Healing Silence

“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.”

– Caroline Myss

creek

Silencing the mind can be one of the most difficult tasks we as humans have to undertake. It sounds simple yet, if you are anything like me, the brain is usually swimming with “stuff”.

I honestly don’t recall a time in my life when I have been pulled in so many directions at once like I am at present.

Silencing the mind feels like an insurmountable quest lately. When things become so overwhelming I just want to escape, that’s exactly what I do. I find myself walking or surrounding myself with nature in some form or another.

There is nowhere indoors that can possibly come close to the uplifting and enlightening experience of being immersed in the great outdoors.

I feel part of a whole when I am outdoors. Infinitesimally small, yet connected to a web that’s never-ending.

Mother Nature instinctively wraps her loving arms around me and settles my heart and instantly quiets my mind.

It is in this peaceful embrace that my soul begins to heal.

Summer of Revelations

I have learned a lot this summer. About myself and life in general. I’d say that I am sad that summer is coming to a close but that would be a lie. I am elated at the prospect of change. Change of the season to Autumn, change of daily routine, and change in temperature. I respond well to change, I think. It keeps me on my toes and makes everything  fresh!

 

 

I never thought of myself as a Being of Summer. Boy, how things have changed. The heat and humidity are not high on the fun-factor scale for me but I can deal with it which I never used to be able to. This summer I have developed the look I always sought when younger but could never accomplish; hair bleached by the sun, tanned limbs and absorbing vitamin D in the form of sunshine like nobody’s business! This really hit home when my Grannie said to me a week or so ago, “You are definitely an outdoor girl.”  I used to be the girl who hid from the sun to keep my  pale skin from freckling and turning the shade of a cooked lobster. Now I work in the sunshine daily and am trying to be smart about precautions while maintaining reality. I certainly don’t spend my days off laying in the sun!

 

 

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things…

I play with leaves.

I skip down the street

and run against the wind.”

– Leo Buscaglia

Yesterday, I realized something quite extraordinary – I am only twelve pounds away from the weight I was throughout high school! Mind you, after having two children, the joy of passing time, and working a very physically-demanding job my body shape has changed significantly (for the better, I think). So, I plan on saying goodbye to those clinging twelve pounds before the end of this work season and accomplishing a task I had never thought was all that important until now since I am so very close to accomplishing it. Weight in terms of the scale is not all that important to me but how my body responds to exertion through work and play is paramount. I have become strong and more defined muscle-wise over the past two work seasons and am liking how I feel! I intend to keep getting better in terms of health and strength. My lazy and uninspired days are behind me.

The other day something occurred to me when I was listening to an acquaintance talking. This individual had mentioned how difficult and time-consuming it was to be environmentally friendly. WHAT? This came as a shock to me as it was in that moment I suddenly realized that I basically run on autopilot when it comes to issues of environmental responsibility. Sure, I’m not perfect and I sometimes make poor decisions but overall I feel responsible for my actions and have integrated this thinking into the every day so it is the norm in my world. It seems so archaic and offensive not to care about the planet we all share and its inhabitants. I seriously don’t understand the unconcerned mindset.

 

 

One of the biggest revelations this summer has been that sometimes, there is no going back home. Recently I went back to my hometown to visit family and friends. I quickly realized that this may be their home but it is no longer mine; I am merely a visitor. At first this thought made me uncomfortable so I dug a bit deeper to understand the reason for my discomfort. I think part of the parcel is that my parents are aging (as we all are) and I have moved in a different direction as offspring are supposed to do. When I first moved away from home at the age of 19 to St. Catharines, I knew no one here. It was not only an adventure but it was sometimes lonely and scary until I made friends and connected with others. Luckily, this was only a matter of days that I wound up in the company of good people. This city has become my home over the years and has replaced my hometown as the place I identify with. I no longer consider myself a Peterborough girl  and this puts a bit of a lump in my throat. Honestly though, the Niagara Region has opened its arms wide with welcome and I am now enfolded in its embrace. I love living here!

 

 

This summer has also shown me more of the incredible natural beauty that surrounds us here in the Niagara Region. We have such a diverse landscape that is teaming with incredible natural wonders. The Niagara Region is tucked between two of the Great Lakes – Lake Ontario (I live on the south shore) and Lake Erie. There are over 200 walking, hiking and cycling trails to be enjoyed and shared with incredible flora and fauna at every step. The Region has created many naturalized sites to encourage wildlife to do its thing and give a safe haven for many species. One of my favorite hikes/walks is up the escarpment by Niagara College. It has a feeling of such intense history to be with these particular trees and rocks and gives an all-encompassing feeling of being a part of Nature not just an outsider looking in. These photos were taken in the late Fall a couple years ago but the escarpment is beautiful in every season.

 

 

 

One of my favorite walking trails on the Niagara Escarpment

One of my favorite walking trails on the Niagara Escarpment

Ericsson 2012 343

 

 

 

Within a short walking distance from my home is the Welland Canal. Even though I’ve lived in St. Catharines half of my life I still find the Canal interesting. It is fascinating that these huge freighters and  sea-going ships make their way through a system of locks up the Niagara Escarpment. For a brief description of the Welland Canal see this link. When my kids were itty-bitty, they used to love to go sit at the locks with me and watch as the ships went through. They were thrilled to bits when the workers on the massive ships would wave to them. Recently I have visited the Canal again a few times and realized that it doesn’t matter how old or young you are or where you come from the Welland Canal is an incredible feat of engineering.

 

 

I’m sure I need not dwell on the prominence of wineries in this region but seriously, they are worth a visit and the trip along the wine route. Wineries play a huge supporting role in the area’s mindset and activities. Good food and great wine are the specialties of an area filled with orchards, farms and vineyards. It’s easy to eat well here.

 

 

Another huge revelation for me and I think the most important of all – I need to live the life I envision for myself. We all have dreams, desires and are called deep from within our Soul to certain places, people and actions. Respecting someone else’s dream is essential to living our own.

 

 

Learning to love the Life we have and moving forward instead of stagnating or going backward is on my mind. I see movement in my future…I strive for joy each and every day through learning new Truths…to treat myself and others with kindness…to appreciate all that is on offer.

 

 

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open

where there were only walls.”

– Joseph Campbell

 

 

 

Inner Wisdom

night buddha

snowy buddha

 

 

 

“You are far from the end of your journey.
The way is not in the sky.
The
way is in the heart.
See how you love.”
– Buddha

Why look outside ourselves for direction on how to live life when our heart and Soul already carries this wisdom?

Love with a side order of passion, please.

“Tell the truth. Sing with passion. Work with laughter. Love with heart. ‘Cause that’s all that matters in the end.” – Kris Kristofferson

I must be honest. I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Never have been. It seems materialistic and fake to me. Perhaps it is all the marketing hype and over-inflated prices for one day, one day, that really gets my pulse racing (and not in a good way). Why do we buy into such nonsense? I am not a cynic, seriously. I enjoy a sappy movie as much as the next girl. I believe in love at first sight and that love can conquer all.  The whole idea of having to demonstrate love for another simply because marketers have declared it the day of love, c’mon. I would like to think our hearts are smarter than that.

I declare that we feel and show love each and every day! That we shower those close to our hearts with kindness and acts of admiration whenever and wherever the mood strikes us!

Romance is defined as:  to try to influence or curry favor  especially by lavishing personal attention, gifts, or flattery.  Should we not all be a bunch of romantic lunatics every day? I do believe so. I would find it odd if, in a respectful long-term relationship, my significant other only slathered me with kindness one day of the year. Do we not all deserve to be romanced on a regular basis? I don’t mean annoyingly so but sweetly, gently showing affection with the little details of life. Perhaps a lengthy kiss while running out the door for work in the morning or presenting your loved one with a glass of wine when you can tell from their body language that their day has been taxing. Thoughtful gestures speak louder than any words ever could.

This morning, like many other mornings, two Mourning Doves were snuggled together outside my office window. I am not an ornitholgist but I suspect that these two doves have a fondness for being together. The unspoken language between them would seem as though they find comfort in each other. These two doves always make my heart smile when they waddle around on the fence and cuddle close.  Nature provides us with the most extraordinary displays of caring if we are interested in seeing them.

At the root of being able to give love to others is the need to be able to love ourself. Not in a conceited, immature manner but with a peaceful heart that is accepting of ourself for who we are.  To be able to find an internal peace. When we can be comfortable in our own Soul those around us are easier to love. The world becomes more joyous and colourful.

I am not an advocate for Valentine’s Day,  but for Love. The sentiment behind the occasion is one I wholly support. Let’s just not confine it to one measly day!

Get out there and share some love!

“I find that when we really love and accept and approve of ourselves exactly as we are, then everything in life works.”  – Louise L. Hay




Update: February 10, 2015

At the time this post was originally written, I was in the throes of a very emotionally draining marriage that has since ended. I have recently found much happiness in a relationship with the man of my dreams. He treats me with great love and respect as I hope he feels I do for him. Every day together is like the most meaningful day ever to be experienced! My stance regarding Valentine’s Day have softened slightly. I have no qualms about shouting from the rooftop how much love I have for my breath-taking and incredible man…even on Valentine’s Day.

Baking for the Soul

I must admit, I am highly unorganized this year. By now I am usually finished my holiday baking and appetizer-making and have everything carefully portioned in my freezer. I prefer to be prepared so that I am less stressed once the entertaining approaches.  I am far behind this year but I am not worried though as I seem to stay calm and focused under pressure. I started making my baking and cooking  list and checking it twice last week. I knocked one appetizer prep off the list then and it is nicely nestled in its chilly home…temporarily. Yesterday “THE BAKING” began. That is said in a booming, echoey voice by the way. My house is smelling super-scrumptious at the moment. Cinnamon and chocolate scents waft throughout each room and envelope you as you walk in the front door. Yum.

 

As my friends and family know, I love to bake so now that I have started I find it hard to stop. I even woke up a few times during the night last night thinking that perhaps if I was really quiet, I could knock something else off my list. Then my rational brain took the helm and it told me to get back to sleep. Thank you rational brain.

 

This morning the temperature feels rather balmy at 16 degrees fahrenheit (or 61 degrees celsius if you prefer). I am having a hard time refocusing. I feel the need to get outside! There is rain in the forecast for this afternoon and the temperature is supposed to drop dramatically so I think I will take this time to go for a walk to breathe in some fresh air and regroup. This comfortable temperature is – or should be – an oddity here in Canada at this time of year. At least in southern Ontario. December, in my mind, should bring snowflakes, ice skating and winter jackets…not hoodies. I love this time of year when the snow flies and Jack Frost leaves designs on the windows each morning. I guess I’ll just have to bake in spring-like temperatures with the windows open so my neighbours can be tempted by the fragrances of the holidays!

 

 

 

“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.”  – Dorothy Day