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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lean into it

Posted by Dawn-Ann on September 26, 2012

“Lean into it. It means the outcome doesn’t matter. What matters is that you were there for it. Whatever it is. Good or bad.” ~ Quote from the movie People Like Us.

This is one of my newest mottos. Lean into it.

To me it means more than just I was there for it. It means I leaned into the occasion / event / catastrophe / happening and hung on for the ride.

It means I paid attention and squeezed every ounce of learning I could from it.

It means I laughed and/or cried fully, openly and honestly at all the right moments.

It means I grabbed life with both hands and lived it, truly LIVED it, every moment, to the max.

May I always “lean into” all that life throws to me, from now on.

Knocking down preconceived notions

Posted by Dawn-Ann on August 22, 2012

I’m training myself to ask questions that buck the norm. To see the world from a different perspective. To challenge my current ways of viewing things.

For instance, What if there really is no God and we are actually part of someone’s dream? A bad dream, at that.

What if the government is really a force for good and has only our best interests at heart?

Anyway…

Today, when I stopped into a hair salon I had never visited before, I had already decided to take whatever I got with grace and good humor and learn from the experience.

That isn’t to say I wasn’t a little nervous when I first saw my stylist.

He was a young fellow who looked like he’d be better off skateboarding in Millennium Park. He had a black T-shirt on over jeans. He washed and conditioned my hair in record time and I thought, There is no way he could possibly have rinsed all the soap out.

But he did.

As he worked, he was at first very quiet and his snip-snip-snips seemed tentative. I observed calmly, noting to myself that he was perhaps new in the trade and a little unsure.

Oh well, I thought. If I get a crappy cut I just won’t come back again.

But as he progressed his movements became more sure and the scissors began to glide.

“I haven’t heard that song in ages,” I mentioned as Boney M’s Rasputin came on the radio.

“No kidding,” he replied, and the conversation took off from there.

New haircut and new silky nighty.

As my young stylist performed his magic I learned that he had worked out really hard yesterday and was a little stiff, which is why his first snips were so labored. I loved his pleasant, respectful tone with me and I detected a sweet, gentle soul beneath that black T-shirt.

I was out of there in record time but the cut really didn’t turn out half bad. I took his card when I left and he bid me a cheery goodbye.

I walked away amazed at how far off my first notions were. You really can’t tell a book by its cover.

Oh! And the bonus of the day was stumbling upon a quaint little boutique with silky oriental nighties on sale for $20. I bought three, all in bright colors. I am a happy camper today! :)

For me, God is in the birds and trees

Posted by Dawn-Ann on August 18, 2012

The hills were silent again except for one birdsong, and it cheered me slightly. See? If there were no other proof of the existence of a bigger reality than birds, they would do it for me.

~ Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith

Life is an adventure

Before I start my new reading adventures, I’d like to finish up a couple of books I am already reading.

One book is Anne Lamott’s Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith and the other is Hugh A. Dempsey’s Always an Adventure.

I have very eclectic tastes – what can I say? And normally I prefer non-fiction, which is why King and Tan are such departures from the norm for me.

Anyway…

Annie never disappoints. Her books are filled with humor and wisdom and nitty-gritty life experience. I actually met her once – we have a mutual friend in the Bay Area. Her observations on everything, from raising her son Sam to overcoming addiction, are always very thought-provoking and – well – human.

Hugh Dempsey’s book is a fun read for a different reason. That is, if you’re a nerdy historian adventurer-type person. A local figure, Hugh was instrumental in building the first historical collections of Calgary’s Glenbow Museum. He married a Blood woman from the Cardston area and traveled, explored and archived his heart out, writing about his journeys as he went. My dream!

I met Hugh, too, during a reading he gave a year or so ago. I had never heard of him before (a fact I’m a little embarrassed about) and immediately snapped up four of his books – all of which he signed for me while politely inquiring about my interest. Such a kind, knowledgeable gentleman.

People like Anne Lamott and Hugh Dempsey are the people that have helped shape my life and my self over the years. They have helped me define who I am and what is important to me – and even, sometimes, how to deal with life’s ups and downs.

Digging into the past again after quite some time!

Posted by Dawn-Ann on April 12, 2012

Ghosts of distant past
Whisper through the years to me
“Please tell our story.”

Super senior: 91-year-old track star

Posted by Dawn-Ann on April 2, 2011

It’s been awhile since I posted to my blog! With the recent passing of my stepfather, I have been super busy wrapping up my mother’s affairs in Montana, packing her up, and moving her to Calgary. My sister and I have been running around taking care of getting her Canadian ID, telephone service, and a million other little tasks that need to be done. Slowly we’re gaining on it! :)

The residence we found for her is called Westview Lodge. Our business with them was handled smoothly and professionally and the residents look happy, well-fed and very friendly. As my bro-in-law and I were moving things in we were chatted up by a handful of them and all seemed very glad to be there. So there’s a little plug for Westview Lodge!

Anyway…

Seniors and their care and consideration are are near and dear to my heart and I have started paying more attention to what goes on in their world.

So I was surprised and tickled pink when I saw this video about Canadian Olga Kotelko: The 91-year-old track star. My goodness – she’s in better shape at 91 than I am at 50-something! Go Olga. You are an inspiration.

I think I’ll start training for a triathlon. ;)

Embrace what is

Posted by Dawn-Ann on November 22, 2010

After a long, warm fall, winter has blind-sided us full blast. The wind is cold, the snow is falling and the temperatures are low. They say we should be preparing ourselves for a winter as we remember from childhood – endless snow drifts and endless cold. Bah.

Chickadee in Fish Creek Park, Calgary

Round about the time I got this gem of news, I heard of a fellow who loves winter. He is involved in winter sports and can’t wait to get out in the snow. He wears his frostbite scars as honour badges and raves enthusiastically about his adventures. Wow.

All of this got me thinking about how perspective can change what is. For some, winter is a hardship that we “get through.” We avoid going out. We bundle up and hurry from the house to the car. We fuss and complain and count the days until spring.

But to some folks, winter is a miraculous playground. They relish the cold and snow and dive into it with gusto. They ski and snowmobile and toboggan and snowshoe. Some enjoy running in the winter (though I tend to fall a lot when I try). Some even go camping!

After mulling this over, I’ve decided it is time to change my attitude. I can’t change that we’re having winter – but I can transmute it into something pleasurable. For that reason, starting today, I’m going to embrace winter. I’m going to take gorgeous pictures of it and feel the bracing cold on my face, invigorating my body. I’m going to close my eyes and feel the biting kiss of snowflakes on my skin. I’m going to invite winter into my life and love and nurture it, grabbing every bit of joy and beauty that I can from it.

I’ll keep you posted!

Message in a bottle

Posted by Dawn-Ann on August 11, 2010

What is the modern day equivalent of the message in a bottle?

When I was on a ferry heading to the Sunshine Coast last week, a daddy came to the back of the boat where I was standing. He had a young girl and a young boy with him. “This looks like a good place,” he said. “Throw it really hard.”

The young girl had a bottle clutched in her hand and I saw it had a scrap of paper in it. She pulled back and threw as hard as she could (an admirable toss for such a young girl) and we watched it bob in the wake of the boat, sun glinting off of it, until we couldn’t see it any more.

“I wonder who will find the message,” one of them said as they moved away from the railing.

I stood there dreaming, wondering myself who would find the bottle. I wished I’d asked what the message said. We weren’t terribly far from land so it probably won’t be long, as far as message-bottles go, for someone to find it. Some have taken years. According to wikipedia.com, the bottle that took the longest to find bobbed around on ocean currents for almost 93 years! It was released in 1914 and discovered in 2006.

It got me thinking; if I ever sent a message off in a bottle, what would it say? Ideas?

Nature Girl

Posted by Dawn-Ann on July 21, 2010

I was riding home on the train today and I realized, “I’m a Nature Girl still.” You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

I noticed that my eyes still automatically drift to the clouds. The trees. The birds.

That is all.

Montana sunrise (click to see larger image)

Maybe you were right all along

Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 27, 2010

We all dream big dreams when we’re young, don’t we? Things are black and white and man, we’re going to change the world.

Let your light shine

But life often jades us. We get caught up in the day-to-day and lose our dreams along the way. We start to second-guess ourselves and wonder how we were foolish enough to think we could change anything.

That’s the premise of Pamela Slim’s moving blog entry, Note to younger self: you were right. In it, she reflects upon the big dreams of her college days. Surely, she says, “with compassionate hearts and some really good slide shows, we could fix everything.” After struggling with discouragement, years later Pamela discovers you can change the world – if not in grandiose ways, then one tiny corner at a time.

Her article gives me hope. Read the rest of it here.

Acceptance and the circle of life

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 28, 2010

As I move more or less gracefully into the second half-century of my life I have been faced with a number of life lessons I haven’t had to learn before. There have been staggering losses and remarkable gains; dark moments of grief that brought me to my knees and (sometimes on the same day) brilliant, shining moments of joy.

This year's greatest blessing for me - my very first grandbabies

One thing I am oh-so-slowly learning is acceptance. The Universe is unfolding as it should, to quote the Desiderata. There are many things I cannot or should not change, but I can accept them as part of the ongoing winding and circling of life.

It seems that Life, in its infinite wisdom, seeks balance. When it takes away, it gives back. When it hurts, it heals. And there is opportunity for learning and growth in every experience.

I am grateful that I can find great pleasure in the simplest of things:

  • a perfect spring leaf…
  • a well turned phrase…
  • a baby’s wee fingernails…
  • being awakened by birdsong…

That’s the key, I think. Accept what comes, find your balance, and appreciate Nature’s gifts.

At least, that’s what works for me.