Monday, February 10, 2014

Preparing for Small Comforts

In a perfect world, we would all share our joy and our pain.  We would all be able to identify with one another, comfort one another through shared experiences.  This world is anything but perfect.  And so it takes practise to watch those around us and see how they manage to communicate.  It takes practise to take down a wall or two to try to communicate with others. 

And this is a result of my attempts to watch others communicate, and to reflect it back to others.

One of the beautiful and unexpected things for me about social media, is watching friends go through the grief process. My heart breaks to watch their hearts break at the beginning. And over the years, as the anniversaries pass, the memories they share touch souls... my soul. It truly seems inevitable, that as time goes on, the loved one becomes their “warm touch-stone” within. They hear their voice in a dream. They see their smile on a distant relative. They see them looking back over their shoulder in the distance.
 Like anyone, I dread loosing the people I love. It is comforting to see my friend’s comfort as they share their experiences. And I am confident that eventually a sense of peace will follow.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 17 - Local Shop or Group

"Maybe it's a business that you just love to shop at. Maybe it's a place where the staff has such a pleasant way of making you feel welcome. Maybe it's a local organization that offers an important service or program. The people and places in your community that provide the products and services that you need and in a way that makes you feel good are worth some gratitude. We invite you to add a public thank you to one of these local treasures."

Music was missing from my life.  And it was missing for so long.  I don't stop to think about it often, but every time that I do, I say a prayer of thanks for its return.

The local group I am thankful for isn't a business, it doesn't provide a needed service or program within my community.  It is a group of people who like to make music.  The Ukulele Club of Winnipeg is such welcoming group.  Watch the invites, the offers to share instruments, the invites to out of town friends and family.  I don't know how this group has done it, there must have been some plan?  They manage to let everyone feel a part of a bigger whole within minutes of arriving.  They seek out ways to send an extra welcoming hello.  When the music starts, I am "home" with these people.  And I am grateful for this local group.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 16 - Mode of Transport

"Maybe it is the wind in your face as you sail across the water or the silence of the air on a quiet country ride. Maybe it is the fact that it helps you visit a relative far away or notice the sensation of foot to path and pavement.   As we move through this world, what mode of transportation gets us there and do we notice and acknowledge this feat."

There are few less-interested-in-a-car people than a Luanne.  Which is probably a good portion of why I was driving such a run-down car.  One weekend this summer, I visited a friend who helped me start the process of replacing that car the previous summer.  As I was driving over, it seemed surreal to me that it had only been a year since I was driving that car.  I would try to only make right-hand turns, and would only drive in the right-hand-lane - because one of the rear-view mirrors was messed up.  And I had to wiggle the signal-light just right if I needed to put n the left-hand signal.  There were coffee stains everywhere, the trunk was extra storage, and there were bits of yellow paint from a road-trip five years earlier where we had to drive real fast to get underneath the parking barricade.

And so - now - when I actually stop to take notice of my car - I am so grateful that everything works.  So very grateful.

Thanks for existing car.  And thanks for helping me start the process, dude.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 15 - Sense of Humour

"Did you hear the one about the...? When was the last time you chuckled, laughed out loud (not just typed lol), or even had your cheeks hurting, your sides splitting and you found yourself having to catch your breath? Offer your story of something or someone that cracked you up and why you're grateful."

Oh man - a few posts back, I thought of the things that give me an honest to goodness giggle.  There is one thought that keeps coming to mind.  It's an oldie. 

Years ago - I can't have been more than 19 or 20.  My first roommate and I had so much fun.  If there was ever a girl ready to laugh, that was my roomie. I wasn't quite solvent enough, yet, to have a proper bed.  In its place, I had a number of single mattresses, and foam's stacked on top of one another.  Maybe 6 in total?  Well.  The best part of the day was when we'd both get home from work or school, and take turns running down the hallway and jumping on that stack of mattresses.  The bounce was *amazing!* If there is ever a time that I need a good pick-me-up, and if I can access that memory, I can be assured of a good giggle.

I am grateful that so many of my friends are looking for the opportunity to laugh. Facebook serves as a great reflection of our lives.  If I know anything, I know that if I post an opportunity for my friends to add something giggle-worthy - they will be all over it like a dirty shirt.  And I will be grateful for our fun.

Monday, October 14, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 14 - Natural Beauty

"Gratitude for the beauty all around us is a way to feel connected to the rhythm and pulse of our natural world. At water's edge there are different experiences to appreciate than in a field of flowers. In the city it is different than the country. In the morning it is different than in moonlight. What takes your breath away and gives back gratitude?"

When I think of things in nature, I know that being in/near water and autumn colours are two of my favorite things. (The only way that a summer swim could be better is if it looked more like autumn.)

When I don't put a nature slant to it, some of my favorite things are "shiny" and "sparkly."  I have a silly theory that whomever invented sequins was trying to capture the beautiful of the sparkle of the snow on a perfect winter night.  Yesterday I watched the water sparkle as it flowed down the Red River.  Complete with the fall leaves surrounding it.  And now I wonder if whomever invented glitter was trying to capture the beauty of the sunshine reflected on a river. 

There are so many ways to enjoy the beauty of our world.  I am glad to have had the opportunity to share this view. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 13 - Tough Lessons

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.” -Buddha
Life is not always an easy path. But gratitude is not just for appreciating the gifts and pleasures that we receive. Hard gratitude can only come from the trying situations and experiences that impact our life. In really tough moments, gratitude is a hard choice - though sometimes it is the only choice we have left. Do you have an appreciation from a tough life lesson? Now may be a good time to contemplate it.
Truth be told, I'm a pretty lucky girl.  But I don't always realize this. I remember talking with someone - and talking about how "we all have weirdnesses."  I wasn't sure I liked that idea, but in the end, I agreed that maybe, just maybe, I might have some weirdnesses of my own. 

Just between you and me - and 400 odd Facebook friends - I can occasionally get a bit wound up about things. And I can occasionally hold out until I get my way.  And because it has never been much of an issue, I've never given it much thought.  Well - recently I had to be the one at the "giving space" end of things.  I'd never been there before. (True story!)  I wasn't entirely certain what was going on to start - nor did I know what was going on with the feelings I was feeling.

At one point I realized that I could validate another's needs - and while it didn't start feeling natural - it did feel good to know that I had what it takes to give to others.  It also felt amazing to realize that so many have done this for me.

I've always been a "youngest child."  And I know that this has afforded me a lot of luxuries.

I'm thankful today to have the opportunity to realize some of them specifically, and to be grateful for them.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 12 - Simple Pleasures

"Ah...the simple pleasures in life. They are usually brief, easy and uncomplicated. They often involve triggering one of the 5 senses to wash over you in a moment of awareness and joy. What allows you to stop and appreciate your day?"

So many simple pleasures. Here are some of the many things that I'll stop to appreciate for a fleeting moment:
- the cool brushed cotton sheets as I crawl into bed
- when my current favorite song comes on the radio (this very moment, it's Wildfire by John Mayer)
- hearing "drive safe"  (I learned late that "drive safe" is secret code for "I care about you") 
- onomatopoeic names like - Whispering Aspen
- freshly washed floors
- those few moments when the snow sparkles like sequins
- competing colours side by side (like fuchsia and turquoise)
- finding the "nice" folder of emails - reading through the kind things people say
- watching people hug and say hello after a long absence
- an unexpected touch meant to convey sympathy
- a freshly bathed Scooby
- children's drawings
- a cool shower at a hot camp-site
- a hot shower after a winter's walk
- a surprise coffee date with an almost-but-not-quite started friendship

I'm thankful for the ability to see these simple pleasures.  I'm thankful that the simple pleasures get louder when the days get rougher.  I don't know what combination of events led me to eyes that would see the simple pleasures, but I am surely grateful for them.

Friday, October 11, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 11 - Military and Vetrans

"This is not political. This is about appreciating the men and women who have put (or are at this very moment putting) their lives on hold and on the line for their country and its citizens. Do you have a personal connection to a soldier or veteran that deserves your gratitude? Here's your chance."

Over time one thinks through their ideals of youth, and one decides one was wrong on some, and believes more fully in others.  And sometimes you have one that keeps growing at your core that gets more and more solid and real - like the Tell Tale Heart, but in a good way.  One of mine that becomes more solid is the belief that we all have parts of us that are absolutely amazing.  And that we all have different types of weight we can bear.  And that if we all were to carry the weights we were meant to carry, and give with the amazing parts that we have to give, so much of the worlds ills wouldn't exist.

When I think of "the men and women who have put (or are at this very moment putting) their lives on hold and on the line for my country and it's citizens".... the weight of the gratitude to these men and women is overwhelming.  This is not one of the amazing gifts that I have to give - it is dangerous, it is scary, and it is more than I can even stop to think about without the weight, once again, becoming overwhelming.  It inspires me to ensure that I use my gifts - so that if they fill in for any of their voids, they can know my thankfulness.

This is one of those gratitudes that stops me in my tracks.  Thank you for your strength and your courage.