Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fave Reads 2016

I absolutely believe that "if you don't read, you can't lead." However, given a confusing handful of current world leaders (one in particular), I have been proven wrong. Apparently, it isn't a prerequisite for getting elected. Sad!

Nevertheless, this means books are more important than ever. So is the library. So is determining the exact sources that inform what we read. Whatever you read, find what's more important than ever in this particular ever.
This book echoes with
some of the mysteries in
my own life. It reminds us
that life is worth
re-examining because
we might just be our own
unreliable narrators.  
It's never too late for
love. Plus it may take a
lifetime to understand
the truth, and the
surprising reasons
for everything we
thought we understood.
Here, a graphic novel by
Richard McGuire is a page-
turner and returner. Non-
linear, and set entirely in one
room, McGuire takes us on
a passage through time, yet
careful reading reveals how
connected these visual tales
really are. 
Gord Downie's last concert
and his songbook The Secret Path,
moved me to read everything I
could about Chanie Wenjack.
Boyden's brutal use of the
objective point of view, and
Chanie's heartbreaking
humanity broke me. 

During the Holocaust,
when intellectuals "disappeared,"
young Anna is left fatherless,
but she meets the Swallow Man
and begins a journey that feels
part Anne Frank, part Life of Pi.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Sound

What’s your favourite sound?

I love sound: honest music, belly laughs, kittens purring, faraway skidoos, loved-one’s voices, rivers flowing, birds singing, ukulele strums, stomach gurgles and soft heartbeats. And more. It’s all great. But my favourite sound? Silence.

Around us everywhere is sound. And we are constantly processing it. We may filter some, but sound is hard to ignore. Worse yet is the chatter. It distracts us, it demands, it chastises, it confuses, it weakens: the radio, the TV, the texts, the constant updates and news flashes, the global cycle of doom, gloom, renewal, and resume. All these sound-waves impact us. They reverberate. We absorb them. Once they’re inside us, we process that discord and it churns. We’re distracted, we’re frustrated, we’re confused, we’re anxious, we’re worried, and we may not even know why. Whatever or whoever the din, we must continually swim in this steady stream of noise.

Therefore I wish you silence. In other words, I wish you peace. What’s more valuable than peace? Think about it. Don’t we all deserve a little peace? Peace of mind? To be peaceful. It soothes. It balms. It bolsters. What’s better than that?

That’s the thing: we can make peace. We can find it. We can choose it. In small ways and big ways. For most of us, it’s not that far away. And for those whose peace is distant, we can make peace for others. There are a million ways. Go offline. Go outside. Be pure of heart. Have good intentions. Apologize. Walk. Pull your sheets out the dryer and crawl inside them. Seek ways to be on good terms with others. Stop comparing yourself to others. Compromise. Forgive. Empower someone else and bask in their happiness. Surrender something. Learn something. Be honest and open and real and vulnerable. Stop trying to solve everything, at least for a while. Accept that determining blame is unproductive. Be humble. Sneak away for a while. Stay in bed an extra hour. Spend time with someone you trust and tell them what’s troubling you. Like cats do, sit in the sun. Give away cookies. Think about what you’ve accomplished instead of what you haven’t. Wander for a while. Slow down. Recharge. Breathe. Make peace with someone and it might hardly make a sound and yet it will be heard in the most important places in the heart. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Things one should never outgrow:

celebration.

A friend taught me that celebrations need not be elaborate nor fancy nor do they even need to be public. (Very soothing words for guilt-ridden public celebration-anxious introverts like me.) He explained that celebrations simply acknowledge gratitude and they mark joyful moments. Together or alone, whatever, whenever.

Whether like today, it's Hanukkah or Christmas (or simply a Saturday) I'm a big fan of seeking joyful moments. And today's joyful moment came thanks to a combination of writing inspiration and Baileys. What am I celebrating? Smart friends. Letters to old friends. Memories. Peacefulness. What's more important to celebrate than that? (And I hope the same for you.)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Look both ways?

My son is grown now but I remember prepping him for Kindergarten. Because he seemed like a risk-taker, there was one important question I needed the answer to: “How do you properly cross the street?” He quickly replied, “Run!”

I laughed. I expected “look both ways.”

It’s one of the foremost things we’re all taught in life, isn’t it? Look both ways. Hmm. Is this expression more than pedestrian behaviour? Could it be a life strategy?

Look both ways has obvious safety benefits, but maybe it also correlates to looking back and looking forward. Looking back seems easy: life was simpler then. Less pressure? Fewer responsibilities? More carefree? Yet I don’t long to return to that time; it would mean giving up so much. My life is rounded now, fuller. Looking forward seems easy too: I envision a bright future for my children, for my wife, for myself. I hope to be wiser and more satisfied, for more comfort, for health, for travel, for time. Even more, I hope to see my children achieve success. Yet looking forward, I can’t help but wonder too: how much time is left?

Probably not enough. And that’s why I realize now look both ways wasn't the right answer: what's important is now. I realize my son said it best because there’s something better than looking both ways.

I need to run. Thanks son. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Things one should never outgrow:

the view.

If one looks closely, it changes every day. And it leads somewhere new every time.

Go with it, and grow with it.
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