Monday, December 28, 2009

and that was that

Every year around this time, ever since remembering began, I get all melancholy and feel let down. Like the wonderful brother-in-law of my darling daughter said "The Christmas tree just doesn't look the same with the presents all gone". True, true... and that is exactly what this sense of "now what?" is about.

Living in an apparently civilized country that doesn't have a statutory holiday between New Year's Day and Easter is just wrong. We all need something to look forward to and the long months between Christmas and spring in Canada require reasons to get up in the morning. No wonder so many of us figure out how to get a few short days of intense sunshine in a tropical place as often as possible in the winter!

But I have discovered that this is a perfect summing up time. Especially this year as we pause to remember not only the year but the decade. We have made it 10 years into the the new millenium, folks. And that did not seem certain on December 28, 1999.

This past decade for me has been one of intense change - businesses sold, started, failed and disaster overcome. Work has taken me to Mexico, Hawaii, Tahiti & all over the continental US. I have lived in 5 different places - more than the rest of my entire life. I have moved during almost every one of those ten years. I learned that I could re-invent myself in a multitude of ways, professionally. I have been a failed entrepreneur, a receptionist, a sales & marketing assistant, a business operations coordinator, regional manager and manager, a professional coach and most recently, Director of Tribal Culture. I have worked with people eccentric, brilliant and loving.

Personally, I have learned the freedom of being completely responsible for my life, how to fearlessly express my thoughts, how to accept help and that I will continue to explore learning and knowledge for the rest of my life. I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up - and love that I can coach and listen for many people. I became friends with my mom, found that I have the perfect husband, discovered that I still adore my children and fell totally in love with my grandson. In this last decade my family grew through marriage and friendships - I am now blessed with even more people in my inner circle than ever before.

I have lived in the mountains and the big city and now back to my beloved island. Our abodes have ranged from a 400 square foot studio to a 2500 square foot house overlooking the ocean.

I turn my thoughts into words in several venues. I share philosophy and dreams with people around the world. I have the honour and privilege of actively 'acting for the greater good' each day. I am more certain than ever that we have choice about how our world will look in the future.

I look ahead with anticipation and excitement. I look forward to December 28th, 2019 for another summing up of the decade!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Darkest days and longest nights

Seemed that the night did not want to give up its hold this morning. Light slowly seeped into the grey sky and the day is quiet and still and definitely not bright. It is with great relief that I realize that we are done with the longest night and turn now into the sun. Even two minutes a day will be an improvement.

This winding down of the year is especially poignant and the summing up of the year's events will be momentous and joyful. This year, with Kai's arrival will be remembered as the year of his birth. Those dates are marked even long after we are gone. We are still celebrating Beethoven's birthday!

I am learning to embrace the rhythms of the seasons - not to struggle against the natural cycles and energies. This is a time of hibernation and sleep and my body knows that. At 4:30 when it is already dark, I am ready to close off my day and any efforts made to be active in the evening are challenging. I can barely stir from my warm bed in the morning. This all makes sense and somehow I have been unaware of the ebb and flow or else have insisted that it makes no difference. Nonsense!

And so I am drawn to summing up this week as the hustle and bustle of Christmas is upon us. I will take some time over these short days to consider what I want to celebrate about 2009 and what the first decade of this new millenium has meant to me. 2010 is a perfect opportunity to renew again - the beginning of a new 10 years that will have their own flavour as each new decade does.

I will continue to enjoy the baking and wrapping and preparation for the annual feast and gathering of the clan. I love the anticipation of stockings being unpacked with much laughter and fun and the presents being unwrapped and oohed and ahhed over. There will be much fuss made over our sweet baby and although he won't remember this first Christmas, we will!

Right now, a hummingbird is sipping sugar water from the feeder on my deck. I marvel over this resilient, brave little creature that defies the odds and logic and spends all winter here. Last week, in the snow, it seemed fantastic and amazing that a hummingbird would be flying outside my window yet there he was - symbol of all that is incredible and miraculous in the deep of winter!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

can you stand one more blog about Christmas?

Although I can't promise this will be the last seasonal entry - this seasonal stuff sets off my sentimental and wondering little brain...

This has been a few days of contemplation and pondering about traditions and family and such. I am appreciating the different ways to celebrate. I am giving up that I need to have ALL my family under the same roof on Christmas morning in order to have a successful Christmas Day. I am understanding that giving my mom her wrapped presents early will make her Christmas morning cheery and will give her something to look forward to over the next couple of weeks. She may not get out of the house to get us anything more than a greeting card sent before the 25th. She will likely share her Christmas dinner with friends and family of theirs. Her clear desire to spend her remaining days in her own home means that our visits will be sporadic and rarely for more than a few days, barring emergencies. I cannot control how it all turns out any more than I can manage the weather.

At my daughter's house, the 9 foot real Christmas tree is decorated with 8 strings of lights and she has garnished it with ornaments old and new. The front yard is festive with outdoor lights for their first Christmas in the house they all share. She has the Advent Calendar hung that my mom made for my little ones to count down by putting another decoration on the felt Christmas tree each morning. While little Kai is blissfully unaware of the fuss and preparation, this is really in honour of him and the designation of 'family' that being blessed with him has created in that home.

I am ready to go back to my 'borrowed' house and pull out some more festive stuff and light up the place. I will play my favourite seasonal CD's and light up the miniature Christmas village for the sideboard to glow in the darkness of the next couple of long, long nights. I will anxiously watch the weather forecasts for inclement road conditions that might prevent both shopping trips and travel to gather with the family. I will bake shortbread and goodies to share with friends and I will plan an evening of celebration for one evening to eat and drink and laugh with friends.

This year's memories are not yet set so I can say how it will play out. It is with gladness and anticipation that I look forward to the coming days and the warmth of the love that is more important than anything at this time of year. Thanks for reading - this blog was a little gooey, the sweetness is getting to me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

bored in Calgary ... everything AND the kitchen sink

Sort of like 'Sleepless in Seattle' but not... I realize that my mom is aging - it is something I am coming to terms with on any number of levels, but I remembered tonight how much I hate cooking in the kitchen by myself. Mom is much happier ensconced in her recliner with reruns of reruns that are familiar to her. The cat is sleeping happily on the couch as she is elderly too, and even the remote possibility of food falling on the floor is no longer an enticement to hang out in the kitchen.

Now, I am blessed currently in my borrowed house to have a kitchen which extends into the open living room and it is easy to interact with anyone else who is nearby. This house, my childhood home, is more traditional (pause to pour more Carolans into the glass before the ice cubes melt - this is medicinal you see, to counteract the boredom) with the kitchen completely separate from any other human being in the house. I don't recall this being an issue when I was young, because the kitchen was the centre of all the action - food, kitchen table discussions, drama and tears by the sink and that was where my mom was most likely found. My mother was a working mother, unusual for my era, and once she came home, putting on her apron was probably the first thing she did after shedding her coat and shoes. She faithfully prepared meals during the week for us and on the weekend she would be whipping up cookies and dinners for the week ahead. Some of my favourite memories are in this kitchen.

- we used to have square linoleum that was exactly the right size for me to practice "first position" in ballet - my feet fit just right and the tea towel rack was sort of like the barre

- we always ate our meals at the kitchen table - the dining room table was for, well, stuff to be piled up on and occasionally company

- it was expected that my brother and I would trade off assisting with dishes (we couldn't be trusted to do them together - that was like igniting WWIII) so I would help my dad, mostly

- I learned more about the world doing dishes with my dad - we talked about politics, parenting, the state of the world, made up stories about the families would could see in the playground outside the backyard, visible from the window, told jokes and teased each other - it was pretty magic

- the only telephone in the house was between the kitchen and dining room and in order to talk to my girlfriends about 'private' stuff in earshot of everyone, we had to create codes for the secret stuff - talking to my first boyfriend endlessly from that phone was painful - I couldn't understand why we couldn't get an extension phone but that was beyond my family's means at the time

- even after I left home, whenever I came back, we gathered there around that table, being part of whatever was being cooked up - literally and figuratively

I imagined when I thought about this weekend with my mom - an early Christmas for her since she doesn't want to travel out to be with all of us - that we would be working together in the kitchen like we used to. It just isn't the same being there on my own. Perhaps tomorrow during another snowy day in Calgary, we can create something together - shortbread for Christmas, just like the olden days.

Okay, definitely time for more Carolans - and there might be a rerun that I would like to watch with her coming up next!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

T'is the season...

Every December since I became conscious (wait, was that last year? or the year before?) I have been aware of this anticipation of the Christmas "feeling". I actually spent some time as a teenager (when I wasn't writing angst ridden poetry) contemplating what the feeling was and how to capture it as I matured (again, was that in 2007 or 2008?). I only knew that it was what I anticipated each year and it seemed, upon examination, to be equal parts waiting impatiently for the day to arrive, the preparation which included baking, shopping, wrapping and tree decorating and an ill described sense of goodwill to all men.

That goodwill bit, now described as an accounting term or an organization of assistance to those in the depths of despair, seems antiquated and quaint - Charles Dickens'ish. Yet that is the very embodiment of the Christmas spirit to me and every year since recollection has had me start this season of indulgence and merriment with a desire to share that goodwill with everyone.

I know that I am wrapped in the Currier and Ives vision of Christmas. I admit that I have expectations of how it is supposed to look and sound and smell. Last year, I created the closest recreation of that ever. The fresh pine tree, chopped down by my very own husband after tromping through a forest (okay, it was a Christmas tree plantation, but let me keep some of my illusions, alright?!), decorated carefully and lit up in the window of a house large enough to entertain my entire family. We had a fully laden larder, a fridge full of yummy food, an abundance of beverages and even gently falling snow. Perfect, right? Turned out that the snow slowed and almost completely derailed the family's arrival, with treacherous driving conditions. The abundance of (alcoholic) beverages was challenging to some of the members of the group and everyone woke up the next morning having to dash off before the weather closed in again. I was left at 10 am on Boxing Day with the consummate Christmas done in less than 24 hours, a messy, empty house and a ton of left overs with no one to share them with (except my grateful husband who loves turkey sandwiches).

In the week leading up to that event, I was so excited to be able to provide this amazing Christmas to share with my loved ones and truthfully, I treasured every single minute of it (except some of the beverage-induced silliness) and would do it again, but only if we could all enjoy it longer - people should plan on spending at least 5 or 6 days with me - before and after. Then. I would be happy.

Hmmm, perhaps there are some unrealistic expectations lurking here. What is genuinely there for me is that I almost don't want to begin a season of disappointment, so I am putting off even pulling out the decorations because if last year wasn't precisely ideal, given all the right conditions, how will I ever be able to have the Christmas that I dream of?

Now, my daughter has had her son and has asked to begin the passing down of the traditions, ornaments and celebration. This passing of the torch is appropriate and makes perfect sense that the next generation hosts and holds the family gathering. I am left, like I was in my bedroom as a 15 year old, wondering where the magic went. Time to read "Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus" "...Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world." Thank you, Francis P Church, Editor of the New York Sun.

I will find enchantment and charm this season. I will bake and cook and share lovely times with friends and loved ones. I will find ways to give and be generous and open. I will hang my stocking and eagerly watch for the sparkle and glow in the faces of those around me. I will hold the Spirit of Christmas in my heart!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pondering on Friday

Having realized that I will, in fact, survive this week, evidenced by the very keystrokes on the keyboard that I am living and breathing proof that a tough work week rarely kills anyone (oh, except those that are employed in far more dangerous vocations than mine - of which there are many and I am sad to say some of them probably did not make it through this week), I am actually celebrating the arrival of Friday! And the sun - great Zeus (thanks, Extranjera -this oath is the BEST EVER) I had no idea how bleak my world would be if the sun never shone again -I don't think I would make it. I would be a dozing puddle of ineffectiveness, tear stained and pale, lethargic to the point of catatonia, blithering about sun salutations to wrathful and non-responsive sun god. Fortunately, that sun god is smiling on me today and the world is much brighter!

Conversations - I have been blessed by great conversations this week. With colleagues, with friends, with family - my world has been made up of words. I have seen through these dialogues that being on the brink of change, of the proverbial "paradigm shift" is an uncomfortable place. Like being face to face with our own way of being, considering a monumental divergence in how we thought this story was going to turn out, makes us squirm and wriggle and look for quick and easy exits. Timing is everything. My sense, intuition, that I am grappling with, constantly balancing trusting myself and others with healthy skepticism directs me to a belief, no, stronger than that, a faith in a generative outcome. One that generates growth. This evolution, of which I consider myself an evolutionary, is inevitable. Choosing how and where, while we still have the luxury of choice is the urgent message we are all hearing!

Considering "urgency" a value that I can add to those principles that direct me and support me is a new concept in this little mind. I have been much more of the "wait and see", "let's just take a breath here" kind of philosophy. More and more I can see evidence that challenges me to step up and grow a set.

(Strange, isn't it that having courage and conviction is described as "having balls"? Yet, the Dalai Lama said "The world will be saved by the western woman." Perhaps it is time to change that idiom to "growing some ovaries". Those I have and they have been perfectly functional, thank you!)

Well, sufficient ponderings for this Friday. Hey, let me know what you think - comments encouraged!!

(credit for the photo to orangeacid)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Away from home

It wasn't long ago that I used to regularly do this - travel away from home (usually far away and often to some sunny location), stay in an impersonal hotel room and arrange my life from a suitcase. Spending time working in a resort location where most people are on holidays has its own challenges and eventually the novelty wears thin and even the additional sunshine that you can view from an office window is not compensation enough. That, and the fact that I could no longer reconcile the lifestyles I was participating in selling with my stand for people and our planet.

Yet, here I am tapping away on my ancient laptop (this one goes back 3 employers ago, countless miles and keeps on ticking - even though it weighs, like 50 pounds) really enjoying the typical hotel room layout and even the little bottles of shampoo and conditioner. (pretty good quality here - you can tell where the hotels take shortcuts - crappy products in the bathroom!) There is something comforting about an anonymous hotel room - bonus, if you don't have to share it - which is how mine has turned out tonight and therefore, I don't have to talk at all, if I don't want to. Now, the view outside is on a cold, rainy Vancouver night, not exactly the palm trees and sandy beaches of yesteryear (oh wait, that was only 2 employers ago and merely a couple of years).

So, what is there to say? I almost didn't come over here as I felt odd about leaving, a strange sense of not wanting to leave home. I honoured my intuition and made sure that I created a safe travel bubble, stayed aware for unexpected upsets and just remained vigilant for any possible disruptions to the force. There was a 6.6 earthquake not too far away so maybe that was on my radar but I am consciously creating a space of learning and fellowship which seems to be paying off.

The dialogue during our learning today was fascinating. It is a facilitator training for Appreciative Inquiry which is a philosophy that is very dear to my heart. Not only does it describe the way that I view the world but this week I got clear about how to distinguish it from "positive thinking" which has all those gooey Pollyanna'ish attributes. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is not positive - it is generative. That is, it creates a framework from which to inquire and therefore observe the best in people, organizations and systems. It is in its broadest sense a systematic discovery about what gives "life" to a living system when it is most effective. I have begun to study it in depth and this training that I am away from home for is another step towards more mastery in the discipline of facilitating it in my profession and in my life.

Today, we entered a dialogue in the course room about what it will take to shift the attention of the world from a deficit based world view. While it was acknowledged that there remains a vested interest in that position, surely there is a growing opportunity to find sufficient value in engaging in a new paradigm of thought that gives life force and energy to "change at the speed of imagination". I have discovered that this IS my life's work. Currently it is expressed through my coaching others and growing my coaching and training skills to the point where I can teach and facilitate for learners becoming excellent coaches and I am beginning to see the path which leads me even further in my commitment to a world that works - for every one.

Being distanced from the usual, removed from the familiar and spending some time with myself for company does make room for observation from an uncommon perspective. Nattering away as I do when in a room by myself, I discuss with myself the implications of my scrutiny of my behaviour and reactions and draw some interesting conclusions. I actually like my own company and perhaps because it is now a rare occasion that I have to spend hours alone, I value the manner in which my mind operates and honour the intuitive sense of forward direction that is clarified without distractions.

I miss home and the comfort and luxury of being well loved by my husband. I do appreciate the tremendous value in this introspective review and the new knowledge that I am advancing here. I will return refreshed and renewed. I have traded palm trees and extravagent heat for rain and some marvelous conversations - with others and myself!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Charter for Compassion - and now what?

Please watch this video, then go to this site and add your name, check out the other affirmers, peruse the events and ways to participate and tell me that you are not moved beyond your stodgy, cynical, "this will never change" perspective. I have followed the creation of this charter for many months and was honoured to receive the final version in my inbox this week.

I am left with some questions though... how will we know that a difference is being made? What will be the evidence that a shift IS occurring? How will the orphans of Gaza, the disappeared of Chile, the child soldiers of Somalia, the teenage hookers of East Vancouver know that we are making the world a better place?

Will the fat, apparently heartless corporate heads of the companies that exploit the poor and the helpless wake up tomorrow with a change of heart and give their profits to Save the Children Fund? Will the powerful leaders of countries that dominate and slaughter people in other parts of the world in the name of a "justifiable" defense suddenly smack their collective foreheads and call a cease fire everywhere? Will the angry gang member put down his gun and forgive the slight from the other side instead of getting in his car and shooting up someone's house in a driveby revenge?

What would have to happen to create that miracle?? In the face of all the magical, powerful, amazing openings that are being created every day by so many of us, how can we possibly know we have turned the corner and are not facing the inescapable end of human beings? What certainty can I give to my darling grandson that he will have an opportunity not just to live but to prosper and thrive in a world where the majority also share that future?

As I dwell in these questions, allowing the not-knowing to just be a part of what is present in my sunny office in the space where I was blessed to be born, I can look into my heart and realize that it is not possible to have a Hollywood type conclusion here. There seems to be some inexorable and unrelenting momentum propelling us to our future. The interpretation of what will result will be up to each individual.

I can, in the light of being a part of the creation of the Charter for Compassion, accept that one possible outcome will be that we pause a few years from now and look back on the progress we have made in a remarkably short period of time and experience wonder and joy for what work has been done and how this Charter was embraced by so many. Let it be so. Namaste.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


What if ...

~ I could choose to sleep whenever I wanted to for however long I desired?

~ I could eat what my body asked for without considering calories, salt, sugar or fat?

~ I could choose where I wanted to go each morning?

~ I could spend as much time as I wanted with my mom, helping her, laughing with her, remembering and wondering with her?

~ I could travel anywhere I wanted without thought of the price - monetary and environmental?

~ I could indulge in days of conversation, walking and exploring with my husband without a schedule and deadlines intruding?

~ I could while away the time with my daughter and sweet grandbaby, moving in baby time, sharing insights and ideas?

~ I could sit and sip tea and talk about poetry and theatre and life with my brilliant son?

~ I could volunteer to build a house in another country, working with a crew of dedicated and committed people to make a difference in a real and concrete way without thought of earning a living?

~ I could go to university, take every course that interested me, steep myself in learning, following a path of what piqued my interest next?

~ I could putter about in my own little house, painting and decorating, digging in the garden and sticking my own roots into the soil?

~ I could pick up my calligraphy pens, get my fingers stained with inks, practice making beautiful letters and create flowing works of art with words?

~ I could pour over cookbooks and recipes, shop for the fresh ingredients each day from shops close at hand where I know the shopkeeper's names and then chop and measure and cook marvelous meals to share?

~ I could take a yoga class every day and spend another hour on my mat, stretching and strengthening my body and opening and quieting my mind?

~ I could have marvelous interactions with people, coaching and conversing, engaging the innovative ideas and spirited dialogue every day without an eye on the clock?

~ I could write for hours, deepening the process of committing thoughts to paper, delving into the crafting of language and expression?

What if??
photo credit to Emma Lagunday

Friday, October 30, 2009

Third Eye Blind

Before my son or anyone who actually followed alternative music in the 90's gets excited, I am not writing about the band. Let 's be clear about this, I don't think I could tell you any succinct fact about them or their music, so this is not a tribute to a "Semi-Charmed Life" (and I had to google that - apparently it was their peak moment).

What has occurred to me is that I may have never exercised my own third eye. In meditating during my yoga practice this last while, I have become present to the idea that I have actually been resisting anything that might have to do with intuition or higher awareness. It might even explain the deep wrinkles between my eyebrows (struggling to keep that eye closed?!) and at the very least I have become conscious observing the world from a different perspective.

As I explore my own capacities and be willing to accept my power in the world, I am naturally drawn to others who are traveling this path. Books, music, fellow bloggers, many conversations point in this direction. Of course, this all comes at a time when it appears critical that actions follow the dialogue and we don't simply bliss out on the good intentions.

My own essence expressed in reality, the spirituality that is dawning in my practice is being articulated to others. Not only am I awakening to my reverence for the Universe but I am revealing it to the outside world. My third eye is opening!

The best part about this whole discovery is that it is not significant or meaningful. This element of my life comes with more humour and sense of fun and wonder than ever before. I am happy like I was when I was five years old and the it was simply enough to be playing every day.

I keep looking for and acting on opportunities that have me sharing this joyous aspect of my life - I celebrate what is right in the world today!! I do live a Semi-Charmed Life, now it all makes sense.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It was 30 years ago today...

Grateful for Today #113 - it was 30 years ago today...

that my magical son was born... my graces today are for him:

~ that he has become this incredible man who acts, reads poetry, loves deeply and makes people laugh
~ that he follows his heart - knows why he is on this earth - and what he is good at
~ that he has beautiful hands, long elegant fingers and uses them in expression of his words (when he was a teeny baby a very funny old lady that rode the bus with us exclaimed over his long fingers then -she said he would play the piano...)
~ that he calls me "Mama" and writes me these beautiful notes and poems and cries when I send him notes and poems back
~ that he is such a great big brother for his sister and tender uncle for his nephew and loves to experience harmony in our family

Happy Birthday my son!! (okay it was yesterday, but I had to share!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Moments of contentment

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would think my life was full and busy with a calendar week that shows work/yoga-work-work-work/yoga-work-help kids move and evenings spent watching the new season on the tele with my husband - I would have suggested you find some other dumb woman to foist that life off on! And - surprise - here I am, experiencing periods of pure enjoyment and peace with my existence.

I pondered this morning whether the ability to recognize the brief twinkling of contentment is a function of age or whether it could be taught or shared. In our world of zoom-zoom, it certainly makes sense to me that the more we slow down and appreciate these junctures that zip by in a jiffy, the less destruction we would wreak upon our planet. Having considered that, I will make sure to be discussing this with my adult children and absolutely engage with baby Kai because I just know he will be examining and marveling over the little things in his world.

I also heard yesterday of a mom of teenagers who has started her own business, is movin' and shakin' in the corporate world, working on her PhD and loving every single minute of her life. And at some ridiculously young age (well, from this cron-y perspective...). More power to her and viva la différence! The capacity to not go to the comparison which diminishes me and what I have accomplished and the significance of the achievements of others is the foundation of this place of contentment. I have made myself mad with determining where I sit on the chart of success, to the point that I virtually stopped talking in situations where I was unsure of myself. At least, that is how it occurred to me, but interesting to review those memories with some degree of objectivity and realize that I never actually held back when I had opinions, when I considered there was something at stake, something I was passionate about.

So, another lesson in the curriculum of serenity - regard your past with rose coloured glasses, odds are you weren't all that bad. Hmm, perhaps there is a treatise on this subject inside me. I will ponder that a little more. My immediate reaction is there are far too many books on wisdom out there and little practiced in the moment!

The reflective nature of this past weekend allowed me to truly distinguish how grateful I am for my life and beyond that how marvelous it is that I have constructed it this way. For I do believe that we build our lives, sometimes consciously, mostly with a blindfold on, like kids playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, fumbling for the right place to stick our tails. This bit of enlightenment washes warmly over me, sitting here at my computer, in just the right place, at just the right time. There is a smile on my face.

ps - thanks to Flickr - the photo at the top was just the perfect picture to frame this blog - the credit goes to kk.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blank screen - grey sky

Yes, fall is here, there is no denying it. And I admit a degree of frustration with my apparent inability to manage the emotional reaction to the steady downpour and endless clouds over the Bay. Perhaps I should have counted my 5 Graces first this morning...

I am tired, a little wrung out actually, like a slightly worn facecloth with the edges fraying. I have been on a long run for me, many days in a row being "on" in one arena or another and well, I ain't as young as I useta be. Which, of course, leads down a different tunnel with no cheese as my friend Charles would say.

Extranjera wrote a particularly moving piece this morning about a young woman taking her own life. Given the landscape of my life with precious young people around me who are challenged and still aware of all aspects of the world, this struck home and I am letting myself dwell for a short time on a bleak and less than optimistic horizon. I have discovered that resisting this feeling and pushing away the dark thoughts as unwelcome visitors only prolongs their stay. Life is cyclical by nature and on this very dull day, I am allowing myself to be at the bottom of my bounce.

I am confident in the rebound of the ball and when I close my eyes and allow the Power of the Universe to move through me, I can take a deep breath and move strongly into my day. The tone of the sky has warmed and the filtered light on the arbutus is glorious. The trunk where the bark has peeled away over the summer is bare, like skin and it glistens in the rain. It is still and quiet outside, the rain falls straight down onto a ground that welcomes the moisture and prepares for the resting time of autumn. Namaste.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ponderings on family...

As I sit in my mother's dining room at her computer in a house that I grew up in, I am cannot help but think about family and connections. Everywhere I turn here there are a gazillion memories and I slip into being at home here so easily. I know where everything is (the fact that the house was frozen in time in 1974 does help with that), I have a great deal of comfort in being with my mom and we really enjoy each other's company.

I always convince her to drink red wine with me - she always insists that I have dessert with every meal and we find lots to talk and laugh about. I didn't always experience this degree of serenity in this house and some of the memories are of the struggles and troubles that every family experiences. The sting has gone from those years and what is left is a tender sweetness about all the times spent here.

My mother seems somehow timeless and although she seems a little more frail each time I visit, she is organized (balances her chequebook every month!), has a curious and enquiring mind, enjoys cooking and eating food that she has prepared (with a little assistance from M & M Meats) and harvested potatoes from her garden which we relished for dinner tonight. I have trouble imagining her not being waiting at the door for me when I arrive with a hug and some quick quip about how much luggage I am dragging into the hall. Having her here in this house has been a constant for me for all of my life and I have learned to treasure it - and her!

I did not get a chance to hug my children and grandbaby today and I miss them. The last time my daughter and I were here with my mom, my daughter was newly pregnant and as we all stood in the kitchen, we realized that the fourth generation was inside her and we marvelled over that. Now that grandbaby Kai is this powerful force in my life, I would love for my mom to hold him and have a chance to see this new blood-of-her-blood. I told her at that time that my dream would be to have ALL of my family close enough to touch regularly (like living on the same block would be good!). My mom, in her typically independent style, said that was my dream and she didn't share it - keeping her home and staying in it was most important to her and that would keep her a time zone and many kilometres apart from us.

I am coming to terms with all this - allowing each member of my family be who and how they want to be. I will continue to participate in having my dream realized - I hold this wonderful image of my mom, my daughter, my roly-poly grandbaby and me playing in a garden all together in the sunshine. Seeing that become a reality next summer would be very sweet!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Grace in Small Things (#103)

Grateful for Today #103 - Weaving a Wednesday

~ a day of diversity - office to myself - bookkeeping that MUST be done (yuck) and a visit from an old friend this afternoon
~ being busy with details but stopping to notice that the sun is really shining this morning~ wondering if I can fit in a walk...
~ after reading a timely piece in Simple Abundance - Sarah Ban Breathnach (seems she has an online version now - of course!) about business travel, I am going to pack differently - making sure I am truly taking care of myself next week, instead of just enduring the travel
~ my husband tells me that he has a commitment to post something positive about his day every morning on facebook - do you think after 35 years I might be rubbing off on him??

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hugs from a Virtual Community

I am now a Believer. I have shared in the past about my skepticism for the reality of a community based only on the pixels of a computer monitor. How could it be the real thing - you know, connected, loving each other, count-on-able?! How do we really know who is on the other side of that blog, email, IM, facebook entry? Well, we don't - this is not a flesh and blood, I know you because I hug you kind of circle. It exists because we believe what we cannot see. And we trust that instinctive connection that comes from sharing from our hearts with no actual evidence. We don't have to touch each other to be touched, moved and inspired.

This morning I experienced this in a whole new way. I zipped over to my Grace in Small Things Blog to write my 5 Graces/Gratitudes for the day only to find an entry from one of my fellow blogger's daughter where she wrote on behalf of her mom to let the community (in the fullest sense of the word) know of the emergency surgery she had undergone the night before. There was an immediate response from around the world - those on the other side of the date line got the news from the middle of the night in Canada first and we have rallied tremendous love, energy and prayers for Elaine. I was in tears after adding my piece and understood on a whole new level what is possible through this little box that sits by my desk.

My passion is "connection" hence the title of my blog - I am always looking for places where we are connected at a deeper level. From sitting here at my desk in sunny Maple Bay, I am able to reach out to people who I love all over the world. This would have been called a miracle by my grandmother's mother who saw her daughter leave on a boat and didn't come back in her lifetime. I can take a photo on a digital camera, send it to my mom in an email for her to see her great-grandson in a matter of minutes. And I haven't caught up to the webcam, live action technology yet.

Wow, I am very clear that I am blessed. Blessed by all those around me, near and far! Reminded by a daughter who followed her mom's directions to send a message out not knowing " "how it works or who is out there..." We are, Talia, we are here!!

Friday, September 18, 2009


On a Friday afternoon, after a busy, good, but busy week, I am in contemplation of time. Presumably, this becomes a more relevant topic the older you become as I have reached the stage where it is whizzing by and I am often caught by surprise by the date. September 18th, already?! That means that fall is here and Christmas is around the corner (cue the barrage of ill-prepared Christmas dreams that for some reason are recurrent in my dream library... seriously, I dream over and over again that it is Christmas day and I haven't bought a single present, or food for Christmas dinner and the stores are closed! What does this mean?!)

I know that I could research and learn a lot more about time being relative (and the meaning of dreams) but what is a fact is that I have an experience of time stretching, being truly elastic in nature and allowing me far more comfort in dealing with the deadlines and tasks of my days. So, in contrast to the amazement I have at the zooming calendar pages (remember how they always showed time passing in the old black & white movies - calendar pages flying off the pad - who even has those pads of calendar pages anymore??), I have an ease and sense that there is time for all of whatever I need to do. Is this true? Frankly, that doesn't matter - I experience it that way and that is what counts for me.

As much as anything, I believe this relative serenity about time (time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future...) has been achieved through letting go and actually meditating regularly. (I do hate when I actually stumble upon what other people have known and practiced for many years - it makes me feel like I should have gotten it much sooner in my life - better late than never) I relate to time entirely differently when I am sitting - even for 5 minutes. Amazing! And you will be pleased to know that I am resisting trying to convert all my friends and family to my newly discovered truth and insist they all practice meditation and yoga - although I do mention it in my GiST blog regularly.

Any-whoodles (as my delightful Bloggy friend Extranjera would say), it is time to move on to another project. Thanks for reading my thoughts today!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dog days of summer?

I wondered today why I have been noticeably absent from blogging - writer's block? change of focus? don't wish to bore you with more mushy exclamations about my exquisite grandson? I determined I am suffering from the 'dog days of summer'.

I have often wondered what that means (ooh - quick googling - ahem..."refers to the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere they usually fall between early July and early September"...- thank you Wikipedia) okay, so now I know! And it isn't early September any more but the sultry weather seems to have returned. Which I am thrilled about. But I know even in my most unwilling-to-accept-reality moments that these days are numbered and the numbers are dwindling - then it will be winter!

And I didn't really expect to still be here in my 'borrowed' house a year later. And I hadn't really thought beyond the move back to the island and getting going in a new direction. In fact, I have never been very good at making long term plans and then following through on them. So, what does this mean? Well, in a fable that impacted my consciousness at an early age, the Ant and the Grasshopper, I have always emulated grasshopper more than ant - hence the lack of significant retirement savings and solid means for my 'golden' years.

Now, I imagine there are a number of 'ants' out there right now whose carefully stored savings went for a powder in the last year and whose equity in the their homes vanished as quickly as the summer sunsets, so Aesop may not have the last laugh. I have no regrets about the uncharted, often unexpected expeditions in my life. I have learned to land on my feet, be grateful for what I have, be creative and responsive to opportunities and have confidence in my ability to weather the storms (holy mixed metaphors, Batman!). My desire to put down roots and plant a garden and adopt wayward cats comes to me rather late in my life. Better late than never, I figure. I am finally ready to putter about a little homestead and be happy with projects and knitting - and yoga - in my home.

So, Grasshopper, what now? (asks the wise Crone in me that I am learning to listen to). Well, as the dog days of summer wind down I am actually quite prepared for the winter. I am undertaking training and development - physical, professional and spiritual; I am looking forward to the miraculous growth and changes in wee Kai; I am improving my diet and taking on a cleanse for my body and spirit and I am already anticipating spring and the return to the long, hot days of summer. And it will be fascinating to see where I am this time next year!

Friday, September 4, 2009

How to be a mama AND grandmama?

Seems all my posts lately begin with a deep sigh, a pause, then a moment of considering...hmmm. At least that is what I am doing as I sit and feel my fingers on the keyboard in preparation for typing out my thoughts (now you have the visual, too).

As much as my darling daughter is feeling her way on the unmarked path of being a mom, I am fumbling around, trying to figure out how to be a Grammy. Again, no manual - what is with this?! And my natural instincts guiding me?! I simply have none - I don't know how to do this. Oh, I get the cuddle the ridiculously adorable grandson bit - that is really easy. But the how to listen without advising (yeah, I know, as a coach I am supposed to be well trained in that) (but this is so personal and close), how to offer opinion without sounding like telling, how to let her find her way without rescuing? I am at a loss. I just want to help...

And I do have advice, I want to tell her how to do it and I do want to rescue her - that is the mom part of me. Sheesh. Just like my amazing son-in-law (acronym SIL - just figured that out, ok, I am a little slow) observed during the middle of a less-than-comfortable night with babe, "I didn't know it would be this hard". Uh huh, that is it in a nutshell - being a parent is not for the faint of heart.

And I think (ohh, I notice that I don't even want to type this), just like I had to bite my tongue, sit on my hands and manage my heart in watching my daughter grow up, I have to let them figure out this part too. They are already incredibly dedicated parents, committed to the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of their son, ready to sacrifice and surrender to this process. Surrendering to a new life - to all the spills and thrills and sleepless nights. Accepting the tears and boo-boo's as well as the smiles that light up the world and laughter that is surely from the angels.

My role is to stand aside; to be available but not intrusive; to honour their willingness to take on the responsibility and to be gracious when they ask for help. We are all learning how to be.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I invite you to begin again

September 1st - this has big significance for me every year. It doesn't matter that my school days are long past and that even my children's school days are a vague memory - this date means back to ... something. And what comes to mind is my dear friend Liann's saying of "I invite you to begin again". This has gotten me through more rotten times than I care to count.

We all fall off the wagon, in many ways, at many times in our lives. That wagon has been my metaphor for exercise, diet, schedules, organization, bookkeeping, housekeeping, letter writing and phone calls. And without knowing that I can begin AGAIN I would be a great deal more lost than I am. This is not to say that I don't feel misguided and misdirected on a daily basis, because I most certainly do, but lately I have had the sense that I actually know where I am going.

My writing, my meditation, my thoughts, even my menopause is purposeful. I can sense this direction in my actions, working towards a vision and while I struggle to articulate exactly the destination, I am certain there is one. This is different than ever before.

Okay, I do understand that this all sounds very vague and somewhat "woo-woo" but it is like my blog on God (waiting for perfection before publishing), the rumbling procession of my life seems very profound - to me. Stay tuned for details...

So, September 1st is perfect - the absolutely exactly correct date to begin again.

Photo by: DerNette Alex

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Contemplative space and being Grammy

Getting part way through a blog about God and realizing that I am not finished with it yet - nor am I prepared to "publish" prematurely, I honestly just figured out that I have less profound things to say.

- isn't it funny how spending time with a baby slows the world down to a much more reasonable pace?
- eating take-out pizza for dinner on Sunday is a really good idea
- I am amazed at how many people don't have rousing conversations - like, ever, at all... how boring that would be!
- my work provides me with the opportunity to have spirited conversations almost all day long, any given day - how great is that?
- living here, gazing over the ocean is an indescribable blessing - which I am very grateful for
- today I got to hang out with my daughter, my grandson, my husband, my son-in-law - talk to my mom on the phone, a good friend by cell phone and a whole bunch of bloggy friends - life is good!
- AND I have left over pizza for lunch tomorrow mmm...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How will I know when I get there?

Ever had the feeling that you never get to the place that you are supposed to be? You know, when you reflect back on what your teenage dreams were and wonder (out loud sometimes, in my case), how did I get here?! I am sure you have, I think we all do - it is that curiosity and wondering that gets us into trouble.

(I wonder what it looks like over that hill? I wonder what will happen if eat those berries? I wonder what it would be like if I shaved all my hair off?)

I have been exploring consciously expressing my gratitude and appreciation for my life for some time now. I notice a signficant increase in my satisfaction with the day to day experience of being me and I really enjoy the little, funny moments that I might not have seen otherwise.

And still I am drawn to finding a measure that will let me know that I have "made it". I am done, baked, complete, satisfied and full. Since the typical financial watermark appears to be a huge stretch and in fact, I am convinced that calculating success by that standard has left us in this unsustainable mess, I can let that gauge go. In other realms of happiness, I am wealthy, I know this completely in my heart of hearts.

Perhaps this all has to do with the inner volcanic activity I am experiencing (okay, it is outward too - ask my husband about the flashpoints that he is subject to being close to me). One wise bloggy friend suggested that this stage of maturity, like adolescence, is in preparation for what is ahead. In other words, I will just know when I get there.

I hope there is a signpost!

Monday, August 17, 2009

ohhh... menopause

This is what they all meant - crackerjack headaches, body temperature altering in 10 seconds or less, volcanic eruptions of emotions and wildly out of control feelings...

My friend noted yesterday that we don't necessarily observe the effects of a powerful supplement until we stop taking it and last night I was lying in bed, sweltering, agreeing with her. For the past two years I have been taking a health food supplement Menosense (this is not a commercial endorsement, really) which was a little expensive and you know, I couldn't really tell you why I took it. I wasn't really having the menopausal symptoms. I thought I must be somehow superior to those other women who suffered so. Hah! My body has made sure that I am humbled. I stopped the Menosense about 2 weeks ago and all of sudden I am no longer friends with the sack of flesh that is my own.

Now, this really doesn't seem fair (I know, I know, the Universe didn't promise that it would be), 35-40 years of menstruation (is this getting too graphic for you guys and women under 35? Sorry, think of it as educational), with all the wonderful euphemisms for that cycle; childbirth, and they really do mean labour to finish that process and the general mistreatment that women have endured for, well, ever! And now this - being held hostage by a traitorous,, uncooperative body and possibly two more years before it is all over and done. Hmphhh - next time? I would like to be reincarnated as a man (or a male cat).

To be fair, I am actually thrilled that I am the age that I am. There is wonderful freedom in being over 50. I am completely looking forward to the next stage of my life. I love being a Grammy (in case you hadn't noticed), appreciate my body (most of the time...) in ways I never thought possible and this sense of perspective that I have gained, wisdom, I presume it would be called is marvelous. I have more fun, I am more at peace and I enjoy simple pleasures that my 20 year old self would have sneered at.

Now about the sudden meltdowns that start at my toes and zoom at light speed to the top of my sweating brow? I am about done with that!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

thank you, Joni Mitchell

You know those days when you just have to steel yourself to get up and when you have that conversation with yourself in the mirror (I just presume that everyone talks to themselves in the mirror like me) you say to self:

Carol: Okay, today is another day and you can find the energy to zoom through this day.

Other Carol: Yeah, right... and you are going to keep this up for the next 15 years??

Carol: Of course, it is all about finding the inspiration for today and the appreciation of what is working in your life.

Other Carol: (sneering slightly) Suzy Sunshine this morning aren't you? Did you notice that it is completely overcast and dark this morning and it is August?!

Carol: Certainly, but that is why the Universe emails me every morning and I check in on other blogs when I start my day.

Other Carol: Good luck with that...

Well, fortunately, several of my bloggy friends posted this today and altered my morning:

As I watched this and goosebumps raised on my arms (no, Other Carol, it was not just cold in here), I realized that I was extremely thankful for Joni Mitchell, through all the stages and phases of my life, she has been there. Car on a Hill was my theme song for a while...

And this morning she reminded me that:

We are stardust * Billion year old carbon * We are golden * Caught in the devils bargain * And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.

See you there... xo

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Not a self help manual

This is certainly not a "Life for Dummies" blog, I just want to make that clear! I realized that my last few entries have been titled "How to..." but I am less than an expert on most areas of my life. And I never imagined that I would find such a book cover and want also to let you know that I am not associated with the Watermark Community Church and this blog in no way reflects on them or their handbook.

The "How"in my previous titles is really a question. It is the most puzzling one that I tackle each day (ooh, deer just walked by my window and allowed me to be completely distracted briefly). Where was I? Oh yes, how? (Right now I would like to know how to take the operator of the chain saw who is disturbing me and drop him in the ocean?!). Hmm it seems that I am easily diverted from logical thoughts to watching my mind zig zag like the ball in a pinball machine. That seems much more entertaining this morning than the list of to-do's in front of me.

Sometimes, I just need a rest from earnest and serious writing, so I apologize if you thought you might learn something from me today. Instead, I am noting a desire to stay in the light and insignificant realm, not venture into the world where important and dreadful events are occurring. A friend shared with me yesterday about a speech that David Suzuki gave with business leaders in Toronto. Apparently he told them that we had replaced the monsters and gods we had to appease with the "economy" and "global tensions" and now we hide under the blankets in fear of the new boogymen. From what she told me, David was reminding us that we made up those old monsters and we have made up the new ones - we just have forgotten that part so they are very grave and menacing.

(Another interruption - the real estate agent - could my "borrowed" house have an offer to be sold? That would be a true disruption... pause to consider the 1.5 million boxes in the crawlspace...)

Fortunately for me, the sun is shining dispelling some myths and monsters this morning (and the chain saw just stopped) so I will put aside the wavering of intention and sally forth
(Verb1. sally forth - set out in a sudden, energetic or violent manner) into my day - perhaps over to the chain saw guy who started up again and give him a piece of my mind, since I appear to have a few to spare! Tally ho!

Monday, August 10, 2009

How to raise a child - Lesson One

Having spent most of a week adoring my wee grandson, I have also had time to consider how my parenting may have impacting my amazing son. He, like Kai, is a firstborn child. He did not have the advantage of grandparents at close hand, nor a community which even though they are not parents are so in support of my daughter and son-in-law being Mom and Dad, not just the same party-ing buddies they used to have. There are many more aspects of my son's childhood which haunt me and I would re-do given another kick at it, but here are the ways that he did get good lovin':

1. His mom & dad stayed together, through thick and thin (and many bizarre episodes in between), providing consistency and an example of a couple working through it all;

2. He had the balance of both maternal and paternal loving and while as the maternal influence, I often thought that the paternal impact was odd and not the way I would have done it, I have come to see that both aspects are needed for harmony in maturity;

3. He was brought up in a community where he was exposed to many loving adults and children, diverse situations which allowed him to see that there are many ways to be a family;

4. He had the opportunity to listen to a huge variety of music and choose his own favourites;

5. He saw live theatre, dance performances, numerous sporting events and music concerts;

6. He explored outdoors - on his own with little supervision in the relatively safe environment of our housing co-op and beyond in parks and wilderness with us on adventures;

7. He got a trip to Europe and a year of post-secondary education paid for by the parents and learned a great deal from both;

8. He travelled to Mexico with the family and saw both extreme poverty and tourist-y luxury;

9. He was encouraged to speak his mind, tell his truth and share without consequence;

10. He was always loved, loved and loved some more.

As a new grandparent, I can see the trepidation of the new parents, "what if we screw this up?" and the overriding desire to keep the little guy safe and protected. Since kids don't come with handbooks and even if they did, the continuous updates would make them useless, we all just do our best, trust that will be enough and love our children some more. Love is the final answer!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

How to stretch time?!

Here I am at the end of Day (oh wait, rapid calculation required...) SIX of my brief holiday and I am typically considering the end. Hmmm... it has been delightful, filled with all the kinds of pleasures that I was looking for. I have had hours holding my wee grandson, lots of laughter with my daughter, an artsy movie with my son, time to walk and window shop alone (ok, a little bit of actual shopping) (one has to buy undies in the city when you have the opportunity...) and even a sushi lunch at 2:30 in the afternoon. Try that in Duncan!

I haven't had sufficient alone time to explore the inner landscapes I was hoping, but have realized that can come in small bites - moments of meditation at yoga class - a deliberate walk with myself during the day - and in this contemplative exercise of writing onto the glowing screen. The internal monologue - sometimes, dialogue - I am a Gemini after all - gets aired for public viewing.

Still and all, I would love it if I could make tomorrow last for another week - because I still haven't:
1) Walked to the ocean
2) Walked past my old house and leaned on the fence to really take a look at the garden and wonder how the bones of my cats are doing in the pet cemetery in the corner of the yard (did we tell the new people that? "Oh, and don't dig there, you might find several burial mounds with various tattered cat toys carefully arranged around the corpses")
3) Gone for tea, anywhere (it is Victoria, after all)
4) Called my brother (oh, sh*^ , I really should have done that - even though he doesn't believe in computers, he might find out from somebody that I was here, feeling guilty for having not called him...)
5) Written in my old fashioned, hand written journal (with the new pen that I bought at Island Blue Print - well, HAD to buy - there is nothing like that store in Maple Bay!)
6) Come to realize that I am completely energized and ready to dive back in to work and life without hours on end to gaze at my gorgeous grandson.

But that is what Days Seven, Eight & Nine are for!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How do we ever survive?

Babies survive in spite of us, not because of us! Watching my daughter go through all the uncertainty and nervousness of being a first time mom, I realized that I went through exactly the same thing. It's inevitable - you react to every teeny noise they make, each motion of their bodies, each time they eat or don't eat, pee or don't pee - everything appears like a crisis in waiting. Without a current expert at your elbow every moment of the day one feels so alone. (And I say "current" because what was considered right or healthy for baby even 5 years ago is so silly, even laughable, you need to keep up with the immediate advice).

And since everyone has an opinion and the professionals often provide contradictory recommendations, it often boils down to our guts - does this "feel" right? Is my baby thriving and happy? Does this make sense? Seems scarcely enough data to raise a child on, yet most of us make it!

And I find that I wish I was a pediatrician, an experienced and gifted nurse or a trained adviser in some aspect of this journey they are on. My newborn experience was decades ago and in hindsight, is mostly a blur. Doctor's waiting rooms, emergency ward visits, consultations with other parents, I remember lots of those. Mostly I remember feeling very ill equipped for this role as someone's mom and somehow inadequate because it didn't all naturally come to me. What is with this idea that we should have all this knowledge inside of us?? Are human beings that more complex than the deer that roam around by my house? Mama Deers seems to know what to do. Yes, but what if their babies get constipated?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Time out?

In contemplating a number of days off in a row (how many you ask? good question-pause to check...9, NINE whole days), I have realized that I am not very good at taking the time off. Even at this moment I am considering, briefly, checking my webmail for work - it is okay, I am controlling the impulse; it is only Day One.

I ascertained, with the assistance of my very gifted coach, Fiona (see, she should have a blog that I could hyperlink here, then you could all meet her), that I have actually been giving my family the short end of the vacation stick for the last.. ummm, ten years or more. You see, I only pretend to be on holidays, mostly. The only exceptions to this have been on extravagant Mexican travels where we acted as if we were rich and ignored the rest of the world for weeks on end - well, four weeks on end. The travelogues for those trips are exotic and wonderful and not what my bank account can support for the next eight days.

The other, shorter holidays mostly consisted of me pausing to answer the b-berry, checking webmail and worrying that my role might be eliminated before I get back to my desk. Not very relaxing for anyone who traveled with me, I am sure. I am committed to changing that.

For the next eight days, I am putting down the corporate baton, having provided my boss/colleague/friend with everything she needs to cover me. (Oh wait, I still have to type out an instruction sheet for her - I can get that done on Monday - that doesn't count, does it?) I have determined that I will focus on my family and friends, let them know that they really are the most important people in my life.

I am also going to spend some time by myself, which occurs like a luxury. I am called to exploring my spiritual side and internal landscape too. This is timely as the summer peaks on this first day of August. Reveling in each sunny, hot day, relishing each moment outside with very few clothes on, that is what will propel me into the fall.

And I will take time to blog - this expression of my thoughts is most enjoyable. I like writing to readers that I may not even know, as if they are my friends too. If you are one of those, thanks for reading. Wish me luck on the time out part - I may have to remind myself on occasion!

Friday, July 31, 2009


Wimmin: Women. A late 20th century creation. A feminist spelling to avoid the suffix men.

At the risk of once again offending the men in my life, I just want to give a big SHOUT OUT to the women of my virtual world. I am including those that I speak to by phone and text by cell phone as I count them as virtual because I can't hug them (at the moment).

In my relatively new exploration of the blogosphere, discovering the distinction between bloggy friends and RWP (Real World People), I have noticed that I am mostly in communication with other women in this world. Now, truthfully, I have always found it easier to talk to other women (with two notable exceptions - my husband because he has had 35 years to figure out my quirks and crazy bits and understands me when I am talking around my toothbrush - and my son, who has the distinct advantage of having half of my genes to be able to fathom what the hell I am on about). But the women I am daily spilling my guts with at Grace in Small Things from all over the world, from all different ages and backgrounds and the women whose blogs inspire me and tickle my fancy; they are special!

Again, my husband who has been developing on-line friendships far longer than me has told me of the capacity to establish connection in this impersonal, kinda suspiciously superficial internet world. I didn't really believe him. How do you know these are "real" people, not pretending to be nice when they are really mildly psychotic, small 'c' conservative, strangely twisted weirdos who only want access to your obviously top-secret email and your hush-hush, espionage covert operations?? (because we all have important documents on our computers that might risk national security if leaked, right?!).

Well, you don't - it comes down to trust, like most everything else in the world. I have faith that the women I share with and chat with and talk to are as real as me. Sometimes phony, often misconstrued, not always facing my less-than-perfect side, but warm blooded and mostly warm hearted and welcoming the vibrant connections and laughter generated each day.

My days are brighter, lighter and more fun for these glimpses into their lives. To the wimmin of my world - thank you, I love you!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hotter than Hades

Swimming in the Pacific Ocean this far north is a novelty to me. All I have ever done up here is dash screaming into the surf, grit my teeth until I can no longer stand the intense ache of my ankle bones (which is often as far as I get) and scurry back to the beach. And this is in August usually. I only ever enjoyed swimming in the ocean below a certain latitude which also carried a significant price tag to splash around in the water (and drink froo-froo beverages).

The last two nights, I have volunteered to walk down to the beach and swim in the waters of Maple Bay. My husband was shocked. Even more so when I really did it. I am not known as a water baby and conditions, as you may have gathered, have to be pretty perfect to entice me. Floating in water that is cool, lifting my arms and legs above into the super heated air has been delightful. I am converted. At least as long as the temperature stays above 28 degrees.

This weather is unusual enough to gain most of the headlines in the local news (Heat WAVE; hottest day ever recorded {I am not kidding - in Vancouver, BC, yesterday...}, fires and other hot news dominate). I think the sun is fading the photos on my windowsill and it is certainly bleaching the letters on my whiteboard.

I have begun to feel guilty for my indulgent pleasure in this heat. But only a little. I am a teensy bit anxious for my wee grandson, in the city with my daughter and son-in-law, (especially since she doesn't feel up to the travel to my house more in the country) but I figure if you can find a little relief from the hottest part of the day, you should revel in this. Soon enough, we will be complaining about the rain and snow!

I must add to this my gratefulness for the encouragement I have received from my blogging hero Extranjera. This woman is amazing and I feel as though I live next door to her. The glimpses of her life, through her words are funny, thought-provoking and always worth a giggle. And she likes my blog *blush*!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Suddenly Last Summer

I am reminded of Tennessee Williams on a day such as this. Blazing hot, sweltering in the shade, everything slowed down to the rhythm of the fan, still and calm. What else was central to Williams' plays was how the heat altered the people. Like alcohol, the intensity of the warmth has a profound effect on everyone. Especially because this kind of sultriness is quite alien to the west coast of Canada.

Bearing this aberration in mind, I will consciously make room for the somewhat cranky, out-of-sorts behaviour around me, including my own. This is not a time to be making life altering choices.

In this white hot heat and the aforementioned seismic activity from the birth of Kai, I am reminded to "let go and breathe". We don't have the generations of cultural adaptation to such warmth and have no traditions to respect it. This is the time of siesta and dining late in the evening. This is the perfect time to paraphrase Scarlett O'Hara (can you tell that Gone With the Wind also had a radical influence on me?) "It's too hot to think about that now, let's talk about that tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day." (okay, you have to have the visual too, right? The southern belle, sighing with hand to brow??)

Being light in the heaviness of an unexpectedly tropical high pressure ridge - that is my challenge today.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Earthquakes and aftershocks...

While I had an inkling about how baby Kai would rock my world (I have been blogging/writing/talking about it for 9 months!), I am astonished at how quickly the shockwave has spread (okay, I am mixing metaphors here, but you get the planet altering effect that I am talking about, right?). Tia said he would change our world.

I have been crying off and on for two days - happy tears for the most part - but still unusal for me to wipe off all my mascara by 9 am twice now! I am leaping into risky conversations as the space seems very open for communication right now. I have spoken with people that I have not talked to for over two years; I am inviting people to visit and be around us all; I am accomplishing results without effort; people are saying things to me that I just never expected. I am observing shifts and metamorphoses (is that really the plural of metamorphosis?) all around and this, as I pointed out, is Day 2.

Catalyst: an agent that causes an interaction between persons or forces without being affected itself - thy name is Kai.

We welcome you and embrace the changes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A baby is born...

My life changed direction yesterday - suddenly, inexplicably and completely. The wondering and pondering about the new role, the strange doppelganger experience of having your daughter pregnant with a child, the oddly remote sensation of touching her huge belly feeling the baby push back, the flashback quality of the memories of being in the same state - all of that is gone! The minute I witnessed that little human being on my daughter's chest, still attached to her physically but already interacting independently with his world, I realized in my bones that my world had shifted. I cannot wait to spend time with him, to talk to him, read to him, sing with him, laugh with him. From here, this vantage point of a generation removed, I get to be engaged with him from the time honoured status of grandmother.

Now, this whole "elder"thing has me a little daunted - it implies wisdom, experience and knowledge. Yah, uh huh, okay... not so sure about that part. However, I get a glimpse, no more than a glimpse, it is a gut level certainty about how connected we are - he is blood of my blood. I will have the privilege and responsibility for his safety in the world, his outlook on it all, how he will associate and communicate and how he will feel about himself. But I get to do all of this not from the intense, direct, sometimes overly myopic perspective of a parent but from over here where it is both a choice and a duty.

Being a grandparent - this is the playground where parents get to "do-over". I get the tremendous opportunity to be for baby Kai all the ways I wish I had been with my kids, knowing what I know now.

I am starting to get this whole circle of life thing (cue the Disney theme song...).

Finally, I want to acknowledge that I was able to experience this miracle of him being born, to have been of service to Tia and Jesse, who openly and willingly shared this incredible moment in their lives. They welcomed me to be with them, not as an observer but as an integral part of Kai's birth. I am humbled by this common occurrence that happens all over the world many times every day and each time results in this magical little being, whose life is just beginning; such unimaginable potential in their perfect tiny fingers, untapped brilliant thoughts in that sweet, little head.

I am blessed!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

There are other faces I remember....

It was brought to my attention that I may have slighted the entire male half of the species in my last blog. It was pretty much focused on the "fairer sex". And I realized that if the blogger-that-I-aspire-to-be-one-day Extranjera should happen to read only yesterday's blog, she would be saying "Woman, lighten up, inject a little humour in this or I will not be your follower anymore and you will be down to only TWO". Can't have that happen...

So, in an effort to be fair, I will share with you the gifts, blessings and magical moments that the men in my life have bestowed upon my daughter. I can think of 3 special men who have had an impact on her life. The first gave her mystery and wonder - absolute acceptance of who she was and honoured her power in the world. The second gave her humour and fun - a knowing that it was okay to play video games, collect strange and wonderful objects that were sacred in their own way and to read comic books and MAD magazines. The third and with no doubt the most important is her father. He gave her fearless adventure, a knowing-ness that she could tackle anything and an embracing of the path to awareness, no matter where it takes you!

And to balance it all, she had her big brother, who not only taught her to fart and belch on demand, to appreciate the masculine side of her being and to love ferociously!

Alright, that still reads as a little smarmy - not the macho blog I had in mind when writing it in my head last night (Extranjera, do you do that? What do the big-time bloggers do to prepare for the journey into blogdom??). Still and all, my darling daughter is the woman she is from the grace of all the people she has had her life!

Next, I will have to share with you how my son got to be the mad improv artist and extraordinary man that he has become...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

There are faces I remember...

Yes, I know those are not the correct lyrics but that is what comes to mind. I have a lovely photo holder on my window sill with many little photographs of friends and family. These are the people that I share my day with and it amazes me that how often during the day my eye is drawn to them and I get a chance to think about them and remember.

I was recalling in spending time with some dear amigas on the weekend the contributions of the women in my life to my daughter. At this time when she is so close to motherhood, we were reminiscing about her as a precocious toddler, adventurous (well, fearless) ten year old and outrageous and brave teenager. We all have incredible memories of her. And I was able to acknowledge 3 of her 'other mothers' for what they gave Tia. One gave her the gift of intuition, trusting her gut and following her natural ability to see beyond the physical; another provided her with a passion for the garden and growing things, digging in the earth and blessing Gaia; the third bestowed her with magic, an owl feather and opened the door for her to see her path as a healer connected with her spirit.

I am clear that my darling daughter would not be the woman she is without the other women being there for her. Those three and many others that I was blessed with having on my own journey will stand with her now as she takes the next steps.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Birthdays, births and growing pains

I decided that if I couldn't be a super hero, I could at least be a super hostess, so throwing a big celebratory party was a good expression of my able-to-leap-tall appetizers abilities. And a successful soiree was enjoyed by all including the 60 year old birthday boy! I love the role of hostess, taking care of guests, making sure food and beverages are out and organized. I get to enjoy the party from a different perspective.

Next on my horizon is the imminent birth of my grandson. I am part of the birth "team", a concept that was quite foreign in the olden days of my children's births. For my generation it was a big step to have Dad in the labour and delivery rooms. While I suspect the whole team will not be there for the entire event; we may work in shifts - I hope to be there for the actual birth and I am nervous. My experience ("I dunno nuthin' 'bout birthin' babies, Miz Scarlett...") is only my own kids' births and I don't know how that prepares you for anything. It is mostly a blur of pain and ecstacy. But, I am honoured to be asked to support, love my daughter, son-in-law and this new being more than I can describe, so I will be of service.

Being of service - that is where I can lose my ego, discover endless patience, calm and order, find depths of understanding and abilities that I don't know that I have. I understand why women (and men) would choose a life of service in religion. There are tremendous rewards!

This is my meditation for this week - topic for thought and consideration. Being of service - including being of service to me - what does that look like and how does it serve the greater good?

Friday, July 10, 2009

So much for letting go...

Well, what to make of the message from the universe today? After relaxing my stranglehold on the control levers and practising breathing and being assured that all is as it should be, a phone call with my elderly mom 700 km away resulted in a frantic call to the neighbour, the hospital and hours in emergency for my mama. Turns out she wasn't having a stroke (my layperson diagnosis over the phone) but has a terrible virus causing extreme dizziness and disorientation. My mom's next door neighbour not only stepped up to be with her while the paramedics were doing their thing but went back to check on the cat, then got up at 4 am to drive her home from the hospital. A shining knight, indeed!

Of course my little mind which always snaps to finding the connections, however obscure, figured out that my release of superhero role, thus revealing my secret identity to the world, resulted in the classic comic book catastrophe that always befell Superman when he decided to hang up the cape. The evil do-ers of the planet (in this case those nasty viruses) took advantage of my moment of weakness. What is a gal who vaguely resembles Clark Kent to do??

Once again, in the clear sunny light of day, I can find the humour in the situation, but last night as I contemplated chartering a plane so that I could be at my mom's bedside, my "trust" was a little shaken. Maybe it was just a challenge to my process... after all, not really a crisis; my mom is home, woozy, but alright and it all got managed, right? Well, yes.

So back to the mantra - trust-trust-trust - all is as it should be!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Let go!! Part 2

Okay, now I am envisioning when you are a little kid and another kid who wants to be your friend but has disgusting sticky and filthy hands grabs onto you. You shake your arm violently and yell "Let GO!!". Having woken from a seemingly endless looping dream of needing to be in control of various situations, including taking care of my children, grandchildren and all the global disasters, I have realized that letting go isn't as simple as it sounds.

I have some signficant attachment to remaining attached.

In fact, I am convinced that if I don't keep scanning the horizon for the next attack/accident/crisis with shoulders tensed and adrenaline ready to shoot through my body that "my" world will quite possibly collapse. After all, it has been my vigilance that kept body and soul together for me and my extended family so far, isn't it?

This seems silly as I re-read it but that is contrary to the sensation that I have in my gut - this feels very grim over here in this sack of watery flesh. I actually operate in the world like I have the responsibility for taking care of it all. And I take on this grave duty very seriously, in case you hadn't noticed.

Now, there is good news... having noticed the extent of being gripped by this super hero delusion, I have an opportunity to hang up the cape. Bad news is that it is double knotted around my neck, so it might take a little loosening before I can take it off.

I always laugh with my coaching clients when the "trust" thing comes up - it is so consistent in everyone's conversation, how it all rolls back to trust. Coach, listen for thyself - uh huh, I can do this! My note from the Universe this morning (shout out to Mike Dooley) said that I will "prevail, thrive and arrive". I will trust that this morning!