Saturday, October 30, 2010


Early morning peace in a place called Tatamagouche.  I don't know the history of the name but I like how it sounds when I say it aloud.  I'm attending a weekend writing, walking and prayer workshop with 13 others..... something I've looked forward to since I was told about it last summer. 

The setting is beautiful....located where two rivers meet, close to the Northumberland Strait in Nova Scotia.  The grounds are covered in mature trees, still spectacularly shades in the deep colours of late fall.  Rusty oranges, yellows, with a few flaming red burning bushes that catch the eye.  Last night, my friend and I stood on this veranda on the second floor of the old house that has been transformed into a Bed and Breakfast and watched twilight filter through the trees and reflect on the calm water, a blending of russet and blues.... The light exquisitely touched the water surface and the treeline, creating a view that seemed like a live Turner painting.  We stood inside the canvas of his imagination.

I dont know what the next two days will bring.  I am open.......... open to the opportunities of connecting with  new people..... open to the silence and serenity just laying in wait for me to step into .... open to whatever my imagination explores  ..... open to being in the moment.  Stories and vignettes seem to be seeping out of me these days.  I think I'm in an emotional place to be able to capture some of them too.  Or not.  I have no expectations for this weekend except to BE.

I do have a dream though...... one that has been with me for many many years.  This dream I hope will eventually become a reality and step by little step I think I am moving towards it.  Funny, its been the demise of my life partnership that may have kickstarted the movement more than any other event.  Because it has foisted me into a raw reflecting place.... one that sometimes kicks me in the gut with its awareness, I have opened my eyes, sought out people to discuss and process my ideas and dreams with, looked around through a different lens.  

My dream?  To write, to facilitate workshops, to host groups and other seekers.  In my mind, I see myself living out loud, and breathing solace in a rambling old farmhouse.  I want to turn it into a place where people can relax, stretch and create and reflect.   I want to promote gatherings, interactions, sacred spaces, sense of belonging comfort.........sparks and embers......... tea always steeping....... ideas and feelings shared all happening under the roof.  Winter nights around the fireplace.  Summer nights on the veranda.

Fire, water, bread and wine for sharing, breathing spaces, walking places.... tidal breezes, firm ground.  Elemental nourishment for any pilgrim in the middle of a wander....... to dream, reflect, plan, write, create, heal, learn, relax, read....   My dream....... an open door Inn that is warm and inviting. 

This morning, before anyone else was up and around, I walked the dark path from my room in the old house to the centre, peace greeted me with renewed thoughts of my dream and a wide eyed recognition that I am in a setting, surrounded by the voices of past and present..... beckoning me to join them. 

Tatamagouche..... I like how it sounds when I say it aloud.  Perhaps it's meaning is "home."  It feels that way to me.  Who knows, maybe it will eventually be the setting of my dream?  Not yet.  Not now..... but I definitely have found a place I want to explore more deeply......

Off to join the gathering................ breakfast is on and my tea needs topped up and the morning voices behind me sound inviting....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Looking through the Lattice-scope

When autumn splendour tips into the long stretch toward frost and flurries, after the brilliant splashiness of reds and oranges have fluttered off the branches,yellow continues to smile from the aging leaves. 

Everywhere you look it is the predominant colour on the Canadian landscape at this time of year. On lawns and streets saturated with rain, a textured collage of yellow leaves splay beautifully dormant. On sky reaching elms and old man willows they dangle, giggle and dance, radiating winks of light at passersby. 

Long after the harvesting of its fruit, woven vines with broad yellow relics decorate lattice and fences. And when the daytime beckons night, the rays of the streetlights blend and reflect off their branch tips creating halo archways you just want to walk under because it feels like good luck. 

Even in the dark, yellow beckons you home. 

This week's Photo theme is "yellow..."   For more interpretations and photos, check out Carmi's blog. 

resentment as dark as a long night

A noticeable crimson tinged  her cheeks stemming from a wave of heat spilling out of her bones while she stood there listening to the same weary words. Extreme opinionated garbage spewed out in a manner that reeked of disturbing righteousness.  Caught in the time between flashbacks and the same old thing, she nodded politely while her flesh rippled in defence.

She never complained. Nor did she ever dispute the person standing in front of her rambling on in a self absorbed manner..... sermonizing beliefs like they were gospel.  She never stopped the conversation even though this other person's diatribe scratched her sensibilities, plucked her anger, and rubbed against  her values.  "No one really wanted to hear what she had to say," she thought.  "So what's the point of fueling a potential head butting confrontation with someone wearing blinders?"

Instead, she swallowed.  
That was what she was taught to do. 
Chew with your mouth closed and swallow.  
Stuff it down.  
"All of it,"  the voices bellowed inside her head.
Respect others.  
Don't make waves.  
Don't react emotionally. 
Learn to take it. 
Ask questions. 
Keep the conversation going on an even keel.  
No one wants to hear your opinion. 

She kept swallowing, having learned well.  As a peacemaker in a sea of entitled sharks, she learned to keep her feelings in check.  Feelings are bloody.   Sharks love to feast on the blood of emotions.  Whenever she had slipped up during her childhood  by speaking her mind, by spilling some of how she felt, the hungry sharks ripped the flesh from her soul.  The scars, invisible to the human eye were visible if one was paying attention.  Paying attention meant listening for what wasn't being said.  Few bothered.

Over the years when the voices around her rose above the emotional timber treeline she learned quickly  to step into the woods ..... to cover herself with armour.  Unfortunately, the armour was such a heavy burden.  It was getting rusty too.  Holes were beginning to form.  Cracks in the armour began to exhale used up air out allowing the  noisy scratchy emotions to seep through. 

Echos from apparitions.  
Long ago arguments.  
Nasty accusations.  
Emotional manipulation.  
Screeching.  Bleeding.  
Ripped muscles on bones.  
Abandoned kindness.  
Unresolved meaning.  

There was no escaping the hurt as it pounced on the stored feelings.  The bottled up, swallowed up unresolved conflict turned into a resentment as dark as a long night.

Raging fear had accumulated deep in her bruised soul.  It had been stirred as it stewed, moving right into the marrow.  Sinewy sins percolated as she ran the other way......... away from the powerful need to 

But that wasn't allowed she told herself.  That wasn't being good.  It wasn't kind.  Besides, no one really cared about what she thought or how she felt.  Her opinions didn't matter.  She didn't matter. 

Instead............ she poured herself a double scotch, downed it in one gulp.  Then, she poured herself another and another until the resentment resided again. Just like her Mom.  She chose to be numb.

stale conversations

"You're too sensitive," he said behind the newspaper he was reading. 

"What does that mean?" she asked. 

"Everything I say you take the wrong way and then spoil any form of conversation with your emotional reaction.  I never know what I can say without you spouting off on me," he replied like he was tasting bitter medicine.

"I'm not reacting to what you are saying.  I react to how you say it.  I can feel your tone and it reverberates inside me like a clanging bell.  You say one thing but it means something else because of how you reply to me. I can hear it.  You know, being sensitive isn't always a bad thing."

"Tell me what's good about it because from where I'm sitting, it is just a constant overreaction."

"Oh, forget it.... You wouldn't believe me anyways because you're already convinced its a curse," she said as she left the room in tears.

He continued reading the paper....... just as he always did. 

She went off to hide inside her imagination.

The bloom fell off the flower. It lay like a dying soldier beside the plant she had forgotten to water.

Friday, October 22, 2010

savoring new mediums

Emerging creativity is an activity we savor in this family.  Whether its photography, watercolour painting, dance, theatre arts, fashion design, writing, or a new form of collage and paint, creative pursuits allow you the gift of moving out and beyond yourself even for a short stint.  It tickles imagination fancies and awakens new soul tributaries which hold colour compositions just waiting to be discovered.  It heightens confidence, teaches focus, offers expressive outlets one may not even know existed.  Zesty savoring!

Creativity is exploration into the realm of turning dreams into action.  How life affirming is that?

I took this photo of my daughter Martha last night after she arrived home from one of the Art classes she is taking in the evening.  On top of a full load of courses in her last year of high school, she is taking 2 evening courses at the Craft College in order to help her develop a portfolio to be submitted with her application into the Fine Arts program at Mount Allison University.   

So determined!  So full of purpose!  She is on the cusp of transitioning into a whole new world and is very busy trying to make it happen.   Last night, the little girl in her was revealed again.  Excitement radiated from her smiling eyes while she described the process of a new technique she had applied and her gleeful satisfaction on the finished product.  

I wanted to savor the moment.  I wanted Martha too as well.  So, as she signed her artwork (one that will eventually be framed and hung in the dining room because I love it too!) we took a moment in the middle of a very busy Autumn to recognize our mutual love of creative expression.  It will always be a tie that binds.....past, present and future.

Like me, Martha will forever have a project on the go.  Her hands will be covered in whatever paint or glue or ink continuously.  Her ticking brain is constantly gazing both inside and outside.  The way she looks at the world around her is seen through an every changing lens of imagination.  And when she gets an idea in her head, she has to follow through on it in order to let go of it.  It's hilarious to listen to her when she has a new project in mind!  I hear the echo of me in her!   

And in turn, I hear the echo of Martha in me........  it makes me smile every time I think of this.  Man oh, man I'm going to miss her next year when she head off to University.  Where does the time go?

Savor, savor, savor..........

For more photo interpretations on the word "Savor,"  check out Carmi's blog.......

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

this day

Some people will never forget this day. It will become etched as a memory, a milestone, a turning point, an ending, a beginning, a trial, a celebration.  This new day, invisible in its potential and how it will play out, could hold a spark that sets afire a brand new relationship, an oppportunity, an idea.  It could also hold an empty cup. Birth. Loss.  Rebirth.  Or something in between.

Dreams may be fulfilled. 
Longing may be met with affirmation. 
Tragedy may crash down heavily. 
Thresholds may be crossed.
A gorgeous exotic fish may be caught......because we all know there are plenty of beautiful fish out there in that deep blue sea.  It may be a day that will change your life. Who knows?

For some, the anticipation of this day holds hope.  For some, it harbours gut busting intensity.  For many, its just another day sliding and bumping into the next and the next and the next.  No difference in texture.  No difference is how it is seen nor how it is perceived.  The freshness is off the bloom before the sun peaks over the horizon.  

Resignation is just another word for apathy.

Serenity may visit.  Sorrow too.  On the same day.  Today.  Who knows?

Nervous energy may fill the air all around this day until it is time to relax, put our feet up with a sigh at the end of it.  Love may beam through a crack when you're least expecting it.  Or it may remain cloistered in a closet under a heap of discarded summer clothes until the search reveals it again. Real or imagined? The gut feeling of love bleeds from the same heart valve.  Sometimes though when you're really lucky, love can make the angels do the Highland Fling!  Now that would be the best kind of love to gaze at.  Such joy!  Could this be the day when real love radiates with such brilliance that it tans the soul? Who knows? 

Some people will never forget this day.  The one before us that hasn't even stretched out its sleepy limbs yet.  Grief may lift.  Hurt may replace it. Or perhaps mercy.  A softening of the heart that allows the memories sitting on the curtained windowsill gathering specks of dust to re-smile again.  To be admired, relived, cherished.  Pull open the drapes.  Open the window.  Let the breeze stream carry the grief away.  Or, let it tickle the tears until they stop their flow. Maybe thats what this day will bring.  Tears.  Who knows.  It hasn't started yet.

Or maybe you are an early early riser.....before the sun riser and your day has begun in a soup of rumination.  In comtemplative prayer.  In throwing the first load of laundry in the wash before "the day" really begins. 

Hesitation from indecision may wrap around the heart of this day. We just don't know yet.  Oh, sure we may have plans.  We may have a FULL ON agenda that keeps our feet from touching the ground for too long, while we grab a slab of fast food wrapped in greasy paper to scarf down in one gulp........ no time, no time....... gotta get through this one!  How often do we wish a day away even before dawn has arrived?

What is your vision of this day?  How will it play out?  Do we have a say in the way it flows?  Are you someone who will never forget this day? Maybe it won't be one for the record books.  Maybe this date won't matter in the long run. But surely, it is one to remember.  It will never pass this way again.  

N'encore jamais.  Je veux me souvenirs aujourd'hui.  No matter how it unfolds.  I may not remember the events.  What I will remember are the emotions stirred and felt.

Monday, October 18, 2010

kiss the world beautiful.

 view from Springhill Road.....light touches send out love best.

"Sometimes it takes someone else's life 
to see what we're worth......"
Martyn Joseph, Kiss the World Beautiful.

I just returned from a quick dog walk on this cold blustery night.  Under the bright stars and the almost full moon with no one else on the street, I was struck by the thought of how beautifully free I am to be able to perform a small task like that without worrying about my safety... grateful for where I live, for the roof over my head, for my warm bed, for my health, for my family.  

You'd think I was out walking a marathon to have had all of those thoughts!  No.  It happened in a rush of some ineffable feeling as soon as the wind gusts took my breath and heightened my awareness. It happened as soon as I looked up at the night sky, so brilliantly vast.  It happened as soon as I watched my dog Lily run ahead, take a nose dive roll on the grass and then wiggle on her back with an abandoned feeling of joy.

As we walked, I inhaled the fresh air as deeply as I could while quickly reflecting on a busy day............ one that ran the gamut of feelings as per usual, realizing once again that its not what someone says to you that you remember and hold onto, its how it made you feel.   I smile at the amazing affirmations I received today.  From a student whom I had connected with on Friday while sharing a few hilarious dating stories to a friend who told me tonight how glad he is that I am in his life.  WOW!  

I touched others too.  Some in a good way and some I challenged their actions, or rather inactions that revealed their clingyness to playing the role of victim.  yeah, I think I pissed them off.  Or maybe I just refreshed their irritations.  They wanted my help to learn how to study, but they weren't helping themselves.  Why? Perhaps they've never learned how to yet.  Time to learn.  Time to take some ownership.  A bit of tough love is in order.  Spoon fed whiners who say "yes, but" test my patience.  

I have to approach this with assertion, but also with diplomacy or I will lose their confidence in me.  If I approach it from a "Parent" role, their response will come from their explosive "Child" role.  If I figure out a way to approach them as an Adult connecting with another Adult and have the conversation on this level, chances are change will happen in their behaviour.  They want to remain in the Child role.  It will be a challenge to help them move to a more productive state of mind in order to take ownership of their learning. 

Our connections and interactions with others fill our days and lives with what matters.  Nothing else matters as much does it?  I can't seem to think of any.  As I reflected on this one ordinary Monday, I'm filled with the memories of the emotions that coloured the conversations.  But, I am also left with a few things that were said to me too.  Words stick too.  Compliments, judgements, affirmations, scornful comments, dismissals, haughty comments, invitations, and praise combine with our personal self talk leaving remnants on how we see ourselves.... our worth.  

If I've learned anything over the past year, it is how other's lives impact my own and visa versa.  What i say and express with my feelings impacts what I attract.  We learn about ourselves mostly through others and how we interact.  And if we want to make an attempt to "kiss the world beautiful," (the lyrics from Martyn Joseph's powerful song of the same name) so that perhaps the world will kiss us back from a place called beautiful, than "sometimes its more important to love than to always have it right....." 

This is not a passive approach.  Rather, it takes energy to share love and respect in a situation where you want to do the opposite.  Who needs to be lectured at?  It never works and it never feels nice.  Yes, in order to act out with the intentions of kissing the world beautiful, we must always pause before we speak or act........ we must strive to offer love knowing its not always important to have it right.

Tonight, I recognize the moments I touched down lightly with my words, my feelings, my responses.  I recognize the moments when I may have been too harsh in my judgements....... and will try my best again tomorrow.  I don't want to add more dark streaks on the human horizon.  I want to offer up the good in me.   As I inhaled the cold autumn air and filled my lungs with fresh oxygen, I gave thanks to the gifts I have been given......... free will, choices, awareness, forgiveness, and another day to try again.  

May we always try to help others recognize the beauty of their worth.  May we always recognize how much of an impact we have on the people in our lives....... a smile is worth a hill of gold. Encouragement fills the cup of confidence.  And a kiss?  A kiss is a priceless tender touch to the heart. 

Off to sleep.............perhaps to dream of the kisses I received today.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010


True passion is never beige.  Nor is it bland.  It can simmer, but it usually sizzles.  It is the heat that fuels dreams.  It can also be so molten hot it blinds you.  Somewhere in between the extremes, passion can be used to make things happen.

Passion stokes the fire behind a speech, feeds the hungry desire under the sheets, seasons the salt in the tears, steers the reasoning inside the drive, slams the brakes on an argument.  It can certainly fuel one too.  Clashing passions propel us straight into the heart of fury.

Passion can be what frees you from submission, or what shackles you to a one angled view of an issue.  And if it can hook up with your destiny, it will carry you across the threshold of hesitation into an emerging rhythm of confident purpose.  Action takes over when you answer the calling and crossover.  Are you willing to take that step?

The bright radiance of its hope can lift you UP to a place where the senses are heightened with the vibrancy of blue sky clarity.  Or it can overwhelm you with fear so forceful paralysis kicks in.  How do you find  that place where you are able to channel it productively?

From elation to determination..... from fascination to frustration  ..... from rapture to disaster ..... from mania to misery ..... Can you imagine life without it?   Can you imagine how dull life would be if we never got to swing to and fro until we found the in between?

Over the past week, I have had the privilege of being around people who have shared their dreams, hopes, and energy with me.  I've seen it harnessed in some, untapped in others.  I have seen its ire rise up in an outpouring of indignation.   I've witnessed opposing passions clash and it wasn't pretty.  For some reason, it has been a theme of sorts....... or maybe I'm just more aware of it this week than I usually am.  

Whatever the case, it has made things much spicier.  I like spice.  I like the spirited colour of it presence.  

Magenta Sunsets .  Peacock Plumes. Tangerine Dreams.  Autumn Maples. Lemon Pie.  Candy Flossed.  Fire Engine Sirens.  Lime Sherbet.

May it always be in and around me ........ and may it always be recognized as a Spirit Messenger with much to say.

Friday, October 15, 2010

in from the chill

Autumn has a teasing paradoxical soul heaped with both gratitude and scorn, bountiful harvests of plenty and bereft fields littered with discarded misfits. Colourful and muted.  It flirtatiously engages you with its vibrant reds and yellows and then grounds you with it's russet tones.

Autumn has a soulful melancholy lament when the frost-nipped wind is allowed to bellow and moan, bending the trees desperately trying to hold on to their youth.  Brittle bone leaves rattle-cackle as they tumble on grey pavement.  On the other hand, chilly cheeks and rosy lips nipped by the invitation from  the brisk air remind us that there is life in its sharp eyed allure in its breath. 

It's turning cold.  Night drapes early, echoing a bluesy cadence.  Stars shimmer a vibrant delight, flirting with harmonic blues. Inside, embers glow heat.  Light flickers a welcome to cocoon under soft fleece, to sip tea, to sit close, to rediscover the meaning of growing old together. 
Come in from the chill.......sit close with me by the fire.  It's time to share a few secrets only spoken on a cold autumn night....Time to come inside to enjoy the comforts of cozy talk, red wool socks, of quiet love, of slow dancing.  Let us celebrate life as this paradoxical season shifts into hibernation. 

this week's Photo theme is "turning cold...."  For more interpretations and variations, check out Carmi's blog right here!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

give us this day.......

Have you ever stopped at the end of the day when nighttime chimes its call to slumber and asked... Why was I given this day?  Tonight, as I try to answer, my mind seeks out a beginning point only to find a series of other questions rolling out of the original one.... 

What seeds did I plant?
What seeds did I sow?
Who touched me with their presence, both in person and from afar? 
Whom did I touch? 
Learning....what did I learn? Was I able to pass on any of my knowledge?
If I could capture the essence of feelings that accompanied me today, what colour would they be?
Who did I remember?
What did I do and how did I feel while I was doing it?

From one seemingly simple question, a plush red carpet rolls out of my reflections revealing more to consider.  Each one offers a gift of a deeper look into the day I was given as a gift.   In prayer, we request from God,  "give us this day our daily bread...." sustenance to thrive on.  We request this.  Upon reflection we can assess how we utilized this gift of days we are given that make up our lives.   

Did I stop.........just once to look around me ..... to see the beauty of my surroundings?
Where did I find the beauty?
Did I stop ... just once to look around me ..... to see the woundedness in my surroundings?
What shocked my senses?
When did I laugh?  
Did I reveal frustration, anger, confusion or did I stuff it inside because no one wants to see those big time uglies.  
Did I allow someone else to express the uglies, to help them rid them? 

What did I create today? 
How did I stretch my imagination?
How did I challenge my sensibilities?
What made me uncomfortable? 
Who was with me in spirit helping to guide me at some point today?
Did loneliness come to visit?

Why was I given this day......?
Was I kind to someone?
Did I scatter more seeds than I sowed?

So many of our days, we push through the 24 hour cycle like our lives are situated on top of a treadmill, our pace the same, our steps the same in order to keep going, keep balanced.  Maybe we need sameness because our lives are just too startling and stressful at the moment.  Just to "get through" them is a feat.  Maybe we dread stopping for fear of being accosted by the stark realities burdening our hearts, weighing heavily on our shoulders.  Maybe we skip through a day with a madness of last minute shopping before Christmas and forget that its the joy of giving, the satisfaction of finding just the right gift for someone we love not the completion of the never ending list of "to do's" that matters.  Some days seem so lacking in any stimulation that you feel like you've lived it over and over again. 

I'm left wondering if perhaps these are the kinds of days when asking the question...... Why was I given this day ...... matters the most?

Ask the question, the treadmill stops.  Ask the question and the opportunity to nurture the startling stress with attention happens.  Ask the question and the burdens are acknowledged and greeted by awareness.   Ask the question and that omnipresent fear of being alone is filled with the real connections you made with others......... face to face, over the phone, through an email, on facebook, at the store, passing someone in the street, at work, in the classroom, out in the parking lot, in your mind's eye. 

Did you know that there are at least 3 people out in the big old world who not only thought of you, but love you too.  You may not get to see them every single day, but they are out there rooting for you!  Cheering you on!

Ask the question to God?  "Why was I given this day God?"   He's a good sounding board.  However, chances are like a good therapist (the ultimate therapy dude, really) God will reflect the question back for you to answer.  "You tell me.... Why did I give you this day,"  He asks...... and you're left figuring it out, with His supportive touch guiding you through the perplexities any opened ended question promotes. 

Before the darkness around you folds into your own internal quiet lights out, let your dreams evolve from the abundance of silent reflections.  Let your day flow into the refreshing slumber with your gaze be filtered by a sense of resolution. No matter how difficult or trying it was, it can be transformed from an ordinary day on a treadmill to one that actually mattered because of the gifts you gave and received yourself.  

I may never have all the answers I want by the time I'm sound asleep....... sometimes the questions keep me up way after my bedtime and that's alright.  What I do know is that if I take the time to ponder, even the most wretched day holds a few gems.  And if I know I have a handful of gems, it seems to make the struggles all the worthwhile.

So, tonight I ponder, and peak into the wildness of my broad question.......  "Why was I given this day?"  To fill with as much life as I could..........with as much colour as i could.  And I believe I accomplished just that.....

Now its time to dream........of you.  Why?  Because you are with me every day.... in my actions, in my feelings, in my imagination, and in my soul.  You.  And I thank you for sharing this bountiful life with me.  Little did you know, but you eased my suffering, added to my joy, challenged and stretched my abilities.  It was you and the connection I have with you that turned this ordinary day into a recognized bouquet of blessings.

Monday, October 11, 2010

cleansing tears, awakening gratitude

Smiling market friends, Boyce Farmer's Market
October, 2010
Yesterday as I sat in church, I was flooded by tears.  They flowed out of me from a geiser just under my skin.  They streamed out  leaving me a bit perplexed over the quantity and over the fact that they didn't come from a place of sorrow nor joy.  It seemed like I was an open vessel........vulnerably open to expressing what I was receiving.  It's difficult to find the words to articulate it, except perhaps my sensitivities were heightened to flood stage while my heart was filled with gratitude.   I wasn't expecting the intensity of those feelings bubbling up, but there was absolutely no way of stopping them.  I didn't try.  Safe under the majestic  ceiling pitch of the old church, surrounded by the walls which have absorbed many stories,  I let go of the controls.

Its a bit disconcerting to be a person who can let the tears flow so effusively whenever I am touched by a moment.  When the moment happens to be in public, well it adds another flavour to the experience.  Tears are misunderstood by an onlooker. Automatically, we tend to think that they represent pain from grief or mourning and that crying is always a weeping.  Rather, they can be a communitative cleansing, a decluttering of the accumulative aches as well as the softened relaxation of the body and soul awakening to something only the heart sees. 

The service was poignant.  It brought forward a chance to recognize the gifts we have all around us and to feel a sense of love and belonging especially when one is moving through a new passage in one's life.  Gratitude felt fills the caverns inside us with joy.  It pushes out the sadness.  It awakens us to possibilities.  It leaves us sensing our internal tributaries flowing in and out with kindness.  It was a awakening affirmation of giving and receiving thanks, of remembering, of recognizing life's joyful harvest.

I had my head down during most of the service listening while envisioning the myriad of blessings in my personal life. I tried on occasion to put a halt to the tears.  I was running out of kleenex!  I wanted to be able to focus with clarity on the music, the words, the scripture.  But, there was no way of stopping them. Clarity came from inside.  What was spoken at the service seeped in through my pores settling in the emptied places where the tears had once resided.  

At one point, right in the middle of the sermon, I lifted my head up and at the same moment the angle of the sunlight filtering through the beautiful stained glass windows high up above me reached the spot where I was sitting.  Front and centre.  The light warmed the top of my head as a welcome to look up. When I did,  it bathed my face with a glow that pulled me right into it's healing.  The light reflected through the coloured glass, left me with a gift of radiance I can only describe as grace.  I can't believe how timely it was and how the air thinned all around me.  I took several deep long breaths.  

I prayed.  I sat quietly listening to the congregation all around me recite the creed, letting their expressive words be mine.  I gave thanks over and over.... in silent thoughts to God who guides us through the perplexities of an awakened life.  Yesterday, the Sunday of Thanksgiving,  I let the tears flow, like a river......... cleansing away the perplexities, emptying those overflowing soulcups, leaving me with space for receiving the vitality of Grace.  

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Gratitude and Humility

Let this be a rambling outpost tonight as I make an attempt to catch up to my thoughts and emotions which seem to be flying out of every orifous on my body! How's that for a pretty visual? 

Ok, let's start with 5 words, eh Beautiful Human Becoming GrandPip?


You know, sometimes all it takes is to find the words that attempt to describe the state of mind and heart for the uncluttering to begin.  You speak them, write them, express them and the power of the feelings lessen.  Focus begins to replace the flooding.  Awareness is invited through the door of the soul.  My 5 made up words brought me some smiling levity.  Silliness reigns!

Deep breaths....... in and out, in and out....... slow presence breathing....
Here's she goes....

Today started off well and then went into decline around 9 am after I left the Market when I allowed myself to relax and fully recognize the significance of Thanksgiving in my life and the lives of my family.   Hands down, it is the most loved dinner I prepare because the whole weekend is filled with the goodness of gratitude and the humility of stopping to remember the importance of sharing our harvest with others.   The meaning and the symbolism of preparing a meal with that in our hearts fills me with joy.  I love, love, love providing the meal for Thanksgiving.  So, it isn't surprising that I am having a tough time this weekend coping with the changes and the loss.

Since this morning, I have been shadow boxing with new and old ghosts.   Memories from way back of celebrating and giving thanks with friends and family in Spencer's Island and here in my home came marching into my presence.  Memories of last year's Thanksgiving celebration trumped all of them however, as I realized just how much my life had changed and I didn't even know it.  As much as I have tried to stop obsessing on this, I can't let go of the thoughts until I express them.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to accept the fact that the life you were living and seeing one way wasn't that way at all?  It feels like a violation. It really does.

I am no victim.  I have no time for that mentality and I am fully aware of where my own head was at this time last year and how much it was impacting my marriage.  It was in stuck mode, trying to figure out what I wanted and trying my best to express myself.  However, I didn't express myself.  I was reacting all over the place.  Not responding. Reacting and making things much worse.  I couldn't be fully open to hearing what was being said and NOT said.  I was too angry and burnt out from years of shouldering things, which of course closed down any opportunities for intervention on my end.  And since I was the only one to have taken the lead on that, it wasn't going to happen.  I stopped asking.  I let resentment cloud my vision as I struggled to keep afloat trying to seek solutions. I was questioning everything, and the most predominant feeling I harboured was fear.  Yes, fear. I see that now.

  • I was afraid to take a real honest look because I knew it was ugly.
  • I was afraid to really see the disconnect and numbness being projected from the both of us.
  • I was afraid to push for openness because I didn't know how it would impact his health.
  • I was afraid I couldn't cope with maintaining the status quo or what the future held.
  • I was afraid that I would remain stuck and life wouldn't get any better.
  • I was afraid of being rejected even though I was already feeling its realness.

This is where I was at last Thanksgiving.  Truthfully afraid and incapable of helping to steer my marriage back to safe waters.  I was so foggy while defensively protecting myself that it wasn't until much later that I began to see the signs that someone else had already replaced me in the love department.  Today, a year later these revelations have surfaced.  I see the irony of it too because all along I have been told that my reactions and my expressed feelings scared him.  I scared him. 

Turns out how I was behaving and how he was behaving was out of fear. Fear begat fear.   Of course, I know now that he stopped loving me months and months before last Thanksgiving.  It was all a ruse. Even if I had lifted up out of my fears, it was too late.  Resignation had already happened.  I just hadn't been told yet.

So, where am I today?  Am I still fearful?  In some aspects of my life, of course I am but in a much healthier and productive way.   My courage is bright and shiny again.  Through the knee dropping humility and the comfort of learning, reflecting, expressing, grieving, grieving and grieving, I am finding my way as I continue multi-tasking throughout my days, and stepping out into new territories with a new feeling of freedom gratitude.  Insights, late nights, bright lights, and dark sights and a whole lot of tears has stripped me of the layers of resentment (though I have a way to go......).  So has the unconditional love and support of my friends and my family.  Thank God.  Thank you.

Life it seems is a process of neverending surrendering.  What gets me is that the more you surrender, the less afraid you become.  Who knew??? Maybe I missed this lesson when I was too busy stubbornly trying to be a fixer, failing at it and then giving up? Or maybe I misunderstood, thought it was a commercial and went to the kitchen to plug in the kettle?

  • I looked at the ugliness and it ran away, replaced by growing beauty.
  • I reflected on the reality of the disconnections and take ownership of my side of things, while learning to forgive myself and others.
  • I let go of the responsibility of his health issues and began to address my own.  I have more to do in this area, but I am taking it one day at a time.  I still have troubles sleeping.  The anxiety still kicks in when I am alone falling asleep, but it will leave soon.  Feelings are just visitors with messages.  They eventually go bother someone else.
  • I am not living in the status quo of last year.  I broke free and learned quickly that my wings will continue to unfurl, my potential only grows as I learn to let go, as I allow my confidence to meet up with my competence.  What stalls me at times is this unresolved fear of being rejected.  When you've experienced the ultimate rejection and that happens to be your trigger button, well........... it takes time.

What I fear the most did come true.  But guess what?  I didn't keel over and fall into a fetal position.  Ok, I did a couple of times, but let's just call that meditative moments shall we?  However, I didn't remain there.  I got back up.  Dusted myself off.  Put on a cute little black dress and got my sexy little butt out there in the world again with a bunch of new learning stuffed in my lacy push up bra.  

Why is it that our most important learning seems to have to germinate from an open wound?  Why is it that personal enlightenment and transformation only occurs in the middle of a messy shift?  Maybe the imbalance, lack of footing, discomfort hurt we experience is the best way of appreciating overcoming our fears.  Kicking at darkness until it bleeds daylight, sings Bruce Cockburn. There's a crack in everything.  That's how the light gets in., croons Leonard Cohen  I guess you've got to kick hard enough to make a few new light emiting cracks?  Beautiful Imperfection, writes Pip Wilson 

Tonight, I began this bloggie post with a scrambledeggs head.  I finish it in a very different place, with new awareness.  I will be attending a dinner at a new friend's place tomorrow surrounded by folks I will meet for the first time.  I'm very grateful and humbled that they are sharing their harvest with me.  I have much to be thankful for.  I know this deep in my heart. 

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Transported through tunes...

 Beautiful Celtic sound at the Market. 

Instantaneous, in vivid sensory sound, music can literally transport you to another place and another time. We've all experienced this time travel to a past moment in our lives, triggered by a tune.  One or two notes and we're filled with a stirring of emotions all tied to a song.  For me, more often than not, it is the melody that pokes open a memory portal and before I know it, I find myself surrounded by a clear as day flashback.  

Badaboom!  I can name that tune in 3 notes....

Music flashbacks for  me  pack the biggest memory wallop because they clearout all of the other senses like draino and make way for a textured 3 dimensional multi-sensory performance.  One poignant song from my past can push back the curtains, lighten the air and heighten the emotions in a split second.  Before i know it, I'm seeing, hearing, inhaling the gift of that moment all over again.  Faces and events, my surroundings at the time, the stories which are tied to a song reveal themselves in a blink of an eye.   

Stumbled, startled, surprised, stepping back.....into an blast of the past...

Sometimes they are painful reminders of loss and trauma .... how time has marched on along with events you never would've predicted.  These are the ones I fell into many times over the last 8 months and for a while just had to avoid the music tied to the memories.  I find now they are softening.  These flashbacks aren't kicking me in the gut as hard anymore.  Instead, I can seek them out before they are unpredictably foisted through my sound boundaries and use them as a means for letting go of the hurt.  It wasn't so long ago...just a couple of months...... that I wouldn't dare put on a Van Morrison CD.  Now, he is back in my repertoire as he should be.  I turned off the jarring flashbacks his music created and turned into the smiling nostalgic times I hold close to my heart. 

Emotional awakenings pluck the spirit.....

Sometimes music flashbacks lift you up into a joyful dance that begins in the middle of your heart.  With a rippling effect, it sends rays of energy through your whole being and out of your limbs.  Before you know it, you're belting out the tune along with the musician with a sense of passion you have forgotten existed.  Anthem type songs tend to do this best.  Good old rock and roll numbers generate this energy, and can rip me right out of my present moment activities, placing me smack dab in the  middle of a concert, a party, a crowded club........... to a place where dancing with abandon was embraced with JOY.

Sometimes a song will leave me melting into my favourite chair as the soothing memories massage my temples,  leaving warm kisses on my spirit.  Just like comfort food, music is food for the soul.  These are the songs I love to stumble upon most often.  Many seem to tied to soundtracks from movies.  There are certain artists too who, guaranteed, will send me spinning slowly back into a place where I belong.  From hymns to the soft plucking sound of the guitar, to a orchestral symphony with wide open multi-layered harmony, to the old standards can wrap me up like a fleecy shawl.  

Flashbacks are spontaneous in nature. They aren't moments we can purposefully manufacture. Their essence springs from an element of surprise.  Whether they lift, soothe or send you soaring down the steepest part of the roller coaster ride, they are moments to treasure.  Why?  Because they are the play buttons that offer us insight into the split second moments in our lives when we shifted from unknowing to knowing.... from unaware to enlightenment.  Personal growth had happened in those moments we reflect upon.  Interestingly, whenever we are given the gift of a flashback, we are given the opportunity to stretch our learning again.  Growth continues. Life has a way of providing these lessons.  Free for the taking. 

East Coast Music Awards, Songwriter's Circle.  
Stephen Page, Jean-Francois Breau, Damhnait Doyle, Thom Swift and David Myles

This week's Sunday Scribbling's prompt is "Flashback."  For more offerings, check out their blog. 

Friday, October 01, 2010

lament of the heart....

John Hiatt, Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival
September, 2010

"My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky."Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams." Paul Coehlo, The Alchemist.

in search of dreams....
may it always have a soundtrack to deepen its meaning.

may it spring from the divine emptiness where hope germinates

may it include the fruits of lessons learned

may it permit you to float like a golden leaf caught in an upbreeze.

may it move you beyond the suffering fears to an upturned grin.

may it allow you to hear the grace notes lingering in the harmony.

may it leave you yearning for another taste of life's sweetness.

may it boost your courage to seek out the moon even when its hiding.

may your dreams keep you company when the world fades into a solo lament of the heart.