I Thank This Day

Today I’m collecting change. Not for a charity, but from a couple of jars and pockets around the house in order to get to the end of the month. Being short of money makes me itchy, uncomfortable. It sings me the song of “lack”, of limits, of not having enough. It gives fire to the fear dragon.

And with a week to go, that’s not gonna cut it. It is one thing to not have moula. It’s a whole different thing to feel like shit about it.

So, I ask: where in my life do I have abundance? Where am I rich? Where is there plenty?

And the answers come. With ease and grace.

I have bounty. My garden holds riches of beauty and tomatoes and cucumbers that go from my elbow to my fingertips. I’ve roasted pans of organic heirloom tomatoes and frozen them in dollops to use in winter soups and on pizza for infusions of flavour. The cucumbers can only be juiced in order to keep up with them. The sunflowers, morning glories and scarlet runner beans display their grandeur for all who pass by. The hops vines cover the porch to create a shady oasis. Yes, I have bounty.

I have joy. It comes in a 3-yr old body who snuggles when we watch movies, a body who learned that it was okay to eat blueberries while picking at the u-pick, a body who screeches with delight when we go to the splash pad, who knows how to be “vewy-vewy quiet’ when sneaking up on the bunny who sometimes appears in the back yard. Yes, I have joy.

I have community. I’m part of over 1000 people who are journeying together with Patti Digh on 137Days, a “ journey into mindful living from August 16 – December 31, 2012. A pilgrimage into meaning. A community live-a-palooza to love well, live fully, let go deeply, and make a difference.” This journey started suddenly when Patti’s beloved husband, John (but known to the world as “Mr. Brilliant”.) was unexpectedly diagnosed with kidney cancer They are uninsured. I know I told you about this before. It will not be the last time.  Patti’s people rallied: they joined 137Days in far greater numbers than she could ever have imagined. They raised over $82 000 in 17 days. They’ve had an indigogo campaign, lemonade stands, bake sales, sold t-shirts, held yard sales, sold rocks. Yes. Rocks. All to raise money for this beloved family who is without insurance. I say “they”. I should say “we”. I have community. Yes, I do.

So, though I will go to the coin fairy machine tomorrow to redeem my yogurt container of pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters, I go with a new appreciation of what I do have. I have bounty. I have joy. I have community. And I’ll get a few potatoes and pears to go along with that. 😉

These are my buttons. There are 137 of them. I move one each night from one container to the other, saying these words: “This is my day.
It was perfect in its imperfection.
I thank this day for being.
And I let go of it, fully.”

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Team Brilliant

One of my favourite people in the world, a person I have never met, is Patti Digh. I adore her books and the way she lives her life. You can read about it here on www.37days.com. Here’s how she describes herself:

I’m a writer, a speaker, and a mom. My work opens space for people to say a big “YES” to their lives–before it’s too late. I’m about living like you’re dying–because you are. Each moment is precious, and magic. It’s hard to remember that when the laundry piles up and the dishes need washing, I know. My job is to remind you, through my writing, teaching, and speaking, that those “ordinary” things are your life–and to see what is extraordinary in them. To help you tell a story with your life that you’ll love and be proud of at the end of it.

Patti lost her dad when she was 20. Her step-father died in 2003, after being diagnosed with lung cancer 37 days previously. His death, that time-line has formed and informed her work ever since.

Last Friday, after meeting the deadline for her new book on grief and loss, Patti, her husband, John, and their daughters Tess and Emma headed for their beloved Tybee Island for vacation starting the next day. On Wednesday, after feeling poorly and going to the hospital, John was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

They do not have insurance.

I’ve never known anyone personally who had to deal with illness without insurance. I take it for granted. I live in Canada. And even here, the costs associated with cancer treatment can be a huge burden. I am grateful for what we do have.

A page has been set up to raise funds for John’s surgery and treatment. I have made a donation. I hope I can make another. Please consider if you can join us on “Team Brilliant” in order to “Heal, Spot, Heal”.

Watch this video. It will all make sense.

Well, as much as shitty cancer ever does.


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Know the whole sky….

I’ve been a bit quiet.

You may have noticed.

It is not that there isn’t a whole lot going on. The reverse is true. So much so, that when I start to think of it, my brain goes into deep freeze mode. So clearly, thinking is out of the question.

Today, I want to share a favourite post from a favourite person. We seem to be traveling a similar leg on our journeys – the leg, or wing, in which we move from nest to sky.


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Sad Max

The sad news…..

The good news….

Thank you, Maurice Sendak, June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012. Your work inspires and ignites us all, big and small.

Images from here and here, respectively.

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Being Seen

I have long struggled with looking stupid. Silly = foolish = stupid.

Stupid = bad.

I have done many things to be invisible, to not attract attention. To not look stupid.

Episode #1: I found some Keen sandals at a discount store at a great, great price. One pair was bright turquoise blue. The other was pale purple, hardly noticeable at all. I bought the purple so that my shoes would not be noticed.

Episode #2: I pretty much wear black. It is slimming after all. But also, it blends. And nobody makes fun of people wearing black. Once I wore a bright flowery blouse and matching skirt to work. I knew it was bold. I thought it was stylish. I was nervous about wearing it. The next day, hanging from the ceiling and hovering above my desk were six paper bumblebees and a sign that said, “Where’s the flower garden that was here yesterday?” It  was funny and it was sweet. (Took me a long time to find out who did it!) But I never wore that outfit again.

Episode #3: I was walking along Bloor Street in Toronto with Margaret and Ann on our way to see the Masaro Emoto, the Messages from Water guy . I don’t know how or why it happened, but suddenly, both of them were dancing. Dancing!! In a public space! Where people could see!!

Mortification! I wanted to melt into the sidewalk. I can’t dance! I look stupid! Stop it! Stop it!

I drew back and tried to melt into the side of the Bata Shoe Museum, which let them know how embarrassed I  was……….. which of course means they they did it more! Bigger! Louder! Arrrggghhhhhh!   Margaret reminds me of this on a fairly regular basis.

So, Margaret Carney….  this is for you, a woman ahead of the curve. Let’s get our dance-walk on! I challenge you (and the rest of you!) to a dance-walk session on a public street near you! (After all, now it’s a trend! We won’t look stupid at all. Just bold. And maybe a bit stylish!)

P.S. I still long for those turquoise Keen sandals.

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Poetry Love

April is Poetry Month. I could have posted a poem I love every single day. Instead I’m stealing one that Patti Digh just posted on her blog. Sometimes the easy way is the best way.


I am in love
With the light that illuminates the dust
Resting on her hair
Convinced that those diamonds are god’s way of saying hello
And reminding me that this very common is not so common at all
But part of something bigger and much older than
Floors I haven’t had time to sweep

I am in love
With the soft sigh of an animal body
Laying next to me
Trusting the sigh itself is the voice of god
Saying good morning, you are sweet, and something bigger
Than a warmth emanating from a heartbeat
That does the dishes and takes out the trash

I am in love
With a breeze that slips under my door
Around my toes
Reminding my soles they are meant for a holier path
Than the walk I take to fix the draft
That might just be saying, this
Is the blessing of love

-Jess Ryan

I love this offering by Jess Ryan, a member of the first VerbTribe, in celebration of National Poetry Month.

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Type Rider with Maya Stein

I love Maya Stein. I love her words, her photography, her ideas, her passion for life, her courage, and her willingness to live on her edge, to live raw.

I got hooked on Maya’s poetry through reading Patti Digh’s book, Creative Is A Verb , which included several of Maya’s poems. Here is one of them:

I am no magic trick, no doer of miracles, no water walker.
I am no architect of glory, no layer-on of hands, no angel wing.
I am no weaver of gold, no mythmaker, no parachute artist.
I am no halo of stillness in a downpour.
I am no treasure chest, no hero, no thunderbolt wielder.
I am no rabbit foot or lottery number.
I am no combination lock, no mystery ingredient, no optical illusion.

But here is a handful of sunflowers from the florist’s sidewalk jungle.
Here is a blanket to spread on the grass for an afternoon.
Here is a song on the radio that calls for dancing.
Here is a chocolate bar I will share with you.
Here is a road sign, a notebook, photographs of those I have loved.
Here is a slice of bright blue sky, a hummingbird
thrashing her wings around an apricot tree.

To see this clearly
is enough.

On Patti’s blog, she mentioned Maya’sdream project of driving across the U.S. and holding writing/poetry workshops along the way. It would be funded by donations through Kickstarter,  “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects”. This was the first time I’d heard of Kickstarter and I loved the concept. I decided to back Maya’s project based on my appreciation for her poetry.

I looked at her route which included stops in Toronto and Montreal. And then I had an idea! Maybe she could come here… to little Peterborough, Ontario? It’s kinda on the way from Toronto to Montreal. Kinda. More or less. Give or take a couple of hours.

So, I asked Maya. And she said yes! She came and gave not one, but two workshops! She stayed overnight at my house and we had dinner together, and breakfast the next day. And then I waved her on her way, having formed a delightful and unexpected connection.

And now Maya is at it again. This time it is Type Rider. Maya is riding her bike for 40 straight days, on a route from Amherst, Massachusetts to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, toting an aqua Remington Ten Forty typewriter to more than 40 destinations. Why Milwaukee? It’s the birthplace of the typewriter of course!

I invite you to join me in backing Maya’s Type Rider project. The route doesn’t include anywhere near me, but that doesn’t matter. It didn’t actually matter last time either! You can become a backer for as little as $1. She is 10 days away from her deadline with about $6 000 yet to raise to ensure the project goes ahead. You can read more about it here, and here’s a video to give you a little taste…..  let’s get Maya back on the road!

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