So far today, I have not try to put any order to my office.  The day is hot.  The neighbour’s music is loud and insistent.  I cannot think.  My blood sugar is low and I am getting cranky.  I put on Pavarotti & Friends 2 on my portable.  I put it on the deck and crank the volume up.  I like to see how she likes it, she who wants to hear the birds sing.  So much for kindness and compassion.  My words are not going according to my intentions!

It is a little later.  I am bolstered by some crackers and walnuts.  I am a little mellowed by a glass of wine.  Pavarottie & Friends are done but   the beat is still going strong next door.  It is all right.  Everything is copacetic.  I am done with tit for tat.  There is no satisfaction in it except deafness.  And I cannot afford to lose any more hearing.

I am being kind to myself, not going down or up the spiral staircase of anger.  I no longer hold any feelings of irritation.  I really do not want to hurt others in the same way that I am hurt.  That is what compassion is.  It is not an easy thing to practice.  So often I want to give the other person a taste of their own medicine.  There, you take this or that!  See how you would like it.

I am remembering Karen Armstrong’s talk on compassion.  The beat is going on louder next door.  Ahhh, human frailties!  We so crave for attention and love and yet we do not know how to love.  I am so happy to have seen Karen’s talk.  Otherwise, I do not know where I would be.

I am looking at the flowers before me….pastel colours of pink, blue, yellow and white.  The flowers came from a genteel woman’s celebration of her 90th year.  She holds the key to the United Church in Maidstone, Saskatchewan, Canada.  I guess you can guess what kind of woman she is.  The colours of the flowers soothe and calm me.  Sweet pastels!

Kindness is such an easy and hard thing.  It is in your choosing.  Have you been kind today?  Enjoy this poem on kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye.  It is truly awesome.

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

The music next door has stopped.  Sweet peace!




I was thinking about Benjamin Franklin and his 13 virtues this morning.  I was thinking that I need to move a little faster towards order.  No use getting all these ideas and plans but no action.  Without any movement there will be no change.  There will be no order.

I was thinking about all this as I was coming out of the bathroom.  I looked out the living room window and there was Benjamin Franklin, making a house call!  I took that as a sign of great magnitude.  Wow!  Whatever thou can conjure in the mind, you can bring forth.  Maybe I should get a lamp like Aladdin’s or a Ouija board.

Seeing Ben did shake me out of my inertia.  I am sure that the plumber was also shook up to see some woman aiming a camera at him as he was getting out of his truck.  He seems to be held captive momentarily on the steps.

Having been reminded of my goal to pursue order, I set to work…dishes, floor, laundry, walking Sheba, bathing Sheba, cleaning her mats, lunch, more dishes…..  Wow, I’m amazed by myself!  Now I face my hardest challenge, my office.  For some unknown reason, psychological block, I have not been able to put it in order since the beginning of time.

I stumble and stumble every time I decide to do this chore.  I am overcome with unease, unable to make a start, a move in the right direction.  Perhaps I should stop thinking of it as a chore.  Maybe I can visualize myself as the FlyLady ( with a purple feather duster instead of Tinkerbell and her magic wand.  Whooosh!  In one purple swoop, my desk is dust free and clean, the pens in their holder, the papers in their proper folders in the cabinet…everything in order.

Would that not be nice if we have a magic wand or feather duster?  Alas! we mortals must do the hard work.  So I shall go now and make a start.  I shall at least try my best at the moment.  I will not be behind.  I will pay my bills and file them in their proper folder.  And perhaps my friend Ben will come to help again another day.



What if I told you that I see/feel ghosts?  What would you say?  What would you think…that I am crazy, or would you keep an open mind?

I would be happy if I didn’t have this ability.  I am contradicting myself in wishing that I’m not weird but there you have it.  I am also a contradiction!  Would I have been ‘normal’, I would feel no need to sit here, tap, tapping away my discomfort, my ghosts.

I do not really see my ghosts.  I cannot describe them.  Rather I sense them.  My first experience was when I was a child, many years ago in China.  I ‘saw’ them when I was playing on our rooftop.  My mother told me that they were our ancestors and not to be afraid of them.  The second time came shortly after that.  I ‘saw’ someone standing in front of my bed.  I felt, ‘saw’ the shadow.  I cannot remember other incidences from my childhood.

I became afraid of my ghosts when I was a young adult.  I would cross my slippers by my bed to ward off their visits.  I came to no harm, but it was frightening for me to wake up with something sitting on me, holding me inert and helpless.  I could not move.  I could not scream until ‘it’ left.

To reassure myself of my sanity, I decided that the next time the ghost visits, I would test myself.  How did I do this?  I opened my eyes, blinked and say to myself:  I’m awake.  I’m awake.  The pressure was great.  I could not move but I reached and reached to turn the lamp on.  I knew the light would dispel it.  I stretched and stretched.  The lamp toppled, the shade falling off.  My cat jumped off the bed.  The pressure lifted.  But when I ‘came to’, all was calm.  The lamp was still upright, where it had been but the cat was gone.

I kept my slippers crossed by my bed for quite a few years.  Those incidents have stopped but I have had encounters of a different kind.  Am I crazy?  Do you believe me?  What do you think?



I am very much a junkie for self-help stuff of any kind.  I am a walking storehouse of information of how to….You just have to name it – declutter, organize, meditate, be a functional depressive, how to win friends and influence people, blah, blah, blah!

So now I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.  You must know how excited I am to find someone who sounds so much like me, even down to being very near-sighted and that we experience the same anxieties about our vision.  But she is much younger with children and a successful published writer.  I am but a wannabe.  But I am writing.

I am contemplating about my own happiness project, about how I would go about it.  I kind of like Benjamin Franklin’s idea of cultivating his 13 virtues – temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, humility.  He would practice each virtue for a week and record his progress.  I am happy to be in the same circle as Ben.  I am proud to be amongst those who think practice makes better.

Who is me and what do I want to do?  I resonate with this picture I saw in FaceBook yesterday.

1001780_558125487559301_88765311_nI would be ecstatic if that is how people see me…weird, random.  Perhaps they do and I am finally coming out to myself!  It is late but  not too late.  I am not behind.  That is the wonderful lesson I’ve learned from the website.  You are not behind.  Start where you are.  Here seems like a good place to start to be happy.  Now sounds like the perfect time.  If virtues are good enough for Benjamin Franklin, they’re good enough for me.  Order is on top of the list along with silence and tranquility.  I am already frugal and maybe too resolute.  I see that moderation is in the mix.  The only thing I am not too sure about is chastity.  Heh, heh!



It is another overcast day.  The greyness wraps itself around my shoulders.  It seeps through my pores, clouding me, slowing me.  I do not let it drag me down.  I hear the traffic whooshing down Preston Avenue.  Life is busy as usual and I must move with it, however I can, as best as I can.

It’s a good time to get into the moment, this moment, the present moment.  I have been listening to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor of medicine, an expert on stress and mindfulness.  Something he said in his book, Coming to Our Senses, twigged something within me.  We have the five senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching.  But how aware are we of them?

I often turn a blind eye to many things, a deaf ear to the sounds around me.  I try not to feel, afraid of the unknown.  I eat to fill my stomach, not savoring or discerning the different tastes of food.  My nose wakes up only to the pungent odours.  I am ‘out to lunch’ too much.

On this day, I am coming back to my senses.  I am trying to come back home to me.  I am staying here to feel the grey.  It does not hurt me.  I see the sun trying to come through the layers of grey.  All is well with the universe.  I stay here in this moment, to feel the wind on my cheek, to smell the fragrance of the rose, to hear the birds sing and to taste the raindrops on my tongue.




Sometimes when we are troubled and feeling all alone, it is good to step out of our comfort zone and step into the world.  We might see that we are not so different, so alone.

We would see that we all have our fears.  We all have dragons to slay, moats to cross and dreams to realize.  It is hard to lay oneself open, to be vulnerable, to be afraid.  But despite all this, you can still make a move towards where you want to go.

So I have slain one of my many dragons…..fear of falling off my bike.  I grabbed it by the throat and that fear is down.  But I do know that it can always rise again.  I do know that.  That is what keeps me humble, my arrogance in check.  But for now I can enjoy the ride and share this video of others’ similar experience.  I hope that you will enjoy the ride.



It is six o’clock in the morning.  The sun is out and shining bright.  Sheba is fed, watered and satisfied.  The world is still quiet.  There is order and I am learning to be patient.  Nothing is permanent.  Everything passes.  That is the nature of the universe.

I shall not be afraid of the universe.  I shall not be afraid of my own nature.  There is reason.  There is order.  I shall go forth to greet all there is and learn from the experience.  Rumi’s Guest House is my favourite poem and it says it all.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi



“I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do.  To make others less happy is a crime.  To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts.  We must try to contribute joy to the world.  That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.  We must try.  I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

– from LIFE ITSELF, Roger Ebert

It is a rainy Saturday morning.  My clouds have lifted a little.  I am out of bed, dressed and sitting here sipping tea and tapping out my words.  I am grateful that they come one by one, spelling out my story, easing my pain and lighting my way.  What a gift I have been given!  At least I can express myself, warning others that a woman has fallen…momentarily.  But she will get up again.

What I have learned lately is that I am not a kind or generous person.  My kindness and generosity only extends to others.  And that is a false thing.  It has surprised me to hear patients telling me that I am so kind and so gentle to them.  Can’t they tell I am just boiling inside?  It surprises me they take my sourness for humour.

Yesterday, I was confronted by a neighbour in conversation,  even though I tried hard to avoid her.  I felt my unkindness then.  I felt my heart constricting in meanness, no generosity coming forth.  I kept my eyes downcast, answering politely.  It was very difficult but I did not want to listen to her woes.  I did not want to see her tears.  I did not want to be her keeper – when it suited her.

That was yesterday.  Today I realize that I was being kind and generous to myself.  I am a nurse, a caretaker.  But I don’t have to take care of everyone.  I can’t.  I don’t have the power.  I feel my meanness coming out when I neglect myself. And without kindness, there cannot be generosity.

To myself I have to be true.  I am doing the best I can.  Perhaps I can do better tomorrow.




This morning the sky is overcast, but the leaves are still the greenest green and I am a shade paler than blue.  I have been caught unaware by ‘forces’ and inattention.  I have allowed myself be invaded by energies of not my liking.  Perhaps I am talking too much, revealing too much.  I am being vulnerable.

So what?  I am, after all, just a mortal being.  And if I have all these feelings and experiences, there must be other people going through similar things.  And if no one talks and shares, we will be isolated like islands in the stream- with no Dolly Parton to sail away with.

I am working hard to bring myself back to center.  I am paying attention and setting intentions.  It is those rituals and habits that save the day.  One of my favourite phrase from Regina Brett is:  Get up, dress up and show up.  I remember that on mornings when getting up is hard to do.  You see things in different perspective when you’re up and standing tall.  So when I remember, I change my point of view…like changing my walk route with Sheba.  I do get lost sometimes by going in a different direction.

Getting lost is not a bad thing.  Getting lost makes you slow down and get your bearing.  You focus, you think, you observe, you see.  I see that I don’t have to rush and find the answer right away.  I see that I have time to breathe, to look around, to find my directions, to find me.

So this morning I got up, dressed up and showed up.  I made my cup of tea and did my qigong exercises, throwing out my stagnant chi.  I focused and felt my energy field.  I set my intentions.  I breathed.  Everything is copacetic.


IMG_5235It is summer time and I am looking out the window at the greenest green.  It is ironic that I am feeling my bluest blue.  Beneath the blue I can feel my red anger bubbling through at the Power that made me this way.  But I suppose that HE has a reason.  That is what Caroline Myss says.  There are no accidents.  There is a plan, a story, a drama to be played out.  I will wait and see.

I will sit and stay with my feelings and not run away.  If I expect Sheba to listen to me, I have to listen to myself first.  Sit and stay.  Nothing will hurt me…. even when the clouds cast a shadow over me,  I feel my skin crawl and someone is walking over my grave.  Sit and stay.  Everything is copacetic…A okay!

I sit and count my blessings.  I sit and feel my discomfort, my pain.  I sit and do my breath counts. I sit and plan my projects, the books I will write…on my life and times as a child in China, as an immigrant in a small town, as a nurse, as a…… I breathe in and out, counting the cross stitches on my Jesus picture.  I see the loaves of bread and the potato biscuits I made yesterday.  I sit and see the joy running in Sheba and I know that there is a higher power and purpose and know that this, too, shall pass.


And now, it is time to get up and MOVE…and do all those ordinary little things that add up to a life.