My most difficult journey is the present one. The how of starting is always the first stumbling block. It is the cue to think back to my ancestor, Lao Tzu. He said that a journey of a thousand miles start with a single step. I step forward tentatively – one word, then two…I’m on my way. My most difficult journey is also my inner one. The one with lofty goals, the one which I hold myself to impossibly high principles, the one which I do not allow for mistakes, the one with no detours. It is the one that I, inevitably, have come to a dead end.

I’ve been at the crossroad for some time now. I’m sitting here contemplating my options. Which way are you going to go, Lily? is singing in my head. I know that I can only go forward. There’s no backtracking in life. I’m taking my time, dwelling in the quiet, listening to the beat of my heart. What is it telling me? I no longer trust other voices telling me this and that. They do not have my best interests at heart even though they sincerely believe so. I cannot hold them at fault. I am probably guilty of the same.

I’m watching the shadows on the wall, sipping my peppermint tea.  It is peaceful here. I have time. It is a good place to linger and rest awhile. I’ve had a full and wonderful day. I swam 13 laps or 26 lengths this morning. Somehow 26 lengths sound more impressive. I’m pleased and proud of myself. I’m still holding myself accountable of doing my best of the day, living up to my commitments of showing up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge and staying the course of a healthy physical and mental diet.


I’ve been here on earth for decades now. Why is it that I am so slow and dense? I’ve just realized that life has many options. I have many choices in this store. Why do I get stuck being confused, angry and unhappy? This reminds me of a TED Talk by Malcolm Gladwell on choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce. I have to watch it again to refresh my memory.

He’s right that most people don’t know what they want. Given the question of coffee, I would say I like a rich dark roast. Who wants to say they like milky weak coffee? NOW I would if that’s what I like. I have a better sense of self, more confidence. I’m not worried about sounding stupid or milky weak like my coffee.

Have you ever counted the different kinds of spaghetti sauce, ketchup, toothpaste… in the store aisles? I haven’t literally counted but remember standing in the tootthpaste aisle trying to decide which toothpaste is the best. How can you tell even reading the labels? Can you trust the labels? It seems I have more trouble choosing as I get older, comparing brands, comparing prices. I remember once upon a long time ago, if I like something and it’s something I need, I would buy it. In more recent times, the more I investigate, the more confused and uncertain I am. Sometimes I go home empty handed, making the trip again on another day.

Today, I’m wiser. I value my time and well being more. I am using the I DON’T HAVE TO option more. I don’t have to toss, turn and fret about a decision. I listen to my gut instinct. This morning my body said NO to exercise class. I said OK. I need the time and the rest. There’s a stack of fabric for me to sort. I checked my emails to see if I got a confirmation for my Bernina sewing machine registration. None. I phoned The Sewing Machine Store to let them know as instructed.

Yes, I had bought my machine just like that for Christmas. A gift to myself. I looked at all the options. There were many. It didn’t take long. The Bernina was the more complex and expensive. But it spoke to me. My gut responded. No buyer’s regret. It took me 2 days to learn how to use the self threader. That was the hardest part but I can straight sew on it. I’m ready to get serious and explore some of its more complicated options. I don’t have to worry that I can’t learn. I know I can.

But first a walk with Sheba. That will be my exercise for the day. It’s a truly amazing crazy +3C degrees for January. The kids are sliding down the hill at the park. Sheba barks at them in excitement. All is joyous. I will store this moment in my brain. It will be my Jack in the box for those blue funky days. What goes up must come down. Where there’s clouds, there’s rain. The sun will shine again. All these are true.

The weather is something we cannot control. How we respond is something we can. There are so many options, the same number as kinds of spaghetti sauce, ketchup, toothpaste. If one doesn’t work, choose another, and another. Sometimes no one solution works. Then it’s time to try a combo. Have a smorgasbord. I tried 2 more chocolate chip cookies, remembering I DON’T HAVE TO fix anything – not even me.



The phone rings. It is Annie following up on how my mother is doing. She works for A Home for Mom. In March I had been looking at Preston Park assisted living as options for my parents. My mom’s health had taken a sharp turn. It was time to think of new realities. Preston Park seemed to be perfect. It was in their and our neighbourhood. I’m sure I did 3 tours of both Preston Park 1 and 2. They both have excellent social programs, attractive physical space, and friendly staff and environment. It was pricey but I felt it was affordable and worth it.

The trouble was I was the only one in the family who was interested. But it was helpful going through the process. I can rest easier knowing that I tried, thought of options and investigated. Still I welcomed Annie’s follow-up call. Someone else cares and is showing interest in helping even though it is part of her job. I know it is our human nature to run away from knowing that our parents are declining. It is the other unspeakable besides dying. I would run, too if I could but I am the oldest. I am retired. I don’t have children. Those things seem to qualify me for many things exempt to those married, with children and jobs.

Annie is glad to hear my mother is doing better, stronger and steadier on her feet. She and my father are still able to stay in their own home. I have arranged for snow shovelling service for them through The Crocus Co-op and lawn mowing through Saskatoon Services for Seniors. So far, so good. Saskatoon Senior Services offers homemaking and housekeeping services, too. My mother feels she can still do those and enjoy doing them. My father can still drive so they can get out to their neighbourhood mall, shop for their groceries and see friends.

I know that December with Christmas is at the doorstep. I will be very happy to have a quiet boring holiday season and winter. Peace and contentment are the gifts I cherish the most. Health and creativity are my on going goals. The snow may fall and the wind may blow. If I have a roof over my head and the furnace to keep me warm, I shall be happy. There’s bread to be baked, soup to be made, all that yarn to knit, quilts to sew and a whole slew of art classes to watch and do.


I’m not a naturally enthusiastic or happy person. I don’t wake up with a song in my heart and dance on my feet. It’s more of a grumble in my throat and a stumble out of bed. Enthusiasm and joy comes slowly as the day unfolds. I didn’t relish heading out in the dark of this morning to swim. It was the memory of past great swims that got me going. Then the rest was easy. The warmth of the water, my weightlessness, the movement of my limbs – the flow. From experience I know that if I do not make the effort to rise above my nature, I would have less of everything – joy, health, etc.


It was  Gene Siskel along with his colleague, Roger Ebert who asks the question, What do you know for sure? at the end of each show. I think it’s a good question to ask to start each day. What do I know for sure? It is Saturday morning. The air is fresh. It’s sunny and warm. The yard is lush with green foliage and the blues and purples of blooming petunias. I hear birds singing. I see them fly here and there.

I’m sitting on the deck with Sheba, drinking tea and tapping on the keyboard. I’m thinking about what is true and what is not. I’m thinking about where do I want to go for lunch. I’m thinking of how to be more flamboyant, what is fun and what makes me feel good.

What makes me feel good is getting an immediate ping back from the Universe. I am somewhat of a human laboratory. I am experimenting on the HOWS of pursuing excellence in living. Silence is a good tool. I still my brain from thinking, from forming an opinion, a judgement.  Secrets reveal themselves. The answers are there for me to see. I silence my lips and let others speak. I hear everyone’s wisdom. I hear my own heart beat.

There are many things that I cannot control. Let me not waste time there. Let me not moan about what cannot be changed. Let me use my energy in the things I can. I can chart the course of my day, how I feel. I am captain of my ship. I can choose the direction I want to sail. I can choose from my own menu – the appetizer, the main course, dessert, the condiments. I do not have to stay in the storm. I can head for friendly waters and a safe haven.

Life is good. I have choices and options. This is what I know for sure today.