Thursday, February 28, 2008

afternoon shadows and light........

I've stayed close to home this week fighting and succumbing to the aches and hacks of a flu. I'm on the mend, but still have little energy. I think I've been off my street twice since Monday.....weird........ Thank God I have a vista view of the Saint John river to keep cabin fever at bay. Ive had no energy to read seems like all i can do is cuddle up on the couch and try to find that ever elusive sleep while looking out the window at a blanket of white. This afternoon, the sun was brilliantly shining, throwing shadows on the white landscape. As a test to see if my energy had returned I bundled up and went to meet my son as he came off the school bus at the end of our street. AMAZING how the amount of snow completely dwarfs my house!! It looks like a dollhouse! Believe me, we all fit in there. :)

The wind channelled down the street, picking up powdery filaments of the snow, swirling it around in the was bloody cold walking just that short distance, even with big boots, ear warmers, mitts and a parka. The cold air hit my lungs and it felt good. But more importantly, I was warmed by the site of my son walking all by himself down a lonely looking road which has 6 foot high drifts making it into a tunnel.............and watching our dog take off to meet him.
It seems like the only time I get to meet my kids at the end of the day of school is when I'm home not feeling well...... it would be so wonderful to be home when they got home. ain't gonna happen..........

Along the way home (about 4 houses........) I stopped to take some photos of the undulating banks and drifts and they beautiful late afternoon shadows........ as much as I am completely ready for this stuff to melt away, I can see the beauty of it too.

Believe it or not, the above photo? I climbed halfway up the side of the bank to take this shot and it still was over my head. This was taken on my neighbour's front lawn. Below, is a picture of the shadows of poplar trees which line my other neighbour's long driveway. His yard is full of beautiful birch and apple trees, interspersed with lovely gardens in the summer. It doesn't look like there's an angle, but the lot is hilly enough for my son and his friends to sled on.......down past the trees shown.....

ok, I couldn't resist....... ......a little RED to fire things up. I took this photo at the local greenhouse a couple of weeks ago............. ..........she's a sexy lady, n'est pas??

shadows and light.......always interesting, always a bit mysterious...... Today, they just make me want to get back on the couch under the blankets. I'm chilled again.... :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


feeling like a sloth today
a weary old sloth
no sleep for the weary though
i'm head to toe exhausted and yet can't find sleep
head hurts, knees hurt, eyes sting....
dry hacking cough like there's a feather tickling the back of my throat
constricting and coughing.

grey and weary
chilled even after a hot bath
not a good time to be listening to the blues.
my eyes want to close, but my cough is persistant

it hurts

can't find any colour...........
well except for my red toenails........under my wool socks
oh and the yellow flowers in a vase by my computer
and my blue mug filled with peppermint tea
what else? colour....... lots of WHITE stuff covering the colour
my daffodil plant is in full bloom

if i could just find sleep
i looked for it ALL NIGHT LONG
where the hell is it hiding????


am thinking of the song from Bull Durham......
Nuke Laloosh singing
she gets wholly........!
it makes me laugh. It was such a funny scene.......

try a little tenderness....... :)

screw the tenderness...........i'm off to find better drugs.

i'm not a good sick makes me wholly..... very very wholly.
Oh! Spring training starts that's a sign of good things to come.
ps. Please! Whoever is in charge of this snowy weather (like I'm believing the whole global warming warning.........Al Gore, be damned!!) can you please find another place to dump it? I am completely over my tolerance limit.
this too shall all pass..........

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

i know you are, but what am i?

Religion, politics and outside criticism about your own family....... topics which should always come with a warning label when pulling them out of the ashes of decorum. It blows my mind how someone can passionately describe their opinions with one side of their brain while using the other side to slam the receiver's beliefs.
This is the case in political discourse. We see and hear it all the time. Where is the respect? Why have we allowed editorials, media coverage, and talking heads brandish such mean reporting? Why do we get a rise out of hearing such vicious attacks on other people, particularly the ones who are doing their best to make a difference in the world by stepping out from of the rest of us passive couch sitting fray? Has it always been nasty? It's been nasty for a while I realize, but has it always been that way?

And how has this impacted the discourse we have with one another over these topics? Is there a feeling that it's just fine thank you very much to belch out your own opinion in a manner which can only be best described as a total disregard for the feelings of others, even your friends? Has the media and the way of reporting...............has the dialogue heard on TV shows and in movies impacted the value of being polite?

We all have a bully in us. WE all know how to fight dirty. We all know that there are certain topics we need to be careful when discussing them with the people in our lives. We can be rude it we want to and even pretend that we didn't mean it.

oooops..............i wasn't thinking............

I don't buy it.......... and I can't tolerate it. It makes me angry and defensive. When I hear this or read this, especially if it somehow touches me personally, I have a tough time shaking it off because I try to be accomodating of others. If my feelings and beliefs are not accomodated the same way, it riles me and I will walk away.

I love a good debate........... what i don't love is when it gets personal and dirty. Personalized mudslinging to me is the dumbing down of is an easy push at another person's buttons. It's a complete turn off to me. Give me a well written article on an issue I may even have a completely different perspective on, and I will read it with respect........and who knows, may even change my thinking. But, give me an article that just slams the opposite opinion with big swipes of personal badmouthing and you've lost me.

There's so much rudeness and meanness in this world. We don't need to fuel this fire. Instead, we need to move out from under that EGO umbrella and into a place where essence and spirit rein.

Either that, or we need to keep some of our opinions to ourselves.

Or, I have to develop a thicker skin.........

Monday, February 25, 2008

like praying twice

"Singing is like praying twice"
Saint Augustine

There is an ethereal feeling which emanates from our hearts, outward through our limbs when surrounded by a chorus of people singing together. Can you feel the chills as you remember the last time you found yourself ensconced in a river of uplifting voices? Certain hymns resonate with me as they strike a chord where my emotions seem to sit waiting to be plucked, as I'm sure they do for you. Though it doesn't have to be in a formal place of worship, these are the moments which filter into my thinking today.

Any concert, any congregation of people who are harmonizing in a moment of song has the potential of reaching the same prayer-full plateau. Even singing the national anthem together at the beginning of a sports event, or when it is played during the medal ceremonies of an Olympics can resonate in a similar tonal feeling. I'll never forget an Italian team on the podium after winning a gold medal in their home country, singing with such joyful passion together with an outdoor piazza filled with family, friends and countrymen and women singing along with them. The men were arm and arm...........they couldn't smile more broadly as they belted out the meaningful words and well known tune on their tip toes ...... STRETCHING up into the night air ........ soaring in unision.

Praying twice......praying in abundant joy.......singing in unison

I wonder if one could use the same analogy when considering the connection with another through a conversation? Not any normal conversation mind you, but one where two people, or perhaps three or four or more.......... reach a plateau beyond the everyday chattering of shared facts and opinions. Is there a point where the level of communication between human beings could be like praying twice?

Last week, I had lunch with a woman who I am just beginning to get to know. The moment I met her last fall at a workshop planning meeting, I saw sparks in her that were familiar in a way that pulled me into wanting her in my life. As I later watched her facilitate the workshop, I saw for the first time someone up in front of a group of people who had such similarities in her manner and approach to my own that it floored me. It was like I was given a chance to be an active observer of how others respond to my own teaching techniques. It completely intrigued me as I watched her "perform".........saw what worked best, what others reacted to and how they did......... saw the flow of her manner. During a break, I asked her if I could take her out for lunch to delve into it more and to ask her for some guidance on making a move possibly into the world of consulting. Lunch was finally arranged..........last Friday. Neither of us lifted our heads up while sitting in the restaurant for over an hour. In fact, we were so into our conversation that neither of us realized that we hadn't been served our meals yet! The place was a buzzing beehive of activity, filling up while we slipped into a place where the words and stories and sharing came tumbling the zone.....

Two people unaware of the surroundings, but completely focused with a heightened awareness of eachother.
Tune the world out, focus the world in...

When we are able to sing from our hearts, when we are able to talk from the same place, when we are able to listen intently, we feed off each other's heightened energy. What is stripped away is a sense of time, an ego driven sense of self. Rather it is transformed into a place driven by our essence....our spirit. Facts and opinions don't live there. They live in our ego centre alongside our sense of bravado..... our desire to be right..... in control.

This is what I think...

This is what I believe is right.


When communication between two people transcends this, and leads to a "heart to heart" talk, we soften. We soften our sharp edged opinions and the needs to be right and heard and rigid. We soften to bare ourselves and to provide a trusting featherdown landing place for another to do the same. When we move from two egos talking to two hearts conversing, an unconditional holy space is discovered. Heightened awareness, respect, empathy........a true transference of vulnerability felt in prayer.

Whether it's in a restaurant, around a campfire, in your living room, late at night sipping something smooth.... whether its over coffee, a pot of tea, on a bench in the park, it can happen anytime, anywhere...........and it feels like praying twice.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Channeling Mr. Waits

strumming here on this cold winter night
trying to wrestle getting it right
numbed by reality
tired of it all
can't get you in focus
can't get you to call

fogs rolling in blinding the trees
naked bare boned knuckles and knees
scraped by its wake
bloodied and bruised
no one will want me
torn battered up used.

I'm numbed by reality
tired of it all
can't get you in focus
can't get you to call.
I guess I don't blame you
there's no second chance
when hurt has replaced
a broken romance.

i lay here shackled wondering if He
pays any attention, hears my deep pleas
cried out sorrow
tattered old song
your love I have wasted
your trust has all gone.

I'm numbed by reality
tired of it all
can't get you in focus
can't get you to call.
I guess I don't blame you
there's no second chance
when hurt has replaced
a broken romance.

night crawls with echos of your tender voice
I long to forget, I messed up my choice
yearned and forgotten
i lie here alone
aching for nearness
chilled to the bone.

sleep is a memory fading away
replaced by loud silence covered in grey
ripped from your faith
blame shares my skin
even Jesus has left me
distrust soaked in sin.

I'm numbed by reality
tired of it all
can't get you in focus
can't get you to call.
I guess I don't blame you
there's no second chance
when hurt has replaced
a broken romance.

This week's prompt on Writer's Island is "second chance..." For some reason, Tom Waits has been visiting my internal CD player this weekend, so I thought I would try my hand at a piece of broken heart yearning.... hope you like it. :) For more glances at second chances, click right HERE....

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Saturday morning.........still quiet......except for the hum of the humidifier and the kettle on the boil. A time to catch my silently find my focus again as I relive some of the conversations I have had this week, many of which feed my writing and most definately enhance my life. This is going to be a rambling post because I have a head full of different directions.............hope it flows in it's randomness..........
My work life especially is jam packed full of conversations............ooopps, wait a minute.....Sir Maxwell is to have a morning chat, make some breakie and do some game day planning....

OK, I'm back after a catch up on dreams, hockey updates, requests for toasted bagels and plans for this afternoon's basketball play-off game he's involved in, baseball spring training........ big smiles as he settles in to watch sportsdesk and read the newspaper. What an old frigging soul he has!! Just like his Dad and his Grandpa.


It's difficult sometimes to pull them apart from one another because they settle into the flow of my thinking, feeling and doing. They validate, challenge, intrigue, energize as well as wipe me out. They pick me up, swallow me whole, make me wonder............ well not the conversations per se, but the person or people I'm connecting with, the thoughts and questions they share with me and I with them.

Some are so meaningful that they stay with me while i try to sort out the meaning, or just replay the feelings and tone behind the words. Most of what is expressed is not found in the words, right? It's found in the essence between the words.....the hesitations, the tone, the body language, eye contact or lack of, their response to your comment.......the tumbling of the words on top of the words when you find you're both talking at the same time because you're so passionate about the topic, or you have such an urge to BLURT it out!

Some conversations are one sided in that one is doing all the talking and one is doing all the listening. These are perhaps the most meaningful for both parties, though don't you think? When two people are trying to outdo and outshine and outtalk the other, so much is missed. Whereas if the roles are clearly felt, the depth of the conversation is limitless........... and more importantly, it matters.

My heart has been heard..........

I heard his heart..............he knows I heard it.

I guess they aren't one-sided after all.........

Most of our conversations seem like fluffy tranparent "how are you's" tossed out like refuse. We're busy, we're being polite, we have places to go. What happens if you take just another minute to go past the nice salutations? Ask one more question and see what happens. Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things if you're a couple of minutes late?? Because I stepped out of the normal context of morning rituals at the local Deli and made a comment to one of the regular patrons who happened to be dressed up in suit and tie instead of his regular garb, I ended up in a great (quick too) conversation about an article in the paper on the importance of word count in speech incredibly powerful a speech can be if you simply slow down, speak less words............and use the grace notes between..........Obama for example on average speaks 100 words per minute.............whereas Hilary? She's clocking in at close to 200. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.................... Later, I sought out the article and read it myself. Conversations do that don't they? They feed you with more questions, motivate you to seek out more.....

I have also learned that the woman who serves me a tea in the morning just got her income tax back and went on a mid week tear...........and was feeling a little green under the gills, but was thrilled to have gone out pubbing after a long drought........... I learned that one of my co-workers is struggling with not seeing her father since Christmas because he lives in another city and has been very ill. I learned that another co-worker was extremely tired, not having had a full day off since the beginning of November. It gave me the insight to realize that perhaps this is why complaints have come in on his lack of patience and his short temper responses to some of the people we serve.

You ask, and people will spill................... and it's all good. It's tiring too, and sometimes I come home after a day of many conversations and just have to be very quiet and reflective as I catch my breath, from talking and listening. It works both ways.

Some of my best conversations happen online. I love that. I can almost hear their voices. I can most definately feel their presence.

The most bizarre conversation happened when I stepped out the front door of my office building yesterday after a morning meeting where lots of talk happened. I saw a happy bouncy couple coming towards me holding hands and realized I knew them, though the last time I saw them they were bedraggled and homeless.......shook up in my office. So, with smiling enthusiasm, I greeted them and found myself enveloped in a group hug.....

"How are you guys doing? You look GREAT!"

"We's so good to see you......."

"It's so good to bump into you too. Are you headed to the Methadone clinic? "

"Yup! We're back on the treatment!"

"Thank God. Do you guys have a place to live now?"

"YES! It's great! We can't thank you enough.........we can walk into town and get our treatment now"

"Wonderful...........are you still under house arrest??"

"YES! laughing.........."

"Well, now you have a home to do that in! I couldn't figure out how you could be under house arrest when you didn't have a home to be arrested in. Remember what i told've got a year to get your asses in gear and get yourself jobs. You have too much to offer this world!"

laughing.........(I've known them for a long time and can get away with pointing this out)

"We promise! Will you still be my guardian angel Dana if we fuck up again?"

"I'm running out of angel patience..................oh, and ___________ I have a book for you in my office.........drop by Monday."

"OK! What's it about?"

"Finding lost souls........"

"Oh, that sounds good........I think I'd like it."

"I think it was written with you in mind............" me smiling at her...........she laughed.

and that was it............too funny.........I shook my head wondering if anyone else on this planet has conversations like this. My God, it was good to see them laughing and in love. There is hope.

Some conversations lead to new paths being forged. Last Saturday night, I was out for dinner with my husband who asked me if I had seen the seat sale on flights to London. I hadn't, but perked up with this new information, wondering where the conversation was going to lead as I had hoped we as a family could plan a trip .........and he said.........."I think you should buy a ticket and go.......... I think you should go and meet Pip. We'll all go on a trip together another time."

And so I May............and who knows who else i will have the opportunity to dip deep into the well of conversations? I'm open to them all...............wide open. I am SO excited.

Possibilities, making it happen............all start by sharing thoughts, feelings, yearnings and dreams. You keep that stuff to yourself and you will forever be treading water and not moving...... a good conversation can lead to horizons opening up for you. We do have a say in our destiny......

It makes for big deep breaths of satisfaction............and wide smiles at the very thought of a rambling level 5 conversation with my friend across the pond.

Friday, February 22, 2008

dogs and unconditional love

If you want to learn what passion really means, hang out with a dog. They get it. It's what drives their little beings. They express it and seek it all day long. Whether its eating, sleeping or fetching, they do it with gusto. Throw them a stick and watch their excited reaction as they bound in leaps to retrieve it. Give them a steak bone and observe how they lose themselves in chomping. Give them a bath...........and they will passionately try to shake you and the water off! Watch them protect their property and family and you'll see a growling reaction and a whole heap of barking.

Passion is the sizzling heat behind all other emotions. It's the spice which takes the taste of life to a broader, deeper place. We humans try to suppress this for the most part because too much of it is considered inappropriate. Unless you are up on a stage acting in a Tennesse Williams play, or singing the blues........unless you're in front of a group of yawning executives trying to motivate them.........unless you're in the middle of creating a masterpiece on canvas........ we tend to keep most of our unbridled passion bridled. Societal rules keep tight parameters on us.

Stand up on a bench in the middle of a park and announce to the world that you LOVE life, freedom and faeries and well........................someone's gonna call the looney truck on you. Express your deeply felt opinion on politics or religion in the wrong crowd and watch out how quickly the room clears out. Tell some unsuspecting stranger in need how much you LOVE them and see how quickly they run away with fright.

Is there some fine line between passion and crazy? I guess it depends on what other emotion passion is feeding. It also depends on the setting, the timing.......the situation. A stirring charismatic speech that promotes goodness in action as opposed to one with a similar depth of feeling that espouses violence..........well, it's pretty obvious where the line is drawn here. What's important to note, I think is that the underlying feeling behind deep love and wretched hate is the same. Passion.

Life would cease to be as fulfilling as it has the capacity to be if we didn't have outlets for feeling the wonderfully motivating, life affirming side of this emotion. It's when passion is tied to empathy that it's the most effective. If there wasn't some place to pour it really FEEL beyond the normal and acceptable levels. Though many life guru types have overused the word, and have made a fortune asking the question "what is YOUR passion?"...... to a point where it's nauseating and trite sounding, it is a question I believe we should be asking ourselves so we can pursue avenues which offer us this chance to experience it.

Passion opens up our pores and makes the air feel light around us.

Passion can make our toes curl, our brains alert, our senses alive.

Passion feeds our creative juices.

Passion allows us to learn to love like we never been hurt.

Knowing what makes us feel passion helps us more than any other feeling to figure out why we were put on this planet. If we can tap into know what our passions are, we can fulfill our own reason for being here. We can GO FOR IT.

I watch my dog Lily sometimes when she doesn't know I'm watching.........her capacity to love her family, to seek out her need to be loved knows no bounds. Whatever she is doing, she is doing it with the passion she inherently has within her and she 's not embarrassed one iota in letting someone know. Yes, maybe we need to consider dogs as our role models when it comes to learning how to express and to accept a deeper level of passion. Wouldn't this world be a better place if we did so?

The prompt this week for sunday scribblings is passion............ may it's force be with you.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

make it happen

One little thought seed has the capacity to take root just by tapping into your own reservoir of Will. If you let it. Our will captures those free floating hopes and dreams and magically turns them into tangible goals. It is the courageous force behind action. This radiant energy propels us forward, possibly onto a new and somewhat unknown path, with confident vision.

Will............our gift from God, lets us

seek out purpose

clarify intent

energize dreams
let go of our burdens

feed our faith

hold our hand as we take aim

lighten our steps

SMILE from ear to ear..........

See it in your horizon..........feel it in your spirit...........let it lead you to your goal. Let your Will make it happen. Mold it with your own hands and heart.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Random Harmony

Wilmot United Church, summer 2007

Feet on ground
Heart in hand
Facing forward
Be yourself
Heart in hand

Feet on ground

Facing forward

Be yourself
just be yourself
just be yourself
Jann Arden, Good Mother

There are days when we have it all planned out and then there are days when we chuck the plans and go another route only to find a random harmony unfold as it should. One door closes and another opens, only because we are open to the possibility of it happening.

Last Sunday, a dear friend of mine had her day all planned out. Or so she thought. Mary, a dedicated runner, had intended to take part in an organized run from Base Gagetown to Fredericton in the morning, but decided instead to attend a church service with her husband and to run on her own later in the day. It was a much needed time out of the busy task oriented schedule Mary keeps. Most days, this woman completes more tasks before you and I have taken a sip from our second cup of coffee. Always efficiently and effectively juggling a host of events and encounters in and around the community as a major part of the work she does as a Community Development Coordinator and member of our fair city, Mary knew she needed a breather. She has learned that running both physically emotionally, and spiritually always requires a cooling down as a means of recharging and reflecting.

The topic for the sermon yesterday intrigued Mary as well as reinforced a core personal belief she has always strived to maintain. As an open door kind of person, she lives, works and thrives in an atmosphere of making connections with others. She nurtures the important relationships in her life, and in kind she continues to feel blessed with the love and belonging which is returned to her. She's learned over the years of working in the frontlines with people in need as well that in order to maintain this harmony, she has to find it for herself as well. She has to keep the door open to responding to her own needs. Consequently, Mary knew instantly that attending that church service surrounded by a welcoming community, being with her husband, listening to the message provided by the Minister helped her begin to re-establish her footing for the upcoming busy week.

"Pay mind to your own life, your own health, and wholeness," writes Frederick Buechner. "A bleeding heart is of no help to anyone if it bleeds to death." Sometimes it's important to stop and get off the busy footpath in order to register the importance of living in the moment while catching your breath. To paraphrase Jann Arden's song, It's what keeps your feet on the ground, your heart in your hand. It's what allows you to continue to look forward.

At the same time that the service was beginning, another woman in the city named Noreen decided to attend to her task that morning. She takes care of a large older home that has been converted into an upscale Bed and Breakfast. It is her responsbility to ensure its cleaned and ready for guests. Knowing that new guests were arriving that evening, she set out on her own from her home just down the street to spruce up the attic room which recently been occupied.

Unbeknownst to everyone, including her own family, Noreen found herself trapped. The door to the attic room closed and locked shut behind her. This had never happened before. Not only did she not have her cellphone with her, she didn't have the old skeleton key to unlock the door. So, there she was.............alone in the old house which sits on a quiet cul de sac, away from much traffic or pedestians. Instead of completely flipping out over her situation, Noreen continued straightening up the room believing someone would find her. At some point she decided to take a nap to pass the time when this would happen.

Later that day, after a nice lunch and a leisurely afternoon at home following the church service, Mary pulled on her running gear and headed out the door. Her plan was to run for 30 minutes along the streets of the downtown neighbourhood. With her headset on to her favourite tunes, and a headband over top to keep her ears protected from the cold winter day, she set off at her own pace, enjoying the sun, enjoying her time by herself away from the hustle.
The streets were pretty well deserted of cars and pedestrians, which wasn't unusual given the temperatures outside and the icy uneven terrain for doing any exercise. Plus, it was late afternoon.........a time on Sundays when most people are inside preparing for dinner and the week ahead. It was a treat, therefore to bump into the Minister of her church who was also out jogging. They had a brief chat about the day, the sermon, and the pursuit of jogging and then set off in opposite directions. As Mary expressed to me later, that she felt a sense of integrated happiness of living "in the moment."

Meanwhile, Noreen had awoken from her nap, realized how long she had been trapped and began to worry about whether or not someone in her family was wondering what had happened to her and would figure out where she was. Her anxiety increased..............she looked out the attic window situated in the back of the house to see if anyone happened to be passing by. Given that the street is only home to 4 or 5 other houses, her worries were more than legitimate. Mid February Sunday afternoon activity is non existant. Quiet stillness is more the reality.

Well, except for the sound of one person running.

Mary had checked her watch.....and realized she needed to tack on two minutes to her run so that she would reach home at exactly the 30 minutes she intended. As she was about to pass a cul de sac that had a beautiful yellow house on it that she had always loved, she decided to add this little sidestep onto her path. She normally would never run down this dead end street, but she calculated that it would take exactly the right amount of time she needed. Plus, she thought, she'd get to have a glimpse up close of the admired yellow house. So, down she went.

On her way back, she could feel her head clearing........reflecting on the day, the sermon, the encounter she had with her daughter that morning..........on the change of plans and on how glad she had changed her plans, Mary felt a sense of being in the moment again. Her usual lists of "to do's" was far away. Instead, she focused on the music coming from her headphones and on the enjoyment she was feeling from the freedom of running, while listening to Jann Arden's The Good Mother. Somehow, through all of that she was still able to hear a person yelling out for help............

At first, Mary wondered if the cries for help were a part of the music she was listening to, but quickly realized it wasn't. She stopped and began to look around in a disoriented fashion...... wondering where the voice was coming from.


Mary looked up and spotted a woman leaning out of an attic window in the old Mansion turned Inn yelling and waving at her......

"Can you help me? I've locked myself in and I cant get out!"

Mary raced over to the front door and found it locked as well and then ran to the back service entry, opened the door and ran up the stairs. Noreen told her to try to find the skeleton key in the buffet located on the main floor by the front door. So, Mary headed back down the stairs in search of elusive key that would free Noreen. She found some and tried them with no luck. Up and down the stairs Mary went looking in various spots throughout the main floor of the empty house all the while reassuring Noreen and exclaiming how she had never run down that little street before and asking for details about Noreen and about her day locked in the attic. In the middle of this unfolding scene, two women were working together openly sharing information about themselves and about their separate days. They had been oddly thrown together because two people changed their original plans that morning.

Mary had no luck opening the door. She tried to take the hinges off, but didn't have the tools needed. Noreen then suggested calling her husband who had been out doing errands himself that day completely oblivious to his wife's predicament, to help deal with the situation. Within two minutes, Noreen's husband had arrived laughing at the scene he walked into. He thanked Mary and reassured his wife that he would be able to get the door open.

After making sure she wasn't needed anymore and swapping names and phone numbers Mary left them to their task and headed off to complete the last 15 minutes of her run. This time, however, she jogged along lost in the amazement of how life can unfold in a sense of random harmony, of how unplanned circumstances can bring together new connections if one is open to them, of how wonderfully surprising life can be if you allow it to be, of how sometimes the message in a sermon can breezily slip out the church doors without much effort.
You just never know.

Christchurch Cathedral, open doors, summer 2007

PS. The title of the sermon that morning? "Why God made hinges." These two women have since spoken on the phone. Noreen is safe and sound in her own home, aware of the random harmony of how their days unfolded because God made our hearts and to the doors in our communities. She told Mary that she's thinking about attending church next Sunday.

"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too." Frederick Buechner

Sunday, February 17, 2008


growth of possibilities

Take a step away from "if" towards "when" and "how" and see how possibility LEAPS off the page of dreams. A wish just may turn into a plan. Winter seems to be a time to generate many "ifs....." a time to let them germinate while still needing sleep until it can reach a idea form. Sometimes they will continue to grow with strength. Sometimes the timing just isn't right yet and it needs to lay dormant for a while longer. Sometimes, it may need a boost of faith fertilizer to keep possibility in the mix. It depends on how much you want to nuture much you want it.

Possibilities..........what a great hopeful that has a taste of a miracle in it's pronounciation. Possibilities happen one step away from "if"

Friday, February 15, 2008


If you live the life you love, you will receive shelter and blessings. Sometimes the great famine of blessings in and around us derives from the fact that we are not living the life we love; rather, we are living the life that is expected of us. We have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature. John O'Donahue

I was drifting through my notes and various websites to find just the right quote to jumpstart my post tonight and there it was......waiting for me to find it. A blessing in itself........a quote about blessings by a beautiful human being spirit who has his loving eye on many of his friends..... keeping them in his sights, remaining beside them all. is an overused word I'm afraid, but when those little tealights flicker out of our OWN enlightment, our own recognition of them while living the life we love, well then it feels as it should. Uplifting.

It's funny how we can trudge along in the slushie bits of life and forget to remain aware of those flickering tealights. It's so darn easy to do. We can get all caught up in the groaning hills, the unrelenting obstacles so quickly. I have, especially when I'm entrenched in living the expected life. This week for example could easily be looked and frowned upon as one ripe with burdens. Given that this part of the world has been wracked with one life interupting storm after another, it would be very easy to do. Yesterday for example on the day when LOVE filled the air, there was a feeling of deep penetrating frustration all around. I was so struck by the looks on people's faces and the heavy way they dragged themselves around town after enduring yet another snowstorm. The trees were covered in heavy ice weighing them down, but it seemed like it was the same with the people. It's been a long arduous week of coping...........barely.

Sometimes daily strife is such a burden that the ability of recognizing and acknowledging a blessing seems outlandish. And yet, the blessings are there. They don't go away. It all depends on whether or not you decide to see feel them.
Blessings......are gifts of holy fortunes which surprise you when you're the least expecting it. They can be disguised as just about anything. That's what so intriguing about them. But no matter how they are disguised...........they always lift you up to a place of joy. Tonight, I feel like I've been showered with bouquets of blessings which began arriving at the beginning of the week and simply just continued. They are gifts that can assist you in finding the rhythm of our uniqueness and in energizing the "light of our own nature." Blessings are markers which accompany caring compassion, which in turn offer us a chance to acknowledge what and whom we are grateful for. Friends and family............
I have much to be grateful for. More importantly, I have many people in my life who everyday with just their presence, be it face to face or across the miles who are my true blessings. Tonight, I want to recognize them all. Tonight, Iwant to say thank you.

and the winner is.....

Lucky Girl! She's the lucky recipient of some fine fine New Brunswick Maple Syrup. Congratulations to Lucky Girl......

And many thanks for all who dropped by and left your name for the draw. I do hope you'll stop by again for a visit.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

love stories........

This afternoon, I was home early due to the unrelenting snowstorms we are having this winter and was listening to Jian Ghomeshi's show "Q" on the CBC radio. They had a little write-in contest happening..... a challenge to write a love story in 6 words. A few were read aloud, and I was so surprised at how one could offer up a whole love story picture in 6 little words. Here's a link to Q's Blog and comment section......LOTS of hilarious entries.
As I putted around the kitchen making dinner, I began jotting down a few and decided for Valentine's Day, I would post a couple..........

His eyes told her she's desired.

for a second chance

Breakfast in bed with whipped cream

Sunday papers
Hot coffee
Sharing silence

End of the day reflection sharing

Sipping Cointreau, looking over at her.

The stories came tripping out of me.....faster than I could jot them down. What FuN!

Duvet diving
cold feet
warm love

Afternoon delight at No Tell Motel.

Naked honesty accepting our beautiful imperfections.

NOW ALL OF YOU OUT THERE...including lurkers who don't normally leave comments...I would love to read your attempts!! Will you leave me a 6 word love story??? C'mon...... it's easier than you think. Let your imagination go for a short ride.

Candlelight slow dance, a world away.

Love's packaged in spicy cinnamon hearts.

I'm still here waiting for you.

Happy Valentines Day. Love to you.

I am here. where are you?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

as you are

i feel you sometimes
when i least expect to
your deep baritone whisper
touches my attention
sweeps under my skin

i'm left wondering
what it would be like
to hold your hand
to feel their warm roughness
in a firm finger locked grip

I'd never let go.

i see you sometimes
as I round a corner
your open stance manner
smiles an engaging welcome
catches my surprise

i'm left dreaming

what it would be like

to look into your smiling eyes

to recognize love in them

in that moment locked in oneness

I'd never let go.

I perceive you sometimes
after a hungry uphill hike
your encompassing presence
responds to my doubts
with compassionate reassurance

I hear

It's okay

I hear

You are loved.

I hear

as you are,

as you are

i'm left wondering
what it would be like
to hold your hand
to feel their warm roughness
in a firm finger locked grip

its okay
you are loved
as you are
as you are

i'm left dreaming
what it would be like
to look into your smiling eyes
to recognize love in them
in that moment locked in oneness

you are loved, as you are.
I'd never let go

Monday, February 11, 2008

regarding the world.

walking trail, down by the river
We do not receive wisdom,
we must discover it for ourselves
after a journey through the wilderness
which no one else can make for us,
which no one can spare us,
for our wisdom is the point of view
from which we come at last to regard the world.

Marcel Proust.

The street I live on is a small residential one with very little traffic on it because it's not a thoroughfare. One end has a cul de sac with a walkng path up a hill leading to the next neighbourhood street and a small field. Its a great street for road hockey, pick up basketball and kids to play in and around during the day. At night, it is lit by only two streetlights, far enough apart that isolation creeps in through the darkness. So does the silence, especially in winter when the snow envelopes the landscape with complete command.

What's interesting about snow is that despite the cold starkness of it, the brilliance of it's whiteness reflects more light and in turn takes away the feeling of isolation one normally feels when it's dark outside. Instead, there is a comfort in the cocooning feel of the snow all around you.

I took my dog for a short walk the other night after returning home from work. A strong sense of being present in the moment and a gladdening sense of contentment that I am where I should be touched me. This is where I belong. Not a soul, not a peep, nor any movement even in the trees distracted us. We had the street to ourselves as we headed for the path up to the field, Lily bounding after errant snowballs and me thinking about the revelations I had experienced. These revelations seemed like a gift of wisdom after a long forage in the wilderness. As Proust states, our accumulated wisdom is the way we view the world. Add to the wisdom, alter the view.

I learned years ago in one psychology course or another that our most fierce reactions to someone or to some event reflects the opposite of what we value the most. If honesty is the priority, chances are you will react very strongly to anyone who lies. There is less forgiveness, less tolerance, less respect. If the dishonesty lies within the person who upholds this value as a foundational belief, the inner turmoil and complete discomfort wreaks havoc until it can somehow be resolved. Sometimes we aren't even aware of why we are reacting with such heated anger. It's is such an impulsively felt response from an emotionally charged trigger point that it may be a while before you figure the whys and "what was that all about" questions.

I learned recently that I wasn't going to be offered the job I had applied for. It wasn't a surprise in itself because I am not fully bilingual and the job was designated as such. But, there were a couple of surprises which initially knocked the wind out of me and I automatically went to feeling a great big gulp of rejection. I felt like a discarded piece of used up kleenex. When the rejection button had been pushed, I wanted to run away from seemed like rejection has visited WAY too many times, and it kept me feeling very stuck and very sorry for myself. When I received the news, my reaction was no different. I was swamped by it and decided to leave my office and to go home to regroup. I kept thinking..............I need to regroup, clear my head, catch my breath, figure it out. I also thought that perhaps if I went home, I could react to the news and the feelings with some privacy.

Funny thing happened on the way home. All of a sudden I realized two things.

1. I am the only one wallowing in this river of rejection which I have allowed myself to slip into. It's not hurting anyone but me. And, since I don't like the feeling whatsoever, it's got to stop.


2. One of my prized values.....what I try to live up to and provide to others is a sense of belonging and acceptance. The nicest compliment someone could give me is to say how welcome and comfortable they feel in my home. My husband feels the same way. We've spoken about it many times and work hard (behind the scenes so to speak) to ensure that feeling is present in our home. Because I havent been feeling a sense of belonging....of feeling like I matter, I was reacting very strongly and emotionally to it.

Once these two epiphanies somehow found me, I could feel a shift in my focus. I could honestly feel a sense of becoming UNstuck. Funny how that happens............we whirl and swirl in an endless rumination trying and trying to seek some kind of understanding and then BING.....almost when you aren't expecting it, the idea/concept/knowledge finds you. I took hold of the driver's wheel again and began navigating differently.

Pip recently posted a very telling quote from Victor Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning) on his blog, which serendipitously captured my thinking about how it was time to take charge of understanding where the deep sense of rejection simmered and why...... It also provided another small shift.......I will call this one an ePIPany..........

"Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it"

I read it over a couple of Pip's personal application of forming a clear picture.....and another layer of bad rejection feelings slipped off me. I was able to look around me. My gaze became beautiful again.......or at least it was cuter.....not yet full blown beautiful. I tried to capture in words what I was regarding my world had altered somewhat. But, the words weren't there yet because I hadn't had a chance to think it through enough.

I happened upon them during my winter walk while I stood up on the hill at the end of my street, gazing at my sanctuary I thought. A warm glow sanctuary for my family and my friends. I then thought about my office where I meet with people who are dealing with big life issues and who most of the time feel comfortable enough to spill their stories openly, knowing they are in a place that they are welcome in. It doesn't take help someone feel that sense of mattering. And if I can do it for others.....................I need to be more attentive in providing this for myself. As much as it would be WONDERFUL to feel this around me and have it offered to me........? I'm a big girl. I can set my own thriving environment.

Quite a lot of ePIPanies in one dog walk on a winter night?

here's another............................

Today, I took another step toward letting go of the pent up feelings of rejection by trusting someone new I have met by sharing some of the "stuff" which has fed this feeling in me. I'm feeling hopeful, because I was heard.............I'm feeling hopeful that perhaps the whole process of applying for the job has offered me a chance to find someone who may be able to help me find a place where I can feel that sanctuary feeling again. Afterwards, I realized that if one doesn't trust others, one will always set the scene for rejection. If this is the big trigger button issue for me, I need to own it. I'm normally a very trusting person. Not being one lately has worn me out.

Gotta risk the trust thing to welcome acceptance..............

You know what else I realized today? I am never alone "regarding my world." Sometimes life lessons ....... the ones that test your mettle and drive you to sleepless nights ..... can lead you to a strengthening of feeling Divine presence. Those lessons are always transformative because they give you a gift of new wisdom to regard your world with a new set of eyes.......and in my case.... bright green ones!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

what stirs you?

Lennie Gallant

When it washes over you, it can be transforming in a way you could never have anticipated. It can take your breath away, transport you, touch you, ............move you to tears. It can describe your own story with the words you've sought and have never been able to locate. One song can change the way you see......

Sometimes it's not the words.'s the auditory combination of flowing notes which fills your senses like a warm spa......and you're pulled into another world away from real world worries by a protective embrace. One song can change the way you hear....'s both..... And you think to yourself......this is my all time favourite song EVER. There are songs in my life repetoire which I can play over and over and over and NEVER grow tired of it's medicinal grace. In fact, there are songs which I will play purposefully to be awashed by it's healingness. One song can change the way you feel.....

I find it interesting how we are all seemingly pre-programmed differently to receive songs. For some unlucky souls, it happens to be a country twangy sound that gets their grits going. Though I don't get the alluring lure of that genre, I understand the feeling. We all do because whatever the magic is behind a song that hits your personal soft spot, it alters you.....sometimes for a moment.......and sometimes forever.

Personally, I've always been touched the most by the stripped down songwriter playing his or her guitar, singing a story. When I think back on the songs which have transformed and transported me, it's the simple elegance found in the vulnerable soul bravely belting out a life moment. I thought about this today as I sat once again in the FRONT ROW of the second songwriter's circle at the East Coast Music awards. As much as I love a song full of dancing energy that pulls me up onto my feet, or a jazzy hip swaying tune that oooozes sexiness, I am definately moved the most by a song which creatively captures my thoughts and feelings. It's like the artist knows me well enough to tap into me.
I've had a whole weekend of visiting this place.......where music stirs a change in not just me, but a whole community. Together. The East Coast Music Awards may be over, but it's affects will linger for a very long time.

How about you? Is there a specific song that stirs you in a way no other song does?
Martha Wainwright......
lovely and lost in her own compostion
The word prompt this week at writer's island is "change." For more "change" stories....... click here!!