Thursday, April 30, 2009

playing for his supper

In between the sighing notes
hanging in the cool autumn air
are the colours of longing
in lonely blues.
Breath upon breath
he plays for his supper,
a musical melody
a lamenting need.
If you stop to really listen,
you will find the grace
tucked into the sound of the song.
Walk out, into the sunburst street
Sing your heart out,
sing my heart out
I’ve found grace inside a sound
I found grace, it’s all that I found
And I can breathe
Breathe now
(U2 Breathe)
Thank you Pip for sharing theses lovely lyrics with me. I'll meet you out on the sunburst street. I'll be the one hailing a cab, breathing and looking for you. :)
This week's Photo theme at Carmi's place is musical. Play on!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

the woodcutter....

A story a friend shared with me today...... he called it a modern parable....

Once upon a time, there was a very poor woodcutter who lived in a small village somewhere in Europe. He lived with his son whom he loved dearly. The only possession he had was a beautiful stallion.

The villagers often asked him.... "why don't you sell your stallion? Then you'd have money to live on and you wouldn't be cursed by poverty."

He told them he would keep his stallion.... he always replied .... "Whether it's a curse or a blessing, I do not know."

One day, the stallion jumped the fence and took off across the fields and into the woods. The villagers arrived and said. "This is a curse! You've now lost your only means of prosperity."

The Woodcutter again replied, "Whether its a curse or a blessing, I do not know."

Sure enough, the stallion returned one day and brought along a few other wild horses with him. The woodcutter was delighted to see the stallion and the villagers, impressed with this event pointed out...."This is a blessing! You now have grown rich! You must feel blessed by this turn of events!?"

And the Woodcutter replied. "Whether its a blessing or a curse, I do not know."

The Woodcutter's son decided to train the new stallions. One day, he was thrown off a horse and broke both of his legs. The villagers expressed their concern....."This is terrible! We're so sorry for surely this is a curse brought upon you and your son."

But the Woodcutter replied again...."Whether its a blessing or a curse, I do not know."

Out of the blue, a violent war broke out across the land. Every single young man in the village and beyond was recruited to fight against the enemy..... every single one except the Woodcutter's son because of his broken legs. And every single one died except the Woodcutter's son.

A blessing or a curse? I do not know......

Monday, April 27, 2009

a beautiful old soul

Look into the deep blue pooling eyes of an old soul and you will see the eternal flickering light of God. Spend time with one who carries within a soul who has lived and breathed many times. You will sense a spirit unlike another. Tucked deep and wide is an essence steeped in knowledge which is expressed in their manner, in their being. It’s not showy or hung out like a neon sign. This knowledge is simply present. You can feel its radiance all around the aura of an old soul and you can't help but be pulled into the pool. Sometimes you can't put your finger on what it is that sets aside an individual like this. You simply know its special.

I met an old soul in my late teens, only briefly spending time with him because our personal transitions were taking us in different directions. But every time we met, our conversations took on an infinite feeling of possibilities and dreams. It felt magically real as though the space we were in was protected by a sheen of oneness, disconnected somehow from the rest of the world. Our own energy complimented one another like we were on the same plane and we didn't need to justify any statements or wishes shared. An unconditional, knowing acceptance of thought....that's how it felt.

As I went off to university, he remained home to work and to save his money to travel the world. He was a tenderhearted nomad. He was a true free spirit who always walked to his own tune. When everyone around him was taking the safe route, he was fulfilling a different kind of dream. One day, he bought a one way ticket west and began his journey on his own....fulfilling his purpose perhaps, or just inhaling new experiences to shape him. Island hopping , working in Australia, meeting people, hands on learning.....until he arrived in Calcutta, a world away from life in Canada.

My old soul friend spent his days and nights volunteering at Mother Theresa's Home for the Dying, holding the hands of dying human beings, listening to their stories and confessions, being there giving his love over to someone passing someone who didn't have anyone. 21 years old guided by confidence provided from old soul wisdom. He gave them himself. They gave him new understanding of life’s lessons which I believe he carried close to his heart, marking his choices, impacting his personal destiny in this life.

Throughout his trip, I received postcards. He had promised and he did. They were wonderfully inspiring and filled me with so many questions. I wanted to know the deeper he felt, what he really did.....what impacted him the most....had his feelings on death changed? Softened? I wanted to hear all about it.....all the stuff that doesn't ever fit on a postcard. I wanted to learn the lessons he had acquired.

I never knew when he was going to return so I carried on with my own journey and decided to spend a summer in Victoria after I graduated. It was a necessary trip for me as I tried to find my own footing again after graduating and finding myself alone with a broken heart. I too began working with vulnerable people, learning my own integral life lessons while my old soul friend finally returned from his trip. With 25 cents in his pocket, he was dropped off at the highway exit of our hometown walked the few miles to his family's house and surprised them all. He took the summer to acclimatize and to plan his next steps, while I took to that summer to expand my own horizons and figure out my own gameplan.

Our paths missed crossing by one week, but this time, the postcards had turned into letters flying back and forth across the country….pages and pages of pouring, pages and pages of dreams, thoughts, yearnings……..with plans to finally meet up in person when I returned in the fall. When we met up again, the first thing I noticed a necklace he was wearing and asked him where it came from. It had been a gift from a man he sat with while the man was dying in India.

He shared a bit of the wisdom he had gleaned while he witnessed death flow through another human being. He spoke of the sadness he felt knowing that many died without anyone around them. He spoke of the humility he felt surrounded by so many who had so little possessions but were wealthy in spirit. He spoke of how moved he was by all of the people he had the honour to be present with when they took their last breath. I was in awe.

From there, we jumped into where we were at as individuals. His plans were immediate. Mine were extremely up in the air, tied in with another. And as much as there was an unspoken closeness between us, we were in different emotional places…..too far apart at that point to continue on a journey together. Regrettably, we parted with a heaviness of heart. I had chosen a different path.

I never saw him again after that fall when we were 21 years old, though from time to time I heard about him as our lives unfolded far away from one another in different parts of the country. We never communicated again. The long hand written letters never happened again. It seemed too painful somehow. What I do know, and would know this even if I hadn’t heard any of the details, my long ago old soul friend remained connected to community, to people, to family through smiling kindness, dignity and respect for others. His life work paralleled my own.

At times, I have wondered what would’ve happened had we been walking up the same hill…..if I had made different choices at that point in my life. But then so many amazing things would never have occurred…’s beyond my comprehension really to wonder this. Still…….

Today, however, I stop in that blanketing of wonder to send a prayer out to my old soul friend. I learned that he died last week on Earth Day. He always was a part of earth’s clay, always grounded and real. Earth Day seems prophetically right for him. Surrounded by his sons, his family……surrounded by the people whom he loved with all his heart. Their grief and emptiness is bottomless I am certain. I mourn for them.

Selfishly in my sadness, I wonder again …… but then I stop recognizing that old souls never vanish. They return again with the glimpse of the light of God to share their wisdom and to continue to learn new life lessons. Our paths are bound to cross somewhere beyond the flowing transition of possibility. It gives me comfort and it makes me smile. What a beautiful man he was….now shining down on all of us. I can feel him...can feel his eternal spirit. Can you?

Last night, I found my old soul friend in reading this paragraph which somehow found me....
"When the individual life flows towards death, it also flows through death. It travels like the music of the river. Sustained by its passion and belonging and within the sureness of its flowing, the river is alive. It has a future and urgency for new possibility. It has no fear of death and yet at the end of its flow, a river always seems to be dying into the huge embrace of the ocean. Yet there is no break between the end of the river and its flowing life. The song of its end continues to sing back up the river towards the first moments of its visible infant-flow. At death the music of the heart becomes one with the unheard eternal melody." John O'Donahue, Beauty, The Invisible Embrace.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

comfort in searching....

Out on the highways and the by-ways all alone
I'm still searching for, searching for my home
Up in the morning, up in the morning out on the road
And my head is aching and my hands are cold
And I'm looking for the silver lining, silver lining in the clouds
And I'm searching for and
I'm searching for the philosophers stone
And it's a hard road, Its a hard road daddy-o
When my job is turning lead into gold
He was born in the back street, born in the back street Jelly Roll
I'm on the road again and I'm searching for
The philosophers stone
Can you hear that engine
Woe can you hear that engine drone
Well I'm on the road again and I'm searching for
Searching for the philosophers stone

Up in the morning, up in the morning
When the streets are white with snow
It's a hard road, it's a hard road daddy-o
Up in the morning, up in the morning
Out on the job
Well you've got me searching for
Searching for, the philosophers stone
Even my best friends, even my best friends they don't know
That my job is turning lead into gold
When you hear that engine, when you hear that engine drone
I'm on the road again and I'm searching for the philosophers stone

It's a hard road even my best friends they don't know
And I'm searching for, searching for the philosophers stone

Van Morrison.

This song fills the air around me on days when I need to listen to it. Inspirational, captures much of how I see life's journey. Today, I have Van to affirm my unbridled yearnings to continue to seek out the philosopher's accept my role in turning lead into gold and in trying to help others learn to do the same.

Comfort is found in the most interesting places....not just in joy.....not just in the passionate blues..... but in the silver lining thinness of our expansive imagination. We are only bridled when we turn away from our purpose. We are only bridled when we allow ourselves to be held hostage to our resentments. We remain bridled if we choose to stay enclosed in a room where we can't find our breath. It is when we are out on the road, out on the road where the spirit of our breath allows us to exhale making room for fresh air forgiveness and the sweetness of surrender.

ps. I couldn't find the song on Youtube, but if you've never heard this song, I'd highly recommend I-tuning it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

hard times come again no more....

I heard a version of this classic Steven Foster song while driving along the Saint John River Valley late this afternoon. Though it was written in the 19th century, it rings true today. Unhappy economic times feels the same then and now.

Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh Hard times come again no more.
Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.
While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.
There's a pale drooping maiden who toils her life away,
With a worn heart whose better days are o'er:
Though her voice would be merry, 'tis sighing all the day,
Oh hard times come again no more.
Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave,
Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
Oh hard times come again no more.

Friday, April 24, 2009


It is an incredible thing to catch a glimpse of the flower just past the peak of its bloom, when it begins its dying weep. The strength has diminished leaving the dawning of true beauty. Sadly we often miss this. We think it has already shown its pinnacle of loveliness, and turn away. But that beauty was only visible.....the remarkable beauty is found through vision.

Such a different more profound lens, I believe.

it is what it is....

The preference is always to have a choice, but its rarely the reality in life as much as we want to believe it is. We can set goals, make plans carefully, calculate our next steps and even make good sound decisions. But inevitably, other forces impact how our life unfolds. When you stop and think about all of the variables in our lives which have the potential to tug and pull us away from our much desired choices, its a wonder that we ever feel like we have a choice in how it all unfolds.

I wanted change but on my own terms. I knew it was going to happen. The budget writing was all over the walls! I pursued various avenues and tried to make it happen, but none of the options I was chasing came to be. There's no denying its been painful, and there's no denying I'm still dealing with the residuals of taking it personally. And there's no denying the hot tears of rejection as I struggled for a morsel of understanding as to why things happen. It all there. But, for some strange reason, I'm also feeling like a huge burden has been lifted. My vision seems clearer, and my belief in what is meant to be is allowing me to see a horizon of possibility. There's something to be said about just riding the wave.

This morning as I gather my thoughts and reflect on how I'm truthfully feeling, as I write this post.....I watched dawn break in front of me. The grey clouds moved swiftly from west to east, swept downriver with no control over their destiny. They ride their own windwave...always moving, always reforming, sometimes breaking up and sometimes gathering into a storm. There is bright blue behind that wave of grey. There is a sun too. Now that morning has arrived, I can see the birds too which up until now I could only hear using the wind to propel them on a flight path that looks like fun. They aren't fighting against the forces of nature. They are soaring with it.

Destiny is never held solely in our hands. Attitude is. How we play the hand we're dealt makes all the difference. I still have all the feelings I had yesterday and the day before floating inside me, but they are quickly being swept away by the anticipation of what is ahead of me. It's not a journey I want to take alone. Its not a hand I want to play by myself and thank God I need not worry about that. The choice may not be mine. But, who am I to think I'm any different than anyone else?

Bring it on.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

end of an era

In some ways, it feels like a typical April showery night, middle of the week. The hockey play-offs are on in the background, and everyone is settled in quietly calming down for bedtime. If it wasn't for the recurring jolts of reality which arrive with a zippedyzap through my system, I'd think all is well on the homefront. Alas, I can't ignore the swinging door mixed feelings.....the same ones which accompany the pity party happening in my head.
The job I have been doing for 16 years is no more. Kaput. I've been there since the beginning....I helped define it, create it....nurture it way back then. Now, its not considered important enough...."essential" enough to save....

So, where am I? Let me take Pip's lead and list 5 words...

Fluxed Up

So damn Angry

Appreciative of my friends at work who completely get the situation I'm about to embark on.

Wondering just why the universe continues to work against me and what does it all mean.

Invisibly redundant.

Many stories are stirring inside me.....they will be captured after I can pull my competing thoughts together in some linear fashion. For now........gotta clean out an office, connect with the people I need to connect with, pack some boxes, figure out how to cope, say goodbye (possibly as early as this Friday) to people I've worked with for many years, drink copiously this weekend, suck it up and get on with living a life I seem to have no control over.

today, in the middle of it all........a dear person who has continued to keep an eye on my interests and his heart in his caring support of me said the loveliest thing....He told me he loved me like a sister. It made me cry all over again.

Sometimes sorrow can be comfortable....right my kindred Harbour friend? Sometimes its the only place where comfort dwells.... The comfort is in the warm presence of someone who lets the sorrow spill out.....

'round innocence

her round chubby little cheeks,
deep brown eyes turned down in concentrationat the shiny round rocks that barely fit
in her round dimpled hand.

as she sits quietly on the rug,
with her chubby little round legs

and beautifully adorned feet and toes
spread out to balance her toddler body,
while the crazy lady with her round pointed lens
lays on her own round belly taking photos.
(fortunately no shots of the lady's body parts.)

Carmi's theme this week is "Round"......for more pics, drop by Written Inc.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

melancholy hues

will you meet me by the shoreline
blue upon blues
and we’ll share our heartheld secrets
dipped in melancholy hues?

will you meet me by the water
skin touching skin
and we’ll share our intimate stories
held deeply within?

will you meet me in the morning
when promise holds such light
and we’ll let the tears glisten to the surface
until our sadness turns to delight?

I would like to be standing on the shoreline looking out at the blue with you, soaking in the medicinal pleasures of tidal breezes on a blustery summer's day. I envisioned this escape scene clearly this afternoon while reflecting on the news I received earlier in the day.
I even closed my eyes and let my imagination paint the shoreline picture so I could feel it like I was really there watching you walk down the beach to meet me instead of trying to wrap my head around the reality of what was really happening in my office. Not only did it help centre me and allow for a moment of meditative calm (as it always does when I do manage to get to the shoreline), it lifted me to a place where reflections and perspective creeped onto my numbness....temporarily. It was only short term because I did have to face the music.
The bad news? After waiting and expecting for months for the axe to fall, it finally did. My position was cut along with every other similiar position across the province. 22 of us.....all Career Consultants who support the Case Managers in the frontlines. A victim of the times in a disposable world of work.

The good news? We are being moved to another department to work on a project. Given the economic climate we all live in, I should feel more gratitude that I still have a job to go to. But, I am not there yet.....partly because I know that some things I do now will never be picked up by another person, and those things hold the meaning for me. Plus, there is no choice here....having no choice sucks.

Many details are unknown, but I'm fairly certain that the ones who are the most vulnerable....the ones who live beyond the margins of the marginalized? They will not be a part of my future. Frighteningly, I think they may have lost whatever voice they had managed to maintain. As for community development and prevention? When the "times" tank economically, everyone goes into reactive mode. Prevention is a luxury I guess. So is quality time making deep connections. It doesn't add up properly on the master spreadsheet.

Will you meet me by the shoreline, blue upon blues?
I'll be there looking for you.

Monday, April 20, 2009


the sharp intake of contradiction
sits in wait at the cross of two paths
where painted signs of doubting discomfort
hung in low branches
point out the myriad of directions.

the air is thinly perfumed with baffling adrenaline
and scored by an orchestra of silent instruments
playing to the crowd of lonely patrons

what to do?
who to believe?
why the paradoxes?
what do we thirst?

is contradiction a flirtatious whore in a white dress
who lures innocent hearts into dangerous territory....
or simply a scorned misunderstood woman
offering new awareness in delicate cups
filled with thirst quenching water from the well?

may we accept her for who she is and what she offers -
a place for learning found in the bittersweet elixir of life's adventure.
take care, drink deeply, love like you've never been hurt.
.....know you are part of the unfolding of a mystery
....know that in the core of a contradiction is a clue.

the beauty of an old poet

Ain't it just like a human....
Here comes that rainbow again.

makes me smile....

Sunday, April 19, 2009


A small incident from many years ago reappeared in my memory bank this week right after a completely separate and seemingly disconnected event happened in my life. Yet, it somehow managed to turn on an internal switch I think I've been fumbling with for what seems like forever. It also turned my frown into giggle when I quickly saw the absurdist analogy. What stumps me is how such a small seemingly inconsequential blip in my life journey has obviously continued to float in the ether of my collective experiences just waiting to become part of a "teachable" moment.

25 years ago, I backpacked through parts of Europe with my friend Heather. Along the way, we hooked up with other travellers...sometimes just for the day.......sometimes a little longer. It depended on the connection and depended on which direction we were headed. Sometimes, the fates kept intersecting throughout the trip so that our new friends would pop up unexpectedly at another destination unbeknownst to anyone.

This happened consistently with Mike, a beautiful gregarious man from Minnesota whom we had originally met while he was fumbling at the front desk of a dumpy hostel in Athens trying to sort out accomodation. He had just managed to make his way through to Sarajevo for the Olympics and all on his own travelled south by train, crossing a border and dealing with all that entailed. But, for some reason, he couldn't get his act together to communicate his wishes. We watched him for a while....and then went to his rescue. He bought us a beer. We became fast friends.

(shoot! now I'm all wrapped up in ALL the stories of my travels with Mike and I just wanted to share one incident!! ggrr..... gotta stay on track here..... I'll write another piece about him another time because it is a wonderful story about the realness of serendipity...)

So........fasttrack.....we left Athens.....bizarrely reunited on the ferry to Italy.......did Rome in more than a day (AMAZING CITY.....) and ended up in Florence. He and I saw Pisa and Sienna together and loved it while Heather chose to stay in Florence to soak in the art. On the last day together (or so we thought because fates kicked in twice more on this backpack trip to pull us together) we were standing in the Florence train station with plans to go in different directions. At this point, there were two Brazillian travellers with us who spoke English and Portugese.

It was a bit chaotic that morning....notorious Italian strikes the day before had messed up the train schedules. So, Mike took it upon himself to approach a tiny old Italian woman who was standing behind a counter to ask about departure times. Without any hestitation, he asked her in English....not even considering the woman may not speak the language. The woman duffed him off with her hand telling him in Italian, "no english..." So, what did Mike do? He spoke LOUDER and SLOWER!

Hello!? A little smacking of entitlement stirring around in that manboy's body??

Frustration on both sides filled the air. It was classic. The old woman completely dismissed him as an idiot American traveller. And Mike who was a pleasant friendly guy was hurt in some weird way....he was misunderstood. I think it was an ego bite. We added to the bite by asking him YET AGAIN how he had managed to travel solo through Eastern Europe without someone knocking his block off? Why did he always assume everyone could speak and understand English??

One of the guys from Brazil took over. He approached the old woman behind the counter while we stood off to the side, far enough away that we couldn't hear the conversation. In seconds, he had the woman smiling and conversing. Strange.....he didn't speak Italian, and we assumed the woman didn't speak Portugese. And yet, he managed to return to us with the departure time information. Dumbfounded, I said to him....

"I didn't know you spoke Italian..."

"I don't," he replied, "I just changed the accent on my Portugese. There's enough similarities in the language that she was able to understand me."

I hadn't thought about this silly incident for years until I was driving home one day this week. I had just been confronted with the realization that my emotions were eating me up and driving others away. Not only that, because I hadn't been heard....or they hadn't been acknowledged therefore not affirmed as a human being (this is how it felt....I think its an EGO thing!!!), I did what I do best,.....I had been rachetting them up a notch or two. I had been consistently turning up the decibels. And when that didn't work, I sucked them in and simmered in the sludge of pissed offness. I know I have channelled them into my writing, but apart from that venue, they were either being supressed or spilling out scaring people.

Listen to me for God's sake! Can't you understand the language of my emotions???? This was the frustration I have been feeling in all parts of my life. If a person dismissed me because they were afraid of how intense my feelings were, I felt rejected. If a person tried to help me unravel the now pent up potent stew boiling away, I flooded them. No inbetween seemed to be available to me. No explanations or attempts to describe it using the same language helped me at all. It never occured to me that all I had to do is step back and perhaps change the accent. I seemed to have been stuck in a place of entitlement like Mike and expected others to get it.

There is absolutely no doubt that I am an emotionally driven person. I always have been....I feel it in myself and I feel it deeply in others. This is what helps me be a good counsellor. This is what I can POUR out as a facilitator in front of a classroom full of learners. I see how it helps me connect to others who are trying to scramble up out of a hole. The complicated feelings that make up a deep firey belly of passion has tremendous implications, both positive and negative. Cognitively I understand this....and intellectually I know many don't have this desire or capacity to pull from in themselves. Big feelings scare the shit out of most people. My fears are different.....spiders, snakes, flying....death, drowning, being rejected.....the whole God existance or not thing...... lots of fears here. But, I ain't afraid of emotions.

I have been told time and again I'm too sensitive....too feelings are right there on my sleeve, expressed through my vocal chords, in my writing. The most unnatural thing for me to do is to suppress. The absolute worst thing someone can do to me is ignore remain silent simmering in their own feelings. When this is combined with a sense of something being unfair, well I have a tough time coping. I want to fix it. I want to express it. I want equality.

My father always said I was a "do it" person. I am that, and I thank him for this gene he passed onto me. On most days, this is a good thing. Stuff gets done. But, what I've learned this week (again, because I'm sure this lesson has hit me over the head a thousand times before ) is that sometimes my feelings can shut down others feelings because they swamp them. I have enough gumption to express it for a whole ball team if needed. But, sometimes that doesn't help them, nor does it help me. If and when I tackle life that way, I am more often than not shut out, shunned, not believed.

An example on a smaller scale, I could feel it in a team meeting the other day when I was describing a particularly meaningful interaction I had with a client. I could see that some were with me as I thought i was carefully choosing my words and actually keeping my feelings in line. But, there were others who shut down and dismissed me because they think I'm some Pollyanna airhead who doesn't see reality. Little do they know, not only do I see reality, I feel it in my bones too!

Feeling people are unpredictable people. Out of control feeling people (when affirmation or recognition doesn't happen for a long time.....or when life seems too damn chaotic and unreliable) are caustic. Rachetting it up a notch NEVER helps.

So, lesson learned.....everyone has to have the chance to express their own stuff, that many are not comfortable AND WILL NEVER BE comfortable with big emotions..... and that it would be best to learn how to speak Portugese with an Italian accent rather than talk louder. Interestingly, I've always had a thing for the passion of the romantics. BELLA!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

happy glowing faces

From a tiny seed planted in the spring, they begin their ascent from the soil. Gathering strength in their numbers, they continue to rise....their stems become stalks.....their potential unlimited. With the support of their environment, they thrive. It makes me wonder if their ultimate goal is to touch the tip of the sky? As they absorb the best of the summer sun, we wait in anticipation for the grand display of their happy glowing faces to delight our gardens. Have you ever noticed how they seem to point their faces towards the warm rays like they are anticipating a kiss?

Sunflowers offer us a glimpse of our own cycle of life.
Seeds are sown, seeds are grown.....
Through our nuturing of one another and absorbing the best of the summer sun, we also have the potential to reach up to touch the tip of the sky....receiving kisses along the way.

I took these photos last summer in my friend Jen's garden. Her home is one of my favourite places to take pictures because there is a feeling of smiling creative energy in the air and it just seeps under my skin. Jen always lets me wander around her property, usually with 3 or 4 dogs in tow and a few hens keeping an eye on us. I think she knows how much it helps me alleviate any built up stress and tension of the work week..... My wanderings allow me to take in deep breaths of fresh air and to let out the weary ones.

This weeks theme at Carmi's place is "floral..." Thank you Carmi. It was great to revisit last summer. It filled me with the anticipation of all that is good of our short summer months, and revved up my desire to get back out in the garden again.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


What would your hierarchy of needs collage look like?
Are your needs being met?
Are the choices you're making getting you what you want?
Is what you want the same as what you need?

**tonight's maslow collage homework brought to you by Martha.....good discussions had by all.....***

milk and cookies

In a world where chaos is the order of the day, when honking horns and blinking lights penetrate our overcharged senses, when even existing within the ordinary realm of life at normal speed seems to gyrate our inner core, the very idea of a lullaby can help soothe and comfort. When fear grabs hold of our air passages, when adrenaline sends trickles past impossibility, when we find ourselves gagging over what is expected of us only to trip over one regret after another, a lullaby can spread new tendrils of hope towards a better way.

Consider the feelings wrapped in the motion of a lullaby. Say the word aloud.... it sings on its own from your curled tongue and kissed lips like a soft welcoming whisper spoken by someone who cares.
Calm, secure, reassuring...... you are loved.

Not all lullabies are expressed in the form of a song or poem. They are multi-sensory in nature.....even the pouring rain can offer solace if you want it too. The rhythmic rocking of the subway home has a reassuring feel to it after a long day in the city. The trickling of the brook, an afternoon breeze, the sound of a sleeping dog, the purr of a cat.

Visually we can step into its beauty when we appreciate the expansive sky, a garden of blooms, a canvas splashed with watercolour glory, a mantel dressed in a multitude of candles flickering in the night. The familiarity of lavender essence, baby powder, the aroma of coffee perking in the morning, cinnamon buns in the oven, the smoke from a campfire. The taste of a cold glass of milk and chocolate chips cookies freshly baked, a sip of cointreau to warm your lips and throat, an ice cold beer after a long hot sweaty day working hard, vine picked sun warmed ripe strawberries bursting in your mouth.

We seek comfort in the simple gifts....all are lullabies when our mental health is flooded by panic and stress. Close your eyes....think of your lullabies.....picture the place where you can go to feel the healing goodness of your sanctuary.

A hug, a touch, an I love you so much........
hush, hush, hush.....
Comfort Inside of a Lullaby
unsmiling spirits follow you around
their voices shriek a horrible sound.
faded glories and dreams rush quickly by
seek comfort inside of a lullaby.

loneliness echos from a rumpled bed
sleepless nights keep company instead
used up air filled with uneven sighs
come inside the comfort of a lullaby

worries need gathering, hung out to air
rock to the rhythm of an ancient prayer
unsmiling troubles will soon say goodbye
when you find comfort inside of a lullaby.

hush all the stirring, let your sleepy head rest
there's light to guide you back to your nest
soft voices to cradle, to soothe away cries
come inside the comfort of a lullaby
hush, hush, hush......

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

the fixing fairy

Once upon a time, there was a little fairy who never went anywhere without her trusty crazy glue. Known as a fixer amongst the fairy people, this little sprite had the knack to mend wings and wounds. Her crazy glue was a magical mixture, a special secret recipe known for its healing powers. Tucked in the pockets of her bright blue fairy dress, she always had access to it. The key, she had learned as she accepted her role within the fairy family, was to help others learn how to apply the glue themselves. It blended in much better that way. Help them mend their own brokenness....

Yes, she was known as the crazy glue fairy....the fixer. It was expected of her. It was what she expected of herself. Sometimes she'd make the mistake of trying to mend when she wasn't invited to and when that happened, she was tisked away, dismissed and admonished. She tried hard not to do this, not to jump in when she wasn't wanted but her desire to help others coupled with her intuitive ability to see the need sometimes overwhelms her rational thinking.

Her biggest challenges were the internal rips which were difficult to see and more difficult to stop the bleeding. Sometimes she was successful in helping the wounded fairy become more whole. Sometimes all she could do was offer a couple of dabs of her glue before the fairy would be off and away.

There were a few hurts though which stumped her abilities, and try as she might there was no way to help those internal bleeds. This upset her beyond description because for a long time she thought her gifts were wanted and were enough to mend and to fix most everything. But after trying and trying and trying.....looking at the wound from many different angles, offering up her hope and ideas, creating new potions of her crazy glue, hitting up against walls of unacceptance, she grew so tired of fighting against the rejection she felt from the wounded.

It was a emotionally difficult realization that the fairy's crazy glue wasn't wanted and that some of the other fairies were actually afraid of her take chargeness. It left her feeling completely at odds with how she had pictured herself, with what she thought was expected and warmly welcomed. After a while, her sadness turned into resignation as she realized her crazy glue fixing was seen as threatening...

Somehow what she thought she was doing was a good thing had turned into a problem. As much as she tried to remind herself that her role as a fixer was only a part of who she was, it was too entrenched in her own definition of herself. What would she do if she couldn't fix? How would she deal with this and did she have the strength to let go of the role and move onto something else?

Funny though, she was sick and tired of being the fixer. The problem was......what was she supposed to do with all that crazy glue? And what would she do to replace her role as fixer? Its all she's ever known.

Alone and so exhausted, she sat down surrounded by her own self pity and feel asleep thinking about the wounds she failed to fix and wondering if she was a phoney fixer all along. She could feel an internal rip and she didn't know if she could tend to it anymore. Perhaps it was time to let it bleed. She laid down, pulled her wings in and her legs up and went to sleep.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


“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...........
***I wrote this piece a couple of years ago and reread it last night with new and different eyes. So, I thought I'd repost it again. Maybe there are new eyes out there too.

Monday, April 13, 2009


split second flicker in the eye
tightened judgement lips
a passing glance over head....
disinterested gaze
one hand gesture, finger up
scoffing tisk
yeah, right
you don't measure up.
such a loser
like you matter

no reply
never a reply
unspoken mouthful swallowed whole
unworthy of my time the silence roars
human venom pierces through dismissed hisses
back turned, shoulders up
talk to the says
talk to the butt...
you matter as much as a stranger

pretend blindness
hard of hearing
arms crossed
defiant stance
fuck don't exist.
I know you do, I just don't want you to

condescending tone
who do you think you are?
deafening silence
defensive guard as offensive reaction
blocked off
walled off
wonder if he's just shy?
maybe he's going through his own shit?
maybe she's just having another hissy fit?

avoidance....too intense
too many pleas, pushed into a corner
hidden meaning revealed
she's too much
she's too much
what the fuck does she want from me?
i can't give it.....

gotta get away
gotta get away
leave me alone says the silence
what's wrong with you?
You can't read my signals?
Seems pretty clear to me...
such a loser

disrespect reflected, of yourself perhaps?
my mirror shows your flaws in a light too bright?
naked realism
blemished cuts to the heart, your unhealed pain bleeds

guard not enter
misunderstanding stuffed in a pocket of pity
don't tell me you need me
you're too much work
ugly old puss, I can't even look at you.

gotta walk away
gotta walk away
gotta walk away

Disdain is the fashion of the day. Mean and rude...where is the shame?
The lingering echos of abandonment harken in the deafening hallway after the party's over.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Neil Young in Saint John

The Godfather of Grunge.....never stopped. Rust never sleeps, right? It was like he was in the zone as he played his guitar, which seemed like an extension of his self. He's been going at it since the mid-60's. His repetoire is extensive.....his eclectic musical interests range from rockabilly to country to the pure rawness of rock. His folk tunes are where I meet him mostly, but my deep awe for his talent and gift of being able to rock the place out after all these years knows no boundaries..... He is the miner for a Heart of Gold.
A few photos....not great and they won't win any prizes, but I think these three capture the energy and the feeling of the concert as best as I could.
The crowd was predominantly my age and some my parent's age, but there was a smattering of youngin's who have found their way to Neil Young. It seems to happen with most kids who are interested in learning how to play the guitar....whether it's a screaming tune or a folk song......there is something for everyone. When he played Cinnamon Girl....a song first recorded in 1969!!!!! seemed just the right mix of folks.....three generations loving the tunes.

There's colours on the street
Red, white and blue
People shufflin' their feet
People sleepin' in their shoes
But there's a warnin' sign
on the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin'we'd be better off dead
Don't feel like Satan,
but I am to them
So I try to forget it,
any way I can.
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.
I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away,
and she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life,
and what she's done to it
There's one more kid
that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love,
never get to be cool.
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.
We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand
We got department stores
and toilet paper
Got styrofoam boxes
for the ozone layer
Got a man of the people
,says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn,
got roads to drive.
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

Young teased the audience into thinking the song was over again and again.....guitar licks would begin to die down and then he would turn around and kick into the chorus again. The crowd responded like a frenzied Revival! Dancing, singing, arms swaying.....lost in the moment together. I love the last photo because of the blur of the swaying arms and bright lights blending them all together. Uplifted in the moment.....just like a good preacher can! :)

passion through another lens....

So often it slips away unnoticed by many, but those who know its medicinal magic seek it out. Cradled in the lonely remnants of the dark night where sorrow hovers like an ancient dream too complicated to comprehend, a blushing thinness appears over the sleeping hills.

Just when you thought hope had been smothered by the lingering heaviness of standstill time when your soul is clenched to ward off despair, it winks a deep pink so enticing you can't help but be pulled into its promise. A feast for your eyes. Salve for the spirit. At the very same moment when the pink blush smiles into a broader swath of pastel tangerine and touches the darkness all around turning it into a tangled blue, a choir words, just a welcoming invitation to sit in the rising passion of dawn.

If only it could last forever, held captive by a living snapshot. But we know it would fade away into a outdated design. We would grow tired of its beauty. Besides, hope never remains still. Its very nature carries us forward in its inspiration.

We are kissed by the joy of a sunrise and rejoice in its loveliness. Its softening warmth is sweeter when we have waited on the wings with the lights down low. Let it lift you up into its arms away from despair, to show you a new day.....fresh with no mistakes.

Let your gaze be beautiful.....and know there is always a hand to hold. The sun RISES this morning and I sit in the darkness with You and notice.
Happy Easter.
Let the miracle of the day bathe you in comfort.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

rockin' in the free world....

There are only a handful of singers who frame my youth like this man. Whenever I listen to his music, especially the old gems from the 70's, I am completely transported back to a place I hold near and dear to my heart.....a wonderful summer camp on the shores of Big Hawk Lake, where love and laughter, tears and learning, sweet surrendering nights, big starry skies.....a place where friendships were born and continue on today. Camp Kawabi was where I first heard Neil Young. Tonight, for the first time ever, I will get to see him live. I can't believe it's taken this long to attend one of his concerts.....

And when the chords for this song are struck, I will most likely be smiling a big goofy smile with tears in my eyes thinking about one particular night before the campers arrived when three very good friends had Camp Kawabi to ourselves. We sat on the porch drinking a beer, listening to this on the old stereo......

Comes a Time.........when we're driftin....Keeps me searchin' for a heart of gold....

bring out the harmonica Neil....I'm on my way. ! :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

true meaning of passion......

Was He afraid?
How did He bear the pain?
What went through His mind?
What went through the minds of the people who stood there watching His suffering and ultimate death?
How were they feeling when He drew his last breath?

Hanging on the cross
Head down
Thorns piercing
Vulnerable beyond words
Surrendering beyond love
Tears flow as we pause in reflection
As we wonder about the true meaning of passion.
We are weak, He is strong.....

Thursday, April 09, 2009

twin peaks

when accumulative past failures conjure up
clouds of trampling tensions
and fills a pail full of sorrows
when you find yourself
in the heat of an argument
where no wins, only losses are in sight
when bitter replaces all remnants of sweet
and numbness engulfs you in a shell of a victim
when you realize you have no control of the past
no matter how abusive, neglectful, or strange it was....
the only thing left to do is
to soften in the freedom of

when the shared airspace sends signals
punching in all directions
sensuous warm currents of electricity
when mindful closeness conjures up
clouds of tempting tensions
and hypersensitivity clings
to the catching breaths of finger tips
no words, only unspoken desire is heard
when steps together spin a rhythm of the heart
and two bodies reflect one entrancing shadow
no matter when or where or why....
the only thing left to do is to reach
beyond yourself to a releasing
sweet surrender.

Interesting how we can reach the pinnacle of life's surrendering whether we are in belly of the angry beast or whether we are floating in a climactic feast. Who knew?

nature's jewels

At the end of the summer when all the other berries have long ripened, before the apples grow red hanging from their branches on the trees, these deep purple jewels make their appearance. Under the shade of the prickly vines which wrap around the alders, they congregate in small cathedrals of their own making. Away from sight, away from sunlight, they gather their tart sweetness from earth's moisture. Quietly and with no fanfare, these glistening plump candy grow heavier in succulence waiting to be discovered and consumed.
Or not! Maybe they don't want to be found. Maybe they are just fine ripening and surrendering their goodness back into the hallowed earth, letting their juice seep back to where it originallycame from. Far from showy, they remain protected behind scratchy stinging burrs and thorns in places where no paths have been tramped down. Perhaps they are quite content in their quiet role in nature....
It is only the brave explorer, who chooses to don full body covering, half a can of bug spray, and boots to muck about in who will forge into unchartered territory to enjoy these mouth watering treats freshly picked off the vines. And it is the brave blackberry lover, scratched up and bug bitten in their efforts to find the perfect offering who knows where these reverential jewels dwell who knows the quiet untouched groves they settle in.
In a quiet whisper, so as not to disturb their beauty, the gatherer tugs tenderly on the discovered jewel allowing it to slip gracefully into her hand and gently into her mouth letting its skin bursting fragrance awaken her taste buds.
All good things come to those who wait.

This week's photo theme is Edible. For most mouth watering offerings, check out Carmi's blog.