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!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It's raining, it's pouring

...the old man is snoring - funny how those childhood rhymes don't go away but I forget to take out the garbage on garbage day.

The power of intention - that has me be curious today. Yesterday I fully intended to be successful in my phone calls and have some completed registrations for our summer course. Nothing, nada, zip, zero, "thank you, no", "not right now", "I will think about it"... not the responses I was looking for. Which has me pause and wonder about my focus and ability and what I am missing.

What comes to mind is the tattoo on my daughter's wrists (and probably the only phrase I would consider inking on my body) "Let go" "and breathe". Letting go - I am not so good at that. I am much more skilled and experienced in the pitbull method - you know, hanging on with jaws locked beyond all reason and logic?! Setting an intention and trusting the universe? Seems dodgy and somehow, well, lazy. Yet I know that when I hear the words "make it work" in my head that I am in the ferocious hanging on state and almost always unsuccessful in my efforts.

So, (deep breath - that is the "breathing" part) I am letting go of the outcome today. (Sure, sure, says the voice in my head - and how do you think that is going to work out?) No, really, I am going to shift my attention to other tasks, get to work on areas that I can make a difference in and trust that the universe will provide the responses that are needed. Must keep breathing consciously today - otherwise letting go is not an option.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Walkin' the Talk...

I know in my head that the act of appreciation shifts perspective and even grasp the concept that it alters one's physiology, but I never cease to be amazed when it works!! Yes, being consciously grateful for even the small things in my life lifts the cloud around my head and allows words to pour out and ideas to come to the surface. Hmph, can it be that simple? Is that really all it takes to be happy? My complicated mind is convinced that this is not real and the melancholy that was with me when I woke up is the actual reality of today. How ridiculous human beings are!

What is interesting is noting how I jump to the justification of the moodiness - almost like I deserve to feel sad. Funny that - I don't have the same automatic inclination to feel really happy. Must be the hard wiring!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Either a resounding YES or it's a No

It is either a resounding YES or it is No...

I read this on another friend's blog (She posts on Grace in Small Things which I joyfully participate in most every day and the thought has been rattling around in my brain ever since. I am holding up that question to every facet of my life and frankly, it is a little unsettling. While I have reached an age where I am much more declarative, arriving here came through convoluted pathways and often from veering right off the map of my life as I knew it. And I feel as though I might still be a tourist not a resident of the emphatic Affirmative Town. And I often am gripped by the need to apologize right after I state a resounding YES (or NO).

So, in the spirit of playing a game today, as trying on states of being in play allows a little room for fun, I am only taking on steps, tasks, decisions, choices that I can give a heartfelt YES to. I will see what comes out of a day of that...

(I am disregarding the immediate desire to delete that declaration - too bold, too risky, too selfish, etc - and will report back on what the experience is like!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Maple leafs and flags and changes

Spending Canada Day with good friends on an unusually hot July 1st and in a breathtakingly beautiful place allowed me to pause mid-week and once again get a measure of the brilliance of my life. Observing my dear friend as she absorbed news about a serious health challenge for her elderly father, watching as different aspects of the awareness struck her, I was impressed by her strength and grace. She didn't resist when emotions passed through her, didn't avoid us as the gathering and Canada day celebration went on in her lovely home, allowed us to be there, shared with us when it felt right. Today, she is flying off to be with family as they deal with the crisis, which is perfect and appropriate. I hope that we provided her with some space in between, to be with her feelings and to see the continuity of life as her daughter and grandchildren played in the sun with those of us fortunate enough to be in her circle of community.

This brings to the surface once again the inevitability of my mom's departure. Of a similar age as my friend's father, I am always somewhat waiting for a call with news of a signficant change in her well-being. Not living near her seems harder and harder as she ages, determined as she is to remain alone in her familiar home. I have reconciled with her choice of staying put and honour her commitment to her home and cat yet I am fearful that no one would be there if something catastrophic occurred. An interesting balance - a pull to be there for her, take care of her and an equal and opposite tug to be here with the imminent birth of the grandbaby. Obviously, I chose a long time ago to make my life away from the city of my birth and don't regret having become a west-coaster, but certainly wish for the invention of instant transportation in the event of really good or bad news!