Category Archives: Essential Journey

Despite your regrets, are you willing to ‘live the better’?

The river moves like sludge this morning. Its free-flowing surface is becoming clogged with chunks of ice that dip and bob as the waters flow towards the rapids that have formed beneath the bridge where the ice has gathered on either side and created a narrowing in the river. Once through, the waters rush forward, racing towards the sea, or the next impediment to their progress.

The river reminds me of life.

We move along, picking up hurts and pains, clogging our flow with things we refuse to let go of, tell ourselves we cannot forgive or forget. We come to a narrowing, deposit bits and pieces of our past and dreams unlived that keep piling up along the banks and then race through whatever opening we can slip through, hoping the way ahead is clear.

Sometimes it is. Sometimes, like the river racing through the rapids, the way ahead is marred by a curve that creates space for ice to gather and impede the river’s flow.

As C.C. and I have both been battling a cold this past week, I have spent a fair amount of time lying on the couch watching Netflix movies. (After I watched the new season of Grace and Frankie of course) In one movie, the protagonist asks the hero as he’s about to attempt, yet again, to kill him after the hero has, yet again, foiled his plans for world dominance, “Did you actually think you could get to the moment of your death and not carry some regret for the things you couldn’t do?”

I don’t think you can — get to the end of your life and not carry some regret for the things you couldn’t do. I also don’t think that’s what matters.

What matters is, what we do with our regrets for the things we’ve done we wished we hadn’t. How we choose to live our lives because of the things we regret yet cannot change.

Are we willing to quit using our regrets as an excuse to continue to behave badly? To continue to not do the things we want to do? To live our dreams fully?

Are we courageous enough to face our regrets and say to those we’ve hurt, “I behaved badly. I’ve hurt you. I apologize. I am committed to doing better.” — and then… live the better.

Are we willing to look in the mirror and tell ourselves, “You are not some automaton destined to live by other people’s standards?  You deserve to live life on your terms, and as long as your terms create better for everyone, go for it!”

See, that’s the crux of it. Whatever we do, it must create better for all, because if it isn’t good for all, it’s not good for the one either.

And when I live my life by that maxim, my regrets no longer have the power to clog up the river of my life, no matter how stuffed up my head feels because of a cold or how deep the Arctic freeze that is clogging up the river outside my window.

While my husband lay sleeping.

On Saturday morning, after taking Beaumont the Sheepadoodle out for his morning business, I carried my coffee and the newspaper back to bed. As my husband slept beside me, I opened the paper to the insert honouring the 57 Canadian victims of Flight 752, shot down by a missile in Tehran last week.

I did not want to read it. I did not want to read all the stories, the names, see the photos. I didn’t want to. But, I knew I must. This was the one small thing I could do in this tragedy that leaves me feeling helpless and frightened for the future of our planet.

I lay in bed, tears streaming down my cheeks as I learned about the lives that were lost, about the people who loved them, stories from their co-workers and friends. Though insignificant in the totality of the tragedy, that hour spent reading about their lives made a difference to me. In that act, I could pay tribute to those who died, and their families who must now learn to live with the empty spaces their loved ones once filled.

I am not sure if I could have done it if I was alone in my bed, an empty space beside me.

But I don’t have to think about that as my husband is here, not gone like those who lost their lives on that flight and the countless others who will lose their lives today in other atrocities we humans inflict upon one another every day.

I want to be angry. I want to get mad. To express my sadness and sorrow in ways that make others feel as badly. I want to demand we all ‘wake up’ and stop killing one another.

And I know that none of my demands and assertions I know best will change the world for the better. My anger and blame-throwing will not create a safer, kinder planet. It will not add to the more of what I want to see in this world.

Only Love can do that.

I must choose Love.

Love is the one force, the one presence that is present in it all. In the anger, the sadness, pain, sorrow, grief, despair,

Love is always present.

It flows eternally, waiting forever for us to awaken to the truth of our humanity:  We are not separate beings walking in isolation on a planet made up of many singular people acting as individuals or collectively under individual flags. We are One humanity co-habiting this One planet. A collective humankind that has the power to create life or destroy it.

It is our choice.

When one of us walks in anger, we all feel it. When one of us kills another, the loss is universal. There is no one person to blame, no one country at fault. We are all accountable. All part of the tragedy and the loss of our humanity and the destruction of our planet.

Flight 752 took off from Tehran airport last Wednesday carrying the hopes and dreams of those on board as some travelled towards home and some to new adventures. Those 176 passengers and crew will never come home. They’ll never explore new horizons, never experience their dreams coming true. They’ll never again brush their teeth or tuck their child in bed with a goodnight kiss and a whispered prayer for ‘sweet dreams’. They’ll never again know the feeling of laying in their loved one’s arms or the excitement of running into the arms of their families waiting for them at the arrival gate.

They will never take another breath, another step, another bite of an apple, a pear or the sweetness of life. They are gone and the empty spaces they leave behind will now be filled with the tears of those who carry their memory and struggle to find meaning in the empty spaces they once filled.

I read the stories of the lives lost on Flight 752 on Saturday morning. The space beside me was filled with the comfort of my husband sleeping. And as I read, Love flowed freely, in my tears, my sorrow, my anger and my hope that one day we will choose that which makes life so beautiful and rich. That which makes life worth living –  Love.

Magic. Miracles. And Wonder

I am lying in the bath soaking up the heat and sensations of being immersed.

Thoughts float on the surface of my mind like the bubbles that surround me.

A bubble pops and a thought erupts. “This body covered by my skin is my ecosystem. When I do things, eat things, say things that impact my ecosystem negatively, I am harming my world.”

Fact is, my ecosystem is connected and dependent upon the ecosystems of everyone in my life, everyone I encounter, know, meet, have never met because my ecosystem is not an independent system, it relies upon the ecosystems of the world to live, breathe, move and thrive.”

I know. Heady thoughts while lying in the bath, but sometimes, you just gotta flow where the current goes.

We are all connected. Not just we humans, but the squirrel bouncing from limb to limb of the naked trees outside my window. The river flowing eastward. The snow covering the ground. The Arctic Vortex that covers our city in its ‘cold dome’ right now.

We and it and they are all connected. Interdependent. Intertwined. Participating in, supporting and being part of one universe.

What we do today makes a difference.

What we do with our time, thoughts, actions — it all matters. Not just to each of us individually but to the world and all its inhabitants, everywhere.

I awoke this morning. Arctic air surrounds my home. I am warm inside.

Outside my window, snow covers the ground, the river flows, trees stand naked, cars drive across the bridge towards the city centre.

I do not know exactly what this day will bring. Every moment is a moment for magic to erupt, for miracles to unfold, for the exquisite nature of life to reveal itself again and again.

I can stay open, expectant, excited by the magic or I can close the blinds and stay hunkered down inside the comfort of my home.

And as I type, I spy the unexpected. A bicyclist pedals across the pedestrian bridge towards downtown. It is minus Arctic outside and he is riding his bike through the freshly fallen snow.

I smile.

If I’d closed the blinds I would have missed the moment of wonder of his passing by.

Today, let me live with my eyes wide open to the possibility of magic, miracles and wonder. Let me breathe deeply into the awe of the intricate beauty and unexpected nature of this fragile planet upon which I walk and breathe and live my life connected to the world around me, part of the ecosystem of all.

Namaste

Take Action – my word for 2020

Sunrise on the river through frosted glass on the deck

I took down Christmas yesterday. Finished off the task I’d begun the day before, carefully wrapping and placing decorations into tubs, labelling each tub to ensure it is easier next Christmas to set it all up again. Hauling out the tree for the ‘Tree Tossers’ to come and pick up.

I love the spaciousness that happens inside our home, and my being when Christmas is all putaway.

I love the lights and glitter, the twinkling of the tree at night, the holly and cedar branches, the adornments on tabletops and ledges.

I love it all.

And then….

I grow weary of the clutter, the needles falling, the having to move this and that to create space for everyday living.

This morning, when I walked into our living room it felt light and airy. Like the new year really has begun and the clutter of the past is now cleaned up.

Which I hope it has as my dream last night was rather prescient.

In my dream…I was kidnapped, but I wasn’t. There were lots of people around whom I knew and the only thing keeping me where I was, was the ruler tucked into my hair. It had antenna attached to it which acted as an electronic tracking device.

Lots of people there knew me and they all felt sorry for me. Which I absolutely detest. People feeling sorry for me. And, while they knew where I was, they didn’t want to tell me because, apparently, no one ‘out in the world’ knew where I was.

I didn’t know where I was either. I think it was New Zealand. C.C. was in the US somewhere. I’d lost my phone and couldn’t remember any numbers so couldn’t call, which wasn’t possible anyway as the kidnapper had the only phone. But I kept thinking I needed to call, if only I knew the numbers.

It wasn’t a scary dream. More a wake-up and get creating kind of dream. A ‘stop vacillating about what you are doing and just do it’ kind of message.

It was definitely a dream that confirms the power of the word that has found me for 2020.

It’s two words actually. Take Action.

I didn’t choose them. In fact, I kept trying to make it something else. Like ‘Transformation’ or ‘Divine Goddess’ or ‘Creativity’. All of them felt contrived like I was thinking them into being. Take Action kept resonating. In meditation. Writing. Even my dreams.

And so, it is my guide, my compass, my true north for 2020.

And as I ponder its essence I gain clarity on my dream. I often hold back from taking action because I hold myself captive to the idea that my creative expressions are not as valid as someone else’s. Or, that they only have relevance to me. Or, they’re just not perfect yet.

To simply ‘Take Action’ means to let go of looking for some secret release or answer. It means to trust in my creative urgings calling me to simply be present with my birthing of ideas into the world — without judgement, purpose or explanation.

I think it’s what my dream was telling me — stop holding myself captive to what I think I need to measure up to, stop fearing what others think or might say, stop making excuses for not diving in and just do it. Just ‘Take Action’.

Here’s to a year of living into, breathing with, and acting out my word for 2020.

Here’s to a year where I ‘Take Action’ on setting myself free of expectations, checklists and boxes!

Care to join me?

 

 

 

 

We Are Home.

We drove east from Hope, BC in pouring rain that turned to slush, to snow, to rain and back to snow.

On the ferry from Vancouver Island

It was a slower than normal drive to accommodate the conditions. I am grateful, my beloved factored in both the weather and my nervousness of driving in such unfavourable conditions.

I’m also grateful we did decide to finish our journey yesterday as the Hwy has been closed in both directions between Revelstoke and Golden since yesterday afternoon.

Stopped on the Highway outside Golden

We just slipped through.

The generosity of strangers.

About 20 kms west of Golden traffic stopped. A long line of cars serpentined along the road in front of us and quickly, the line grew behind us.

Traffic stopped

I took to Twitter and sure enough, DriveBC quickly answered my Twitter query — “Does anyone know what’s going on?”

There was a serious incident on the highway blocking lanes going in both directions. No information yet on when the highway would be open as it had occurred not long before we were stopped. No detour available.

It was a waiting game.

Until about an hour later when a young man hopped out of the U-haul in front of us, walked back to our vehicle and knocked on C.C.s window.

“There’s a detour road about 1km back,” he said. It will lead you to the outskirts of Golden.”

A pick-up had already turned around and was heading in the direction of the other route.

We turned around and followed him. As did other cars once the kind young man had passed on the information.

It was a backcountry road. The terrain was beautiful. Rolling hills with ranchhouses dotted amongst trees, lights glimmering in the fading light of day. The road was ploughed. Travel was easy.

About 20 minutes later we found ourselves at the edge of Golden. A stop to refuel, both vehicle and ourselves, and we decided to push through the 3 hours to home.

I’m grateful we did.

The road ahead

The Highway between Revelstoke and Golden remains shut down this morning due to avalanches. There’s a very heavy snowfall warning for the coastal highway leading into the interior today. Travel is ill-advised. And while there were travel warnings yesterday due to weather conditions, the roads weren’t slippery, just snowy at times and wet.

I am grateful.

Grateful for C.C.’s patient driving — both with the conditions and me as I tend to be a little tense (ok a lot) when semi’s roar past in a blur of flying snow and gravel, especially on curves!

I am saddened.

Our journey was punctuated by two serious incidents that took the lives of two people. One the day we left Tofino which closed the Hwy just east of Hope — we were stopping there for the night, and then the incident yesterday.

Lives forever gone. Families changed. Journies altered.

We drove home yesterday. Up and over the Coquihalla to the interior. Along the vast expanse of Lake Okanagan to the Rockies. We crossed over Roger’s Pass and then Kicking Horse further east. We drove down out of the mountains to the rolling foothills towards the city and home.

We carried with us our memories of our time by the sea. Our time playing with our grandson and visiting with our daughter and son-in-love.

It was a beautiful respite and a love-filled transition into the New Year.

And now we’re home.

This morning, I sit at my desk by the river, a candle burning, soft music playing in the background. Beaumont has had a brief morning walk and is once again asleep on the bed with C.C. I sip my tea and watch the traffic on the bridge travelling in the same direction we were yesterday.

In front of my window, ice islands stretch out from under the bridge and the river flows endlessly to a distant sea.

All is well with my world.

Farewell Fair Tofino

Amidst fears of war and revenge, of wildfires destroying homes and lives, of floods and storms washing away villages, drowning hope, I sit by the edge of the sea and seek the solace of the waves flowing in, flowing out. Flowing in. Flowing out.

To the west, the vastness of the ocean stretches away, touching land in far off China.

To the east, coastal forests climb up mountainsides creating an impenetrable barrier penetrated only by one long winding sliver of road giving access to the world beyond.

Troubles diminish here by the sea.  Death and bombs. Fire and floods. Anger. Revenge. They feel so foreign. So far away.

Me and My Shadow

We are leaving today. Travelling east. Travelling across land and water and land again to return to our home on the river.

For five days, Middle Beach Lodge has been our home away from home. Our solace. Our retreat.

It has been divine. Restful. Regenerative.

Perched upon the cliff, above Mackenzie Beach, the lodge offers an expansive view of the waves crashing against the rocks, the trees dancing in the wind and the ocean undulating out towards the horizon.

Low tide beauty

And more than anything, it creates a comforting and caring environment in which to savour the moment and all its beauty and possibilities.

Years ago, when my daughters were in junior high and high school, I would bring them here every Spring break for a week of fun in the sands, leaping across rock-strewn beaches and run along boardwalks through the rainforest.

It was a time of magic. A time of connectedness. Memory building. Joy.

While C.C. and I do not tend mores towards sauntering than leaping and running, it continues to be a time of magic. Connectedness and memory building.

My writing, reading spot.

This is the first time we have come here together without Beaumont our Sheepadoodle. And while, his antics are priceless as he races through the waves trying to catch seafoam and flotsam, we have treasured this time away without any responsibilities other than to be present to one another.

We start the journey home today. We take with us the peace and joy that has come with being in this place where land and sea unite in a beautiful dance of life come undone from the cares of the world.

See you on the other side of the Rockies.

Namaste.

 

Stormy Take Outs

It was a day of rest. A day to savour time by the fire. Chatting. Reading. Playing crib. (I won’t mention the fact C.C. skunked me! Cad! 🙂 ) And, a day to appreciate the power of nature and the benefits of electricity.

It was at 2pm the lights flickered and then went out. Completely. For almost 3 hours, a large swathe of Vancouver Island was without power. Storm. Power surges. Faulty lines. Not sure what the problem was but it was rather exciting for a while with just the fire and candles to add light in the storm.

Inside, at The Lodge at Middle Beach, we were warm and cozy. Outside the winds howled. The surf surged and trees danced in the storm.

By 5pm the power began to reappear. On. Off. Until after about 10 attempts, it stayed on.

I had taken a walk on the beach earlier. The wind blew fiercely. The waves roared and the tide crashed against the shoreline. Within fifteen minutes, the path I’d taken along the beach was awash and I had to find the high tide trail back. It was wild and beautiful and intoxicating.

When I returned, my pants were soaked but my upper body was dry as I had worn one of the bright yellow slickers the Lodge provides.

I felt exhilarated. Revived by the wind and sea and salt air.

This morning, the storm has died down. The skies are a misty grey, white flecks dotted with blue struggle to break through. Rain still falls. Soft and gentle, not the skin prickling sensations of yesterday.

The power is on.

We had a delicious dinner last night in The Great Room at Longbeach Lodge. Their generator had kept the kitchen running, albeit at limited capacity, throughout the afternoon and by 8pm when we arrived, everything was back on. We chatted and listened to the waves and savoured the delectable food and toasted our ‘togetherness’.

And my heart expanded, my breath deepened and my thinking mind drifted effortlessly into silence.

Inside me, I feel the ebb and flow of the waves pulling me into stillness. I feel myself slowing down, once again becoming attuned to my heartbeat, the blood flowing through my veins, the feeling of my bones grounded in space and time, connected to the ‘everythingness’ that is all around.

I breathe. In. Out.

I feel my breath move throughout my body. Energizing. Life-giving. Connected.

I feel my breath move down, down, down into my legs. Into my feet. Tingling against my soles. I feel it move through me into the ground beneath me. And I say a silent prayer of gratitude.

My body is present. I am aware. Alive. Awed.

Outside the wind continues to howl.

Inside, I am rested. Peaceful. Connected. Present.

Life is an adventure. Life is grand.