For most of his fifteen years, my middle son has been perfecting the art of pushing his older brother’s buttons. He is masterful. Nobody can send my eldest into orbit so quickly or so decisively.
In case you might have been admiring the affection and love between my sons, think again! Their dad caught this moment as our middle guy came off the pitch at the end of a rugby game yesterday. Hot and very sweaty, he ran over to his older brother, who he hadn’t seen since Christmas, and wrapped him in a wet, stinky hug.
It’s lovely to know that some things never change!
Where is the loveliness in your day?
Photo by L. Sandner
My eldest son has spent the past year in Ottawa, attending university and working as a page in parliament. It has been one of those, amazing, life-changing kind of years for him, the kind of year that sets one’s course in unexpected new directions.
I couldn’t be happier for him. But Ottawa is a long way away and we haven’t seen each other since Christmas.
And so it’s lovely to have him home for a few days.
His short trip home coincides with the provincial rugby championships,, so he’s actually not home. We’re in Vancouver for the weekend, watching his brother play.
But there’s lots of time for catching up, for hearing his entertaining stories about parliament, for troubleshooting with him about finances and courses and roommates, and for listening to his dreams.
It is so lovely to have some time with my boy.
Where is the loveliness in your weekend?
I have just completed an amazing e-course called The Geography of Now, with Monna McDiarmid. I’ve spent six delicious weeks taking photographs, writing, and celebrating the beauty in my life and my surroundings. One of my favourite aspects of the course was the “skinny prose” we wrote. Doesn’t that sound so much less daunting than poetry? Monna has challenged us to take on a “Loveliness Project” as we finish up the course, a way of continuing the work/play we’ve been doing. My plan is to spend the summer documenting here on my blog the loveliness around me. I might even play with some skinny prose…
the scattering sparkle
Where is the loveliness in your life?
In January I challenged myself to meditate every day for 30 days. I’d been wanting to adopt this healthy practice in my life for some time, but at best, my efforts had been sporadic. Thinking that a 30 day challenge might make the difference, I committed to a 10 minute meditation every morning, first thing, as soon as I awoke. I knew from experience that once my day started, I’d have all kinds of excuses to get to it later. I’d been there before.
By the end of those 30 days, I was hooked; the 30 days led to 60, and before I knew it, I had more than 100 days of daily meditation behind me.
Now here’s the thing: I don’t particularly enjoy meditating. There are many, many days when my mind flickers from one thought to the next in distressing succession. There are days where I find myself turning one idea over and over, forgetting entirely that the whole point of the exercise is not to think. I compose blog posts and indignant emails and love letters in my head, so wrapped up in my thoughts that I forget entirely to come back to my breath. But I keep showing up, every morning.
I keep showing up because I am calmer now. I’m more focused. I sleep more soundly. Even if most of the time I feel like I’m not doing it right, the meditation is making a difference. And here’s the thing that most surprises me. I have a sense of spaciousness to my days, a feeling of expansiveness. I rarely feel rushed. It just feels like there’s more time. I can’t really explain this, but I can tell you that for me it’s a powerful experience.
And so I’ll keep showing up for those 10 quiet minutes each morning. In fact I might even add an evening meditation. And if I were really brave, I’d learn how to chant.
A Morning Ferry
It was warm this morning, the promise of summer in the fragrant air, and in the bright blue of the sky. I was out walking before 7:00, making time for an early walk with Will, and completing an assignment for the e-course I’m taking at the moment. The Geography of Now is a celebration of the here and now, a six week gift to myself, the permission to write and photograph and create. Our assignment today: to take a walk and photograph our neighbourhoods. Fifteen photos. No editing. And so this morning, Will and I walked one our regular loops near the ocean; and I captured images of this place that I live, this place that I love.
After years of meaning to read Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way, I finally picked it up this spring and began her 12 week Artist Recovery program.
It’s been a powerful experience. Cameron asserts that we are every one of us born to create and she provides a series of practices and exercises designed to help us reclaim our inner artists.
The two regular practices Cameron sees as critical are Morning Pages, three pages of longhand writing every morning upon waking, and weekly Artists Dates.
Though I’d used Morning Pages in the past, having read everything by Julia Cameron except The Artis’s Way, I was a little reluctant to start up again, afraid that the writing would conflict with my morning mediation practice. The first week I actually felt really protective of the meditation and found myself regarding the writing as a threat rather than the trusted friend it’s been most of my life.
By the second week, my reluctance had dissipated as I began to appreciate the writing again. And now, after a few weeks, the Morning Pages have become ass essential as breathing.
The Morning Pages are my place to clear my head, to reflect, dream, complain, plan… Whatever I need to get out of my head and down on the page.
Cameron describes the pages as a Western form of meditation. Combined with my 10 minute sitting meditation, I’m starting my days with a beautiful sense of clarity and calm. And that inner artist? She’s beginning to emerge.