The little things.

9 10 2017

I’ve been immersed in gratitude this weekend. Like most people I know, we have more than enough to be thankful for. And this weekend is ripe for expressing it, showing our deep thanks and recognizing the blessed lives we lead. For many, we were surrounded by family and friends and copious amounts of food. As the autumn sunlight streamed through windows, lighting up the tables set to celebrate our abundance, it made me think about the little things, the not-so-easy things to be thankful for.

I am thankful for this gentle appreciation I have for my aging. While I joke about the crinkles and eyebags and my deep fear of a neck wattle with my dearest of friends, fantasizing about Botox and mini-lifts, I truly wouldn’t have it any other way. While my skin folds in on itself, and the age that I am  is reflected in the face I present to the world, I find myself discovering a beauty I wouldn’t have dreamed of admiring a mere ten years ago. I breathe my age in and exhale my thanks out. For this only means that I am still fortunate enough to be here, to live and find joy and have arguments and walk my dog along a forest path.

I give thanks for my restless mind, who prowls about at 2 am. Who fosters self-doubt and worry and strife, but who also reigns in senseless fretting and whispers gentle realities to myself. Don’t worry so much I tell myself and I agree. I listen and it says: You are loved. You are loved.

I am deeply grateful for my decades of dealing with depression and chronic pain and the dark dance I shared with thoughts of suicide so many times. It was indeed as scary as it sounds but in a lovely way, it afforded me more self-knowledge that I could have ever imagined. My cognizance of my frailty has made me stronger. And letting go of my fear of talking about it has gifted me the strength of being there for others. Raw honesty is as healing as honey drizzled in a cup of tea. One sip and you feel it cascading into your body, spreading it’s warmth and love to every cell.

I am indebted to experiencing hate and jealousy. In allowing myself to mirror the beauty of love and kindness through contempt and resentment, I think that I’ve only become more appreciative of my own bounty. And learning how these two distasteful emotions can be used to guide me towards a better understanding and a deeper compassion is seeing that light turned onto me. How bitter I was and relieved my soul was when I found I could let it go. My life certainly isn’t perfect. And by no means will I be able to stop coveting entirely. But learning to step back and trying to see the foolishness of my insecurities is akin to peeling off layers of wet and uncomfortable clothing. Discarded on the floor, I stand bare and tender, more willing to let the negative dissipate.

I am thankful for so much. Today, though, my gratitude is for the little life lessons we are gifted every day, these hidden jewels around us, offering us ways to better our own true selves and walk a sweeter path.

Many blessings to you all, this Thanksgiving weekend.

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What I meant to say….

3 10 2017

So I saw a fat bear today, if you saw my facebook post.

I caught a glimpse of the rolliest-poliest black bear I ever saw. She was standing at the foot of someone’s driveway, just after the “thrill hill” at 9 Mile. (Nelson peeps, you know where I mean…) Just standing there, all podgy and chubby, with a complacent look on her face. A contented look, belly full of fish and apples, I’d suppose. Her legs ridiculously small in comparison to her girthy roundness.

Just the sight of that bear made me feel all good and shit. I just laughed and held that odd joy in my heart for a good portion of my drive home.

After dinner tonight, I caught an interview with the daughter and husband of one of the human lives lost in Vegas. Married between my tears and grief for their loss was my confusion, admiration and (admittedly) a wee bit of astonished revulsion that they were able, capable and brave enough to speak on world wide TV about their experience, their heart-stopping loss. I was left feeling obviously bereft. Silent. Just utterly stooped in my inability to absorb such a tragedy.

Then that fat old bear popped into my head.

I thought of her pale muzzle, so like any old bear I’ve seen. Sniffing the air, her eyes too dim to catch anything far away. Belly almost grazing the ground. Her rear end, comical with that odd tuft of a tail sticking out. Front paws slightly turned in.

That chubby ursus americanus didn’t care about guns and loss of life and mind-fucking rage of the horrific nature of humans. That fuzzy-wuzzy ball of GRRRRRRRR gave zero shits about Trump and his heart-aching lack of human compassion and even less shits about how much we all hate him.

And amidst our grief and sadness these last couple days, I realized why that damn bear made me so happy. That lucky shit is completely oblivious of the utter terrible-ness that is going on in the world. Why, that bear has a belly full of yummmmmm and is almost ready to sleep on and off for the next six months. That lucky asshole. So yes, I smiled when I thought of her. And I realized why… There’s a part of me that wishes I could just be that bear. To learn how to be. To only just be.

And to let others just be as well.

 

 





A little ebb and a little flow

26 08 2017

It’s looking pretty fatigued out there these days. Limp and exhausted, branches support the faded echoes of spring bravado. Brilliant greens are no more than a memory of the beginning of summertime; every leaf drained of its glory, a muted effort to stay for just a bit longer. Sunlight casts a different angle through my windows, lighting up the dust motes dancing and much to my chagrin, lighting up every single dog hair on my wood floors.

There is just under a month of summer left, but it’s the somewhat melancholic summer days that eke out a sadness in my heart. A panicky flutter of my soul, eager to wring out every last delicious drop of it. Did I swim enough? Did I sit on my deck and watch the stars come out enough? Will I have feasted on summertime enough to tide me through the dark days, the cold nights that are on their way?

The answer of course is yes. I have closed my eyes while floating in the Bay, breathing in that intoxicating summer smell. I have savoured bites of huckleberry crisp, berries that we picked early in the morning, my eyes almost tearing up at the tart and sweet of it all. I’ve marveled at the gift of walking my dog at dusk in nothing but shorts and a tank top, that warm air kissing our skin. Sundays over at Sunshine Bay with friends, that hot sun searing on our shoulders, and the only way to cool down is a plunge in the lake.

I’d gladly have more summertime. I love that heat, the early sunny mornings. Those late nights, hearing music echo from a beach party across the lake. Bike rides and peonies, lawn mowers and hummingbirds. I feel more me in the summer, I can’t explain it better than that.

But our seasons, they are part of us. We morph into each one, some reluctantly, others with excitement. There is magic in every seasonal change. There is joy found with crisp fall days and leaves crunching under our feet. Hot tea instead of iced coffee in the afternoons, sweaters and boots find their way from the darkness of our closets. Soups and bread nourish us. That brilliant blue of a fall sky demands our admiration and yes, we admit its beauty. Boisterous oranges and reds and yellows are painted on our landscapes, and yes, it is no more than simply breathtaking.

We ebb and flow, like tides. It’s not without a measure of dispirited energy for some. For others though, Autumn is their favourite season and they’ve trudged through the summer heat with the sweet knowledge that it is on its way.

These last few weeks of summer that are laid out before us demand us to enjoy. Have one more BBQ, a couple more days on the boat. Swim a few more times. Marvel at your tan lines. As we meander through these last of the summer days, we give in to it, we acquiesce to Nature.

And we find joy and beauty in it all.

 





Choice

15 08 2017

I had a really good weekend. I was able to immerse myself in an sparkly, altered reality where dancing all night long and wearing tutus and nipple pasties are the norm. Where random people hug one another with a hearty “Happy Shams” said to each other with the biggest smiles on their faces.

Where lasers and lights and bass and beats marry in bliss, where walking by a little geo-dome offers rides to outer space. Where wishes are hung from trees, coffee is drank at 3 AM and walking isn’t walking. No, no. You become the beat, you dance to each place you want to go to. Where that drop of the music gets EVERYONE hyped.

Where the “wave” goes around via everyone yelling WOOOOOOO at the top of their lungs. You can hear it coming, swirling through the masses and finally it’s your turn to lend your voice to the joy and celebration that is Shambhala.

I unplugged. I turned off notifications and didn’t enter the Social Media world for days.

That was all sorts of refreshing.

When I resurfaced on Sunday, my lovey Shamb vibe deflated a little, learning of what happened in Virginia. My heart sunk when I heard and read comments of people DEFENDING the supremacists. You-Know-Who made a complete ass of himself, which is not surprising, but still so goddamn depressing. I cannot even imagine what my friends and family feel who actually live there.

I just can’t, you guys. I can’t engage with the emotions that this creates.

There’s just so much hate reinventing itself. And not just down in the States. It’s here, in Europe, all over the world.

If I really start to think about it, it becomes so overwhelming that I want to crawl into bed and bury myself in the covers and never ever leave.

But this world is ours. And all I can think of is how to go about my day without becoming too disheartened that it eats away at our very hearts and souls.

It becomes a choice.

And I choose kindness. (That is not without saying I won’t speak my mind if I am faced with hateful rhetoric. Oh, anyone who knows me knows my mouth and my No-Filter setting.)

But I choose kindness. To go through my day, as much as I possibly can, to lend a smile to someone, to offer supportive words, to bring love and sweetness in any little way possible. If we all do this, planting tiny seeds of love, a few of them are bound to take root and grow and blossom.

And the more love that is planted and grows, the more likely the noxious weeds will get choked out. They will wither and die, trying to eek out strength. Their mindless nattering will fade into silence. They will become nothing, because they are nothing.

And the love will grow, nurtured with kindness.

Blessings and love to you, to our world. Let’s fill it with love, let’s pile on the kindness.

Namaste.





16 Candles….

17 07 2017

I was in a hurry Wednesday morning. We had to make sure all of our stuff was packed up: clothes, food, soccer gear, beach gear… and numerous other items needed for a coastal getaway for soccer provincials. It was a long drive to Whiterock, and we had to drop my car off at the garage and meet up with our friends to make the all-day trek.

In my haste to make sure we had everything, I noticed my daughter acting glum. “Good lord” I thought to myself. “There’s no fucking way I am putting up with teenage moods and angst this morning!” I urged her to get ready, feed the dog, pack her cleats. I rolled my eyes at her seeming unwillingness to extract any minuscule bit of human decency in getting her to help me.

Finally, we were all loaded up and ready to go. She remained quiet and uncommunicative. I took a deep breath and just drove in silence. I stared at the road ahead of me thinking of the expanse of time in front of us, knowing it would be hell to get through with this sort of energy. So I asked her, point blank.

“What is the matter, honey? You have to tell me.”

Her big blue eyes blinked back some tears, and in a quiet voice that recalled her younger years, that evoked a tenderness and delicate fatalism and acceptance that broke my goddamn heart, she whispered:

“It’s my birthday today.”

My heart dropped. I stepped on the brakes and there, in the middle of the highway, I put my car into park and burst into tears. I reached for her, pulling her close and holding her as her sobs issued forth. I clung her to me, my baby girl, my love and heart, my sweetness and strength. I held her as she cried, as I cried.

Oh my heart. It broke and shattered and in my dismal realization of such a huge oversight, I realized that there would never ever be true forgiveness of my self.

Yes, yes. I know I would have remembered. I KNOW I had planned the night before that Jill and I would stop at a bakery and get a yummy cake for dinner that night once we arrived. I know that her and I had discussed for weeks about her 16th birthday gift and spent hours online looking for the perfect one.

I know all that. And logically, I can apply that and tell myself that yes, I was busy and running around and it slipped my mind. An easy oversight.

But. That little piece of her heart that was crushed when I failed to greet her with a kiss and a hug and a loving “Happy Birthday”  when she woke that morning will stay with me forever. I still feel nauseated when I think of it, even now after days of joking about it, and everyone razzing me.

My forgiveness is slow to come on this one folks. I set the bar high on fuck-ups. And I am not entirely sure I will ever allow myself to let it go. Even now, as she lords it over me, EVERY CHANCE SHE GETS.

 

But if it’s ANY consolation to the mothers (and fathers) out there…. When you fuck up… and feel that guilt about your supposed shitty parenting faux pas, just remember “Hey, I’m not THAT bad….. Kris forgot her daughter’s 16th birthday!”

 

 





Here’s the thing…

3 07 2017

Wow are we ever a society divided. Not just in the USA, but here at home… my “loving, compassionate, non-discriminate, all-encompassing and empathetic”  Canada. I see the rhetoric and divide of “left and right”. Of Liberalism and Conservatism. Right/Left. Extremes on either sides, blindly faithful to their views only.

It makes me sad. Not because of right or wrong.

No. It makes me sad because of the lack of simple human compassion. The vitriolic hate and keyboard warrior opinions abound, regardless of stepping back and thinking for one honest moment of their point of view. Or of others.

I really felt this today, when I faced my own reactionary WTF.

A CBC article linked through my friend’s comment on Facebook of a non-binary, gender/free (pardon me if I fuck up the terminology, this is new to me) person who has succeeded in achieving an unknown gender designation on their child’s birth certificate. They want to raise their child, born of their body, free of a gender affiliation.

Holy fuck, this is a trip.

I read and dismissed 90% of the negative vitriolic comments because they came from such hate, that I knew compassion and understanding wasn’t on their horizon just yet. But there were a few honest opinions, stemming from simple questioning. I can appreciate that.

Dialogues can be created from this. And yes, perhaps points of view may or may not be swayed to any particular side and that is totally okay right now.

This is new. This is different. This is hard to navigate. You see, I have no issue with the gender I was designated with and I identify with my sex, my orientation and my gender as it generally fits in with the expected norm. I have never had any uphill battles to fight regarding my identification.

Lucky me.

So. To step back from my knee-jerk reaction to a non-binary parent claiming no identified gender of their child, I was all Wait, what??? I read the article…. my mind whirled about a bit… and then I saw a picture of the parent.

 

I KNEW THEM.

 

I knew who it was, I have had interaction with them and here’s the fucking kicker:

This human is super awesome. Kind. Thoughtful and aware and very very involved in making a difference. And active in their community.

And yes, their requests of no gender seems maybe a bit fucked up to many. It’s kind of weird, a bit strange, and makes us feel uncomfortable.

But you know what else did?

Women voting.

Civil rights.

Gay rights.

Indigenous rights.

Black Lives Matter.

White privilege.

LOTS of things have made us feel uncomfortable. I’m not innocent in this. That’s hard to admit.

But discomfort plays an integral part of change and ultimately: Acceptance.

We all need to step back a pace from our own reactionary position and take a deep breath. Step away from the keyboard and quit Internet yelling at people who don’t agree (this applies to me in many ways LOL).  I like to preface a new situation with three questions.

Does it hurt others?

Does it hurt society?

Does it hurt me?

And for the most part, with any  expression of human dignity and rights, the answers are NO, NO and NO.

It’s that simple then.

Let us move forward, with compassion and empathy and a whole lot of open-heart. The world will be a better place with it.

 

 





Take your time

5 05 2017

I awoke this morning to that soft sound of distant rolling thunder. That first spring storm. The rains that followed danced on the newly unfurled leaves and every bird seemed to take it as an invite to be especially raucous.

I took the opportunity to run after the rain stopped. Jed, excited as usual to be beside me, and I ran along the upper road. Breathing with exertion, taking in breath, not like sips but huge deep soul-quenching swigs of it. There’s something almost… nutritious about the freshness of spring air.

There’s a thicket of cottonwoods along that stretch. And the rains had enhanced that sticky sweet scent so that it enveloped me. And there I stopped. I came to a halt, under the cottonwoods, the damp leaves exuding that heady fragrance. Petrichor. It was like I couldn’t breathe deep enough. I can only hope to saturate my very skin with that smell. It’s the marker of spring for me. That perfume that cloaks our neck of the woods for a few weeks in May. I dream of it sometimes, in the dead of winter.

My heart rate slowed, I closed my eyes and took it in. I’m sure folks might wonder what I was doing, but I couldn’t help myself.

It’s like that old saying… “Take time to stop and smell the roses”…. For me, it’s cottonwoods. But it doesn’t matter, really.

Just take time to stop to smell/touch/see/love/dance/sing/laugh.

Just stop. And take your time.