Image

On balance, gathering, and weathering the cold

Balance

At Dan’s staff party this year, we dined at an Italian restaurant where the champagne flowed freely and endlessly. It was the kind of winter’s evening where the ambiance was dark and intimate, the conversation bubbly and enticing, and the hours lost their definition.

DSC_0004

The next morning, however, I woke up with an excruciating headache.

This is something that rarely happens to me anymore,

I am too old for it, I have far too much to do, and it’s simply not worth the toll that it takes on my body.

However, I was able to look at my situation from two angles that felt utterly refreshing,

one being the decision that I would not waste a minute feeling angry at myself or regretful (what’s the point),

and secondly,

I was able to immediately recognize that I had understandably lost my balance,

my footing.

This festive evening had followed a few weeks of relentless work and preparations for Christmas, my business, and events we were hosting. I had often sat at my computer until 11pm and neglected my walking, my yoga, my meditation, regular meals, my peace,

in favor of emails and determinedly charging through my to-do list.

No wonder I had been driven to excess,

to the point where my body severely jolted me back to sanity and the much needed stillness of a day on the couch.

 

Balance, it seems, has been my lifelong lesson

and my worthiest of pursuits.

When I am comfortably in the flow, everything feels quite smooth and right.

I spend time with my family and friends and regroup with time on my own. I get restorative sleeps and spend enough time moving my body. I eat well but allow myself occasional treats. I work hard but leave time for play. I spend time creating and planning, but also get through the more mundane details of my work. I read and I write, I cook, and I play with my paints and felts. I listen to music and relish in quiet. I give but allow myself to receive. I dream but stay grounded. I am energized by the stimulation of people and culture, coffee shops and bookstores, but then I happily retreat to the hushed quiet of nature. I visit and share, brainstorm and question, but also trust and

I breathe and I breathe and I breathe.

FullSizeRender[33]

Balance.

My  New Year’s wish for you is the manifestation of your own sort of balance, however that may look,

not necessarily found in each hour or day, but in the more general stream of things,

 

and then loving gentleness with yourself, too, when you inevitably falter,

 

and begin again.

Gatherings

‘I was thinking back to the first night when we were all cuddled up with the fire going, getting ready to watch a movie and I had such a warm and secure feeling, like you do when you are a child and you are surrounded by people you love. It was such a lovely moment.’

This is an excerpt from the message my aunt wrote me to after our little holiday family reunion in Waterton this week.

Judy summed it up beautifully.

Family in its highest expression is finding that place where we feel safe and nurtured and awash in unconditional love.

My New Year’s wish for you

is that you may find yourself enveloped in moments such as these this year,

held in the very bosom of your tribes,

FullSizeRender[35]

and beautifully aware of the magical perfection of these times.

I am increasingly convinced that these sorts of gatherings will ultimately be looked upon as the most precious treasures of our lives.

Weathering the Cold

I am NOT a fan of the cold. I have lived in this great white north all of my 42 years, but still I rail against its winters. I curse the biting air, and resent my frozen extremities. I say again and again to Dan, ‘this is not the climate I was meant for.’ I force myself out into the weather, dressed in a ridiculous multitude of layers but I am still not warm.

IMG_3103

Dan calls this one, ‘Karen is frozen stiff’

 

I often will sink into my steaming hot bathtub up to 3 times on particularly frigid days, even just for a few minutes to warm up,

for the day, for the afternoon, for bed.

Yet,

 

this is where I live,

and there is undeniable beauty in the frost, in the icicles, in the stillness, in the blue tinge, in the low winter’s light that is almost mystical.

DSC_0099

And so,

I carefully bundle up once again and head out down the streets and sidewalks as my feet rip-rip-rip on the snow,

and sometimes I am not annoyed,

but am rather captivated and even delighted by the magic of this winter wonderland that many in our world will never get to know.

So,

this third and last New Year’s wish for you is that you may be brave and resilient and tenacious enough to withstand

the snow, the harsh storms, the pounding wind,

and the dark times when hope and comfort falter,

and that you are also able to find the beauty in wherever you are,

and that above all you have a home, a fire, a cup of tea, a soft blanket, a warm meal that eventually and surely

calls you in from the cold to bring you comfort and warm your toes.

IMG_2677

Happy, happy New Year my inspiring friends.

The best is yet to come.

 

 

 

Image

Our old spruce, my new venture, and gratitude

Our old spruce

This week we said goodbye to the giant old spruce in front of our house.

It was a sudden decision to cut her down.

Dan had heard the tree creaking and cracking early on in the week. We consulted with two different arborists and both recommended, for safety’s sake,  taking the tree down as soon as possible.  By Friday, all that was left was a massive stump full of numerous decades of rings and a mess of sawdust on our lawn.

We may not often directly reflect upon the presence of the trees around us,

and certainly I have not spent much time over the years being that aware of our lost spruce.

Why would I?

when she has been so steady, and rooted, and constant.

 

Yet, nothing ever stays the same and everything has a life span. We all know that-

and on Friday morning as Alex and I looked up her for the last time,

I clearly understood that even the strongest and most powerful of trees grows old and weary.

Our friend and neighbour across the street, Lorraine, said it best,

Sad. Such an amazing tree, and it lived a great life, watching over our kids as they grew and celebrating at the block parties. Always closest to the action.

Another friend and neighbour, Judy, brought up the children’s story The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein,

and it was easy to see the connection,

as our old tree, our protectress, has given us much without ever asking for anything in return.

FullSizeRender[25]

It is winter, and she leaves a bare and terribly noticeable vacant space,

but in the spring,

we will plant a new tree.

My new venture

Last night, I launched my new project.

To learn more, please check out my Facebook page

or my website.

I have said before that life can be likened to a trail of breadcrumbs.

We may not really know where we are going,

but each crumb, each event, each friend, each moment,

leads us to the next.

And so we ultimately find that where we are going is simply along the road.

For me, it does feel as if everything has lead to this,

and so it just expands and continues,

and I am delighted by the unfoldment.

Gratitude

Many of my friends and family came to see my PeaceCards last night and my new little stationery shop,

and though it was an exciting time to show what had been created and what I had to share,

all of that felt completely secondary to the joy I felt at seeing so many faces that I love.

I was reminded, again, that our relationships and connections are always what matter most,

DSC_0606

 ‘That love is all there is, Is all we know of love.’     Emily Dickinson