Letting Go

I am learning to let go with each breath.

Layers and layers of heavy weight lifting off my back

Floating through the atmosphere.

Layers of

Attachment

Abandonment

Anxiety

I am light as a feather.

Its so simple

Like blowing

Bubbles

Birthday Candles

Dandelions and watching white fluff flow joyfully through the air

Yet sometimes so difficult

To remember to breathe.

That Last Moment

You never know when that last moment is.
Remember all of the people who touched your life
Through moments of
Inspiration, beauty, vulnerability, challenge, connection?
And then
Like stars moving at great speeds (but too far for the eye to see)
Connections shift, and new constellations are born
Change is constant.
But if you never know when that last moment is,
How can you at least say good-bye with an open heart?

Seeing The Flowers

It took 44 years
And a global pandemic
To open my eyes
to see the flowers.
Blossoming everywhere I turn
Colours so brilliantly bright
My heart expands and rests in the stillness of bright sun.
Where have I been for 44 years?
Too hurried,
Too full of self-importance mixed with an undercurrent of constant anxiety
To be able to
See
Smell
Be
Feel
The moments of life unfolding.

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

Peaches will always remind me of you.
They were the only food you could hold down
When the cancer was making you so sick
The fruit so juicy, sweet and ripe
So
We spent our days together eating peaches
I rolled you out on the porch,
Sun rays warming our bodies
Your speech slurred from the medication
As you told me again that you loved me
Knowing that love was all that mattered.
These moments felt
Eternal and yet fleeting
With the intimate knowledge that this would end.

………………………..

Dear Dad,

You would have loved the party we threw for you.
You always loved a good party – delicious food, wine flowing, laughter and music
It was perfect
Except
For the fact that you weren’t there.
In the flesh at least
Were you there in the music?
………………

Dear Dad,

I’ve read so much Buddhist writing to try to understand
Impermanence and death, love, compassion and inter-being
But I still can’t help but ask myself
Where are you now?

Because I can’t believe that a spirit so alive (I can hear your voice)
Can truly be gone

So
I look for aliveness
Every moment
Every day
Are you just beneath my feet, in the purple flower that is blooming?
Are you above me in the birds chirping as they build their nest for their little family?
Are you out there in the water, in the waves crashing against the shore?

Water

I’m exploring water and our connection to this transparent, odorless, tasteless chemical made up of one oxygen and two hydrogen molecules. This is a year-long project, and possibly a 4-year long project as I explore each of the elements (water, air, earth and fire) as they relate to us in their multiplicities. I am going to jot down my thoughts, feelings and memories related to water and ponder the connections.

So this is just a start but I shared it with a friend and he really liked it so I thought I’d put it out into the virtual sphere, air, where ever words go these days…

Water

I fell into her arms, tears streaming down my cheeks
‘You are water’ she said to me
As she held me tight
…….
We spent our summer days swimming, floating and playing on boats
Flipping ourselves over in canoes and laughing
The Ottawa River holding our bodies afloat
The days sunny and long in front of us
Not a care in the world
Only when Grandma called ‘Lunchtime!’ did we leave the water
Running over the sand and up the hill in our bare feet, dripping wet
To grab a sandwich, stuffing our faces so fast so we could run back down to
The water
…….
I love the rain
The cold wet drops wake me up to my living in this body
In this day
In this moment
And your
eyes are even more beautiful
In the rain

Birds in Scarborough

I noticed the birds this morning on Markham

My drive to work, passing strip malls, concrete sidewalks and several Tim Hortons

My eyes wide, perspective shifted and the sky opened up to my

Seeing

The seagulls flying overhead

The hundreds of small birds clinging to the telephone wires, lined up across the intersection

The majestic bird with a wide wingspan and a peaceful spirit (is it a hawk, or an eagle?) soaring over all of us in our hustle and bustle

Did these birds arrive this morning, awakening Scarborough with their presence?

Or have they always been here, in their beauty and grace, but I have failed to notice?

All I do know if that my heart is a little more open this morning

Thankful for the birds.

Seeing, Hearing, Feeling Nature

“To understand love, we understand life. To be able to love, as subjects with feeling bodies, we must be able to be alive. To be allowed to be fully alive is to be loved. To allow oneself to be fully enlivened is to love oneself- and at the same time, to love the creative world, which is principally and profoundly alive.” – By Andreas Weber, in book Matter & Desire (p. 5)
Riverphoto
I’ve been spending a lot more time in nature, because when I am in nature, I feel utterly alive and connected to this living world. Of course, I am alive all the time (and so are you) and we are all connected, to each other and to our living world (our reciprocal breathing with trees is but one example). But I forget. In the hustle and bustle of my to-do lists, I forget how alive I am and the miracle of this. Nature helps me to remember.

With my full life of juggling parenting two kids and a busy job, I don’t have often have the luxury of time to find nature outside of the city. Of course, being in wild nature is awe-inspiring, and I have loved my opportunities for canoe trips or even snorkeling in the ocean with sea turtles. But I have discovered that nature is everywhere, when I step outside and pay attention. I now look/listen/feel for nature everywhere I go and every chance that I can be outside. And when I find nature, I stop, breathe and look/listen/feel and acknowledge our aliveness together. Nature smiles at me when I walk by a tree and the leaves dance playfully in the wind. Nature smiles at me when I look up at the sky (oh, how many years I have spent forgetting the sky!) and the clouds lazily drift by. Nature smiles at me when the birds sing from the bushes (now that I’m listening, there are birds everywhere singing so many songs!). I am learning to tune into my senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting) that I feel have been turned off (or way down low) for years.

I have discovered amazing nature at both of the college campuses where I work. At one campus, there is a magnificent ravine waterway with so much wildlife living there. I go there as often as I can, taking my shoes off to walk in the water, feeling the cold flow of the water through my toes and the soft slippery moss under my feet. I watch the ducks swimming, the heron fishing in the river, and even the occasional deer who shyly appears and then quickly retreats back into the forest. At the other campus, there is a small forest, with lots of wildlife living amongst the tall trees. I walk quietly and slowly in this forest, so as not to miss the beauty of life surrounding me. I try to embody Thich Nhat Hanh’s instructions for walking meditation: “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

One interesting tool that I have discovered helps me to really tune in with my senses, is my iPhone. I love capturing the moments of life in front of me through taking video on my iPhone. While there are so many things to say about how our phones distract us from being present, I have found that using my phone to take videos of nature has helped me to be still and present, to watch and listen. I also thoroughly enjoy watching the videos after the moment is over, to remember and reflect on that moment of life.

Here are two videos from my walks in the forest:
White Butterflies playing together – https://youtu.be/bVCQWue2BCo
Birds chirping through the sunlight – https://youtu.be/qBcG1FLO168

So, the next time you’re outdoors, I encourage you to stop, breathe and look/listen/feel. What nature do you see? What nature do you hear? What nature do you feel? And if you don’t feel nature, what nature do you want to feel? Lie down on the grass in front of your house, or lean against an old oak tree trunk. Give yourself permission to run in the rain or take your shoes off and feel the ground (or river) under your feet. Remember and celebrate that you are alive and living in a profoundly alive world.

A Sunday Morning in June

Oh, how I love the morning!
The sun, filtering through the leaves
The leaves whispering hallelujah, as they dance with the soft breeze
Breeze of wind, holiness embodied in air that I cannot grasp but coolness that tickles my skin
And the birds, oh the birds
Singing their songs, so many sounds, high melody mixed with rhythmic chatter and single-note chirps
A symphony in my yard that wakes me to this new day