Saturday, December 29, 2012

Another (20th) Anniversary! My Spiritual Awakening

Well, I did it again! I can't believe it! My fingers are speedy, way too fast sometimes, including accidentally deleting a draft blog posting! One that I started typing a few months ago that was meant to be posted for tomorrow (Dec. 30). (I hate when I do that as my spontaneous originals are usually, if not always, a better version as that is when I am "in the flow."

Other than my 20-year anniversary here in Vancouver (see blog posting, March 21, 2012), this one relates to a special circumstance that occurred.

The best way I can articulate the beginning is to say that 20 years ago, Spirit (God, intuition, call it what you will) guided me to Vancouver, BC.

But heeding this strong call (that came in the form of utter happiness and an inner knowingness) did not come without setbacks, though not in a way you might think or imagine. Though I left my family and friends behind, it was a move I knew in my heart was right and true; see blog posting, March 21, 2012.

After approximately nine months of hell - no, not pregnancy! - but feeling utterly alone and lonely, having left the little support system I had, and having no one to talk to, I ended up attending my first meditation class. It was a guided meditation led by a South American woman with a strong accent. This occurred two days before the end of the year (on Dec. 30th, 2002).

As part of her words, the ones I remember distinctly were, "Think of why you are here. Remember why you're here." I took her words literally thinking, Yes, why the hell am I here? Why the f**k am I here? Why did I move to Vancouver? I knew in my heart I was supposed to move here, but why did I have to experience such anguish? I was in deep pain, feeling both emotional and mental turmoil. I literally wanted to die, so badly.

Out of the blue, however, an answer came to me in the form of a voice that interrupted my thoughts. This was the first and so far the last time I heard one that was not me or anyone visibly around me. It came seemingly from outside of me. I thought it was more of a masculine voice but wasn't sure. I only knew it wasn't mine! No one was around who would have spoken and besides, it was only audible to me. I knew that claircognizantly.

Though I get words a lot intuitively (claircognizantly), I never hear them. Thus, this experience was different.

The voice declared, in what seemed like a neutral yet compassionate tone, "You are supposed to heal yourself." WOW! That was quite the statement and I was shocked by both the voice and the message. Albeit brief, it was a powerful message that had quite the impact on me. (I admit that I can't recall if the voice said my name or not.)

Some of you might ponder the word "supposed" as part of the statement or what sounded more like an order or command. I wondered about that too. Synonyms could include words such as meant, intended, or required, all of which implies that my (soul) path is about or includes healing.

I believe that this message was also saying that in order for me to help others heal, I needed to heal myself first. Though, since then, I have come to know that healing (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) is a lifelong process, it doesn't mean that I am meant to be 100% healed, i.e., whole and complete in all ways, but rather on the path to wholeness or holistic health.

It was in that moment of enlightenment that I knew then the reason why I moved to BC. I had discovered that BC - Vancouver (and surrounding area) in particular - was or at least seemed to be the healing capital or mecca of Canada. There were copious forms of natural and alternative healing modalities that existed here on such a large scale.

I realized then too that I could not heal myself or at least not to the same degree if I lived in Calgary (where I had considered moving to), where one of my sisters and one of my brothers lived at the time. I had to leave all my friends and family, my former support system behind.

It was also during that time/experience - speaking about and sharing spiritual experiences is sometimes challenging in terms of articulation - as if my awareness opened up: imagine my palms pressed together (as if in prayer) and then my hands and arms opening up with elbows close to my body. This is the best way I can describe it with words and images; see photo.

I knew, again claircognizantly, that what I experienced was a spiritual awakening though I hadn't read or heard about it, I just knew it at a very deep (soul) level.

The message and understanding that came to me gave my mind and soul a tremendous sense of peace. It also gave me faith, so much so that 2003 became one of the best years of my life, when my life literally opened up to opportunities and possibilities, and I overcame some great fears.

Furthermore, I knew universal truths on a(n instant) claircognizant level. I easily could have written a book on happiness as I knew the 'secret' to it: the key was to live in the moment, in the present, not in the past or future where I tended to (and most of us tend to) dwell, especially with feelings such as guilt, worry, and anxiety that is past- or future-based. (If I had not procrastinated, would my book on happiness have been a bestseller?)

I find it interesting that this year is the first when a few healing modalities have come across my path synchronistically that I have been drawn to explore; all involve my hands.

I never thought of myself as a healer, never thinking I had the ability to heal, rather assist myself and/or others in my/their healing process as I am only a channel or instrument of healing. Surprisingly, at least to me, I've had some wonderful feedback and testimonies from both in-person and long-distance healing that I've engaged in.

There are many ways to heal and paths of healing. For myself, I have been aware that other forms of healing include my voice (via numerous compliments of how calming, soothing, etc. it has been for others on a crisis line or other phone lines, similar with reading/reciting in public, and the like). As well, my hands which do involuntary movements or through my writing (or typing) which is healing for myself and hopefully for others.

How do you receive messages from God or Spirit? How are you a healer, i.e., what gifts or talents do you have to offer others?

Friday, December 7, 2012

O Christmas Tree, O Just Like Me ...

No matter if you are a human being, an ant or a bee, or even a tree – hey I love to rhyme! – you, we, are all important and each have a role to play here on this earth (no matter how big or small).

A month before Christmas, a neighbour denuded or raped a tree violently (with professional tree cutters) of its beautiful hanging cedar branches. This tree who once held many birds, that sweetly sang, in its arms like a human mother with her baby. In fact, just the weekend prior, I witnessed a number of blue stellar jays fly up to perch beneath its bounteous green, seemingly cradled and caressed.

I LOVE trees, can you tell!? Some of you might consider me a tree worshipper possibly in disguise. Indeed, my twitter name includes ‘treehugger’ with a photo of me hugging a tree which I do from time to time. I used to, for instance, hug ‘Big Doug,’ a tall pine tree amidst others in a forest clearing at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. I’d get a friend to join me in hugging it whenever we went by to visit the grounds, and would do so in her absence when she wasn’t able to join me.

Have you ever wondered something along the lines of: If everything is energy, would this tree (and any tree for that matter) have spirit, i.e., a heart and soul (metaphorically speaking of course!)?

Inanimate objects may not speak with words, but they may ‘whisper.’ I know a person who actually hears trees, what messages they have to share. I consider him a tree whisperer: think horse whisperer. I bet he’s not the only one.

I imagine trees feel perhaps somewhat like animals with non-verbal communication, more powerful than words as we humans know: a plant or flower withers and dies, or not.

When I originally wrote a draft of this posting, my questions were: Will this tree die? What will become of it? Will new growth appear from its many mini-stumps like that which occurs in forests?

Potential growth or not, I had such a strong urge, a deep longing to hug this tree – what was left of it! – to console it, pray over it, and offer it some loving, tender healing touch. I felt though that it was probably too late to do so, and furthermore, I would be trespassing on my neighbour’s property and feared potential consequences. I wish I hadn’t been concerned for me, but more for the tree.

Yes, I admit, fear kept me from sharing my love for this tree, my ‘other’ unspoken neighbour who seemingly didn’t have a voice. Why did I not advocate for it? Fight for its rights to be and to live in one piece. As I write that I also think of the word ‘peace.’

I wrote a poem this summer when I was in a very relaxed and peaceful state entitled, “What I Learn from Trees.” Hmmm, if the computer would allow me to type it with single spacing, then you would see it her; however, it is not cooperating with me now! (And yes, I did check the setting for spacing.)

This tree unfortunately did not make it. Eventually it was brought to its ultimate death in the form of a stump as it was deemed ugly and unbearable to look at. Such a shame, such a loss as it not only served as a shelter and abode for wildlife, but also a protection from the elements for me, not to mention just to simply witness its glorious, natural beauty and earthy scent.

It had served its purpose(s), albeit short-lived.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely were thy branches!

What gifts do trees offer you? And, how are you like a tree?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gems in Disguise

Photo of an emerald by Wimon Manorotkul

You – and I – we are gems: rare, precious, prized, and valuable. We glimmer and shine with brilliant and bright tones of royalty - emerald green, ruby red, sapphire blue - and are each unique - oval, round, rectangular, heart, pear, or marquise-shaped (like our personality), not to mention faceted and unfaceted (the latter analagous to whether we hone our shinyness. (I prefer my own spelling as 'shininess' doesn't look or feel right to me!).

Real gems have "inclusions" which are internal characteristics such as fractures, growth lines (!), spots, specks, and the like. Think of them as 'extras.' Aren't we as human beings similar? We have our fractures, spots and specks, and possibly growth lines as well that make us a one-of-a-kind 'gem.'

Depending who you are and how you see yourself, you may or may not think of yourself as such, but consider this: we are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, or a tapestry or quilt. We all are a part of the fabric of life. I think of a spider web as I write this as each silk thread is valuable in that it contributes to holding up the entire web.

Similarly, no person is more important than another. Each person is valuable as we contribute to society's intricate web in our own unique ways.

A perfect example of our preciousness and contribution, a work colleague came to visit last week with her recent family addition: a relatively brand-spanking new, baby girl. She is the epitome of a sweet and precious gem, a prize(d) collection!

Both mother and daughter add value to each other's lives in myriad ways, in addition to the partner and father (respectively). Can you now imagine a cross-section of woven threads?

Yes, that's me holding the baby gem (with permission from the mother of course!).

How are you a gem: what qualities, intrinsic and/or extrinsic, can you bring forth to light up the world?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tribute ... to You!

Image of showbiz mirror

In my previous posting (You ... and Me!), I referred to a poem I wrote a number of years ago.

My poem applies to anyone and everyone, whether from the eyes of a man or woman, young or old, artist or engineer, President of a company or nation, or employee or citizen, and so on.

Now I know a lot of people may be aware of this already. However, I believe there are also a lot of people who don't or may not, and in particular when they get angry: name-calling or bullying (however subtle) or the like. Sometimes we just plain forget...myself included!

There's an expression that there are four fingers pointing back towards you (yourself) when you are pointing at someone. I speak figuratively here of course, i.e., on a mental and emotional level.

So reflect on these words (below) with that in mind:

a perfect reflection of me
A reminder of my own glory
as I see [slight pause] your inner and outer beauty

a mirror
of my thoughts
my feelings
my desires?

Oh, how I am in awe of you
and thus me as you

who reflect that which is pure and deep
and light and love and happiness
within me

whom I cherish with all my heart
my mind and spirit

Thank you,
thank you for being you
and all that which you are

God bless,
God bless you
and thus me
as our spirits intertwine*
and become one

I am in love!
I am in love with life
with God
with you
and thus me

Again thank you,
thank you for being you
and all that which you are. ©

*intuitive movements with my hands here like a DNA/RNA spiral

So next time you are prone to judge and/or criticize someone, silently or out loud, think twice: is this a trait you dislike, perhaps even hate about yourself?

How do you tend to see others? With what kind of eyes?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You ... and Me!

I think of a senior I met about two weeks ago while waiting for an appointment with my M.D. He complained and complained, mainly reminiscing about the "good old days" – can anyone relate? ; ) – and possible wars in the Middle East. No wonder he was unhappy! (More about that in a future blog post, likely near the end of December.)

Now I know, as one of my inspired poems (that I wrote a number of years ago) reflect, what I see in others – so-called good and bad – are qualities that I like and admire as well as dislike and detest about myself. (I wish I knew that in my teens!)

Though I have done my share of 'bitching' – sorry but I require at least one (powerful) synonym here – and complaining, I realize it’s usually relatively fruitless. All it does is attract more of the same: think fleas.

Did you notice when you complain, other people (tend to) commiserate around you? That is exactly what I mean. What you think about, talk about, and feel expands or increases in intensity and/or duration or frequency of episodes, whether pain, guilt, sadness, etc. This means that the particular situation or issue worsens if you constantly nag about it.

So, how does one change the situation?

Well, perhaps there is truth in the adage – that (word) just came to me intuitively – “Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic,” a phrase Dale Carnegie coined. (I actually won a Dale Carnegie award for “stage impromptu acting” demonstrating that very principle!)

I’ve noticed effects of this principle working in my life for the past month since I’ve become increasingly calm and happy, happier in fact than I’ve been on a consistent basis in a long time. As a result, my life has flowed with ease and grace.

Consequently, I move through life easier too (literally!) – my recent move attested to that (which you can read about in my previous posting) – with a more open and loving heart, rather than a fearful one.

In fact, even the one-day job action in the form of a strike protest last week that I participated in (being a union member of a nonprofit agency) was peaceful. I purposely focused on being happy and peaceful, sending waves (including literal hand wave gestures) of love to people while handing out a leaflet, a decal, and a chocolate heart (to symbolize being “the heart and soul of our community” (in terms of the work we do). How appropriate though I didn’t even think of that at the time! ; )

Through my actions, I consciously chose to remain in a state of love and peace, and even joy. This may have rippled to the other CUPE members who attended along with BCGEU employees and some family members and friends.

Though the photo depicted a different state of my being – the sun was in my eyes – I know my emotional and mental state had a positive impact on the community (to people I encountered as well as colleagues and union members). We all impact each other, especially with the words we speak.

Whether you or I are in an open, expanded state or a closed, contracted space, we each draw to us similar vibrations of people and situations in our lives. If you don’t believe me, experiment. If not on yourself, observe others and notice what occurs.

What have you noticed when you sway either way, towards the light or the dark in the emotional realm?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gratitude: Home is where the Heart is

Yes, I dare admit I moved again. I don’t usually move (or like to) so often, but for various valid reasons in particular lack of natural light, I decided to after another year of residency in beautiful Lynn Valley, now living on the not-to-far outskirts.

This move was different from all the rest. There were at least two main reasons, one being that I took time off and was quite organized with my packing tools (boxes, newspaper/paper/stuffing material) as well as with time, at least in terms of setting daily goals of what I expected, i.e., needed to complete by the end of the day in order for me to be complete and ready for moving day.

Regardless of the schedule I set, I ended up going to bed late every night partly due to meeting daily goals, though usually got up a bit later in the day (not as early as my morning work schedule). However, I also decided to take mid-week off - I needed a break! - for a work meeting and even an evening lecture (for personal and work reasons).

This move felt different. It was as if there was someone - an angel? - watching over me or looking out for me. My preparation and packing was for the most part like putting on a pair of perfectly fitting gloves: the right-sized box or elastic band that I needed would appear, presto, on the next item I touched or shortly after. And items fit perfectly as well as I was packing.

Moreover, I did a lot of creative packing like I’ve never done before! It ended up being somewhat fun while listening to CDs I hadn't listened to for awhile (though ended up donating a lot of those).

I notice over the years, that no place is perfect. There is always at least one or two imperfections. Despite them, my new residence feels like home and I realize it's been a long time since I felt 'at home.'

This makes me wonder: what does 'home' mean? Is home where the heart is or resides? I think of Snatam Kaur, whose pure voice, even when I first heard her, brought me 'home' - home to my heart, my core, my centre, my essence, my being. (

Otherwise can a person truly be home if they're not at home, i.e., at peace with themselves? Is it perhaps because I felt extremely calm and peaceful (amazingly enough throughout this ordeal)? I was in a state of joy for the most part. Is this why my preparation and move flowed?

What does home mean to you?

I welcome your comments to this last question or the ones previous (above)?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Heart Exposed

It takes courage to (really) feel your feelings, not only feel them but express them. I say that because of two incidents recently.

I realized years ago that I was operating from my head (thinking too much). My desire was to come more from heart. At last, I am doing so...I think! ; )

I am being open, more so that is. How do I know this you might wonder? I know as I am more open to opportunities and possibilities that I never would have considered in past. Expanding my horizons, stepping out of my comfort zone, and furthermore, being vulnerable in expressing who I am and my emotions.

Thus I was shocked when my heart felt betrayed and stabbed yet again (metaphorically speaking of course) by others. One of which I cannot divulge here because of possible ramifications, the other due to a woman who judged me incorrectly before she even met me.

As a result of these experiences and who-knows-what-other-factors (tired/hungry/stress), I cried. No, not crocodile tears. Real tears of deep and utter sadness that words cannot describe: I cried on and off that day, about four or five times just within a few hours.

My emotional and intuitive self felt, “My heart knows who I am, the truth of who I am and I know I am a kind and caring person. Yet it feels stomped upon when I share the being(ness) of me and it hurts, deeply. I feel so exposed, my heart that is, but that doesn’t pain as much as feeling that I can’t express who I am without being and/or feeling suppressed and repressed.”

In those grieving moments, I felt such a strong urge to write or rather type (as I can type really fast, especially when the impulse strikes me!). I felt drawn to write a poem, more of a rap actually as I felt such intense emotions of both anger and sadness. Oh, how I had wished I followed that!

Instead, being at work, I shut myself down or off instead. Silly me! That made the pain even worse!

In those what seemed like excruciating moments of emotional pain and angst, I didn’t honour myself, my emotions nor my body, by listening to them in expressing my emotions, in a safe manner of course.

I’m sure that if I had, the words would have flowed on the page like a rushing river as I felt the anger and passion of my pain bursting through my veins, pulsing rhythmically.

So here goes, albeit later after the incident so bear with me as part of my heart is being exposed (yet currently sad and vulnerable, teary even). Pretend you’re a rapper when you read these words:

Enough of suppression
That can feel like repression
And end up in depression
A state of regression

First it’s religion
My soul is a sinnin’
Shame, blame, and guilt-ridden
No rhyme and no rhythm

Then it’s off to school
Part of a pack of mule* (*due to heavy backpacks)
Rules and answers to keep
Why am I asleep?

Next I go off to work
Where I end up berserk
Punch time cards or keys
Where I feel, 'Hey Jeez!'

Fit into a peg, box, or square
Termed cubicle or lair
Buy name-brand stuff
Eat GMO’s corn puffs
Fill homes and guts
Am I nuts?

Do I not see?
How crazy life can be?
On a treadmill going round
Or a gerbil spinning around

This carousel of life
Is not a happy slice
Unless I go outside
See what others have to hide

Then truth will I see
As life is truly meant to be
Not what others call ‘reality’
But happy to be ‘me’

A sad state of affair
Till I wake up and be aware
Requires a hug and self-care
So I can truly grin and bear

Why can’t I be, be me
And you be you, true to you

Our hearts be true, to me and you [I added this line now while adding post]

Open opportunities [I added this portion now while adding post]
Explore possibilities
Pref'bly with sincerity
And much humility...

Ok, not the greatest poem/rap, but you get my drift. Like I said, it would have been much better if I had expressed the juicyness of my emotions in the moment. Next time, I’ll take the opportunity to explore the possibility of pain when I’m in it, much like an expressive arts therapist might do ... well, at least when possible.

How do you open your heart? Feel your pain? Express yourself?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Soaking up Sizzlin' Summer Sun

Summer: summer sun, summer fun, summer fun in the sun, summer sizzle. What does ‘summer’ conjure up in your mind? For me it’s primarily fun in the sun through summer festivals.

This year I attended my first Caribbean Festival parade (, a short – appreciate that! – colourful, musical parade as it headed towards lower Lonsdale to Waterfront Park.

My favourite: Harmony Arts Festival, a 10-day cultural event in West Vancouver ( where I get to hear free outdoor concerts with entertainers/bands such as Jim Byrnes or Locarno, watch movies like Midnight in Paris (with the moon suspended above as the perfect backdrop) and, one of my favourites, Billy Elliot in the park by the ocean, dance under the day or night sky, and witness arts and crafts displays.

I also saw two outdoor movies at David Lam Park this year: The Princess Bride (a classic movie described as a romantic comedy adventure fantasy film with surprisingly quite a number of men present), and Dirty Dancing with not various couples up front before the show demonstrating similar movie moves, but also a number of “ooh’s” and whistles when Patrick Swayze came onscreen.

Recently, I went down to Kirtan Vancouver at Second Beach ( as I love chanting in Sanskrit and was amazed at how many people I bumped into that I knew. That in itself was such a sweet delight!

When I witness – hear and see – people playing music and dancing, my soul feels so happy and alive. Does that happen to you?

Feeling light and free is how I like to be and summer has a tendency to do that. With the sun lengthening its stay, I linger beneath its warmth soaking up its soul-heartening rays.

Let’s enjoy the rest of summer what’s left of it as long as we can. Last year Vancouver enjoyed a beautiful Indian summer that extended till and including Thanksgiving weekend. Now that is rare indeed!

How would you like to be as you soak up the last rays of summer?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Light, Sound, Action!

When you watch fireworks, do you notice if the flashes of light come before the explosion of sound or if the sound follows? Think of a thunderstorm: you witness the lightning first, then hear the thunder (as the speed of light travels faster than that of sound).

What is it about fireworks, such as Vancouver’s recent Honda’s Celebration of Light, fireworks extravaganza that appeals so much to the general public? Is it the light? The noise? Both?

Could it attract us as human beings because we are made of up light? Some would say we are made up of light particles, from the same materials as stardust. And as like attracts like - light attracts light – in this case humans and fireworks.

We radiate electromagnetic light insomuch that there is an electromagnetic field surrounding our body as an entity. We are enveloped in this auric field indicated by an aura or glow around a person’s body that some people can see with the naked eye, in particular around a person’s head. More commonly perhaps is to see this as a glow in a person’s face. This may be one reason why, at least in some circles, human beings are referred to as “light beings.”

What is it about fireworks that attract you, and why?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Being Human vs. Doing Human OR Human Being vs. Human Doing?

How do you go from being a human being to being a human doing? Moreover, how do you go from being a human doing to being a human being?

That’s the question I’ve been dealing with since I woke up in severe pain and later numbness starting at my wrist and then going up my arm to my elbow a month ago. Picture by A.D.A.M., Inc.

I went to bed late the night before, or rather early in the morning (at about 1 a.m.), and my wrist was in quite a bit of pain which I thought very odd. It may seem odd that I didn’t even consider taking a painkiller as I prefer not to take them.

However, a few hours later upon awakening in almost excruciating pain – about an 8 or 9 in intensity (10 being the worst) – and increasing numbness travelling upwards to my elbow, I began to get scared. Was I experiencing symptoms of a heart attack? I recall someone mentioning something about pain or numbness, in the arm? Or a possible stroke? I really had no clue.

I called 8-1-1, the HealthLink BC phone line, and though they don’t diagnose, I was still confused whether to see my M.D. (doctor) or go to the hospital emergency department. Apparently, if my hand was cold and/or numb, they recommended emergency; however, a few minutes prior when I had called they mentioned the doctor as I didn’t feel that way when I first called.

Thus I ended up at Lions Gate Hospital, Emergency department. One of my earliest thoughts was – the mind goes strange sometimes doesn’t it? – if I were to die here, in the hospital, I would die alone! It would be a lonely death with no friends and/or family members nearby. My next thoughts were about people who might experience this and I ruminated upon this while waiting, feeling this almost to the point of tears.

Luckily it was not too long of a wait before I was seen in Emergency. However, they sent me to the First Aid department around the corner where I waited for quite some time, about an hour give or take before seeing a doctor.

When a Resident (precursor to the Medical Doctor) came to check up on me, she asked some unusual questions in addition to some that made sense like, “Did you fall?” Well I had, but about two weeks prior to this incident. I had wondered that as well though as I thought my fall might have triggered this pain. Later, my own physician would say most likely that it was, and a physiotherapist would say it was my work. Who was I to believe?

To satisfy your curiousity, I apparently had symptoms of tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Wow! I didn’t know you could experience both at the same time.

As a result of that diagnosis, I decided to take that week (shortened by one day, Canada Day) off. And what a week it was. Initially, I was actually quite bored as I couldn’t type nor do much. Two days later, I had a friend wash my hair in my bathroom sink – thanks Linda! – as I could barely twist my arm, let alone my hand.

I realized how much doing I do! Feeling more like a human doing, than a human being! (Is that an oxymoron?!) Our society and culture is seemingly obsessed with doing – doing, doing, doing – in terms of success rather than just being, simply being. Ridiculous when you think of it, isn’t it?

I found it somewhat amusing, at one point, that my right hand was affected as I was initially left-handed as a child. My mother had changed me to using my right – there was some belief way back then about left-handed being ‘wrong’ and/or ‘bad.’ Since I thought ambidexterity might prove a useful skill (one day, you never know!), especially with self-care, I learned how to do certain things with my left hand, though somewhat awkwardly, like brushing my hair and my teeth.

Finally I succumbed to not doing and just being – what a concept! – going for walks simply to enjoy the beautiful sunny hot weather we had that week. It felt very strange indeed, awkward, unusual, weird not to have a purpose to go for a walk other than to walk and be, sense the beauty of the warmth of the sun and the beauty of nature.

Though I know one reason metaphorically or metaphysically why this might have occurred, I’m still wondering and asking (when I remember) why this injury occurred.
My turn to ask you: Why do you injure yourself? What do your injuries have to tell you or teach you? How do you be instead of do(ing)? As I’m typing this last sentence, the common expression, “How do you do?” comes to mind. See what I mean about our society focused on doing?!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Being Tested

YouTube video from ballisticarts

I seem to get tested after undertaking major workshops and the like. A few weeks ago, I attended a somewhat intensive weekend workshop based on business, in particular on earning income and increasing money flow.

My test occurred on my way home from that particular workshop. I met a former classmate and friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. The opportunity to present my new business presented itself in that moment. How easy and convenient, right?

How was I being in that moment? What did I do/say? Well, instead of asking questions (which is generally recommended and in particular with this healing business), I only asked one that was very generic rather than find out where she was at and base my questioning around that!

Oh did I feel like a fool afterwards though she might not have noticed, but I sure did! Silly me! (A 30-second elevator pitch comes in handy in moments like this!)

Around the same time, a bus passed by with a huge ad on its side: “Good Money™ can help you get to a better place.” This is VanCity’s new campaign mainly in red and gold (colours chosen most likely to denote richness).

Two thoughts immediately came to mind upon viewing that: an increase in pay through a new work/career opportunity and a new home. Both have been on my mind or rather in the back of my mind lately.

Continuing down this path of thinking, what opportunities can open up and present themselves to me with more money? Hmmm...

How do you get tested? And how do you handle it?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Canada Day 2012

Photo courtesy of Brian Gratwicke

Happy Canada Day!

It’s a special day today for me, not only because of Canada Day and I'm walking in my first Canada Day Parade with work colleagues and friends, but my anniversary here in North Vancouver where I felt guided to move from Vancouver.

Never thought I’d leave the beauty and energy (feel) of the tree-lined neighbourhood where I lived not to far from shops and relatively close to the ocean and beach area to move across the water where it rains more!

However, though Vancouver felt like home for me, North Vancouver does even more, and even more so Lynn Valley. Something about mountains and trees in particular, the water too all remind me of my European heritage. I prefer to say I'm Dutch Canadian as I’m proud to be both Dutch and Canadian! ; )

What do you love about Canada or being Canadian?

Friday, June 29, 2012

"It's Your Lucky Day!"

“It’s your lucky day!” the bus driver exclaimed several times two weeks ago on a Monday morning as I had waited too long and missed one “not in service” bus due to full capacity. I didn’t know till the announcement the reason was because of an earlier multi-vehicle and semi-trailer accident on the Second Narrows bridge in North Vancouver.

“Hmmm,” I thought when the announcement was made, “certainly a matter of perspective. Yes, better to be late and alive than the alternative.”

Yesterday I had fallen and injured the heels of both my hands, my right knee, and right elbow (the latter the worst). I didn't feel so lucky, at least then (albeit an 'angel' helped me. See my previous posting). But according to the next day’s incident, I was indeed! All just a matter of perspective.

So, what do you consider luck?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Kind Stranger: a Samaritan named Rob

Earlier today, I tripped and fell on a bumpy piece of sidewalk on upper Commercial Drive as I was running hard and fast to catch a connecting bus.

Silly me! Is it really worth - now spoken in hindsight! - risking one’s life or limbs for a few minutes of potential gain?

It was only about 30 seconds on this desolate road that a man’s voice called out: "Are you okay?" I wanted to speak but couldn’t due to shock and/or pain. All I knew was that I was hurting, quite a bit, from the fall with the heels of my hands being scraped, along with my right knee and right elbow.

After asking him if he had any Kleenex and then remembering I had some, I told him where to look for it in my knapsack. Then I covered my hands and elbow as best I could with it aware of possible germs and infection.

He asked if I could get up. I couldn’t. Though he tried lifting me(!) and then suggested I remove my backpack, I turned myself around towards the grass and lifted myself awkwardly up.

He proceeded to ask where I was headed to and if he could take me there. I suggested the medical walk-in clinic a number of blocks further down Commercial Drive. That was the priority!

As he started driving, I thought to ask his name – at least wanted to know that - and where he was heading to. As soon as he answered "Rob", I knew that I wanted to write about this experience, his kind gesture. Good deed for the day as I often say!

Due to a car-free afternoon festival, a portion of the Drive was closed. Luckily Rob knew its whereabouts as he stopped the car at the nearest blocked intersection and helped me get to the clinic.

I was grateful to be the next person to be seen and my injuries taken care of and wrapped within a few minutes of the incident.

After all this, all I'm left with is his first name, the memory of his face (dark hair and glasses primarily) and car (beat-up silver or grey, pick-up type vehicle), and his occupation or craft as an artist. And though I may forget his face or his name in time – or not! – I’ll always remember this act of service, from a kind stranger.

I’m truly grateful for and appreciative of kind strangers and good deeds.

What are you grateful for…today?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Year Later: Canuck Jerseys for Sale

I’m stupefied by the fact that the Vancouver police didn’t seem to fathom a possible riot a year ago, when members of the general public – ordinary, everyday people like myself (and I’m not even a hockey fan) – highly expected it. And not only if we had lost, but also if we had won!

Interesting too, that out of curiosity while surfing the net I discover it was the exact same teams that played and lost the same game (number 7) back in 1994 and last year. And the police did not expect a riot with that info? Unbelievable!

Regardless, it’s certainly a shame as the riot seems to have tarnished Vancouver’s reputation as one of the best cities to live in the world. No wonder why Vancouver became a “no-fun city” a number of years ago: the ’94 riot probably contributed to this.

I recall riding the skytrain into Vancouver from Burnaby with my boyfriend at the time to watch a movie. After hearing comments about possible rioting/looting from several riders (which quite shocked me), I wanted to immediately return to whence we came, though my boyfriend didn’t.

Emerging from the movie theatre at the end of the show, I witnessed a sight that looked and sounded what could have been a war zone. Ironically, I have felt eerily peaceful and calm at two close-to-death experiences, but a mob mentality is another story! With its extremely menacing and dangerous nature, I was scared for both of us as we traversed downtown Vancouver hoping to make it home unscathed.

What is the lesson or are the lessons to be learned to prevent future riots? (By the way, Vancouver Canuck fans: jerseys on sale!)

I’ll let you answer that as I said hockey isn’t for me, never was, and never will be. I have better and more important things to do with my time than watch a bunch of men play and get paid millions for what’s become a violent sport, seemingly both on and off ice. (I’ll let you use your imagination on that last comment.)

As I type this posting, I still feel some of the anxiety churning in my stomach which quite amazes me. Unfortunately, both riots, particularly the one last year – I thought we would learn from the first one – has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

So why am I writing about this then you might wonder? Good question! Partly to expose what a number of people already foresaw with the hope that somehow this can prevent another such occurrence, and also to hopefully learn the lessons involved for the same reason.

Let us be peace and live in peace. Is an award, a trophy, a cup (Stanley Cup) worth fighting for? Maybe in terms of fighting for it as a goal, but not in the literal sense please. Spare me and spare Vancouver. We don’t need nor want another riot.

How do you demonstrate peace in your being and/or actions?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Defying Gravity so No One can Steal Your Rock ‘N Roll!

(Title is based from the songs Defying Gravity from the musical 'Wicked,' and Steal Your Rock ‘N Roll from the musical 'Memphis')

Some of the lyrics from one of my favourite musicals the Burstin' with Broadway choir ( that I sang with this past weekend at the Kay Meek Centre (, Defying Gravity, an original arrangement by Roger Emerson ( is reflective of this – my – inner voice, at least in relation to my Children's Co-Creative Choir: “I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game. Too late for second guessing, too late to go back to sleep. It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap. It’s time to try defying gravity..."

Almost everyone I talk to seems to love the idea of this defying-gravity-so-no-one-can-steal-your-rock-'n-roll choir, even the Marketing Director of the Vancouver International Children's Festival Society ( whom I spoke to a few days ago! And I didn’t even finish telling her about it!

So the questions that come up for me now are: What am I missing or how am I getting in the way? What are the obstacles of the children not showing up, rather the parents not signing them up, yet? Hmmm...perhaps, rather than find out what the missing link is, maybe it's better for me to rephrase the question: What do I need to do in order to have this choir show up?! Ah, different words, different perspective.

Could it be that I am simply too attached to it? Possibly, after all the original idea of a children’s choir came to me at about 3 a.m. a number of years ago. (You can read more about this in my first two blog postings: (1) Call to Action and (2) Why Me? Why this Choir?)

If you read my earliest blog posting, I even got the name Angelic Voices as a choir name at that time though have since seen that name for a children’s choir on the North Shore, in North Vancouver where I live. Such a small world we live in! (I’ve had lots of those kinds of experiences since moving here just over 20 years ago.

In addition to initially receiving a few ideas and a lot more since then, I also had a vision last summer of an opening scene for the choir.

Thus, for all those reasons and more, I know that if and when this choir materializes, I will cry. Would you like to know why? (And I’m not just saying that to rhyme!) Simply, out of gratitude. Gratitude because I believe the original idea came from God/Spirit and it has become my heart’s desire, if not my soul’s desire.

As I type that, some of the lyrics to Steal Your Rock 'n Roll from the musical 'Memphis' comes to mind, “I swallowed my fear, followed my heart right here. Listen to your soul, listen to your soul. Heed it, ya need it. Let it make, let it make you whole. And if ya listen to the beat and hear what’s in your soul, you’ll never let anyone steal your rock ‘n’ roll!

It’s interesting how art can imitate life, don’t you think?! ; )

After the show and the following couple of days in particular, my mind was constantly filled with lyrics of musicals, including a verse and song title from Spamalot that the men sang, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” ( Wise advice indeed, I might wish to heed! ;)

Ask yourself – and feel free to answer below – Do you ever defy gravity (in a positive way) by being true to your heart, your soul’s essence? Do you pay attention to that still small inner voice and heed it, and, if so, how?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Intro to Summer Camp

Photo courtesy of North Shore News

Well I did it!  I really did it!  I really did it now!

No, I’m not speaking about a ‘bad’ incident or mishap.  Rather, I’m referring to the launch of my intro to the summer camp of a community co-creative children’s choir on Saturday, May 5th at John Braithwaite Community Centre.

Though only a few kids showed up, at least they showed up, that is, that the parents brought them.  And one parent, plus an adult friend showed up too for support by participating in the various exercises I ran.

And although I was supported and I was exuberant, it wasn’t 100% successful.  How could it be?  If it was, would I grow and learn?  No!  Thus, it wasn’t a complete failure either.

It seemed that I made some so-called mistakes mainly through things that I didn’t say, things that I could have said, things that I should have said.  Namely what I’m referring to is speaking about goals of the intro as well as the why of some of the exercises we were doing – how did I miss that?! – in addition to talking more about the summer camp.

I think it was a combination of excitement and nerves:  new kids, adults, North Shore News photographer, and intro launch as well as the feeling perhaps of the need to entertain or inspire the children.  I had too many exercises, focusing more on doing rather than just simply being, rather than allowing more space in between!

Expressive arts therapy terms this as “liminal space.”  It is analogous to being on the threshold, the edge of the line, the space that occurs between here and there.  Yet that is the place where magic can occur, where clarity can reside or beckon you to draw nearer.  It is akin to the space or gap between the thoughts as in meditation, between the notes as in music, the silence in between all that.  It is both powerful and (potentially) deep.

Not until after reading the feedback forms later that day, did I feel both happy and deflated.  Though initially berating myself for a few days following, I put this into perspective:  the event occurred, people participated, and I got feedback!

The simple and honest feedback from the children gives me the impetus that I need to create an even better program. 

Overall, a few humbling lessons for me:  (1) a failure can be seen as a success if you apply the learning(s) from the experience (2) there is grace in humility (3) whether to acknowledge God, Spirit, Source, the Universe – use which term you prefer – I’m not the one ultimately in control!

Keeps me on my toes … on the edge of my seat … on the line…in liminal space.

What mistakes have you made that have turned out to be successes in disguise?  Like, “what’s right about this?!”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Resonate or Resonance?

It’s so exciting when Spirit/God/Source/the Universe – substitute your term - confirms and re-affirms what you are doing, right?!  I LOVE it when that happens! <3

Case in point.  Late last night I saw an online ad under Meetup for a spiritual networking business group online (Copia HOBN) at  I felt strongly drawn to it, not only because I happened to attend a seminar last night on the topic of marketing a business ( and am currently doing so, or that it just conveniently happened to be in the same building where I work, but more so because I knew, from the ad, that I could speak freely and be understood, speaking in spiritual terms using words such as “Spirit” or “intuition.”

Ripple Effect from Wikipedia
I was SO excited to be there, to rub shoulders with people in the spiritual community that my heart was so open and full of gratitude.  I cried intermittently as I was emotionally touched by the people who attended, their sharing, and some of the words which strongly resonated for me, landing into my ears and in my heart confirming and re-affirming my dream.

Recently, I attended a teleseminar where this occurred as well.  Ellen Hayakawa, a former wildlife biologist turned speaker, author, and coach concerning spiritual gifts spoke on “Supporting Your Child to Greater Happiness and Self-Confidence by Discovering their Spiritual Gifts.” (

She also confirmed and reaffirmed – there are those words again – my dream.  It’s not a sleeping dream, but my life’s purpose or mission.

There were three key elements in particular which she spoke about concerning children and youth that resonated strongly for me: (1) “a safe and secure place to express” (YES!) as my children’s choir is about expression and a safe place to do and feel that (2) “they're teaching us" (YES!!) as my original life purpose/mission statement started off as “To teach children and youth …” and realizing that the children would most likely teach me! and (3) "co-creatively express with others" (YES!!!) as I had gotten the word ‘co-creative’ intuitively to use as a tile and/or to describe my children’s choir.  Currently it is “Children’s Co-creative Choir” or interchangeably “Co-creative Children’s Choir” though I expect a possible name change with input from the kids.  After all, we’ll be co-creating!

Of course, Ellen also mentioned many other aspects, points which were just as valid and further solidify my dream:

"learning difference or consciousness difference” (I love that!)
"heart’s desire to empower…” (to my revised statement starts off, “I empower…”_
"the way children learn turns the education system upside down"
"telepathic" (love that too!)
"the children calling us to be truthful and honest" (great!)
"behind every behaviour is the true reason for the behaviour" (or words to that effect)
"children with ADHD are often bored" (I knew that claircognizantly years ago)
"children leave the room because they already know/have the info" (I knew that intuitively when I was a
   participant in one of Ellen’s workshops and three young children (about ages 3 to 5) left the group to play.
   I thought, "They don't need to know this.  They already know it!")
Interviewer: "Children come wearing their labels.  I have ADHD.Ellen:  “I don't care about the labels but I do care about who you are...”
"children don't feel isolated and alone" (in feeling and/or knowing someone understands them)
"no place to express" (that’s where I come in! ; ))
"study with young children 8-12 year olds" re. happiness (I'm aiming at the tweens, ages 9-12 at least initially because there's a lot for the younger children and the teens, not these ages)
"pharmaceutical drugs fall away..." (a big YES!)

How do you know that what you are doing is right?  How does it come to you as confirmation?  Or another way of saying it, how is it confirmed for you?

Next blog postingA need to be seen :-) a need to be heard :-O

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On the Way to Launch My Dream

One month today. Yes, one month as of today, on May 5th I am launching my debut of a dream, my dream: a unique, non-traditional, original - just to emphasize the point! ;) – co-creative children’s choir.

This dream which originally came from Spirit in the form of “children’s choir” came to me out-of-the-blue at about 3 in the morning a number of years ago. I lost count. It could have been eight or even 10 years ago, I’m really not sure.

I initially blogged about what was initially occurring for me concerning this dream in my first post, “Call to Action” (dated July 25, 2009) as well as the subsequent “Why Me? Why the Choir?” as I originally questioned myself as in “Who am I to do this?”

However, I felt the need to heed the call and take action as I kept receiving and still do receive inspiration for it. How can I not move forward with it?

In the meantime while I prepare for the intro and the ensuing summer camp, I would appreciate if you would read my first and second blog postings in particular (as mentioned above) to get a sense of me: who I am and what, in part, I have to offer. It contains more info and details about my background and the like than I want to divulge, actually avoid repeating, here. Otherwise, this can be a very lengthy post.

If you feel compelled to do so, feel free to comment or ask questions and/or be a follower on my blog. Thx!

Speaking of which, for the followers and others reading my blog, the question I have for you now is: What is your dream and what step(s) are you taking to pursue it?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy 20th Anniversary ... and Happy Spring!

Another anniversary. The last one was to celebrate my one-year birth of my blog last July. This time it’s to celebrate my 20th anniversary in Vancouver, today (and the first day of Spring depending on the calendar year)! It also happens to be my favourite season.

Wow! I can’t believe it! How time flies by, especially as you get older! ; )

While working for a relatively large private benefits and consulting company in big T.O. (aka Toronto) in Ontario, Canada, I had posted quite a number of calendar pictures featuring landscapes of BC and Alberta.

I wanted to go out west to witness this beautiful piece of Canadian soil, mainly because I wanted to experience Expo ’86. This as a result of an attractive scenic shot of Vancouver, BC, primarily of downtown with Stanley Park, the surrounding ocean, and the mountains in the distance.

I may have mentioned it to colleagues including my bosses(?) during the recession at the end of and/or beginning of the 21st century when I was laid off (for what I believe was the first time in my life).

Before that occurred however, I bought a return ticket to Vancouver as my plan was to check out the city before I moved there. When finding out that I was to be laid off, it changed my plans accordingly. Instead, I ended up flying one way on a return ticket; first time to do so but feeling I didn’t have much choice as the economy was pretty bad and I wanted a career change anyway.

What also made me decide to move to Vancouver were my parents, my mother in particular as they were planning to move to one of three Canadian cities out west after my father’s retirement.

My mother declared to me upon a visit to my home with my father in tow, “Elly, if I were you, I would move either to Vancouver or Victoria. It’s beautiful out there, the weather’s better” …blah, blah, blah. I still recall that comment vividly.

So I asked my parents questions though what specifically I can only guess as I can’t recall that part of the conversation, probably stuff like the weather, housing, employment, etc.

And interestingly enough, a man who just happened to be visiting his family in Toronto and who was from Vancouver dropped by after my parents visit. I knew him from a few years prior when he visited the church I used to attend. Then I peppered him with lots of questions, some similar to what I had asked my folks to get another perspective.

When he left, I pondered over both his and my parents’ responses and the most fascinating thing occurred. I felt so happy like I had never felt before. I knew in my heart it was the right decision, without a doubt, without question.

It was confirmed when I moved here during the generally rainy spring season: the entire week was sunny and full of beautiful cherry blossoms in the city!

When have you felt the knock of Spirit on your doorstep or your heart? How has it come to you?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Close Call: Death Almost Befalls Me

“I’m not ready to go yet!” I silently pleaded as a prayer whilst struggling to catch my breath. I almost died, was it only a short three weeks ago? And not just once, but twice, almost!

One time I threw back some mixed nuts – don’t ever try that! – and one of them, probably an almond, got stuck at the back of my throat, waaay down. I couldn’t do anything at first and was aware that I couldn’t breathe, at least through my mouth.

I think part of me (the inner me) was quite scared (that I could die), yet another part (my outer me) was surprisingly calm – that I actually don’t remember how it became unstuck, but I’m grateful it did. I think I leant forward and tapped my back or tried coughing; I believe I may have blocked the fearful memory.

Wow! Close call! Within the same week, I almost got run over by a vehicle passing in the dark near my home. Whew! Another close call!

What’s happening? What’s all this about? Red Alert! Need to pay more attention. Focus on the here and now. Ground self. Breathe. And breathe deep! This is what was going through my mind after the fact.

I’ve had this sense lately (since about January) that a lot of people (I know) are going to die this year. I don’t like that thought nor do I like the resulting feeling and certainly hope that I’m wrong.

Although I don’t wish to dwell on this of course, I already know of about four deaths so far this year (within less than two months) upon this incident in mid-February: a friend and former roommate’s mother passing, a work colleague’s brother dying, another work colleague’s father dying, a former tenant (of the place I lived in before) found dead in a park recently.

That’s way too many when I consider I’ve only attended maybe two funerals in my life, thus far. I prefer it that way, nice and easy, and slow!

Though I’ve been close to death several times myself, I’m definitely not ready to go yet. After all, not only do I have to tidy up my home beforehand, I have a mission to accomplish! ; )

Have you ever been close to death? If so, what saved you and/or what keeps you alive?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Seeing One's Heart

Perhaps analogous to the heart-shaped images and objects I come upon (see previous posting, Feb. 17th), a gift that I believe I possess is the ability to know or see into a person’s heart, their nature or essence; more like their personality rather than their (true) soul essence. It’s as if I can see into the depth of their emotional heart, their being.

Questions like, “Do I like this person? Can I trust them? What are they like?" I can usually answer upon initially meeting them, often without conversing or sometimes a bit. This even comes across through emails that might be scant in terms of number of words. I have an intuitive knowing (or claircognizance) about the person.

Do you ever experience anything like this? And if so, how does it come to you? I’d love to know!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Communication(s) from my Dead Twin?

A woman asked me recently how my dead twin sister appears to me. I knew what she meant, but I didn’t know the answer, at least not immediately. After she gave her example of finding white feathers and thinking of a particular close friend of hers who passed away every time this occurred, it triggered a memory for me.

For many years now, I’m not even sure how long ago, perhaps when I was in my twenties, maybe even teens, I spontaneously started collecting heart-shaped objects. I didn’t know why as it seemed to happen unconsciously. It wasn’t till years later that I realized I was doing this, that is, that I actually had a bit of a heart collection.

Over the years, I have come to discover many heart-shaped images in things. I see them mostly in the environment, in elements of nature, especially in the shapes of flowers, and stones and rocks for example. And I also see it indirectly, like within a pattern as in the bark of a tree.

I seem to gravitate towards heart-shaped items as in the case of a calendar that has numerous pictures, primarily photos of heart-shaped objects. Though this appeals to me greatly, it doesn’t mean that I seek everything that is heart-shaped! But (pause), did you happen to notice that a heart is two halves in one? And in its original(?) form, identical halves? My twin and I, identical at birth...hmmm...

Reminiscing about heart shapes during the above-mentioned conversation, I wonder if that is my twin’s way of letting me know of her presence, that she is nearby and/or thinking of me. (Unfortunately, I hate to admit, I don’t sense her or see her or hear her at all and certainly wish I did!) This could certainly be an interesting possibility as, even though she’s had a huge impact on my life, I didn’t know her at all!

One way, I’ve been told, my twin speaks to me is through words (nonverbally). I often get words claircognizantly; I don’t see or hear them, I just get them like an instant knowing, spontaneously as if from the ethers. It is akin to claircognizance which is a knowing state, i.e., knowing something without knowing how you got the info. This is otherwise challenging to explain unless you experience this. (See my posting dated May 7 and May 31, 2011 and entitled, “The Call to Write Part 1” and Part 2.)

I strongly believe we can communicate with others on the other side – yes, I’m speaking of dead people here – though not about séances or channelling (as I don’t trust that). It is on a nonverbal level, like telepathic communication with images in our mind’s eye (i.e., inner intuition) and/or outward images or objects such as feathers or coins for example, or in my case with words.

How do(es) your deceased loved one(s) ‘come’ to you or ‘speak’ to you in the forms of objects/images?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pay it Forward...with an Umbrella!

Amidst quite a usual rainy week in January, I noticed a men's black umbrella lying on a bus stop bench while enroute on my morning commute to work. I was deliberating whether to take it or not though my (intuitive) sense felt that if someone else were to pick it up, they might keep it.

While waiting to do so, I was considering my options: (1) I could pick it up and then bring it to the bus depot a few blocks from my work (2) I could pick it up and then post a note on CL (CraigsList) and/or at or near the bus stop or (3) just keep it.

While the latter struck me as a passing fancy as I specifically buy automatic umbrellas like this one - specifically for the ease in boarding on and off buses - I decided to post a note on the bus shelter instead. After all, I didn't want a black umbrella! ; ) (Just teasing, of course!)

Really though, I realized that because the umbrella was in very good condition, almost looking new in fact, and due to its automatic mechanism, that the owner would want it back and probably soon due to the upcoming weather forecast.

I also imagine what I would want someone to do if was the one who lost something, in this case that particular umbrella. So naturally I posted a short note on standard-sized red paper, albeit somewhat dark, and using a black thick marker hoping to direct attention to it. Unfortunately it was a day or two afterwards that I did so.

After posting the lost ad about two days without a reply, I was contemplating changing it to white paper when I received the call, the call for the umbrella that is.

The man was delighted that I found his umbrella and could he pick it up. Going in part with my instincts, I knew I would be safe if he came by my home to pick it up. I could trust him based on how he spoke and what he said.

Part of what he kept declaring was, "You've restored my faith in mankind." I was rather surprised by his statement as I thought it a small but kindly gesture that I return what (rightfully) belonged to him.

When he came by to retrieve it, he handed me an envelope indicating that it was "coffee money." I didn't expect anything other than perhaps a "thank you," so initially I politely declined but he insisted on me accepting it.

This immediately made me think of the movie, Pay it Forward. I love that movie, especially since a motto I invented is to do at least one good deed a day (though I don't always think about this, at least on a conscious level). I wrote about this briefly in a previous posting (see 'Earth Angels' dated Dec. 14, 2011).

My question for you is: How do you pay it forward? What action(s) do you take as a kind deed or gesture?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pain: Common Connection with Another Stranger

A middle-aged man looking somewhat unkempt boarded the crowded bus I was on at one of the stops in the DTES last night. Though I judged him stereotypically as homeless and/or an alcohol and/or drug addict (see my posting, Beauty in the DTES, Jan. 24, 2011), my perspective was soon to change.

It changed once I noticed he was in pain and later when he started sharing his story. I could tell his back was in extreme pain as he squeezed his eyes shut – I sometimes do this too when I feel intense physical pain – and hunched over, tightly clung onto a railing at the very front of the bus, having his back towards the front window.

As the bus was jam-packed (not sure why) at a few minutes before 9:30 pm, I asked a woman at the front of the bus behind the driver, if she could give up her seat for this “man who was in pain.” I thought I spoke loud enough, though whether she heard me or not my request was ignored, unfortunately.

Now, during our entire ride to the bus loop in North Vancouver (about a 25-minute ride give or take), I was also in physical pain. I had recently been experiencing intermittent, almost constant pangs of pain in my left heel, a most likely sign of the beginning of plantar fasciitis.

This is a condition that I am familiar with having experienced it a few years prior for the first time. In my case I believe it is attributed to ill-fitting shoes over the years, as I have narrow feet and high arches. At that time, I could barely get out of bed, i.e., walk on the floor, which apparently is a very common symptom.

For those of you who don’t know, this painful condition can be brought about by the inflammation of the tissue at the arch of the foot. It is common to athletes, unlike me, and middle-aged folk, like me, and those who are overweight, somewhat like me, as per the BC Health Guide (

Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand comfortably for more than a few minutes, if that, I sat uncomfortably on top of a railing at the front, an area meant for luggage and extraneous bags, etc.

Upon seeing this man in pain and hearing part of his story about it (including titanium rods in his body), I felt that my pain paled in comparison. Interestingly, whilst listening to him share (and sensing he was partially baring his soul), I forgot about my own pain for a little while.

This stranger spoke about being on opiates, not wanting to be on any pills as he hates them, but feeling he didn’t have any other choice. Though he wished to be off them as his tolerance level had lessened over time, he had since doubled the dosage as this seemed to help.

Long story short, I was very grateful to have met this man to again remind me of a lesson. Similar to one of my previous blog postings entitled, A Tribute to David: Connection with a Stranger (Oct. 27, 2010), I relearned that I need to be grateful for what I already have as things can always be worse, including pain. Albeit painfully, at least I can still walk!

I’m always reminded of this lesson too, in particular, when I see someone in a wheelchair. When I do, I express thanks quietly for my body, especially my functioning limbs and digits that I have.

And someone in a wheelchair did board the bus during our trip. So I witnessed two experiences to remind me that though I may be in pain from time to time, I can walk and stand, run, and dance. Lucky me!

What lesson(s) have you learned about pain?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bear with me ...

Please bear with me as it has been a very busy couple of weeks for me. However, I realize too that I write best when I'm NOT under pressure as my blog posts seem dry when I do. Thus, I'm considering writing not necessarily every two weeks like I used to, but rather more so when inspiration hits and more importantly, when I have the time.

Recently, I felt like I had nothing fresh to write about. However, a couple of incidents lately triggered some newfound inspiration. I still need to write it so am thanking you for your patience, in the meantime. : )