So it was -32 C this morning – pretty cold by any standard!  But I did not feel it.  In my mind I was sitting out on the deck of ‘our’ chalet at Escape3Points by the ocean in Ghana.  I can hear the ocean and feel the balmy warmth of the morning.  I watched the birds looking for crumbs from our breakfast.  And not long after, the puppies came to visit.



I’m marveling at the power of my mind.  It is not that these images in my mind help me ‘make it through’ the winter, for I truly love the season.  I love the whiteness/brightness of the snow.  I love the crispness of the cold winter air.  I feel my best on those cold, cold still January days when the sun is shining so bright and I’m purring in the warmth of my sun room.

Don’t get me wrong, though.  I get my share of cabin fever.  A long stretch of gloomy winter days does me in.  It makes me feel like I’m struggling, struggling and not getting anywhere.  But maybe that is just another cycle of life.  Wouldn’t it be boring if we’re happy and bubbly all the time?  Wouldn’t we look like a commercial for Pepsodent toothpaste or Spearmint gum with our shiny toothy smiles?  Oh, how bland!

There are difficult days in the heat of summer or on a tropical island, I am sure.  But I don’t think anyone dare whisper any hint of it.  Funny.  So, of course, it has made me feel worse when I get those terrible blues in the summer, when all was so perfect and everyone so happy….school was out and everyone was on vacation.  Hmmmm.  I know better now.  I see clearer now.

Now, I embrace whatever season that it is.  Each has its beauty.  Each has its faults.  I embrace wherever I am in the moment.  Like the seasons, each place has its own beauty and detractors.  Beauty and value are in the eyes of the beholder.  And drama exist everywhere, for we are the players.  I embrace all the times I’ve been in, for it is from these times that I learn and grow and love and live.



Chocolate_Mousse-2I love the time and space when I first wake up and open my eyes in the warmth of my bed.  The winter morning is still dark and all is silent.  There is such a richness in this moment – like hot chocolate mousse.  Feel the smoothness and depth in the layers.  Mmmmmmmm!  I luxuriate in the moment.  All thoughts and feelings are suspended and I am in Nirvana for that time and space.

Eventually I do get out of bed.  I padded out to the kitchen.  I make my tea and breakfast.  I try to keep thoughts from entering my head – a clear head and mind will a wonderful day be made.  I take my poached eggs on toast and tea out to the sun room, Sheba trailing after me.  By now the sun is out and I am once again cocooned in warmth….and sunshine.  Can life get better than this?


So really I have not done a lot this day.  It is a challenge I threw out to myself – not to feel the ‘time’ and the things I MUST do.  I know that I need to show up at work tonight.  That is the contract between my employer and me, that I fulfill my contract in exchange for a salary.

Aside from the one MUST, the rest is soft and negotiable.  Too long I have been rigid in my thinking.  I have been thinking too much, too long, too uselessly…!  It is time for me to come to my senses – see with eyes wide open, feel with my skin, smell the wonders of nature, hear the music in the air.  Life, my dear, is way too short to be spent thinking.  It is better to BE.

Acknowledgement:  The chocolate mousse picture is from



I dare you to.  How often have you been dared?

I came upon  a website called the other day.  I thought I would like to do a dare a day, but maybe not for 30 days.  The dare issued out by Fakeku Fatumise appealed to me.  He dared me to breathe into my bigness and bring it out into the world.

Well, I am Chinese, the first born and a born again Catholic.  That should say something to you.  I am forever immersed in guilt and duty, and of course, perfection.  Even though I try my best not to fall into their clutches, down I would fall again and again.  I have  no bigness and my heart feels small and tight.  And my mind chatters ceaselessly into my ear – about how lacking I am, how small I am.

And so I sit and close my eyes.  I relax my shoulders. I take a deep breath in and breathe slowly out through this small opening in my chest.  I feel the opening widening, my chest expanding.  I’m rising out and above myself.  I see myself as this small human being who never thought of herself as being an individual with her own breath.  How could that be, a person with no breath of her own?

Well, she never lived for herself.  She was unconscious.  She was bound by duty and guilt.  Long ago in one conscious moment, she was aware that she would rather be unhappy herself than make another so.  But somehow we have this innate sense of survival and she could not quite forfeit that right.  It was a good thing, she was told by an expert.  Since then, she’s daring to breathe, but sometimes she forgets and falls down, down, down the winding staircase of life.

But I can pick myself up, dust myself off.  I try not to beat myself up too much.  I try not to obsess too much.  I breathe.  My heart is getting bigger and I see it is towards myself that I am being small.  I am unkind and ungenerous towards the one that really matters to me.  Without a me, I cannot do for others.

I DARE me to breathe into my bigness and treat myself with loving kindness.  The rest will follow.


30503_392157895886_3064606_nSometimes things happen in a blink of an unthinking eye.  You wonder what led to this?  And you ponder and ponder until your head and heart hurt.  You still don’t under- stand.  You obsess about it, making yourself feel worse and worse and still you beat yourself about it.  At least it is what I do. I am humble enough now that I know I am not that much different than anybody else.  I am not better or worse.  I am just human, with emotions.

And so I cried a little at work yesterday.  I cried, not the big boo hoo hoo type with the sobs and crocodile tears, but just the tiny ones at the corners of your eyes, the break in my voice and runny nose.  It was very weird.  My nose never runs except when I’m eating soup and when I cry.

There really is not one thing that led to the moment of tears and frustration, but many little and not so little things over time.  I recognize it for the frustration and helplessness that I feel.  In that instant I see how I am harming myself with how I speak and do in the face of helplessness and powerlessness.  I feel anger inside and I say I do not care.  I take those habits home with me.  I behave and say the same thing to my partner in difficult situations.  Is that good for me?

Of course not!  I say good for me because I can only control what I do.  I ask not what work or anyone else can do for me.  I only ask of myself what can I do to make it better for me and for my work.  And so I remind myself of  Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements again.

agreement 1

Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

agreement 2

Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

agreement 3

Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

agreement 4

Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

I remind myself of the teachings of Caroline Myss, HeatherAsh Amara, Tara Brach…..I remember The Power of Habit.  It is a tough road we human beings are on.  I want to feel empowered, enlightened.  I am empowered and awake.  I am not a victim.

I spent a restless, sleepless night though I prepared myself with a warm relaxing bath, took some medications to help me sleep.  I got up and made a cup of ginger tea but the only one that slept the night in our house was Sheba.  By about 3 am, I made the decision that I was not fit for work.  My shoulders ached from hugging myself, my throat sore.  Please don’t let it be Strep throat!  In my condition, I would not be an asset at work.  If I can’t be a solution, then I will not be a problem.  Since I am professionally licensed to assess others’ physical condition, I should use my skill to care for myself.

There’s five months before my big day, the big RETIREMENT.  I am hoping that I will leave nursing in a grand style, for it is a grand profession.  It is helping ourselves to become better human beings by service to others.  And we are richly rewarded spiritually and financially.  I would be very grateful for any help towards a graceful exit.  I am not a crazy Asian woman.  I do not need to act nor talk like one, for it is not who I am.

I will stop obsessing and crying now.  I am released from my negativity.  There is much out there in the world.  I will become an explorer of it.  Everything is interesting.  I just need to look closer.  It is good to alter my course.  I am retiring from nursing, not life.  My partner is leaving for Ghana next week for six weeks.  I will not go with him this time.  Sheba and I will tend the hearth at home.  We will miss him and ESCAPE3POINTS but space and time apart is not a bad thing and maybe I will learn to appreciate them both better.  Here’s his video of ESCAPE3POINTS:



So today is the twelve day of January and it is cold outside, baby.  Seems like long ago that Sheba and I headed out to the park no matter what.  Today she is equally happy to languish with me in the warmth of the sun room.  I guess we are both getting soft with the years.

But isn’t it an awesome picture of her, so full of energy and happiness?  I KNOW that she is in my life for a reason….to lead the way when it is dark, to get me up when I’m down, to lean on when I am weak, and to love me when I feel forsaken.

We will head back to the park soon.  We will run and leap down by the river.  We will hear the crunch of snow beneath our feet and see the steam from our mouths.  But on this 12th day of January we are happy to languish and loll.



How often have you heard, Walk a mile in my shoes?  I, for one, would like to just walk in my own shoes.  Too long have I walked in others’.  They are ill-fitting, causing me callouses, corns, bunions, anger, hate….discomfort and unhappiness all around.  And they’re not even of my own making!

No more, I say.  From now on, I only want to walk my own walk, talk my own talk.  Let everyone else do their own trip and make their own speech.

Walk a mile in my own shoes
La di da da
Skip a mile in my own shoes
See if anyone cares
What are you waiting for
Do it for your own good
And everyone else’s too
Stumble in your own shoes
Mistakes are part of life
Strut a mile on your own steam
Make Mama proud of you
Do it right now
La di da da
Oh, Y E A H!



I’m back reading The Power of Habit.  I’m learning the power of small wins.  So I’m giving myself a small bouquet and a second cup of tea for a reward.  I have done well this morning.  Sheba is brushed and fluffed, the floor is cleared of her hair with a damp mop.  It is time to savour my small victories in the warmth and sunshine of my sun room.  Oops!  There goes the sun.

No matter!  I am buoyed by the information in the book.  I CAN change my habits for the better.  I CAN make life better and some parts of it easier.  Empowerment comes with enlightenment.  We don’t have to go down the same old roads if they don’t take us to where we want to go.  We CAN change directions.

My big win today is getting Sheba brushed and the floor cleared.  My small win…taking last year’s calendar off the window and into the recycling.  And it’s only January.  Sometimes it hangs outdated for most of the year.  They say little changes/wins spills into big ones.  I don’t need to start a revolution or a movement.  Somehow they tend to burn themselves out.  No banners, drums or marching for me, but I will IDLE NO MORE.

I will do the hard work of changing one thing at a time.  I will exercise my will power , muscle one day at a time.  I WILL evolve into a conscious human being.  Amen.



Khrystos Razdayetsia!  Slavite yoho!  Xpbctic Bockpec!  He is risen!  Merry Ukrainian Christmas!  It is January 7, 2013.  Clearly the Season is still with us.   Much, much too early to go back to my humbugness…even if I have been sick for the last three weeks.  Too bad.  Suck it up, Buttercup!  Life goes on.  The wheel still turns.  Look, the sun heard me and is peeping over my right shoulder.  Right on, Saigon!

In keeping with my agreement to follow the Four Agreements, I’m doing the best I can at each moment.  I don’t have to feel great all the time.  I’m not.  I don’t have to be motivated all the time.  I’m not.  But the least I can do is my best in these moments.  My best is easier with developing habits that can carry me when my energy is lagging, when my resolve is sagging, and when I feel like a petulant child.  What I would like to do is pout and stomp my feet.

How smart would that be?  How would that work for me?  NOT!  So instead, I pout a little and get on with my number one focus….keeping house clean of Sheba’s hair.  I bring out the pork hide chew, brushes, and scissors.  It works well.  While she is busy chewing, I can brush away to my heart’s content….her tail, her butt, her underside.  I am getting less and less hair every day, though she is still shedding alot.  One day, one day.  Our next project will be her nails!  For that I will get her an extra long chew.  It will be worth the effort.

Here she is looking pretty smart in her Christmas coat and booties from my mother.  She glows in the dark.  Yeah, we can go out at night!


So that is how life is….little moments, difficult moments, boring moments.  But when you string them together, you can get some pretty good times.  You can get a life.





I have come to the conclusion that Sheba has a divine purpose in my life.  She is here to show me how to live….that is that I must start each day with attention, intention and joy.  I must leap forward each morning with generosity of spirit and gratitude in my heart for all that I am and all that I have.

Every once in awhile, I catch glimpses of how perfect and wonderful our universe and my life are.  It’s like a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces falling into place.  I feel a stillness in the air and I know that I feel God’s presence.  He comes to me every once in awhile, in those magic moments and I am awed and gratified.

THANK YOU for all that there is and all that I am.



Today, I’m reading a new book called INTENTIONS, picked out at the library last week.  I’m quite pleased with the appropriateness of the title for this time of the year.  It is quite an interesting little book that I couldn’t put it down without finding out the outcome.  And so, as usual, I skipped to the end.  And now, I am reading the middle.

Well, I had set no intentions on changing my reading habits and I am still enjoying the story.  I am also reading another book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  I am still reading it in the order, page by page.  It is a very interesting account of how habits function, how they can make or break us.  I will put the information to good use.  I will be my own guinea pig.  And we will see if I have enough discipline to follow through and adopt new, healthier habits.

So far, so good!  I was able to put down my book and sit at this keyboard.  It would have been so easy to stay curled under my quilt and just read.  I’m still fighting my sinusitis.  My energy comes and goes and I have to fight inertia constantly.  It would be heavenly if I didn’t have to do anything ever again!

As you can see, I am feeling a little discouraged so that I have to set my intentions early in the day on what I MUST do.  The one thing that is a must is to keep the floors reasonably free of Sheba’s dog hair.  So after breakfast, she gets a rawhide chew while I brush her tail,  undersides and butt.  Then, it’s out with the vacuum.  I’m making progress.  It’s not so hard to get on it.  It’s becoming a habit.  Soon I will be able to do it without thinking and fighting it.

I haven’t done much besides that, though I did load up the dishwasher and push the start button.  I was going to take Sheba to the park, but my body wouldn’t comply.  So when Rod offered to take her out, I let him.  Always accept help when it comes your way.  And having accomplished my most important intention, I feel a sense of success.

HURRAY FOR ME!  Tomorrow is another day, another new beginning.