Footprints in the Snow

Home 1

Just over a week ago, our little neck of the woods experienced what was probably the worst snow storm of this winter. Actually, ice storm is the best description. So many of us wondered when will this winter ever end! After all, it was late April!

Yet, here we are today, the first day of May, and that snow and ice is a distant memory. I see a robin in one of our oak trees as I write this. The sun is still shining where, a couple months ago, we would be enveloped in darkness. All the remnants of that late ice storm have melted away! We thought winter would go on forever. But it didn’t. It left as quickly as it came.

And this got me to thinking about life.

This past week-end my Wild Child, along with my darling Grandson, moved into an apartment of their own. They have been living with the hubby and I for over 3 years now. The Little Man was only 1 and 1/2 when they first arrived to stay! And now he’s almost 5. And, though I am so thrilled for them and proud of my daughter, suddenly this home is very quiet (I hear the clock ticking madly). Things are a little less tussled and becoming more and more adult as each day passes. Wow! What a change!

I have blogged about my wonderful Wild Child before. One thing this family can always count on, is that life will never be boring with her in it! Things change suddenly! Flash back three years ago, and we had little warning before she moved home again with her baby boy in tow. A couple weeks to be exact! I recall rushing around (at Christmas time, no less!) preparing the place for a little one; thinking about what is safe to leave out and what must be stored. I had an adult home and it was going to change in a hurry! In the end, adjusting to the full house and toddler-fun came easy.  We all settled in and it seemed like these circumstances would last forever (or at least for a very long time!)

That’s not how it happened though!

Suddenly, with less than a month’s notice, things have changed. But isn’t that how life goes? Circumstances change the way winter quickly gives way to spring. When the time is right, things fall into the place that is right.

This is a good thing.

I’m happy for my daughter. She’s 25 and ready to have a place on her own. And the Little Man has grown to be a strapping young lad of almost 5!

It’s just that today, I feel in a ruminating mood. I’m thinking that we should never take for granted, our circumstances, or the people, or the time of life we are in. At the end of the day, count it all joy. Because when things change, they will change quickly.

Early this morning (this very quiet morning!) I awoke and wondered about my Magical Garden that I have blogged about here. Specifically, I was wondering about that wonderful tulip that appeared suddenly, unexpectedly, and from I’m-not-sure where. I questioned: would it still be there? In that moment, it was so important to me that it would be there again this year. So, I rushed to the garden and – Yes! – it has pushed it’s way up through the soil and is starting to grow! I silently said a prayer of gratitude. That little tulip has brought me joy for many years now, right around the early spring. I’m so pleased it’s still with us!

I wish you all joy in your individual journeys

and

I wish us all balance in the ever changing constancy of life! 2018-05-01 18.32.46

 

 

 

 

There is No Pity Party Here

Yesterday evening I received a message from a well-meaning friend. She went on quite a bit about the latest antics of my Wild Child (my youngest who I blogged about Here.)

How I must be “suffering”, my friend lamented, at the “odd” behaviour of my free spirited hippie baby girl. How “horrible” for her to not attend the latest family event. Then the whole diatribe was summed up with the not so subtle accusatory statement on my “silence” regarding this episode, which I suppose was odd as well. Why ever would I have not yet contacted her to discuss all the sordid details of my latest apparently very public and extremely strange family drama!

My reply to her was short. We are doing fine as a family. We are no more nor less disfunctional than any other family out there, truth be told. In fact, I believe we put the proverbial “fun” in disfunctional!

And now I am taking to blogging over this, because I know in my heart this issue is simply an advanced form of the same old “Mommy bashing “ I and others experienced with our toddler and preschooler delights tantruming in grocery stores, at schools, and appearing in line-ups everywhere, to a rapt audience of “perfect “ on-lookers who have never seen the likes of such a scene. (Ya, right! You know you are secretly thanking god it’s not you this time and, in fact, you know it probably WILL be you next time!) But I digress. My point is as follows.

First of all, no one member of this family holds the key to control the ENTIRE emotional temperature of the rest of us. Yes, we care about and love each other. But we are healthy enough to know we are each separate individuals and we don’t judge ourself on the other member’s behaviour. We accept our differences. We may not like and support the other person’s actions, so we are quite willing to hand over the consequences of unacceptable behaviour to the person at fault. Hey, maybe we even need to distance ourselves for a while. But make no mistake, when the chips are down, each member returns to their roots. My hubby and I just received a call from said wild child alerting us to the fact that her sister needed us and was trying unsuccessfully to get in touch with us. And then she gave us a curt “good bye” hanging up promptly. Perfect, we are not, but family we will always be.

Secondly, to my concerned friend (and anyone else who feels beyond reproach enough to offer an opinion), please give me the courtesy and space to figure out and experience my OWN feelings. Maybe I am reserving judgment on my Wild Child because I want to wait and see how things progress over time. As my beloved late Father in Law used to say, “You don’t know if something is a good thing, or a bad thing. In the end, only time will tell”.

And, you know what else? This instance of a family member missing an event is only ONE THING in a plethora of happenings occurring in our life. Many events are actually very wonderful. For instance, my eldest daughter is marrying this May and she just achieved her Masters in Education. Not to mention the fact she has held a full time job for the last 8 years. I would describe this as a successful launch into adulthood! Something to rejoice and be happy about! Let me also mention, that at this up-coming wedding, I have my own very special friends and former bridesmaids in attendance! How blessed am I to have kept connections throughout a lifetime with these wonderful women! Oh, and this July? My hubby and I celebrate 30 years of marriage – for better and for worse, we honoured that, all of that, and we are still together. Something to be proud of, I would say.

I could go on and on about happy blessings, but I won’t. At the end of the day, my life is as beautiful as it is difficult. And may I suggest, if we were all honest, this is true of everyone. So let us all suspend judgement on each other’s families and the situations that arise within them, and instead let’s just replace all this with grace. Let’s call each other, of course. But let us simply say hello and ask how the other is doing.

Let us give each person the grace and space to narrate their own story.

847

 

The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz

Just finished reading this book and thoroughly enjoyed it! I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a positive and inspirational read.

It is not a long book – I was able to finish it in two commuter rides to work!

The First Agreement is: “Be Impeccable with your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your words in the direction of truth and love.”

The author believes the path to peace and happiness start with the first agreement. It’s not that you have to be perfect in everything you say. It’s more about silencing the negative internal dialogue that often causes people to give up before they even try something. Basically, if you think something negative about yourself, replace it with something .positive. Instead of “I can’t do this”, say “I will do my best, and that is good enough.”

The author also warns against gossip and speculation about other people. Really, until you have walked in someone else’s shoes you don’t have enough information to bring meaning to or to make a judgement on their actions. You simply don’t know, so don’t discuss it. A lot of wounded feelings, conflict and broken relationships can be attributed to gossip and speculation about others. And once a relationship is broken – once trust has been lost through ungracious words and thoughts – it can never  be put back together as it once was. And this is a loss for all involved.

The Second Agreement is: “Don’t take anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

I learned to appreciate this agreement the hard way. Sometimes people say and do things that are really difficult to bear. And it’s very easy to take these things personally. But, when it comes down to it, we have no control over other people’s thoughts, words and actions towards us. We have no responsibility for these thoughts, words and actions, either. Other peoples’ opinions of us really are none of our business. We can just rest in the fact that we do our best, and that we endeavour to  treat others the way we would like to be treated – and leave it at that.

We should never internalize the behaviour of others towards us. It is the seeds that they plant in their garden – not ours. Instead we should fill our lives with good thoughts and positive actions – to have a garden filled with compassion and love. This way, we live life actively in peace and not as a victim or people pleaser.

The Third Agreement is: “Don’t Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and DRAMA. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.”

I love this agreement! There’s an old saying: “When you assume, you make an Ass of U and Me”.

Enough said.

The Fourth Agreement is: “Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance simply do your best, and you will avoid self judgement, self abuse and regret.”

I love this final agreement, especially the fact that it acknowledges that your “best” changes according to where you are at on a particular day. If we are well rested and feeling healthy, our best is different than if we have had little sleep after having been up all night with a flu bug. Acknowledging this helps us to not be hard on ourselves. At the end of the day we can say “I gave it my all – did the best that I could at the time” and find peace in that.

The author also points out that we should avoid trying to do more than our best. The way I understand this is, we don’t push ourselves beyond our capacity. As a former people pleaser, I would often push myself too far and expect and do too much, coming away from situations feeling empty, depleted and exhausted. It’s good to have the confidence to know it’s okay to simply do your best – that your best is enough, and that it’s okay to say “no” without an explanation.

I would highly recommend anyone who wants a quick, positive and inspirational read, to pick up this book.