Sunday, December 23, 2007
As Christmas Day draws near, I recognize the abundance in my life and I give thanks...
...for my family
...for my health
...for meaningful work
...for a beautiful, quirky home
...for my friends, near & far
...for the presence of a Loving God in my life
Here's wishing you all the Love, Peace, Joy & Faith this season truly represents!
For a special greeting from Hubby & me, click here - enjoy!
Pace e bene,
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Last winter, it became clear to me that I am a fair-weather runner. Of course, it helped that we didn't get any snow until January. But that is certainly not the case this year!! Winter doesn't officially begin until this coming weekend, but I just finished shovelling our driveway yet AGAIN. The snow banks on either side of the path are higher than my waist, which makes shovelling a little challenging. Don't get me wrong - it's absolutely beautiful! I'll take this winter wonderland over rain or a greenish-brown Christmas any day. And, although I love walking in this weather, I'm none too crazy about running in it. Hence, the dreadmill...
Last winter, I found running on the treadmill excrutiatingly boring, and quickly found excuses to avoid it. That's when I first heard the whisper of the iPod: "I could make this bearable..." I have to admit, it was! It was an exercise in humility though. At one point at the gym today, I was in the groove: I had a good rhythm going... good posture... good pace... I may even have looked sorta cool. That's when my hand got caught in the wire for my earplugs and the iPod came tumbling off the little ledge. I bobbled it from hand to hand as I tried to catch it. Of course, a treadmill doesn't stop or slow down when you lose your stride. It becomes the enemy.
I managed a quick little triple step and a little lunge to the left, then regained my balance without being flung against the back wall of the gym. Phewf - that was close! Who's looking cool now?! :-) Oh, to be humbled by a treadmill... To think these guys make it look so easy!
Pace e bene,
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I'm also quite fascinated with the wide range of podcasts - it's amazing what they have out there! I could easily become overwhelmed with the info that's out there... sorta like blogs - so many blogs, so little time! Add podcasts to the mix, and my head may just well explode.
So, I survived the first lesson! S'cuse me while I go shopping at the iTunes Store...
Pace e bene,
Monday, December 10, 2007
I have this quote on a print in my meditation room. Lately, I find myself reading it daily and appreciating its profound wisdom. T'is the season, as the saying goes... but what season is it exactly?! I have been unable to latch onto the Christmas cheer so far. To be honest, I am dismayed at what this time of year has become. It is so drenched in consumerism and political correctness, I almost feel like turning my back on it completely. Were it not for the messages beyond the hype... hope, peace, faith, joy. Advent - waiting and preparing for a new way.
As I go through yet another "season" of my own, I can acknowledge its influences. Right now, I am being lead to a time of rest, of strengthening, of returning to my source of Being. And it's not easy to do when the world around me is rushing around, frantically preparing for Christmas celebrations. Somehow, I don't think God will care that I don't have a Christmas tree... or a Crèche... or red velvet bows, shiny decorations and homemade baking. And I need to let that be OK within myself. Therein lies the challenge.
On a lighter note, I celebrated a birthday this past week. And Hubby has taken it upon himself to bring me - kicking & screaming - into the 21st century by buying me an IPod... a beautiful red one! I don't know the first thing about how to load it up and am looking forward to my first lesson later this evening. I really am quite a techno-peasant (despite having my own blog). I look forward to seeing how this tiny piece of technology will enhance my quest for health & balance and pray that I don't become one of those people who are constantly "wired for sound" and therefore absent from the present moment. I need to accept that, on its own, the technology is not bad - it all depends on how I use it. Wish me luck!
Pace e bene,
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Murals often commemorate local celebs, such as Patti Labelle (mural #2) and Herman Wrice (mural #3).
Pace e bene,
Monday, November 19, 2007
We started by going to the Franklin Institute Science Museum. I was intrigued by a special exhibit that opened there last week on Identity. We also took the time to take part in a time-honoured tradition: walking through The Giant Heart. :-) Our timing there allowed us to see one of the shows at the Fels Planetarium. Very cool!
By this time, it was just around lunch time and we decided to make one last visit to the Reading Terminal Market. The food on the train is so horrible, so we're bringing more with us this time. I stood in line at the most popular butcher counter in the market for close to 20 minutes. That place was bustlin'! I could totally picture myself as a resident stopping by to get my week's supply of food. I started chatting with another fellow who was waiting. I learned that he was 57 years old... that he's been coming to this market since the 60's... that he's been coming to this butcher for 4 years... that he and his wife don't eat red meat... that he'd done some crazy stuff in his youth ("the whole 60's drug scene, y'know?") but that health was very important to him now... Amazing what you can learn while waiting for the butcher to call your number!
Back to our "apartment" for a quick lunch before heading towards our next destination: Antique Row. Many of the shops were closed - and perhaps that's a good thing! - but the architecture was just delightful! Beautiful laneways lined with attractive "brownstones" and paved with cobblestone. Much to my delight, we also stumbled upon a work of art I had seen during my first visit to Philly in 2005: the amazing mosaic art of Isaiah Zagar. I couldn't remember the artist's name, nor the location of his main masterpiece... yet I remembered it. Funny how I just "happened" upon it anyway. :-)
We enquired about local coffee shops. One shop owner directed us to The Chapterhouse, an independantly owned coffeehouse and art gallery. How perfect! I sipped on a ginger tea as we warmed up before heading back out to catch a movie. On our bus tour, we had noticed a movie theatre that seemed to be showing an interesting slate of films. We decided to go see the early showing of Into the Wild. The Ritz 5 Theatre was delightful: small... quiet... a breath of fresh air. Rather than blaring loud pop music and showing stupid celebrity quiz questions on the screen prior to the start of the movie, we were treated to classical music, opera arias and a "slide show" of works of art on the screen. The film? If you haven't seen this yet, I would highly recommend it! It's definitely a "big screen" film with stunning cinematography. Inspired by a true story, the film is thought-provoking and very engaging. Although it's over two hours long, not once did I look at my watch or feel that it was dragging on. A story worth hearing...
We walked back and are now preparing for our early morning departure. Our train leaves at 5:50am. Luckily, there will be plenty of time for sleeping later in the day. :-) And so, this is jag, signing off from Philly... See you back in Ottawa!
Pace e bene,
Sunday, November 18, 2007
And thus began my day... Well, actually, my day began a couple of hours before the 7:15am race start time. Much to my surprise, I was even awake! :-)
I am happy to report that I successfully completed my first 8K race! I felt quite good throughout and could even have pushed a little harder. However, I wasn't sure if I'd have enough juice to get me to the finish line, so I ran at a cautious pace at the beginning. My final chip time was 51:43. I met my first goal of getting through in less than an hour, and just missed my second - more silent - goal of trying to finish in 50 minutes. The scary thing is after it was all over, I found myself thinking "Hey, if I can run 8K, then I can probably run 10K..." But not this week! Perhaps it's a good goal to set for the spring. Originally, I had thought I could run a 10K race this fall, but I hardly ran all summer. This opportunity to run 8K presented itself and it turned out to be a good stepping stone.
I'm proud to report that Hubby successfully completed his 11th marathon! The official results haven't been posted yet, so we don't know his exact chip time. However, he believes it will be around 3:45:00. His Boston Qualifying time (BQ) remains elusive and he looks forward to trying again next year for Boston 2009. He experienced problems with his hip flexor and ended up having to walk approximately 4kms; that's a guaranteed slow-down. He finished strong though, running the last 5kms. I managed to see him and cheer him on twice on the route.
Due to the unseasonably cold weather, we didn't stick around for long after he crossed the Finish Line. I had already been waiting around outside for close to 3 hours. After a few minutes to allow Hubby to quickly change into dry clothes, we walked the 2 km back to our hotel.
Needless to say, the rest of our afternoon in our "little apartment" was pretty relaxed. We went out for dinner and are back in for the evening. Tomorrow is our last day to take in some of what Philadelphia has to offer. Yesterday, we took a city bus tour and that really gave us a lay of the land. Now that the race is over, we can use this time to stretch our legs and feast our senses...
pace e bene,
Friday, November 16, 2007
Spirit and body have survived the 14-hour + train trip to Philadelphia! We arrived just before midnight on Thursday. I look forward to seeing Philly's 30th Street Station again on Tuesday when we leave; I was just too tired to take in its architectural glory last night.
We got an unexpected treat in Montreal on Thursday morning. Due to a change in the Amtrak schedule, we had to go to Montreal the night before in order to be sure to catch our train. As a result of that, I was able to connect with my cousin Sylvia who lives in New Brunswick and was arriving in Montreal for a conference. We only saw each other for a few minutes, like passing trains, but it was enough to get a hug and quickly catch up. It wouldn't have been possible without the change in Amtrak schedule - sometimes, the reason for things is not immediately revealed to us. :-)
The trip from Montreal to NYC went by pretty quickly actually. We were stopped at the Canada/US border for about 90 minutes though. The US border patrol guys came on board and basically took over the train until every single person's ID had been confirmed and intentions cleared. It was quite interesting to watch them do their work. The guy who questioned us didn't crack a smile once! I know they have to remain serious, but even when his words appeared to be tinged with humour, his facial expressions remained deadpan.
If, for whatever reason, they wanted to question you more, you were sent to the Dining Car for further "inquisition" (my word, not theirs). I felt bad for a woman travelling with two small children. English was not her first languange and, from what I could gather, she didn't have proper ID for her children. Before leaving Montreal, information was given to us clearly stating that it was up to us to ensure our documentation was in order. If not, we risked being let off the train at the border. All I know is that the woman was sent to the Dining Car, then came back to retrieve all her luggage. Oy. I said a silent prayer for her...
The trip was quite uneventful. We'd get up every now & then and walk around or stretch. The views were beautiful sometimes and unspectacular much of the time. It was a true November day: grey... wet... with bare trees etch-a-sketched against a cold sky.
Our train leaving Penn Station in NYC was delayed by about 10 minutes. Interestingly, there is no seating in the waiting areas, so we sat on the floor or stood around - like everybody else. Finally, our train arrived. By then, my body was expressing its disagreement with sitting yet again. I was so fidgetty and restless and sleepy during this last leg of the journey... I was thrilled to arrive in Philly.
Our hotel is perfectly located in the downtown core, just across the street from City Hall. Our room is great - like a little apartment really. Reading Terminal Market is just a couple of blocks away, so I've already stocked up on veggies, yogourt & humus. (BTW, I'm SUPER impressed with this market. I'll no doubt have more to say later. In the meantime, see a short video here.)
Today, we went to the Race Expo to pick up our race bibs and a few souvenirs. We're both beat so Hubby is napping on the couch and I'm here, blogging. I'll add pics to the blog post when I get back. Unfortunately, I forgot the cable required to do that. Tonite, we're just going to relax in our little "apartment" and get to bed early. Race day begins before the sun rises, so we need to ensure we get plenty of rest between now and then.
View from our bedroom window - 21 floors up!
So, for now, I'll bid you farewell from Philly!
Pace e bene,
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
We arrived on the evening train to a dark and wet Montreal. Since the hotel was only a few blocks away from the train station, we decided to walk. Little did I suspect that we'd get caught in a downpour! But we made it...
We had dinner at a place called Reuben's Diner on Saint-Catherine. I wasn't overly hungry, yet I still managed to pull a muscle in my jaw while eating. What the heck is up with that?!
There you have it. Our adventure is only a few hours old, and I've already pulled a muscle and walked through puddles resulting in soaking wet feet. Isn't Life grand?!! :-)
Hubby & I haven't taken a vacation together this year. Yet. This is it and I'm thrilled...
Next stop... Philly (via NYC)!
Pace e bene,
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
We leave for Montreal tomorrow, stay overnight, then it's a morning train to Philadelphia (transfering in NYC). That's a LOT of hours on a train! Luckily, I love train travel. It's just so civilized. I only wish train travel in Canada could be as affordable as it is in Italy or even in the US. Round trip tickets for two, from Montreal to Philadelphia, cost us under $300 - total! We can't even get to Cobourg (3 hours away) for that price... It's absolutely ridiculous.
While in Philly, Hubby will be running the Philadelphia Marathon and I'll be doing the 8K race. Send good vibes our way! Remember, I'm running for one boy, one van. I'll likely post once or twice while we're away, just to stay in touch. :-)
Other than that, here is a cool site that will feed the hungry AND make you smarter. Thanks to fellow Mad Chatter, Ted, for passing this one on!
And many thanks to Sis for providing an answer to my long-standing question about pomegranates. Who knew it could be so easy?!
Pace e bene,
Friday, November 09, 2007
I had a wonderful run of about 35 minutes. I'm so fortunate to work downtown, with access to such beautiful running routes. I ran across the river to the Quebec side and followed the Voyageur Pathway to the Museum of Civilization. Then I crossed back to Ottawa with the amazing view of the back of Parliament Hill. I slipped down to the Rideau Canal Locks, crossed the Canal and headed towards the National Arts Centre. You can see exactly where I ran here. (I don't know who this photographer is, but I appreciate that he pretty much photographed my run! :-)) From there, I simply set out along Albert St. towards Bridgehead Coffeehouse, my final destination. See a map of my full route here.
All this bodes well for Philadelphia next weekend... and for Geordi and his van.
Pace e bene,
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Laverne & Shirley: I've discovered that they're back... in re-runs of course! This was one of my favourite shows and I've long been on the look-out for a DVD set of this show. Evenings at 6:30pm, I know what I'll be doing... By now, the tune is probably already playing in your head. Go on, admit it. You don't know what they say after they count either! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8... Shlamiel... Shlamozzle...
Andy McKee: I discovered this guy while traipsing around YouTube one day. I bookmarked this particular video and have often gone back to listen in amazement. Treat yourself to a four-minute break and listen for yourself. I wish I could make my guitar sing like that! I s'pose some gifts are simply meant for others to have... and for us to enjoy.
Pace e bene,
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I spent the weekend with 300 friends and, by the end of it, I was high on Love. I don't mean romantic love, I mean the kind of Love that connects us at levels we rarely pay attention to... the kind of Love that we don't like to talk about because it sounds too "corny" and it makes us squirm... the kind of Love that gives meaning to human interconnectedness... the kind of Love that makes romantic love possible in the first place... the kind of Love that comes without conditions.
I have the pleasure of belonging to a spiritual fellowship that is guided by twelve simple steps. Simple, but not easy. Whenever I spend time in the presence of people who have the courage to follow this way of life, I am replenished by that unconditional Love. There was a time when I didn't really have enough Love to give to those around me - or to myself. I was deeply wounded and had lost touch with unconditional Love. I truly believe that my Friends in Fellowship loved me back to health. This past weekend reminded me of that gift.
A couple of years ago, I was at a 2-day workshop on Leadership. We were asked: "What gift are you withholding?" I still remember my answer: Love. Well on the road to recovery by then, I believed - and still do - that we withhold Love at our peril. This message was reinforced by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his recent public talk. He spoke of the two keys to a truly global citizenship as being the development of a holistic mind and a compassionate heart. To me, this means the development of our interconnectedness and our willingness to Love.
When I remember that my Life overflows with unconditional Love, even the darkest days offer a glimmer of hope...
Love does that.
Pace e bene,
Monday, October 22, 2007
...and the answer I received is "Get out of your own head and take a look at what's going on around you." Simple solution indeed.
I was inspired by several stories I read in the newspaper this past weekend. One in particular moved me to take action. Stick with me on this...
Amanda George is a local woman, a single mom (widow) raising two kids. Her youngest one, Geordi, has special needs. Geordi was born with severe cerebral palsy, scoliosis, an abnormally small skull and a seizure disorder. As a result of unbelievably tight muscles and dislocated hips, his body does not bend. He has a wheelchair that allows him to always be reclined. Problem is, the chair doesn't fit in a car. To go anywhere, Amanda George has to carry her 12-year old son. Amanda George needs a van... and she's gathered up the courage to ask for help.
As I went for a run on a beautiful Sunday morning, the story of this gutsy family stayed with me. I reflected on how difficult it has been for me to get motivated to get out and run. The motivation just wasn't coming from within... so I decided to get out of my head and give myself a reason to run. Are you still with me??
I'm registered to run an 8Km race in Philadelphia on November 18th. (Hubby is running the marathon.) I've never run 8Km before... and I'd like to run this race for Geordi's Van. I want to finish the race in less than an hour. I run 5Km in about 30 minutes at race pace, so factor in fatigue, and I think that's do-able... if I train and build up my stamina. For every minute BELOW an hour, I'll donate 10$ to one boy one van. Can you see where I'm goin' here?!
Will you join me? Not in running :-) but in helping Geordi and his family get their van. You may choose to pledge an amount per minute below an hour, as I have done. Or, you may prefer to simply make a donation. If you can't participate in this way, please keep us all in your prayers... especially on November 18th!
Read the story the inspired me here.
Find out how to donate here.
Pace e bene,
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Ah yes, no one can tell it like it is quite like Anne Shirley... Anne (spelled with an e), otherwise known as Anne of Green Gables.
While in Italy this past summer, I met a lovely woman named Ann; she was from Oslo, Norway. When she found out I was from Canada, she immediately said: "Anne of Green Gables! This is my dream, one day, to go to Canada and visit Green Gables!!" I was struck with the intensity of her desire. I think she planted a seed... it would soon be time for me to rediscover the charm and exuberance of the little red-haired girl from PEI.
I picked up the book on the weekend and devoured it, almost as if for the first time. It truly is a laugh-out-loud kinda book, and as I began to read some of the familiar stories, I would giggle in anticipation of what I knew was to come. How can one forget Diana getting drunk on the "raspberry cordial"? Other long-forgotten stories came as a surprise and I took great delight in becoming reacquainted with them.
Next year is the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables. Lucy Maud Montgomery's writing is timeless... as alive and colourful today as it was a century ago. If, like me, your copy of Anne has been gathering dust on a shelf somewhere, do yourself a big favour. Take it down, brush it off, grab a comfy blanket and settle down for a wonderful read.
Allow me to leave you with a sampling of my favourite phrases...
"There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting."
"Oh Marilla, I'm so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it?"
"If you'll only call me Anne spelled with an e I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia."
"I'm so glad my window looks east into the sunrising. (...) It's new every morning, and I feel as if I washed my very soul in that bath of earliest sunshine."
"Isn't it good just to be alive on a day like this? I pity the people who aren't born yet for missing it. They may have good days, of course, but they can never have this one."
Pace e bene,
Friday, October 12, 2007
Pace e bene,
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I've been laying very, very low lately. My energy cycle is at a low point and I've been limiting my activities to a minimum. I'm not quite sure how to deal with it, or talk about it, or even be OK with it. I've gotten into some bad habits and am trying not to be overly judgemental about it. Thing is, are these really habits truely "bad"? Or, are they where I need to be right now? Are they simply choices that are not in my best health interest right now? Or, am I being over-analytical about how I'm spending my time? (I suspect this last one to be truest...)
What are these so-called "bad" habits, you may wonder? Probably not-so-bad, actually. But I know they are not supportive of a return to full health and energy. Habits like:
- skipping my regular grounding practices, such as meditation and exercise...
- procrastinating on commitments I've made to others - and to myself...
- not checking email for fear of what I might find there (ie. more stuff I need to do)...
- sitting in front of the TV for hours at a time, watching something - or nothing...
- isolating myself...
- not blogging regularly (ie. getting out of my head)...
- eating copious amounts of potato chips...
- not sticking to my optimum diet (ie. eating things that I know are toxic to my body)...
Fatigue can do many things including making us feel old and spent when really we're not. When really we're vibrant, beautiful and ambitious, yearning for the excitement and challenge that feeds our soul. When really all we might need is a few good nights' sleep, nutritious food to replenish our bodies (preferably prepared for us by someone else!) and walks along the Canal. When really we could use unscheduled, free time to explore possibilities, be, and dream up our next adventures. Yup ... fatigue will curb that in a flash!
Those words ring so true for me...
Whether I call it fatigue, low energy, low-grade depression, or whatever, one thing I know for sure. It sucks. And I need to trust that this too shall pass...
Pace e bene,
Friday, September 21, 2007
In the meantime... All hail the arrival of regal Autumn! I really can't imagine living anywhere that doesn't offer the amazing spectacle of trees changing from greens to fiery oranges and reds. I love the Fall. This week may have lulled us into believing it is still Summer, but it's time for Fall. Bright cool days with cozy sweatshirts and corduroy pants... bring it on!
Fall is a great mentor. Supporting the theme from my retreat this past July, Fall is a living testament to the ever-present cycle of Losing & Finding, Finding & Losing. Fall teaches by example. The leaves float to the ground, knowing their life as fully lived and their purpose, served. The tree lets go willingly, knowing it will celebrate the finding of new growth in the spring.
THE RED LEAF OF AUTUMN
If I must compare myself
to an autumn leaf,
then I shall be a red one,
to the tree of Life,
sporting my hue
in a golden ray of sun.
I will dance in crimsoned glory
upon a lively breeze,
beneath a sky of brilliant blue.
When winter fades my color,
I shall glide like a snowflake
to my place of final rest,
with a grin upon my face.
"She lived life to the hilt,"
"and never was she old."
~Copyright © 1995 Ruth Gillis
Pace e bene,
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
- look at the picture...
- come up with a creative caption...
- share your caption by using the Comments function OR by sending me an email and I'll post it for you.
"Hmmm, I thought she was supposed to take me OUT of the shirt before hanging it on the line."
Thanks to Mel for her permission to use this wonderful photo!
Pace e bene,
Sunday, September 16, 2007
ANSWER: A grown woman on her knees, scrambling to pick up shards of glass while moaning: ooohhhh noooooooooo.... noooooooooooooo....
LESSON LEARNED: No matter how rushed you are, take the time to remove your glass ring prior to washing your hands in a ceramic-tiled public washroom.
Pace e bene,
Saturday, September 15, 2007
And thus begins the Introduction to A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art and Science (A Voyage from 1 to 10), by Michael S. Schneider.
Hm... intriguing, you may think. Or perhaps you're thinking: JAG, what the hell...?! Since when do you read about math?!!
Well, there's a first for everything. Admittedly, I'm not drawn to math. I'm not a numbers gal; I'll take words over digits any day. The beauty of this book, however, is the language used to bring mathematics - and more specifically, geometry - to life. Ponder the following...
In ancient Greece the advanced students of the philosopher Pythagoras who were engaged in deep studies of natural science and self-understanding were called mathematekoi, "those who studied all". The word mathema signified "learning in general" and was the root of the Old English mathein, "to be aware", and the Old German munthen, "to awaken". Today, (...) it's a shame children are exposed to numbers merely as quantities instead of qualities and characters with distinct personalities relating to each other in various patterns. If only they could see numbers and shapes as the ancients did, as symbols of principles available to teach us about the natural structure and processes of the universe and to give us perspective on human nature. (p. xvii)
T'is a shame indeed! Using only the three classic tools of the geometer (compass, straightedge and pencil), so far I have discovered the spiritual power of the monad (1), the birthing power of the dyad (2) and the unmistakeable harmony of the triad (3).
Take a moment to think about the number 3, for example. In our daily lives, the pattern of the triad is pervasive: yesterday, today and tomorrow... breakfast, lunch, dinner... red, yellow, green lights... morning, noon, night... ready, set, go!... three strikes, yer out!... going once, going twice, sold!... easy as 1-2-3... three cheers for... Do you see it now? Three represents wholeness. Two is not enough and Four seems superfluous. Three is perfect. It's also a pattern that most world religions have tapped into in some way, shape or form. (Yikes, there it is again!! :-))
Anyway, this book is nothing short of miraculous - it's has gotten me interested in numbers... and I'm only up to 5! It encourages first-hand experience with these patterns and, before I even knew what was happening, I was making circles, vesicas pisces and constructing three-dimensional shapes out of scrap paper (see accompanying photo). My next task is to create my own set of Borromean Rings.
Who knew there was a world of wonder hiding beneath the intimidating and boring world of mathematics? Or perhaps you consider yourself a math atheist. :-)
Pace e bene,
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I'm in that space - again - where I doubt what my own body is telling me. Why is it so hard for me to listen?! Perhaps because I don't like what I hear... I hear fatigue, and I thought he and I had parted ways. For good. But I guess that was wishful thinking. It was naive of me to think we'd never be together again.
I can only hope that there is a clear reason. When it comes to my health, I am comforted by reason. Mystery is not a welcome guest. If I can attach causality to this bout of fatigue, then I know for sure that this too shall pass. Yes, I suppose running a fever means my body has been doing battle, and that might be enough to invite fatigue. My body has been doing what it is naturally programmed to do, and I need to get out of its way.
Body and Ego are at odds. I've danced this dance before. Ego needs to surrender and let the Body find its guilt-free rest.
Pace e bene,
Friday, September 07, 2007
This sentiment certainly rang true last weekend. Last Friday, Sis & I hit the road before 6am and headed home to New Brunswick for the long weekend. I've lived in Ottawa for 22 years now (more than half my life), yet NB will always be home to me. There's just something about it... The ocean sounds salty and the air smells of green. It's intangible, yet unmistakably there. And it is ripe with music.
Home is Pont-du-milieu, halfway between St-Louis and St-Ignace. We headed east to attend my parents' 3rd Annual Music Jam. They simply issue an invitation to all their musical friends to come and spend the weekend. And come, they do! The yard becomes a campground and a large tent serves as a stage. The fire-pit becomes the epicentre from which much of the activity radiates.
It's become clear to me now: my parents are cool. And it happened without my even noticing!
Music has always been a part of my parents' lives, but nothing like it is now. They are both retired and, to me, seem to be having the time of their life! The most beautiful thing is seeing my Mom blossom and grow into a confident musician... singer... person. Although she's been singing at family parties ever since I can remember, she started performing on stage at small gatherings about three or four years ago. Now, she's known as having one of the most beautiful voices in the area and is sought out to perform at other musical jams.
As of this year, she can even call herself a "singer-songwriter". She blew us all away last weekend by performing an original song she wrote for my Dad to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. Needless to say, I got quite teary hearing her sing that. When I asked her if I could have the words, she replied that they were all in her head! This woman is phenomenal and, as I've said, just downright cool.
The music was just one of the highlights of this trip. The other major blessing is the time shared with my sister. Although we talk on the phone about every second day, we spent the first six hours of the trip talking non-stop... I am so grateful that my sister is also my friend.
And so, with this wonderful weekend, my summer is coming to an end. It's been a full, full summer and I now need time to settle into a routine once again. I look forward to time in this home: time doing something... time doing nothing... I hunger for those practices that keep me centred, practices which have gone by the wayside all too often. I look forward to the ordinary.
Pace e bene,
p.s. Here are a few more images from my weekend down home...
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Our house seems to be quite the magnet for neighbourhood cats. I think it has to do with the fact that our lawn - at times - feels like a jungle to them. I watch them as they slowly and carefully make their way through the tall grass, like a tiger on the prowl. Our yard must trigger their primal instincts or something. We don't encourage them to stay in any way, but we don't scare them off either.
A few years ago, a friend who lived with us for a while said we had at least one cat ghost in our house. He had seen it on a few occasions. I believe him. Our house is almost 100 years old - why wouldn't it have a ghost?!
So, although I'm not a cat person myself, I feel kinda honoured that Twinkles chose our front porch as its final destination. Somehow, after being hit by a car (from what we can tell), he found the strength to make his way to my front door. He lay down and didn't get up again.
Here's to you, Twinkles... and feel free to let your spirit roam around my house as much as you like!
Pace e bene,
p.s. I have all kinds of wonderful memories of our Road Trip to NB to share. Stay tuned!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
But every once in a while, I don't quite get to the mute button in time and the unexpected catches me off guard. Tonite, I found myself laughing out loud at this silly Arby's commercial. Three cheers for the dancing chimps! (Who cares about the sandwich?!)
Here's wishing you a great long weekend, wherever you may be. Sis & I are heading to the Maritimes for the weekend... I'm looking forward to the roadtrip as well as to the sweet promise of family, music and salty sea air.
Pace e bene,
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Three cheers for my Mad Chatter friend Judi, who launched her company's presence on the web today. And what a presence it is! I'm so inspired by her energy and her values-based way of living. Being a mom to five kids just isn't enough, I guess. She also wants to make my life easier by offering me healthy food choices. Check out Credible Edibles (...slow food for fast lives). You'll never want to make your own lunch again... :-) Way to go, Judi - I'm so proud of you!!
Healthy lunches will become all-the-more important once again, as I start with the running after being away from it for over six weeks. I ran 3 times this week. Oy. The thing is, I didn't miss it. Running. I don't need it or crave it like some people (ie. Hubby & Co.). I could just as easily do without it. And I did. For over six weeks. Yet I know that I benefit from it. I like feeling fit and strong - it's a first for me! So I know that exercise will be key to that. And diet... oh boy, the diet. I've been diverging from my diet and converging towards those foods that I know are toxic for me. I can feel it too: the low energy... the poor digestion... Why is it so hard to do what we know to be healthy?! Oh well, at least my teeth got rave reviews from my dentist this morning! He praised me on how well I care for them. (Cheeeeeese!) So I guess there is hope...
Diet? Contact Judi at Credible Edibles and continue receiving deliveries from Life Organic!
OK. I think this is officially what they call a "rambling post". :-)
Allow me to end on a strong note: an across-the-miles SHOUT OUT to my cousin Sharon who is competing as a finalist in Star Acadie, a singing competition in my native New Brunswick. She has been wow'ing us since she was just a youngin'. See her for yourself here. The finale is this Thursday. Bonne chance, Sharon!!
Pace e bene,
Monday, August 27, 2007
The full title of the magazine is "geez: holy mischief in an age of fast faith" and the web site describes it as follows:
Geez Magazine has set up camp in the outback of the spiritual commons. A bustling spot for the over-churched, out-churched, un-churched and maybe even the un-churchable. For wannabe contemplatives, front-line world-changers and restless cranks.
How could I possibly resist?!
This ad-free magazine was a real treat, filled with stories, poetry, photography, quotes... I really enjoyed it and will certainly buy it again. In the spirit of reducing consumerism - an issue that geez magazine holds dear to its heart - I'm ready to pass my copy on to someone else. Let me know if you're interested!
In the meantime, check out some of geez magazine's social campaigns: De-MOTORize your soul (all about breaking our addiction to oil) as well as the perfectly-timed Buy Nothing Christmas.
Pace e bene,
Friday, August 24, 2007
Hats off to Hubby for completing the Edmonton Marathon earlier this month! Finishing in 3:33:46, he feels he had a strong finish to this, his 10th marathon since 2003. The Boston qualifying time remains elusive but is well within his reach. Perhaps Philadelphia will be the place? I'll let you know in November when we get back! Way to go, Babe...
Kudos also go out to my friend and modern-day mystic, Sean Zio. He was featured in this article in Ottawa (X)Press and I am so thrilled to watch him thrive in his vocation. My heart rejoices for him... Sean has been a companion on my spiritual journey for some time and never fails to bring a smile to my face and a song to my heart. Unfortunately, I haven't had the pleasure of seeing him perform live. Yet. I trust that it'll happen. I have fond memories, however, of him rehearsing some of his earlier works at my home... and of trying to help him find that perfect word to describe the texture of a woman's breast. I've heard Sean described as "muse", "joy", "radiant Love"... He is one of the most honest and creative people I know.
I'd like to leave you with one of his poems:
HOME ON TURTLE ISLAND (Sean Zio)
I want my life
To be slow.
I want to sit here
At this desk
With a mug of tea
And the certainty
That my days are ordered,
Principled upon the
Quiet sewing of my
Who patches the quilt of my life.
When my mind starts reeling,
Starts demanding problems
To be solved right this minute,
I turn to her and I see her patiently
Pulling out her needle from a block of fabric
And she says,
“Sean, I am working as quickly as I can.
You need to trust me,
You need to trust that my skill takes time,
That I am working out of the fullness of time.”
And I relax, knowing she is telling her whole truth,
Knowing that she needs to rest,
To eat well, and to
In order to manifest this beautiful
Covering of warmth and love.
She has my whole life for this work.
I want my life to be slow,
To sit hereWith my cat in my lap,
My beloved pursuing his dreams,
And the afternoon sun plotting out
I want to practice this
So my afterlife will be
the sum pleasure
My heart's blessings.
Pace e bene,
Thursday, July 05, 2007
If you're curious, join me and my companion-on-the-journey as we meditate our way across Tuscany & Umbria. See you at Meditalia... (Blog-formerly-known-as-Twoonies-for-Tuscany :-))
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Several computer crashes later, I thought I had lost that story forever. Lo' and behold, today I found a hard copy tucked away in a folder. And so, in its first ever public appearance, I give you...
STORIES ON A TRAIN
Five-twenty-three. Seven minutes to departure time for VIA train no. 46 en route to Ottawa from Toronto’s Union Station. As I wait to begin my journey home, I look around me taking in these unfamiliar sights and sounds.
Across the platform, on the next track over, another train awaits its departure time. This one is a two-tiered GO train, filled with commuters.
Each person on that train represents a story to be heard – some happy, some sad, some stories much like my own. Who are you? Are you glad to be heading home, or does a dreaded situation await you? What kind of day did you have? Did you make someone feel good about themselves today? Did someone pat you on the back when you desperately needed it? Was it another fruitless day of job searching, or did you jump on that unexpected opportunity? Do you feel alone and troubled, or are you at peace? Do you have family? Friends? Who are you?
So many faces, so many stories. So many people just like me, so many people nothing like me. They’re just sitting there – waiting for the train to pull out… bringing them somewhere, or nowhere.
Finally, the GO train moves, heading off with its human cargo. As it slides away, it reveals, on the next track over…
…another train, filled with commuters. Each person on that train represents a story to be heard – some happy, some sad, some stories just like my own.
For some reason, this strikes me as funny. A never-ending parade of faces and stories, layered here in the tunnels of Union Station. As this second train moves away, it reveals on the next track over…
…another train, filled with commuters. This one faces the other direction. “Even funnier,” I think to myself. "A mirror image of the first two – destination unknown."
My view is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of another train on Track One. This one is different – it’s empty. It has come to feed itself on the eager commuters who offer themselves freely as they pass through its beckoning doors. Again, faces, stories, people carrying secrets… But I won’t see this one fill up; it’s my turn to move on. The show is over – for now.
My journey continues, uneventful. Suddenly, a train going in the opposite direction zooms by. With our combined speed, it takes but a split second. Just inches separating these carriers – carriers of people, or stories, of secrets…
WHAT IF?... for some miscalculated reason, these two trains were to collide? For that violent instant, we would all share one terrifying story. Our lives would forever carry a common element, one of fear, one of prayer. Just inches… But I count my blessings and look around me. This train, VIA no. 46 from Toronto to Ottawa, is filled with passengers.
And each person on this train represents a story to be heard –
some stories much like my own.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Feel free to join me, albeit virtually. The countdown has begun...
Thursday, June 28, 2007
This is one way I've been working through my fears, bit by bit. I suppose if that doesn't work, I could always try this.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
After finishing my 5-day course today, Hubby & I spent a wonderful evening together. It started with me hopping on my bike and accompanying him on his 13.5km run. Then we went to see a movie. Hubby somewhat hesitatingly reminded me that it was my pick tonite, since the last time, I had given in to his choice. I think he was afraid of a repeat of the Travelling Pants experience, but I give him credit for keeping his part of the deal (a deal I had totally forgotten about, BTW).
A last-minute decision at the box office led us to a fantastic movie that I recommend whole-heartedly! Once is unlike anything I've seen before... I knew absolutely nothing about it - had never even heard of it before - but was intrigued by the poster. In this film, the music is as much a character as the two leads. In fact, I don't even think we get to find out the names of the main characters. In the credits, they are simply listed as "Guy" and "Girl". The storyline reveals itself as one of those "slice of life" episodes where we are priviledged to join the characters for a short time on their journey. This is one of my favourite film formats...
This film was perfect for me tonite. Following an intense week, it was very healing to be transported by the rhythms and engaging accoustic melodies. This film is unpretentious and simple. The good news is, Hubby liked it too. I think I may have redeemed myself. :-)
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I am attending my fourth course towards obtaining my Certificate in Organization Development from the NTL Institute. Since one of the main tools in OD work is the effective Use of Self (ie. how I behave with groups that I may work with and the impact of my actions on them), a lot of learning is around self-awareness. And that's rarely a comfortable process.
Towards the end of today's class (Day 3 of 5), I shared that my energy was elsewhere. My fatigue was obvious. Afterwards, one of the instructors came to ask if I was OK; her genuine concern was like a permission given to let the tears flow. It's not the first time that the intensity of this course has brought me to tears. She asked if I was familiar with the theory of "deconstruction". Since I wasn't, she explained that, in times of intense learning, we can experience a destabilization that can cause great discomfort and questioning. It's as if all that I think that I know... the assumptions, the theories, the beliefs that guide my work, are ripped apart - and away from me - in order to allow for the successful integration of new information & experiences. But before this integration takes place, there is a period of great un-knowing, of self-doubt, of intense realization of how little I know about myself, or about anything else for that matter.
My current learning seems to be revolving around leadership, power & influence, control/surrender and the impact I have on others. This is quite fascinating to me... and this de-stabilized feeling comes as a surprise to me. However, I need to continue to trust the process. What gets DEconstructed integrates the new learning and eventually gets REconstructed. In the meantime, I can be patient, gentle and grateful for my instructors & fellow students - a learning community that offers me a safe place to do whatever learning I need to do.
I am spent. And it's all good.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rights in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little but not too long,
And not with your head bowed low,
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take,
And each must go alone,
For it is all part to the master's plan,
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely or sick at heart,
Go to friends we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,
Miss me, but let me go.
Monday, June 18, 2007
I suspect you'll be reading more about my preparations as our departure draws near. I thought about starting a new blog just for the trip, but I've decided to keep it all here at jag e*space. I don't know how often I'll be blogging from Italy, since our purpose is to "meditate our way across Tuscany", as we jokingly put it. Although I'll likely seek out internet cafés at times, I have no desire to spend hours in front of a computer when the Tuscan & Umbrian country side will be inviting me to explore her delicious treasures!
To be honest, I have very little expectations about this trip. This is all pure gift. I have done nothing to earn or deserve this, other than be open to the abundance in my life and trust in God's Love. By leaving my expectations behind, anything and everything will be new and worthy of my attention.
La pace sia con te,
Thursday, June 14, 2007
If I had to pick a favourite, it might be this one... or maybe this one... hmmm, p'raps this one? Nope. I'd have to call it a tie between this and this and this.
Then again, I haven't read them all. Yet.
So tell me, what makes you laugh out loud?