Thursday, 31 October 2013

All Hallows' Eve & the Katha Upanishad

The Katha Upanishad is about the deathless Self. It asks the question why do we die? What happens after death?  What is left? And who am I anyway? I love the translation by Eknath Easwaran in The Upanishads. 

In this Upanishad it says that through meditation one can begin to know the Self and rare are those who follow this path. It is a choice that must be made at every moment. 
"The joy of the spirit ever abides,
But not what seems pleasant to the senses. 
Both these, differing in their purpose, prompt
Us to action. All us well for those who choose
The joy of the spirit, but they miss
The goal of life who prefer the pleasant. 
Perennial joy or passing pleasure?
This is the choice one is to make always. 
Those who are wise recognize this, but not
The ignorant. The first welcome that leads
To abiding joy, though painful at the time,
The latter run, goaded by their senses,
After what seems immediate pleasure."


Wednesday, 30 October 2013


I chose a power nap over a dog walk. I don't think Felix appreciates it too much.
I wrote earlier about a check-in. Daily. The power nap is important too. I can lie down for 15 minutes and get enormous energy for the rest of the day. Sometimes it feels like there is no time. I know this. But test it out for one week and see if you are not convinced of its benefits. It could be taken right after work, before supper, or after supper, or closing your eyes on a coffee break. Start with the weekends and go from there. A Quantum Energy moment!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Wandering along the water

I had a friend over for coffee this morning. She is moving next week to Sarnia. We've known each other since our girls were born 10 days apart, 29 years ago.  Don's daughter is also moving to Vancouver in about 2 weeks. I feel left behind somehow. A bit melancholy today. 
The edge of Lake Superior soothes me. It just feels like I belong here. So that's where I walked today. 

Monday, 28 October 2013


I ate all those oat coconut bars yesterday. I had help but mostly it was me. Good grief, put some goodies in front of me and I wolf them down, but gingerly, slowly, a little at a time, so that no one really notices that I ate them all. And right in front of them too.

So, I had oatmeal for breakfast and a smoothie for lunch, instead of an all out big meal. I picked the rest of my kale into the smoothie, frozen blueberries, pumpkin seeds, a little bit of kefir (yogurt would have been good too), some vitamin C powder, and water. Taddah!

I raked some leaves into a big paper bag. I emptied a few more flower pots into the compost. Now, I am sitting by the new window. Oh my! And I feel really good having my tea, writing, and planning my next bit of work at home. And paying attention. This is the best part of my day. This centering, breathing, and checking in with myself. It is necessary for my well being. I so easily keep on going from task to task and not noticing myself at all. There is more to me than a moving machine. Or a thinking, moving machine. And that's the part I check in with, the part of me that is more than my body and my mind. Every day!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Oat coconut granola bars

We just did the taste test for these bars. Very good. They are unbaked so very quick. 

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened 
1 tbsp oat flour (I ground mine from oats                 in a coffee grinder)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp mashed banana (about 1 banana)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, oat flour, flaxseed, pecans, and salt. Stir everything well. Set aside. 

2. Melt together coconut oil and honey until thin. Add vanilla and mashed banana. 

3. Pour oil mixture into dry ingredients and mix well. Mix in chocolate chips. 

4. Scoop into 8 x 8 inch pan. Press well down. Cover and put into fridge until set. About 2 hours. Cut into 12 bars. Keeps well for a week in fridge. 

Recipe from the magazine Mother Earth. Living. November/December 2013

Saturday, 26 October 2013

It's a beautiful day


Since Thunder Bay is in the middle of nowhere (8 hours drive to any city in Canada), we have an amazing entertainment scene. Folks have to stop somewhere all the way through Canada. Lucky for us. Last night we attended an evening with Douglas Gibson, publisher, editor, writer and raconteur. He wrote Stories about Storytellers, a book of some of the famous Canadian authors he edited during his long career. His stories were fun and enlivening! I heard of authors I have never heard of and some more famous like Alice Munro and Hugh MacLennan and 3 Prime Ministers of Canada. I look forward to reading some of these books. I was so amazed to be so close to Douglas Gibson. It was like brushing elbows with royalty. I have a love affair with authors. I think of that profession as! The most amazing thing to do! Writing down words to amuse and inspire and inform.

Years ago I met Andy, a seeker like me and an avid reader of new age and spiritual books. He told me about Awareness by Anthony de Mello, a book which I have read more than once and it brings infinite joy to just open it anywhere and read a passage. I saw him in a parking lot much later and thanked him for getting me to read that book. He said he was reading an even better one. I was all ears. It was the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and I was in love again. I could feel the message of this wonderful book in my deep, quiet Self. Once, I even phoned his publishing company, Namaste, and asked if he could come to Thunder Bay to speak. I was ready to host! A lovely woman on the other end of the phone said that he couldn't make any engagements for the next year because he was on retreat, writing his new book, which was The New Earth. Eckhart has become so famous I dare not ask again.

Friday, 25 October 2013


Enlightenment - Big Word!
It's rare that anyone thinks it could be something that they could experience.
I think we've been led to believe that it's only for special people. Special people who have either sacrificed their whole life for attaining it or have lived in a cave or an ashram for a great many years. Or someone who doesn't eat meat, or drink alcohol, or smoke, or have sex. And sometimes we think we have to be supernormally peaceful, and loving, and never show anger. Or someone that is super silly all the time.

What if enlightenment was really about lightening our load of beliefs, opinions, concepts. and all that knowledge that rolls around in our mind? What if we let go of how we "should" be? What if we could just be ourselves, purely and simply? What if we felt "free" all the time?

Geez, I would like that! What if we didn't have any opinion or idea of what freedom or enlightenment was? I think then we would have a chance of experiencing it. We wouldn't be anticipating or looking for anything and could be "free" of that idea too.

Yep, let's all lighten up!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Everything is perfect

Are you being the best and the most you could be? I mean how you are naturally. Is who you really are showing up? Or are you playing small? Or are you exaggerating yourself to feel better about yourself? How would you be right now if you knew you couldn't do anything wrong?

Imagine, right now, that everything is unfolding perfectly. In your life and for everyone else too. Imagine that everything is perfection. That everything is perfectly lined up. Absolutely perfectly.

Say to yourself: I am in the right place at the right time. I never have to fix myself or improve myself.

Doesn't that feel heavenly? Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A window.

I miss the air already.
It was a cold night last night, windy, wet, and dull. Today was the beginning of icy roads and frost crusted windshields. Closed windows too.

I could live in a house that was all windows. I not only miss the fresh air but I miss the connection to nature. I like being outside but I'm not into sports and I don't have chickens or animals outside to feed so I spend a great deal of time inside square boxes during the year. I live in a square box and work in a square box. I drive in a square box with wheels but at least there are windows. So, if I had a house that was made of all windows, everywhere I was in my home I could look out and see the weather, the birds and the trees. And people walking by. I could at least wave to them to say hello.

I have a new (and it's a second window) in my bedroom. It has changed the atmosphere in this room. I spend more time here during the day. It's no longer just a room to sleep and get dressed in. It's a sanctuary to meditate and to read and to blog and to dream. I bought more fluffy pillows. The room needs paint and organization but I don't care since I can gaze outside. As long as I have a window life is exciting!

My dad lived for long years with a stroke. He was housebound. And then he was nursing home bound. Most of the day he looked out the window. He really never looked bored. There was nothing static outside. Change constantly. He pointed to the white plume of airplane dust with joy in his eyes. Look an airplane just went by. He pointed to birds. He loved to watch the wind in the trees. I feel the depth and width of life outside the box when I gaze out the window. I feel free of tightness and worry and regret.

May you all have enough windows!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Thoughts are real

The brain is pretty dumb. It will believe anything. If you are visualizing something or the event is really happening your brain can't tell the difference. It reacts the same. This has been studied numerous times. There is lots of data. This can be good news. Any thought you have, every thought, has an effect on the body. It is most important to know what you think. To know what you are practicing all the time. Is it thoughts about how well you are doing? How wonderful you are? How beautiful? How amazing you are? Or are you critiquing constantly? Take the time to know what you think!! Be kind and loving towards yourself. And change your life!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The yoga of knitting

I finished this neck warmer, or cowl, tonight.

One breath at a time. One stitch at a time.
One moment at a time is how we live life and it unfolds into a life lived. Unique.
One stitch at a time and the yarn unfolds into a piece of something. Unique.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The best of Saturday nights

Cloud atlas...... The movie. 
I've watched it twice and find it fascinating. It keeps me believing in possibilities. 

A movie, tea, knitting, ahhhh! Most heavenly. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

How are you?

Today, someone I hadn't seen in a long time, asked me how I was doing. I said 'fine'...'good'. And he asked about my health and I assured him 'fine'...'good'. And he asked again - well how is life? This time I answered 'very busy'. You know, the instant I said it I knew I lied. I am just the right amount of busy. And because I am self employed I can usually modify that. I felt slightly sheepish having a good life. It's like we all want to hear someone's woes. I don't mind hearing someone's woes but I wouldn't want them to make any up. I have had the habit of looking for something not so good so I can share with others. Good grief! Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we could share our joys as well. If we just looked at the joys first even. So I lied to fit in. I lied so I wouldn't put someone ill at ease. I lied out of habit. Hmmmmm. Mindfulness when speaking might be a good idea. I will think up something fabulous and witty to say when someone asks: how are you?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

One muscle

What if we saw the body as just one muscle? How would we move? How would we touch?

One muscle. If we touch one part of it every part is affected. If we move one part of it - it has an affect on the whole. Just like the spider web. We touch one little strand and the whole web moves. 

Each breath moves the whole body. Be soft. Be gentle. Let moving happen. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


I've been exploring unwinding. A great, big, long, slow yawn. A whole body and mind yawn. There is nothing more magical and exhilarating that you can do to feel good instantly. Unwind by moving from the inside out (the yawn) wherever and however it comes out of you naturally. 

I've had a full day so as I lie down for the night I unwind and unfurl all the busy-ness of the day so that sleep will he deep and restful. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Give an A

This video is worth the 14 minutes it takes to watch it! I've watched it a few times and this I want to inhale every day. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Yoga & visualization

One of the benefits of yoga (#32 of 40 ways that yoga heals) is the use of imagery to effect change in the body.
Timothy McCall., MD and Yogi: "Visualization and imagery play an important role in yoga practice and can help facilitate bodily and mental changes. Imagine biting into a lemon and your lips pucker and salivary juices flow. Think about contracting your biceps without actually doing it and sophisticated electrical monitoring of muscle cells will show a partial contraction. Crazy as visualization may seem, science is confirming what yogis have known for thousands of years. Dr. Vinoth Ranganathan of the Cleveland Clinic conducted an experiment in which volunteers were trained to imagine contracting specific muscles in their arms for fifteen minutes, five days a week. At the end of twelve weeks of this regimen, tests showed that the people who imagined the exercises had developed statistically significant increases in strength in those muscles compare to the control group." Now how cool is that?!

Thank you!

Photo by Charlie Clayton

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A home for the soul

My body is my home. I need to be aware of my home in order to upkeep and to keep it running at optimum. My body is my living space. Some parts of it are overused and other parts are underused. I want to be comfortable in my own skin. Being aware has to be the first step for change. To know what is going on right now, right here, in this moment, is important. It is the beginning step. To be fully alive I have to find where I am not alive. This is sometimes the conundrum: I am alive where I fully sense and feel the body and when I don't I'm not. What I'm not aware of - I neglect because it doesn't exist. However, movement can bring perception of the body. But only mindful movement. Repetitive exercise just done by rote actually dulls the senses even more. Becoming aware of the body is like looking around at home. What needs mending? What needs tending to? What needs a good scrubbing?

In order to feel "full" of life we need to have a sense of our whole being. Our volume. Just rest and take a breath deeply and gently. Feel the volume of your belly. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

5 AM

Good morning!
I love the quiet of the morning. Stars still in the sky. A distant train's soothing chugs. 
I am not always up this early. But getting up just before 6 seems to give me more energy throughout the whole day. Even if it's a minute before 6. I read that in one of Deepak Chopra's books, years ago, and when I do that for a while I function better. It takes about 3 or 4 consecutive days of getting up feeling tired to feeling like Yes! This works. However, you will end up going to sleep earlier eventually. So don't try to burn the candle at both ends. And maybe it only works for early birds and not night owls. But don't limit yourself either by saying you are one or the other. I notice that I can change into a night owl by developing that sleeping pattern. The mornings have more appeal so I choose for it. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Look here.

What's down here? Right at my feet. How beautiful the ordinary. The cracked. The repaired. The not so perfect. Lines and wobbles. 

Monday, 7 October 2013


This moment's view from the window. The big gangly birch.
This moment's view in the mirror. The writer with no face : )

I woke up feeling wonderful. It didn't last long. I was just grumpy after a while. For no apparent reason. And this would be fine if I didn't care if I was grumpy. How is it that we can't just be as we are? Happy. Sneezy. Grumpy. Or whatever it is. Somehow I have had this idea that I should always be "in a good mood". But if I allow myself to feel grumpy if I am and be okay with it - then wow! I feel okay! I think we always want our children to be happy and in this way we work hard to have happy children. My parents for me. Me for my girls. And we get the idea that this is all we should be and we hide our grumpiness, our sadnesses, our meannesses. All these feelings are passing phenomenon. Just coming and going. It's a wonderful thing when we don't take them too seriously. It's not about us. It's just feeling flowing through. Watch it. Allow it. The miracle is that the feelings always flow - like through a water pipe. Let them go. Let them flow. It's not helpful to bend the pipe so you can see what's in there or why it's in there. It stops the flow.
There! That's what I think. : )
Dancing to Lady GaGa and her heartbeat music helped me a lot today. "Bang, bang, bang....boys, boys, boys.......dirty, dirty rich.......cherry, cherry boom, boom. It's hard to be serious!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

To live or not to live.

I haven't written all month and I wonder if anyone misses me. I know I have been busy when I have no time to write. Last night I went to a book launch of Charlie Wilkin's new book: The Little Ship of Fools. I love this man! He is warm, open, and funny! A great writer! He does what he is driven to do. Despite what people you can't do that. In his 60's he rowed a catamaran across the ocean with 15 other people in close quarters for over 50 days. Quarters eight times more crowded than living in the most crowded city in the world, Mumbai. I am so glad he survived to tell the tale of his ocean adventure. I look forward to reading this book!

It makes me wonder if I have ever done anything really exciting. Hmmm, I don't even know. Nothing of this magnitude but perhaps exciting for me. I lived in Finland for a year. That was wonderful. And I left everything a few years back and went to meditate in Mexico for 6 months. Yep, that was definitely a big experience. But couldn't I still be adventurous? Can the real me please stand up? I feel there is infinite depth in me and of course in everyone else too. But do we show this to anyone? Wouldn't it be cool to live with all of our depth? A friend asks me often what's the most fun I can have with my clothes on? I don't know. There is only this one, sweet precious life (at least with this body) and I would like to explore all of this moment. One moment at a time without thinking so much about it all. Thinking is highly over-rated!