Sunday, December 31, 2006

a little fluff in the navel..................

The last day of the year............the last Sunday of the year. It leaves me bewildered as to how all of a sudden another one has tumbled by. 2007? Does that not sound futuristic?'s just a number.

For many, Christmas is nerve jangling. I find New Year's Eve more rattling, and completely overblown. I could never get my head around the idea of donning my party dress and heading out to a ballroom to listen to some local band, and to merrily toast in a new beginning. It still seems so phoney to me............all kissy kissy with strangers. ick.

My idea of ringing in the new year has to include a time to navel gaze..............a backcrawl swim through the past 12 months, with a bit of floaty ruminating time on the blow up mattress sipping umbrella helps clean out the fluff in the navel.

Another way of looking at it? A closet cleaning that produces three piles........toss, keep and sell at the spring garage sale. Either way......................a recognition of life lived in 2006.

Since its not the time of year in this part of the world to take a floaty ride down the river in one's bathing suit, instead, I bundled up in layers of fleece, pulled on my big parka and new red boots, called for the dog and headed up to the fields near my home to go for a bracing walk. Blustery, wind sweeping, head clearing..........................BEAUTIFUL SUNNY Sunday walk up the hill to enjoy the sweeping vista of the river valley.

(I took my new camera and will try to post some photos later when I learn how to do it......some are stunning!!!)

I often find that when I'm out for a brisk walk, music fills my head like a soundtrack to my thoughts. When I left initially, my thoughts were embraced by the song on Pip's blog........ What if God was one of us? ..........a hauntingly beautiful song which admittedly has been with me the first moment I heard it........Yeah, yeah, God is good............ As I continued up the hill, the music changed and I found the wind bringing a choral orchestra of hallelujah joyous music harmoniously sung from the heart of a cathedral. I did, I really did hear it........................

And I thought.........................why this music? What does it tell does it fit with my ruminations and navel gazing? It does I realized, because I have shed off the layers of fatigue and frustrations of 2006 and have been left with the sweet clotted cream to savour. Blessings. My week of being home surrounded by my family and my friends, enjoying the time of year together have shored me up and have allowed me to shed the fluff in the navel.

Clarity, energy, hope, renewal, gratitude, humility, grace.

It has left me with with clear pictures of thanksgiving, and one word which could sum it up thematically...................connections. I can't capture all of the moments special to me this year, so I will try to deliver a few snapshots triggered spontaneously as I write.

A warm sunny blustery day on Prince Edward Island when the waves were strong and high enough to body surf with glee. 3 families and our dog............a weekend reunion which only happens one time a year............ this one was particularly memorable.

Canada Day night in Spencer's Island Nova Scotia sitting up on a cliff overlooking the Bay of Fundy with good friends around a bonfire.........clear starry summer sky, tidal breezes................down below a small group of camper trailers enjoying their own bonfires........... when all of a sudden, we are treated to a fireworks display, which is more impressive than any formally orchestrated event. Loved it!!

Last May, I walked into a foyer of a non-descript hotel nervous about attending a camp reunion. Wondering if my mega high expectations will ever be met, wondering how I will find my dearest friend from camp. Not a second slips by before I hear my name yelled out..................."Muskie! I need your help!! They have screwed up my reservation!" The voice was SOOOOOOOO familiar and the request for help, well...................familiar much so that I didn't realize how quickly I jumped back into my role all the while hugging and crying with my friend whom I hadn't set eyes on in over 20 years. We hadn't even spoken. It was the beginning of a serendipitously delicious weekend of joy in all it's elements.

Connections.........................with my colleagues and clients, with family near and far, with friends new and old, with my community, with my husband and children............connections.

This year, my connections reached far and wide around the globe all because of a little thing called the internet (many thanks to Al Gore........such a genius).

From Melbourne (hi Monk who's already living in 2007) to London (hugs to you Pip, you gem) to California (Hey Mike, Barbara and Layla) to Georgia (where are you Ellen? Hi there Arlen) to Kingston (Daisy! Can you put a tune to my song from yesterday?) to Oregon (Deborah, love your poetry) to Paris (Tara.........your photos amaze me) to Montreal (K, my political/baseball friend) and to an island I want to visit, Guernsey (Katie, you dancing to Sinatra? Paul, I miss you.........where are you?) and of course downriver, with a quick stop in Burton and .................all the way to the Bay of Fundy (Hey CS.) ................. and all stops in between.....................AMAZING!!!!! To think I didn't know any of you this time last year. Your thoughts and comments and emails have been the most wonderful boost, the most fabulous gifts a writer could ever ask for.

Oh.................and my local blog buds..........Sunny, Mr. Mad Mac with a romantic heart (who knew?), and a Princess who is out there caring like mad. Sometimes you're just across the street, sometimes it feels like the street is a mile wide, but I always feel connected to you through the crazy is that?? :)

What if God was one of us?

Just a slob like one of us..................trying to make his way home................... like a holy rolling stone.........................yeah, yeah

Happy New Year...................... time to pour some pink bubbly..........I love champagne. Time to kick in the new year with some guitar riffs and dancing tunes........................and a whole lot of love. Think I'll don my sexy little black dress and whoop it up..............yeah.

Sing it loudly!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

late night soft shoe.......

This came to me while making dinner tonight. Anyone care to put pick up a guitar and put music to my words???

Dance when you care to

Ask me to join you

Teach me your song
Swirl me along

I will step with you

Cry if you need to

I will shelter you

Shed learning tears

Without any fears

I'll shed a few too

Drive when you feel to

All night long through

Take the long way

Til dawn shows her way

I will be there too.

Pray when it moves you
Turn around your blues

Let God declare
He meaningfully cares
His deeply loves you

Love when you crave to

I'm there to receive you

Shared song in our hearts

We'll never part

I'm here to embrace you.

Shout when you fear to

Rage out your heart blues

Don't hold it in

I know where you've been
You've nothing to lose.

Dance when you care to
Ask me to join you

Teach me your song

We'll dance all night long

Sharing a soft shoe.

I feel like a slow dance................................

Friday, December 29, 2006


“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

ee cummings

I was wondering lately about the concept of attachment. It seems that most of what I've read rings with negative vibes. If one attaches to iconic beliefs, one sees the world through a myopic filter. In order to find self, one has to detach. To many, it seems that the idea of attachment reflects a leech-like one sided existance......of dependence and blindness.....of selfish need fulfillment. This surprised me. I hadn't looked at the meaning of attachment in this way. Rather, my thoughts led me in the opposite direction.

Sure, we become attached to material possessions. How many times do we say or hear......" I can't live without my....................." Yes, we can easily become dependent on a belief system that lacks the fluid opportunities to question and challenge it. It's easier to swallow a message from the Bible whole rather than find the confidence to boldly question it. Relationships too can become one-sided, when needs of one consistently far outweigh the needs of another or when one person in the relationship displays control tactics in a power play. We all struggle with these unhealthy attachments as we figure out a way to balance and fairness. It's all part of life's's journey.

I want to look at attachment in a healthier sense because to me, it represents fellowship and belonging. Healthy attachments reflect mutual affinity of like minds. Healthy attachments can offer new insights of who we are, and how we are perceived and what our value is to this world. Possibly producing snippets of self- revelation. It is a bonding between two individuals or a connection to a place of worship, or to a community that allows one to find the confidence to show a vulnerable side. It allows one to feel an open-hearted sense of being able to show true colours thereby feeling accepted no matter what. The strings of attachment, when the feelings of affinity flow back and forth, are wrapped in acceptance and self-confidence. We are then able to strive for personal independence. Affirmation and attachment are the foundation to build on our independence. WE need love and belonging as much as we need air to breathe.

There are times when the balance of a friendship tips.............personal circumstances pull on the strings in one way. Need for reassurance, need for more understanding, more commitment, more attention puts pressure on the relationship. It alters the role each person may have assumed in the attachment. Sometimes it's difficult to know how to help or to know how to ask for help. It may be new territory, especially if the friendship is newly forming, or if the needs are deep.

Questions from both parties can arise...........on both sides of the attachment............felt stronger when there is a unique sense of kindredness one doesn't find just anywhere.........
  • What does this person want from me?
  • How can I reach out to help this person without being misperceived?
  • How can I explain my pain and anguish to another when I can't even describe it to myself?
  • Why is this person reaching out to me when I have nothing to give in return?
  • Is there an underlying reason why this person would want to help me?
  • How worthy am I?
  • Are there strings attached to this person's desire to help me?

When it comes to connecting with new people in our lives, we are often untrusting beings arent we? Unconditional acceptance is a foreign entity in our lives, expecially if one has been burned before by someone who at face value seemed to be offering an open heart but then trumped you with a different agenda. And, yet unconditional acceptance, where harsh judgement plays no role, does exist between two people. It's a hard climb to make.............but well worth it because these types of attachments............this kinship is the most satisfyingly rich than any other.

Vulnerability, self-doubt, pain and confusion can easily block the questions from being posed. However, if the attachment is based on mutual admiration, on desire to give and take, on the awareness that the friendship can offer both enlightenment and personal growth, the questions need to be asked..................and answered.......................feeding the depth of affinity and feeding confidence in the reliability of the other person.

All relationships shift, all friendships breathe Commitment to making it work, to wanting to learn more about ourselves, desire to giving and receiving, and the expression of words allow attachments to flourish. Both parties must see the gift, and must want to take the risk to learn to trust to make it work.

No one likes to feel like a misfit. No one wants to feel lonely. We do want to be understood, accepted, loved, matter how large the scars are. We all need unconditional love provided through healthy attachments to thrive to feel alive. It's very real...........

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

All consuming consumerism

I don't get it...............why would anyone in their right mind go shopping on Boxing Day? Sure, there are BIG sales to lure the lemmings back into the malls........we have a recycle box of flyers to prove it. But, you'd think people would have reached their satiation point. Enough already!

I had a tough time this year with all things plastic and blow upity found on the front lawns of tackydom. For some reason, I choked everytime I saw a display of over the top too much garishness blinking messages of materialism. That was a lot of gagging, because it seemed to me a Christmas lighting and ornamental virus hit like wildfire. It used to be that there were one or two off the wall eccentric families in the community who would cover every space and eavestrough on their homes, and then would have this fountain of twinkling lights glaring off their bushes and trees. It was ode to the Griswolds. NOW? Whole neighbourhoods have gone blinking bonkers. These same people are lining up for Walmart's Boxing Day bonanza to purchase more zippy lights and blow up thingys for their classy collection. Whooooppeeee.............

This afternoon, I waited inside the mall for 15 minutes to pick up my son and husband at the movie theatre. It was the only reason I would ever set foot in there this week. However, it gave me a chance to gawk and wonder. The place was packed to the rafters with bag carrying sales seekers, looking for yet another great deal..........not to be passed up. Many of them looked like they were really enjoying themselves. What's with that? Maybe I'm in the minority, but I find malls even on a day in March when I would have it all to myself, repulsive. If I have to go in one, it is with a mission that has a beginning and end.......then I'm out of there. No loitering for me. But, I digress..........................these are my thoughts and questions while waiting my 15 minutes, watching the consumer crowds..............boxing it out.........

1. What's with high pointy heels and tight ass jeans complete with a winter jacket with fake fur that only falls just below the breasts? This is Canada people. It's freaking cold outside. Don't tell me this is going to keep you warm? It not only looks uncomfortable and potentially harmful, it seems to be a uniform and not original....... it makes 14 year olds look skanky. It makes 40 year olds look used up. Oh, wait a's the puck bunny uniform. It is truly rules!

2. Did every teenager receive a hair straightening device so that they can fakify a look of unique tartism?

3. Why didn't these kid's fathers ever tell them to close their mouths or they'll catch flies like my Dad did? Walking around with a stunned mouth open look is not attractive.........and yet methinks there must be a "how to flirt like a fish" book stuffed in every school locker in the kingdom I've missed reading about? Bone straight hair, dried out and unhealthy looking because of the goop and irons put to it, tight ass jeans, belly jackets and wonky high heels......not blinking............wide black liner eyed...........mouth open pouty like........... arrrrrrgh.........

4. Cell phones. Unbelievable. Are people afraid to be alone even in a mall? What the heck are they afraid to be missing? As people streamed out of the theatres, every other person seemed to be either dialing up, or checking messages, or turning it on. I saw 10 year olds walking by talking on their little flippy compacts. To me, the whole cell phone craze is the epitome of consumerism gone bonkers. I understand the connection to business or the need for a kid to have one if they live in a large city and must commute to school or some situation like that. Safety and business. But, why does a 12 year old need a cell phone to talk to THE 12 year old FRIEND WHO IS WOBBLING ON THEIR SKANKY HIGH HEELS BESIDE THEM?

5. Why are kids allowed to wear such ridiculous get ups, complete with skin stretchy mini skirts and little strappy undershirts, black leggings and pink bras with the straps showing? What message are we giving to these children that dressing like a whore is acceptable.............?? It's beyond me.

6. Why does someone need 25 sweaters? Or every Ninetendo game out there? How come SO many people can afford those game systems? Where does all the plastic go when it has reached it's expiration date? Have we reached our consumerism limit? How much more waste can we generate?

Good thing I was only in the place for 15 minutes. I think my head would have popped off if I had stayed any longer.................

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Threads of gold and silver........

Small encounters are felt most,
as are spontaneities.

Heightened meaning falling toward you.

Out of the blue.

Unseen design of providence, seemingly happenstance

Shapeless at first.....

chance interactions

unless you take time to ponder

Isolated moments which may remain so
if life events are siloed

just a little happening all on it's own

with no meaning


illuminated sentience accumulated
to reveal
whispers of Guidance with meaning.

Your choice.

This home has been a centre of whirling spontaneities all beneath the veneer of planned events. I'm exhausted, yet feeling a sense of satisfaction and pleasure. Christmas didn't feel like it was on it's way despite trimming the tree, decorating the mantel, listening to the familiar carols, and wrapping presents, reading and contemplating the meaning of the day of Celebration. Normally, one of these activities throws me into the Christmas magic. This year, I went into it wiped out. The spirit of Christmas and my ability to embrace the meaning seemed wilted.

Small encounters and delicious spontaneity arrived just in time.............thank you God.

It started with the Solstice bonfire and potluck out at Keswick Ridge. One would've had a grinch-like heart not to feel the energy of the children, adults included under the umbrella of kiddies.............excited about Christmas, and popping with sparks to experience a nighttime winter adventure. It was palpably the first planned event full of spontaneous small encounters.

Under a beautiful midnight clear and a blanket of stars.

The second event on Saturday night was full of encounters, culminating in a very spontaneous round of carol singing. Our home was filled to the brim with friends of all ages and with some new faces who were visiting our friends for Christmas. Ages ranged from an infant to a couple of Grandmas. Not everyone knew one another....... it was a gathering of people we knew from different components of our lives. And yet, the chatter and openness to get to know one another.........the sharing of personal stories, and the playing of games all fed the feeling that this gathering for some reason seemed more special than others in the past.

As I flitted here and there, serving and orchestrating..........which is what I do best, as does my partner in life...........though he's more visible being the pourer of "spirits" and the background music guy........ I observed many encounters, as well as jumped into a few. What made me feel the most pleased.................dead pleased like the angels :) ............. was to see how comfortable and how relaxed the crowd was.

My home was their home...............
Comfortable enough to be themselves.

Nothing makes me more satisfied.

Before we knew it, a friend picked up a guitar and began playing. Before we knew it, voices of all ages began to sing Christmas Carols. Even the self-concious teenies sang. If we couldn't remember all the verses, one of the Grandmas, a Minister, led the way.

Harmony..........together.........filling the room with Christmas spirit.

No one left before midnight. The last of the crew, carrying their bundled up children said their goodbyes in the wee hours. There was a desire to stay in the moment to savour the feeling.

Heightened meaning falling towards us out of the blue.

Christmas Eve................dinner at a friend's home. Friends who are as close as family. More quiet than the night before, but no less meaningful. This was the first time we had shared dinner on Christmas Eve together. Usually we aren't in the same town...............spending time with our own families far away........ It meant a lot to all of us.

Yesterday..........Christmas Day.............a morning for just us.......the four of us. Full of surprises and big smiles unwrapping the gifts, of choral music and enjoying the time together. After a big hearty breakfast, I tiptoed down the hallway to a big bed, put my new CD on the stereo........beautiful classical music......... and promptly fell into the deepest worry free sleep. Contentment.

Dinner................ traditional turkey with all the trimmings.....................shared with another family.......our fourth one together. We began by sharing our blessings.........of friends, health, family, special times shared.....everyone having a chance to speak from their heart which focused all of us on the meaning of Christmas Day.

Glad to be together. Glad to share a special day. Heightened meaning......awareness....... felt by all.

Monday, December 25, 2006


O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Merry Christmas to everyone..........

may you find a peaceful home in your hearts,

food to warm your spirits,

and red wine to gladden your soul.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

out in the distance, a family star

It's Christmas Eve. The winter sun is peaking up over the river in a brilliant orange. Beautiful. I've been awake for a couple of hours, flooded by the remembrance of the faces connected to me. It's comforting and sad at the same time. Christmas has a way of heightening joy and sorrow simultaneously doesn't it?

One smiling face seems to be surfacing in my thoughts more predominantly today, and I think I know why. On Christmas Eve when I was young, my Dad would make a long distance phone call overseas to his Aunt Jean in Scotland. Unlike today, it was a huge deal then to place a call like that. I think you had to call the operator to help you. Plus it seemed like such an expense. It only happened on Christmas Eve and the phone call was actually directed to the neighbour next door because Aunt Jean didn't have her own phone. The neighbour would bang on the pipes between their homes to let Jean know her nephew was calling from Canada. Once she was on the other end of the line..................which had a crackly far away sound, we'd all have a chance to say hello to this feisty woman with a thick Scottish "r" rolling brogue.............only half understanding what she was saying.

Beautiful rolling "r's" and a lilty song voice couched with an "ooooooooooo" and always a direct "this is how it is" tone. My Great Aunt Jean. The matriarch of my Dad's side of the family. I wouldn't describe her as a warm and fuzzy type, though she had a big heart and kept the familial history up to date in her oversized Bible. She had a outside crust to her rosy cheekiness.

Aunt Jean was my first penpal. After her initial visit to Canada to stay with us (her very first time on a plane), she and I wrote to one another regularly for years. I loved receiving the blue aerogram in the mail with her tiny scripty writing, full of newsy bits of her life and of the lives of her daughters, my second cousins. In return, I would fill her in on the newsy bits about her nieces and nephews........and grrrrrand nieces and nephews......... I still have her letters tucked away.

Underlying our special Christmas Eve event was this feeling of connecting to the place in the world where we came from.....a wee little village called Lanark in Lanarkshire. My Grandfather was born not far from where Aunt Jean lived in another village named Larkhall, near "Mount Tintel".............the highest point in the area.

When I was 18, I made the trek to visit her in Lanark. She took me all around the area, introducing me as "This lass is my grrrrrrand niece..........Tom's son RRRRRRRRRRobert's eldest. She's come to visit from Canada."
And they would reply....... "Aye, I can see the resemblance.........Welcome to Lanark. Have you climbed Mount Tintel yet? You must do that and when yooooooooooou doooooo, take a rock with yooooooooooou to leave at the top. That's the tradition. We all have a part in making it higher."

Over the ensuing years, we continued to keep in touch through aerograms and visits. She flew again across the pond a couple of times, and I had another visit to Lanark. It was during my second trip, which occured near the end of a 4 month trek through Europe when I felt a strong sense of ancestral belonging to Lanark. It happened during the walk up Mt. Tintel with my friend Heather and three new travel friends. As we climb up this hill, rocks in hand, I was flooded by a feeling of belonging. It was a wonderful experience.

So, today as we go for a walk in the afternoon, as we get ready to enjoy Christmas Eve we take part in the church services tonight, I will think of my Aunt Jean and her rollings "rrrrrrrrr's".......... and reintroduce a few of my stories of her to my children.

I want her spirit to be alive today................on Christmas Eve.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cheer Gathers

Our doors open tonight for cheer gathering
Traditions created, passed on and anticipated

Part of our Christmas celebration

Part of my childhood celebrations,
continued with my family.

Tonight, the lights on the trees begin to work their magic

Fire in the hearth, crackling warmth
Beautiful music

Always beautiful music

Excited kiddies.......and a baby too.....
Dressed in fancy duds and tights

Eating gingerbread

Tasting yuletide

Singing carols

Chanting stories

Catching up with one another

Tossing out remember whens........

Sharing savouries

Drinking red wine to gladden our hearts.

Toasting to His birth in a manger,
far away
a long time ago

Cheer gathers.............

Making those Angels pleased! Right Pip?

Dead pleased!! YESSSSSS!

Friday, December 22, 2006

winter solstice

Last night, friends gathered to celebrate the longest night of the year. Tired from a long autumn of work and school and extra-curricular responsibilities a reflection of life's frantic pace, we all felt low ebb energy. It was almost too much effort to even attend. The lure of fellowship and the twilight mystery behind event, however, was enough to keep the incentive to come together alive.

The feast of always an attractive lure.......

The last time we converged on this friend's home was six months ago to celebrate the shortest night of the year.
It was light until late......warm t-shirt weather.
Excited expectations felt by all.....
the end of school and the beginning of a long hazy summer holiday.
Kids of all ages played games in the fields below the house
Parents of all ages enjoyed a spectacular view of the river and the forest beyond.
A group of boys worked together to build a rocket which shot HIGH into the summer sky.
They were so pleased.
We all cheered.
A glorious sunset treated our eyes.

The feast of fellowship sparked our low ebb.
Marking the beginning of winter gatherings
This time....... the kids of ALL ages came together
Under a bazillion stars
Huddled close to ward of the nippy winds
Close to the blazing bonfire
Singing and howling at the moon
Laughing at the sound of eachothers howling
Watching the crackling sparks that floated high up in the air, whisked away by the wind
Eating gooey melted marshmallows, just like summer
Talking of Christmas
Celebrating the end of school for the holidays
Sharing the night sky

Off in the distance...through the bare trees...were tiny lights on homes.....a blurry merge ofred, green, blue.....

Low ebb energy recharged............ by the howling laughter of sticky marshmallow faces.

One little boy upon returning to the house after braving the cold for much longer than most of the adults, ran into the kitchen..........his face flushed by the wind, his eyes as wide as saucers announced with enthusiastic gusto............THAT WAS SOOOOOOOOOOO FUN!


I read a great story the other day about two men in Toronto who have become friends and who have subsequently created a blogsite together. One man, Philip is a consultant for a tech company. The other man, Tony lives on the streets and is a sharp observer of his world. Philip set up a blog to be able to share Tony's life insights..........

The site is witty, insightful, funny and poignant.......I love what they have done together, and I hope many people visit the site to meet Tony. He has much to say..................

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Doing hard work, far from home.

I'm home for the holidays. I have more downtime today to read and it feels good. This is what I have just read....a beautifully written piece in the Globe and Mail. I want to share it with you. .........

Morning Radio

"Scatter JOY"

My city is relatively small, though feels larger than other cities the same size. This has to do with the fact that it is the provincial capital with a big public service sector, home to two universities, the now nationally infamous Beaverbrook Art Gallery, an active arts community, and a river that runs through it. Steeped in Canadiana history, which is visible just by walking along Queen Street downtown past the old soldier's barracks and Officer's square, Fredericton has a city feel to it. What makes it so special is the village feel to it, where people know one another, where there is a sense of familiarity. I was reminded of this feeling while listening to the local CBC morning program this week.

Every year, like many businesses and organizations all over, CBC orchestrates a Christmas fundraising drive. Last year, they focused on collecting turkeys for the local food bank to distribute. This year, they kickstarted a program called "Feed a Family" about a week ago and have since raised over $50,000.00 so far. Tomorrow is the last day. All week, morning radio has been the impetus of promoting and scattering joy.........they have opened their doors to welcome community members to stop for a coffee and treat on the way to work to drop off any donations and all week the "listening audience" has done just that.

Throughout the morning show, interspersed with newsy interviews with politicians from various levels of government, sports and weather updates, the CBC host jumps in to chat with someone who has just dropped in for coffee and treats........and to add to the coffers. Some names and voices are familiar to me as I see them in my city from time to time, many organizations are well known....... all seem to feel a sense of connection to the host and crew at the CBC because they listen most kind of feel like you do know them. These chats and the stories behind the donations made to the Feed a Family fund are much more enlightening and meaningful than any of the political wingeing going on over budgets and deficits and broken election fact the joyful scattering makes the political postering insignificantly petty.

Some stories................................

  • A woman arrived with two freshly baked pies for the coffee and treat room........ She announced on the radio that she would make two pies of any kind a month for a year, plus two for Christmas dinner to the highest bidder.........the money going to the fund.

  • A retired gentleman who took up knitting with gusto only 4 years ago and has since made over 100 sweaters had an idea in the middle of the night. He has knitted everyone and their cousin a sweater. No one needs another one. So, he thought he would offer to knit someone the sweater of their choice to the highest bidder.........the money going to the fund.

  • This morning, the local rotary club president arrived with a cheque for $2000.00 that was raised throughout the year in small increments. He set up a challenge to all other service organizations.

  • Another active morning listener who often calls in or sends email feedback on a story stopped by to give one of the radio crew a football jersey of his favourite team and a donation from his office of over $400.00 that was collected this fall from "dress down" Fridays in his office, plus a donation from his own family. Being a Red Sox fan, he challenged all other Red Sox fans to match his personal donation.

And on and on and on............................scattering joy.....................making the city feel like a welcoming community village...............

The other night, my family and I went over to the Community Kitchen to help decorate it. It was there that I heard a wonderful story of generosity....... a woman arrived out of the blue with a car load of gift wrapped toys she had purchased from the backpay she received when her salary increase arrived. $1000.00 worth of toys for scatter joy.

Tomorrow, we find out who gets a new sweater and who gets to eat pie all year long. The final tally will be in............. it will be over their original goal. Many families will have food for their cupboards and a turkey on their tables..........I wish we could bottle this community spirit to uncork in the middle of February when no one's paying attention to the pantry. Joy needs to be scattered throughout the year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


"Faith is a passionate intuition"
Willliam Wordsworth

The cliche "seeing is believing" really doesn't make the cut all on it's own because if you have a strong belief in someone or something, you have to feel it deep in your gut. Reinforced by the conclusion in our thinking that there is no way it can't be true, faith materializes.

As much as we strive for me, tell me, prove to me........passionate intuition is the depth of our trust.
Trust in in circumstantial happenings...... trust in the broader reason behind events which may not seem to have any rhyme or reason........ trust in receiving guidance to make the right decisions ...... trust in God.

Yesterday, two separate people stories intertwined. It fed the passion behind my intuition. It strengthened my faith.

Last summer I met a woman through my work travels. Alone in the world after caring for both her parents when they were ill and dying, and then experiencing the disolution of her marriage, she found herself suffering from depression and physical pain. She had recently moved to town to be closer in proximity to her sister. Her home, located in a very large trailer park was filled with collections of things she has grown to rely on for comfort. Cozy and welcoming, one automatically felt like you'd entered a safe sanctuary. We spent a couple of hours talking at her kitchen table, mostly about her health issues at first and then onto broader topics ranging from faith, family and friends. It was apparent that this woman may have felt quite lonely before she moved into the community, but she had the ability and motivation to reach meet many others and to begin to develop a new familial type of support.

Her story stayed with me, and I had often wondered about how she was doing.

In September, I met with a man who's troubles were so painful and plentiful. It was difficult to know where to start to help him. He lives in the same trailer park, but his home was rundown beyond repair. The day I met with him, he had only a sleeve of crackers left to eat. He told me about caring for his dying parents, of how he had sustained a head injury when he was young from being hit by a car while driving his bike. He told me about how alone and tired and hungry he last winter he went 3 months without running he had tried and tried to get someone to help him repair his fill in the holes left open from rotting wood.........winter cold winds whistling through. Work is allusive because his whole body hurts now.

Unbelievable, I thought. This man didn't live way out in the woods far away from help. His rundown home was only 10 minutes from my office. And yet, he could've been living as far away as Romania. It made me angry and so sad. His story dug deep under my skin. Not a day goes by that I don't wonder about him. Though he is now receiving a little more money because he is now recognized as having a disability which in the world of social assistance means a little more money, he is still living in a home that should have been condemned.

Yesterday, I spoke to the woman in the trailer park for the first time since we had originally met. She's feeling a bit better and wants to begin looking for part-time work. I could hear it in her voice.........she is on the mend, though will always have to live with the physical pain, her head is clearing. I shared that with her........." I can hear more hope......."

She confirmed this and told me about the connections she has made in her neighbourhood and how for the first time, her life is her own............and she has positive people all around her.

I asked her about Christmas....... "Do you have a Christmas hamper coming? What are your plans for Christmas dinner?" Not only is her hamper arriving TODAY, she has arranged for others in need to receive one. She has also opened her home and offered her bountiful table to share with her new "family." Then, by fate she mentioned the man who lives in squalor and pain.

She had no idea that I had met him. She had no idea how deeply his story affected me. At first, I simply listened to her "take" on his story.........and how sad it made her feel. All stories are confidential. Sometimes they just can't be................ so, when she told me that he was joining her Christmas table for dinner............ I couldn't help myself!!
"I can't tell you how relieved I am to know this! Tell him I have not forgotten him. (he has no phone) Tell him that I am working to find him a new home."

What a lift! What a booster of faith..............this woman who lives on $500.00 A MONTH to pay for all her bills is looking after her own community. Not only that, she found the man and has welcomed him into the fold! AMAZING!

After we said our goodbyes, I shared the story............passionately to the people who can make a difference. By the end of the day, it turned out that the man is now top on the waiting list for new homes. He will be moving in after the New Year.

A wink from the cosmos................... all meant to be.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What is mystery behind the gravitational pull between two people?
How is it that kindreds find one another?

Monday, December 18, 2006

frontline life

I wrote this at the end of the workday. Actually it wrote itself, spilling out of me to share with my co-workers this Christmas season.

Frontline Life

Out in the field
Our days are filled
By heart sore people stories
Soaked in sorrow
Choked in breath catch pain
Eased with salving comfort
Connecting, Expressing, Listening, Experiencing
While learning about other's life tapestries.

Out in the field
Our hands are tied
By harsh restrictive rules
Dashed with frustration
Lifted by fresh ideas
Lightened with hope
Exploring, Wondering, Questioning, Reframing
While learning from other's life tapestries.

Out in the field
Our hearts are opened
By raw needful requests
Burdened in crisis
Singed by immediacy
Touched by compassion
Imploring, Reacting, Solving, Giving
While learning about our own life tapestry.

Out in the field
Our lives are enhanced
By real life drama
Spoken from poverty
Woven with story threads
Shaded in people hues
Interacting, Disclosing, Listening Loving
While creating our personal tapestries.

This is why we live the frontlines. It's what matters. The gathering of and learning from the story threads, woven into our own fabric........a gift from the human beings who have shared them with us. Our lives are far more richer because of these gifts.

leonard's sweet poetry

Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Today, I will sing this song to myself..............and possibly out loud if need be. This will be on my tongue. Such a beautiful song. Such beautiful lyrics. Hallelujah, the word of joy and praise. It sweeps anger out of your heart.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Back on top

On top of the world.

"For all of us who are alive, life is the real issue. Yet so often we judge our existence by the things that happen to us—by whether things are going our way or not. Sometimes we feel strong—strong enough to dictate our future. Sometimes we feel that we can make things happen. Then there are times when we feel totally helpless. But through all the dramas and bumps, there is life. There is the very powerful, very existence of every single human being”

I love the internet. It's chock full of gems we can mine for our own personal ruminations. This particular quote is the nugget I found this morning as I was searching for a lesson in perspective... a way of leveling out my intense feelings over my situation in my work life.

Friday morning, I found myself vibrating with frustration and anger which reached a crescendo that even scared me. I don't scare easily especially when it comes to the expression of emotion, so that's saying somethin'. I have learned, often the hard way, how much someone in my life can absorb or reflect feelings. Sometimes I express myself too deeply, or I say too much and have found that I am misunderstood or I have frightened them off so I do my best to gauge it, but sometimes it just spills out of pours out of me. I'm not good at wearing masks and playing a role that doesn't feel completely genuine to me. That doesn't mean that I can't be diplomatic. I can. What it does mean is that I react, whether it's internally or expressed, to anyone who is not genuine and honest with their feelings.

I'm impatient with phonies......people who are living behind a thick papier mache mask trying to hide their faults rather than being honest with themselves and the rest of us who are impacted by their inability to admit their imperfections.........their true nature. It seems to me that if one is using all their energy to project an image of themselves that is dishonest, they have no energy left to do anything else. I know they are wounded. I get that. What I won't accept is when it's all covered in wordy gobbledeegook thrown my way.

We all feel helpless at times. That's life. Vulnerability is a naked merciful tender new skin over a wound. It needs fresh air before a dressing can go on it. This weekend, I let it air while staying busy living life. Tonight, after a weekend of ruminations and contemplations and talking out my frustrations with people close to me , after a weekend of also getting stuff done........I'm ready to tackle the week. Still feeling a little raw, but with the knowledge that I have a say in my destiny. I can make things out!!

Oh...........and if I was elected Premier of this fine Province..........the first thing I would do is outlaw middle management, and pronounce to all..........."That's life! Move on!!"

Saturday, December 16, 2006

my town

I love this photo of my downtown. Click on it to enlarge the photo. It's actually two photos merged together to form the vista. I saw the pic yesterday when I had a quick visit with fellow blogger, colleague and friend, Mr Mad Mac. Thanks Scott.

Christchurch Cathedral to the left........the bronze tower of the provinicial legislature in the middle. It has just recently restored. At 3pm on sunny days, the gleam from the sun touching the tower and bouncing off is spectacular. I make a point of checking it out whenever I can.

See the white square roof structure with the ribbon of colours on it? My office is right beside it, hidden behind that clump of trees...................I'm waving at you.

The scenery changes seasonally, but the reflection's too wet and mucky for me to go sit by the river to soak through my own much needed personal reflections. I'm going to have to gaze at it from a distance this weekend.....a good long walk along the walking trail close by the water, a drive out to Keswick Ridge tonight, upriver from this particular site, to enjoy dinner with friends and their view of the river and some quiet family time in our living room where I can comfortably snuggle under a blanket on the couch with a figure some stuff out.

And the river runs through...........cleansing away trivialities........revealing "beautiful imperfections"....... speaking volumes about the strength in recognizing one's own vulnerabilities.

Thank you Pip.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

happy tired.

Late night quiet and sleepy.
I'm happy tired.
Content as I reflect on my busy day.
Sure there were many mini frustrations.
I'm not focusing on those.
They have been filtered out.
Sand though my hands.
What's left are the shells.
Tiny perfect wave worn ocean jewels.
All representing the connections that were made.
Today..........making me happy tired.

A father who was distraught over his daughter's safety and future as she continues to fight piercing demons in her head. He needed to share his grave and real concerns. Over the phone, miles away from one another we talked.
His daughter inflicts pain on herself and others. But, she's now temporarily in a special care home.

Safe for the time being. He can sleep tonight without such deep worries.

I asked him how his daughter's illness affects him. He tells me about his beliefs. We talk about church and community and family and support. We talk about Christmas. He shares a few stories of suicide attempts of assaults, of his daughter being taken advantage of by evil people. Like any parent, he wants to make the demons go away.
I tell him that I often meet with families who are living the same nightmare. I was able to let him know that I get it. I can't make it better, but I understood........feelings under the words. He's not alone. How lucky his daughter is to have such a strong compassionate person in her life. I assure him that he can call again......anytime.

A grown son and his mother. I met them in their home. We sat at the kitchen table. The cat was on my lap. Mom provided tea and cookies. I encouraged the son to tell me his story so that I could help him apply for a disability pension. Red cheeks, wet eyes, stumbling over stuck words, jumping from one thought to another, cursing his inability to explain his world to me.....that's how our conversation began. Frustration rushed to his blushed face.
He can't live alone. He can't find a job and keep it. His attention deficit disorder coupled with his anxiety have rendered him incapable of finding the words to describe what goes on in his uniquely wired brain. He has no filter..........bombarded with sensory overload, he can't focus on one task, on one thought, on learning how to make friends.
He told me that there are times when he is thinking about so many things at the same time that his brain feels like it is full of fizzy bubbles......zipping and zapping. He tries and tries and tries, but he never feels that he gets living his life right.

We sipped hot drinks.
The cat is a funny diversion.

From there, our three way conversation became lively and interactive.......asking, sharing, wondering, posing questions, stark answers, some laughter, a few tears..........engaged.

The red cheeks disappeared, as did the word stumbling. All of a sudden, the son is able to describe himself with confidence. The fizzy bubbles left his brain and he tells me he's better able to stop the word tripping because he knows I understand. What a difference I see! We talk and talk until it begins to get dark and I have to leave for home.........
As I was leaving, the Mom gave me a little bag filled with yummy dried apple rings sprinkled with cinammon and sugar she had made that day. For the ride home.


I shared them with my kids while I told them about the son and his mom and how lucky I was to have met them.

Two of the many connections I have made today......... I wish I had the energy to share all of them with you.............. but I'm too happy tired.

Life is good. The lights are out.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Yes, Minister

You would've thought Queen La Deeee Dah was arriving to my office today given the level of feathered fur flying frenzy flapping all around me all week AND some of last week. There's nothing quite like a visit from the new government Minister to get management all a quivery in their booties. From the moment the announcement arrived declaring her intentions to meet the "wee" people, the boss squirrels have been busy collecting and assessing their nuts...... methinks some of them were cracked and misshapened when they fell from the tree.

Have you ever heard a squirrel squawk and chatter when they are all a flutter? Its an incessantly funny noise, but one you would seriously find irritating if it continued ad nauseum through many workdays. Despite the fact that my new office has walls......they are made of bristol board. The noise rattled and cackled manically, pitching to a crescendo this morning. The cackling boss squirrel was bouncing off the walls sounding at times like a bagpipe running out of air. It was so annoying and so unbelievably out of proportion. Luckily, I was able to beg off to a meeting with a group of wonderful community people who counsel and work directly with families who have experienced abuse and violence, thereby avoiding most of the kerfuffle. Committee work with meaning. When I was in my office, I tried to soothe the air with Haydn. Even Haydn couldn't cut the cackle, it was that offensive.

Why do people get so darned bent out of shape when a Government bigwig comes a calling? Honestly, they are elected officials............ yes, there is a need for some decorum, but to put them up on some pedestal and treat them like they are made of delicate blown glass is just plain goofy. Truth and sincerity goes completely out the window. Instead, a bunch of halllaaaabaaallloney is created in a fancy schmancy powerpoint presentation to impress and to ignore the facts. A schedule of events is created and recreated, discussed, assessed, changed, expanded, contracted, altered, and fine tuned, all at the expense of taxpayers.

It was decided that presentations over coffee in the boardroom where we the wee people could meet and greet La Dee Dah...... orders were given (honest to God) to "stick to the script" and the tight info sharing timelines. After the presentations, an entourage of squirrels would take her on a tour.......past a couple of dirt mounds where supposedly a couple of apartments are being built, a visit with a client (who was chosen after CAREFUL deliberation and input to choose the right who wouldn't go off the deep end and dump on the department heaven forbid......when I was asked for suggestions and told that they were afraid of any "outbursts" I shook my head and told them I couldn't think of one soul who didn't have a free will to say exactly what was on their mind.

The last stop was a small public housing cul-de-sac where 13 families including 30 kids live. This was the scariest part of the nerve wracking squirrel day because there was NO WAY they could control the outcome............they would have to trust the families and the kids.

So, the Minister arrived on time at 2:00 pm. I entered the boardroom from the back door thinking I would keep a low profile, but as luck would have it there she was...............casually dressed, hair a little mussed up from a winter hat, pouring people coffee. She turned to me immediately, hand out to shake and a big smile on her friendly human face and said enthusiastically........

"Hi, I'm Mary!"

I enthusiastically replied to the Right Honourable Big Boss Minister lady whom I'm supposed to address curtesy mind you........but formally..............

"Hi Mary! I'm Muskie!"

Well, no I didn't say Muskie..........I said my real name....Awareness (ooops! I did the same thing years ago when I was 8 month preggers waddling onto a stuffed hot plane.....wanting only to sit and forget that I was flying because I hate flying and I was introduced to the then Premier by his wife whom I worked with at the Community College.....she said............"Muskie, I'd like you to meet my husband Frank." Without thinking............"Hi Frank. Nice to meet you. How did you enjoy Toronto? Mind the protruding's just a bulging baby and it has made me puffy all over..............")

Today.........after our informal intros we started chatting about politics and how wonderful it is to learn and how much she's enjoying her new job, and how she's settling into her apartment........regular stuff. She reminded me of my Aunt who is as sociable and friendly as one can get. Worried squirrels looked on when she asked about a specific client issue she had learned about, wondered what could be done. She then pulled her executive assistant over to follow up with me. He and I chatted on and off throughout the presentation from the squirrel titans.

OUT came the big concept words that have no meaning when bunched together in between a list of "best practises" and "future visions" You ready for them...........................?

Integration, Sustainability, Self-Sufficiency, Self-Reliance, Team Cohesion

What was interesting was that the Minister asked real questions and she sat up on the desk comfortably.........she cut through the bullshit, talking plain talk. She was curious and engaged. No airs......

Then came another Mary, my colleague...................the only integrated, cohesive, self-reliant, doer in the bunch. She shone as she shared warm stories about community involvement, about members of the community stepping out of their high flying jobs to sponsor 35 public housing children to a party, and night at the theatre and a chance to meet the actors, about a little girl who took part in a dance workshop with the same group of kids but shone brightly in her dance moves........and how she is now taking weekly dance lessons with other girls her own age from all neighbourhoods, all because of the local arts community stepping up and supporting her.... how this little girl now has a "big sister" who melted at her story and stepped up anonymously to buy the little girl dance outfits and toe tapping shoes whenever needed. Brilliant stories!!!!

Too bad the fur flapping frenzied squirrels didn't hear a word she said, nor the emotional hope she spread. No..........they were all antsy and sweaty watching the clock, fretting over what my co-worker may say that was off script. The Minister heard it all. She saw through the bristol boardroom walls.

The visit to meet the families? Aside from the fact that the squirrels rushed both Mary's, the families spoke of their lives growing up in public housing, described their struggles, emphasized the importance of having a real connection to people like my Mary who works with them everyday, guiding and listening and coaching............. they spoke the truth. They spoke from their hearts. And all was well.

Why are people so afraid of real?

Staring at the fire.......

"As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished.No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life. But life has no meaning; it cannot have meaning because meaning is a formula; meaning is something that makes sense to the mind. Every time you make sense out of reality, you bump into something that destroys the sense you made. Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind."

Anthony de Mello

Father de Mello has described a typical day, hasn't he? We are always striving to makes always wonder what the underlying meaning is behind everything.........instead of just living and letting ourselves live a mystery. Life is multi-coloured..........with many shades in between. It will never be starkly black and white no matter how hard we try. Mysteries have engagingly thrilling aspects as well as deeply frightening dark alley parts. You can't have one without the other can you?

And yet..............we will always ask why...........we need to figure it out. Especially when the balance is off kilter....between right and wrong, between joy and sorrow, between deep felt pain and euphoria.........between dark and light. We ask why while we search for balance of spirit. That's how our minds work.

Our thinking feeds our feeling. Our feelings feed our thinking. Our feelings and thinking feed our behaviour. All three feed our spirit......our "will". When one of these overrides the other two..........if we are overwhelmed with feelings, it most certainly impacts and distorts our thoughts. If we are stuck in a cognitive world always thinking while keeping our emotions at bay, locked up tightly with no access to expression, our thoughts get all twisted and our bodies start to ache. If we act impulsively without thinking and without acknowledging our feeling, we have the capacity to do mind numbingly stupid things.......without knowing the consequences until it's too late.

When the imbalance occurs..........we spend our time trying to figure out why we did something, or why we feel the way we do, or why we are thinking too much. Instead, I believe we need to focus on finding the balance sometimes and not ask the why question so often................ to have a little faith.......

We will continue to ask the questions of course. Mysteries are motivating. We will continue to experience a myriad of emotions and thoughts daily as we sort it all we unravel the mystery and as we figure out the part we play in the mystery.

Easier written than lived..................yesterday a very close friend was flooded with feeling which made her body ache and her head throb. It was the anniversary of her son's death. He was tragically hit by a car in front of his home right after he got off the school bus. He would be in his 30's now. December 12th is always a day for my friend to surrender to grief.......

My friend and I worked very closely everyday on the frontlines for many years. She heard all of the same stories I have heard........ piercing her heart daily. She is a feeling person, my open heart full of compassion for others. It was one of the big ways she learned to cope with her own offer her heart to others. Always. To be optimistic and expressive and sometimes defiant in her fight to make sure others didn't suffer so much. She is now home trying to tackle the physical aches and pain and hasn't been able to return to work in a long time. It took it's toll..........

The sun will rise on a new day today.........and my friend will find her way as she tucks her love for her son back into it's place in her heart......

Thinking of you answers, no friendship always.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

thought du jour

"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses,
to remember
that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which,
if you saw it now,
you would be strongly tempted to worship,
or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet,
if at all, only in a nightmare.
All day long we are in some degree, helping each other to one of these destinations."
CS Lewis

How strong our impact is on others. A simple hello accompanying a smile can easily be felt as a lifeline. You never know. You never know.

I've missed you. Where have you been?

You look like the whole world is on your shoulders.

How are you...............I want to know.

Take care

Stay close

Talk to me

Society is littered with self-help books emphasizing ethereal messages that self-acceptance is "inner work." It doesn't matter how others see you. It doesn't matter if you hear a constant barrage of negativity. If you do your own "inner work" you will see your own beauty. We seem to gobble these missives up, looking for the magical recipe that will turn our self-perceptions from weeds to flowers. Nonsense.

If only our spirits were so one-dimensional. We would have more control over how we feel about ourselves. Hearts don't work that way. Minds dont work that way........

We are social beings, sponges who thrive on interaction, on the fingertouches words and gestures from other human beings. Social interplay, starting with a simple salutation.

We need others to thrive..............

I was going to write a story about a young man I met yesterday but will save it for another day because I want to instead link you to my new friend Pip's blog post today. It is about another young man whose behaviour I wonder if his self-perception sponge wasn't filled with abuse and neglect when he was a child? How was his destination molded by the people around him? Can his destination be altered now that he has experienced the concern and care from two others?

Yes it can.............