Our memories are emotional snapshots of a single moment in our lives. They may evolve around events, people or places. We take those memories and we colour them with years of handling and layering with bits and pieces of detail and meaning.
Those memories that make us yearn with an aching need to recapture what once was, cannot ever be found again by simply returning to the scene of the snapshot. It has nothing to do with a place or even really the people. It has to do with the emotions we felt in a moment during the journey of our life. Often, the very process of trying to recreate what was, shatters it forever. Somehow the idea that we could return is a greater comfort than the failed attempt to do exactly that.
Going back leads us to stand in our past. What we saw and knew as a child is often explained. The magic is lost and our own growth and understanding lend shading and depth to it that we see now because we have matured and are now capable of understanding. The huge tree we used to climb almost to the sky, where we would sit for hours, is actually a pretty average old tree of no real consequence. Our first kiss can never be re-experienced because everything in that moment was coloured with the sensory overload of new emotions. The very air we breathed seemed full of promises and all the hopes and dreams of our expectations and imaginings not only heighten our interpretations of the event as it happened, but also as we thought about it later. A first kiss from someone we loved is very different from a first kiss from someone we are not at all attracted to. The difference is not in the kiss, it is in the meaning we attach to it. Those layers of meaning are not real in the sense that they exist independent of our producing them and applying them to the event, and they are not static. Continue reading
This is another of the New Age-isms that I take issue with. I am all for opening up our children and filling them with light and possibilities but I also believe in teaching them discernment and truth.
I grew up in a world where little girls, especially, were raised to be “nice.” Reduced to expectations, that meant that having an idea, opinion, feeling, or need that was not the same as other people’s – made you bad, needy and selfish. You were meant to go along with the flow, to always sacrifice yourself for others, and never ever ask for anything. Your happiness lay in making others happy. Period.
The seventies had a mini revolution to guarantee women more rights, including the right to actually self-determine their own lives and not just be a host for their partner and children to suck the life out of. Well, that is what the pamphlets said.
Today we tell our children that if they will just reflect kindness and love, if they will be positive, or visualize nice things . . . they will get nice in return. We tell them that is how the world works.
But that is absolutely NOT how it works. The world is not fair. There is no balance, where in the end, everything always gets neatly tied up in Fair Wrapping Paper bought at the Justice Store. Often the mean horrible people end up getting all the breaks and living with money and power. The bullies don’t end up alone and miserable. The nice guy frequently does finish last and he is left as the only idiot being nice, being honest, loving and respecting others while everyone else takes advantage of him. They go on to amazing success with a world that claps every time they fart and the nice dude ends up living alone, in poverty, with other people’s cats that they could not be bothered with.
We have to stop lying to people. Continue reading
“Where do I belong,” was a question that haunted my soul for as long as I can remember. While some children worried about where to put their hands when under the scrutiny of a disproving adult, I had no idea where to put me, ever. Deep, soul-wrenching questions haunted my nights, robbing me of sleep. My days were consumed with trying to undo the one thing I knew with every fibre of my being. “I did not fit in.” I did not need to wait for other children to taunt me or run away from me on the playground, their cruel words and actions already had a place carved out in my being where they were meant to live. I did not fight against them, I welcomed them home. Continue reading
None of us have The Answer. Sometimes I think all we can do is take a page out of Alcoholics Anonymous. We take responsibility for our part in creating this world and the mess it is in. We realize that we cannot focus on the totality of the problem for a million reasons. But what we do focus on is ourselves, and this moment and today.
What if TODAY we did not commit any unkind acts? What if TODAY we did one good thing? What if TODAY we took the time to tell our loved ones that they matter? What if TODAY we made time for what matters and let the superficial deal with itself for just a little bit?
You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Addicts do one day at a time. We can break it down to even one act a day, and slowly, maybe in between the time we brush our teeth and the time we go to bed . . . the world will begin to heal. People will let go of their hate. Our hearts will be filled with what matters and we will let go of the cheap substitutes of money and things that never seem to last or fill that huge hole in all of us. We all, just want to be loved and needed. We all just want to love and to help. No-one has to have The Answer. We don’t even have to answer anything. We just have to be willing to begin. Reach out. Do what you can. Find someone to love. Begin. We can heal the broken, wounded lives that exist all around us, one act at a time.
They say that every baby cries when it hears the cries of another child. I was born crying. I have always wept for others, even those who are not crying. I hear their inner cries. I see their tears, even when their faces are frozen in perfect smiles and they are repeating the mantra, they were given with the promise if they just believe it enough, they have the power to make it happen . . . “I am fine.”
Except they aren’t.
And some things cannot be wished away or overcome with pretty words meant to hide the dirt they are being spoken over.
We understand when someone has a car accident and loses their limb that it is a forever deal. We accept physical damage. If you are going to drive a car after you drink, you could have an accident, and if you have an accident you could cause damage to your body or another’s. Sometimes that damage is permanent and nobody would stand and tell you that if you put a picture of a healthy arm on the fridge, and repeat “My arm is healthy, perfect, and functioning now,” 21 times each day . . . you will be rewarded with a new arm.
If they did, we would call them insane. Continue reading
One of the blessings of getting older is that life slows down a lot, and the need for you to tend to every small detail for all the people you are responsible for and too, pretty much ends. Your kids are grown up and don’t need/want your advice, you no longer have a company hounding you for that deadline, and the general public thinks you just need a pat on the hand and an “aww isn’t she cute” once in awhile.
You get a lot of time to sit and look. You think.
Were we this obsessed with having everything? Probably. But our wants were not so much about fame and things way beyond our life probabilities, they were more about things that allowed us to be part of the average and edging to better. We surprised ourselves by surpassing that at times, but most of us breathed evenly when we were holding our own. In the end, we can say we did OK. We know that other did much better and others did not even come close. We did OK.
Now it seems to be about being the winner, the best, the one that gets to rub everyone else’s face in it. If a friend has a $30,000.00, wedding, yours has to be $45,000.00 and instead of establishing status quo with your peers, it is a process of leap frogging. Meaning, you have made your life an endless treadmill. There will never be a point where you just sit back and enjoy it. Continue reading
At one point in our travels, my hubby and I made a trip to the beautiful Milla Milla Falls in Northern Queensland. We had arrived just shortly after the last cyclone had destroyed so much of the beautiful countryside and many of the trails and roads were damaged and blocked. It was awe inspiring to witness the ability of nature to destroy what we look at as so permanent and solid … whole forests where the trees were uprooted, broken and tossed like matchsticks … forests left looking like broken fields of stubble. Like many tourists, I had seen countless pictures of the famed falls and dreamed of one day being able to visit them, imagining them to be exactly like the pictures promised. I could not help but feel a bit disappointed and cheated that we were going to see them in these circumstances, in the aftermath of a horribly destructive cyclone. We slowly made our way through flooded and damaged roads and detours, to the falls. Once we arrived, we parked the car and walked down the road to get a closer look.
There were quite a few people there but everyone spoke in hushed tones. The falls appear to just “silently” slip over the side of the cliff and “rain” down into the calm quiet pool beneath. I was lost in the tropical lushness, the smells, and the sounds. Even a cyclone seemed to have little impact, if its point was to try and destroy it. All I could think of was how long those falls had been there and the countless generations who had stood, as I was then, in awe of the beauty. I could see lovers slipping in late at night, children laughing and splashing one another, grandparents taking off their shoes and wading in “just a bit.” A deep spirit of life permeated each second we stood. I had never fully appreciated water and its relevance to life before. Growing up in water rich Canada, we never faced rationing of supplies or worried concern that the dams were not filled. Here in Australia, I was learning that the land was a hard task master and that we honoured and appreciated every resource we were given. Here water had survived the storm and stood untouched, while trees all around had been ripped from their roots and tossed across the land. This water flowed, as does the life blood of the Australian people. It was awe inspiring to stand there that day. I breathed in, wanting to flood my soul with all of it so that I would always be able to close my eyes and come back to it, whenever I wanted to. I cautiously snapped some pictures, already knowing that they would not begin to do justice to what we were seeing and feeling. It was just another way to hang on to the moment, even though we knew the real imprint was on our hearts. Continue reading
We are born completely connected to source. We explore the world around us with joy and each experience is taken so deep into our being that it shapes us and directs our actions long after we have abandoned our childhood. We pinpoint things that did and did not happen as children that cause the troubles we experience in childhood. A baby that is not loved and nurtured at birth may never be able to properly attach to another human being. Our experiences are THAT important.
As children we believe we are capable of anything and everything. Watch a child as he interacts with the adults in his life. He wants to do and try everything they are doing. It does not occur to him that he might not be able to or that he might fail. He won’t hear that his legs are not long enough or he lacks the strength. He insists on trying. Even if he fails he will try, and try again. A child seldom internalizes failure as something to do with his ability, but more often as a sign that he needs to have another go at it. And he does.
A child shouts with anger, laughs out loud, cannot contain their sorrow or disappointment, have feet that dance and hands that wave with joy. They feel things. They express what they feel with their body’s actions, their facial expressions, and their voice. You don’t often have to ask a child how they are feeling, the whole room is aware of their current emotional state. Continue reading
This is supposed to be the point in my life where I look at the long winding road that has lead me here and consider the successes, the failures, and consider my regrets.
Is it rude to say I don’t have any?
It isn’t that I think I am perfect because I am so far from that I laugh to think I ever allowed myself to live trying to achieve that, and then cried when I fell short. It isn’t that I cannot see or feel the pain, the heartache, the darkness, the problems all around me. I am not living with some rose coloured glasses on pretending the world is all beer and skittles. I recognize that every detail of my life’s journey is shaded many colours both dark and light and I am grateful for the ability I gained to use it all to grow and learn.
I don’t even miss people or places. I love that some people and places touched me on such a level that I only have to close my eyes and I am there again. I can feel them to the point that I give away my present moments to their honour. What a gift to have had those types of experiences. Even the painful ones, that are so sharp they can make me bleed, remind me that I will not repeat the actions that placed me there. They are jewels of a different kind. But I don’t wish that they were here or that I could go back because you can’t go back to anything. Even if some miracle could transport you, how would you recognize anything? You are not that person any more. Continue reading
“You have changed!”
People say that to me with an accusatory tone. I am not sure how they expect me to respond.
If I have not changed in a year, in 10 years, I would be sadly disappointed in myself. I work hard on making sure I have changed. I spend time with myself. I put effort into learning. I ask questions. I research. I listen. I pay attention. The call is always to deepen my understanding, to push beyond the comfortable, to not be satisfied with status quo.
I find out over and over again that my understanding was limited, superficial, and even completely wrong. That inspires me to dig. I cannot continue to say and do the things I used to say and do when I know that they no longer serve me because I have found so much more. It will mean that I may not be on the same page with people that I once was.
Of course I have changed. Continue reading