Saturday, June 30, 2007

Twoonies for Tuscany...

Well, I changed my mind. I have created a blog specifically for my trip to Italy. It's called Twoonies for Tuscany and I've added it to the list of Links I Like on the right hand menu. I decided that I'd like to have everything in one spot, and blogs are handy that way. :-)

Feel free to join me, albeit virtually. The countdown has begun...


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Reframing Fear...

For many years, Fear was a constant companion. Rarely conscious and all-consuming, but ever-present and insidious. I've recently reframed this label I sometimes carry all too willingly and prefer to acknowledge that I simply lack experience and confidence in certain areas. So, instead of saying "I'm afraid of riding my bike with traffic on city streets.", I'll tell myself, "I'm uneasy about riding my bike with traffic on city streets because I'm inexperienced." This frees me from the judgement that accompanies Fear and invites me to go forward and get the experience I need to feel more comfortable.

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

Only Once...

If there was ever any doubt as to whether I was a morning person or not, just know that today, I found myself pouring decaf coffee on my instant oatmeal instead of hot water. 'Nuf said. (p.s. much to my surprise, Mocha Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal doesn't taste too bad at all! :-))

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

The price of learning...

So this is what "deconstruction" feels like. I am physically & emotionally exhausted. What's going on, you may ask? Nothing much, just intense learning. And it's not easy.

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

Letting go...

Last month, I wrote this post about a friend who was battling cancer. Her suffering has come to an end; she passed away last Thursday. I wasn't able to attend her funeral, but a mutual friend was there and shared what a beautiful celebration of a life-well-lived it was. I wanted to share the poem that was given to friends and family - to me, it reflects what I would want to say to loved ones left behind. So powerful a message...

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

Countdown to Italia...

In exactly three weeks, I'll be in Pisa, Italy, making one of my dreams come true. It's beginning to feel more real now, because my companion-on-the-journey and I are getting down to many of the final details.

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

What to do with a post-it note...

Sometimes my sense of humour can be, well, unusual. Case in point: Savage Chickens (my newest daily chuckle).

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?


Sunday, June 10, 2007


The big Westfest weekend in my neighbourhood got off to a troubling start. As I was walking home from the bus stop on Friday evening, I noticed that the top of my street was blocked off... Nothing unusual there, in light of the street closures and festivities that were to come. But somehow, I didn't remember them using crime scene tape and police cruisers last year. Metal barricades had seemed to suffice. I arrived home to find out that there was a hostage-taking in progress at one of the shops just around the corner. Whaaat?! That sort of thing just doesn't happen here!

I'm happy to report that it ended without tragedy, however I can't imagine the pain (of the suicidal hostage-taker) and the terror (of the shop owner) that must have been felt. In the end, the shop owner convinced the knife-wielding man to let him walk out and even tried to talk him into walking out with him, assuring him that the police would not harm him. Once the shop owner was safe, the hostage-taker started using the knife on himself and the police stormed the shop and took him to safety.

The most amazing part of all this is that the shop owner was back at his store for the Westfest events the next day. He was quoted in the paper as saying that he knew a lot of people were worried about him and he needed to let them all know that he was OK. Yikes. What a start to the weekend!

Here are a few things that caught my attention on what ended up being a most gorgeous weekend...


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Inside Out...

I had lunch with a friend today. As part of our catching up, I shared that I was feeling a little "superficial" (although I don't think I used that word). I find I'm in a doing phase lately, and I haven't really been focussing much on my being. In reading my blog posts over the last while, I notice that they're very outward-looking, especially when I compare with some of my earlier posts. It's not that this is a bad thing, it's just an interesting observation, I think. Her response made me pause. She said: "If you're mostly focussing on outside stuff, it must mean that you're feeling really good on the inside." Hmmm, I think there's some truth to that.

One "outward" thing that I'm enjoying these days is re-discovering my camera. I haven't really looked at the world through a camera lens in quite some time. Last fall, I bought a small digital camera and, for the first time in many years (or so it seems), I'm really looking at what is around me. Where is the unexpected beauty? What is unique about the built environment that surrounds me? Where can I find art? What is my art?

I still need to make sure I stay centred, and I suspect my seven-day meditation retreat in July will only nourish that. Except, perhaps, for the distracting surroundings. Have I mentioned that my retreat is in Tuscany?? :-) Only 30 days away...

Finally, I just need to say a huge THANK YOU to our Ottawa Senators for a wild, wild ride. Although Stanley's Cup didn't make it home (this time), this city really showed up for the effort. À la prochaine!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Woman of Inspiration...

She was a New York City socialite.
He was a country boy from small-town Vermont.

She was twenty-two years old.
He was almost nineteen.

He knocked at the door to her cottage, selling kerosene lamps.
She shoved the door open so forcefully she almost sent him - and his lamps - flying off the porch.

The year was 1914 and first impressions could not have foretold that theirs would be one of the greatest love stories of the 20th century - a story that would transform the lives of millions of people around the world.

His name was William G. Wilson, now known to his friends simply as "Bill W." She was Lois Burnham Wilson, his greatest love and supporter. Together, they experienced a living hell wrought by the devastating disease of alcoholism... and from that pain came the fellowships of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon Family Groups.

For a most inspiring read, check out The Lois Wilson Story: When Love Is Not Enough by William G. Borchert. A lot has been written about Bill W., the co-founder of AA. However the contributions of his wife, Lois, are not as well known. What an inspiring woman! She died in 1988, having lived and loved until the ripe age of 97 years.

Lois has a lot to teach us... about love... anger... faith... despair... humility... generosity... loneliness... humanity.

I am blessed to have found such a teacher.


Lois & Bill Wilson

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Painting the Town (SENS) Red...

Last evening, we took our bikes and ventured downtown to Ottawa City Hall to watch the start of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on the big screens set up for this very purpose. In case you hadn't heard, the Ottawa Senators are BACK IN THE GAME!!! This, thanks to a 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks (who used to be the Mighty Ducks, but after Disney sold them a while back they are no longer Mighty. Now they're... umm... well, just Ducks.)

Thought I'd share a few pictures, although they are sorely inadequate when it comes to conveying the energy and the enthusiasm of the thousands of red-clad people roaming the downtown core.

We also happened to be driving by Scotiabank Place a couple of hours before the game. The buzz was gearing up there too! Alors, voici...

p.s. Let me know if all these photos make it tedious for you to download this page. I'm still experimenting with digital pics and can make adjustments if needed...

PAX from JAG

(especially to the guy sitting behind me who is surely nursing a nasty hangover today! :-))

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Being part of a Ripple...

Here's a neat thing...

I was invited to be a Guest BLOGGER on The Ripple Effect blog. I first met Steve Harper (no, not THAT one) through, well, blogs. I enjoyed his stories, his engaging writing style and I admired the courage he demonstrated in taking this idea he believed in so strongly, and running with it.

We struck up a conversation and are now building a delightful online friendship. I also know that, if life ever brings me to Austin, Texas, the Ripple is already in effect and I'll have someone I can call upon.

When asked if I'd Guest BLOG, my first reaction came from those ancient & deeply-engrained patterns and beliefs that are still are part of me. "Me? Um, what do I possibly have to say that could be of interest to anyone who doesn't know me?!" Thankfully, those kind of thoughts & reactions don't have the final say anymore. Plus, Steve's book reminds me that the one thing I have to offer that is unique and that no one else can possibly duplicate is... me.

I'm really enjoying this process of putting myself out there. It's not so much how people receive me, it's more about the journey of continuing to define who I am and how I walk in this world. As I've said here before, I truly have a life of abundance and I know that my way of seeing & experiencing my reality is a big part of what allows me to recognize this abundance - and to accept it with gratitude.

For me, the Ripple Effect encourages me to grow in awareness of the impact of my actions, and to make healthier choices - healthier for me and for everyone I connect with.

As Steve would say, Ripple On!