Imagine the possibilities

We have all heard the phrase “Dance like no-one is watching”.  Any of you out there that have seen me dance know that I take this to heart!  Not that I purposefully set out to be a somewhat discombobulated dance fiend, it just turned out that way.  My friends husband said that I am the only person he knows that the top half doesn’t seem to know what the bottom half is doing…should I be offended, or sign up for adult Irish Dancing, or better yet “clogging”! ?

I thought about all the other areas of life that we should heed this same advice, but substitute dancing for fashion, home decorating, art, architecture, cooking, ….etc.  How much more creative and inventive would we be if we explored our own inspirations, all the time?  I catch myself sometimes with a moment of judgement when I am about to wear/paint/sew… something a little unexpected.  The best feeling is when I do it anyway because it feels right. 

The next time you find yourself second guessing your own ability to create or are insecure as to how much of your true self to show to the world, stop!  Shake it off, dance it off if need be, but go ahead and pull out those aspects of yourself that want to be seen and heard.  The most inspiring people we come across don’t apologize for being themselves.

It is ART in its highest form, it is authentic and it is personified.

Just so that you know; I write like no one is reading.  Ha!  …and some days, that’s true!

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acknowledging simple abundance

On my walk to the barn yesterday morning I was struck by the sounds of nature; a cacophony of bird calls, crickets and bugs.  Everything seemed more alive than the day before.  The more I listened, the louder everything sounded.  It was like someone turned up the volume, when in fact all I did was tune in.

It occurred to me that when we pay close attention to things that please us, that make us smile, or bring us joy, the impact is greater.  The other side of the equation is that when we are bothered by something, give too much attention to it, then it will also deliver emotion, but be draining instead of life affirming.

My meditation today was to be conscious of giving attention to life-affirming moments, and let any that are irritable or irksome pass by. 

Stripped and naked

I went into Goderich today for a meeting (only my second time since the tornado), and was struck by the barrenness of the land.  Words like naked, exposed, and vulnerable kept repeating in my head.  So many lives affected by this devastation.  Homes stripped of roofs, rooms blown open and now offer a glimpse into somebody’s past.  Do the previous occupants care that we see into their former sanctuary…if it was.

The paring away of layers, a forced excision where the hosts had no fore-warning…or did they? How many people whose lives have been dramatically altered will stand exposed before they rush to cover themselves from prying eyes?  Their own.  Will they grieve their loss?  Will they cry, sleep or lash out in anger?

Into the world we are delivered bare, innocent and eager to draw breath.  Our eyes soon, eagerly search for understanding.  Our bodies crave touch, and our primordial voices enter into existence.  Our ears keen to sound.

How long the road that has delivered us from ourselves.  How is it that we have encouraged our habits to form in ways that take us away from who we really are?  When did we lose the innate joy of being naked?

In Jewish, Islamic and Christian religions, the first humans were Adam and Eve.  As we are told, life was perfection until they ate from the tree of knowledge, the forbidden fruit.  I have a thought:  maybe original sin was not about the apple, but about the leaf.

Is it not part of our very fibre to take what we know to be true and apply it to our lives?   Living consciously.  What if the very act of covering ourselves is the sin?

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trauma provides opportunity for growth

Having lived 46 years with most of it surrounded and affected by trauma; it  gives me, I think, the ability to say with certainty, that trauma does provide opportunity for growth.  The caveat is whether or not one chooses to see beyond the immediate devastation of form, and self in order to access greater truths that which comes from our individual and collective humanity. If one follows to the depths of their individual trauma; seeking,feeling, acknowledging and finally blessing, the real truth will emerge: we are one.

When I see a young person without a home; I know it, and silently bless them.

When  I see families destroyed by addictions and violence; I know it, and silently bless them.

When I see natural disasters devastate property, homes and lives; I know it, and silently bless them.

When I see individuals struggling to stay the course: I know that too, and bless them.

I can’t say that I would have written my life this way, but it is as it is.  I have a profound depth of feeling for our common frailties. I also have a profound understanding and belief in our collective power.  The yin and yang of our existence.  No shame, no pretense either.

I LOVE THE LIFE I WAS BORN INTO…how does one become grateful for the joys in life without knowing the sadness?  My parents, the teachers, providing the role they never knew they had, given to them at birth: to carry the Grace and the Yoke.

The opportunity to be human, in all its forms, allows us to internalize our ONENESS.  I do not need to be a Palestinian to understand the grief and anger of displacement…I have lived it.  I do not need to be ” Wade Belak ” to understand the fragility of mental health,  I have come through it.  I can listen to Rwandan survivors and be saddened, angered and humbled all at the same time.  How?  We have many among us who have lived through great trauma in World Wars, genocide, violence and loss.  They are our leaders and inspiration.  They are at the grocery store, old age homes and shopping malls.  We can strengthen and extend our bonds of love by simply acknowledging the losses suffered by humanity.  Losses randomly inflicted by nature or cruelty of man.  With trauma all over the world, our calling is to bear witness.

These are the threads that weave us together.  For those traumatized in Goderich… I sit here, and quietly ask you all to accept what is and bless it.  Yes, Bless it.  It is not necessary to say “how” or “why” to Bless it, just the knowledge that there is purpose and it will be revealed.  This is not religious dogma.  This is what binds all of our religions together, our common spirituality, in whatever form.

Bless it.   From that one gesture, you will have moved towards healing and a feel a lingering scent of peace.

I offend people regularly with my candor.   I will warn you that you may not like this next comment.  I do not use the word “survivor” of the devastation to which I have been immersed.  I do not use the label “victim”.  I choose not to be a “fighter” for my life.  Trauma occurs in all life, it happens.  It happens whether we are good/bad rich or poor.  There are no boundaries to the machinations of life.

I have instead chosen a calmer path set before me, one of no resistance.  It is not to say that I am not an active participant in all that is!  I giver! when I am up for it, and the occasion arises, and find joy through the rhythm set before me.  It is a conscious decision to be mindful of the present…nothing more or less.  No room for recriminations and judgement for what is.  Empowerment and strength in acceptance.

This I know: our physical realms mirror our internal realm.  When the internal work is done, your physical world reflects it.

I wish Peace of mind, body and spirit for all of those experiencing trauma at this time….in whatever form.  Namaste.

Meditation on self

If the whole world praises him, he is not elated.

If the whole world condemns him, he is not beaten.

In a word, praise and blame cannot change his conduct.

Such a man possess true virtue.

As for myself, I am still among those who are influenced by the opinions of others, like the wind moves the waves.  Chuang-tzu

Tornado

Sunday afternoon a storm blew through our town of Goderich.  When I saw the clouds coming our way, it felt ominous and threatening.  I took this picture just before the high winds, rain, and hail hit.  It was as if a switch was flipped.  From dark to scary.

I immediately went down stairs and called out to Patrick that I thought a tornado was coming our way (I get a bit skittish with storms these days)…my dearest, turned on the computer to see if I was right!  As I nervously waited in the basement, Patrick called down...”Your right, it is a tornado, it hit Goderich and is coming our way”!

O’k, I am thinking that he might want to join me, but seconds later the path and intensity changed and veered off to the next side road.  Our neighbours new barn was crushed then carried across the road.

Our town sustained major damage.

I have lived through devastation in the form of a propane explosion, the property damage was one thing, and the internal wreckage another.

“There are two big forces at work, external and internal.  We have very little control over external forces such as tornados, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain.  What really matters is the internal force.  How do I respond to those disasters?  Over that I have complete control?” (Leo.F Buscalglia, American Spiritual Guide)

Be safe and as Ellen Degeneres says “Be kind to one another”.

walking meditation among the chaos

Grass thick with dew.  The moon grudgingly holding the sky  in the west as the sun rises lazily in the east. I walk our dog Cally on our trails.  Crickets, birds and even squirrels calling.  I use my morning walk to set the tone for the day.  Gratitude extended to our Creator.  I stop periodically to stretch or to enter into a yoga pose.  Nothing beats yoga off the mat.  Feeling light.

Reverie interrupted as Cally lurched  forwards to what had previously been an unseen ground-hog.  Cally had a bad run in with one last year, where upon his face was clawed, just missing his eyes…resulting in a vet visit, rabies shot and meds…We were perilously close to another go-around, I instinctively yelled “Aaaahhhh!!!” then “Cally, NO!”..maybe more like a battle cry or demonic wail than a clear command! It worked though because  both Cally and the ground-hog stopped in their tracks…I laughed inwardly at the absurdity of the situation….where is my camera?!  Both animals staring at me now, apparently waiting for the next instruction…to which I accommodated with”Cally, Come!“.  He did come, was treated, and the ground-hog waddled off looking periodically behind him (and I believe he would have scratched his head if his arms were long enough)  Perhaps thinking…“what the?”!

My heart returned quickly to its pre-surprise state.  As did my state of calm.  This is what walking meditation does for you.  You may enter into a situation of stress in your day, but are able to respond clearly and quickly.  The event  resolved as soon as it began.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk and scholar.  I have read many of his books and apply many of his lessons to my life, daily, easily.  From his book Happiness, he says:”Our mind tends to dart from one thing to another, like a monkey swinging from branch to branch without stopping to rest.  Thoughts have millions of pathways, and they forever pull us along into the world of forgetfulness.  If we can transform our walking path into a field for meditation, our feet will take every step in full awareness.  Our breathing will be in harmony with our steps, and our mind will naturally be at ease.  Every step we take will reinforce our peace and joy and cause a stream of calm energy to flow through us.”

If I can do this, so can you…walking to the car, in the grocery store or mowing the lawn.

there is nothing wrong with this picture!

My father-in-law use to come home from the office in an expensive suit and commence gardening….yes, his towering 6’5″ frame cut short as he balances on his hands and knees pulling weeds, or planting flowers; whatever he happened to notice required immediate! attention before he was safely inside the house.  Not surprisingly, his ever patient wife, my mother-in-law, would express mild irritation for the transgression;)  Those of us who were lucky enough to witness these acts of reckless abandon would laugh because it seemed so preposterous that one would not take a moment to change out of your good clothes….

I wish that I had a picture of Dan Murphy, but I found this picture posted on a great blog!  Check out http://cashmerejeans.blogspot.com  only after you have read mine😉

Well, I hate to admit that I am following in this grand dames strappy footsteps as well as my father-in-laws giant gaping stride ….the scene of my crime would be my horse barn and  I can be found in various forms of dress doing chores.  I have been seen to be providing morning feed in my pajamas, but assuredly, the afternoon routine would seem to offer the most enjoyment for the casual observer.  The “secret video footage”  might include a bikini, silk pajamas and bathrobe(hey, if I have had a big day of migraines I am allowed to wear pajamas all day!), or like today, a nice dress.  All or any options would not be complete without my rubber boots!  I wouldn’t think of getting my good shoes mucked up, I have standards you know.


While some might think this behaviour somewhat peculiar when looking at the following picture,…I  think that if you look closer, give it more thought, you might agree with me that the only thing wrong with this picture is that I need nicer boots to wear in the barn!  Just sayin’  Long live our eccentricities!


Get out of my way! It’s my turn!

Take your turn.  This is a phrase that we heard so often growing up.  On the playground, waiting to skip, take a turn at bat or walk up to the front of the classroom for spelling bee.  It was ingrained in our games and in the rhythm of the classroom.  It was an expected code of conduct, and for the most part, followed.

In high school, there were fewer opportunities to wait your turn.  Not as many games, lines to get into or classroom protocols to observe.  As we entered into adulthood, it was almost every man for himself! 

I sense an undercurrent of impatience among so many, when required to wait their turn.  How many times have you waited in a long line at the grocery store, and when the counter next to you opens up, people at the back of the line, who have not waited as long….screech ahead with their cart, just so they can get out faster than you?  Aggressive drivers virtually push you out of the way….God forbid you are following the speed limit.  Or, for a stop light they approach it quickly then suddenly stop, inches away from your back bumper. It is a gesture that implies haste and irritation.  A desire to move beyond where you are right at that moment.  To jump the queue so to speak.

A number of Indian religions speak of karma that simply addresses the fact that actions/deeds produce or cause the effect.  It is part of their meditative practice to honour the present, wait your turn.

I believe that hard work produces an effect that most people are too anxious to commit to.  Determination, discipline and patience the foundation.

Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one’s character can take before negativity. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast. Antonyms include hastiness and impetuousness.
I would add, for many religions, a virtue.
It is with great pleasure, excitement and joy when we are informed that it’s your turn!  Today, I am sending a big shout out to my friend Heather who was selected as only 1 of 40 teachers across the country to participate in a think tank, with the focus on technology in the classroom.  I send another shout out to my brother Richard who, is the only Canadian that is qualified to instruct internationally for the Specialty Coffee Association of America; and who has recently agreed to a teaching stint in Hong Kong to share his knowledge with the Asian market.
You see, it’s their turn.
Whatever the goal or dream; be it financial success or love, sometimes you are required to wait…most often required to wait…until its your turn.  When it’s your turn, soak it all up.  Every note of congratulations and accolade.  Bask in the glow of yourself.

David Suzuki is a sell-out; pass it on

We are not totally surprised when business leaders and politicians sell-out.  By this I mean swallowing your ethics and morals in order to receive special privileges, money and power.  What neural pathway gets shut down or circumnavigated in order for people to ignore a previously defined code of moral behavior?  We can all see a fake when they walk in the room, but some are polished to such a sheen that we tend to look away, or past the veneer.  David Suzuki is a glorified fake and our governments, schools and various charity’s continue to hold him on high.

About two weeks ago, a comment was posted on the Canoe homepage that quoted Suzuki as supporting  controversial wind energy.  I was shocked.  I immediately thought that he must have been bought off by the wind companies and our own elected officials.  It didn’t take long for just that information to surface.  The David Suzuki Foundation received monies from both the Dalton McGuinty Liberals and various wind companies.  Hhhmmm, now  we know the metal behind Suzuki’s moral compass.  Once again, this is about greed energy, not green energy.

There was a time in our evolution that our only source of information was dispensed through tribal lessons. We continued to evolve and our brains grew.  History then showed us that our various religious sects recognized the value of power and money to be gained by sharing (or as we see now early methods of propaganda) or with-holding certain information.  As early and uneducated societies, we were at the mercy of the upper class or religious institutions to provide education and the dissemination of knowledge.

We are no longer those people.  We have, I believe, a personal and ethical responsibility in this highly evolved time to question those that purport themselves to be leaders and dispensers of the font of knowledge.  We all know or have seen people who are threatened by a mere question.  These same people spend vast amounts of time and money deflecting you….especially effective if you are shiny and squeaky clean!  This is our challenge:  Ask the hard questions, and expect a transparent answer….then question again, and again and again.  Question until you are satisfied that the answers you receive ring with truth and integrity.  Go to http://www.windconcernsontario.wordpress.com  for more information.  This site is non-profit.  This site is grass-roots democracy in spreading the information that not everyone wants to hear.

In 2008 David Suzuki spoke to a group of students at McGill University in Montreal.  He said:”What I would challenge you to do is to put alot of effort into trying to see if whether there is a legal way of throwing our so called leaders in jail because what they’re doing is a criminal act.”

I have decided to heed his advice, who is with me?