Sunday, November 13, 2011

A State of Being


The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.
The expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.
A deep feeling or condition of happiness or contentment.
Rapture - pleasure - bliss - delight

Hap . py

Characterized by, or indicative of, pleasure, contentment, or joy.
Favoured by fortune; fortunate or lucky.
Delighted - pleased -glad

Sat . is . fac . tion

The feeling of fulfillment; gratification.
Confident acceptance of something as satisfactory, dependable, or true.
Enjoyment - pleasure - comfort

Con . tent

The state of satisfaction; ease of mind.
Satisfied with one is or has; not wanting more, or anything else.
Mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are.
Assenting to or willing to accept circumstances.
Appease - satisfaction - gratification

There are states of being which are chosen, and states which are spontaneous outbreaks of emotion. The emotions can be suppressed, and our ability to feel them may be damaged if they are held in check too often. Those states which are deliberate are elusive, difficult to grasp, and take perseverance and strength of mind to maintain.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Marriage of a Garrett and a Green

This past weekend my wonderful sister Rachel married Peter Green. It was a spectacular ceremony at the Mill of Kintail, in Almonte. The day was warm and sunny, the trees had turned to autumnal colours, and there was just the slightest breeze. Rachel looked stunning, and Peter shudder/sighed in awe when he saw her floating down the aisle. Family and friends, both old and new, were there, and the afternoon was just about perfect. Even Nature seemed to approve, as a chipmunk scampered at the feet of the bride and groom, a grasshopper sat on the groom's shoulder, and a ladybug perused the bride's veil.

Of course, the groomsmen were profusely sweating through their suit jackets, and bridesmaids were gracefully dodging bees. Whatever, it was still perfect, and we laughed about the sweat and stings later.

Planning for the wedding, ceremony and all in between had been through by the genius of my sister Joy. She also, among other things, made two of the bridesmaid dresses, planned decorations, hosted the lingerie shower, and made the bouquets. The reception was, as Peter's auntie Elsie would say, "an absolute hoot!" The speeches were either rib cracking or heart wrenching, and all were full of love and congratulations. The band was lead by my uncle Brian, and he did an amazing job. The MC and DJ was my hilarious, favorite cousin Phil (FCP). I'm pretty sure everyone danced to at least one song, and I'm positive I was only off the dance floor for 10-15 minutes the whole night. Yes, I mashed those potatoes, started the lawn mower, and did the sprinkler. I jigged with the Newfie aunts and shook, rattled, and rolled with the cousins. I couldn't believe how well the two families came together. Family reunions will never be the same from here on in, they'll be better.

I made friends with Pete's friends and family, and by the end of the weekend I was so sad to see everyone leave. Although I know I'll see Rae, Pete, and various new family and friends again, it breaks my heart that everyone lives so far away. I know the world is now a village, but transportation is expensive, and skyping just isn't the same as chillin' in a pub over drinks

Somehow, now that Rae is married, she seems further away. It's more real to me that we may never live near one another again, and certainly not under the same roof. I guess now, with her most likely starting a family, and with new family and friends in Ft. Mac, I'll just have to make sure I visit.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Goals for September

I've been following the blog of my lovely cousin Brit, and she gave me the idea of setting monthly goals. Hers are simple and wonderful, but most of all, they're achievable! So, without further ado, here are my September goals:

1. Keep my rooms room tidy. I'm pretty good at that as it is, but I could do better. Sharing a house means I have less control over the other rooms, but I will be keeping my own nice and tidy.

2. Go for a long walk at least four times every week. I don't like getting out and walking in the winter, so I should get as much walking in nice weather while I can!

3. Stretch daily. That's pretty self-explanatory.

4. Cook a meal for someone I love twice a week. This may not happen closer to Rae's wedding at the end of the month, but I'll start this weekend.

5. Paint as often as possible.

6. Write something each evening (not necessarily blogging).

Okay! I think that's a realistic list! I hope I can keep it up! Thanks again Brit!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I love them. There is something about a tree that symbolises life to me. I love trees more than flowers, grass, rainbows, and even sunsets (or sunrises). They start young and fragile, but can become these huge colossal beings; strong, but still vulnerable. They are associated with wisdom, age, and endurance, and are some of the very oldest continually living things on this earth. Some trees are thousands of years old. We use the word to describe our families, friends, and communities. We used to use the parts of trees to build our homes, furniture, and to keep us warm. They prevent erosion of soil, help moderate temperatures with their shade, and produce oxygen for us to breath. Many provide food for us to eat.

I love climbing trees, sitting in their shade, or even just touching them. I've hugged ancient trees and planted baby ones. There's nothing quite like slinging a hammock between two trees and enjoying a good book (also provided by trees).

There is something mysterious and wonderful about trees, and I want to share with you my love of them.

Here are some favorite tree pictures of mine:

A path through a beautiful grove of soft-bark trees

A beautiful tree in Scotland. I hugged this one.

What I think Bilbo's party tree really looked like

Trees shading a walking path

Monday, August 15, 2011


Consumption of nutrients is a basic requirement for sustaining life in humans. It is a primal instinct in each of us. Nutrients give us energy, strength, and allow us to grow. Hunger is the alarm by which we are prompted to eat. If it is ignored we experience discomfort, and by continuing to ignore it, we experience pain. If enough nutrients are not consumed we become malnourished; our bodies become weak, our minds confused, and our energy is limited. If this situation persists, the body slowly begins to devour it’s own flesh, bones, and organs.

Unfortunately, there are billions of people in this world who feel the warning bells of hunger every minute of every day. They feel the alarms, but they can do nothing to silence them. This is true hunger.

Every year millions of Muslims observe Ramadan, which is a time of making peace with neighbours and letting go of any bitterness or resentment held against others. Most importantly however, it is a time in which each healthy man and woman abstains from all food and drink, while the sun is in the sky, for the cycle of a moon. The purpose of this restraint is to experience hunger and thirst, in an attempt to better understand what millions of people are forced to experience every day.

Hunger is a very powerful thing. It is hard not to feel resentful when smelling your co-worker is eating hot pizza at the desk beside you. In the middle of the day your stomach rumbles uncomfortably, and halfway through the afternoon you start getting hunger cramps. Water starts to look like the nectar of the gods, and your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth. You berate yourself for not having just one more glass when you got up at 5:30 am for a quick breakfast. By the time mere 10 hours have passed since your last meal, eating your next one is all you can think about, yet you know you still have several hours until the sun sets.

So you go grocery shopping for the evening meal, but you forget that you’ll have to pass the free samples of cheese, lasagne, steak, or even the newest cereal. You reach for one of the toothpicks offering a taste of ambrosia, but just as your fingers touch it you remember why you can’t have it. Not because of a religious commandment, or god-induced guilt. Those are not the reasons you do this to yourself for a month each year. You do this because it helps you to better value what you do have. When it is finally time to eat in the evening you appreciate your food, no matter what it is.

You do this to be grateful you have the opportunity to eat at every meal, every day. Suddenly your petty complaints diminish in importance. You remember that you have only experienced hunger, but that people in the world are starving. Hunger is all you can imagine, because it is all you have experienced, and it is so awful it sometimes overrides your ability to control it. You realise you just can’t imagine how terrible starvation must actually be.

For those of us who observe Ramadan the experience is incomplete, and mercifully so. When lunar cycle concludes those who have been fasting give gifts of food and money to those who need it, whether they are neighbours, or strangers who live in a distant country. If we are not able to afford to give these, we give the gift of time, and volunteer at shelters, soup kitchens, or housing development projects.

This commentary isn't meant to make anyone feel guilty for eating out or owning a dozen shoes. Instead the purpose is to encourage us all to remember playing in the playground as children. To appreciate the toys we have, and to share with the children who sit against the wall and longingly watch us play with them.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

your body is beautiful

Most people I know are unhappy with at least one body part, and some with the whole package. I am a Massage Therapist, and I see different sizes, shapes, colours, weights, and heights. I see scars, malformed limbs, and parts which no longer function (or never have functioned) properly. It frustrates me when wonderful people despise about what they see as ugly about their physical selves.

You are beautiful. Your body is beautiful. This is a subject about which I am most fierce.

Whether you like it or not, your body is like your biography. Every scar, wrinkle, sag, extra pound, and mole has a story to tell, and each of those stories are a part of the anthology that is you. I don't care who you are, where you are from, what you look like, or what you have and haven't done. Your body is a part of you, of how you think of yourself, and if you hate your body, how can you love, and be happy with who you are?

If you hate your "baby weight" and struggle to lose it, maybe you need to see it more positively: you are a mother, and that is something to celebrate. Look positively on your road to a healthy body and take each day at a time. If your goal is too far away, it will feel impossible to achieve, and then you have lost it before you have even started to reach it.

Stop worrying about not having flat abs, slender thighs, or a straight nose. Don't despair over your receding hairline, small chest, or crows' feet. You are not cut from a cookie cutter! You are a unique and wonderful person!

I want for you to see yourself the way I see you. You are a person with hopes, dreams, aspirations, heartbreak, and fears. You have preferences, favourites, dislikes, and things that make you gag. Some of these will be reflected in your body. You should be proud of your scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles, because they show that you are a person with a story. Confidence is beautiful, and if you are happy with the story you have to tell, you should be confident in the beauty of the body that tells it.

I think your body is art. I think your body is beautiful.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Today I turned on the tv and there was a movie playing called Motherhood. The movie highlights a single day in the life of a writer-turned-wife-and-mother of two. This day is also the sixth birthday of her daughter, and revealed is all the stress, chaos, and emotions that go with motherhood for this particular woman. Now, I only caught the last 45-minutes or so of the movie, but I found that although the script is about being a mom, really it is about life.

Motherhood is about accepting the limitations of time and energy, which stretch beyond you, even if sometimes it feels they could consume you. Search for and hold on to your own true self.

If you lose that, what kind of mother can you be?

Things are always changing, no matter how much we might want things to stay the same. You could take a picture of your kids every single day, and every single day, they'd just be getting older.

That's a fact. A heartbreaking fact, but still a fact.

So seize your days and dwell in them fully. Look to your children because they know how to inhabit brief periods of time with extreme passion. And for nothing more, really, than the sake of those moments. They can help you remember that, if you only slow down and let them.

Feel fortunate, because chances are good you actually might be.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Heartbreak in any form is such a simple thing.

There is no reasoning with it, no pleading, begging, or bartering to make it go away. The pain is unrelenting. When your heart is first broken it feels like labour pains, except backwards. You have already experienced the beautiful miracle, and now it is gone, starting with an explosion of agony. Then, the miracle, in your memories, becomes a curse.

There are frequent moments of torture, when you see something that reminds you of the person; nothing simple, like a photograph (you've already hidden all of those), but a t-shirt, a book, a toothbrush. These moments feel like lightning has struck your heart; it clenches, burns, cripples you.

So you keep busy.

You try to keep busy, so your brain doesn't think about the one you loved, because as soon as you do, you can think of nothing else. You would become a useless mass of agony. You read or watch mindless television until you're so exhausted that you crash into a dreamless sleep.

Because the dreams are a whole new kind of hell.

Sometimes you relive the tearing of your heart over and over in a restless night of searing pain. Worse are the beautiful dreams. The reliving of the beautiful moments, the most loving and fulfilling of them, and then you wake up and it is like living that first moment of separation all over again. Dreams are complete torture, so you avoid them. Dreams and memories have become the enemy.

So you keep busy.

You force yourself to never think of that person, in the desperate hope that the pain will end. There will still be lightning flashes of pain: their name belonging to a stranger, an errant photograph, a favourite colour. The flashes are unexpected now and you catch you breath at the stab of pain.

In this time you may have learned how to smile again. You may forget your pain for an instant when something makes you laugh. You pretend to heal for the sake of others, and sometimes you are surprised that in pretending, over time, some form of healing truly has taken place. The moments of stabbing pain have become aches, throbs, or clenches, but the crippling wounds in your heart have dimmed.

This may never, ever, stop.

Sometimes the pain is eased by the love of others: family, friends, a lover. Sometimes it must be new family, new friends, or a new lover. Basking in these can sooth the wounds of a broken heart, and allow for love to happen again. You can find delight in others, and, except for rare moments, have become happy and content. The ache may never fully leave, but you may have found a new miracle.

Unfortunately, hearts can be broken over again.

Friday, February 18, 2011

choose another valentine

I have disliked Valentine's Day since I was old enough to recognize that 'store-bought' cards were somehow more valuable than 'home-made' cards. I have rarely celebrated it since that time, decrying it as a useless holiday. I don't want my partner to have to show appreciation for our relationship on a specific day by buying jewelry, chocolate, or flowers. I dislike the social pressure that says "if you don't spend a lot of money on your woman on Feb 14th, you're a bad partner and she has to get mad at you." Ridiculous. While gifts can be a wonderful way of showing a person you appreciate them, or even that you were thinking of them, they should not be mandatory; it defeats the purpose altogether! The significance of a gift is diminished if your partner has to give you a new one every year. Each couple has their own romantic holiday over which they have complete control anyway: the Anniversary, whether they choose to celebrate it or not.

I'm not completely free of convention. I try celebrate my relationships throughout the year instead. If I could change Valentine's Day I would make it about love in general, not just for romantic love, and I'd veto the gift requirement. It would be about spending time with the people who mean the most to you: family and friends. I admit that I'm cynical, and not very romantic, but that's really just in the traditional sense. I melt at the unexpected, whether it's an unplanned visit or a spontaneous text/email/call, those are the things that tell me I am special to someone.

Unfortunately, I'm not very good at letting people know they are special to me. I let life keep me busy and some of the people I care about the most fall in the cracks. Although I hope that will be easier to change when I'm no longer in school, I really do need to get my priorities straight. I have grandiose plans and expectations of myself, and I guess we'll just have to wait and see if I can live up to my own expectations.