It’s Easy to Live Well when you hold All the Aces

 A series of unfortunate events: some of them ordinary

This past week there have been a series of unfortunate events happening to people I know, including me. Everything from pain; allergic reactions causing severe itchiness; broken oven; internet and phone not working; teeth problems; horrible diagnosis; still waiting for test results; car problems; zoom link that didn’t work; needing to be in two places at once (that was interesting) mental and emotional fatigue; not enough time  or resources. I could go on.

Ok, I will go on. It was the call to the service provider, where you wait for 25 minutes with phone on speaker, and as you are ready to give up, the music stops and the pause arrives, just before the technician is supposed to answer. (Whew!)

But then, instead of the technician, an automated voice is asking you to please take a short survey to rate the service you just received. And you want to shout into the phone, “Wait! Service didn’t happen yet.” Of course that is useless. There is nobody there. Nope! It’s back to the end of the line to start over.

The truth is that there is nothing unusual about any of these things. Except to the person they are happening to. And even then, we can often roll with the inconvenient ones, but once there is a bit of a pile-on, we can get discouraged and fed up, even with the best of intentions and skills.

Once in a while it’s ok to just say your version of “the heck with this.” One of the reasons that I love and admire Darlene Cohen, author of Turning Suffering Inside Out, is her unlimited warmth and understanding towards ordinary and extraordinary human suffering and fallibility.

She understands more than most that we can’t be on our best behaviour all the time. Some days we need to go to bed with a bag of chocolate and a whole series of our favourite Netflix show. (Or equivalent) Sometimes we may need to cry for three days or throw a glass into the fireplace or something dramatic that doesn’t hurt anyone.

It’s ok to not be the poster person for anything.  We do the best we can, most of the time. And sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we sit at the bottom of the cliff and we have no energy at that point to do anything about it.

We are human beings. We get discouraged and weary. There are occasions when it all feels like too much.

Go ahead, indulge for a bit. Give yourself a break. It won’t last. And if it does there are things we can do to encourage ourselves and each other along.

These words from Barbara Kingsolver’s book High Tide in Tucson, are close by when I need them. She shows how this transformation is possible, even when our life is in ruins. She also shows the reality that there will be many ordinary times when we will be in need of pulling ourselves back up.

I hope you all, dear readers, will cultivate a certain tenderness towards  yourselves, at those times. Cut yourselves a little slack. There are many pieces in the puzzle of our lives. We don’t see the whole picture yet.


Note 1:) I know I could have written about all the things that are going right and all the help we get. This is unequivocally true! We want to keep that in mind. But I also want to remind us that there will be days when we wallow a little. There are times that we don’t want to hear “at least this or that didn’t happen…” And that is ok too.

Note 2:) You know that I appreciate you turning up here and I will never grow tired of thanking you. With appreciation, Trudy



We’re All on Our Way Out: so Use The Good Dishes

A fascinating thing about humans is that we all agree that our final destination is death. No one will contradict this. We just can’t grasp the truth that it may happen to us today. That thought is rather incomprehensible, if not plain ludicrous, for most of us.

I am glad that I get it, even though I don’t really get it. It reminds me of last words and what I want mine to be.

Not last words as in a proclamation of wisdom. No. No. Rather I’m speaking about my last words to whoever gets to hear them: the coffee barista, the janitor at my grandkids school, the Shaw repair person who came back to fix a problem, the cashier or the cleaning people or the bank manager or my son or Mother or friend…if I am lucky, someone will hear my last words, and  I just want them to be kind.

This understanding helps me, at least some of the time, to be aware that it isn’t always best to let the first thing that comes to mind, leave my lips.

And, of course, not for a moment do I think I am on my way out anytime soon. It just doesn’t compute, the magnitude being too great. Even my amazing Mother, who will be 100 next April, and previously thought that 90 seemed long enough, is now looking forward to her big celebration next year.

The joy of living is knowing how precious and tenuous it really is to be part of the full human experience. And what an amazing gift we have been given to fully participate in a plethora of capacities. Let’s do what we can do while we are able.

Note:1) My friend Helga suggests that we rush s.l.o.w.l.y This can be quite challenging, I am finding. In the context of uncertainty, however, it makes sense.

 Note:2) Thanks for spending part of summertime showing up here. I am always grateful to see you. Find wonderful moments and enjoy them. Warm greetings, Trudy

Wandering Around In a State of Wonder

How could these beautiful irises not be enough for a day or a lifetime…and yet we always look for more. Perhaps our obligation to the world is  more like expressing our jaw dropping appreciation.



Wandering around in a state of “wonder.”


Mind Wanting More (an excerpt)
by Holly Hughes

But the mind always
wants more than it has —
one more bright day of sun,
one more clear night in bed
with the moon; one more hour
to get the words right; one
more chance for the heart in hiding
to emerge from its thicket
in dried grasses — as if this quiet day
with its tentative light weren’t enough,
as if joy weren’t strewn all around.

The wonder of enough:

I deeply believe we are all doing the best we can. (even when it seems like we are not) Include yourself in your circle of compassion. I have grown to cherish our imperfections, the messy business of living, the falling down and getting up, the joy that arises out of the blue. The fact that not everything works out the way we had hoped – and that we sometimes don’t have a clue what the next steps should be. To love and be loved.  To help and be helped.  To accept our differences. To pay attention to all the beauty and all the support we receive. To laugh and to cry. The miracle of the everyday. It is enough and I am grateful.


Note 1:) I am home once again, finding my bearings, catching up, grateful for these last weeks of summer and  a heart overflowing with rich, significant, joyful  and life changing memories. Thanks to all who were part of my adventures from coast to coast.

Note 2: ) I appreciate, you, dear readers. I find it incredible that you take the time to open my weekly emails, and when you can, read what I write. Thank you! Take heart and courage as you wake up each morning, doing the everyday things that need doing. Stay curious and pay attention. And with that, making the world a better place for those around you. See you next week, Trudy

The Universal Language of Generosity

My eight days in Calgary and the Rockies left an imprint on my heart and on the hearts of several others.

I will tell you only about one aspect and that is the arrival of 12 Japanese at Wellspring  Calgary. They arrived, after four days of hiking in the Rockies, full of life, enthusiasm and an overflowing wellspring of goodwill.

Wellspring Calgary

Our Japanese visitors were prepared with beautiful slideshows, inspiring talks in English and Japanese, many beautiful gifts and a high level of engagement with the participants.  Perhaps it was their red and blue t-shirts that brightened the space. Maybe it was the 107 hand drawn and painted Etegami Postcards displayed for participants to select and take away. Maybe it was the way they introduced themselves in a language not their own. It could have been the 200 blank watercolour postcards that one of the Japanese members made by hand from Milk cartons, water and a blender. (that is the short version) Or the dozens of folded origami left as gifts.

Perhaps it was the stories, like the one where they cooked all their own meals during their four day hike or how one of the members at 75 was the oldest woman to climb the Via Ferrata. Or how they beamed sunshine  and filled the air with laughter.

What fascinated all of us, even when they weren’t speaking English, is how they manged to convey emotion and the deep meaning of their subject.  We were all laughing, crying, smiling and clapping. We mostly communicated  in two different languages, with a “little” or rather a lot of help from our friend Yoshie.

There were invitations to come back to Calgary and for Wellspringers to go to Japan, and during the time in between to become pen pals using Etegami.  Etegami is a “simple, colourful folk art(which everyone can do) and is more about sending kind wishes through the mail than it is about, ‘art.’ (Thanks Patricia Madson Ryan) Google translate can also be helpful with translating kind words.

There were more gifts for the new Wellspring, Randy O’Dell House. Art supplies for the Wellspring studio. Generosity abounded by everyone. And yet…there was the serious business of life and death; caregiving and bereavement; struggling with treatment and recovery from treatment.

Let’s just say that language was not a barrier.

The messages conveyed went way beyond ordinary language and opened my eyes to a communication without borders.

And what is more, the kindness and joy of our Japanese guests was reciprocated by the Wellspring staff and members. The warmth of the Wellspring welcome was evident and small treasures were bestowed on our new friends. A delicious bar-b-que, was prepared by the managers. Later, our guests assembled in the yoga studio for a fast paced session called Moves and Rhythms. Once again language was no barrier. Barabara Cunnings, facilitator and co-founder of Wellspring, conducted the program in silence. No language. Hand signals only to indicate that everyone follow her movements.

Somethings are difficult to convey. But take it from me. The world is not as bleak as it appears in the news. As human beings we have way more in common with each other than can be imagined. Our DNA propels us towards helping each other, and when required, transcending our own fears and difficulties on behalf of another.

Our Japanese guests and all the people at Wellspring Calgary were an inspiration to everyone who was lucky enough to be there. They personified Kevin Kaminski’s morning greeting:

“It’s a great day to be alive.”

Thank you to our Japanese and Wellspring friends. I think that you are at the beginning of a meaningful and wonderful friendship.


1:) The photos on this page were taken by Nancy Wright. Thank you!

2:) My own steep climb up Wiwaxy Peak, (2,706 metres) at Lake O’Hara, is a cliff hanger. Let me just say for now that it was challenging, magnificent, fun and empowering. And not only am I forever grateful, I could never have accomplished it without Nancy, Huston, and Jenn. And countless others named and unnamed, who take such good care of this pristine area in YoHo National Park. So glad that I had this opportunity.

Note 3:) This past weekend in New Brunswick, was a celebration of love, longterm relationships, family, and community. An excellent example of the indepth research on what really fuels health, happiness and meaning. Congratulations to everyone who does their best to take care of each other.

Note 4:) A deep bow to everyone at Wellspring who had a hand in making this such a profound event including staff and members. And a deep bow to you, dear readers, who generously give me your time to read my blogs. See you next week. Live August to the hilt.  Warmly, Trudy