Shorter and Sweeter

If last week was short and sweet, this week’s post will be even more so. It’s been a wild week around here. On Tuesday morning my Grandma had a serious seizure and we spent the whole day in the hospital with her.  She was showing signs of a stroke and we were wondering if it may be the end of the road for her but she made an incredible recovery. We had a lot of people praying for her and we are so grateful for the love that was surrounding her. The doctors could not figure out what had caused the seizure but they sent her home that night. We were surprised at her recovery already at that point and were glad to get her into her own bed for the rest she needed.

The next night I got last minute tickets to see Father John Misty down at the Danforth Music Hall. The show had been sold out for months and I was really excited to get tickets. I told Grandma what I was up to when I left and I was very surprised in the morning when she remembered what I had been up to. This was unusual.

We were all shocked over the next few days to see an incredible improvement in her working memory. She was suddenly able to read the paper and discuss current events, which she hadn’t done for years. She was well enough to attend my cousin’s wedding on Saturday and the whole family was very happy to see her so well.

The incredible energy we felt as she was in mid-seizure and we (my Father and Aunt) were praying around her must have ‘knocked something loose’ within her and awakened dormant capacities. It was so amazing to see her back in a way that we hadn’t seen in years.

She has since settled back into her very peaceful and forgetful frame of mind that we had been accustomed to over the past few years. She stayed with my Aunt and Uncle last night as the rest of our family headed off for my other Grandmother’s 80th birthday dinner. There was a great spirit in the air and it wrapped up the whirlwind week in fine form.

We watched the Oscars after we got home and slept well. My brother headed back to Montreal this morning and I am heading back to Montreal tomorrow.

This didn’t really go anywhere, but there’s the rundown. The sequence of events. In all honesty I just wanted to get something up before midnight, as I had forgotten about blogging today. I had a nap before dinner and it completely left my mind.

This is it for today! Have a great week all! Catch you next Monday.

:)

Short and Sweet (Winter Retreat)

Wintry Woods

I have just come home from an incredibly refreshing weekend in the woods with about eighty amazing people. We were inside, mind you, most of the time. It was an especially crisp and cold weekend, but very bright and alive. The sky was clear and the sun was strong. Five Oaks was our host – a gracious space to sing and dance, dream and plan, love, play and pray. I feel as though I have been bathing in waves of love buzzing all around us – within us and through us too – vibrating endlessly, breaking down walls and building bridges. This morning I watched a thin sliver of moon blend into a bluing sky as the sun rose on our final day. I saw it all as one – the grand play of light. We all partake, awake or otherwise.

Now home, our Family Day dinner digested, the last four days seem like a blur, a whirlwind. My mind feels like mush and I am ready for bed. But I want to write a few words reflecting on this wondrous weekend. I was blessed to participate in the Youth Forum Winter Retreat leading up to the United Church of Canada’s 42nd General Council. Many of us will reconnect there this summer, some of us making a cross-country pilgrimage. I feel honoured to be among those going on the journey from coast to coast, heading west to east, arriving in Newfoundland in early August. There is a lot of change on the table and I am inspired to see so many youth with the wisdom and will to work for new ways to express and connect with our sense of spirit.

It was such a gift to meet so many authentically spiritually-engaged youth. I feel excited and encouraged. And happily exhausted. Now doesn’t feel like the moment to dig much deeper into it all. I just wanted to put a few words up here before I lay my head down for a long rest. I hope my new friends from all over Canada have returned home safely (or are at least on course) and that we keep our heart’s fire alive!

Lots of love.

:)

Guess Who’s Back?

This has been quite a cold season. I hear a lot of people have been hit hard. Apparently I’m not the only one who was laid up for more than a week. And word on the street is that it can pop up again even after it’s gone. I had a few days of bronchitis in the wake of my cold. I figured that was the final wave. And it seemed to be the case for a week or more. I was back to full strength and more or less normal activity, eating what I usually do, and then BAM! Guess who’s back? The pesky old cold. I thought it was completely gone. I don’t know if it’s a different bug or just one more wave of the same. Does it really matter?

I must say I am taking it well. I don’t have an intense fever as I did before. I am not achy. But my throat is swollen and it hurts to swallow. I even wonder if tonsillitis may have been triggered this time around. I am still producing a lot of that thick yellow stuff every morning as I cough wildly upon waking. (Too much information?) At least I am getting it out of me. I feel like I am taking it all in stride.

I hope this isn’t taken as a complaint. I’m just rambling away here, getting whatever this is out of me, not unlike a cold expels whatever it needs to. I’m not wrestling with much. I accept the process as it is, and I even stop to appreciate the body’s natural healing intelligence. I am doing what I can. I am resting more than normal, gargling hot salt water several times a day, drinking honey-lemon-ginger tea, chewing garlic once in a while and eating a lot of soup.

Today, however, I opted to make a juice. It had been a while since I had done so and I felt like having some concentrated nutrients. I juiced a bunch of kale and spinach, one cucumber, twenty carrots, one bunch of celery, six apples, one lemon, one grapefruit, some ginger, and added a healthy spoonful of turmeric after it was all done. It was quite a project. It took nearly three hours altogether.

I cleaned everything up once I finished and poured myself a pint of powerful immune-boosting juice. I sat cross-legged in a large comfortable chair to enjoy it. I rested my whole body, which had been up and active for several hours in grocery shopping and juice preparation, and I immediately felt the juice doing its work. It was as if I could feel the juice spreading throughout my veins. It was a rush. I sat in a semi-meditative state and let my entire body fall into rest. I could see so clearly – my awareness was incredibly broad, and yet single-pointed. It swallowed everything – thoughts, my body, every sensation. It was quite a reboot.

Sitting here writing (having taken a break mid-stream for another hot water salt gargle) my throat is still sore, but I don’t mind. It’s doing what it needs to do, and I will help it as best it can, largely by staying out of its way. I don’t feel contagious. I feel like things are just in process. So I will let it work. And I might drop in to a doctor if this persists much longer.

I’m off to Toronto this week and I am happy to be checking in with my family and friends there. It will be Family Day holiday in Ontario next Monday, so it will be nice to share it with family. I will be writing to you from there next week. And then we’re off to a family wedding later in the week. Should be a fun one.

Well, there is another off-the-cuff blog post. Nothing profound to share today. Just what’s what.

For the moment, though, I am going to enjoy a nice healthy glass of juice. Why don’t you join me? I wish I could share some of mine through the computer…

Juice

(That’s just a stock image… :) My juice is green…)

 

Expectations

DANGER-expectations

I have likely spoken of the dangers of expectations before. It is something I am well aware of, having learned time and again (often the hard way). And yet I continue to catch myself building expectations fairly regularly. Fortunately, I tend to choose gratitude over guilt or anger these days, glad to at least catch and discard them. But I still get side-tracked now and again.

Even with the best of intentions, I find I can build up a subtle narrative and then watch myself slip back to reality with a hint of disappointment. Last week, for instance, I wrote what I felt to be my best blog post in months. Having followed my blog’s recent traffic trends (encouraged by steady growth), I was excited that several new readers would get to enjoy the wonderful piece I had put together. Excitedly, I imagined the wave of peace and love that might spread out from my inspiring message. Instead, readership dipped down to the lowest I had seen in a LONG time – many months. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself as my expectations were exposed. The high I had felt came crashing down to the ground. I didn’t feel discouraged or anything, but just humbled again. Back to reality.

All I was trying to share was a bit of wonder at the mystery of life, encouraging others to honour life’s balance and beauty, accepting little miracles and big obstacles alike, growing in spite of uncertainty. I figured that would be something to spread. I hadn’t been particularly proud of my recent posts, having rattled them off the cuff rather quickly and without much thought. But this one came out with a feeling of purpose and clarity, expressing my feelings and ideas in what I felt to be a beautiful way. So it seemed natural that others would engage with it also.

I don’t pretend to know why the post went largely unnoticed (generally speaking, I don’t invest energy in assumptions), but I immediately saw an opportunity to practice what I preach and simply let it be. I could accept it and move on. A couple of days later it occurred to me that I might use it as an example for my next blog post – THE DANGERS OF EXPECTATION. So here we are. I admit that a hint of my bringing it up today is a hope that some may be curious enough to look back and read what I am referring to. HERE’S ANOTHER LINK TO IT! ;)

But whatever it may affect on the surface – enabling some to trust their lives more deeply, empowering others to step up to face a challenge – I know that the real value of life, the quiet space we share in the depth of our hearts, remains untouched. This is a good thing. Honouring this pure, untouched part of ourselves can free us to be who we are and to express our hearts more deeply. Granted, it can be tricky to lean back on the ineffable, but in time we may come to see that it actually holds us up, along with everything else. By exercising courage in the face of doubt we can create habits of faith and bravery, paving a way to living lives of substance. Paradoxically, this substance often enters our lives via a realization of life’s impermanence. What is there to hold on to?

We are here. It is now. This we know without ‘needing to know’. This is too true to break down. This is where to invest our attention. No need of endless cycles of expectation and disappointment. Of course we can continue to learn and grow, letting mistakes inform our continuing attempts to connect, create and express, but we can become freer to lean out and make mistakes in the first place. This is a sign of a healthy heart.

So that’s it for today, I think. I’m ready to rest.

Happy Monday all! :)

Catch you next week…  Any topic suggestions?

On Alignment

Flower of Life

Life can line up in funny ways. Especially when we let it. I have been blessed to frequently find myself in the vortex of life’s synchronicity. I have seen life reveal its inherent balance, seeing outside mirroring inside, sensing deeply that everything is connected and quietly in tune. ‘As above, so below’, as the phrase goes. But we can so easily get in the way of this blissful harmony and find ourselves struggling and striving in vain, experiencing only discord. Eventually, however, whether due to exhaustion or insight, our efforts fall back into rest and we can reflect on the beautiful mystery of symmetry.

It could well be argued that balance is the law of the universe. Of course, there is little need to argue anything like this. I imagine those who sense this balance deeply, honouring it with gentle vigilance, are aware also of the futility of trying to convince anyone of anything through argumentative means. Discussion is one thing, but disagreement often backfires and strengthens stances. We can check our own intentions when challenging anything or anyone. Are we truly trying to help or are we just trying to be right? We would be wise to allow others’ wrong ideas to fall away on their own, from the inside out. Simply living in balance, modelling one’s peace and ease with life, is far more effective in showing others how to trust life’s leanings and learn from its endless lessons.

We already have all we will ever need. It’s just a matter of coming to see it that changes our whole experience of life. This realization may flicker and fade at times, and then rage forth and burn up old ideas and beliefs, past habits and stances crumbling under the lens of pure light. Real sight is a gift we have already been given. All we can do is relax and receive it. It turns the world on its head. It lays all battles to bed. It forgives all we have said. All we have done. Because we are already one.

This balance in life, this synchronistic alignment, can guide us through letting go of everything we have been carrying. It can help us to see what is essential and encourage us to set aside all that is not. Which is a lot. But in the place of all we had gathered and dragged we are given so much more. At least it feels that way. Soon we may come to see that we already had it all. The real juice of life is right here. Right now. All experiences are equally fleeting, despite the degree of debris left in memory. We can allow the deepest joy of life to step forward this very moment, completely uncaused, solely for the sake of itself. And then it spreads. Effortlessly.

RadiantHeart

As I traveled through Europe, falling in deeper alignment with life’s wonder and its nudges, I began to see through clearer eyes. Without trying to decode or unravel the mystery of symmetry, without trying to crack open each miracle and extract its meaning, I simply smiled and ‘tipped my cap’, grateful to feel as though I was on course. This seemed to accelerate my awakening to a truth that is so close it can’t be spoken. It’s so close it can’t be known. Not in the way most of us imagine we can ‘know’ things, at least. It can’t be held. It does the holding, so to speak.

On Friday night my brother and I watched Interstellar with our roommate and we shared waves of shivers as the story culminated, leaving us awash in tingling wonder. We talked afterwards of experiences in our own lives that went deeper than the obvious, deeper than that which made ‘sense’ to our logic. Our goosebumps grew as we shared, as if the room was full of the very vibrations which incite such sensations, as if an invisible string had been struck, and rung through us, reverberating and revealing our innate interconnection with everything.

We went on to a few readings from a beautiful, intuitive book by a friend, Dancing in the Mirror, and found it speaking with crystal clarity, reaching through to the very moment we stood in. My brother stood changing a light-bulb in the bathroom, then re-fastening the fixture to the wall, as I stood beside him reading through three brief passages, each echoing from a place of depth and truth, miraculously mirroring the moment. We laughed and hugged afterwards as I felt continuing connective vibrations rooting a subtle yet certain sense of presence. It was already there. It’s always here.

At the best of times I am without doubt about this presence. These, too, are just passing experiences, of course. But I feel in these moments a taste of the eternal. I find it expressed in life’s beautiful and broad balance, well beyond any framing. It is mysterious even when we embrace it, elusive and evasive when grasped at. But by trusting life, even in apparent contradiction, we can be carried through to moments of clarity where we can habituate intuitive understanding, past clouds clearing, and we can see through our illusions to realize who we are and release all we are not.

So let’s trust life’s alignment and try not to figure it all out. We can humbly embrace balance and let love lead.

Have a happy Monday!

:)

Recovery

Recovery

What a week.  I’ve been in bed for days.  It’s no way to live.  Not in the long run, anyhow.  I’ve watched an awful lot of movies and slept a lot.  It’s a luxury.  I know many don’t have the time to be as sick as I’ve been.  But this bug just wouldn’t quit.  Even now that it’s done, it hasn’t quit, exactly.  It left bronchitis in its wake.  It feels like I have butter in my lungs.  When I breathe deeply you’d swear someone was shaking maracas.  When this cold got going, I thought being sick might be kind of nice for a couple of days.  Cuddling up in bed with a few movies and some soup seemed a relaxing recipe.  But here I am more than a week later – my energy back, the fever gone – and I am still in recovery.

Maybe it never ends?  Recovery.  Is that such a bad prospect?  Never-ending recovery.  I suppose it all depends on context.  If we’re in it together, helping one another along, I think I could get behind it.  We could have a few laughs along the way.  It reminds me of a quote by Ram Dass, “We’re all just walking each other home.”  That image comes to mind quite regularly.  There is something very true in it.  And this process of healing, like life, is often a few sloppy steps forward followed by one or two back, or maybe even stopping for a rest on a bench.  As long as we’re walking together, trusting the path, does it really matter where we’re going?  Whether we’re guided by some distant star, or simply the hand we’re holding as we walk along, isn’t the moving forward what matters?  I don’t really know.  Just musing.

Does the road to recovery go somewhere?  It sounds silly, I know, but is recovery a place?  Was there some past state where no illness tread?  What are we trying to recover?  What are we trying to recover from?  I really don’t know.

Recovery.  Now I am sitting here wondering about the word.  Recovery.  To RE-cover.  I don’t know about it.  It feels too much like covering something up – hiding.  To re-cover our wounds.  I much prefer DIS-covery.  Let’s break down all the walls and see what’s ticking inside.  That sounds more fun.  And honest, even if a bit reckless.

*   *   *

This blogging is a funny thing.  Here we are, talking to ourselves, many of us begging for attention.  If you pull the frame back and look at the big picture, it’s what we’re doing – chattering away to ourselves, hoping we notice.  So many of us live such isolated lives that we need to reach through these machines to have contact with life.  I’m not judging the internet.  It is neither good nor bad.  It is merely a tool.  But perhaps looking at it will help us make sense of it.

Some people make a living blogging.  Good for them.  Many offer content of real substance.  But many are out there just making noise.  Anybody who does a bit of blogging, however casually, has likely had their page ‘Followed’ or ‘Liked’ by various ‘professional bloggers’ looking to share their empowered lifestyle and offer opportunities to cash in on website clicks.  We look at their pages and wonder about the legitimacy of their claims.  But what are they actually saying?  Are they simply generating buzz and traffic so their sites will make more money?  This seems to be the case with many of them.

I guess I got thinking about this because I noticed a blog I “follow” asking for money.  It was one of the first blogs I ever followed.  I followed him because he was following me.  He found my page and liked it.  I thought he must have appreciated the content.  Now I realize he was likely just drumming up more traffic for his own page.  He has more than 100,000 ‘Followers’, and in his current campaign he has had only 8 donations (in over three weeks), totalling just over $100.  What does that say?  These ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’ feel rather flimsy in this light, don’t they?

Why are we running around chasing our tails?  We so easily get caught in the trap of seeking attention, forgetting first to check if we have something to say.  I’m not claiming to be any better than anyone else.  We’re all in this together.  But I know that no amount of ‘Likes’ or ‘Follows’ will bring any lasting satisfaction or happiness.  It’s an inside out job.  So let’s stop accumulating and chasing things outside of ourselves.  Take a minute.  Take a breath.  Feel your heart.  See what’s already here.  (I’m reminding myself…)

As for this entry, I’m not looking for attention, or happiness.  I just started typing and this is what happened.  I wanted to honour my commitment to write a Monday blog.  Here it is, in all its raw, rambling glory.  It was supposed to be about recovery.  Maybe it is.  I’m still working on it.

:)

Here’s a nice little song about recovery.  I highly recommend it: New Buffalo – Recovery.

From the Sickbed

Not much energy to say a whole lot today.  I have spent most of the last three days in bed, sleeping a lot, dealing with quite a bug.  It’s a bad cold, I guess.  I have not felt sick to my stomach once, but these never-ending aches and overall exhaustion are rocking my body.  I have been glad to watch it all at times with a calm, meditative perspective, taking it as a growth opportunity.  That is obviously sunny-side thinking, which I am grateful for.  And I do believe it is an opportunity, as anything can be.  I really can’t do much but lay in bed, alternating waves of cold or heat rushing over me, so I have the time to be very aware of my thinking.  I see how it influences my reaction to this bout of illness.  At times I am so alert and aware that my mind falls perfectly silent.  These are peaceful moments.  I see that they are the foundation for all else – the silence.  Like I have learned in the past, a great storm has the potential to show you the calm at its heart.  I feel blessed to be checking in regularly with this calm.  That said, I could still benefit from some ‘good vibrations’ sent out from anyone reading this.  Send a positive thought of healing and perhaps I’ll bounce back a bit sooner.  Either way, all I can do is let it all play out.

As the bug was setting in, a part of me almost relished the chance to laze in bed for a day with movies and soup.  The reality is far from what I’d dreamt up.  I only managed to watch one movie yesterday, the effort of following it exhausting enough.  I didn’t manage any the day before, sleeping through most of the day.  Both yesterday morning and this morning I arose feeling as if it was fading away, but it seems to step up a bit and progress once I am awake.  So, I will keep patient and faithful and do my best not to wrestle with this.  I hope not too many have to face this bug.  It’s no fun.  Let this be a call to ratchet up your preventative measures!  Gargle hot salt water.  Drink lemon water.  Eat an orange.  Have some tea with ginger and honey.  If you’re bold, toss back a clove of garlic.  Drink lots of water.  Don’t get caught with your guard down on this one!

Time to crawl back into bed.

sickbed