Life Lessons I Learned From a Seagull…

 

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Have you ever watched a Seagull (or flock of Seagulls) in action? It can be quite entertaining.

A few times a week, I shop at my local market which is situated on the Waterfront.  On any given day, it’s saturated with Seagulls (so I get entertained on a regular basis).

While the Seagull can be known to be dirty, a bit savage like, and downright annoying at times, I realized there are a few things about these pesky birds I actually admire. Continue reading

WHEN A HOUSE BECOMES A HOME…

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I live in a neighborhood filled with vast and varied dwellings. It’s quite a blend of old meets new, and I’ve come to realize, there’ a different style of house and garden to suit every kind of personal taste.

My husband and I rent a small home that has a beautiful energy. We felt this from the 1st time we came to see it. We believe the energy was instilled by the owners who are kind, loving, compassionate and generous people.  They raised their children and created many meaningful memories here as a family.

In the last few years, we’ve noticed our neighborhood is changing.  Though we have some delightful, friendly neighbors who’ve been here since we moved in over 12 years ago, a few of the newer ones keep to themselves.  They don’t meet my glance, or return the “hello” I extend as the dog and I walk past them on our daily stroll. We also notice many of the new houses going up are beginning to look like clones of one another.

When I’m out on my daily walks, I love to property gaze. I often wonder or try to imagine who lives behind some of the gates and blinds that appear to be closed so much of the time.  Are there happy families inside, people living alone, children having fun…couples with dreams of starting a family and building a life?

Are these houses or are they homes…and what is the real difference between the two?

There is a quote from one of my favorite movies, “Under the Tuscan Sun”.  Diane Lane’s character is remodeling both her life and the Italian Villa she bought in Tuscany. At one point she says “What are 4 walls anyway? They are what they contain…the House protects the Dreamer”.  There’s always been something about this line I have loved.

A few months ago my siblings and I got the opportunity to share a very special reunion in our birthplace of Winnipeg.  On our last morning together, we decided to take a quick drive to our old childhood house. We had not been there since leaving it some 50 years prior.  Let’s just say the old house did not represent the greatest of memories for any of us. Last time we were all together there, it was a turbulent and painful time when our family became divided.

Yet for some reason, we all felt a need to see it.  I’m not sure what any of us expected really…but I believe there was a strength in our togetherness that played a part in the strong current that was pulling us there.

As we arrived at the familiar address, we were more than amazed by what we saw.  Our old house (pictured here) was no longer an old house at all. What stood before us was a structure that was bright, fresh, new…bearing no resemblance to what it once was.

My brother knocked on the door, but no one answered.

So we stood outside on that beautiful, sunny Sunday morning, took some photographs and chatted with the nice people who had lived beside our old place for 35 years. They had seen many occupants come and go, but told us the house was now owned by a lovely young couple with a new baby.

Just as we were about to leave, the front door opened and out they came. We shared our story of not being back in 50 years, and they graciously invited us in to have a quick look.

We stepped inside to see a tasteful, very comfortably decorated space. The walls were filled with beautiful photographs and meaningful momentos.  The old kitchen from the 60’s was now modern with state of the art appliances. The basement was smaller than I remembered, but was cozy, filled with books and baby toys.  We could all feel how this was a very happy space. It was warm, cared for and clearly filled with an abundance of love.

We wandered through the rooms and had some laughs revisiting memories (like my brother playing bartender at age 10 in our Dad’s bar in the basement).

As we headed back upstairs to leave, I spotted a print hanging on the wall that said “Love Makes Our House a Home”.  I couldn’t hold back my tears, for there it was right in front of me…

A house may contain many things, but a home carries your heart. It’s the emotion, the sense of safety and belonging you feel there…the dreams you bring and most importantly, the LOVE you inject into your house that will turn it into a home.

What we had just walked into…was worlds apart from what we had walked out of all those many years ago.

We expressed our gratitude, then said our goodbyes knowing a beautiful life was going to be lived here, filled with everything a family is supposed to have.

My siblings and I had to go our separate ways after that visit. Each of us were headed back to our own lives in our own cities…not knowing when we may all be together again. We were filled with so much gratitude for our weekend together and the remarkable reconnection we’d shared.

Though we never said it out loud, I believe each us felt somewhat healed by that visit to the old house.  When we think of it now, it’s with happiness and a wonderful sense of comfort, knowing that after all these many years…

Our House had finally become a Home. 

For today friends…this is The World as Eye See it

 

Savoring Our Solitude

 

 

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I love the word “Solitude”.

I love the act of Solitude even more.

Though it’s been defined in a number of ways, people often confuse the meaning.  I personally like the definition that says how Solitude is “The Act or Situation of Being Alone”.

There are some who mistake being alone with loneliness, Solitude with seclusion…but I believe the two could not be farther apart.   Continue reading

The Nature of Change…

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Those of you who appreciate spending time in Nature, are vividly aware of the gorgeous little miracles taking place everywhere you turn.

I love the quote by Mary Davis who says “To Walk in Nature is to Witness a Thousand Miracles”.

The more aware we become…the more miracles begin to appear.

There is this beautiful blending that takes place, a sense of “anything goes” that continuously occurs amongst the elements. Mother Nature reminds us that everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be.

When you consider time outdoors as time well spent, it makes no difference where you are or which season may apply. A coworker of mine once announced (as I was complaining about the weather)…”there’s no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing”.  At the time, it made me laugh, but that saying stayed with me. Years later I still think of it anytime I’m contemplating whether to go out, or stay in on a cold, rainy day.

Have you ever noticed how Nature is in a continuous state of change? Not just season to season, but also from day to day, moment to moment. The grass grows, flowers bloom, snow falls, the sun rises, winds blow, the rain falls, leaves change color etc. There is a multitude of constant change and evolvement always taking place.

When you stop and think about it…its not so different from changes we experience within the seasons of our own daily lives.

We all know change is necessary for growth, the trick is whether we decide to embrace and accept, or reject and deny it! We are faced with consequences and alterations either way.

I have a beautiful friend who regularly reminds me… “Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional” (John C. Maxwell).

But when a change is unwelcome or unexpected, the embracing/accepting part can be extremely difficult. We are not always prepared when a painful change occurs (such as a loss or a betrayal). There’s nothing easy or embraceable about it. In fact, we can often find ourselves stuck for periods of time, unable to move in any direction at all.  So we inch our way through the moments in between.

But I’ve learned that much like any turbulent weather pattern, eventually there’s a shift…the rain stops, the clouds part, and the sun comes out again.

I took a long walk in the forest with a friend a few weeks ago, a place filled with incredible energy and wisdom. I’ve always felt the trees are like wise old men. Let’s face it, they’ve been around a lot longer than we have and survived all kinds of  treacherous conditions. Whenever I am in their presence, they help me to tap into my own inner wisdom (something I forget to do from time to time).

So my friend I got to talking about change, not just ones we may be unprepared for, but the ones we know we need to make for our betterment. We spoke of the importance in knowing ourselves well enough to be able to realize when change is necessary. We agreed this involves getting real, looking deeper at what’s really going on within us…what our instincts are nudging us towards.

Deep down we all know what is no longer serving or fulfilling us, we just need to decide what to do about it.

Big changes mean big shifts…not just the discipline of say changing a habit, but possibly separating from certain people, or stepping away from things we are used to. I don’t know about you, but for me old habits die hard, I never find it easy stepping out of my comfort zone and into unknown territory.

By the end of the walk, my friend and I agreed that it’s SO worth it when we stay true to what we know is right.  Because when we plough through and get past the hard parts of change, there is this fabulous feeling of progress, strength, empowerment and freedom.

These feelings greet us on the other side as if to say “Welcome Home”.

Should you find yourself struggling to deal with change, be it one you want to instill for yourself, or one that showed up uninvited, I encourage you to spend some time in Nature.  Lots of time!

Find a place where you can to be alone and get immersed in the energy of the elements. A place with no Wifi and where time has no measure or agenda. We all have somewhere in Nature we connect with, be it the ocean, the forest, a lake, the mountains.

Go somewhere and unleash your thoughts, let them be free to roam.  Go where you can breathe in the open air and just “be” for awhile.  I promise if you connect with Mother Nature in this way, you will find some clarity and a true sense of balance.

Some days I think we just need to remind ourselves, that much like a tree…we have everything within us to remain strong and to withstand any and all changing conditions.

For today friends…this is The World as Eye See It

REALITY…Is There An “APP” for That?

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One of the great thrills with modern technology, has been the invention of the “App”.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use them…from tiny tots to great grannies, we’re all on board the App train.  Everyone has their favorites that are individually customized to phones and other devices. This of course is dependent upon the needs and wants of our own personal lifestyles.

The variety and convenience our Apps provide, is all part of the magic. New and improved versions pop up all the time, and I am not entirely sure how we survived beforehand (yet somehow we did).  Continue reading