Tuesday, June 30, 2009


"Go where your best prayers take you."
Frederick Buechner

Sometimes the clouds get in the way. Sometimes they lift you up into them. Prayer is like that. It makes me wonder if our best prayers are the lifting ones when you strip away the wants and wishes. You know, the ones with the expectations you have of God "granting" that special wish or fulfilling a need? I'm thinking our best prayers happen when we go beyond that to speak from a place of truth. When we empty that overflowing cup of need by letting go of what we feel we deserve or what we feel is justified, which is always a place of entitled anger, it leaves us bereft of ego clutter. This is when we feel the most vulnerable and tired. Our physical and emotional strength is often depleted. And this is when we can feel a lifting UP into the clouds.

Oh, we struggle to remain there don't we? We can be demanding controllers....fools really who allow the clouds to get in the way of recognizing the necessity to be REAL....to be truthful with ourselves and with God. John O'Donahue writes in his book, Beauty of "the slow work of integrating the flaw." I love this possibility...not the part that it takes a long time, but the part that its doable. He describes the beauty of reaching an abandoned place in your heart, numbed by neglect, and restoring it by accepting our own flaws unconditionally. There is a sense of reclamation, which in turn allows us to see ourselves as beauty becoming.

Our flaw is often the determination of holding onto a fancy facade painted in the colours of an illusionary rainbow in hues of cloud covered entitlement. We expect to be "saved" or "rescued" or "atoned" simply by praying. The problem is we pray from a place of want. "Please God....get me out of this mess!!! If you really exist God, you will grant my wishes!!" Does this ever work??

What if you.....

invite Him to your flaw restoration project.....
tell Him how you're feeling.....
put words to your deepest most frightening thoughts.....
All you have to lose is a whole lot of burdensome weight off your shoulders. And when the weight is lifted....so are you...into the clouds.

Go to where your best prayers take you? Methinks its up in the clouds.

just a thought.... I'll let you know what happens when i try it.....i've got some clutter to dispose of first.

Monday, June 29, 2009

off on an adventure.....transitions in the making

After spending the week hanging out with her close friends, saying good bye to some who were taking off to do amazing things for the summer, and attending a party in her honour because she too was about to embark on an amazing summer, my daughter arrived home exhausted and contented. She summed it up beautifully by saying ....."I'm in such a good place with all of my friends. I'm ready now." In order to be ready for this next big step in her life, Martha instinctively knew what she needed to do. I could see it in her face. I heard it in her voice. Her words spoke volumes. She was ready.

Half way through last week, I wondered if she was having second thoughts about spending the summer away from home at a children's camp in a counsellor in training program. But, I could see the frenzy in her actions to arrange her week around the important friends in her life.....to be there to say goodbye to them as they ventured off and to say goodbye for her own sake. And it worked. Yesterday, we packed the van with an enormous amount of "stuff," stopped at the Blue Canoe restaurant for a big scarf of a breakfast and dropped her off at her summer home away from home.....Camp.

We stayed for a short time.....got her settled a little bit in a big cabin she will be sharing with 8 other girls the same age, and then wandered around the grounds of the camp as she moved into the group of new staffers. There was an immediate sense of belonging, as many of them were campers together over the past couple of years. There was also a sense of unease....a bit of discomfort, wondering what to say, what to expect......how it would all unfold.....the new kids standing back from the core group because they are so much more tentative. I watched, standing off the to side where I wouldn't be seen, knowing the butterfly feelings strumming in the bellies intimately. Long ago, I had been there too. First day of camp has that effect.

The day before, my daughter and I had talked on and off as she packed. I tried to hold back on sharing my own memories, and I tried not to give too many "words of advice....." which I'm apt to do. She knows most of my camp stories...... is aware that I'm still in touch with several camp kindreds. So, I didn't feel the need to rehash my stuff. I was just so pleased and excited for her and could see that as much as I wanted this opportunity for Martha, I felt at ease that she had made this decision on her own....that this is something she wanted for herself and hadn't made the decision to be a camp counsellor to please me. I listened to the stories of her previous week .... the ones she wanted to share with me, and I could see a really happy beautiful girl standing in front of me whom I thoroughly enjoy spending time with.

What I did decide to offer to the conversation? How exciting and profound her friendships with her peers will become through all the sharing and "new" adventures. I also told her that there will be times when you know instinctively you have touched a child in a profound way and it feels terrific, but that there will be even more kids whom you will never know about. They won't tell you....or they won't even know it until later in life, but that something you've done.... a kind gesture, a slow down listening moment....a memorable moment sitting around a campfire....recognizing their homesickness when words aren't spoken. You just never know...... but the more you interact with others.... all ages, the more you learn about your own gifts and your own self and the more of an impact you will make in the lives of others. It goes hand in hand.

While I watched the new staffers interacting for the first time as a group, I also couldn't help but think of how far my daughter has moved away from holding on tight to me. Painfully shy and unsure as a little one, I literally had to carry her into the kindergarten class. She would pout every time I left her, even if her father and brother were around. To say it felt claustrophobic is an understatement. It was difficult and I didn't know how to deal with it most of the time. Her first couple of attempts at spending a week at a camp were disasters. In fact, i had to go get her halfway through one stint because she wasn't able to calm herself down at night to go to sleep.

Determined to overcome this, and the shy girl label hovering over her head, she quietly made a concerted effort once she hit middle school when she was 11 years old. She joined a leadership program, took to the stage, sought out new friends who had common interests and began to blossom. It wasn't until months after school had started that year, that she shared her "plan" with her Dad and I. By then, her confidence was lifting and it was of her own making. Every year since then, our daughter has shown her beautiful true colours to more than just her immediate family.

This transition towards more independence ...... one Martha has chosen herself and one she has worked really hard to be as prepared as one can be on the cusp of being 16...... is symbolic on so many levels. We see it and applaud. We are tremendously proud of her; of how she composes herself, of how she intuitively can "read" others, of how kind and considerate she is when she calls us to let us know where she is and what she's up to ...... knows no boundaries. No doubt there will be stumbles and tears. No doubt there will be major frustrations and heartbreak. No doubt there will be even bigger joyful transitions in Martha's life. Who knows what the future holds? We can't predict and we sure as heck can't control it. All we can do is stop and recognize life events as they come and savour them as they evolve. Yesterday, I stood and watched and savoured how much I love her.

As much as we are missing her and will continue to feel her absence so much this summer, we all know Martha is where she wants to be. And because of that, I can honestly state "I'm ready."

I think.....

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I read this last night and sent it along to a couple of friends whom I've shared a few secrets with from time to time..... and whenever I have, they always reply.... "You are beautiful...." So, I share more..... :)

"I have come to believe that by and large the human family all has the same secrets, which are both very telling and very important to tell. They are telling in the sense that they tell what is perhaps the central paradox of our condition—that what we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else.
It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are—even if we tell it only to ourselves—because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing. It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier that way to see where we have been in our lives and where we are going.
It also makes it easier for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own, and exchanges like that have a lot to do with what being a family is all about and what being human is all about."

Frederick Buechner.

Wouldn't it be great if we all just let our guard down and spilled our real-ness knowing our vulnerability was completely recognized and accepted as the mirror of others? Wouldn't it be great that when we spill our real-ness, it precipitated a spilling response from others? Fear would be non-existant. A peaceful heart would be achieved. I'm thinking that this is where true unconditional love dwells....in the spilling of secrets and the non-judgemental acceptance of the truth.

And if by chance we cannot find open acceptance in a person whom we trust explicitly we always have the capacity to Twitter them to the Big Kahuna. I hear He likes to Tweet. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

through the eyes of a new fan.....

Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness, well that's all I'm after
Whenever you need me, I'll be there
I'll be there to protect you,
with an unselfish love that respects you
Just call my name and I'll be there
The Jackson 5

Sometime during the winter, my 11 year old son began to discover the music of Michael Jackson. This is the same age I discovered him. Max was mesmerized by the dance moves and the music from the Thriller and Off the Wall albums, intrigued by the enormity of Jackson's success and full of questions about the weirdness of the man's lifestyle. He was in awe of Jackson's voice and his ability to move like he had the power to defy gravity. The style and swagger.....the energy and magic of the music which washed over this globe, created by a brilliantly talented human being was alive and well, captured for a new generation to discover. His music was uploaded onto an 11 year old's I-pod to savour.

Personally, I had stopped listening to the stories and bizarre activities surrounding Michael Jackson, had completely stepped away from even paying attention to him because of his behaviour and over the top weirdness. To me, it felt like a carnival freak show, created for the most part by an unrelenting fan base and a media which would never let go. The man/boy in the bubble choked on his extravagant success, turning himself into a distant recluse locked away from reality, surrounded by a hoard of handlers who treated him like an alien. It was like watching a slow motion train wreck that took 35 years to reach the point when we all watched him shuffle into a courtroom in his pyjama pants. Are there words to capture his demise? Sad? Pathetic? No, it was more mind boggling than words could convey.

My son hadn't heard all of the stories yet.......the ongoing accusations and acquittals the millions of dollars spent in "settlements," the flamboyant spending on everything from Elephant Man remains to renting the top floor of luxury hotels in Vegas, and the strange reclusive behaviour. Photos and videos however, revealed Jackson's transformation from a handsome young man with a gleam in his eye and a talent that knew no boundaries to a hideous looking shell of a human being whose hair draped a face that was otherwordly....whose sunglasses and veils hid him from light.

Like every single one of us, Max had many questions, most of which remain unanswered. What happened? Why did it happen? Who in their right mind would perform over 50 plastic surgeries on another human being who obviously was mentally ill and live with themself ? Who are these doctors who wrote numerous prescriptions for pain killers turning Jackson into a zombie like addict? Where the hell were his friends? Were they all living in their own pathetic fame filled bubbles that they didn't feel they could approach him, arrange for help.....?

My son and I talked occasionally about Michael Jackson.....I told him stories of how amazing the Jackson 5 were, how huge Jackson's albums were when they were first released....how at age 11 I was a huge fan! I tried to explain what I thought had happened to him in the ensuing years, but how do you explain to someone such mystery? Still, the music prevailed, and overshadowed the wacko jacko-ness of one very disturbed sick man. My son became a fan.

Last evening, Max came rushing upstairs.......his eyes popping out of his head and a look of shock on his face to inform me that the King of Pop had been rushed to the hospital and was in a coma. At first I didn't think it was serious. I figured maybe Jackson fainted or something from exhaustion prepping for his London concerts. It didn't surprise me....the most recent photos revealed a man who seemed to be a walking thin shell of himself, not the high energy consummate performer who always looked completely "in the zone" happy on stage. But, within minutes, the same media who helped turn Jackson into an untouchable were announcing his death. In the middle of what we all know will be an unstoppable barrage of stories, accolades, interpretations all stemming from the phoniness of Hollywood...... I heard a new 11 year old fan say....

"I think I will remember this day for the rest of my life." I believe he will. It is one of those moments when an event outside of your own realm interupts and leaves something indelible in one's memory. Like Elvis. Like Diana. Like RFK. Like JFK. Like Martin Luther King. All for different reasons.... but a stopping before and after recognition that you will remember where you were when you heard the news. For my son. For many I imagine.

Michael Jackson, the most famous entertainer in the world whose behaviour and secret life far outshines any head shaving meltdown Britney could throw into the tabloids..... the man whose arrested development shackled him to Neverland and a life of relating to Lost Boys.... was a true genius. Painfully, his orbiting success and his deep wounds left from abuse and never being able to know what normal is, ate at his soul and left him behind a veil. No doubt we will be living it and reading about it all.... hearing it dredged up on talk shows and news shows until we want to vomit.

Looking out across the morning
The city�'s heart begins to beat
Reaching out, I touch her shoulder
I'�m dreaming of the street .......

Can you imagine never having a chance to walk down a street all by yourself with a sense of smiling anonymity? Jackson's song Human Nature captures his desire to just be normal..... to walk on the street, to "take a bite of an apple....." So , so sad. For all of his success, Michael Jackson was the loneliest human being on the planet.

The eternal Lost Boy? May he rest in peace. May he find the freedom his life never offered him. Let his music transcend this craziness and sadness of his life and the predictable dissection of it after his death. Let his music be discovered through the eyes, ears and heart of a new fan for years to come.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Man in the Mirror.

He had such brilliance and talent but was imprisoned in a tragically wounded soul. His success was astounding. His demise was astounding. His death is a shock. His music lives on.

Perspective is a great teacher when you open your eyes.....

I do have one question burning in my brain.....what's gonna happen to Bubbles? Oh, and who did he leave the Elephant Man remains to? I'm sure CNN will eventually inform us. Hold onto your crotches friends, we're in for a long long summer.....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


As darkness falls, a soft touch brush has left a roseblushing above the hills. A curtain of misty fog lifts up from the river. It's almost like there is too much water for it to hold that its turned into rising condensation. Perhaps its an offering to help cool the muggy heat leftover from an afternoon of cloudbreaking after torrents of rain. Firefly magic, merrily flit here and there leaving minute glowtickles in the still air. Stars begin to appear through the thin stretched clouds which continue to linger from the stormfront. Quiet hushes the birds who until recently were clambouring for orchestral attention.

They have gone to sleep.
As have the babies.....
As I will.......soon.

I take a deep breath......
I take in the beauty of a new night....
I listen to the tiny noises in the nature around me.
I let the night air breeze cool my skin as I gaze out at serenity.
I give thanks to the blessing of being able to live in a place that is safe and beautiful.
I send a prayer out to the human beings in Iran who are re-learning how to express their spirits and to grab hold of their future and their right to freedom. I hope that one day soon they can stand outside on the cusp of a summer night and have the chance to embrace serenity. May they know that all the world is watching....and that all the world is sending them prayers for peace.
May the clouds break freely...........and may the sun shine down on them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meet the Author of THE FEY: Claudia Hall Christian

Welcome friends! I'm so excited to announce that I'm the Canadian host of Claudia Hall Christian's Book Blog tour. Through the virtual magic of "blog-energy," our writing paths crisscrossed a while back and ever since we have been regular readers of each other's hijinks, heartspills and hilarity.
Personally, I was pulled into her dynamic and interactive blog knowing I had found a person who was actively working on a dream, using both her head and her heart. I liked what I read and I loved the sassy personality that is my Colorado blogfriend. Optimistic, respectfully opinionated, and kind, Claudia puts out unconditional positive energy. I love visiting her site, Out on a Limb with Claudia (link on my sidebar)

Recently, Claudia launched the publication of her novel, The Fey, a gripping thriller chalk full of espionage, fast paced twists and turns, and a whole lot of page blazing passion. In fact, the story brims with threads of expressive feelings which weave the characters together with loyalty for one another and a deep sense of loving respect, all revolving around the main character, Sargeant Alexandra Hargreaves, also known as The Fey.

It had been a while since I picked up and read fiction, though it used to be my number one love before I began writing again, and my reading of choice morphed into mostly non fiction to feed my own muse. So, I was looking forward to getting lost in a story that would transport me into another world. Claudia's talents did not let me down. In fact, I sat down, cracked open the book and for the rest of the day I was happily lost in the lives of Alex the Fey and her band of risk taking, large living, sexy spirited team of dedicated men who worked for the American military. I was hooked from page 1. Now how often can you say that about a novel? The Fey is a terrific read, comparable to all the great spy genre books. And I've read dozens of them! Claudia has hit this one out of the park!

So it is with great pleasure that I welcome Claudia here as she tours the blogworld promoting her book and sharing a little bit about herself and the writing process..... Claudia? Welcome to Fredericton, New Brunswick. Let's just jump right into the questions shall we?

Where did the story idea for Alex the Fey originate?

Boy, that’s a good question. I’m not quite sure. In a dream like state, Rebecca Hargreaves came and sat down on the edge of my bed. She came night after night for at least a week. I couldn’t eat or sleep until I started working on the first draft of The Fey.

Once your imagination kicked into gear, where did you go from there in planning out your novel and the characters you've beautifully brought to life?

I didn’t really plan out the novel. I simply worked to understand, and speak for, these characters. I wrote a lot – back story, front story, and lots of side stories. I wrote three entirely different versions of this story until I felt like I had the story right. My attempt is to be a clear scribe for my characters.

How much research was involved in the process?

I did a lot of research. Although I’ve known quite a few people in the military, I’ve never been in the military. There was a lot to catch up on. I’m also not Catholic, so I needed to uncover minor details which help make the story feel more real. And, while my family is originally from Northern Ireland, there was a lot that I needed to research there.
Gratefully, the Internet is a vast resource of people and information. I was lucky enough to be able to find almost everything I needed to know either through someone on the Internet or on various Internet sites.
Newsweek is another fabulous research tool. I have a subscription to the magazine. I clip out interesting articles then scan them so I’ll have them always. I’ve learned a lot from different Newsweek articles.

Who is your favourite secondary character and why?
It depends on the day. lol. They are each rich and interesting characters. I like different things about them. And, as the Alex the Fey series continues, we learn more about them.

As I finished the book, I was left with a desire to know more about Alex and her relationships with her team. I also wanted to know much more about the men she's related to. I could see how so many of your characters had the potential to be the lead in a storyline. Tell me a bit about where you will take us in your next installment.
Learning to Stand is the second in the Alex the Fey thriller series. The books begins in Paris where Alex and Raz begin to clean out the Fey team storage locker. In this book, Alex must start moving on from the events in her past. Of course, there’s lots of romance, rip roaring action, and laughter along the way.
The third installment, Who I Am is the most personal book of the Alex the Fey series. In this book, we get an inside view as each character must come face to face with himself or herself. We also have lots of laughs, adventure, and romance.
Learning to Stand is undergoing final edits for publication right now and Who I Am is in first draft form. There are eight books outlined, but I will continue writing the series as long as the characters have something to say.

Now, for your own personal Unconscious muttering....words related to The Fey :) (this is a Sunday regular word association post on Claudia's blog, Out on a Limb.....check it out and join in!)

    courage :: to breathe
    conflict :: ed
    terrorist :: revolutionary?
    secrets :: kill
    queen bee :: lays 1500 eggs a day in the summer
    Colorado :: is near the center of the United States

    Paris :: my favorite city on the planet
    suffering :: passes
    intrigue :: fascination
    passion :: to live, laugh and love

Here are a few "Vanity Fair Proust" questions for you Claudia, ready?

    a) What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    I think happiness comes from knowing and accepting yourself. Perfect happiness is when I know that nothing is personal and everyone goes through what I’m going through. With my ego out of the way, I can just live my life, to the best of my abilities, in the manner in which suits me.

b) What is your most treasured possession?

The people in my life that love me.

c) Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

    Just <--sneaky little weed of a word.

    Simply <-- overhyped, toxic word that means almost nothing

    d) What is your greatest fear?
    That I will get caught up in my own dream and miss my life.

    e) What is your motto?

    “Why not?”

    f) Honey or maple syrup?
    As you know, I am a beekeeper. I will let you in on a secret. I can’t eat a lot of sweet things. In fact, I can only eat a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup. I do love our home grown honey. It’s different every year depending on the weather. I’ve heard people say that about maple syrup, but I don’t use it enough to notice.

Thank you! That was fun! Friends? If you're looking for a summer book to take to the beach, or if you live in the southern hemisphere and are itching for a story you want to sink your teeth into on a dark cold evening under the duvet, The Fey is just the right choice. If you're looking for a fresh new novel for your bookclub, why not choose a good fast paced thriller? I wholeheartedly recommend The Fey, and personally look forward to the next in the series.

Claudia? You've done well!!! Congratulations!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

snotty old solstice

Summer arrived yesterday bringing with it tree rustling winds and torrential sheets of rain which pelted down on the lush greenery. Far from the ideal blue sky warmth normally attributed to the longest day solstice, it arrived nonetheless. It has been raining on and off since Friday with no sign of it abating. No little cotton dresses or beach wear today. I'm dressed in a turtleneck and long pants on this the second day of SUMMER! Global warming, my ass!

I'm stuck inside with a wretched cold watching the US Open finals. I have watched more golf this weekend (always perfect for mid day snoozes when feels like their head is going to explode in a messy hum of mucus!) you'd think I live for the sport or something. Alas, the sofa is my friend as is the roll of toilet paper I have close by. I ran out of kleenex ages ago. Plus the T.P. is softer on the crusty red nose anyways.

You know, I came to the conclusion years ago that men are drawn to the drama of sport because it is an indirect way to emote. And, when it comes to the live commentary accompanying a golf tourney, you'd think you'd fallen into a world of touchy feely-ness. The music, the big non verbal arm flinging prima donna putters, and the sooth late night voices of the golf gurus.....even the commercials, most of which highlight the phallic love of cars, and the shiny shafts of "big bertha" drivers.....the pretty people booze parties after a round of 18 holes.....oh, and the handyman tools most of which resemble some sort of sexual device..... it all adds up to an emotional bowl of bogies.

But, if that's how some men find their weep trigger, well, good on 'em. Everyone needs an outlet. Me? I'm watching golf this weekend so I can find some ever elusive snooze time, under a bloody duvet no less! I want to go to the beach!!!!!!

Good thing The Fey is coming to visit. I could use a surge of blue faerie energy. This one's got chutzpah too, and she LOVES sunflowers. Check in tomorrow...... There's nothing like a feisty faerie who knows how to sport her wings brightly. Maybe she'll bring some antihistamine dust to dry up the old noggin.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

limbo....wet with tears?

Daring to trust and to let go of power....
To be holy and to be whole.
To find one's own unity inside of oneself,
to find unity so that we're not just in the head or just in the flesh,

not just in the heart;
that inner wholeness is a type of peace and wisdom.
And we need wisdom.
Jean Vanier, Encountering the "Other"

I seem to be caught between having too much to say and not finding the words to say it and I've come to the conclusion this morning that this may be because I'm in the middle of some kind of transformation. I had been looking at it as a merely a transition, but I think its more than that. I think its bigger than inching along because it seems to be more than a move physically. What is shifting inside me. It feels like a multi-sensory step forward.

The problem is.........? I don't know what I'm about to encounter beyond where I am. Changes mean decisions. Changes mean disruption, both good and bad, painful and joyful. So, I seem to be sitting in the swirl of the new summer wind incapable of stepping off a precipice I've been gazing at for quite some time now. I don't want to feel hurt. I'm afraid of feeling hurt. Maybe it won’t hurt. Maybe it will bring new wonderful awareness. Wounds in the making or a new salve for healing? It's a mystery. How do I learn to take the risk?

I wrote an email to a friend last night, confessing to how I was feeling. I used the word "limbo" because it was the closest descriptor I could conjure up. Limbo to me feels like sitting in a big round waiting room, dimly lit, with an unwelcoming aura. The colours are blandly muted. The furniture is uncomfortable. The air is stale as are my ruminative thoughts. The noise is non-descript muzak and its echoing my disturbed state of mind.

Limbo feels passive and irritating, like I'm waiting for my name to be called while sitting surrounded by the ghosts of others who have been waiting so long that they have passed on!

I rub my temples and I wait.

I pace the round room and I wait.

I sit on the floor, pull my knees up and I wait.

Sleep is disturbed

Thoughts are disturbed

Feelings are disturbed

Questions go unanswered

I cry out. Does anyone hear me?

I learn to shed my ego.

I learn to let go of the tension....

I tune out the freaking musak...and try to find the silence knowing that inside it are words of peace. To get there though, you have to wade through the stewing sound of limbo-ing distrust and confusion. Transformation feels suspended. But it's NOT is it? Is transformation ever halted? That's an ILLUSION, just like how i am interpreting my glazed observations of the round waiting room where all the doors are closed....just like I'm witnessing the faceless people around me as apparitions rather than flesh and blood of people who feel and think and experience the same as me.

And this is what I’m realizing………….

Transformation never takes a holiday even if you’ve been feeling aimless for a long time. Limbo is a necessary part of the journey. Aimlessness is too. Why? Well, I’m thinking that this is where we learn to integrate the head and the heart….the thinking and the feeling in order to prepare for change, in order to prepare for the moment when choices and decision have to be made. Transformation is never a destiny. Instead, it is a process of allowing for the fermentation needed to turn water into wine. It is the process of letting go of the illusion of power we intensely hold tightly to and learning how to honour our wounds as gifts.

Last night, while sitting in the limbo waiting room wallowing in my own stale air, I picked up a book and read the words Jean Vanier shared when he was invited to speak at a conference in Northern Ireland in June 2004. Encountering the “Other….” As I slipped into the wisdom of his reflections, I felt a lifting of my own spirits and a desire to sit in the place he refers to as the “sacred sanctuary.”

This is where we encounter “the Other…” This is where we can feel comfortable looking at our own vulnerabilities knowing God sits with us and loves us for who we are and for who we are becoming. This is where our vision alters in a way that we can see that in order to take another step along the transformative path, we can begin by accepting ourselves…warts and all. This is where we share our stories in order to learn from one another. And then I realized…. There is no better place to share our stories than sitting in the sacred sanctuary of the ultimate waiting room.

Hmmm....maybe limbo is really a sacred sanctuary where we dare to trust and to learn to let go of power. Gee, all of a sudden it's not so ugly a place after all. In fact, I'm beginning to recognize quite a few folks here. They're beautiful humans becoming just like me. Wanna join us?

ps. Pip? I see beautiful you. x thank you my friend.....

Friday, June 19, 2009

a vision of you.....

I could be caught up in the most mundane errand and a surge of awareness presents itself by tickling my intuition located in the pit of my stomach. I'm left with a vision of your being, clear as midday, like you're standing before me rather than an apparition inside a memory. What's so fascinating to me is that there never seems to be a preceding trigger....no song snippet, no reminiscing thought of a time we were face to face catching up over a shared meal. It seems like this surge of you appears like a random flash of light that shines into a crevasse I'm not even acknowledging at the time I'm focused on the routine.

I see you. I see you inside me.
I feel your wrinkled smile behind my own eyes.
You presence warms me.
My first thought is to wonder if the same surge has struck you.....if at that exact moment you have a clear vision of me in you. Then, I wonder if you're alright. Because it is so startling...the poke you've left in my head....the stirring of my senses........, the connection I feel with you right there and then, I lose momentum for a second as I tumble towards you.
Sometimes when there is no way of talking to you or sending you an email, I whisper your name as a way to acknowledge the synchronistic feel, as my way of sending out a smoke signal into the wind hoping it will find you wherever you are, doing whatever you're doing. I whisper a message, send you my kindred echo to flow outward in a rippling wave hoping it will get caught in an air pocket once silent, now filled with a piece of my heart.
I wonder.....do you ever hear it? Do my telepathic messages touch you? Do they ever reach you in the middle of that moment? If I phoned you right then, even after all this time of not directly communicating, would you answer knowing it was me? I believe you would.
Sometimes, and NOT when I'm driving, I close my eyes to process my temporal visit with you, my eternal friend..... to prolong the happening....to register the meaning. What is its meaning, you ask? I honestly don't know the full story behind the reason for our woven souls....why its you and why its me. Chances are we won't figure it out in this lifetime. As you know, most everything I try to find meaning...I try to reason. I'm a "I want to know it person...." But when it comes to why God tossed us together in the first place, I'm calmly fine about it. For me, our connection is a lesson in providence. He does have a sense of humour, God. Who would've thought? No one would've predicted.

God had the original vision didn't He? We are the recipients of a gift. I knew it the moment it happened and I smile knowing that our entwining souls were a part of His gameplan. His lesson for us unfolds as it will.......beyond tangibility outward into a realm where answers are spoken by intuitive knowing.
No words. Just heightened insight. The best kind of vision there is....
Sunday Scribblings word prompt this week is "vision." Timely since I experienced one of these moments just the other day. Do YOU experience this with a person in your life? There are a few people who "live inside me" and journey with me, some days with more prevalence than other days. What fascinates me about the kindred visions...the strong multisensory synchronistic feelings I receive is that they have grown in intensity since I began writing again and have connected with a few bloggers who have become near and dear to my heart. Though they live far away, I do experience moments when my vision of them are as clear as day. It is a gift I never expected when I began blogging and its one I treasure deeply.
For more eye popper vision...check out the Sunday Scribblings site.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


No man, when he hath lighted a candle,
putteth in a secret place,
neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick,
that they which come in may see the light.

Luke 11:33

Sometimes you need to light more than one candle to illuminate things. But then what happens if you light too many? It seems to me that it produces too many flickering shadows and you're left standing blindly exposed with an empty pack of matches in your hand worried that your house is about to be torched. I wonder if there are times when its best to sit in the dark.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Do you know what a fey is? She's a rare little winged fairy from the otherworld who alights her energy and clairvoyance upon humans who believe in her. Like all fairies, she was created from the pieces from a joyful laugh of a baby. Or so they say. And if you're very very lucky, you may have a chance to meet one.
Alex the Fey just may be visiting here in one week...... Stay tuned for more details........

Charles, are they sending you off to cover the troops? Mon Dieu!!

My friend Charles Leblanc has posted his "take" on what happened yesterday at the courthouse when he arrived for the "gathering..." Charles had been arrested on April 22nd for assault and trespassing onto the grounds of the New Brunswick Legislature while attempting to cover the protest that day for his blog. I wrote about it yesterday and received more than triple the number of hits than I usually do. Scroll down if you want to read my version. :)

Amazing how many folks are following the story....and most are good solid supporters of Charles even though he's a CRAZY Blogger!! Nothing like a good hearted crazyman with ADHD out there acting as our city's superhero. Who needs Superman when you have Charles Leblanc keeping an eye on things. Fredericton is much more interesting and far richer because of his unrelenting efforts.

Good to know Brian D. was there with you Charles. :) Bon chance mon ami..... you'll get some answers soon. Can I have the story/film rights to your life story?? Hmmm.... I wonder who would be best in the lead role? I'm partial to Robert Downey Jr. He's a bit nuts too.

Here it is.... and please do leave him an encouraging comment will you? thanks.

Monday, June 15, 2009

where's the party?

My friend Charles Leblanc was invited to attend a gathering in his honour this morning at the local courthouse. He supposedly "earned" this invite because he crossed onto the lawn of the New Brunswick Legislature in April to document the unfolding demonstration of concerned voters who were protesting against closing MacTaquac Park during the winter months. As with many other protests and rallies, our most famous New Brunswick blogger wanted to capture the emotion, the clashing and the stories behind it all. This is what he does and does WELL. This is what drives some folks CRAZY. My "in your face, ask too many questions, tell it like it is, take a slew of pictures, ADHD" friend attended the rally in April and was promptly arrested for trespassing and breach of whatever. You see, he was banned from the grounds in 2006.
In April 2009, after hundreds of visits to the Legislature and dozens of interviews with politicians and other muckymucks....many of which have been posted on his blogsite and on Youtube, someone decided to arrest him! It made no sense to me then, and it certainly makes no sense to me today. Consequently, Charles Leblanc was invited to a gathering at the courthouse in his honour today..... TODAY was the day. And guess what? His name wasn't on the list. Because of this little glitch....his name could not be called out loud. Did those folks who make the courthouse guest list up not see the big COUNTDOWN clock on Charles' blog?
So, what is that all about? Obviously there must've been some planning discussions behind the big wooden door on that cold day in April that the DAY had come to arrest an unsuspecting Monsieur Leblanc as soon as he arrived with his trusty camera and his effervescent directness to document the event. Wouldn't ya think? Or was it some random decision to cuff the guy and take him away, thereby putting a huge damper on the real story let alone the concerted efforts of the MacTacquac Park supporters? Either way, there must've been at least a little bit of discussion that the act of arresting Charles would automatically prove to be a political hot potato and would hit the media sideways.?? Yes? No? I mean, isn't this the same dude who took on the SJ Police force to argue his credentials as a verified media rep. after they confiscated his camera a while back? Isn't this the same person who made the National news by having the guts (or the craziness) to force the issue thereby moving the role of Blogger up a few notches on the journalism food chain?

Did someone think they could arrest Monsieur Leblanc without no one noticing. If a tree falls in the forest, will anyone notice it? Ah....well....Charles would. He'd be yelling TIMBER in both official languages while taking photos and riding his bike out of there. !!! His voice and his manner....and what he does has taught us to listen and to SEE when a tree falls. We notice now. We notice. And if we DONT notice, Charles barks and bellows until we wake the frig UP!
Action = Reaction.

Cause = Effect.
Confused....this is the word Charles used today as he stepped out of the courthouse when he realized his name wasn't on the docket. I'd be mighty confused too, and a wee bit stirred. He has been left with no direction, no explanation, no closure on the whole debacle. I don't see anything right about this whatsoever. Is he on the list or not? Is he charged with anything or not? Can someone clear this up? Puhlllleeeeze!

As much as he has the balls of a brave warrior and the yappiness of a pitbull, he also has another side to him too. The HUMAN side. As much as Charles has documented and played this story up on his blog (and of course he would.....) he also has other stories he works on too. The HUMAN stories. Hardly a soul pays attention to the other stories unfolding..... Charles does and he has introduced us to many of them....people, places, events, the issues of the marginalized....the joyful and the most sorrowful of them all..... as he learns about them himself. He's not afraid to put it all out there. By so doing, he stirs up hornets nests and forces many to discuss them. It's a good, good thing. He pays attention. And you know what, he reaches out to others more than you will ever know. And all of those people KNOW and are grateful. I know I am. And I know of a few others..... :)
His heart is huge. His heart is what leads him. Charles is truly a person no one forgets....
And yet...someone forgot to put his name on the list for the gathering at the courthouse??

So, my friend..... let me be the one to announce you.....

Hey Crazyman Charles!! Come out to play!! Bring your glove and we'll toss the ball around. I know a great locale...it's across the street from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Know it? Well, of course you do. You pitched a tent there one summer didn't you?

ps.....Hey Charles...You know how you told me all winter long that good things happen to good people? You were right. Now, I pass this message back to you. Good things happen to good people....especially to those like YOU who do good things for others. It's your turn.


"Providence is another name for the kindness of God. It we could realize how wise the providence around us is, it would give us immense confidence on our journey. The irony is that we don't need to worry. We can take a lot more risks than we realize. It is interesting to ask: What are the limits you have set for your life? Where are the lines of these limits? Why do you think you cannot go beyond them? How real are they? Did you construct these limits out of anxiety and fear? If you we to go beyond your most solidly set limits, what difference would it make to your life? What are you missing by remaining confined?

The awakening to the beauty of your creativity can totally change the way you view limits. When you see the limit not as a confining barrier, but as a threshold, you are already beyond. The beauty of imagination helps you to see the limit as an invitation to venture forth and view the world and your role in it as full of beautiful possibilities. You become aware of new possibilities in how you feel, think and act. The interim, the in-between world is brisk with possibility. And possibility is the gift of creativity. "
I wonder if Bono was inspired by Father O's writings? No Line on the Horizon....... :)
(photos of Miss Martha taken by good friend Miss Phoebe....both are creative beings. I love their energy.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Recovery is an alignment of the head and the heart. Too much of one knocks you off balance. The key to finding alignment? Accepting love and forgiveness of one's spirit. And a good long walk in the rain.


I am who I am and who I am is not captured by a label, a role or an attachment to a cause. For if you look behind the face, behind my green eyes, underneath the layers of clothing past my freckly skin imperfections and stretched marks right into the core of my being, there is a light. Within that light is vitality. Inside this vitality is the breath of my spirit. This is the essence of who I am.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

magic and loss

When you pass through the fire
you pass through humble
You pass through a maze of self doubt
When you pass through humble
the lights can blind you
Some people never figure that out.
You pass through arrogance, you pass through hurt
You pass through the ever present past
and its best not to wait for the luck to save you
Pass through the fire to the light.

As you pass through the fire
your right hand waving
there are things you have to throw out
That caustic dread in your head
will never help you out.
You have to be very strong
'cause you start from zero
over and over again
As the smoke clears
there's an all consuming fire
lying straight ahead.

They say no one person can do it all
but you want to in your head
But you can't be Joyce
So what is left instead
You're stuck with yourself
and a rage that can hurt you
You have to start at the beginning again.
And just this moment
This wonderful fire starts up again.

When you pass through humble
when you pass through sickly
when you pass through
I'm better than you all
When you pass through anger and self deprecation
and have the strength to acknowledge it all
When the past makes you laugh
and you can savour the magic
that let you survive your own war
You find the fire is passion
and there's a door up ahead, not a wall.

As you pass through the fire
as you pass through the fire
trying to remember its name
when you pass through the fire licking at your lips
you cannot remain the same
And if the building's burning move towards that door
but don't put the flames out
There's a bit of magic in everything
and some loss to even things out
.......some loss to even things out

Lou Reed
I think Lou Reed was painted with the lyrical poetic brush similar to the one God used on Leonard Cohen. I think God left behind the paint brushes for them to be used as the implements for capturing their creative song spirits so visually and viscerally. While I'm thinking about this....another songwriting alleyway observer fits in with these two....gravel voice and all. Mr. Waits.

Now thats a trinity!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Going down the road....

The photo theme prompt this week at Carmi's place is "road." Surprisingly, I seem to have quite a few pictures of roads, all of which are far more eye appealing than this one, but none with more meaning. Worn and paint scraped with a few bumps and cracks in the foundation.....this a picture of a small portion of the old Trans Canada Highway.

Taken last summer after having dinner at a roadside diner about 20 miles "upriver" from where I live, I was so surprised at how empty it was. I grabbed my camera and stood on the pavement with NO concern that I would be hit except perhaps by a loose Moose! Progress had replaced this portion of our national highway with a much more expeditious route. As soon as it was built, this old one transformed into a designated scenic route that offers wide eyed glimpses of the Saint John River Valley. BEE-UUU-TEE-FULL!

Theoretically, this two lane “ribbon of highway” begins in Saint John's, Newfoundland and ends in Victoria, British Columbia. 4,680 miles long, it takes in some of the most beautiful scenery along the way….bodies of water, beautiful forests, majestic rivers, the Great Lakes, breathtaking snow capped mountains, undulating hills, small towns and villages, wide ranging farmland of the prairies and the spectacular rock faces of the Canadian Shield.

It cuts through industrial pockets and rides past enormous office buildings which sprout up and dot the outlying cities. It often parallels the train tracks, many of which have been turned into the Trans Canada Trail system. Designated picnic area stops, drive through Tim Horton’s and tourist information pavilions, and Mom and Pop diners and budget motels have their place along this multi faced road, as do hitchhikers, cyclists and truckers off to the side idling for some shut eye rest. From the shores of the Atlantic to the shores of the Pacific, this long and winding road symbolically connects us. I feel that deep in my bones.

Almost 22 years ago, in a jammed packed car driven by us and a stuffed little truck driven by a friend, my soon to be husband and I made the trek east along the Trans Canada highway to a new life together in a new province, in a new city. After 14 hours of driving, we would’ve made it to this point in the road….where I took the picture…..close to where we pulled off for much needed respite. I thought of that day while standing there remembering the move, but hardly recognizing the old road because in the summertime, it used to be vibrantly alive with slow moving camper vehicles and van of families all headed to vacation destinations. It was well used.

Meaning… this road takes me home…to my family and friends in Ontario and to my family and friends in New Brunswick. In fact, if you were to keep driving from this spot, you would end up driving right by the street which leads to my own. In the wintertime when the trees are bare, I can see the old highway from my living room. In the summer, I can only hear the infrequent echoes of the cars passing by. Some of them are folks opting for the scenic route. Some are people passing through onto a new life, or getting away from an old one. It holds meaning.

While standing there…..I also thought of Terry Fox as I looked down this straightaway and wondered what it was like for him when he reached this spot in his trek across the country. His story is etched into this cracked and worn pavement. I could almost picture him coming towards me. His Marathon of Hope story was picking up steam and being passed along from one person to another....there's a good chance that the people whose homes line the highway were out waving him on..... I can picture it completely.

Our national hero….a young man with a dream as wide as this country. His determination continues to inspire me. Accompanied by his best buddy who believed in him, Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic to start the run. His plan was to dip it into the Pacific when he completed the journey. 4,680 miles of sheer will.

We all know he never had a chance to finish it on his own. Cancer got him again….knocked him right off the Trans Canada near Thunder Bay. But his legacy and spirit continues to be carried in the hearts of every Canadian….his goal to raise money for Cancer research…to find a cure….was passed onto the people from coast to coast who continue to organize “Terry Fox runs” every September, who continue to tear up every time they think of his stamina and guts! More than anyone else before or after (except for the 1972 Canadian Hockey team…J), Terry Fox linked Canadians together. More than anyone else, this young man pulled a bunch of separate communities together. He ran on this pavement…… Hop, skip, run…..

Yes, this little photo is a patch of the larger ribbon of highway. It holds meaning. It holds the collective history of a vast country filled with people who know one another.

Thank you Carmi for the prompt. As usual, you kick started my memories. For more road stories, check out Written Inc....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the vanity of a delusion

There is a cloudy film on her internal lens that smears her vision. It wasn't always there. It developed over years of trying to escape the painful truth ..... the same truth she continues to turn her attention away from and instead towards seducing a chimerical notion.
She never felt loved. She never felt worthy of it. These messages, which she heard inside her head over and over again until they echoed with quickening vibrations like the high pitched cry of a collicky baby. Whether this was the truth or not, it didn't matter. Haunted and hunted, this message became her acidic reality....one that poked holes in her snared heels where her soul drained out. It left her an empty chasm in need of vital attention only restored when she consumed her thoughts with pleasuring. Pleasuring herself. Fed by a powerful anger that simmered under black latex protection, her wants overheated logical thinking and left her salivating in her own ruminations. She set her sights and never turned away.
over and over and over.....
the same self talk....
messages created by an imagination gone awry
over and over and over.....
until she was completely convinced.
Most of the time, she packaged her unrelenting hunger to be recognized as worthy by ensuring that others around her perceived her actions as self-less, helpful, innocently offered. She was a giver! Many only saw her outer persona as socially capable and always giving of herself. Like a flimsy house of cards, however, her projected life was only an illusion. She knew it somewhere deep down in her subconcious, but she had convinced herself so intensely that the fallacies were rooted in rich soil. They were real, NOT fantasy. She held onto this belief......

When anyone questioned the contradictions she portrayed, she was able to sway them somewhat with her fabrications or poked her finger into their triggerpoints. She protected her stories by learning to embrace the role of the martyr .... a victim of the bile of others. Her answers to others were never exactly the same, though they had one thing in common: they were vaguely written perambulations which never answered the questions.
Her bewildering lies soon became her truth. It was like living inside a blender where there was absolutely no way of knowing what the original ingredients were or of what was natural or artificial flavouring. The more someone questioned, the more incensed she would become that someone wouldn't believe in her soft downy innocence. Even with evidence foisted under her twitching nose, she would never relent....never let down her guard to admit that she was a product of a delusion.

Sadly, more and more saw the picture she painted as a mirage until the early life message she convinced herself was true, that she was unloved, became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Her vanity fanned delusions took her full circle. But, she would never admit that failure to herself. Oh, no! She wasn't wrong!! She hadn't created the mess!! Instead, she blamed everyone else for being so screwed up that they would NEVER understand how much she sacrificed and how much she deserved her pleasures.

Hmmm......I wonder if she should consider running as a candidate in the next election?? She seems to have the right kind of profile.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


(dawn's early light...the view from my backdeck, june 8, 2009)
It happens in a flash
when you're least expecting it,
under sleepy eyes opening
to draw in a dawning of something very special.

In a blink,
two flames merge
channeling into one spirit
of effortless honesty and mutual understanding.

move to a rhythm of blending lifetimes
and form from a mixture of tears and clay.

Simple yet deeply eternal
Clear yet vibrantly profound
Effortless yet energetically alive
Comforting yet soulfully emotional.
Pleasing yet discomfortably stretching.
Surprising yet divinely meant to be.

Spiritual beyond reason.
Rare beyond a dream come true.
Anything is possible when fate alights
like catching a firefly on a winter night.
When you encounter your soulmate, its like tasting mountain spring water from their cupped hands after a long walk alone in the high altitude. You have no idea where they have come from, but they arrive under a clear blue sky when there is a mutual need to quench each other's thirst.

this week's Sunday Scribblings (yeah I'm late....) is Soulmate..... For more kindred interpretations, check out their blog.

Monday, June 08, 2009


If you look straight into the middle of the sun, you're left with dark spots floating before your eyes. Too much light is blinding. Temporarily. Too much reality is blinding as well. Temporarily. Both shock your system leaving a sense of discomfort you want to flee. What happens to your body if the shocking light stays on and on and on?

Palpitating heartbeats
Racing thoughts
Shallow breaths
Electric impulses
Sensory overload
Rushing adrenaline........over and over and over......

If you walk into a theatre after the lights have been turned off.....just before the movie is about to begin, your hands automatically go up in front of you as your grope around for something solid to grasp onto. Darkness disables our sight. Temporarily. "Coping" with our own reality, by repressing, supressing or pushing it off into a recessed corner disables our sight as well. Temporarily. What happens if you continue to live in the absence of light?

Palpitating heartbeats
Racing thoughts
Shallow breaths
Sensory overload
Anxiety time and again...
Numbness, numbness......dulling the pain......

We try to do everything in our power to avoid the extremes.....those deer caught in the headlight moments and those dank dark tunnel times.....especially if they lurk too often. They make us feel completely discombobulated....incapable and weak. Survival mode kicks in and we put up the shell of self absorption, or try to turn our attention on someone else possibly even overreacting to their drama because its a place to put our own anxieties. We turn into helpers, rescuers, lifesavers....or this is how we see ourselves. Others may see it very differently.

Quite often, because we are so determined to avoid our own house of horrors, we overdo our "helping" and get in the way of someone else's growth and learning. I have been guilty of this. Because of some circumstances where I have tried to "help" or to "rescue," I have neglected my own shadowy demons to a point where I realized the light was TOO bright and I completely backed away. Another time that comes to mind as I write this, I pushed too hard to help and drove the person away. I think its called smothering.....or perhaps "s'mothering" is more apt! Not that I did it out of anything but kindness....but I did it for the wrong reasons....to avoid my own shadows. Not good for either side of the equation. It wore me out rather than energized me and it impacted a friendship.

There are times when I wish I had a magic wand to take away someone else's pain. I wish I had a magic wand to take away my own when it comes to visit. But, I don't. No one does. Pain, which is the offshoot of anxiety and depression, gets a very bad rap. It HURTS! But, it is also a necessity for survival and for personal growth. It is essential and according to Paul Brand is "the gift nobody wants." When we FEEL pain, whether its physical or emotional....whether its a great big dark crevasse spiritually.... we must learn to recognize it for what it is.... a beacon, a signal in need of attention.

We never have to go it alone, though it is an option offered to us. Isolation rarely heals because of its massive potential for internal cyclical ruminations which eventually leads to a sense of believing there is no exit from the darkened theatre. But, being rescued is no better as it never allows for new learning from the experience... (and can I just add here that this is THE worst thing a parent can do for their child is to continue to rescue them..... how the heck will they ever learn to personally deal with life???).

Too much light....not enough light......signals we are in crisis. The very best thing you could for do me and the very best thing I could do for you? NOT to go into rescue mode...not to take on someone else's suffering...... Just to quietly sit beside one another right in the middle of the mess. Tough to do, to sit in someone else's suffering, or to allow someone else into your own, but if we can't do that as human beings for one another, then we've completely missed the point of why we are here on this planet taking part in God's creation of humanity aren't we??? This is compassion. Sitting in the suffering.
Interestingly, temporary blindness has the capacity to lead to new sight...."insight..."

So how do we get there? How do seek out that beacon, where the light is just right?? How do we adjust the light so it isn't so darn blinding?? All it takes to make this happen is for one of us to utter three very important words...to a friend, a doctor, a minister, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a stranger .... someone you can trust....

"Please help me....."
Why is it that we choke on these words so often? Why do we dredge the suffering on by denying we need help?

ps. I chose the photo to accompany this piece because I loved the fact that this geranium was a slip cut from a plant and is re-rooting. Such a beautiful bloom, but also it has a few leaves that are damaged and dried up...and the stem isn't straight. It has lived long, perhaps in the garden last year and was reborn into a different form of beauty. Last night, it sat in a vase with such elegance over my friend Jen's kitchen sink. The late afternoon sun caught in its spaces.....its red petals sung with a promise of strength....its roots replenished with goodness. Soon it will join the rest of the garden.