Category Archives: acts of grace

In the eye of the hurricane, we stand united.

I awoke from a dream this morning, feeling… hopeful.

I am standing in the eye of a hurricane surrounded by millions upon millions of my sisters and brothers of every colour, creed and conviction. (A socially prudent distance apart, of course).

Around us, the winds buffet and howl. They swirl and moan and blow fiercely in a continuous cacophony of sound desperately attempting to drown out all commonsense, all moral conviction, all loving human interaction.

The wind is fighting to tear us apart.

We do not attempt to fight against it. We let the winds howl away as we stand with firm resolve in our shared human condition.

We are one people. One humanity. One planet.

We stand strong.

We stand together.

The winds blow more fiercely.

Someone asks, what can we do to keep us safe from this storm?

Someone yells above the chaos, “Be kind!”

Someone else yells, “Be grateful!”

“Be generous.”

“Be gentle.”

“Be tolerant.”

“Be loving.”

“Practice Self-love.”

“Practice Brotherly/Sisterly love.”

And someone else calls out, “Pass the toilet paper!”

And together, as one voice, we laugh and pass the toilet paper to those whose hands are empty.

And the calls for kindness, generosity, grace increase.

And the sound of the wind becomes drowned out by our humanity taking action to support one another, to love each other and to live the truth that connects us all:

We are one people. One humanity. One planet.

We cannot fight Covid-19 alone. We cannot fight it as individual countries, regions or districts.

Viruses do not respect man-made borders. They travel the globe unimpeded by laws prohibiting their entry.

We must set personal boundaries to keep it at bay. We must protect ourselves and each other by doing the right things that will preserve life and give the storm time to blow itself out without ravaging the lives of many.

We can keep our social distance.

We can wash our hands and the surfaces we touch.

And above all, we can treat eachother with the most powerful tools we have — our human capacity to be kind, considerate, generous, grateful, loving…

Let us all stand united in kindness.

Let us all be our brothers and sisters keepers.

Let us remember our humanity in the howling winds of this storm sweeping the globe and stand fiercely in love in the eye of the hurricane, strengthened by our collective commitment to take care of one another with loving-kindness, grace and generosity.

 

Do One Thing Everyday

Emotional self-care takes conscious action. Spending time in nature, meditation, doing things that bring you pleasure, art-making, quilting, sewing, cooking, reading… are some of the things we can each do to take care of ourselves.

I created this yesterday to lift my spirits and to remind me that, no matter what is going on in the big world out there, how I respond is important to me and the world around me.

Yes, these are uncertain times. Yes, no one knows for sure what is going to happen, how the world will right itself again, what ‘the future’ looks like post-Covid. The future is uncertain but this moment, right now, this moment in which we live and breathe and act and are, in this moment we can take care. We can be present to all that is without fear overwhelming our capacity to act with intention, kindness and grace.

When we stay calm, when we treat one another with kindness and grace, when we act with compassion and good-intention, we create better in our world.

For the next while, I am committed to creating one thing every day that speaks to the heart and soul of my being present here, with you, with me, on this earth in hope, in possibility, in Love.

namaste

Nothing Is Too Heavy For Love.

There are many names for it.

I call it fear.

Fear of being exposed. Seen. Known. Fear of diving deep into what lies beneath the surface of the words skimming the page. Fear of falling into the darkness and losing the light.

I feel this fear. It stalks me like a wolf slipping through the trees. Camouflaged by nature. Eyes peering out of the shadows. It follows my steps. Waiting.

I keep walking.

I do not want to stop and look for it. I want to pretend it’s not there. Not stalking me. Not waiting. I want to pretend it does not exist.

I am better than this, I tell myself.

And fear laughs. It knows better.

I want to turn around, go back, rewind time.

I want to rid my body of this urge to write, to tell the stories damning my arteries. I want to free myself from these chains.

“It’s not fear,” the voice inside my head, the one that loves me in all ways, even in my brokenness. quietly whispers. “It’s grief.”

I shrug my shoulders. dismissive. Angry. I step on a dried leaf lying on the forest floor. The crackling of its spindly spine breaking rustles in the silence.

Grief?

I want to laugh. To pretend I didn’t hear the voice. I want to run deeper into the forest where the peering eyes cannot see me. I want to become a tree.  Silent. Rooted in nothing but soil and dirt.

I want to be invisible.

I can’t move.

“The river is struggling to flow free of unwritten words,” the voice whispers.

“I can’t,” I tell the voice.

“You know better.”

And I do. Know better. And I know nothing at all about this thing called grief.

“Grief is a river,” the voice whispers. Is it the trees? Is it the hawk skimming the water’s surface?

Is it the wolf?

I want to block my ears. Shut off my mind.

I open my mouth, “Damn that river.”

“You have,” the voice replies. There is no rancour in its words. no condemnation. Only patience. And love.

“It’s been a week,” I hiss.  “I’m done with this.”

“Life is never done with you. Even after your death, life carries your spirit,” the voice lovingly replies. “It is carrying your mother now.”

I sink down onto my knees. The forest floor is damp. Musty.

I gather a bunch of dead leaves in my hands. I raise them up. A priestess extending an offering to the forest goddess. To the Great Mother.

A ray of sunlight splinters through the foliage above. I release the gathered leaves from my hands. Dust motes shimmer and dance where the light finds them drifting effortlessly to the ground.

Bowed beneath the weight of that which I cannot express, I press my forehead to the earth and breathe into the darkness of its mysteries, its beauty, its light, its life and its dying nature.

“I’m tired,” I whisper to the Great Mother of this earth upon which I kneel.

“Let me carry you,” she replies.

“I’m too heavy.” The words come out as a sigh. A plaintive whisper escaping on a breath of air.

“Nothing is too heavy for Love,” the Great Mother replies.

A ghostly breath of air, soft as a feather, brushes against my skin. The leaves rustle.

I rise up from where I kneel on the forest floor.

I turn and peer into the darkness of the trees around me. I spy the wolf’s eyes watching me.

“I see you,” I say. I take a breath. “I come in peace and in grief. I come in sorrow and in fear. No matter what I carry with me, I come in Love.”

The wolf blinks his great yellow eyes and slowly lowers himself to the forest floor. I watch his eyes close. He falls effortlessly into slumber.

Life whispers through the leaves of the trees moving in the gentle breeze that stirs their branches.

Life lays silently beneath my feet where fallen leaves decay.

Life is here. So is fear. Sorrow. Decay. Grief. Joy. Gratitude. Grace.

And always, Love.

I carry on through the forest. The wolf slumbers. The trees fall silent.

The Great Mother carries my weight with loving care. The earth holds me up.

Namaste.

____________________

Thank you DS for your call. Your words of love and encouragement. Your beauty and honesty.

Love is the Way

What if I didn’t question the path before me and accepted that it is blessed and that all I need to do is take each step in the presence of Love.

The question arose in my meditation. It shimmered in the morning light, sliding along the frozen surface of the river outside my window. And, like the waters immediately in front of me, my mind became still, accepting and reflecting both the darkness and the light, the depth and the shallowness of my thoughts.

What if I believed the path was blessed and I had to do nothing but take each step?

And the muse answered — There would be no misstep. Only beauty shimmering in darkness and light in its depths and shallows. There would be only the perfection of each step filled with Love.

It was a scary thought. To hold true that each step before me was blessed. For, if I truly believed each step before me was blessed, I would dance in the light of Love. I would sing loud. I would laugh and spin about. I would embrace fearlessness in each step. I would not fear falling, shining, being my all and my nothing. I would not fear.

I wrote in my journal:

The Path is the Way. Trusting in the Universe I find The Way to trust in the Path where each step unfolds as a blessing before me.

We seek to fill our lives with that which we think is missing. What if we chose instead to subtract? To take away the things that do not work rather than layer over them with more and more?

What if, instead of seeking love, we chose to believe Love is always present, flowing eternally within and all around us?

Breathing into all that is not present when I still my mind and body, I found myself remembering to sink back into that place where I know, deep within me, that all my seeking to know the way, to understand the path, is just a way to keep myself busy from being all that I am.

When I let go of seeking, I open my heart, my mind, my body and soul to being present.

And in my being present with all that is, I become, all that I am, connected to all that is present – Love.

May your day be filled with being all that you are when you stop trying to become all that you tell yourself you can be if you only had more of everything.

Namaste.

Mother Nature: Defiant in the face of adversity

As the days grow shorter and the cold settles in for the winter, the river moves more slowly. Once a frolicking dance of water rushing towards the east, it slithers along its course in a smooth sinuous dance of water and light flowing together. In the middle, between the two abutments that hold the pedestrian bridge up above the water, an ever-widening island of ice is forming.

Winter approaches. Snow covers the ground. The trees stand naked on the river’s shore.

The river runs cold. The river runs deep.

The sky is dark and gloomy. Morning has not yet broken.

I sit at my desk, looking out as daylight slowly creeps across the sky. I am warm and cozy inside my home.

And then, for just a moment, I take my eyes from the river and sky to glance at what I’ve typed and when I look up again, the horizon is awash in rosy pink and golden hues dancing across the sky.

I sit in awe of nature’s ability to fill the world with beauty in just one breath.

Amidst all the inexplicable and often horrific happenings in our world, in spite of the dire news that fills our newscasts with all the things we humans do to destroy each other and this planet we share and call our home, nature continually defies our senselessness with acts of beauty.

Thank you Mother Nature for opening the morning with such grace and beauty. Thank you for reminding me that no matter how far the world seems to be spinning off its axis, no matter how dark the skies or turbulent the waters, spilling warm inviting colours all over my world creates a more inviting place to be. Thank you for showing me how a warm inviting smile, a graceful dab of laughter, a sprinkle of tenderness and kindness can push away the darkness and let the light of day shine bright.

Morning has broken. The river flows deep. My day has begun in beauty.

May we all live this day like Mother Nature. Defiant in the face of adversity. Continually overpowering darkness with light and ugly acts of violence with loving acts of grace. Let us all be fearless in our desire to create beauty in the world.

Namaste.

___________________________

and PS — if you’re wondering…. Beaumont is still asleep in bed with his dad!

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Tuesday – you can make a difference!

Today is Giving Tuesday, an annual day of giving to not-for-profits doing the heavy lifting of social change, supporting research for intractable diseases and other issues like healing our environment, helping animals and a host of difference-making work to support those whose lives have landed them in hard rock places.

Imagine if every day was Giving Tuesday. Imagine if we all believed in the importance of supporting organizations at the frontlines, monetarily and through volunteerism – and then did it!

What a world of difference we would make!

I also get that giving every day would be cumbersome – it would cost more to process a daily $1 donation than a monthly $30 one – but you could give a recurring donation every month to reflect a month of daily giving. It definitely does good things for your heart. And even the tax-folk recognize your giving by giving you a break on your taxes!

Colour me altruistic… but my dream is that Giving Tuesday becomes like Valentine’s Day (without the artificial sugariness and commerciality) — hard to ignore, simple to participate in, and an expression of our love — for humanity, the planet, all sentient and non-sentient beings, everything and everyone on this earth.

I like that.

— Making a difference in the world – everyday.

The original name of this blog when I started it on January 1, 2012, was ‘A Year of Making a Difference’. At the time, I had just left my role as director of communications at the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre and was concerned about how I was going to keep making a difference in the world. I was doing consulting work and thinking I might continue along that vein but, helping clients (who albeit were all not-for-profits) didn’t quite feel the same kind of ‘difference-making’ as walking into a homeless shelter every day.

So I focused on finding one thing every day that made a difference in my life, other’s lives, the world at large, and I wrote about that.

It definitely made a difference in my life to put my attention on difference-making/makers every day. Eventually, I moved back into working in the homeless-serving sector and at the end of that first year, changed the name of the blog to Dare Boldly. My goal was to inspire each of us to live beyond the limits of our comfort zones and to make a difference.

When I left the sector, and the formal workforce at the end of May this year, I still wanted to make a difference — Difference-making is in my blood.

Inspiring others to make a difference is also in my blood.

So, my challenge to each of us today is to find one not-for-profit organization where a donation of any amount will make a difference. And then, make that donation.

It’s not hard and it doesn’t have to be a huge amount! A quick google search of the term “Giving Tuesday” will give you lots of links to click on to inspire your giving.

I just made mine through  Canada Helps — where for today only, every donation of $25+ is bumped up by $5 — it’s fast, it’s easy and it makes a difference, plus, your favourite charity is probably listed on their site! (And PS — you can even make the donation in honour/memory of someone you love — I did and it brought a smile to my face just to write the message — see, giving is receiving!)

And here’s the thing, if giving monetarily isn’t in your basket today, Volunteer!  Or, when you’re out and about, share a smile, a kind word, an act of grace with everyone you encounter — from those you love to strangers. Share the goodness and grace of your heart.

Seriously, together we can make a world of difference. And BONUS! Giving generates lots of feelings of goodwill in your heart that ripple out into the world in joy and harmony — and what could be better than a world awash in feelings of joy and harmony?

Namaste.

PS — here’s a 30 sec video from the Giving Tuesday org that helps you understand how Giving Tuesday works as an antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday — I like it!

 

Let Me Taste Every Bite of Life

One of the things I am noticing about this ‘here-in-my-world not out-in-the-world workforce’ place is I am enjoying my kitchen more and more every day.

I have always loved to cook. I am intrigued by the opportunities to experiment when I dive into the process, the curiosity it ignites with its constant invitation to explore, ‘what would it taste like if I add…?’ or ‘what would happen if I do…. this….?’.

And then, when life got busy, really busy, I started spending less time in the kitchen. When every moment was determined by the extra minutes I could carve out from beneath the pile of to do’s that kept rising higher than the laundry waiting to be sorted on top of the dryer, cooking became a rote process. It took time and where was I supposed to find more of that?

In my newly embraced ‘here-in-my world not out-in-the-world workforce’ mode, I am spending more time thinking about food and the kitchen. I am pouring over recipes, checking Pinterest for ideas on what to do with this ingredient or that vegetable, dreaming up soups and sauces with the savoir-faire of a sous chef in a fine dining establishment (okay it’s more like at a ‘diner’ establishment and a sous/sous/sous chef but a woman can dream!)

And it’s been fun.

Cooking is a form of creativity for me. It is meditative. Relaxing. Soul-filling. And, having more time to spend delving into its mysteries and wonders is a gift — and one my beloved dearly appreciates as he is the beneficiary of my desire to keep creating in our beautiful kitchen!

Some lessons learnt savouring time in the kitchen include:

  1. Like life, cooking is an art form. It is best experienced with all your senses awakened and attuned to your environment and everything in it.
  2. Creating food is one part alchemy, one part science and the rest is all just pure love, joy and curiosity. Sprinkle liberally. Douse everything and everyone in love.
  3. Food is about all our senses. It not only has to taste, feel, look and smell good, it also needs to evoke an emotional response that ignites our gratitude, joy and aliveness.
  4. Cooking is all about being.  It’s not something you do. It’s something you experience by being immersed in the curiosity of its alchemy and magic, savouring each moment, tasting each morsel of energy created by the act of creating meals to nourish body, soul, spirit and wholeness.
  5. It’s fun to cook; alone or with someone(s) special. It’s always heart-filling to share your creations with another or more than one — remembering that it’s not about the food you’re creating or eating, it’s all about the community you’re building when you gather around a pot on the stove or around the table and share in a meal created with Love.

I am spending more time in the kitchen savouring the opportunity to create and imbue our home with my love of creation.

I am grateful. I am blessed. I am alive.