses?” I was constantly looking for roses and rose bushes to help recreate the wonderful memories of them from my childhood when life was good. I saw many other flowers I loved and I loved the way people planted things to make their homes look nice. I used to think how lucky they were to feel cozy and warm and comfortable in those homes. They were all so lovely and I walked from street to street looking, imaging and not ever thinking. I said hello to everyone and they would sometimes say hello back. I could tell that some of them knew that I came from the shelter as they had a certain way of looking at me. I wish we didn’t look at people that way but that we could see the humanity that lies in everyone. I have learned the hard way that this does not happen. People made assumptions about me not ever knowing what I had achieved in my life. I had a professional degree and in the corporate world I was part of the top one percent. But that meant little now. I talked to many flowers during that time of desperation whether they were roses or not. We had the most wonderful imaginary discussions and they did not care how I looked. I appreciated their diversity and lack of sameness and found beauty in all of them. I quickly learned that all the flowers were worthy and more than good enough just as the diversity of people that make up our world.
Now that I am out of the shelter; I worked myself out of it; I am still poor, low income and part of the underclass. I think it was Joni Mitchell who wrote, “I’ve Looked at life from Both Sides now,” and indeed I have. I am not living on the side I would like to be on but I continue to try. That is part of the reason for this website; I want it to grow into a place where I can offer my writing skills and sell my own art and creative work. If you have read this far I hope that you will participate in this project with me by supporting me any way that you can. It is also part of the reason that I am reaching out to others so that they may know that there is hope no matter where a person finds themselves on the continuum. As I was looking to roses as my soothing subject and part of my soothing experience you may look to something else.
Today, my rose collection consists of an old vase painted with roses, roses on an old mug, a very small jar of British Rose cream and shower gel from the Body Shop I got as a gift, a cushion with some roses on it and some actual roses that were almost dead. It is just a nice feeling to be around these things that I love. They always have the power to transport me to a better place; even in the worst of circumstances. I even sketch roses to make me feel good and I like to write about them. I have a couple of old porcelain bible trinkets with roses on them as well. They were given to me years ago and I managed to save them. They come in handy at those times when it is difficult to remain positive and mindful. Take yourself from a place of negativity to the positive space of your imagination just by looking at your collection of soothing images.
Take your collection of soothing images and dream until you get to the place you want to be. I promise you that I continue to dream and I continue to smell my roses and I continue to live in my castle of roses and walk through the fields of wild roses across from the little green and white bungalow. I live among my collection of roses too no matter where they are or what they are; they are all real to me. When I am among the things I love there is no better place to be; and the mind emerges with the freedom to think clearly about what I have to do next. That is what is borne of unconditional love that does not judge, reject or hate. It brings hope and strength of heart so that you can feel connected with all the love that lives inside of you. It can manifest in so many different ways. Sometimes it can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to walk; always in the direction of making a change; always to a better position. Make your thoughts vivid, make them strong, make them dominate, make them squeeze out the poison in your life and bring forth from it a better you. It is amazing the things that you have the power to do if you can will yourself beyond the fear of living.