I look at a board on a wall in front of my writing desk. It is a point of inspiration and love.
Photos, notes, reminders.
The earliest photo is from the 1930’s. My great-grandmother (Orphan Annie) and my great-grandfather James who died in 1940.
A newspaper clipping and photo of my paternal grandparents 50th wedding anniversary in 1973. Photo of a dear cousin and her husband, both gone now much much too early. And my parents gone in 1980’s. A photocopy of my father’s army application filled out on a Friday the 13th in 1942 at the age of 17.
So many dead and gone. BUT interspersed throughout the board, the Living. Sons, grandsons, siblings, in-laws, and another dear cousin who is my mini me.
Life and lives. Memories made and being made. A wedding invitation for September 2017 of a dear nephew and his bride to be.
I love my wall. I love the reminders of all whose paths transverse mine.
My Gratitude Wall.
This is just the starting point. There are not enough walls to hold the photos of those who have gone, and those who live who warm my heart and spirit.
Above is a photo of my last two hats and one pair of mittens. I made them for my grandsons, both of whom love them. (I wasn’t sure but yes they loved them.)
Before I start my next project I thought I would use the rest of my blue yarn and make a few more hats. Generally I do these kind of things in the summer to have them ready to donate to charity in the fall. For some reason I feel the need to make more so will continue on. Following my feelings always pays off.
I saw Auntie this morning and we talked about what it was like sailing across the ocean on a liner. I am not much for boats so am in awe of those folk who traverse the water to reach a destination. Her mind comes and goes, wandering off now and then, so conversation is patient and interesting. She did talk about the joys of having a wonderful partner for over thirty years but the pain of the big goodbye.
It is hard to believe it is finally the middle of the month. The first week seemed to drag on endlessly until the second week found it’s roller skates and sped up.
I finished a few books; Clive Cussler’s Ghost Ship, Sue Grafton’s Undertow ( a reread), an Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot short story. Books and stories are my comfort blanket. Lost a dear friend of the family this past week, my age, so have a funeral to attend Monday morning.
It is important I think to find joy and humor is each day. It is there.
Amy Nora Doyle. is how she signed off her About page but we mostly just know her as Amy.
Soul Dipper and Spirit Builder by Design. When I write these few words I feel the completeness of Amy and her world. However for any of you who are not familiar with her, please allow me to lead you.
On January 9, 2010 Amy took to the written word and the last words of that post are:
Embrace your highest source of power and love. Focus on it; carry it with all your being. With that power, no matter what life puts in your path, there you will stand – strong in the face of adversity. And that is called SOUL.
We fuss and worry and scoot along our lives regretting the past sometimes and fearing the future, when there is an opportunity to embrace our strength, our power, our love, that will allow us to weather what comes.
Understanding does not depend upon, nor does it denigrate any religion, or belief systems. It is a message of love.
It matters not whether you choose to believe, visiting Soul Dipper is always a peaceful experience.
Amy lives in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada. I spent some time there a few years ago…long before I found the Blogosphere and all my dear ones in it and the near by ocean and beautiful trees vie for beauty in the gentlest rains I have ever seen.
We give celebration to the important things in our lives, as you know, I do this each Friday by honoring my own list of heroes one at a time. These are all people worthy of FITFS – Following in The FootSteps – for me and while I cannot ‘become’ I can try to emulate them in some way.
Soul Dipper is not at all ever serious or encumbered by weighty soul sucking problems, she is funny as in her post on The Secret to Why Men Don’t Ask for Directions or it can be about a fab dinner. Well I could go on and on but that would be just replicating or trying to replicate the perfection of what is.
Please do stop by, say hi, and allow yourself a moment of peace.
I happened to be leafing through one of those supermarket rags the other day. You know the ones that claim Angelina Jolie is really wicked, Jennifer Aniston will never recover from Brad, the Kardashians are actually people of importance and George Clooney is truly in love this time.
These things have not changed in the decades since rags became reading material but what has changed is children. Most notably ‘star’ children – and a suspicious number of twins who are ‘star’ children.
There are whole sections of magazines devoted to toddler fashion declaring that Jennifer Garner’s child out fashions Sarah Jessica’s.
And the one thing in common with all the smiling parents is how much they adore their children, or out adore compared to others. The sign of good parenthood is no longer teaching, guiding, or God forbid, disciplining. It’s all about adoration. And it is not just the stars but those more common folk who mimic fake magazine people; in fashion, food and music who are into the whole adoring thing.
So just a few questions that come to mind:
1) When your children are grown and they are not the center of everyone else’s universe will you make provisions to hire an Adorer because in time, a very short time you Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sarah…Jennifer..etc etc are going to get pretty sick and tired of giving, giving, giving?
2) When you are spending your life adoring your children are you going to invest in bubble wrap to protect their poor psyches from a cruel and harsh world that might actually expect them think of something other than themselves?
3) How will we gauge who the better adoring parent is? Could it be by smiles, gifts? Or could it be by how they turn out? I guess we would need a standard, a gold standard for that. Paris Hilton comes to mind. And Lindsay Lohen. And……
4) When you have praised every word, every action, every little burp, how are you going to continue the praise when there is nothing left? Perhaps complimenting what isn’t there…’Good for you that you do not have an extra toe..that’s a good girl and at 23 I don’t think you will ever develop one.’
5) If push comes to shove will you sacrifice your own self-respect to make your child feel good about themselves? ‘Oh you are so wonderful, much more than I am. I am so lucky to have you, blessed by your very presence.’
I can only hope that all these babies of adoration will someday live in their own city, perhaps called Centerville so that all the real children who learn that you have to actually earn points by hard work, that life is hard but can be mastered and that not everyone is going to like you let alone adore you, can get on with their life in the real world. Children, who will know that in spite of hardship they are loved, and that adoration is nothing, except a façade setting up unrealistic expectations for these wee ones.
Besides, all that smiling and reporters saying, “He/She adores their little one so much. It is proof how well loved they are.” Adoration has never been an indicator of love and too much smiling just makes me wonder how many Mommy Dearest books are waiting to be written.
Waking up and before stirring towards a busy day I decided to start inspired. In days gone by when folk settled for the night with a routine of setting out things for the next day which may or may not include teeth in a glass, my nightly routine is to plug in the iPad and the iPhone so I am ready to roll first thing.
This morning I grabbed the pad and googled – ‘successful people’. Among the selection was Will Smith, so snuggling down, ear phones in I listened and watched this very successful person. I say person not actor as his success is in life not just in his craft.
Will Smith says:
I love living…it’s infectious.. and you can’t fake that.
I have a great time with my life and I want to share that.
We did not grow up believing that where we were was where we were going to be. We grew up believing that where we were almost didn’t matter. What mattered is that we were becoming something greater.
Your talent will fail you if you do not work hard. You are not going to outwork me. If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready.
I don’t want to be an icon, I want to be an idea. I want to represent possibility.
I want the world to be better because I was here.
Plan A is you must believe.
Being realistic is the most common road to mediocrity. Thinking of a light bulb was not realistic. Bending metal and flying people was not realistic.
What you think is real, thoughts are real. Thoughts, dreams, feelings are real.
There is redemptive power in making that choice. I decide what is, who is.
Success takes obsessive focus. Be completely motivated. The person who works the hardest wins. Learn how not to quit.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you you cannot do something.
I believe as Chris Hughs does in spiritual genetics which I got from my mother and grandmother.
I believe in happy endings. You have got to believe you can be happily married for fifty years to be happily married for fifty years.
People ask me about racism in Hollywood. Why would I acknowledge racism? When you acknowledge something you give it power.
Fame may exist for some but greatness exists in all of us.
I believe in running and reading. Running teaches you not to quit. And reading…there is no problem you have that someone else has not had and conquered and written about.
When I was a child I wanted to be a writer. Actually I knew I was going to be a writer. I remember the exact instant this information came to me, what the day was like, the actual smell of summer, my foot as it moved from the curb to the road. Strange isn’t it how there are some moments of such clarity that they are almost photographic, that for a millisecond you actually stand outside yourself and watch? It was not a decision as much as a done deal and I remember wondering exactly what I would write. Why murder mystery of course, published and all best sellers.
I have spent the fives decades between then and now making half baked attempts at writing and full baked excuses why I could not do it. And I must admit it has taken considerable effort to resist the urge to take pen in hand. Almost as much effort as it would be to actually give in and write something. No, that statement is wrong. I have tried writing and it is hard work, an investment, a commitment, and a lot of pressure on the brain cells.
Oh, I’d make a good start, and then the next day my mind would just flit after some other butterfly of a thought. And as of a few months ago, this year, 2011, I ran out of excuses, and had face the real reason I don’t write – fear, of so many things.
The purpose of explaining the above is not to lament my failure, but to recognize what it takes to write and write well. My experience makes me very appreciative of those who are published. When I read I can see the author putting down each word. I imagine the blank page and the first letters appearing whether by pen or keyboard. I appreciate. I savor.
Now we come to the Books of the iPad.
I love the convenience, the thousands of choices, the categories, and the authors, all there for my choosing.
What I find amazing and at the same time sad are the free books. It’s good for me but feels a little like a slap in the face to some great writers.
From the free list..just a few..
Tolstoy, Roosevelt, Lincoln, Einstein, Alcott, Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Conan Doyle, Emerson, Fitzgerald,….and on and on and on.
I picture the making of each word, phrase, sentence, and paragraph. The work, the creativity, the ALL of the whole thing.
So, I feel I just want to acknowledge them, somehow, to say thank you.
You, my heroes of the past may be free, but you are in no way devalued!
Thank you iBooks!
The Woman on the Train and What is Wrong with Enlightenment
Last year I travelled to Toronto by train every day for three days. The first morning I chatted with a woman, not the one in the title, but a very nice gal who was a teacher doing some work for the Ministry of Education. She was fascinating and we clicked. Going home that evening I saw her again at the train station and we picked up our conversation from the morning. This went on each of the three days.
When I got to the station at the end of the third day I did not see my friend right away so chatted with a pleasant woman while we waited for the boarding call. The woman said she had been to a hospital in the city for an appointment. I didn’t pry into her health issues and she talked a bit about her life. There was something very strange about her, an aura, a radiating peace. She appeared to be smiling even when she wasn’t, speaking softly but with great power and at the same time seeming amazingly humble. I was in awe just looking at her and could not understand why. I felt for some reason I was in the presence of greatness but could not give it definition.
I spotted my friend further down the queue and knew she would be looking for me so I excused myself even though I did not want to move. Shaking my head in puzzlement I went to join my friend.
On the train this strange woman was sitting by herself in one of those sets of seats where four face each other. I asked if we could join her. We three chatted about nothing in particular. Then this strange woman looked at me -into me-and told me her story quietly. And all else ceased to exist.
She said her appointment had been to assess her status. She said that her mother and two sisters had died of cardiomyopathy (a deadly heart condition). It was genetic. I whispered to her, “And you have it too?”
She nodded. The only cure was a heart transplant but it could not be done until a certain point had been reached in her condition. I knew from experience that often when patients reached that point their condition often worsened and they died before a heart came available. And still she radiated joy and incredible peace.
My friend and I got off the train before that woman’s stop. As we walked away, my friend asked if this condition was serious. I told her that the woman is walking with death.
I think of her often and feel I was blessed to have been in her company.
Enlightenment – and finding it has been on my mind for a long time. I have read some things that made sense but I also read a book on enlightenment that just didn’t feel right. It calls for us to wake up in the the morning and start jumping and yelling YES! YES! It says that to be financially rich have friends gather around and shower us with money, literally. It said a few things that perplexed me. It might come to your mind that I am frequently perplexed.
But then the thought came to me recently………the woman on the train was true enlightenment. She was one with God, the universe or whatever our centre is. No yelling. No jumping. Just incredible peace and joy and love and gentleness and humility.
I don’t know if I will ever see that kind of thing again. I just know that for a short time I was closer to purity than I have ever been. And I am humbled.
I find myself pondering a question that at first thought seemed easy to answer. Many years ago there was a Canadian TV show called Twice in a Lifetime. There was a male angel, cute as a button, who would be present at the time of death. The deceased always had some deficiency that put their soul in jeopardy and thanks to the angel, they would then get an opportunity to go back to one point in their life to change the outcome. Invariably the deceased would conquer and the end showed them in fact restored to life – as if they had stayed on a true and proper path.
In the last few years I periodically have asked people what point in their lives they would return to – to change something if given a chance. One friend who had experienced the worst kind of abuse as a young child said she would never have answered the door that day when a knock came. She didn’t hesitate for even a second. We have been friends for years and I always forget that decades later she still lives with that.
Most people don’t have such painful turning points but most can think of some point where they took a left when they should have turned right. Maybe a failed exam, or turning point or turning down a particular appointment or date.
I don’t find myself as lucky. Every time I think of a possible trigger changing event my mind considers all the fallout effects about other good things that followed in spite of my errors in judgement.
There is no one point where I would change the course of my life. Instead there are multiple truths I ignored at one time or another that I would like to go back and embrace when I did not:
Do unto others….
Save ten percent..
Onto thine own self…
Be quiet and listen…
Be the kind of friend…
There may not be a true Twice in a Lifetime and thank God for that..instead each day is new and when we open our eyes we have a chance to do it better than the day before…or the year before..or…
For some of us it is baby steps cause just when I think I have conquered a mountain, I realize my biggest sin is congratulating myself for being so darn good..and I lose humility. If I am not humble I am not seeing the scope of my own frailty, or the scope of God’s Greatness.
Nuts..then it is like…back to the beginning…sigh.
Do you have one pivotal point where you would have changed your course of action?
I have had the honor to attend several deaths through out my decades in nursing. Probably more than a hundred. Most have been good, some inspiring and a few …well…
One I will remember forever, even though this one time I was not there.
Many many years ago…read decades here.. I worked in a nursing home. Most of the home comprised of private apartments and we also had a small twenty-eight bed sick unit. When I made rounds each day I always stopped in to see one particular couple. They were English and very proper and deeply in love even after almost seventy years of marriage. Just being around them made you feel good.
I was with the doctor the day he had to tell Mr. M he had lung cancer and not long to live. No this is not a smoking story – the man had never puffed in his life. After the doctor left I returned to see how my English gent was doing. I asked him how he felt about the news. He said, “Chris I am ninety-two years old. I am a Christian so I know I will see my sons and other family that have passed. But life is precious and if I was two hundred it would still be too soon to leave it.”
As the next few weeks passed Mr. M got weaker and finally ended up in our sick unit, bed ridden and emaciated. I had Monday and Tuesday off so when I gave report to the next shift on Sunday I said that Mr. was weak but holding his own.
I went off to enjoy my days with my young family. Just after midnight on Monday I had a dream in which I woke up in my bedroom to find Mr. M standing beside my bed. He was smiling. I was distressed and asked him what he was doing there. That he was sick and had to get into his bed. He smiled and said that I did not understand and to come with him. I found myself standing bedside his bed in the Home. He was standing beside me and then I noticed he was also peacefully in his bed.
I could not formulate any thoughts, let alone words and just stared at him. He smiled again and said that he had to go but he was going to tell “them” how kind and good I was. I panicked once it dawned on me what he was saying. I found myself begging him not to tell anyone. I said “they” knew me and knew I was not good and please please don’t say anything. He smiled again, so sweetly, and then he was gone.
I woke to find myself sitting up in bed. I looked at the clock – it was two-twenty a.m. Thinking what a strange dream it was I went back to my slumbers and forgot about it.
Wednesday I returned to work and was getting report from the night staff. I pointed out that they forgot report on Mr. M. The nurse said that he had died. After what felt like a long pause I asked when he died. Two-twenty Tuesday morning.
For several days after that I was not sure what to do with that information but I felt like there was something I was supposed to do.
His wife kept coming to mind but I resisted thinking sure I’m supposed to go to this old grieving lady and tell her I spoke with her dead husband. But the thought would not go away so feeling forced and more than a little stupid I went to the apartment.
We chatted about nothing really and then I told her bout the dream. I wasn’t sure what to expect but she just quietly said, “Thank you dear, I knew if there was a way he could let me know he was alright he would. And he has.”
I don’t think of it often, but every now and then……