Sunday, November 20, 2016

Snow Glow




It snowed today. And not just a little, but a lot. Not a lot a lot. But enough a lot. Enough that the ground was covered and the neighbours were complaining.

It’s funny - snow. It divides people into the I LOVE IT and I HATE IT camps.

I love it. We love it, Yves and I. 

I have friends who have asked me, on several occasions, what the secret to a happy relationship is (because Yves and I have been together for 15 years and we’ve been, and continue to be, really freaking happy) and I never have a solid answer to give them. But I think my answer should be, “The secret is to find someone who feels about winter the way you feel about winter. If you hate it, find a hater. If you love it, you neeeeeed a fellow lover.”

I’m serious. 

Imagine getting all giddy for the first snowfall of the year, only to have your partner poopoo on your frosty parade? Imagine yelling, “CHRISTMAS MUSIC! LET’S PLAY ALL THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC!’” and having your partner Spotify something else instead. Imagine bringing your toddler to the window and pointing out the snowflakes and explaining how winter is the most magical time of the year only to have your partner roll his eyes and clear his throat before humming “Hot Fun In the Summertime” in the background.

IMAGINE. It wouldn’t work. 

Thankfully, Yves and I are both equally crazy for winter. We’re crazy for the outside stuff - we love to ski and snowshoe and skate and snowboard (Yves) and shovel (Yves) and make snow angels in strangers’ yards (me). And we’re crazy for the inside stuff - blankets and music and movies and books and mulled wine and dark beer and hot chocolate and cinnamon-everything and candles. Lots of candles. It’s all so good.

Today, we ventured out, the three of us, to buy more Christmas lights for our house. (No, we haven’t decorated yet, but will be doing so on Saturday, December 3rd. Yes, it’s marked in my calendar.) 

While we were at the store, Yves found a kids’ hockey set - two small hockey sticks, a net, and a ball - for a really reasonable price. So he bought it. And then we came home and he moved things around our tiny backyard and created a little hockey rink (minus the ice) for F to play on this winter.  It was such a special moment for me. For us. For this little winter-loving, hockey-loving family of ours. 

(I wish I could say it was a Big Moment for F too. But he spent most of this time wanting me to take his mittens off, then wanting me to put his mittens back on, then wanting me to take his mittens off, then wanting me to put his mittens back on. Then, he chased the dog with the hockey stick, sans mittens.)

Winter. The days are short but the moments are rich. And warm. And there is more rest. More cuddles. More tea. More slow. And every time it snows, it’s like the slate has been wiped clean and the world sparkles again. 

I think I love that most of all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Grace

Anne Lammott posted on Facebook today that she grew up in a family that didn’t say grace before meals, but that she always wished they did. I felt, and feel, the same way.

I always (almost always) say a silent “thank you” before meals. When I say this “thank you” I am thinking of the people who grew my food and of the soil, sun and rain that allowed it to become full of nutrients and minerals and all-of-the-miraculous-things this planet gives us, which allow us to survive here. If I’m eating animals (which I didn’t used to do, but am doing now, as my deficient constitution requires it), I am thinking of the animals and hoping that my spirit is communicating with their spirit and that they know that I am deeply, deeply grateful for their gifts that nourish, sustain and heal me and my family. I’m also, of course, speaking to the God-of-my-own-understanding - the all-loving presence I have sensed by my side all my life.

This silent “thank you” has been enough for me, for years. But since F was born, I’ve been feeling the need to unsilence myself, to speak the thanks out loud, to teach my son, by example, that to be grateful for the food on his plate is to grateful for life-on-Earth itself.

It might seem foolish to be thinking of this during these times of great pain and division and uncertainty about the future. But I believe that peace begins at home. I believe that war begins at home. I believe that love, hate, fear, intolerance, racism, sexism, kindness, unkindness - all of it begins at home, and nowhere more intimately than around the family dinner table.

This morning, I decided to write a simple prayer that my little family can learn and recite before meals. My goal was to make it easy, short, and true. Then (because I have SO much time on my hands), I thought, “and wouldn’t it be great if it rhymed?” You know, for the kid.

So. I’ve come up with this:

I’m grateful for this meal,
May it nourish, may it heal.
I’m grateful for the Qi —
Precious gift passed on to me.

Held by Earth below,
Steered by Stars above,
I will use this energy well,
I will live my life with love.

En français:

Merci pour ce repas,
d’où il vient, où il va.
Merci pour ce Qi —
Précieux cadeau de vie.

Mes pieds sur Terre,
Mon coeur ouvert,
Je cré à chaque jour
Un monde rempli d'amour.

These are works-in-progress but they’re good enough for now.

Peace begins at home. It all begins at home.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Five Days Later

[Facebook Status - Nov. 13th, 2016]

It’s been five days. I had to retreat. I had to blast Leonard Cohen & remember my & our humanity. I had to write. I had to focus on my family. I had to be outside a lot. I had to go to clinic & ask every single patient who entered my room, “How is your heart handling this?” & I had to be grounded enough & strong enough & soft enough to hear the answers.

I had to cry. I have never cried at an election result before, but this one felt different. This one felt personal. It felt like a punch in all of my tender places. It felt like a giant “fuck you” to all of the values & morals I hold dear. It felt like more than ten steps back - it felt like a million steps back & down & deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep into the wounds.

My heart has been aching for everyone, everyone, everyone - Women, Blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, my LGBTQ family, People with Special Needs, Children. Oh, the children. I have spent hours & hours thinking of the children & what this means for them. All of it has torn me open in ways I could not have predicted. I did not consider, for even a second, during the electoral campaign, that Trump had a chance of winning. It seemed completely implausible that someone who launched his campaign with the words, “I’m going to build a wall…”, that someone who was officially endorsed by the the ultimate hate group, the KKK, could ever, ever win in 2016.

How wrong I was.

He won.

He won.

Every morning, when I wake up, I remember that he won & I feel nauseous all over again. His winning means that all of his rhetoric won too. His winning means that all of the poison he spewed over all of the people won too. His winning means that Mexicans are rapists & women’s pussies just want to be grabbed. His winning means that a man can be accused of multiple cases of sexual assault & go on to become the President of the USA. His winning teaches our kids to be bullies because bullies shit all over everyone & come out on top. His winning has rattled me to my core & literally, physically, made me sick.

I know, now, how naive I have been. I know, now, that there are huge pockets of society that are so disenfranchised & that feel so forgotten about that Trump’s message sounded like “hope” to them. I know, now more than ever, that my privilege makes me blind to the suffering of so so so so so SO many of my fellow human beings. I know, too, that there is more hate in this world than I have ever been willing to admit to myself before. I am embarrassed at my rose-tinted view of the world & I am embarrassed at my shock over this result. But I am grateful too. I’m grateful for the personal & collective growth that has come, & will continue to come, from this experience & I’m grateful for the solidarity, the compassion, the shared heartache, the sisterhood & the rising that is now upon us.

I know that Love wins. I know that Love always wins, even if She has to take a few detours & suffer a few really bad blows along the way. I will continue to know this. I will continue to live my life in a way that honours this knowing. I will continue to love really, really big & if this sort of love bothers you, troubles you, irritates you, makes you roll your eyes, makes you say, “she’s too sensitive,” I kindly & respectfully ask that you unfollow, unfriend & move on in your own direction (& I will love you still).

I am not going to apologize for my Big Feelings about this, or about anything, anymore. I am not going to force myself into silence because the noise I make, or the tears I cry, or the words I write annoy you. Be annoyed, be rattled, be cynical. I WILL LOVE BIGGER STILL. That’s what I was born to do.

***

I hope you are all hanging in there during these difficult times. I hope you are all self-caring in profound & radical ways. I hope you are all finding the people who make you feel heard & safe - & if you are not, know that I am here. Seriously. Reach out. We’ll text & talk & meet & have tea & hug & laugh & cry & question everything & sit on the ground & know that we are held by our Mama Earth & fall in love with the broken world again. And we will heal in ways we have never healed before.

There will be more love, friends. There will be more love than we have ever experienced before this moment. This is why we are here - to feel this, to live this, to be the ones who answer the call to Love. Do not doubt, for a single, moment, that this is why we are here.

***

 “I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch, but love is not a victory march - it’s a cold & it’s a broken Hallelujah…”

Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Let’s not give up on each other. Amen.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Are You Finding Light This Morning?

Are you burning candles this morning? Are you shallow breathing this morning? Are you staying awake this morning? Are you listening to music? Are you listening to this? Are you tired and hungry? Are you wondering what's next? Are you glancing out the window? Are you ashamed of your own undoing? Are you floating between shock and sorrow and are you sure that the bully doesn't win? Are you sure that the hate doesn't win? Are you sure that the rising is upon us and that the heat you feel in your feet is the Heart Fire spreading? Are you crying again? Are you lonely again? Are you raging? ARE YOU RAGING? Are you writing because you are too full too full too full and you need more space inside? Are you seeking out your sisters? Are you praying the way you pray? Are you drinking too much? Are you numbing too much? Are you apologizing too much for your Big Feelings? Are you singing this morning? Are you moving this morning? Are you stretching out the arms and the legs and the lungs this morning? Are you safe? Are you growing? Are you leaning into Love? Are you really fucking brave? Are you seeing the shadow? Are you broken and breaking? Are you opening up wider and wider and wider and wider and wider and wider still? Are you deep breathing this morning? Are you deep breathing this morning? Are you deep breathing this morning? Are you thinking of your gramma? Are you thinking of how she's smiling now even though she's dying now? Are you finding light in that?