Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Write Side of the Brain......

Sometime last August, I picked up my pen and my empty journal that I had been carrying around on and off in my purse for a very very long time and I started writing. My pen had been silently uncreative for ages. Instead of writing, I had spent my time voraciously reading anything that I could get my hands on.........novels, magazines, newspapers, online articles and more novels. I'd verbally share my opinions to just about anyone who would listen, but I wasn't writing.

Then, on the first day of my summer vacation in PEI, when normally I would start attacking a pile of whodunnits, I opened my journal and began to gather my thoughts on paper. I wrote 5 pages of ramblings in my first sitting. The reading dropped off to almost nil, as I quickly poured my heart into a journal. My introspective observations spilled out of me like a bloodletting.

Over the course of the next month, I couldn't stop. If I was involved in some other activity, my mind inadvertently drifted into composing. Sitting on the sidelines of a soccer practise, my pen flowed. Sitting up in the bleachers of a softball game, I watched and composed in my head at the same time. At the beach, in the car, in my garden, on a noon hour walk, late at night, even at dinner write brain was chugging away churning out ideas, poems, thoughts, rants, stories of the past and present. Early morning risings, usually consisted of a hot cup of tea and me sitting at the dining room table or in front of the computer jotting. For the first time in many years, I didn't question what I was writing. I had no specific goal in mind. In fact, most of what I was spewing was just that...........diary-like spew. It was an unrelenting flow.

Why? Why now? How come? Where is this stuff coming from?

These questions did pop up , as they did with my family who were stunned that my hands were freer without a book in them all the time. What hasn't been "freer" or as attentive has been my overactive synapses firing on all cylinders, which has unexpectedly forced the other daily stuff I'm supposed to remember to do or think about right out my ears! I have been in my head with a glazed writer's faraway look in her eyes. It is a huge shift for everyone.

Thinking, ruminating, contemplating, wondering, exploring, imploring, expanding, distracting, dissecting, ..................Learning.

Unlike most activities in my life, I had the patience this time to allow the words to flow on seemingly unrelated topics and to trust that the reason for my hungry desire to write would be shown to me. To some extent, it has.

Things don't just happen out of the blue. They don't. My writing desire returned to me just before a big event in my life, and one that I was quite nervous about. Last summer, I returned to my "roots" after a 20+ year absence. I went to a camp reunion. Living out east, far away from the Haliburton Highlands where I spent many summers at a time when one is formulatingly considering the big questions, when one is developing lifelong relationships with friends, I had let all those important components and relationships slip away. I had compartmentalized them, stepping away and into another phase of my life. Though I had never tired of talking about "those times" and "those people" it wasn't part of my daily existance. The realization, coming just before reuniting with my past, prompted me to write. Interestingly, my writing hasn't been as prolific since my early adulthood, when I was hooked into camp.

My desire to evaluate my religious beliefs also resurfaced after a very long time. It was at camp that I felt the most connected to God and the most open to His guidance. So, it makes sense that I would begin to reevaluate where I was at. It was time. I was receptive.

Between then and last summer, I stumbled and squawked and dissed religion, for various reasons. Most predominantly, I was involved in a teaching/counselling job where I was affronted by many born again fundamentalists that seemed so alien to me with their perceived "acceptance without questioning" belief in Jesus Christ. Through my work, I was also counselling many struggling clients on Welfare who were active members in the Pentecostal Church, a congregation that I was unfamiliar with growing up. The more I tried to help them learn how to help themselves move forward and leave their financial and emotional quandry, the more they would balk at taking the reins themselves. Our core beliefs clashed, and I dismissed religion. Admittedly, I dissed their lifestyle.

As I continued to write into the fall and throughout the winter, some events emerged that were unpredicable, and have impacted the write side of my brain. In September, I received a letter informing me that my Kawabi, my home away from home, was closing for good after a 40 year run. And from that ending, a bunch of beginnings emerged. A website was created for all staffers and a weekend staff celebration is just around the corner in May. Through those two events evolved a reconnection with old friends, and introductions with new individuals who weren't on staff with me, but who followed in my footsteps and enjoyed their time on the shores of Big Hawk Lake. Despite age and friendship differences, our similarities in core values and beliefs have allowed us to quickly forge new bonds........through writing.

The power of correspondance. The power of shared ideas and thoughts.

My writing was spurred on, as I learned that really what I have been doing is revisiting my past, and merging it with my present to form a sense of personal wholeness that I havent felt in a long long time.

Who knew? I sure didn't when I finally picked up my pen again 9 months ago, that there was a strong underlying reason for me to document. And it continues.................

Writing and reading are more opposite activities than I realized. At first, it felt as though I just didn't have time to read the amount that I used to. But, it's more than that. A reading mind must be settled and focused in a much more sedentary way. A writing mind, though focused, is an unsettled jumble of colour, a ball of wool that wants to be unravelled. It's a focused energy that when it is flowing without the concept of time, is a marvellously frenetic activity of creative output. However, reading fills an empty vessel. Reading feeds the writing soul. One needs a balance of both.

My reading didn't completely stop. In fact, the material I am reading has changed. The "whodunnits" that once satisfied my entertainment need have now been replaced with non-fiction and Christian related testimonials that feed my desire to learn and to seek answers to the questions that I had put on the backburner.

Whether it's a topic related to my religious belief system, my political beliefs, or my approach to my home and work, it turns out that my writing does have a thread that connects. It is through my writing that I have begun to reestablish my foundation...........of who I was and who I am. It's a merging of the faces and roles of me. The timing of this is not lost on me, nor is the sense that I have a higher power guiding me through my journey out of the wilderness and into a deeper understanding of what makes me tick.

What I have learned? The act of writing is transcendent. The moments when my writing takes me out of myself, when it lifts me into a medidative space and engages me in a creative joust, is the time I am most in touch with God.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Searching for Patience.

Nothing of substance or importance comes easy. It takes the strength of patience to assist you in pursuing your quest. Time, calm and perseverance, plus the ability to tolerate glitches, to manage long gaps of seemingly unproductive time when thinking and creativity are actually percolating.............these are the ingredients. We all know this, and yet....

Patience is not a virtue I have a lot of. Granted, there are certain tasks that I set out to do where I have a great deal of tolerance and understanding. There are clients that I see and want to help and know that if I go with their pace and help them along, they will succeed. I'm good at that. But, when it comes to what I want personally, or what I want to accomplish, my patience flies out the window most of the time. It gets all clogged up with emotional perseveration and excitability.
Yeah, I think when God was handing out patience, I got in the wrong line-up. No, I could never be a scientist who has to persistantly take such baby steps to work towards completing their research. Might as well pull my finger nails out because that would be less painful.

When I think of this virtue, I think of a little boy named Chris who used to go to the Camp I worked at years ago. Chris was a very hyperactive kid who had little focus. On his good days, he would bounce off the walls in the lodge during meals. He was impulsive with his actions and his mouth, which needless to say, got him into trouble at least 10 times a day.
He was a charmer too, though and his enthusiasm for certain activities like swimming and sailing and crafts was infectious. He was an attention seeker, a kid that needed more attention than others and for no apparent reason except that he was wired that way. Chris was friendly and never mean. He just made you feel tired just watching his energy and impatience. His true love were animals, and this is where you would see a completely different kid who had the patience of Job.

When I close my eyes and picture Chris, I see him lying on his back spread eagle across the main path that went from the tent section to the lodge. Unaware and unfazed that he was blocking most camper traffic, Chris laid there with a peanut on his nose. Quietly, calmly, happily he was waiting for a chipmunk to find him. Patient and focused..........all track of time vanished as he laid still. And when no other movement was around him, when all the camper traffic had disipated, a little chippie would scamper out of the brush along the path and tentatively approach Chris by his feet.
Still and calm...........he knew that one false move, the chipmunk would bolt............tolerant and composed................focused on a goal of feeding the little animal........Chris never moved a muscle, all the while emiting safe welcome encouraging trustworthy vibes. Eventually, the chippie would step up onto Chris' leg and tentatively risk the trek up to the peanut. As soon as it reached it's destination, it would grab the peanut in it's mouth and scamper quickly to the safety of the bush, leaving Chris with a mile wide smile.
For a couple of summers, this little boy was like my shadow. I had often wondered why he gravitated to me. I think partially it was because I wasn't critical of his hyperactivity and I didn't the play the part of disciplinarian with him. My role was much more fun than that. I ran the craft program where I could help him channel his creativity as a productive outlet. Plus, I had seen his strengths and the times he could be patient when I quietly watched Chris' peanut dance with the chipmunks. There is also an undefined chemistry and energy that can happen between two people. Despite the 10 year difference, we just hit it off.
So, as I consider how I can become more patient so that I express myself less impulsively, so that I have more control over my emotions, I have learned that my main source of learning is through prayer and thinking quietly..................not aloud...................quietly. If I find myself losing my cool or becoming obsessive in my actions/thoughts to a point where I'm jeopardizing my integrity and friendships, maybe I should close my eyes and visualize that little boy with the peanut on his nose, waiting with hope.
"Everything comes gradually and at it's appointed hour."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fly That Flag Proudly.

When I was in New York last fall, I visited the Statue of Liberty. The first thing I noticed as I got off the ferry, besides the lady holding the torch was that the American flag was at half mast. Assuming that someone of importance had passed away, I asked the security guard. He told me that it had been at half mast since the 9-11 bombings out of respect. As horrendous and beyond comprehension the Islamic terrorist bombings were, flying the flag at half mast 4 years after the fact seemed strange to me. The message I took from it was not one of strength and determination. It felt like prolonged and unending mourning. Memorials, tributes, statues...........they all passionately provide remembrances that individuals and communities can rally around.

Reading the stories and arguments today about the Canadian Government not lowering the flag out of respect for the most recent fallen soldiers, I thought of my initial feelings in NYC first and then I thought of all the other fallen soldiers in our country's past who were respected and remembered without lowering the flag.

Why is this an issue? It's not like this was a light news kind of why is this even an issue? Like I need to ask. It's another navel gazing attempt to skewer a Conservative government. Yeah, I got it.

There are many ways to support the families and troops who are in mourning today. There are many ways of remembering the people in our Country's history who lost their lives. The simplest way? Take time to stop for a minute every now and then and think about them. Say a prayer full of kindred strength and hope.

Major General Lewis MacKenzie stated today:

"For an old soldier it has been heart-warming, to say the least, to witness the outpouring of sympathy across Canada for the recent loss of four young Canadian soldiers in southern Afghanistan. By coincidence -- because these types of policy decisions take time to prepare -- Ottawa's concurrent announcement that flags would no longer be lowered on the Peace Tower and across the country each time a soldier is killed was the victim of really bad timing. Nevertheless, it was the right decision."

"In the case of fallen soldiers, the flag is lowered at National Defence Headquarters and at the Canadian Forces Bases where the soldiers were stationed prior to deployment and in the villages, towns and cities where the soldiers had an association at the discretion of the local political leadership."

"Would you feel the same way if one of our soldiers was killed in the Sudan, Congo, Golan Heights as has happened in many missions in the past 10 years and absolutely no one called for the flags to be lowered — as they are now at many locations associated with the soldiers today. All soldiers deserve to be treated equally."

Let's fly our flag proudly as an ongoing remembrance of those who have fought for it and continue to represent our Country.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Knowledge and Imagination or Simply Stuck on Stupid?

Who is this guy?

This global village we live in inudates us with news, facts, and stories from around the planet. One tends to feel a overwhelmed at times, especially when the information barrage is consistently doom, gloom and boom. However, I firmly believe that one needs to be as fully informed as possible about the threats to our way of living, and to our global neighbours who often are innocent and yet receive the brunt of the evil that lurks.............and yet, do the majority believe this?

I don't think so. I don't think the majority of people even read their local papers, let alone read about or listen to news and events that happen beyond their imaginary boxed-in borders. Too scary? Too difficult to comprehend? Are people just too absorbed in their own little lives that outward thinking is beyond ability?

Wake UP!

But, where do you start? How do you rummage through the media propoganda and find some truth? What editors, journalists and politicians do you trust in their assessment and analysis of the turmoil and terrorism that permeates our lives? We may have not had a direct hit in this country, but surely we are a considered target? Is it best to keep our heads in the sand and just take on an attitude that there is nothing that can be done..........that we are simply puppets with no muscle to fight back? Are we willing to stay stuck on stupid? Or do we at least arm ourselves with knowledge, which therefore would allow us to think and plan imaginatively?

Well guess what? Here are a few nifty reminders that every member of this planet should be aware of......................................

The ghost of Bin Laden slammed U.S. and British efforts and their past actions in Sudan, where bin Laden lived in the mid-1990s before being expelled by the Sudanese government.

"I call on the mujahedeen [Islamic fighters] and their supporters, especially in Sudan and the Arabian peninsula, to prepare for a long war against the crusaders and plunderers in western Sudan. Our goal is not defending the Khartoum government but [to] defend Islam, its land and its people," the speaker said.

A civil war has destroyed much of western Sudan and left hundreds of thousands dead. Arab militias have carried out torture, widespread killings and rapes, particularly in the nation's Darfur region.

The United States and many human rights groups have declared a "genocide" in the region, although the United Nations stopped short of that term. Sudan denies a genocide and widespread accusations that the militias have government backing.

This is a threat to be taken seriously. This is information that we should all be cognizant of, because it is a threat to all of us. Continued pressure and concern should be voiced loud and clear to our own leaders, to do all they we can to prepare for the next attack, and to continue to look for this evil man. The more people are aware that this is the reality, the more support our troops will have in Afghanistan. We are at war.

Here's another.............

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not a name that trips off the tongue pleasantly. Have you been reading about this crazed zealot? This well dressed man with a snake up his sleeve and a sinister smile on his face was brought up in Khomeni's Iran, as a young fighter where his Islamic beliefs were fed and encouraged and solidified. He grew up with a profound hatred of North America and Europe. He developed a strong belief that Christianity is evil, and that Islamic fundamentals were the future.

After his Presidential election he proclaimed, "Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen and the Islamic revolution of 1384 [the current Iranian year] will, if God wills, cut off the roots of injustice in the world." He said, "The wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world."

Nuclear weapons are now available in Iran. Armies are being beefed up. No doubt he and Bin Laden do the MSN thing.

OH, wait a minute! I've got it! Bin Laden's hiding out in Yeah!

Try Googling this name.......................Alexander Lukashenko. He's the President of a little country called Belarus. Has been since 1994, but recently re-elected under very dubious circumstances AGAIN.

In an interview with Markus Ziner for a December 1995 edition of the German newspaper Handelsblatt, Lukashenko stirred international controversy with favorable comments towards Hitler. In the interview, he said:

"The history of Germany is somehow a copy of Belarus's history at some point. At the time Germany was raised from the ruins thanks to a firm hand. Not everything that was connected to a certain Adolph Hitler in Germany was bad. Remember his rule in Germany. The German order had grown over centuries. Under Hitler this process reached its culmination. This is perfectly in line with our understanding of a presidential republic and of the role of its president. I want to emphasize that one man cannot be all black or all white. There are positive sides as well. Germany was once built up out of the ruins with the help of a strong presidential force. Germany was raised thanks to this strong force, thanks to the fact that the whole nation united around its leader. Today we are going through a similar period, when we have to unite around one person or group of people in order to survive, hold out and get back on our feet again..." (Handelsblatt, December 1995)

Lukashenko moved beyond rhetoric to take a more active stance of supporting countries in conflict with the West. During the late 1990s, Belarus exported about $400 million worth of armaments annually to an assortment of countries including Iran, Sudan, Iraq - which received anti-aircraft weapons and training - and Yugoslavia. The outbreak of the Kosovo War in 1999 led to Lukashenko proposing a "Slavic Union" of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Yugoslavia, an idea which received only lukewarm support and was quietly dropped. Following the Iraq war of 2003, the United States announced that several high-ranking Iraqi officials had been issued Belarusian passports.

Oh, there are more.......yessirreee..............there are more where these creepies come from. And it seems to me that they all form an undercover club. Maybe they even have their own password and code rings............. Yeah, we need to know more about these MEN who are plotting and ruminating from their little rabbit holes.

But, I fear most will continue to keep their heads in the sand, as noted in another story on the wire today. Do you recognize this picture I posted?

If he arrived at your front door, would you let him in? This creepy spittle-lipped man recently dawned a white lab coat and began knocking on doors in Florida pretending to be a door to door doctor who gave free breast exams. And guess what? He succeeded in copping a feel and caressing a few hooters before someone WOKE UP and called the police.

If we are living so blindly that we can't assess whether or not a person looking as loopy as that, is a boob fondling FRAUD, then do we have any reason to believe that we will be able to use our imagination and brilliant minds to deal with the dictators, and Islamic Terrorists that have plans to ruin the life we lead?

Keep your blouses on girls, and drink up the caffeine. It's time to read the scenario. We all have potential brilliant minds. We all need to choose to read to learn and to be aware of what's going on in this crazy world. We all need to be creative in the way we protect our way of life. It's up to us. Now, let's try and figure out how we do that.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fine Line Between Analysis and Hysteria.

Rollin, rollin, rollin.................keep those stupid thoughts a rollin'....................

Today is the day to clear out the stupid know the ones that get caught in the lint trap of your cerebellum..........the ones that eat away at your confidence and assurety that life is good, that things are balanced, that one has perspective on one's life? Thoughts that are useless and hurtful and completely unhelpful????

Perspective? Yes, it's so easy to lose perspective if you spend too much time in your head. Round and around and around...........stupid thoughts, crazy thoughts, conspiracy thoughts, what if's quickly lead to a twisted imaginary conclusions. can analyze something to a point where you ruin it because your ongoing perseverative thinking sours a good thought and turns it into hysterical bullshit................ OK...........don't tell me I'm the only one who gets caught in the lint trap? That'll just put me over the edge into paranoia and that would be really messy!!!

Spring cleaning is needed. Fresh breezes are needed. A bit of mental floss to clear away the negative cobwebs. Yes, Yes!

Just picked up a book last night at just the right time.............It's called "Window on Your Soul." Serendipitously, a friend dropped it off late yesterday afternoon when I had succumbed to the bowel of stupid thoughts. She had no idea that it was the tonic I needed. In fact, we had discussed this book a couple of months ago, and for her to drop it off yesterday........well I just have to say that her timing was impeccable.

After a good long nap, I awoke to find that my head had cleared enough to absorb some of the inspirational thoughts tucked between the two covers. Made me start thinking positively again. More importantly, the more I read, the more I found that I had new ideas and new thoughts to replace the heavy boring old ones. It was refreshing. My poetic lyrical brain is returning. Hurray.' rollin rollin'..................keep those new thoughts rollin'........

Going to roll up the sleeves, and get this house in order...............and then spend the afternoon with my face to the sun clearing the weeds and dead brush out of my garden. It's spring and it's time for rejoice.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How to Debunk a Funk

Ever wake up early in the morning in a bad mood? It seems to come out of nowhere, this black cloud of negative ions that sucks the fresh air right out of your system? No warning.........and seemingly no clear cause for it? Well, there's always a cause for it if you want to take the energy and time to recognize and admit it.

Today, Mr. Funk came to visit, armed with pissy mood tactics and impulsive intrusive thoughts. No light fluffy flowery junk e-mails with music box noise playing in the background was going penetrate the Funkmeister...........uh, uh. Nope. Not even the early morning work talk about Reality TV shows was going to dissuade the doom. A hot cup of tea?.........nope............ upbeat favourite comfort music? ........ irritating ............. a really sad story from a client that normally puts one's minor issues in perspective, right? ......... well I felt badly for her, and used most of my professional energy to help her get back on track, but when she left my office .......... funkified again.

Yeah, it was just one of those days that included a combination of the discriminatory effects of the "Pre" curse, (which BTW is a dangerous Perimenopausal state of mind that no one warned me about in health class 30 years ago) and feeling stuck, wondering where the heck my life is headed.

A year ago, I had my last hurrah at a job interview. It was for a brand new position with the City and one that I was so excited about.......... a bit of Public relations; interaction with community groups, liasing with local and provincial governments, and working on the issues that are affecting this city ......... stuff that interests me. More importantly, it was a brand new career field, where I could use my skills but in a different manner. I had been approached about the job, which is always a good sign. So, I began to plan my approach to applying by meeting with various people whom I knew would support me etc............ yeah, I played the political network game, and lined up all my ducks. The job was mine to lose.

Armed with new research, knowledge about the plan for the position, and excellent references, I entered the interview room and promptly blew it. Didn't really see it at the time. In fact, I left the interview after enthusiastically spouting off my ideas, thoughts and potential plans, with an uplifting feeling that I had nailed it. I even breezed up to my Great White Director, bouncing of the walls with excitement (he's used to it) and expressed my glee. I went to bed that night with glowing thoughts of a new challenge, a better salary, and freedom to pursue my ideas. And, when I awoke........................I was struck with a deeply felt rush of crimson red embarrassment. Reality spoke to me and it was ugly, ugly!

Ever had that feeling? You act one way and think it's fine (or say or write something outrageous and think it's fine) and then when you have time to digest your actions, you realize that you've been a complete over the top fool? This is the curse of an extravert!!! This is also the curse of the pre-curse. I had blown them away with my unfiltered enthusiasm. I scared the pants off those interviewers by coming across as a loose cannon...............with no linearity.

OK..................long story leading up to today. When I woke this morning, I realized another year has come and gone and I'm still in my old job, which for the most part, I enjoy...............but I don't find challenging anymore. Reality smacked me in the ass and across the face and hit me in the gut. Stuck, rutted, gutted................funk.

So, how do I debunk this funk? Well, I will wait a couple more days and get over this wretched PMS..........that always lifts the gloomy clouds in my head...................and I will refocus. In the meantime, I bought some tanning sessions for the first time ever and had a good laugh lying naked on a tanning bed desparately trying not to succumb to claustrophobia. That debunked my funk and cleared my head enough to restart my writing.

Tomorrow is another day..................and I will awake to bluer skies.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Music to Soothe.

The weather these past couple of days has been windy, wet and whiney.....good for the bulbs in the ground and the buds in the trees, but not good for maintaining one's spirits. Though I love a rainy day when I can putt around my home or crawl under an old quilt that has read a lot of stories with me, blustery April weather is a pain in the neck when you have to venture outside to go to work, run errands and basically get around town. It also has a clear effect on the moods of co-workers. Bring out the sun, and people brighten up. Go through 4 days of rainy unpredictable weather, the swear word level seems to increase.

This morning was my turn to be taxi driver.........dropping off family members at various locales. I had had enough of listening to the local news drivel, so decided to put on a CD of Gordon Lightfoot's old standards..........Gord's Gold. (Can it be that it was originally released over 30 years ago?) Ribbon of Darkness over me...........Song for a Winter's Night.........Canadian Railroad Trilogy...............songs that are like warm waves of memories. By the time I had dropped of the last passenger, I was enraptured by the words and melody of Early Morning Rain. True, it's a sad lament, but for some reason it makes me feel grounded.

Gordon Lightfoot's music is like comfort food to me. It clears my head, and reconnects me to my past when I was young sitting in the back of my parent's car on the way to some event. I remember one winter when I was about 10 years old, "If you Could Read My Mind" was a big hit that seemed to be on the radio everytime my Dad and I were heading to the ski slopes in the the early morning. And after a day skiing together, we'd get in the car feeling spent and chilled but know that feeling of happy physical exhaustion? More often than not, a Lightfoot song would start playing on the radio as we travelled home in the dark content and tired.
So, today in order to keep out the rainy meanies, I plan to play various pieces of favourites and get lost in the melodies..................a day of soothing comfort food music is on the menu.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Research Bares it's Best....or should I say Breasts?

So often, I read a story about the results of a tenure-tracked University led research project that just boggles my senses. More often than not, most research completed is publicy funded, and thankfully most research has some validity.............but somehow a few seem to slip through the funding screening process and et voila! Published results, media attention and instant 15 minutes of fame for the ardent Doctor of Letters.

So, today..................... the big question? Why are women whipping off their tops more readily in public? Moreover, why do women want to exhibit their personal "tracks of land?"

Turns out, 'cause they can and 'cause they feel like it. Well, it turns out it's a little more complicated and may have something to do with the acceptance of those March Break wet t-shirt videos that seem to be advertised everywhere after a certain time of night.

According to Mary Valentich, professor emeritus of social work at the University of Calgary. "You just wouldn't necessarily do this elsewhere. It had to be the right kind of setting."

Prof. Valentich's findings come amid the popularity of the Girls Gone Wild porn video empire, which travelled to Calgary after the Red Mile revelations to film "ordinary" women lifting their shirts.

Indeed, breast baring has increased of late, including at sports events and concerts, partly due to relaxed societal attitudes on nudity, said Edward Herold, a professor emeritus at the University of Guelph who studies human sexuality.

"It happens with a certain degree of regularity now at certain events," he said. "Some women today are more likely to have this sense of freedom."

A new study of Canadians' attitudes on female toplessness also found context plays a key role. The paper, which was co-written by Prof. Herold and is published in the current issue of the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, found the majority of poll respondents -- 52 per cent -- believed it should be legal for women to go topless at the beach. Thirty-eight per cent thought such behaviour should be acceptable in public parks and 28 per cent said the same for city streets.

Gee.............. How much money did we give this woman to poll these bare breasted ladies?

"Prof. Valentich, who acknowledges she cannot be definitive because of her small sample size, said all the study participants reported making their own decisions to expose their breasts. Only one said she had had too much to drink. All the women felt good about their bodies, she said, and some had previously bared their breasts, including while bungee jumping and on a beach in Europe. Just one or two considered themselves feminists, though others expressed related views."

So, not only is this a ridiculous research topic, it has no validity because of the smallness of the sample size? What? She didn't interview any "D" cup broads? Is that what that means???

Hey Sheila Fraser? Can you look into various research funding sources too now that you're getting a bigger office and bigger staff?

Scientific research is important, no question. I just wish the alloted money wasn't going to cover the cost of wondering about uncovered boobs. Instead why can't it go towards finding the ideal design for a bra that fits properly.

And while we're at it..................let's try to find a cure for cancer?

Oh.................and my opinion? Ladies, if you feel the urge to whip off your tops..........go right ahead, cause as far as I'm concerned, tits are for cows.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Bunnies and Smiles

May today provide you with moments for reflection, devotion and joy.
May you take the time to acknowledge the blessings in your life.
May you be moved by the hymns and the stories of the season.
Happy Easter

I couldn't resist this picture. I found it originally on my new blog buddy's site and it made me laugh. "Dog" people are my kind of people.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Mabel Darby

On April 14, 1912 the Titanic struck an iceberg. On the very same day, my Grandmother, Mabel Darby was born. Today would've been her 94th birthday. If she was here to celebrate, Mabel would regale us in the lore of the Titanic. Throughout her life, she continued to be fascinated by the stories, especially the people ones, that surround what is now the legendary sinking of this supposedly infallible ship.

Though she only finished Grade 8 in school, Mabel was a true lifelong learner. Always curious, and always interested she ventured out on many excursions to seek out new information. A lover of history, Mabel often took to the back roads of southern Ontario in search of interesting local lore. Many an afternoon was spent with her when I was a child touring forgotten graveyards and forested paths looking and learning.

Despite the fact that she raised two children on her own, juggling two jobs and taking in borders after my Grandfather died young, Mabel always displayed an air of optimism. She was talented and vibrant which helped her maintain a level of confidence. As well, throughout her life, she had a core group of friends which she called "the girls club" who continued to meet at least once a month until she died. These women gave each other strength during the traumatic trials and tribulations of their lives. They formed a friendship foundation that stayed true.

Mabel was kind-hearted to everyone, especially to someone in need of a kindred smile. Never couldn't embarrass her if you tried..............she would constantly tell me stories of someone new whom she had met during her day and how interesting they were. When she was closing in on 80, Mabel decided that she wanted to tour the UK one more time. Without hesitation, she booked her flight, bought a rail pass and set out to take in the back roads. She had a few destinations in mind, places that she wanted to explore, but she left with an open ended agenda.

When she was in London, staying close to Victoria Station, she decided she wanted to befriend a two young backpackers and take them out for breakfast. She approached them as they came out of the train station with her friendly smile and began by telling them a story. She told these strangers about MY adventure when I was backpacking and was befriended by a Turkish family and looked after. She told them that she was so touched by the kindness of Sabahat and her family that she had decided to pay respect by doing the same for two other girls backpacking through Europe. So, my 80 year old Grandmother and two young backpacking girls from Australia embarked on sharing toast and tea and talk.

Mabel was the tour organizer for her local "Club 60" for years. It was her responsibility and pleasure to make all the arrangements for the day trips, excursions and "mystery tours" for all the seniors in her Club. When it was close to the time that the next trip was being posted, the members would sit in anticipation of what Mabel had planned. It always surprised her that these trips filled up within a day of posting, but surely she must've known that her love of learning, her inherent creativity and her joyful spirit allowed her to be the perfect person to provide interesting, thought provoking trips. She worked hard at this, negotiating prices, mapping things out, making reservations at hotels and restaurants along the way, but it was obvious that she loved the whole process of planning and thrived on being the one at the front of the bus leading them in a round of "Pack up Your Troubles......"

Yes, my grandmother loved to sing. Unfortunately, her voice was comparable to a ear piercing Ethel Merman. Didn't stop her though..................oh no! She was known to sing whenever and wherever she wanted, much to the embarrassment of her younger granddaughter, my sister who was painfully shy as a child. At the time when O Canada was performed before every movie in a theatre, Mabel would stand and sing loudly and proudly, while my sister turned several shades of red.

Gee....................I could sit and write forever about my grandmother. It's been 3 years since she died and I still am not used to that reality. She was an integral part of my life for 42 years. She taught me how to roller skate...........she took me to my first movie, Mary Poppins when I was 4......she visited me in Victoria when I spent a summer there after I graduated from University......she held my children and rocked them to sleep, as she had held all of her grandchildren. Her handiwork adorns my do my photos of her.

And her spirit is everywhere. It's funny, it is the first time that I ever felt a presence of someone looking down at me from Heaven.............but every once in a while, I get this calm feeling wash over me and I instinctly know that Mabel is around me.

I learned a lot of valuable lessons from my Grandmother. Three of the most important?

1. Take the time to savour a good strong cup of tea and reflect on the positives of the day.

2. Embrace who you are............warts and all. Be genuine to yourself. Enjoy your own company and the company of others.

3. Celebrate your family and your roots, always. It's important to know where you come from.

So, on this Good Friday...................I take the time to say a prayer to my Grandmother and whisper to her "Happy Birthday you unsinkable Mabel Darby. I miss you."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Awareness of Miracles

Miracles are all around us. Some are quiet flitting moments of gladness, and others are more profoundly felt. All emerge from a place that defies logical reasoning. Could they be reflections of God’s divinity? How can you describe the wonderment of birth? How can you explain the seasonal rebirth of spring? How can you logically figure out why you happen to be in the right place at the right time to help someone in distress when in fact you had no intention of being there in the first place?

A rainbow emerging as a sign from the heavens on a day of mourning

The awakening that occurs when personal freedom is returned

The symbiotic feeling of kindredness when you take a risk and reach out to someone whom you don’t know well and then find that you have a lot in common. Who knew?

Taking a successful risk because you are listening to your persistent intuitiveness even though your brain is telling you that it’s a crazy thing to do.

A person who lives a healthy full exuberant life despite the fact that the medical prognosis was poor many years ago is a miracle.

Understanding that we were once miracle babies AND that we are still miracles…a bit more wrinkly, but miracles all the same.

Falling in love

Surviving a potentially fatal illness.

Enjoying a bountiful bottle of red wine with a good friend

Finding an new unexpected life path and realizing that you are surrounded by little acts of kindness

Unexpectedly meeting a new friend

Sunrises and sunsets and everything in between………. the small miracles of nature we recognize and are thankful for everyday.

Life can pass you by without acknowledging the astonishing gifts God displays for us. However, it is a life not worth living if that is the case. Awareness of daily miracles produce more of them.... Life enhancement.... It’s easy to do a head drop and walk around with blinders on. But, then you miss out on so many aha moments of astonishment that allow us to be blown away by how miraculous this world really is.

When was the last time you got up early in the morning to watch the sunrise? When was the last time you stopped to look into the face of your child? When was the last time that you took a breather from your office to walk down to the river to enjoy it’s splendour? Lift your head, look around, listen and enjoy. When was the last time you turned on your favourite music and let it wash over you?

A touch of God’s grace, whether it’s found in the spring garden, whether it’s found in cuddling a newborn baby in your arms, whether it’s savouring a decadent piece of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate....a small wonderments waiting for you to enjoy. These moments are yours, compliments of you know Who. They are all miracles.

Aren't we lucky?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Red Wine to Gladden Your Heart.

Last night, I fell asleep with the TV on only to awake early this morning to a southern twangy preacher lady frothing at the mouth espousing the words of Jesus. With all the flambouyance she could muster, she wowed her audience with talk of miracles. The scene seemed so outrageous to me. Here was an arena filled with people who when the camera panned them, looked like robotic droolers mesmerized by this talk of God and Jesus and miracles. Every now and then, a member of the congregation would smile a distant smile and nod their head like this preacher made sense.

I could've been watching aliens from another planet and I would've had the same response. I just find this way of expressing and practising religion too commercial and impersonal that it just turns me off. And yet, I sat and watched this bizarre reality show wondering how someone becomes so much of a believer that you become a receptive portal to all that is shovelled at you.

Then I thought.........Why are people not only accepting this individual's diatribe without question or have they really thought about miracles? That thought led to wondering about how I would define what a miracle is and do others have the same take on it? So,despite my disdain for the type of TV show I awoke to, I was left with an idea and a plan. And I followed up on it.

When I got to work, I sent an e-mail to an eclectic group of pals and colleagues and asked them:

  • Do you believe in miracles? If so,
  • How would you describe a miracle?
  • Do they happen sporadically, or often in your life?
  • Can you share an example of a miracle that happened to you?

Slowly their responses trickled in......................some were succinct, some were longer stories....all were thought provoking touching messages sent from their hearts. More than half responded, with a few others who said they liked the challenge of the question and needed type to formulate their answers.

All believed in miracles. One person described a miracle as an event or circumstance that is unexplainable by our laws of nature or reasoning. That they happen more than one realizes, and if we remain aware of the happening of a miracle it seems that others are recognized.

One lyrical heart wrote about the daily events.........a morning star in an indigo sky, and unexpected kiss on the cheek from your teenage daughter, the pattern of last year's leaves at the bottom of a clear puddle of water, and the wonderful melting goodness of chocolate on my tongue. She was also quick to point out that there other events that result from divine intervention, and there is no such thing as coincidence.

Another friend in his description added that one should not forget the miracle of red wine. shouldn't ever forget that! I'm with him. Red wine to gladden your heart.

Over the next couple of days, I plan to sort through the responses to pull together a collaborative piece to share with them this Easter week............the week of miracles. And while I do that.............what don't you try to answer my questions............and share them with me. I'd love that!

"Seeing, hearing and feeling are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle" Walt Whitman

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Where Was Your Member of Parliament?

Since the election, demand for a debate in the House of Commons over Canada's role in Afghanistan has been consistently drummed up. Even as more troops prepared to join their colleagues, the opposition has stirred this pot. Phone in radio shows, editorials, and interviews with the "experts" kept it in the forefront of our conciousness (and hey it turns out the Taliban's too) forcing a split feeling over the issue despite the fact that Afghanistan is clearly is a source of global terrorists who potentially could affect our lives directly.
Meanwhile, kids, families and partners are saying goodbye to their loved ones who continue to leave for the mountains of Kandahar in tearful scenes captured on video for all to see, and this country continues to waffle over whether or not they should be going in the first place.

Finally, in an effort to stave off more doubt, which has got to affect the morale of our troops, the Harper government decides to hold a debate. And what happens? Hardly anyone shows up for the debating party. According to CTV news...........

Out of 308 MPs:
  • 58 Conservative MPs (44 left after O'Connor finished speaking)
  • 21 Liberals (dropped to 10 at one point)
  • 2 Bloc Quebecois
  • 8 NDP (may have been up to 20 at one point)

Where was everyone else, out shopping for Easter bonnets?

Even given the fact that a recent poll released Sunday suggests Canadians are split over the mission, our representatives don't even bother to show up?

"The poll, conducted by Decima Research, shows that 46 per cent of Canadians think the mission is a bad idea, compared to 45 per cent who feel the opposite is true.

The online poll drew responses from 2,131 people from March 31 to April 4, and is considered accurate plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times in 20. Results were given to The Canadian Press.

The same poll indicates that 43 per cent of Canadians want troops to return home within the year, compared with 10 per cent who want troops to stay for another one or two years, and 15 per cent who want troops to stay for up to five years."

Sure this debate was really an opportunity to declare solidarity for our troops...........there was no that not a good thing??? What are the MP's paid for if they don't even show up in Ottawa when the house is in session. Good God...........didn't the house just open last week? It's disgraceful.

No matter which side of the fence one sits with respect to this issue, we are all supposed to have representation in Ottawa. I fully expect my Member of Parliament to respectfully, faithfully and actively take their seat in the House of Commons and take part. Don't you expect that?

Demand it! If an MP doesn't show and has no accountable excuse............they shouldn't get paid. It's time to pay more attention to the in-house attendance and voting records or our MP's. It's time that we are more aware of just what's going on in our Nation's capital.............not only for the morale of our troops..............but for the morale and reputation of this country.
Maybe it's a good thing that the rest of the world rarely pays attention to little old us, when apathy is even evident at the top echelon.

Monday, April 10, 2006

File This Under: What were they thinking?

The marketing and design crews at Adidas were found asleep at the wheel this week while they're latest over priced shoe was distributed for sale. Produced in a limited run of 1,000 pairs, the Adidas "Yellow Series Y1 Huf" shoe retails at $250 (£143).

Promptly, the complaints came pouring in over a new trainer that some say features a racist cartoon image. I'd say. How more blatant could it be??? The offending footwear includes a yellow picture of an Asian youth with bowl-cut hair, pig nose and buck teeth.

And what has been the shoe giant's response?

An Adidas spokeswoman told the San Jose Mercury News that the company "appreciates all self-expression" and "had no intention of offending any individual or group".

Excerpts from the article...........

"It's very sad and disturbing that in this day and age, this stereotype is coming from a large and global company like Adidas," said Vincent Pan, executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action in San Francisco.
The trainer has also been criticised in internet discussion rooms.
Huf owner Keith Hufnagel dismissed the accusations of racism as "internet garbage".
"They should do their studying before they say anything," he added, referring to the image's previous anti-racist use.
Yet Aimee Baldillo of the Asian American Justice Centre argued that "slapping a Chinese face on a sneaker removes it from that context."

Next month? They are considering the newest batch of "must have" shoes with a picture of Mohammed on the tongue. Sweet. Better run for cover..............

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lost Soul Companion Project

Weekend events made me wonder about how to help a lost soul who unfortunately doesn't realize how lost she may be. My wonderings and wanderings led me to this interesting website. The following is a tidbit.......................... from the
Lost Soul Companion Project

Information for Lost Souls..............

"The Precipice of Success is a giant, pointy mountain that looks like this

The right side of the mountain offers great success, interviews on the Today show, a bed of roses, and all the chocolates you can eat. But on the left, the nasty vacuum cleaner of defeat sucks you down into Terrible Failure.

Who takes care of that vacuum cleaner? Somebody had to plug it into the wall. Somebody changes its vacuum cleaner bags. Somebody pointed it in your general direction. But who? Perhaps it was you. Sure you may have critics, detractors, and generally bad people who want to see you fail, but you plugged the vacuum in yourself if you let them get to you.

I always feel as if I'm on the verge of one of these two things: great Success and great Nothingness. In other words, there's the tiniest possibility that I'll make something really worthwhile of my life, but that bit of hope is eclipsed by the idea that I will try and try to accomplish something important only to end up old and frustrated instead. It's usually all I can do not to give up and throw myself down the left side of the mountain, where I'd be lazy and anonymous in my flannel pajamas and watching Seinfeld reruns every day after my 8 to 5 day job. That hasn't happened...yet.

Happily, there's a little secret about the right side of the mountain: success begets success. It's one of the greatest motivators. Let's say you go out and buy a metal detector, make a few passes over an interesting patch of ground, and find an old Masonic trinket. The excitement of your find gives you the energy and impetus to continue looking for treasure. On the other hand, what if you spend an hour or more sweeping over the ground with nothing to show for it? Your arm starts to ache from the weight of the metal detector. You start to think this was a dumb idea, that it was a goofy waste of money — not to mention your time. Eventually you may consign the device — along with dreams of exciting finds — to the garage forevermore.

Just as success begets success; failure, unfortunately, begets failure."

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Just Society? No, A Justin Society

Things in the Liberal camp are heating up, and the bandwagon is filling up with leader wannabes. With both Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff dropping their gauntlets today..........what more excitement does a little ol' Canuck need?

What? Is it true? Is Justin Trudeau being courted to take over image enhancing? Party renewal led by a young and dashing Trudeau?

"Trudeau, 34, is to head a "youth task force" as part of a renewal project examining how the party can rebuild after its January election defeat, CanWest News Service reported Friday.

Tom Axworthy, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., who served as a top aide to Pierre Trudeau, has been assigned by the Liberals to come up with a blueprint for party renewal. It will include several task forces to address 30 issues, from ethics and religion in politics to environment, immigration and foreign policy.

The youth task force is among issues under the theme of "a just society," a Trudeau phrase that inspired a generation of Liberals."

Oh My God! Doesn't look at all like this party is heading down the path to paying back some of the milllions stolen from Canadian taxpayers.............Oh, no! They are going for the Joan River's facelift...........a nip and tuck image enhancing.

Me? I'd prefer the wry wrinkles around the eyes and for the Liberals to cough up the dough.

You know, up until recently, the news seemed same old, same old..........but for some reason, things seem to be peaking my interest these past couple of days. Though this one was very predictable..................yes get prepared for a Justin lovefest in the makes for interesting sofa sitting observations and loud ranting while reading the paper. It's good for the system to get riled up every now and then, don't you think? This will stoke my fire.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sorry Tories, Belinda's Stepping Aside.

Horror of horrors! The Princess of Auto Parts has decided to sit out the Liberal leadership race, citing the lack of inclusiveness of the voting process. Rather than the delegate representatives at a convention as planned, Belinda Stronach was hoping for a voting system that allows for all members to have a chance to vote.

Excuse me, Princess..................wasn't that the process the Conservatives used when you ran for Leader and LOST?

Despite widespread support across the country touted by her "people" ......... buffered by certain sneaky Tory types who voted for her online whenever and wherever possible ......... Belinda felt that she couldn't, what, compromise her morals and values by not letting the little Liberal people have a say. She feels that she will be able to be more "open" to express her deep opinions as a player and not a leader.

Hey's the door. Your 15 minutes was up a long time ago.

I had the opportunity to attend a Conservative Leadership Rally on her behalf when she was running against Clement and Harper. The place was buzzing with anticipation and excitement...the first that I had seen in a group of local Tories in a long time. There was hope, and at the time, the hope was focused on Ms. Stronach. I was excited too..........hadn't been too interested in Federal politics in a very long time. I must admit, I was thrilled to see a woman take on the Male Tory Bastion again. I was there with the intent of getting involved in her campaign and playing a role. Given that she had played a key role in merging the Alliance and Progressive Conservatives, which at the time I was vocally opposed to, I still thought maybe, just maybe she would be the key to having a sharp representative with some Red Tory flavour.

The hotel ballroom was crammed packed with people I hadn't seen in years, and with individuals whom I knew, but never connected them to the Tory party. Dressed in a tweed suit, looking spiffy and regal-like, Belinda was marched in by a band of boy blue suits.

Applause, whistles, applause, cheers, applause...........electricity, balloons and excitement filled the room.

Then, the lady opened her mouth, and my hopes fell flat. Not only was she obviously not versed in the issues of the day, she stumbled and stuttered and sputtered and was a complete wash out from my perspective. Her french was atrocious and her english wasn't much better. Her speech was as shallow as a rain puddle and just as wet. The fact that this party threw her out into a Leadership campaign without one lesson in speech making was appalling. And yet.....and yet..... it was quite apparent that many of the older blue suits were panting pretty loudly at the princess on the podium.

Since then............I have yet to see any substance. Her floor crossing demo was right out of an afternoon soap opera. Her handling of her portfolio was abysmal.

So...........this is what I'm thinking. The Princess of Auto Parts has not stepped aside due to voting plans. She is pulling out of this race because she can't speak french, and she can't get the support from her new party. Plain and simple.

Belinda, really honey, your fifteen minutes was up long ago. Go home and get real.

Thought du jour.

Risk more than others think is safe.
Care more than others think is wise.
Dream more than others think is practical.
Expect more than others think is possible.
Claude T. Bissell

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

On Friendship.

I have been attempting to pull together a speech I have to give on friendship, and I'm finding that anything that i come up with seems so stale and used. So much has been written about what a good friend is, or how to be a good friend etc..........and most of it makes the deep comfortable feelings that one feels with a friend sound so trite. And yet.............. We don't have many chances in this life to discover someone in our travels that fits our personal friendship niche. Why can't I capture that essence?

It'll come..............

In the meantime, I did find a few words of wisdom that I hadn't read in a while and thought I would share.

"A friend is someone who reaches out for your hand and touches your heart. "

"The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?" Henry David Thoreau.

"Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same."

So, as I ponder and try to pull together something thought provoking for my speech.........I will continue to capture bits of insight share with you.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Speech From My Throne.

As a representative of this country, I welcome the newly elected members of the House of Commons on the occasion of the opening of the First Session of the Thirty-Ninth Parliament of Canada. Canadians have chosen change. A government that puts ordinary working people and their families first. A government that is accountable to each and every citizen of this country.

We are about to turn over a new leaf

Here in a nutshell is my proposed 5 point strategy:

  • Scrap the so-called unemployment statistics and tell the truth. No where is the individual who is looking for employment but not collecting EI caught in the numbers game that Ottawa rolls out monthly. There is ongoing rampant talk from all parties indicating that there is a need to bring in more professionals from other countries when in fact, we are swimming in underemployed professionals struggling to find their niche. We need to help them first and foremost so that they can offer their expertise and energy to enriching our economy, and leading others with their integrity and fortitude.
  • Help the working poor. These individuals and families caught in a paycheck to paycheck existance, who are scrambling monthly to pay bills, hoping against hope that no one in their family gets sick because they don't have medicare coverage, wondering if their energy will hold up long enough to attend to their families in the evenings after another 12 hour shift and taking home less than half their pay after deductions ARE the backbone of this vast country. They are neglected, forgotten, unseen.
  • Eliminate all journalist interviewers who write in the first person. Not only is it irritating, who the hell cares about their feelings and personal perspective on the interviewee? Where did this trend come from? Who wants to know who Leah McLaren is anyways, let alone her hard hitting take on life from her penthouse view of Hazelton Lanes? Here's an idea...........bundle them all up, give them one carry on bag and embed their sorry little butts on the next space shuttle. No spa treatment kits allowed.
  • Appoint Stompin Tom as the next poet laureate. A straight shootin', down to earth, wordsmith. We need more of these real people in our lives.
  • Free all well mannered dogs and all children to play safely and happily in our parks and in their own backyards. Provide security and community assurance that our kids will be looked after, cared for and allowed to be explore and romp and climb trees, and swing without scary predators and monster violence exploiting and destroying their childhoods.

Oh....... and can we arrange to ban all unfunny sitcoms on TV? As as starting point, I propose that Corner Gas be eliminated from the planet starting right NOW!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Intuition's Speaking..........Are you Listening?

Got a hunch? Is there a twinge in the pit of your stomach that's telling you something? Have you ever felt that you made a decision based on a gut feeling before you had "all the facts?" What about a time when you did something spontaneous; just acted out with a confident sense of joie de vivre? When was the last time you listened closely to that little voice inside your head?

Intuition...........a glorious yet underutilized gift we were all born incredible resource that helps us live life more fully, connect with others more deeply, and most importantly offers a spiritual beacon to illuminate the way.

Intuitive messages range from a quiet inkling to a loud persistant thought that you can't shake off. It can alter your perception of someone or something, or it can powerfully reinforce the feeling you have already acknowledged. However it manifests, however it resonates, it is best to listen to it. Allow it to lead your way. Your intuition creates synergy between your concious self and your inner self.

So how do you tap into it? Ever since I picked up my pen and journal again last summer and began to let the words flow after years of silence, I have found that I'm more in tune and alert to these inner messages. It's like I have the radio dial precisely on the frequency. My mind seems more active, my thoughts more indepth and my confidence more heightened. Writing, which is such an introspective personal activity, has allowed me the opportunity to think through various prisms. It has illuminated my perspective. Consequently, it has offered me the guidance of a trusted friend to stretch my boundaries and to be open to truthful insights.

I made a decision when I started this blog to have the freedom to write about anything that comes to matter what the sequence, and regardless of the topic. Interestingly, when I look back on the topics that I have so far covered, the threaded theme is Awareness. The more I write, the more connected I feel to my spiritual intuitiveness. And since intuition is my "bread and butter" tool in my professional life of counselling..........well all I can say is that "it's a good thing" (Thank you Martha Stewart)

So, how do you hone your own gift?

  • Stop your every day work routine and be quiet with your thoughts. Allow yourself to think, to analyze and to process. That doesn't mean that you need to sit in a dark corner and hum lowly. A good brisk walk, a soak in the tub, or tackling a mundance task that needs no cognitve energy can all lead to a chance to be quiet with your thoughts.
  • Be open to alternative paths of illumination. Many times, we think we have it all figured out....some big problem that you've already spent way too much time contemplating. Let it settle before you make your decision and be open to the idea that maybe, just maybe there is another way of looking at it.
  • Turn on your creativity...........whether its writing, painting, designing, playing the piano or planning an event. Turn it on. This allows you to "find your flow" know that place where time and other tasks just take off and you lose yourself in an activity? Creativity is an expressive pathway that creates personal synergy.
  • Be nosey and ask yourself questions. Allow yourself to analyze your world, your decisions. Test your perspective and know that you have the information and tools to reach clarity.
  • Write, write, write. Tap into your thoughts, and allow the process of writing to carry the direction. Often I find that what I end up writing about is not what I had conciously planned to write. It's a strange feeling, when I look at an end product of words that obviously flowed out of me and wonder where they came from. The more I have journalled, the more confident I have become in trusting that my intuition is a friendly muse I can rely on.

"The term intuition does not denote something contrary to reason, but something outside of the province of reason." Carl Jung

Saturday, April 01, 2006

History Repeating Itself........over and over and over

Like lunch scarfed down at a greasy diner, political history is repeating itself. When will people learn that a hamburger loaded with all the trimmings dripping in juicy fat coupled with a large order of deep fried onion rings will cause bloating gas emissions? When will politicians realize that there is a time limit to their "day in the sun," and that if they stick around they start to stink? It looks like the lesson has yet to be absorbed by yet another "Master of his domain."

The writing was on the wall, Ralph. Given your proven abilities to read the political atmosphere, what the hell were you thinking by announcing that you were going to step down, but not for a couple of years? Then you followed that goofy statement with a banishment potential keeners from your cabinet. Two weeks later, after the media has turned on you and basically had written you off as a desperate has been, you get up in front of your "people" and deliver a last ditch effort plea to suport your personal desire to remain at the top of the hill.

During his speech Friday night to about 1,200 delegates at the party's annual convention, Klein seemed to plead for his political future, asking the party faithful to let him retain his job for another two years.

"I ask you to give me - one final time - your endorsement to achieve what I have laid out for the duration of this mandate," Klein said.

"If you see fit to give me that support, I pledge to you that I will work as hard as I possibly can to bring continued honour to this party and continued prosperity to this province we love."

The speech was stunningly humble for a man who has led the party to four majority governments over 13 years - the most recent just 16 months ago - and made Alberta the country's only debt-free province.

But discontent has been brewing lately in the party, and many thought there was a chance Klein would announce plans to speed up his March 2008 departure date.

Throughout the Calgary convention centre, many people listened to his Hail Mary speech stonefaced with arms folded, applauding only at the end.

The political landscape is littered with cast offs who overstayed their welcome...........individuals who somehow started their political career as Ambassadors of their party but then absorbed the shallow rhetorical messages that they were powerfully unbeatable and loved by all.

Politics is a nasty fickle bitch. Politics massages ripe egos and makes leaders believe that fairy tale fiefdoms are to be had.
C'mon, Ralph you knew that, didn't you? You knew that the life of a leader has a beginning and an end............EVEN during good economic times? Did you not learn anything from Richard Hatfield's soaring freefall? Mulroney? Chretien? Margaret Thatcher? And now, Tony Blair? Were you so ensconced, surrounded by "yes" people who soothed and patted you and told you what you wanted to hear that you forgot how to read the writing on the wall?

I'm sorry, buddy, but even I could see the train passing by the station from my Maritime front lawn............. No big whupping surprise!
The moment in time when you could leave at the top of your game has come and gone, and that's a shame. But, it's not too late to suck in your overarching pride and to step down from your podium. Then, go into the corner for a time out and eat some humble pie.

Don't worry, Ralph. In a year or so a big honkin' Royal Commission will be called for some such scandal and you will be called upon to head it up. You'll get some more media attention and get to make some fiery speeches again.......just in time to soothe that sorry ego.

OR...............I hear there's a Liberal Leadership race. Interested? Best don your McKlein kilt rosen up that bow.......... and you'll fit right in!

It's somethin' isn't it?