Feb 25 2014

Prayer from a Human

Prayer from a Human,

 

Sometimes in life, life gets hard. Sometimes when it gets hard, it gets harder right after.

It can test every part of you, the good parts and the parts you’re not so proud of.

 

I pray everyday.  The words are not fancy ones.  I do not recite from ancient manuscript. I couldn’t quote the bible unless I had it in my hand; Although, I really dig The Lords Prayer.  That one I know.

I pray like I think a lot of us do.  It’s just one long conversation.  

When trouble comes, I might even write it.   This can go on for months.

And so it goes…….

 

Dear God,
I really need your help. Please hurry as it is imperative that you respond to my request immediately. 
This is an emergency.
Thanks,   Me

Dear God,
Maybe you didn’t get my first message and things have gotten worse.  Please hurry. I am terrified. Oh my gosh!  Please, please help! You are the only one who can fix this. I need you to reverse what is happening. I’ll be waiting.
Love me

Dear God,
Ummm, hello?  Are you even there? Why are you not answering? I know you must be busy but geez!
Me.

Dear God,
GOD!!! Answer me!!!
Now I’m getting angry.
Me again.

Dear God,
Ok, seriously?
What is going on? Things were fine between us for the last 20 years.  I haven’t asked you for anything in like…forever.  I checked the bible to make sure I got this right and You’re the one who said and I quote, “ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open.”
I’ve asked and I’ve knocked for months and still no answer.
I’m just trying to understand you.
In the meantime, I’m facing a disaster over here. Can you at least drop me a few ideas that I can try.
Still Me

Dear God,
Ok fine.  I’ll do it myself then.
Not even going to sign this

Dear God,
So….. I was wondering if you were still there.  I tried everything I could. It did not work. I told you that I needed you. I don’t think things will be ok without you.
I still haven’t heard from you.  Was it something I said or something I did? I’ve wracked my brain trying to figure out why you won’t answer.  I’m tired now. I think I’ll just go to bed.
I won’t give up on you if you don’t give up on me.
Love me

Dear God,
It’s hard down here right now. My heart is breaking.  I’m not going to ask you for anything. I just wanted to let you know how I feel. Well….that was dumb seeing as you probably already know. 
I suppose you might be trying to teach me patience. 
Well….that sucks!
Or maybe you want me to know there are some things that are out of my control. Or maybe I should just give up control.   Ooooh,that’s going to be a tough one.
I don’t like this one bit but I’ll try.
Just me

Dear God,
I could have sworn I felt you around the other day and then again the other night before I dropped off to sleep. 
I’m not certain if it was you or wishful thinking.  Even though I’m kind of mad at you right now, it was nice to think for a moment that it was you.
Just me being all skeptical

 

Dear God,

I don’t know why I am still writing while I have my doubts.

The question is, how do you have faith when you have no physical evidence to support your existence?

But then again, isn’t that what faith is?

Puzzled, perplexed and still kind of mad

 

Dear God,

I’ve thought about it and again I’m choosing to believe.  It just feels more right.

Still waiting on that thing I’m worried about. It’s anguish.

Hello…. Are you there?

I can’t feel you around.

One step forward and four steps back me

 

Dear God,
I decided to trust that you are there.  By the way, nice job on the sunshine the other day.
I still don’t get what you are doing but I trust that you’re working on things.
Just me- workin’ on my trust issues

Dear God,
You are hilarious- just when I thanked you for the sunshine, your drop another 2 feet of snow on us. In addition, the whole breaking down my car thing was fantastic…..or not!
I’m also wondering where you are going on my emergency issue, which clearly you don’t see as much of an emergency as I do.
It’s easy for you. You can see the whole picture and the outcome. I’ve got limited vision. I can’t see where this is going.
All I’ve got is some inspirational quotes floating on a scenic background wallpaper to get me through the day.
If I see The Serenity Prayer one more time, I think I’m going to scream.
I suppose it probably doesn’t matter, what has happened has happened.
Just me, trying to accept things.

Dear God,
I made my list of everything I tried.  I’m at peace with it.
I guess I realize, there are some things that I can’t do anything about. I can’t change some circumstances and I can’t change people’s minds.  That makes me sad a little and I suppose I will grieve it for a bit.
By the way, good call on the crying mechanism you gave us.  Does that ever feel good to release like that- if you can get past all of the snorting and nose wiping and blotchy skin and shallow breath thing. 
I’ve been damp for days. 
I’m going to hand over that thing to you, lay it at your feet if you will. I trust you will know what to do with it and I will accept whatever is to be.
In the end, I feel better talking to you than not talking to you. 
Drippy nosed me.

Dear God,
So…..I was wondering how far you’ve gotten with that thing I left at your feet.
Whoops, sorry…doing it again.
Just me, working on my control issues.

Dear God,
I’m surprised I’m still standing. I gotta say, you made me pretty strong. Thanks!
Oh and again, thanks for the beautiful sunshine today and the chattering birds this morning. What a great way to wake up.
From what I can see, the situation hasn’t changed much since my first note but I have to say thanks for the angel friends you sent to me in the worst of it.  Thanks for the music you played on the radio at just the right time and that book you helped me to find. Thanks for my dog that would not leave my side. Thanks for my brother and his wife and my cousin and for the gals at work who didn’t judge me when I sobbed at the photocopier and in the lunchroom….and that one time at my desk. Thanks for my curly haired pal who never said a word as I purged. She told me it was ok to cry and cried with me in support. Thanks for my husband and children who let me rest on their shoulder and let me let them rest against mine. Thanks for the flu- I needed the break. Thanks for the beautiful sunset the other night when the sky was streaked with pink and orange and purple and blue. I almost forgot about the beauty in the world.
Thank you for every grey hair on my head and every wrinkle around my eyes. I’m starting to look interesting.
Thank you for the small blades of grass now poking through the snow. It promises spring.
Sorry I doubted you; you’ve been here all along.
Love me.

 

P.S.  Thanks for “The Serenity Prayer” I guess it’s not that bad.

P.P.P.S   I’ll talk to you soon.   Have a good day!

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2

Jan 14 2014

Silence

Silence.

I had been looking for it, requesting it, seeking it out, and then demanding it for some time. I know better than to seek it out. I know better than to demand it.

I know that I have to do my part, be still, quiet my inner chatter and allow it in or out.

Quieting the inner chatter is the hardest part.  This is the chatter that keeps talking about yesterday and last week and last month and a couple of things from last year. The same chatter talks about tomorrow and next week and next month and even years from now. Most times, the chatter is embarrassed or angry or fearful.

It yammers on, “Why did I say that?” “Why did I do that?” “Why did they say that? Why did they do that?

It says, “I didn’t deserve that and well, maybe I deserved that.
It says this is gonna happen if you do it this way or this is gonna happen if you don’t do it this way. It says this is gonna happen because it’s in your genes or because you’re not safe.
It says you’re the only person who can save this person; you’ve got to do something.
It says you can’t save anyone; you blew it.
It says you are at your end.

It’s especially hard to stop the inner chatter when everyday you are surrounded by people just like you who have their own inner chatter going on.
 The chatter collides. Their chatter frequency overlaps yours.
It’s kind of like a radio that’s between stations. The words or music of the various frequencies merge into a crackling static mess of sound. 
Other people’s fears and frustrations and feelings of anger get mixed up with your own until you’re not quite certain what is theirs and what is yours.

It gets really hard to hear your own station.

I’ve practiced meditation for over 20 years and this dialogue still happens to me from time to time.  It always happens after a period of complete bombardment. You know those times when one thing happens and then another and another. The time when you say, ok I’ve had enough. I can’t take one more thing and then….one more thing happens.

Some people turn to another station. It might not be the music they enjoy but the song is clear and they eventually find themselves humming along.
Some people, like me, are a little more stubborn I guess. Some people like me refuse to listen to any station but their own. That’s when we start fiddling with the tuning. When that doesn’t work, we grab the antenna and start moving it up and down and side to side; wildly at first and then slowing the movements until we’re tapping the antenna ever so lightly determined to tune in.
Sometimes that works.  Carefully we turn up the volume and tip toe back to our work or our lives aware that the slightest vibration of our next steps can throw us of our station again.

Sometimes though, when all else fails, we resign ourselves realizing the only thing left to do is turn the radio off.

It’s hard to do, turning that radio off especially when you are afraid you might miss an important news break or you faintly heard the guitar lick from your favorite song. At some point something inside tells you, all the tinfoil in the world bunched on top of that antenna isn’t going to help with the fine tuning today.

(If no one has ever tried the tinfoil on the antenna trick besides me…..well, that I suppose is an awkward revelation.   I promise I haven’t started wearing it on my head…..yet!)

I turned the radio off and then went to my room and shut the door; figuratively and literally.
I lay in the first layer of silence for less than half an hour; the layer of no outside sounds other than the wind against my window and the faint tick of the clock.  The chatter still buzzed in my head like those schools of bugs that hover over the sidewalk.
Do you know the bugs I’m talking about? They are very wee and they cluster together about 5 feet off the ground. You’ve learned to keep your mouth shut when you walk through them- one or two always seem to fly right to the back of your throat causing you to sputter and spit and choke. I’ve even seen them in the winter months- unless my floaters are just more obvious against the white landscape. What kind of bugs are those?

Anyhow….I relaxed in the next layer, the one in which your thoughts become quieter, slower, as they drift in and out through that invisible door in your mind.
I was satisfied to be there although this is usually the layer that impatience kicks in.
There is a tendency to start to engage with these automatic thoughts especially if they are startling or had been fueled with a lot of emotions in the past. This is also the layer that it becomes tempting to start talking or asking or begging for whatever higher power you believe in to give you your answer or a sign or to come to you right now and fix everything. 

This is where I sometimes drop off to sleep, but not before I say something really enlightened like, “You’re probably not even there!”  

Super evolved,right?  

Then there are those nights, like the other night, that sleep doesn’t come. The chatter slows until I become aware of the space between the thoughts. It is dense.
Then, by no power or guidance by me, the silence comes.
Like a warm blanket,
Like resting your head against the chest of someone you love.
Like soaking up the sun,
Like breathing a long slow breath and releasing a longer exhale

Then under the blanket, and under the heartbeat, inside the warmth and in the stillness beneath the breath, It is and there is nothing else.
It encompasses everything and all of you. You cannot decipher at what point it entered; if it came from outside or from within or both.
It just is.

It says, without words, “I am here”
I reply, without words “I knew you wouldn’t leave me” and “Thank you”

Nothing matters then. There is no chatter. There is no past. There is no future.

You know the truth then.  That this is what is real.

And in the silence, you begin again.

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2

Dec 31 2013

Sweeping in the New Year….again!!

A repeat of last years post because…. I’ll be doing this same thing again.  This year though I will be sweeping harder than I ever have before.  

 

Here we go…….

 

I don’t usually go out on New Years Eve. At least, I try not to. I’m much too busy sweeping. It’s just a thing I do, every year at five minutes to midnight. I sweep. That is my New Years Eve tradition.

 

I don’t know remember when I started doing this. I suppose that it’s been a good length of time because I can’t quite recollect when I didn’t do this. This tradition didn’t come from anywhere. I didn’t see anyone do this. It was not a family ritual carried down through generations. I just started doing it and that’s that.

 

I looked it up once, on the intranet, to see if I was the only one who took broom in hand on New Years Eve. Chinese tradition does include some sweeping but it’s quite specific as to the when and the how.

 

We all have our own way.

 

My process starts on Boxing Day and takes me through to the Eve of the New Year. It’s a reflective time that I look forward to and it puts my heart and soul and mind in a positive place to start again and to start new.

 

Today, at some point, when the house is quiet, I will pour myself a hot tea and find myself a quiet cozy corner with the most comfortable chair. I will sit, with my journal on my lap and pen in hand and write all those things that I am grateful for. I will write about the obvious; my family, my friends, a warm house and daily nourishment. I will write about the extraordinary things that happened throughout the year; the miracles, the divine intervention and the dreams that came true. I’ll write about the gratefulness for the dreams that didn’t come true. Letting them go made room for dreams that I had not considered; that I had not even fathomed had there not been an empty space ripened for a new one to emerge.

 

I will write about my gratefulness for the people I have met up to this point in my life. I will list them all, as many as I can, including the man who tips his hat at me when I pass by him at the corner store. He has no idea how much he means to me.

 

I will most likely write about the little squirrel that follows the trail atop the wooden fence outside to my window sill. I will write about how he peaks inside, curious to see what’s going on or to tease the dog into a mischievous chase around the yard.

 

I’ll write about the praying mantis that clung to one of my daisies at the side garden last summer.  I’ll write about the hummingbird that dropped by for a summer visit, hovering beside the hanging pot outside my kitchen window.

 

I will write about the stars in the sky that I stare at late at night as I dare to dream again.

 

I will write about my gratefulness for every little thing until my hand begins to cramp and I have acknowledged all of it. The passage in the journal always starts out as a carefully worded and legible document that finishes in a scribbled mess of emotional declaration.

Then I will let all of it simmer.

 

After a time, maybe hours or a day or two, I will return to my quiet corner once again. I will open my journal to the place where I left my pen inserted, at the place where I left off. I will make any final notes and then I will turn the page.

 

The next part of the process involves reflecting on the things I learned and the AHA moments. I’ll go over some of the most difficult moments or decisions, not to rehash but to gain perspective. I’ll think about what I learned about myself; what I need to work on, and I’ll consider once again if I feel that I am on the right path or have I fallen off it.

 

This part can be tough at times. Some of the decisions that we make and the choices we choose for ourselves are not always in line with what other people wanted or how they choose to live. It might be a job change or change in location. It might be breaking free from a long-held belief or role or expectation placed upon you. Sometimes getting to the place where you feel whole and connected can leave the people around you feeling separated.  We all know that it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make us feel whole or happy or fulfilled.  It would be terribly selfish to expect someone to do that for you. It’s your job to make you feel whole, or happy or fulfilled.

 

I think we’re here to encourage each other to reach their highest potential. I think we’re here to enhance the life experiences of each other, not become the whole of them. I think we’re here to be the icing on the cake for each other, not to become their cake. You have to be your own cake. The icing just enhances what’s already there. The cake is still quite delicious on its own and really doesn’t need the icing.  The icing just makes it a little sweeter.

 

Although, I must acknowledge, some icing and cake combinations don’t sit well together after digesting.

I once ate a piece of carrot cake with milk chocolate icing and I got the worst stomach ache.

 

Anyway, this is just a thought!

 

At this point, I’ll probably get sidetracked assigning cake flavors to myself and the people around me. It’s just how my mind works. I’ll compare their personalities to the various flavours.  Some of them are definitely chocolate, some a light taste of vanilla, some cherry chip.  This exercise will have nothing to do with my personal development but I’ll enjoy it none the less. Then I’ll start craving and I might even take a small break to bake a cake.

 

Afterwards, with a piece of cake and a hot tea in hand, I’ll go back to my little corner and journal again.

 

This time, I’ll envision all of the possibilities and write them down. I figure, if I can’t consider the possibility of something coming into my life, how in the world will it find it’s way here or how will I recognize it if it comes. You can’t expect something to come into your life if you shut your blinds, seal your windows and lock your doors to it.

 

So I write any and all possibilities, dreams, hopes, aspirations. How do I know if it’s feasible? Well, if I can’t find a reasonable and true reason why it couldn’t happen, then…..it’s possible. So it goes on the list.

 

For instance, I will not write that someday I want to scuba dive because….. I don’t want to scuba dive. The main reason that would block it from happening is that I don’t want it to happen. Other reasons would include, being submerged in water makes my toes cramp. I only enjoy two types of swimming, dog paddle and back float. I get sea sick.  I like land…..a lot!  So…. Scuba diving is not natural for me and will not be on the list.

 

However, buying and wearing a dress is on the list.  I’ve never liked them before but lately, I can see myself wearing one if I can find a good comfortable orthopedic dressy flat shoe.

 

I’ll include every possibility I can think of; surface things that touch on style and décor and finances and I’ll write about the deeper things; dreams, hopes, aspirations and a vision of who I would like to be, the person I think I could be, my best person.

 

When all is said and done, I prepare for the sweeping.

 

New Years Eve, at five or ten minutes to the ball drop, depending on the year I’ve had, I take out my broom.

 

My children shout, “There she goes! Hurry Mom!”

 

I descend down the stairs and start in the basement of the house. I go to each corner of the basement and in the hard to reach places and I sweep out all of the things that might still be lurking in the shadows. I’m talking about the old angers or resentments, the bits of disappointments and the memories of disagreements and uncertainties. I sweep them up, in my mind, up the stairs and out into the open, the center of the house.

 

Then I go to the upper level of the house and think about the possibilities and the dreams for the future. This time, since it’s in my children’s bedrooms, I try not to be distracted by the clothes on the floor and the unmade beds. Instead I focus on cleaning out the space to allow for new dreams to flow in. I sweep the space to prepare it and return to the center of the house again.

 

I move through the main floor at this point and go from room to room; the family room, to clear any hurt feelings and misunderstanding or impatience; the kitchen to encourage nourishment and health and healthy and healing conversation. The best conversations always seem to happen over tea at the kitchen table. I sweep all the corners from floor to ceiling and continue down the hall to the back door.

 

It is at this moment, at less than a minute to midnight, that I open the back door wide and sweep the old year out. It’s over now and done.  There is no point in carrying anything negative forward.

 

Then I shake the broom outside. Sometimes I bang it against the side rail of the deck to be sure to remove every last bit.

 

Then I return inside the house and place the broom carefully back into the closet.

 

It’s 10 seconds to midnight; I stand at the front door. The Television blasts the countdown in the background. My youngest son barrels to the cupboards to retrieve a large clanging pot.

 

9…8…7…6…5….4….3…2…1.

 

The door is flung open wide and the New Year and all its possibilities, hopes, dreams, goodness, kindness and love rush in.  We hug, we kiss and my son stands outside and rings in the New Year, calling it to us. Then I extricate myself and dash to the front window and slide it open as well to allow for all of it to fill the house. There is so much joy and goodness waiting to enter. I welcome it with arms and windows and doors wide open.

 

Happy New Year to everyone, everywhere!  This is the year, a new beginning, a fresh start. It is when hopes and dreams are born and anything, no matter where you have been or what you have done or haven’t done is completely and entirely possible, if you allow yourself to consider, if but for a moment, that it is possible.

 

Blessing to everyone!!!!!! May your year ahead be filled with possibilities!

 

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2

Dec 30 2013

Nothing left to do but blog!

Nothing left to do but blog!

I kind of sort of missed Christmas. Not just the one day but all the days leading up to it. All 12 of them before and the two afterward

I had the influenza. Not just the flu. The INFLUENZA.

I now know with all certainty that I have never had the influenza before.

It’s a dreadful thing.

If I could illustrate it, it would definitely be a dark figure in a cloak much like that robed figure on the cover of that Led Zeppellin album or the ghost of Christmas future- the one that gave old Ebeneezer the willies.

Things got so bad that I didn’t even have the strength to get to the computer to make a Facebook status about it. ( I don’t actually do that- I may be pretty open but it’s usually in retrospect-I do have some limits)

It was so bad that during the last two weeks, no pets were saved on that pet rescue game that I play. Nope, not a single one.

Slightly ashamed I do admit to occasionally spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to rescue cyber cartoon pets- usually when I am feeling less than in control of a situation that might be going on in my real life. I’ve tried to hide this coping skill but sadly I haven’t quite got a grip on how to adjust my privacy settings. My newsfeed is loaded with notifications of my pet saving progress or lack thereof. I swore when I started this app that I would never ask for help from my friends but in recent months I’ve had to admit that I have broken down- twice.

I don’t like to ask for help.

Yet, sometimes you have to.

Especially when you’re stuck on level 28 because the bridge has collapsed. And you’re left standing there wondering, why now? Why this bridge? You followed all the rules of the game, you collected all the tools and completed every task asked of you. Not only did you complete each level but you did so well that you were awarded three stars for most of them.

and didn’t you just receive bonus gold bars and a wire mesh cutter with a promise of a new level opening.

All you have to do is continue on the path you’re on.

And you do….with vigour and enthusiasm….until……that darn bridge just randomly collapses.

Sometimes in life we do get stuck.

At such an impasse, it’s hard to know what to do. There are always choices. These choices all have pros and cons.

Choice 1. Ask for help. (As the game suggests)

One little click on the keyboard and an all points bulletin is sent out to those on your friends list.

This holds the benefit of providing immediate relief and some much needed answer or resolution to the problem or obstacle one is facing.
It also provides a feeling of connection knowing that one doesn’t have to journey alone. There are others who have been down this path you are on before and have met the same obstacles. Their acceptance of the request and assistance is confirmation that they not only understand but are cheering you on and forward.

The downside-

1. Everyone will know you are stuck

2. This not only exposes your weakness for a particular computer game but also reveals that on some levels, you just don’t have the tools necessary to overcome this particular hurdle.

3. Realizing that although you sent out 50 requests for help, (some of whom you remember sending a life or clue to to help them overcome their obstacle), many of them ignored your notification for assistance.

4. In opening up about your plight, it’s possible that some might judge, might even scoff or delight in your present obstacle.
How could you possible get stuck at that level?
They might brag that for them it was the easiest one.
or……they would never find themselves in your position( because they are too self righteous and would lecture that they use their time effectively and wouldn’t dream of involving themselves in such trivial matters.)
Or…they finished that level eons ago and refuse to share how they got past the bridge because ….well…..they are just too self involved to give back.

OK! OK! I know I am reading way more into this than I should but it’s still a good analogy .

The upside of the downside .- you do realize who your true mates are.

Now for choice 2. Buy your way out.

It’s an easy way for sure. The cost seems pretty low- only 99 cents and you can move on and no one has to know. Instant gratification !

The con- You have to pay by credit card. A dollar here and a dollar there can amount to huge debt . Think about the interest you’ll be paying long after you think you’ve beat the game.

Choice 3. Let time pass

Sometimes, for whatever reason, you just have to let time pass.
You may not be able to ask for help. You away not have the resources to buy your way out. You may not have any friends on your friends list.
It doesn’t matter. The game is set up to eventfully default to a spontaneous repairing of the bridge and a return to the game. I don’t know why this happens and there is no reason as to the varied lengths of time before this kicks in. Sometimes it’s only a day or two. Other times it’s a week or longer.
Eventually though, the path does clear.

The only con I can think of is, sometimes it’s hard to wait. Especially when you can clearly see by the icons that everyone else seems to be moving ahead.

You can’t get discouraged. Just keep your eyes on your own game.

The final choice. 4 ( it’s related to choice 3) The mystery quest!

Sometimes letting time pass allows for perspective and makes it possible to slow down and take a second look. It’s then that you might discover an alternate way or solution to your problem. You might discover “The Mystery Quest” as an option and you had never noticed it before. It might be a task that is required of you prior to moving forward, something that you have to complete first.

The pros of it- It gives you hope and allows you to feel a little more in control, like maybe there is something you can do to help yourself out of this jam.

The cons- I don’t know yet seeing as I just found this little option while I was down and out with the influenza and letting time pass.

I’m a little nervous moving forward but it’s worth a try.

I guess what I’m saying is this. Life is full of bumps in the road, road blocks and broken bridges. the good thing is, we still have choices and even when there seems to be no choices, we can let time pass and start again another day. There is peace in that.

Or

I’ve been ill and housebound for way too long and what I think is profound now, I may have to delete…after some time passes.

The real reason I blog today…

During the great Influenza of 2013, I had little energy to do anything but think. With its complications I got to thinking about “do overs”.
Is there anything I would change.
Nope.
Was there really anything that I wished I hadn’t done or said?
Nope
Was there anything that I would do differently?
Yes…just one.
and so…I have returned to my blog.

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1

Aug 09 2013

Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

It’s feeling more like fall these last few days.  The nights have been cooler as are the mornings. There’s that familiar odor in the air; the smell of changing seasons.  Strangely I feel an urge to buy lined paper, some good pens ( a few blue, one black, one red), coloured pencils and some white glue.

My mums are in bloom already.  There are clusters of leaves on my tree that are tinged with the beginnings of autumn flame.  Nature is predicting an early fall.

The mere mention of the possibility of this change can be met with resistance and a host of arguments to discredit the observations.

We can point to the clear evidence of the change. We can point to the leaves on some trees.  We can point to the mums and asters in bloom.

We can cite the changing temperature.

We can ask if anyone noticed the subtle dim of the light at night.

People that embrace change offer their own observations and begin to prepare for it in ways as gentle and subtle as the change itself.  They pick up the extra canned good at the grocery store. They purchase that new cardigan, leaving it with price tag attached for another week or so before putting it through a laundry cycle and hanging it in the closet. They spend a little more time outside or barbeque a few more nights of the week, or swim in the pool a little more often. They know their time spent with summer is coming to a close and there is a renewed sense of appreciation for every moment that is left.

People that resist change come up with a host of arguments against the evidence.

Last year, the change wasn’t really the change, it was blamed on a long period of time with extreme heat and lack of rain.

This year the change isn’t really the change, it’s attributed to too much rain.

They might claim to not see the red edged leaf they are holding in their hand.

They might insist that the mums in bloom were tricked by a couple of nights of cooler climate.

They might claim that the mums aren’t really mums at all.

You can’t convince anyone of anything, even the simplest of things like the natural change of season if they don’t want to see it.

You can resist or make excuses all you want but eventually you have to accept change.  It might take standing in a snowstorm with your swim trunks on.   Hopefully at that moment you get the picture.

Sometimes it takes something big to get your attention.

I don’t know what makes some people so open to change and some so resistant.  The natural tendency is to try to convince.

That is so frustrating.

I was out on my walk the other night.  I stopped in at a store and passed a gentleman about the age of 60 standing at a telephone booth, his bike leaned against his hip as he held the phone under his chin and talked with his hands.  He was speaking softly and soothingly to someone. He was clearly presenting his case. I heard love and concern in his voice as he implored with his other party to please listen to him.

I heard him say, “ I’m trying to do what’s right here. I really want what’s best for you.”

I thought to myself;  this must be very important to him to have rode his bike here to connect to someone. I imagined all of the possible scenarios. Maybe he didn’t own a home phone. Maybe he didn’t have enough freedom in his own home to speak openly.  Maybe he was riding his bike with whatever was on his mind and he couldn’t wait another moment to say what he needed to say to whom he needed to say it to.

About 7 minutes later, I left the store and passed the gentleman once again. He was still on the phone. He was still trying to get his point across.  He was still trying to convince.  His voice was louder. I could hear the frustration in it.  It was not aggressive.  His volume was just turned up.   He was still saying the same things. “ I care about you. I want to help you. I’m trying.”

Someone who was sensitive to volume might have made an assumption that he was being harsh or aggressive.  Yet to anyone who listened to the content,  they would know that each word was a true one and that the intention behind his words were caring and loving and kind. Like a radio, the volume was just turned up.

You always have to LISTEN to the content of everything you hear.  I’ve heard the most beautiful and loving and truthful words coming from the loudest and most booming of voices.  I’ve also heard the most deceitful and maligning and hurtful of messages conveyed in the sweetest and the most hushed of tones and whispers.

Volume is not an indicator of honesty, character, love and peace.  Content and actions are.

I walked on and asked that God send this man an angel to comfort him and to let him know when it was time to let go of trying to convince someone.

It bothered me though.   I’ve had the experience myself of trying to convince someone of my goodness or my good intention or my love or my caring.

I was sitting at my kitchen table and looked up and saw the crucifix hanging by my front door.

I thought to myself. Now here’s a guy who was perfect in all ways; psychologically and emotionally. He was perfect in his love and in his caring, in his kindness , his truth, his conviction and his mission.   This guy spoke softly and clearly. He also raised his voice in anger when warranted – like in the synagogue when he flipped his lid during the bazaar and knocked over some tables.   He cried and he laughed. Through all of it he spoke the same message. Live in truth and love love love.  Even he, in his perfection, couldn’t convince some people.  We all know what happened with that.

I guess what I’m saying is; if you are anywhere in your life where you feel the need to convince someone about who you are or about your take on a situation and you feel like you’re all alone and banging your head against a wall, know this.   You can definitely try to share your view and speak your truth to make yourself feel better.  But don’t do it with the intention to convince someone to change their view.   If you’ve got to convince someone about who you are,  they never really knew you to begin with or they don’t want to know you.  You also can’t convince someone to take your view if deep down, they are not on the same page.

Once again, it’s taken me a long time to get to the real point of my blog.   The real point is I think we all could use an angel to guide us on our way with anything we are experiencing.

I came across this song again in an unusual way.   I was at work one day and was moving some things around.  There was this little angel sitting on the desk. I saw it there as I moved books and papers and various other items but I didn’t really see it until it fell off the desk and cracked me in the ankle. The wing broke.   I thought about this falling angel the following day and my memory banks sparked up and delivered a song to me I haven’t heard in years.

So this song is for my children who are each on their own journeys.

This song is for the people who are feeling alone today.

This song is for the people who are banging their heads against the wall.

This song is for the people who feel like they have no one.

This song is for the ones who have fallen down and are trying to figure out how to get up.

This song is for the guy on the telephone who is trying so hard to convince the ones he love that he wants some situation to heal.

This one is by Nazareth.  I heard this album as a young girl- another one my brother brought home.  I’m thinking a Nazareth revival is in order. They just don’t make music like this anymore.  I’m picking up the CD today.   Love it.

Fallen Angel 

 

 

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3

Jul 28 2013

The Magic Jacket

 

An authors update:

 

I mentioned in my last post that I was writing a book.

 

It’s come to a bit of a standstill for a couple of reasons.

 

1,    I’m running out of words that I know how to use to form a sentence. I’ve realized that my vocabulary list is limited. On a good day I couldn’t tell you what a hyperbole is other than I think it’s a really cool word and super fun to say.

 I find myself using the same words over and over again, sometimes more than once in one sentence.   Then there are words that I really like, like superfluous, which has absolutely no place in the sentence I am working on other than to describe said sentence.  I want to use it so bad in another way.

 

Other words I want to use:    pterodactyl

                                                    Impervious

                                                    Enigmatic

                                                    Dogmatic

                                                     Legerdemain

‘                                                    obtuse

 

So far I’ve been unable to apply them anywhere.

 

 

2,   I sat down this weekend with every intention to immerse myself in my literary pursuit. I opened my file to proofread and recap what I’ve written so far and fell asleep three times!!!!

By my fourth read, I found myself muttering “yada yada, say what you want you want to say, get on with it woman!!!”

 

That’s not a good sign. 

 

 I think I have writers block.

 

I blame it on being busy.

 

Even my blog suffers.

 

I’ve gone from a passionate blogger to a jot downer on a napkin things I think would be great topics to write about.

By the time I get home from work, answer my phone messages, walk the dog, have a bite to eat, work on one of my painting commissions while I have some daylight to work with and conduct covert surveillance missions on my teenage son,  I have nothing left.

 

I’m tired of hearing myself say I’m too busy.

 

 I long for the day when I can say “nothing much”, when someone asks what I have been up to. Nothing much sounds perfect to me.

 

I’m still thinking though. That has not changed.

 

And it’s been so darn hot around here. It muddles my thinking. It’s not that difficult to get lost in my own head to begin with.

I can’t help but try to figure out what the heck is going on and what does it all mean.  I’ll bet if I was born at a much earlier time, I’d probably hang around with Aristotle or Lao-tzu or Dr. Seuss. I’d probably not completely get what they were talking about but I’d sure as heck enjoy the company and give the green eggs and ham thing some serious discussion and analysis.

 

I think that’s what I need- some serious philosophizing with like individuals.  Some big spiritual seeker convention would be right up my alley. Coffee with Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Lao-tzu, Jung and Dr. Seuss would be pure delight. 

I feel change coming though.   I had a storm dream again. I get them every time there is a stirring of sorts. It was swirling in the near distance which signifies the change is coming soon.  I feel like I need to prepare. I’m not buying canned goods or anything. It’s not that kind of storm. I do have an urge to get a good pair of running shoes though and maybe some body armor ….with pockets to hold a couple of  good self help books.   

 

I’m about to creatively burst if I don’t sit down soon and write something or paint something. It’s not so much that I have any great visions to create or anything substantial to say- I just feel like taking some sort of creative action- which this morning is just writing- nothing else. Although I must say, a new painting is beginning to percolate in my brain. I can see the colours and I can feel the way it feels but I haven’t got a clear vision yet. It’s like a really blurry photograph in my head.

 

This happens every summer and always somewhere in the middle of it. The ideas are seeded but my patience is beginning to wear thin while I wait for something to surface to the surface.

 

I’m trying to get around to the things that I have been putting off, like weeding out my back driveway and sorting through that pile of clothes that’s been collecting in the corner of my bedroom since the late spring. I place them on my bed every Saturday morning with the intention of trying on and keeping what fits and tossing what doesn’t.  Every Saturday night, I kick them back on the floor as I collapse on the mattress.

 

My daughter helped me go through them this past weekend. She’s home for the summer.

She helped me clean out my closet too.
My daughter and my niece sat on the edge of my bed while I went through every item. “It’s time”, my daughter said. “You’ve got to let go of the past”.

 

The two of them were deeply opposed to my large collection of velour pant.

“Seriously Mom! You’re not J-Lo.”

“Nope! You are not Jenny from the block. You’re just not.” My niece was quick to add.

They were tough.

I thought it was a little harsh.

Another shirt and pair of pants had them in stitches. “You look like the Mom from the Partridge family”.

“But couldn’t I wear this for…” I would say.

“No!” they would shout.

“But what if I paired it with…”

“No! Absolutely not”.

 

My niece removed two large garbage bags of the discards out of the house when she left. They didn’t trust me to leave them here.

 

A part of me was happy that they helped me to see the light although I don’t know if it was the right decision to let go of the painter pant or the baby blue cargo with the coffee stain on the thigh.  As for the velour….. I still don’t know how I feel about that.

 

My daughter then took me out shopping.  We went from one side of town to the other searching for some fresh new pieces to fill my now empty closet.

 

I suggested we stop in at a second hand shop. I argued the incredible deals and the vintage finds.

 

My daughter warned me as we walked through the parking lot “fine, I’ll go in there with you but you are not going in to find the velour pants you just gave away.”

 

“I know!” I said defensively. 

 

The let down of my shoulders could not hide my disappointment.

 

I spent the next hour weaving in and out of the racks of cast-offs, looking over my shoulder, afraid to make any move towards the long line of hanging fuzzy pant.. My fashion probation officer followed me relentlessly peering at me with eyebrows raised as I returned the offending articles of clothing to the hanger.

 

I made a quick turn down the next aisle and then darted through a pile of coats in attempt to lose her. Stopping for a moment to catch my breath, I leaned against a wall of tweed and poly blend. 

 

A small grey checked blazer called to me. And it still had the original store tags on it.!!!!!!    What a find!!!

 

It’s Italian.  I don’t know anything about fashion but Italian anything is supposed to be really well made. Double bonus!

 

I’ve always wanted a good jacket.

 

I slipped it on and stared at myself in the closest finger smudged mirror I could find.

 

I looked like someone that just stepped out of a university library.  I looked scholarly yet slightly rumpled.

It looked like the coat of an artist or ….dare I say…..an author.  

 

Well, they do say “Dress the Part”.

 

So, we’ll see if my magic jacket inspires me to write. I’ll let you know how it goes

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2

Jul 21 2013

Waiting on God

Seriously!  I really am still here.

I decided I wouldn’t write on my blog while I was in the middle of any life lesson, emotions run too high and the whining that sometimes accompanies a life lesson doesn’t make for good writing or reading.  But this life course that I am currently registered in (against my will) is taking way too long and I feel like I’ve been assigned this massive project that is way out of my scope of knowledge.

Oh how I long for a spare.

I thought this was supposed to be summer vacation.  I’m supposed to be frolicking in the sun and sipping lemonade and eating burgers at a wooden picnic table under a shady tree.

Oh the classroom of life!!!!

Don’t you just feel like that kid in the classroom that the teacher always calls on.

It doesn’t matter where you sit or how much you duck, your name always gets called. You don’t know why.

So you answer the question the teacher asked of you and the other kids start snickering behind your back.  Your face heats to crimson from the embarrassment of being made a spectacle and from the anger that you’re being made fun of by your peers for your apparent lack of knowledge.  The thing is is that while they are laughing and pointing out your stupidity, most of them don’t know the answer either.

You’ve studied for the test from the meticulous notes that you took in class. Come exam day, your teacher blindsides you with a random question that has never been covered the entire semester and it’s   worth a ridiculous amount of your grade.  You can’t argue it because they have this rule that you can’t challenge the teacher nor speak out in class, especially during an exam.

Your left with no choice but to try to come up with the best answer based on your prior knowledge or B/S your way through it.

Then there’s the kid sitting next to you that always seems to get the highest marks and the adoration of the other students and the teacher.  The thing is, this kid is cheating, plain and simple.  He’s sitting with one leg on the desktop, socks rolled down, skin covered in ink and a cell phone placed beside his test paper and he’s copying the notes. It’s completely overlooked.

The worst part is, if you point this out to anyone, you end up looking like some mean spirited squealer.  The teacher haughtily says “don’t worry about anyone else- worry about yourself”.

And you know that this very same kid is going to win the lottery someday or get that promotion over you and there’s nothing you can do.

Where is the justice I say!!!!!!!

I know it’s a little dramatic and is obviously tinged with some unresolved issues from a nightmare day in a high school science class but you get my point.

Anyway, my point is this- I’ve got things that I have to deal with and I don’t want to.

This religious phrase keeps echoing in my head.

Remember Jesus, when he was in the garden just before he gets carted off by the guards to his impending doom. I think it’s called the “Agony in the Garden” ( I totally get the agony part- it’s a superb word choice).  Anyhoo….he says something like “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.”

Heck ya!!!! I totally get that feeling.

We’re talking Jesus felt this way. The Jesus who totally had his stuff together Jesus.  And he was not too fond of the plans that were unfolding before him either, so I don’t feel so bad resisting some stuff in my life.

So I wrote a note to God that goes something like this:

Dear God,

The stuff that has been happening lately is not cool.  Nope, I don’t like it.  I was wondering if you could find someone else to teach this lesson to- like that cheater in high school or the teacher who took pleasure in embarrassing students in class or that lady on the next block who yelled at me because my dog pooped on her lawn or maybe just the drug dealers and thieves and people who take pleasure in hurting other people.   I think they might benefit more from the chaos you have been currently raining down upon me.  I do hope you reconsider as I could really use a small break from this.

Your faithful servant,

I suppose I don’t need to sign my name. You already know who I am.

P.S.- I hope I’m not getting on your nerves.

P.P.S.   Please send a really clear sign that you heard me. I sometimes miss the little ones.

P.P.P.S- I’m not wishing any harm on any of the people I mentioned in the above note- Again, I simply think a life lesson would benefit someone else at this time. For instance, I don’t think a drug dealer is bad. On the contrary, I think he must have superior business, distributing and manufacturing skills that might best be served some other way.  He’s just utilizing his skills to sell the wrong product.   A life lesson might help him to apply his abilities in a healthier way for the world like maybe getting clean water to countries that need it.    

P.P.P.P.S   I don’t mean to tell you how to do your job.

P.P.P.P.P.S  I hope you have a good day!!  🙂

 

Anyway, we’ll see how my letter goes.  I haven’t heard back yet.  These things sometimes take a few weeks for a response- I would assume there might be a volume of mail to contend with and they are probably understaffed with all of the vacations taken this time of year. That heavenly mail room must be hell this time of year.

Er…. I mean really busy.

In the meantime,  I will clean my house, sort through my closet, condition my hair ( the heat wave is causing some major frizz), work and continue writing my book- which will probably never be seen by anyone other than me and maybe my brother and one very tolerant friend.

Distraction is good when you’re waiting on God.

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4

May 01 2013

I’m still here.

I’m still here.

I haven’t written in quite some time. I’ve been busy.  There’s work and then there’s all the other stuff which on paper doesn’t look like much but in my head……soooooooo busy!

I’ve had many changes and shifts and revelations in the last couple of months.

Firstly, I’ve gotten a new prescription for my glasses.  5 steps up.  I knew I was having trouble seeing but 5 steps! Seriously!   They are nice looking glasses and it’s nice to be able to paint and read again. But they magnify my eyes to something I can only describe as buggish proportions. I look completely surprised all the time.

Actually, I look shocked.

 

I got my hair cut too.  It’s a good cut. The kind that still looks good when you first wake up in the morning. I kind of look like one of those soap opera divas that is coyly wrapped up in a sheet with tousled tresses after a delicious night of something or other.  You know the ones, with their false eyelashes and a full face of dew moisture makeup that evens their skin tone.  The ones with the pouty come hither rose stained lips and a silky night dress tossed half haphazardly  on the edge of a luxurious comforter.

My look is more of the flannel bottomed, old t-shirt that one of my kids was throwing out, ankle creased (because my feet were cold and I put on a pair of socks in the night that might have limited my circulation), top lip stuck to my mouth guard look. My luxurious comforter is actually a 10 year old thinned out, tattered quilt that my dog dug holes in, I assume while dreaming he was digging up a bone in the backyard.  Aside from that, there’s not much difference between us. It’s that good of a haircut.

I bought a dress and a two piece suit. Now I just have to figure out where to wear them too. I’ve said before that I don’t like dresses but this one spoke to me. It’s a sunny yellow.  I don’t mind the way it looks in my closet.

I showed my husband the dress. He said, “where ya goin?

I said, “I don’t know yet; somewhere where you wear dresses.”

I told you change was happening.

I’m digging sparkles too.  I don’t know if it’s a good thing.  I’m not talking about sparkles on evening dresses. I’m talking sparkles and rhinestones on t-shirts one would wear in the daytime, like maybe…… to go grocery shopping.

I haven’t bought one yet but I do seem to have my sparkle radar on. I can find at least one shimmering jewel in every clearance rack at the mall.  And I soooooo want to buy one and wear it.  Maybe I’m just feeling more playful these days or at times I fear suffering from some type of brain atrophy.  I hear it happens as you age.

I’ve been tending to my footwear as well. I came this close to buying a pair of buckled low wedge heeled loafers that I swear came out of my Grandmas closet.  But they were so comfortable.

Oh my gosh! What is happening to me?

I feel so young on the inside and yet I am becoming attracted to things that I would have sworn that I would never wear 10 years ago. I wonder if there is some genetic coding involved in a middle-aged or over 50 mindset.  It just happens despite ones best efforts to resist.

Inside I am torn.  One moment I am looking at and seriously considering buying some stringy flouncy and flirty sundress and a pair of short shorts with a halter. The next, I am being pulled to the pastel coloured cardigans and elastic waist pants. I tell myself, with a little gemstone splash across the bodice of a t-shirt, no one would know that my pants are polyester pull ups.

This scares me.

I vow to fight it for as long as I can.

 Yesterday, for the first time in 20 years I decided to wear earrings. It’s not that I didn’t like them. I was just too busy to think about taking the extra minute to put them on. My children used to grab at them when I burped them and as a result, I once experienced a small tearing of my flesh. I took them off that day and forgot all about them.

Now I was inspired by my daughter who came home for a visit from the vast and frozen tundra.   She looked so young and fresh with her double pierced little diamond studded ear decor.

I dumped out my jewellery box on the bed.  I was only able to find three unmatched earrings. One was a small square tri colour gold piece.  I don’t know where it came from but it would do. One was a large gold hoop that I remember wearing as a young girl to a disco dance. One was a smaller hoop that I bought in Toronto, again as a teen. It was during the whole “mod” phase. I bought a pair of them and gave one to my boyfriend at the time to wear in his ear as a sign of our commitment and devotion.   I got an extra piercing in my ear just to display this little circle of love.

I forgot all about that extra piercing. I wondered if the hole was still open.

I carried the three to the sink and cleaned them, dousing them with alcohol.  Carefully I pushed the stems through the front of my ears, jamming them through to the other side.  It appears the holes at the backs of my lobes were out of alignment with the front. It stung.  I wore them for 4 hours.  They felt heavy. I’d go so far as to say, cumbersome but I liked the dangle of the large hoop as it tapped the side of my cheek when I moved my head quickly. I felt, dare I say…. kind of girly.

Then my daughter told me that I looked like a gypsy.

I had to agree.

I took them off. My ears were throbbing. I felt much lighter.

But, I think I’ll buy a small pair and try again.

Change is good.

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2

Mar 25 2013

Somehow we survive!

My father never owned a car.  We weren’t the only ones in our neighbourhood who didn’t have one?

Do you remember back to a time before everyone seemed to have a car?

Do you remember when we didn’t wear seatbelts when driving in a car?

My uncle used to pick us up in his old station wagon any time there was a gathering of sorts. The nine in our family and usually a few of his own that he brought for the ride would pack ourselves into the wagon as snug as a bug.  We raced to the sleek wood trimmed vehicle, hollering and fighting for the coveted place- a seat on the floor in the back cargo area. It was there where we rolled around like loose eggs in a box every time the car turned a corner, bouncing our heads off the windows; into each other and occasionally getting rug burn as our faces slid against the carpeted floor.

We had the time of our lives and it never occurred to us that our lives were in danger.  Somehow we all survived.

Remember when air conditioning in a home was almost unheard of.  The wealthier folk had these window units that hummed and dripped in the heat of the summer leaving a cool wet splat on the ground.   The rest of us adjusted to the 102 degree heat, drinking water from the garden hose out back when our mothers told us to stop coming in and out of the house “you’re letting all the bugs in.”  Sometimes if the tap outside was stripped and couldn’t be turned on, we stood under the humming box, letting the droplets trickle down our heads cooling them.

At night, we slept in our beds, on the upper level of the home, fully dressed in our two piece pajama set dripping wet with sweat. I’m certain the temperatures could rise to at least 110 degrees despite having every window and door in the house opened wide.

We never thought about someone breaking in. We never thought about a maniac massacring us in our beds.  We were too hot to care. Night after night, from June till August, we slept with windows and doors unlocked and wide open.

Somehow we all survived.

Remember when we laid in the sun or spent the day at the beach without a smidge of suntan lotion.  In fact, most of us slathered ourselves with baby oil to intensify the tan and more than likely the burn.

SPF ratings?  Never heard of them.

Somehow we survived.

Remember when our dogs ran loose on the street.  They were everyone’s pet.  No one talked about immunizations.  If a dog looked rabid, you didn’t pet him.  If he pooped on your lawn…. well…..you had dog poop on your lawn and you were careful not to step in it. That’s it.

It was grass for crying out loud, not gold.

Remember when we all rode our bikes without helmets or elbow and shin pads.

We fell off our bikes…..a lot. We crashed into each other….sometimes on purpose.  We got bloody knees and bloody noses.

We played road hockey and football, baseball and went ice skating without any protective gear.

Somehow we all survived.

Remember the teeter totter. You don’t see them in public parks anymore.  They were the big iron ones with the faded coloured seats.  One guy always jumped off while you were the one in the air, sending you crashing to the ground, your discs buckling with the impact. But you got up and stupidly enough got back on because your friend promised he wouldn’t do that anymore……which he always did.

And those hot metal slides. You knew it was going to hurt sliding down on a hot summer day wearing your culottes or swim trunks. You did it anyway, making an agonizing descent as pieces of your skin left a steaming trail behind.

Somehow we all survived.

Remember when we all ate peanut butter? And packed it in our lunches? Do you remember anyone in your class ever being allergic to it?

And twinkies?  They were a source of energy and fun nourishment.

How did we survive?

Remember when the kids with ADD were just the fun kids.

Remember when you didn’t pass a grade until you learned the curriculum.

Remember when the best tobogganing stories were the ones where you crashed into the tree. The mild concussion was hardly noticed as you pulled your sled back up to the top of the hill.

Somehow we all survived.

Remember when you barely washed your hands and barely got sick

The dirtiest kid at the end of the day clearly had the most fun.

Remember when you dropped that piece of gum on the ground or that ice cream, and you picked it up, flicked off the stones and dirt and kept eating it.

Or you shared your already chewed gum with your best friend.

Somehow we all survived.

We all had chicken pox, measles, strep throat, the croup, whooping-cough and a bundle of flu and gastro viruses. We pretty much vomited our way through childhood; from the viruses, eating too much Halloween candy in one night or those spinning rides that we couldn’t get enough of.

I vaguely remember some planes flying overhead spraying some type of pesticide in the 70’s. They flew low and were quite loud. We pleaded to go outside during the spray.

Our parents promised “only if you’re good!”

Somehow we all survived.

Remember when you wanted to talk to someone, you talked to them, you didn’t text them.  If it was urgent to speak to them right away, you picked up the one available phone in the house, which was most likely attached to the wall in the kitchen and you had your entire conversation in the presence of your entire family. If you needed privacy, you walked to their house or rode your bike over and yelled their name from outside on the porch until they came to the door.  It was called “calling on someone”.

Remember when you played in the park, with your friends.  There wasn’t a phone for miles. You’re parents didn’t feel the need to check in on you, they were glad that you weren’t underfoot for a few hours.

Aaand….. not once did I see anyone lurking behind the bushes waiting to kidnap us.

My father used to say:” if anyone ever tried to kidnap you kids, they’d bring ya back, you’re too damn loud.”

You always made it home in time for dinner too, like you could sense that the potatoes were boiling and the dinner table set. It was as if you knew by the movement of the trees and position of the sun.  Or because one of your parents was yelling out your name from the front porch calling you back home to eat.  Voices carried.

Remember hide and seek, red light green light, tag, red rover and dodge ball.

Remember when you barely watched any television at all during the day.  Well, maybe Saturday morning cartoons or the Sir Graves’s Ghastly show, if it was raining.

The rest of the time you couldn’t wait to be outside, doing anything even if it was “kick the can” or “don’t step on the crack or you’ll break your ________’s back. “

Remember when you wanted something and your parents said you had to work for it; that they weren’t made of money.

So….you shovelled snow or raked leaves or cut lawns or babysat until the time you could get a job.

And then, most of us were working by the time we were 14 or 15 at whatever job we could get.  And it was hard work.

Somehow we all survived.

Remember when at the end of high school, if you didn’t want to go to College or University, you automatically went looking for a full time job….any job….. It didn’t matter what you did as long as you got paid at the end of the week.

That alone commanded respect and admiration.

We looked for an apartment or got a mortgage with little idea of what we were doing and no long term plan of how we would pay for it. We just assumed that we could and we would.

We didn’t think too far into the future. We were so busy with today that we had little time for the past either.

We bought any form of transportation we could afford, rode bikes or walked.

It didn’t matter how we got there as long as we got there. 

Somehow we all survived.

Our apartments or homes were sparsely furnished with other peoples cast offs.  Old pop crates made for good shelving.

The glasses that filled your cupboard were the promotional ones that you got from some fast food joint or the gas station for filling up your tank.

You were fine with that….and somehow we all survived.

We weren’t as afraid to fall in love.  And we weren’t as afraid of the possibility of getting hurt.

We married young and started family’s way before we were financially comfortable.

And we didn’t worry about whether or not we were ready for the responsibility. It would never have occurred to us that we might not be.  We just went for it!

We weren’t afraid of struggle or not having enough.  How much you started with didn’t hold you back from starting your adult life. You just gathered what was available and began building it.

I don’t remember anyone telling us that we had to be better prepared or we needed to acquire this or that first.

We didn’t know the world of excess so how could we possibly know that what we had on any given day in front of us wasn’t enough.

We knew if we wanted something, we had to work for it. If something was broke, we spent the time trying to fix it or finding someone who could.  If it could no longer be used for what it was intended for, we salvaged what we could from it and tried to find another use for it.

The majority of us started with very little, made a lot of mistakes, struggled through all kinds of things, lived through difficult circumstances and yes, we still survived.

So when did everyone get so scared?

We live in a strange world.  The morning paper can be terrifying; keeping your window open at night can make you feel like you’re living on the edge. We have a steady IV drip of fear administered daily through the media. If you’ve missed the nightly news, you can be sure to hear it word of mouth.

We’re supposed to be afraid of loud noises and loud voices. We’re supposed to be afraid of the dark of night and of the sun.  We’ve been groomed to be afraid of strangers and people from other countries. If that isn’t enough, we’re told   not to discount the dangers lurking in your own neighbourhood, because evil might be living right next door.

We’re supposed to be afraid of eating too much or eating too little.   We’re supposed to be afraid of eating meat, especially if it is smoked or barbequed. Fried food? French fries!  Forget it!

We’re afraid of exercising too little or overexerting ourselves.

We’re afraid of cold temperatures or heat and high humidity.

According to the news, there is danger lurking everywhere, from traffic on the daily commute to global warming; Tsunamis, and floods; super storms and droughts, meteors plummeting to earth and those sneaky sink holes- who knows when and where the next will surface.  There are killer bees, killer whales and killer mosquitoes. Not to mention those killer viruses just waiting on that door knob or your kitchen counter to wipe out the population.

We are afraid that if we don’t wear the right clothes or hang with the right people, our careers and reputation would be on the line. We’re afraid to be alone so we stay in bad situations; we’re afraid no one else will want us. We’re afraid to lead the way, just in case we’re wrong. We’re afraid to speak up and say how we really feel because someone will think we’re weird or won’t like us anymore.

We’re instructed on a daily basis to be on alert, watch your back,  watch what you eat, watch the skies, watch where you’re going, watch what you spend, watch your investments, watch your health and watch what you say.

And we bought into it.

And now it’s being fed to our children.

We bubble wrap them daily, fill their days with carefully monitored and organized activities because it’s much too dangerous to play in the park or ride their bikes down the street.  We’re terrified of hurting their feelings so when they do something wrong, we send them to their rooms where they have their own TV and game system to while away the hours – that’ll teach them.

In this day and age, our children are being raised amidst a culture dominated by fear and anxiety; where negativity is the norm. They receive the message through media and over the dinner table that there is no place that is safe, that they have little future to look forward to, marriages are bound to fall apart, diseases are rampant and that the chance of them getting a job and supporting themselves is slim to none.

And we wonder why they’re so stressed or depressed.

No wonder there is so much anxiety in the world today.

Maybe we all should start telling the truth again…..

…..Because we all know better.

There are plenty of safe places in the world. Otherwise we’d all be dead already.

Of course there is a future to look forward to, it hasn’t been written yet. No one knows what’s going to happen so why predict it would be a bad one. That’s dumb!

Marriages are not bound to fall apart.   Many of them work out quite wonderfully. I’m going to say a majority of them do.

Being married is hard sometimes but you figure it out.

Raising a family is hard sometimes but you figure it out.

Finding a job or paying your bills is hard sometimes but you figure it out.

Tough stuff happens in life sometimes but you figure it out.

Mostly you will meet great people. On occasion you get hurt.

Falling out of love or having someone fall out of love with you can feel horrible. It’ll hurt- terribly for as long as it needs to. Eventually it won’t hurt as much and you’ll move on. You might meet some new people. Or you will swear to live a life of celibacy although I doubt it. My point; hurt eventually burns itself out.

Loving is better than not loving.

The majority of people in the world are friendly and kind.

People in general want to help each other.

Most of our neighbours are just like us, wanting safety and comfort and love.

We all have gut instincts built in to steer us away from danger or steer us in a healthier direction. All you have to do is listen to yourself.

Leaving your window open at night doesn’t necessarily mean your life is in danger.  99.9 % of the time, you’ll fall asleep breathing in the summer air and wake up in the morning doing the same.  That’s all.

On occasion you’ll get a virus and cough or vomit whether you sanitized your door knob or counter top or not. In a few days you’ll feel better.

You might get hurt sometimes falling off your bike. That doesn’t mean you stop riding. Stuff just happens sometimes and you’ll survive.

Some days you’ll feel great. Other days you won’t.  Either way, you’ll figure it out.

Sometimes you’ll have money, sometimes you won’t.

There will be beautiful sunny days and there will be stormy days.  Expect both.  That’s just how it goes.

The killer bees are probably not coming.( I’ve been waiting since they announced their trek in my direction since the 70’s.)

Most mosquitoes are going to leave an itchy spot and that’s all.

If you took a stopwatch and timed the “something bad that happened” from the moment it started to the moment it ended- it’s usually a relatively short period of time.  Most times the event is under a couple of minutes.  The time before it happened (the minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months) was generally uneventful and maybe even pleasant. The same goes for the time afterward. We just make the bad thing that happened last longer in our heads.

Try not to worry about stuff before it happens. Most of the stuff you worry about doesn’t happen.

If something significant does happen, you’re never really prepared for it anyway. So enjoy your life and your friends and your family in the meantime.   You will figure out what to do and how to move forward when it happens.

Somehow you’ll survive.

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5

Mar 20 2013

Blogging for my life!

I’m coming up to the one year anniversary of starting this blog. I thought by now I would have an idea of where I was going with this.

I didn’t know then and I still don’t know now.

I can’t completely figure out why I started in the first place.

I was between here and there. Of that I am sure.  I was sensing I was leaving one part of my life behind- the one where I was a Mom 24/7, managing a household and a small business and working part time. I was absorbed with caretaking, running errands, tending to the needs of others; the needs of my family and the one I was raised in.

I knew the change was coming.

In a short period of time, ( about 8 months) my friend died, my father died ( the most significant relationship outside of that with my husband and children), my dog died, two of my children left home, the economy brought my business to stagnation and my part time job …..well……. the economy did a number on that one too.

It made for a perfect country western song.

I was at a standstill.

I considered buying a harmonica.  Y’know…to sing me some blues.

I was this close to self pity- the really all encompassing type. I romanticized sitting on the floor of a dirty ramshackle of a shed, harmonica cupped close to my mouth whining its distress in the early evening as the sun went down; my dog howling beside me trying to keep up with my tune.

Oh wait, that’s right, my dog died.

Crap!

I was devastated by the losses and at times annoyed by them.

I was annoyed to have been right…about sensing that change was coming and I was annoyed that I hadn’t properly prepared for all of this to happen all at once.

I hadn’t planned on any of the above happening. It definitely was not part of the visions I had of life in my 40’s when I envisioned it in my 20’s.

I had never planned on what life would look like after 40, other than a faint picture of my moseying along, in complete health, with a well established and lucrative career, enjoying weekend shopping, travelling and Sunday family dinners with my grandchildren.

I hadn’t planned for hot flashes and having to keep a magnifying glass in the kitchen so I could read the list of ingredients in my recipe book.

I hadn’t planned on using a form of Braille to press my password onto the key pad on the debit machine.  I feel for the location of the numbers rather than see them.

I always forget my glasses and where I put my keys and where I parked my car.

I never planned on a bulging disc after a simple sneeze.

I hadn’t planned on losing people I loved. I hadn’t planned on grieving.  I hadn’t planned on losing my job.

I hadn’t planned for the time when my children would no longer need me. Although that was the end goal when I raised them; that they wouldn’t need me or anyone else. They would be confident to go into the world on their own…..which is exactly what they were doing.

Crap!

I never planned on being in this position.

But here it was.

I couldn’t quite envision what the next part of my life could look like.  I couldn’t see a thing.   I had come to the end of this road in my life.  And I didn’t know which way to go next.

So there I was, between here and there. I had to do something.  I had to cross that street.

It’s hard to step off that curb when you can’t see to the other side especially when there’s a lot of traffic whirring by…..and it’s foggy….. And for all you know, that street is a mile long….sprinkled, in all probability, with a lot of pot holes…..

I tried to figure out a way around it.  But…. time was ticking and ……

I was bored with standing there. That’s when I decided to step off…………

At some point in our lives we have come to the end of a road.  We have arrived at a great intersection.  We have to make a choice on which way to go because we have to keep going.

Some people come to that place and leave a marriage or a career that is no longer working or they realize it never did.

Some people take up new hobbies to spark them forward. Some move across country to create a new life. Others make themselves over, losing weight or getting fit.  Some start running marathons.

We’re either running from something or to something. It doesn’t matter; they all involve taking some kind of action to get you on the road you were meant to be on.

Given that my marriage was delightful, I was still passionate about my career as an artist; I had enough hobbies to keep me interested and was perfectly content to live in the city I grew up in, it left me considering what else I could do as a symbolic gesture of moving forward.

I considered running marathons but wondered if the sling that held my bladder in place could withstand the constant impact of my body hitting pavement with each stride I took in that race.

My bladder had been through enough; the 3 childbirths had pushed it out of its nesting spot and poked out of my body dangling like a button hanging from a thread.  Some days I thought it was so low, I imagined I could trip over it or whip it around my ankle and hop over it like that “Skip it” game you had as a kid. You know the one where you put that little ring around your ankle and the ring was attached to a little ball of some kind that you jumped over as it swung around.

No….I don’t think I was cut out for running.  But I felt like I needed to run….for my life.

So I did what some would consider fearless and others would consider stupid and others might even call embarrassing.  I started a blog. Instead of running for my life, I wrote for it.

I was not a writer; never even considered it.  I just wanted to do something….that would conquer a fear.  That by doing so might empower me a little.

There was only this.  I was a little afraid of speaking up and revealing who I really was and what I really thought.  I might take a few plunges forward and then two steps back when the response wasn’t encouraging.  I held back because I thought I would be an embarrassment, that maybe I had nothing of value to say. Maybe I would find out that I wasn’t that smart or wise or funny. Maybe people would leave my life when they knew that I wasn’t perfect or strong all of the time.  Maybe people would leave if I told them the truth that life was not always good and my childhood was at times very difficult.   That is the truth.

Maybe they would judge me because I really do think it’s ok to say some things are not ok.

Maybe they would leave because I am stronger than they thought and I can’t be shut up.

Maybe they would leave because who was I to be any expert on anything.  What did I know?

Maybe they would leave because they think it’s not normal to talk about life and spirituality and loss and grief and wonderful everyday miracles because….it doesn’t feel normal to them.

What’s normal anyway?  There is no normal.  We’re all just doing the best we can with what we have.

This is my normal.  Talking about what moves me today.  Sharing my stories, whatever they may be; to anyone who wants to sit a while and chat.

I don’t apologize for that. It’s just the way I roll.

I did lose people in my life when I started this blog and it made me sad.  There were a few that were embarrassed of me.  But that’s ok, it wasn’t about them. This was for me.

I didn’t want to live the next chapter of my life worrying about people leaving me or judging me for being…. me.   I was willing to risk it to really get to where I needed to go.  I‘ve got one life to live, may as well be fully me while I’m living it.

I do know a thing or two about getting through a thing or two or ten,   because I have.  And I know about how to have a happy fulfilling wonderful life anyway.

Writing on a blog may be “not normal” for you, but for me…….cathartic.

I blogged for my life and I found it again.

As my kids would say “H8ers to the left”.

So…..there was a higher purpose to this.  Weird way to go but it’s what I had to do.

Someday I may stop this blog.  Or I might still be here writing my thoughts when I’m 90. I’ll know when it’s time to take a different road.

In the meantime,

Happy anniversary to me!

And as Joe Dirt would say “Keep on keepin’ on!”

If you like it, click here!
2

Mar 13 2013

Letting Go Of “My Story of Us”

Forgiveness. It’s sometimes easier said than done.

I’ve struggled with it at times in my life.

I’m not talking about forgiving innocent slights- like when someone steps on your foot or shuts the door on you having not seen you there. I’m not talking about simple offences that stem from immaturity or lack of understanding; like when a child hits a sibling or throws a temper tantrum and says “I hate you” before they storm up to their room.  I’m not talking about forgiving things like someone telling your secret in a weak moment to someone else or talking behind your back.  People do that sometimes when they are angry or upset or frustrated. It’s easy to understand the human condition that caused them to offend. These things are easy to forgive.

The other night, I learned how to forgive a big thing.

It happened as I let go of “my story of us”.

I don’t know if letting go of the story allowed the forgiveness to flow in, or if the forgiving is what allowed me to let go of “my story of us”.

Maybe it happened all at the same time.

I had this anger brewing in me for a while, about 3 inches down from my solar plexus. It sat there like a lump of dough.  Every time I thought about the situation and the cast of characters and the basic theme of the story, I felt that lump of dough swelling and rising under the humidity of my growing ire.

The above analogy just made me think of making a pizza today.  I always get hungry when I blog.

Anyway…….

It bothered me to be feeling this way and I didn’t want to be an angry person.

I didn’t want it to turn to hate.

It was quite possible that it was heading in that direction given that my jaw and fists were clenched at rest.

To complicate things I was beginning to hate that I was starting to hate.

And I wanted this awful thing out of me……

Hate is so…… blech!!!.

So I figured to get it out, I had to express it.   Yet I didn’t want to direct it at any one else

If I kept it in, it might consume me making it impossible to be healthy in mind, body and spirit.

I had no idea how long it had been brewing before I noticed it was there.

I’ve been a busy gal!

So I wrote it out, 6 pages, single spaced, both sides of the paper, #8 font.

Again, I did not direct it towards a living being but it was a declaration of my complete frustration and disdain of situations and circumstances.

And when I was done, though feeling somewhat lighter, I knew the only way to be completely rid of it was to forgive.

Ugh!

I knew that I would feel better and it was the right thing to do but….

Another part of me didn’t want to.  Not yet anyway……because I had more ruminating to do.

I had every reason to be angry. I was justified in feeling the way I felt.

And maybe just maybe if I hung onto the anger a little longer and got to say what I think I needed to say, I could change the situation which would change the minds of my cast of characters, thus changing the outcome and then onward to what I wanted the real story to be, not the one that was presently writing itself.

Then… holey noodle( tossed lightly in butter and garlic with a side of colourful veggies)! It hit me.

I wasn’t so much angry at what was presently happening.   I wasn’t so much angry at the specifics of what was said and done- which is why there’s no real reason to review the specifics here.

I wasn’t so much angry at what the current story read like.

So what was the problem?

I realized there was a story behind the story.  It was “my story of us.”

I had this “story of us”, in my head of how we should be, how I wanted us to be. It was a fabulous story.

When I wrote it, I stole a few ideas from these great shows I had seen on the black and white console T.V as a kid.

I incorporated a few ideas from listening to other people talk about their lives-all the good parts.

I took cues from every great love song and the messages expressed in every greeting card- the ones between parent and child, sweethearts, brothers and sisters and friends.

I read all the fairy tales.

And then I created” my story of us.” I think I had it written by the time I was 10 and added revisions through the years.

This story was beautiful and heartwarming.  It was the story everyone envisions for themselves; A story of a life of comfort and safety, love and compassion, understanding and trust, connection and belonging.

I planned for holiday meals around a huge banquet table and children running wildly wearing their Sunday best.  There were meaningful talks, lots of hugs and a string of good nights that echoed through the house as the lights went out. “Good night John Boy”.

Who wouldn’t want to be in that story? Who wouldn’t want that to be their story?

I did everything in my power to make sure that my story happened.

We all have them- our own collection of “stories of us”. Not you and I but you and whoever your cast of characters are.

We all have a preconceived idea of what a mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, spouse and friend is.

And our pre conceived ideas and hopes for these relationships – the stories of us- run in the background of all our interactions.  If everyone is on the same page- it’s a great read and it comes to life.

Amazing people have been in my life.

But, there were others that I have met along the way and well………..

That’s what I was angry about.

With them; even though I had my story of us and it was such a good story and really, it should have been the easiest most natural story; they or the stuff of life would not cooperate and let it happen.

It was so frustrating.

And I couldn’t understand why….why anyone would not want to be part of this great story. I couldn’t understand why the Universe or God would not let this happen.

Because I loved my cast of characters so much and wanted them to share in my great story, to not only be part of it but be the stars.

I tried all different ways to make things work over a ridiculous length of time. I read every tip I could on self improvement and how to make some relationships work. I tried the honest approach, telling them how I felt. I tried being gentle, more patient, more loving, removing judgement and being more understanding. I tried humour. I tried more patience, I tried optimism. I tried adjusting. I tried changing me.

I carefully listened to the public broadcasting show that said I could make this story happen if I tried harder or believed harder or said my affirmations 30 times a day for the next month.

It works for some stuff but not for this.

Then I took a deep breath, looked past the past; at what had been done and said.

I dug as far deep as I could go and I analysed it. I looked at the possibilities of why someone couldn’t go along with my wonderful story. Maybe their histories were too much a hurdle to overcome. I thought about what I knew of their past hurts. I thought about their inability to trust or believe they were worthy of such a good story. Maybe that’s why they couldn’t.

I thought about the possibility that “my story of us” that I had with them was only supposed to be a short story.

Maybe we were just supposed to be a little sonnet, or a haiku or a silly limerick.

Maybe the purpose of our time together was to be best summed up in a simple quote; the meaning of which would be the strength I needed to draw on to lead me or  get through something else in my life.

And then I thought of the possibility, the hardest one; they simply chose not to be in “my story of us”, for reasons that I will never know.

I don’t remember asking them out loud if they wanted to be part of “my story of us”, I just assumed they would.

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter.

I was holding them hostage to a story that either they couldn’t, wouldn’t, were never supposed to be in or simply chose not to be a part of.

It was a story that they didn’t even know I had written.  It would be awful hard for them to live up to given no script.

I just assumed they would naturally want the same story.

I wasn’t angry at the specific actions or circumstances, I was angry that the actions and circumstances were keeping “my story of us” from coming to life.

I was angry because I couldn’t make it happen.

The only thing left for me to do was get rid of what was causing the anger- I had to let go of “my story of us” and accept the truth of what is.

My cast of characters; I loved them still but I did not want to hold anyone hostage to “my story of us”.  If I held them hostage, that wouldn’t really be love.

So I released them from “my story of us”, let them off the hook, untethered them from me.

I spoke aloud to the air: I release you from “my story of us.” You are free.

I felt lighter. I felt freer too.

I realized at the same time that I was saying this that I had forgiven them. I also forgave me for holding them to my and my story.

 

Maybe you’re having trouble forgiving someone– a parent, a friend, a spouse, a child. Maybe you’re really angry and rightly so.

Maybe, you too have your own “story of us” that was playing in the background and their actions have caused you to consider that you might have to let go of that story- that you’re getting further away from it- that’s it’s not going to happen- at least not in the way you had written.

It’s always hard to let go of a dream especially if it was such a good one. It’s hard to recognize that no matter how good your story is, you can’t make anyone be in it if they don’t want to …no matter how hard you try.

I write about this because I think forgiveness is hard sometimes.  Sometimes we want to forgive but we don’t know how.  I’m assuming other people feel the same way.

It’s even harder when the person you are trying to forgive doesn’t realize or care that they hurt you.

Whatever, it doesn’t matter.

Maybe “my story of us” will be useful.

Maybe no one will get it.

Maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Forgiveness.

It sometimes easier said than done.

Not all of us know how to do it; how to even begin- when it comes to the hard stuff.

I’m no expert, I’m just living this life, sharing my experiences and dabbling with a blog.

If you like it, click here!
5

Mar 04 2013

Flu snapshot- a delirious and dramatic tale.

This weekend I was up to my neck with the flu. I say up to my neck because I was still coherent( aside from a few moments of delirium), was able to form sentences and count backwards from 100 so everything from the neck up was functioning well. From my collar-bone down, I was a mess.

I should’ve known something was up on Friday morning when I found myself fully engaged in an infomercial about handbags. I was swept up away by its versatility. This nifty bag could be worn with a suit or taken to the beach. At night, and with one quick unsnapping of the strap, it could be held as a clutch and worn with an evening gown.  On top of that, it had many pockets and this girl loves pockets.  Some of them had zippers on them to keep contained the smaller hard to find items, like a lipstick tube or the quarter you’re always looking for to unlatch the grocery cart from its chains. It also had a little loop that one could snap their ring onto should their finger band become cumbersome.

Key fob?

It had that as well.  I was thrown over the edge when they announced that this very same purse, if unzipped at the bottom could extend itself into a tote or diaper bag.

My children are all grown up but lately I’ve been fantasizing about grandchildren. The bag would be perfect.

I’ve got to get one of these. My flu onset delirium took me to the computer where I checked my sanity with an announcement of the item I was thinking of purchasing on my social network in one window and in another a quick search of where could I buy this handbag and fast.

Within an instant, the comments trickled in- Don’ t do it!

My daughter wrote that she had put up with my penchant for pastel coloured jogging suits and velour pants but this was going too far.  She followed her message up with a phone call, imploring me to reconsider.

Still at my computer and checking  a few last minute emails before I got ready for work, a rush of a wave came over me-like  a whoosh.

I braced myself waiting for the vertigo I was certain was forthcoming.

Slowly I made my way down the hall to the kitchen to administer to myself the vertigo antidote of which I keep in my purse.  I was certain an attack was imminent.  I rifled around in my purse searching for my little cure.

“If only I had that purse from the T.V.” I muttered.

Suddenly, a chill ran through me and my body began to shake. I felt as though the energy that I had clearly woken up with, the same one that and had propelled me through my morning ritual of push-ups was now being sucked into the very floor that I stood on. My legs trembled.

I went on the alert.

Hmm! Well that’s certainly weird. I feel so…..so ……woobly.

Another chill and I sensed that my skin was hurting.  Or was it burning?

My legs felt so skrunkly.

When have I felt this before?

Oh yeah, on the hill, in the winter…when I tobogganed for too long and my toes were on the verge of frostbite. That’s the burning feeling.  So cold, that it burns.

It never occurred to me that I might have the flu.

Maybe this is low blood sugar, I queried. I’ve read it can cause weakness.

So I grabbed a cookie and some water and woobled my way to my reclining chair.

Shaking and trembling, I ate ½ my cookie and and waited for my sugar to stabilize.  I must add that I have no problems with my sugar levels; I was just trying to trouble shoot why my body was acting bananas by trial and error.

The cookie made me nauseous.

My body was still trembling and feeling weaker by the moment.

I felt…. sooo……… woogoogly.

There was a moment….a terrifying one where I felt I might pass out. I didn’t want to pass out. I’ve never done that before and though I enjoy many new experiences, there are some that have never interested me.

I held the phone close to my chest should I need to dial emergency services.  I could not believe that I had felt so well just an hour before and now…..feeling  so….whoah woah widgey!

Could this be the end of me? I queried.

I waited for the end for about 10 minutes and then decided I should go to work- maybe I’ll feel better.

My delirium and adrenalin firing off at the mere thought of my possible departure got me dressed and out the door.

Still in denial, I thought my condition could be resolved by eating a bologna sandwich and drinking some water.

Wrong!

A longer story made shorter, I made it through the day, went to the clinic and left with orders to rest and increase my fluid intake. The doctor was stumped.  On recalling my visit I realize now that I didn’t give him much to go on when I said that I felt a whoosh and then kind of skrunkly in my legs- like I had frostbite on them.   Yep- that’s delirium talking.

Sometimes it’s hard to explain how you feel.

He diagnosed me with a flu virus.  I was aghast. 

I slept for 12 hours straight after I got home, got up for a few and then lay on my recliner and my couch and my bed for the rest of the weekend.

In my convalescence during the worst part, I thought about the whole if this had really been the end for me, is there anything that I haven’t said that I should, anything that I wished I had done that I didn’t.

Only this came to me.  I usually make it a point to tell someone how I feel in the moment so that I don’t have any regrets later.  I don’t hold back telling someone that I love them or that they mean a lot to me.

It occurred to me that I didn’t thank my brother and to tell him how grateful I am for him especially in these last few years since our father died.

He was left with a tremendous responsibility to carry out the wishes of my father and the promises he made to him as he held him in his last hours.

He promised to protect and keep safe my mother and sister and to make sure they stayed in their home. He visits weekly sometimes more than once or twice to tend to needs big and small. He takes care of finances and does his best to fix what needs fixing or to arrange for someone who can, given that he is not a handyman.

He addresses every concern, some repeatedly and always presents the truth even when it does not want to be heard. The truth can sometimes feel pretty harsh no matter how softly you put it; especially when what you truly want to hear is the voice of the one you miss so much.

 He makes decisions that are sometimes unpopular and at times has had to stand alone under scrutiny and criticism, even from me.    That happens sometimes when you are the main caregiver. Everyone thinks their way is the best and only way.

He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t complain.  He only asks to be kept fully informed so he can keep doing what he promised to do- love and protect our mother and sister.

And yes he gets frustrated and overwhelmed at times, running back and forth while working for a living and taking care of his own family and household. His days can be long, running back and forth to change a light bulb only to return hours later with a new broom.

Yet he doesn’t complain. He talks openly about his frustration, puts things into perspective and carries on.

He made a promise to be honest and truthful and to make sure that every need was met.  He made a promise to make sure that the family home is where my mother and sister will stay for as long as they are safe.

He was chosen for this position long before my father died by both of my parents.  They chose him because they knew he could handle all that came with it- being the guy who has to make some hard decisions and weighing everything out as he does. They knew his analytical and logical mind would keep things clear and consistent.  They knew, based on who he has always been that he would speak the truth and weather any storm that might come with it. That’s the kind of guy he is.

He does not waver; he remains consistent in his words and actions. He sings the same tune he sang 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 3 years ago and today.  The only thing that has changed is he no longer grabs my head and rubs his fist on the top of it- the dreaded noogie- that he did when we were young.

So I am thankful for him. I am thankful he honoured my father’s wishes and kept in mind all of their earlier conversations about what my father’s concerns were.  I am thankful that he tries everyday to make things work. I am thankful he is willing to walk a sometimes rocky road.  I am thankful that he has a thick skin. I am thankful for his honesty and his strength. I am thankful that he is doing exactly what a loving son would do- love and protect his family.

I love you brutha! I am grateful for you.

Well, I’ve said my peace.I am on the mend  and this time there was no delirium involved.

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Feb 27 2013

While you wait for spring!

Spring is really on its way.  At first glance it’s a little hard to tell, what with the couple inches of slushy snow that fell last night.   The key word here is slush and slush means not completely frozen which means warm snow and warmer snow means warmer temps which means SPRING!!!!!!!!!

If you stand outside right now, it isn’t as cold as it’s been.  There’s a wee bit of spring that has drifted in with the crisper air. Go ahead….. open your front door and stand out on your porch or your balcony and take one really deep breath in- it even smells like spring…….go ahead….I’ll wait.

(whistling while I wait)

Spring is even drifting into the far and frozen land where my daughter lives.  Her weekend was a balmy minus 2 degrees.  It was warm enough that the snow that was once even with her main entrance to her home had melted enough to reveal one of the steps to her porch. “Only 4 more to go”, she said.

It’s hard to be patient while we wait for spring.  There’s always that rocky period from end of February to mid march when the weather will shift and change on a dime.  One day you’re considering storing away your winter boots and by day’s end you’re digging through your dresser for your long johns.

It can be disheartening, waiting and wondering if winter will ever end.

If you have the means, this is the time that some people take off on holiday for a week or two- to escape the end of winter blues.

If you don’t have the means to vacation in the tropics- no worries; I think I’ve developed a pretty good coping strategy that will leave you feeling inspired and refreshed.  

You will need:

An article of spring/summer clothing ( preferably a good memory clothing item- one that you’re comfortable in, like a light cotton t-shirt or even your bathing suit- it doesn’t matter as long as you remember relaxing or laughing in it) You can even take out your flip flops.

Something comfortable to recline on – like a reclining chair or a couch or even your bed- the key is that it has to be situated in front of a window in your home that lets a lot of light in.

A radio or a cd player (some cd’s with a mix of summery songs is best)

Some type of summery drink- iced tea or lemonade or whatever you drink that reminds you of summer

One sunny day ( even if it’s only sunny for an hour or two)

Your imagination

 

Here’s what you do:

First you have to pack winter away.  That means going into your closet and pulling out your thickest winter sweaters and pants.  Then pack ‘em! (You can keep a few transitional sweaters out just in case it’s chilly- just make sure they are of a brighter, cheerier colour and texture) Store them out of your sight- you’re going into spring mode, there’s no looking back.

Then, from your spring summer storage, pull to the front of your closet and drawers, a few of your cute t-shirts and some lighter jeans and pants.  Try to find something pastel and keep it prominent in your closet to remind you every day of the warmer weather coming and that you’ll need your light cotton t’s sooner than you think.

If you can, pick up a new pair of bright white running shoes.  Even those little canvas ones that only cost a couple of dollars will do. Nothing says spring like a white canvas shoe- then wear them, even if it’s only in the house.

While you wait for a day of sun, slowly incorporate the brighter or pastel colours into your wardrobe- even if you wear the spring t-shirt under your sweater- it’ll be your secret pledge of optimism that spring is on its way.

When the sun arrives…………..

Do not pay attention to any remaining drifts of snow or dripping icicles. Focus on the sun.

Get to the window and open your curtains wide.  Put your hand on the glass and feel the heat.

Then set up the place where you are going to recline- where the sun is beaming in the brightest. You may have to move your cat or your dog out of the spot, they always seem to find the sweet ones- just scoot him over- you can share.

High tail it to your room and put on that spring/summer wear.  Grab that summer drink and pop that music into the cd player.

Then lay there,in your window, basking in the sun. Feel the warmth on your skin and let your mind drift to that beach or cottage that you sometimes visit in the summer- or one that you would want to.  Let yourself experience all of spring and summer. Imagine the smells and the sounds of the birds chirping. Imagine the splashing of the waves as your eyes squint from the suns glare.  If it’s warm enough, open the window a crack just to let the fresh air in. Let your imagination take you to the best summer memories that you remember or the ones that you want to create.  Don’t get up until you’ve drifted long enough to feel the benefits- like the way that you would feel had you really spent the day laying in the sun on a warm sanded beach.

We all know the benefits, the way our body feels after a delicious nap. We all know how good it feels when the quiet comes after a long and busy day or when we’ve left the craziness of our everyday lives and taken a much needed vacation.  The body feels stronger, the mind clearer, our hearts lighter. We feel more in control, that those things that once overwhelmed us seem so much smaller.

The cool thing is that the body doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction. It will act according to our thoughts.

Thinking about stressful things and concentrating on the possibility of an emergency sets the body in motion for emergencies. Try it! Think about something sad and within minutes, you’ll be feeling low and probably shedding a tear.  Think about something scary and you’ll notice your heart racing, your breath quickening and a creepy crawly feeling in your body.  Then think of something beautiful and wonderful happening, like someone telling you that whatever you are worried about is not going to happen, if fact, everything is going to be fine and you don’t have to worry about it ever again- then feel the relief in your body and just try to stop that smile from spreading across your face.

See…..none of the above scenarios happened but your body reacted to each one as if it did.

You don’t have to fly to the tropics to feel the benefit of a much needed break or vacation.  You don’t have to be lying on the beach to enjoy a day at the beach.  You can do that any day that the sun is shining- in your window, with your dog or your cat, with a tall drink and wearing your daisy dukes and flip flops. You have all the means at your disposal for a wonderful break and a mini vacation.

I took a small vacation this morning. Outside my window, the ground is covered in white slush but I was at the beach, on the edge of a small cottage town. Somehow I ended up riding a horse along that beach as the waves rushed in and the sun was setting. My skin was so tanned and my abs…..they looked fantastic!!!!!

The best part is, you can travel anywhere, still have all the comforts of home and it won’t cost you a penny.

Just something to do while you wait for spring!

Thank you Mungo Jerry for making some great summer memories.

Feel free to suggest songs from your own spring/summer playlist.

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Feb 19 2013

You are an amazing being; A living, breathing miracle!!!!!!

You are a miracle.

It’s true.

Do you realize what it took to get you here?

Do you realize the stuff you are made of? Not the stuff you acquired along the way. I’m talking about the stuff that you already were, are and always will be regardless of your station in life, regardless of any and all circumstance, regardless of where you came from or the life you have lived thus far.  And you can’t argue it; you can’t say that you are an exception to the rule. And you can’t say, “oh no, not me, maybe that’s true for someone else but sadly, it’s not true for me.”  You can’t! It is what it is.  You are one tough cookie. You are a force. You are an amazing being; A living, breathing miracle.

Yeah baby!!!!!

Here’s the thing………

What it took to get you here

Certain circumstances had to be in place for you to be here.  The timing had to be perfect.  There was a very teeny tiny window of opportunity for you to be created. One second earlier or one second later, would’ve changed the course of history and humanity as we know it.

Let’s start with some facts:

the average male will produce roughly 525 billion sperm cells over a lifetime and shed at least one billion of them per month. A healthy adult male can release between 40 million and 1.2 billion sperm cells in a single ejaculation.

In contrast, women are born with an average two million egg follicles, the reproductive structures that give rise to eggs. By puberty, a majority of those follicles close up and only about 450 will ever release mature eggs for fertilization.

I got that info here: http://scienceline.org/2008/06/ask-olson-sperm/

When forming sperm cells, the father’s body randomly chooses genes from the two halves of the father’s chromosomes. This means that every sperm cell contains a random mix of the father’s parents’ genes. The same thing happens when forming eggs. Therefore, each child that a couple produces is a random mix of the four grandparents’ genes.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/genetic/question92.htm

 

Simpler terms-   take just one unique little egg and combine it with any one of the 40 million to 1.2 billion sperm- all unique in and of themselves and what do you get?

A combination so rare, so unique, impossible to duplicate- that’s you!!!!!

That’s one thing to think about!

Here’s another; getting that one little unique egg and one little unique sperm together to make you.

It’s harder than you think. In fact the cards are really stacked against such unions.

Picture this…..you just burst onto the scene, full of exuberance and gung ho. You’re feelin’ fresh and rocking your chromosomes. You’ve heard that the ovum of your dreams is nearby.  She is your destiny.  There’s no time to waste.  She’s passing though the area only once. This is her only chance to meet you. You may have two or three days to find her. She’s only got 24 hours and then she’ll be gone forever.  You’re going to have to think fast. She’ll be easy to spot because like you, she’s wearing the finest of genes.

First hurdle– You’re not the only guy that knows she’s there.  You’re in the company of 40 million sperm cells, just like you- well not exactly like you but ….you get what I mean…. and they’re all honed in on her as well.

Second hurdle– you’ve got to get across the border. Yep, she’s inside foreign land. You know how backed up things can get at rush hour. And you’re not the only one in line; remember you’ve got 40 million chumps that are trying to squeeze their way in front of you to get to her.

Aaaaand…..you’ve got to get through customs first and all of those questions….are you bringing anything into the country?  How long do you plan on staying? Do you have anything to declare????

Once the little bar rises to let you cross, it starts getting treacherous.  You find out that you still have some distance to travel.

Just how far?

If you measured with a ruler, it’s about 6-7 inches to the rendezvous.  But in scale to you- the sperm, it’s really like 40 miles. And you’ve got to swim it!!!!!! That’s longer than swimming across the Detroit River or Lake Pontchartrain. (I’ve never been to Lake Pontchartrain- it’s just the first lake that google told me was 40 miles long.  I needed another example for visualization purposes)

Oh my gosh! Imagine swimming 40 miles.  That would be exhausting, wouldn’t it? Even if you were well conditioned for it, it’s got to be tough!

I tried to dog paddle once across my old neighbour’s pool when I was a kid and I almost drowned.  And the Charlie horse I got……yowch!!!  The pool was only about 20 feet long.

You have to be in tip-top health and completely equipped before you begin the journey.

You’ve got to be strong to swim that distance. On top of which some of those waters you’re swimming in are acidic and sometimes hostile.  You’ve got to be tough enough to not let it slow you down or wear you down or burn up all your best parts.

With every mile or centimeter you swim, the 4o million you started swimming with are going belly up one by one.   You don’t know if they just lost their motility or the checkpoints that filter out the less than suitable choices took them out or if it was that body defence mechanism that sees any visitor as a threat that attacked and destroyed them. You just don’t know.

You would have had to be hard wired with courage and perseverance to keep going

Then there’s the navigation issue.  Most guys don’t like to stop and ask for directions.  You’ve got to have good instincts and a little help from nature to keep you moving ahead .If things are working at their optimum, the liquid portion that burst onto the scene with  you will coagulate just inside the border creating a barrier so that you don’t wander too far in the wrong direction.  This little built in system helps to keep you on track.

You’ve got to have the qualities of a superhero to get to your destination.

The truth is, only the best of the best are getting through.

You’ve got to be there in the right place at the right time to meet your mutual destiny.

Imagine the conversation:

“I can’t remember if I told him to meet me at the entrance of this fallopian tube or that one”.

“Gee,fellas,  I don’t know if she said to go the fallopian tube on the left or the right”. I’m thinking we should split up, half of you go that way, the rest of you can come with me!”

In addition to that, both sperm and ovum have got to be punctual.

Oh I can hear it now.” I’m never on time, I can’t help it.” “I just can’t organize myself enough to get there- it’s just too early for me to get up in the morning” “I got stuck by a train”.

Timing is everything.

And that is the miracle.

It took one unique little egg and one unique and solid swimmer sperm that had to be at the right place and the right time for you to get here.

Call it kismet!! Call it divine intervention! Call it the stars had to collide.  The creation of you was an amazing miracle.  The conditions had to be perfect for you to be here.

It didn’t matter if you’re parents were in love or not. It didn’t matter if you were conceived on a moonlit beach or in a dirty back alley.

You were meant to be.

Why?

Because you are here, that’s why!!!!!

There was only one second, in one hour, on one day, in one week, in one month of one year that was the only opportunity for you to be created.

There was only one chance for this one little unique and very strong and amazing sperm (that had to swim 40 miles) to meet this one unique little egg( that had less than 24 hours to live) to create this one unique combination of cells and chromosomes and DNA which made you.

Isn’t that soooooooo cool!!!!!

You were hardwired for life and for survival so much so that two parts of you- the simplest beginnings chose to unite together to create a stronger life force rather  than whither up and die.  This little wee mix of cells knew how to embed itself within the uterus to ensure nutrients for its growth.   And you knew how to live in some pretty tight and uncomfortable conditions. You knew how to be flexible and adjust to it.  You knew when it was time to leave that comfortable space and to move through an even tighter space to get out. Once you were out, you struggled to breathe in your first gasp of air and something kicked in and you kept on breathing. Your body knew exactly what to do to ensure you survived. It took in oxygen and more nutrients and discarded what wasn’t needed or good for the body.  Nobody did it for you- you did it!

You figured out, though you couldn’t yet speak how to emit high-pitched sounds to get what you needed to survive like warmth or something to eat or love.  You craved all of it- naturally.

You knew how to practice moving your body to strengthen it so that one day you could lift your head up off the mattress to get a better view of the world.

Hard wired in you, was a curiosity and a desire to engage with the world around you, so much so that you brought yourself from laying flat on the floor to up on your knees to standing on your own two feet to walking to running to riding a bike.

 Nobody taught you how to do these things nor did they do them for you.  The people around you simply held you up or encouraged you to let out what was already naturally in you.

And while you were practicing these newly found skills, you bumped your head and skinned those knees.  Ninety nine percent of those injuries knew to heal, were encoded to heal, on their own without any medical attention what so ever.

Survival and strength, perseverance and courage, life and healing are hard wired into your system.  We’re the ones that complicate matters- by thinking we’re not strong enough or courageous enough or have the ability to persevere or heal- even though we have the experiences behind us to prove otherwise.

 You breathe without thinking and your heart beats without your constant supervision. That paper cut on your finger or that cut on your knee that is developing a small scab; it just heals on its own if you don’t keep picking at it. The bone that’s broken; it heals as long as you don’t put too much stress and weight on it while it’s trying to.  That broken heart, it heals too as long as you give it time and trust that you can and will love again because wanting to be loved and loving is hard wired into you too.

What I am trying to say is, you are already amazing, a living breathing miracle.

If someone says, you were a mistake, not supposed to be here, that you are nothing special.

Are you kidding me?????

They are lying- Pure and simple. I don’t care who told you that and what they’re supposed credentials are.  You’ve been told a falsehood. You’re being served a complete pile of dungage!!!

Nothing special!    Seriously?!?

There is no one on earth, in the past present or future that can even come close to who you are. No one else has you’re genetic makeup- nobody, nope….not one other person on the planet. 

If you think you’re not strong enough, that you have no courage or perseverance……

“Pish Posh!” I say. You’re already a champion. A part of you, the first wee little part already swam 40 miles across treacherous conditions to ensure that you came into existence.  Doesn’t matter if you swim now, the point is you swam when it was most important.

You think you’re not capable of something as great as healing.  Next time you get a paper cut, watch it heal on its own without any coaching or fussing over it. Your body is wired for it.

Chronically late and feeling bad about it?

Well, one day you weren’t- the day that it counted the most. You did make it there on time that day. You did or you wouldn’t be here; If it had been one second earlier or one second later….. whew!!  I’m so glad you made it.

Trust that whatever you need will surface when it’s time. The right amount of knowledge, the intuition, the ability to heal, the navigational tools to get to where you need to go, the answer to your questions, a solution to your problem,  the courage, the perseverance, the survival skills and the love. It’s already hard wired into you.

You are a force. You are an amazing being; A living, breathing miracle.

 

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Feb 14 2013

Happy Valentines Day- get your love on!!!!!!

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

  I’m bringing back a post that I wrote some time ago. I think this is the perfect day for it. 

 And spring is coming- oh yeah it is!!!!!

 Did you notice that the sun is setting later in the day?

 My pussywillow tree out back is starting to get it’s buds. I’ll bet those white cotton fuzzies are gong to burst through in a few short weeks.  We’ve got lots to look forward to.

 But first, let’s talk about love. Heres some music to set the mood.

Our first experiences with romantic love usually ended with our singing the unrequited love national anthem by the J. Geils band.  

 

And even though we knew what it felt like to have our love rejected, we usually went on to reject someone elses- the story of the one that got away.

This J. Geils intro has got to be about the best thing I’ve heard.

 

These hits were classics because they were so relatable. . They don’t make music like this anymore.

Bar none, the best anguished romantic love song ever- this one by Journey.

 

 

Man, love could hurt.

But one day…….. this magical thing happened.   You met someone who just lit up your world.  And the air seemed cleaner, the sun brighter and you just couldn’t wipe that silly grin off your own face.  You were literally, walking on sunshine- just like that song from Katrina and The Waves.

 

Loving someone is the greatest feeling.  Letting someone love you is sometimes a little harder to do. Sometimes we think we’re not good enough. Sometimes we think we shouldn’t think about ourselves when loving someone; that the truest love should be directed out.and towards someone else.  But that’s completely false. First of all, you can’t love someone else unless you love yourself.   More importantly,  letting someone love you is the the greatest statement of love you can make back to them.   Letting them love you is saying, “your love is good enough, you are good enough, I am grateful for your love and I accept it.

Don’t wait to tell someone you love them. Don’t wait to tell them that you’re happy that they love you. 

Let yourself love everyone and everything.And love yourself by letting yourself be loved.  

And now for my repeat post……….

Getting My Love On!

I’ve been getting my love on for a while now. I’m wanting to take it out and send it forward to see what will happen. I hope there is someone else out there who wants to help. Better yet, I hope there are a billion people out there who want to help.

This is how it works.

I spend a portion of every day, maybe a few minutes, occasionally I’ve spent the better part of a day just sending love out into the world. I want to see if it changes things.

I do this sometimes when I am stopped at a traffic light. I notice the car beside me or I see someone standing on the side of the road waiting for a bus or  waiting for the pedestrian walk icon to appear. I focus on them and then I just conjure up as much love as I can and aim it right at them. I envision a loving hug, a warm embrace, an intense joy and then I just imagine it floating from me in a beam of light to them.

It’s perfect. It’s not invasive. I’m not infringing on any ones privacy or personal space with my physical body. I don’t think it would go over as well if I physically hopped out of my car, ran across the street and gave someone a big bear hug.

There is no judgement involved. I give it freely, without asking questions about someones past or present or what they have done or shouldn’t have done. I do not measure if someone deserves my love or not. I just give it. If they are open, they will feel it. If they aren’t, maybe just the energy of it will free them a bit.

Why I think this works….

Have you ever walked into a room and just felt like there was some type of negative energy going on. You can just sense it. There might have been some argument moments before where unkind words were said. There might have been some terrible news delivered. You don’t even have to hear it…you just know something just went down. I’ve been places where I could run fast as lightning out of a room just by the energy that is present. My body repels it. I feel on alert, on guard, like I am standing in front of a big dark mass that is coming closer. I feel like a cloak is hovering over me, ready to descend and swallow me whole. Every part of my body yells,,”Run! Get out of here! Quick!”

Similarly, I think everyone can feel if their presence is welcome or if it is not. No one has to say a word. You know when someone is less than happy to see you just like you know when someone is elated that you have arrived. There is a difference in the body language, a difference in the tone of voice, a difference in the look in their eyes.

I think you would agree that you have noticed this yourself. I think you can agree how it can attach itself to you. You might start out having a great day, visiting someone with the best of intentions or you are at work feeling good and energized. Someone crosses your path and before you know it., you’re feeling depleted or drained or less than the pleasant disposition you had been in moments before. It might be a friend, or coworker or a customer you have to attend to. It doesn’t matter. It just feels like you’ve instantly caught something from them and it isn’t good. It can sour your whole day and all of your interactions from that moment forward.

If a negative energy can work like that, then it stands to reason that a positive energy can be just as infectious.

I’m trying to send love out into the world to counteract the hate. I’m trying to send love out to heal a broken heart. I’m trying to send love out to comfort someone in pain. I’m trying to send love out to help someone who is lonely feel connected.

I wonder what would happen if everyone across the world decided to put aside all of their grudges and differences and personal troubles and sorrows and collectively spent a portion of every day for even a week, just sending love out into the world.

I wonder if it would change anything.

I say, let’s try it. I bet it’s never been done before en masse. What have we got to lose. I say, Get Your Love On!

 

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