I instruct an exercise class at a retirement home every Tuesday afternoon. There is one resident who is no longer able to attend the class because she is becoming so frail. She has had several falls. We have had an agreement between us that I would still knock on her door to invite her to class but instead of an invite I give what she calls a 'wee cuddle'. I have been doing this since about March. Today there was a sign on her door saying she had a fall and was unable to use her walker and must use a wheelchair. I did not knock because she often is napping at the time I make my rounds to gather up folks for the class. After class she was just coming out of the elevator for the social hour. One whole side of her face is badly bruised, cuts around her ... Read Full Story >>
On occasion I come across a poem or short story that I have read that deeply touches my heart. I was sent this poem when Peace was a theme that kept recurring throughout my days. Thank you for the beautiful kindspring soul who sent this poem to me when I needed it most. I am hungry for Peace. I want to slather it on thick as a sun drenched smile rising from my heart to yours. I’d make a sandwich of our tribulations and joys, layering it with compassionate slices of a mellowing perspective. The bread would be kneaded with seeds of kindness, baked to a delicate golden crust of understanding, fluffy and warm on the inside with forgiveness. I’d be sure to eat it from my best chipped plate, the one with flowers painted from a forest rain, tinged with the blush of a robin’s breast. And to wash it all down, there would be goblet of stars whirled into a constellation of such possibility, that I’d have to sip slowly so as not ... Read Full Story >>
Have we ever noticed that we are so busy doing that we are missing out on a great many things? Sometimes we are given the opportunity to sit in silence and take in our surroundings. It may seem difficult at first, but soon we are able to see, hear and feel what is going on around us. All our senses become engaged. Although our sense of smell is always working, while sitting quietly we may notice that we are able to more fully take in the aromas of the space we are in. Our ears pick up the sounds of the birds singing. As we sip our water we have the time to notice how it tastes and how it quenches our thirst. The contrast in the colors may become more visible as we take the time to see them fully. We also have time to observe the people who are ... Read Full Story >>
There are times in our lives we may feel as if we need to walk away from everything. We are tired of the games that people play and the unnecessary drama. We are tired of trying so hard to work towards the vision of what we want for our life. Life seems to have become too complicated and cluttered.
When we feel this way do we take the time to wonder where these feelings are coming from? Are we holding on to things that no longer matter? It is at these times in our lives that we need reminders that this too shall pass, that we do have joy, love and laughter in our lives, we simply have lost sight of it.
There is nothing wrong with taking a step back, assessing our needs, giving ourselves the space we need to see things with clarity. Giving ourselves the gift of time to rest, relax and rejuvenate may be all we need to return to our activities with energy and a new sense of commitment to our best life.
Picture taken and written by TC
As I explore my home town I came across a sign on a front lawn of someone’s home that is written in three languages. Each time I walk by this sign of acceptance my heart warms, my mood lightens and I grin from ear to ear. The sign reads “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.”
Another day as I walked along this same street I realized that there is several churches of different denominations within a block of this sign.
To me this too is a sign of acceptance. How wonderful to have such open signs of acceptance in one’s neighborhood. I do not walk the same way each day but when I take this a particular route I find myself looking with anticipation to catch sight of this sign. Each time I pause and give a silent thank-you to the home owner for displaying this sign of acceptance of all their neighbors.
As I work in the garden, I take my time and the garden is teaching me about working with the earth. I recognize that there will be both successes and failures and there are many variables that affect them both. The quality of the seeds planted has a bearing on how the plants will grow. The weather can be too hot, too cold, or exactly right, and usually fluctuates between all three. Weeds seem to thrive in the garden and need to be taken care of, pulled, and discarded to ensure they do not encroach on the fruits, vegetables, and flowers we have so lovingly planted. I take time to stand back and rest, and to observe the plants and how they are growing. Each plant is unique and develops in the way that is best for them. Some have large broad leaves to shield their fruit from the harsh rays of ... Read Full Story >>
When we think of the term women of Influence what comes to our mind? Are they women who have social tatus and power, whose work brings about great changes for their communities, countries and the world? As women of influence their work is important. There are other women of influence whose roles are equally as important but often go unnoticed in social media. The roles our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, friends and mentors play in our lives, influencing the people we’ve grown to be. These women also lead by example with love, resilience, strength, gentleness and vulnerability. They made and continue to make personal sacrifices so that we continue to flourish. There are many women in my life who have helped me grow into the woman I am today. First and foremost my Mom, whose strength and courage showed me how to be strong and courageous too. My memories of her still fill ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I was asked to walk my granddaughter to the school bus stop. Her other Grandmother has mobility issues and is not able to walk through the snow and ice with her walker.
There was a mom walking her son to the same stop while struggling with 3-year-old twins. One was screaming and crying the entire way. After the bus left I walked with her and she explained that the boy she was carrying is non-verbal. He can make sounds but no words at this point.
I held out my hand to the boy who was walking and he took it. Soon I was holding the hands of both boys. They were quite content to walk with me while I chatted with their mom. I felt I was of service to all in those few minutes we walked, giving the boys my unconditional acceptance and their mom someone to talk to. It made me very happy, too.
Yesterday while attending a fitness class I met a new participant who was nervous and shy about taking the class for the first time. I did my best to calm her fears and make her feel welcome. I co-lead the class and kept an eye on her and helped her when she seemed loss.
After class there was a Christmas luncheon for the participants and I invited her along and she accepted. I introduced her to those who were sitting around and they also made her feel welcome. We all encouraged to her to come back to class on Thursday. She seemed pleased to be so readily made part of the group. It felt good to take the opportunity to help someone who was so visibly uncomfortable.
The men of influence in our lives are our fathers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, and friends and play an important role in our lives. They lead by example, teaching us how to move physically through our world, how to be strong in the face of adversity, to be resourceful, and how to provide for ourselves and our families. My Dad taught me how to have spontaneous fun, playing baseball in the middle of the street, in his stocking feet. Today my dad continues to influence me in positive ways. He has faced a challenging health issue over the past few months and has carried on with his life in much the same way as he did before his illness, going about his daily business a bit slower and needing to take more rests but still living his life the way he wishes to. My grandfather taught me the value of being trusted. My ... Read Full Story >>
Most of us know someone who is always on. They are available to us to listen and help out any time we need them. They are kind, caring and empathetic. Have we ever considered the cost to them of always being on, physically, mentally and emotionally? They may not feel they deserve to take time for self-care, to turn off the phone, to not be on all the time. They may too be in need of loving care from those around them, but don’t always know how to ask for it. What happens when they become so depleted that they have nothing left to give? Who will take care of them? Always being on is not a healthy way to live, it is exhausting on all levels. It is okay to turn off, to take time for self-care and nurturing. It is okay to say no when asked again to listen, to ... Read Full Story >>
Have you ever been out on a walk and noticed someone standing very still, looking up at the branches of a tree or down at the ground? They are fully engrossed in what they are seeing. Do you stop to try and see what they are looking at? Do you ask them what they see? I have learned that there is always something interesting to see and hear about if I take the time to stop and ask. The first time I did this I was gifted with seeing my first bald eagle. The person who pointed the eagle out told me there was a pair who were always around the trail. I have not seen the eagle since, but I keep my eyes open. And just a few days ago I was walking home and saw a young man looking raptly upwards. I asked what he was looking at. He was ... Read Full Story >>
One day something happened that upset me, bringing tears to my eyes and making me angry. The incident took me out of balance and disturbed my inner peace. To restore calm, I donned my outdoor gear, grabbed my skis, and went to the park. I skied at a slow steady pace. I listened to the hissing of the snow beneath my skis and the wind blowing through the bare branches of the trees. I was honest with myself, acknowledging that I was angry and could let it go. With each pass around the park, I felt my inner peace returning. I began to hear the birds singing. I noticed the wind had filled in my tracks with snow in some areas, creating a clean slate. I felt the strength of my arms and legs as they worked together to make the skiing an enjoyable experience. I felt the healing power of being ... Read Full Story >>
This month we celebrate Thanksgiving, coming together with friends and family to enjoy the bounty of the harvest season. It is also an excellent time to pause and reflect on the abundance of our lives as well. Our lives are full of love and laughter shared with those we love and we are deeply grateful for the abundance of the light this love gives to us. Do we know of someone who is alone, lonely, that would appreciate a visit, an outing to a coffee shop, a ride to church or a simple phone call to chat and pass the time of day? What stops us from sharing our time with others who are in need of companionship? The seasons are changing and we begin to bring our warmer clothes out of storage. Are our closets crammed full of clothes that we no long wear? We may be saving a few ... Read Full Story >>
Many years ago, a dear friend taught me to end each conversation on a high note. To this day we never end a conversation on a negative note. In fact, I think we take the time to think of something just to ensure we end our conversation positively.
Over time this has become a regular practice for me. If a conversation keeps turning to topics that drag me down, I try to change the topic or put a positive spin on it. Hopefully if I am heading down the path of negative thoughts, someone will do the same for me.
Sometimes there are topics that need to be discussed that are not uplifting and there does not seem to be a way to find a positive note. At such times I find it is important to remember to be kind and speak with love and compassion.
Instead of berating yourself for a mistake, give the gift of forgiveness. Remember you are human and will make mistakes from time to time. Our mistakes gift us with a lesson so we will not make the same mistake again. Instead of pushing ourselves past our limitations give the gift of self-nurturing. A gift that will allow us to help others. We cannot give from an empty vessel. Instead of a frown give the gift of your smile. The gift of your smile will brighten the day for someone and in return you will receive the gift of their smile. Give the gift of silent companionship, sitting with another without the need for words a gift of peace and quiet. Give the gift of your time to someone in need of company. Who knows what wonderful stories we will be gifted with while we visit? Give the gift of unconditional love. Love is a gift ... Read Full Story >>
For many years there has been a standing yoga pose that has been and continues to be one of my favourites. It incorporates balance, trust and support. Each time I have participated in this practice I have felt a deep sense of connection with all those in the group. And it makes me smile. Instead of standing alone, the class stands in a circle close enough for us to hold hands, left palms up, right palms down, each of us giving and receiving. As a unit we shift our weight to one foot, picking up the other foot and resting the heel against our ankle or calf muscle. Slowly we change the hand position so that we are palm to palm. We raise our arms creating a crown of hands above our heads respecting the reach of the person on either side of us. A gentle sway may start and soon we realize we ... Read Full Story >>
A Learning Curve As I have shared in past posts my husband has a condition called MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and has been dealing with his condition for more than 20 years. Although he has not been diagnosed with dysphagia he has been experiencing symptoms for quite some time now, trouble swallowing, choking and difficulties with his speech. Quote from the National MS Society website: “Dysphagia, or difficulty in swallowing, can occur in people with MS. While more frequent in advanced disease, it can occur at any time.” This means my husband must concentrate on what he is doing when he is eating, as his body will not always automatically swallow for him. As his MS progresses, he must now concentrate on what he is doing to complete a task properly. This a learning curve for both of us. For my husband it is learning to focus on what he is doing without ... Read Full Story >>