April 30th, last day of the month and last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I have mostly shown up. I missed a couple of days. I believe in commitment but I’m not as rigid as I was. All or nothing is not good. Prioritizing and showing up when I can is good enough. That is my favourite phrase, good enough. I’m not sloughing off. Really, I’m not. I like being flexible and secure enough not to feel I’ve failed if I miss a day or two. Boundaries and moderation are good practices.

Keeping track of goals is as tough as my mail and finances. I must have a built-in radar system. I do most things by hook and crook. Often I can’t find anything but I haven’t encountered any disasters and my finances are in pretty good shape. That’s probably due to my Chinese-ness. We’re good with money. We know how to spot a bargain. And I am cheap. I don’t really want to classify all my fellow Chinese as cheap. I might end up standing by myself in a corner.

After a month of mutterings I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a square peg. I’m trying too hard to fit into a round hole. I could give up the effort and look for a square one. It would make more sense. I cannot make myself into what I am not. I’m going to give it all up and relax into the nothing, the not doing. I’m tired of  being a gerbil on the wheel to nowhere. Instead, I could focus on the awe of the sunrise, sunset, the moment, the breath.  You know the drill. I can mutter a new song. I can look at the hole rather than the dough in the doughnut.


The month and the Ultimate Blog Challenge are almost over. What is it that I have accomplished? And was it what I set out to do? The answer is I don’t know to both. Well, there goes my quest for clarity. My head is as muddled now as is in the beginning. At the same time, I don’t feel a sense of failure. I am living real life one day at a time. Some days are good. Some are not. Some days are a mixture. What I know for sure is everything passes.

This morning I was reading Dr. Larry Dossey’s The Extra-Ordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things. I really enjoyed the section on plants and bugs and how they contribute to our well being. It made me realize how out of touch I am with the natural world. How often do I look up at the sky and really see it? Have I ever hug a tree or even sat under one? Do I pay attention to the creatures that crawl about and fly above? They are mostly in the peripheral of my awareness. I am too much concern with me, myself and I.

Perhaps I should widen my scope and pay attention to the natural world. I felt myself opening and softening up inside as I read the stories of flowers blooming out of season and maggots and leeches healing wounds. I want to be in midst of the green and crawling living things. I want to hold hands and have conversations with them again. I did that once upon a time. Once upon a time I also played on the rooftop of my grandfather’s house in China. I played and talked to ghosts, too. It’s not too late. I can still have all those conversations. All I have to do is open up my mind and heart again.



The wind still blows in Saskatoon. No rain nor snow. We sure could use some moisture. It is what it is. Sometimes wants and needs are not met. But our solar panels are producing electricity. April will be our best month.

I am a wee bit restless today, having that feeling that I should ‘accomplish’ things. I try to relax with my new read – Sue Grafton’s N is for Noose. I was not successful. I gave that up after a few pages and took Sheba out for her walk. The wind was cold and wicked, blowing grit into my mouth and eyes. It was not pleasant but we got some exercise and fresh air.

It’s Saturday but it feels like Sunday. I skipped swimming this morning. I thought I would just enjoy the day, not trying to doing anything and everything. I think it was a bust. Some days are like that. There’s nothing I can do except practice doing nothing more often. Maybe then I could be more at home with it.


The wind has not abated one bit. I’m a little more at ease with it even though I had gone to bed with trepidation last night. Another shooting at a California synagogue. What is happening in the world? What is happening in us? These things nagged me in the dark of the night and early morning.

Daylight disperses fear. The dawn brings hope and renewed faith. I continue my morning routine of tea and qigong. It’s soothing to move through the ancient movements of my ancestors. They work, energizing me to carry on breathing, living and learning. I’m very excited about the Brain Change Summit. Today I watched The Science and Principles of a Plant-Bassed Ketogenic Diet with Dr. Will Cole. I’m eager to watch the Psychological Impact of Climate Crisis with Dr. Lise Van Susteren next. There’s still 3 more days of the Summit after today if you are interested. It is free.



I’m late to the keyboard. I’ve had a wonderful day. My anxiety took a leave. Whew! My body is left with a sweet delicious sensation. I am limp with happiness. My hard work is paying off. I’ve been doing all the right things. I’ve been doing MAP training my brain though I didn’t know it. That is until I watched Dr. Tracey Shors’ presentation on the Brain Change Challenge today. Another AHA moment.

I can testify how wonderful aerobic exercise is for the brain. After a few weeks of Val Kirk’s AM Energizer class at the YMCA, my brain was so happy. I was in the throws of euphoria post brain fog. That tuned me into changed physical, mental and emotion feelings. My body now remembers what delicious feels like. But the body and brain do get used to the feeling and after awhile it’s no big deal. Nothing stays the same, right? Sometimes it takes another spiraling downward and coming up again to refresh my memory. Under every cloud there is a silver lining.

It’s getting late – for me. I’ll keep this short and sweet. I need to rest my brain. It has worked hard these past couple of days. The effort put in when it’s tough going makes it strong and resilent. So here’s to challenging times. May they keep coming. They build brain and heart muscles.




And the winds continue to blow. I feel its howl in my bones. I’m caught back in the space of restless anxiety. Have you ever been there? It’s not a restful place. I’m here tapping on my keyboard on this 25th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I hope the rhymthic tapping can soothe and smooth me. If nothing else, I will have a blog post. I am a little displeased with myself for having fallen into this nervous trap – again. I feel like Alice plunging down the rabbit hole. But it is really not my fault. It is my brain and nervous system. I am built this way. I can’t help it.

I breathe and think loving kindness towards myself. May I be safe. May I be calm. May I be peaceful. May I be loved. I imagine the wind whispering all these to me. I picture a kind smile on its face. I feel the wind wrapping me in its warm embrace. I am stroked and loved. I am safe. I can let go of the tightness in my limbs. I can let go of my breath. I will not fall. I feel the sun coming out to smile down on me.

All is well. The world is as it should be. There is nothing I can/need to change except what is within me. When I change, everything changes also. I am that pebble thrown in the ocean. Gee, I have more power than I realize. What a Eureka moment! I am not immobilized by my fear. I am moving my fingers across the keyboard. The fear is a catalyst for opening my senses to new ways of seeing, feeling and thinking. I will survive this after all. Hallelujah, Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

So now it is evening. I have survived another day. And none the worse for wear, I might add. I got lost again, led astray by Mrs. Google Maps. Lost is my usual state of being. I drove around and around. I was a  little frazzled and late for my appointment. People are kind. Women are not good with directions. I am not good with directions. Nobody was mad. We all had a chuckle. Life is mellow again.



The wind has subsided a bit. Likewise my anxiety. Caroline Myss is right. What is in one is in the whole. We are all connected, to each other and the universe. The howl of the wind was a dark song wailing through my being the other night. It seems to be picking up force again now as I speak. But it doesn’t have quite the malevolence in bright daylight. I’m not as reactive as I was. A good combination.

Coincidentally or is it, that I watched Deb Dana’s episode, Exploring the Science of Safety and Connection on the The Brain Change Challenge. Our autonomic nervous system is very complex and interesting. I gained much insight and some tools for navigating the adventures of living daily with mine. I want to be in that place of safety and connections and not in fight or flight. Nor do I want to be stuck in being scared to death all the time. Learning is still very exciting to this aging student.

So here I am today, sitting here tapping on my keyboard. I feel pretty warm and mellow. No heebie jeebies. I’ve been reading a section on miracles in Larry Dossey’s The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things. I could feel my body being suffused with pleasure as I read Rita Klaus’s miraculous recovery from MS and Vittorio Michelli’s cure in Lourdes. I will seek out more of these pleasure moments. They are good antidotes for my anxiety.



Have you ever been anxious? Have you ever been frightened? I’ve been both. It’s no fun. Any little thing can set things in motion. I’m afraid to look over my shoulder. I keep my head down, eyes averted, not wanting to see anything. I am afraid to take a breath, make any move. Afraid of what?  I can’t tell you. It’s a sense of impending doom. I’m like Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall. I could fall off any minute.

I’ve been like this for a long, long time. I hadn’t recognize it as anxiety though. I used to call it ‘having a hard time’. It has been very, very hard. But I’m having fewer and shorter episodes of them now. What probably set it off last night was a delayed reaction to the bombing in Sri Lanka. My friend there was okay. But then the news with names and faces of those killed seeped into my consciousness. And it probably didn’t help that I’ve been reading about Anne Frank and the holocaust. Throw in climate change and the fact that we are so dry here. No rain yet this spring. No hope either.

It’s no wonder I was unable to sleep. No tossing and turning for me. I was afraid to relax, move, let go and even breathe. I was a stiff, tightly clenched body. I saw a sleepless night ahead of me and a terrible day following. I gave myself a silent talking to and willed myself to do a body scan. It failed, of course. I couldn’t willed myself. I was too taut. I had to get up and do something.

So I got up, made myself a cup of peppermint ginger tea. I cleaned the humidifier of scale deposits using Sheba’s toothbrush. It has a brush on both ends, one big and one small. It was perfect for the job. She does not allow me to use it on her. Now I have a use for it. No waste of a good brush. It was relaxing and soothing. Sheba came out to join me. She plopped herself at my feet as I stood at the kitchen sink. I felt comforted by her prescence. The job was soon done. I left it on the counter to dry – ready for next winter.

I was not yet ready to lay down again. I took my tea and sat in my Lazy Boy recliner. I try not to fret, I try not to do anything. I sipped my tea in the dark. I listened to the wind howl and watched the spruce trees sway in the night. I’m learning to sooth myself. I let whatever feelings come as they will. I heard St. Teresa Avila’s prayer and was comforted.

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.



Hallelujah, I’ve completed my tax return! All I have to do now is check, optimize and push the submit button. I get a grand total of $44.58 back! I had to give them some dollars a few times during the year. I do not have alot of deductions and write offs. I am happy to give to the government in good faith and trust that they will make good use of it for all our benefits. It’s naive of me but what else can I do? It’s a relief to get this chore off my shoulders. Now I can relax and enjoy the day. I still have some minutes to tap a few words before the Brain Change Summit begins.

A few words is all I can manage sometimes. It’s not all that easy to change my thoughts on a dime. Ideas and words are slow in coming. I have to ease into it. So in the meantime, I take care of some other business like brushing Sheba’s teeth. She’s letting me get into her mouth with my finger and massage her gum and teeth. The peanut butter flavoured toothpaste helps. Next is her ears. She balks at the sight of the ear wash bottle. I try to minimize stress anthe d increase ease with dampened cottonballs. It’s a short quick clean. Too long and she starts clicking her teeth at me. Her ears will get a good clean with her monthly maybe longer bath.

It is evening now and I am tired. There is such a thing as too much information. I’ve listened to 2 sessions of the Brain Change Summit. Session 1 was on healing the broken brain. Session 2 – the neuroscience of resilience through compassion . They’re very interesting subjects, but I can handle and hold only so much. Now my brain needs a rest. It’s all a-buzz with too much noise and stuff. It’s time to tune out and let go of everything. Tomorrow is another day.


A lovely sunny Saturday morning. I will try not to let it slip away on me by useless redundant thinking and scrolling through the Internet. I love the early morning light as it dances through the sunroom. First it is the faint orange glow of the sunrise. I look up to see if it isn’t the ceiling lights. It isn’t. It is as if I’m on a stage as I move through my qigong routine. Things are sharper and colours more vibrant. I am at ease. I watch as the light turns more golden and plays along the walls. Soon it is gone, to return later in the day.

I have to be present to catch these precious moments. It is the time of day when I am opened and freed from the cares and despairs of our modern world. It is a good time to fill myself with hope and optimism. This morning I am reading Larry Dossey’s The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things. The title speaks for itself and to me. I am a huge fan of the ordinary. I’ve experienced a few Eureka! moments already just in the first part of the book. I’m more awake to understand and question things as they are. So much for my wanting not to do these very things.

I might as well give up trying to fight myself. I am who I am. After all, my maternal grandfather was a teacher and principal. I believe I got my high principles, stubborness and stern nature from him. Like they say, the apple doesn’t fall from the tree even a generation removed. It’s hard to disregard your genes. It’s not as if I chose to be serious. I would much rather be gay and the-devil-may-care. I would  rather have fun than the way I am. A coworker once accused me of always reading ‘strange’ books. She called me ‘eccentric’. That’s the kind of family I come from. On my mother’s side, that is. When they get together, they talk about things that matter, family history, village history, the way of the world, health, what food to promote health and exercise.

I suppose we are an eccentric bunch. But it is all good stuff, don’t you think? We’re always thinking and learning on how to do things and live better. My mother continues to fine tune her soups for maximum benefit. She consults her book of soups for ingredients. What roots, what barks, what berries for this and that. It’s no wonder I am the way I am. Like mother, like daughter. I gotta like that.


How do you start the day? I don’t have trouble starting the morning. There’s the getting up, dressing up and then showing up. What do you show up for? What alot of silly questions you might be thinking. You’re right, of course but lately after waking up and showing up, I do wonder. What the hell am I showing up for?  Sometimes thinking too much is not good for the soul. But once I am on this road, it is hard to stop.

I am trying to re-orientate myself. I’m not interested in re-inventing myself. I think I like myself just fine, thank you very much. But I am stuck on what am I showing up for. What is my purpose? What tickles my fancy? I don’t have any answers for my questions. Nothing really knocks my socks off. Not even money or diamonds. Pathetic, you say. I concur.

I was tickled to find The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck in my OverDrive bookshelf this morning. Mark Manson is very entertaining in his story telling. And to tell the truth, I love the word f*ck. Naughty me, eh? Uttering it releases so much stress. I’m proud to say I seldom use it now that I am no longer in the work force. I have just finished the first chapter. I might get tired of the word as I read further. No doubt it has earned him a poor rating on Goodreads.

I love his story of Charles Bukowski. He was a loser and a drank heavily most of his life. But he kept writing despite rejections. He didn’t give a f*ck. He didn’t realize his dream of being a poet, novelist, short story writer, and columnist until he was about 50 years old. Despite his success and fame, he was still a loser, showing up at his poetry readings hammered, being verbally abusive to the audience, exposing himself in public, and trying to sleep with every woman he could find. I’m quoting Mark Manson here. Don’t sue me. The epitah on his gravestone reads: “Don’t Try”. This story alone made the book worth reading for me.

I stopped thinking about my questions. I stopped trying to make my day meaningful. I tackled the job of brushing Sheba’s teeth. It was a no go with the long tooth brush or the finger brush. She liked the peanut butter flavoured tooth brush. She was ok with my gauzed wrapped finger. It was better than nothing. Next on the list was cleaning her ears. It brought forth sharp barks of rebuke and snapping of teeth. No way was she going to let me put ear wash down her ears. I had to settle for wiping them with wet cotton balls. Good enough. What the f*ck, eh?

Not an earth shattering day. No excitement at all. But it is sunny and warm. The solar panels are going crazy, making electricity. I am pleased. I started the cukes, squashes and Chinese gourds, each in its peat pots. I seeded some lettuce, spinach and onions outside in the raised beds. I was motivated to rake up some of the dead leaves blown here and there. Then I took the fur baby for our afternoon walk. There was no trying anything today.