Our Own Little World

I have been in a bubble. Yes, I’ve had  the yearning to express myself not through words as I would normally feel compelled to do but on a much simpler, elementary level; to feel. The need to experience sensations without the need to compartmentalize Life into words. Does this make any sense whatsoever?

 

Perhaps it’s was a “tuning out” period that called to me so strongly. I needed a disconnect of sorts. A desire to work on Me, and the Us, without feeling any responsibility to be anything but in the moment. The moment has been eye-opening, mind-blowing and downright delicious.

 

As time marches forward, the call of the outside world beckons. The trumpet sounds aloud for all the planning and brainstorming to be executed. The plans are laid out on the table of Life. Movement is in the stars, beckoning for adventure and to savour each new experience on the horizon. I am digging deep for this as Life is far too short and can all too easily pass us by.

 

What calls to you? Dare you dive into the deep end, or are you one to dip your toe to test the waters first?

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Simplicity

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, probably far too much. I’m at the point of risking the dreaded over-thinking which I detest. I’ll chalk it up to being human, give it a swift kick and keep on pressing forward past what tries to tempt me to dwell in discomfort. We all feel vulnerable, fearful, angry, and a multitude of other emotions on occasion. It’s part of our life path, if you will. To learn the lessons that present themselves, hopefully the first time around so as not to repeat them. We need to look these thoughts and emotions straight in the eye and deal with them so as not to be consumed by them.

 

 

I have come to a conclusion. Much of what burdens or hinders our growth and happiness comes down to one thing. Complicating things that really don’t need to be. Simplicity is our best tool in life.  Many years ago, a teacher taught me  a valuable lesson.  The rule was straightforward and easy; K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid. I overlooked this valuable acronym at the time for idiocy. Boy, was I misguided! I think I was the Stupid he was referring to. Ahem. I chose to complicate things far too often for my own good. I think the lesson may finally have sunk in. It only took 21 years to do so. Not so quick on the pick up of this lesson, sad to say.

 

 

It is easy to detect others over complicating matters but when it comes down to ourselves it isn’t always so simple. I think it has been a recent compilation of things that finally shone the light bulb of wisdom on this lesson for me. I have managed to over complicate things in many arenas of my life. Perhaps by trying to protect others’ feelings, keep the peace or be a people pleaser. I feel I am on the right track to improving upon things that weren’t/aren’t to my liking over the past few years, yet I was missing that key element of simplicity.

 

Why do we exaggerate things in our minds or try to make tasks more difficult than they need to be? Could it be ego? Or perhaps comparison? Maybe a case of insecurity? A building up of fear to paralyze ourselves from getting over an unknown? I suppose it could also arrive along with the need to make something seem bigger than it is in order to make ourselves feel more important when we solve the issue. I’m sure it is unique to every individual and each case of complication. While some individuals thrive on chaos, I long for peace tempered with the exhilaration of laughter and occasional fits of wild abandon while engaging in something that makes my pulse quicken- for good measure. Simple, life-affirming stuff. That’s it.

 

 

 “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”  – Confucius

The vortex of energy sapping over complication drains the joy out of the life I choose for myself and I’m on a mission to simplify. Will I sit by idly and allow myself and those I love to get caught up in the swirling doom? HELL NO!

 

 

Dig Deep…Then Leap!

Life is an amazing ride. You can jump on and take the ride or dig in and let so many incredible experiences pass you by. I personally refuse to look back with regret…with the would have/could have/should haves. I am leaning into the curves of life as they come at me.  Learning new behaviors that allow me to give thoughts a chance to become reality. I am challenging myself to take a leap when opportunity arises. Putting myself out there and taking chances that at one point I would have been too apprehensive to risk the possibility of failure. What is failure anyway? I have a new attitude where failure is concerned. It used to be a sense of rejection or a deflated feeling of humiliation of not accomplishing what was set out to achieve. My new attitude about failure is that it is merely a redirect – a change of course that will lead me on a new path. I’m good with that. Failure doesn’t seem daunting when it is renamed as redirection. So, why not stretch yourself to the limit and try something new? Push through your fears or nervousness of countless things that we allow to control us on a regular basis. Dig deep and find the strength within…you have it in you!

 

 

Never let your fear decide your fate.

 

 

 

 

go ahead - unknown source

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back with regret is not of interest to me. I’d rather look back with a smile on my face or have a good laugh at the things I had thought were mistakes at the time or good experiences that became great memories. Most of all I look forward to creating new memories through trying new things, meeting new people and living life to the fullest! There is no better time than right now to take that leap of faith and allow your wings to unfold.

 

 

 

Image - glit-z.com

Image – glit-z.com

 

How do you respond to challenges, failure, and/or unplanned events?

 

 

 

 

 

Transitions

“Navigate your transitions by opening up to living a wholehearted, authentic life grounded in courage and self-worth.” – Gail O’Keefe

I happened to stumble across this quote this morning. It seemed to shoot straight into the centre of the swirling chaos that has taken up residence in my mind as of late. Transitions. It’s the perfect word to describe where I’m at in my Life at the moment. So much so that I can’t even put my thoughts into words where I’m at – which is very out of the ordinary for me. Usually my mind spews out thoughts quicker than I can type, yet over the last few weeks I am living in a perpetual thunderstorm inside my head – and my heart. Not an angry thunderstorm with brooding black clouds but a thunderstorm that is clearing the way for clear skies and thoughts. This quote holds the ticket. The ticket to the usual process of my thoughts and the way I generally choose to live life; with authenticity. My courage has tripped and stumbled and self-doubt has managed to slither in through the crack under the door, so to speak. It always seems as though when there is an inkling of weakness that the nasty nonsense that is lingering on the border of thoughts gathers together and charges in like a raging bull hoping to crush the Spirit that has withheld its advances for so long. I have been sucked into the evilness of over-thinking but today I have decided to grab hold of the parasitic practice and slam it to the ground…then stomp on it with my stilettos. A perfect use for impractical footwear.

” Think for yourself. Trust your own intuition. Another’s mind isn’t walking your journey, you are.” – Scottie Waves

I have made the realization that I have taken up residence in this mindset of over-thinking long enough. Realistic thinking that focuses on forward and positive momentum to better oneself is where I’m finally at. This is not a selfish act as I’ve been privy to hearing a few times lately. Nor is this mere self-preservation. This is about taking charge of my Life. Leaning into it and letting the wind blow my hair into tangles, feeling the sunshine bright and hot on my face, stomping through mud pits that try to hold me in its grasp but staying focused on the other side. Taking ownership of oneself by living authentically not only empowers the individual but impacts those around them, allowing them to do the same. We all hold back far too much. We worry about what someone else might say or think, we don’t want to be seen as eccentric, or possibly we have never thought there was anything else to life except running on the same hamster wheel day after day. I have always had my own mind and been a strong-willed female from the get-go. While I was often soft-spoken and jovial in my approach to things I have found that I have let Life steal moments from me occasionally. No more! I’m here to live…to dream…to play! To embrace the love of living like never before. Sometimes this means pulling forth strength from within that I never doubted having but that I never needed to rely on like I need to in this moment. I need to assemble my courage and self-worth to unprecedented levels and be more Me than I’ve ever been. To be true to Myself and to respect my own instincts while always being gentle with others. There is no accomplishment in being nasty to people in the name of being truthful to yourself. I would like to recommend that those that view another individuals journey into authentic living as a personal offence take a good hard look at their own life. If authenticity is undertaken as a means to embrace Life and love while being in full connection with oneself, transitions will benefit everyone involved. Change isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts like hell but brings a stagnant or unproductive state to one of empowerment and happiness down the line of Life. Other changes are for sheer personal empowerment or unrealized dreams finally brought to the forefront. Ultimately, change brought on in a methodical manner would be most beneficial. However, in this life of mine that never seems to fall short on the pizzazz-o-meter, a plethora of changes have decided to create a landslide at present. I know I will come through the other side, perhaps with a few bruises and scrapes but ultimately I will still have a smile on my face…even if it’s pasted on for effect.

” The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

Confrontation & Grudges

People never cease to amaze me. It is all too easy to expect everyone to think in a similar manner to oneself, yet be perplexed when the outcome is different. The push and pull of human communication and relationships are fascinating to me. Two main issues on my mind as far as character goes are confrontation and grudges. Let’s roll this around a bit, shall we.

 

I am naturally a positive and generally upbeat person as you have probably concluded and I want to see the best in people. Yes, I become disappointed when negativity arises but I tend to process it so I can let it go. I don’t need to carry baggage everywhere I go. However, if something is affecting me in a negative or displeasing manner I address it. This brings me to confrontation. If you are delivered an unsavory situation or something is on your mind, would you confront the issue head on?

 

I have been flabbergasted by people’s mannerisms where confrontation is concerned. On numerous occasions I have witnessed an individual that lets things pass unnoticed simply to avoid confrontation.  Although I understand the “not wanting to make waves” mentality, at what point should one slap the water to create ripples?  On the other side of the confrontation coin, there are those that go out of their way to seek out confrontation. They just can’t wait to get in someone’s face to force their agenda. Usually not laced with positive or helpfulness.  This is always a bit unnerving to me. There is however, a third confrontation style to throw into the mix. The Choose Your Battles style of dealing with things. I fall about here on the confrontation scale. I have absolutely no problem speaking up for myself or others. If something is troubling me I address it as soon as possible – so I can keep going forward. I don’t like hanging about kicking at the proverbial sand trying to read someones mind or intentions because that’s when over-thinking kicks in. With a brain that wants to roll things around, it is in my best interest to address things immediately to avoid building up crazy scenarios. This proves difficult at times and for this I am not always thrilled with myself. However, I am only human and life is filled with lessons. I have become quite adept at quickly shifting gears to trusting that things work out the way they are supposed to, with or without my thoughts contorting my emotions so it is best to just breathe through it.

 

Through watching how others choose their confrontation style,I realize that I am very comfortable with where I’m at. I used to be a bit of a “hot head” as my sisters will probably tell you, I’m sure. Being the youngest I had to hold my own. More because I was passionate about so-called right and wrong. Injustice wasn’t fair and I was going to shout it from the rooftop! I think I may have fallen off the roof at some point and landed in a vat of glitter. Over the past 15 years or so my temperament has changed significantly to one of happy-go-lucky and balanced. I see absolutely nothing wrong with wearing rose-coloured glasses. I think the big bang moment for me was watching another female get really aggressive in confrontation and I saw how ugly it is…with a capital U. I didn’t want to ever risk becoming that. On that note, avoiding confrontation is no healthier for the Soul than the all-out knock down-drag out technique either;  in my thinking anyway. I have recently become more open to confrontational response. I appreciate the honest approach. Preferably with a bit of compassion within. There is nothing worse than working up the nerve to pour out your thoughts and feelings and have the other person either invalidate what you feel or ignore the issue completely. Confrontation doesn’t need to be earth-shattering and decision oriented. It just needs to be real and honest. What happens with those thoughts and feelings is up to the recipient to interpret.  When we converse with an open mind we learn more about the other individual as well as ourselves as long as we go in with the intent of openness and honesty. I love a good debate as much as an emotional heart-to-heart where personal confrontation is concerned – as long as respect of personal opinion is undertaken. Above all else, respect of those involved makes confrontation enlightening.

 

 

 

“I think confrontation is healthy, because it clears the air very quickly.”  – Bill Parcells

Grudges. Do you hold a grudge? Do you stew over stuff and vow to never forgive or forget? Have you ever cut someone out of your life because of your anger or bitterness? I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people say, ” I will never forgive so-and-so because…”  Really? That other person has probably moved on ages ago wondering what the bee in your bonnet was all about! What I find most upsetting is hearing of a person refusing to ever see or talk to a family member over something petty or trivial. How very sad. Grudges have absolutely no value. A grudge is a parasite sucking happiness from the person carrying it. I believe that ego is at play in most grudge situations and if we can just put pride out of equation while inserting love, all will flow as it should. Why can’t we all just get along? Open your heart and your mind to let kindness rule. Kindness is not weakness – it is strength of character.

 

 

 

 

“I’ve had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing.”  – Buddy Hackett 

I don’t know about you but I’d rather be dancing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melancholy Weather, Meditation and Mraz

Upon waking this morning I was greeted by melancholy grey skies that eventually broke open, spilling heavy  drops down on my already muddy side yard and gardens. The work day was called off due to a 90% chance of rain all day. Rain days are always a mixed blessing. I can always use “alone time” and relish the freedom to do whatever I so choose without interruption. Sadly, that usually ends up being laundry, dishes or some other equally mundane task. On the other hand, I seriously enjoy my job and my co-workers so a day that is normally a work day without being on the job feels strange.

 

 

Today I decided not to feel any guilt and use it as a Me Day. To get back to certain past-times I love but have set aside for a while in pursuit of other things. I started my day with a glorious hot mug of Starbucks coffee and some reading material. I do love a good read yet I tend to only read at bedtime, having convinced myself that reading during the day is simply too indulgent. Not today it isn’t. I have devoured numerous different forms of written word today – fiction, blogs, words of wisdom collections, and health reference books in my library. I refer to my large bookshelf in my living room as my rotating library. Books are always coming and going either on loan, new additions, or rotated from boxes in the basement to refresh the material occasionally. I love books. The feel of old paper scented from years of  habitation in musty basements or my fresh-air and cooking smells infused home. There is nothing quite like the feel of holding a real book in my hands. E-readers are great tools but don’t give me quite the same satisfaction as an old, well-loved novel or heavy reference journal. I guess I’m a book-worm. I do feel somewhat guilty at the use of excess paper so I tend not to purchase a lot of new books but either borrow books from friends and family or purchase used books in the name of reusing an existing product. I ponder over which is worse; the use of paper for books, either recycled or new as opposed to the plastics and other resources used to manufacture e-readers/tablets and the electricity to run them as well as the disposal of the battery and the item itself upon its’ completed life span. Books are mostly 100% recyclable and last for incredible lengths of time if treated properly.

 

 

The gloomy day has also brought me the joy of reconnecting with my love of meditation and kundalini yoga. I enjoyed my hour-long session of awakening my kundalini energy. Blissful. I now feel as though I am glowing and warm with energy. I forgot how incredible the feeling of the warm energy rising up the spine feels and how alive I feel after practicing. Perhaps my early mornings will start with a yoga and meditation session instead of racing to the kitchen for coffee as soon as my feet hit the floor. That would be a much better start to preparing myself for the day. My body will thank me profusely for cutting my caffeine consumption, I’m sure.

 

 

kundalini awakening

It was time to infuse my environment with music. Jason Mraz’s music has aroused my senses this afternoon with his gloriously uplifting music. His cd “LOVE”, is definitely one of my favorites and always makes me swimmingly happy. Check it out.

 

I seriously love this song –   93 Million Miles but my fave pick would be Living In The Moment. When I’m feeling stressed out, “Living in the Moment” always brings me back to reality. Interesting how music can speak so strongly to our emotions, isn’t it? While my musical tastes are very eclectic there are certain artists and cd’s I reserve for certain types of days, moods, and activities. Sometimes I insist on loud and proud ZZ Top or Stevie Ray Vaughn when I’m feeling feisty, or perhaps a hit of Ella Fitzgerald when I feel strong yet sentimental. I think the only type of music I don’t listen to regularly is country.  After growing up in a home where country music was the only type of music my parents listened to, I have had my fill. My sisters and I would escape to our rooms to fill our ears with artists like Wham, A-Ha, Madonna and Michael Jackson (that was me) to Duran Duran, Billy Idol, and Ozzy Osbourne. We tried our hardest to steer clear of country music and still do! I am not a country music-hater per say, just not a fan. You certainly would never find me screaming over some country stud muffin yammering on about dogs, trucks and his long lost girlfriend, that’s for darn-tootin’! There is a time and a place for every genre of music and I wholeheartedly appreciate the creativity and artistry of musicians. The world is richer because of music.

 

 

Today continues to be a day of things that bring me happiness and uplift the spirit. We all need to take a Me Day now and then. I think I’ll go give my kids a hug and tell them how loved they are. After that I will go to my other happy place, the kitchen. I’ll pour myself a glass of red wine and start on some onion bhaji, aloo ghobi, daal, a salad and homemade naan for dinner.  The perfect rainy day meal.

 

 

 

 

 

“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.” – Plato

Sunscreen Dilemma

Lately, I have been thinking a LOT about sunscreen. To wear, or not to wear…that is the question.

 

 

The scale inside my brain is balancing slightly to the side of “not to wear”. Here is my logic as to why there is some confusion. My entire life I have not had a great track record of gorgeous tanned skin. A few folk refer to me as Ghost Girl because I have an extremely pale skin tone. I scare even myself in fluorescent lit change rooms with the blinding whiteness that is not my arms, neck and face. Fluorescent lighting is extremely unforgiving. As you have probably gathered, I am a rather health conscious individual that questions every product I allow into my home or on my body. Of course, I make a few exceptions here and there but only after knowing what I am dealing with. I am not paranoid but I choose to be informed. I question why sunscreen usage increases while skin cancer rates continue to climb. Should the outcome not be that skin cancer rates drop as sunscreen use increases? Therefore, sunscreen and all its pros and cons weighs heavily on my radar.

 

 

 

I am not interested in dealing with skin cancer. Let this be known. I knew someone when I was a teen that had part of both ears removed due to skin cancer and this really scared the ever-loving out of me. It made me aware of the risk factors that I am dealing with as a pasty, white girl who historically turns lobster red after 30 minutes in the sun. I slathered on sunscreen like nobody’s business through my 20’s, making myself even whiter than I’m naturally predisposed. Not a good look.

 

 

 

Unluckily for me, I am in a medium to high risk group for skin cancer.

 

Fair Skin  Having less melanin in my skin gives me less protection from UV radiation. Not only do I have fair skin, I also have light blue eyes, freckle easily, and burn easily. Strike one.

 

 

History of Sunburns  Childhood sunburns that resulted in severe burning and blistering. Yup, had a few of those. Strike two.

 

 

Excessive Sun Exposure  I spend a considerable amount of my time outdoors in the sun at work. I do try to find shady spots whenever possible but that isn’t always an option. Strike three.

 

 

Sunny and/or High Altitude Climate  I can scratch this off my risk list. Phew! Yes, it is sunny here in southern Ontario but not like it is closer to the equator that’s for sure.

 

 

Moles  I have my fair share of freckles but no moles. Another all-clear.

 

 

Family History  Another risk factor bites the dust.

 

 

Weakened Immune System  I work hard at keeping my immune system strong through healthy eating, stress relieving meditation, fresh air and supplementation.

 

 

Exposure to Certain Substances  Substances such as arsenic and certain pesticides. These aren’t always as easy to avoid as we would like. Even being vigilant within my own home, there are still those in our communities that don’t take these risks seriously and put everyone else at risk.  This risk factor is a tricky one.

 

 

How do you rate on the risk factor list? Do you take the risk of skin cancer seriously?

 

 

Now that risk for skin cancer has been determined I find myself reaching for a 50+ UVA/UVB sunscreen only to stop mid-reach to question the efficacy of such products.

 

I question the ingredients in each sunscreen. Yes, there are harmful ingredients in many sunscreens on the market. Just because it is on the store shelf does NOT make it unquestionably safe. It is when we start to question the safety of ingredients that the world of hidden substances starts to become apparent. Think back a few years to when it became a talked about subject that oxybenzone in sunscreen may mimic estrogen. While both sides of this argument have a valid point, I always cringe when I hear the FDA or medical community say “there is no solid proof to suggest it is not safe.” Um, I am curious where the solid proof to suggest its complete safety is then. Another questionable ingredient is retinyl palmitate. This is used as a stabilizer and has anti-aging qualities but can make skin more sensitive to the sun and may actually promote skin cancer. Like other consumers, I find this confusing and frankly, quite maddening. Isn’t the whole point of sunscreen to protect?

 

 

What about the fact that some researchers say sunscreens with octinoxate, oxybenzone, parabens, or camphor derivatives are killing hard corals which could negatively impact biodiversity and reef ecosystems? I don’t want to inadvertently cause damage to marine life while trying to protect my skin! There has to be a better way.

 

 

 

26 seconds

 

 

 

UVA/UVB Issue  UVA rays are present all year round. While UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, UVA radiation damages the underlying skin cells to cause premature aging, sun spots, and that leathery looking skin that honestly, who would want? So although sunburns are no treat (and I know from numerous experiences), premature aging due to cell damage is very unpalatable as well.

 

 

Chemicals + Heat = baked in exposure! Not only does everything you put on your body’s largest organ (that’s right, your skin) get absorbed within seconds but combine that with the heat treatment from the sun and we are literally basting ourselves with chemicals or unknown substances.

 

 

Skin Function  Our skin is an amazing organ. I am curious as to how well it performs its job of heating/cooling effectively, ridding our body of toxins and being receptive to detecting threats such as pain or insects and other assaults due to numbing our sensors (hair and follicle reception of unwanted things) while slathered in goop and the hair stuck to the skin.

 

 

Discomfort  I can withstand some discomfort in the name of safety and wellness but seriously, try to slather on a second (or third) application of sunscreen to skin covered in grass clipping, dirt, and mulch bits and sweat.

 

 

 

I continue on my quest for the perfect solution to the sunscreen debate. I now wear coconut oil on my face mixed with a tinted moisturizer made with organic ingredients. This keeps my face from drying out and/or becoming seriously sunburned. As for the rest of my exposed flesh I struggle with the idea of slapping on a product that I am uncomfortable with. I go between a few sunscreens that I am alright with but I still question long-term safety. I will always be on the lookout for an optimal skin protection regime and question, question, question everything I come across. It’s in my nature, I can’t help it.

“I was raised with the notion that it is OK to ask questions, and it was OK to say, I’m not sure.” – Peter Jennings

The Countdown Is On

Well, this is it. My very last day being a 30-something.

 

 

I am savouring the final day of being 39. Today I am getting myself and my house in order. I have decided that I shall hit 40 being fabulous. No ifs, ands, or buts. Reflecting back on my life thus far a few things are glaringly obvious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me expand.

 1. I have embraced the concept of being thankful. I don’t ever remember a time when I was not appreciative of the people, things, and experiences in my life. Sure, there are always negative moments sprinkled here and there but that does not define my existence, it only makes me appreciate the blessings even more.

 

 

2. I have an incredible group of friends. I believe it is true that we attract those of similar values and that our lives are intertwined with others’ for a purpose.

 

 

3. I never wanted to “fit in” and still don’t. On the flip side, I never chose to purposely “stand out”. My purpose is to be myself. Comfortable in my own skin and with my thought processes.  During the last few years of my 30’s I have learned to love the real me. Flaws and all – I own who I am. I love being unapologetically Me. It is awe-inspiring to watch my close friends as they come into their true self as well. To witness the confidence shift that makes a person captivating.

 

 

4. I no longer have the patience for idiocy or pompousness. I simply walk away without snaring myself in the web of manipulation. I think it was having children that made me wake up to this reality. I have lots of goodness on my plate, why ruin it with toxic thoughts and actions. No thanks.

 If life really begins on your 40th birthday, it’s because that’s when women finally get it… the guts to take back their lives. – Laura Randolph

 

5.  My grandma was right when she told me at a young age that laughter is the best medicine. Nothing makes me feel more alive than laughter. There is no other feeling that lifts the human Spirit quite like it.

 

 

6. Nature is essential to me being fully functioning. There is a certain vibration, if you will, that is felt when in nature. When we let down our guard and breathe slowly and deeply, the Earth’s pulse is detectable. We are all connected.

 

 

 I make the promise to myself as I turn 40 tomorrow to be true to myself. To enjoy the ride of Life with my arms spread wide open.  I occasionally have a mental boxing match with the concept of turning 40. I have to accept the fact that I am hitting the big 4-0. It isn’t really as big of a deal as others portray it to be. I look at it as though it has taken me 39 years to get to this place of loving Life. If you asked me the same questions at 20 and again now,  I would be much more fun and spontaneous now. Learning to love and be accepting has a magical way of allowing us to experience Life head on.

 

 

Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come. – Lucy Larcom

 

Day of Smells

Yesterday. The Day of Smells. Every day is filled with smells you may say, but yesterday seems to be especially poignant in my mind. Let me explain.

 

 

 

Daffodils - Narcissus

Daffodils – Narcissus

 

 

 

Although the day was filled to overflowing with scents, there were a few that really stood out.

 

 

 

Starting my day as usual…freshly ground coffee. Mmmm, my favorite smell to start the day. Without coffee’s mouth-watering aroma my day is not the same. I even ran in to Starbucks yesterday for an extra fix on my way to work which is highly unusual. Alright, alright, I really needed a washroom before jumping in the work truck due to an overabundance of coffee already but I just can’t resist the deliciousness of wafting coffee aromas. “I’ll have a Venti Tribute Blend black, please.” Ah, just what I needed. Smell #1.

 

 

 

Smell #2 – crunchy, decaying leaves on the forest floor. I just love that earthy, rich fragrance. Breathe deep.

 

 

 

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood

The fragrance of Spring is in full force. So many wonderful smells at this time of the year. More so than at any other time, I would say.  Hyacinth’s distinct smell perfumed the air yesterday. Such a heady fragrance.  The only issue was that while the hyacinth perfume was filling my nostrils another odour wafted in and altered the experience – skunk. Cough, cough…ew. There was obviously a skunks home in the vicinity. Wowzers, it was extra odoriferous.

 

 

 

The best smell of the day was a first for the season and another of my favorite smells – fresh-cut grass. Oh my. My head was swooning from the green ambrosia. Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me? Ahem, sorry.  There is something so mesmerizing about the first whiff of cut grass for the season. Oh who am I kidding, I am always affected by it. Always have been. So much so that years ago two friends of mine from high school (yes, I’ve love the fragrance that long) gave me a fresh-cut lawn scented candle as a gift. It was pretty darn close to the real thing too.

 

 

 

The worst odor of the day was also the last. There was a strange, funky smell in the hallway outside my office door. It was a strong iron-like stench with undertones of wet pennies. Gag. I was on a mission to find what was causing the rancidity and I eventually found it. Uh-oh. My daughter’s hamster had died and left behind wafting lines of stank. It is shocking how quickly dead animals start to decompose. I had heard him sifting around through his bedding the day before. Perhaps poor little Marshmallow was preparing himself for the inevitable. Sniff. We have had a few hamsters as pets over the years and each of them had unique personalities. Marshmallow was by far my favorite. He was a gentle little creature and will be missed. Many tears were shed last night over not being able to say goodbye. Sometimes a final farewell is within the heart, not with words. This morning I had the task of burying Marshmallow in the garden. I chose his final resting place in a small garden filled with Black-Eyed Susan that my daughter and her best friend planted two summers ago. What did I notice while fluffing the soil afterward? The spicy aroma of cedars and warm earthiness of the soil.

 

 

 

 

 

 “Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.” – Gustav Mahler

Compassion in the Face of Tragedy

I don’t normally blog about current events but yesterday’s Boston Marathon bomb fiasco has touched my psyche to the point where I feel the need to write down my thoughts. I was at work, nearing the end of my day when a co-worker mentioned what she had heard on the news in her truck. When she first said that there were two bombs that had exploded my first reaction was disbelief. I thought perhaps I had misunderstood. Then the bits and pieces that were known thus far were reported and my body went cold. You know that wash of cold that starts at the top of your head and rushes down every inch of your body? I felt numb. I needed more information so I could process what I was hearing while at the same time I didn’t want to hear more.

 

 

As I drove home after work yesterday, radio stations were awash with reports on what had taken place, the increasing tally of injured persons, and speculation as to who could be responsible. At this point, I am overcome with compassion for those that were affected by this horrid act. Those whose lives have been changed forever. My heart has been saddened by such a senseless attack on humanity. I would like to extend my condolences to loved ones of the victims as well as my wishes for a timely recovery for those that were wounded. My thoughts are with all of you that were in attendance as well. How could anyone want to injure others and families out for a day of cheering each other on while accomplishing great personal goals? My thoughts keep coming back to the question “what is wrong with people?” Seriously. Why are acts upon unthreatening and peaceful people committed? Although simplistic in essence, why can’t everyone just get along?

 

 

 

 

This got me thinking. Perhaps a simple state of mind is where we need to return to process this information. Back to the basics of human compassion. Let’s just all get along.

 

 

 Society seems to have this crazed need for retaliation at whatever cost. I’m sure that the media will be pointing their contorted fingers soon enough and getting everyone all riled up. Look at the greatest atrocities throughout history and it usually stems back to a dislike toward differing opinions such as religion, race, or gender. These acts in turn create a wave of persecution and hatred thrown in sweeping generalizations about certain communities. . If we just got down to the nitty-gritty we would understand that we are all human. We all feel emotions. We all need food and  water. We all want to be treated with kindness and compassion. What does it really matter where we live, what we look like, or how much money we have? It really doesn’t. There will always be a few bad apples on the tree of life but that doesn’t mean the tree should be chopped down. The goodness that is on the tree still exists whether the bad apples are there or not. Don’t ignore the amazing apples in light of the few spoiled ones. When we work together great things can evolve. Hopefully in light of the events that took place yesterday at the Boston Marathon we can try to keep from playing the blame game until the bad apple(s) fall from the tree. The person(s) that chose to plant these bombs acted out individually. They made that decision. At any point in time they could have had second thoughts and stopped themselves, but they didn’t. May I present to you the bad apple(s).  There are far too many horrific events taking place that we are needing to process. We are all in some way trying to take it all in. Blaming others doesn’t make the atrocity go away, it only makes us bitter. Use your energy to show compassion to others whether it be to those in attendance during  the events of yesterday or someone you know that just needs their spirits lifted. We can allow tragic events to dominate our thoughts or we can choose to spread kindness and confidence  in  humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama