Monday, April 21, 2008

13 years of training... you'd never know it!

With the spring thaw, come the inevitable spoils of winter, everywhere that Maggy and I venture. Who knows what those wonderful smelling masses once were, but they sure are incredibly compelling. So much so, that the same 13 1/2 yr old golden retriever who appears to be 'slowing down' to observers, drags me relentlessly here, there and here again across the park with 75 pounds of sheer determination and stubborness. I've given up letting Maggy off leash for this juncture as she will spend her entire walk time scavenging and finding unmentionables to consume or in which to roll (yuck).

When 'heel,' 'leave it,' 'come,' 'now,' 'this way,' and 'no' once garnered the appropriate responses, not so much right now. This is not a new phenomenon in springtime, however the strength of conviction that still reigns is unexpected. When I find myself regularly paying attention to Maggy's breathing or gait or energy level and administering oodles of naturopathic concoctions, this burst of independence and strength is both a shock and a welcome surprise. Though some better manners would be nice too.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love

Thanks to the recommendation of my friend Mika, I've just started reading this best-selling book and am enjoying it immensely. As anyone who has gone through troubling relationship woes or personal transition knows, healing and growth often do take place in these stages. Physical, spiritual, emotional.

I've just finished the "Eat" section, in which author Elizabeth Gilbert nurses her physical and sensual self back to health in Italy, while savouring the language, food, wine and beauty that is everywhere. While Italy provides the ambience, it's the friends, food and fun that help Gilbert come out of the depths of depression that drove her on a year-long journey of self discovery. Her account is heartwarming and humourous as well as inspiring. And it reminds me to feel much gratitude for my own journey.

A few years ago, my first foray into getting over a difficult breakup included getting back in touch with myself. That's when I was joined in my home by a very good friend, Venetia, as roommate, who brought along her love of life, laughter, cooking and socializing and we often found ourselves that first summer sipping wine and enjoying the sunshine on our deck - as though we were on pertpetual vacation. This focus on fun and food and all things light was just what the doctor ordered. As well, Venetia's passion for nurturing the health and wellness of others was my introduction to many of the west coast's health-based and spiritual offerings including aromatherapy, yoga and massage. I also began working with a personal trainer, playing softball and practicing yoga - all which helped me to reconnect with myself, my intuition and my physical wellbeing. Something like what Gilbert's time in Italy accomplished for her.

I look forward to reading the next section entitled "Pray" where she embarks on a spiritual journey to India.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Embrace your inner child

One of the wonderful things I've realized is that through words written and correspondence received over the years, I have a tangible connection to Debrah's wisdom and spirit. A vibrant and committed wellness proponent, she was also very open about her own struggles, lessons and path - whether sharing her latest inspiration in yoga class, helping a client explore their life plan in coaching, or trusting a friend with a business challenge. I loved that about her.

She also expressed many of her ideas in several books, articles and on her website. One of her writings featured the decision to pursue more fun in her life, to break away from being such a mature, professional, restricted adult:

"... My creativity was buried beneath layers of responsible adult behaviour... how dull!
To reclaim my creative inner child I began to watch children at play. I heard them sing out their laughter with no heed for who might be listening... or frowning. I watched them run and jump and skip without any regard for smudged clothing, disheveled hair or proper behaviour. Their faces beamed with vast reserves of joy and giggles long forgotten in the maturity of adulthood. They have so much to share if only we allow their wisdom to touch us... their innocence to soften our worried view of the world.

Then I let my creative inner child run and jump and skip, too. We played on the swings and climbed the inside of an old tree trunk (I got thoroughly soaked and smudged in the rain - it was so worth it!). I ventured further outside my box... stayed up all night to see the sun rise, watched several movies in a row until 3 am with a girlfriend, lazed in bed until noon on a sunny day 'just because', enjoyed red wine without guilt for the first time in a dozen years, indulged in exotic foods simply to tingle my tastebuds, dug out my watercolour pencils to draw for the first time in years, sang out loud with the windows down in my car, listened to new kinds of music... all for the sheer joy of it!

As a result I feel freer, more playful, more open, more creative, more loving. While I am not advocating that you disintegrate your health with nasty new habits in the name of fun, I am suggesting you experiment. Give yourself the pleasure of discovering what lives outside the box you have declared home for your spirit. Take your inner child to the playground... join the fun. Cook something unusual. Drive a different way to work. As the author Sark says, "invite someone dangerous to tea." Use your good china. Wear a new colour. Change your hairstyle. Go to an unusual play or movie. Finger paint. Let your creative spirit begin to move a bit more freely and stand back to watch what shifts in your life. You will be happier and, as idealistic as it sounds, so will the world around you. One more cheerful person on the planet contributes to all our well-being!..."*

With spring in the air, it feels like a very good time to embrace this suggestion. :)

* pp 28-29, Christmas Musings, 2005, Debrah Rafel

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Why are we silent?

A compelling video quoting the UN Declaration of Human Rights asks this challenging question. The situation in Tibet has been tolerated for far too long.


Sun's out, snow's almost gone, smells great, and birds are singing like crazy.

Time to play!