Category Archives: finding joy

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.

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.

CandyCane Lane and other magical sights

The park where Beaumont and I walk is a magical playground at Christmas.

Every December 1st, volunteers from the community of dog walkers who use the park bring in bins of Christmas balls and decorations and leave them at the base of trees throughout the park. The invitation is for all park-goers to hang a ball or two upon a tree and dress up the park for Christmas.

It is glorious!

Especially, Candycane Lane which a group of volunteers decorate every year.

Yesterday, as snow fell and silence descended within the light touch of flakes drifting through the air, Beau and I walked amidst the trees. Granted, he was not as entranced by the beauty as I was, but I didn’t care. I’d remembered to take my phone and grabbed photo after photo (much to Beau’s dismay as he wanted me to focus on throwing the ball). And a few of Beau — but those are reserved for his own blog, Sundays with Beaumont. 🙂

It truly is wonderful what a group of committed people can do to create beauty in the world.

Many blessings and wonder on this day.

 

Trees Fall Down And Nobody Yells At Them.

I didn’t do it.

No excuses. No reason why not (well actually I have a lot of those but you don’t really want to hear them).  The fact is, I did not reach the 50,000 word target of the NaMoWriNo.

And I’m okay.

When the time is right the writing will be written, I shall continue on.

At this moment in time, I am having way too much fun in my studio, creating a new platform on my website for creative offerings and developing courseware that expresses my life focus of being a Creativity Activist. Oh. And I’ve got Christmas gifts to craft for this year.

If I were really committed to the writing, it would happen. And it’s just not happening write now.

Isn’t that the way of life? We think about the things we’d like to do, and then don’t get to them. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision not to. Sometimes, it’s procrastination. Sometimes, competing priorities or different ones take centre stage. And then, there’s just the good ole’ filling time with other busyness.

Whatever the reason, not doing it is information that can create light in our life or heavy spaces.

In the past, in not reaching a target I might have wasted time chastising myself, beating myself up for what I deemed ‘falling down’. It never really helped. What it did do was create that heaviness of being that nullifies and defies my peace of mind.

Enough is enough.

I don’t need to chastise myself. I have to either get on with completing whatever it was I was doing, or, decide to be okay with not doing it.

In the ‘being okay with not doing’ I can choose to create space for self-compassion and self-acceptance.

I didn’t reach the NaMoWriNo word target.

I did sign-up. I did complete my outline and chapter synopses. I did a bunch of research on an area of the novel that I need to understand to write about it. I did start writing. And that’s a big deal. Those are positive steps.

Time to celebrate the steps taken.

Time to acknowledge I’m exactly where I am. Life is exactly what it is in this moment right now.

And then… it’s back to the studio I go to play and create.

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I’ve been creating more Christmas balls with clear glass balls and alcohol ink and glitter. I do love sparkly things!  Did I mention how much fun I’m having?

 

Thank You Bob Dylan

Sometimes, when I dance with the muse my moves are very focused.

Sometimes, they’re a sea of motion, visuals, words, ideas streaming together to create a dance of all the elements crashing into one another, like the waves crashing into the shore.

It was those words that I wrote in my journal yesterday that inspired my studio time later in the day. That and a monoprinted sheet I’d created a few weeks ago with images of clocks and birds that I’d turned into a mini-art journal. At the time, I remember thinking of my dad who’s favourite quote from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was always,

The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly --- and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

That quote, and my own musings of time passing and life moving ever onward as well as one of my favourite folk/protest songs from ‘way back when’  inspired the story below. (Thank you Bob Dylan)

I am grateful for the muse and her ever-constant presence connecting me to my creative essence inviting me to soar with the wind and dance with abandon on the sands of time.

Blowin’ In The Wind

Time called out to the wind as it blew past,
“Take me away with you to far off places where I can forget who I am as I while away my days watching waves crash against the shore where seagulls dive from the sky and lovers dance oblivious to the sands of time passing by.”

 

Capricious and free, the wind swept up time and kept blowing, faster and faster as the hands of time kept spinning in delight of the wind’s breath fresh against its face.

Caught up in the wind,
Time kept passing
And as it passed it gathered stories
of far off places and tucked them deep into memory’s pockets
sewn into the great divide that stretched across the horizon
in every direction at the edge of day turning into night.

With its memories safely tucked away for a rainy day in the deep pockets of the horizon filled with time blowin’ in the wind, the world kept spinning as the hands of time kept turning.

In time, it came to pass that the wind grew weary and stopped to catch its breath on the shores where waves crashed and seagulls dived and lovers danced oblivious to the sands of time passing by.

Caught up in the joy of blowin’ in the wind and the who it was it could not forget, time could not stop. Without missing a beat time kept on passing by as the world kept spinning around the sun and the moon kept rising to greet the dark and the waves kept crashing as time passed by.

I wonder.

I am reading an online article about Helen Duncan who was convicted of witchcraft in 1944 in Britain and sentenced to 7 months in prison. She was one of the last women to be convicted of witchcraft under Britain’s archaic Witchcraft Act of 1735.

Bemused by what I am reading, I raise my head for a moment and look outside. I gasp.

The river runs red reflecting the rose-red and golden hues of the morning sky.

I stop reading, grab my phone and run to the deck. I have to capture this beauty.

Back at my desk, I laugh at myself. I became so busy taking photos I forgot to just be with the beauty.

I go back out on the deck, without my phone, and breathe into the sunrise. I listen to the river flowing, the hum of traffic crossing the bridge, the dry leaves rustling in the morning breeze.  In the distance, a train rumbles along the tracks aligning the river. A bird caws as it flies over.

I fill my senses with all that is around me. Morning has broken and I am one with its beauty, mystery and magic.

The pink-streaked sky has vanished. Dull grey-blue clouds blanket the horizon.

The river runs steely-grey.

The day continues on.

I am grateful.

While I was able to capture the photo above, I am even more grateful I remembered to let go of ‘doing’. In choosing to go back out onto the deck, I was reminded to breathe and let myself be with the feelings and sensations of standing in the chill of morning, allowing the beauty of a dawn-streaked morning to enter my awareness and imbue my body with its brilliance.

I am grateful I let go of capturing the moment to simply be present in its beauty and awe.

And I wonder… how often do I let go of being present to ‘get ‘er done‘ or to capture some one-dimensional impression of what is, rather than being in felt relationship with all that is?

I wonder.