Monday, July 16, 2012

Knock, Knock. Who's there? Sadness, can I come in for a while?

Today, sadness came knocking at my door and it was the kind of day you might expect a visit like that.  The thunder rolled, the clouds hung low at ground level hugging its greyness around even the brightest summer flowers.  The rain was relentless.  So when it knocked I let it in and told it gently that it could stay for awhile but it couldn't move in.  Depression has knocked at my door before as well but I've come to know the sound of its engine in my driveway and its more subtle, urgent knock.  It too has wrapped its arms around me and we've done the long slow waltz that is so hard to let go of.  But today, today it was simply sadness needing a place to hang out.

So much of what I and others share with each other is full of joy, as it should be.  I was reminded by a message I received yesterday that it is sometimes important to also share the darker side of your life as well because we all experience that, even the happiest of us.  I have three very close friends who have lost loved ones to suicide.  I feel honoured that they have felt safe enough over the years to share both their depression and their sadness with me.  It provides me with the opportunity to remind them that our love and friendship is unconditional.  It provides them with a safe place to just be.  It reminds all of us that we need others in our life who can not only make us laugh but who can love us even in our dark times.

I was also reminded yesterday that I can not be responsible for another person's happiness.  I was reminded not to compare my life to anyone else's and to take charge of each day and make it the best it can be.  Over the last few years I have read a lot about living my life with intention and learning to stay in the moment.  I have many great friends who I can discuss these ideas with and a great family who models this in their own day to day lives.  We've all heard the words, living in the moment, and understand the concept but it's another shift completely to practice it day to day.  I have let go of relationships with people who make me feel bad about myself and have nurtured those relationships with people who bring positivity into my world.  Sometimes though, my own worst enemy has been myself and I make it a point each day to say kind things to myself.  I have learned to meditate and this has made a world of difference as well.  The practice of meditation, and trust me - it takes practice, calms my busy mind and brings quiet to my soul.

I count my blessings daily and there are many to count. I have a full, rich life and this is no accident.  I read.  I share.  I listen to others.  I take risks.  I accept (okay, I'm learning to accept) my mistakes and flaws as just part of who I am.  I am striving to be a better person one moment at a time. Sadness did come.  It stayed til the wee hours of the morning when I told it quietlly but firmly that it was time to go.  Today is a new day.  I am grateful to have it.  I am grateful for the people in it.  I am grateful that I live in a part of the world where I can decide what I do with this day, who I spend it with and where I go.  Yesterday I chose sadness.

I hope you do too!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Staying In The Moment

Today is the first "legitimate" day of my retirement years.  I was finished work on June 30th but with the holiday long weekend in there it didn't feel like it until today.  So, what did I do with my first "official" day?

As you can see from the picture above, I went for a bike ride, a long, slow bike ride.  With a lot of coaching and support from my sister-in-law (certified yoga instructor extraordinaire.  Check out her website I am working hard to stay in the moment and enjoy the beauty around me.  So, what did I notice on my bike ride tonight?

I noticed the wind in my face.  While it was a refreshing breeze it made the first 10 km of my ride just a little harder.  I will remember the coolness of the breeze and the goose bumps on my arms when the temperature soars to 30 degrees later this week.  With the breeze came the bumping together of the clouds above and a little tease of blue sky as the clouds parted and gathered again and again.  That breeze also rustled the beginnings of the corn plants.  At this time of the year it seems they go from six inches to six feet overnight.  Today, they are six inches.

I noticed how green everything is.  All the greens a mind could imagine.  While we've complained (at least I have!) about the dark, gloomy June and wet start to July it certainly has made everything around us lush and fresh. 

I noticed how many really BIG trees there are around here.  So many fields and yards full of those kinds of trees that look undressed without a hammock or an old tire swing.  It is this kind of tree that MUST be in the yard of that last home we buy, the one we will settle in into our old age.  The one our grandkids (and hopefully great-grandkids) will swing in and climb on.  The one we will sit under with a cool lemonade on a hot summer day.  You know the kind!

I noticed (even though I'm not supposed to:) the songs on my i-phone as I pedalled through farm roads.  Thank heavens for whoever thought to put Celine Dion in the same room with Andrea Bocelli.  This song was MADE for a summer evening, especially one where your senses are alive to all around you.  Some of my other favourites are:  Brown-Eyed Girl (of course!), Home (by Phillip Phillips - that song just reaches my soul), Ray LaMontagne - You Are The Best Thing and  anything by James Taylor.  I can't imagine a world without music!

I noticed a lot of barns.  Most of them with long drawn faces.  All of them missing a few front teeth.  There's something about old buildings that catches my eye and, quite often, my camera's eye.  There's a story in each of those old buildings about bumper crops and the lean years.  One of my dreams is to have shelving made of old barn boards, hung up with wrought iron brackets. 

Well, that's my bike ride for this evening.  The rest of the day involved a trip out to Harrison to check out the overflowing lagoon and have a bit to eat and a dance in the kitchen.  Yes, you heard me right.  My husband, the shy one you all think you know, loves to catch me up in the middle of baking or cleaning or doing the dishes and take me for a spin around the kitchen.  Often the radio's on and after so many years together it's usually easy to match his steps.  Today, the song was in his head and this made my task a little more challenging.  The usual smile at the end of the interruption today turned into laughter.

So much to be grateful for:)