Tuesday, September 30, 2008

glory days.......

"Now I think I'm going down to the well tonight
and I'm going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don't sit around thinking about it
but I probably will"

Does anyone have a couple of $$$grand$$$ they can give me? I believe it is my destiny to attend this event.....
Would anyone like to join me? I have a feeling it would be just the right thing to untangle a chaotic soul or two.

It is always what our situation hands us....

it is either sadness or euphoria.....

My vote is for euphoria! Wanna??

what a mess...........

We expect instant gratification, unrivalled perfection and complete satisfaction. Our lives are driven by quick decisions, fast moving information, and overnight resolutions. We demand an answer, an opinion, a judgement NOW. We live on the edge of defence where trust in authority and government is non existant.
And yet, we are reliant on technology, theoretical monetary mountains we buy and sell, and all the creature comforts we take for granted. We are an impulsive, obsessive, demanding, unsatisfied, ungrateful bunch of yahoos whose needs continue to escalate as we buy more material goods to tuck into our nests. If anyone gets in our way, we create a war, or rage out on the highway, or leave others in the wake. Why not? Others will clean up the mess. It's their fault anyways. It's never our fault. Oh, and we're way too busy to vote. What's the point really........voting I mean? They are all a bunch of crooks.
We eat too much, drink too much, talk too much, consume too much and yearn for too much. We own a closet full of shoes and yet we need another pair......and another and another. Our Pavlovian response to the gazillion dollar marketing which saturates our lives everywhere we turn is appalling. We have bought into the world of consumerism, commercialism, materialism, MORE-ism. And when we feel overwhelmed, undervalued and sad, we call on God to bail us out. "Hey God?" we bark out. "We need you. Please fix this situation we find ourselves in."
How spoiled bratish is that? Irresponsible, irrational little children who are making a big huge mess on our planet with the economy, the environment, the emotional balance of the collective, that's what we are......... So determined we are to put the whole fix up on God. As the messes continue to pile up, both inside and outside of our homes, both inside and outside of ourselves...........we get really testy with God and threaten him that are beliefs will disappear ....
"Hey God, where the heck are you? If you love me you'd be there right NOW when I need you and if you don't show your presence than I won't believe in you anymore. Got that, God? I demand that you show me you're there or I'll, I'll.............I'll runaway from you God....you won't be able to find me then. How would you like that? And I'll tell all my friends when I see them shopping next that you didn't fix things........"
We are nuts. We blame and shame instead of taking some ownership and responsibility start making some much needed changes. We love that fact that we have been given free will and the ability to think, to choose, to analyze, to reflect, to love and forgive, to savour and to reject but we avoid these gifts like the black plague because we'd have to take the lead on healing. Oh, and one other thing? We believe we have absolutely no control over what happens around us, so our white flag surrendering is a totally acceptable way of being for anything that happens. great. So, who has the big broom to sweep up the mess???
Tonight the stock markets are in a landslide. The economy of the most financially important country in the world has been temporarily (hopefully) annihilated by a greedy unruly juvenile government hellbent on continuing to flexing their muscles. The domino effect has begun. It may have started with the upper echelon where salaries and lifestyles are beyond the comprehension of 99% of world's population........this 1% think they are untouchable. Soon, it will be felt in the service industry, the manufacturing sectors, and all best supporting businesses. Money to help other people in other countries in need will dry up like a drought. It's a mess and the two last standing contenders who are fighting tooth and nail for the biggest office in the land of the free seem to be flailing their waffles while stumbling over their discomfort while the rest of the planet wonders how much this whole mess will impact their economies.
Canada has always been the little mouse living beside the sleeping elephant..........and it turns out that the elephant has woken up snarky and is having a very tough time finding its footing. Not good for little mousey underfoot. Our economy is showing some slight wounds because of the recession which is financially eroding the lives of real people living above their credit means south of the border sending thousands and thousands into financial bankruptcy....... No doubt in my mind that this country will follow suit. Our surplus is gone........you know the one Paul Martin created while financial minister.?
Our illustrious Prime Minister Harper meanwhile is completely downplaying the ramifications of the bailout on the buyout in the U.S. of A. He's simply focused on the task at hand.......winning the pending election.......God willing of course.
I'm all for messy living. But this is beyond the pale. Who should we turn to?? Personally, I'm putting my support behind the skills and talents of Denny Crane. Why not? It's his last season. Maybe he can work a solution into the scripts and pull a few others to fight the good fight. Sam Seaborn perhaps?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Airing a few bits of laundry......

Hey there! I have much to write.....ooooo big surprise there..........and for some reason I needed to store it up in my noggin before I aired it. The focus around here......and by here I mean Burlington because I'm still here having been stranded for a couple of days due to the impotent hurricane named Kyle which in preparation the good people of all things plane like cancelled all flights to the Maritimes last night, was on my parent's 50th anniversary party, which by the way went very well. More to come on that......
So, I have a couple more vacation days ahead of me and if I wanted to be stranded anywhere it would be in my parent's home where I grew up. They've got everything here, including indoor plumbing and the internet! Lots of tea and wine too, so I'm roughing it really..........taking a sipping of tea.........

I started this blogpiece on Friday and didn't finish it. Like a good stubborn Virgo, I am determined to post it. However, I finished it once this morning after messing around with it and making it all pretty only to have the blogger gremlins eat the damn thing. I was so pissed! So, I have now soaked in the bathtub, puttered around, got dressed, made another cup of strong tea and here I am.....

what is so ironic is that the piece is........well............a glowing tribute to the love of all things blog and of writing. I waxed too poetic I think and made God gag with my self absorbed gushing. Humility washes over again. I have now tightened the piece, pulled out some of the gooey bits, and left some and am now ready to push publish again. And after that.........??? I plan to write more today. Hey! I've got a freebie day. Why the heck not? My head is full and spinning with ideas. Gotta make them come to fruition, right? What's the point of having a thought if it is not expressed. Thoughts float in a big hot breath of ether they arent harnessed to a few chosen words, right?


Airing a few bits of Laundry

I didn't know I was in a state of sleep a few years ago until I woke up. I thought it was a normal way of being. Somehow I had wandered away from my own nucleus while keeping pace with the expectations and responsibilities of the roles I had comfortably fallen into. It happens to all of us at some point I think, especially if there are other more pressing demands in our lives. Of course, we choose most of them...... most of which fall under one or more of the following categories ..... marriage, a career, parenthood, family, friendships, community. I'm sure we could all make a list of at least 20 different roles we assume in the run of one day!
There is a certain time in our lives, however, when all of those areas need attention all at once until they find a place in our own mosaic. There are very few days when they all seem to be in sync......in balance. There are fewer days when you can add yourself to the mix. It's like a carnival midway, with the roller coaster smack dab in the middle of it all ..... the multi-sensory colour, movement and chaos of our busy lives is a mezmerizing allure which pulls us right into the noisy hum. Its easy to get lost in the midway.......finding your way out can be tricky even if you try to retrace your steps. All of a sudden, you're surrounded by motion that is disconnected to you and if you don't stop to regroup, you may end up in a kooky hall of mirrors where your reflections of who you are, what you want, where you're actually headed become totally distorted. There is a miasmic sense to it.....like your soul going on a bender.
Though it seemed at the time that it was one moment of clarity, in hindsight it was an accumulative process similar to waking in the morning when we go from REM sleep to really opening your eyes. The previous winter, I was involved in a train the trainer workshop on teaching a program called "PLAR" (which stands for Prior Learning and Recognition). It is a portfolio development program to guide individuals through a process of identifying their own skills and gifts that they have gathered during their lives by reviewing their interests, listing their formal coursework but more importantly identifying what they have learned and what knowledge they've acquired both while working, living, schooling and playing. Part of the train the trainer homework was to develop my own portfolio and then present it to the group.
At first, I hesitated to take the course. Originally it seemed too light and fluffy......too trendy and unhelpful. Now I wonder if I was simply digging my heels in because I didn't want to "wake up." I still wanted to laze around a bit longer. Who knows? Once I pulled out the big basket of old photos, letters, certificates and various and sundry bits from my past, however, and started going through it while sipping on a glass of wine one night, I fell right into a trip down memory lane and had a blast. It sounds so self absorbed as I write this and think about how I want to describe the feeling, but it felt like a self imposed reunion. I had forgotten, or perhaps had just stored much of me........had simply tossed it into a big basket and closed the lid. But the more I read and revisited little snippets from my past, I saw the silouette fill in with colour. The process helped me move from REM to awakening, or at least brought me to a place where i was ready to open my eyes.
That spring of 2005, a friend of mine invited me to tag along to Quebec City for a couple of days. She was heading up there for some meetings with colleagues at Laval University and wanted company for the travel. Well, this was her explanation, but given that she has travelled around the world, in hindsight I now think she realized she could offer me a couple of days of wandering on my own as a means of letting me find my way again. That's exactly what I did. I needed it. I wandered around taking in la belle ville, seulement. Because it was pre-tourista season, I had the place to myself........the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec, the boardwalk overlooking the Saint Lawrence river with the Chateau Frontenac looming beside me.........the Plains of Abraham where school kids were acting out the battle scenes of an important historical moment in our Canadian collective history. I kept walking and walking, filling myself with good air, and pushing out the cobwebs. My pen remained untouched. My new journal uncracked. But, it was the beginning of my own spring.....I could feel it in my step. (Hey, thanks Helen!! You are a wise woman and I will travel with you anytime...I hear you're going to Germany next week. Can I come??)
A series of events three years woke me up and made me step out of that pseudo-comfort zone where i felt safe but basically lost in the carnival midway. The following summer of meeting a new friend, reuniting with old friends, reacquainting myself to the possibility of there being a God out there, reading new books........well new to me........brought me to my pen and journal again.
Writing it down in one sentence doesn't give it the justice it deserves as to how it truly impacted my journey. Not only was it altered, my journey took on more clarity. It stirred my motivation, set fire to the yearnings i had stuck on the back burner. Consequently, one of the biggest changes happened when I set up a blog. This blog......and named it after one of the books I had just read.....
Today I celebrate 3 years blogging. There have been times in the past year when I have seriously thought about closing it down, especially when the writing and the ideas seemed to be drying up or when it felt like a chore instead of a joy. But, those times have been few and far between and were quickly erased whenever I received feedback on a piece i had written or when I was able to capture the essence of my thoughts. Through blogging, I have found a place where my love of writing can be captured and shared. Through blogging, I have had the opportunity to not only meet many of you through the virtual world tying us together in a way that no other means has been ever able to do......I have had a chance to meet some of you in person. Through blogging, my love of travel regained momentum.........and I took a flight to across the pond to truly touch fingertips with new dear friends Pip, Joan and Katie.

The journey continues as do the connnections and the reunions. The Greenbelt Festival is most definately on the horizon, where I intend to be, reuniting and meeting a soul friend I feel like I've known all my life and beyond.

The power of the pen, and the power of the blog along with the Virgo determination to pour it out as best I can have opened up big windows that overlook an amazing vista of possibilities.....I see the midway now as an adventure to be explored. It may offer up kooky reflections every now and then, but it also offers amazing excitement.

ps. thank you you all for a great 3 year ride so far................onward we go! A special thank you to my Finnan friend for introducing me to that land of blog and a place to tether my thoughts. No coincidences, right? It's all in the illusion of the stars....right?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

a thousand years of now.....

View from Rattlesnake point on the Niagara Escarpment

There exists only the present instant.....a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday, nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years from hence. Meister Eckhart

Yesterday, I tried to keep my feet planted in that Now as I spent time with a cherished friend I rarely get a chance to see, whom I share a few long ago yesterdays with. We went for a wonderful walk.......not a long one because every time we took a step forward, we ended up stopping to talk....to catch up ........ to pull ourselves into that Now because it is so easy to rest in the pasture of yesterdays isnt it? The thing about wrapping conversations around "remember whens......" is that you never manage to take a new step on the walk. The friendship doesn't grow. There's a need to find that thread on your own tapestries and hope it has more length to it so it can be woven into the fabric of your present life. I don't think it happens very often. It's magical when it does....in a delicious sort of way.

Sometimes you have friends whom you can only relate to when you revisit the past together. The threads which once bound has already been intricately decorating the tapestry for a long time, but its used up. It's an indication that perhaps that relationship had a beginning and an end..... too much time and change has flowed under the bridge. I think we have all experienced this. But, when you move away from the home area where you grew up, it is a recurring theme.

Its tough keeping pace with people when distance separates you. One Chrismas card a year just doesn't cut it. Its tempting to try to stretch the thread, to incorporate it in the Now design, by stretching the stories from the yesterdays as much as you can rather than accepting the fact that both people have moved on and that its alright. So, when you can jump back into a friendship foray where you can meet right in the present moment and remain there, it is an exceptional feeling. What's mind boggling to me is that with these type of kindreds, its not even necessary to send a Christmas card to them. They are just there.....always in the Now with you, mixed into your own clay foundation in the way Meister Eckhart describes....

it is a Now that has the flickering embers of the eternal.....because it encompasses a thousand years ago, and will be with you a thousand years hence. The Now with this type of friendship is the type of thread which continually weaves throughout your own tapestry and never rests on its laurels. It reflects the light of your spirit and bathes it with a golden glow. They are true blessings in our lives.

I am on the road this week, back to my "home" visiting family and some old friends as we prepare to celebrate my parent's 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday. There is always a sense of nostalgia interspersed with the making of new memories. I am really looking forward to seeing many people whom I havent seen in a very long time, friends of my parents and family members who attended my own wedding 20 years ago.

Time passes quickly, but it has been filled with the richness of the accumlated stories of living and growing as individuals. The idea of looking back and celebrating it all in the present is obviously a recurring theme in my head these days as I wonder what the next step along the path into the woods will be.....for all of us. I do love a good mystery.

right Now?? we will fill up new pages and continue to see where the path leads......

Rattlesnake point.

You can always see the beginning of the path, but the rest sits beyond the trees.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

wolves dressed wrong

No doubt about it, we live in a hierarchical world. Authority reigns, even in the most democratic of societies. Some of this is needed in order to maintain lawful, political and societal order, and some is complete and utter balderdash.
Authority when it is tainted by power hungry control seeking individuals hellbent on using their position to fearmonger can be seen in boardrooms, gymnasiums, legislative assemblies, at the market, in families, in schools.......heck it can happen anywhere you find a group of people who have relinquished their own ability to critically think. It's easier to allow someone else to make decisions, and to tell us what to do. Its easier to pass the baton onto someone who will espouse their opinions and interpretations of world affairs, of religious doctrine, of the equation which consists of how life should be lived or how a certain task should be completed...............my way or the highway they insist. Given how it can feel to be walking down that lonesome highway, people choose to do things someone else's way.
Authority takes itself too seriously and often evolves into believing the diatribe it spins out. There's an old story about a priest who was praying in a church while a group of children loudly played outside. The priest couldn't concentrate and became frustrated with the ongoing noise that he went outside and told the children that a big monster was seen down by the shoreline. He described the monster in great detail which intrigued the children. Off they went, excited to see the monster. Along the way, they repeated the priest's story to anyone who would listen. Because the story was told by the man who was considered an authority figure......he rang the bell of truth didn't he???...... everyone completely took it as fact. Why, it was inconceivable that the priest would lie. Before too long, hundreds of villagers were running down to the shore to see the monster.

In no time, a group of enthusiastic people popped into the church to tell the priest about this amazing monster they had heard about. Then they headed out the door and down to the shore.....along with the priest! Even though he was the one who completely fabricated the story, and cognitively KNEW it was a lie, the priest was swept up with the possibility that there truly was a monster. Amazing how one can be accepting of the craziest ideas!

People in authority have the capacity to convince themselves of even the most ludricrous falsehoods. It is an intoxicating mistress who alluringly wraps her legs around truth. Faith that stands on authority and uses its self-projected importance to sermonize in disguise alters the fabric of free expression. Whether its from a pulpit, a podium or a panel, authority gone awry frightens the masses into believing that their word is the way. Judgement is a one way street with this type of authority.

Interestingly, an effective leader never demands to stand on podium or a pulpit to speak from. They may use one, but they respectfully know that all beings govern their own actions and encourage them to protect their own rights and abilities. Effective leaders applaudingly welcome new thought, not shoot it down. They are not afraid to be challenged or questioned.

Is their anything more harming for a community than living under the guise of respect based on fear?

Monday, September 22, 2008

my favourite time of year....

Sit by my side, come as close as the air,
Share in a memory of grey;
Wander in my words, dream about the pictures
That I play of changes.

Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall
To brown and to yellow they fade.
And then they have to die, trapped within
The circle time parade of changes.

Scenes of my young years were warm in my mind,
Visions of shadows that shine.
Til one day I returned and found they were the
Victims of the vines of changes.

The world's spinning madly, it drifts in the dark
Swings through a hollow of haze,
A race around the stars, a journey through
The universe ablaze with changes.

Moments of magic will glow in the night
All fears of the forest are gone
But when the morning breaks they're swept away by
Golden drops of dawn, of changes.

Passions will part to a strange melody.
As fires will sometimes burn cold.
Like petals in the wind, we're puppets to the silver
Strings of souls, of changes.

Your tears will be trembling, now we're somewhere else,
One last cup of wine we will pour
And i'll kiss you one more time, and leave you on
The rolling river shores of changes.

Phil Oches.

I love this song......it never really ever leaves my music memory. It always reminds me of a special friend. Maybe I will get him to sing it when I see him next.
Autumn is here, bringing with it cozy cabin merlot thoughts and knitted wool warmth, welcoming woodstove fires and fleece worn walks to take in the amazing beauty of the season. It is the time for reflection, and connections with others. It's time for hunting season too. Hide MOOSE, hide! Sister Sarah has cocked her rifle!

Happy autumn splendor. May you kick a leaf or two..........

Saturday, September 20, 2008

going into your own ground....

silence has many layered meanings before you can reach what Father O'Donahue described as the intimate innocence of the soul.......this is how I envision it......if i can be so bold to draw a picture of silence.....
the outer layer initial silence shivers in shyness. it has a self-conscious blush to it. you yearn for interuptions....anything to break the awkward adolesence.

the next layer still is trapped in a doubting uneasiness. should I talk to fill in the silence, you think? I wonder what others around me are thinking in their silence? what can i think of to fill the discomfort? this silence is so damn loud!

the third layer is a stepping away from the noise, though it can be heard in the murmuring echoes. this silence is where stillness begins, in the drumming reflections. every now and then you can hear the pongbong of the reflection, like a stone thrown into a pond.

ease is coming......the stone has to settle........the stone has to settle.... the senses heighten and turn inward.

the fourth layer of silence is found in the lapping of the ripples.... a mesmerizing rippling on the surface as the eyes gaze inside the deep welling place. It is there where a sense of vulnerable brokenness finds some comforting light……it is where you feel the most honest and strong while looking at the shadowy reflections of life’s realities.

the fifth layer brings a harmonic meditation........a kneeling thinness of even breathing, where palpitations are replaced by cradle comfort rocking to a welcoming hymnal hum.

It was stated by Meister Eckhart......"no one knows what the soul is. but, what we do know is the soul is where God works compassion...." I'm wondering if our deepest compassion for recognizing and accepting our imperfections as well as those in others can only truly happen when we find the courage to peel away the layers of silence, past the point of the loud pings and into the sanctity of a hymn.

like an onion, the more you peel back the layers, the more tears will fall.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This must be what paradise is like.....its so peaceful in here....

Have you ever had the opportunity to stand in awe while watching the majesty of the northern lights rise up from the horizon with its colourful dancing rays reaching up into the dark night sky? I live in a part of the world where they do appear from time to time and when it happens, it seems like time as we know it stands still. Everything that seemed urgent falls to the wayside as your attention sends you into a gaze and your whole being becomes so very small in comparison. It is a feast for the eyes.........so much so that the silence it produces all around you allows you to hear the tinkling chime in the electrified air.......a hymn in the thinness of aurora borealis. It makes me wonder if the ethereal rays are a hint of infinity.
Nature's palette is a never ending discourse on what eternal feels like. There are times, especially when you find yourself in the eye of a storm when the overpowering forces shrink your presence down to a miniscule existance. We can feel very tiny when nature engulfs us. It happens too when you step out into a dark clear night and look up at the depth and breadth of the stars and wonder what's beyond.....or when you stand on the edge of the tidal shore and lost out into the mysterious vastness of the ocean. Nothing seems more humbling and frightening than recognizing ourselves as a simple speck lost in the magnitude of creation.
To find balance and a sense of ourselves, we seek out ways and means of feeling an earth bound connectiveness to the world around us..........a hike into the forest, a climb up a hill, a walk in a garden....... It has a levelling feeling of seeing that we play a role on our planet. I love the solace when the sunlight filters through the cathedral of branches when I'm inside the woods. Green and light warmth of life. However, I find this feeling is the most striking for me when I am kneeling in a canoe, paddling on the river or a lake, surrounded by the familiarity of the water and shoreline. Though there is much to explore and much to observe, it seems manageable somehow......engaging and beautiful when the calm waters pool reflections both on the surface of the water and inside my thoughts.
Nature has allowed us to acquire a more textured understanding of the big descriptive spiritual words in our vocabulary.
Glory, Radiance...Holy.......Sacred
The word that comes to mind when I look at these two photos and remember the early evening paddle with a friend early in the summer is tranquility. I don't think I would ever really understand the depth of the word tranquility if it wasn't for the times I have spent kneeling in a canoe surrounded the familiar terrain of my home. Calm pooling reflections which let me know I belong to this vast and magnificent world.........alive, content, and with a smile on my face.
Theologian and mystic, Meister Eckhart stated.......“He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment.” The feeling of true tranquility softens my worries and lets the serenity pour into the possibilities stored inside me. It is a process of detachment.....from the shackles of time, commitment and the strong will of my ego to a sense of being surrounded by the earth I am a part of. It is where I come from and it is where I will go.......and in between those points, it is where I can feel most alive.
this week's thematic photography prompt is nature.......for other photos and thoughts to accompany, check out Carmi's blog, Written Inc.

soulthirsty snogging

"Rather than positioning sexuality and spirituality against each other as rivals, I see them as deeply related. The more I observe society's obsession with sexuality, the more I sense in it a thirst for transcendence.......

.......When a society so completely blocks the human thirst for transcendence, should we be surprised that such longings reroute themselves into an expression of mere physicality? Maybe the problem is not that people are getting naked, but that they aren't getting naked enough.....we stop at the skin instead of going deeper into the soul....."

Philip Yancey, Finding God in Unexpected Places

I read this tonight, and was reminded of a few recent conversations I have had which have reached a similar conclusion. Sexuality and spirituality co-exist as a means to alleviate loneliness and fulfill our inherent desire to love and be loved. Neither physical nor spiritual union can be suppressed for the other to take precendence and a human being can still feel whole......or can it? Is it possible to quench the thirst for both types of intimacy through one means? Potential topic for good wine sipping pondering perhaps?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Compassion means we make others' misery our own. If we in some small way can help relieve them, we relieve ourselves as well.
I welcome you to take a moment to watch this exquisite example. It won the best short film award at the Cannes Film festival. A friend sent it to me today...... a little window into the soul of compassion. Enjoy this to the very end.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the refreshment of an irritation.

How do you refresh an irritation?

This is the question Pip has offered up on his blog this week. LOVE Pip's questions.......!

They often stay with me like a pebble in my flip flops, like a scratchy throat whenever I swallow........like a persistant pressure of my finger pushing on my temple, it's muscles moving other thoughts out of the way. The question was irritating me because I have personally been trying to tackle the biggest irritation in my life right now and for some reason I was able to make some headway. I really didn't know what changed in me to be able to see the problem in a different light. On the surface it felt like I woke up one morning with new eyes, but it was more than that. More had to have happened besides getting a good night sleep (though it did help!) I decided to rise to the challenge of attempting to answer it as a means to reflect on what has just happened between myself and the other person whom I was holding ransom and thereby causing untold bitterness in my soul. So..........here's to the unravelling......a revelling in the unravelling.

To start, what does it mean..........refresh an irritation??

A drip, drip, drip of a tap boldly breaking the silence of the night
denting the inner harbour porcelain
leaving an ugly iron stain
wasting energy and resources

Of quiet lonely tears unshared,
some unexpressed,
some expressed in loud rages of expletive anger
some expressed in accusations out of frustration
filling the messy wounds with stinging salt
smearing mascara in rivulets
ruining pillow cases in the process
leaving empty puffy sore eyes

Feelings slowly burn.
The inner storm brews and steeps in strength, fueled by
disconcerted anger.
Still, we continue to deny, deny, suppress, repress, swallow
Unconciously scratching the unrelenting itch ............
We turn away from the pest, suppressing our feelings until we begin to erupt in welts where small surface bumps used to be.

We continue to turn away, not looking at the mess as it grows and festers into an ugliness that encompasses any welcoming beauty.

Why should I refresh an irritation? Wouldn't that just bring forth discomfort? Won't it go away if I just ignore it?

no it won't. And it will impact your life, your views, your interactions, your health, your joy. It will keep you up at night, blur your focus, turn your perceptions upside down. An irritation will flip the switch on discomfort and dissatisfaction until you choose to awaken to the meaning behind it. Why does it bother you so?

Refresh the irritation.
Use it as food for inspiration.
Reveal it's reason for provocation.

Look at it's reflection (and yours too!)
Wonder about it's festering aggravation.
Surrender to your exasperation.
Use discomfort and agitation.
For personal growth and motivation.

Our lives are messy. Our crisscrossing journeys are messy. Relationships seem to be the crux of our personal itching don't you think? I swear there are some people who drop into our personal lives for no other reason than to make us take a good long look at our blemishes and scars. And who wants to look in the mirror to admit our own imperfections........which includes owning up to the responsibility of being part of the ITCHiness of a complicated messy relationship??

Funny, I don't think God would want it any other way. I'm just guessing, because I don't have a clue what He thinks...........but it seems like the only explanation. Do you think maybe God throws us irritating curveballs just to ensure we continue to find growth in our discomfort zone? Maybe he's asking us to turn our irritations into action.............into pearls of wisdom.

So............how do you refresh an irritation.........???
  • Stop the busy-ness of your life used as a means to avoid the situation
  • Say HELLO to the irritation and look at it in the eye!
  • Look at yourself, your actions, your feelings with 20/20 vision to see how you have allowed it to impact you and how you have added to the impact. What is your role formulating this irritating mess.
  • Listen to the gurgling percolating pangs in your gut
  • Strip off the defensive armour
  • Study yourself nakedly in front of the mirror and take some ownership
  • Peel away the ugly behaviour you're really reacting to and look again at the person as a human being.
  • Admit your own wrongdoing
  • Realize you have control over how you feel. Don't give that power away to anyone else
  • Take the first step
  • Ask for forgiveness
  • and wait for your door to open...........inviting you to talk.

Some irritations are deep deep wounds.........they take many attempts to heal over and chances are they will leave a scar. But it's never too late to begin again. We tend to see what we are looking for. Perhaps we need to revisit what it is we are looking for......

So, what was it that changed and softened my defenses? I think I saw another human being whom I may have some things in common with rather than an two headed monster enemy blocking my way. I also saw how my own reactions had fed the two headed monster's behaviour, or at least how I interpreted it. And lastly, I hit the pit of feelings and I didn't want to feel miserable anymore. There I was thinking I had control, when in fact I was a prisoner of my own feelings and my own re-actions. I realized how much I was the irritation and it made me feel a sense of shame and humility.

It seems like refreshing an irritation happens when one is finally able to state....I don't want to feel like this anymore and it is up to me to do something about it. Felt emotions lead to altered thinking which in turn lead to new actions.

How's that my emerald friend ?? xo loveitloveitloveit. And I didn't need a taxi man to help me this time. I found the directions and made my way home. :) It was all in taking that risk.

Monday, September 15, 2008


In your light

I learn how to love.

In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest,

where no one sees you,

but sometimes I do,

and that sight

becomes this art.

Have you ever experienced the iridescent flow of creativity when the act of expression seems to come from the movement of an internal dance? The feeling is one of an alignment to a fresh air thinness, where freedom captures you in its magic. Sometimes we try so hard to be creative or to stretch our imaginations. Sometimes it even feels like mind zapping work because our energy to find that heartdance tangles in the tango of yearning.

There is a cross stitch step we often trip over in our desire to create. The wanting overpowers the action. Personal expectations and self-judgement blur the motion of doing, and of finding His dance of life hidden within us. We want to perform, paint, play out, poetize and as seekers of perfection, we lose sight of His gift of beauty and light where the soft murmuring passion quietly settles.
Perfection is not wanted on the voyage of discovery. Perfection is not found in the beauty of our artistry. When we touch on the blue-glass iridescence of shimmering possibilities, our grip on expectations loosens as the vision for our creations clarifies.

What interests me is the point where the illuminative transitional pull from feeling like the yearning seems to be choking the ability to produce anything of substance moves to a place where one enters the zone where creative flow alights. I believe it can be compared to experiencing early morning dawn after the 4 am dark night. Both are beautiful in their own way. Both are needed in the gestation of creation. Both can be dwellings where we are captured by the internal dance, if we don't find ourselves trapped in encircling yearnings. But, there is an indescrible essence where "aha" happens.....and the heartdance is found.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

reading glasses and red lips.

Our TV waves have been inundated with slick graphically enhanced ads created to try to lure us to the side of what is "right and good"....whatever that is. It's silly season once again both here and south of the border. You'd think as a political junkie, I would be feeling a sense of heightened thirst quenching quivers. Surprisingly, I'm not. In fact I'm having a very tough time conjuring up any whiff of interest even though I keep hearing the pundits and journalists yammer on about the importance of the elections. Did you know these are THE most important elections of our time. Really? Gee, it seems like it's the same dinner fare we've been dished up since the beginning of time. Well, except for the recent emergence of Sarah the Alaskan running mate.
Is it just me, or is does she resemble everyman's fantasy of Library girl? You know that one.......stern and no-nonsense on the outside, firey vixen on the inside? Well, then she opens her mouth and as much as she says the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull is lipstick? I've met my share of pitbull hockey moms. They wear lipstick.....and sometimes no nonsense bouffie hairdos and reading glasses...........and they bellow and bite with venom. I wonder if the stock prices of erectile dysfunction blue pills have tanked lately because of her smoking gun presence? hmmmm..........just wondering, because no doubt about it.........this woman is a hot commodity. In fact, I think her ovaries have a brass shine to them and she's ringing them loud and in your face.
I watched the interview between "ABC Charlie" and "Alaskan Sarah...." a reading glasses fest. The questions, posed with the eyes over the top of the glasses.......damn seriously.......were unrelenting and MUCH needed.....produced answers more revealing of this woman and her extreme right wing opinions than I think she intended. Bloggie and MSM editorials predictably run the gamut of opinion, though it appears that they agree with her mishandling of the "Bush Doctrine" question, which automatically makes one question her depth of knowledge on her own government's policy. She tried to sidestep in and in turn made it quite apparent that she wasn't too sure what Gibson was referring to.
Yes, her answers on how to handle international issues and hot spots in the world were downright scary in my opinion, but you know what? It doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. She has made an impact solely on who she is and who she is not. This is the allure! It has nothing to do with whether she has travelled much or whether she has met a Head of State. It matters that she HASN'T!!! What she has done in one astonishing back swoop is to hairclip the freshness out of Obama's wings.

Frontier Sarah brandished the "second coming" of Kennedy to the back pages and kitty litter boxes of yesterday's news ALL without a "blink......" Yes, she stated that there's no time to blink.........and didn't when McCain came calling. More amazingly, Sarah Palin woke up the masses........you know the ones who the Democrats had hoped would remain sleepy and apathetic. She woke up the people who see her and say.........."she's one of us! She can be our Washington slayer!" They see the fire in her belly, the no nonsense ability to cut through the crap and tell it like it is. They see Sarah Palin as a real live person who has emerged from an ordinary family and existance to take it all on. Her presence makes everyone else's presence seem lamely predictable and worn out. Even the new bright light Obama.
It all reminds me of something out of a Frank Capra movie!!

Did I say I wasn't interested? Did I say I didn't agree with the headline grabbing.........."most important election" diatribe? I guess I better rethink this because the election just keeps on grabbing hold......it keeps on getting more and more interesting as I glance over my reading glasses and take in the next breath of talking head babble. They will continue to consume themselves thereby helping her along. Sarah Palin will continue to spout off in too many unhandle-able directions and make glaring mistakes. This will breed new life into the talking head commentators, and will feed the comedy sketch grist mill of late night talk show hosts. Their jokes and opinions won't matter....... she will continue her meteoric rise from moose bagging hockey mom to the next Vice President of the United States. The masses are awake........and they like her. The people who were contemplating not voting altogether because of their disdain for McCain will be voting......and I'm afraid there's enough of them and of momentum to force her to pack up her growing family and head south.....er....east.
You know what? She's such a multi-tasking firecracker that I'm sure she'll manage to do juggle it all as well as make sure the lipstick is on in bold red. I mean after all, she's got God on her side and I hear he had something to do with the war in Iraq. There are moose in Washington aren't there?

Meet you in the foxhole. I'm ducking for cover.

ps.....is there an election on this side of the border too? Gee........who knew? I think we could use a big stir of the day old pot of past banquets.........a little spice to add flavour to the gruel. Where are the brass ovaried women eager to turn Ottawa upside down? Oh, we had that in the last election by way of the Princess of Auto Parts, Belinda Stronach..... she was going to be the saving grace ticket to an engaged constituency. And where is she now after breaking a few hearts, showing her glaring need to maintain her princesstry by always getting what she wanted. Well, after breaking up the marriage of one fine goon from the National Hockey League, Mr. Ty Domi, she hung up her skates and puckbunny ears, quit politics and has moved on.........into the quiet wilderness of the corporate world. That was enough to turn off any politically interested females who may have been on the cusp of running.

Bowing down to the Blues

Wild shades of the blues descended in brassy trombone style and intermingled with the smooth essence of fragrant jazz on Fredericton this week turning our historical downtown into a festival of sound. Thousands of locals and "from aways" took it all in...............all ages with different interests and personal favourites.
There was a lively spirit in the air, the full moon peaked through the night clouds and hovered over the river and the big tents which were filled with a celebratory feel good groove. 12 or so different venues, with a different flavours and street musicians on corners and store stoops ranging from young talented guitar players to our fun loving preacher/Elvis impersonator...............there was something for everyone and it all blended into the night sky.
We found ourselves near the front as 4 trombones, 1 tuba, drums and a bass guitar ripped open the roof with a blast that resonated right through every audience member..........the sound was so loud, the tempo so bold that all you could do is go with it............let it hit your temples, let it pulse your heart and feel it as the kind of emotion only music can lend itself to.
The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival (click on the name to see the headliners) comes to a close today with a free concert in Officer's Square.............like the past 4 days, it will be packed with people who once a year bow down to the blues. Then they lift their arms into the air in celebration that out of the blues comes a wide appreciation and respect for a genre of music which pierces through the facade and sends life affirming light through the cracks of the forgotten, downtrodden, misbegotten lot of us. The blues represent the glory of renew.
A few photos from last night's festivities........................two of the bands we took in.........Bonerama from (re)New Orleans, and The Tom Fun Orchestra from Cape Breton.........

Jazz and Blues may not get the airplay or the respect it deserves...............it most certaintly did this week in Fredericton. Thank you to all the organizers and volunteers. What a great enthusiastic community I live in! LOVEITLOVEIT. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My New Year.

I would love to live
like a river flowing
carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding

John O'Donahue

It's morning though the darkness still hangs her drapes closed longer as a means of letting us know that the autumn splendour is working behind the scenes preparing to begin her show. A sneak peak of orange moves up from the horizon. Summer hangs on producing the harvest of her season. Transition seems to be in the air all around us, which induces reflections and forward thinking. It's difficult to be in the moment while going through a transitional period. I wonder why that is.........is it the comfort level? Fear of the unknown? Our desire to plan ahead as an instinctive means of survival? I don't know.
Birthdays too are transitional touchstones in our lives. They are like our personal New Year's....a time of reflection and of looking forward, wondering how the year will unfold.........wondering what is in store. Today is my New Year's. I turn 48 today. And as I write this while watching the sun begin to rise with the drapes of night lifting up to allow for a new September day to unfold, I smile in anticipation.

Soon, the river below my house will be visible for me to see. Soon it will unfold as it always does, carrying surprises in its flow. I will continue to learn to strive to do the same thing.

It's a beautiful morning, and new beautiful new year.........fresh and vital in its early unfolding. I will enjoy this day and all that it offers. I will be looking towards the future too because today I open a special savings account to save the money to attend the next Greenbelt Festival in August 2009. I will be there to take it all in, and to sip some Cointreau with a few beautiful friends.
Carpe Diem.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

meet the ladies.

Up close and personal.....that's how I like to take pictures of the dancing ladies of the garden. This week's theme over at Carmi's place is "close up...." and nothing intrigues me more than the macro view of nature, especially the colour and texture of a bloom. Close up shots humanize them somehow. They come alive emotionally, a desirous yearning.......a strong stoicism.......a delicate softening.

The textures jump out of a close up shot.....both the imperfections and the perfections. Often it's the only time you can really see the distinct blemishes which make a flower unique in their design. Just like humans. If one simply takes a quick glance look at another person, you miss out on the well earned beauty marks. Flowers radiate strength as they grow despite the elements they endure. Just like us. My emerald friend Pip, who I think would rather have his tooth pulled than spend any time at a garden centre (though he truly knows a thing or two about beauti-fullness) says that growth doesn't live in a place called comfortable. We endure the elements too and by doing so, we accept the opportunity to stretch our possibilities. A bit of discomfort, but the results often produce our beautifull personal blossoms.

The garden is a wild analogy for our lives. At times it seems like a disorganized mess and at other times, it can be seen as ever changing sculpture of recognized beauty. Every single garden is unique as the colours blend and clash and form their own identity.

Flowers up close......... fill my imagination with animated movement and allow me to see how something can grow despite the harsh elements. Just like we do. In fact, because of the harsh elements......the uncomfortable-ness of life's messy contradictions, complications, and crazyness is actually the compost needed for the best kind of personal growth.

For more close up photos, check out Carmi's wonderful blog...... He's a master of the macro.


There is a difference when you get to play under the lights. It's like the air is electrified with magical faery dust alerting the senses that perhaps something grand is occuring.

Do you remember when your mother told you to come home when the lights went on? In the summer, the lights don't come on until it's really late, and if you pushed that "rule" envelope and stayed out past twilight when the sky is a deep purply blue, it felt like you had entered into a realm usually forbidden to children. There was a lightness in the new freedom of crossing into evening play.

As the sun set on the evening at the ballpark, I watched the kids on the field take on a different intensity in their play..........like they were on their own field of dreams playing like the pros. They loved their time under the lights. Beyond the diamond a group of wee little ones, the brothers and sisters attending? They were swarming and buzzing all over their own play field dancing like little faeries free from the regular rules of bedtime routines. Their own excitement electried the air around them.

Night time can be foreboding if it is enveloped in loneliness and detachment. It can seem like eternity gone sour. So many live under this kind of streetlight in our communities.......no fun there.....no sense of connection to the magic of possibilities. No playful feelings. The focus is solely on survival in the margins. Our human being needs encompass more than survival but when that's what is front and centre, the other needs are left out in right field........ And yet, if somehow the alone person can feel that welcoming sense of belonging to a team, to a family, to a group of friends who can show them that living under the lights doesn't have to be so frightening all alone, then survival becomes manageable.

Attachment to others, on a level playing field, and under the lights? It is what we all yearn for isn't it? We can't play the game without a team, and without knowing you're a part of it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

the magic market basket

I found a basket on my front porch.
It's empty.
It needs filling.
Though it looks like a non-descript market basket, one that you may see a neighbour carrying fresh produce in during her foray last summer to the local farmer's market, it was actually created by a woman who weaves to feed her family.

She weaves day and night.
Her young daughters weave alongside her.
Together, they receive pennies for their efforts.
Still, their efforts allow them to continue running their own business,
to continue reaching for a better life.

I want to fill this basket with nourishment.
A bountiful collection from my community
To the woman who weaves and to her community.

A listening ear
A few bandages for the little hurts
A fiddler to play music that weeps and reels
Fingertip touch to heal the scars
Smiles, miles and miles and miles of them.

Candles for the dark nights
Stars for wishing upon
Fleece for warmth
Bread and wine to share
Hands to help, to rock, to reach out

Unconditional love to help mend the big hurts
And a bouquet of summer field flowers for hope.
This basket is magical..........it will expand to include all that it needs to carry.
Care to put something else in it?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

"Mom, that's so RANDOM......."

Have you been accosted by that word? It seems like it has taken over the world of words.........RANDOM. When my kids use it with me (it is the jargon of the day.....), they are using it to describe how they are perceiving whatever incident or story or comment i have shared with them. And given that they are lucky enough to have me as one of their role model social commentators in their lives, someone who speaks as a mult-tasking crazy woman, they throw this term at me with regularity.

My stories or comments seem disconnected to whatever else happens to be occuring, like its simply floating in the ether of other snippets with no threads to bind. I often observe the person who happens to be one who usually says something which triggers my leap in thinking standing there with one quizzical look on their face wondering where the heck my comment or my analogy came from. No "linky" the expression tells me. "The lady is unglued," they may be thinking. Hell, I don't really know what they are actually thinking though I do try to tone it down when I am confronted with one of those looks of dismay. Here's the scary thing though. Most of the time, the links sit pretty in my head! And every once in a while I have the pleasure to be bleeting away with another Randomumbler.....

Yes, I have to admit that my personal ticking brain makes links ambidextrously and its as natural as putting your pants on one leg at a time. YOU DO put your pants on one leg at a time don't you? You do wear pants don't you or are you one of those free floating kilt types?? Though I am left handed (and consequently in my right mind..........how many of you can BOAST about that, eh?? :) ), I do jump in as a right handed person every once in a while. Like raking for instance.....or using a hand mixer.....or mopping the floor. I switch back and forth depending on my mood. It bodes well for not getting bored or muscle fatigued while having to focus on the mundane. Perhaps when I switch over my handedness it is a trigger for my thinking to switch over too? Maybe that's why I do it, so I can mix up my imagination in order to "see" something from a different angle. I dont know..........this is a new thought RIGHT NOW AS I WRITE, but intriguing.........hmmmm.......physical switches lead to cogitive internal switches...... gee, i think there is a PhD dissertation in there somewhere.

However, I don't want you to get the idea that I talk out of both sides of my mouth. I will if I am in the process of trying to figure something out..........and I may sound wishy washy or an undecided waffler, but I think that's a different kind of talking out of both sides of my mouth.......this is all about processing stuff. I do have some staid and true, reliable beliefs which keep me on some kind of course of action even if my randomness seems to be getting the best of me. For example, I can't stand bullshit and will tango with anyone who tries to ring that bell. I also don't quite understand how someone who can behave one way in one part of their life and then behave another way in another part of their life. How can they keep their masks straight? I'd just screw it up.........wearing the wrong mask to the wrong party.

yes, I'm a randomist and it surely entertains me. But, sometimes it perplexes others, especially the logical blue people.....(i'm bright orange/RED on the INSIGHTS colour wheel of personalities......you know who you are..............the BLUE ISTJ's of the world. (aka......Meyers Brigg's personality indicator...........introverted, sensing, thinking, judging) This is the opposite to how I score on this particular test. I am an ENFP, my "EN" is more polared than the FP part.........It stands for extroverted, intuitive, feeling, perceptive. Just thought I'd drop this bit of info into the middle of this post, because, well I wanted to and because I'm writing about RANDOMness......... Confused?..............It's a wonderful state of mind ..........I live there!

Random thinking is foreplay for the mind really. Can't have enough foreplay those Kinsey sex experts say. Yes, you could say my cerebellum is turned on in a heightened manner.

This morning, as I sit down to write, I usually have one particular topic I want to sink my teeth into as a way to dig a little deeper into the meaning or reasons behind it. However, my reflections of the week on the surface look pretty random even to me. I can't seem to hone in on one of them fully enough to grab hold of it. I have a few drafts half written......thoughts captured for future possibilities and they don't seem to be ready to be finished. What seems to be stirring the ratatouille...........the summer harvest of plenty this morning is not known, except that TOO much has criss crossed with my path this week. Writing normally helps channel my energies in one direction, but not today. Writing helps me find meaning and links to my random muses, but not today.

Instead of trying to find meaning ahead of time, I decided to try to capture some of the ingredients as they are before they blend in or move away. As I mentioned already, has been a busy busy week, one full of interactions, great discussions, some big stressy things, and some jump out of your chair cheering (THIS happened twice this weekend........first when my son threw a guy out at the plate from left field to stop the onslaught of runs from the other team and consequently won MVP for the last game of the season..........rock on Maxie...........AND then in the bottom of the 13th inning, the tied game between the Jays and the Devil Rays, Greg Zaun hit a GRAND SLAM to end the game. Jamie and I, LEAPED out of our chairs pumping the air in magnificent JOY like we had just watched our team win the World Series instead of a regular game which in the big scheme of things isn't enough of a win to even get the Jays into the play-offs........but MAN it was FUN to take it in. I don't know what others do who don't partake in sports events. They miss out on those amazing moments).

Worry, compassion, humility, love, laughter, confusion, contentment, longings, wonderings, fear, courage, happiness, love again, frustration, up and down emotions, anxiety, pride, blood, sweat and tears...........relief....... and EVEN some AWARENESS filled the days and nights. Pretty typical week for all of us. Amazing the gamut of feelings which thread our experiences if we simply sit down and acknowlege what we may even possibly sum up as a week of "oh, nothing much happened......."

Stuff always happens..........SHIFTS happen too, regularly......are you in the middle of it making it happen, observing it happen, receiving some of the happens or letting some of it slip away? Are you acknowledging the happenings as randomly impacting you?

Still with me on this one?? Yes, I could easily jump from one topic to another as the week of reflections is TEEMING with titilating tidbits...........from Sister Sarah of Alaska now running mate of that Maverick McCain to thoughts on Obama.............to today's announcement of our own election..........gee...........south of the border, the election has been going on for 4 years and ours will begin today and end on October 14th. Short, sweet and less costly than the BILLIONS spent by the contenders ..........though I don't for a minute believe we need an election. Hmmmm what else......... from thoughts on the educational system in this province and the very bizarre concept of middle school as a best practises plan gone awry to the less than stellar choices for Leadership of the PC party of New Brunswick.........hello, where are the WOMEN???........from the ongoing behind the scenes discussion on the possibility of moving the Fredericton market to another locale....are they OUT of their minds????....................to the growing excitement of the upcoming Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival which begins this Wednesday.........

I hear the blues can set you free. I don't know about that, but they make me want to dance in a swaying kind of way..........howl at the moon too. It is strange how listening to a blues master sing from his heart makes you feel good.

Random!.................."Mom, that's so RANDOM........."

ooooo.............yaaaaa.....................got "the bottom of the foodchain random blues.........."

So, in no order....................here are a few stories churning the personal brain washing machine........

1. I tried to convince a man who has suffered from chronic pain for more than 20 years and can't take any heavy duty drugs to alleviate the pain enough to sleep through the night to seriously consider smoking a joint or two. God Bless Canada......... its' considered medicinal. Still, when I thought about the conversation after the fact while driving back to town, I was struck with how odd the conversation had been. I wonder if I broke any weird counselling rules.

2. I met a woman (the mother of the man living in chronic pain) who is attached to an oxygen tank 24/7 because of her chronic pulmonary disorder. She was a charming elderly woman who was sitting in her living room wearing a yellow housedress, the oxygen tube attached to her nose. She had curlers in her hair and she kept apologizing for how she looked........I thought it was GRAND that she cared enough to make sure that her hair was done even though she is stuck in her house and can't venture out anymore.

When it was time to leave, she grabbed my hand with both hands and looked right into my eyes and thanked me for coming. It dawn on me, right after processing the thoughts on the fact that I had tried to convince the man to smoke dope in order to get his life back, that when someone grabs hold of your hand with both of their hands, they are telling you something pretty terrific.....that you made an impact.

3. The other day as I was sitting on the patio at a restaurant having breakfast with the summer students, a woman I know who lives hand to mouth, who begs for money on the streets most days, tapped me on the shoulder to inform me that my parking meter expired but not to worry because she put a few more quarters in it. She also arranged for another person, her ex-husband who was also begging for money, to sit by my van to make sure it didn't run out again while I finished my "meeting." Honest to God! You gotta love that!! He was there sitting in front of my van when I returned to it.........he smiled at me, called me "dear" and told me the he had me covered........he "didn't want me to get a ticket."

4. About once a year, I seem to end up at the same house where a special needs family lives to help one of them apply for a disability. This most recent time it was different. I was there to fill out another application, but it was for the matriarch who has just found out she is dying of cancer. Tired, traumatized and so very frightened, we sat at her kitchen table as I gently engaged her in a conversation about her recent chemotherapy sessions. I was so struck by the fact that she and her family have barely coped all their lives and yet they never want help and are very wary of anyone looking in on them. Three adult children live there all with major cognitive and mental health issues...........their needs and direction will fall solely onto the lap of their father who is stretched himself by his limitations and his accumulated anxiety.

The feelings of dread and foreboding could easily have taken over the conversation especially because I had to ask her about her condition. Somehow however, we spoke of faith in God and the beauty of the nature around us. Somehow the conversation leaped up and grabbed hold of sharing small moments we had experienced individually when loneliness had been replaced by a sense of realizing we weren't alone......... by the time I left their home, they were making plans to go for a drive to watch the sun set on the river.

5. Jean Vanier speaks of the fact that God doesn't expect us to do extraordinary things. Rather, He wants us to do ordinary things with extraordinary love? This is where life is felt the deepest. ...in the interactions we have and the connections we make when we step into a seemingly random conversation or a random situation..........making differences in each other's lives. I work with the most interesting thoughtful people who teach me this every single day by their actions.

6. I have been perseverating over Van Morrison's song, The Philosopher's Stone and it has kept me company often while driving to and fro this week. I love the harmony and the words to it. I love how it starts off quietly and builds momentum.....so much so that I have been tossing and turning the whole concept of the philosopher's stone in my head all week, wondering what the analogy is for life and i realized it is pretty simple. We may not be able to turn a piece of lead into a piece of gold. But, boy oh boy can we ever turn how we see and do and feel every single day just be recognizing the sunlight reflections when we set out to make a difference. All of a sudden lead turns into gold. All of sudden we realize that the mystery of the beauty in the ordinary reflects gold if we let it be. You don't have to be an alchemist to know the secret of turning lead into gold. You just have to be open to recognizing it.

I'm off to learn how to make Chinese dumplings with a few girlfriends who are such fun, so gifted and are full of ZIPITY-DO-DAH.......and I'll end with one cool happening.....this morning, THIS story was read to a small congregation by their Minister. I have no direct affiliation with this church and yet this morning they were introduced to a crooked little tree. I hope one of them now sees that little tree with a new pair of golden light eyes. I'm thrilled by that.........more than you'll ever know. Words help to make shifts from lead to gold......even if they seem random, which of course they never are. Neither are actions. Neither are events, feelings, and thoughts.