There’s something about Water

All my life I’ve loved water. That is, immersing myself in it, whether it is simply a shower, or floating in a hot tub, or swimming in a pool, or a lake or the ocean. However, because I’m such a big fan of pools, I like to see the bottom of what I’m swimming in so it has to be clear. So lakes are not usually my thing. Just my little obsession.

I learned to swim in outdoor swimming pools, that were not heated. I don’t understand why my limbs didn’t wither and fall off. Ah, the life of an Air Force kid. Great pools, but frigid water. I climbed up the ladder of swim lessons and eventually was a lifeguard for a brief period of time and taught kids to swim. Truly, I love water.

When I’m in water, I re-connect with my body and I love that sensation. I utilize swimming as a way to get ‘out of my head’. However, recently, I’m discovering that while moving in the water – all kinds of ‘watery words’ are emerging.

As I swim, I ponder the reality of the latest scene in my manuscript. Could that event take place? Would the protagonist actually say that phrase? Of course, these thoughts are interspersed with staring at other swimmers via my swim goggles or making a grocery list.

Swimming can be like meditation. Let the thought in, release that thought. In a perfect world, after swimming, I look for a place to have tea where I can settle down with my notebook and make notes of the truths that came to me while I was in the water.

Many people walk or hike to change their thinking. I head to the water. Just a different path. I’m so glad that over these many years, I can still find relief, happiness and even answers to my writing in the water. What a gift!

What do you do to find yourself?

 

Ushering in the year with a word!

When I was a teenager I believed in New Year’s Resolutions. I chose goals that were totally transformative and impossible. And I did this year after year.

For example, a favourite was, “I want to turn into a tall, thin blonde with straight hair.” Ah yes! Easy peasy.

Truth bombshell revealed. I’m five feet tall and have always had curly hair.

I soon realized if I couldn’t change my height, at least I could change my hair. So, I tried all kinds of methods to straighten my curls. Non worked. So in that era of young women with ideal bodies and ideal hair, I didn’t fit in. And that turned me into a rather grumpy person.

As the years have progressed, I’ve finally moved away from the ‘resolution’ aspect of embracing a new year. Now I want more flexibility and more flow. In fact, the word ‘resolution’ seems kind of tough and harsh to me now.

My new approach is ‘one word’ for each month for 2018.  For the month of January, I’ve chosen the word ‘move’. That is what I need to do. I’ve survived a complex surgery and now it is time to get my body moving and find activities that make me smile and give me joy.

After all, we all need joy in our lives.

What about you? Do you make resolutions for the New Year? What is your approach? I’d love to know.

 

 

 

Christmas Memories

My Mom

She was a very hard worker. Her children had to look presentable and her house needed to sparkle. During the Christmas holidays, she took pride in her sparkling floors. She was on her hands and knees applying floor wax everywhere.

My job was to operate the electric polisher. I loved that task. The machine was kind of a green colour and had two soft buffers. When you turned it on, the buffers spun and spun. Very satisfying.

The Baking

My mom baked a lot of bars and cookies. The ones I remember most are Nanaimo Bars and Jam Thumbprint cookies. My sister and I decided that we were the  taste testers, and much to my mom’s horror, we would gladly and sometimes sneakily chomp down raw cookie dough. Oh yes, we did.

The Turkey

Our Christmas turkey was huge, often over twenty-five pounds. Mom would get up around four in the morning in order to have it ready in time for dinner. Who does that now?

My Dad and Grandfather

My Dad was in charge of cutting the turkey with an electric knife (with a cord). All very trendy. Grandpa was in charge of the photo opportunity. He had a camera on a tripod, and then he would dash to his place in order to join the rest of the family. Unfortunately, it rarely worked. We were starving.

And for some unknown reason, I was always wearing a party dress with a very scratchy collar. I couldn’t wait to get out of that outfit. All the family was dressed up. Even my little brother wore a vest and walking shorts. All very British.

The Decor

A precious Santa and Reindeer were displayed on the fireplace mantel. I remember an unusual tiny center-piece for the table. When the skinny candles were lit, it made little angels float in a circle.

We always had Christmas crackers, wore the hats and read the jokes. When I was little, I was scared of the loud snaps. One year, our young boxer pup named Burma (just a hint of where my Dad was in World War 2) knocked over the Christmas tree about three times. What a mess!

Christmas Morning

Dad went downstairs and put on all of the lights. We had to walk down in order of birth. Me first. My Dad was in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and he thrived on organization and routines.

We were indulged. Every Christmas, each child received something very special. One year, I almost fell over because I received my cherished ballet doll. All of the limbs moved. My brother was in love with his large Tonka truck. And for a number of years, my sister received something that would go towards eventually horse ownership. A bridle one year, stirrups the next etc.

When I reflect on this time period, it is all very Norman Rockwell. We were safe and blessed and loved. Thank you Mom and Dad. I cherish the memories.

 

 

The Magic of Seven – Ann Mortifee

Recently I had the privilege of listening to a radio interview given by Canada’s Ann Mortifee. She’s known as a singer, composer, librettist (full disclosure – I had to look that word up – that is she is the writer of librettos).

As well, she’s an author, story teller and keynote speaker around the world. Her music blends folk, musical theatre, pop, sacred and world music.

At the end of this month, she’s presenting shows in Vancouver, B.C.  entitled The Magic of Seven –Seven Decades of Spirit in Story and Song.

She says that as she enters her seventh decade she wants to spend time doing what she loves and seeing what sticks. You have to love that goal. She noted that each of us has something to offer to the world. It’s important to step up with what you really love.

On a somber note she states: “We are the cancer on the planet. We are fouling our own nest on every level.” But music sustains her and fulfills her.

At the end of the interview, she confides – “I’m not done yet”.

Whatever decade you may be entering, these are wise words.

Thank you Ann Mortifee. She reminds us to awaken more fully to the gifts within ourselves.

 

Creating a Support Team

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to watch Canadian Ice Dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. They are competitive skaters who are on their way to the 2018 Olympic podium. The most amazing thing is that they stepped away from the ice for two years. And they lived their lives, and did other things.

But they missed competitive skating and have returned to competition with a meticulous plan, plotted to perfection. They wanted to relive the magic and exhilaration of living in the world of the skating elite.

In order to reach for the top they hired the following: a nutritionist, a physiotherapist, a strength and conditioning coach, a mental preparation expert, an acting coach, as well as choreographers.

Wow! Wow! They suggested that they love living their lives with daily goals, weekly goals and seasonal goals.

I can see an analogy here with writing. The most successful authors I’ve met, are as focused and driven as this pair of skaters. These writers keep setting goals and have constructed a plan for their writing future. They demonstrate flexibility and are ready to commit many hours to their craft.

Now, I may not have the support staff of Virtue and Moir, but I certainly try to surround myself with experts in the field.

Who do you consider your support staff?

 


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