Tag Archives: understanding


This a blast from my past, March 2019 in fact.  I hope you enjoy it.

Hubris, It’s a funny old word, not widely used but I think we see way too many examples of it every day.  The Great Sage GOOGLE says:




  1. excessive pride or self-confidence.

I am a big believer in confidence. We need to be confident in our daily activities, in our workplace and in ourselves. But sometimes that confidence becomes inflated and the result is hubris. And the way in which we experience it, can sometimes be hilarious.

Have you ever been in a bar and spent your time watching what the other people are doing? Of course, one must do this with at least a beer in hand so as not to appear to be a pervert. Put away your camera phone and I would suggest that you not take notes. As you were watching them, the bartender is quite possibly taking note of you. Try explaining this to the police!

But I digress. In any large group of people, especially where alcohol is involved, they’ll always be at least one peacock. An individual who believes that he, or she, is the pinnacle of human evolution. They will prance, yes I said prance, around expecting adulation. They never for one moment think that they are anything less than perfection.

Some people are able to go through their entire lives believing in their perfection. It is quite sad when reality sets in. But not unexpected. After all, Society is the one who feeds in to this idea of hubris. We don’t let our children see reality. We coddle them and praise them, as we should, but they also need to know that failure does happen. We need to understand failure in order to appreciate success. I read a story many years ago about a grandfather who took his small grandson skating. When they were on the ice the older man lifted his arms and said “fall down” the child did just that. This happened several times in a row and the child asked why his beloved grandfather was making him fall down. The answer was simple: “You need to learn that it’s okay to fall down. When you’re not afraid of failure you can truly succeed.”

Our children need to learn that it’s okay to fail. It is part of the equation which leads to success. You are not ‘less than’ if you don’t succeed the first time, you’re simply on the learning curve. We need to let people, children, know what failure is like. Otherwise, we will create a society with way too much hubris and not enough compassion.

The lessons we learn as children mold us into the adults we will become.


Quite a Start

I thought I felt a hand,

Upon my shoulder rest.

I never would have thought . . .

Perhaps I should have guessed.


I turned to see this person,

Who quietly had approached.

I had in mind a word,

To be used as I reproached!


But then I had a feeling,

A joy within my heart.

No one was behind me,

That gave me quite a start!


Then I felt a presence,

It started with a hug.

Then I felt a blessing,

And my heart a little tug.


Just before me stood,

What I could not see.

But my soul knew differently,

It was the Holy Three.


I was in their arms,

Safe within their love.

They will always be,

A presence from above.


Give Thanks

Give thanks for the person,

You are here today.

Tomorrow is uncertain,

Next week is unclear.


Give thanks for the gifts,

That are given your way.

Remember your giving,

Should not be from fear.


Give thanks for the time,

you still have to stay.

Value your selves,

And keep your friends near.


Give of yourself,

In your own private away.

And there is your thanks,

On their faces so dear

A Word of Difference

Not a word is spoken,

An idea given voice,

That there is not someone,

Who does not understand.


Do not leave them out,

Alone there in the cold,

Beckon with a word,

Other than the first.


Patience is a virtue,

And we all need some time,

To understand each other,

And make our meanings clear.


Our differences and our fears,

Are barriers to the truth,

But that which makes us different,

Also makes us strong.

Rose Coloured Glasses

When we all started wearing masks there was an issue for people who wore glasses. They fogged up. Yes, it can be rectified but it takes a little thought and I was feeling lazy. My glasses are for distance so I don’t wear them all the time. I decided to invest in a pair of sunglasses that were non-prescription. I could wear them further down my nose so there was no fogging involved. I nipped into the pharmacy and bought an inexpensive pair. Well, I got more than I paid for.

We’ve all heard about looking through rose-coloured glasses at the world. It means we see the good not the bad but it’s not necessarily considered a good thing.  The implication is that we’re living in a fantasy world. And yes, sometimes I am! Seriously, with the world we’re living in right now! But I digress. When I looked through my glasses the world wasn’t rose-colored, more sepia toned and it made me wonder…

People really do see what they want to see. We judge based on our history, how we have been treated and sometimes it’s not all good. When I see a group of young men laughing and walking down the street, I don’t automatically think they’re up to no good. In my world they’re just a bunch of kids out having a good time. Because I have never experienced any of the horrors that others have. That colours my thinking. And the way I look at the world.

I have been told that I wear rose-coloured glasses because I look for the positive. I may be aware of the negative but I don’t have to fixate on it. I will try to correct it if I can but I don’t spend my life worrying about it.  That is an action that has no value. Why would anybody want to focus on it?

We live in trying times. These are the moments that can make us or break us.  Ordinary heroes are standing next to each other performing extraordinary acts of kindness.  In the beginning of this pandemic, we pulled together, we sang from our balconies and we cared about each other. Now apathy has crept in and we are trying to return to a past that no longer exists. Covid is here to stay. So are we. How we manage to coexist remains to be seen. I’m counting on us. All of us.

Thou Shall Not Kill

Now I bet you are wondering why I am stating the obvious. Sometimes the obvious needs to be pointed out again and again and again. Some people just don’t get it. In modern society we need rules, we need laws to convince people to behave appropriately. How sad is that?  Having laws means that we have a template to punish people when they circumvent what we consider to be correct behaviour. No, I am not going to regale you with a rant about how ridiculous some laws are. No, I’m just going to focus on one that I find perplexing.

Do not kill.

OK, that sounds easy enough, don’t kill.  Our laws in Canada do elucidate the word kill:  no killing of people.  But like every rule there are exceptions.  I once asked people if they had the courage to kill if it was warranted.  If it was to protect others, would you have the strength to take another life?  I don’t know that I do but I hope I could. I hope I would have the strength to protect another even with deadly force. I wouldn’t like it, hopefully. But if the moment ever came . . .

In my life I’ve probably killed thousands, tens of thousands. They just weren’t people. I’ve killed flies, spiders, microbes, bacteria. All these things were living and I ended them. Oh, but I have done so much more! I have killed the mood; I have killed a thought. With malice aforethought I have killed ideas. And I’m not the only one.

We seem to use that word indiscriminately. We have lessened its importance so that it is almost meaningless. We rant about somebody we dislike by saying that we could kill them. We don’t mean actually but are we so desensitized to the word that it is becoming dangerous.? We have video games, movies and even comic books that show various forms of killing and even encourages it. When it happens in real life, are we surprised? Should we be surprised? I don’t know. But I do find it frightening. When did the value of life become so insignificant?

I do not like to kill. Even buggy creatures. For years there has been a spiderweb in one corner of my balcony. As long as they stay in that corner, I will not disturb them. If there is a fly in my apartment I will try and coerce it to leave.  I do not like insects but I understand that they have a purpose in our world. They are part of the chain that makes up the whole.  But if you are a mosquito . . . you and your brethren, you will die. Bwaha ha ha!




The catch word for today is ‘Transparency”. People think everything should be transparent, we should know it all. I am here to add my voice to that conversation and tell you… No thanks. I don’t want to know what goes into making my sausage that I am thoroughly enjoying. I don’t want to know the machinations that were used to get aid to those who require it. I just want to know that it has happened.

We live in a world where everyone seems to want to get ahead by stepping on other people. OK not everyone! But enough that we are concerned. We should be. And we want to know what’s going on to ensure that that doesn’t happen. I understand that. And I agree. But too much information simply muddies the water. I trust in the people we put in place to protect us. Call me naïve if you wish.  There’s enough going on in my life for me to worry about that it’s difficult to worry about, well, everybody else. And quite honestly some of it is none of my business.

I have used celebrities before as an example and unfortunately, they are the favourite punching bag. I don’t need to know everything about them. I don’t need to know their eating habits or their toiletry practices. IT IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS! It shouldn’t be anybody else’s either. I don’t want some stranger knowing what is in my medicine cabinet. So why does the gutter media think they have the right to snoop so intrusively? I don’t know. But I do know that there is a certain transparency that should not be exploited.

I once watched a YouTube bit about a transparent public toilet. (It’s in Japan) when no one is in the room it is transparent. When someone comes in and locks the door it turns opaque. It is done to dispel the concept of dirty, smelly bathrooms. With my luck I would be halfway through my use of it with my knickers around my ankles and it would turn transparent. Seriously. I don’t have that kind of courage. But it highlights the whole concept of transparency. Sometimes it is a good thing. But not always.

It is not transparency we require; it is accountability. We need to know that what is important will be taken care of and what is not important will be dismissed. The trick is knowing the difference. There are things that once seen can never be unseen. Things once said that can never be unsaid. We need to be careful and we need to be accountable. If we take responsibility for things that we have done or said then we have a much better chance of being accepted for who we are and what we believe. At least that is what I believe.

The Truth in Advertising

“WE SELL STEEPED TEA!” They make this sound as if it’s something special. Steeping is simply the process in which you turn water into tea. (Now if they could turn that water into wine . . .)  Or the commercial about how they sell beef that has been ‘grass fed’. What do you think they’ve been eating?

Advertisers understand that if you say something loud enough and with enough enthusiasm you can get a lot of people excited about it. Even if they don’t know what it is. And who can remember the jingles from your childhood about food? I remember more than I like to admit to. It’s the jingles that get people excited. And excited people buy stuff.  There are some truly amazing commercials out there that are touching and poignant and memorable. The polar bears, the Clydesdale horses, the puppy dog lost in the rain. You don’t forget these commercials.

“POP-A-MATIC POP A DICE!  POP A SIX AND YOU MOVE TWICE! I don’t remember the game but I can’t stop thinking about the jingle. Or how about:  “MY BOLOGNA HAS A FIRST NAME . . .” That’s how I learn to spell bologna!  I don’t hear many jingles anymore, at least not memorable ones. Commercials nowadays seem to be loud and annoying. And like so many people, I tape everything so I can fast forward through the commercials. I remember when I enjoyed the commercials, I was curious and entertained. But maybe the world has changed and it’s not quite so kind anymore.

I understand the job of an advertiser is to sell things. Hopefully in ways that are not illegal, immoral or unethical. That doesn’t say anything about telling the truth. But one can lie without actually doing so. It’s called obfuscation. I like this one a lot. Let me give you an example. A friend goes to a high price hairdresser to have her haircut for the first time. She spends 30 minutes in consultation before the scissors are even approached. Two hours later she comes out and is absolutely thrilled with her new do! And she asks you the inevitable… “What do you think?” Now do you tell her the truth: that her hair looks like it’s been cut by an eight-year-old on crack cocaine who has a twitching problem? Or do you obfuscate? “Wow”!  That could be a good wow or a could be an OMG wow. She’s not gonna know. Then you could say something like: “That’s a new look for you!” It’s all in the delivery and you have to sell it. This woman is happy with her hair, why would I want to change that. It may not be my taste but I’m not the important one here, she is.

To advertisers the buyers are not the important ones.  The clients that are selling the product, they are the ones that matter. They are the ones signing the cheques. So, we have that old adage: BUYER BEWARE! And that warning seems to apply to everything these days. Don’t take anything at face value and assume somebody’s trying to get something from you. What does that say about us?


The Last Christmas Gift

Elsie looked around the room. There was carnage everywhere. A tornado passing through would have left less damage. Bodies were strewn throughout the mayhem. She chuckled. Just another Christmas morning with children.

One of the bodies stirred. A little fist came up from beneath the wrapping paper it had been curled under. A pile of boxes sneezed. Another child was stirring. Elsie thought perhaps there were a few more to come. But she knew the fresh smell of coffee would probably wake all the adults up. Sure enough, the love of her life wandered into the room, his hands wrapped around a hot steamy mug. With no hesitation he handed it to Elsie and returned from whence he came to get another.

A few more adults showed up with coffee at hand and a tray of hot chocolate for the children. It was Christmas morning. It was after the frenzy of opening gifts. After breakfast. Everyone had been up so early for the main event that the naps became inevitable. The children slept curled around their newfound bounty while the adults found more comfortable settings. Elsie didn’t need a nap. She wanted to watch her charges. There is nothing more spiritual then the breath of a sleeping child, safe and secure in her surroundings.

There was a different feeling in the room as everyone gathered once again. They all knew what was coming. Except for one. Malcolm was new to the group, to the family. He was still getting used to the Western dynamic. He had been born into soul crushing poverty in another country. His family had been killed in a local war that no one understood.  He was alone. But he had been found by people who cared and so began his journey to this moment.

“Malcolm,” send Elsie, “There is one more Christmas gift for the family. That includes you. But you don’t know the history so I’m going to tell you how this all started.”

Malcolm set up straighter, he was interested to know how things worked here and he was curious about his new family. So, he listened very carefully.

Elsie continued: “When my Great, Great, Great Grandfather came to this country he was very poor. But his parents believed they could find a better life, a better future in the New World. They risked everything. The first few years were hard but they were a hard-working family. That first Christmas looked like it was going to be pretty bleak. There was barely enough money for food let alone presents. But there was a wise patriarch and he refused to be sad. He said the goose had wandered across the street and died. His beloved wife said nothing as she picked the buck shot out of the breast of their Christmas goose.

They said grace and gave thanks for their bounty. The light was dim and the curtains were thin but they knew that others were worse off so they gave thanks. And that’s when my ancestor brought out the Last Christmas Gift.”

Elsie sat back in her chair and smiled.  She looked at the faces around her beaming with anticipation. She loved this part of Christmas.

“Ever since then we have honoured the tradition that was started so many years ago.”

As if by magic a small beautifully wrapped package appeared in her lap. There were many ooohs and aaaahs from her audience. And not just the children!

With studied patience Elsie peeled back the wrapping paper. And then with a flick of her wrist a small wooden carving appeared in the palm of her hand. It was a little drummer boy.

Elsie smiled. “Would anyone like to tell me what gift this is?”

Malcolm looked confused. He didn’t know the story of the Little Drummer Boy. And then something miraculous happened. A little tow-hair girl stood up and walked to Malcolm. She wrapped her little arms around him and said:

“His gift is to us all. He was a little drummer boy who had no presents to give the newborn King, Jesus Christ so he played his drum. He gave all he had in his heart and it was the most precious gift of all. That’s what we all need to do. And it will be precious.”


The end





The Fragility of Life

Right now, more than at any other time in my life, I understand just how fragile life is. I’ve always known that a life could be snuffed out at any time for a myriad of reasons but this last 18 months has proven even more devastating. Over 5 million people have been lost to a tiny virus we can’t understand or see except through the eyes of our scientists. Yes, life is fragile.

Perhaps even more delicate, more tenuous is the life from within. I’m not talking about the bearing of children, I’m talking about our psyche, our feelings, our identity. People talk about mental health a lot these days and it is a huge issue but so many of us do not talk about it when referring to ourselves. I have not suffered severely during this pandemic. I am safe, I am entertained and I am well. That doesn’t mean I’m not suffering.  But when so much of the world is truly in such dire straits from loss of family, friends, jobs, protection, the list is endless. These people are suffering. I feel unworthy to use the word.

I am sad. I’m becoming apathetic. I am far too comfortable in my hermit mode and I know all it takes is for me to put on a mask and walk outside my door. But I don’t want to. I listen to my books and I watch TV. I’m not contributing anything. The fact that I have set up a schedule for my blog forces me to stick to a routine and that helps. I talk to friends on the phone and video chat. I’m not a complete isolationist. But I’m living too much in my mind and while it’s a very fine mind it is not where I should be. So, I’m writing about it. Think of this as a gentle rant.

I am uncomfortable in crowds so I don’t go out often. I’ve been out for lunch a few time with friends and I have enjoyed myself. I run errands when I need to and I’ll pick up a few treats occasionally. I haven’t been inside a bank since March 2020. I haven’t been to the mall in at least the same amount of time.  I’m not hiding from life, I’m just keeping it within the walls of my apartment. And I’m not the only one. There are others out there also feeling sad and perhaps a little overwhelmed. They don’t say anything because they don’t think they are genuinely suffering.  I disagree. When you get angry for no reason or cry for no reason, you are suffering. You are not alone! None of us are. That’s the first step, completed. Second step: try something new. Learn a new language, try writing your thoughts down, join a chat room or call a friend. They may be feeling exactly the same things you are. I hope the day will come soon when we fear less and hug more. I’ll see you there.