Category Archives: finding joy

Fear beckons. I choose Love.

I scour the newsfeeds, as if my search will lead me to the thing I seek the most. Hope.

It isn’t there. At least, I can’t feel it beneath the fear that rises up to grip me.

I do not want to feel the fear and instead, turn to my studio, as if in immersing myself there, I will discover hope rising.

I still feel lost in my fear of the fear that stalks me.

I lose myself in a book, as if the words lining the page will somehow make sense of what is happening in the world around me.

I lose my place in the words I read again and again. My eyes blurring with fatigue and worry of fear’s tight grip.

I numb my senses in a Netflix series, as if the ongoing drama of fictitious characters will somehow help me find my place in all that is going on in the world around me.

I cannot stop what is going on in the world around me. I struggle to free myself from this place where fear threatens to drown me.

Holding my breath as if underwater, I fear I have nowhere to go.

I let go of fear. I take a breath. And then another. Life-giving oxygen fills my lungs. Fills my being. Fear diminishes. Courage rises.

I dive deep into myself, breathing into the beauty of this moment where the river flows endlessly towards a distant sea.

Above its steely grey surface, I watch a family of three walking with their dog across the bridge. The leash is held in their child’s hand, taut. The dog pulls. The child rushes to keep up. The dad rushes to help his child. There is fear in his quick steps. I cannot hear them but I can see the child’s laughter. The child’s joyful insistence that they keep hold of the leash. The dog pulls, urging the child to keep going. The child runs after the dog. Laughing. The parents join hands and follow.

I breathe in the joy of this tiny moment played out upon the bridge and feel the heaviness of my fear lighten up.

I watch two geese skim the surface of the river, honking loudly in their flight. Their wings expand and they fly up into the still chilly air of this April morning where spring hides high above in a clear blue sky. A cold front is passing slowly, ever so slowly, through. In the presence of the geese returning from southern lands, I am reminded, this too shall pass. Spring will blossom.

My heart lifts with the expansiveness of the geese taking flight and I feel life flow throughout my being present in their passing by. There is hope here. This too shall pass.

Held in still, soulful silence in the deepness of this present moment, I watch two squirrels chase each other up and down and all-around a tree trunk. They are fearless in their wild flight from tree limb to tree limb. My heart beats wildly. There is joy in their animal kingdom style game of tag.

I smile with them. My heart beats freely. Joy is here. Laughter. Fearlessness. Life.

I scoured the headlines searching for hope.

It wasn’t there.

It is here. Silently flowing all around me and deep within me. It flows like the river, carrying me always deeper into this present moment where the eternal beauty of life fills me up and I flow fearlessly in its embrace over the threshold of this moment, into the next.

And in each moment, I take a deep, life-giving breath and find myself lovingly held within the beauty of this moment right now.

This moment in which love flows freely.

I searched the headlines this morning looking for hope. I found only fear lurking between the black and white words and numbers blurred into incomprehensible statistics beneath my tears.

I wanted to give in to fear. I wanted to dive deep into hopelessness.

Instead, I chose to follow the thread of the river to where it leads me deep within to that sacred place where all I need to sustain my peace of mind in these days of turmoil and grief is that which is ever-constant, ever-flowing. Love.

I wanted to give in to fear this morning.

I choose Love.

 

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I am sharing this with the Tuesday Photo Challenge as the word this week is Hope. Without hope of this pandemic’s end, the future would be grim.

 

 

 

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I read the news today. Oh boy.

No 58 – #ShePersisted Series
Mixed media on acrylic paper
11 x 14″

“I read the news today. Oh boy.” (Source)

Like an addict seeking their next fix, I scour the Net for the latest news related to Covid-19. I creep Facebook pages and furtively dart into Instagram threads like an underage teenager slipping into a sex shop, hoping to garner one tiny morsel of news that will feed my need to know what’sgoing on.

And I repeat it. Time and again. Even though I’m not clear on what more there is for me to know other than what I can do to keep myself and those I love safe and to minimize my risk of passing the disease along.

The numbers here are rising. We’re on the upside of the curve, desperately trying to flatten it down, while in the far east, they’re on the downward slide, desperately trying to revive shuttered lives and businesses.

Social distancing isn’t a cure but it helps stem the flow when we do it together.

Washing hands and avoiding touching my face will protect me. And I’m doing my best not to worry, but there’s still no guarantee Covid-19 won’t slip in through some unknown crack in my defences.

All I can do is breathe and trust. Breathe and trust.

I read the news today. Oh boy.

I don’t know why I keep reading.

Perhaps I’m hoping it’s all been a big mistake.

Perhaps I think I’ll read it’s over. Done. Gone.

Perhaps I’m just looking for hope between the black and white reality of these times we find ourselves in with nothing but good sanitation and keeping our distance to keep us safe.

I read the news today. Oh boy.

And then I re-read the lines I’d already devoured in an effort to stem my seemingly unending need for information.

And it’s then I realize, all this readin’ is not good for my health.

I don’t need to bury my head in the sand, but I do need to gain some balance between reading the news and living my life in these uncertain times.

Labels don’t change Covid’s reality just as knowing how many presumptive versus confirmed cases have occurred does not change the course of my day. Trusting that I am doing everything I can to keep myself and my loved ones safe, does.

Fact is, it’s not Covid-19 stealing my peace of mind, it’s my incessant reading of the news.

I read the news today. Oh boy.

And then, I stopped.

There is still a beautiful world out there. A world of nature and rivers flowing. Of sights waiting to be seen. Of adventures waiting to be had.

There are still words to be written. Paintings to be painted. Life to live.

It’s my choice whether I carry fear as my companion or peace of mind.

Because, while I may not have a lot of choice in what Covid-19 is doing, I do have choice in what I do. Today. Right now.

For now, those sights to be seen, those adventures to be had, those words to be written and paintings to be painted, they are mine to do, right here. Right now. Albeit, closer to home, and mostly alone.

For now. Because no matter what is happening today, this too shall pass.

The unknown always existed. It’s just right now, the unknown comes with a name that is stirring my worry genes and causing me to break out in a sweat.

And so, I breathe.

And the river flows past my window and I sit and watch its undulations.

I cannot change its course.

All I can do is to find my peace of mind by reminding myself I have the power to create a day full of beauty, love and grace. Right here. Right now.

I have the power, right here, right now, to find myself in this moment and breathe into the silence and the beauty that surrounds me.

I cannot change the course of Covid-19, but, together? Together we can stem its flow. We can flatten the curve of its impact. Together, we can get through this by doing the things we know we must do to manage its passing through.

I read the news today. And then I stopped. It is time for me to take control of what I allow into my mind, body, spirit and world.

This morning, I’m off to walk my dog. To watch him play in the snow. To watch the river flow past.

If I meet strangers in the park, I’ll keep my distance. It’s the right thing to do.

And with friends and family, I will use the tools of this technological age to keep us connected across the distance we must keep, for now, to hold each other safe.

We are all together in this place of the known and unknown. Of the certain and uncertain. Let’s walk as one voice, one people, one humanity in gratitude, generosity and grace to ensure we survive with our hearts intact, our connections to one another strong, and our planet a place of good health and well-being for all.

Namaste.

 

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

This Beautiful Life of Mine

I am home.

Back to this stark, wintery land of snow and trees standing naked along the banks of an ice-covered river. Of frosty mornings where buds still sleep beneath a blanket of snow and the robin has not yet returned from its winter sojourn south.

I am home.

Home to my beloved C.C. and Beaumont the Sheepadoodle who is lying on the chaise beside my desk, his eyes glued to the stillness of the landscape outside my window.

I am home.

Yet, part of my heart, my mind, my soul remains captive to a 2-year-old boy whose laughter and giggles, sunny smiles and joyful nature hold me forever under his thrall.

I am home.

And I miss him so.

My daughter too!  (I had to say that so she wouldn’t feel left out. 🙂 )

But it’s true. I miss her too. Being part of her journey as she becomes a mother, watching her as she grows more and more confident, more and more assured of her gifts is a blessing.

I had a lovely time celebrating my grandson’s 2nd birthday and now I am home. Home to pick up the threads of my artwork, my writing, my being present in this beautiful life filled with the grace of all my blessings, of people I love (and a furry one too).

I love time by the sea. Time spent with my grandson and his parents – and this trip had the added bonus of my youngest daughter also being there as well as C.C.’s daughter. I love time spent wandering Granville Island Market and Jericho Beach. Time sitting in coffee shops with my daughter chatting and exploring what it means to be a woman, wife, mother, in this time and place. Time alone in a restaurant by the sea, writing in my journal, watching the boats bob on the water and people pass by on the street. And most of all, I love the time playing on the floor with my grandson, reading, playing with his blocks and fleet of toy cars and trucks.

I love it all and cherish each moment.

And I love coming home to this place where I know I belong. Where my beloved welcomes me with open arms and Beaumont’s ‘cold shoulder’ welcome doesn’t last longer than the time it takes me to take off my coat. This place where my heart is at ease, my steps assured and my creative soul awakened to the beauty of each sunrise, each moment passing because no matter where I am, my life is a vast richness of love and joy, beauty and grace.

I am blessed and I am grateful for it all, this beautiful life of mine.

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.

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.