a summer frame of mind

Summer Shoes

Summer Shoes (Photo credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis)

A good part of the first half of this year I spent looking for and at times finding my bliss. The second half of 2013 is going to be used to put that bliss to work. It will be a challenge.  All kinds of things enter into the mix—but I hope in the end I will come up with a lovely batter and not a lumpy mess.

Join me in my journey to add some lovely moments to days that will have some ugly elements; days when a little poetry will be needed to fight off the drama; days when a little Mike’s hard lemonade relaxes the stresses.

July and August, in all their glory, hot and humid at times, breezy and warm at others, lay before us. It is the height of summer and this year I am going to enjoy the two months I most dread. While others glory in the heat, I am a temperate kind of girl—but I am going to embrace my younger self and enjoy what summer has to offer.  The calendar is filled with barbeques, little weekend getaways, and perhaps a trip to Ottawa and the Kingston area to see my sister and brother. I am not sure what the summer will bring—but I have my sunscreen and shorts on—so I am ready.

Like many of you, just because it is summer—it does not mean we do not have a lot of work to do. I am more determined than ever to find a balance. Sometimes I get in a holiday frame of mind and find that work just does not fit into the equation—but I am going to work it into the sum total of a successful summer.

What are your summer plans? How do you get your vacation frame of mind under control to get your work done?

Published in: on July 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm  Comments (36)  
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Memories of Another Time, Different Place

The Earth Delights to Feel Your Bare Feet

The Earth Delights to Feel Your Bare Feet (Photo credit: Chiot’s Run)

Dancing in bare feet

Nothing quite so glorious

Happy, free and me.

Published in: on June 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm  Comments (15)  
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My Safe Harbour

Trees

Trees (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

MY TREE

No longer in the backyard of my childhood home

My tree lives on only in my memory.

In yesteryear

I would climb into my tree everyday

and sit in its generous crook,

my back leaning against the rough bark of the trunk.

The branches formed a canopy

shadowing the sun

A breeze would rustle the leaves ~

and I would settle in with a book

or just observe the world

whiling away an endless summer afternoon.

I was sad to see one day

when I went to visit the place where my beloved tree once reigned

that it was gone.

But,

the vivid memories remain

of sunlit days sitting in my tree

safe and apart, yet one with the realm ~

English: Venerable tree, Breamore Down This be...

Venerable tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I ruled the world from its safe harbour.

 

Remembered bliss–is there anything better? Do you have a childhood memory of bliss that stands out?

Published in: on April 18, 2013 at 9:49 am  Comments (53)  
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A New Approach – Or Crazy Is As Crazy Does

The sceptical look

The sceptical look (Photo credit: Bjørn Giesenbauer)

I am going to try something different today. I am going to put Ms. Sceptical on a shelf and do something I am not sure has merit, but I am not sure doesn’t.

There are those of you who are much more enlightened than I; your philosophy has a depth I perhaps cannot begin to understand, and you know that your ego is really a bit of a jerk so you have parted ways with it, if not literally at least figuratively. {Ego does not have to be a bad thing per se, if it is a healthy sense of self-esteem, but so many times it crosses into its inflated guise, where we teeter on the border of superiority. But that is a subject for another day}—back to~

What is the different thing I am going to try today? I am going to take my own advice (which sounds much easier than it is). My husband and I are awaiting some news right new that will determine what path we take next. And once again, yesterday, the decision was put off. It is not something that is within our control—it seems to have a life of its own—and anyone who has ever been mired in a lawsuit knows exactly what I mean.

In an effort to fend off the reaction I know my husband is going to have (if things do not go our way—and with the judicial system you just never know), I tried to explain to him that sometimes the messages we send out, come back in the manner in which we sent them. In other words, if we are negative, we get negative back. He was not in the mood for this (he is generally quite open minded, but right now is too stressed to take on any new practices). So I have decided to do what I asked him to do: give up on what I cannot change, accept it, and move on. But move on with a difference.

The difference will be that I am going to try to send out that which I want to receive. All those crazy people who believe we should send positive messages to the universe may not be all that crazy. I do not believe that this will magically change my life (but if it does, so much the better) but what could be the harm? Always thinking the worst, so far, has not been much help. There are people who say that we are self-delusional if we think these methods work, that we are putting our eggs in the wrong basket, and not accepting things as they really are; or we are setting ourselves up for an even bigger fall.

But, I say to these people, what have I got to lose?

crocus

(Photo credit: polkadotsoph)

I am reading “You Can Create an Exceptional Life” by Louise Hay (a champion of the positive if ever there was one) and Cheryl Richardson. Throughout the book they have provided numerous affirmations: things we should say to ourselves that many of us don’t, but the one I like the best and intend on repeating with some regularity is this:

“All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation only good things will come.” ~ Louise Hay

There are many many affirmations throughout the book—some of them I find a little too—I don’t know, what it the word?—bizarre for my world, but many, if adopted, could do no harm. I will not be putting a mirror up in every room in my house soon (as Louise suggests) and tell myself that I am beautiful, but I will be trying to practice positivity on a more regular basis.

As you can imagine, there is not just one way to approach this—but the two I am going to work on are optimism and patience. Optimism defined in the book is “putting attention and energy toward solutions rather than focusing on problems.” Patience is “experiencing the journey fully and consciously rather than rushing to achieve a particular result.”

Perhaps with these two things in my arsenal, my journey to find bliss will be a little less rocky. What do you think?

~ One ~ Happy New Year! ! ! ! ! ! ! ~ Resolution 2013 ~ Finding My Bliss

12 O'Clock - FuijiFilm Finepix S2950

12 O’Clock – January 1, 2013 (Photo credit: ladytimeless)

What a party we had–I will do a synopsis of it soon–but the food, wine, music, and entertainment were fantastic and the hundreds and hundreds of guests incredible!  Now if I can just get Robin to come down off the table, and Vanessa to move over in the kitchen we will have breakfast. While I am waiting for the bacon to cook, I am going share my resolution and a few random thoughts with you:

In the past I have made serious resolutions; quirky resolutions; philosophically based resolutions; and finally refused to make resolutions on the grounds that doing so might incriminate me. This year I am trying a new tactic in the hopes that I will not be one of those statistics that they come out with every year saying that 92.4% of people give up on their resolutions 3.4 days after making them.

Today I resolve to find my bliss. I put it somewhere and I am sure I am going to find it again. I found my brother’s missing Christmas gift the other day (only five days after Christmas) so I am sure I am going to be able to find my bliss. So what is bliss? I figure it is something that I can probably spend the rest of my life discovering as it takes on so many guises: happiness, contentedness, serenity, delight, harmony, and in some corners blessedness. Now wouldn’t it be nice to be blessed?

The Encarta Dictionary says that bliss is “complete happiness” or a “state of spiritual joy”. I am thinking here that I may never need to make another resolution again—just finding my bliss will encompass all those things I want to accomplish. Losing those five pounds that I lost and found again? Bliss. Eating healthy? Bliss. Being content with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book? Bliss. See how it works? No more having to bother to make a resolution every year—this one encompasses all.

~Looking Back to Look Forward~

One of my favourite columnists is Mitch Albom with the Detroit Free Press. He has written some books, and from the sales figures, he is a pretty successful author. But, I find that he writes best in column form. He is succinct, pithy, and at times amusing. His column from Sunday, December 30th is one I am saving, and I am going to share a couple of paragraphs that really spoke to me, and I hope you will find engaging as well.

He said, “When all was said and done, 2012 was completely different from years before it, yet very much the same, because certain things are true no matter how long we live.

English: Mitch Albom was autographing for his ...

Mitch Albom 。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

News stories come, news stories go; nothing is as great as it sounds and nothing is as bad. Technology is replaced by more technology; celebrities replace previous celebrities; science discovers something, then searches for something else.

And the only thing that truly affects your year is how you lived within your own house, how you treated and were treated by your loved ones, and how you helped the people and community around you.”

Then he asked the question: “Judged by that, how was your 2012?”

I think that if we take his observations into account, we are equipped to handle 2013 in perhaps a more thoughtful way. I know that I am guilty sometimes of not treating the people I love most in the most loving way. They get the brunt of my frustration and they do not deserve it. They are the people who are here for me, and will continue to be in my corner. So, in addition to finding my bliss—or actually as a part of finding my bliss, I am going to try to treat my loved ones the way I want to be treated—in effect passing the bliss around a little more.

Mitch is right–the only thing that truly affects us is how we live within our own house and how we treat our loved ones and the community we live in.

Happy 2013, and may you all find your bliss, however you define it!

Even Charlie Brown Questioned Christmas

Charlie Brown Christmas

Charlie Brown Christmas (Photo credit: Keegan Jones)

“I just don’t understand Christmas. Instead of feeling happy, I feel sort of let down.” ~ Charlie Brown from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, 1965

Maybe because it is December 13th I am not feeling my usual holly jolly self. Other bloggers are letting their inner Scrooges and Grinches out, so maybe this is my day to let the merriment go on without me. Even Charlie Brown questioned Christmas—we are expected to be happy, but sometimes we are not.

I understand why this is the most merry time of the year, but I also understand that it is not all that merry to some people. I have been one of those people on occasion—two years in a row I lost a parent in December—my mom first and a year later, my dad. That does not make for a holly jolly time. That was over twenty years ago now—and I still feel the pangs – I miss them especially at this time of year because we had some wonderful family Christmases that were not quite the same after they exited this planet Earth.

I have of course come up with some of my own traditions and I will never lose the spirit of Christmas, but some days take their toll, and no matter the season, you have to deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The ugly has reared its majestic head this week, and I am busy eradicating it, but it does not go away just because it is the holidays. Just as Charlie Brown had to find the meaning of Christmas, I too must go in search of it today.

There is so much I love about Christmas. But I know that this time of year can be stressful. Even trying to be merry can put a bit of strain on us when reality keeps butting its head in. We have to deal with life even if this is a magical time of year—and in the end, I know that the merriment will win out.

Hope

Hope (Photo credit: bitzcelt)

~ Everything is a Miracle ~ or ~ Some Not Totally Disparate Thoughts

English: A antique chandelier lit up by candle...

An antique chandelier lit up by candles. I believe this to be both useful and beautiful. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These paragraphs were taken out of the weekly column I write for my home town newspaper. Taken at random–they are complete thoughts unto themselves without the context of the full article:

1. “There are only two ways to live your life. One as though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle.”  ~ Albert Einstein

If, as Einstein says, there are the only two ways to live your life, I am opting to live as “though everything is a miracle.”

2. If you want to live simply, you could follow the edicts of Loretta Moore, who stated that “There are only two things in life that I have to do: breathe and quit breathing, everything else is optional.”  That in a nutshell certainly describes life at its simplest, but it also provides us with all kinds of options. I think the point she was making is that we have choices. So the over-riding philosophy of choosing the simple life is just one option. It should not be a crusade, religion, or movement—it should be a choice. I am not opting out of the idea of a simple life, but I do think there can be a balance.

3. The philosophy I follow can be summed up in the words of Christopher Morely, who believes that “There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.” Couple  that with what Editor and Publisher, Alexander Chalmers says are the three grand essentials of happiness: “something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for”, and I think I have the makings for a life, be it simple, complicated, or somewhere in between.

4. I think that the author, William Norris got it right when he said: “If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it. Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

I think he has hit the right balance–what do you think?

Quotes are from derived from Google

~ A Celebration of Sorts ~

English: Tree, Upper Farringdon This oak tree ...

English: Tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning at 10 a.m. I went to the town park to plant a tree with some good friends. The tree was chosen for the way its leaves turn a vibrant red in the fall to match the vibrancy of the  friend that we were planting it for.

We lost our friend last spring. “We” is my Writers’ Group (we obviously put our creativity into our work and not our name). Our friend was a member of our group and she was bipolar. She did not hide it; in fact she almost celebrated it–not in a “party hardy” fashion but as an advocate for those who suffered this puzzling disease with her. She fought it with everything she had, and her family and friends helped her with the fight.

When she was taking the right “cocktail” of drugs, she was balanced, nay normal. Normal—what a word, but I mean normal in that she could handle everyday life. She could get up and function, and most importantly be creative and make other people happy. And she revelled in making other people happy. That is what made her happy.

She called us dudes and dudettes. She told us when we read something at Writers’ Group not to apologize for what we were about to read aloud in the group, and if we did apologize (as writers are wont to do), she commanded us

English: an exercise of chest

push-ups (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

to get down and do push-ups for not minding her wise advice.

The tree was planted on a slope of land at the park, facing the lake. It was carefully chosen to be protected and out of harm’s way.  Professional landscapers did the actual planting, and a friend who works at the park brought over the first pails of water to nourish it.

We planted a tree today in honour of our friend, and this is the poem I wrote for her:

You Are In Our Hearts

We planted a tree today:

In honour of, or in memory of,

Or more appropriately

In celebration of a friend.

Our friend was vibrant

When she was not sad

She was jubilant

Except when she wasn’t.

She lived life to its fullest

When she could

She was braver than brave

Except when she was scared.

We planted a tree today:

In celebration of a life

Lived fully, abundantly, and effusively

Except when she couldn’t.

Goodbye friend

But, it is not farewell

You really do live in our hearts

And speak to our creative souls.

Her accidental death was a shock to our small town. She seemed to have a million friends. I am lucky to have been counted among them. We love you Coleen.

Published in: on October 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm  Comments (58)  
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~Wise Words from John Lennon’s Mother~

John Lennon

John Lennon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw a quote on another *blog this morning and just had to have it on mine. I absolutely love it and it is the essence of all I believe in. John Lennon’s mother was truly a wise woman, and he was truly a wise man for taking her at her word.

He said: “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”  

It seems that we are forever striving for this illusive thing called happiness. It is not a trivial pursuit or it would not be in the American Declaration of Independence. It says that along with life and liberty, the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right. If that doesn’t make it important, I don’t know what would–we need something like that in Canada’s Constitution (maybe we do–I will have to look into this.)

Yesterday my post was a bit self-serving—I was feeling sorry for myself, and not looking beyond a minor transgression. Today is a new day. Today I am going to grow up and be what John Lennon said he wanted to be when he grew up: Happy.

I know it does not happen just because I want it to happen (or does it?) but it is a much better way to live than the alternative. Stuff happens, I know this—but I have decided to start to be Pollyanna-ish. If you reread her books, you will find that she was not so much an optimist as a pragmatist—the girl was really pretty logical. And it is only logical to me to want to be happy.

This post is as much for me as it is for you. We all need to pursue this thing called happiness, as much as we pursue success, money, careers, and whatever else we desire.

My definition of happiness takes in the usual suspects: joy, contentment, and pleasure. But even when those things seem to be missing, I look forward to the next time “something unexpectedly pleasant happens”. It is these times that make our rather haphazard roller coaster ride on this terra firma we call earth, worthwhile.

I am ready to be happy—how about you?

*www.jumpforjoyphotoproject.com

 

Published in: on October 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm  Comments (50)  
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Comforts ~ Day 5 or Now We Are Getting Maudlin

English: A Dentist and her Dental assistant

English: A Dentist and her Dental assistant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This gratefulness stuff seems to be working on some level. I was in a bit of a funk when I started this, and though this is only Day 5, things seem to be looking up. It has been subtle, but as you will see from my three things today, things are starting to go my way. Silly, simple things—but aren’t those the things that throw us off, and make our lives miserable? So without further ado:

1. My youngest son is going back to school next week and before he goes he must get a dental appointment. His dentist only practices in our town on Wednesdays and Fridays. So, today I called to try and get an appointment for next Wednesday. The dentist and her staff are on vacation all next week—but get this—they are triple booking on Friday so they can take care of their patients! They worked Tyler in at noon because he usually goes in to work at 3. But when I told him he said, “But Mom, I told you they changed our hours to 1-9 instead of 3-11 on Friday.” So I called back, and they again changed his appointment to 10:00 so he could get to work at 1:00. They mentioned that we may have to be patient!

2. The hits on my blog are still out of this world. It seems you all got into the groove and it carried over to Thursday and I received the second most hits in my year of blogging. For this I am grateful—and feel like such a part of the blogging community.

3. Again this is about my youngest son. He called while at work today to say he told his supervisor he is going to quit his summer job a few days early, so we get to spend some time with him before he goes back. Though I am not looking forward to his departure—those few days off will give us a chance to catch up on our favourite TV show, “Community” (he has it on DVD) before the new season starts, pack  leisurely, and get in a little “do nothing” time.

So these are the simple things that rock my world. Though not earth-shattering, they are happy making.

Published in: on August 17, 2012 at 12:42 am  Comments (44)  
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