when is a house, just a house?

You are just a house.

258 John St, Ottawa, ON

Just a house made of bricks, cement and wood. You are not as big a deal as you think you are.  In fact, I live in a very similar house in a different town right now.

Get over yourself!

 
Your ego was inflated when we nicknamed you “The Big House”. So it is partially our fault.  Duly noted.

 
Your only claim to fame is that:

• You gave us a roof over our heads when we uprooted ourselves with much trepidation only to be replanted in the Valley

• You allowed us to tear down some of your walls, rip up your awful red, indoor-outdoor carpet and to remake you into a welcoming place we’d gather for over 30 years of Christmases, Race Weekends, birthdays & summers breaks which always included dozens of drop-in friends and friends of friends and so much laughter!

• You were a key witness to family squabbles, blossoming relationships, occasional selfish acts and innumerable outrageous kindnesses

• You gave us the Bunny Room; a tiny nursery with bunny-filled wallpaper that was used when we were blessed with the incredible births of Hillary and Micaela – turning four siblings into six!

• You gave us beds of rest, a full fridge and a safe place to cry, to laugh inappropriately and plan the funeral service during our two-week, rotating-shift vigil at Ed’s hospital bed

• You invited Grandma to live out her last few decades with us and the memories of her sharp tongue and familiar scowl are all over you

• You were the birthplace of not just one family but of many

• You were Ed’s dream

You were more than just a house, you were a home

 

And I will miss you.

But don’t let it go to your head!

 

scattered mind syndrome

When our thoughts, heartstrings and even our body’s cells are tied to balloons of drama, made-up stories, perceived expectations and preferred outcome, we are the mercy of the wind. We are no more grounded than a balloon on a windy day in the hand of a toddler.

In such a state of uncertainty, we react with confusion, anger, tears, indignation or some other storm-filled emotion that swallows our energy.

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Mindfulness is seeing the balloons with their clear labels of “ecstasy”, “fear”, “projection” or “contentment”, “distraction”, “busyness” or “expectation” and accepting that label.
Why do we feel the need to cut the strings to settle a scattered mind?

 
Instead of cutting all ties with discord, can you let go of the death-grip you have on the strings? The strings are the only thing that attach you to your stories.

 
What if you intentionally tied those strings on to the closest tree? What if you sat restfully on the grass and allowed your body and mind to settle. Then allowed your mind to settle on your inhale and your exhale.

 

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Each time you remember a balloon of concern floating above you, notice, don’t judge, realize you are no longer tied to the balloon and go back to watching your breath going in and out.

 
A settled mind is not a mind without distraction. A settled mind notices the distraction then comes back to a settled place.

 
As we enter into a season of restoration, can you practice letting go of the attachment to a scattered mind?

 
Can you practice noticing what you choose to do to keep you scattered and what benefit (even negative) you get from staying scattered, tired and overwhelmed?

 
Can you choose to cultivate stillness?

 

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It takes practice being settled, in mind and body especially when howling winds threaten to uproot you and leave you feeling groundless.

 
Give yourself the gift of a settled mind.   Detach from the ties that bind.

 

 

decaying gracefully

November.

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The birth-month of the colour grey.

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The dim season that reminds us, in cool hushed tones, that all things decay then pass.

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Because our seemingly fool-proof escape plan includes the perfect hibernation scenario, we forget.  Surely we will be one of the ones who succeeds to see yet another spring.  gracefuldecay6It will not happen to us so we sleep even while awake and make plans of the forever kind.gracefuldecay7

Wake up! The gift of the November grey is the necessary reminder that we too will pass and we know not the time or place. We all pass. The gift is in the accepting of it.gracefuldecay9

November is not a morbid month.  Decay and real growth are not mutually exclusive.  gracefuldecay10Let your own colour be the vibrant contrast to the neutrality of this time.  Open your eyes, breathe deeply, see the grey of this very season and choose to decay gracefully.