Thursday, May 27, 2010

overcoming fears.........

Won't you look down upon me, Jesus
You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day
My body's aching and my time is at hand
And I won't make it any other way
James Taylor, Fire and Rain

One of my biggest fears when I was younger was public speaking.  The very thought of standing up in front of a group of people made my heart jump into my throat and my stomach fills with flutters.  Pretty common fear, but it was one I was determined to conquer.  I wanted to feel comfortable leading and facilitating.  For some inexplicable reason this was important to me, even when I was 18 years old.

Deliberately, I decided to assume the role of leading the Sunday chapels at the camp I worked at for several summers.  I figured it was a safe first step towards finding a comfort zone, because Camp Kawabi as a whole was where felt the strongest sense of belonging outside of my family and Chapel services had always held such meaning for me.  

It also offered me an venue to share poetry and stories I had collected as well as some of my own adolescent writing  (you can imagine!).  Songs played a key role....the weekly choices tied in with the theme, which most often was a variation of one....friendship.   In fact, it continues to be a running joke that the only chapel theme was friendship.  It makes me wonder if all spiritual roads lead to the topic of relationships and heart connections.

For three summers, I assumed the helm of this time of the week......... really the only time a sense of hush and quiet communion in a week of boisterous activity. I loved both the challenge and the sense of accomplishment.  Yes, I was nervous.... shaky nervous at first, but some of my friends would stand at the back of lodge and send me  their smiling energy o boost my confidence.  I remember this as vivid as it happened yesterday.  I was also held up by an unwavering sense of magical reverence that prevailed over our little chapel moments and I know I wasn't the only one.  My confidence grew as I found my leadership voice in a place surrounded by nature's strength and the glow of the beautiful faces staring up at me.

It's hard for me now to believe I was ever afraid of standing up in front of a group facilitating or delivering anything.  Sure, I get the jitters every once in a while, but they quickly flee as fast as they arrived as soon as I start talking and get into the flow.  It seems to come natural to me and I'm always left afterwards with an exuberant amount of pumped up energy.  So much so, that I can picture myself doing this much more and for bigger groups in my future.  

I like to revisit the time when my first steps were taken to overcome this fear and have done so a lot lately because I seem to be standing right in the middle of many new fears and I need to learn how to deal with them.  They overwhelm me at times.  They leave me feeling frantically scrambling to get away from them.  Sometimes, these new fears leave me bewildered beyond my usually reliable common sense, in a place of self doubt.  I want to yell out for help.  I want to hide.  I wish someone could take control of them and shoo them off!  What helps to slow down the panic is the knowledge that I have a history of facing my fears........ of being a strong person and learning how to rise above them.  

Our feelings are guided by our thinking.  How we think and what we think about fuels our feelings.  They are intertwined alone with how we choose to act.  Its impossible to disconnect them.  Its possible to alter one by altering the other however.  When I begin to feel the fear of being alone, or the fear that I am destined to live out the rest of my life without a partner, or that I stumble thinking about the myriad of responsibilities I have as a parent to try to help my kids face their grief .... to mourn how much their lives have changed, to help them with their fears, I tremble with a slew of mind bashing tangled feelings..... fear is a stew of them.  It can weigh you down so quickly that even a bathtub of water feels like the deep end.  

The way I see it, the best way to overcome them is to reach back into the treasure chest of previous learning for a revisit.  I picture myself standing up in front of a group of kids and peers leading them in a moment of meaningful community and I can feel my strength rebuild inside me. All of a sudden, the negative voice in my head begins to fade as it is replaced by a much nicer voice that says.......... 

"You can do this........."

It helps.... the inside strength of previous successes through lessons.......... it helps.  So does knowing you have people in your life who care.  Really care.  

The very last chapel I organized at camp included introducing and teaching the song "You've Got a Friend."  Initially, I had taught it to my campers...... a group of 15 year old girls whom I had the good fortune to have many of them under my wing for a couple of summers.  We were very close.  We practised the song throughout the week, and prepared to sing it together for the rest of the camp.  

Just before it was our turn to do just that, an ex-staffer who was visiting camp for a couple of days, and who had been in charge of chapel when I was a young camper got up and talked about what it was like to be back at Kawabi.  She shared her observations, her feelings, and left everyone with a message about the importance of the friendships made.   My group and I sat behind her on a bench listening to her heartfelt words and as "Trick" continued with her story, I was flooded with the reality that it was my turn to say goodbye to a place I loved with all my heart for the very last time..... that one day, I would follow "Trick," returning as an old staffer.... that my 12 summers were about to be a memory.  WELL, you can guess what a mess I was. 

Somehow I managed to contain all of the feelings churning inside me......... until after thanked Trick for sharing her beautiful thoughts ..... until after I introduced the song .... BUT only until AFTER I uttered the first line.........
"When you're down and troubled................................"   

Then, I melted.   Surrounded by my group of girls,  I simply lost my voice.  I lost my legs.  I lost my ability to lead.  Every thing that I had originally feared happened.  But, you know what happened?  They circled me.  They kept singing.  They put me back on the bench and carried on.  They looked after their leader by caring and understanding where I was and why I was feeling so overwhelmed.  
It was alright....... their reaction told me I had nothing to fear.  If I wasn't able, it didn't matter because they would help me.

I am not alone now.  As much as I am afraid of many things right now, I know deep deep in my heart and soul that I am not alone. I have a growing faith that surprises me with its intensity.  I also have so many beautiful friends and family who are one moment away..... one blink away.  I see it, feel it, lean on them as they do me.  The help me relearn the steps of overcoming fears, of facing them right between the eyes.  When the very worst feelings come calling?  

You just call out my name,
and you'll know wherever I am, 
I'll come running.
Winter Spring Summer or Fall
All you have to do is call.
And I'll be there............
You've got a friend.

Overcoming fears?  It's all about digging deep within.  It's all about reaching out and asking for help.  Its all about taking it on one breath at at time, knowing you have the capacity and resiliency to conquer them.  

tranquility through reflective moments.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

if i had a boat............

Rowboat wannabe 
Victoria-by-the-Sea, PEI

Its surprising how well a little boat can carry you over big waves.  Sure, it would be much easier if what you're sitting in is bigger than a bailing bucket.  However, you can still ride the waves if you just relax a bit, whistle a tune and go with the tides.  Prayer helps too.  And for God's sake, don't forget the oars or you'll be out there floating around forever.  Sometimes you need to get your feet planted on solid ground.  Sometimes it  takes a bit of rowing to reach the shore.

Don't you just love this little boat? What character!  


Being open to the ineffable moments of nature stretches our spiritual realities. Look no further than your garden for lessons on being patient, on evolving beauty, on miracles hidden within the petals of one blossom. As we stand in wonderment and awe, we recognize a place cupped in mystery.  Words slip away into silence.  There's no rush to find the spoken words. For, it is in the silent reverence in the presence of one of God's creations where we feel the most enlightening affirmation of life. 

We don't revere the known. We revere the unknown which in turn feeds our creativity through inspiration from the Divine.  The essence of the unknown drives our insatiable need to understand... to learn more.... to seek out the words to describe the indescribable. There are so many wonders without explanation. That's reality.  
Reverence is an electrical prickly skin feeling.  It is an invisible energy to grab onto, for it allows the transcendence of a symphonic faith permeate the space inside which is holy.

Reverence allows us to see the outline of the Apparition who dwells in our hearts and souls by shining a light of believing onto the Holy Spirit.  Without a sense of reverence, we would never explore the depths of our own caverns......

just as i am............

I am who I am, and who I am is a work in progress.  Just as you are.  Just as I am.  Does becoming who we are ever reach an end point or are we a work in progress throughout our lives.  I don't think so..... we continue to "become" as we continue to learn and experience life to its fullest.  So, who I am today will most likely be very similar to who I am tomorrow........... but who I am next year?  The authentic parts will still be there.  I may have a new hair colour. I may decided to paint my toenails a deep purple rather than the hot mama red that they are presently.  I may alter my accent.... or take on one since I'm Canadian and I don't really have an accent to begin with.  Maybe a year from now, I'll decide to sing my words while talking just to juggle things up a bit. 

I like who I am for the most part.  There are rough hewn edges I know need sanding down, and a few dents that may need to be hammered out.  I also know there are some people who would quickly cross the street to avoid my presence because I make them uncomfortable.  Perhaps its because I'm too forthright, too blunt or perhaps my intuitiveness makes them feel a bit "nakey?"  Or maybe its because I'm brash..... salty with my language and it hurts their ears.  Still, I am who I am.  Just as I am. A brashy diplomat?   On one hand, people gravitate to me.  Everyday.  On the other hand? I scare some.  I wonder if it has something to do with my spontaneity?

You know, I'm thinking that if life inside our hearts and minds is a chaotic stirring of "don't know who you really are", wouldn't we strive for control and calm in the world around us?  Orderly would be the key word.  Heaven forbid spontaneity and directness rears its beautiful head.  It would make the inside world tumble even more so.  If who you are isn't a concept you have a good handle on, wouldn't you focus on the negative too much? 

I am who I am............ a human becoming.  Through reflection, rejection, dejection, correction, acceptance, reverence, diplomacy, and a mad dash of crazy, I will walk on as a work in progress.  Fucking right I will!   Just as I am.  Still beautiful even with the rough hewn edges. If you have a problem with that, its your problem.  Not mine.  I'm doing the best I can, and for the most part, I'm not doing too badly.  How about you? beautiful legging model Lisa from the market is three weeks away from giving birth.  I LOVE this photo of her........ She looked RADIANT today.  May we all have days when we look RADIANT.  I'm going to try tomorrow............ radiance becoming. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

stern your own canoe

"Take time to accept responsibility. Your life is exactly that - It's your life. It is created by you. You are constantly making choices, constantly creating new experiences. And although we can be affected by circumstances which can seem to be completely out of our control, essentially, we decide the direction in which we walk."
Nicolas Watkins

If ever there was an activity that automatically brings me peace, its canoeing.  Even if I'm in rough currents, I still have a sense of the divine resonating inside me.  Though I RARELY get out for a real paddle, and by GOD I'm going to this summer, even the visualization of paddling can soothe the savages that rage inside me. The pictures, the stories, the memories are real and at my mind fingertips whenever I need to "go there."  I think living by the Saint John river and being able to see it every single day has been the source of keeping the internal pictures alive and fresh.

I remember times when I floated along the shores, through the lily pads and lake grass enjoying the water spiders and little fish quietly living their lives. I have found the strength to take deep plunges with my paddle, to fight off the north winds as I cascaded over white caps trying to make it across the lake to a calmer locale. 

I have laid back against the thwarts and looked up into the sky allowing the canoe to drift along the currents. I have sat in wonder under a midnight blue canvas shimmering in starlights without any city lights to tarnish its splendour.  Using my own body strength I have tramped through mosquito ridden woods portaging while leading a group of teens to do the same......... to get to another lake beyond the roads. It was always, always worth the pain and sweat of the portage to get that first glimpse of a pristine lake void of any cottages or motor boats.

For many summers, I taught children how to find their own way using a paddle and a chestnut canoe.  I still smile broadly when I think of it of those times.   One spring, it was my job to teach a bunch of city kid neophytes, who had never set foot outside of their concrete neighbourhoods let alone slept in cabins, or seen a pristine lake surrounded by pine and the beautiful rock of the Canadian Shield all the basics of canoeing.  I would have the group for the morning...........on the docks, close to the beach........ practising.  Just before lunch, we'd pack the canoes and set OFF across the lake to an island where we would set up camp for lunch.  

There, I showed them how to make a good campfire. We'd cook our lunch together and then I'd show them how to use a reflector oven and we'd bake a cake for dessert.  They thought that was magical.  In the afternoons, we'd go exploring........... all around the lake.  And as we went, we'd sing songs, share stories and get to know one another.  Most importantly, we'd make sure that the strength of the group carried us all, even if there was someone with us who struggled to keep up.

The look of fatigue AND accomplishment on these kids faces at the end of the day was brilliant!  I'll never forget it.  These little anklebiter city kids had done something FAR beyond their own reality horizons and it shifted them. To be able to say.... "I did that" can stretch into "I can do that......."  and beyond to "I will try that........."  It was a beautiful lesson in the creating choices and making them.  For yourself.  By yourself.

My canoe now is more or less a metaphor.  I don't own one. I want one, and maybe it will happen soon.

Across the water......... dip, dip and swing.

My days sterning a canoe used to mostly be in familiar waters.  Every now and then, I'd branch I did when I flew across the big blue pond to attend the Greenbelt Festival on my own last year.  Even with that, I had a pretty good inkling of what to expect (though definitely not the whole picture.... much of it was a mystery) and I had familiar friendly faces to greet me..... 

When I look at the paddling I've been doing, some of which feels like going upriver WITHOUT a paddle, I see how I am still sterning.  It's just takes a little more energy, a little more intensity.  On the other hand, I have also learned that sometimes its a good thing to surrender that spot in the canoe to allow another to stern, while kneel in the bow to look out for those standing waves and dead heads.  I've done both this spring........ with the help of friends and family.  With the help of God.

Usually, I know which inlet I'm visiting. I am aware of the weather up ahead. I can find the right harbour, the best shore, the sturdy dock. Familiarity allows for this. Familiarity allows for us to have the feeling that we can paddle solo......that we can do it alone. But, I'm wondering if familiarity also generates doubt which perpetuates desire to tackle something new? We get settled in the same canoe, on the same lake, looking at the same inlets. The seasons come and go, the winds come and go........ all predictably familiar. Which is nice, if you're completely and utterly content.

And if you are.........completely and utterly content...............go with it........more power to you.....rock on.......... just watch out for those nasty snapping turtles, oh and the driftwood.....oh, and watch out for the changing water levels, where all of a sudden, the familiar lake alters it's vista and you're left grounded on a new sandbar with a stick puncturing your beloved canoe.

Yeah, familiarity...............a facade, isn't it, with contentment as a trap?

Today, I headed over to what looks like an inlet from afar, but as you get closer, you can see it's really the beginning of a tributary feeding into another lake. It's the other lake where I have heard has a couple of beautiful campgrounds to check out. It is where my next destination lies. I know this lake, but not as well, so have decided to ask for directions, to ask for help with the navigating.

Help, I pray ........ will you please help me? I asked.......... these are not words I often spout because I'm normally comfortable soloing. I'm normally the navigator for others. But, today I asked someone whom I know clearly has a big picture of the lay of the land and lake..........

His answer?

"Yes, I would love to help you. But, I don't want you to settle for something you're not completely excited about. I want you to be picky about your destination. And while I'm helping you, I want you to plant as many seeds as you can along the way........."

Our lives are created by us, as noted in the quote........but we should never be afraid to check out new vistas, to pass up familiarity and more importantly to ask for help in the paddling to a new destination.

Think I've just pushed off from the may be a longer paddle than I anticipate because, well I'm not going to settle for the first campground I check takes time.......but I have help. We all do. I don't have to navigate alone.  And for that reason, when I look up into the blue heavens above, my prayer will always and forever be....

"Thank you........"

Monday, May 17, 2010

breath of kindness

Yesterday I was asked how my previous week had gone. My impulsive response was all negative. I had gone to Prince Edward Island on my own to attend a conference which turned out to be very difficult emotionally.  I was away from family and friends.... away from the supportive people in my life who have been helping me retain my footing and allowing me to lean on them when I've needed to.    
It left me flooded and flailing, unable to sleep. Surrounded by hundreds of people I didn't know, I was lost.  The initial shock I have been living under, which for the most part has jolted me with adrenaline and a protective shield around my confidence had completely disappeared.  Instead, I was raw.  Ironically, the conference was filled with Counsellors and Psychotherapists and I couldn't put my hand up and ask for help. 
Last night, when I was able to settle into a more peaceful silence beyond the busy trappings, I was able to recognize just how rich the week truly was. It encompassed way more than the trip to PEI.  What I have found is that the pace of the days are impossible to keep up with as far as being able to step outside of them and truly weigh all that is happening......... both on the inside and the outside.  Mostly the inside.  I haven't been able to lift above the smoke like you would do when you're not dealing with critical changes to do as the George Eliot quote suggests......
".....pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

.....this is holistically so important isn't it?  Especially now.  I am learning how to do that.  Because, what may seem so emotionally catastrophic while in the midst of it gains rationality when you can step away from the event/moment to recognize the size of it in comparison to the bigger more important things living life offers. 

Once I was able to reflect quietly last night, the innumerable moments which I had allowed to be overshadowed began to lift into sight.  Their lovelights caught my eye and they took precedence over the more wretched moments.  I took the time to see just how blessed I am. The caring loving people in my life, particularly the ones I connected with this week, either face to face over deep conversations, or through email, phone calls are a bouquet of love. 

Of all the gifts I have been provided through the course of this personal experience, the gift of love and compassion from others is so abundantly beautiful.  I couldn't even count how many amazing conversations and connections I have made in the course of these two months.  And they continue...... sharing, revealing, deeply emotional on both sides of the conversations....... it gives me energy.  it feeds my emptiness.  it allows me to do the same for the other person too. 
I'm learning at a deeper level that once you can reach a point where two hearts open up to honest feelings, the eloquence of spiritual kinship glistens like a beautiful bow on the gift.  Dreams, fears, confessions, secrets, hopes, sadness, doubt, ideas, previous learning, tears and joy are all revealed by the stories we have shared.  It puts a very different face on how I had described my week.  
Quickly it altered into a collage of loving faces.......some who live nearby, some who live in other provinces and countries,  and some whom I've never even physically met before but have become close to through my writing.  Beautifully shaped, all shades......... caring eyes.  Lovelights of kindness and concern.... of joy and compassion.

Keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness......... blow the rest away.   When we can sit in the quiet safety, our ability to dwell in kindness..... for self and others........ resonates from within.  Last night, I sought out where I live best, cradled by God's Hands, and with His support, blew away the chaff from the wheat with a heart glowing in kindness again. 

Last week brought heartache and loneliness.  It wrenched memories right out into the open and made me feel raw.  I was forced to recognize that the family vacations we have enjoyed so much in the past are now forever altered..... that friendships we have as a family with other families are now in flux.  I fell into a pit of memories..........good ones, but with a searing nostalgic sadness and I couldn't climb out of there on my own.  It will take time to accept these changes.  I will continue to grieve.  But, I am also learning how to step out of loathing and into gratitude. 
Last night...... certainly helped soften the edges, leaving me with a handful of sifted gifts.  All glistening gems.....
Gratitude offered me solace as well as inspiration to anticipate another week that hopefully will be like my beautiful Saint John river........ surprised by the joy of its meandering unfolding.  Bring it on.  My Dad arrives Wednesday. :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Believe in Me"

 we never walk alone

Here are my rambling thoughts this beautiful Sunday morning ........the lilacs are beginning to bloom and there isn't a cloud in the sky....... 

When you say to someone, "I believe in you," what exactly do you mean by that?  It has nothing to do with their outward appearance, or that you can reach out and touch their skin, feel their face, hold their hand.  Surely having the confirmation that the person is real flesh and blood helps, but believing in someone is certainly not that.  There are many people whom I've never had the pleasure of meeting them face to face and I  "believe in them."  Why?  Because they are.........

Full of Integrity
Loved and Loving.
Beautiful in their own unique way.
These the tenets behind that one little statement.  Powerful stuff. 
Its all in the essence of their actions. 

When someone says to you,  "I believe in you," how does that make YOU feel?  Are you apt to smile as you absorb this affirming message, or do you automatically feel the opposite? Rather than a sense of inspiration, do you tense up in perspiration over the very idea that someone would "believe in you" when all can feel is fraudulent?  What stops us from believing that someone else believes in you?  Inconsistent messages.  Insincerity, Lack of trust.  Self loathing. Guilt?  The list is endless.

What happens to the one who once believed in the other human being but can't anymore?  It's shattering.  Why?  Because when you take the risk to be open enough to tell someone you are in their corner, cheering them on, believing in their goodness and core values, it is a vulnerable place to be.  It's a risk.  You've taken a stance that is WIDE open.  When you're WIDE open, you are a bigger target.  When you reach a point in a relationship when the believing is mutual, when it bonds you in partnership and then it all falls to pieces, your ability to believe in anything becomes questionable.  

Lies do that. Secrets create uncertainty.  If someone lies once, will they lie again?    If they are trying to hide the truth from themselves, yes they will.  It's an ineffective hurtful way of trying to cope.  Liars never believe in themselves, and certainly have a tough time accepting that anyone else could "believe in" them either. 

BEEEE-LEEEVE.   It's a masterful word with deep rooted meaning.  When used within the context of a testimonial, it packs a significant punch.  I can't imagine any other phrase, except one other that holds such power. Maybe they mean the same thing.......  they seem to come from the same place, one's heart.  There is the other side of the thought too......... maybe the other person couldn't even grasp the message because they never believed in themselves.  Maybe they don't believe they are worthy of love as well.  Can you really accept such affirmation if you don't see yourself as worthy?  We are all worthy of being loved and of loving others.  How does one help another feel this enough to believe in themselves?

I believe in you.....
I love you.....
Are they one in the same?

I think they are, though as mere mortals, we struggle with giving and receiving this message.  Our stumbling bumbling frailties complicate the purity of simply believing in ourselves.  We are more apt to put ourselves down because we focus on the negative bits....... the ugly bits and stop seeing ourselves as holy unique individuals of beauty.  Sometimes, our ability to express love and compassion to some people in our lives is halted by the fear inside them.  Why?  Is it because humans have created a list of conditional expectations to go along with the love?  

We will never perfect our frailties enough to be able to offer up our love and convictions as unconditionally and as beautiful as God.  We aren't God...... but we are extensions of His love and he has provided us with the emotional capacity and free will to try our best.  He has also created us with a sprinkling of the Holy Spirit in our souls.  When we look at someone in the eyes and tell them that we believe in them..... that we LOVE them, we speak the maternal words of the Holy Spirit.  

God guides us in learning how to share and receive love unconditionally.   He also asks us to practice on Him.  His request............ "Believe in Me..." tells us so.   So, we practice throughout our personal spiritual journeys.  There are days when believing in God is in full bloom and then there are other days when you couldn't scrape a smidgen of conviction out of your soul.  That's alright.  The key is to practice.... to work on it.  

God provides us opportunities to learn how to love and believe through the relationships we covet in our lives.  Its hard work.  Loving and believing aren't givens.  You have to work at it on those days when you couldn't scrape a smidgen of conviction out of your soul.  Both of you.  Sometimes we get it right.  Sometimes we fail miserably.  And, when we stumble.....when we feel like a failure, the healing has to start with yourself.  Relearning that you are "believable"...... that you are "lovable...."  This is the starting point. 

I believe in you.  I do.  I can't live your life and I can't make your decisions.  I can't force you to accept what I have expressed.  I have no control over how you receive my emotionally charged testimonial.  All I can do is try to describe what that statement means to me........ what is behind it.  I take a risk, knowing my love is not perfect, that my beliefs are still forming on my lips as I say it out loud.  And if by me telling you how beautiful you are.......... what a blessing you are in my life.... If by me honestly reminding you that you are a gift from God offers you a gentle nudge towards accepting your own lovability quotient, I will be content.

"I believe in you"............. helps me believe in me too.  Its where honesty takes root. 

Please don't be frightened by it.  There's nothing to be frightened of by someone believing in you..... by someone loving you. 

We are all works in progress........ learning to love and learning how to be loved. Just as we are. 

the lilacs are beginning to bloom.......  This morning, I am still.  I am quiet.  Its good for me.  Why?  Because the quiet allows me to hear those words...... 

"Believe in Me."  

I trust those words.....

Friday, May 14, 2010

cargo of emotions.....

There you are, clipping along life's highway thinking you've got it all under control.  Full gas tank, good air flow, the perfect collection of tunes to accompany the beautiful blur of the landscape you're passing on by. The road is yours....... no one else in sight for miles.   Freedom never feels more alive than an open road with yellow dashes of collective anticipation.  Sing away!  Drive on!  Motion forward.....  Life seems so manageable...... so optimistic.

Far away, in the rear view mirror, you see a large lumbering vehicle coming up over the lip of the hill you've just driven along........ gaining ground.

All of a sudden, you're struck by the force of reality, even though you distinctly remember firmly tucking it into the hamper, wedging it between "resolution" and "to be dealt with some other time."  This reality seems to have creeped up from behind without you knowing until its too late, like an oversized transport carrying familiar cargo.  Before you know it, this heavily loaded menace is sitting right on your ass demanding your attention, belching out exhaust stink while gearing down so loudly it drowns out the music and pollutes the airflow. 

Caught again........... and you thought it was going to be a carefree kind of journey.

There's no way to ignore it.  All internal systems move into alert mode.  Emotions rise to flood stage with a rapid force, pushing the adrenaline to kick start a temporary sharpness of the mind.  All you can do is pray that the rancourous vibration of the internal air horn doesn't bellow its shuddering baritone sound. 

Or, you can pull over to let it pass on by............ let the load pass on by.  While you're at it, turn off the car, get out and breathe.  Can you smell the fresh mown grass?  Can you see the clouddrifts.  Can you feel the lowering heartbeat?  Can you hear the voice inside you again remind you that it will pass?  It always does...... But sweet Jesus, it can be so loud and obnoxious and downright frightening while you're sitting in the middle of the cacophony of anxiety. 

ps.  no moving vehicles were tortured while taking this photo.  I was sitting still, as was the truck while we waiting for our turn to be escorted through a construction site on the highway.  He actually waved at me knowing I was taking photos. :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Imagination, be it friend or foe is the firelight that beams into your soul.  It is the necessary tool to be able to expand on a raindrop of an idea.  It can also turn one teardrop into a puddle big enough to splash around in.

Our imagination carries us beyond the mind by inviting us to enter through passageways of possibilities.  It is the sweetening of wonder.  It is the booster juice of inspiration.  It is the fuel injection required to unblock and unleash the musings wandering aimlessly in the galaxy, motioning them to formulate creatively. 

Sometimes that curious imagination finds out things before you're even ready to go there.  It thrives on questions and various "what if" scenarios and turns them into wicked flights of fantasy where wishes upon wishes transform into a multi-sensory carnival of dreams just waiting for you to unleash your inhibitions, doubts and fears so you can replace them with passionate exploration.  If you allow your imagination to run freely you may find yourself on a ride you never knew existed, or you thought was beyond your reach.  But, if you can imagine it can you then transform it into something tangible and real?  Can an illusion ever be held in the palm of your hands?

Imagination dips itself into the well of mystery........... oh, how it LOVES a good mystery.   Feed it with pieces of life puzzles and it folds itself into a hideaway nook to savour ever single tasty morsel.  Be careful of the stings.  Be prepared for some surprising feelings.......for our imagination often has a unique way of rebuilding the puzzle.  It may not be how you want it to look, sound, feel like.  It may be dangerously painful.  It may distort the lines of reality all the while trying to convince you of its honesty.  Sometimes our self created imagery will carry us into a sinkhole of doubting dialogue and with one full swoop, send you far away from any comfort you have carefully tucked in all around you.

At times it seems almost impossible to rein in our expansive fabrications.  We start spiralling down into a tunnel, haunted by memories and prickly pain only to land with a thud inside a chamber of horrific thoughts?  Why do we allow ourselves to go there?  Do we need to experience the dark side reality of our imagery in order to eventually let go of it?  Is this where we kick and kick until we bleed daylight?

Maybe the travels we take down the side of the mountain where the sun doesn't shine forces us to wrestle the truth from the sticky goo of falsehoods.  Maybe its all a part of learning from our sorrows. Maybe it allows us to ask the question.... "IS this the truth?  Is what I'm thinking the truth?"

Most days, I embrace my imagination and allow it to lead me beyond the wild.  I love the fact that my mind is an endless babbling two way conversation with ideas rich with possibilities.  On days when it is my friend, I can float on optimism and hope.  I can plan productively, think clearly, sharpen my view of what could possibly be beyond the horizon.  Its those other days when the it feels more like a noose around my soul and all I can hear is the same dialogue.... the same song over and over again. It's an obsessive mantra full of failure and rejection, cascading over a waterfall of tears. 

My imagination can lead me to an open beach with life affirming salty breezes where I feel loved and at one with this glorious world all around me, but it can also steer me into a abandoned alley reeking in human waste.  No matter how hard I try to avoid those stinking alleyways, sometimes its just impossible. 

Yesterday, I made it to the beach.  Just in time.   The singing sands beach in Souris, Prince Edward Island.  I had it all to myself.  I made the sands sing as I walked along the shore.  These sands are famous for their singing.  And when I returned to the car to head back to Charlottetown, my toes were still humming........ my friendly imagination was returning.  The noose was loosening.  Though my sense of failure and rejection still rattles inside me.  The shock of hasn't worn off yet. My raw anger has not floated away.......yet. 


ps..... so many good things have happened to me over the past two months, and a few very funny things too.  I havent had much time to write these days, and long to.  I hope I will be able to capture some of the lighter parts soon........... Just have to find the stillness in me to start, write and complete a piece all in one sitting.  Its seems impossible right now.  Stillness is a fleeting wave  .......

Thursday, May 06, 2010

predawn renewal

 the mystic keens
his secret night aches
heard only
in the rustling
tendershoot leaves
and in the windblown pine
of his beloved wood.


he stands alone
deep in the wild
an echoing answer
an echoing answer
knowing they are only heard
in the thin precipice
of dawn

it is there
inside his tearsoaked soul
the kneeling spirit weeps
her song of love
unburdening him 
of untapped yearnings
with her soft unspoken presence

he leans into her moist tears
and prays....
into the sound of an answering echo

resplendent relief cleanses
his loneliness like 
an april shower pouring kisses
on bridled faith

his eyes closed in comfort
the mystic 
the aromatic earth of the woods
like one who belongs in nature

his wildwood prayers were heard
just before
dawn awakened a new day
ps..... i couldn't sleep and began to wonder about mystics and whether they have big doubts too at 3 am.  the echoing answer was a resounding yes.  that thought comforted me, knowing even the most devout have sleepless nights, and there isn't a darn thing wrong with that.....once in a while.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


I'm in the market for a new pair of wings. As much as I'm attached to the pair I own, it seems like I have to flap them more often to reach a point of take off.

They are comfortably worn lovely wings that have developed a multi-hued sheen over the years.  If you look closely at them you can see phyllo layers of reflections. Peeled back carefully,  the layers tell my journey.  If you look very closely, you can see the tiny nicks and tatters where awareness shimmies through.  Bits of enlightenment too. Perhaps that's also where the air  friction flows, slowing me down, forcing me to use too much energy.

My wings are my legacy, my individual unique fingerprint fabricated  experiencing life and ALL that it has to impart. They started off as tiny gossamer transparent wings fed and nurtured by my parents' unconditional love, by my grandmother who taught me how to explore the nooks and crannies of our neighbourhood by seeking the backroads less travelled, by the mentors who took me under theirs and shared their gifts.

My wings stretched and grew as I did. The transparency began filling in with gorgeous rainbow colours, flashes of sparkle interspersed with earthy foundations.

I was lucky.  They started off strong, and continued to develop resiliency  with every connection I made in my world. Friends, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, mentors, lovers, kindreds wove threads of confidence into the character of my very own wings as I grew up. And,  with every life experience, magical dust fell onto them.......some which weighed me down, and some which helped me to fly. They have been everywhere with me, carrying me across adventurous fields I sometimes didn't even know existed.  Yes, I've covered miles and miles of memories, captured in the layers and the sheen.

Let me step back and look at them again from another angle.

Wow! LOOK at them! I LOVE their colour!  So unique!  Their weathered  ends are a blends of joy and grief, of happiness, pain and wonder . Ah! the WONDER! Look at those nicks and tatters. I wonder if this is where enlightenment meets grace. Maybe the air filtering through the tears breathes the spirit needed to reach safe habours?  Do you think the nicks and tatters  are simply the chapter headings of my ongoing learning?  I wonder what I would name each chapter? 

New wings.........??? I dunno.  Maybe I'm more attached to these ones than I realized.  Besides,  where does one buy new wings? e-bay?  kijiji?  Should I test fly a few just to see if they boost my zip?   Do new wings come with training wheels or operating instructions?   What if I purchase them and find out a little while from now that my new wings and I clash? What then? Can I return them?  Do I really need a brand new pair of wings? How environmentally friendly is that?

    hmmmmmmm........ I can't be tossing out a perfectly good set of wings that I have taken a lifetime to polish and buff can I?  They pretty well suit my personality.  But, for some reason I just don't feel like I'm using them to their  potential.  For some reason, they have  curled up ends and the tips are tucked under rather than stretched out. How did that happen?  How did I neglect these wings? 

    Perhaps it's not the wings............perhaps its the need to approach the wind currents from a different angle so that the air flows through the nicks more effectively. Perhaps my wings just need a bit of crazy glue along the edges to help direct them across new fields, and a little bit of some magic dusting from those around me to help along the way.  

    Maybe all that I need to do is readjust these wings of mine, while I step out into the frontier. To learn how to use them differently.  Maybe I can stretch out into new possibilities far more confidently if I can rely on the foundation that brought me thus far. It seems to me they have miles to go and adventures to experience through unchartered territories before they are laid to rest .  Me too.   

    hmmmmm........ now that I look at them from this angle..... I feel like my wings are new again.  Only they seem more special because they have been nurtured by the accumulated stories collected along the way.   I have been blessed to be touched by so many had their hand in creating my wings.  You know? I think I'll keep them and do a little retooling.  I'm not ready to give up all that they represent.  Those old stories threaded through the fabric of these wings are too important to toss out.  

    Do you think they will help me soar right into the wilderness?  I hope so, because that's my preferred destination.  

    wonder never looked so beautiful

    When early evening stirs secrets of tangled sorrows wrapped in blessings, a rainbow forms  from a delightful cloud frontier.  Spontaneous smiles replace woeful fatigue.  The sun returns home in time to dance its last jig.  

    Sometimes miracles are difficult to glean with the naked eye.  They are tucked away in hiding spaces and it takes such effort to seek them out.  

    Sometimes, however, they radiate just beyond our touch but close enough for us to see them so clearly.  Miraculous fluidity arcing up into the dramatic sky, rainbows carry dreams woven in the fabric of reality.  They leave you speechless and smiling like a crazy person blessed by the magic of the emerging wild. 

    These photos were shot by my daughter Martha who stood standing in awe on our back deck.  Wonder never looked so beautiful.  Do you see the flock of geese in the picture below?  Stunning.

    Thank you Martha..... you are my beautiful wonder. 

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    tingletouch dreams

    Lingering sentiments
    echo in the cradled silence
    of my thoughts.
    Such clarity
    I hear you....
    Your voice strums
    whispered yearnings
    woven into coupling cries
    making me
    ache with desire to step over the edge
    beyond fantasy
    into a realm of firelight heat.
    draw me into you......

    so strange..... i swear your i felt your lips leave their tingletouch on mine. I knew it was you because it tasted like temptation and peppermint.

    Sunday, May 02, 2010

    the language of silence

    Do you think God speaks the language of silence?  I've been wondering about this for about a week now.  There are some people who swear they have "talked to God" and I can't say I've had a regular conversation with Him, but I know I've felt His presence.  Now, I wonder if I  actually have had a few chats over an emptied cup of silence.  

    I have felt  God's presence when I have managed to slip into that comforting soulcove where the soothing sense of inner tranquility resonates peace.   It doesn't happen as often as I'd like, though I know I'm learning the directions to this sacred place and I seem to crave the opportunity to hang out there more and more.   When life is chaotic and complicated, the need for the simple elegance of silence to ward of the chattering noise increases considerably.

    Lately, this is how I find it...  I turn down the volume by opening up to absorb the noises, slow the pace, let my muscles relax while I focus on one small item in my hand.  Sometimes its a smooth touchstone.  Sometimes I wrap my left hand with my rosary and stare at the light catching the beads.  I breathe, focusing on it the simplicity of breathing.   I close my eyes when I want to....... I open them every now and then to stare at the simple reverence of what I'm holding in my left hand.  Hope rests there, as I clear away the cobweb concerns, as I empty the cluttered spaces. 

    Once I begin to absorb the external noises so that they don't feel like they are bombarding me, I move to the internal noise with the intentions of seeking .... Balance from the dizziness.  Comfort in the discomfort.  Energy inside the vortex of exhaustion.   I focus on the breathing.  Just regular everyday breathing.  If the feelings come to the surface, they are welcomed and then allowed to pass on by.

    pass on by....
    pass on by.....
    until the silence arrives to fill the emptied spaces.

    Today at church, I listened to a gifted man talk about the Holy Spirit.  Can't see, touch, or hear Her...... But she touches down sometimes when you least expect it, and sometimes when you reach into that pocketed soulcove and breathe.   Sometimes She has the capacity of catching your breath.  Out of the blue.  Into the light.

    Tonight, after a whole afternoon of struggling with a major dip in the calm I thought I had found, which was caused by being triggered over a seemingly small encounter with a symbolic piece of technology..... a cellphone which  originally contained the information I needed to figure out who he was having an affair with, I retreated to my room.  I had tried many other ways to settle the noisy storm, with no relief.  Once suffering starts, it spreads like mind sparking wildfire.  I don't know if its just me, but as soon as I begin to spiral like that, its very difficult to stop it and just walk away.   It happens just too swiftly.

    Sad, angry, feeling such a sense of failure for not being able to make this marriage work, feeling grief and rejection for knowing he is comforted now by another woman, (who seems to be reading my blog regularly.... Hi there!!) However, as soon as I decided to try to seek silence as I had previously, I was quickly able to find my core again.  As quickly as I can ROLL down that hill into deep sadness, I can now pull it together while sitting in the emotions all stirred up and spicy. This is where I am.  This is what I've learned from the turmoil of a failed marriage. 

    I can talk to God in the language of his choice.  Silence.  Love.

    Calm found me in the centre of absorbing the outside and inside noise........ just breathing.  It was right then and there that I could feel the piercing feelings loosen and fall away.  It was right then and there that I swear the Holy Spirit entered my room in comforting silence.  She's not an illusion.  She is in every breath we take.  Its just that sometimes our breathing is too loud and we miss out on the language of silence, where God dwells. 

    Inner silence is the gift of grace when the Holy Spirit's presence is near.  
    This is God's calling card.