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!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Worth Celebrating

Last year he didn't want to celebrate his birthday - being so close after Christmas (or so he said). "I'm turning eighty next year -- we'll have a party then". I pointed out that his January 5th birthday is always right after Christmas, and that would never change. But it seemed like a plan.

"No presents" he insisted. "There's nothing I need; I don't need one single more shirt or sweater. I just want to spend it with the family".

And so my sibs and I rallied our spawn and impressed upon them the importance of them clearing their calendars and making sure they attended. No coaxing required - they were all in.

And so we all planned. We set the date (the Saturday after his actual date), he booked his community clubhouse and then we cut him off from any further details.

We contacted his close friends and colleagues, some former students and family and invited them to contribute to a book we were putting together. Have you ever sat a funeral listening to heart wrenching, moving eulogies in which they express how much the departed meant to them or impacted their life? Eulogies and superlatives are wasted on the dead and funerals. Anything worth saying should be expressed to the ones who truly matter to us. And so we asked people to share...and share they did. We knew the greatest gift we could give him would be the knowledge that he impacted lives; that he made a difference and that he was heard.

The hall filled up with wide smiles; balloons hovered above; Jeff took his seat and the grand piano and the party unfolded. We laid our our potluck smorgasbord of lasagna, baked beans, pulled pork, chicken, roasted potatoes and veggie chili - comfort food prepared with love from loved ones. Harmony and hubby performed "I Understand" and we sang some favourite family songs.

And then the elder addressed our tribe. He told them of his humble beginnings and happy childhood. He reminded them that they came from good, strong, resilient stock that valued family and relationships above things. His kids and grandkids sat wide-eyed while he quietly spoke, hanging on every word. He still has that authoritative air about him...

Every member of our family was there to show him what he means to all of us. We celebrated him and reveled in the warmth and love that was palpable in the room. We all need more reasons to celebrate, and every birthday is worth celebrating.

And so we came together to celebrate our patriarch and in doing so, gave ourselves the gift one another; the collective strength, security and unconditional love that comes with belonging to a tribe like ours.

And for that, I am truly grateful.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Back on Track

I think I am suffering from holiday hangover. We had a team meeting today at work and everyone was showing a little fatigue. Someone commented that we all looked a little puffy and pale - no doubt a product of overeating, under-sleeping and over-doing.  Ahhh - the holidays...

After more than ten days of sleeping in, 5:30 am came like a jolt of cold water on the face, and the first day back dragged on for an eternity. Second day went a little better; I awoke before the alarm, the shower heated up a little quicker and I even remembered to turn off the alarm system (even though it was speaking Spanish).

Lots on the go this cold wintry week. My pops is turning 80 and we're celebrating this weekend with a birthday famjam. Every birthday is worth celebrating, but 80 is a milestone! He told us not to bother with a bunch of gifts - he just wanted to spend time with the family. And so we will all gather to laugh with him; tell a tale or two and raise a glass to the best patriarch a family could wish for.

I'm on track with my "more time with family" resolution, as well as with "more reading and writing".

So much to celebrate. And for that I am grateful.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Second Chances

I have a shamrock plant that was my mother's. She's been gone for almost twenty years so to be custodian of a living thing that meant alot to her, means alot to me. It's a finicky plant this shamrock. Over the years, on several occasions  it has wilted up, dropped its leaves and delicate white flowers, and done a convincing job imitating a dead plant.

We moved it from its spot in front of a window to another window in the sunroom so we could decorate for Christmas. It protested by stripping down to its nethers. Honestly - it almost made the dumpster but on close examination, some tiny plump sprouts were detected poking out of the soil. Close call. But we cleaned up the pot and discarded the dead leaves, gave it a good watering and perched it back in front of the window for the best sun exposure.

And it survived. And thrived!

So lesson learned. We have to seek the gifts - the tiny sprouts of hope - in adversity. Hope lives just below the horizon of the darkest day. You may have to look hard - but it's there among the debris.

Mom taught me this as I was growing up and I chose to believe that she was sending me a little reminder to nurture the delicate; care for life and lives. With love and light and time - anything is possible.

Thanks Mom.