Friday, September 21, 2007

Chickens of Autumn...

I know I've raved about Savage Chickens before, but this goes above & beyond anything Doug has done before: Savage Chickens in stop animation! Give yourself a 3-minute break and check this out.

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.


If I must compare myself
to an autumn leaf,
then I shall be a red one,
clinging tenaciously
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,"
they'll say,
"and never was she old."

~Copyright © 1995 Ruth Gillis

Pace e bene,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Creative fun...

Let's have a little fun today... My cousin Mel sent me a picture of her son, Rylan. Immediately, I thought this photo would be perfect for a "Creative Caption Contest"! OK, so here's how it works:
  • 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.
The great thing about this "contest" is that everyone wins! We all benefit from tapping into our creativity and capacity for fun & laughter... I've started the ball rolling by including my caption. Ha! See if you can top that! :-)

"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

Pop Quiz...

QUESTION: What do you get when the force of gravity brings together a ceramic tile bathroom floor and a Murano glass ring, purchased in a small shop in the Piazza del Duomo, Firenze, Italy?

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

Me and... math?!

The universe may be a mystery, but it's not a secret. Each of us is capable of comprending much more than we might realize. A vision of mathematics different from that which we were taught at school holds an accessible key to a nearby world of wonder and beauty.

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


My fever seems to be pretty much gone, but my body remains achy and tired. And so goes my Spirit. Achy & tired.

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

Feels like home to me...

"Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to come back to." - John Ed Pearce

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

Surprise at my door...

Last night, I arrived from the 2nd Annual Sisters on the Road Trip to New Brunswick to find a dead cat on my doorstep. It was Twinkles from the house across the street. At first, we thought he was sleeping - he looked so peaceful. I should have known something was wrong when he didn't skeedaddle at the sound of the car pulling into the driveway.

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!