Tag Archives: positive changes

The Domino Effect   

I wrote this back in January 2014.  I hope you don’t mind. I just couldn’t come up with a new post this week.  I hope I will be forgiven . . .

I want to say something profound and memorable.  I wanted my first full post of 2014 to be something people spoke about to each other for days and weeks.  And then I realized I had it all wrong.  It’s not about the words I use.  It’s not about how I feel about what I write.  It’s about reaching out from the isolation of my home to the world. We are not alone.  We never have been.

I’m a big believer in the importance of chance.  You meet a stranger on the street and you smile in an abstract, bored sort of way.  The person you smile at doesn’t realize you are bored and his spirits are lifted just a tiny bit and when he gets home to his wife, he’s kinder.  His wife spends a little longer getting dressed that night because she’s starting to believe she’s beautiful because her husband was kind.  She speaks gently to her child that night and he goes to sleep feeling loved.  The next day he goes to school and does exceptionally well on a test because he feels good about himself.  His teacher is thrilled that her problem student has done well and she feels better about herself thinking she’s the reason.  She goes home that night . . . All of this happened because one woman smiled at a stranger.  It’s a domino effect.

We live on this little blue world made of dirt and water and people.  There are a lot of us.  There are wars and hunger, violence and apathy.  Every day we deal with our own perceived inadequacies, our own diseases.  But there’s one thing we must never forget: somewhere, someone is in much worse shape than we are.  Somewhere, someone is watching their life blood seep through a gaping wound, alone and frightened.  Somewhere, someone is watching as a loved one slowly succumbs to a painful and deadly disease.  A woman is raped and beaten, killed.  A man is shot dead by a stranger for his empty wallet.  A woman feels the hands of a lover on her throat tightening. Children are shot by children, men and women are tortured, planes crash, people are dying of hunger, disease and greed.

You have a choice.  I have a choice.  We can give in, be victims and wallow in our own self-pity.  Or we can take what quality of life we have, embrace it, relish it, enhance it if we can, and live.  Reach out to the stranger next to you and smile.  We are all in this together

 

Par-ty!!

I’m going to have a party,

All by myself alone.

Would you like to join me?

From within your zone?

 

There’ll be party favours,

And drinks to sink a ship.

Dancing umm, I think that’s fine,

Unless of course I trip!

 

Music sure, there has to be,

Loud and with a beat.

And if I get too hungry,

Perhaps a little treat.

 

I know that it’s unusual,

To do this at a distance.

I wanted something different,

A path of least resistance.

 

Something has to change I think,

The world is so bizarre.

So, grab your hat and party shoes

And be a breakout star!

Amplexus

I have always found that the best way to get someone’s attention is to make them curious. “What IS that noise?” “What do you mean by that?”  “She did what with whom?”

Your curiosity is peaked isn’t it? The name of this post is actually the Latin word for hug. It is such a little word but it has huge implications. It implies love, affection, concern. It forces a connection between individuals or even groups. It is physical. And right now, we are living in a world that is telling us to be less physical. And the one thing I’m hearing over and over again is that people miss getting hugged.  That’s hugged not mugged! Although, some hugging can feel like a mugging. But I digress.

There is a movie I really enjoy called ‘Love, Actually’. There’s a scene, I think it’s at the beginning of the movie as well as at the end, where you see large groups of people walking up to individuals, to love ones and hugging them. I miss a hug. I miss shaking hands. I miss getting a kiss on the cheek. And I will continue to miss all of this if it means that I am protecting the people I love.

We’ve entered into a new reality where we are learning to show our affection, our caring, without physical touch. It may not be quite as satisfying but we can make it count. We have to. I love my family but I have not been in their physical presence for some time. And I’m okay with that. I love them enough to stay away. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I’m absolutely miserable about it! But I’m a tough old sod and I would rather do the right thing for the right reason.

Let’s be serious. Most of us are not aching all that much. I have food, shelter, entertainment. I am not suffering. My mental faculties are being amused and challenged. Quite honestly, I’m simply inconvenienced. And it seems to me that the people that are mostly inconvenienced are the ones that are complaining the loudest. What about the people on the front lines that are quite literally putting their lives in danger to protect us, care for us? What about the people with loved ones in the hospital that they can’t get to? There are horror stories all over the world but I’m not one of them.

So, I’m going to let my hair grow a little longer. I’m not going to go to the dentist or the mall or the cinema. I’m going to keep away from friends and family. And I’m going to stop complaining about it. I am inconvenienced, nothing more.

 

Ethically Sourced

 

I recently watched a commercial that talked about ethically sourced coffee. I am watching way too much TV if I’m actually paying attention to the commercials! Those who know me realize that I have a slightly different perspective on the rest of the world than most people. You might say I’m driving down the road only slightly off the curb. Of course, I looked up what ‘ethically sourced’ meant.  It simply means:  “ . . sourcing ingredients and materials in a responsible and sustainable manner that considers the people and environment throughout the process.” But what about the bean?

My brain took little detour and I had visions of potential Coffee Gatherers approaching a bush/tree and politely asking permission to gather those live beans, submit them to long and laborious treatments and then crushing them to a powder so that millions of people could partake of their lifeblood with the comment “aaahhh! Damn good cup of coffee Ethel!”

I know, I know, I am being silly. But I think we all need a little silly in our lives. And I don’t drink coffee. I drink tea. I hope it too is ethically sourced or at least asked politely. And then I started to think a little more.

I am ethically sourced. My parents met, dated, married and the rest I will leave to your imagination. They were polite in all the years I knew them so I assume they were in the beginning as well. They’re Canadian of course they were polite! Ha ha ha ha!

And then there’s the question of ethics. How do we determine what is ethical? Moral, virtuous, righteous, noble. These are all attributes that we aspire to but that not everyone can claim to be. There are far too many examples of those who are not being ethical.  And some days it only seems to be getting worse. I was raised by good people. I know the difference between right and wrong. I understand that there are others out there with the same background as mine and others a different one but we all want the same thing. We want to feel joy, safety, love. It should be a standard for everyone but unfortunately it is not.

We do love to use big words, important words, meaningful words. But they are words. As powerful as they may be, they pale before actions. We need to see ethical actions for everyone. Well, yes, the bean too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Moment of Introspection

Late this morning I was on my balcony feeling a little sorry for myself.  There was no real need. I’m healthy, I am safe and I have all my needs met, except for one. I enjoy spending time on my own. I can write when I’m alone. I can paint when I’m alone. I can watch TV or read. At my fingertips I have the entire world on the Internet. But there’s one thing I cannot have:  people. I miss people. I missed seeing them on the street and in the shops. But not seeing them is a small price to pay for keeping us healthy. It’s the least I can do.

As I was looking out over my balcony, I was aware that I was alone. There was no one in sight. This is a busy intersection and there are usually a lot of people and cars and noise. But today I could hear clearly the birds chirping away in, what I can only assume is, a song of joy. They are not competing with the fumes generated by cars or the cacophony of voices that accompanies any large group of people. The air is clear and the faint breeze is sweet.

At a distance I can hear a car. But it is not close. There are no planes in the air or trains in the background.  A Security car has just stopped outside my bank. I can see him. He’s all alone. He only stays for a moment and then leaves. A solitary car pulls up into the empty parking lot and I can see through its windows that there are two passengers.  I watch as she don’s gloves before she enters the empty bank. There’s a bank machine there. Within moments they too were gone. I can see birds flying free and unencumbered. This is a moment of introspection.

People are worried and rightly so. The last pandemic of this magnitude was in 1918. It lasted from January 1918 to December 1920. Infected 500 million people, about one quarter of the world’s population at the time. 102 years ago. Have we learned enough to combat this one? Over 1 million people in the world have been infected so far. Out of 7 billion!

Church bells are ringing in support of those on the front lines. I see videos and hear stories of people coming out onto their balconies or at the end of their driveways and singing. They’re making noise. They are rejoicing in being alive. They are refusing to give up or to give in. We will survive this. Our planet will have time to heal and we will have time to take stock.  What really is important in our lives, in our world? Maybe now we’ll learn the truth.

We are not isolating ourselves; we are distancing ourselves. It is a huge difference. And that is what will keep us together. I hope it will bring us closer as individuals and as a species. Be well.

Keep Me Posted

 

Lord keep us posted,

On the plan that you had.

I know you are brilliant,

But things have gone bad.

 

There are locusts and fires,

And floods and a plague.

Forgive me dear Lord,

Your details are vague.

 

I pray and I praise,

I know others do too.

These are desperate times

What more can we do?

 

We must come together,

Perhaps when we’re one.

Our path will be clear,

And this evil be done.

 

Forgive me dear Lord,

For questioning your way.

In panic I drifted,

But I knew you would stay.

 

Your word will be done,

Our lesson was learned.

Our future is forward,

Our sanity returned.

17 Seconds

With all the changes that are happening all over the world, I remembered this post.  It seemed appropriate and the memory made me smile.  Originally posted in August 2019.

17 Seconds

 

That’s it, 17 seconds.  Count them, go ahead: 1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000, 4-1000, 5-1000 ………Done? All of them? Well, now guess what, phfst, snap, whoosh.  Those 17 seconds no longer exist except perhaps in your memory and even that will fade.

Now a length of time measured in seconds doesn’t seem all that noteworthy, at least not to those who have a potential life span well into 90 years.   Mayflies only live for 24 hours so 17 seconds would be important.  And it should be to you and me as well.  Minds can be changed in 17 seconds, wars can be initiated in 17 seconds, a lingering kiss can . . . Well you get the picture.  A lot can happen in 17 seconds.

It takes much less time for a life to pass on, for love to bloom (ok maybe in some cases it’s only lust but it is ‘a blooming!).  We spend so much time organizing, planning and cajoling and yet sometimes it is the unexpected hiccups that are the most memorable.

I once had several guns pointed directly at me.  It seemed to last for a lifetime as visions of my oh so young life flashed brightly across my mind’s eye.  It probably only lasted for a few seconds but OH MY WORD!!!

It was a dark and stormy night . . . Ok, ok, yes, it was dark and cold.  I was on my way to a night class in Anthropology.  Mid-eighties, winter. I was minding my own business, head down, when out of the corner of my eye I see dozens of huge men with drawn guns racing towards me, directly towards me.  Someone screamed “FREEZE” and I froze, solid.  I don’t think I dared to breathe.

Now I am told that memory is a fragile thing, often tempered by television, movies, news articles, even suggestions from other people. Well, that may be true but I am here to tell you my truth.  I wasn’t afraid.  Honestly.  I don’t think I had the time to consciously form a thought.  I was frozen, remember.  The officers (only 3 or 4) raced past me and into the building I was adjacent to.  Fortunately, one of them came back to release me from my frozen state.  I continued on to my class and only later discovered what had happened.  It seemed some unsavoury characters were hiding in plain sight on my University Campus. Pretty smart when you think about it.  The police were smarter.

Many years later I joined a Police Department.  Did that encounter unconsciously point me in that direction?  17 seconds can change your life.

And one thing can be counted on to be absolutely true:  Those 17 seconds will never come again.  So, use them wisely.

Trust

I Trust in the Lord

His word it is good

To pray every day

I know that I should

 

But I am at fault

In the eyes of the church

A silly old sinner

Who continues to search

 

I want to know truth

To believe what is said

Then life interferes

Too many lies am I fed

 

But faith is a given

Sent from above

I just must believe

In the power of love

 

I trust in my Lord

And believe in His word

I pray every day

May my sins be deferred

 

I really don’t like pink

Having said that, I do like some shades.  More importantly, I love what it stands for. The colour pink has been adopted by the cancer society to promote solidarity and bring awareness to the world.

Recently, a woman I admire greatly, told us that she is once again dealing with breast cancer. She overcame it once and I’m a firm believer that she will overcome it a second time. In her honour I painted a pink rose. I hope I have done it justice.

Cancer is a word that will send shivers up the spine of most people. My family has not escaped its tendrils. My Father overcame skin cancer, his Mother – throat cancer, his Brother – bone marrow. I have had two breast cancer scares. In each case the lump turned out to be benign. But for several days, in each case, I was left on tender hooks.

Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence. And yet the fear it instills . . . I have seen friends that have walked the path of chemo and radiation and whatever cocktail is necessary to eradicate their tumor. It is not an easy walk. But it is one that inspires those who witness it. The strength that is required is unimaginable to us who have not experienced it. The very least I can do is paint a pink rose.

Our world is presently in the throes of fear over a virus. We talk about the number infected and we talk about the number that have died. Some good news has recently been discovered: children are not as affected as adults. What is rarely talked about is that the majority of people get better. It is no consolation for the family and friends of those who did not but it does provide a little hope in a world that seems hopeless.

I am confident that we will find a cure, a vaccine. But I am not confident about the aftermath. So much fear. So much distrust. Will people once again shake hands, hug each other, trust each other? I understand the need for distance now but I hope that we will have the strength to once again reach out to each other when this is over. And I do believe it will be over, one day. I wonder what colour the ribbon will be for COVID-19?

Lesson Learned

But is it?  As a species we have only been aware for a short time.  Archeology and anthropology are disciplines that delve into the scientific study of human activity.  I am sure some would say we have progressed amazingly fast but perhaps too fast.  We barely have time to understand our innovations before they are replaced by something better, faster, stronger . . .

In the seventies I wrote a poem called “In The Year Two Thousand”.  It was probably written for an English Class.  I don’t remember how it was received but it stayed with me.  Just a few lines:

We are playing with explosives

New technologies are so powerful

That they alone could abolish society

We are so excited by the next ‘new’ thing we don’t stop to question what we are doing.  That may be a mistake.  If your boat springs a leak, fix that before you invent a new propulsion system.

We have survived World Wars, pandemics, and terrorists’ attacks and we are still here. Why have we not fixed the issues that led to these problems?  Hatred, poverty, diseases are rampant and yet we are excited by a new phone.   A phone.  Yes, it does allow us to keep in touch with each other and it is a great tool.  I am afraid it has become a tether.

It really is only one section of society that is connected to the cell phone. A great deal of our world has neither the technology or the resources to support that technology. A great deal of our world is only concerned with living. They are concerned with finding enough food and shelter and safety. We have become complacent in far too much of our world. With complacency comes arrogance.

But we live in a world that is rich with resources. We live in a world that is wealthy beyond belief with raw talent. There is such an incredible beauty here right in front of us and yet too many focus solely on a 4 x 6” screen with pretty lights. Have we gotten our priorities skewed?

More than any other era, we are living in a time when almost anything is possible. Almost. There is one thing that seems to be lacking, the one thing that could change our world immeasurably, one thing.  And it is not something brand-new. It is not something exotic and rare. Will. One little word. The problem is it is more than just a word. It is action, it is a force and it is an idea. And we all know there is no greater weapon then an idea. Once it is entrenched it cannot be stopped.

But our will has been subverted by pretty shining things that distract us from the problems we need to fix.

Both young and old will have to brave

The pressures of the future

As we walk blinded into darkness…..