Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Be Witness to Your Life

Have you noticed how many people are posting old photos on social media these days? How many memories are re-surfacing? 

How each conversation sometimes takes on a life of its own? Each one responding with a different take to what they see, adding a fresh perspective of what they remember.

Each one adding to the story.

Many of us have a paper copy of those days, we've rifled through photo albums or shoeboxes to find them. We have re-lived some happy times, because those are usually the ones we documented, printed and filed away. Although, we might find some half-torn photos too. You know the ones I mean.

We need someone to witness them. Because what is our life if we have no one else who also remembers our days? (Tweet This)

There's a wonderful line in the movie, Shall We Dance? which explains the reason for partnership. It says, we need someone to witness our lives. To say, yes this happened! This is what I'm made from.

So as we share these photos, each one is re-lived. Some moments remembered, others no longer re-called. Some that bring pleasure, some that bring pain, some that have little meaning.

A few years ago, some friends and I circulated photos of our college days. We all had a laugh as Michael asked, 'does anyone know who the girl is whose hand I'm holding?' I'm only guessing that she was important to him that day!

I sent a photo to my children a few days ago, asking if they remembered who three of the people were having dinner around our table. Well, we identified one of them. We could not name the young man wearing a beanie and the blonde woman half hidden from the camera. Don't remember why or how they came to be in my dining room. However, they were still a part of our lives, and I have to wonder if they remember us.


Even if those captured moments have been forgotten, those dinners, those class photos with smiling lines, those ski hills the first day of the season, those neighbours next door, they did happen. We have the proof.

This is a good time to go through our memories and talk about them. To give some thought as to why we still have them, what they meant then and what they mean now. Or we might decide that it could be time to get rid of them.

It's like re-reading a book you've had for a long while, looking at your photos will tell you a different story this time. (Tweet This)

Be Witness to your Life, today. Tomorrow will bring new photos. (Tweet This)

Stay well, stay kind.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Stick-to-itiveness and Smiling

I received quite a bit of feedback when I posted this photo and my comment on Facebook. So I thought I'd delve into it a bit deeper, especially for those of you who had shown interest.

Stick-to-itiveness becomes a part of us. It affects the way we look at the world, how we question and inquire into anything new. It even keeps us engaged during periods of being alone.

Stick-to-itiveness and Smiling  (What's Next?)

Some of us have a lot of stick-to-itiveness, others don't. I believe that this time of stillness we're in is meant for dreaming of what comes next. (Tweet This)

The quilter who produced these pieces of art had stick-to-itiveness. And seeing them made me smile on my morning walk.

Stick-to-itiveness and Smiling

There would have been a laying out of thoughts to complete these projects, but she (I'm only guessing here!) then had the freedom to create. The individual colours and patterns were up to her, she could make up her own rules and still 'paint' between the lines.

I am intrigued by the hours spent putting these quilts together. The dedication and the time she would have spent, I hope, means that there was some joy in the act of completion. 

To take up a project like this, we need to know ourselves well enough that the piecing and stitching straight lines, will give us some satisfaction. I know that if the pieces didn't quite line up for me, I would fret, then the quilt would end up no bigger than a placemat! Ah, but give me some wire and beads or some collage papers and canvas and the afternoon is not long enough.

Thank goodness we're all different. Each of us need to find what makes us smile as the minutes go by. (Tweet This)

Some people would wrap a terrible bandage, but spend hours laying down dots to form shading on a drawing. Some can leave a wall half-painted and still be precise on an excel spreadsheet. (children who will go unnamed)

Stick-to-itiveness and Smiling

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

Stick-to something. Commit to something you've always wanted, pick up a new hobby, learn something new.

Don't be predictable.This is our chance!

We might all work on cultivating a new skill but let's be honest here, we will always gravitate to what brings us some joy, what comes a little bit easier. But generally the more focus we spend on a new activity, the better we get at it. It becomes part of our repertoire. And this is what others celebrate when they know us.

We gain confidence, we expand our depth in that field, we grow. Stick-to-itiveness did this.

We reach a point when the success we have gained, must also be savoured and recognized by ourselves. And shared with others.

That's why so many of us turn to teach or sell our skills, or hang them on our walls, or wrap them as gifts.  Because once we acknowledge our skill, it is ours for always. Each time we pick it up it will lead us to our next adventure. 

We know who we are and can appreciate what others are too. (Tweet This)

We can comfortably leave the photography or painting, the culinary masterpieces, the speech giving and the creating with any kind of wood to others who enjoy it more. You become You.

Thank goodness we're all different.

And if we are fortunate and keep company with others with stick-to-itiveness, we will always be able to learn and be joyful alongside them.

With special thanks to my quilting neighbour who made me smile.

Stay well, stay kind.

This is the book that is currently making me smile, a lot.

Where Women Create - book of  inspiration 
Jo Packham and Jenny Doh

* I am an affiliate for Amazon.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Backyard Song

There's a house I walk by on one of my favourite pathways. You know, THE house. The one in your neighbourhood you're drawn to, because it just speaks to you in some way. Its backyard faces the path I walk on, and I can't help but slow down each time as I go past!

Backyard Song

Mine has a covered deck, it's decorated tastefully with flowers that cascade from their pots, some housed in wrought iron shapes. It has stone buddhas, and a birdbath that sits in the corner closest to where I walk by. There are willow woven chairs and watering cans that lie on their sides, just so (perfectly). And a casually leaning rusty bicycle.

Only once in all the years I've walked by and admired, have I seen the owner. Relaxing on a yellow cushioned seat, a glass of white wine by her side, and wait for it, reading a book.

I think she and I would be a friends!

This house gives off a feeling of tranquility, as if soft music is often played inside, maybe from a piano. And that there would be tall bookcases and polished hardwood floors inside.


The other day I noticed that the deck was bare. No reclining chairs, no flower pots, no barbecue. I felt a shudder, because something must have happened.

A few days later I saw that the willow birdhouse had been removed and the grass had grown longer along the fence.

I will never know what happened to the lady who lived there. Was she away? Was she sick?

But today, as I walked by the darkened house, I knew that it has emptied.
Pixabay Courtesy kmcremeans

I kept walking but anyone who saw me would have noticed my slowed step. Because yes, I was thinking about her and the house I'd grown so fond of.

Two doors down from there, a young dad, with a supervising little daughter, was digging to plant some small trees. A  woman, clad in a red bathrobe leaned out the door on their deck, checking to see how the planting was going. The adults laughed. The little girl drummed on her plastic pail and sang.

Life changes, it goes on. It's up to us to keep hearing the music. (Tweet This)

In this world of big problems, I will miss seeing my favourite house. It will change because that is what things do. And yet, I am eager to see who moves in and what they will bring to my song. 

Now tell me, what everyday things do you add to your song?
(Tweet This)

It will change, because that is what things do. (Tweet This)

Stay well, stay kind.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Making Peace With the Storm

Making Peace With the Storm

The medical expert on today's radio show talked about the aftermath of this prolonged period of isolation.

He reminded the listeners that although we're all in this together and that this event is global, that we each face this storm in different boats.

His comment made me realize how we've each entered this storm from a different place, each with his/her own coping ways and varying amounts of daily anxiety. 

So, is it any wonder that we are reacting differently?

We are all making peace with the storm. (Tweet This) 

We are questioning our daily activities and beliefs.

Some folks may feel well-equipped with the safety precautions they have in place, which include their emotional and financial security.

  • They might have money in the bank and a stable income. And though the situation might be turbulent right now, they will land safely on shore. 
  • Their ride might be focused on an internal journey. They might discover that they don't 'need' as many luxuries as they were used to.
  • I see them sharing to help others, through music, with their words, and in other kinds of I'm here for you support.
  • Even if their lives look unaffected, they are still feeling a shift in their understanding of previous plans and future dreams. 

Others we know, might have been teetering on the ledge of a change.
  • They might have stayed in a work role they disliked because the pay was regular, they might have been wrung out with the expectations of others and counting down the days for a summer break or retirement.
  • They might have been clinging to an unhappy relationship hoping things would work out.
  • They might be overwhelmed with the uncertainty of everything.
  • They might have no one.

The boat each of us is riding is definitely different. (Tweet This)

We've all realized that our lives 
can be changed in a few short weeks

The uncomfortable task of keeping our distance and wearing a mask, are more of a habit now.

We meet with friends in a parking lot for a quick coffee as we sit in our cars. And show our latest project, held out our car windows. We celebrate together.

Today at the store, although we couldn't see each other's smile, someone complemented another at their beautiful hair. 

On the way home, I saw a teenager dancing in a parking lot while her mother held up her phone, catching all the girl's moves. 

Would these things have happened earlier? Maybe.

We humans are adaptable.

Making Peace With the Storm

We might complain about our circumstances but we know that we need to accommodate our expectations if we are to survive. We might need to put aside our long-held ideas and see that this time is about finding out something new about ourselves. 

It takes effort to navigate our new paths, especially when we don't see the end of the journey or which shore we will land on. It also takes courage.

And although this world has shown us difficult times, we need to draw strength from the kindness around us, in the smiles behind the masks, in the patience shown by a stranger to let us pass ahead of them. 

I know it is not the same everywhere but let's choose to remember the good things. And to do something about what  no longer defines us.

So, I ask you today to take care of your own needs and to look for the good in people. If you have something you can give, do it. If you need a hand, be brave, ask for it. If you need to make a big change in your life, this is the time to decide on it.

Make peace with the storm.

Although the storm is the same, we are all in different boats. 

Stay well, stay kind.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Longer Than a Tweet

I read a twitter post the other day, that asked "what year did you graduate from high school?"

Well, this is what I discovered when I read some of the responses:
  • 99% of the comments said that they graduated in1990s, 2000s, 2010s
So when you read my words, what do you need to know about me? My answer will take something longer than a tweet to tell you.

This medium of communication and all the others we now use daily are built on the perspective of the contributors and of the readers.

And those who were seen dancing 
were thought to be insane 
by those who could not hear the music.

 Friedrich Nietzsche

It made me think that most of the people who read my tweets were not born when I graduated high school. That they likely don't know about our struggle for girls to wear pants, never mind blue jeans to school. That there used to be a day when male teachers wore suits and ties, and the few female high school teachers that you knew always wore a dress.

The comments to the question made me realize that at the other end of my tweet many might not understand...
  • the responsibility of attending a university we faced, of moving out from home, of getting an immediate job, and then quickly getting married
  • because now that year of high school graduation is often followed by a gap year and further education has casually been shortened to uni, which makes it sound more like a summer camp to me

Yet, I applaud my readers for their bravado, their enthusiasm, their hope. They have not been confined by what is to come. They don't know of domineering bosses, angry landlords, and orthodontic payments for the kids.

Oh, enjoy this time, I say. You should. You really, really should.

Longer Than a Tweet

The world that was waiting for me when I graduated high school, was naive in its beliefs of forever marriage and birth-control, and rules of the church. We walked a narrow road.

We don't have hundreds of 'friends' as is common now. But we have long-term friendships some of which still survive forty years later.

And we know that they are people who will come in the middle of the night and tell you the truth.

So how do we connect and listen to each other as we tweet? For each intervening decade has brought its own suitcase of worries and complaints, fears and plans.

But let me tell you this, under all our differences, we are the same regardless of what year we graduated from high school. Each one is searching.

Longer Than a Tweet

And when you see your moment of truth, you'll know. Believe me, on this one. (Tweet This)

Some of the roads I have walked, I beg you not to tread! Some of the disasters coming towards you, have been faced before - turn to someone who graduated earlier, they will help you. Just as we will ask you some silly questions about gigabytes, or how to change the security on our social media accounts. Have patience with us, as we continue to have with you, as you learn.

I graduated from high school, while many of your parents were in high school. And like most people I know, we are still trying to make your life better.

Longer Than a Tweet

The world is a small place right now.  It is a circle whose expanse cannot be fully tweeted, or understood without the lens of hindsight. (Tweet This)

You will go on many adventures, but always remember that finding yourself takes time. Be patient.

And you my (younger) reader will be disappointed many times. Disappointment is part of life. It's not the worst thing that will happen to you. Get over it! (Tweet This)

And just in case you're still reading. 1971.

Stay well, stay kind.