Monday, August 30, 2004

Moving and Memories

AC and I are going to help our youngest daughter move to a new little apartment tomorrow and that is a rather scary thing when you think that we both have gimpy backs. Yikes! We are the moving crew????? Hard to believe. At least she is just a poor student and doesn’t have heavy appliances or bulky furniture to be carted around. Just one small apartment of “stuff”, to be moved to another small apartment. Shouldn’t be too bad.

I remember my dad and grandpa coming and helping us move each time we went from student housing to student housing and then to our little townhouse when John got his first teaching job. I don’t know what we would have done without them. We didn’t have two cents to put together and they gave freely of their time and energy to help us. They came with their gimpy backs and sore legs and drove the truck and then carried what they could. They lifted our hearts and spirits right along with the boxes and bookcases. Love enables us to do many things, and love will help us move our daughter into her new little place tomorrow. Hopefully we will make many happy memories for her to look back on in years to come and they will warm her heart like the memories of my dad and grandpa helping us, are warming mine today.

We will be gone for a few days so I won’t be doing much writing or posting blogs in the next little while. Come visit me again in mid- September and I will tell you how the move went.

Talk to you all later.

Monday, August 23, 2004

“Living with the IS not the SHOULD BE”

I read this phrase in a book the other night and the essence of the statement resonated with truth deep in my being.

We need to accept the IS in our lives, and not let regrets or anger about the SHOULD BE situations paralyse us and cause us to waste one more day on regrets.

I don't know what your should's sound like but whatever they are -

This person shouldn’t have died.
I shouldn’t be sick.
That person shouldn’t have left me.
I should have gotten that promotion
My child should be doing this with her life, not that.

Wishing and hoping and complaining will not change one thing. We need to look at the IS, change what we can, then leave the rest and move forward into the next minute of our lives. Tell yourself the truth and move forward.

As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I have been reading the JOY DIET by Martha Beck, and it is slow going, but well worth the effort. I am still trying to master the first “step” of this diet though, and that is to do nothing for 15 minutes each day. Have you any idea how hard that is? Try it. Wipe your mind blank and do nothing. It is really difficult.

Anyway, reading this book lead me to look into some methods of meditation and relaxation. In my search for a way to clear my mind and be quiet, so I could hear that still small voice of God over the roar of my busy life, I found one powerful phase that has helped me immensely, not only in meditating but in my life.

With each breath I take, I can start over again.

Wow, each breath gives me a fresh new start at life, creativity, forgiveness, service, – whatever I desire to do with my life. Each breath gives me a chance to start all over again and begin anew with my hopes, dreams, and passions. It is never to late to become what I might have been and the best time to start is right now, right here. Not wait until I am where I hope to be, or all the should’s are in place, but where I am right now, smack dab in the middle of all the is’s.

Ok, try it with me. Draw the air deep into your lungs and take a fresh new step into the rest of your life. Oh oh, after 10 inhalations you failed to move in a direction you wanted to? Take another breath and start all over again. Each breath is a new beginning, and a chance to start again. Don’t waste even one on regret.

Ready, set – GO!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Heart Sunshine

I awoke early this morning and rolled out of bed to catch the magic of those quiet moments before the day really begins. As I sit here and write now, the house is quiet and cool – just the way I like it, and the world seemes fresh and bright and peaceful. A brand new day, with no mistakes in it, spreads out before me and I wonder what life will write on this crisp clean page for me today.

I love this time in the morning when the rest of the world seems to be asleep and I am alone to greet the day in this calm thoughtful way. I can hear birds talking to the morning outside, and the wind is playing a game of “catch me if you can” with the wind chimes hanging on the back deck, but these sounds belong and fit into the quiet early morning symphony all around me. Such sweet music.

When I padded down to the kitchen, in my bare feet, to make coffee and feed the cat this morning, I was surprised to learn that it was actually too cold for bare feet, and I could have used a housecoat too. Brrr. The sun is shining now, but the air is cool and has the touch of autumn in it. Where has the summer gone?

We had company over for afternoon tea on the back deck yesterday and although the weatherman called for sunshine with a few cloudy periods, we had total cloud and a pesky raindrop or two. Drat! We huddled closer together under the “sun” umbrella and refused to move our party inside though. We drank hot tea, out of fine china teacups, and that warmed us up, even if the sun wouldn’t make an appearance to do so. We looked at wedding pictures and talked about vacations, families and plans for the fall. The warm circle of friendship lit up the dull, dreary weather conditions and we happily made our own sunshine under the sun umbrella and basked in the warmth of it. Good friends do that don’t they? Brighten any situation, and warm our hearts. They make the hard times easier to bear and the good times even better.

Why don't you call a friend and generate some heart sunshine of you own today!! It is good for what ails you, and you won't even need sunscreen. Shine on!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Pedalling into the wind.

Yesterday we went for a 50k bike ride and at times we were pedalling into gale force winds. What a slog those parts of the trip were. The wind was coming off the lake, so every time we took a turn and headed in that direction we were almost blown over. When that happened, we had to put the bikes into low gear and just keep our legs moving. Slowly but surely, keep those old legs moving, up down, up down. Before long we were at the next turn and got some relief from the stormy blast.

In spite of fighting against the wind all day, we had a fabulous ride. The air was cool, the sunshine warm, and the sky a crisp bright blue overhead. Absolutely beautiful! One section of the trail took us down tree-lined paths along to the wetlands, where we stopped to take pictures of the ducks and swans out on the water. This is a quiet spot, tucked away and protected from the winds off the lake. We enjoyed our, time out, from the wind there and were able to relax our muscles a bit as we pedalled along.

I have vivid memories of driving out to this park the day before I was due to get the results of my biopsy last fall. I needed to drink in the peace and calm of the place and let it wash over the turmoil in my heart. At that time the trees were in their full glorious autumn dresses, and the geese and ducks flocked around them like jewels adorning party outfits. It was a wonderful picture of nature calmly facing the changing of the seasons and preparing for the harsh winter ahead.

Questions were racing around in my head as I watched them that day. What did I have to prepare for? What kind of a winter would I be facing? Would surgery, chemo and radiation be on the agenda? I needed something to help me deal with the fear of what I might hear the next day. The peace and calm of that place did minister to my soul, and helped me quiet the inner storm. Mother Nature does have gifts to give us if we will only open our eyes and look for them. All these memories come back to me each time I go to that park now and I am so thankful for each day I am given to enjoy the great outdoors.

Ok, back to our trip yesterday. After we left the wetlands, we pedalled another 10k’s over to the lake, and had a picnic lunch on the beach there. It tasted like a feast fit for a king after our long ride. Sooooo good - peanut butter and honey on a pita, sweet crisp apples munched along with chunks of cheddar cheese, and then we finished off with a handful or two of trail mix loaded with nuts and raisins. MMMMMM delicious. It was so windy by the water we had to put on our squall jackets, but they did the trick of blocking the wind perfectly and we were quite comfortable while we munched and crunched our lunch.

After lunch, we set off for the trip back home. We had to fight the cross winds for a lot of that journey too, but they weren’t as fierce as the winds we faced when we were pedalling out towards the lake. I am glad we didn’t give up and turn around to go back home when we discovered how strong the winds were yesterday. The waves rolling and crashing on the lake were magnificent and the picnic lunch was such a treat at the end of that hard ride. Worth every hard pedal into the wind and more.

As I pedalled along, I thought about life and how it seems like such a slog some days when we are faced with gale force winds of adversity. It is hard to keep pedalling and not give up. It would be so much easier to stop, turn around and not push forward. Oh how much we miss when we do that though. Sometimes we have to stop and rest to regain our strength, and catch our breath, but then we have to get back up on our feet and keep pushing forward. Stopping and resting is not bad, it is the staying stopped or turning around and going back that robs us of the joy waiting for us at the end of the tough journey. The key is to know when to be kind and gentle with yourself and take the break you need, and when to be tough and make yourself keep pushing that pedal.

I wish you both wisdom and strength for your journey today.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Bare Feet and Monsters

It sure has been a topsy-turvy spring and summer as far as weather is concerned this year. It is cold and rainy one minute and hot and humid the next. Can’t quite seem to make up its mind what it wants to do.

Today is cool and windy, but just a few days ago we had a humidex reading of 37 in the afternoon and we could hardly breathe, it was so hot. We have central air in our old house, but not the greatest insulation, so when the sun beats against the south side of our roof all afternoon, the upstairs bedrooms become quite warm by bedtime. I have fans blowing in the hall to help move the warm air down and bring the cooler air up from the basement, but some days it is just a losing battle. Yesterday was one of those days.

I headed up to bed around 11pm and tried to think cool thoughts as I prepared for bed. Well, any port in a storm right? It was rather toasty in the bedroom I must say, and I needed all the help I could get to cool off so I could sleep. Cool thoughts couldn’t hurt and they just might help!!

I pulled the top sheet down to the bottom of the bed and left it there ready to pull up in the night if I needed it. I could do without it for a while, that was for sure. I crawled in, or should I say on, and sprawled out.

I lay there in the dark room and listened to the fan oscillating back and forth, and I soon started to cool down. Ahhhh, sweet relief. I still didn’t need the top sheet, but I pulled it up over my feet anyway, and was able to eventually drift off to dreamland.

For a few seconds before I pulled up the sheet I was reminded of times in my childhood when I couldn’t let my foot rest outside the blankets because I thought a monster might reach up from under my bed and grab it. If I had all my appendages hidden under the sheets, I was safe from harm and could sleep. I had to have my hands tucked under the pillow and feet inside the blankets. Monsters couldn’t get through blankets or under pillows after all. Everyone knows that, right?

Now, I am no spring chicken. I am on the downward side of my 50’s, sliding fast into my 60’s, and last night I had that same feeling I had when I was a little girl. I had to tuck my feet under the sheet to feel secure or comfortable enough to roll over and go to sleep. I tried to tell my self that it was silly, and it was still too hot to need the sheet, but I couldn’t rest until I had my feet covered and my hands tucked under the pillow. We are strange beings aren’t we?

There is still a big kid in all of us, no matter how old we get. So, go get your blanky , tuck your feet snuggly under it and take an afternoon nap today!! Enjoy. I sure do.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

From a distance…

Well, the long weekend is behind me, and I am now moving full speed ahead into lazy, hazy, crazy August. I am not quite sure where July went, but it is in the history books now and August is in full swing. Hard to believe it is already the 5th and I am just getting around to my first entry for the month. Who put the world into the fast forward mode anyway? It is almost impossible to sit and write when your world is spinning faster than the speed of light!! Oh well, I will try to find a quiet spot in the middle of the vortex this morning and post something.

We had such a busy but fun time on the weekend that I think it will take me a week to catch up on my sleep. I seem to have the hazy and crazy part of summer down pat, but I am missing the lazy phase this year.

The kids arrived late Friday night and they brought lots of laughter with them. As usual, the phone rang off the hook while they were here, and the house was a hive of activity. We went non-stop, from early in the morning till late at night each day, and had so much fun.

When every one was here for the BBQ on Sunday, I went to the back of the yard and sat on the garden swing, for a little while and just enjoyed the sound of laughter and chatter coming across the yard to me. All of the activity was on the deck by the house, so the garden swing gave me a nice, removed vantage point to observe the party from. I find it pleasant to sit apart from a crowd like that and look back on it, and listen to the sounds from a distance. Have you ever done that? It gives an added dimension to any gathering, and provides the perfect makings for a wonderful vivid memory. It is almost like focusing a special camera and taking a mental snapshot of the event. All the sights and sounds make a lasting impression when you do this.

At my nephew’s wedding last year I made a point of leaving the tent where all the dancing and partying was going on and I walked down the farm lane to the road and then looked back on the scene. The night was dark, the air cool and the tent looked like an illusion, all lit up in the night. The sound of music mingled with the songs of the crickets and frogs and it was quite a combination. I can see it all and hear it clearly again as I sit here writing about it today. I had to step away from the centre of the party to see it like that though.

I did the same thing at Sha’s wedding this year. I made a point of going outside and looking back at the tent from a distance. I stood quietly and tried to listen to the night sounds of nature all around me; feel the temperature of the air and the dampness in the grass; see the stars in the sky and the dark shadows of the trees on the lawn; and breathe in the sweet perfume released from the plants in the cool of the evening. All these sights, fragrances and feelings, mingling with the muffled laughter and music coming from the tent made for a magic moment that is vividly etched in my memory now.

Try it the next time you are at a function you want to capture in your memory, or any moment that you want to freeze in time. Make the effort to step away from it, and look at the total picture. Feel it, smell it, taste it, listen to it.

I try to go out of my way to do this whenever I am in a crowd of people. If I can’t remove myself physically to a different location, then I just do it mentally and try to look at the situation as an outsider instead of a participant. For example: sometimes when I am in a movie theatre I take my eyes off the screen and look around me at the faces of the people in the darkened theatre with me. It is surreal to see the light flickering on their faces, while all eyes are intently watching the movie. I see hands moving automatically to mouths with offerings of popcorn or chocolate, all the while, their eyes are fixed intently on the screen. We are all seated together in this big room, but we are each in our own private worlds. Much like life. We are all in it together, but rarely look around to see, really see, each other.

Things often take on a different look and feel when viewed from a distance don’t they? We can also use this “looking at things from a distance” action to help us see an upsetting situation in a different light and get a clearer picture of it.

Go ahead. Try it. Whatever you encounter in your life, step away from it and try to view it from a distance to get a glimpse of the whole picture. Observe it objectively and see how it looks from that angle. If it is a happy event, this locks it in your memory like nothing else can, and if it is an upsetting situation; this just might help you find a solution or a way to cope until you do find a solution.