Life in the Fishbowl


 

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I rise just before 6:00 AM. I’ve been sleeping just a tad longer these days.  Leaving the welcome warmth of my bed can be difficult at times.  This has been a cold winter and I always turn the heat down in the evenings before going to bed as I cannot sleep well when it’s too stuffy.  Having the air be a bit on the cool side is okay when I’m tucked beneath my down-filled comforter.

Pillows tucked around me,  just so, with just my wee head popped out the top.  When the alarm sounds to rouse me from my slumber feeling the cool of the morning air inspires me to press the snooze button a few times.

And sleep has been odd these days.  Constant waking throughout the night.

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My dreams have been fervent and harried.  I wake feeling as though I am coming a great distance to join the waking world.  Even as my eyes begin to open, I am often still very much in the dream state.

Caught between two dimensions, if not more.

I shake the sleep from me by way of a morning shower.  In and out, slap moisturizer on, apply a bit of make-up, brush my teeth, drink a glass of water.  Dry my hair, dress and put my lunch together then dash out the door.

When did it become necessary for me to arrive at work so early?  Usually by 7:30 AM I’m sipping my coffee, going through emails and organizing my work day.

I put this on myself.  And yet, I love the early morning.  When the weather is great I witness sunrises that are breathtaking.  If not, I enjoy the sound of the rain.  The torrential down pours, I must admit, are a bit much sometimes.

As I cross the Queensborough Bridge I listen to the news of the day.  These days a man named Trump seems to dominate the air waves.

And I pause to wonder why it is as humans we can’t seem to find that balance in terms of getting along.

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Why is it so difficult?  Is it just our nature to behave the way we do?

Trump is trying to save Americans from what, I cannot say.  He’s sees a threat I suppose and feels it necessary to build walls and keep people out.

I feel deeply saddened by this.  Living in fear is a bad place to be.  I’ve been there. This is what I see when Trump is insistent on building a wall along the U.S. / Mexico border and when he bans people from seven countries housing those who follow the muslim faith from entering the country.

I see fear.

Trump thinks he’s being tough, and sadly tough is not what any of us needs.

In fact, we need compassion, love, understanding and acceptance.

When a country the size of the U.S. elects a President to isolate them to the degree he has already implemented in just under two weeks, we really need to look at ourselves collectively and how it is we all got here.

And sadly the United States is deeply divided as well.

A travel ban has been put in place and a 5 year old boy was detained for several hours and taken in hand cuffs at the Dallas Airport.

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Why?

Here in Canada, a disillusioned young man went into a mosque and shot down six people of Muslim faith as they prayed.

Why?

I believe, must believe that we all basically good at heart.  There is a a percentage of human population that is not good, misguided and evil. This is displayed in so many ways.  And oddly enough history has a way of repeating itself.

Still we have in the last 25 years gone through an extraordinary changes.  When industrialization took hold back in the mid-1800 and early 1900’s the response was not good.  Two world wars and then seemingly this world embraced the industrial age with fevered acceptance.

We humans, by our very nature, like routine. And yet in the last 60 years this world has changed so dramatically.

The industrial age quickly gave way to the computer age.  In my lifetime, and I am only pushing 59 years of age, I’ve witnessed the introduction of colour TV to having a device that I can hold in my hands that will connect me world wide.  Technology has moved into our lives at a rabid pace.

We haven’t exactly embraced it.

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Socially we turn to our computers, our smart phones and connect in a totally different manner.

We date…online.

We rant…online.

We do everything…online.

Show our intimate bits, and say things typically we would not.

Yet there is this world out there and the space that surrounds us.  A triangle formed by the new Moon, Mars and Venus held me in absolute rapture as it did so many others.

Snow that had piled up over several weeks leaving local lakes frozen over drew crowds that pulled on their ice skates to enjoy skating under a full moon.

And there is a magic to it.  There really is.  When we feel connected to the world we inhabit, it is a grand thing.

When we work collectively as the human race…oh…it is such a beautiful thing.  And it is usually in reaction to a massive evil that brings us together.   These days we find ourselves once again caught up in what appears  a terrible thing.

Let me leave you with this.

There is a small boutique hotel in downtown Vancouver that has been around for a very along time.  I won’t go into the why of it  now, however, across the parapet there is signage that reads:

UNLIMITED GROWTH INCREASES THE DIVIDE

On the Community College that sit across from it a sign went up recently that reads:

LET’S HEAL THE DIVIDE

We have more similarities than we do differences. Let’s focus on our commonalities and see where that takes us.  Let’s heal the divide.

To those who’ve lost loved ones due to violence inspired by fear and ignorance, I feel your hurt, pain and confusion.

Find forgiveness as this will save you.  Continue to love as this will elevate you.

If I could I’d wrap this world in love, I would.

So why don’t we give it a go.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

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Human Touch


I met a friend for dinner this evening.  We met after work down at Kits Beach at The Boathouse Restaurant.  Jayne and I always have great discussions.

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I mentioned that I’d been downtown shopping a couple of weeks ago and I had seen the ‘Free Hug’ people in front of the London Drugs at Granville & Georgia St.  I told her how I stood waiting for the light to change, my spirit feeling  considerably  lighter at the idea of a stranger willing  to put their arms around me and share a moment.  I told her that I simply opened my arms and was hugged first by the woman and then by the man.  hug 2

I was surprised she’d never heard of this.  It has been in Vancouver for quite some time now.

Just an act of kindness and a moment shared through human touch.

There is something so intrinsically beautiful and simple in this act. As we parted ways and I made my way home through the streets of Vancouver to the North Shore where my daughter lives, I got to thinking about the people that touch our lives on a daily basis.

I thought of the friends I have, the jobs I’ve held and those who have entered my life and left leaving lasting impressions.

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I thought of people from my past that I’d tried to please who seemingly caused me to bleed the energy from my soul and wondered why I had given this so freely?

Truth is I wanted, craved, desired, needed the basic interaction of human touch.  To feel genuine caring and to feel loved.

I think we all do.  And every once in a while getting that ‘Free Hug’ reminds me that I’m not alone and that I do belong to the collective known as the human race.

Namaste.

Talking to Myself


 

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This year has blown by like an unforgiving force of mythological proportions.  In many ways the perfect storm.

I look in the mirror and indeed the reflection that stares back at me shows the appearance of someone having weathered some rather extreme cold fronts.

But look a little closer.  The eyes are still on fire, the head has a million ideas running through it and this heart still wants to love, needs to love…

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I was at my last session with the kinesiolgist earlier this evening.  Jae pushed me hard.

And yet, in my head, I still can’t accept that this is all I can do.

I’m remembering such a short time ago when the exercises I did this evening wouldn’t have even broken a sweat.  I’ve got some work to do.

And I told Jae that I may never get back to the level I was at before…but at least I’m alive and I can move.  Sure, it still hurts but hell, I’ve got to keep trying.

And on the same note I can’t accept what’s happening to me.

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I will be competing in a speaking contest of all things.  Telling a Tall Tale.  Never saw myself doing this.  And yet, I’ve challenged myself to speak as well as I write.  To become a storyteller in every sense of the word.  To have fun, to share some expressions, to leave people I’ve shared my ideas with reason to pause and reflect.

My home is still under construction as am I.  Works in progress both of us.  Life being coy and whimsical.  At times I feel so inadequate and foolish.

I’ve worked so hard to move from such notions.  Perhaps its best to just embrace those moments when I don’t feel I fit into my life very well at all.  Reality can at times be a bitch when the dream seems so close to fruition.

Pulled back, teasingly.  ‘Work harder.’

Decisions are made.  Desperate, wanting…

Decisions are reached.  Calmly, with forethought…

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And I slip into bed with a sore arm, a back tied in knots and legs cramping.  Stories are rushing through me and chase me into slumber.

And I’m working, working, working…

Trying to organize my time, trying to organize my life, trying to just live, just be.

At the gym Jae instructed me to do crunches but to have ‘fun’ with them.

“Make a gun with your hands.” he instructed showing me and placing his hands over his head.

“Now come up, pause and shoot between your legs.”

This is weird I decided.

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“Think of someone you’d like to shoot, that you don’t like.” he encouraged. ” like…your husband?”

“No…”I didn’t mention I wasn’t married.  Mute point.

“I don’t like guns, Jae. And there really is no one I want to shoot…hypothetically.”

I spoiled the fun, I guess.

Still I’m in this odd space these days and like everything…I’ll learn and grow.

Peace.

 

 

Not Your Average Bear!


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I’m not too certain what made me thing about Yogi, but the smile that curled my lips when I did was immediate.

Saturday morning cartoons.

It was a ritual growing up.  Two hours of nonsense where I could get lost in an animated world.

Characters got blown up, had humongous rocks fall on them and fell from cliffs regularly.

But they never died.

If a cat has nine lives then animated characters are indeed immortal.

Silly pranks were played.  Scheming villains tried in vain to execute their various brands of treachery.

Every week their debauched visions were crushed by sly intellectual bunnies or awkward buffoonish bears.

Yogi and Boo Boo ruled ‘Yellow Stone National Park’ much to the chagrin of Ranger Smith.

This was and still is a sweet innocence for me.  There was no hard sell.

It was always a simple formula, one that I came to expect and it was offered week after week, year after year, and it worked.

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A capricious bunny, an enamored skunk, a witty road runner, a southern rooster or a hero of a mouse…just to mention a few.

We were blessed with so many lovely characters.

Back in the 1990’s though, we were all grown up and adult animation became a demand and began to move to the forefront.

Some of the creations were a delight.  Pinky and the Brain, Future Cat & Friends are a few faves.

“The Simpsons” truly changed the landscape or animation.

Some very dark characters emerged during this time.  Then gaming exploded.

I got to thinking of cartoon from the Merry Melody collection called ‘One Froggy Evening’ done in genuine black and white.  It was likely produced in the 1950’s.

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A man finds a frog who can sing like  Pavarotti.  Elated he thinks he’s struck gold.  He advertises this and fills a concert house.  The frog, however, will sing only for him…alone.

This has been a favorite of mine for a lifetime it seems.  There is a joy in its simplicity that is so endearing to me.

These days its hard to find a cinematic production that is just plain old fun.  Making movies is first and foremost a big business.

Last weekend as I was curled up suffering from a dreadful cold and convinced I would never smell the sweetness of a rose again.  I watched ‘Guardians of Galaxy’.   I enjoyed it.  Now perhaps it was the fever but hell, there was a quirky innocence to each of the characters.

This doesn’t happen often in movies such as this for me.

It was silly, goofy and totally predictable, but what sold me was the depth of the characters.  I liked them and wanted to get to know them better.  When this happens I’m hooked.

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I read an article about a year ago that stated that movies follow just twelve various formats.  That’s it!  And as I pondered this I likened it to be true.

Why is it that some movies just blow us away?  Certain catch phrases are adopted or personality traits are adopted and emulated.

Others movies are forgotten before we leave the theatre.

Why did one leave an imprint and the other fade away?

This principle applies to the written word a well.  Those books that capture our imagination and allow it to expand.

In a nutshell, it is character development and plot execution.

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How do you take something that has been told a million times or more before and tell it again…originally?

What I’ve learned may sound simple but can really be the toughest thing you’ll ever do.

Tell your story as only you see it.  That is what makes it unique  because none of sees or feels the same about anything really.  Individually we all have variations.

This perhaps, is the most endearing factor in the human equation to me.

Perfection is a myth.

Forgiveness is the key to freedom.

Love is absolute.

…and how each of sees the rise and set of each day is as infinite as the sky we gaze into each day and each night.

 

Another Year Passes….


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The Lions peeking over the ridge taken Dec 7, 2014

Reflections and musings.  A quick look back.

This year is quickly coming to a close. It has been a year that has offered many insights and challenges.

Depression kicked in earlier in the year. That old devil of mine whispered all my shortcomings to me. The fear that I had pushed back during treatment washed over me threatening to pull me under.

I’ve always had a hard time expressing these emotions,  never wanting to give them voice.

I wasn’t happy.

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The life I’d been building was put on hold while I turned my attention to managing my health.

And now the battle was done and it was time to pick up the pieces.

The work place felt like a lead weight around my neck. I was treading water and sinking fast. And I knew it.

They wanted me gone and I wanted to go. Decidedly the architects pushed the envelope coming up with a lame excuse about getting rid of my position all together.

Oh, I could’ve sued and won. Of this I have no doubt. But I found a better place, a rewarding place and moved on.

Some will say I should have held the architects to task. The abuse over the last five years I was there was substantial. The reward would have been a monetary one as that is the only way I could have hurt them. It’s in their DNA.

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But you know at the end of the day I really believe in karma. I thought of the people that are involved on a daily basis with the partners at the Architectural firm.  I’d met many of them.  I pondered how my rage may have affected them. Everything has a trickle down effect, the good and the bad. It has been my objective over the last few years to move through this life with a forgiving and loving heart.

So I ended things with this particular employer with an air of dignity and appreciation.

The partner, who had tormented me, particularly over the last year, was offered a hug and a handshake with a ‘thank you for the opportunity that you’ve afforded me.  I have learned a great deal.’

And the surprise and astonishment that was written on his face.  He wasn’t expecting my generosity of spirit. I caught completely off guard.

Oh, I knew they would hire someone else. They had to and they did a week after I was gone.

The thing I’ve always done is honour the job, I always have and always will.

And I left with a quiet dignity, not with spite and loathing.

Should I have waltzed into court bearing the mantle of a maligned and mistreated employee?

I did consider this option but quickly dismissed it.

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I’m not a victim. I can and have survived more than most. I knew for several years prior that I was working for an asshole.

And in my stubborn optimism I tried to convert the prick.

My suffering was prolonged due to other circumstances as well. I was seeking another job, a better job prior to the cancer diagnosis.

When that sentence was given to me well, I kind of had to just set the rest of this life I’d been chasing off to the side for a time.

And then I got to thinking too of those we lost this year.

Robin Williams.

A man whose desire to make everyone laugh almost seemed manic at times. What a beautiful soul! And he was weighed down by demons that I can’t even begin to imagine in their brutality.

Yet Robin still wanted to make us laugh even though his own despair was swallowing him in that slow death we know as mental illness.

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That phrase is frightening to many isn’t it?

I know this first hand. I’ve dealt with depression for a lifetime. Denied it for at least half of this journey and it was only when I acknowledged it, said it out loud, and accepted it that I truly began to heal and manage it.

In this I gained an understanding of how to deflate the power this thing had over me.

For all of us that do suffer with mental illness the degree of its savagery is hard to calculate.

I believe also that for Robin the weight of his fame was just one more aspect that he had to deal with.

Yes, I want to be a writer and put it out to the masses. You’ll either like it or not.

And I’m cool with that.

There will always be those who criticize. They’ll nit pick and put down every effort made. Hell, I do this as well at times.

Could someone tell me why the Kardashians are famous for example?

But I don’t know what it’s like to be under a magnifying glass. I don’t know what it’s like to have a demanding public. I don’t know if that would be of importance to me really.

Does it become a drug, something that is craved?

The adoration of the masses? The race to keep them happy?

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What I do know is that a beautiful and troubled soul lost the battle. His family will miss him. His friends will miss him.

They knew a very different Robin. They knew him when he stepped off the stage and turned off the performance. They probably knew the pain he felt, the torment and like him, they didn’t know what to do about it.

And Robin managed to keep the severity of his illness from many and so the torment was experienced in a silent hell.  I’ve visited that room a time or two.

As Christmas draws ever closer, I want to just hang my hinges onto the beauty of the human race and run with it.

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I don’t want to try to imagine why terrorists would walk into a Pakistan school and kill all the children. I don’t want to wrap my head the ideology of a woman who killed her eight year old daughter then stuffed her in the trunk of car.

I do know these acts are the result of a malfunctioning brain and/or brains. There is a disconnect, a mental breakdown.

We are fed a litany of violent images. Sexuality has become this monstrosity that young people now equate with the phone they hold in their hand that dictates their life.

The flash of breasts and other body parts finds young girls forever shamed and some to a point where death becomes preferable.

And what would I tell these girls?

Love who you are. Love your body and delight in the sensations it gives you.

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NEVER BE ASHAMED OF WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU FEEL!

And love this life!  My god, the beauty I’ve witnessed, the rush in the simplest of things.

And if someone tries to convince you that you are less than, that you are a slut, a whore…

Smile and know that you all woman.  I’ve got to tell you as well that all those nuances that are yours hold them close.  They are what makes you the person you are.  Build on them…they are your authenticity.

Labels have been around since the dawn of mankind.

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The understanding of power has been misunderstood as well.  If you are wanting to look like the Photoshopped model in Glamour or Cosmopolitan magazine ask yourself why.

True beauty has so much depth. It is an energy.

So as this year closes I am thankful for the lessons this life has handed me.  And I am so thankful for all of those who have touched my life.  From all of them  I’ve learned and tried to be just that much better.

I will continue on this path.

And thanks to all of you who’ve continued to read my ramblings. The New Year will see the book publication take place and I will continue to continue on this path of mine.

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Peace out!

Authenticity


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“Find your authentic truth.”

These words were uttered a couple of years ago and they stuck as I was seeking that essence of my being that had been shut down and placed in stasis. Feeling half alive or rather just existing was no longer enough.

I wanted more.

A hunger was born.

A desire.

A need to discover. And I was driven by an insatiable curiosity to find my purpose

Sounds rather intense, doesn’t it?

In truth it has at times been quite awkward and my sudden recollections and admissions were at times quite juvenile upon their awakening.

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But then again, how could they be otherwise?   I may well be in my fifties but adopting a new way to look at this world and how I function in it?

Well, you have to go back to the point when your first thoughts were secured about this world, of how you were taught that it worked and then question the foundation of that.

So yes, it can be quite juvenile and innocent in its evolution as you change your way of thinking. There is sweetness to it though, a jubilation as those first spears of clarity shoot through you. There are several emotions that will move through you.

There can be a sense of deceit. What you should keep in mind too is that the borders that you are born into will dictate to a large degree how you’ll be expected to perform in this world.

Then as you question this you’ll have a sudden vision of how this world should function…according to you but is it a healthy vision or one of imminent destruction?

Questioning your foundation is a tough thing to do on any level. Had you been raised believing the world was flat, as this was indeed once the norm, consider the main stream response when they were advised that this was not the case. The landscape before them was flat enough. Should they walk for miles, indeed the land would still appear quite flat.

Yet someone had the edacity to state the world was round, and furthermore they could prove it! There was no end of the world that you would fall off of, no oblivion to fear. So we created our heaven and hell and our purgatory. Sometimes I wonder if indeed these ideologies were created to offset the discovery of certain truths.

And we want an explanation for everything, yes?

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Sometimes we want so badly to believe in something, anything…don’t we?

Tell me you love me and mean it. Tell me that everything will be okay even though this myth of life that I had adopted was crumbling about my feet and I will believe you

Despite the evidence to support the imminent destruction, I don’t want to see it. I will refuse to buy what my eyes tell me.

I sit empty and devoid of any emotion.

How could everything that I so wanted in my life slip away so catastrophically?

Maybe, just maybe, that is not what I needed in my life. The myth of happiness could not be found on the path I was exploring.

Maybe, just maybe my passion and truth would be better directed toward a truth that was in fact born to me. And so the internal inquiry began.

Perhaps the quest, the aspect of this life that I had missed was opening myself to that truth that was inherent to me and inherent to this world that I inhabit.

And now I must ask myself how can I better serve this world? How can I give back? How can I assist in its evolution to a better place, an honest place, a natural place?

And I’ll likely spend the rest of days given to me attempting to do just that and to do so with loving and forgiving heart.

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We’ll always kill. It is indeed a part of this world. But we are different. We have reason, we have logic, or so we are lent to believe, and we have so many fundamentally intrinsic idiosyncrasies in comparison to our animal counterparts. Yet it is what we do to each other that confounds me. The cruelty that we display is at times so discouraging and the creative manner by which we as humans can kill another.

Well it leaves me speechless.

Tonight the geminides will be occurring. And a perfect night for it. The sky is clear. Let the meteorites rain upon us! All I have to do is stay up for another four hours.

I just may do that.

Peace.

 

Truth and Wimsy


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Jayne and I sat in a lovely restaurant on Friday evening enjoying our meal.

We can easily agree to disagree and I love the debates we engage in.

She doesn’t always share my point of view and often challenges it.

This is one of the things I love about her.

She challenges me to look deeper and think actually how I in fact deduce and entertain my reasoning.

I love debates, I love the thought process and I love to be challenged in some manner as it only assists in my growth. While I may well have some very strong opinions I am always open to new ideas and concepts.

Do you want to save the world from itself?

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I watch the news and see all that ails and plagues this planet of ours. And while I realize the news program being viewed has been designed to entertain to some degree, that they’ve taken a host of stories and then decided how they are going to be delivered, as it is a business after all.

I recall watching Walter Cronkite deliver the news in my youth. You could see news people in the background of the newsroom at their desks, smoking cigarettes and moving about gathering information as it came in. Camera shots moved in a little closer to isolate the ‘background’ disturbances.

There was a certain trust back in those days that the news being delivered was based on fact.

The age of flower power was then ushered in. Young people were rising up questioning all the propaganda that had been fed to them. Furthermore, they weren’t buying it.

Many of us thought there was a better way. The utopian dream was born.

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No more fighting, no wars, no more power struggles and we would all live equally and in harmony with one another. For a brief moment I think I believed it was possible.

This news of a new initiative to remove the insidious actions that mankind had been doling out since the beginning of our time on this planet blinded me for a moment.

It wouldn’t be that easy. You cannot erase eons of conditioning just like that.

If you are raised to believe in a certain ideology it is very hard to challenge it, let alone change it.

I had spent a lifetime wanting to feel completely comfortable in my own skin.

Prior to my caner diagnosis, I had begun to feel as if I finally reached that pinnacle. Things were beginning to settle into place and I’d never felt more at peace with myself as when I embarked on the training for the ½ Marathon.

Then just as quickly has that illusion emerged it was gone.

Cancer will do that to you. The body was now under siege.

And so I began to look deeper.

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I’m not the insecure and naïve girl I was some twenty plus years ago and my views on this world that we live in have changed considerably.

I am more than just the flesh that houses my soul, my spirit. Yet I want that sense of unity with the sum of all my parts.

I look at this world and some of the major issues that we are facing today. Ebola is raging through West Africa and I wonder why we’re not applying the knowledge and remedies we have gained in the Americas with those who are most vulnerable is really beyond me.

The death count seems to double every couple of weeks. The sad thing is the people living there aren’t really aware of what a crisis this has become consequently becoming very vulnerable to infection. And even the removal and disposal of those infected who’ve died must be done quite delicately so as not to infect the living.

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And we watch in animated horror and it doesn’t really affect us, now does it?

Or will it?

One man on a flight to the U.S. had this virus…now two nurses who attended to his care have contracted it. He has since died.

Ebola has made its appearance here in North America. We’re not so complacent any longer. Those tendrils of fear now begin to spread.

I recall a few years back when we had the SARS outbreak. That one came over from Asia.

And the next thing you know the latest fashion trend was the surgical face mask.

Back to the news of the day.

Then of course all the atrocities that are being committed against mankind are reflected as well.

Is the vision that I hold of this world an honest one?

It’s debatable as are most things.

I suppose that’s why I’m exploring the human equation.

I challenge the idea of an ‘eye for an eye’.

Think about this statement. You take one of my eyes out and I’ll take one of yours. It balances out the conflict. We are back on an even playing field, yes?

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Or are we?

We pray that the rights and freedoms we’ve fought so hard for will not be stripped from us, yet governments of the day quietly pass laws stripping them from us as it is no longer ‘cost effective’ to have them in place.

And they’ll commission a study group lead by an ‘independent’ advocate of the government to review the issue…just for good measure and spend just few more precious tax dollars to ensure that all their bases are covered.

When conflict or a threat of some kind occurs close to home we suddenly feel very vulnerable and everyone is suspect. As a nation we don’t like to feel that frailty, as an individual we are horrified and fearful.

I feel incredibly small in comparison to the next layer of life that will be revealed, as it is a moment and it’s fleeting.

I haven’t been guaranteed anything regarding this life and why should I be?

I have this day and it’s mine to live.

We have our truths and much like the interpretation of a painting, a sketch, a poem and so on, truth is just as subjective.

And I’m still striving to find my authentic truth, that place where I am confident that all the energy I exude in a day is being utilized in a manner that will benefit all that surrounds me. That I am connected to this world of ours and those that inhabit it in a manner that is positive and honest.

And that’s all I can do at the moment.

Thanks for stopping and many blessings.

Peace.