Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Bena; Ballet In The Park; Osteopath visit

Today is my sister Bena's birthday.  I won't say how old she is because apparently women don't like to tell their age but she is almost 18 months younger than I am.  I think I mentioned before that when we were little girls, Dad used to give her a present on my birthday when he gave me my birthday gift.  It used to annoy me because I wanted the day to be mine entirely.  Of course what I didn't think about or mind was that he did the same for me on her birthday which I didn't mind one bit.  I think we did that until I left Guyana in 1970. 

These days with us living so far away from each other, it's a present just to spend time together.   She is coming to Winnipeg on Saturday for a week so we should be able to spend some time doing whatever...  plus we'll be going on a family vacation in November. 

That'll be a special family vacation.  Mom is treating her four children to a one week Hawaiian cruise in November.  What makes this even more eventful is that this is the first time that all four of us siblings will be vacationing together.  It will be the four of us and Mom - no spouses or children - just us together for a whole week.  We fly to Honolulu and then do the one week cruise through the Hawaiian islands.  I am not sure what to expect but I think we all need this time together to grieve, heal and re-connect with each other.  And I think that we'll be fortunate to have some good memories of time spent together. 

Ballet in the Park

Tonight we are going to the Lyric Theatre's Ballet in The Park at Assiniboine Park (dinner at an Italian restaurant first).  The weather is supposed to be glorious but I'm going to take a blanket anyway.  Last time I went to the big band concert, it got cool after the sun went down.  I'm not sure what's going to be playing but in any event, it'll be a nice end to my week and a good way to start the long weekend.

Osetopath visit

Some of you who have been following my blog will know that I have some issues with my foot for the last 6 months that don't appear to be getting resolved.  It's frustrating me because I love to walk and the injuries have been hampering me from doing any serious walking.  I've gone for massage therapy, chiropractic care (two different chiros), athletic therapy, a podiatrist and my own doctor.  I've been told to try a boot cast, anti-inflammatory meds (which I have stopped after 4 weeks of no success) and an ankle brace.  None of it is working so if you have ever had plantar fasciitis, tenosynovitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, to tarsal tunnel syndrome ( all of which I now have), you'll understand the amount of pain in my foot - all the time. 

So yesterday I decided to try an osteopathic doctor who is also a naturopath.  He is from Trinidad and has studied in several different areas.  When I told him what I was dealing with, he asked if I was a medical person.  I said I had no medical background whatsoever but I have learned to pay attention to medical jargon (lesson from spending so much time with Dad's illness) and I use my research skills to help me understand what they are talking about, and of course to take responsibility for managing my own health rather than relying entirely on my health care professionals - especially if you are seeing multiple people.  So his suggestion was to get a new set of orthotics (which I have been asking for for several months) and if that does not resolve the problems entirely, then he'll do some additional treatments with moxa

Of course never having heard of that before, I did some research.  It's some kind of Chinese medicine which is supposed to help with pain and inflammation.  Worth a try since nothing else seems to be working. He also suggested electro-acupuncture which I have had before with no success.  I'm not sure about the acupuncture but I will be getting new orthotics next week and I am very hopeful that my foot issues are resolved (which has also been adversely affecting my back).

I DO NOT want to go back to getting severe back pain (which I have been dealing with for more than 30 years) so that's why I took up walking.  For the last few months, I've been doing yoga and now aqua-exercises.  Those deem to help and I still do about 30-40 minutes of walking each day but not the same distance and speed as I do for marathon training.  

Does all this sound like I'm complaining?  I'm not.  I'm just glad to be getting my orthotics and looking forward to getting back into my long walks.  Writing about long walks, I hope you take some time this long weekend to do some of that - where ever it is.  Mine will be in the Assiniboine Park tonight. 

Happy long weekend

Thursday, July 28, 2011

 You may say I'm a dreamer...

Yesterday I was doing my lunchtime walk by myself because my walking partner Barb is on vacation this week.  I plugged in my iPod and walked for almost 45 minutes and because I wasn't busy talking, I took the time to look at some of the headstones in the cemetery that I walk through.  Now, I know you are asking yourself why I would choose to walk through a cemetery but the Brookside cemetery is near the college and offers quite peaceful and great paths (which are really small roads through the cemetery).  In the summer it's quite pretty with people bringing flowers for their loved ones. 

During my periodic stops, I saw some really old headstones - some dating back more than 100 years.  I wonder what stories those people would have told about Winnipeg and the surrounding communities.  There were some sections for children - some as young as a few months (at least the ones that I read).  I can't imagine losing a child, much less one that is so young.  I sometimes think about how fortunate I am that my kids were not sick when they were growing up and the same can be said for my grandbabies.  I hope it stays that way.

The children's sections were sad enough but for the first time since I have been walking through the cemetery in more than two years, I really noticed the Fields of Honour. These sections are for all the fallen soldiers and there are a lot of them. It was quite a sight to see rows and rows of headstones.  It makes you wonder what the point of wars are.  People fight for the stupidest reasons and the lives that are lost are the worst tragedy of all. 

I have never had to live through a war.  The closest I came was when I was a child and we had the riots in Georgetown in the 1960's.  That was scary enough.  Losing a loved one in what seems like a pointless endeavour must be harder.  Anyway, it made me think of all the ways in which I am lucky and my music seemed much more meaningful.  It seems rather apropos that the song that was playing on my iPod when I walked out the cemetery was Imagine by John Lennon.  In case you don't know the lyrics or have forgotten them, here they are:


Imagine there's no Heaven

It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meditation Guide:  Station 15

On the first day of the week, the women came to the tomb bringing spices they had prepared.  They found the stone rolled back from the tomb but when they entered the tomb, they did not find the body of Jesus.  While they were still at a loss of what to think of this, two men in dazzling garments stood beside them.  Terrified, the women bowed to the ground. "Why do you search for the living one among the dead?  He is not here.  He has raised up. Remember what he said to you while he was in Galilee... that the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise again." 

The women felt joy and amazement. That event changed everything.  He was the grain of wheat that fell and died to produce much fruit. 

The Ressurection (and me standing nearby)
Am I ready to die to my old ways so that I can have a new life?
Am I willing to accept God's guidance into my life?

I hope that through these meditative practices and the questions you asked and answered for yourself provided some guidance and peace in your life.  As I mentioned before, you do not have to be a Christian to live a good life.  I learned from being raised in three major religions - Hindu, Muslim and Christian, - that trying to be a good person is what embracing God (or what ever name you want to call that Greater Being in your life) is all about.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meditation Guide:  Station 14

Joseph showed his generosity by giving Jesus his own tomb. This was his sacred possession.  To those around Jesus, this seemed so final.

Jesus is laid in the tomb
  1. Do I give up things freely to others and expect nothing in return?
  2. How do I deal with emptiness and loneliness?
  3. How do I say goodbye and let go?
  4. Do I blame my hurt on God or others?
  5. Are there any relationships that I have buried and would rather forget about?
  6. Can I reach out and work through the problems?
  7. What are some of the things which I need to do in order to be closer to you?
Take a moment in the silence of your heart to think of all those who are dying and those who have died and offer then up to God.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Great day yesterday

We had a great day yesterday with Sabreena at Gimli.  She was such a joy to have and she is so smart!! I am sure every grandparent thinks their grandchild is the smartest but she is really smart! 
The weather was perfect.  We went to visit my friend's cottage in Matlock because I am hoping that we can rent a cottage next summer for a week and this is one possibility (assuming he is willing to rent it).  We walked over to the beach (about two minutes) and spent some time collecting seashells - well the broken but beautifully iridescent pieces.  Then we went off to Gimli where we had fresh pan fried pickerel and a Greek salad for lunch and went off to the beach. 

Sabreena was very excited.  She explained with all the animated expressions of a 3 year old - how she was going to go into the water and first swim on her tummy and then turn over and swim on her back.  Before she did that, I took her for a walk along the boardwalk where there are some cute murals.  She found a few she liked:

Breen with her forest friends

Breen "swimming"

Eating Daisies

Isn't this the most beautiful summer scene?  And to think that within an hour's drive of Winnipeg, you can be here.  This where Sharm and Trent got married so it has a special meaning for all of us. 

Summertime in Gimli
 On the way back from the beach, I asked Sabreena is she had a fun and she said that she had a good, good good day because she loves us and when you love people, you have a good time.  She also told me that a little boy at her daycare loves, loves, loves her.  I asked her how she knew that he loved her and this is what she said:
I just know that he loves me because he tells me that.  And when he is away from me, he thinks about me all the time! And he dreams about me when he is sleeping."  Pretty astute.  Now, you have to remember that this is child who is not quite 4 years old.  Where she gets all that logic is beyond me but that's exactly what she said. 

So that was my day yesterday and I have to say that I woke up this morning still smiling to myself. 

I hope your week is off to a great start.  Mine is.

Meditation Guide:  Station 13

When they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  One of the soldiers thrust a lance in his side and immediately blood and water flowed out. Joseph - a disciple of Jesus - asked Pilate's permission to remove Jesus' body  Pilate granted it.  They took his lifeless body from the cross and tenderly placed him in the loving arms of his mother.  With infinite tenderness, she gently held him and wiped away his bloodied and soiled face with her tears which fell on his lifeless body.

Jesus is taken down from the cross

  1. When I have lost something or someone, do I feel angry or sad?
  2. Do I fail to reach out to those in grief because I do not know what to say or because it is too much to bear?
  3. Do I offer compassion or walk away and hope someone else will?
  4. Is there someone around me needing compassion now?
  5. Is my love unconditional?
Take a moment now in the silence of your heart to offer up a situation you have walked away from.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Meditation Guide:  Station 12

Jesus uttered aloud a cry and said "It is finished.  Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."  He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.  Jesus died on the cross.  He gave all he had for us. Many people converted after that day. It seemed like a senseless death but it was through this death that many have embraced the cross and followed him.

Jesus dies on the cross
Jesus dies on the cross

  1. Is it only when someone is gone from our lives that we truly begin to value them?
  2. If the people around me were gone tomorrow, would I be happy with the love that I have shown them?
  3. Do I pray for my family and those around me?
  4. Do I have the courage to love with passion, no matter the cost?

Take a moment in the silence of your hear to think about a loved one who you should reach out to and offer them up to God.