Friday, December 22, 2006

And we're off...

I'm hopping a train in a couple of hours and will be spending Christmas with Hubby's side of the family. It'll be a full house at Mum-in-Law's, complete with two excited little girls on Christmas morning. Our nieces (3 and 6) will certainly add that all-important level of squeal & giddiness to the day. I'm looking forward to it!

Of course, whenever we're with one side of the family, we're not with the other. That always brings a bit of sadness to the season as well. I'll be thinking of my Clan in New Brunswick and trust that, at some point, they will have a drink and sing a song with me in mind!

What a blessing: to have to decide which side of the family to spend Christmas with. As I spoke to my friend John-from-the-street yesterday, that fact became clear. He has five siblings and and a son - and he has lost touch with them all. And yet, he smiles, offers cheerful greetings to passers-by, and shares what little he has with his buddies. I think maybe there is my Christmas story this year - finding God-moments where you least expect it.

To all who pass by this blog, here's wishing you all the best of Christmas and continued blessings in 2007. Take a moment to turn up your speakers, sit back for a moment, and enjoy this musical Christmas cheer.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's all relative...

Like most of us, I'm a sucker for a white Christmas. Looks like I may have to use my imagination this year... There are benefits to this unusually warm December weather though. It's been good for running - only two sub-sub-zero runs so far! Those travelling early have fared well - here's hoping it lasts for the weekend. And I'm sure the relatively balmy temperature was much appreciated by the kilted bagpiper wailing "Tidings of Comfort and Joy" on the corner of Sparks & Metcalfe.

The fact is, we get what we get. And we make it what we make it. Mayswell make it good!


Monday, December 11, 2006

A visual meditation...

I have discovered the antidote to this mounting frenzy of consumerism that I have been experiencing of late: Into Great Silence. This film was a visual feast and a balm to my restless soul. I've been feeling disconnected from the season of Advent. In fact, Advent started two Sundays ago and I didn't even notice 'til this past weekend. I usually use this beautiful season as a time to slow down and to reflect on what the story of Christmas represents to me today. Advent: a time of waiting... but what exactly am I waiting for?!

Into Great Silence allowed me to slow down and set my ego aside for a while. It was a wonderful meditation on time, rhythm, discipline and - of course - silence. This documentary (if I may even call it that) brings us into the daily life of the Carthusian monks living at their motherhouse, La Grande Chartreuse, in the French Alps. Professing to a life of prayer & solitude, these monks are nonetheless living a life of intentional community.

The entire film was shot by a single person who lived and worked with the monks for six months. He was not permitted to use any source of artificial light. The effect is stunning. It reminded me of the value of keeping it simple - therein lies the beauty. And I think I was all-the-more touched by this film because of my recent decision to attend a 7-day Christian Meditation retreat in Tuscany next July. This retreat at Monte Oliveto Maggiore has been on my "wish list" ever since I first heard of it. God willing, 2007 is the year my wish comes true!

So, if you find yourself getting caught up in all that Christmas is NOT, treat yourself to 160 minutes of pure peace & simplicity. Here's hoping Into Great Silence shows up at a theatre near you...


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Another milestone...

How can it be that almost two weeks have gone by since my last post?! It seems that, despite all my efforts to slow down, life still streams by in a blink. Two weeks, made up of individual moments, made up of memories, made up of moments...

I've had a birthday since my last post. I have a child-like sense of excitement about birthdays. I don't shy away from it, but welcome it as another milestone reached on my journey. On my birthday, I was on the fifth day of a 5-day course. I flipped my nametag over and wrote: "It's my birthday... Hugs please!" It worked. Amazing what happens when you actually ask to have your needs met. :-) On one of my birthdays of years past (sometime in my late 20's), I changed my answering machine message. If you had called me on that day on reached my machine, you would have heard: (cue the music) "Happy Birthday to meee, Happy Birthday tooo meeee... Happy Birthday, Happy Birthdaaayy... Happy Birthday tooo meeee. Please leave your good wishes after the beep." (beeeeeep)

Celebrate life... it's better than the alternative.