Thursday, October 30, 2008

Best Seats in the House for Obama Drama

Can you feel it mounting ... the excitement leading up the to US election? It's hard to put your finger on it, but you can just feel the winds of change blowing over the country -- and not just in America. I think Canadians are enjoying a view not unlike that from a theatre box -perched nicely up high to the left, unnoticed by most, but with a bird's eye view of the scene being played out below. We applaud when we are moved and sigh in disappointment when we are not. Regardless - we are captive voyeurs of the drama and potentially history-making politics being played out south of our borders.

I can't speak for all Canadians, however I can say that I can't remember being this engaged and opinionated (impassioned) by a political event since the Referendum. In Obama I see the embracing of the new America - one that is not pasty white with membership in the ruling class. He is youthful, invigorated and optimistic. Even more important is his ability to stir emotion, and extract that desire in us to want and do more. To step up.

Gosh - I wish I could vote for Obama. But then again - that would mean I was American. I think I like the view from my box seat just fine after all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Unexpected Connection

Today was a day of random connections - of the best kind. My morning started off on a happy note with the smiling face and voice of the middle aged woman working the McDonald's drive through who handed me my coffee, wished me a wonderful day and offered me a free newspaper. I drove off feeling surprisingly uplifted and thinking how small gestures can affect the world -- my world. I made a mental note to try to pay it forward today.

My lunchtime trip to the mall for a bite offered a few interesting opportunities. I was looking for a spot to each my sandwich in the crowded food court when I noticed a table for four with just a tiny elderly lady sitting at it. I asked her if I could sit down and she gave me the biggest grin and an "of course Honey... I am just waiting for that young fella to bring me a cart". She was dressed for a special occasion -- several strands of pearls, lipstick with her wig slightly askew on her head. She seemed so happy to be out and about, and made sure to say her goodbyes before leaving, leaning heavily on her cart.

She no sooner left and I was joined by an elderly gentleman in his seventies. He asked if he could take me to lunch, winking as he asked. Then he said he couldn't be blamed for trying. My mouth was full of chicken salad however I nodded and smiled. He launched into one story after another about the weather, his tower climbing days and the jobs he held when he was young. His face lit up and his eyes twinkled as he told me his stories. I couldn't help but wonder what it was about these elderly people that warmed my heart so. Could it be that we see our own grandparents/parents in the faces of these sweet souls or that we get a glimpse of our own mortality? As I collected my crinkled sandwich wrapper and got up to leave he apologised for holding me up and thanked me for a delightful lunch.

I told him the pleasure was all mine -- and I meant it. I went back to work energised and revitalized from the chance encounters with the nameless people I had shared some special moments with. I made a mental note to try to pay it forward .... whenever I can.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


In a country well governed,
poverty is something to be ashamed of.
In a country badly governed,
wealth is something to be ashamed of.

- Confucious

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More of the Same

Maybe I am just one of many fellow Canadians that woke up this morning with an election hangover. Thankfully campaigns in our country run for weeks and not months and even years. You would think that a federal election campaign could capture our attention for such a short time. Sadly however this was not so. I felt that our campaigns were lacking in focus, issues and message. I was optimistically hopeful that we would get a change -- restore our commitment to the Kyoto Accord as well as our respect in the international community.

We need a leader to inspire and unite the people. It is not enough for the party leaders to be intelligent and honourable. They must demonstrate strength and vision. We are starving for it. Leaders are individuals who people want to follow. There wasn't a single candidate on the ballot who I wanted to follow. I can only hope that the leaders within the parties rise to the top like cream in the milk bottle, and that the next time we are called to the polls we can feel as though we have true choices.

With our Canadian election behind us, I turn my attention to the American race and the presidential debate. What can I say ... I am a political junkie and would give anything to cast a vote for Barack Obama.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a day to remember all that for which we are grateful. It's our special time to give thanks ... not only for the obvious, like food and our homes, but also for the countless fortunate moments, the multitude of blessings that we receive each year.

For reasons unknown, we often tend to remember the bad things more easily than the good. We can reprogram ourselves to learn a new reflex -- the positive one. With practice we can learn to see the light in our lives first and foremost, and reduce the negativity to mere shadows.

A good way to begin is to start keeping a gratitude journal in which you jot down at least five things for which you are appreciative. It is an effective way of ending your day on a positive note - no matter how the day went - and setting your compass for the next day.

Write down 5 things. You may find that your entries will be very different - depending on the kind of day you had. Some days you will be able to fill pages of experiences and things that made you feel grateful. On other days, you will take great pains to find even 5 things to write about. I have had many of such days. At the end of such a day, my entries are about the most simple of things. " I am grateful for the soft, warm duvet on my bed that brings me comfort and a good sleep" or "I am grateful for the strong hug myhusband gave me after dinner that is a reminder of the love we share", or even "I am grateful for the perfect, hot cup of tea I had after dinner that warmed my insides and relaxed me".

Think of all the good things that happened in your day. Focus on what you have. Think about people you've known that have made you thankful for their existence. They can be family, friends, collegues or even people that you've read about or seen on television.

Think about the animals that have given you joy: Dogs that love you with every inch of their hearts, cats that think your lap is the best place to nap in the whole world, birds whose songs uplift your spirit, squirrels whose antics put a grin on your face and so on.

Think about the places that make you smile: A favorite restaurant, a wooded trail, an exciting city, a great spot from which to view the sky, or walk by the water. Give thanks for all these things.

Today is a day of Thanksgiving ... and I just know that once you start counting your blessings, you will find that you have countless. In our country, most of us are truly fortunate to live in abundance, security, beauty, peace and of course, the best of all - love. For all of this - I am profoundly grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The End of the Week

It was a long week and once Friday arrived, I was beyond tired. I found myself dragging myself through my day fantasizing about getting into my comfy sweats and planting myself on my couch. The day ended on a high note. On the 45 minute drive home, I was reminded of the beauty and wonder of each and every day. Just as I thought a storm was on the way -- a full rainbow appeared across the entire expanse of the highway. I was ushered majestically into my weekend. Life is indeed good.