Friday, May 15, 2020

Life Paused not Postponed - and 3 Ways to Do It

Learn to pause... 
or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you.
  Doug Ki

Many of us have needed this Pause to gather our thoughts and energy to form a fresh start. To dare and to dream. And also to remember what we are made of.

Life Paused not Postponed - 
and 3 Ways to Do It
This woman had been training for months, planning to check off a  marathon from her bucket list. And then the race was cancelled because of our current pandemic situation. Now here she was, with a choice. Not do I continue, but how do I do it? 

She used this Pause to commit and succeed, for herself. 

She chose to do away with the fanfare and run her own race in her hometown. She ran with a limited audience along the route, encouragement signs along her 42.2km run held by family members only, and keeping the safe 2-metre distance from other runners. 

If you're a runner/walker, you will have some understanding how incredibly long 42.2km truly is! This runner did that distance in less than 4.5 hours, mostly alone and ending through a toilet paper 'ribbon'  finish line.  

Not quite what she expected when she signed up for the advertised race in another city, a picturesque route, with cheering crowds and a real medal.

Life Paused not Postponed.

My friend, whom you've met before, she with the new appreciation of how fun it is to be messy, Paused not Postponed to remember her love of creation.

Life Paused not Postponed - 
and 3 Ways to Do It

This gritty lady, shimmied newspaper under the legs of her dining room table to cover her floor and got painting! It took some planning to get the paint to adhere to her table; she researched online, and had a few conversations with some experts she's known for years. It took 4 coats of paint and a good many hours to fulfill her first-class standards. And then, a masterpiece.

She used this Pause to take on a big project on her own when she didn't have to. And now she has recharged a kernel of her creativity to use as she pleases. 

Life Paused not Postponed. 

Pause and listen for the worthwhile. (Tweet this) 

In a city which has slowly and hesitantly emerged from winter, where frost-free days are squeezed into a few small squares on our calendars, outdoor garden pots and gardens are treasured.

I watched my neighbour across the way. She started a few weeks ago brushing off the remnants of winter and the finicky spring we've had and sweeping her small patio. 

Courtesy Pixabay Razzia125  Life Paused not Postponed

She moved her outdoor furniture around from this side to that, she wiped and admired. And just yesterday she hefted a large purple pot which is yet to be filled between two wicker chairs. A few smaller pots with pink waving flowers appeared and are now also dotting her patio. I saw a bird or two visit her cream-coloured-blue-roofed bird house from where I am now sitting. It makes me smile!

She too has a Life Paused not Postponed.

My friend's daughter-in-law Tina, my friend of over thirty years, B. and my neighbour who is no longer a stranger to me all Paused and listened for the worthwhile. That's what they did this week.

Let us not forget that Life will continue, and that what gives us fulfillment, what brings us our greatest pleasures will never be taken away.

Stay safe, stay kind.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

That Mother

This day is difficult for many.

If it is, this is for you.

For the mother who tried her best, but still fell short
of what you needed. 
So you became the mother to your children you had needed.

This is for you.

For the mother and child who didn't know each other
someone was left and raised by another.
For all the young women in the sixties and seventies, who left town, and then came back to never speak of it again.

For the woman who couldn't birth her own
and became a teacher, and raised everyone else's.

For the mother who grieves.

For the mother down the street who
welcomed the neighbourhood children for dinner
because they wouldn't be fed at home.

For the woman who is forever a mother but has forgotten that she was
For her children, who have a mother who doesn't remember them.

This is for you.

For the woman who can't forgive someone and took it out on her children
For her children that they move through their own pain

For the child who mothered the mother.

For the promise of a bond you thought should be natural
you cannot blame yourself

For the hurt you have carried, the shelter you look for

it was not your fault
you were worthy of much more

This is for you.

Not all mothers are the same. (Tweet This)

That mother inside us. (Tweet This) 

Be well,

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

It's Not the Time to Be Shamed

As everyone around us presses Pause, wouldn't it be a good time to stop comparing ourselves to others? It's not the time to be shamed.

We get this time to examine where we are in our lives and where we might be headed and not necessarily to gallop full-speed ahead. Over the last several weeks we've grown to understand that the changes that are coming are still out of sight, they are just beyond the next corner. But they will come.

It's Not the Time to Be Shamed

We don't know what Life is going to look like, and neither does anyone else. Not me, not you, not the smartest person you know.

Comparing ourselves to others has become commonplace. It is everywhere we have looked and perhaps if we are fortunate that's going to change. 

We've grown accustomed to so many questions of comparison. How far did you run, how fast did you go, where is your next holiday? How to get 2 million followers in 3 days, or how to lose 20 pounds over a weekend. It goes on and on. And most of it is so far-fetched and yet we still fall for its promise.

We want it. We want it fast.

Well right now, nothing is happening fast and it's annoying us, scaring us, confusing us. But. But. But, we say. (Tweet This)
It's Not the Time to Be Shamed

We have been trained in the last several years to compare ourselves to everyone around us in the most unhealthy of ways. And maybe now we can stop. Let's agree to not be shamed.

We only have so many starry nights left.

Comparison is a slippery slope into despair, into shaming ourselves when we hear what other folks are supposedly doing. (Tweet This)

Just so you know, I am not learning a new language, or writing a novel, nor will I emerge from this time slot as an expert on any one subject, in fact I am still not an expert on anything. 

I hope however, that I am better at a few important things, wiser about how my mind works, more forgiving and less concerned about what doesn't matter in my life. This Pause has allowed me to focus, to understand a little bit more of what to leave behind.

So here's to freeing ourselves from who we thought we were. To seeing our world as the friendly, kind place it should be. To letting go of the expectations for accomplishing something every minute of every day or otherwise feeling bad.

Let's be humble, let's be real, let's fail at something, let's bake and paint and draw and make music. Let's take a nap. Let's cut ourselves a little slack. Because we deserve it. (Tweet This)

I have left the dust on the furniture for the last week and as a friend of mine exclaimed "I didn't know that being messy is so much fun".

In the coming days let's be humble, let's be real, let's fail at something. Let's not compare. (Tweet This)

Now tell me, what will you leave behind?

Stay safe, stay kind.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Stories With No Words

We're into week seven of self-isolation in our home, perhaps you are too. I'm shaking my head now when I realize that I was borderline 'excited' to go do groceries this morning. To see someone else's face that didn't come across a screen.

As a bona fide Introvert, this being at home time, hasn't been too bad. But what I noticed today as I gloved up for my shopping excursion is how challenging it's been to share my stories from the side streets of life with you. Mainly because, I haven't been on too many side streets.

When we are in our own spaces which often means in our own heads, where do you find the other stories?

The stories wherever I go now are mostly silent, they play out only by the actions I see. Words only carry so far. (Tweet This)

My week has been written by these quiet stories:

  • as I was leaving for my weekly visit to the grocery story: my elderly neighbour knocking on an even more elderly neighbour's door to see if she needed anything

  • the tall husband and short wife who walk the neighbourhood daily, sometimes twice a day, hand-in-hand

  • the people walking by on our main street, who consciously stop and move off the path, to allow someone else to go by safely

  • the family riding bicycles of varying sizes, with the littlest one pedalling as fast as she can to keep up

  • the freckled face tyke who said he 'had to stay far away' but  asked me if my watch counted my steps

  • and the outdoor worker carrying a ladder on my street who paused and waved to let me drive by

  • The stories continue, we might not know what they are, because for the most part we are not close enough to hear the words. But in this moment, We can believe that not all things are easy, that we are each wrestling with our own worries, and that it's not always easy to be kind. (Tweet This)

    Stories With No Words

    The sound of voices will return in full force one day. But the actions we use today can change the words we will hear then.

    Our stories don't need words, they need actions. (Tweet This)

    Stay safe, stay kind.

    Sunday, April 19, 2020

    Together Without the Noise

    A friend and I were talking on the phone the other day. We each sat with our coffee and chatted as we used to years and years ago. While both of us had children scattered about, it was a treat to hear an adult voice that listened to us. Talking on the phone is something we do infrequently now, like most people we choose other ways to stay in touch.

    Together Without the Noise
    When we talked the other day, We could recognize how much life had changed for each of us, and how much we'd changed our lives. (Tweet This)

    She could sit in her front room, in the same house she's been in for decades and smile as she viewed the garden, see how the trees had grown, and remember how each child had left the 'nest'. I, however sat in a home that was three times changed from when we first met. And I too knew how each move from house to house, from home to home had changed me.

    We noticed that in this quiet time, we are forced to confront what we've pushed to the side. (Tweet This)  We cannot ignore the simple things that bring us the greatest pleasures or disguise the things that terrify us. I told her about the robin that appeared while I walked yesterday in spite of our continuing winter weather and she told me of the bunny she saw hopping on two legs down her street.

    We spoke of our early coffee get-togethers, oh, how I looked forward to the invitation to her house to taste her homemade cinnamon buns! Today, I continue to appreciate what she'd shared, her handwritten recipe cards, moved and re-taped into each of my recipe books over the years.

    As I've connected with many friends over the last few weeks, I realized that each one shared a memory that was so real that it made them smile or told of a fear that persists. What each one said in their own way is, "I've always wanted to say this...". Every one wanted to be heard.

    In the absence of real-time television shows, I've watched some episodes held in the host's home. Seen the disarray behind them, the corner where they hide things, viewed their messy kitchen, seen them without their TV make-up. I've seen a different, but I imagine, real side of them. They appear happy, relieved almost to be this way.

    We don't know how any of this will work out, where we will end up with our health, our finances, our livelihood. What we do know is that we are collectively facing this. The word that we hear is, Together. Each one of us is making it through in our own but different way.

    Together Without the Noise

    Because with this global stillness, the outside noise has subsided and what we get to hear is our own voice. (Tweet This)

    And you? 
    When will you begin that long journey into yourself? 

    We know that this isolation time will change us. Although, we don't know in how many ways quite yet. But it will end, as all those difficult times we've already experienced.

    The unknown future will always hold its mysteries. We now understand that we have no control of what it will look like.

    All we have is eachother and the knowledge that we've made it through before.

    Stay safe, stay kind.