Friday, 22 April 2016

Earth Day

“We breath peacefully and calmly for those who can not.  We breath and become connected to the earth.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Today is earth day, and it is a beautiful rainy soaked spring day.  The rain washed earth is suddenly green.  The lawn is growing – and will soon need to be cut.  The weeds have found root in the garden, and invite us to sort and refine our vision of that part of creation which we claim. 

We are connected to the earth.  This is evident in spring time, as we carefully wait to see what the spring day brings.   A brisk wind will make the day cooler, while the strength of the sun will leave warm our hearts and souls. 

We have much to learn from the earth.  It’s sense of renewal and seasonal timing, it’s connectedness.  The earth sings to us in the springtime.  It sings, of colour and promise, and patience.  We must wait and watch, bide our time until all is ready. 
Such is life, rainy days and sunshine, waiting and watching, all with a sense of timing and purpose.  

We should be as patient with ourselves as we unfold, and with our lives as they unfold according to the way and timing of the universe. 

“Often the journey of transformation is steeped in mystery and you can not see where you are going.  Be Brave.  Because sometimes leaps of faith leads to the most wonderful of adventures.” (Illuminating souls)


Enjoy this earth day, smell the rain and bask in the sunshine, make some plans and sit back and watch the earth renew itself, and us.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Life's Moments

“Life isn’t a matter of milestones but of moments.” (Rose Kennedy)
It has been a busy week in our household, as most of them are.  Our lives are full, and we go in many different directions each day.   In order to maintain that sense of the ‘Sanctuary of each others arms’, it is important to carve out some moments. 

Moments are tricky, because they have to happen organically.  If one person tries to over plan a moment or activity, it just creates pressure. I long ago gave up the notion of over planning, once I realized that my inclination to plan events was no longer the best method of getting family time.  This happened when my plans for PA days would get abandoned if my kids got ‘better offers’ ie made plans with their friends – as they should.  I also realized that my one free Saturday in a month was often filled in for my kids by their plans.  Monty’s life this time of year is dictated by weather and staffing needs – and the ever dependable emergency. 

So life becomes about moments.  An impromptu pub dinner date after dance class for my husband and I.  A quick trip with my daughter to a clothing store to find a dress.  A shared bag of potato chips with my son, after my Thursday night commitments (sometimes one has to choose a moment over a good food choice.)    None of this activities added up to more than 5hours in total.  All of them happened easily and with little effort.   All of them left each of us feeling like we had spent some time with each other that mattered.

Life is full of activity, chores, worry, joy, deadlines and commitments.  It is a fine balance every day and every week between doing the things we need to do in order to make a living; the things we give ourselves to, in order make the world a better place; and the things we want to do, in order to make life worth living.  In between all of these things are the moments of life…stories told, laughter found, comfort given, and love expressed.


“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” (source unknown)

Friday, 13 November 2015

Beatiful World

Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul. ~Alice Walker

This week I have walked by the lake in all kinds of weather.   Bundled up, shorts, rain coat and everything in between.   I walked when the lake was as still as glass, and on other days when the wind produced white caps on the water.  I walked in the early morning and mid day, as well as at dusk.
Although I walked in the same place each time, every experience was completely different, yet they were all beautiful; take your breath away beautiful. 

We walk in beauty everyday; we are surrounded by incredible people and things.  By leaves preparing to offer to the earth nutrients for more soil.  We are surrounded by water, and towering pines, by sky and changing light of day. 

We are surrounded by people, each with something to offer to us, a challenge, an opportunity to forgive, and a moment of grace.  We are surrounded by people who need our energy, our smiles, and our support. 

We find beauty wherever we are; we bring beauty to wherever we go.

Make the world more beautiful today; see the beauty in everywhere you are.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Life is Max Flex

I generally set out a plan for my day, and week, with long range ‘plans’ for weeks and months to come.  Always somewhere in the back of my mind is what I like to call the ‘long game’ – the goals I have for myself.
 I am not a person stuck to plans, I just like to think ahead.   But there is a challenge to this.  The challenge is to adapt and change to conditions as they come along.  “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” (John Lennon)
On a daily basis this is a simple as re-arranging the days ‘schedule’ to fit everything in, and deciding what can be left to another day.  Beyond the daily this becomes a constant shifting of the sands of time, as we re-organize and make room for things that were missed the week before.
It is this constant flexibility that we find most difficult, because once we set ourselves on a path, once we decide where and what we would like to do, it is difficult to change.   This is where our stress and worry comes from,    from dealing with the changes to our own plans, the things left undone (which often feels like a pile of stuff) and the knowledge that we still have to accomplish a list of tasks. 
It is a spiritual and mental exercise to allow life to happen around us.  That seems obvious – as life does happen-  but often our greatest challenge is to adapt to the life that happens, in the midst of the life that we think should happen.  
 Albert Einstein said that “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”   So be smart today, make a plan, and be ready to change it.   Stop fighting life, and what it brings to you and simple live.
There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.” Dalai Lama XIV


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Wait

Everything you need will come to you at the perfect time….you just have to be patient and wait for it.” (unknown)
This is a piece of spiritual advice I see offered over and over again.  It’s universal, spans generations, and religious practices.   I suspect this is because of our need to figure out what is going to happen next.  We are constantly worrying and wondering about our jobs, relationships, kids, parents.    This is distinguished from planning or goal setting,   plans are an outline…goals are a destination.   Worries are about control... 'We suffer more often in imagination than in reality' (Seneca)
We have to learn to just let things be what they are.  Not expect them to change to become what we have already decided they should be.  We must learn to stop forcing things… just live. 
It is perhaps the most difficult of spiritual practices.  To just let life unfold as it will – oh and spoiler alert here – that’s what will actually happen.
Let go of your need to know how everything is going to go,  make plans, set goals… but get up every morning and just let today be today…. Trust in that alone…do your best, be your best…leave the rest of the unknowns where they belong…in the hands of the universe.

Friday, 20 February 2015

We do not quit

A number of years ago, our family made the acquaintance of an older gentleman, swimming his way from the beach, to the island, at Lake of Two Rivers in Algonquin Park.    We were paddling in our canoe.   Over the years, we saw him each summer, and eventually he was the inspiration for our kids making the same swim trek.   Our son, told him later, that the journey was difficult and that he had thought about getting into the canoe, or asking for a floatation device, to make it easier, but that in the end he persevered, and accomplished the swim.    Our gentlemen friend, in his rich Eastern European accent, reflected on this challenge and said simply “(w)Ve  do not quit.”  

It’s a phrase we have often reminded our children of, when they struggle with something difficult.  

It’s a phrase that came to mind today as I read of people struggling with enduring the weather, the heartbreaking loss of a three year old boy, the struggles for justice in a world full of those who would pander hate, abuse, and greed.

We do not quit.  A simple reminder that we all need to hear.

We do not quit hoping, loving, trying, praying.  We don’t quit on our plans, on our dreams, on our imaginings.  We don’t quit trusting the ways of the universe, awaiting that for which we have hoped, knowing that tomorrow will be better. 

“Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer.” ~AndrĂ© A. Jackson


We do not quit

Friday, 19 December 2014

Thoughts on Christmas Blessings



Recently I said a blessing at a Christmas Luncheon.  It’s one of my favorite events of the year.  A truly modern take on an old tradition of gathering in the people who work hard, to honour and acknowledge them, and serve them a nice Christmas Meal.  It’s also a favorite because it is possibly the most eclectic group of people I know.  A mix of ages, religious and cultural backgrounds, people from completely different walks of life, gathered together to honour a tradition from a different time and place.
As you can imagine, this makes saying a blessing a challenge.  Clearly I celebrate Christmas, but I also respect that a lot of people in the room don’t.  Not just those of a different religious belief, but those who celebrate the holiday, without the religious layers that go with it.
For me, the response to this challenge is very clear.  Everyone is welcome at the table.  In faith, my purpose is to share the love of Christ in everything I do.  When I read the stories of the way that Jesus lived, it seems clear to me that his purpose was to welcome “the other”.  Whoever that other was, the other person, the other religion, those other than respectable, those who were from cultures and traditions different from our own, those that fit no category.
We all gather around tables in this time of year, tables full of strangers, of people of other religions, of family members and friends who think differently than us.  Our task is not to make them believe, or even honour what we believe, our task is to offer the hospitality of God, that all may be welcomed in, that all find a place at the table.   In doing so, all are blessed.
Here’s the blessing I used, a mix of Christmas carols, and old Celtic blessings, spoken in faith, and peace and love.     That’s what really matters, that’s the meaning of Christmas.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
As our ancestors have always done, we gather against the dark to be the light and a blessing to one another.
Therefore…
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
May you be blessed
With the spirit of the season, which is peace,
The gladness of the season, which is hope,
And the heart of the season, which is love.