Sunday, January 31, 2010


Things that make me seethe.
  1. Phoniness
  2. Pendantic speechifying spinners who are hired to twist the truth into a bunch of goopy wordplay and think they have fooled the public.
  3. Politicians who are patronizing AND pendantic when answering a direct question and continue to say nothing but manage to fill in a lot of airtime. Do they believe the crap they spew? 
  4. Bleeding hearts who don't recognize how big their egos are.  They ALWAYS know what's best for another human being. 
  5. One issue wonders who are stuck on one tune and play it over and over and over again.
  6. Inequality
  7. Bullies
  8. Pompous asses
  9. Passive aggressive manipulators who foist their self centred agenda into my life.
  10. Really bad music.
  11. The NB Power deal.
  12. Incompetence.  Sadly, its everywhere.  Sadly, these are often the same folks who turn to passive aggressive manipulation to cover their asses.
  13. People who try to clip my wings.
  14. Dishonesty.
  15. Disrespect.
  16. Mask wearing 'fraidy cats
  17. Fair weather fans.  Stand by your team people!  
  18. The school system in this province...... Ok, this makes me want to pull my hair out. 
  19. Rigid opinionators who cannot listen to any other side of an issue.
  20. Where our whole political system is headed.

But, more than anything???  Patronizing people who look at me with their eyes closed in a fluttering way, and talk to me like I'm an imbecile. Do this to me and I can't be responsible for my actions.  I'm warning you.  I will automatically lash back if I hear that grating tone.  It rocks my sensibilities beyond my control. 

Did I miss anything?
Show all

Friday, January 29, 2010

eyesore and almost empty

Five words to describe where I am right now at this moment?  (For you Pip)


Its Friday evening. For a few precious hours, I have the house to myself. Time to think, to deflate,  to reclaim that lost chord again. Time to sit in front of a newly lit fire, to surround myself with the beauty of that certain music which has the ability to seep right under my skin to help me find that chord.  Time to breathe in the comfort of home.  Time to sip on a glass of wine (or two).  Time to write from a relaxed place.  I can almost hear the early morning warbling symphony of birdsong I always long to hear at this time of year.  I can almost touch that sensation I feel when I have a paddle in my hands and I'm pulling the water with the strength of my own body as I glide forward, the canoe and I with one stroke............... deep waters, deep feelings....... good, good feelings.  I'm almost there.

Outside, the wind wails through crackling bare birches, across cropped fields and creates chopping waves on unseasonably open waters of the Saint John river.  It has stirred up the powdery snow, freshly fallen, and left creations of drifts with peaks of frozen purity.  The temperatures have dipped down low, low, low making the wind bite exposed flesh with vicious intent. This busting wind also leaves healthy rosy cheeks and puts life into the pale white of the season. 

These cold snowy days push your patience to make you struggle under layers of bulky bundles of clothing.  But, it also stirs determination, and puts the fight back into you.  It rattles and pokes your sensibilities and frustrations in a way that wakes you up.  They also make you rush as fast as you can for shelter, with glowing gratitude. 

This is where I am tonight.  Inside, with a view of the warm fire whose heat is radiating into my feet and up my legs..........but also with a view of the snow-art captured on the eaves and railings like white frosting. On the other side of the river, the streetlights flicker with a winking twinkle; an illusion performed by the wind.  They remind me of stars. And because they are at my eye level, they make me feel like I'm sitting in the middle of the universe.  Cozy, landed in the stars. 

It's been an incredibly busy week and when I've had time to take a deep breath, I couldn't.  Instead, I found myself burdened with drama, surrounded by emotional sparks that just seemed to gather as the week unfolded.  You'd think I would be used to it.............most of my weeks are like that, but I never do.  Sometimes it feels like a chaos of trippy colours all smashing their hues into one another rather than blending in. 

It's a bit when the winter wind takes your breath right out of your lungs.  It leaves me eyesore and bone tired.  It threatens to zap me of the last vestiges of my energy.  Interestingly, that empty feeling?  It puts me on a vulnerable precipice where I am more prone to recognize my blessings, my gifts.  For that, I am grateful. Almost.

I try my best to ride pull that paddle through the choppy waters in order to propel myself beyond the rapids.  I try my best to sit in it sometimes too........... to experience the unpredictable sensations of the unknown.   Emotions do that.  Like any new storm though, you can only rely on the gifts and skills you've acquired thus far.  Then, you must surrender.... to be open to receiving what it is that God seems to want you to acquire.  

Life lived awake forces you to stretch beyond home shores, but it surely does provide lessons and opportunities to reflect and to learn from, if you're willing.  Though there are some weeks when you are stretched by the slapping winds of insecurity more than others.  However, they all hold the same amount of time to experience both the comfort and the discomfort. And, all of the comfort and discomfort experienced is fodder for future writing.  

Stay tuned.............  :) I'm almost empty.  I'm definitely eyesore.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Whomever you connect with in your life at a given moment holds meaning deeper than surface contact. These people fulfill a need. Or two. Whether it is a sense of belonging, the desire for freedom, the thirst for survival, a craving for empowerment or control or a unsatiated taste for some fun, our personal needs drive our desire to connect with certain people.  We are seekers at heart, especially if there is a need to replenish something missing in our lives.  We are givers at heart too, because we have the capacity to help another fill their impoverished cups.

Then there are a few people, however, whom you stumble across in some unexplainable way. It feels predestined. Maybe not right away.  Maybe the meeting just leaves you wondering what exactly had happened and why was there an automatic internal reaction to the encounter.  Maybe you're left pondering ........why did it leave you with a whole mix of feelings, both puzzling and alerting?  Why the shake up?  More importantly why the instantaneous bond?  Sometimes it takes stepping away from the situation in order to think things reflect upon the impact it has made.

What is so odd about this type of attraction is that it seems to come out of the blue, or when you're the least expecting it. It often happens when you're guard is down or you're not in any way seeking.....  They simply arrive. Unannounced.  Knowing you.  Knowing on some sacred level you need replenishment that delves far deeper than the basic needs we tend to focus on.  It's like they penetrate right to the core of what matters, with this knowledge of you that you thought you had been protecting and hiding.  Surface talk reeks of irrelevance.  Instead, you find yourself confidently prepared to do a swan dive right into the pool of the soul. 

These are the people you have a soft spoken spiritual connection with.  These are the humans you are willing to crack open your soul to without hesitation.  Why?  Because there is a sense of safety and unconditional regard for your well being. Like falling backwards onto a soft downy bed, your Anam Caras, your soul friends are there to ensure you're not going to hurt yourself.

They are Angels. Guarding, protecting, accepting, listening, offering, loving, kissing our scars.  Angels, who see our true selves and with all honesty believe it is beautiful.  Guardian Angels who live amongst us, reinforcing truth, broadening our faith, and allowing us to see beyond our own lives and into a holywells where eternity dwells.  

So it's easy to understand that when they disappear without a trace into a cavern of silence,  taking away your sacredly shared secrets, the loss feels like an amputation of part of your own being. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

fueling a dream

It begins as a flint striking steel, producing a spark hot enough to ignite tinder.  It continues as you add more heat and fuel but will only grow into flames if there is fresh air flowing through the woven bits of kindling.  One flint, one spark, bits of straw along with the surrounding oxygen and you've got yourself the beginning of a crackling fire.  

It begins as a faint idea toppling out of the friction between your head and heart.  A thought spark hot enough to ignite feelings of desire.  It continues as you add more passion and gathered information, but will only grow into a dream if there is fresh air, a spirit,  flowing through the woven bits of contemplation.  One faint idea, one spark between thought and feelings, bits of reflective yearnings along with the surrounding oxygen to feed the passion behind the idea and you've got yourself the beginning of a dream. 

So often our attempts to turn a spark into a productive fire, to turn a faint idea into a dream dies out before we have a chance to fuel it.........or to provide enough breath to keep hope alive.  It can be a disappointing process, filled with a sense of failure and not a lick of success.  All smoke and no flame. It can drag you down, and strip you of the desire needed to replenish.  You begin to lose the internal combustion as you try desperately to figure out why the flame didn't ignite. 

When for one reason or another we do manage to grow a dream, it almost seems like a miracle because it feels like it occurs against all odds.  There is a piece of a fulfilled dream, however,  that has no clear explanation as to why this one sparked brightly enough to broaden into something real and tangible.  This is where destiny's where a divine light shines.  No dream is complete without some mystery.  

All we can do is carry our flint/idea, a piece of metal (our thoughts and feelings) and a pocketful of straw and twigs (reflections, contemplations, ruminations).  All we can do is offer our spirit..........our air to oxygenate our thoughts and feelings to turn them into action.  A dream needs heat, fuel, air and a little bit of divine intervention to come alive.  

You also have to put words to have to vocalize it or else it will just remain a haze of smokey illusions.  When was the last time you shared a dream idea with someone? 

Just for the record?  I really really really want to visit the Island of Iona.  

Monday, January 18, 2010

one stalled muse......

Wow, I'm stalled.  I've started several bloggie posts and haven't the energy or creative ooomph to finish them.  They all seem so contrived and weenie, and I just can't go there.  I'm empty?  Or am I saturated?  I don't know.  Maybe a bit of both.  Whatever it is, I don't seem to have it. 

No flow, no go.  That's how I feel.  Step away until the muse makes an entrance again.  Be patient.  However, I know better.  You can't let the void of ideas and lack of incentive bung you up!  Sometimes, you just have to grab the entrails of one's motivation and grunt through the painful process.  Writer's block is a constipating ordeal.

Actually, I don't think my lack of "flow" has anything to do with writer's block.  I've got a million ideas swimming around in my head.  Phrases and bits of poetry are just beyond my imagination reach.  Topics and stories are formulating.  Two solid script ideas.  A novel idea which absolutely pumped me up last fall when I first started creating the main character and storyline.  In fact, one night I jotted down 10 pages of notes.  It was a freeflow stream of ideas. But then, I started sharing my ideas because of my excitement and kind of lost interest.  That's what happens.  If I talk about a piece i want to write before i actually do it, I tend to lose the drive. 

Many of the stories I want to write about I can't because of the public nature of this venue and the private confidentiality I have to live and work by.  Though I can often develop a post based on a story and turn it into something more general or something that doesn't look anything like my original tale, as I did with the last few pieces.  But, that takes some concentration.  Right now, I'm lacking in that......... that's not a block. That's called feeling unanchored.  There's a disconnect between my heart, my head and my creative side. It feels like there are ka-chunky divots on this creative road that swallow up my ability to find just.the.right.word.  I havent felt like this since my writing spree began 4 1/2 years ago and I started this blog.

Why did I start this blog?  It's original purpose was to help incorporate writing into my daily routine.  Well, that was accomplished and more.  It's an obsession. OK, its more than an obsession. It was also the place to archive first drafts.  I don't think I intended it to be an eternal holding tank, and I didn't expect it to end up being an obstacle to take the next step with some of the writing I'm proud of...........  1346 posts later?  hmmmmmmmmm.......... I know there are a hundred or so of them that meaningful and  have the potential for a larger audience.  This, I have confidence in.

I don't fear the distinct possibility of rejection.  I'm realistic about the chances of any of my work seeing the light of day in the publishing world.  But I know I have to try.  I have to pull some of these piece together and try or I will regret it forever. So, what's stalling me?  The way I see it.............there are two biggies.

1. I suck at organizing and detail work.  I'm not good at knitting, beading, and fine needlework.  It drags me down, sucks my energy,  makes me feel creatively claustrophobic.  I'm much better with open ended projects........ photography fills that for me, as does making wreaths or pulling together big baskets of goodies.  I love flower arranging......... the wilder the better.  My garden is a place of messy perennial blooms and not an orderly row upon row effort.  I don't even dress conservatively.  It constricts me.  I do have an aesthetic eye for colour and composition and I see the fine details.  But, I love the overall charismatic effect of creativity.  
If you asked my boss what my weaknesses are, she wouldn't hesitate........... the paperwork.  My strengths are the BIG ideas, the generation of a project while leading it.  So, put it in creative writing terms, my strengths are in the creative first idea side of things......and then overseeing the construction of a piece of prose with the big picture in my mind's eye.  I don't like to proofread, edit, or get bogged down by all of that.  Ideas trip out of me with lightening speed.  Maybe I'm ADHD?  No.  My attention span is fully firing when I'm engaged and can sculpt from an open hearted opportunity.

2.  The process of writing for me is both sensual and spiritual.  When I sink into the depths of a piece of writing, where just the right word is captured so effortlessly, where time holds no meaning, and the whole world could come to a crashing halt without a whisper of it filtering into my consciousness, I can only describe it as a connection with a Higher Power.  Is it too much to describe it as a heightened sense of becoming?  An enlightened awareness?

It's an elixir I keep returning to taste because it tastes so sweet, so ripe, I want to devour it.  In turn, the writing process feeds my appetite. I can explore, step out into new frontiers.  It stretches me, challenges me, pushes me beyond my comfort zone.  It also allows me to process my thoughts and put words to them.  It is the best tool for enhancing my own emotional literacy.   Consequently, once I have written something and post it here, I begin to move on right away into the next idea.  

The next idea and the previous 50 ideas I've had however, didn't grab hold of me like they used to.  As frustrating as that is, I can't deny it anymore and will have to explore the whys behind the change of wind.   Maybe it's time to seek out the challenges in the discomfort zone of returning to have a gander what I have already written. It's time to revisit and evaluate.  Maybe by doing this, the flow will reappear and my ability to find just the right word will reconnect my heart, my head and my creative side.  That would be such a relief, because to tell you the truth, I havent felt that way in months. 

OH, the details!!!  Please don't let me drown in the editing, tweaking, cutting, rewriting, tossing, threading, beading work ahead.  Oh, and God?  Would you mind dropping in from time to time to check on me like you did when I was in the writing flow?


You could help me out too......... TREMENDOUSLY.  If there is a memorable piece I've written... a particular post that resonated with you....poked you in the ribs maybe.... I would love to know.  Thank you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


This morning, my eyes caught an article  picked up by the mainstream print media, quoting Harrison Ford, empathizing with the displaced  Conan O'Brien.  The fall guy in the late night TV talk show drama unfolding in Hollywood, O'Brien has been unceremoniously bumped by EGO oozing Jay Leno whose prime time experiment went tits up in less than 7 months.  Did anyone except NBC not see this as a failure from the beginning? Does anyone really care.  According to Harrison Ford, "it's just a tough, tough world...."  You said it Indiana Jones.

The story literally caught in my throat.  It's absurdity floored me.  After watching the consistently tragic news coming out of Haiti since the earthquake,  the very idea that anyone is paying attention to this absolutely ridiculous story and considers it serious?  Sure, joke about it.  Revel in the absurdity of it. But take it seriously?  Its beyond my comprenhension.

So is the crisis in Haiti. I can't stop thinking about the victims, the relief workers, the grieving families, and the complete and utter chaos in a country which has been waiting to for disaster to happen. 

I can hardly watch.  I can hardly read their stories. Tonight, I turned on the news channel.  A Canadian reporter was standing in front of a group of babies and toddlers who were dressed in clean clothes and looked safe and well cared for. They were all sitting on little mats on a patch of grass.  150 innocent little ones looking up at the camera.  The journalist explained that they were orphans.... their families all missing and feared dead, many from the latest earthquake.  Then, he walked and talked explaining that two women from Pittsburgh, who run an orphanage (how many orphanages are there in Haiti???) was responsible for caring for them.  The camera then turned its lens to take in a demolished building and alleyway that led to what the reporter described a nursery.  Under that rubble lay more than 70 children. Dead.

They keep stumbling across people who have been buried are still alive under the massive amounts of cement rubble!  It is unimaginable to me. Daycare centres, hospitals, hotels, shacks, cathedrals, apartments, stores, restaurants, super markets ...... through sniffer dogs, they keep finding signs of life amidst the devastation.  Incredible miracles in the sea of death.

This is a week when all the eyes of the world have turned towards the same island which has known corruption, violence and extreme poverty forever.  Money and human efforts to help save the poorest of the poor is flowing in from all continents. Tons upon tons of food, water, health supplies, as well as rescue workers and armed forces are arriving by the hour.  Through this emotional event, we have been reminded what extreme poverty means ..... the majority of families in Haiti live on less then 600 dollars per year. 

On the day when the rescue miracles are quickly fading in Haiti, when the stench of thousands of dead bodies permeates the hot humid island air, rumour has it that Conan O'Brien will receive a 30 million dollar severance package and most likely a handshake.

It's just a tough tough world.....................

Thursday, January 14, 2010

love unhushed....

I have wandered around love today, looking at it, touching it, trying to get a feel for it....trying to see it from different angles and different prisms.

 Love.  I love you.  You know I do.  For some reason I  stutter and stumble in my hesitation to say it aloud to some people.  Other times, it's easy and natural that it comes out of me like a breeze. 

As this day sleepily passes onto the next, I am left wondering why it is so difficult sometimes to utter those three words?  It's like they get smothered by a blushing hush, a fear of not being believed, or a fear of being believed but considered too dangerous a bridge to cross over?  Then there are times when it is warmly received by another kind of blush? 

Love.  I love you. 

It's meaning arches up and over horizons like light touch spring blossoms, yellow and alive.  So delicate.  So welcoming.  But it can also wind its way into unknown territory, losing its buoyancy through cynical defences.  Have you ever told someone you loved them only to have it deflected so quickly as though it was too searing hot to handle? Or confronted by a cold blast of denial? 

You know what?  I love you, no matter how you receive my honesty.
Please don't take it on as a burden. It isn't meant to be.  I offer it without conditions.  No motives.  Just from my heart.  It's how I feel.

What makes us so tentative to say it sometimes to the most important people in our lives?  Is there someone who comes to mind as you read this whom you have thought about saying those words to, but never find the courage to do so?  What stopped you?  What stops you now?  Why do you want to tell them?? When are you going to?

I love you!  There!  How difficult was that?  Did the sky fall? 

Its on the tip of our tongues and right there on the ridges of our hearts, but something abruptly halts us from allowing the spirited breath to catch the words and carry them forward.  When you think about it, does it matter how someone reacts?  You can't control reaction.  What you can control is whether or not you take the risk and utter those three words.  Who knows, it may mean the world to them.  Or not.  It may make them uncomfortable.......... but sooner or later, the medicinal magic will work its way into the most cynical of hearts.

Love. It has so many meanings, and it comes with so many expectations no wonder we are afraid to let it out.  But if we want to actively live the Word of God, don't we have to get over all those self imposed hesitations and just go for it?  No strings attached. 

shhhhhh......................i love you............ just a hush, no blush. Did you hear me? Hope so.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

summer whites

It's been a while since I joined in on the weekly thematic photography escapades.  I was intrigued by the theme that Carmi chose......... White.  Of course, my initial thought was to post a few winter wonderland shots.  I have several of them.  This is after all, the Great White North.  When I went in search of something unique from my photofiles from last winter when we had major dumps of the white stuff (we actually havent had much snow this year ..... yet), every single shot just made me feel cold.  When I stumbled upon a bouquet of white blooms, I decided I would feature them.  Summer whites are so aromatically alluring aren't they?

 Above, are double white lilacs from a hedge that was once a part of a Victorian garden.  The branches are old and gnarly, but every June, it blossoms with the effervescence of youth.  And the aroma?  It lingers in the summer breezes which float up the hill, wrap their elegant essence around my backyard, and slip in through the open windows.
Every year, I take my clippers and snip a few lovelies for my home......... and every time I walk by the bouquet, I stop, lean down and put my face right in the middle of the petals......and take it all in!  Of all the perfume aromas in the world, lilac is one of my all time favourites. 

We had a wet late spring and summer.  It wasn't the best year for blooms, especially the tulips.  They all seemed stunted and unable to show off as beautifully as they normally do.  These past prime blooms had barely survived a day long downpour when I found them aching in their beauty in a rock garden at O'Dell Park in Fredericton. They seemed more delicate than tulips normally do.  Even though they were on the downside of their elegance, their white petals seemed innocent to me, like a young ballerina learning how to pirouette.

Wild roses in this neck of the woods.  Like the old fashioned double white lilac bushes, these bushes have a long hearty history.  No doubt this particular hedge, which runs more than 50 feet long, and a density of 6 feet, has never been sprayed or cultivated.  It grows as it should, thriving in the elements.  Not far from the Nova Scotia shoreline, it is protected by the old summer house own by a friend of the family, but still it must take a beating during the harsh winter months.  
The white and pink roses cover the hill to the side of the house, and the perimeter of the backyard.  They smell DIVINE!   I love to visit this glorious hedge when we visit Spencer's Island, Nova Scotia in the summer to inhale the sight and aroma of them.  Their brilliant randomness always takes my breath away. 

Shasta..... Daisy.  I have them growing in my own garden every year.  These flirty perrenials arrive mid July right smack dab in the middle of a multitude of other colourful blooms and stretch up until they are about 4 feet high.  For some reason, my personality relates to the Shasta Daisy.  It's not sophisticated, and not too showy.  But, it makes its presence known. I think that's me too.

Carmi?  Thank you for the chance to revisit.  I havent looked at these photos in a while and on a night when the cold winter air seems to have found its way through the cracks in the foundation of my home chilling my feet.......when the lingering snow sits just outside the door, a breath of aromatic summer beauty is just what the doctor ordered.

For more white photos, check out Written Inc by clicking on this link.......

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

feeling empowered...

It's an energy thing.... empowerment.  There is a feeling of uplifting clarity when one lets go of those harboured illusions initially constructed for protection and sees that nothing has shattered in the process.  Feeling empowered is the result of a long process of personal growth which begins with vulnerability.  We feel insecure, uncomfortable, off kilter when we are vulnerable.  Naked in the eyes of our selves and there's no place to hide.  Vulnerability is the result of acknowledging fear enhanced reality.

In order to eradicate that feeling, we begin to chart out a plan by expanding our thinking through assessment and critical analysis of the situation which is making us feel so shaky.  Its the decision to fight rather than take flight. We problem solve. We begin to think it through, talk it out.... contemplate.  By so doing, we usually stumble across an idea.... a "hey" moment that could possibly be the solution to whatever the "woe" is.  As soon as this moment kicks in, so does our energy.  When we begin to feel a sense of empowerment, our confidence is fueled.  Hope is regenerated. Enthusiasm is restored.

There is nothing more motivating than feeling weak kneed vulnerable.  Nothing more humbling either. 

honesty is overrated

If honesty is the best policy, why is it that most people really don't want to hear the truth?  Deviate from the comfort of a well worn script, from an anticipated "feel good" response in order to voice honest thoughts and feelings, you risk rejection.  That's how I see it. That's how I've experienced it. The more honest I am with how I'm feeling or what I may be struggling with, the bigger the risk I take in turning someone away.  It has happened time and time again.  Why is it that I strike a nerve in someone else, so much so that they can't handle listening to my interpretation of where I am at...........of who I am?

I keep trying.  It's not working.  Honesty is not a commodity that is marketable.  I've learned that much.  I'm also an expert on how rejection feels.  How about you?  Do you know how rejection feels?  YOU DO? Than, we have something in common.

Oh yeah, I see the absurdity in this.  I am a counsellor for goodness sakes.  I hear the pit of someone's honest voice daily.  My job, one that I thoroughly embrace, is to receive it and to help them ply away all of the hurtful feeling skins that coat until the honesty is located.  There is nothing more I can do but to offer my presence.  Sure it hurts to feel someone else's hurt, but it doesn't kill me. I don't absorb it into my own.  My job is to reflect, to ask help the other person think it through and find the words to describe the honest ripe feelings.  I try not to judge.  I try to affirm.  However, when I put myself in the "other chair" in order to tell the truth about where I am with respect to my thoughts and voice my honesty, most people run for the hills!

So, it must be me.  It must be how I approach being honest. Somehow my honesty touches a chord in the other person?  Maybe I'm too heavy handed or that my needs seem too monumental to help me with?  Maybe I surprise them with my response to their "how are you" question. Perhaps my feelings are too dramatically expressed, so much so that I frighten people with my tone?  I come on too strong? Am I too needy?  My honesty smothers? I really don't know why I seem to have this effect on people. But it is a consistent response, so I best look into it because let me tell you...... it hurts.

While I am sorting this honesty dilemma............can you help me out a bit?  Please don't ask me how I am if you can't handle my honesty.  Be aware that how YOU interpret how I am feeling is through your own lens.... check your interpretations of what you think i need or what you assume my agenda may be. I really don't need to feel guilty anymore for "making" you "feel" uncomfortable.  If you feel smothered, its your choice.  Not mine. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

got an agenda?

if you're going to have an agenda, at least make it friendly.
this is the journal my friend Heather made me to take on my travels.

It seems to me that one of the worst inventions humans ever created was an agenda.  I have one.  You have one.  My neighbour has one.  So does yours.  They come in all colours, shapes and sizes.  Book form, electronic, or a calendar posted on the kitchen wall..... we live by our agendas.   Some don't share theirs AT ALL.  They keep it all tucked away in their brains and let it fuel their mission. They remind us of what we want and what we must do to get what we want.  They hold our schedules, timetables, deadlines, appointments so we don't have to think about them.  Those navigators are necessary to free up our minds in order to pursue pot of gold goals.  You know, some people even testify that their agenda is a Godsend.  hmmmm............ Can't live without an agenda. 

Isn't that crazy?  Can you see why I suggest they are the worst invention ever?  No.......... Well, here's more.  They drive our choices, our days, our lives and make us single mindedly blind to the agenda of another.  You see, my agenda is more important than yours.  Isn't that right?  What I want is WAY more important than what you want.  I know this for a fact because I have a full agenda.  Yours has gaps. In fact. I know most of your agenda and it's ridiculous! Who in their right mind wants those things???

So often I know my agenda clashes with yours, but since I need to be rigid in my pursuit to get what I want accomplished, I'm not really concerned what yours holds. Mine's more important than yours.  My agenda. All MINE. And the more I rely on it...........on the so VERY important items that drive my mission to succeed, to WIN, the more psyched I am to do whatever it takes.  I have absolutely NO TIME to get to know you..... I'm way too busy getting my needs met.

At night, when we finally collapse in a heap on the couch after a full agenda day........of pushing to get what we want, to be recognized with email accolades, coffee mug prizes and air mile bonuses for trips we never have time for; when we let our guard down as we sink into a soft landing pad after clashing with other people intent on jousting for their pie of the agenda pie....... silent reality hits just for a scary split second.  Alone, except for our selfish attitudes.  It is only then we have the opportunity to address what is really important in life, but oddly is missing on the pages of our agenda scribblings ........ love, friendship, compassion, serving others, connecting, sharing.  

Then we push that aside.... pffffffft to that!  WE've got better fish to fry than that mushy stuff.  Let some do gooder social work type deal with that crap.  Besides, I've got church services booked in my trusty agenda.  I can listen to that sermon on Sunday.  Same old, same old.......

Sadly, the gas tank is empty anyways.  After a long day of working our agenda, we have no energy left.   Too tired to reflect.  Too tired to look in the mirror.  Too tired to care. So, we uncork the bottle of wine and pour ourselves a glass to toast ourselves as we close the book on another day. sounds like one hand clapping.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

sleeping dragons

This morning, I tried to pray in my own crazy convoluted way, but my imagination got the best of me.  All of a sudden, my attempts at prayer were interrupted by intrusive thoughts and hard feelings.  Pretty soon, my imagination  saw them as sleeping dragons... Hence, this perambulation filtered out of me instead.  

I thought if I could capture the wildness of my morning wrestle, it would provide some insight. I think it did. Maybe?  Who the heck knows.  It made for a more interesting awakening on a cold winter day. 


 Silence on a January morning has such a different feel to it than it does in May.  In actuality, silence doesn't exist  when May dawns.  The whole atmosphere is alive with birdsong and blooms.  May is a loud mouth busy time of external growth......... wide-eyed bright even before the sun has revealed one ray.  Whereas, the quietness at the height of hibernation is fettered by layers of inner meaning. January is dark.  Even in daylight. Even when the sun has opened her arms as wide as she can, January bleeds memories into empty cups. It is a time of reflection and replenishing.

In January, growth resides deep inside the holiness of the soul, where seeds still encased by a protective shell wait patiently to be discovered, analyzed, fertilized. Invisible to the naked eye, but not to the contemplative mind. This morning, I sat inside the coven of winter's landscape where silence awakens the sleeping dragons who guard the seeds like they are rare diamonds..... the frighening, needy dragons who project distorted shadows intended to make you feel inconsequentially tiny. Vulnerable.

I listened to the echo of my meditative footsteps and realized there was no other means of travel when it came to slipping past the dragons.  I attempted a tiptoe kind of walk in furry slippers..... the comfortable ones that save you from the bone chill resonance of their freshly irritated drafty snore. Completely inappropriate footwear for any outdoor exploring, but the very best for inside steps. Cozy slippers to ward off sleeping dragons. And a blanket wrapped around me to ward of the chill.  My feet were safe, my body was safe......but my silent presence still disturbed those refreshed serpent yearnings that billow out breath by breath.......that bumped into me, making me feel uncomfortable.

Vulnerable, Uncomfortable......

hmmm....growth resides there doesn't it, my emerald friend Pip???

No matter how much I wanted to break through into a warm harpsound of reassurance, the dragons had to be acknowledged.  For as much as they seem to be an obstacle to learning, in actuality, they hold the answers to some of life's dark mysteries.  Scary monsters who make you feel stark raving lonely and unarmed in fuzzy slippers,  they hold the instructions on how to uncase the seeds.  The seeds of new awareness.  I kept wishing they didn't have to be so frighteningly harsh or butt ugly. 

As they stirred in unison, making a hellish noise, I grabbed hold of my senses again and thought back on a place.... a Soulspace kind of place when I was confronted before and had somehow managed to GROW past these fire breathing sentinels.  It was then that I remembered the key to reaching that destination where one can flirt with inner meaning.  You have to surrender.  Not wrestle.  You have to let go and let in.......... the feelings, the thoughts, the noise, the fire breathing yearnings..... and allow them to be a part of the process, not the barrier.

So, I invited those dragons, now awake and needing to be fed, to join me in seeking out those encased seeds deep in the holiness of my soul.  It turned out, they were delighted to be acknowledged, to be validated.  Who knew?? Still, their honesty nipped at my exposed flesh, and slapped me on the cheeks. But, I took it.  I stayed with them even though I was feeling really shaky and unsure about their messages.  Before i knew it however, the January darkness lifted its veil.... just a peak, but enough to offer that harpsound reassurance I was looking for..... enough to touch me with new courage to take a few more steps with my new dragon posse.

Then, they told me a secret...... they informed me that they are really a part of me!  Those frighteningly harsh butt ugly dragons weren't a separate entity.  They weren't the enemy.  They were a part of who I am.... the shadowy section of the unknown.  As they spoke, they opened up their gnarly claws.  Nestled inside the unclenched crevices were a claw full of diamonds.  rough ones.  in need of polish.   I accepted their rough diamonds, sat down and began to polish them.  I could hear the music being strummed, reassuring me once again that sleeping dragons don't need to be feared.  They just want to be heard like we all do.

Saturday, January 09, 2010












chewing gum


body piercing


sexual appetite
roller coaster

From the nadir to the apex and nothing in between, descriptions of the "extreme" send our imaginations beyond what we can fathom.  We see as far as our eyes can take the point of where the stars line the outer universe.  But, then we learn that our interpretation of what we THINK is extreme goes beyond our cognitive boundaries.  There is no status quo, no static benchmark for the location of where dwells.  Technology for example has allowed us to travel into the realm of what we could only label as infinity.  Once again, it pushed the extreme boundaries as we have learned this week when they announced on the news of five new planets.   It all seems unbelievable.   

The term "extreme" is inordinately overused, to a point where it is mugged of any believability.  It's used to expressively tantalize, to clamp onto our attention.......... to blow air in our face in order for us to lose our breath and say "WOW!," "HOLY TOLEDO!"  "AWESOME," "DUDE, That's  TOTALLY EXTREME! " However, it has no validity, no statistical support, no facts to back it up.  Extreme is not a measurement, except that it is defined as the zenith....the OUTER most limit.  It is a flagrant uttering used to poke our emotional buttons.  And it is so overused to a point of skepticism..... and beyond.......

It's time to eliminate it from our vocabulary before we seriously suffer from extreme irritation.

Sunday Scribblings this week looks at the word "extreme..." as a salute to the weather conditions in England this week.  Though it seems unprecedented, one never knows what the future holds. The snow and ice and slippery conditions may just be a walk in the park a few years from now.  I'm sure my friends in the UK are extremely discombombulated over that prediction.  For that, I'm infinitely sorry.  Whatever that means.

Friday, January 08, 2010


When did telling the truth become a revolutionary act? Perhaps its time to reclaim clear direct honesty as the healthy core of society.  It IS time to become a revolutionary before we forget what truth looks, feels, sounds, smells and tastes like.  Change is the choice to make. It's inevitable and certainly not impossible. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

invasion of the body scanners....

Like the rest of the world, I was left with horrifying "what ifs" in my head after the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day, and was very relieved that it ended the way it did.  Since then, the intense knee jerk reaction to the event by politicians and the media has been very bizarre indeed.  Baffling too.  I'm just glad I'm not travelling these days to the United States.  It's not worth the hassle nor the anxiety.

We've seen the stories of the long line ups at the airports.  New carry on bans have kicked in, leaving everyone completely confused as to what you can or cannot take on board. My heart goes out to the frequent flyers whose successful work weeks are dependent on the swift arrival, departure and connections process....  God help them! 

Pat downs and frisking is the order of the day.  Hysteria has permeated the planet.  One guy on a suicide mission has altered travel as we knew it. One guy, whose Islamic terrorist ambitions were documented prior to the incident has rattled the nerves of the world!  We're now about to be invaded by body scanners. Canada just announced the purchase of 44 new scanners to be used in the 8 biggest airports in the country.  Does anyone else see this new approach to combating Islamic terrorism as absurd?  It's ABSURD!

Have we not just added yet another layer of security on top of a security system that needs to be fixed?  If the communication of information had been working properly, wouldn't we have picked up on this guy and not let him on a plane?  I mean, his own father called the authorities to let them know his son was on a mission to kill.   Shouldn't we be FIXING that problem rather than adding more to it?  We have the technology to ensure the authorities have the information.  I completely agree with identifying certain countries as high risk.  Profiling already happens informally.  Why not formalize it?  Why should EVERYONE be put through the same intense scrutiny?

I can't help but think Bin Laden and his buddies are in some cave giggling their faces off.  Chaos and fear was triggered in our collective emotional sensitivities and we've reacted by playing right into their hands.   We are now being invaded by the body scanners.  Is this the equivalent of street proofing?  Both provide a false sense of security. There is no guarantee that x-raying every single traveller will stop all other terrorist attempts.  What happens when THIS fails?  Do we strip down to our unbuffed buffs? Nude flying?  Starkers Airlines? 

Hey, maybe thats what we should do.  Maybe its time to embrace our lovely wrinkly banged up bodies by stripping down and flying in the buff.  Pack away your clothes and accessories.  Put away your self conscious worries.  No need to spend all that money on body scanners.  Flaunt your flesh!

Crazy!  This world has gone absolutely bonkers.  Where does the insanity stop?  How DO WE stop it?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Nothing, absolutely nothing burns my ass more than unfairness.  It is deceitful, immoral, inhuman, unethical, disrespectful, underhanded, and just plain rude.  When I hear of a situation someone has found themselves in that is clearly unfair and are having a tough time trying to rectify it, I can feel my rankled nerves fire up.  Push that button in me, and seriously watch out because no one, I mean NO ONE should be treated unfairly.

In my world, unfairness revolves around castrated systems.........made up of bureaucratic tapeworms that devour living, breathing human beings and spits out faceless cut outs whose forms fit certain policy garb.  One dimensionally shaped the same, void of feeling, and emptied of any unique story that may make them an exception to a rule, faceless cut outs are much easier to contend with than the real deal. Prejudged even before the person can open their mouth.  Prejudged even before there is a face to face meeting.....if one is even arranged, and if it is arranged, the balance of power is always, always TILTED, weighed down by rules and regulation ammunition, and preconceived myths.

Unfairness reeks of injustice.  It distorts perceptions by slapping judgemental labels on the nearest victim. Empathy is laughed at. There's no room for empathy.  It's for sissies.  But you know what?  Systems can't be unfair without human beings manipulating it right?  Systems are driven by living breathing humans who bleed too...... sadly,  humans who are afraid to deviate from the fear mongering policy manual.  Is that it?  Afraid to listen, afraid to help, afraid of reprimands if they risk stepping out of the assembly line?  Perhaps it just comes down to the fear of FEELINGS??

We all have biases.  Mine is focused on unfair practises. I have no time for them. I will fight them. I will go to bat for anyone I believe is getting the shaft, who needs someone to be their designated hitter. No problem.  However, my emotions often get the best of me because of how much I am triggered by unfairness venom.   Most of the time, I don't care.  I can figure it out after the wrong has been righted............ or at least we've given it our best shot. 

Yes, I can see the big picture when it comes to the overarching reasoning behind needing structure, guidelines, rules, laws.  And Yes, I can sometimes/barely work within a system if I have some respect for it.  I'm not a pushover though I have advocated in the past for people who turned out to be frauds.  But, I do react too quickly sometimes when I see a Samson and Goliath scenario playing out. 

Today, unfairness poisoned the air all around me.  It festered and laughed hideously while jousting with a firepoker. It pissed me off!  As much as I have learned how to manipulate unprincipled actions into submission, I do know how to play the game, how to stretch the sides of a policy, how to talk nicely and even bomb it with love. Sometimes though, I slip up and let my anger lead the way.  Today, I let it rip!  On purpose.  Because I could. I punched the lights out on unfairness.  Tomorrow round two.  Bring it ON.  I'm not finished.

Yes, today was a good day.  I got an emotionally charged cerebral workout while teaching someone how to stand up for their rights.  Empowerment should never be overruled by a human driven system made for cut outs.

Monday, January 04, 2010

an osprey comes to visit....

Out of the grey winter light
bleaked of colour
streaked in mourning sombre silence
you simply appeared, taking me by surprise
filling my vista with your fierce beauty
in flight.

In one articulate motion
your majestic wings,
feathers dappled in shades of clay

stretched beyond the toptip of the Poplars
propelled you forward
closer to where I stood
in my home on the hill.

Your fan-tailed brawn
mottled to blend with the winter woods
swept my into sight
like an awakened temptation,
and a longing to absorb your swift assurance
so powerful
so resplendent
so gracefully exalted.
My breath caught in awe.

Our eyes met for one standstill second
until an invisible wind draft

aroused your sense of freedom
awakened your fervent hunger
invited you to soar downstream
above the open river water.
Slow wingflaps lifted you up into a natural floating soar
a perambulation with a friendly downwind.

In silence,
I stood in the shadow of your wonder
as you flew beyond a speck in the grey winter light.

Alone again,  left behind
with new dreams
that I too
could sail above the valley with outstretched wings........

thank you for that.


**inspired by a brief but memorable visit on Sunday morning from the full grown Broad Tailed Osprey who lives somewhere along my riverbank.  I didn't have my camera nearby, so the photo I've used is one I found that resembled it's beauty the most.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


"As you grow, you develop the ideal of where your true belonging could be - the place, the home, the partner, and the work.  You seldom achieve all the elements of the ideal, but it travels with you as the criterion and standard of what true belonging could be."  John O'Donohue, Eternal Echoes, Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong

Lately I have been really struggling with errant thoughts about health and mortality.  I don't know why.  It happens from time to time and it impacts any semblance of routine i have in my life.  It pulls me into a state of awakened fear and anxiety like nothing else.  Panic just fills my pores.  It also messes up my ability to focus, to write, to find my grounding.  Does that happen to you?  I

t's like a massive jolt of caffeine to the soul and I have a very tough time shaking the intrusive thoughts.  It makes me question who I am, where I am, if everyone around me is safe, if I am fulfilling my life to the best of what I am capable of (no), if I am giving of my love and kindness as expressively as I can.  I wonder if this is all there is, and wrestle with trying to understand how others see me.  Basically, I question my sense of belonging and get all tangled up in a mess of self loathing.  Not pretty.  But, I see it as a shake up, a wake up.  The discomfort is motivating once I get unstuck from the inertia. 

Last night, I pulled a big armchair up in front of the fireplace and watched the flames being pulled up into the flue by the constant stormy wind which continued to gather momentum outside.  Each angry gust of cold winter air brought the gift of energy to the revel it shared with the flickering heat, whose fiery embers cradled the wood with snapping intensity.  It reminded me of two people dancing the tango.....their individual vitality is fuel for expressing the passion of belonging.

It is what we all strive for.... that feeling of contentment, the comfort of silent stillness in the middle of the dancing flames of belonging.  It's emotionally stirring.  It's a fulfilled longing to be a part of the activity.  Fire only breathes by the air it is fueled.  Our breath, our spirit is what fuels our internal fire.

What I have learned and absorbed from Father's O'Donohue's inspiring writings and beliefs is immeasurable when it comes to helping me regain my footing during times when turmoil swims inside me.  The depth of his faith fuels my own wavering faith.

For some reason, I am a believer when I immerse myself in his lyrical heartfelt writings.  I'm not so afraid.  I'm not so worried about the mystery of death.....of whether there is a Heaven.....of whether God will be there to greet me......of whether we get to live again in some capacity, our souls re-emerging from the clay he so often writes about.  His wisdom and the way he was able to articulate it has always felt like a lullaby to my contorted spirit.  His deep faith is believable, which in turn has allowed me to let go of my tightly held anxieties and believe too.  Unclenched, I have been able to breathe more easily knowing that I am guided by a higher power. 

I don't know why, but I didn't return to his books while I stumbled through this latest soul upheaval..... I should've.  Maybe I would've slept better.   However, maybe I needed to sit in the fear on my own again for a while in order to let go even more of it.....?  Doubt is a wake up's just that you WAKE up and find yourself surrounded by mean shadowy fangs....... eeewwwwww!  It's like living in the middle of the Blair Witch forest!

Today is the anniversary of this beloved man's death.  It is beyond sad and I know many of his dear friends and family are thinking of him and wishing he was still amongst us.  Since the time I was introduced to his writing, I have been struck by the thought that there is no one else I can think of whom I regret not meeting face to face.  There is a bit of a mystery as to why he has touched me more deeply than any other author except one other....Jean Vanier.  Timing played a role.  I was ready and open to receive their messages.  I was ready to be a student again.  But, there's more to it than that.  It just seems like the way he expressed himself, so genuinely and with such conviction somehow touched upon a lost chord stuffed deep inside me; so deeply embedded I had forgotten it had even existed.  That lost chord of mine is tied to understanding where I belong and why.

We are seekers at heart, knowing that when a sense of inertia weighs us down and tugs at our awareness, it is time to recognize the growing discomfort.  Father O'Donohue wrote........ "Our bodies know they belong; it is our minds that make our lives so homeless."  For a while, my mind felt homeless again.  This morning, it feels like it is settling amongst the essential elements of life again.  It began to happen while reading the last of the correspondance between Globe and Mail journalist Ian Brown and Jean Vanier.   It seems serendiptously written, for it has touched me exactly where I needed to be touched.  It has settled my rumblings to some extent.  They wrote about life and death...the student and the mentor as friends. When I reach this paragraph, I could feel the ground beneath my feet again.

"We are not pure or impure spirits, floating on clouds of acclaim. We are flesh, grounded and rooted in the earth. We need sleep and rest, work, good food with friends and lots of pleasure. We need disappointments, because they foster hope and renewal. Of course we muse over death.
It is not an accident that we die. We enter the world in the fragility of a baby and later decline into the fragility of the old person we will become. Fragility means needing to cry out, “I need your help, I need your love, I need you.” Fragility forms bonds of togetherness, community, friendship and peace."

Fragility..... this is how I've felt.  The questions and inner rumblings I have struggled with left me with a sense of fragility.  But instead of being afraid of that feeling, I realized through Vanier's faith driven response to Ian Brown's questions about death, that perhaps I should look at it through a different lens..... If I am feeling this way, and taking the necessary step to admit it, express it, own it, then I become more open to the blessings of love and friendship all around me.  I become a fragile vessel.  Maybe that's what we learn the most when we are grieving the loss of a loved one.  Maybe thats what we learn the most when we are struggling with our own fears of mortality? 

After reading the article,  I sat with a stillness I havent felt in a long time.  Then,  I picked up John O'Donohue's Eternal Echoes again and felt a sense that I was visiting a friend face to face.  It felt like a homecoming.   It felt like I was returning to a mindset of belonging again. 

Here's is a link to a Youtube video of John O'Donohue.  Enjoy....!!!