Thursday, December 31, 2009


New Year's day ~ now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual! Mark Twain.

I'm feeling a great sense of calm as 2010 nears its entry into all of our lives. It's ushering itself in on the heels of what a has been a meritable past 365 days. There is so much to be thankful for, that I thought I would turn this post into a gratitude list.

1. So much blue sky and sunshine all year round. I always thought living on coastal BC was the ultimate when it came to scenery and outdoor adventure, but I must confess that this big Alberta sky has stamped itself on my heart. Never would have believed that I'd trade mountains for canola fields. It feels like the world is wide open both above me and before me. There is so much room to breathe! I'm grateful to be starting a new year with this feeling in my heart.

2. Rilke wrote in his Letters to a Young Poet to have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and books in foreign languages. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the questions. Gradually, without even noticing it, some distant day you will find yourself experiencing the answers. This year became that distant day in many regards... I've learned to live with congruence of the inside on the outside. And, because of this, there has been more balance and an authentic spirit that seeks increasingly creative expression. Many of the things that tore at my mind and heart (like God and religion) have dissipated and lost their power and influence. I am so thankful that I can live a truth that is mine ~ no need to tear down or take apart another's truth so that mine can be justified. I'm grateful for the answers that have come and also for the questions that remain. I'm grateful for both the tangible and intangible opportunities my life gives me, so that I can grow and be joyful.

3. This year I started a book club with some pretty remarkable women. I'm grateful for how humbled I feel to be a part of their lives in this way and to share books and ideas with such intelligent females. Our first book was The Book of Negroes (also published as Someone Knows My Name in the US) by Lawrence Hill. This read made me thankful for the small and simple things we take for granted in life and that to whom much is given, much should be required. In comparison, our lives are so easy and we require so little of ourselves that we should be ashamed.

4. When I go to the grocery store, I can buy anything I want there. This is a luxury that countless people the world over would trade for. I am grateful that I have been blessed with a life of abundance and prosperity (even though I think those 2 words are ridiculously over used).

5. I am grateful for the clarity and insight I have as I observe my own life ~ I am indeed the manifestor of my own destiny. I love the challenges of life, they are the exciting part! Sometimes put in the way as obstacles to showcase our skill.

6. Travel is one of my favorite things. At Easter we made a trip to Vegas (where we met up with old friends, ate exciting cuisine and shopped in decadent stores). In the summer, I went back east to visit my family (as I do every year) and then flew the coupe to Rome for a week of slow travel. Slow Traveling is by far my favorite way to experience any place, I don't need more hectic in my life, I want the time to count, to feel languid and long. I'm grateful that my life is overflowing with opportunity right now, it is so easy to make things happen. I welcome (with arms stretched open) more of this.

7. On the work front, I signed a continuing contract and got a hefty wage increase AND the mill my husband works for resolved their contract negotiations just days before Christmas!!! Such welcome news for our community. I'm thankful for being in this flow, as it makes fulfilling the life I want that much easier. This year I've had HUGE breakthroughs with my relationship and attitude toward money. Money is a tool that allows us to increase the boundaries of our lives ~ if you don't recognize this, you too might need a breakthrough! I'm grateful to be in this financial place at this time in my life.

Really, the things I am grateful for are too innumerable to write them all down. I'm living from a place of genuine thanksgiving in my heart. When you can be thankful for the difficult stuff, you're on to something. Namaste, my friends. I wish for us all great blessings in the days to come.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life is change.

The survival of the fittest is the ageless law of nature. But the fittest are rarely the strong. The fittest are those endowed with the qualifications for adaptation, the ability to accept the inevitable and conform to the unavoidable, to harmonize with existing or changing conditions. Unknown.

In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer. Albert Camus

Frost is the most sophisticated of poets. Peter Davison
If your everyday life seems poor; don't blame it, blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no indifferent place.
Rainer Maria Rilke

PS ~ I took these photos while enjoying a vigorous winter walk, exploring the many trails in Stony Plain, Alberta.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Some days it is difficult to reconcile all that I want from life. Today is just such a day. Don't take my reverie for discontent ~ there is no such thing as discontent, there is only what you have chosen and how you desire to make your way in the world.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Extraordinary and Eternal

The thing that made me fall madly in love with Rilke in the first place was this:

Winning does not tempt that man. This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively by constantly greater beings.
And also:
What we choose to fight is so tiny! What fights us is so great! If only we would let ourselves be dominated as things do by some immense storm, we would become strong too, and not need names. When we win it's with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small. What is extraordinary and eternal does not want to be bent by us.


It is natural to go through life experiencing peaks and troughs. In fact, it is the natural order of the world. We ebb and flow. Ebb and flow. Always somewhere in the continum of flux. It is how we grow, the way we move in this ocean of the living.


And I think that Rilke is all about how to move in the flux. Winning does not temp the man. If only we would let ourselves be dominated as things do by some immense storm. Perhaps what we are all in need of is a great trouncing! By something so extraordinary and eternal that we would forever be marked and changed by the experience. Thrown to and fro until we learn to cling and at the same time let go. Be taken right to the edge, so that in the face of every ounce of fear that has ever considered living inside of us... we could stand with a bold and courageous heart against the small things that make us small.

The Best Gift EVER!

Last night while watching some tv, I randomly decided to check my work email. This is what was awaiting me in my inbox...

Hi , Mrs.Beal

I just wanted to write to you and tell you how much I like you and how much stuff I love to do with you just make the fun games and activity and it is nice to be in grade three with and to be in you class your just so much fun you rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mrs.Beal

(Student Name)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas to me! That is what I have to say about this little note! Life is full of such delicious sweetness. And yes, it made me cry.

Monday, December 14, 2009


So far, in this life, I've encountered some remarkable people. A few I've seemingly know forever and others have passed in and out. The best, are the ones that never leave me. Their spirit hangs around and continues to influence my ideas and outlook, all the while they have no inkling! Makes me wonder if I have ever been that to another? I suppose we are all that to someone but there are those individuals that are unforgettable, and even when they're gone, they're not.

This past summer I reconnected with a person that had been pretty remarkable to me, once upon a time. And, I doubt they ever knew the influence their life, though on a different and parallel course, had on mine. But I always had an awareness of their circle of influence. Perhaps in part, it is the way that such people help you to see yourself that makes them appear so damn exceptional.

For me at that time, I was just a girl. I had no idea how to be the person life was calling forth, yet. Oh there were lots of ideas forming and feelings seemed to rule my world ~ but I was still a longing, even to myself. There are no regrets on my part because I did the best with what I had at the time. So I have come to accept that I was enough, even though I spent years wondering. It was enough. It is always enough, every time, regardless of the circumstance. Loving who we are calls into acceptance those bits that are difficult to look at in the mirror. To see them as beautiful when we'd prefer to give them other names.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

There are so many possibilities in the world. And today I am feeling a little overwhelmed by them. It has to be the weather. Too many restless days inside, the tick-tock clock has slowed to a less frenzied race that marks our days and hours. Makes me crave other things. Question what is right in front of me. And so I wonder and wonder and dream of wandering and wandering.

Perhaps that is why I cannot get enough of Rilke these days.

You Who Never Arrived

You who never arrived  in my arms, 
Beloved, who were lost
from the start,  I don't even know what songs  
would please you. I have given up trying  
to recognize you in the surging wave of  
the next moment. All the immense  
images in me -- the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,  
cities, towers, and bridges, and un- suspected turns in the path,  
and those powerful lands that were once  
pulsing with the life of the gods-- 
all rise within me to mean  you, who forever elude me.   

You, Beloved, who are all  
the gardens I have ever gazed at, 
longing. An open window  
in a country house-- , and you almost  
stepped out, pensive, to meet me. 
Streets that I chanced upon,--  
you had just walked down them and vanished.  
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors  
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back 
 my too-sudden image. Who knows? Perhaps the same  
bird echoed through both of us  
yesterday, separate, in the evening... 
Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

My Man Rilke and an Energy Drink

Ok. So I'm not pro the energy drinks even though I feel as if I've shotgunned a couple! It has been a most amazing day! Wrought with a myriad of dramas, but trumping them all... my sister brought a beautiful new baby girl into the world today at about 4pm mountain time. This has been a very special pregnancy that I have been a sharer in since the moment those two blue lines appeared on the stick. :) Also, I've had to keep the news of a "girl" under wraps, as baby daddy wanted a surprise.

The rawness of my emotions caught me a little off guard. I could hear Sadie cooing in the background and Andrea's voice sounded like she'd just come from a hockey game where her team won but only because she single-handedly screamed them to victory! Our new girl is named after my great-grandmother, Sarah Adelaide and shall be Sadie for short. I love it, Sadie seems like a perfect blending of then and now, our past ~ her future.

And thinking of the past, my grandmother, Zona was very near in spirit to me today. I couldn't stop thinking about her. I meant to ask Andrea if she had felt it too, or if it was just me. Regardless, my memories of her very feisty self kept me company and gave me comfort. Up until this year when I started tracing my family tree, I'd never really considered what it means to not know where you come from. I'm happy that in this life I've not had that burden ~ of not knowing who your family is, where your roots grow deep in the soil. Mine grow down and under the Miramichi river in too many places to count. It is a joyful knowing on a cold winters day. Even when I'm far from home.

(Thankfully this blogging is starting to level off the energizer bunny effect!)

And last but not least my beloved Rilke. I'm drawn in. I can't help it. I've learn so much from him, from the words he left behind. That I have found those words and made them part of the fabric of this life brings me immense joy. And joy is deeper and different than happiness, it is not temporal, does not evaporate through the rough spots and holds its own when the world has on rose colored glasses.

“...perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.” Rainer Maria Rilke

I've been privileged today to hold my own family tight and share their love. I hope you've been blessed to do the same. Namaste.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Last weekend, I wrote a blog entry that I titled LIFE. Because I used a certain company name in the initial draft, it apparently got picked up by interested persons in Vancouver (or so I have been indirectly told). These words that I put out into the world, made quite a splash in our little community ~ which at the moment is under a lot of stress.

Not that these things ever come at a good time but this week has been even busier than most. Tuesday was a 12 hour work day (not complaining, we had Christmas Family Fun Night which was worth every minute). On top of this, my sister has been bursting at the baby seams for several days and on Wednesday, our family welcomed a baby girl! Last night we enjoyed a festive Christmas party and some time with friends. Between all of this, reaction has been filtering.

But this morning I woke with blogging on my mind and feeling unresolved about this post. My little blog here has been from its inception, how I make sense of my world. Somedays this world is big ~ it reaches to the Roman Empire and back again. Other days, it hits much closer to home and reflects an everyday ordinary life. If you read my blog with any regularity, you already know that I love the written word and I find deep satisfaction in putting words together.

I am told that the biggest objection to this post is in regard to remarks about education. It has hit a collective nerve. I am very aware that there are many well educated, well trained people who work in a mill. Electricians, mechanics and mill-wrights to name a few (but not limited to).

I am a teacher ~ education has influenced the entire course of my life. Beyond a shadow of a doubt I believe in education, in becoming educated (both formally and informally) about anything and everything that affects who we are and what we do. In democratic societies, education is the primary way we go about improving our lot in life. Although having an education does not makes you more or less intelligent than another ~ that factor is mostly influenced by your genetics ~ it does change your opportunities in the world.

Other people's words and opinions are important, even when they don't align with your personal values. We are blessed to live in a democratic society, where we have such freedom to express the many shades of grey through which we each see the world. Although this post was NEVER intended for public consumption, I do not wish to see it kept from the public. It is natural for readers to bring their own experience to whatever they read (or write) ~ influenced by their joys and their fears. These particular words were written out of frustration for the way I believe our lives are all about to change ~ and believe me, I hope that I am completely off the mark in how I think the next year is going to affect us all.

Yesterday, some of my staffer friends received their layoff notices. And so it has begun. My heart is wounded. And not just for staff, but for all families that will be affected. There are moments when my sadness over all of this is so profound that I ache in my belly. But I am by nature optimistic, and it is through the rough times that we grow. We shall all survive regardless of which side of this proverbial fence we find ourselves on. Perhaps we will all come to more clearly understand the things in life that truly matter.


I came into work today, with a plan of getting a few things taken care of before the week is underway. But instead, I find myself incredibly frustrated and unable to shake it. Verging on the downright pissed off.


As much as I’d like to blame it on the time of year and lack of day-light, it is more than just that. In the last couple of weeks, recession has full out hit our little town. The local mill is shutting down. Indefinitely. And it is so unnecessary.


Here, because we are so far north and live in a boreal forest, logging happens during the winter months. Wood is accessible by ice-road only and from November until March (about 14 weeks in total) enough wood is cut and hauled to keep this mill (the largest in Alberta) going for the entire year. Market conditions for lumber are dismal. In fact, lumber prices have fallen this year to a 50 year low, and that’s not adjusting numbers for 50 years of inflation! So basically, holy shit for anyone in this industry.


The silver lining was that the company was willing to pump $35 million into the local economy, despite the markets. But, they needed a new contract negotiated and signed by the local union prior to December 1. You’ve probably guessed it… that didn’t happen. In fact, the union rejected the offer by 91%.


For those of you reading who happen to be staunch union supporters, I know what you’re thinking. The company is taking this opportunity of poor market conditions to stick it to the little man! It might even cross your mind “good for them, solidarity!” And that is exactly what the union was thinking too, at the beginning anyway.


The quick and dirty of the negotiations is that the company declared they needed a 12% wage reduction with a clause that wages would increase based on improving market conditions. They were not willing to negotiate on this point, it was put forth as a final offer ~ take it or leave it. I get that nobody likes to take a wage decrease. And, who doesn’t hate an ultimatum. I also get solidarity forever, I am after all a union member myself, and I do believe there are things worth standing up for, things that matter in the work place.


My frustration here is for the collateral damage that is inevitable. Two years ago, another mill in the area closed down, at the time the impact was minimal as most workers got absorbed into the local economy, some at this mill (or secondary mill jobs) and a lot with (what was) a booming oil and gas industry. As of right now, oil and gas activity is reported to be only 10% of what it was 3 years ago! Our town is hurting, and this is before any announcements from the union. Currently, every street is littered with “for sale” signs. I can’t even let myself imagine how bad it could get come March/April.


Most of my own personal social network is connected to the mill through non-union staff positions. During the time we have lived here, we’ve know that the majority of union employees make equivalent or more per year than staffers. The difference is that all staffers are university and or technical school graduates. A big chunk of the union membership have never completed grade 12.


Depending on your position and years of seniority at the mill, your yearly wage could range between $50 to $100 K per year. I can’t help but feel that the lack of the membership’s education is directly responsible for the NO vote. Many are still convinced that this is a ploy on the company’s behalf to cut wages. I happen to know that this company has lost in excess of $70 million over the last 5 years. The fact that they are willing to invest once again, blows my mind.


The choice to say NO, is in effect the choice to say YES to the following:

1. To live on unemployment benefits for the next year at a bi-weekly salary of $750. It boggles my mind that these people are unwilling to take a 12% cut when the alternative is to live on 1/3 of their existing salary (based on the lowest paying job, make that 1/6 if you’re at the upper end ).

2. To give up all existing benefits.

3. To accept that once the company closes its doors they could stay closed for a long time. After 2 years without a negotiated contract, the union dissolves.

4. To never be able to sell your house or to sell it at a drastically reduced rate over the next 1 to 4 years.

5. To knowingly devastate the local economy.

6. To unnecessarily put your family through extreme stress and uncertainty.


Take a good long look at the global economy. These are not glory days. So many are hanging by an unraveling thread. Perspective is needed. Egos must be set aside. Just a few short years ago, Alberta was booming so loud the whole world was taking notice. That is not the case today. Those members with less than a grade 12 certificate, will have such difficulty trying to get work anywhere else ~ because no one else is hiring! So you’ll be stuck here, in a house that won’t sell trying to live on $750 every two weeks! And that good news only lasts for a year. Then what?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Rome Re~Visited

I'm at home today, enjoying a rare day off. I had a medical appointment first thing and decided to celebrate a me day for the remainder. The weather is blustery outside (only -3C but blowing unpleasantly) and I am more than content to be wrapped up in this blanket, taking a mini break from the world.

This week I had a dream about Rome. The first time I have dreamt about it since returning in August. In my dream I was trying to give directions to a faceless person driving me to my grandpa's house, which ended up being (in the dream) on a curvy Roman street in a row of stone buildings close to the Forum ruins. It wasn't until I woke the following morning that I put it all together.

Which reminded me (upon waking) of the actual driver who ushered us in a sleek black Mercedes from our hotel to the airport. I couldn't stop smiling the entire ride, my primary thoughts being that anyone who could drive like that must be exceptionally good in bed. He certainly gave off the vibe that he might have expertise!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Days that Change You

Are you able to recall a particular day when your life changed? Was it a thought from within that made it happen or something external? Do you believe it is possible that your life can be changed by a single thought, and from the point of thinking that thought, everything can/is different?

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I recalled vividly a day 4 years ago. I was 33. We were living in Halifax. I was standing at the kitchen sink looking out into the back yard. I never enjoyed living in Halifax, not sure why, it just seemed as though it was the wrong time/wrong place for me. I could never find my groove, never made good friends and was bitter about the whole thing. It felt like I was withering in a wasteland of my own undoing.

And then in an instant this...
women over 40 do fabulous things with their lives, it is not too late.
The idea that 40 could be the beginning and 33 not the end, had an impact. It was a turning point that filled me such hope and openness for the future. It helped me to forgive myself for all the screw-ups, wrong turns and wasted days up until that day. Since, I have surely and steadily been rebuilding. It is amazing that half a second, overlooking the backyard can change your destiny, but it can.

As of today, I am 2 years 5 months away from 4 decades of living. I marvel at what I've accomplished since that day. I'm a renewed person, pursuing a life I'm proud of. Remarkably, I've stopped asking why and replaced it with how do I get better, go further, be more of who I'm meant to be?

So I guess, Halifax and all those prior screw-ups had their place. There really are no mistakes, just an abundance of opportunities to learn and change!

What is your moment of change? Have you had it yet or are you in need?


Sunday, November 29, 2009


You've been entrusted with a life. Your life. That is what you were given when your spiritual journey of being human began. What you do with it is yours to negotiate. And it matters. It absolutely matters.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Past Lives

I saw a picture today of a girl I've known for a long time but haven't seen in years. It was of her and her husband. A casual close up, heads together ~ you know the kind where you stick out your arm and click ~ of them sitting on the couch, not even trying to impress. And they looked so contented. Like when you've just discovered that comfort zone of the person you love. All awkwardness has left the newness of marriage, you've settled into a rhythm and you don't need to be anything but yourself.

And I suddenly found myself remembering that very thing. That place where it's not new anymore, but you never want it to end. You still want everything about that other person. Their body, their mind, their future. We were like that. We were sitting on that couch in our grubbed out clothes, snapping pictures. Then crawling into bed every night, unable to get enough. Idealistic about whatever the next part of life would be.

In the last 20 years, we have had much to be 'contented' with and much to be grateful for. My thoughts of us as a couple always bring me to one of two images. First, a little basement apartment we shared in Fredericton during our last year of university. In many ways we had separate lives. He was in science, I in education. My buildings were at the top of the hill and his at the bottom. Our schedules were never even close to being the same. But every night we fell asleep in a broken down double bed that never seemed to lack for space ~ probably because we were happier on top of each other than beside ~ in a dark little room. I can still see the smallest details in my mind's eye.

The second, was our unfurnished apartment in the tiniest of towns, Port Alice, on the very west coast of Vancouver Island. It was our first heart-pounding adventure, all grown-up and on our own. Thousands of miles from anyone we'd ever known. We were broke-broke! Sleeping on the floor until much later that summer when we managed to scrape enough cash to buy a bed at the Bargain store and a second hand sofa from a neighbor who was upgrading. I wasn't working (just putting out endless resumes). I came close to reading every book the small public library had to offer. It was that summer I first fell in love with Wayne Dyer, having read Your Erogenous Zones and being awash in awareness that it was changing my life with each turning page. Each night I waited for Jeremy to be done work, so excited to see him. To meet with the new friends we were making. To hold onto every moment of beauty around me ~ the mountains, the inlet, the future that had become our now. Those were really really good days.

Our lives ~ all of our lives ~ hold such abundance. Life is a ride that moves quickly, do it with courage and joy. Remember often the reasons that you fell in love.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Spontaneous Combustion

Ahhh, a quiet morning. It is rare that I am the first one up, but here I sit in the stillness wanting to hold on to it for as long as I can.

I just had an explosive week at school ~ good explosive! I must admit that I love to bringing out the wildness in my students. ;-) And let's face it, learning can be messy! Personally, I always hated being bored in school. My favorite teachers were those who let go, could tell a story, could reel you in, could make you feel, pretend and imagine the subjects you were discussing.

Right now, the thing that is awakening me spiritually is the energy of my classroom engaged in the excitement of learning. Of experimenting. Of making mistakes that lead to new discoveries. Of finding truth in the pages of a book, morphed by what you've just made a part of who you are. It makes me feel bigger than my body! And I have to say, such is both exhilarating and humbling.

All week, my students were over the top full of energy! Different than I think I've ever experienced, it was like they were collectively bursting at the seams and were notching-up right before my eyes ~ if anyone is into astrology I would love to know what was happening in the cosmos over the last 5 days. Initially (as all good teachers are trained to do) I wanted to bring the energy down, make it nice and neat, wrap it in a bow ~ stop the accompanying noise from spilling into the hall!! But early on I realized that there was more order than chaos ~ there was real growth in the room, there was this overwhelming factor of going beyond, and once I realized that I got out of the way.

Last night I was exhausted. Quite possibly the most tired I've been at the end of a week since school began in September. But it was worth it. It is a transforming thing to feel like you are made for the moment you are in. It took me such a long time in my life to be present in the right moment ~ and even still these collective moments can be wrought with challenges and change ~ but my feet are on the path. And the right moment is going to be mine for a long time to come.


Friday, November 20, 2009

on paper

Is your life better on paper than it is in actuality? Does how good you look on paper keep you from making changes in your life?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


We all use affirmations in our daily lives ~ even if you've been living under a anti-new age rock and never heard of affirmations, guaranteed you are still actively engaged in employing them. I've always considered affirmations to be a powerful tool for creating favorable circumstances in my own world ~ however, the opposite can (is) also be true! We can just as powerfully and often unconsciously, be affirming negative assertions.

One area for myself that I have recently been using affirmations in is to improve my sleep. Sometimes it seems to me that no one on my mother's side of the family sleeps! My earliest memories of spending the night at my grand-parents house (the hub of family bustle) included playing yahtzee or some other dice game at 3 am. And people coming and going all hours of the night ~ and by this I mean visitors showing up at the door between midnight and 4 am!!! Seriously.

For the last 20 years my mother has been a full on insomniac. She spends most nights with the light on, reading or on the computer ~ falling in and out of irregular slumber.

I have undergone years of being programmed to not sleep. A family legacy of night owls.

Now I don't hate being a night-owl. But I most painfully HATE going to work day after day exhausted. Thinking all day how I can't wait to go home and get to bed ~ only to get my second-wind just before crawling into bed! This one thing has created more anxiety in my life than anything else.

So I started thinking about ways I could possibly change this pattern. Don't forget that how I got to this point has been reaffirmed steadily throughout my life! So I came up with this and wrote it on a mirror in my bedroom...

I sleep every night like tomorrow is Saturday. Rest. Dream. Sleep.

On another mirror, a long dressing mirror, also in the bedroom, I put...

Let it take you.
Relax into it.
Dream. Zzzzz.
Sleep. Delta force.
Relax fully.
Dream. Sweet dreams
Lullaby Goodnight Love.

That was about 2 months ago. Since then, I've barely experienced a sleepless night or have had trouble settling down to go to sleep. Amazingly it has somehow changed my negative thought patterns about sleep ~ and not just prior to going to bed but throughout the day. I now have a great calm and ease about bedtime.

I'm not sure if this proves that the mind is powerful beyond measure or weak and easily influenced!

Have you had experience using stated affirmations to get what you want? I would love to hear how they have worked for you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

moving waters

there are days when living wide open is easy. you breathe deep. your eyes see beyond the surface. you smile effortlessly. your gait is straight. words flow like a river into the ocean.

I imagine myself as the river. A small river with round stones that small feet can tread on and learn to swim. against the current and then be carried back to the starting place. and then eventually on...

words, like a river I happen to know, have always brought me closer to the flow. carry on with ease. recognize your oneness within and without.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Musing the Fork

It came out like a river once I let it out
When I thought that I wouldn't know how
Held onto it forever just pushing it down
Felt so good to let go of it now
No wrapping this in ribbons
Shouldn't have to give a reason why
Chris Daughtry, No Surprise

I've been sitting at the fork. Somewhat bidding my time. You know, that place where the road divides in a yellow wood. Bittersweet, this spot. Feels like home, like all the things you've grown up with and love and have come to expect that they will just always be there. When you need them.

My mind seems like a hardwood ridge to me right now. In my head... Beautiful trees, maples, birches and a few spread out beeches. It is the peak of fall and a multitude of reds, yellows and browns litter the ground beneath. It is fun to run through the trees, trying not to slip on the decaying undergrowth or to snag my foot on rogue roots where the dirt has eroded away.

When I was a kid I would walk the lane across the street from my home, for hours. Lost in thought. Admiring the beauty. Afraid of nothing, even though my mother tried her best to terrify me of bears (which I never once saw). Life to me was like a hardwood ridge. You climbed to the top and it seemed as though a trail was possible whichever way you looked. I never tired of this and I never concerned myself with making a wrong turn or not finding my way back. Such was impossible.

Friday, November 06, 2009


November is one of my favorite months in the north. Everything starts to freeze up in November. This part of the earth slows down, goes deep. Snow gets crunchy beneath your feet. The night wraps you in a blanket which is strangely comforting after the length of summer days that are yet to be forgotten.

The trees are naked now and most days they are covered in a thick layer of ice frost that cloaks every branch. During the day, the sun lights them up, highlighting every crystal against a clear blue sky. At night, the street lights cast them in pure silver radiance, illuminating them against the indigo black of the north sky.

There are people in my life who think I'm a little insane for being here, even by Canadian standards I'm living in the far north! And I just think that this is in some earnest way my very own holy grail ~ something so few get to experience, I might as well enjoy it while I'm here. There is beauty every where you go, some places just aren't as obvious to the masses. There are moments when I wish I was closer, yet even as I write this, I smile and wonder... closer to what? The heart doesn't really know distance, the heart only knows how to beat and to love ~ and I am learning that neither time nor physicality are barriers to the places and people I love ~ their spirits continue to move and jive with mine. Frequently, they feel like they are in the room when I take a few minutes to just sit and breathe.

The north is teaching me the great lesson of now. Of time. Of everything and nothing. All of which I am.


Monday, November 02, 2009

The Road Not Taken

I'm thankful for poets and writers and painters and dreamers that phrase things just so. How awful the world would be, were it not for those who have a knack of expressing things just the way they should be ~ be that in either picture or verse. This creative force adds such energy to the world, electrifying the invisible waves around us.

Tonight I had a very long talk with my aunt Clara on the phone. Our conversations are one of the greatest joys in my life (and my life is pretty joyous!). I believe that she and I have been connected for many lifetimes, that this is not the first we have shared and I doubt it will be the last! She's always helped me to be courageous and has shared her wisdom gently.

I related to her about an area of my life that has opened up. And words that I am biting my tongue not to say aloud. And how this had been suppressed by my own fear of inconsequential things, finding myself free'd! She said, "Ange, you're at a fork in the road. And this fork is new. And it is okay to rest here for a while. Just sit with it and appreciate the fork. Imagine what each road will feel like, and you'll know."

And of course I'm going to leave you with Robert Frost and his famous 1916 poem. But before I do, what are your forks in the road? Is there something burning inside of you that you need to sit with, and appreciate that you have a choice? That your biggest fears reside in the mirror?


The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Traveling with Van Gogh

It is snowing outside, several inches have accumulated. I can hear the furnace kicking in and out. Jeremy is busy in the kitchen cooking us oatmeal. I'm enjoying blogging from the living room where I can both watch the flakes swirl on the front step and catch a glimpse of J as he moves about.

It's a good life.

This week as an art project, we did a reproduction in oil pastels of van Gogh's Road with Cypresses, c.1890. They turned out amazingly, especially when displayed as a collection. It was moving to see the kids so into it, mixing color, smudging, creating.

I've had a lot of interest in van Gogh for a while now. Reading the letters that he sent to his brother Theo is such a personal way to get to know a self. I miss that no one writes letters anymore. I know, email... but it lacks the romance of letter writing. Not only did Vincent write many letters and paint a lot of pictures, he also walked countless miles. In his letters he details the ordinary beauty of the many country groves and city streets he made his way through. I bring this knowledge to his work when I view it. Brings out the reality in the impressionism.

Next summer when I go travelling, I'm allowing books I've read to help guide me. For instance, my interest in van Gogh is pushing me toward spending a week in Amsterdam where an entire museum is dedicated to his work. Just imagining it is warming me to the core on this wintry day.

Drawings have always been the P.S. part of van Gogh's work, ...
Yet he was a letter writer, a guy with a pen in his hand.
Colta Ives

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Day

"Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..." Isaiah 61:3

I had this incredibly beautiful day, today. For no reason. It just was. My students and I walked to the pool for swimming and on the way there, I had an overwhelming sense that all was right with the world. The kind of rightness you breathe in and fill up on, holding it close to your chest, feeling the warmth of it like sunshine on a late February afternoon.

Could there be a finer gift than the proclivity to embrace life? To make the most of the days we are given? To extend ourselves out, beyond the boundaries of mind and body so that our very pulse beats on the outside?

When I allow this to happen, magic is made before my very eyes - our hearts get intertwined and our minds entangle.


Sunday, October 25, 2009


Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie

There are words that you just can't take back. Once they're out of the bag, they can NEVER be stuffed back in. They ride a one-way ticket straight to Your Future Has Been Forever Changed street. And sometimes it takes everything you have, every ounce of resolve, not to open that bag up so wide that the entire contents are given wings, flying where they will into the great wide-open.

Take your chances on however it might unravel? Cause unravel it will.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Soul of the World

For a bit now, I have been slow-reading a book called Soul of the World: Unlocking Secrets of Time by Christopher Dewdney. It is both a philosophical and practical look at the many ways we think about, interact with and function within the boundaries of time. Dewdney is a highly acclaimed Canadian poet, and his work is infused with the kind of mesmerizing language you would expect from just such a writer.

Initially I was drawn to this book (while roaming around Chapters in an altered state of bliss) by the title. Just prior I had finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (for the second time cause it's that good) in which the main character, Santiago, a young Spanish shepherd pursues his deepest imaginings. While doing so, he comes to understand the soul of the world and is guided somewhat supernaturally through his journey by reading the omens that he encounters and opening to the possibilities in life. To stumble upon a book titled Soul of the World on the heels of The Alchemist seemed itself permeated by fate.

Here is an excerpt...

Later, when darkness was firmly established, I went out into the yard again to take a look at the night sky. I was shocked. The night was stuffed with stars. I felt like the only person in an enchanted planetarium, bewitched by the demiurge of night. It was as if another order of darkness had been revealed, as if a layer had been peeled away to reveal a truer darkness, a deeper night, that fill me with dizzy awe. I wondered if the owl I'd seen in March was nearby, sitting on a branch in the secret reaches of night, its eyes sparkling with mystery. The sky was so clear and transparent it seemed that space was somehow closer to the surface of the earth. And everywhere stars. Clusters of stars, necklaces of stars. They sang like destiny in silver notes, and I could see them for what they were - distant, atomic fires of unthinkable immensity, inconceivably remote in time.

Starlight is pure history. Perhaps all time - past, present and future - exist at once, everywhere. But the stars take the prize. The night sky contains starlight that started its journey to earth during the Roman era, during the age of dinosaurs, and even from before the earth existed. In the vastness of space, light seems to slow to a crawl, and the vacuum becomes a crystal jelly.

Above all else, words have always been my heart's seducer. This one is a keeper.
My friend Joanne has my head spinning in mazes and labyrinth thoughts and thinking about courage. Always dangerous territory!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You and Me

Have you ever thought about why it is so easy to share yourself with some people and not others? Every so often you alight upon that someone that opens you up with such ease... your whole being seems to tumble on out like milk falling off the counter. You can feel it happening in a slow motion reel, never in time to catch the cup.

And it seems perfectly acceptable to let it spill all over. Does a body good to dismiss the walls life has a way of building up.

But it does leave one feeling vulnerable. And alive. And full of desire for more.

Perhaps I am in need of drinking wine til the wee hours of the morning with friends. And forgetting this non-sense of believing myself understood.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

"Have you ever noticed that when your mind is awakened or drawn to someone new, that person's name suddenly pops up everywhere you go? My friend Sophie calls it coincidence, and Mr. Simpless, my parson friend, calls it Grace. He thinks that if one cares deeply about someone or something new one throws a kind of energy out into the world, and fruitfulness is drawn in."

Excerpt of a letter written from Juliet to Dawsey
Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

P.S. This book is not to be missed. I'm going to mourn it when it ends.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Man Watching

It's been a poetry-infused-inside-my-own-head kind of weekend. There is obviously some unresolved nostalgia/romanticism coursing through my veins. :-) Must be the nip in the air, making me want to curl up in a big chair with a blanket and a book I can't put down. Rilke is on my mind, my most cherished of all the poets I have yet to read. And from his prolific collection of verse, this my most beloved. Namaste.

The Man Watching
by Rainer Maria Rilke

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can't bear without a friend,
I can't love without a sister

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it's with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestler's sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.

One thing leads to another.

Tonight while looking at a map of Europe and dreaming about next summer's expedition, I located Crete, an island off the coast of Greece which is in the south Aegean Sea. Which got me thinking about a poem I'd studied long ago. So I promptly google'd it. It is far more beautiful than I could have recalled (and is actually about the English Dover Cliffs). I love how these things seem to always fit together and complete my mood. Enjoy.

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits;--on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Matthew Arnold, 1851