Give Up on Trying to Perfect Yourself

Give up on (trying to perfect) yourself. Begin taking action now, while being neurotic or imperfect, or a procrastinator or unhealthy or lazy or any other label by which you inaccurately describe yourself. Go ahead and be the best imperfect person you can be and get started on those things you want to accomplish before you die.

-Masstake Morita, M. D.






Note 1:) My take on accomplish is pretty expansive. It includes  things like Tai Chi, drawing lessons, making mistakes, reading, writing, cycling, and letting my dear ones know what I love about them. Also, doing my weekly webinars at Wellspring Calgary, making plans for a walking trip to Japan when conditions are right, and looking for ways to celebrate life. Furthermore,  I include teaching programs for the ToDo Institute  and the many things that come my way as a surprise. Oh yes, turning a blind eye to the Christmas cookies, as my granddaughter so sweetly explained it to her younger brother, when she was eight.  Say yes, jump in and get started. Perfection not required.

Note 2:)  In other words, sing while there is voice left.

Note 3:) Speaking of singing, here is one of my favourite virtual choirs in 2020. The Camden Choir from the UK, singing True Colours

Note 4:) All of my warmest wishes and thanks for your kindness and encouragement. Take good care. We will find many creative ways to celebrate our holiday season this year. With appreciation, trudy



Do It On Monday

Secular Sabbath update:

As you know, dear readers, I have become interested in reclaiming a secular Sabbath. Furthurmore, I am now a cheerleader for everyone to cultivate some version of this. For me it is a day where I can moodle; learn something new, especially in the creative arts, and have a complete break from the work that I love. Why is this important? From my point of view it is necessary to make breathing time. Time I can count on to devote myself to dabbling in drawing; a long walk; spending a few hours with my camera; talking to an old friend. Anything that involves  beauty, truth, love, delight, creating, and focus, even absorption. Maybe reading something that I am curious about but haven’t given it any time. Freedom for new things and/or recalling old things that I loved and have not made time for.

Mandala Drawing Lesson

Take this past Sunday. I had my first mandala drawing lesson with my new friend in the Netherlands. A wonderful and inspiring teacher, by the way. Having been a studious child with a perfect report card except for art, which was a C- in Grade 1, the blank page and a drawing pencil is scary. However, using a compass to draw the circles helped to get started, and joining dots and creating triangles took the edge off.

However, when it came to the colouring – where, what, how, and all the other things that one can add to a mandala,  I was back to uncertainty. But I stuck with it. And I did my best not to be defeated by comparison. That’s one advantage of living for three quarter’s of a century. You no longer let intimidation stop you; plus,I am much more easily satisfied and have a better sense of humor. I consider that a good thing. It’s a shame to let perfection stop us from doing anything new.

Here is what I am learning for myself and perhaps it will be useful for some of you.

No one size fits all. I have never been successful at finding or making time to do these things on a daily basis. Some of you can. I don’t manage to have time left over at the end of the day. It is my blueprint and I now work with what is. Consequently, it is far easier for me to take one entire day a week, where I simply say no to everything else in order to say yes to rejuvenation and a sense of play. No matter how tempting, doing work on Sunday evening seems, I continue to resist. Because I know we (meaning me too) all need time to unplug and essentially have a day of rest. A rest from changing what we usually do, so that we can do new things.

My new mantra is Do It On Monday.


One more word on drawing.

Drawing is one of the anchors of Living Well with Illness, based on the work of Dr. Itami. Drawing, in particular, was a skill all of Dr. Itami’s patients learned.

 Why? Dr. Ishu Ishiyama at UBC, sums it up like this:
  1. It activates the five senses and stimulates the brain
  2. a chance to do one’s best
  3. to pay close attention to the object
  4. to offer drawings as gifts to others

Small, simple and casual drawings are something everyone can learn to do and it helps improve our focus and gives us a mental break while we are absorbed in the task.

We are all different.

I suggest the point is to find what absorbs you and to do it. Learn more. Try something new that you have long considered but haven’t started. There is something satisfying when we create a tiny work of art, perform a piece of music, bake a special dessert, create a garden, design a house, or a room. Any number of things.  Playfulness is a key to all serious skill development. Take a day or a half a day to have fun with an interest that captivates you. The research supports how creativity and productivity improve with playfulness, expressive arts, rest and time to reflect. Not to mention the company of favourite people and walks in nature.


Note 1:) I figure that this winter even with the light at the end of the tunnel, is an opportune time for us all to cultivate our creative interests.

Note 2:) Here is something special to listen to for those who like poetry and the art of Hokusai, the famous Japanese artist of the Edo period. He is well known for his woodblock series which includes the iconic Great Wave off Kanagawa. Click here.

Note 3:) Stay safe through this crazy time and enjoy your life. These two ideas are not incompatible. Thank you for showing up once again and  I appreciate your company and your kind notes. With gratitude for life and all of you, Trudy

Note 4:) Oops, I almost forgot. My banner sketch this week is from Patricia Ryan Madson, one of her Etegami postcards.  And the blank note book, thanks to Unsplash and the photographer  Kelly Sikkema



Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

In November 2010 I was in London England with my friend Nancy. Of all the things that grabbed my attention,  one that surprised me was the extraordinary number of visual tributes to the Unknown Soldier and all  of those men and women who sacrificed their lives during the wars. It was overwhelming to see all the white crosses with red poppies, covering entire sections of public and church land. All commonwealth countries observe a date close to November 11th or on the 11th, as we do in Canada, since the end of the First World War. It is a moving tribute to honour and express our gratitude to those who lost their lives and sometimes their sanity to protect our freedom.

Traditionally, the poppy is worn from November 2nd to the 11th and that is what I recall from my childhood. It acts as a reminder to not take freedom for granted. And to understand that people died, usually young people, on our behalf, in those brutal wars. Over time I have also added civilian casualties to my remembrance.

With that in mind, I bow my head for a moment of silence. As do the school children, who often hold beautiful ceremonies with their hand drawn art work, songs and short plays in order to remember. And in order not to forget.

Remembering Others

This day prompts me to also take stock and remember my family and friends who have died not though war but through illness and old age. I have anchored this practice of remembering to the 11th of November.    I think it is helpful  to have little ceremonies and rituals to remember our loved ones. The days flow by so fast and one year becomes ten. Many people I love have died in this past decade and November 11th is my visual cue to privately remember everybody. And it is a cue to make sure I care for the living, while I can, and to let those living, beautiful and beloved people know they are cared for.

A Reflection and Doing Exercise

My friend Patricia recently introduced me to a particularly practical, memorable, and delightful exercise, which is a tribute to those who have been instrumental in our lives. It goes like this and it too involves remembering.

“Make a list of the 20 people who have influenced your life. They can be people you know as well as public figures, artists, writers, teachers, etc. Some may no longer be alive. You get to decide who is on your list.   After doing this exercise I asked myself “What needs to be done?” And I saw that I wanted to write a few letters of appreciation, to those I could, telling of their influence.”

This exercise could take the whole month of November, or longer. I want to get started.


Note 1:) I am thinking of John McCrae, a Canadian soldier, poet, and physician who wrote the now iconic poem, In Flanders Fields. The first stanza goes like this and is why the poppy was chosen for Remembrance Day.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
 The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

Note 2:) The word about this latest vaccine is encouraging. Not a magic wand and still lots to do, but nonetheless, more than a glimmer.

Note 3:) I think I have the loveliest of readers on my blog. I so appreciate you. Take heart. For those of us in Ontario we have been treated to beautiful summer weather, and it has added smiles to all our faces that are noticed, even through masks. It is in the crinkles around the eyes, have you noticed?

Note 4:) Please take care, stay safe, socialize on zoom if you are in a hotspot, and do your best to get outdoors for a walk everyday. Remember that all things change. Nothing stays the same forever. We can do this, even if we wish we didn’t have it.  Warmest greetings and see you next week, Trudy

This Also is True

Facts as Facts

As easy as it is to speculate on what might happen in our lives, when we are devastated by illness, financial ruin, divorce, politics, and so on, it seems best to stick with the facts.  “Facts as Facts,” is a maxim of Japanese Psychiatrist, Dr. Shoma Morita. Of course, it is natural and even helpful to look ahead, like the Stoics, to have some options in our back pocket. We just don’t want to linger there, putting our lives on hold. Thus, the advice to rein our minds in, when they go galloping through the fields like a wild stallion, is useful. Of course this can be easier said than done.

However, one of the ways that has consistently proven to be helpful when we are suffering from angst, fear, uncertainty and discouragement is to do physical things. We are better off to work in the garden or clean a cupboard than tackle paperwork. Moving our bodies is a way to release adrenaline and when we have the satisfaction of bagging all those fallen leaves we have the extra bonus of surveying our handiwork. And when it is one of those crisp, clear and blue sky kind of days – well, that is a bonus. When the going is tough consider the things you can do that require you to move.

This Also is True

Today I am thinking of the state of the world in 2020. It hasn’t been an easy year, and still there is so much to be grateful for. For myself, early this morning, I enjoyed listening to my Grandson practice his piano; I was so grateful for the people who came and picked up the garbage; my afternoon walk in the sunshine, with a friend, doing our best to NOT talk politics; a telephone visit with my son where we did talk politics, and an evening meal with my family.  These things are ordinary, yet, when I remember and acknowledge the simple fact that they are also true, also part of this crazy world, I regain perspective.

I stumbled on this lovely distraction in The Atlantic, this morning, where an editor thought their readers might be able to use a reprieve from all that is troubling. So, dear readers, I encourage you to take a look at the wondrous beauty in New Zealand. The photography is magnificent and I recommend viewing on your computer rather than your phone. Also, click on the Full Screen, when you open up and use your right and left arrow keys to scroll through. A much more satisfying experience. I hope you enjoy it.

Let’s use our steadying sail to keep our boats from capsizing. We will all learn alot about being human, and living in this amazing world, in spite of, and  thanks to 2020. I wonder what we will do differently as we move forward.

New Zealand


Note 1:) from our muse, Leonard Cohen

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offerings

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

Note 2:) A great question from last week, worth repeating: When is the last time you did something for the first time?  This question, from a lovely person in my webinar, is with me everyday now.

Note 3:) You kindly send me so many encouraging and thoughtful words and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I always look forward to visiting you on Wednesday. See you next week and stay safe and maybe try something new. Let me know, OK.  Warm greetings, Trudy