The Queen and I

 

This week’s newspaper column is a bit self-serving–but your birthday only comes round once a year:

 

“You say it’s your birthday
Well it’s my birthday too–yeah
You say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time
I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you.” ~ The Beatles

Unlike Queen Elizabeth who shares the date of my birthday, there will be no grinning portrait of me to remember the day. Yesterday, a black and white photo of the Queen in all her grandmotherly glory was released commemorating her 88th birthday. According to the Associated Press on the CBC News website, the picture taken by British photographer David Bailey, is a “black-and-white photograph……showing the queen smiling broadly”—a side she does not often reveal to the public.

Shown wearing a three strand pearl necklace and what appears to be pearl and diamond earrings, she is sporting a dress designed by her personal assistant and senior dresser. Of the Queen, Bailey stated that he has “always liked strong women, and she is a very strong woman.”

In contrast, my birthday will be a private affair. Bailey, who is “celebrated for his portrait photography” of stars such as Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine and Johnny Depp will not be on my doorstep to take any candids of me, and neither will the Queen’s senior dresser be on hand to help me don her private designs (as the Queen has let her granddaughter-in-law Duchess Kate borrow her to help her dress for her many downunder walkabouts and George’s play dates).

The Queen will be celebrating her birthday on April 21st and then again in June with pomp and circumstance when the weather is a bit more fair. The ceremony in June is marked with a Trooping the Colour parade in London for her loyal subjects and eager tourists. My birthday will be celebrated by a few friends and family—some gathered to see me blow my candles out after making some inane wish, which according to two horoscopes that I read over the weekend, may come true. I am fairly sure the Queen does not depend on horoscopes to plan her future, but as with most things, I cannot really be sure.

Our shared horoscope in The Globe and Mail wants us to give “some serious thought to what we will be doing over the coming year because it could be one of the best ever.” The National Post was equally optimistic, stating that the sun will be entering our sign and boosting our energy for the next four weeks. Not only that but we “will attract favourable situations and important people” so we are to “milk it for all it is worth.” The Queen likely attracts “favourable situations and important people” all the time so I am pretty confident she does not need to do any milking. I, on the other hand, will take full advantage.

Birthdays are like another New Year’s to me — a time of reflection, a time to take a tally of life so far, and a time to think about what I would like to complete on my life (not bucket) list. The anniversary of our births can be a kind of wake-up call—another year under our belt, but another waiting in the wings, hopefully to take flight and not a nosedive. At this stage, “the arrogance of youth” is just a memory, but our younger selves still live on. I would like to think that I am wiser now, but what I am is more cognizant of the fact that I am not. The process of gaining wisdom is ongoing—and with every step forward, I recognize that I will never be a sage on a mountaintop handing out advice—I will always be a student, never the teacher.

My wish for the coming years? To live in the present (as hokey as that is, it is as most clichés are, true) and to plan for my future. Most importantly I will keep the lessons of the past, but leave behind the regrets. I will always be a dreamer but one with feet firmly planted on terra firma, someone who believes in the ethereal, but accepts reality (after wrestling it to the ground), and I will continue to try earn the mantle bestowed on the Queen by her photographer, David Bailey–that of a “strong woman”.

 

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Published in: on April 21, 2014 at 7:55 pm  Comments (6)  
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Auspicious Wisdom

 

Life is a four letter word

So is love……………..

Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm  Comments (16)  
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“There’s No Need to be Stupid About It”

“Trust people to be who they are, and not who you want them to be.” ~ Richard Templar

  The “period during which we function” known more familiarly as life, is full of contradictions. Richard Templar, author of “The Rules to Break” illustrates this clearly in his book. His Rule number 83 says: “Trust everybody”, while Rule number 84 on the very next page states unequivocally: “Trust no one.”

 Confusing?  On the surface, yes, but once he explains his concepts it makes sense.  He theorizes that, “Trust is a wonderful feeling, with all the love and security it brings, so why deny yourself? That way lies madness.” And who in their right mind would choose madness (although I have often thought of it as an interesting alternative to sanity.) But on the next page of his book, he says, “…I can contradict myself if I like”, telling us that “Trust is a personal thing, and it has a lot to do with nuances and intuition about the person in question. Trust people to be who they are, and not who you want them to be.”

 Templar argues that “The fact is that you must be a trusting person in order to feel at ease with yourself and life” BUT, and this should be the underlying advice to anyone who takes on life as a hobby: “…there’s no need to be stupid about it.” He says that he has friends that he would trust with his life, but he would not “necessarily let them look after my cat.”

  What is a contradiction? On one hand contradictions can be ambiguities and paradoxes; on the darker side, they can be inconsistent and illogical. Ambiguities are hard to define in that they express uncertainty—or “something that can be understood in more than one way”. Paradoxes are enigmatic, puzzling, even mystical. They can readily be defined by one of my favourite sayings: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Inconsistency and things that are not logical are harder to contend with and make trust all that more difficult.

 Templar is right on both counts—but I can simplify his wisdom down to a few words: Trust, but don’t be stupid about it.

Wisdom Lite

Family of ocellaris clownfish, Miyako Island, ...

Family of clownfish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By far Anonymous is the wisest of all those who purvey wisdom.
A shining example is this, found in a little tome I have called “Kitchen Wisdom”
put together by Jane Brook:

‘Carpe diem’ does not mean ‘fish of the day’. 

                                                             ~ Anonymous

I liked this for its simplicity. Sometimes we all need a good laugh. Do you have any favourite quotes in the same vein?

Published in: on October 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm  Comments (23)  
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Reblogging – Sharing the Wealth and Wisdom

English: Solomon's Wealth and Wisdom, as in 1 ...

English: Solomon’s Wealth and Wisdom, as in 1 Kings 3:12-13, illustration from a Bible card published 1896 by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What are your thoughts on reblogging?

These used to be my thoughts:

1. Blogger is feeling lazy today so just reblogged someone else’s hard work and thoughts rather than coming up with their own original post.

2. No one can say anything better than I can.

3. I have wisdom to share, why share the wisdom of others?

Today, my new thoughts on reblogging:

1. There is so much wisdom out there that I am not privy to except by reading other blogs—and I now like to share that wisdom.

2. I do not have all the answers and others have them and deliver them eloquently.

3. Sometimes I reblog just to have the wisdom of other bloggers at my fingertips—on my site, where I can go back and revisit easily.

4. I am learning to share and not have my blog just be about me, me, me. That gets boring. Fast.

I find myself reblogging more and more now. At one time I would not have sullied my blog with the posts of others. Now I consider it an honour to host them on my site. They make it better. Thank you to all those I have reblogged in the past, the present, and those I will reblog in the future. You have opened up my world and made me a better person.

(If you are not part of the blogging world yourself—you may wonder what reblogging is—it is the sharing of other blogger’s posts by transferring their knowledge to your site.)

What are your views on reblogging?

Published in: on September 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm  Comments (44)  
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~ OF TWO MINDS ~

Of two minds. I seem to be of two minds about most things. Sitting on the fence is not comfortable—being able to see both sides makes decision-making difficult. Yet, I would not want to be any other way. So very sure of my opinions that I cannot see around my blinders.

But being of two minds makes everything take that little bit longer. Weighing the consequences of my choices; the pros and cons; but ultimately, doing the right thing wins out—even if it is not the easiest path; the most economical; the best way to further myself.

Confuscious Down Under

Confuscious Down Under (Photo credit: cogdogblog)

Confucius is purported to have said: “The man of wisdom is never of two minds; the man of benevolence never worries; the man of courage is never afraid.”

I understand what he is saying, but I believe that reaching wisdom for most of us does not come naturally—it is a process of growing up, experiencing life, and maturing into our wisdom. Perhaps someday I will be wise enough to know the right answer without hesitation; without conferring; without pondering—but I have not reached that height yet.

Doing the right thing seems like such an easy choice—but deciding on what the right thing is, sometimes takes a journey—a journey of discovery; a journey of mistakes and errors; a journey where sometimes the road has no turning.

Being of two minds does mean one is two-faced. It does not mean that your opinion is out waving in the wind waiting for the strongest storm to take it over. The goal of “being of two minds” is to reach the state of wisdom; to reach the best decision, not the most convenient; to reach for the moon while not dismissing the stars.

This post was inspired by lillianccc from the blog: High, High, Higher, who is leaving her job and going to grad school. And while she is sure of her path, she is starting to miss what she is leaving behind. That is normal. When we say good-bye to something, it is very human to have doubts; to wonder if we made the right decision; to perhaps mourn the loss of something known for the unknown.

She is leaving her job for many reasons, one being that she felt she was not making enough of a contribution—that her hard work was being wasted. I know exactly how that feels. How many times have we put our heart and soul into something for it to come to naught? I am starting on such a project in the next few days—there will be some hard work and time spent doing unpleasant things, and the outcome is questionable. The outcome could make all the difference, or once again, dash hopes. But that is life—and not to take on the project, not to do it, would mean that failure is a sure thing.

So, as I gear up to do the hard thing—I am of two minds—but the one who will be victorious is the one that chooses the hard path, that it may smooth the way for the future.

Are you of two minds? Or do you agree with Confucius—that we should know the right path and take it without assessing, evaluating, debating, and yes, brooding a bit?

 

Published in: on August 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm  Comments (42)  
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Deep Thought Sunday

Hemlock

Hemlock (Photo credit: John Tann)

 

As I seem incapable of deep thoughts, or at the moment any kind of coherent thoughts, I thought I might call on Socrates to keep my place in the blog post line today. Since wisdom seemed to be his middle name, here are a few of the wise guy’s words:

 

“The only good is knowledge and the only evil  is ignorance.”

 

You would have thought he would have seen that hemlock thing coming.

 

 

 

Published in: on June 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm  Comments (22)  
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You Just Have to Do It in a Different Way

Türkçe: Name of the God

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week, instead of providing a bona fide recipe, I am going to share with you a Recipe for Life. It comes from blogger Lois and her blog livingsimplyfree.

On Fridays, Lois does a wonderful post pointing her readers to blogs from which she has gleaned some joy, information, or a laugh from the previous week. This week, as one of her favourites, she featured a post by Paul Mark Sutherland called “Failure”.

This piece of philosophy, derived from Rehanna Moammadi really “spoke to me” due to a variety of things happening in my life right now–but I think it is just good general wisdom for all of us. So without further ado here is my prescription for life ~ when you think maybe you are on your last nerve, or close to the cliff:

Failure

Failure doesn’t mean you’re a failure

It does mean you haven’t succeeded yet.

Failure doesn’t mean you haven’t accomplished something,

It does mean you have learned something.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ve been a fool,

It does mean you have a lot of faith.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ve been disgraced,

It does mean you were willing to try.

Failure doesn’t mean you don’t have it,

It does mean you have to do something in a different way.

Failure doesn’t mean you’re inferior,

It does mean you’re not perfect.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your time,

It does mean you have a reason to start fresh.

Failure doesn’t mean you should give up,

It does mean you should try harder.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ll never make it,

It does mean it will take a little longer.

Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you,

It does mean he has a better way.

These words are not magic, but they can have that effect if you let them. Even if things did not work out the way you wanted them to, you have learned something–but the line I liked the best is that failure doesn’t mean you don’t have it, it just means you have to do something in a different way. This line gives me bliss.

What line in Moammadi’s wisdom speaks to you and puts you on the road to bliss?

The Bliss of Stillness

Stillness n' Peace (View in full size)

Stillness n’ Peace Photo credit: . Dileepan

“Stillness has been an acquired taste.” ~ Sheila from Grace and Space

Time is a precious commodity and is the subject of Sheila’s post today. She says she is a doer, a list maker, someone who likes to accomplish things—and that stillness has been something she has had to learn to consciously appreciate.

I have always loved stillness—I need it to replenish my stores. In stillness my imagination is given free rein. Yesterday I complained that I had “nothing” to say, but in response many of you advised me to enjoy it and use it, and once I took in this wisdom I had peace.

Do you find bliss in stillness, or is it a hard thing for you to achieve?

Published in: on March 5, 2013 at 11:11 am  Comments (50)  
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Nothing New Under the Sun

English: A natural sponge, to be used in house...

A natural sponge named LouAnn.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*“Unique situations require unique solutions.” -Nnamonu Tochukwu.

My question is ~ are there unique solutions to situations that are not unique?

I could make the argument that there are no unique situations—just the same dramas, comedies, and circumstances on a roller coaster ride with twists and turns that at first make them seem unique. But on further investigation, they are not.

What is the old line—there is nothing new under the sun?

I have taken note, in my quest to find bliss, that some days it is within my grasp, some days I possess it, but other days it is just that millimetre too far away. I understand that what is happening in my life directly affects my bliss, and that I am not yet evolved enough to be able to sweep  the things that interfere with it to the wayside when a solution is not readily available.

I am a sponge. I take in what is around me, and it becomes part of me. I must learn to be the opposite without losing my compassion. What is the opposite of a sponge? I just Googled that question and there was “no word found”. I need to be less porous and more impermeable without losing my humanity.

Big Possibilities

Big Possibilities (Photo credit: Melody Campbell)

Is that possible?

*Found this quote on the blog Wise Counsel ~ http://teeceecounsel.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/uniqeness-quote-unique-solutions/