Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Teal

I’ve been thinking and writing about family a lot lately. If you’ve been reading regularly you know that I’ve had some major changes in that department recently between the loss of my Dad and the addition of a new brother. Today it occurred to me that not all of the changes have been big, I’ve had one subtle change also. Shane and his long time girlfriend Teal broke up a few weeks ago. 

I think I’m pretty easy going when it comes to my children’s friends. It’s very simple - they are always welcome. I have only one rule and I know Shane and Bradley tell anyone they bring home about it. Manners are expected and enforced here. Always. I’m not sure how Shane brought it up to Teal that I was picky about manners but the first time we met she told me I didn’t need to worry because she felt her manners were very good; and she was right.  I tell this story to illustrate what a great start we got off to. Over the four years of their relationship we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well and I can’t even begin to tell you how different we are. The one thing we’ve always had in common is how much we love and accept Shane – well that and a crazy obsession with nail polish. Teal brings out my girly side and we laugh about it regularly. She insists that I’m more girly than I let on. I don’t think so but it gives us a chuckle.

I remember hearing from people over the years that you can’t pick your children’s friends or partners so it’s a bonus that I enjoy Teal and have always been happy to have her around because I can’t say that about all the people that the boys have brought home.

We don’t always see eye to eye and every now and then we get annoyed with each other but I never worry too much about it because isn’t that the way families are? I can’t tell the future for Shane and Teal but what I can see is that Teal will always be welcome in our home as part of our family. How we interact may change in time but I know for sure I will always consider her family.



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cell Phones

I thought today I would share something a little different and maybe even a little light hearted. Jon, Bradley and I have been with the same cell phone provider for far too long. Our plan sucks, the customer service couldn’t be any worse and all our phones need to be replaced. Did I mention how bad the customer service is? Now, I don’t really want to mention any names (Rogers) but we’ve put up with them long enough. We’re due to change plans/providers any day now and I can’t wait. However, with that said you’d think it would be easy to find our next provider, but no...wait, that’s more like BUT NO! Every person I have spoken to thinks their provider and/or phone is the best – the answer to every cell phone question, admittance into cell phone heaven. I need help!!

Shane and I went to Best Buy this morning in an effort to see the phones all together and see if I could narrow the search down any. I only ended up more confused than I was before I started.  I should probably clarify something here – Shane isn’t a lot of help; he’s an Apple fan through and through so when I ask his opinion I might as well be speaking to Steve Jobs, I mean Tim Cook. The sales people are no different. They all have whatever phone they use and the entire world should use the same one.

This is pretty easy for Jon and Bradley. Bradley has an iPhone and will continue with one, Jon just wants a basic durable phone that he won’t break within the week. It’s me. I’m the problem. I don’t know what I want. Help!!

“It’s only a cell phone, get a grip Lynne” this is what goes through my head regularly. In fact it’s been my constant companion for a couple of months now. There are simply too many choices. If I went to the store and there were 3 to choose from I could figure it out; but there were 49 different options this morning. How is anyone supposed to choose from 49 different phones?! So logic tells me if I could settle on what platform I’d like I’d have far fewer to choose from and it would be easier to get the right one for me. So far this hasn’t worked for me; did I mention that every time I ask a salesperson a question they answer by telling me what they use regardless of what the question was?

Any day now I have to have the answer to which phone will I pick. Will it be an Android, a Blackberry or and iPhone? Maybe it won’t be a Smartphone. Are the regular phones called dumb phones now? Maybe if I could answer that question I could figure it all out, but then again probably not. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chilly Air


This morning was the first day so far this summer that it's been a little chilly wandering around the yard in my pj's. I love the fall so I'm looking forward to shorter chilly days. There isn't a lot I find more enjoyable than cool crisp air; it's so refreshing and energizing. The only thing that I don't like about the upcoming fall is the end of my garden. I so love my flowers and the inspiration they give me on a daily basis. It makes me just a little sad this time every year to watch them start to fade.



I used my borrowed camera this morning to take a few new pictures of the garden. My poppies and roses are still hanging in there, my coneflowers not so much. My tomatoes are all but exploding off the plant, and many of the wild flowers are still blooming. I know the days of blooms and blossoms are winding down so I'm going to enjoy them while I can...now if only my camera would come home from service! 






Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tattoos and Epiphanies

I've been thinking about my post on nourishment and how it relates to taking care of ourselves. As this has been resonating with me for the last few days I've come to realize how giving ourselves nourishment is a good step towards caring for ourselves but it's only part of the process. Knowing what we need is bigger than just a walk in the field after a day from hell. It's about eating right, exercising appropriately, stress management and enjoying our families, our friends and our lives. It's about making decisions knowing what our priorities are and always leading from that foundation. I realize all of this seems pretty obvious but it came to me as an everyday epiphany as I looked in the mirror while braiding my hair.

For my fortieth birthday Jon and I got matching Celtic Cross tattoos. Sixteen months ago I put a Celtic trinity knot on the back of my neck. The trinity knot has come to represent  a few different things, all of which feel meaningful to me. It symbolizes the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), it also symbolizes the different but connected parts of ourselves - body, mind and soul. In Wicca it symbolizes the different stages of a woman's life - maid, mother and crone and in modern Irish culture it represents three promises of a relationship - love, honour and protection. For me my cross is a symbol of my faith and my beliefs and a reminder that God is with me always, and I with Him. My trinity knot was to be a reminder of my commitment to myself. A symbol on my body to remind myself how important all of me is...to love, honour and protect myself; to look after my mind, body and soul. I do a fine job of looking after my mind and my soul but somewhere along the line I forgot to include my body, and I was reminded of this in a flash while looking in the mirror at the back of my head. I had almost forgotten that the knot was there (I don't see the back of my neck very often now that my hair has grown) and I remembered the promise I made to myself when I got the tattoo in the first place. I remembered the promise and in that moment I felt incredible disappointment.

I'm going to take today and the next few days to figure out what the best course of action is for me because I know if I just go off on a tangent I will get nothing accomplished and likely I'll only end up beating myself up some more (for more on that see I yelled at the dog, I need to vacuum and my hair is a mess!), which clearly isn't going to help any. I know we all struggle in one way or another with this stuff; so with that in mind, any and all suggestions are welcome! 


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunshine


"I've been following your blog from "In the Beginning" and have enjoyed your way with words.  Your themes have given food for thought and the pictures are appropriate and amazing.  "Simply for Today" is now one of my ways of finding nourishment."

This is the amazing comment I got yesterday from my Mother-in-law Dorothy. She's been having some difficulty getting her comments to register so she decided to send it to me via email - and am I ever glad she did. I was having a difficult day yesterday and I was in need of all the love I could get. Dorothy came through for me like she always does.

Have you ever met a person who makes you feel like your best self? A person who no matter what, you know they will always be there for you? A person who without saying so manages to let you know that they love and accept you unconditionally? I'm fortunate to have that incredible person in Dorothy. When I met Jon years ago he said the most wonderful thing to me when I was crabbing about not getting what I needed from my own family; he said "You can share mine". He meant it! I don't think he thought much about what he was saying and I'm pretty sure he didn't mention it to his Mom but that's exactly what's happened over the years we've been together. Jon has shared his mother and his family with me and I'm so grateful.

Dorothy is both second Mother to me and best friend. She's kind and loving and the most generous person I've ever known. Between her and Jon's dad Ron I've lucked out in the in-law department. I wanted to acknowledge them both but in particular my special relationship with Dorothy. When you meet a soul mate the only thing you can say is Thank you. Thank you Dorothy for being exactly who you are, you are sunshine to my soul.



Monday, August 22, 2011

What Nourishes Us?

I’m coming to learn what a difficult question this is for me, and I think for many people. So many of us look outside of ourselves for nourishment, comfort, joy and even love in our society today. We need only look at the huge amount of debt many carry, the big bellies or full closets around us to know how it’s become the accepted and normal way to relive stress, manage emotional pain and avoid anything and everything in our lives. We buy cars, houses, nail polish, shoes, books and electronics. We eat energy bars, McDonalds, pies, cakes, cookies and potato chips. We surf the internet for hours on end and make sure our statuses are all up to date. We zone out in front of the television for more hours than many of us can count; and these would be the acceptable forms of diversion. We can’t forget alcohol, drugs, smoking, gambling or porn which also have become many people’s forms of avoidance.


So what are we all avoiding so desperately and what can we do about it? Two tough questions for sure. I have a simple answer. Nourishment. While it may be a simple answer to difficult questions I know it’s not easy to answer the questions for ourselves. I don’t think many of us have given any thought to what nourishes us in healthy ways. We haven’t been taught to think about what we need. For most of us we’re taught from a very young age that our value comes in what we can give to others. We’re often taught that it’s selfish to look after ourselves. I have to say what a crock of crap that really is. How can we look after anyone else if we can’t look after ourselves? And how can we look after ourselves if we don’t know what we need in any given situation. If we knew how to look after ourselves by giving nourishment when we needed it we would all be very different people. Imagine how slim everyone would be. Imagine how few people would still smoke or gamble. Imagine how many fewer pairs of shoes would be in our closets.


I’ve recently discovered how much I enjoy wandering through the field when I’m having a crappy day. One day a few weeks ago I had a day from hell, and rather than eat ice cream or buy a book I wandered the field for hours taking pictures with my macro lens. What a pleasure! Nourishment can take so many forms. Reading a book, lounging in the bathtub, playing with the dogs, going for walk, praying, meditating, talking to my Honey and laughing are all favourites of mine. There are as many different ways to find nourishment as there are people who need it. What do you do to nourish yourself?



Friday, August 19, 2011

Allan - Part 2


When your Dad is in ICU there is a lot of waiting time, and not a lot to do to avoid the associated worrying. Our situation was no different. Dad spent several days in ICU when incredibly difficult decisions had to be made. We tried to make decisions as a family and that in itself was tough to do with our mixed up messy family. There was my Mom, Jon, Allan, Grace and me thrown together in the face of death trying to do our best for Dad and with each other. Notably missing was my other sibling who didn’t bother to show up, call or even acknowledge what was going on...and still hasn’t several months after Dad’s death.

All those hours of waiting gave us the opportunity to get to know each other and to learn about our lives, families and to start to make up for lost time. What a funny thing to say because of course you can’t make up for lost time but you can move forward while keeping the lost time in mind. I think that’s what we’re trying to do, no – I know that’s what we’re trying to do.

As the situation with Dad became more stressful it became apparent to all of us that we would have to start taking shifts. It just wasn’t possible for all of us to be at the hospital all the time.  It was really hard to start staying away. Not being there brought up all sorts of ‘what if’s’. What if there is no one there when Dad needs something, what if he’s looking for me and I’m not there, what if when I leave it's the last time I see Dad, what if a big decision presents itself and there’s no one there to make it. What if Dad dies alone? Ultimately that was the biggest what if and one that we all thought about but didn’t talk about as a family. Jon and I talked about it endlessly, I’m sure Allan and Grace talked about it. I know my Mother worried about it more than we’ll ever know. In the end, with the grace of God that didn’t happen; Allan and Grace were at this side as he took his last breath. Life has a funny way sometimes. Dad and Allan, for whatever the complicated reasons didn’t really have each other during life but Allan was there for Dad at the end. I honestly don’t know how either of them feels about that. I’m sure Dad was comforted knowing somewhere deep inside that his son was by his side and maybe someday Allan will tell me how he feels about being there, but for now all I know is how grateful I am to know that Dad wasn’t alone and that out of one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through in the end I’ve gained an amazing guy for a brother.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Something Lost and Something Gained

Yesterday I gave my two cents about family and after I wrote it I realized that it wasn’t quite what I set out to write about. Sometimes this just happens J. Those of you who know me or have been reading regularly know that I lost my Dad recently and how I’m still struggling without him, but what many of you don’t know is that something wonderful has happened out of that loss. I lost my Dad but I gained a brother. Now I realize this needs some explanation so please bear with me for a moment or two.

When I was 13 years old I saw a man standing on the front steps of my house and he looked just like my Dad. I asked my parents who he was and I got the big blow off. My parents were never ones for being open and forthcoming so this wasn’t a surprise to me, but I persisted for weeks. I nagged both of them day in and day out until my Mother finally couldn’t take it anymore and told me that his name was Allan and he was my father’s son from his first marriage. WTF!!?? Well that’s not exactly what I thought but close enough. That was all the information I could get out of them and I was told to “just let it go”. How is a person supposed to let something like that go? Gradually - is the only answer to that question. Eventually I gave up asking and gave up thinking about him.

Some years later Allan, his wife and their children were at my parent’s house and I got to meet everyone which just started the whole questioning over again. Answers were never forth coming. I got a comment here, an answer there but never the truth or the whole story. I never understood the secrecy – in fact I still don’t.

The night of my father’s first stroke, when it became apparent that it was very serious and he might die my mother decided to tell me that she was going to call Allan. To my knowledge there had been no contact in 20 plus years and at first it seemed weird, and more than a little upsetting. My father was dying and I had to deal with an unknown brother. I didn’t know what to do or what to think, and yes; in that moment it was all about me. However I also knew that it was the right thing to do so I told my mother that she should go ahead and call. All too soon there was my long lost half brother and his wife sitting in the family waiting room with us. How many ways can you say awkward?? Looking back I know that it was awkward and uncomfortable for them too; but fittingly my wonderful sister-in-laws name is Grace and I say fittingly because they were incredibly gracious and understanding that evening and the many more that followed.

Part 2 – coming tomorrow.....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Family


Family means different things to different people and many of us get caught up in what we think or want our family to be. These days it’s probably impossible to find a definition for family that everyone would agree with. There are the traditionalists who view family as only the one we are related to by blood and often only the immediate members. There are many who view family as only the one we originate from regardless of how things may actually be in our lives. Then there are people who view family as anything that works for them and of course there are many in-between.

I’m not an expert in families – besides my own that is, and what I believe family to be. I may offend people when I say this but I really believe that family can be anything and everything you want or need it to be. It can be a mom and dad and kids, it can be a same sex couple with or without children, and it can be college roommates. It can be any group of people who love and care for each other and depend on one another and see themselves as family. I don’t believe we need to put a label on a family to make people happy. I can be opinionated (it’s one of the things I like best about myself actually) and this is one of the times when my back gets up and out fly my beliefs. Our world is made up of so many different people, different needs and different wants so we should have as many kinds of families as needed for everyone to feel a part of one! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Some Gratitude

I woke up grouchy this morning because my first thought getting out of bed was a reminder that my camera is still in the shop for repairs/service. UG! After Jon and I had our breakfast I thought a good antidote to my grouchiness would be to write about gratitude because I have a lot and when I focus on it my mood always improves. As I walked around the yard this morning with Hunter and Astro (Meg wouldn’t join us today), in my pyjamas, (I might add!) with a borrowed camera I saw shot after shot of gratitude just waiting to be shown. So for today that’s exactly what I’m going to do; rather than ramble on about all the things I’m grateful for I will show you a few of them instead.

Our Neighbours...


The Oak we planted for Dad...


The sun shining through a morning glory....


Hunter...


Astro...


Meg...


And my beautiful front yard...





Monday, August 15, 2011

Daddy’s Little Girl

Jon and I have a weekly breakfast date Saturday mornings at the Antrim Truck Stop where we go over the past week and talk about the upcoming one and enjoy a couple of hours of uninterrupted time just for us. The company is always good, the breakfast is the best and the service is pretty good too so we always leave a little more relaxed than we were when we arrived.

One morning in late winter I noticed a young father and his young daughter in a booth across from ours and they held my attention. My initial thought was that it was a Dad enjoying ‘his’ weekend with his daughter and I couldn’t help but notice their interaction. The dad looked to be about 25 or 26 and the daughter about 4. The connection between them was tangible. Dad was so very clearly interested in everything his little girl had to say. With rapt attention he listened to her and in subtle ways encouraged her to eat her breakfast. She chattered on as little people do with excited and animated words and movements. She was certainly enjoying her father’s attention and any observer could tell that she was used to having it. She was a much loved daughter who knew it and relished it. There was no rushing or cell phone, there were no raised voices or cranky words; there was only patience and love. When their breakfast was done Dad helped her into her long winter coat and gently eased her long hair from the back and smoothed it down before he plopped her toque on top of her head. She let out a little giggle, reached for her Dad’s hand and with them smiling at each other they left the restaurant. I sat there a little stunned and more than a little moved. I had tears running down my cheeks from the obvious love and affection between them. I feel blessed to have seen such a simple touching moment between a father and his little girl.

This little girl is going to grow up knowing without a doubt that she’s worthy of love and attention. Her father has gifted her with everything a little girl needs to grow into a confident and healthy young woman and maybe eventually a parent herself.

I lost my Dad only a few months ago and every Saturday when we’re out for our breakfast date I think of the young dad with his young daughter and it makes me sad to realize that there can be no more touching moments or conversations with my Dad, no more breakfasts or glasses of wine together; just memories good and not so good; both of which I know I’ll cherish forever. But I have to believe I’m still my Daddy’s little girl.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lazy Sunday Afternoons

Is there anything more enjoyable than a lazy Sunday afternoon? I spent the afternoon going to the ice cream shop with Jon and Bradley, helping Jon with one of his crazy ideas and lounging in a long hot bath and now I’m sitting here hoping that if I sit here long enough someone else will present me with dinner. Ahhh....life is good!

"Leisure does a body and soul good", is a German saying and my motto for today. I’m taking a Sabbath; we all should from time to time. Remember the days before Sunday shopping when Sunday was really a forced day off? I realize I’m aging myself when I say this but I can remember a time when pretty much everything was closed on Sunday. There was no shopping, no groceries, no doctor visits, no banking – can you imagine – you can now bank on a Sunday if TD is your bank of choice?

While it’s only my humble opinion I’m going to say: our little corner of the world was better and easier when we all had a day off each week – the same day off each and every week. It was better for families because there was nothing else to do but be home together. Mom didn’t work at the clinic and Dad at the Bakery. Sunday was a day for family get togethers and Sunday dinners. I guess I’m old fashioned. I believe that Sunday’s should be sacred – bring back the Sabbath. A lazy Sunday family is a family that stays together!

Friday, August 12, 2011

What Astro is Teaching Me


As I was wandering through the paths in my front field watching the dogs this morning it occurred to me how many things I can learn from our puppy Astro. I feel as though I need to preface this by saying that I’ve had many puppies over the years but none quite like this one. She’s a lab mix – which translates into part German Shepherd, part Golden Retriever, part Black Lab and there must be some Husky in there also because of the way she ‘talks’ to us ALL THE TIME. But with all that said she’s a lab through and through.

We have paths mowed through our front field and while I’m walking along the path Astro is bounding through the tall grass and wild flowers without giving a thought to following a path. She’s just following her instinct to have fun and do what feels good without worrying about anything. She sees a butterfly and off she goes chasing it without looking back to see if it’s OK. She and Meg have a little growl fest with each other and it doesn’t faze her in the least. She jumps on Hunter in invitation to play and gets no response. She knows that next time they meet everything will be fine anyway because she doesn’t take it personally.  In my puppy’s world shit happens and it’s all OK. Astro is always in the present moment – it’s all that exists for her and she’s happy about that. She lives for mud puddles, pizza crusts and long lazy naps in the shade.

Watching her I learn to be fearless, to pursue what makes me happy. I learn to be in the moment and to relax. I learn that I don’t have to get along with everyone all the time and I see that if I look for fun I will likely find it. Sounds like a pretty good way to be... and since it's Friday, I think I’ll follow Astro lead and see where it takes me. Here's to a fun filled day.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

I yelled at the dog, I need to vacuum and my hair is a mess!

Why do we, and by we I mean women beat ourselves up so much? I can only speak from a woman’s perspective because that’s the only one and I have and besides that I’m pretty sure men don’t do it. I may consult the men in my life about that because I’m curious and because if they really don’t do it then I want to know why not.

The racket in my brain is crazy – and some days I mean that literally. I beat myself up regularly about almost everything. Here are some examples: the size of my ass, the mess of my house, not paying enough attention to Jon when he’s speaking to me and my shitty wardrobe to name a few. Here are a few more; not calling Shane often enough, letting Bradley play too many video games. Then there’s not looking after my garden well enough, or grocery shopping before the pantry is pretty much empty, yelling at the dog, forgetting almost everything. And of course there’s my hair – please don’t get me started on my hair. Right now I’m crabbing at myself for writing this standing at the kitchen island and eating my lunch because I just got a crumb in the key board, and it would be healthier to sit at the table and enjoy my meal. The list is endless and I know we all have one. Why? I know it’s not doing me any good, and I'm pretty certain that all the women I know realize it's not helping them any either.

Over the years I’ve asked two therapists – both women, why we feel the need to do this to ourselves. The first one answered with about ten minutes of psycho babble that basically meant she didn’t know and that it’s just a girl thing. The second one answered with a very honest “I dunno”. If the professionals don't know where does that leave us?

I’m very straightforward in my way of speaking but I would never say to a friend or anyone I cared about the things I say to myself. It would never be OK. Never. And yet every day I say really mean, unkind and downright bitchy things to myself. Here are a few observations on how this has been working for me so far. I haven’t lost any weight; in fact I’ve gained some. My house still needs vacuumed (desperately), I haven’t called Shane – just texted and my hair is seriously in need of a good trim.

All of this circle back to my original question. Clearly I have no answers. Maybe beating myself up will generate some – then again, probably not.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Let’s talk about Manners

Let’s start with this one simple question – WHERE HAVE THEY GONE?? Then we’ll tackle what they are exactly; from my point of view; of course. Manners used to be so important to everyone. I can recall being a young girl; probably in elementary school and we even talked about them in class. Now there are very few manners being practiced in schools – let alone discussed. Now I’m not only complaining about children here, manners have gone to hell in a hand basket across the board. I’ve found lately that older men are the worst; they walk around like the world owes them respect just because they’re old. Try holding the door for me when my arms are full of groceries then we’ll talk about respect.

I have to admit that I may be a little biased about manners. I will let you in on a little not well kept secret – I went to finishing school. There I said it. I learned the art (yes, that’s what they called it) of manners, etiquette and presentation. I feel as though some definitions are in order here. It may have gotten so bad in our society that these words should be defined just so it’s clear what I’m talking about.

According to the Random House Dictionary:

Manners are – ways of behaving with reference to polite standards.
Etiquette is – conventional requirements as to social behaviour.

Basic manners; or maybe better said as the bare minimum of standards here would entail: please and thank you and you’re welcome. My pleasure may be substituted for you’re welcome but no worries is never appropriate! Holding the door for people entering and exiting a building, including the elevator door. Excuse me when you walk in front of someone or bump/run into a person/shopping cart by accident. My apologies may also apply depending on the nature of the encounter. Pleasantries when someone speaks to you – such as your cashier, or hairdresser or taxi driver. If someone who is serving you or helping you in some way speaks to you look at them and answer them. Giving your seat to an older person, pregnant woman or someone who clearly needs it more than you do when in the situation where there aren’t enough seats for everyone.  Don’t even get me started on driving! It’s really not that hard, and we don’t all need to get there ahead of the guy in front or behind us. Driving isn’t a competition sport most of the time.

When I was in finishing school we studied manners, etiquette, presentation, elocution and walking with a book on our heads and while it was stressed that there is always a correct way to do something the right way to do most things should come easy to us. Manners are about making us and those around us comfortable. It’s not about always using the correct fork as much as being kind and thoughtful to those around us because it makes for much more enjoyable interactions between people and a better environment to be in.

To summarize: Stand up straight, shoulders down and back and legs together, smile and make eye contact with those around you. Say please and thank you and you’re welcome and don’t forget excuse me from time to time. Hold doors, and give up your seat when it’s the correct and right thing to do. Don’t talk too loud, don’t have a potty mouth where it’s not appropriate and for God’s sake don’t talk on your cell phone in restaurants! 

Seems like common sense to me; so how come so many people just don’t get it?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Flying Flower Blossoms!

There once was a little girl of about four years old; she wasn’t wanted by her family and she was as aware of that as a small girl can be. It made her sad and lonely and she often spent time alone. This little girl felt safest alone, although she wouldn’t have known that was what she was feeling, or why she kept running away; all she knew was that when she was alone she felt like she was OK. One day there was a big fight in the house she called home and it scared her so much she didn’t know what to do so she ran far away.

This little girl didn’t know what was going on while she was gone. She couldn’t have known that the people she lived with – her Nanny and Pappy were crazed with worry or that they looked and looked for her every where they thought she might be. She didn’t know that they called the police and that they sent out a search party looking just for her. Maybe if she’d known what was going on in her absence she might have come home, but since she didn’t know she didn’t come home.



The hours passed and continued to pass with her grandparents going mad with worry, but the little girl was content where she was. She had come to her most favourite and happiest place ever; the place where she always felt safest. Her Nanny should have known where she was but in her panic it never occurred to her that her baby girl was in the apple tree in the backyard.

Darkness started to come and with it flutters around the little girls head that she assumed where the nasty bugs that always bothered her at this time of the evening. She swatted and swatted some more and wished that they’d just go away and leave her alone. The fluttering continued with increasing intensity and finally the little girl paid attention to what was going on around her.  There were these tiny little things flying around her and clearly vying for her attention. There should have been flowers and flying around her should have been bees but they weren’t flowers or bugs they were the tiniest little ladies with wings. Flying flower blossoms! What was going on? The little girl remembered all the books about fairies that her Nanny had read her and realized that she was surrounded by them. Fairies everywhere around her all trying to get her attention! What a wonderful feeling; for the first time in her short life she didn’t feel alone.

A day or so passed and the little girls’ grandmother came into the back yard crying because she missed her little girl so much and when she heard her Nanny’s sorrow she climbed down out of the tree and ran to her for a hug. “Nanny, Nanny – there are fairies in the tree and I saw them; they’re my friends!”
“Of course they are my baby girl. I love you so much, I’m glad you’re safe”. 

And the little girl lived as happily ever after as any one ever does. Until this day she believes in fairies and magic. Do you believe in magic?





Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Joy Filled moments

Joy is easy for me. I love small simple moments, and because I’m aware of what makes me happy I tend to experience joy filled moments regularly. I love one single blossom, rainy days, conversations with Shane about physics and the meaning of life. I love sitting in silence with Jon while we listen to the trees and the birds on a quiet evening, listening to Bradley play his guitar, or tell me about his day, watching the girls romp around the yard. I enjoy a nice meal with a cool glass of wine, a single scoop of cotton candy ice cream, a good book. My heart soars when I hear any one of my guys laugh out loud and it’s even better when they’re all sharing a joke. Hanging my laundry out on the line on a bright sunny day, a cup of tea to start my day or petting Hunter when I’m upset all bring comfort and I believe that comfort is the partner of joy. We experience one and then the other, and it’s the combination of these feelings that we label as joy.

I think we all have moments of joy if we can slow down enough to recognise them when they’re happening. For me I know its joy when I have this wide open expansive feeling in my chest and when I can’t help but smile (or cry).  There have been many times in my life when joy moved me to tears. I’m an emotional woman and although at times it can be a pain in the ass I’m glad I’m made this way. While the ability to feel deeply can sometimes make my anxiety or my moments of sadness worse it also makes my moments of joy intense and that’s an incredible thing I’m always grateful for. We need the sadness to experience the joy; we can’t have one without the other. I believe joy can’t be found without knowing ourselves and without looking for it. Every day I thank God that I’ve discovered so many things that make me joyful and I look forward to learning how many more things will bring me joy in the future. Joseph Campbell tells us to “follow our bliss” and that works for me!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Creativity

Creativity has meant many things to me over the years. When I was a little girl I believed I was an artist like every other child.  As I got older my skills grew and I won a provincial drawing competition in grade 5. In grade 6 I drew and painted a mural in the front hallway of my middle school. By the middle of high school I’d moved on to acrylics and pastels. With my first job I bought my first camera convinced that I was going to be a photojournalist. When I moved into my first place creativity became making my place a home. I sewed curtains and cushions, I painted the walls in colours that appealed to me, I put up my own drawings and paintings and then someone who should have been kind, loving and supportive made a snide comment to me about being creative. I was told that “creatives are just freaks and that there is no way to make a living being creative; do something useful”. Just like that my creativity shut down.

Life tends to get in the way of our hopes and dreams; especially when we’re out on your own at a young age and paying the bills becomes the biggest priority. With the snide comment and bills and then kids and life I gave up on creativity for almost 20 years. I dabbled a little in this and that and nothing serious all the while wishing I could just pick up my pencil or my paint brush again.  I longed for creativity, for that lost part of myself.  

A few years ago my life came crashing down around me. I couldn’t even put one foot in front of the other. I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing or what I wanted. Lost and broken were what I felt and what would have described me best. I had no idea where to turn, or why I should even get out of bed. The life I had planned was gone – just like that, in the blink of an eye. I said to an old friend that I was trying to see it as an opportunity to reinvent myself and my life. I tried to believe that it was a good thing. You know what they say about being at the bottom – there’s no place to go but up. My ever wise friend told me that the opportunity would come, but right then and there I had to heal. Focus, she said to me on getting myself well and whole and then you can take the opportunity to reinvent if reinvention is what you want or need when you’re back on your feet.

It took me two solid years to get my feet back under me and all the while I’ve been writing and taking photos and dreaming of being creative again. Do I dare? Am I ready to put the past in the past and to let go of one snide remark and begin again. I want to say yes and I do believe it’s possible because while I was a little girl I believed we are all artists now I know we are all creative. Our lives are ours to create as we want and dream and hope for. To quote Carl Jung – “But if you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself”. That’s what I’m doing from here on out, this is my time for reinvention and my opportunity to put my life together exactly the way I want it to be – I can be creative each and every day in the traditional way like writing, drawing and photographing the world around me and I can create my life in a way that fits me perfectly. Life is good.


Monday, August 1, 2011

What does Ease mean to me?

Yesterday I defined simplicity for me as being a life without complications. Today I'm going to try to define ease for myself. This one is going to be tricky. I've already mentioned that I suffer from depression and anxiety and in dealing with these two illnesses regularly for most of my life I'm not sure that I've ever really experienced true ease. My life has consisted primarily of struggle and I can admit that a good portion of that has been of my own making, however with that being said there's nothing like anxiety - both general and social to make things much harder than necessary. I would like to say then that I will live my life with ease when my anxiety is gone, but I know that's not going to happen. Which brings me to living with ease and anxiety. Ultimately that's what I'm looking for. I hope to find a way of living easier while accepting my health just the way it is.


I choose to live without medication as a way of managing my health. Prescription medications work for many people but not for me. I use lifestyle modifications and alternative treatments to manage both my mental and physical health which means that I immediately have a struggle with my doctor because she's most interested in prescribing me meds for this and that. It also means that I occasionally run into difficulties with my friends and family because they often don't understand my insistence on remaining medication free. Would my life be easier if I took anti-anxieties, anti-depressants, or pain medication? The answer to that is an unequivocal NO! I've tried all the recognised treatments and all have worked a little, but not a lot, and I without fail end up feeling like some one else. I don't judge the people I know who choose medications, but often they judge me - which certainly doesn't lead to ease in my life, letting go of what others think of me and my life might though.


What does work for me? Meditation, mindfulness, writing, living in nature, being creative and playing with my dogs....maybe that's why I have three of them!! I try to remind myself that this is a journey, and that I'm supposed to enjoy myself along the way. Am I going to master ease anytime soon? Probably not - but what I can do is try to let go of the struggle and embrace my life and myself just as things are now because I know that I can only find ease in the present moment.