It is New Year’s Eve. It’s the first Christmas and New Year without Sheba. My eyes mist and my throat tightens. It is the way of nature. There’s birth, life and then death. A cycle complete but not an ending. I like to think that Sheba came to me in the guise of a fox the other evening while skiing in the park. I went or fell down two little hills. A little fox came and stayed with me till I was on my feet again. I thought it was a cat at first. I called ‘here kitty’. It came within a certain distance, crouched down and watched me all the while. I felt we were part of each other, breathing in and out. A miracle of connecting. Perhaps it was Sheba coming to check on me. I remember her favourite cuddly was her little fox with a squeaker in the head and tail.

Happy New Year has come and gone. Not as much fuss as other years but it was still marked with an explosion of fireworks at midnight. I did not feel I missed much. Most of my new year’s eves have been pretty quiet affairs. Sometimes it can be the loneliest night of the year for many people. I know that I’ve often felt a misfit and a failure on many of these evenings. One year my then husband and I attended a New Year’s Eve party at his boss’s house. There was a pot of chili on the stove, people here and there. We all wore party hats and had whistles streamers. At midnight we dutifully blew our whistles but none of us seemed at all pumped. It was the saddest party of all times. It still left an impression on me after all these years.

I’m well past my prime and finally I’m okay being left out of the hoopla. What I mean is I’ve never been a party girl but never been brave enough to admit it. It’s a natural thing to want to fit in, be part of the crowd. I wonder if we are all like that – putting up a front. So for the first time, I don’t have to make up a cover story for New Year’s Eve. I did nothing. So there is a silver lining to every cloud, even Covid-19. I probably wouldn’t have taken up skiing either if it didn’t happened. I would have missed out on our moonlight skis. I would have missed the fox/Sheba encounter. I wouldn’t have had this pause to think, to question the many aspects of life, of relationships, of my past thinking /behaviour, of where to next and how to get there.

TAP DANCING – Day 159 in a year of…

Day 159, January 1, 2017 @9:13 am

img_8883Here it is, the first day of a new year. The morning is still dark though there is a rosy glow in the eastern sky. I’m sitting here hoping to tap out something profound. I am stuck though, mistaken in my belief that today is special. It is just another day. It is us who gives it meaning. The day has no power. It cannot give me wings to fly. It is I who must grow and power those wings.

I shall sit and tap. Maybe magic will come to these fingers. They will fly over the keyboard, leaving words of wisdom and courage. My hands are feeling weak and limp. My head and heart faint. I cannot blame it on late night celebrations and fireworks. I can only say it is the way I am in this moment, wishing for magic with no wand. I have only my fingertips and the keyboard. I shall do the best tap dance I can. Maybe I need another cup of tea for fuel.

img_8885I’m back with my tea. I can tap a few more sentences. I’m weak and limp with the fear of change. I hang on to my paper clutter because they are bills and receipts. They are RECORDS in WRITING. How foolish – as if records can protect me from anything or anyone. There! I’ve said it outloud. I have gathered a small box of such faux protection last night. They will be shredded in a few minutes. Every day in January I will do a little bit. I know the power of every day small.







Christmas is over.  My table is empty of food but my heart is full.  I have been silent this last while, resting and catching my breath.  It is not just from the holiday season but maybe from my whole life.

Sometimes it is good to be silent and let things be.  Let the dust of life settle on its own.  The picture might be clearer in the end.  But I can see that it’s slightly askew.  No matter.  It is still a pretty picture.  A little touch will straighten it out.  We all need those little touches.  We want those touches, those caresses, hugs and pats on the head.

The mornings are still so cold and dark even though the days are suppose to be getting longer.  In the darkness before I rise, dark thoughts come into my head.  I know they are not real and yet sometimes they drag me down.   I try not to linger in its gloom.  I get up and begin the routine of another day.

My qigong movements do not feel smooth and flowing.  It is difficult to be in the moment with the breath but I do my best anyways.  It is -30 C this morning but I put on my winter gear and head out of the door with Sheba in tow.  The sun is out, the air chilled but no wind.

And now, here I am, a cup of hot chocolate beside me, tap, tapping away.  I have found my voice again.  The darkness is gone and I am bathed in sunlight.  2013 is almost gone.  To welcome the new year, I have put out something new and bright.  It is the tradition of my ancestors.  Let us look forward to happiness and prosperity.  Gong Hey Fat Choy!



IMG_1364I’m thinking of past Christmases and New Years as I awake in the dark this morning.  I’m thinking that it would be much easier if it was in July.  There would be no snow, heavy coats, scarves and boots, coughs or runny noses to deal with.  Life would be lighter and easier…would it not?

I’m also thinking back to my childhood in China, of New Year’s Eve.  Seems to me that is the only memory I have of a true celebration ….. a welcoming in of the new year and paying homage to the one past.  That is my interpretation of the rituals,  for I was but a child when I left my homeland.  That is how I like to remember it.

I’m feeling my loss, as a child of immigrants to this country….the  loss of my Chinese-ness, my culture, my heritage.  But I have spent many more years here than there and I can never go home again.  I am a stranger in both lands.   Sometimes it is necessary to feel our pain and losses in order to move ahead.  I have felt that pain many times.  But I also have gained much because of that sense of loss.

I really do not want to dwell on pain and losses.  They are not always real, but things our mind grab onto, maybe because of something someone said or done.  Who knows what is in another’s mind or heart.  And you cannot understand it so you write your own interpretation.  You allow yourself to doubt and you let poison in.  You hurt.  How does that help?  Better that we celebrate, however we can, to let in the light.

I like the Chinese ways of ushering in the new by cleaning and clearing out stale and stagnant chi.  Gung Hee Fat Choy! Happy New Year! Chinese tradition is to bring the new year in with clean house, new clothes and to receive/give red envelopes of money ..symbol of prosperity. My childhood memory is of our house being warmed by the fires tended by the women in our family as they made sweets and dim sims in the night.  Perhaps one day I will learn how to make some of them.


I’m sweeping out the debris of my mind, letting go of past grievances and hurts, opening my heart to receive all the goodness that there is in the universe.  I am baking bread, , making soup, blessing our home.  I am wearing the colour red, the colour of good fortune.

I am no longer a lost child. looking for my identity.  I have found my Chinese self, Hafong, alias Lily, the born again Catholic,  who admires the ways of Buddha .  I am a Chinese woman living in Canada, a country in the Universe.  And I am celebrating my life.