Sunday, March 29, 2020

Staring Down Sixty

Me wearing sixty - freshly washed hair and a scrubbed, au natural face. 
Today is my birthday. I turned sixty.

Months ago the rumblings started about what I wanted to do to celebrate my sixtieth birthday. Sixty is a milestone birthday after all, and deserves to be celebrated. The advice I would give to others. And funny enough, I wasn't really feeling it. Not like I did when I was turning fifty. Then I wanted adventure; to push myself outside of my comfort zone; to travel to distant lands; and then to celebrate the day by cooking a feast for all of my beloved friends and family. I had clear desires and intentions around that special birthday and I realized them all.

I had landed on a family dinner with just the kids, sibs and our parents. And then the pandemic was declared and our world as we knew it was no more. We were sent home to roost in our respective nests to isolate and I was left to ponder and reflect.

I have come to realize that as the years pass, it takes less to satisfy me, to make me happy. I am contented. I have traveled and explored wild and wonderful places and loved and lived deeply. I have raised a brood of kidlets and enjoyed the riches and responsibilities of a large loving family. I have been blessed with rewarding work and curiosity that of a life long learner.

And now at sixty my heart yearns for connection, time spent, more moments shared with those I care about. And so for all of what I have experienced and the textures and colours that make up my life, I am truly grateful. And for all that we will learn from the pandemic and the famjams that will follow this quarantine, I am brimming with anticipation.

I am staring down sixty and the view is spectacular.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Reconnection

Reconnection. That is the word for the "now". International Women's Day has me reflecting on the many women who provided the texture and substance for my life. My mother and grandmothers from whose hardship, breast and bone I was borne.  Their resilience, strength and resolve that I can only pray is packed into my DNA.

My father used to tell me that I didn't need alot of friends; I needed a few good friends. And he was right. And over my lifetime I had had the privilege of having deep friendships - from school, college, and my workplaces. Some have come and gone, fulfilling their reason and season but I have a small group of friends that have been a constant, doing life with me.

A few weeks ago I had the urge to look up someone who had been very special to me and who I hadn't spoken to in over twenty years. The reasons are a little complicated but in a nutshell, our lives took us in very different directions. I had tried  to find her ten years ago to no avail. But my recent efforts paid off. She popped up on Facebook and I direct messaged her. I was nervous, wondering if she would want to reach out. Within days I received a pleasant reply. She was interested in catching up and promised to call me when she gets back into the country. It filled my heart and I was happy that I had listened to, and acted on my intuition.

Tonight I caught up with my forever friend Jilly and we covered the gamut of topics - Trump, Dems, Co-Vid 19, parents, kids, community, LGBTQ2, Pride, plans --- you get the picture. It was the kind of conversation one has if you lived next door, and she anywhere but. We share a universal connection not based on frequency or intensity. It just is - as sure as life itself. And after I speak with her I feel content and grateful. She is a changemaker and she is my hero.

I wrapped up my weekend with texts with my soul sisters to make plans to spend time together. We're trying to make our visits more frequent this year and it is a struggle but our commitment extends over 25 years now... longer than any of my marriages!

Reconnection is food for my soul, and tonight, this soul is full to overflowing.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Family. Celebration. Gratitude.

My week in three words: family, celebration, gratitude.

I've been a grandmother for more than a year now and, with the exception of the week I spent with the new moms when my granddaughter was born, this week I finally felt I earned the esteemed title. I was called into action to provide moral support, comfort and a roasted chicken to the moms. My pregnant daughter in law was ill and suffering with pulled back muscles and my daughter was suffering from a broken heart watching her wife struggle to breath and sleep. My little g-kidlet was somewhat oblivious, rearranging the contents of her mother's purse; emptying the closet of its boots; and donning the closest toque and gloves she could find. I understood the helplessness they felt. There aren't many medicinal options when you are pregnant and ill.

As I picked up the toys and well-loved books scattered about the nursery, my daughter rocked our baby girl and her voice quietly sang the same lullaby I put her to sleep with as a child. What a sweet reward for this grandma.

So much to celebrate. My MIH and father-in-law celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary this weekend. Teen aged lovers who stayed the course, and after a lifetime of parenting and grandparenting, are still joined at the hip as a solid pair. And the celebrations didn't stop there. Families came together for the first birthday celebration of my grand nephew. Looks like everything will be "grand" from here on in. So many smiles, hugs, "ooo's" and "ahs". And the chili wasn't half bad either.

And this leads me to gratitude. My meditation these past few days have consisted of quick silent affirmations, some deep breaths as I drove and most importantly, quiet prayers of thanks.When I find myself complaining about my ailments and fatigue, I remind myself that it is a privilege to be here, whole, and cocooned in the love of my family. And for that I am supremely grateful.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

No Straight Lines Make Up My Life


I have been taking more time for reflection and meditation, thoroughly enjoying what comes to me when I still my mind. The montage of life from the past two years plays out before me in vivid colour like a trailer of greatest highlights...and the emotion of every scene washes over me.

Life is like that. We expect it to be linear, one event, one crisis at a time to face and overcome, contained in its own space and time. In reality, life comes at us all at once, from all directions. We can be celebrating a birth at the exact same time as comforting a sick family member or mourning a death of a loved one. Weddings, funerals, graduations, retirements, birthdays, babies, divorces, challenges and achievements. One cannot be shelved in favour of another. Each demands its own face time and our attention; to be acknowledged. Each demands that we be in it, feeling what needs to experienced, doing what needs to be done, and sharing and loving with our whole hearts as we go. Life is like that; rich; deeply textured; and simply fantastical.

I am learning that the source of my joy and life's purpose is living mindfully, connected, immersed in love, with gratitude for the opportunities to experience my full range of emotions and evolve with each one.

And for that, I am truly grateful.

Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life. ~ Leo Buscaglia

Saturday, February 1, 2020

On My Way Back to Myself

I've missed you. To be honest, it feels a little strange to be back in this space that was once my place of comfort; exploration and creativity. I strayed; I experienced alot of life; and I reflected. And  just as life famously does, it has deposited me back at the doorstep of this blog. It is calling me and I am ready. It's not unlike dusting off an old trunk of precious treasures and memorabilia.

Last weekend I was at a two-day retreat, Journey to Rise. I went to support my friend Laura and in the process I was awakened to what I have learned over the years of reading, manifesting and knew to be true. I had a sign...I heard people repeatedly calling my mother's name, Roma. It's not a common name especially if you are of Irish/French Canadian descent. And then I realized the gentle healing dog that greeted each of us was named Roma. I warmed at every mention.

I meditate, well, at least since last weekend. I am not good at it. I struggle to keep my mind from cycling and to be still in the quiet. But I have to believe that I'll get better at it.  I have been starting small with short 10-12 minute long guided meditations - last thing I do before I fall asleep and the first thing in the morning. I have been sleeping deeper  and have felt joy radiating from my deepest being all week.

When my eyes are closed and no matter what the meditation calls for, the word LOVE pops up, in fuchsia, blue and purple. What do you want? LOVE. What is your reason for gratitude? LOVE. What do you picture your future self doing? LOVING. I am LOVE.

And my purpose is right there, lurking in the distance, gradually coming into focus.

I am writing. I am creating. I am listening to music. I am reconnecting and strengthening my connections (more about that in my next post) and I feel a deep peace and feeling of gratitude.

I am on my way back to myself.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Love Prevails

He's moving quickly and the impacts of his frenetic signing of executive orders are being felt just as swiftly. It's a mess. Rights are in the cross hairs - women's health; newcomers; Muslims; Mexicans; non-governmental organizations serving vulnerable populations;affordable healthcare... But big business is the favoured child staring at deep tax cuts and deregulation. The stock market is happy but that only represents a tiny fraction of the population, and certainly not the disenfranchised, disadvantaged and people living at the struggling end of the American Dream spectrum.

The planet seems to experiencing a collective dim period right now. Chaos at the airports. Fear of government. Blatant expressions of racism and hatred and intolerance toward those are "different" and atypical.

And last night six people were shot in the back and five others injured - as they prayed in their house of worship. The unfathomable happened in Canada; an act of terror. And in solidarity, countries around the world told us they were with us -- the Eiffel Tower went dark; flags flew at half mast and the Pope and other world leaders condemned the massacre.

As I have been wired, I seek the gift in this slurry of adversity. And my heart fills up.

People are not having it. We've come too far and we don't want to go back. People are taking their shock and awe and anger to the streets. They are speaking out and protesting with messages of inclusion, indignation and social justice. We are not having it.

We are one world; one love. Love conquers all, and love will prevail.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Missing Barack

I remember the hope and optimism I felt watching Barack Obama being sworn in as president. A new first for the U.S. - a black president who seemed to speak for all who'd never had a voice. A man of grace and integrity with a vision that was inclusive and with values that, as a Canadian, were easy to embrace.

Kidlet and I watched the inauguration of Donald Trump from the cosy Italian restaurant. She wouldn't let me take her picture with the tv in the background...she said she didn't want a record of it; she didn't want to remember the day. We both teared up watching the Obama helicopter disappear into the gray horizon - and taking our optimism with it.

Politics aside, I can't ignore the growing feeling of despair I feel. It's as though I am witnessing the rollback of goodness and progress. I am sick and tired of the "anti" politics -- anti immigrants; anti undocumented workers; anti women's rights; anti human rights; anti climate change; anti media; fake news; alternate facts; smokescreens, trivial tweets and negativity.

I am thirsty for decency and civility from leadership. In a world in which we are tackling bullying and violence with our youth (and beyond), we see name calling and incivility from the top; base, petty bickering, all unbecoming of the leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world.

Fear is rising as the clamps are tightened in the United States. More than ever I am grateful to be Canadian where, so far, we are welcoming to the most vulnerable people in the world and feel a moral and social responsibility to protect and share with those who are in need. With arms outreached we encircle the weak, defeated and traumatized and offer sanctuary and social justice.

The world needs more than a little love. And it starts with each of us. I want my optimism back!