Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Poem for the first of May

The first of May seemed like a perfect day to share this poem by Mary Oliver . For all my friends and family in the northern hemisphere longing for warmer days, this speaks to the truth of nature and how it is always there for us, waiting. Oblivious to our personal perils.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

— Mary Oliver, from her poetry collection, Dream Work

Love-40 or 40-Love?

After a 2 week lay off from tennis (minor wrist injury), I was back on the courts this morning and it always amazes me how much I have missed it when I am back at it. I could write an entire blog about the benefits of tennis. Wait. That is what I am doing. OK, no, I won't go getting all preachy on you here, but if ever there was a sport that encompasses everything from cardio to balance to stretching to precision to social interaction, this is it.

And it is fun to boot. I could go so far as to say that tennis has been such a joy in my life that when I find myself absent from it for some reason for any length of time, I get a bit grumpy. It can restore my chi like nothing else. The fresh air (excluding indoor winter tennis of course), the sunshine, the competition, the feeling of absolute focus and the social - did I mention the social? Every time I have made a major move in my life, tennis has introduced me to people and put me on the fast track to getting to know my new community. It encompasses all ages, both sexes and people from all walks of life.

Now, where was I going with this? Oh yes. So, this morning, as I joined the ladies at 6:30 am for our weekly round robin doubles play, I clearly had a wee advantage as the morning was coolish for these tropics dwellers and they found it had a bit of a negative effect on their usual game. I, on the other hand was in my element. It was exactly the weather conditions that suited my game. Sun just coming up, dew on the ground, about 16 degrees - woo hoo! 

I came on fairly strong compared to the others and really felt like this was going to be a winning day for me and whomever I partnered with in any given set. I was on. Passing shots down the line. Overhead slams. Perfectly placed lobs. I could do no wrong. But, like golf, it is only a matter of time before one is humbled. 

There I was at the net, set and ready to execute the perfect backhand overhead volley - sure to be a winner, when of course, it landed about 3 inches outside the line. Ugh! My opponent was relieved to see the unforced error and I turned to her and said, "Well, that just takes the cocky right out of ya, eh?" I  laughed at myself as we never take anything too serious out there and she turned around and said, "I like that expression. I think I will use it sometime." As I had just made it up off the cuff, it got me to thinking that it was pretty good and could apply to just about any situation where cockiness trumps humility.

It is easy to get caught up in our wins in life. When we are on a real roll with work or sport or success in any area, cockiness can creep in and it is not pretty.  We have all been there I am sure. Like when you are really succeeding with diet and exercise for instance. You are losing weight, toning your abs, people are commenting on how amazing you look and you are only too happy to share your secrets and success story. Feeling in charge, in control, cocky as hell. But then the inevitable strikes. Something knocks you off track. You get injured or you take a holiday and you can't seem to get back into your routine when you get home and before you know it, you step on the scale and it has gone up. Hmmm, not so cocky now. 

No, just human. That is when you have to eat a little humble pie and start again. I know there are folks out there who manage to maintain their bodies and lifestyles 24/7 and I am in awe of them. Have you checked out people like Rich Roll? Google him. But he did not start out so perfect, so at least he gives us hope. Hope that there is still time to find perfect balance in our mind, body and spirit.

In the meantime, stay humble and be conscious of when it is time to kick the cocky to the curb.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What is your Motivation?

Misplaced value. That is the problem with the world. 

As far as I can tell, what this state of mind does to everyone is leave them spiritually depleted. Yes, that is correct. Spiritually depleted. So then, what happens, is most people spend most of their time trying to fill the gaping hole in their lives with things that will never fill it. 

Shopping. Drugs. Booze. Food. Addictions. Obsessions. 

It spans all economic categories and classes.

No amount of money or power or food or sex or things are capable of sustaining the fullness of this hole for long. It may temporarily make you think you are happy and fulfilled, but eventually the day comes when it no longer suffices. You look at those shiny expensive cars, or jewels or shoes and realize they are meaningless. Or you realize your addiction to substances is merely a mask that keeps you in denial and eventually your health becomes so compromised you actually have to stop before you kill yourself and take a look at the core reason inside of you that is causing all the pain you are so desperately trying to avoid.

What are you afraid of? If it is true that we are only motivated by fear or love, then does it not follow that in order to love yourself, you have to face your fears? And from where I sit, I see a lot of fear. I don't think I know a single person who is not afraid of something. Often it is the primary motivating factor in one's life and THAT is the problem. 

The fear is usually of loss. Loss of status. Loss of reputation. Loss of income. Loss of approval. Loss of time. Taken a step further, being judged for those losses. How many people do you actually know that can say they really don't care what anyone else thinks? Sure, as we get older, we tend to care less and less. But in reality, we still care. We want to go to our graves leaving behind some snippet of dignity. She was a wonderful mother. He was an awesome father. She worked diligently for the underprivileged. He devoted all his free time to coaching disabled kids. They created grass roots charitable organizations wherever they lived. 

Wait a second. None of those tributes had anything to do with how much they owned or how they looked. So, why then, do most people spend so much time and money on the acquisition of material possessions and lotions and potions and surgeries to change their bodies? Will their gravestones say things like, "She spent her lifetime perfecting her nose." or "He never had less than 16 cars in his garage at anytime." 

It is a crime. It is a crime that so much time and effort is wasted on such trivialities when millions of people on our planet are struggling to survive without food or shelter or health care. The reason comes down to misplaced values. We all need to reconsider what we value. What is truly important? Get creative. Do one small thing each day that helps someone. Even if that someone is yourself. Be kinder to yourself. Smile at a stranger. 

Stop and ask yourself if you are being motivated by fear or love and choose love.

Live consciously. 

Start today.

I am going to start by actually posting this blog. These are thoughts I have all the time but until now, I have been afraid to publish them in case I was judged. Judged for being some kind of crazy peace advocate or hippie or new age do-gooder. I imagine eyes will roll and some people will scoff at my naive notions or shake their heads and say. "Oh boy, Deb has really lost it now!" "she is nuts if she thinks she can save the world." 

I heard a quote once that went something like this..."If not now, then when. If not me, than who?"  

I reckon I have about 30 years or so left on this planet. If the first 56 years are any indication, I know one thing for sure - it goes fast and time is-a-wasting. 

Time to really live "me to we". 

Some musical inspiration....Turn it up and feel it!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Turn off the noise and turn up the music!

Lunar eclipses. Cardinal Grand Crosses. The changing world. Climate Change. GMO food. Fukushima cover-up. Jews having to register. Missing jets. Citizen revolts.

Don't eat wheat. Don't eat meat. Don't eat dairy. Don't eat processed. Don't drink alcohol. Don't do this. Don't do that.

Fuck. No wonder I can't relax. Or sleep some nights.

Makes you just want to turn it all off - right? 

Then you  have your own personal shit to deal with. Family shit. Relationship shit. Work shit. Health shit. 

Then comes all the advice.

Do yoga. Meditate. Eat raw. Volunteer. Forgive. Live in the moment.  

It is sooooo tiresome. All of it. 

Or, you can  do what I did. Sell all your shit. Pack light. (it's hard in this world of consumerism gone crazy). Move to the other side of the world. Rent. Don't own. Plant some herbs and veggies. Walk. Ride a bike. Live simply. Make love. Swim. Fish. Paint. Write. Wear hippie dresses. Listen to music that moves you.  Stop watching TV. Travel. Spend more time in nature. Let go of toxic relationships. Accept imperfection and a few extra pounds from red wine and aged cheese. 

Follow your heart. 



Enjoy this piece of music from Van Morrison...Celtic Excavation, from Poetic Champions of my favourite albums of all time. Turn up the volume.