Me and KD Lang… we’ll just be meditating over here.

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Meditation huh? I have recently downloaded the new free app promoted by KD Lang called Stop, Breathe and Think. It’s interesting.  I tried it out for the first time last night using the “commonality of suffering” meditation. Seems like an odd place to start but given the events in my life over the past six months it seemed reasonable. A very calm voice led me through a 6 minute meditation focusing on breath, on imagery, and on empathy. Imagine how it must feel to lose everything… put yourself in the place of someone whose family and home have been destroyed by a storm.  That’s big stuff for a six minute meditation but I am a novice, so can’t say yet whether it’s too much or just a lot to contemplate in that context and time frame.

Anyway, I’m going to try it again. It’s a free app and I’ve got time on my hands. The commonality of suffering is probably not where I’d like to focus all my attention, but I can see that many of the meditations listed (the longest is about 10 minutes) are of a more positive tone like those entitled Kindness, Equanimity (I guess it’s as good a time as any to figure out what that word means), Joy and Great Compassion. I could use more of all those in my life and would do well to share more of those things too. There’s a great check-in screen that invites you to choose up to 5 adjectives to describe how you’re feeling, then suggests meditations that might be meaningful or relevant.

The truth is I grew up fearing meditation; my mother’s warnings about the risks of transcendental meditation and the obvious link between meditation and certain death by fire (soaked with gasoline) ring loudly in my ears even now. I’ll do my best to avoid long haired men in caftans (think Rasputin in a dress) when plugging in my ear buds; if I see any lurking in the shadows with a jerry can I’ll definitely reconsider the meditation and consider a sprint instead. Joking aside, meditation is still a bit “new age” and “flakey” to many. I’m going to try to overcome that and silence the lingering doubts.

I don’t know if meditation is going to work for me. I’m a rapid processor… my mind has been referred to as a pinball machine in the past, whizzing and bouncing, rebounding and doubling back with bells and flashing lights, zany music and strobe effects. I’d do well with more focus, less zing. If KD Lang is willing to help, I’m all for it. I really dig KD Lang. If KD Lang says meditation will help me gain clarity, peace and inner tranquility, I’m going to listen. Actually, if KD Lang tells me pretty much ANYTHING, I’m going to listen. And if a ten minute meditation once a day really will help me “become more mindful and compassionate”, then cool. Nice to know there’s an app for that. I could certainly use my own “forcefield of personal calm and peace”.

The organization called Tools for Peace is behind the app. Tools for Peace™ teaches people of all ages how to develop and apply kindness and compassion in their daily lives” says their site. That’s a good objective, and any methods likely encourage compassion and participation are good. I’m going to give this app a try and see what happens. I’ve always wanted to try meditation, maybe this will be my starting point.

And KD…. if you’re listening? I’ll meditate with you any day.

This is KD Lang at a concert in Vegas a couple of years ago, holding the magazine I offered her from Yukon… my home. She and I are pretty much best friends now.  While the image quality is not awesome, the quality of the image is pure awesome!

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Swirling Sterling, pearls and tumbled green glass

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More work for an order going out this weekend. It’s nice to be back in the studio after almost a year of waiting for the creative forces to slap me upside the head again. I missed it, I’ve discovered. There’s a calm that comes from sitting quietly, door closed, turning beautiful things into different beautiful things. I never know when I start working with a stone or a bead or a chunk of silver or glass exactly what I’ll end up with, and that works best for me. I generally like the “as I go” creations better than those I design with pen and paper first. More spontaneous, more fluid somehow. Anyway, I will bid farewell to this and all the recent work I’ve done tomorrow… glad to deliver the order, always a bit melancholic to see things go out the door.

Countdown to Mexico!

ImageThree weeks from this very moment I will be in Mexico. In the very place you see pictured above. The house there on the left is where my husband and I will sleep, the teenagers in the house on the right. Ahhhhhh. I need to take a moment to let that really soak into my psyche. Three short weeks and my toes will be deep in warm sand, my fingers wrapped around a cold glass, my eyes squinting into the hot sun. Amen.

Doesn’t that just sound like poetry? Sand, sun, water, relaxation, no work, no phone, no emails, no chores. Just 4 teenagers. Wait. Right… 4 teenagers. Better make that TWO hands wrapped around nice cold glasses…!

I’ve reached that point in pre-holiday delirium where every thought is framed by the holiday… need to make sure I buy cat food “for the housesitter”; better call the doctor’s office to make sure I have antibiotics “in case someone gets sick in MEXICO”, gotta get that project finished before I take my HOLIDAY etc.

I’m glassed over. I’m checking the weather in Yelapa, talking the kids through what to do if someone gets stung by a scorpion (as if I have a freakin’ CLUE!). Anyway, we are adequately supplied with Immodium, Benadryl, hand sanitizer and electrolyte replacement packets. We’ll be golden.

The one regret I have, of course, is that I’ll have to come home. When we were waiting in line in Mexico two years ago to come home, a lady in front of me stepped out of line, said “sorry, not ready to go home” to her friend and did NOT go home. How awesome is that? I have had dreams about that for the last two years. When I moved to the north (the REAL, top of the world Canadian north) 22 years ago, my actual intent was to move to Mexico for a year. Yep, I know… went the wrong way. Took a one year job, met a man, got married, had babies, etc. etc.

So each time I go to Mexico, a BIG part of me wants to just…stay. I walk around wondering what the hell happened… why is it that I don’t live there?

Yeah, yeah. I like my life, I like where I live (love it even), and can’t imagine what life I’d be living if I hadn’t taken the path I did but there’s that part of me that wants the parallel life… why can’t I have both? My real life, my Mexico life… I guess it’ll be a goal then. Sell the house here in the Yukon and find a way to live that dream of so long ago. Yes… that’s what I will dream of.

Dream of, work toward, plan for. Pronto.

Adios, amigos. Hasta Luego!

Nothing that matters

When I was a teenager I used to go with my friend Sonia to Gastown, Vancouver’s historic, cobblestoned tourist Mecca. We would poke through shops, sip tea and generally act cool. One shop captivated us with its wall of small drawers…an antique cabinet filled with curiosities. Each stubborn old drawer revealed another odd, creepy or comical surprise; spare parts for dolls, mini whoopee cushions, fake vomit and vintage postcards. We spent ages systematically opening and closing each drawer, only disappointed when we came across rare duplicates or an empty tray.

I stumbled across the same shop this summer on a solo morning stroll through Gastown. Though the shop has changed hands at least once, the antique treasure trove remains, and I gleefully began the nostalgic opening and closing ritual. It’s rewarding to discover some things really do stay the same, even after so long.

As always, I left the shop with a small bag containing an inexpensive treasure; this time, a beautiful box of oversized matches. The box was creamy white with a lovely botanical print, all lavender flowers and butterflies. I was living in the city this summer, and savoured every opportunity to celebrate the simple beauty of a bouquet of fresh flowers, or a pretty candle on the mantel of my apartment.

I am the mother of three teenagers. My home is less decorated than reclaimed…it is a constant act of sheer will to ensure sanitary conditions and uncluttered thoroughfares. There is no decor, per se….rather a kind of chaotic visual thrum that can lead to maternal mumbling and gnashing of teeth.

The tiny act of purchasing a beautiful box of matches to light my scented candles was an act of defiance…a statement that even for me, even in my life, beauty matters. I have lit each of those matches with a kind of reverence. These matches were special, and once home in my chaotic Yukon home, I was reminded each time of the peace and pleasure the summer away brought me. I have used those matches solely for the purpose of lighting my candle…rationed them and kept them on my dresser, mine alone.

And then winter hit, and it was time to light the fire in the wood boiler. My husband spotted the matchbox….perfect! Extra long wooden matches! When he forgot to put them back, my son spotted them in the kitchen…perfect! Excellent for firing up his….glass sculpture he thinks I don’t know about.

I found the box, crushed and broken, containing two matches, on the counter. My reaction was out of proportion to the item’s significance. I was so SAD! No one understood. I took the box back upstairs and reverently lit my candle, breathed the scent and tried to recall the sense of peace.

Tonight I found the empty box discarded on the hearth, a fire roaring and the Christmas tree lit and decorated. My husband apologized, said he couldn’t find a lighter. My son looked at me like I had two heads. Mom….it was a MATCH! What’s the big deal.
I can’t explain it. It just was, to me.