Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I left after that and went to sit in the sun in the parking lot while most of the people stuck in the waiting room, obviously feeling pretty darn crappy or they wouldn't be at an after hours clinic either cringed while trying to tune her out, or laughed out loud. I was laughing and shaking my head at the same time because it seems to happen all the time now......overhearing bizarre snippets of others lives. Cellphones are brutally rude and invasive in the wrong hands!
The problem with my choice to move out into the open was that many others were mingling about waiting their turn, openly conversing about their personal lives, oblivious to the fact that they were surrounded by strangers who really didn't want to hear about it. Not only that, the topics were borish......even some admissions to illegal drug use, and all of it peppered in foul language. You know, the big nasty word bombs, not the smaller fluffier disposable ones.
As my father would say, "he had a mouth on him like a ripped boot......." I always liked that saying........ it makes no sense, and yet it does. Who the hell wants a mouth on them like a ripped boot?? There were ripped boots all over the place. Why is it that men who talk like that, slipping swear words as often as they can into every single sentence uttered from their mouths, also like to hork spit generated from their phlegmy throats while adjusting their manhood at the same time?? What brilliant multi-taskers they are. Did I mention my 10 year old son was with me? Good thing we've let him watch a few Will Ferrell movies lately. Bad mommy............bad, bad mommy.......... I was actually more concerned about him listening to two men openly discuss their partying habits of snorting lines of cocaine like it was acceptable and dissing "the wife" comments than him hearing cuss words.
Where have our boundaries gone? Have they been erased? It seems so, and I blame this partially on Oprah and her ilk for encouraging the universal acceptance of spilling our stuff to anyone within earshot as a therapeutic primal purge rather than bad manners. Has it become a disturbed way of bonding or is it simply disrespectful of other's boundaries? Whatever it is, it's just plain rude.
Our society has been flipped on it's ear when it comes to communicative decorum. And what is so bizarrely contradictory is that we seem to be messing with both ends of the communication continuum. Either we are yapping away on our trusty cell phones (which btw have recently been identified as a cancer causing agent.....like what isn't??) or conversing loudly face to face with buddy fella in the middle of a department store, restaurant, waiting room, subway, grocery store, city bus, line-up, in the LOO for fecks sake.......... or we have unplugged the whole world and turned ourselves into walking internal boom boxes ignoring even the beautiful sounds around us. Its two side of self-absorption. Thinking of oneself first and foremost.
It's a purge or perish kind of existance, and quite frankly I find it disturbing. Either we have a fear of getting lost as a means of learning something about ourselves and need to be in touch with the people in our lives at all times and waking hours, or we float through existance in a blurred earphone zone, untouched by anyone or anything except what is blaring away.
Now before anyone thinks I'm some wingnut do-gooder with a phobia of technology, let me make it perfectly clear that i do see the functionality and FUNality side of it these lovely devices. I'd have them both and use them frequently if I had to commute great stretches everyday. I also love the openness of conversations which happen frequently in this part of the world. People have no trouble falling into a deeply felt conversation with a stranger. It happens everywhere if you want it to. And I guess that's the point. We should always maintain our choice to be a part of what is being discussed and not have it foisted upon us.
Control over who is allowed into our intimate boundaries is just plain healthy. Allowing someone whose pushy and needy to invade your privacy, or simply by their unaware actions demand your involvement isn't healthy whatsoever. Who I let into my own domain is my perogative, as it is for you. But I also believe in the imperativeness of remaining connected and in tune with the world around us too. Why would anyone sit on a beach plugged into Nirvana when in fact it could be absorbed by the sounds of the surf? Why would anyone go for a walk in the woods and not take it in with all of their senses? It makes NO sense.
To thrive is to know deep down you are loved. To feel alive is to know you matter to someone. To discover a friend is to discover a new reflection.
ps. perhaps a new friend is awaiting to be found today. I have finally posted a few links on my sidebar to some of my blogfriends, and will continue to add on as I can. Why don't you check one their sites out .......... you just may find someone out there whom you would like to walk a mile with.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here's the joyful face you've been longing to see.
Your hand opens and closes, and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence
is in every small contraction and expansion,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as bird wings.
Monday, July 28, 2008
sewed into the fabric of destiny.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Hats from the heart.
Beauty makes presence shine. It brings out elegance and dignity and has a confidence, an effortlessness that is not laboured or forced. This fluency and ease of presence is ultimately rooted below the surface in surer depths. In a sense, the question of beauty is about a way of looking at things. It is everywhere, and everything is beauty; it is merely a matter of discovering it. John O'Donahue.
Yesterday, I was asked to help out as the "official photographer" and support for my colleague who had organized the second annual Hats from the Heart tea. Held right in the heart of the city in the back garden of an apartment building for seniors, citizens from all parts congregated to celebrate summer breezes, nostaligic music and a touch of shining elegance. Everywhere I looked I saw it..........in the smiles and eyes, in the life lines of lives lived..........there was a genuine radiance to the communion of beauty..........ageless, timeless human beauty.
This was a special event in many ways. There is a caring and sharing feel underlying it all, from the young girls, all dressed up to sing and to serve, to the recognition from the mayor (who sang a beautiful rendition of Sinatra's classic New York, New York.......and the local member of the legislature who was all smiles of genuine pleasure connecting with every single person sitting at the tables......) to the fact that each hat worn yesterday had been donated by a member of our community. Each hat had a note tucked inside............a story about the hat's meaning, or a message of love from the donor......... hats from the heart........
I havent yet formulated all of my thoughts on the experience of taking part yesterday. As an observer and a participant and as someone who knows a few of the stories behind the beautiful faces, I was touched more deeply than I had expected and was left with a feeling that I it had been a true honour to attend. I loved watching the young girls all dressed up serving their "elders"...... i loved listening to one young girl sing an aria which simply pierced every single heart listening......and watching their reaction. I loved reuniting with a few people I hadnt seen in a good hand full of years and in different contexts. I loved the conversations, the song, joyfulness of the event.
We congregated under the umbrellas and shade of the tree to share a couple of hours together with blooming hats on. We were all left with a sense of communion. Enjoy some of the photos.............. :)
In its graciousness, beauty often touches our hearts with the grandeur and nobility of its larger resonance. In our daily lives such resonance usually eludes us. We can only awaken to it when beauty visits us. John O'Donahue
"For beauty is the cause of harmony, of sympathy, of community. Beauty unites all things and is the source of all things. It is the great creating cause which bestirs the world and holds all things in existence by the longing inside them to have beauty. And there it is ahead of all as....the Beloved....toward which all things move, since it is the longing for beauty which actually brings them into being.."
Friday, July 25, 2008
Solace is a lost memory.
Wished tenderness of a forgotten friend.
As the grip grows tired, the guarded heart becomes tired too.......tired of feeling so alone, unwanted and untouched by beauty. A silent sigh seeps out of the hard casing, alerting the army of feelings to advance ...... perhaps ......... perhaps......
All at once the heart finds it's sorrow in it's aloneness and begins to weep. Feelings ambush the casing..... The hardened heart softens and bleeds red drops of relief, until the guard surrenders to the loving gaze of a forgotten friend. Solace plucks the lonesome heartstrings, reminding the heart that it truly does thrive in the coves hidden in the daylight.
This week's word prompt from Sunday Scribblings is solace........ For more cozy comfort, check it out.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
what it means.........
The group provided me with snippets on bits of paper and I did my best trying to weave them into their song with my melody. I was happy with the end product, but for me it was the process of focusing on the threads in the fabric of our relationships and shared journeys where the personal learning occured. GEEZ, I was up most of the night lost in the threads! I didn't realize how many there were. Part of the reason for my lack of thread insight is the fact that the group involved in this collective piece of writing is now spread out working in three different office buildings on different teams, some doing different work. Me included. As much as I'm only across the street, and am bouncing back and forth between at least two of these offices for consults and file info, you might as well have the great divide between us. So, I had tucked many of these threads and dropped some too over the two years I've been in exile.
We are losing a member of our family tomorrow..........we're launching her out into new adventures she has chosen to pursue and we're really excited for her. She's stepping outside of her own comfort zone and taking a new flight path, knowing we'll be around. In fact in a couple of weeks, we are all launching out of our offices, but instead of taking flight in another direction, we're moving into a brand new building together......all under one roof. Yes, we will congregate as a full department for the first time since three separate departments merged at least 5 years ago. For me personally, it will make all the difference in the world. It is what I came to realize while sorting the threads in the middle of last night as I struggled to write something for a special person in the eyes of many. I will be back in proximity with the others who know me best......the good the bad and the beautiful! :)
Like everyone, I've changed. The lessons strummed by adversity and deep gut tensions were so difficult. Some of what I've experienced I havent even made inroads on as to what the life lesson is supposed to be.......and maybe they were just really awful tasting decoys with nothing to learn from them. I don't know yet. What I do know is that I've changed and most of it has been tugged out of me and wrestled with through my writing. I can't tell you how much writing has helped my sanity. Without it, many more threads would have slipped out of my hands. I will return to the fold sporting a new look, an internally altered look. The feistiness remains, but with more clarity and more inner calm.
I just have one regret.....that my friend who retires tomorrow won't be there for the next phase of development. I think she would've liked the changes I am bringing back to the fold.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Do you suffer from songs stuck in your head syndrome? I do, though I must admit it's sometimes difficult to hear the song over the voices in there too.
Kidding.......well sort of.........
Today, for some reason I have had a little church hymn keeping me company. The same lyrics kept looping back over and over whenever I stopped for a breather in between work tasks where I had to remain focused and not thinking about little hymn ditties. It actually acted as a soothing reprieve on a day that was fraught with intensity and the need for me to remain on task.
What's bizarre about this particular song though is that I didn't even know the whole hymn. I couldn't even place a time when I have even sung it aloud. And yet there is was, drowning out my silence. I do know the origin however. It was the word "flow" which had originally captured my thinking. I had used it to describe my feelings to a friend this morning and from there the word seemed to hook onto the hymn and pull it into my conciousness.
peace is flowing like a river,
flowing out through you and me.
A gentle flowing river of tranquility, an essence I sorely lacked during the counselling, adversity and group dynamic facilitating I was involved with today. I've always loved the visualization and feelings of the word flow..........there's a sense of reiteritive movement, never ending in nature.....which is exactly how sticky songs feel like too. I think this is often the case. You start with one idea, one word, one concept and all of a sudden it has theme music accompanying it.
joy is flowing like a river,
flowing out through you and me......
Some people suffer from hearing the same sticky song for long stretches. I'd find that really annoying. Mine usually last a day or so, and then I tend to move onto another one, most likely from a different venue. Van Morrison is a regular vistor to my noggin. Old camp songs show their harmony too..... both the loud after dinner "99 bottles of beer in the wall" kind and the early evening "fires burning, draw nearer" rounds. Recently John Denver made a comeback for some reason........weird.......hadn't thought about Sunshine on My Shoulders in years, but there it was. Yeah, I could list ten songs off the top of my head which have recently flowed all through me during a brief visit and then pulled out only to be tucked away again.....and all different venues and different genres.
hope is flowing like a river
flowing out through you and me.
I could almost taste the refreshing springfilled essence coming from that river hymn.....engaging and reassuring. It gave me energy.
I was thinking about this stickiness phenomenon tonight as I searched for the rest of the lyrics for my flowy hymn which had stuck to me today. After I found them, I decided to seek out more about the syndrome. It turns out one of the most common songs to get stuck is "Who Let the Dogs Out...." Thank GOD it's not one that visits me!
The other piece of sticky song information I learned? It happens most often to neurotics. Good to know I have another descriptive word to identify me. I can live with that. It's better than worrying about it. Right? It is right? I should just accept the label and move on, right??
Sunday, July 20, 2008
A fable.....fearfully and wonderfully...
A man walking through the forest saw a fox that had lost its legs and wondered how it lived. Then he saw a tiger come in with game in its mouth. The tiger had its fill and left the rest of the meat for the fox.
There are human beings who have come into our lives, into our consciousness who have made us question why God permits their suffering. Their painful struggles make us ask big questions about whether or not He really exists and why He would allow such grief. We ask....
"Why would You permit this?"
"Why aren't You doing something about this person's suffering?"
So we pray.....that's what we're supposed to do.....the motions of prayer.
Perhaps in our prayers, we point out this suffering human being to God........we say........."Please look after this person who has too many burdens to carry themselves. Do something please God."
We stay busy in our lives, feeling good that we have identified this person to God. We've done our work. We've passed the buck onto the Almighty's bank of woes and we don't have to think about it again.
Then one night, sleep doesn't come easy. Restlessness and discomfort seep into our legs, and makes our stomachs queasy, and forces us out of bed and into the dark silence......silence sliced with crashing echoes of waves along a shore, or winds brushing leaves......silence so loud despite the quiet setting we find ourselves in. We can't escape it. We try to calm the inner turmoil........the incessant noise filling the internal spaces. We begin by focusing on taking deep breaths.......slow deep breaths which somehow begin to open gaps in between the noise, allowing ourselves to go beyond the listening of the silence. Small slivers of space begin to emerge where the ear drumming used to be.
The uncomfortable feelings continue to panic.......discomfort grows, so we do what we can to push it away by continuing to peel away the loud anxious silence. We inhale slow deep breaths of oxygen to calm the waves, until at last we begin to feel an undressing of the ego. Soon, vocalized words are replaced by the reverence of humility.
Suddenly through a wild eye opening in the silence, we hear the clear whisperered message.....
"I did do something...........I made you."
Saturday, July 19, 2008
thought du jour
Friday, July 18, 2008
- More than 30 per cent of children in developing countries – about 600 million – live on less than US $1 a day.
- Every 3.6 seconds one person dies of starvation. Usually it is a child under the age of 5.
- Around 270 million children, just over 14 per cent of all children in developing countries, have no access to health care services.
- Some 13 per cent of children ages 7 to 18 years in developing countries have never attended school. This rate is 32 per cent among girls in sub-Saharan Africa (27 per cent of boys) and 33 per cent of rural children in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Over 1 billion people—1 in 6 people around the world—live in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1 a day.
- More than 800 million go hungry each day.
Can we just get someone in the lead to make a decision and move on to deal with the more important, life and death crises than whether or not two guys can marry? Let them marry for goodness sake.......throw the confetti, turn on the macerana, have a party in the church hall. And when the hangover of a good celebration goes away..........get out there and ACT.
the slow pace of real change
Thursday, July 17, 2008
hmmmmmmmm........what to do?
Monday, July 14, 2008
loving the unlovely
The crooked little tree receives no attention. And yet, it should be the one we pay attention to for it has earned our respect. It has quietly and with little help has fought the cold darkness of winters, and the frightening winds when the bigger trees all around it bend and slap it's branches with ferocious intensity. It has struggled against all odds and elements.
Now the crooked tree, despite it's size and shape that make it appear to be in early growth is tired. It's tired of fighting the odds. It has expended so much energy just to survive that now it sits in isolation, broken and vulnerable to dissolving into mulch. There is a sense of surrendering to the elements.........the same ones it was once challenged to seek leftover nourishment from.
Sighing a deep burdensome moan, thinking that no one is listening, the tree prepares to accept its invisibility.........what does it matter anyways......it was not the crooked tree's destiny to be able to bathe in sunlight or to be showered with a torrent of rain.
One day, a hiker arrives. He stops right in front of the crooked little tree, it's top already bowing down to the ground. The hiker likes it and admires with wonder how this tree has survived for so long surrounded by brutes who steal the light, who lap up all the water.........who steal away possibility. Impulsively, he pulls out his waterbottle from his backpack, unscrews the lid and pours all of it's contents at the base of the crooked little tree where it is soaked up like a dry sponge........ Smiling, the hiker walks away knowing that perhaps for the first time in a very long time, the crooked little tree has quenched it's thirst first.
Before too long, the top of the tree lifts its head upward towards a ray of sunlight which has managed to filter through the pine and birch, leaving a dappling of warmth, and a sense of loveliness the crooked little tree hadn't felt in a very long time.
Today I helped the crooked little tree and it left me with a radiating feeling of satisfaction that perhaps I played a bit of a role correcting a wrong.
self contained will...........
We all yearn to belong don't we? No one wants to be a lost boy misfit all the time.
Even if we are in a field of work that is suited for our personal interests and gifts, if there is a lack of enthusiasm for new ideas, for spontaneity every once in a while.........if there is a fearful flavour emanating down the hallways seeping into cubicles and offices, even the most suited work feels torturous. When the power is upperhanded, and the playing field isn't level, the very idea of Monday morning can make the strongest person feel impotent.
I often struggle with my own situation, though I happen to love the work I do, which is why I continue to find a way to balance my feelings about the hands on counselling and my feelings about the atmosphere. It most definately has been an internal joust where I have waxed and waned with my thoughts. It has produced many sleepless nights, bouts of anxiety that I never knew existed in me. It has left me in tears, shaking my head wondering how to deal with it. And it's always the work that I DO which pulls me back into the foray again and again.
Life is not to be approached as something to get through without some scrapes and scars. If we were to handle it that way, we've completely missed the point of living. Joy is nothing without sorrow. Strength means little without the understanding of how anxiety feels like. Real living forces us to figure out the tough stuff by challenging our assumptions, confronting our beliefs, and most importantly learning about what we are made of. There are days when i feel like I'm simply made up of fluff and I have no muscle in me to take on the bullies. But, then there are other days when I can sense that I have the muscle and the fortitude to see the powerseekers as simply human beings trying to do the best that they can........that their motivation to use their muscle lies in the bottom of a pool of insecurities.
The best days are when I can put all of this aside and simply do what some Big Guy up there intended for me to do...........to work from a loving heart by recognizing that it is up to me and me alone to harness my own motivation, my own creativity and my own ability to see the world through absurdist eyes in order to approach the work I choose to do with my best foot forward with a smile on my face. If I can hold onto this thought, knowing that I alone have the key to my thoughts and wishes, the burdens will evaporate into the air and make it lighter.
And if all else fails....... stick in your earphones, crank up the tunes....... ..and leave them in your wake.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
big stops and blue canoes
Friday, July 11, 2008
We've been on the road for almost two weeks..........jumping in pools, lakes and puddles....... throwing pennies into fountains, making wishes. We've reconnected with friends and family.... sipped wine, ate strawberries, sat around big tables sharing summer meals.
Along the way, we've soaked in the sun, played a few games, sat on a dock, took in a concert on Parliament Hill on Canada Day. Saw a Blue Jays game, did some shopping, paddled in a kayak, took a great ride in a boat. I slipped into a canoe for a very short stint, dangled my feet in Lake Kawagama and watched a beaver swim by. We've seen parts of Ontario we had never ventured through before.........where the small highways break through the Canadian Shield. We sat below the CN Tower that reaches high into the blue sky....... and in my sister's backyard nestled into the Niagara Escarpment......
Cities and country.........the bustle and the calm.........
A long time ago, when we lived in Toronto, we had dinner with friends who now live WAY over on the other side of this country on an island near Vancouver. During that memorable dinner, we started a conversation about Canada........and somehow the term "vast and magnificent" entered into it. It became a running joke. Since then for over 20 years, in Christmas cards and scant letters....and the few times we have managed to connect in person the term is thrown in............
Vast and Magnificent......... it makes me laugh everytime I think of it. But, you know what? It damn well is bloody vast! And, parts of it are truly magnificent.
Today, we all pour back into the travelling salvation show (thank you Mr. Neil Diamond) van and begin the trek across our part of the "vast and magnificent" country...... to home. It's been a good break from all things routine, but it's time to recapture our lives, pick up our dog and unpack new memories. Yes, it's time to get home to see a new sunrise over the Saint John river......magnificent all on its own.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
clarity captured in the fog
Monday, July 07, 2008
He wears a smile even when he wears a frown.
Motion is as constant and as needed as the air we breathe. Even when we can acquire a sense of stillness, motion plays an integral role. We are always on the move........feeding curiosity......a wandering of wonder. Stillness allows for internal travel of thoughts and feelings.
Even the most unaware sound asleep person is in motion......a conflict in motion. Perhaps they are moving more than the person who feels a sense of integration and has found a way to be smiling inside too. It's like finding yourself in a new grocery store not knowing which aisle the familiar products are shelved. You end up having to take MORE steps, retracing, backtracking, wasting energy while searching for what you want in a disjointed manner.