Monday, February 26, 2007

Shall we dance?!

I think I need help.

After watching several back episodes of Ellen today, I had the urge to dance. This doesn't happen very often, but there's something quite infectious about watching Ellen, her audience and her guests simply let loose and dance. I went to my "stereo" to find something appropriately upbeat to dance to while I was cleaning the kitchen. The best I could find was the Now3! cd from 1998 - as in "1998 of the millenium prior to this one". Tubthumping by Chumbawumba... Barbie Girl by Aqua... it was all pretty pathetic. It made me realize how out of touch I am with current dance music. I'm not a big fan of rap music, but surely there's something out there for me!?!

Please post your recommendations for a good dance mix in the comments section... I need all the help I can get! This girl wants to dance!!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Knowing No...

"To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful." - Thomas Merton in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Hmmm, sound like anyone you know?! I think we've all been there at one time or another. Perhaps you are there right now? I think the reason this quote from Merton struck a chord with me is that we live in a society that seems to reward busy-ness... and I don't do well with busy-ness! Certainly not busy-ness that comes at the expense of my spiritual, physical & emotional well-being. And yet, I still struggle with the useless and self-imposed guilt that sometimes accompanies a decision to say "no, thank you" - although, admittedly, not as much as I used to!

Interestingly, a friend offered me a true pearl to ponder earlier today: "Where there is no no, a yes means nothing." She declined to explain it and simply suggested I meditate on it for a while, which I did. I invite you to do the same...

Now, excuse me while I go say "yes" to my girl Ellen as I watch her host the Oscars!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

We rise again from Ashes...

Welcome to the great season of Lent! This may very well be my favourite time of the church year. It's as if, despite all it has screwed up over the centuries, the Catholic Church got it right with Lent. I see it as time to stop & reflect on my relationship with God... a time to become preoccupied with that Power that is oh-so-much greater than myself... a time to honour the darkness that comes with simply being alive.

As I walked around this afternoon with a cross of ashes on my forehead, I was struck by the paradox within it all. First of all, the fact that I felt - and acted upon - a deep desire to go to Ash Wednesday mass at noon is a mystery to me. Secondly, Matthew's gospel tells us:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. (Matthew 6:5)

...and yet, there I was walking around with a black smudge smack dab in the middle of my face. How is that "going to my room and closing the door"? I am in private, yet I am in community.

Paradox #3 is the symbol itself... a cross of ashes. Ashes remind me that I am of the Earth. The cross reminds me that I am of God. I am finite, yet I am infinite.

In light of this, and considering my childhood practice of Lent (ie. giving up chocolate or candy...), I have set an intention for my Lenten Journey 2007... a theme, if you will:

It's not so much about giving up; it's about giving in... giving in to the mystery, to the darkness, to the paradox.

There is great wisdom to be found during Lent, as long as I am willing to be honest... to be present... to be faithful to the journey.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

...for your thoughts?

Desjardins seems to think we should stop using it... What do you think??


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Being social... or not.

I attended an interesting seminar on Friday. It was on the evolution of social media and its potential impact on public policy & governance. Believe it or not, it was the first time I heard what Web 2.0 is supposed to refer to! I'm so not into this techie stuff (despite having my own blog). Don't believe me?
  • I've never downloaded a podcast...
  • I've never even figured out how to listen to a podcast (do I have to download it first??)...
  • I don't know how to use Flickr...
  • I've never uploaded a video to YouTube...
  • I have no Friends...
  • I have no desire to be Tagged...
  • I've seen ads for Zaadz, but never checked it out until this very moment...
  • I am not being fed by RSS...

Although I can acknowledge the potential for social engagement via technology, I still prefer to sit around a table with friends over good food & good drink. If complete strangers would like to join us, so be it! As long as they're willing to keep an open mind and contribute authentic ideas and honest enquiry.

All that being said, here are a few online videos that have caught my attention recently:
So, what about you?? How has social media influenced your world?


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Forever new...

It amazes me that you can know someone for years, and they still have the ability to make you go: "Huh?" I guess that's what keeps relationships interesting. Hubby & I were at our favourite coffee shop earlier this evening. We were chatting about church... and the new Archbishop of Toronto... and prayer (which in itself is somewhat unusual for us).

Hubby: Have you heard Olivia Newton-John's version of the Prayer of St-Francis?
Me: Huh??
Hubby: Gimme a minute...

Out comes the ipod and, next thing you know, I'm listening to a most beautiful musical interpretation of one of my favourite prayers. I closed my eyes the whole time and let myself be swept away...

Me: That was amazing! What the heck are you doing with that on your ipod??
Hubby: (shoulder shrug) It's a nice song.

A nice song indeed. I've been with this guy for over half my life; I hope I never stop re-discovering him.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Words of Love...

"Learning how to love is the goal and the purpose of spiritual life — not learning how to develop psychic powers, not learning how to bow, chant, do yoga, or even meditate, but learning to love. Love is the truth. Love is the light."Lama Surya Das in Awakening to the Sacred

"Let us make a pledge that, if not all day or all night long, at least for a few moments every day, we will make an effort to experience love, love that is free from selfishness, free from desire, free from expectation, love that is complete freedom." Swami Chidvilasananda in Kindle My Heart

"Let the good in me connect with the good in others, until all the world is transformed through the compelling power of love."Rebbe Nachman of Breslov in The Gentle Weapon

"Hatred ever kills; love never dies. Such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality, for it increases hatred. The duty of a human being is to diminish hatred and to promote love."Mahatma Gandhi quoted in The Way to God edited by M. S. Desphande

"Love is the cure,
for your pain will keep giving birth to more pain
until your eyes constantly exhale love
as effortlessly as your body yields its scent.”
- Rumi

Happy Valentine's Day, friends...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cricket is dead; long live Cricket!

Well, today it was officially out with the old, and in with the new... Hubby returned Cricket III to the Mazda dealership today. Having picked up Cricket IV last Wednesday, we are once again a one-car family. Maybe this is the car that will inspire me to overcome my discomfort with driving, dare I say, my fear of driving.

Living where I do, I don't really need to drive. Most everything I need is a short walk or a bus ride away, so there is nothing that is really motivating me to get behind the wheel of a car. Except, of course, when I might want to go off the beaten track... or when it would be practical for me to drop Hubby off somewhere... or pick him up... or do something on my own... or... (fill in the blank).

Yes, I could get away without driving. In fact, I do get away with it... but at what cost? Yep, just maybe this will be the car...


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thots on relationship...

Uncle Joe & Tante Noune just celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. This is a picture of their wedding day: January 31, 1950. Could they ever have imagined the direction their life would take? With six kids, ten grand-kids and I've-lost-count-of-how-many great-grand-kids, you can imagine that they have a very full life. Family & friends. And music. Always the music.

Last night, over sushi and seaweed salad, our Mad Chatters discussion turned to relationships... always a timely topic, non? We explored the difference between soul mates and life mates. I believe in both; I just don't believe they have to be one and the same. I have a life mate and - one day at a time - I freely & happily choose to be with him. I don't necessarily believe that we are soul mates and that we were destined to be together. I also know there is no guarantee we'll reach our 57th wedding anniversary. I sure hope we do! But I've learned that this marriage - and the love that keeps it together - is a daily decision. He is one of my best Teachers; life with him helps me to know myself better. This may not sound like the most romantic perspective to you, but I think it's one that will lead us to a fulfilled life in partnership.

I also have a soul mate. Well, more than one actually... men & women. They drift in and out of my life and somehow connect with me at a deeply spiritual level - just when I seem to need them. There is indeed a sense of destiny. I can go years without seeing them, yet the moment we reconnect, it's like we never parted. I bumped into one such person this past week. It had to be nearly six years since I last saw him. Turns out we had been working in the same building for the last three months. The day I saw him was the last day of his contract, a.k.a. his last day working in that building. Funny that.

I also believe in soul moments... those unexpected times when the walls come down and two people - often casual acquaintances or even strangers - share their stories with each other in an honest and fearless way. So often, those impromptu conversations have shed light on something I'd been grappling with for some time. Those moments are pure gift and I have experienced many.

We Mad Chatters went on to talk about the "fiction of the one true love" - its link to so many unhappy marriages and unmet expectations. We also wandered onto the topic of the detrimental effects of the primacy of the nuclear family in modern society, and the dangers of societal obsession with self-sufficiency. Just another night of fascinating conversation with the Mad Chatters! Somehow, I think that my Uncle Joe & Tante Noune couldn't really care less. They're too busy living their lives...