Books and I: friends forever

The end of a book’s wisdom appears to us as merely the start of our own. Proust

This phrase has certainly been true for me. From the start of my retirement journey, books seem to keep track of of my progress along my interior journey and to offer support when I was feeling overwhelmed by the depth of the changes that surrounded me. I found solace, recognition that I was not alone on this journey and suggestions as to new ways to think of myself as the ‘old order’ vanished and I was feeling intensely vulnerable.

So often I would go to the library; the next book I ‘needed’ to read was waiting for me to select it, call it my own for a time: ‘this book was written for me’ crossed my mind several times. Did I always agree with the author’s point of view? Not always…but then, authors did not always agree with each other. Aging, the new frontier, has many points of view on the elegance and challenges of growing old…always more to learn, invitations to expand our lives even as society has plans for downsizing. Not only for homes. Avidly, I read of others’ lives, saw some possibilities in my own and sought to share my journey with others…fellow warriors on the new/er path. I could do this, I thought.

As my life continues to change and I let go of’ things that no longer serve me’, it seems as though those books, podcasts, and articles have provided me an excellent foundation for composing my own further life. Who am I? What matters to me? What are my new beginnings? My daily journal entries seem to help me explore new and reflective landscapes. I do have something to say about my journey and the teaching/learning environment it provides. Plays and publishing work seem to be on the horizon. Increased awareness of patterns and routines allows me to breathe differently and to listen to my heart and soul…and my body: what are its desires? How do we live as one? The essential me is strong and yearning to live out loud. Song and dance continue to fill my heart with joy: bellydancing as life…I am learning the steps slowly. Songs, melodies, chants work their magic. Singing along and composing my own ditties: it is my thing! My aging body has its own messages of support and desire to be considered. So many possibilities to be explored…who knows what will be next? Anticipation.

I will end…with a book. Over the Rooftops, Under the moon by JonArno Lawson. In the picture book, he explores life: alone and together, change: inside and out and what we can come to understand. Near and far. I will make my own meaning from this text and beautiful illustrations. I am hearing the sound of GO!
Live your life as you choose!

Ancient vocabulary:

philautia…taking care of self

agape…love for everyone

Philia…loyalty to friends

MY credo.



The choir to which I have belonged for the last few years is disbanding.

I have torn a page/ written into the passage of time:
my Hummingbirds story- musical opportunities, making friendships, baking treats for monthly birthdays, gigs in care homes, Friday afternoons in company, stories and laughter, blending and birthing…experiencing the joy of singing
2nd row…second soprano

Closing the chapter…events pass into memory, cherished and not forgotten.

To feel alive…
In this lifetime
Is to immerse myself
In music.
My body sways to rhythms.
To hear my voice aloud-
sing out and sing along,
other tunes and my own,
alone or in groups,
Streaming through my being-
notes of comfort and creation.

Words are my treasures-
light my path.
Fuel my creative streak-
speaking and writing
sharing and leading
singing, styling…
stories and ideas abound
created and creating
conversations and observations
of the world, my world:
inside and out.

I am learning to leave constraint behind.
To belong.


Drifts of pink snow line the streets-
petals flake through the air- a rosy haze
blankets the city, perfumes the air:once again
flowering cherry trees herald Spring.
Photographed,planted and encouraged,lifting our spirits-
beckoning us outdoors to feel the warmth of the sun.

Not to be outdone,out of the soil:
flowers appear. Paintbox colors
dot landscapes. What has survived winter’s mantle?
Shades of green announce spring’s onset and promise
with these signatures of life’s renewal.

A new cycle begins;leafy characters announce themselves-
trees,all shapes and sizes,are greeted with joy-
even expectation of performance.Light and shade.
Getting in on the act,humans participate peripherally.
Preparing,planting- garden centers rub their hands in glee.
Lime green hands and those of brown live in hope
while trying yet again to direct, produce.
Gardeners aspire to greatness.Feeling warmth, anticipation.
Scenes are created; twenty years or two weeks:
they all have a place. Nature, nurture- humans and plants

Widening my gaze beyond urban vistas,
forests live and breathe-
covering the landscape with their stately presence.
Offering animal homes,health,beauty: a peaceful life.
Circle of life? Bucolic dances with clearcutting,harvest.
What are their goals? Can they be only lucrative?
Greed the growing factor? Trees: only fodder for success?
Regrowth, regeneration, research
all provide a second chance over time-
Desire to replant fluctuates.

Simultaneously,the gardener lunges eager hands
into the soil;sensuously,the soil responds.
Rewards for personal efforts are at hand;
no special equipment,
permits or steps required.
Where machinery may remove all
the gardener’s game: weed or flower? Stay or go?

At the end of the week-
foresters, paid for their efforts,
can become weekend gardeners-
to try their hand at this circle business.
Somehow these worlds meet,touch,and
play out the David and Goliath game.

We ponder:how is it that we trade tall and stately
for spindly and small? The view?
Making way for more growth in human terms?
Residential or commercial:acres of green
that help us to breathe, to survive
are bent to man’s use. A plan?

Of course, desire for wood creates options.
Building structures, furniture…useful,preferred.
Rings of life offer creative options: sculpture,
framing life and desire.Prized.Sought.
Paper. Let me count the ways.
How do we integrate all features of Plant world
into awareness and understanding? Balance?

The conversations with nature continue:
building relationships
giving and taking
conservation and culling
Stewardship:points of view

Welcoming Spring!


Across my landscape, inside and out, spring  unfolds. Memories’ blossoms transport me to childhood and the experiences of living on my grandfather’s farm. These days, blooms in yards and parks remind me of the timeless beauty of Nature and her invitations to surround myself with floral colour and shape, perfume and possibility.

fragance overides my need for control.
blossoms invite more, much more…
When I was a child,
Simple living was the norm.
Woven through stories,
I recall lilac blossoms’ deep purple
wafting their scent-
Colouring my world.
I was at home within its branches.
The poet says:
“When I get old I shall wear purple.”
For me, adorning is not enough.
Each spring, I must surround myself;
Experience once again
The fragrance, the sight, the memory:
The lilac years.


Their games color our world:
hide and seek.One controls?
They are interdependent

shines brightly-
warms the earth, the air,
our bodies.
Angles its way into our lives
S/he is an artist at play.

On an expanse of watery blue-
diamond sunspots dot the surface and
reflect,refract the light.
Beauty. Light dapples the pavement, all
surfaces with shapes- shadow joins hands
with sun. The natural world on display…
Art for all to appreciate.

Shadow shapes abound.
Shapeshifting with time of day
and conversation with clouds.
Light and shadow on the surface of a leaf.
Shade offers relief from sun’s intensity.
Shadows seize the opportunity
to quietly shape and reshape the landscape.

Light and shadow inhabit my life.
Gifts.Yin and yang…
Wonder and realized patterns-
Joy and sorrow; acquiring and letting go:
Emotions energize my experiences
Of circumstances. Point of view? Light and shadow!
Action and reaction on the same field.
I: benignly cast a shadow,have a vocal interior shadow self-
While the light of love and hope beckons
and fills me, my shadow self reminds:
anxiety has a role to play in the shapes of my life.
I listen…stories are imagined and created.
The art of the word…the play of light and shadow.

I acknowledge both selves;compassion allows me
to invite conversation and creation
into my life.With my light and shadow’s potential:
the art of living my life is savoring interaction…
My human nature has courageous space for us all.

Row Row Row Your Boat…revised

I am rowing MY boat. It has always been tempting and safe to be a passenger on someone else’s craft and to sing their song…with a certain panache, of course. These days, I am rowing MY boat of words and ideas of living well in the second half of life. My craft is sleek: I have let go of patterns that no longer serve me to let something new begin. I am supporting others to live their best life and to plan for a future of their own design. While I am aware that my boat is colourful and unique, as is its path, I am part of a flotilla of  boats whose rowers maneuver courageously  through the aging process, aware of their surroundings and allowing their dreams and passions to power them forward. Come along.

GENTLY down the stream

I know/knew I’m alive because I am working. My avatar kept me busy, often with several responsibilities to juggle. This approach allowed but it also constrained…defined me.  Compassionately and courageously, ‘gently’ has been my learning about self-love and caring: what matters to me. Along my inner journey stream, I am getting to know myself beyond the noiseless return of memory/ silos, towards the wholeness of acknowledging  my accomplishments and living my purpose in the world.  Conscious aging invites my voice to express itself. My creative imaginings arise from looking within; magical stillness allows me to listen to the stirrings of my heart and soul. In my quest to live my own life: I allow my world to unfold,am learning to recognize my gifts and indulge in their envisioned expression. Their strength and opportunity enhance my connections in the world. Reflect! Reconnect! Renew! My interconnections with the worlds within me and beyond this earth plane. Living large! The tough marshmallow.

MERRILY, merrily, merrily, merrily

I am enough! This realization has allowed me to find joy in past events and  current circumstances of my life. Others’ expectations are just that, theirs. ‘Merrily’ invites me to celebrate my life: the deepening understanding of my identity and loving who I am- ‘from addictions to flow’: an eternal healing and awareness . My wellbeing inspires an emotional response, wrapped in costume and engaging my body and soul in expressions of potential and creation. As my performer self plays, it becomes a catalyst; my soul responds, opening me to explore meaning in my life through modal musical foundations- singing, and dancing to rhythms- the sounds of love. My conversation with my life continues through my writing- about my life and connections with the world through a lens of awakened possibility. Whatever form this belonging takes: the magic of sharing my worlds and ideas with others is opening me to living consciously as I age. My creator self enlarges this conversation of Conscious Aging through designing and facilitating vehicles for conversation to support groups and individuals. Building community. Dream weaving. Living well through transitions. The caress of enhanced relationships with family, and friends old and new, nourishes me: encourages me to express my feelings and allows me to question- what wants to happen? How can I be of service?  I have written- ‘The answers lie within me; knowing I am all there is.’ Changeless and changing, with gratitude in my heart, I am a pilgrim, wandering along the pilgrim path of my life. Identity. Meaning. Purpose. Love.


Dreaming my life into existence- I am a spiritual being having a human experience(Beckwith) ; my ‘local self’ is but a part of my larger self connected beyond this lifetime and this time and space.In fact, I can sometimes feel that larger presence as I go about my day. I believe that some of my traits have existed over lifetimes- part of my life purpose in this earth plane is to heal old wounds and to feel the freedom of living. Living in light and knowing I am love meets resistance from my ego self who prefers the status quo- with illness and a passive response to life as gatekeepers.  However, I am learning to dream in this lifetime, to feel the power of desire and to marry it with my gifts and talents.  I am not alone; listening to my heart and soul, my intuition and connections with all that is allows me to rehabilitate my emotional self and to speak with one voice; to know myself as a feeling being and to express emotions, beyond fear, connected to circumstances – I am powerful and want my reality to engage with my Self in a co-creative awareness. My pilgrim path through this lifetime allows for recognizing endings and beginnings: the ‘always in the never’ that I can meet with courage and an emerging confidence. My vision for this lifetime unfolds.

Release the need…

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Begin each day with a grateful heart.

Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength. Freud

I can’t change the world but I can change the world in me. Bono

My journey in the gap continues…
Some vocabulary that could be used to describe me at times:powerless, fear- based life, programmed or patterned. These shadows have provided security but have constrained creative expression in my life. Many wonderful adventures have been mine…but whose agenda has been at play?A small life comfortably lived.
These thoughts arise as I am living in the gap- through the lens of obligation- which has certainly been a force in my life: codes of behaviour and constrained emotional expression allow and inhibit. In service to others, my own desires fit into spaces. Caged or comfortable- I understand the territory and its demands: gifts and grief, and I introduced many placeholders to give semblance to my life and to smooth out my desire for my own life. I know well the costumes of obligation and can see the tracks of ‘go along to get along’ over this lifetime, never mind its force from previous incarnations.
I suppose you could say it is a bit like breathing- breathe in possibility and potential and performance/creative expression and all that it offers(think expanded body breathing). then breathe out- I allow another version of reality to assert itself again and the exoskeleton of safety resumes and the pattern recycles. Automatic. Memory. Viewing life from: what do you want from me? What can I do for you?

So, here in the gap- holding my breath- I consider:
. which behaviors are a reflexive need to please, and which are my desires:my heart and soul?
. how do I speak of my life and the wonderful adventures that have happened?
. how do I move from powerless to powerful?
. what does living my own life mean? Trust and responsibility are two big words for me. A kind of adolescence.

Over the last month,I have realized that I do not need to define myself in relation to illness;it does not confer privilege. Equally,I do not exist only to defer to others…or reality outside myself as the only way forward.

Space is being created…
Who am I?
What are my dreams?

“It’s a goodly life that you lead,friends;no doubt the best in the world,if only you are strong enough to lead it!’Wind in the Willows

Hide and Seek

A child’s game: we also know that many games are invented to practice skills we need in our life.

Who is It?

Who or what is to be found?

Where are the hiding spots on the landscape?

How do we take turns?

I am It.
I am/was hiding my eyes(self) from the world through the first half of my life…this game has rules regarding acceptable and valued behaviors..not wise to be found wanting.I sought acceptance and approbation through hard work and a passive demeanor. Even so, I found pieces of of myself, mostly when I was traveling, around music, or at least away from the familiar: home, surroundings,etc.My relationships repeated my pattern of trying to fit in. Rays of sunshine brought occasional warmth and glimpses of a larger landscape than I had carefully created and framed.

I am It.
Post retirement-the landscape changed:nowhere to hide.Frameworks and roles disappeared. I am now seeking myself. What have I found?
•ingrained patterns of safety have energy; wishing to choose different ways of being: new player? transform the energy
•myself as a teacher transcends circumstances;leadership has many forms
•a latent desire to perform; hide and seek-strong conversations with ego
•a slow emergence from hiding myself with surprising results: conscious aging matters
•a rich inner journey that awakened emotions and their expression, a different sense of self
•there are always games; do I want to play? I have an option!

I am taking my second/third turn.I have been a child, adolescent adult before; this chapter of my life offers me another opportunity to move through steps and stages with wisdom gained from earlier experiences,and with the warmth of relationships with those who accept me as I am.

Perhaps there is no need to hide. I am seeking the fullest expression of myself in the world..with my intuition as my guide and love surrounding the journey.What will I find? Who will my companions be?

with a vision not a code
with a song rather than a limiting story
with deepening awareness of aligned inner and outer journeys

Game? What game?

Candle in the Wind(EJ)

Don’t fear the light within. May it ignite the Sacred Flame in your soul. Paulo Coelho.


I am a candle
Carrying my desires and dreams forward
As the winds of circumstance
The flame may flicker,
may need to be relit:
Slender taper,fat round shape,tealight
The light of truth,Spirit- sustains, remains constant.

I have purpose:

I celebrate:
the passage of time;the holiness of space
living beyond the circumstances-they do not define me
others who share my journey
I illuminate:
my authentic self
the truth of who I am:seeker,teacher,supporter
possibilities in the world beyond the ‘wind’

I guide:
the lost warrior home to self
truths of myself- ABC
performance of my creativity.

I dispel:
gloom of lack and loss
uncertainty of purpose
others’ self-doubt

I create:
ritual- honoring increased awareness
space for others to explore and create
alignment of inner and outer realms

I warm:
my essential self
explore interdependence
feel the warmth of flow

I am called to:
triumph over darkness of misunderstanding
connect as the eternal symbol of welcome and warmth
flickering: shape and reshape with the winds of change
stand tall- beauty and purpose evident
understand protection and safety- knowing when and how.

Love’s oxygen surrounds and feeds me
Harmony and stillness encourage my flame to shine
Healing my fears and injuries allows space to glow.

Alone, I shine forth
In community, I share, decorate, signal
the importance of living well, celebration
Open heart,Oneness of soul,Imagination

This little light of mine: I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

(Imagine me singing)

The unexamined life is..

I am indulging in fragrance these days as I stroll the neighborhood: so much colour, and the aromas beguile and bring memories of earlier times flooding into my conscious mind…the noiseless return of memory! Lilac!!

I am on my grandfather’s farm. Lilac trees border the property and I am at home in two small rooms created within the branches of one of them… I am safe, I am undisturbed,and I am in control of my life. The freedom to be who I am.

I am standing under a tree at home; I am 10 years old. My intuition begins a conversation with me-that connection has returned periodically over my life to date. This message was: I would not marry, I would not have children, and my life would be different from others… so it has been. Stillness and solitude encourage s these conversations.

These and other remembrances have come to mind as I am discovering my sacred gifts as a participant in a course entitled Discovering Your Sacred Gifts. Janice Porter has been guiding me/us through the process of this discovery…there are audio tapes to listen to, statements to classify and realizations abound! One of my sacred gifts is Singleness…not a surprise really. As the two memories above will attest, I knew very early on in my life that I loved best to be on my own. Solitude enhances my life and offers so many creative options. This knowledge helps me to understand why I can have issues in relationship and prefer one or two close friends.Large groups leave me cold. Patterns.Feelings. 

More gifts have revealed themselves to me. As they do, I see the tracks of their strength over my life and the ways I have unconsciously been drawn to them. Awareness of these attributes helps me to value my life and its blessings. I can also let go of those gifts that are not mine and certain expected behaviours that do not align with who I am in the world. I am so ready!!

I had believed that I knew myself fairly well…have been on such an interior journey over the last decade to become authentic and to discover my passion and purpose as I moved forward with my life. The journey continues with increased awareness of my patterns of living..and the difference between some conditioned behaviours and abilities and those that are my true sacred gifts. With this knowledge…

I am grateful .