Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

Just six years old and crossing an ocean from a country which had no falling leaves. This might be when he taught me the words.

Today it got windy, the yellow and orange leaves were being pulled from tree branches. They raced in crazy swirling patterns and then clung to the car windows while I drove home. They gathered in messy soggy piles along the sides of the roads as the rain started to pelted down.

The clouds became inky and yet the golden leaves dotted and filled the skies.

And I heard singing. From long ago. No doubt off key as only a child can do happily.

This is the most beautiful version of the song that my Dad and I used to sing together. We did it with Nat King Cole but Eva reaches into your soul, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Which Way Are You Going?

Which Way Are You Going?

You're sitting at the staff meeting, and someone mentions a wonderful website they've discovered. Except you're the one that told him about it.

You're enjoying time with friends and someone announces the closing of a favourite retail shop. Except you're the one that told her about it.

You've been there, right?

It happens to all of us. In this day of constant "news", it's hard to tell what you heard/read and where it was. A conversation? An eavesdrop in line waiting for your latté? On Facebook? Twitter? Where the heck was it?

You can imagine how I felt recently when I saw a photograph that I had taken on someone else's Twitter feed. A flash of emotions. Confused, annoyed, violated, yes!

I sat down at my laptop and started to look for the photo, through thousands. Yes, we were walking. Yes, I back-tracked to set up the shot. Yes, I ...think it was mine. But without the proof, what could I really do? Was it this year, or last? Was it in town or on a travel?

But then I had to stop.

Time that I could have better spent, I spent in futility. Gone. Wasted.

I remembered taking a mindful journey with my pal Leo Babauta (no, he doesn't know we're pals). A 44 Training Program - Turning Uncertainty & Discomfort into Mindful Openness. On Zen Habits, you will see an Uncopyright page. When I read it for the first time, I was surprised. "Attribution is appreciated but not required." Wow, fearless and generous.

Although I completed the 44 Day Training some time ago, the value of the practice stayed in my life. Each day we try to do our best, reflect, share, provide a model for others and grow. And then one day you are given a test.

Have you learned anything? Which Way Are You Going? (Click to Tweet)

Have I ever not intentionally done the same thing? Have I used someone else's words as my own? Have I forgotten to give attribution? Have I mistakenly used someone else's ideas?

I am not famous, or outstanding. I do not have thousands of readers each week or do podcasts. I am just me, learning and being tested in the most interesting ways.

Breathe. And Share. Thank you Leo, for teaching me this.

I am just me, learning and being tested in the most interesting ways. (Click to Tweet)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Karaoke Tourist

KaraokeTourist CourtesyPixabay#nextpeak

She was an accomplished singer, in a church group. She played the piano with skill and feeling. But what she wanted to do is sing Karaoke. Something different. An Elvis fan, that's whose song she'd choose.

She just didn't know when or where. Surely not with her prim choir friends. Certainly not where if she was terrible, she'd have to wear her humiliation.

Then one day, she who loved road trips found her evening in a small town just steps from her motel. This was where a tourist could sing karaoke, she thought. She'd never see these people again, strangers can be so much kinder than those who have an expectation of you.

The image is one thing and the human being is another. ...
It's very hard to live up to an image. Elvis Presley

Not a drinker. But she did gulp down her red wine that day. Liquid courage, they call it. In the dim bar with just a handful of early patrons she made her way to the stage. Not her usual stage.

They clapped and cheered and sang along. A middle aged tourist belting out Elvis. How likely would they be to see this again? She caught them up in her courage and enthusiasm. Yes, she did!

She and Elvis and a bunch of strangers.

When she relayed her story to me, her eyes beamed with the pleasure of the memory. Why was it easier, I asked, to sing karaoke far away from home than in front of your friends?

Sheryl Sandberg in Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead says that many of us are hesitant to raise our hands, to stand out, to ask the important questions. Why do we behave as if we are the secondary characters in our own Life?

I was only a tourist passing through, she replied. Her bravery however, has translated itself into a renewed gusto for life. We are all just passing through Life. Why wait to be brave?

Let's not just be a tourist in our own Life, let's pick up that mike and sing! (Click to Tweet)

Find Yourself, Find Your Bliss. (Click to Tweet)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What's Our Cause?

This early fall morning when I headed out for my taper, I was unprepared for all the other walkers and runners I would meet. Somehow, with my training slowing down in preparation for a half-marathon in a couple of weeks, I foolishly thought that others would be "slowing down" too.

What a surprise! The path was full. Groups of individuals and families, some pushing strollers, all dressed in blue were winding their way through my beloved pathways.

This sea of blue were mostly smiling, the runners and walkers making their way to the Finish armed with new stories to tell. Each getting a medal to celebrate their participation.

Pixabay - Courtesy TracyJaneShaw
People ask me what got me started in partaking in half-marathons. All I know is that I've learned so many valuable lessons along the way. Being part of a group with a common goal, like any endeavour gains momentum when you are doing it in the company of the like-minded. Each day when we strive to support our "team" whether a family member, a colleague and especially a stranger, we are getting closer to being better.

Today I witnessed exuberance, and I also looked in the eyes of those who were struggling. The hills can be daunting, the flats can seem endless, the corners can bear challenges. In the distance we can hear the cheers as those ahead of us get to the Finish. Sort of...like Life. And each day we have to decide What's Our Cause?

You make peace with what isn't. (Click to Tweet)

  • you have a vision for a new business - you plan, and you take a step toward it
  • you hope for better family relationships - you take a chance at speaking from your heart
  • you want to grow older and stay fit - you try out a new yoga class to build some muscle
  • you dream of travelling to Stonehenge - you save your pennies today
  • you make peace with what isn't

A little girl I know ran her first 1km in that sea of blue today. She's little, and I wonder what went through her mind. I'm guessing that she ran because she loves to run! She and her friend shared an experience. She was part of a group. She got a medal!

 She could, so she did. (Click to Tweet)

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we faced our days with her Cause.

What would happen if we embraced a new goal and just gave it all we had?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

HaHa from the Universe

HaHa from the Universe

The Universe can be a master comic with the tricks it can play on us.

I know that you will understand the days or weeks of busy-ness that can engulf us all. Getting back in to the Fall routine, tires which need replacing, appointments that run late, construction that slows down the drive to work.

We all have our “ohmygoodness” moments when we wonder how we are going to make it until Friday.

When I put my name on the waitlist for this book at my local library, I was number 324, it was January 2017. So when I was advised that I was next in line, you would think that a person would be happy, right? Except the Universe always knows more than we do. Believe me! (And feel free to send me your stories of when the Universe chuckled at you.)