Today is one of those chilly, grey late autumn days in Saskatchewan.  It is the kind of weather that I wouldn’t be able to find my way out of a wet paper bag, never mind traveling to the other side of the world,  if I didn’t set my mind to it.  Hmmm, I think I just got a light bulb moment!  I need to keep on setting my intentions – programing myself to do.

Sometimes I find the greyness seeping into my brain.  Sometimes, often it is difficult to get new ideas, do anything new.  You get into this rut of doing the same thing, eating the same meals, over and over.  You are so tire of it, but still CAN’T change.  Well, darn it all, there must be a way!

So this morning, I cooked a pot of steel cut oats and quinoa.  I threw in some diced ham.  It simmered on top of the stove while I read my mail and listened to Tara Brach and her wise and humorous Buddhist teachings.  It was very comforting and soothing way to start the day.  I was feeding my body and my soul.

As I made tea, my body said it needed a little more than just a bowl of porridge.  I needed another taste, another texture.  I cooked a soft-boiled egg.  It was PERFECT.  There was no denying it.  It was so soft and smooth and I was just delighted by it.  I am sure my endorphins got a huge kick start.

I am accounting and remembering, the greyness, my moods, my difficult spots, the things I do.  I am remembering the feelings and sensations of what works to bring me back to the center of the earth.


I drank too much wine last night.  The intentions I set prior all went out the window and you could say that I have failed.  On top of that, I fell asleep early and woke up at 1:30 and could not get back to sleep till dawn.  But by 7, Sheba’s insistent snout in my face got me up again.  It was her breakfast time and there was no denying her.

I’m feeling a little out of sorts, not quite myself, seeing the world with slanted eyes, telling myself stories that are not quite true.  But I am not punishing myself any further.  I am going to tell myself a different set of stories , filling myself with kindness and comforting myself with a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast.  I do deserve it.

So I am making progress, one step at a time.  I have hoped and pined for changes in the past.  But I have failed over and over to realize those dreams, not recognizing till now that success is in me.  I have to be the change I want to see, as Mahatma Gandhi  wisely said.  Change is a lonely street, for no one can do it for you.  And people might not like you for it.

I am taking a deep breath.  And I tell myself another story.


It is another Sunday, a week home from wine country.  Today we can only dream of warmer temperatures and snow less grounds.  It is windy and the sun has already left.

But this morning we made wine, one batch white,  from B. C., the other one red.  It was a soothing process, going through all the steps of scrubbing the tubs, sterilizing, rinsing, stirring, adding, more stirring, and sprinkling.  Well to be honest, I was mostly an observant and the cleanup crew.  But none the less, I enjoyed the process, the aromas and the rewards.

I have forgotten the pleasures of creating…the sense and feel of making something.  My brain has been rewired for instant success, instant pleasure, instant everything by our electronic age.  Perhaps I have been fooled that everything can be done stat by aiming the mouse and pressing enter.  I have been fooled that life is getting everything done now, so that I will have TIME.  I have been obsessed about time, having more of it, having huge chunk of it, hoarding it… till I will have enough.  That never happens, of course.  I am like a rat in a maze.

So that is my Oprah’s light bulb moment from making wine this morning…that everything in life is a process.  You cannot have everything all at once.  It’s in the steps that give us a sense of accomplishment and meaning.  It’s really not all that earth shattering, but sometimes I am a little dim.  I could not see it any sooner.  I see it now.  And as I am sipping my cup of coffee, I am blinking at the wonder of it all.


Where am I this fine Saturday morning?  I am not behind.  It is almost 11:30.  The sun is just giving me a big burst of hello.

I was planning to be out in the dog park before lunch and stopping at London Drugs to get some pictures developed to send to Rod’s Auntie Flo.  But getting photos transferred from one gadget to another took me longer than expected.  No matter how fast and expedient our igadets are, things cannot be done with just a blink of an eye…unless Genies really exist.  Have you heard of the TV series, I Dream of Jeannie?

So I am just changing the order of my to do list.  I have this time and space before lunch.  It is mine to write, to mark my progress, to breathe, to enjoy and celebrate with the sun.  I am remembering how wonderful I felt talking to the woman from the Holy Spirit Parish Office yesterday.  It is her acceptance of my request and no trying to change my mind.  I remember my body going ahhhhh.  Have you ever felt that sense of relief and connection talking to someone unseen and unknown over the phone?

It is that kind of acceptance of who we are that we all long for.  It is for me, anyways.  Sometimes, I have this great loneliness in me that seems impossible.  I feel this great big hole that is unfillable.  Is there such a word?  Have you ever felt that way?  Those are the times when I phone people and the whole universe is out in the malls or at Walmart.  I should have been phoning God instead.

He must have heard me just now.  The sun is so bright, lighting up the whole sunroom.  And I am toasty warm.  This morning the scale says I’m 2 pounds lighter..before a breakfast of one poached egg on toast.  I am keeping a food diary to keep track of my intake, what food agrees with me and what doesn’t.  Results require effort and consciousness!

My time and space are up.  It is time to think about lunch.



My days of hanging on to all my stuff and all my poundage are over!  Am I too confident and glib?  No.  I am not.  Gone are the days of careless feasting, buying and hanging on to EVERYTHING by the fingernails, afraid of losing and making mistakes.

I’m doing pretty good so far, omitting my usual bacon, eggs and toast breakfast, choosing congee soup in its place.  I must admit that breakfast is my worse vice, loving bacon and eggs every day.  It will be difficult to give them up totally.  So that is not what I will do, setting myself up for failure.  Instead, I will cut back gradually and maybe enjoy them once or twice a week.

Another thing that I need to do is expend more energy.  I like to poke along at such a leisurely pace that I do not burn any calories or getting anything done.  I’ve already implemented a plan of action… moving and doing routine stuff faster…..killing two birds with the same stone, sort of speak.  I am progressing at an acceptable, leisurely pace. 🙂  New habits are hard to establish.  It takes continuous effort.  But regular, periodic success is better than no success.  By ten this morning, I have already done my meditation, breakfast, dishes and kitchen cleanup, and swept the upstairs floors.

I am working on de-cluttering some some tangible things this morning….. unsubscribing to emails that are no longer of interest to me, sorting out flyers and other objects for recycling, and called my Church to remove myself from the parish.  EEEEEK!  I am a bad Catholic, right?

I was surprised that I had a pleasant conversation with the woman who answered the phone.  When she heard me out, she said that I have to do what works for me in life.  That is the kind of attitude that will keep the people in the church…respect, acceptance and flexibility.  I’ve been told before that if you don’t attend Mass, you are not a good Catholic.  But that was from another parishioner.  During one homily, our priest talked about God’s work is also done outside the physical building of the Church.

And for now, that is where it works for me.  Shedding pounds, shoulds, and musts  is healthy and liberating.  Life is a river that flows, but there are obstacles along the way.  We need to be fluid like the river to deal with the things that show up in our lives.

Writing this post did not feel like a flowing river.  But that is how life is.  Sometimes you flow, sometimes you don’t.  But writing helps cements change to rewire my brain…towards

healthier habits.


So I tend to hang on to things, like clutter…of all kinds.  I have a difficult time of letting go.  I’m like Sheba with a bone.  It is said that it is really not about the stuff, but something else.  So what is it, then?  Do I know?

I find everything hard, even breathing nowadays.  I have gained back the whole nine yards and probably more that I have lost when I first got Sheba.  It is hard to maintain that pace, or so I like to tell myself.  I guess you might say I’m a bit down in the dump with winter rearing its ugly head.  The morning is dark, dark till 8 am.  It is hard to drag my butt out of bed in a cheerful manner.  But being an adult, I still TRY to do my best even though I do feel like crying.

My phone is ringing and I answer.  I am hoping that someone is calling just to chat….you know…how it used to be, when people call up each other for a visit?  But no, it is from someone who is doing research of some sort.  I am honest.  I don’t want to answer a bunch of questions for someone’s research project.  You might say I am somewhat melancholy, but what the heck?  Who needs to be brave and wear a cheerful front all the time?  It is still October and there is snow on the ground and everything is messy!

But I am brave!  I can still get out of bed in the morning, though not cheerfully.  I am not hopping up and down with joy but I am still interested.  I am still interested enough to get with the program, to get out of the house and face the world, to take care of business and to get my hair cut.  It is such a relief to be shorn.  It is symbolic action of some sort…. to rid myself of the excess, of the weight of unnecessary cargo.  I am letting go.

I am letting go of many things…excess hair, the need to fix everything for everyone, the need of doing the proper thing all the time, the need to live up to my own expectations.  I am letting go.  I am free falling.  I am creating my own serotonin.  I am creating joy.  I am also having a glass or two of wine.




So here I am, away from home, away from familiarity, away from routines and habits. So who or what am I without all my usual trappings?

So in this moment and space, I can be who or whatever I choose. Which facade do I want to discard? Which characteristics do I want to adopt?

Leaving home was not easy….even for a few days. Asking for the time off was not easy. Do I deserve it? Leaving Sheba in the care of others was not easy. I’ve worried and fret but I did the best I could in placing her in a good place

Being away, I’ve learned to let things I cannot do anything about go. Getting away can be difficult. I have felt like I was hanging on by my fingernails as we drove away from Saskatoon, but it has been healthy for my spirit and mind. 
Getting away is getting easier. 



I am eating again, consuming, filling a void, filling in time, keeping awake.  It is marvelous how good it feels.  The night is endless.

I’ve often wondered how healthy our profession is for us….nurses, the caretakers of bodies and souls.  How conscious are we?  We care for our patients, but do we care for ourselves?  Do we eat properly, get enough sleep and exercise?  Are we kind to each other and our love ones?  Do we have a life and friends outside of work?

Sometimes I am afraid to think about these things and answer truthfully.  I just live with this uneasiness that things are not quite right and somehow the world has left me behind.  Sometimes I am lonely for those days before I entered the world of hospital corridors, bedpan alleys, and twelve hour shifts.  It is disturbing that I feel relief and a sense of homecoming when I enter the underground parkade of RUH.  It is scary.  I am like a rat in a maze!

So these are my ramblings this morning after a twelve hour night shift.  I probably sound crazed and senseless.   It is good that I am in my sun room.  I am surrounded by windows.  I can look out and see the wintry sun peeking through the evergreen trees.  Are those snow flurries, or is it just my tired eyes?  I’m feeling a bit hungry so I’m going to eat….again.


It’s funny how sometimes songs run in your mind.  This morning I’m hearing Patsy Cline’s Have You Ever Been Lonely.  It’s not that I’m feeling lonely.  It’s more like I’m feeling antsy, restless and a little ‘distraught’ – not that I have anything specific to be distraught about.  I like to attribute my moods to the weather, to the Gods, to whatever….Anyways, listening to Patsy Cline takes the edge off things.

So, have you ever felt edgy, itchy, restless, and wanting to pull your hair out by the roots?  I must admit that I am a frequent flyer, the queen of restlessness and dissatisfaction.  After all these years, I am trying to accept this part of me and try not to cause too much angst for those in my nearby vicinity.  I try to be polite and diplomatic if I can.  Could you please go away and leave me be?  No, you are not helping.  It is not your fault, OK?  Have you ever been there?

My hair is still looking like I’ve been pulling it by the roots.  But I’ve done a load of laundry and a load of dishes.  I’ve found my Iphone charger.  Now to unwrinkle my brow, relax my neck and shoulders.  Have you ever felt like this?


I have always loved C. S. Lewis’ book, Surprised By Joy ever since I came across it some 40 years plus ago.  It was part of my English 110 class and I have yet to read it.  I have it still.  I love the title and I am sure it is about joy.  What better time to talk about joy than at Thanksgiving?

I believe that joy is that zest that we all have.  It is that quest to learn,  to seek the new.  It is that something  that we were all born with.  It is how we learn to talk, to walk, to do all kinds of wondrous things.  Joy is what Sheba has and is, even in her sleep.  She is always full of joyous, endless energy, happy to see people, wagging her tail in greeting.  She is a constant reminder of how we should greet life.

It is something that we all can have, no matter who we are or what circumstances we are in.  Joyous is something we can choose to be.  Sometimes it is not easy.  Sometimes it is damn hard.  At those times, I have to take a run at it.  I focus, breathe, and take a running leap at it.  I remember those field days in school.  Not being a natural athlete, I try to put in extra effort, bow my head, breathe in and out, run like hell and leap into the sandpit.  I don’t think I won any ribbons but….I participated.

Today is one of those cloudy days that doesn’t do too much for my spirit.  Today is one of those days that I have to take a running leap towards joy.  But just now the sun is peeking out, my bread is poofing in the oven and I’m thinking I might aim my camera out the front door to capture some autumn colours.  I might even rake some leaves.  A girl has to do what she has to do.  And I might be surprised by joy.