Sunday, February 27, 2011

Time to Muse...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A few months ago, I spent a day with some friends, Klaus and Donna Bach, helping them pack to move. They'd lived on the Island a bit longer than I had, and I'd gotten to know them by several means. In the 80s, we'd worked together, with many others, organizing an annual folk festival here on Manitoulin. Klaus and Donna also owned the only health food store in the area, so I often saw them there.

These two make a wonderful pair: he, a soft-spoken, friendly German, and she, an effervescent, laughing Canadian. From all I could see, they, their two children, and the many foster babies they welcomed into their home formed a happy, loving family.

A firm believer in equality and common sense living, Donna was also a full-time homemaker -- truly, a home-maker. She loved looking after the whole family's comfort and offering stability and calm in their home. She contributed to the community and worked in the family's store.

Donna is one of the most smiling, practical and interested people I know.

On our packing day in the late fall, I was telling Donna about my blog, and she was as enthusiastic and supportive as ever. This conversation led to her showing me a poem she'd written years before. I asked if I could post it on my blog sometime, and she was delighted.

I like her little poem because it's real. It reflects the simple realities of daily life -- that the common tasks are more than just common tasks. They allow our minds to shut down and get much-needed rest. The small attention we must pay them allows emotions to be put on hold... or expressed in relative privacy (since the common tasks are often completed on one's own, anyway!). Intuition can slip in quietly and offer solutions that might otherwise go unnoticed. Life is full of small moments in which we can be renewed.

Here's Donna's poetic musing from 1979:

Women's Work

Lead me to the sink where I can think.
Let me peel the onions -- I can cry.
Put my hands in hot and soapy water,
Let me fold the laundry if it's dry.
Ironing's my favourite -- then comes mending,
I'll probably be at it  'til I die.
I know my family thinks I'm busy working,
But I'm solving all our problems on the sly!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Family Day in Canada -- yesterday

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yesterday we celebrated Family Day in Canada. This statutory holiday was first observed here in February 2008. It always falls on the third Monday of February. My first thought  at the time -- my jaded, pessimistic first thought -- was that this would be just another opportunity for Hallmark to make a bunch of money. I didn't object to a mid-winter break; a three-day weekend is rarely a bad thing.

But the negative little corner of my mind has had a pleasant surprise this year. I've heard from a number of people that they did actually use the day to do something special with family. They played with their kids. They visited an estranged fathers and grandfathers. They got together for games and other fun. What refreshing news! In our family, I put on a big feast for our gang, and though it needed to be on Saturday, I still thought of it as our Family Day celebration.

So I've learned a little lesson here. Although, of course, most of us would hope we'd love and enjoy our families every day of the year, setting aside a special day does seem to have drawn attention to that hope. I'm so happy many people took the friendly reminder/opportunity to focus on their loved ones, to heal old rifts, to have some fun together.

I feel certain that such positive actions have ripple affects, some of which we may never see ourselves. But to me that's just fine. Love and fun and laughter and forgiveness carry their own wonderful energy. I don't have to understand it. I don't have to control it. I don't even have to do it.

But I'd rather do love, fun, laughter, and forgiveness than their opposites. So, Happy Today. Fill it up with some good stuff, and the ripples will bubble away from the centre of you to who knows where.....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Books to Check Out

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I've recently heard about two new books published by Hazeldon, a publishing house specializing in resources for people working on personal healing and recovery. Take a look at these titles and their descriptions, which I've quoted from Hazelden's website:

"Do you take on the feelings of others around you? Or do you expect others to absorb yours? Is it important to be in synch? No says Dr. Allen Berger, author of 12 Smart Things to Do When the Booze and Drugs are Gone."

"1000 Years of Sobriety: 20 People x 50 Years by William G. Borchert and Michael Fitzpatrick. 1000 Years of Sobriety features the moving personal accounts of twenty men and women who have each remained sober for more than fifty years. These are the real 'old timers,' keepers of the wisdom, men and women from around the world who are among the dwindling generations who joined Alcoholics Anonymous when Bill W. was still alive, and whose very commitment to sobriety is a testament to the enduring power of the program."

Of course, there are as many paths to well-being as there are people. The beauty of recovery, healing, and personal growth lies in the strength and hope each of us possesses...and in the help offered by those around us. Hazelden is one such helping hand.
If you'd like to find other helping hands, you could:
  • check the list of topics on this blog (right-hand column) to read other posts about a topic of interest to you
  • borrow a book from the library or a friend
  • write in a journal
  • talk to someone you trust
  • listen to what your gut tells you
  • ...and so much more.
I wish you well for today and every day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What do you think?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

There is not such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
You seek problems because
you need their gifts.
-- Richard Bach

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Appreciation & Gratitude

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For the past two weeks I've been quite sick, and this ended with five days in the hospital. I got out yesterday and am on the mend. It was nothing life threatening, but it has not been fun.

Today, as a result of many people and factors, my appreciation-gratitude-index is way up. Co-workers, my partner, my boss, and a number of friends supported me and sorted out the details of my life when I couldn't. The health care system in my little corner of Canada worked beautifully to get me better and keep me comfortable. Medical staff gave me thorough, friendly care, while kitchen staff did their best to accommodate my unique-to-them dietary needs. I had a safe, snug home to return to and two excited, happy dogs to greet me. I even appreciate the illness, only because it was a relatively innocuous wake-up call about some of my lifestyle choices.

I'd been so caught up in the busyness of my life that I wasn't making time to just sit still and take notice, relax, or give much to my family and friends. Nearly everything I've done in the past six months has been done in hyperdrive...and I crashed at the end of the ride.

The time in the hospital and this recuperation week at home are gifts. I have actually had an hour or two of boredom, which is rare for me. And thank goodness, I turned the boredom into peaceful reflection and relaxation in my lovely electric shape-shifting hospital bed. It felt so good to sit and do absolutely nothing in my quiet, darkened room.

That's when I realized that I was the author of my illness. I overworked and over-stressed, and ignored myself, family, and friends to a great extent. I'm so grateful that it didn't take a serious, terrifying illness or accident to wake me up. I'm so grateful I have loved ones and generally good health and options.

So I tell this little tale for my sake and, if you're interested, yours. Don't wait until you get knocked flat, like I did, before you notice what's happening. Stop whatever you're doing right now and look around you. Notice one lovely thing. Appreciate one comfort or challenge. Give somebody nearby a smile or a kind word. Send loving thoughts to somebody. Breathe deeply five times, say thanks...and then go ahead, get back to whatever you were doing. It might just seem richer than it did a few moments ago.

I've just done this, and I intend to do it more often. I intend to make some changes, because it's in my control to look after myself so that I can be of some use to others and appreciate the joy in life.

I hope you make a wonderful day.