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.

🙂

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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?