Sunday, September 27, 2020

Pearls Before Swine? Reflections on giving without getting. 'America's Sweetheart'(?) In High School, Autism Bubbles and Other Conceptions of Self.




"Don't throw your pearls before swine." My husband often chastises with the old adage. Part of me agrees and it has been a tough lesson to learn. The other part? Well, who defines swine? Isn't that slightly harsh? Maybe a few pearly diamonds scattered in the dirt will become needed resources later? What if?... What if...

And then my ego deflates and I wonder whom am I to offer pearls in the first place? The answer comes swiftly, "No one and Someone and Everyone." How dare we live small? But how dare we claim truths for others? The answers are different each time.

When I occasionally ask myself why I even bothered wasting my time reaching out, being kind or giving my words to someone who doesn't acknowledge or reciprocate or appreciate in some way...I realize, "Wait? Was it wasted? "

It is only if I think it is. So what if they never answer or give back. That says something about them perhaps. Maybe they have no way to communicate with me? I certainly have been there! Maybe it says they are forgetful, rude, or depressed? Maybe there is more? Maybe there is less? But what was my motivation for reaching out in the first place?

I reflect on my motivations. In all honesty - they range in circumstances. Pure kindness built from my own gratitude of life? Then I can walk away satisfied I added a morsel to the world and to my character even if it went unnoticed. That kindness may not affect them but it DOES affect me. By giving it, I learned I could, even in the face of uncertainty, which will in turn strengthen my character. 

OR was I wishing to be seen? Don't we all truly yearn for our souls to be seen? Is there a better way I can achieve that next time? In that, I learn whom is actually paying attention, outside of themselves, to see another. I also learn how to attune myself to see those whom I may also not be acknowledging. Does it mean I have to constantly give of my time? No. But small smiles, words, or even a nod to the spirit of another can be a gift. If I want to be seen, do I in turn see? Am I choosing the people to see me that are noble, compassionate and true? Are they simply playing me and acting as an advocate on artifice? Perhaps they are called to something different? Who is to say in the end? 

I can only say what I am and what I am going to choose to be about. Recently, we hosted a person whom I hadn't seen in twenty years who graduated in my class. We didn't exactly run in the same circles. As we were speaking he was talking about high school, "I was a hockey player but also a total drama geek." That triggered a memory (which I do not have many of until they are sparked.) "Wait! I think I was in drama. Maybe we had a class together?" In answer to me he deadpanned, "I did your make up." 

My mouth dropped open as my husband and sister pealed into laughter. My children joined in and I threw back my head with a gusty laugh as the shock wore off a bit. Then I apologized. He replied, "It's ok. It was weird because you were almost in this other untouchable world that you created. You were kind but remote. I think maybe you forgot about anyone else outside of your bubble but no one really cared because when you WERE paying attention people adored you. We all thought you were 'America's Sweetheart.'"

I cringed and replied, "In other words - a snob. I heard that one enough." He said quickly, "No not a snob at all. It's just that...you lived in a bubble and anyone outside that bubble was invisible but not in a cruel way and if they managed to get into your space- you were very nice. All the teachers and parents loved you too. You could have committed a murder and they would have just smiled at you and if I passed by they would have told me to clean it up. I was often asked why I could not be more like you." 

I was kind of flattered but also appalled. The shocked look transferred to him and he laughed, "Don't even pretend you're shocked. You were the Queen Bee." My brother chimed in, "Depends on which B word we are all talking about." We all laughed. "Yup I have been called them all. But that popular girl you are talking about -that was my best friend and her groups. She was the popular one. I was by default. Everyone loved her. I was just trying to survive and was friends with those I loved, most of which are still my friends." 

He chuckled," We all thought you pulled her strings. But even if you didn't, we knew you were one of the top in the heirachy of school." I was flabbergasted. That truly was a shock to hear, and I don't think most of my friends would agree with him. They knew I was a pain a lot too. I did live in my own world though. I recounted his story to my best friend from high school the next evening and she said to me. "Kissa you can't be friends with everyone. I love that they thought you were pulling my strings though!" And she laughed heartily as she chatted to my children about the pressures of school, behaviour and ethics. THAT is why I was her friend and she is still in my life as one of my most treasured people.

Perspectives can truly make a life. I did know that I chose my friends carefully and that my friends could often be popular for a reason (not all but most) it was actually because they were mostly kind. They were not the popular mean girls/ guys from movies. They had their flaws but they were people who valued many aspects of life, aimed high with what they had, and tried to make the world a better place in general by BEING. Sometimes that made some of them popular. It's true that a few were quite beautiful or handsome which probably helped. It's unfortunate that is often the case. But I also know what it took for them to retain that beauty. How many hours they had to sacrifice in workouts, make up or work to pay for an image. Some of it came naturally but that did not mean they did not work.

Sometimes I have wondered what people see in me. Don't we all? I have heard the slanders. Those seem to be easy for me to hear. But this story, his story, had my head buzzing with all the many sub stories we tell ourselves about others. How these, in turn, fuel our own choices.

Having Autism I DO perceive the world differently at times. My children laughingly chimed in that, "Mommy is always in a bubble. Often, when we are out in the world we have to steer her around people and things she does not notice." Some of that is sensory overload. I have to re adjust my lens again and again. While I am horrified I made others feel obsolete (and still do) I also know that I have to be me to survive. We all try to survive the best ways we know how, while causing the least damage.

There is some beauty to be had in the bubble. I had counselling for 14 years, and sometimes constantly seeing other's perspectives can be wrenching. Especially when often it is not returned, although that point is moot as it has it's own rewards. However, in the end, I would rather lose for what I am than win for what I am not. 

I imagine my life, and then try to make reality line up to how I feel in my head. That is why, whenever someone steps into my home, they are enchanted. The only people who are not, are the realists or those whom lie to themselves because my home is incredibly honest in it's magic. I have created a world inside our home that matches up to my inner world. 

We engaged in a house tour to a stranger last night and they remarked, "Can you adopt me? I have never seen anything like this. It's like a magical castle and should be in a magazine or book or...I don't know but something! You should charge people to come see this and they would love it. It's like I have discovered treasure." I beamed. Happy to share the inspiration and my hope is that it would in turn spark and give something back to her.

Of course, I have wake up calls. Those can be jarring. A few have almost destroyed my psyche in truth.  When the worst ones have happened, I have had to accept help I did not want, to bring me out of the darker recesses of my mind. Because being on the Autism scale, I CAN retreat. I can be happy in a sense, living out a reality that is only in my head, and regressing until I no longer know how to communicate. It happens. That is why it is a scale. Trauma can often play with the ranges...and some things others would not call trauma, an autistic person would. Sensory things often top the list.

People can either adore me or despise me for my bubble. They can often either be jealous, try to wreck my constructions to "wake me" up to reality (whose to say if theirs is truly the only legitimate one?) or ignore me or apparently admire me and call me "America's Sweetheart." I bet, if any actual sweetheart was asked, they would say that they had to work very hard to maintain that position in high school or society.
Is it easy for you to be kind to people whom have hurt you? Is it easy to ignore slights and offer a smile? Is it easy to pretend not to hear the embarrassment of another and in turn take the attention to yourself in a more laughable way to take the heat off them, all the while pretending like you did not even notice their uncomfortability and you were doing it simply for your own sake? Is it easy to fly delicately under the radar enough to get attention when needed, but to slide into the shadows when not? Is it easy to contain a justified temper until you are alone to cry or rage, making sure the least damage is done? Is it easy to maintain, mask and give consideration? Saintliness can have it's own destructions. Sweetheart comes at a price. One that I do not pay as much anymore, however, I do try to have courage and be kind when I can. I aim high but I make multiple mistakes. And isn't there massive beauty in mistakes made? What blessed creations can arise out of rubble!?!

There is a blessing and a curse to all things. My husband has told me often that my bubble is what drives him crazy and also why he loves me. My children adore me for it too. They often tell me they wish they could make a movie on how growing up with their mommy was like.  I don't know what to think of that honestly. But I do know, that surviving the world I know how, is my balance. I lost something whenever I tried to be more normal. I needed to live how I love and be how I am whilst striving to harm none in the process. 

Sometimes, I wish I was like my high school self. I did not have the awareness I do now about my bubble. Awareness does not change the fact that it is still there. It just makes it more complex. I am probably both wiser and stupider than I was back then. It's always BOTH/ AND. Judging from my shock at his statements about his perceptions, I guess part of me still lacks awareness. Or perhaps, for the sake of my psyche I conveniently forget until I am jolted again. Maybe my lack of memory has a silver blessing after all? Or worse, maybe I created my memory problem out of necessity? What if my dirt is, in actuality, also my pearly diamond? What if my diamonds are also the dust of the earth? Can one mean more than the other?

All we have to give, is within ourselves. All we have to share is beyond and in reach. Words are able to heal and destroy, but often they can also be just words...until enacted upon. Isn't it all so complex? I often feel like Alice in Wonderland. I often wonder, and wonder and wonder....

What if?...

Yet, it can not be denied that our constructed realities affect each other's constructed realities. We each have altered "bubbles" of reality to degrees. Maybe the artists, dreamers and mentally different have a bit more existential paradox within ours, but nevertheless, we affect. We either bump, break or help hold up each bubble we come into contact with. I'm not sure how I feel about that...if only to hold myself to a higher responsibility but also to simply LIVE. I can't be all nor do I wish to be. Neither can you. We are living in a time, where there is a lot of pressure for perfection, for ethics to be associated on a political scale and for there to be complete and total understanding of any and of all. Can that be achieved in one human mind. Do we not already struggle simply with ourselves? Can we strive for what is noble and true but still just BE? Maybe it is found in the daily way we ARE?

How do you feel about that?

                                             
                                                          

Maybe that is why I am choosing more and more to be in nature and nurture my small family and the tangible things that are? Nature is healing and destroying and I seem to choose it.


Song Choice: Crystal- Stevie Nicks





Thursday, August 6, 2020

Another Witch Hunt




In the mid nineties my father was embroiled in the latest town scandal in which he received hundreds of letters because he allowed the Christian rock band "Petra" to play in the local college church in BLUE JEANS. He had threats to his job and hell fire . I did not know it at the time, but apparently I was scrutinized and attacked in some letters too...  For how I dressed in school or whom I associated with and how I conducted myself. My father loved Petra. He played it all the time when I was a child in the 80's. They were cutting edge in the Christian community at the time. Their long hair, ripped blue jeans and 'rock' music rocked the boat in multiple ways.

Since I have been little, I have witnessed many hunts on people due to many things. Growing up in a Christian community there were those who focused on grace and a smaller number who focused on hunting down sin and looking anywhere but themselves. Hypocrisy ran alongside compassion. I had to learn from an early age where to put my value, what words or people I should put stock into, and what hypocrisy looked like. Was it truly the devil in sheeps clothing on those accused as wolves? The outcasts or different or such? Or were the wolves the ones spreading the rumours, taking gossip or here-say and trying to make it truth, and destroying people's lives in the name of "God or goodness"?

My dad loved to blast this song called, "Witch Hunt" that still gets stuck in my head. Petra mostly put it on an album in response to all the Televangelists (at the time) talking about how Rock and Roll had hidden messages of "devil worship." In the 80's there was a huge focus on Satanism and calling out anything that could be remotely aligned with what people thought was "bad." Many innocent people were thrown under the bandwagon in the name of "justice." Lives were ruined or degraded in the name of Jesus. Those who did such things thought they were on the right side of ethics...many of them probably still have such self righteous thoughts. Those who had zero doubts of their morality were the worst. Those who did not look at the log in their own eyes before pulling out the speck in others, perpetuated the worst of the hunts.

"Everybody look there's a new bandwagon in town 
Hop on board and let the wind carry you around 
Seems like there's not enough to keep us busy 'till the Lord comes back."

There will always be another bandwagon to climb on to. Many are worthy in a sense, but anything can be taken to extremes. I got in a lot of trouble as a teenager with some of my friends for standing against aspects of "Christianity." I also got in trouble for speaking for grace or not talking about certain people. I often felt I couldn't win and spent hours alone in my room, detoxing with candles and music. But I am grateful for these experiences. While I would doubt myself often, that healthy questioning led to a solid sense of whom I was and what I stood for. I also learned that I wanted to be open minded when it came to anything... good or bad, before I took any side. I realized the people who hurt my family most, were people who did things in the name of "goodness" and "God." The friend who committed suicide was jaded and gave in to lies of what worth was. Of what made a worthy existence. I realized I never wanted to be so "right" that I was so wrong. I also didn't want to give in to any opinion that was the opposite of LIFE. By life, I mean, anything that is true, beautiful, noble, kind, merciful yet boundary filled and full of love. 

"Don Quixote's gotta have another windmill to attack
Another witch hunt looking for evil wherever we can find it 
Off on a tangent, hope the Lord won't mind it."

Mass hysteria and community panic led to the Witch Hunts of the 1400s- 1700s. Are we repeating them in our own modern way? The stories are absolutely horrifying. Women were targeted but men also received some of the torture and death. Those who were different...midwives, herbalists, the disabled, unmarried, poor...were often the accused. It was unjust. It was repulsive and yet many "upstanding", "morally inclined" "good citizens" in varied communities were the perpetuators of injustice in the name of justice. They were upheld as pillars of society "cleansing" the world of those who are "wrong." 

There WAS a minority of people who WERE evil. Who practiced disgusting rituals and did indeed need justice. But it was such a small minority compared to the evils that were done to the people who were accused unjustly. Most of the fear was unfounded and fed by fantasy gossip. But fear is one of the toughest forces in the world to fight. Many terrible things are done from responses of fear in the name of all that is "just/ right."

Persecution mentality reigned and combined with mass hysteria, death from plagues and wars, and a general state of malevolence in the majority was disguised as righteousness. How did this mass delusion happen? How did the insanity of torturing a woman until she either confessed or died show that she was indeed of the devil? How did this become accepted as standard procedure with citizens either supporting by ignoring it or cheering it on? (If she died during torture she was deemed innocent but if she survived she was burnt at the stake or worse. Either way being accused was basically a death sentence.) 

"Another witch hunt, takin' a break from all our gospel labor 
On a crusade but we forgot our saber."

In Christianity there is a concept of "gospel labour" which is missionary work etc. Much of what Christians have done in the world is good. Many started the anti slavery movements globally, fought for the minority rights in places that were not even their own, and spread messages of love and tolerance. 

Unfortunately, many also joined empty crusades in the "name of goodness". Instead of focusing on the goodness they could plant, they focused on the bad they could correct, take away or sanction/ censor/ educate out of/ cancel in others. The irony of their actions was not understood. The hypocrisy was a label put on anyone but themselves. Is this the type of person I want to be? Is it whom you want to be, no matter what belief system you are a part of?

"There's a new way to spend all our energies 
We're up in arms instead of down on our knees 
Walkin' over dollars trying to find another dime 
Never mind the souls 'cause we really haven't got the time."

In my twenties, my time was spent healing from aspects of my upbringing. In many ways, I had a lot to be grateful for and part of the process was recognizing the ever present "AND/ BOTH." Unfortunately, wounds and trauma can take a lifetime to process but when we allow them to be our main story, the damage is more pronounced. There is a fine line where we learn to BE all that we are, but also fight against the wounds and accept what there is to accept and move forward. Those who are unable to have the support to do so or the ability or choose to be stuck, suffer more wounds and give more wounds to the world. Look to nature. The wounded animal can be the most dangerous. It’s imperative to safely transport it to a place of healing before it wounds itself and others more in its confusion.There were injustices done to myself and my family of loved ones in life. They demanded attention. But now I am thankful for the lessons they created. I can't change what was done, but I can take some good from it. That is my empowerment. That is where I choose to spend my energy. I hope we see SOULS and give the seeing of souls grace filled time.

It is only in my thirties that I have discovered a similar hypocrisy in the non religious environments/people I am part of. That was honestly a shock to me. From about age 25- 35 the non religious friends and environments healed me. In a way, it was so refreshing that no wrong could truly be done in my mind. I found so much excitement, acceptance, and healing from my new communities. It was akin to being newly in love and the first blush of exhilaration, strength, and entwined vulnerability. There is little time for the mundane or daily living. All things fall away in the face of new love. Becoming out of balance, if prolonged, is a large danger.

But as in any long standing marriage can attest to, as we age into things, time unravels the initial endorphins. While that is also real and a needed stage, the next phase in marriage takes it deeper. It is natural to mellow into the relationship. A new joy of comfortability emerges. But we also see the flaws we were blinded to before and have to learn to re balance. A successful partnership learns to work with the differences and similarities. 

In the last three years, I have faced a steep learning curve in the non christian community. A place that I found healing in has now caused large disruptions. I am seeing a similar hypocrisy. I am seeing patterns that mimic the community I grew up in. And I am realizing there truly is nothing new under the sun. I am realizing humanity takes on similar aspects of belief, no matter what the position, and there are the same types of zeal played out on a different stage. It's a constant battle for me to face my own zealous nature, mistakes made, and give myself both grace and boundaries before I implement them on others. Therapy helps with this and thankfully my children and husband and copious amounts of alone time, off line. But it's hard.

What do we spend our energy on? Do we spend it more on advocating for change without activating in our lives? By activating I do not mean participating in violent marches or dissolving other people's reputations, however strong the evidence is.  By activating in life, I mean BEING off our screens and accepting people around us. Looking for the poor, downtrodden, depressed or isolated in our communities and giving in some way...our time if we can, or some of our garden extra's, or even a kind word or spreading kind thoughts. Are we spending our energy sending out goodness instead of accusations?

"So send out the dogs and tally ho 
Before we sleep 
tonight we've got miles to go 
No one is safe, no stone's left unturned 
And we won't stop until somebody gets burned."

Read that last lyric again. Does it sound familiar in this time in history? Often we think we are the hunted but what if we, by a strange twist of perspective, we are the hunters? What if by thinking we are the prey we become the predators? 

Do we stop to sleep and rest which enables our perspective taking? Do we harm safety in the name of safety? Are we protecting things that have multiple layers to them? Are we forgetting that the true evil of people often hides? Devious, manipulative, cruel, dismissive, discriminatory, hateful organizations/people often pull the strings of larger components from the dark corners. Sometimes, it is not until centuries later that we are shocked to find truth under the rubble of “good intentions.” 

While it is good to strive for justice, love mercy, and engage in compassionate acceptance, often on "hunts" people are so concerned about condemning others for trivial matters that they forget the larger wrongs. The wrongs that are devious and gleefully taking pleasure in the fact that many are falling for the wrong reasons. Instead of being active and becoming what is believed to be right, it's easier to throw shade around and cancel another person.

Personally I don’t want to spend my energy looking for evil wherever I can find it. When it happens to me or my loved ones that is more than enough. Life brings disaster, injustice, grief and anxiety naturally to our door or it breaks it in. We rise and fight when it’s required. But other times it is not there. It’s what we choose to open our door for that says what we are about. I want to choose to look for goodness and shut the door on the evil I can, but definitely not seek it out in the name of all that is holy. I did that once as a teen and it was a disaster. Hopefully that lesson stays.Why are we requiring contrite apologies for people whose only mistake was living and surviving in the times they were put in? Where celebrities won roles and took the job honoured to be playing a part like Nina Simone but now have to confess to their “sins”? How have we come to this? How is this making the world better and more tolerable?

There ARE things we must fight for. But often they are right in front of our face. They are the moments when we bravely speak into a true moment of friendship. When we choose kindness over exploding or allowing our emotions to reign. It’s when we consider differences and invite them to our table in understanding instead of correcting. It’s that moment when we have enough change to give to the homeless even if we think it may not be used appropriately. It’s also that moment when we don’t give to the homeless because we only have enough grocery money for our children. So instead we send out good vibes and prayers and make our grocery money count. It’s when we see someone being mocked by our own friends or family - and even if we see merit in some of the things they say- we decide to leave the conversation, kindly change the subject or address it (but gracefully.) Its those moments when we can kindly diffuse a situation, by showing that it may not be ignorance, or intolerance, or brutality, but simply another difference. It may have been another time of history when the words we outlaw now, WERE a form of advocacy. Yes, we need to evolve, grow and change in our language usage too, but showing that it’s not all malicious intent speaks to fear. The less fearthe less disruptive violence happens.

The more we can calm fear instead of escalate it, the less witch hunts will happen in the name of “justice.” In fighting against monsters are we creating larger, more nefarious monsters? Are we actually hiding the true monsters on our smaller witch hunts of dissection and cancellation?

                                                         

You can read more about this - The subject matter can get intense. I chose links that were less graphic than some I have read (in which I had to try not to throw up the details.) The post can apply to so many aspects and nuances of culture right now that touches all forms of life. https://www.britannica.com/event/Salem-witch-trials

To those who personally love me- if I ever do this to you or others ( witch hunt) please gently remind me of larger issues of love and justice. I know I’ve been both the minority and majority . Both make mistakes and both make the world better. Help me spread love.
Ablaze - Alanis morsette 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Home. Being Canadian. Summer Solstice.






Midsummer sweetness is about savouring the celebratory aspects of life. Living to the fullest while acknowledging the life doesn't "owe" anyone anything- so the delights are that much more profound. Sometimes people or society ask us to hold back our fierce love of life and we silence ourselves or try to squeeze ourselves into tiny compartments of BEING. We forget it's our ONE life. Being grateful does not negate hardship. If we can, living fiercely is our best gift to LIFE. I try to find the ripeness in life, amongst health scares, oven fires, mini house fire scares, water furnace break downs, anxiety, world issues, weather conundrums, extended family struggles, marriage work and children's needs. Inside the energy of beauty, love, joy and the focus on the positive is where I want to aim to spend most of my mentality when I can. I will readily admit I am in a legitimate depression and struggling with some things, and at first, it took a lot of effort to do anything or see the good. But after a daily habit of the "next right thing"...I still work in energy deficit...but my ability to see the beautiful is getting more poignant and my fortitude to rise to the energetic occasion is taking less time. There is struggle. There is beauty. There is trauma. There is grace.


It's knowing my chosen partner is beside me every night and taking joy in his sleeping face and being in constant awe of his facial perfection. (Also trying not to be envious of his looks as he doesn't even have to try!)

The daily joy is found in the preparation for Summer Solstice Day! One of my favourite afternoons this summer was preparing Rosemary Gluten Free Biscuits, Herb Roast, Fruit infused Juice, and Summer Solstice cake with my children.


I have taken a hermitage lately. I am off of most social media (deleting apps and checking in only once a month for the summer.) My creativity has gone into overdrive again which it tends to do after built up stress or when I actually have more time to myself. I love the little things in life. I love gardening (especially with my roses), hugging trees, re decorating, dusting crystals, preparing baking, ordering solar lights online, shopping for groceries, snuggling my children, loving my husband and taking back roads empty for miles with the music blasting, walking to my parents for quick hello, visiting old and new friends via email or in person when time permits, and talking to kind costumer service agents. (That last one is weird but A LOT of my time lately has been dealing with costumer service in all industries due to break downs and orders etc and I am finding that I am enjoying many of the kind people which is another shock!)


I decided that we needed to build a few structures in our backyard including a stone wall. We had a bunch of free stone we need to use up so why not? Luckily my husband is excellent at literally building my dreams. I decorate, stain, and help with whatever parts I can and then read to him while he works. My children will participate in heavy lifting and learning how to use all the tools etc. I LOVE working together. My family may grumble at times but I think they mostly like it too. Probably not as much as me. People often ask me how I have fun. THIS IS MY FUN:




Since I discovered oil based paint pens, my eldest son ( he is my drawing artist) and I have a new list of things to do!


I also love my Seasonal Holidays. My sister usually joins us for the marking of these occasions. This time my mother and her crafted summer wreaths for her contribution to the feasting day. 


My mother knowingly joked that my house was too full inside/decked out that I had to move outside. Actually, that was exactly it. I wanted to decorate and I could not find a free space that I felt like changing, so I looked outside and thankfully it's a season where I can expand the magic. I now have five mirrors in my backyard. I love it!






We have had an unusual rainy season with loads of mosquitoes. Our town also experienced unusual winter kill on many of our trees and plants so working outside has been interesting! However, we have found work arounds and bits of time between weird weather patterns. The last few weeks I have concentrated on paint/ stain touch ups, solar light and rose maintenance, weeding, transplanting and creating a fairy land of differing traditions into our landscape. My husband found two maple trees on discount begging to be taken home so we now have our Canadian symbols sitting on either side of our front steps. I was so upset that our little pine trees died but the Maple trees are their own beauty. I am finding that what feels like a curse can often be a blessing and what can feel like a blessing sometimes is a curse. When my son woke to the sound of our water being pumped out of our water boiler, I thought curse. Turns out it was good it happened and we had a quick, fairly cheap fix in what could have been way worse. I love the town we live in and how each business is attainable, friendly and unconcerned about Covid in many ways. It's such a beautiful aspect to just BE. (Of course hand washing and light social distancing happens but it's business as usual and many people are living out rich lives due to this mentality. No one is sick.) My kids have had their friends over and are happily adjusting back to life in community.




Tomorrow is Canada day. I loved that DISNEY PLUS honoured it in their own small way:

Seeing the Maple leaf always makes me smile. I adore my country. While it may have some past mishaps and has it's own con list, overall, it is a place that has offered freedom to most who have sought it out. It is a place that gives wide open spaces and camera free drives for hours. The landscape changes drastically an hours drive away. There are gorgeous streams, mountains, prairies, and badlands. We are free to worship as we choose, school as we choose, and love whom we choose. Our businesses provide prompt service in emergencies or when our power or utilities go out. Our weather may be crazy and we may have 8 months of winter, but the seasons are that much more poignant. We have mostly equal opportunities for all who seek to work or BE. Our history has some injustices, but as far as country history goes, the years of remedying injustice equal out to far less than most other places in the world, some of which took centuries or more to change. This is also because we are one of the newest countries in that regard. Canada is still a baby. It's important to celebrate the good and the victories.

My grandpa is Aboriginal. He grew up with some racism discrimination. He went unjustly to jail for punching a man who committed a grave crime against my grandmother. Yet, he still loves Canada and what he was able to have in this country. He still respects the police force- he did blame the one bad cop, terrible guard, and the one discriminatory judge but he liked many of the other friends on the force that he made during his time. (I do not know if I would have the same balance if I went through what he did but I admire it.) Does he have issues with some aspects and carry trauma from his experiences? Yes, but I love what he has taught me about the place that I live. I love that he still take great pride in his country. It was an example of both the pros and cons of my country from a young age. He gave a realistic, sad glimpse but provided a larger story full of determination, opportunity, and work ethic for me to honour and cherish.

On Father's Day we stopped in to see him and my father, while providing breakfast for my husband's dad. These men all helped us become who we are today. We are thankful for their roles in our life. It is not always easy to see eye to eye on some aspects and we all have our histories, but there is great beauty in so many aspects of our relationships too. 

My dad cracked up when we gave him two trees, one of which was very Charlie Brown ish and my son serendipitously drew a Charlie Brown card (purely coincidence but my father noticed the similarities right away!)



I love that near where I live tacky dinosaurs are on Grocery store walls. I love that there is disinfectant everywhere but in most places there are also pretty lax rules again. I love that people are semi careful but also living, smiling and greeting each other again. I love that in one store I see people from all different countries, skin tones and abilities being polite and kind to one another. It's not the exception but the norm. Cruelty is the exception.



I am hermiting into my surroundings. Because I see more good than bad with my own eyes, which is vastly different from what media/news is feeding me. I have had my share of strife, cruelty and personal differences in the last month, but I still see the beauty of the human spirit everywhere.

While we are seeing more people than we did for months, it is still with plenty of alone time in between. I am allowing myself to sleep longer, skip social stuff, and stay off world news. I am still detoxing. But good food, laughter, nightly tuck ins and fabulous birthday celebrations help.




Beauty is in the moment that my grandmother goes through her jewellery with my daughter and tries to hide her tears. It's when they both lovingly touch each piece. Or when my daughter comes back home and bawls because she remembers Grandma wearing and cherishing it all and hates that she has to part with it now to get ready for her next phase of the life cycle. Beauty is in grandma making sure each of her grandkids and her last living daughter have what they need for memories.


Beauty is my mother showing up with lunch ingredients on the last day of the month because our fridge and pantry are always empty on the last three day’s ( we wait for our cheque to put our bank account back up from forty cents till next month again.) It's her enlisting my daughter to help because she knows I had 4 hours sleep. They allow me to "blog rest" while they work.



Beauty is in my therapist sending me the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling (*below) because it reminds him of me. He encourages me to frame it on my wall to remind me not to lose my both sides perspectives even if it gives me more grief from others...it's worth it for my life.

Beauty is in my family. Sometimes I forget to truly look at their faces. To notice the freckles, smile crinkles, gap teeth or pointy smile...all parts of them I love. Aspects individual to them that remind me of the fragility and strength of life.

 


Beauty is preparing my body and treating it as part of myself. It's allowing rest days but also remembering to adorn, pamper and even restrict at times for an outcome I wish to achieve. It's to see myself as part of nature. Beauty is to see my body as not just a vessel but a large aspect of the way I am in the world and to honour it.

Beauty is my window crystals always begging me to take a moment and stare. I watch them sparkle. I look beyond them at the ever changing sky. And I find that I am breathing deeply again. My eyes fill with gratitude. I can't seem to get enough and at the same time it is everything.

To my fellow Canadians: Happy Canada Day- Savour the parts of home you love! To the rest of the world: May you have aspects of Summer that bring you HOME.

Song Choice: Blossom- James Taylor  (This song has been on repeat lately. Love it.)



Circle Game- Pink:

"I've got a little girl of my own and she looks at me
Like I'm a badass and you know that I wanna be
And now there's monsters in her closet and they wanna come and play
And I start looking for my dad to come and make 'em go away
I know, I know, I know, I know that it's my job now
I know, I know, I know, I know I better work it out

In the circle game, no one ever stopped to say
"Soon it's gonna change, it all just goes away
Count your lucky stars that you had a chance to play"
In the circle game, no one ever stops to say
"Soon it's gonna change, it all just goes away
Count your lucky stars that you had a chance to play"
In the circle game

I had a hard day, and I need to find a hiding place
Can you give me just a second to make it through these growing pains?
And I know that it's just life and I must go through things alone
But I'm feeling kinda small, I want his hand to hold
I know, I know, I know, I know I'm a big girl now
Yeah, I know, I know, I know, I know we all just work it out"



If...
Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son! 


(Written at a time when women were treated differently- luckily that has changed so just translate. Words still are amazing and sentiments.)