Friday, July 31, 2009

Beyond Tolerance

I've been reading a lot on tolerance and accepting people as they are, no matter their cultural heritage, their skin colour, their religion and it occurs to me that I'm not particularly thrilled with "tolerance". I know this doesn't sound good but bear with me a little as I explain a bit further where I'm going with this.

The word, tolerance has a negative connotation to me. When I think of tolerance I get a negative feeling. Tolerance is putting up with something that I don't particularly enjoy as in "I will tolerate something...I don't really like it much but I'll put up with it and understand it's important and valid but really, I don't like it much, but yeah, I'll tolerate ". Somehow this is the feeling that comes to me with the word tolerance, the buzz word of the civil rights and equal rights movement.

I understand it's just a word and that it is the appropriate label to use these days but it doesn't quite work for me. Let me explain my position further on this.

I have a different way of looking at differences between the races and individuals within the races. Instead of tolerating them I move beyond that. I accept that we all are each different, and I embrace it! Whether a person is the same colour or race as I am or of a different culture or race, is irrelevant to me. I take the opportunity to learn about that person and who they are as an individual. I learn from the differences and consider myself better off for it.

It is easier to have people around me that think mostly like I do, it's good to have people you have things in common with to support you in your decision and your life but the best lessons in life are learned from those with differences. And to learn and discover how other people think and learn and grow is infinitely more exciting, even if there is disagreement there.

I have not learned about the effect of racism on the African-American people in the United states by simply tolerating the differences, I have gotten in there and asked and learned. There are certainly differences between African American people in the United States and white Americans because the experiences they've had, the history that has made their culture exists completely based on the colour of their skin.

The first thing I need to do is not tolerate the differences but accept them and then from there move into learning and believing that their differences do not come from the colour of their skin but rather the way they are treated due to the colour of their skin. I can embrace the difference, and accept that it's there, as part of the essence of that individual and love that the differences exist but know that they really don't matter.

I have always been interested in different cultures, different religions, and I've found that at the core all people are basically the same. Every religion has it's crazies, every culture has its negatives and that certainly includes mine. And those groups are generally LOUD. Knowing that people are all different within all cultures is exciting and makes the possibility for gaining knowledge infinite!

One of my best days was sitting with a neighbour while she showed me her wedding pictures. She had returned to India and had a traditional Hindu wedding and it was fascinating to me to learn about the traditions of her culture. Her wedding was semi-arranged in that they had been introduced by the parents with the hope that things would work out and it had. To this day they are a very happy couple and have raised two very nice sons. Had I merely tolerated having them live across the road, listening to the whispers of arranged marriage and strange religious holidays, I would have missed out on learning some interesting cultural information, seeing her beautiful wedding dress and becoming friends with some wonderful people. And she would have missed out on learning how I grew up and what I believed.

Because of her I have always had the dream of moving to India and living there as a citizen for a year simply to learn and experience life as it's lived by a billion people on our earth. To be as brave as she was when she moved here with her new husband to a country that was as foreign to her as India is to me.

Recently we drove through my old neighbourhood in the city I used to live in and realised that the only thing I miss about the city is its diversity. The opportunity to learn from other cultures, to attend the festivals held in the park by different ethnic peoples. There is a lot to be learned even by being a part of those kinds of events. I lament that my children don't get to meet people of other countries, children from other places so that it can become normal to them to see faces of many shades at a birthday party they hold as my older children did when we lived in our old city. I hope that in spite of this lack, they grow up with the ability to embrace differences instead of merely being tolerant of them. That they see race as something irrelevant and the human race as something magnificent, diverse and fascinating and immerse themselves in the brilliant difference humanity contains.

So tolerance, yes, we must have it to coexist of course, but the ideal, the goal should be beyond tolerance, into excitement, non-judgement and love for all that is different and unlearned in this world. To hold bewilderment and joy at the gift of diversity. And the great cosmic joke is, in embracing the diversity it is usually discovered that we are actually more alike than we are different anyway!




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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Learning to Fall


I remember watching some very young kids learning gymnastics. The very first lesson these kids were taking as part of a very expensive program was landing safely. It almost seemed a bit ridiculous to pay that much money to watch three year olds toss themselves on the floor but it is a very important lesson!

Tomorrow I have the orientation at the television station as I posted about here. Then next week I have three days of workshops to train me on reporting, shooting, editing, the basic knowledge we'll require to get started. I remember in the past being very nervous at the start of a new adventure like this but I'm surprising calm.

And I think it's because I've learned how to land! It's not that I don't think I will screw this up. It's because I'm utterly prepared to screw this up. I'm pretty sure I'm going to make mistakes, some small, some big, some stupid, some over again after I've learned, and this from someone who generally learns easily and quickly.

Time and experience have taught me that there is no such thing as success or failure. These are subjective measurements that are weighed differently by different people. For me there are only results. I'll do the best I can to learn what they want me to learn, bring to the show what they need brought and whatever the end result I'll be satisfied.

As an added bonus, I signed a contract yesterday to write two articles per month for Attachment Parenting Internation Blog, I'm very excited about that and my first article is in the works and I've got a working list of other possible parenting article ideas that I'll reach for when everyday life doesn't present me with something as it often does.

So practice tossing yourself on the floor more, practice landing softly and unbroken, growth comes from mistakes and as you learn to land better you'll feel more and more confident on the bar.







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Monday, July 27, 2009

Insomnia


Zombie-like the coffee drips and slurps
it's aroma wafting from a favourite cup
two am, three am, four am, five
Admit defeat and finally give up

Exhausted yawns that yield no restful sleep
bone-tired body that refused to rest
noisy beeps, disturbing sounds of night
patience once again put to the test

No real reason, many many reasons
sleep avoids like an embarrassed friend
fatigue trips gaily down your eyes
and teases them with thoughts of daytime's end

midnight desperate forages for comfort
nothing sooths the beast outside the door
interrupting days and nights alike
leaving crumpled pages on the floor

Deprivation of the vital essence
we hopelessly pray our souls to keep
as we try again in vain at midnight
dreading never lay me down again to sleep.



Written at 5am by a tired blogger...yawn.



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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Closets and Pulpits

Regular life shuns the curse
For what you are we give no permits
uneven wants and even worse
rainbows can't illuminate closets

Ridiculed in history's pages
accept the needs, deny the self
accepted by the gentle sages
yet seek physchological help

We'll cure you with these newfound methods
Fix you up and mend your errors
you'll be normal, have a family
just avoid eye contact with mirrors

Baseball cards with manly men
none of them dared deny their hate
covering self with loathing outward
reared against their girlish fate

In volumes of the Brilliant Wilde
the mystery lies in pages bounded
out impossible within
timeless whispers never sounded

Sin again preaches the man
hippocrite of an exclusive club
heaven bound he preaches hate
the paradox the only rub

Murderous rage inflames the simple
hate stirred up by latent lust
can't kill ourselves that would be sinful
let's kill the ones that we mistrust

Leave the mystery in the pages
Holy book yields chronic lies
Peace and love preached by the prophet
contradict the hippocrite's cries

So important is the message
damned to hell the twisted same
why was there not a word once whispered
by the prophet that shares its name



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Friday, July 24, 2009

A Little Sample of Brilliance!




Photography is not my thing. I love photographs and I love taking them but I'm a family snapshot sort of girl with no claim to the art of photography. So when my friend April over at A-Muse-in-Me offered up some black and white shots for my new and soon to be published Poetry book, Wind Rhymes, I jumped at the opportunity. In the past few days she has sent me some of the photos she thought might be appropriate and they are beautiful. By the way, April is multi talented, a poet and musician and the poetry will occasionally translate into beautiful song lyrics and I'm already queued up to buy her first CD when it's released because it's going to be incredible. She has sent me some mp3's and her voice is welcoming and smooth like warmed silk.

Here are few pictures. Some of them have inspired me to write new poetry and I'm already working on some new prose for a second poetry book that I think I'll call Fire Rhymes.

Thanks April!





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Thursday, July 23, 2009

No Ordinary Moments


I was walking and listening a podcast and heard this yesterday and it struck me as a wonderful truth.

I spend a lot of time thinking and considering and meditating and wondering. Occasionally I have flashes of pure light and knowing, moments of divine perfection where I feel in complete awe of the miracle that is life and creation.

But generally I walk along completely wrapped up in ordinary things, housework, kids, friends, playgroups, cooking, facebook, all the regular things we all do. This is what most of my life looks like and I go along, just living it.

But whether I am completely blissed out at the miracle of life or completely immersed in cleaning the car the backdrop to life is always the same and it's always extraordinary. While I'm vacuuming dried french fries from the carseat(those my dog managed to miss) this amazing universe floats around me and keeps life and nourishes life and is filled with the miracle of spiritual essence and energy.

Last night I went to the bar with my rowing team. One beer, battered mushrooms and the company of some very funny and fun friends. Stories flowed as they traded the fifty-cent wings and commented on pickles, olives and green beans in the caesars! It was nice to just be in the company of regular folks in the neighbourhood pub and not thinking beyond that moment.

Later when I got home I realised that I hadn't been inside a bar for a long time. Many people might consider that a good thing but I think I've miss it. I watched a young boy, maybe 8 years old learning to play pool from his father. I so want to play pool again, I used to play a lot in my younger days. These seemingly ordinary moments satisfied a very human need in me, to be with people, to be a part of a team and to just hang in the moment and have fun! And that made them no longer ordinary!

There are no ordinary moments. If you live and enjoy the moment you are in to its fullest enjoyment you are living an extraordinary life, a significant life. There is no reason to seek and strive and search. Exactly where you are right this moment is exactly where you are supposed to be. As the landscape of your days change and evolve with your growth and maturity remember that there are no wasted moments. All are precious and all are valuable, even those spent whiling time away in a bar with friends, maybe perhaps, especially those!




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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Empathy's Purpose

Observe this droplet on my finger tips
wiped from eyes of saddest blue
pain filled pools of saline water
reflective of a disappointed you

Dampened cheeks, I will my heart
to pull the pain you hold so deep
into the heart that grieves for you
and happily your tears I'll keep

I feel you tremble as I hold you
weeping low like willow branches
mourning for the loss of dreams and
the failure of your second chances

Gentle tears that cleansed and ceased
disperse in time, your sobs abate
I hold the pain transfused to mine
and arrest the birth of futile hate.









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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Busy Busy, Good Busy!


Don't stop by and visit. Don't come to my house. That is, if you are the type of person who judges people on how clean and tidy their house is, don't come. Because mine isn't. Ok..well none of you are like that so you guys can come by anytime. I have tea and wine and beer and I'm willing to use it! And the bathroom and kitchen are clean..that's all that matters right?

When my husband and I first started dating I told him that I wasn't particularly domestic(except for my apple pies) and didn't place it high on my list of life goals. I thought it would be a very sad thing if my eulogy even remotely mentioned my housekeeping skills as I thought that would be a sad reflection of living my life wrong. After the last couple of weeks, I'm pretty sure it won't come up! I like a clean house but I don't like cleaning a house. It's a dilemma.

It has been suddenly crazy busy with more and more on the calendar all the time. I have somewhere to go, something to do every single day and often multiple appointments. It's been a bit hectic but it's been good. The things I've had to do are things I love to do, Dragon boat races, meetings, appointments about television news shows, all good things!

And I've been seriously neglecting my writing but sometimes you have to live or there isn't anything to write about! And there has been a lot of living going on. The most exciting thing is the reporter training. Next Thursday I start that and I'm very excited about it. I'll keep everybody updated on how that goes.

Yesterday I met with two wonderful women to discuss my personal growth initiative for women that I'm trying to start in Stratford. If you aren't familiar with it you will find it on my other blog here and I think it really helped me formulate how I want this to look and be for the women of the community. But even better I got to talk with two delightful and intelligent women with whom I have a lot in common, and one is even shares my first name!

Today is an easier day. The only thing I have on my calendar is getting my dog groomed and later, soccer for the kids. So maybe I'll catch up on the pile of laundry that is sitting upstairs requiring attention. But if the sun is shining I may not. Tea, beer and wine in the backyard sounds good!

Last night we drove in for fireworks in Stratford. It was quite nice. I picked up my older daughter along the way and her boyfriend of course. It was kind of nice having all four of my daughters with me on a beautiful warm Ontario evening. When you know that a few kilometres down the road a woman is mourning her lost child it's easy to have perspective and gratitude for the simple act of being with your healthy and happy children. I wish my husband could have been there but he had to go to work yesterday. I miss him.

So this is mostly an update post. The poetry book is simply waiting for its time. The novel needs some attention but it'll come. My non-fiction book should be finished and ready for editing by the end of September(finally) and the television show will be launched September 9th.

Lots of things sort of hanging and I just sit her observing and being thankful for the gifts as they come.

Breeze



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Monday, July 20, 2009

Victoria Stafford Update








Many of you will remember the sad case of Victoria Stafford, the eight year old child who was abducted from in front of her school on April 8, 2009 and allegedly murdered by two local citizens likely that same day. I wrote about it here if you missed it.

Today, it is being reported that the remains of a child have been found in the large area that is being searched for her body. They haven't confirmed it completely but say it most likely is her.

Although it's not the ending most of us had wanted, I hope it is her. If there is not hope then her parents at least deserve the peace of mind of knowing what happened to her and having her back near them. I want that family to have the peace they deserve and I also hope finding the body makes it easier to convict the people arrested in the homicide.

I hope sweet Victoria, you can finally rest in peace and your family can have their questions answered once and for all as to what happened to you.

Then pen is still
the heart is broken
words insufficient
remain unspoken

What can we say
to our worse fears
a mother's grief
a father's tears

A brother who
alone must grow
a sister lost
he'll miss her so

Rest quiet now
sweet little child
the pen is stilled
for a little while...





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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the Wall


She traced them with her finger tips
fine lines of time and strife
tracked along her soft tanned face
that spoke of love and life

Memories etched in gentle canvas
set with the sheen of diversion
the face of intimate familiarity
reflects a life of full immersion

The mirror writes no fiction
it tells no soothing lies
it caresses those who care for truth
and accept the words it sighs

But a deeper authentic her is hid
her reflection holds an error
the self can only be seen by looking
into the spirit's magic mirror





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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Simple Mystery


My daughter, Sophia Chaffey on Change Islands, Newfoundland, photo credit Elizabeth Chaffey


I glance into the sky and the most perfect picture appears. The sky is as blue and crisp as it has ever been, the white clouds of mist appear to have been placed just so for my viewing pleasure and the sun colours the sky with red crayola magic as it settles in for another night of rest. At this moment I cannot turn away. No imposed meditation, no amount of wanting gives me a moment such as this, it comes, at random times, when I'm not expecting it.

It is in these moments of divine perfection that I feel the happiest and most content. I feel my heart almost burst with the joy that bubbles within. It almost overwhelms me to know that all of that is my mystery, that I get to be here, me, on this great big earth, blessed with the time and ability to explore as much of it as I want to.

When I lament the fact that I haven't travelled much, haven't experienced much of other countries and cultures, I think to those moments of perfect clarity and know that it cannot all be done by one person but it's all there to be done by everybody! That the most I can at this time is welcome the world into my little space, invite the universe to send me what I need if I am unable to go there right now. And invariably it does.

The summer months are languid and lazy. I read more and write less. I live more and dream less and I feel more real and alive and less dependent upon my imagination for diversity.

But, it is in the midst of both realities, the one that goes out and explores and the one that stays in and welcomes that I receive the best gifts and I believe it's because of the balance I've created that I see the world clearly sometimes and am gifted with this rare glimpse of perfect moments of creation.

There is a poll on face book now that asks "Creation or Evolution" and my answer is "whatever". Does it even matter? I know it doesn't matter. I look out into infinite heavens and see that no question matters, no answer matters, it is absolutely perfect. It is awe-inspiring that we are here at all, that we humans are born, live, create, build, destroy and die at all. The miracle is not in how we came to be here but that we ARE here. The mystery unfolds to us in it's perfect time but for now it's what we do with our time that makes our lives hold worth.

Yesterday I read a status of a second cousin on Face Book that said "just really enjoys the act of living" and that, there is really all you need to know and all you need to do. The most complex things, the most studied things often have the simplest answers, we spend years studying life only to learn something we've always known.

It's the great paradox that repeats itself time and again, in the lessons of life and nature and spirit. Everything old is new and all that is new is ancient. There is one truth sent in a billion ways and accepted by a billion hearts, each with its own perspective and individual reality. But the great mystery only holds one simple truth. Life is a gift, it's precious and pure and special and should not be squandered. Live it well and the best way to do that is to simply enjoy the act of living.

Namaste



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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kermit the Frog Reporting!


So opportunity knocked and I opened the door, let it in and gave it coffee and cookies. Once again the time to branch out into something entirely new and different has presented itself right when I was ready! And..so the new opportunity is (drum roll please) volunteer television news reporter!

An ad in my inbox for budding reporters/editors/camera people appealed to me so I sent an email with a little blurb about my background. A volunteer opportunity, they provide training in all aspects of creating stories for a brand new local cable television news magazine show being launched in September. The producer, a friendly, energetic and excited woman, was eager for me to join her and the rest of the new team she's assembling.

It will encompass local news stories in all of Stratford and the surrounding areas and in August, after three workshops I should be able to put together a story for the show to the point that the producer can work on it to make it television ready. It involves reporting, writing, camera work and any other aspect I'm interested. Me, being me, is interested in everything but I'm starting with a focus on the reporting and shooting.

It feels exciting to be involved in the community this way. I worked at a community newspaper in another city and it was a fantastic way to get to know people, the regular people as well as the people who drive the city forward, the politicians, the entertainers, the event organizers, the people who make a city grow and breathe.

I love that there is writing involved as well. Writing a news story for television is a skill I will enjoy honing. I adore that a very good friend of mine is also involved and we will likely get to work together on stuff!

So first it was Kermit the Frog, from Sesame Street, now it's live with Breeze on Rogers Cable 20, Stratford Ontario...some big green flippers to fill for sure!





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Monday, July 13, 2009

Michael Jackson




With as much mystery as he held in life, Michael Jackson died, leaving us even more bewildered. Mysterious circumstances, fodder for the tabloid magazines as always, those who were fans of Michael Jackson wept, those who didn't ridiculed. Such was his life, such is his death.

I watched the memorial and all I saw were three beautiful and sad children without a dad. I place my children in that picture. It breaks my heart. When his daughter spoke of him being a great father I see no reason to disbelieve her. Her grief was honest and raw.

I have been a Michael Jackson fan from the Thriller days. I always rooted for him, I always wanted him to prove them wrong, I wanted him to gain strength but I think he was weakened by isolation and an unrealistic existance in a bubble of self preservation and ultimately of self-destruction.

There was no hope of normal for Michael Jackson. His celebrity was what it was and while there could be no normal, one fact remains, Michael Jackson was a human being with human failings and emotions. I saw sensitivity in his music and his lyrics. I hear "Heal the World" and marvel at the simple cleverness of the theme. I adore "Man in the Mirror" a lesson that all of us should take to heart and I think "We are the World" one of the finest musical accomplishments ever undertaken. I have listened to some of his speeches, I've read how he made the Guinness Book of Records Millenium Edition as the pop star who gave to the most charities. He matched his time and his chequebook to the sentiments he wrote of time and time again.

Some will see the surface only, his features altered year after year for some reason known only to him, the speculation of the tabloids not truth, for if we were to believe that we also must believe he married an alien and slept with the elephant man's bones. But no person is single faceted. Certainly he wasn't. Humans are strange creatures, what we percieve as different we ridicule and hate, we build our heroes up just to knock them down. It's interesting to me that with all the fame and fortune he had, somehow he always seemed an underdog to me. Life seemed difficult and too much for him. But I rooted for him, maybe for this reason, maybe because I admired his talent and hoped he would prevail and make that his legacy instead.

Some will take some time and look a little deeper and see beyond the physical differences noting his charitable works. Still Others will remember the allegations of horrendous crimes that were never proven to be true but accepted as so by those who chose to do so. If, in some way, paying money can get you out of a crime then the American Justice system has more to answer to than Michael Jackson. Some will remember all of this. Some won't be bothered to remember at all, Michael Jackson a mere blip on their radar. Perspective will determine all.

I choose to remember all of it. And I choose to judge for none of it. I choose to remember that I don't know for sure and until I know the intimate character of a man, and I believe very few people can claim this to be true of Michael Jackson, I will not judge him by the allegations of others.

What I know for sure is that this man broke the race barrier in music, I remember the music that was the backdrop of my teen years, I remember a song to a rat and a sequinned glove. I remember moonwalking and how I practiced, remote in hand, in front of the television, frame by frame until I got it. Yes, the Breeze moonwalks! I remember heartwrenching pleas for help for the world from a man who genuinely seemed to care. I choose to remember that many of his lyrics appealed to the higher side of humanity to be compassionate and to love each other a little more. I choose to remember what I like about Michael Jackson and there is much.

And I choose to remember most of all that three children lost their dad and how they must grieve him. And I think, in the grand scheme of things, that is all that matters.







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Friday, July 10, 2009

Where did it go?

Outside the frosted pane looking back in
She sees her there, the girl that dreamt
of walking along the world's greatest wall
wiping the steam from wanting breaths
I peek at the girl with the visions
of standing in front of the Taj Mahal

She's writing her name in Sahara sands
and doing great things leaving all impressed
with the girl that did all she set out to do
nothing could stop the ambition she held
and then love crossed her path and detoured her dreams
as she paused and decided maybe a child or two

And she holds dreams in her head
while grasping her life in her hands
With baited breath waits for the life she proposed
and watches through tiny holes in the frost
made with her waiting breath and sees
all the dreams she dreamt are not as she supposed

Life in the moment bequeathed from the dreams
different and real and ever satisfying
the big life is little, opportunity pass
great walls and pyramids never realised
dreams pushed aside as the girl watches the frost
fill in the holes she made in the window pane's glass

While beside her the girls with the blonde happy curls
wipe holes in the glass and peer through the clearings
and see dreams in the trees and the ice covered branches
and the girl leans down and breathes their vision wider
with smiles the children glance in wonder at mother and dreams
as the mother smiles down at her two second chances.






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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hey Universe, Me Again!


Thank you! I read somewhere, if you want something to happen, simply throw it out to the universe and let it go...so I did. And I have been. In fact now, that's all I do. I don't fret, I don't worry, I just say this is how I would like things to be, I feel happy knowing that this will be and I take that feeling and I toss it off into the universe, there, take it, take my dream and do with it what you will.

I've given up hours of wishing and hoping and dreaming. I've gotten rid of lists of things to meditate on, I have let go of the idea that it can be manifested if I hold on to the vision, instead, I let go of want and I focus on to the feeling, feel it deeply, and then I just let it go. If the thought of it enters my head again, I let it go again, with a smile of confidence that the universe will send me exactly what it is I need!

Is it working? Of course. My family is healthy, work things are coming together, financial opportunities are presenting themselves for both my husband and myself, our family is happy, the girls are happy, and don't seem to be aware that times have been difficult lately for us in some ways, because I've focussed on letting them know that in all the ways that matter, love, family, wellness, things have been super great!

The book of great paradox, the Tao te Ching says "Practice not doing...When action is pure and selfless everything settles into its own perfect place". In the not doing, great things get done." Lately, everything I've tossed into the universe has been a dream for someone elses contentment, another's peace, knowing that if those around me are peaceful, I will be happy for them and happy is happy, no matter whose happiness it is. And things are flowing their way and it's wonderful.

So Hey Universe, thanks for taking the time for my friends and family. I appreciate it and all the gifts you've given me as well! And anything I can do for you, just give me a call!

Breeze



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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Times They are A-Changin'! A Celebration of Scurvy Elephants!


So I started a poem but it's really crappy so I'm going in a different direction. I've been writing for a while now for fun and recently for a teeny tiny bit of money. I have a poetry book which will be released in the not so distant future although I have no exact date yet because I don't want to place pressure on my most generous and talented photographer. This time has given me the opportunity to write other things, my novel, some articles, new poetry, enter a few contests and enjoy some summer fun with my children!

I'm going to talk about writing for a moment. It is notoriously hard to break into writing, particularly novelling in a big way. So much of your destiny as a writer is dependent upon the "market" and the publishers and the agents and what they "think" will sell. I've read many books where I've thought "I could write this piece of crap, how'd he get published?" and truth is, I don't know. It's a formula, a mystery that I can't begin to unravel. On the other hand I read a novel the other day that was so brilliantly written, a story so powerful and moving that I place it in the category of one of the best I've ever read(and I read a lot!). Eclipse by Richard North Patterson is truly a fantastic novel and I highly recommend it.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled post. Do you know what a scurvy elephant is? Well this story was told by Dr. Wayne Dyer during one of his speeches. Dr. Dyer spent his childhood in a variety of foster homes. He didn't particularly excel in school. One day he went home and told his foster mother that he overheard his teacher tell the principal at his school that "Wayne Dyer is a scurvy elephant". When his foster mother called the school for clarification she was informed that the teacher had said "Wayne Dyer is a disturbing element" not a "scurvy elephant"!

Years later, little Wayne Dyer became Dr. Wayne Dyer, earning a doctorate degree from Wayne State University in Michigan. He is a writer and one of the number one life coaches in the world. And he didn't do it in traditional ways. He is and has always continued to be a scurvy element!

When I heard this story for the first time, a light went on. I want to be a scurvy elephant! In fact, I think I always have been one. I don't conform well. I may seem like I do, I'm a peaceful sort of person but I typically don't do things the way they've always been done simply because they've always been done that way. And I'm happy being a scurvy elephant too. It suits me. I've always questioned the status quo and I've often gone against it. I like the herd but I often find myself walking outside of it, looking in at it, writing about it, wondering about it, but not truly part of it. For years I tried to be part of the herd but I just don't really fit. I like my own place and my own pace and I've even started to become scurvier as years go by, I find it's actually easier to be true to my own truths than to try to adopt the truths of those around me.

It is the scurvy elephants who are flexible and change as things change. Since they don't go with the status quo often they are the ones who break down barriers and move and shake the world. I'm thinking that Bill Gates is a scurvy elephant and I think that Albert Einstein fell into that category as well. And there are a lot of regular people as well who fit the definition. The "black sheep" of any family is likely a scurvy elephant!

So what does that have to do with writing and novelling and getting published? Well there is now a group of wonderful writers who have decided to forgo traditional routes and to share their work with the masses without the stifling control of the publishing industry. Just as there is a vibrant musical element that is independant and available thanks to the internet, suddenly there are beautiful, independantly published works of literature available. New, small, author-friendly publishing companies are doing well and making it easier for good authors to get their work out there and available. Now the readers get to choose instead of the agents. Instead of waiting years and giving control of your work to someone else great authors are making their own way.

I've been following the blog of one such innovator for a while now. I've read exerpts from his novel, My Quirks and My Compass, and I cannot wait for it to be released! It is being published through a publishing company called Pensive Pony Media, a publishing company created by the author,H. Charles Dilmore, who I believe is a true scurvy elephant!

The times, they are a-changin' as the old song goes, and I believe that there is a new way, a better way to publish and move your work into the public forum. I believe that the time is coming when the public will choose what they want to read and will no longer miss out on wonderful work due to the whim of an anonymous agent whose only eye is to commercial value rather than art. And with the internet and all the abundance of readers available I believe it's going to happen sooner rather than later! So for all of you scurvy elephants out there, now is your time! Get out there and make things happen, it's an individual's market now, the elephant who breaks free from the herd will often make the most noise and cause the most disturbance. Let that be you!



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Friday, July 3, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now!



Martina, above, proudly showing off her new glasses!

So my very adorable three and a half year old daughter Martina got her first pair of glasses yesterday. They are purple with green and sparkles on the side and very cute! When she had her pre-junior kindergarten screening it showed astigmatism and off we went to the eye doctor to get that checked and she confirmed the diagnosis. Another appointment gave us a prescription and a very excited little girl got fitted for her first pair yesterday and I'm not sure what she was more excited about, the glasses or the little pink purse she gets to store them in.

When she first put on the glasses, her already big eyes grew enormous with the sudden ability to see everything more clearly. She was asked to walk around a bit and I observed that she was walking with a slow deliberate march, staring at the floor. I asked the optician why she was doing that and she said it was either that the floor appeared closer because of the magnification in them or it was because suddenly there was more detail, maybe she could see the flecks of gold in the grey carpet.

So I asked her what she saw and she said "the floor is BIGGER!" and upon further questioning, in her three year old way she said she could see a bit better but it "hurt" a bit. The optician said it would take a while for her to adjust but that she had to wear them all the time.

Throughout the day I observed that she spent a lot of time peeking over the top of them, then back through the lenses, back and forth, comparing the before and after. By the end of the day there were longer and longer periods of her looking and being aware of them and she spent most of the evening with them on, forgetting that she now saw things more clearly and differently, she had adjusted to this new way of seeing the world and just carried on. How resilient and flexible children are!

Now isn't that just a perfect analogy for making the transition in life from one that is an ego based, desire filled existence to one that is satisfied with life and filled with joy?

We walk along, believing the messages we've been taught by our parents, churches, society, the media. We spend time in want, wanting a car, a house, a family, a partner, a diploma, money, money, money, for isn't money the secret to all of the other things we want? We feel that if we can have more of these things that we will finally be happy. We struggle, we get frustrated, we don't have that, we have this instead but our neighbours have that and we want it too! It's not fair, they seem to be able to buy what they want and do what they want, why can't we?

This is how many of us live our lives. Then, a change occurs. For some it's when they lose what they have. For others, they get sick and tired of working so hard for a happiness that seems so far away, so out of reach. Some burn out on the rat race, the constant seeking and never quite finding, the living for a moment that hasn't and may not ever come to them. Some experience great loss and the pain forces a shift in attitude. And the thing is, while we are living in this place, with our blurred vision and our skewed attitudes we don't know that we aren't seeing things clearly, we don't know we are impaired in our thinking, it simply is what it is. A time to want and need and desire some "thing" to make us happy.

But then suddenly things become clearer. We are unsure if what we are seeing is real. We didn't know things could be this clear. We're almost afraid of it and like a three year old with brand new glasses we take tentative steps towards a new way, a new life. We play with it a bit first. We try it on. How do we look in these new glasses that make our life look so different. What will people think of us if we live this way? We take them off sometimes when we are in the company of people who know us from the old way. Sometimes, at the beginning, things seem a little "too much" and our head may hurt a little, as change often does, but the pain we have to go through to adjust to a better way of life is well worth it, and most of the time it's our own ego fighting for survival.

As time goes on we find we can't do without them. We put on our new lenses, the ones that make life clearer, and wear them in public more and more. We look over the top a lot, comparing the old way to the new, but always we return to the new because to see more clearly, that life is about living it now, in the moment, that it's about truth and relationships and nature and love, particularly with oneself, this is the way we see life now and it's much more clearer and crisper than the way we used to see.

So we leave them on more and more. We don't desire, we allow. We don't struggle against life, we live in the flow of it. We take things more slowly, we look all around us at everything in our lives and we rid ourselves of the excesses and only keep the things that are truly necessary. We don't worry and we don't feel guilty anymore because we see that that isn't productive and conducive to our ultimate happiness.

Occasionally we lose our glasses or break them and occasionally we try to see how we'd make it through without them, but somehow, once you've seen things clearer, it becomes necessary to go forward, and invariably we put them back on, maybe with a little tweak to the prescription because we've learned something new while they were in the shop. Once we see well, it's hard to live with a blurred view of life ever again.

The new way of seeing, the clear and crisp view of life, that shuns the ego and adopts a positive, happy, free attitude is always there.

Those gold flecks in the carpet were always there, my little daughter just couldn't see them without assistance. The truth is always there for us in life, like those little gold flecks, and when we look at things differently, when we look at them through the spectacles of optimism and joy, and take tentative steps forward, we see that not only is the floor bigger and closer to us, it's a softer place to land should we fall.

Namaste





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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Sophia!






My perfectly beautiful Sophia is 6 years old today! If I were to describe her to you, likely you would think I was a boastful mother. Well I am. I am so proud of this girl. She has always been wise beyond her years, her name means wisdom and it suits so well.

She has a delightful personality, she speaks like a little adult with perfect pronounciation and has a vocabulary that would put a lot of adults to shame.

She is reading at a third grade level right now, and will go into first grade in the fall. She also is highly mathematical and ahead in all areas in math as well.

She loves books and reads voraciously, she now reads to her little sister more than I do.

But all of that aside, she's one of the most considerate and thoughtful and compassionate people I know, adult or child. She developed empathy long before the books said she was supposed to and it makes her a wonderful person to be around.

Her attention span, even as a young baby was incredible. She would read her story books at 6 months old for hours, turning pages and studying. Sound farfeched? I have the videos to prove it.

And she's also very beautiful!

So someday, if you meet her, you will know, what I mean. If you have met her, well, back me up would ya? Meanwhile, she's a delightful, happy, excited, perfectly six, 6 year old! Special, sweet and a treasure too precious for words.

Happy Birthday Baby!


Eyes of hazel filled with sunshine
an old soul full of the new
a gift so precious, so treasured, so loved
perfectly beautiful you!





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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!


I am absolutely and unequivocally in love with my country! I well up with tears at our National anthem when we win Olympic Medals and World Hockey Championships. I wear maple leafs and red and white and today I will go to a parade and watch fireworks and I'll mean it, I won't just be there for the free entertainment!

I love this country for a multitude of reasons. I'll toss in a few that pop into my head this morning as I awaken to a sweet summer day, ready to celebrate an amazing country.

We are not perfect but we have so many positive things going on in this country, it's an easy place to love.

This country was founded by mostly peaceful means. There was no great war to gain separation from the monarchy, instead we struck a deal with our mother country, retained a connection to the British Queen that still holds and sort of simply "decided" to be. How very Canadian of us! I often wonder if having such a peaceful beginning is what led to such a peaceful attitude. There are few past resentments, and those that are there have been difficult to maintain amongst a populous who is mostly content.

I love that we have so much space, that we can choose to live in a congested city but there is so much wide open space that we certainly can alternately choose a more rural lifestyle. We are the second largest country in the world and Ontario alone is bigger than most countries in Europe.

I adore the regional differences that mean we do not ever have to leave our own country to see diversity. We can travel from the left ocean to the right and enjoy all the differences in culture in between. We can travel north to the arctic or south to the border and see how different we are from one another and even more importantly how alike we are!

I am incredibly proud that socialism is not a bad word in this country and that we are generally of the opinion that if we are to pay taxes we prefer to have them applied to health care, education, and other social services for those who cannot take care of themselves or need a hand up. We do not resent that we get a little less weekly because we know when our child falls and is hurt, we do not have to make the decision whether to take them to the emergency room based on the dollar amount in our bank account and a medical emergency will not possibly lead to our financial ruin.

I love that we don't love guns. We place them where they should be, in the hands of the military and the police. We have very little violence and whether this is because of our pervading attitude towards guns and violence or simply because we don't have guns, I'll take it!

I love that when a military plane flies low over head I don't have to usher scared children into a bunker but instead we can stand outside and talk about the military practice that is going on in an educative manner. I love that my children are this safe. I welcome immigrants to this country because I want the children from war torn countries to feel the peace my children have always known.

Conversely, I love that we beat the Americans when they attacked us in the war of 1812(sorry had to rub it in a bit),

I also love that making fun of the Prime Minister is about as patriotic as we can be and it's a lot of fun too with the current one. We get to disagree and dissent is normal and expected here. I also love that their personal lives aren't as important in their professional lives in their bid to be elected. I celebrate that religion doesn't play a great part in the election of politicians and I'm particularly proud to see an increase in the number of Canadians in politics from minority groups.

In Canada, liberal(lower case L) is not a bad word either. I celebrate that we have the inalienable right to practice our religion provided that practice doesn't infringe on the rights of other Canadians. I'm proud that we now have marriage laws that allow every adult human to have the same choice with regards to their partnerships. I'm also happy with the common law marriage laws that protect couples who choose another way.

I love Hockey and I love that we can spend our aggression on a ice rink rather than having an overwhelming urge to spend it on warfare(yes we are in Afghanistan but there is little public support for that). I am happy that the Tim Horton's Hockey Day will be in Stratford, Ontario this year and I'll be there!

I love our music! I love Burton Cummings and Blue Rodeo and Great Big Sea and Sam Roberts and Joni Mitchell and on and on and on! I rarely listen to music from other countries because we have so much from here, my iPod is likely to sprout maple leafs at any moment!

Many days I drive along in rural Ontario, green fields bordered by lush green forests, the peace they hold real and the bounty they contain plenty. I am always humbled by the magnificence of the cliffs of Newfoundland and I've find myself in awe of how very flat the prairies really are! This is an incredible country. We have untold riches, natural resources, fresh water, oceans, and most of all, amazing citizens. There is much to be proud of and today I'll wear my maple leaf pin and sing my anthem with pride and gratitude for peace and plenty.

Happy Canada Day! Here is my favourite version of the Canadian National Anthem!



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