Missed Opportunities

The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

Today, I was unwinding and enjoying some quiet time, shopping at the local market, intent on a selection of delectable dinner fixings. Food for the soul: mundane but comforting after a flurry of activity over the past week. Sadly, what really elevated this day into a strange cataclysm of emotions was a simple interaction at the checkout counter.

As I approached the Cashier who was assisting the Gentleman in front of me, I overheard the employee sharing an unfortunate incident that she had experienced earlier in the week, all the while elevating her voice so that the whole checkout line could share in her harrowing tale. This Lady had hit a motorcyclist, almost changing the destiny of the young man involved. Fortunately, both lucky souls walked away relatively unscathed, although the motorbike was totalled and the Rider was undoubtedly shaken AND stirred. Who knows what emotional scarring may have been experienced by either party involved? All I could do was listen intently with compassion. Until the Cashier blurted out that she had no idea why this bike or Man was on the road at this time of the year. She started purporting that motorcyclists should stay off the roads in the Fall & Winter, and the Gentleman with whom she was conversing exclaimed that they should ban motorcyclists entirely. She nodded her head in agreement, smiling & exclaiming at the craziness of her misadventure. I was thinking … what next? Ban pedestrians from crossing the road? Outlaw cyclists from ever being a nuisance? Hinder any attempts at free will in a democratic society? What really blew me away was the Cashier’s total neglect for taking responsibility. She had in fact hit the motorcycle, seemingly (and obviously) unaware of her surroundings and of him.

Yet I suppose, what really stirred me were the emotions coursing through my soul at remembering my brother who had lost his life in a motorcycle accident, 22 years ago. One of the less lucky ones. 🙁 My family crawled away, scarred for life, losing a son, brother, artist and mentor.

As the transaction was completed before me, I remained calm, quiet and somewhat terse when the Cashier asked me if I was okay. I nodded numbly, turned away quickly in the midst of my tears and briskly walked away. In this moment of quiet angst, I had lost an opportunity for sharing my story. Such was the potential for education that could have ensued on a matter that wreaked of crazy bias and self-righteous indignation. But I was too afraid to speak, lest my emotions runneth over into something uglier than what I was witnessing and hearing.

Sigh. A missed opportunity to be sure, but this was a point of reflection for myself that shifted me. Surprisingly, I moved into a sense of compassion for the checkout Lady, once I was able to step away from my trigger point, assessing what had actually transpired before me on this beautiful Fall day.

Have you ever missed such an opportunity for growth in conversation where you held your tongue, for fear of emotion overtaking your sense of duty to educate and communicate? Or worse, spoke your mind in anger or judgment without really allowing room for conversation? Life truly does begin at the end of ones comfort zone.

I feel that it’s so important for all the involved parties to take a figurative walk in the other person’s shoes, rather than expressing theoretical proponents of insight that are most likely non-relevant to the situation at hand. Informed insight is a far better way to educate oneself, learning through experience, than by espousing our self-imposed belief system. Knowing that we are all imperfect, human and hopeful allows room for growth, trust and the potential for mutual understanding, in a life worth living, with every sense that we can muster.

The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

As Colin Wright has quoted: “Think. Do. Learn. Share. Grow.” Add in ‘Breath’ and ‘Repeat’, and here I have myself a winning formula to a life full of exploration and positive development.

I feel that it’s our duty to humankind to create a better AND kinder world for those around us, one loving and compassionate breath at a time. What do you think?

A Season of Change – Are We There Yet?

The clock ticks ever-closer to the dawn of the calendar changeover — December in to January, another year, another 12 months alive on this planet.

What are you going to do to welcome in this New Season and New Year?? Are you able to fully embrace what 2011 will hold? The unexpected, the change, the fabulous, the good, the bad and the ugly? It’s all about choice. Rolling with the flow and accepting our fate as we set out to conquer the world, communicating honestly and with integrity. We have control only over our present moment and thoughts, and how we perceive the world and the situations we might find ourselves in. Can you breath through the chaos, laugh through the insanity, feel through the pain and sorrow, and embrace the happiness which might alight itself upon you? Easier said than done, you say!

Truly. Madly. Deeply. I feel and experience it, along with my weaknesses, my imperfections, my stumblings. Hoping to be responsible for / to it. I live it, daily. Not even close to perfection. But in the end, I keep breathing, hoping, praying.

  • Learn, Live, Love, Breath ……………………….. Redo. (and hopefully add a few laughs and yoga asanas mixed in with the equation)

My wish for you through this season of change:

  • embracing the unknown and changes of 2011,
  • finding freedom and independence in your strengths, successes and joys,
  • finding a clear vision of oneself that looks authentically at both what you are doing and how you are doing it every day,
  • accepting defeats with wisdom, patience and desire to overcome, shining a light on the deep corners inside of you,
  • sharing love to all, spreading peace and good fortune, and
  • asking for help when you might need it most.

Wishing you much joy and moments of happiness through out the holidays, and always, in all ways.

The enigma of Happiness: Eckhart Tolle on finding a Happier YOU!

happiness and the butterflyThe 10 powerful insights listed below from Eckhart Tolle really leave me feeling inspired at the perfection of my life, in this very moment. No such thing as the labels of ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. What is, is. The choices I make with each breath that I take breed the outcome from moment to moment of how I relate to myself and the world and circumstances around me. From what Eckhart proposes, happiness is always innately there, within me. Happiness is something you can synthesize
… it is a choice. And ironically, it is my choice on whether to accept that reality or not! Sometimes, a very difficult concept to grasp in the midst of turmoil and pain. But nevertheless a consciousness which could potentially lead me down the road to ending all suffering. Positive food for thought. Synthesis. Growth. Love = happiness = superfood!

And I love these concepts from the book Living Values Activities for Children 8-14: “When I have love and peace inside, happiness just comes ….. Lasting happiness is a state of contentment within ….. When my words express ‘give flowers instead of thorns’, I create a happier world”.

Oneness with All Life by Eckhart Tolle

1. Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it.

2. The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is. There is the situation or the fact, and here are my thoughts about it. Instead of making up stories, stay with the facts. For example, “I am ruined” is a story. It limits you and prevents you from taking effective action. “I have 50 cents left in my bank account” is a fact. Facing facts is always empowering.

3. See if you can catch the voice in your head, perhaps in the very moment it complains about something, and recognize it for what it is: the voice of the ego, no more than a thought. Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it. In fact, you are the awareness that is aware of the voice. In the background, there is the awareness. In the foreground, there is the voice, the thinker. In this way you are becoming free of the ego, free of the unobserved mind.

4. Wherever you look, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence for the reality of time—a rotting apple, your face in the bathroom mirror compared with your face in a photo taken 30 years ago—yet you never find any direct evidence, you never experience time itself. You only ever experience the present moment.

5. Why do anxiety, stress, or negativity arise? Because you turned away from the present moment. And why did you do that? You thought something else was more important. One small error, one misperception, creates a world of suffering.

6. People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness. They don’t realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. They look upon the present moment as either marred by something that has happened and shouldn’t have or as deficient because of something that has not happened but should have. And so they miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, a perfection that lies beyond what is happening or not happening. Accept the present moment and find the perfection that is untouched by time.

7. The more shared past there is in a relationship, the more present you need to be; otherwise, you will be forced to relive the past again and again.

8. Equating the physical body with “I,” the body that is destined to grow old, wither, and die, always leads to suffering. To refrain from identifying with the body doesn’t mean that you no longer care for it. If it is strong, beautiful, or vigorous, you can appreciate those attributes—while they last. You can also improve the body’s condition through nutrition and exercise. If you don’t equate the body with who you are, when beauty fades, vigor diminishes, or the body becomes incapacitated, this will not affect your sense of worth or identity in any way. In fact, as the body begins to weaken, the light of consciousness can shine more easily.

9. You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you and allowing that goodness to emerge.

10. If peace is really what you want, then you will choose peace.

Have you smiled today??!

7 years and holding

Celebrating 7 years of anything. Now that in itself is a huge feat in my life! To honour that time with slaDE~, now that is something I truly treasure.
In honour of our 7 years together, I wanted to celebrate this momentous occasion with the fullest and most entertaining experience possible (for a Wednesday night that is). Something truly special for my beloved. In this case, using the tickets that I won to the Theatre Calgary play ‘Skydive’ seemed appropo and enthusiastically fun! Racing home on my bike (yes, I’m still cycling every day to work, despite the minus temperatures in the morning), I arrived breathlerss and in desparate need of a shower, however quick that might be. In true fashion, I was ready and raring to go in 10 minutes; remarkably on time for our 5:15 reservation at the fine dining restaurant ‘Cilantro’. We’ve been wanting to go here for ages, but being as spendy as it is, we wanted to hold out for a special occasion, such as tonight. The dining extravaganza didn’t let us down. The seafood was divine and cooked to perfection. After luxuriously savouring our meal, we strolled down to the theatre hand in hand and, upon arriving, settled in to our seats, with full bellies and satisfied smiles.

my HusbandThe play was outstanding (and involved no standing!). Many corny references to the 80s era and 80s music were made. Two actors managed to fill the stage and 90 minutes with high flying acrobatic-like maneuvers. How they did this was incredible …. it involved a cantilever see saw of sort that had the actor attached by a harness around the pelvis to a hoist that was maneuvered by 4 men on the other weighted end. I wish that I had taken a photo of this remarkably simple but efficient ballast system that had a steering wheel on one end to twist and turn the actor on the other. What truly was remarkable is that one of the actors was a paraplegic! The system had molded legs that helped the actor stand and fly and rotate in every possible direction. What an incredible gift. Needless to say, we were enthralled by the whole experience, loving every moment of this incredibly engaging and witty story.

As Morgan tells his brother Daniel in the play “When you free-fall, you don’t feel the fall, only the free”.

The Globe and Mail desrcibes the system as such

Technically, Skydive is a fascinating and unique show. Frazer and Sanders are each strapped to an ES Dance Instrument, a device invented by the show’s “aerial choreographer” (and former Arctic explorer) Sven Johansson in the 1980s. The actors are attached to long steel poles and manoeuvred like puppets up and down, side to side and in spiralling circles by black-clad operators.

Sven also pioneered dance for the disabled in 1994. “The ES Dance Instrument compensates for lack of balance, blindness and muscular inability,” he says, “giving freedom of movement to persons who would not otherwise be able to dance for enjoyment or artistic expression.”

A wonderful anniversary to say the least!

News out the ying yang

Today was truly a momentous, most memorable day … full of decisions, laughter and surprises.

It all started out as a conversation around returning home to Ontario. When Aaron’s fiance, Otto, decided to shy away (temporarily?) from the prospect of marriage, slaDE~ and I were flip flopping on the idea of cashing in our airline tickets or go home for a quick visit. Over the weekend, Westjet had flagged their $99 seat sale — offering up one way from Calgary to TO. On top of that, today they added an extra 5% bonus off the ticket price. Even with a cancellation fee of $84 per person on our tickets, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity of a $400+ savings in flying home on different dates. Wicked! We’d be going home after all 🙂

And then came the question that literally stunned me …. the term ‘knock me over with a feather’ comes to mind. slaDE~ asked me, in his calmest coolest sexiest voice, to marry him, whilst we were at home. At first I thought slaDE~ was joking. For the past 2+ years, we have lived with open hearts living a true connection that has been marriage in the ultimate form … with heart, soul and mind, bank accounts and lives intertwined. What more could one ask for?! To us, our union (from the moment I returned from Guatemala, over 2 years ago) has been as official as one could ever hope, want or desire.

However, to be truthfully honest, an official ceremony has been tickling at the back of my mind … thoughtfully considered as a ‘someday event’, a possibility. Dating back to my young girlish days, something to be desired, but in my current mindset, not a necessary formality.

Zooming back to that moment of disbelief …. M A R R I A G E. WOW! Who would have ever thought?
And slowly, the truth and beauty of what the ceremony would mean was co-cre8ted with my best friend: an informal, non-traditional, meaningful and love-filled ceremony, on August 22, 2008. Shared with the closest of family and friends. Truth, connection and love. Ahhhhh. Now that’s what I call a party!

Happy Father’s Day!

A Father Means ...I just spoke with my biological Father, our Dad, on the phone. I can honestly say that I have 2 Dads … my Mother’s husband Pat and Theodore, my Father. I miss them both so much! But not for much longer — what’s truly exciting about the conversation we just had is that my younger sister Aaron has officially set the date of her wedding for August 24th, this summer. Slade and I will both be flying home and spending quality time with everyone near and dear to us. Our bosses have yet to learn of our spontaneous plans, and hopefully it will not be too major an issue, with my work moving the same day I want to fly back to Ontario (my birthday, no less).

Father’s Day holds the emotion of both joy and sadness for our family; 20 years ago, my brother Kenny died while riding the motorcycle which provided freedom and joy to his world. Little did we know that he would gain his wings that Sunday June 19th.

Daddy's little girlI’ll never forget that day, when I flew back from Ottawa, into the waiting arms of my Father and my family. My brother wasn’t the only one who died that day … a piece of each one us left this world with Kenny. And we all miss him tremendously. Father’s Day … a time of both fond memories and of heartbreak. I write this with tears flowing down my face ….

My Father is such a rock in my life … so supportive; there is nothing that he would not sacrifice for his family. Dad is still one of the first persons whom I call when things go right… and when they fall apart. Many a day I have called to listen to his soothing voice, heart in pieces. Somehow, through it all, he sends his love and support across the airwaves, from afar, and I somehow at least feel a bit better, aching heart in tow.
So, on this August, I will be there to celebrate with him at Aaron’s wedding, as I was there for him in support when in own brother Ralph died this past November. In both good times and bad, I am privileged to have 2 Dads by my side who love, support, encourage and accept Katherine TC Weishar (aka sKY::). And I will do whatever it takes to be there for them whilst they live and breath and bless my life.

Sex and Marriage

to risk or not?Marriage … ah the eternal debate over an institution filled with both flaws and promise. Should I or shouldn’t I? Can I risk to be vulnerable, interdependent, gambling against all the odds with no guarantees that life won’t throw a tire-iron my way? And if things go awry in a big way, what should I do then? Remain or leave?
Huge questions …. all pursued in the new ‘Sex and the City’ movie that I savoured and devoured last night, sadly solo (all my best girls are out-of-country — and my best boy didn’t deem SATC as a big screen kind of pic). This was one feature that I longed to share, to pursue the questions that arose from the big statements boldly and brazenly lavished upon me. I LOVED EVERY MOMENT. It was such a fabulous story. And it left me with a few revelations on relationships and marriage that I by far didn’t expect from 2.5 hours of high fashion, humour and scandal. Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte wrestle with love, sex, children, weight gain, friendship, humiliation, and forgiveness …. all in a hilariously realistic fashion (haute couture, of course ☺). Where else could one find a movie where marriage is both crushed and lauded, from every possible nuance and angle.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet and like surprises, stop reading now!

Carrie -- ties the knot!Carrie and Big ultimately get married but only after one is left standing at the altar on their first attempt. The most profound question from the movie, for me, which evolves from the lessons learned (in true Carrie style), is: ‘Why Marriage?’ Did she believe that without marriage, their efforts and relationship were not good enough? Do you have to be married to be real, be true and be accepted as seriously involved and committed?

This debate is something that I have struggled with in the past and sometimes find myself examining / disputing. In my heart I know that marriage is not the end-all be-all. Divorce is a reality truly close to home for so many loved ones. For myself, on the one hand, when one grows up in a hugely Catholic, sizable family where marriage is the persistently inevitable little girl’s dream, it’s hard to break out of those defining stereotypes, living fully and completely, with no holds barred, unravelling all expectations. Yet from day to day, slaDE and I live our love, married in heart, without that niggling piece of paper, pushing the evolutionary buttons which others define as ‘playing house’. With no guarantees of longevity of life and love, I can only live each day fully, acknowledging my husband as a dedicated loving fully present male who, for better or for worse, has stood by me for 6.5+ years. And I remain a beloved besotted wife. Actions speak louder than words on a piece of paper. AMEN.

Now, with the film complete, it’s up to the rest of us to release the vanquished breath, carrie on with our own lives (punnY!), come up with our own answers. And continue asking new questions, pushing buttons along the way.