Forget Me Nots and Blessings

I love a path like this one. I immediately want to follow it to see where it takes me.  My friend Karen took this photo in her garden, over a decade ago. She said in her email, “This particular pathway is meant to slow you down, carefully putting one foot in front of the other, leading to a beautiful place, a place of rest.”  This is good advice anytime.

Another dear friend Patricia sent me a copy of John O’Donohue’s Beannacht, around that same time. Bennacht is a Gaelic word meaning Blessing. I recommend that you listen to O’Donohue recite it, with his beautiful Gaelic accent. Music to my ears.


Tonight I am thinking of my dear friend Helga, whose spouse died three days ago. She is on the other side of the continent but this “Blessing” is not hampered by time or space.

“Our challenge is not to choose between the fragility and strength of life but to cultivate our wonder by holding both in our heart.” by Mark Nepo


Note: 1) The blue forget me nots appeared in the garden yesterday and conjured up all kinds of fond childhood memories of my Mother and sister.

Note: 2) For any of you dealing with cancer there is an interesting webinar Thursday night with Dr. Rob Rutledge, Radiation Oncologist and Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University and Dr. Bernie Siegel, retired professor of surgery at Yale and the founder of Exceptional Cancer Patients. This will be an informative evening with two delightful presenters. It is 7:00 PM Eastern Time. (double check) The cost is $20.00 but anyone can register gratis if need be. Link to information and registration.

Note: 3) I am grateful to all my readers, for your continual show of support by stopping by here on Wednesday. There are many, many wonderful things to read in this digital age, and it all takes time. I appreciate the time and your kindness that you give to me. Warmest wishes to you and yours, Trudy



On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

~ John O’Donohue ~From Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom


Languishing – an Old Fashioned Word

There is a name for the blah

This week an article in the New York Times caught my eye. There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing and it was penned by Adam Grant, author of several best sellers and  Wharton’s top-rated professor for 7 straight years. As an organizational psychologist, he is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He began noticing how he, along with friends and colleagues, were finding it difficult to concentrate, and some complained of fuzzy brain. Their spark had somewhat dimmed.

“It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing. Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021. As scientists and physicians work to treat and cure the physical symptoms of long-haul Covid, many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic.”

I think languish is an entirely appropriate word to describe these times. I look around and see lives on hold, the bounce gone from their step, and although manageable, still, some anticipatory angst as to what’s around the corner. Grant suggests a few helpful tips that can be helpful should you find yourself living at a lower light. This is the one I liked.

Focus on a small goal

The pandemic was a big loss. To transcend languishing, try starting with small wins, like the tiny triumph of figuring out a whodunit or the rush of playing a seven-letter word. One of the clearest paths to flow (see below) is a just-manageable difficulty: a challenge that stretches your skills and heightens your resolve. That means carving out daily time to focus on a challenge that matters to you — an interesting project, a worthwhile goal, a meaningful conversation. Sometimes it’s a small step toward rediscovering some of the energy and enthusiasm that you’ve missed during all these months.

I love “just-manageable difficulty” and I will try it myself and let you know my experience. I am not languishing this week but I certainly have had days when the description fits me.

As for flow:

it is that elusive state of absorption in a meaningful challenge or a momentary bond, where your sense of time, place and self melts away. During the early days of the pandemic, the best predictor of well-being wasn’t optimism or mindfulness — it was flow. People who became more immersed in their projects managed to avoid languishing and maintained their prepandemic happiness.

I find flow when I am immersed in something I love doing. It can be making slide shows with my photos; riding my bike in a beautiful and scenic area; listening to certain music; weeding in the garden; researching information, sometimes writing and many times reading. And always doing my Wellspring Webinars.


Note 1:) Thank you Adam Grant. Here is the link to the article.  Sadly you may not be able to access it if you aren’t a subscriber of the NY Times.

Note 2:) We had a spring snow today. This might be a relative of a soft day in Ireland when it is grey and drizzly. They sound rather poetic, but…yet, these photos were taken on Sunday on one of my favourite walks at Dow’s Lake in Ottawa. Sometimes this and sometimes that.

Note 3:) Many thanks for coming by. I appreciate you and I hope you stay safe and find some flow in a “just manageable difficulty.” See you next week. Warmest wishes, Trudy

Teahouse Practice

Teahouse practice

Teahouse practice means that you don’t explicitly talk about Zen. (or any other spiritual practice) It refers to leading your life as if you were an old woman who has a teahouse on the side of the road. Nobody knows why they like to go there; they just feel good drinking her tea. She’s not known as a Buddhist teacher, she doesn’t say, “This is the Zen teahouse.” All she does is simply serve tea – but still, her decades of attentiveness are part of the way she does it. No one knows about her faithful attention to the practice, it’s just there, in the serving of the tea and the way she cleans the counters and washes the cups.  (Excerpted from an interview with the poet Jane Hirschfield, and Bill Moyers.)

From the time I first read this interview, many years ago, it has stayed with me. I suppose because I wish I were more like that and I’m not, and because when I meet that rare person who is like this I am so deeply touched and enlivened by their presence.

Remembering my Mother on Her Birthday

Yesterday was my Mother’s 101st birth date and I hosted a zoom gathering for my extended family, in her memory. I put together a slideshow of memories including our 13 days together last July, before her death. As I looked around at all the zoom windows I felt my Mother’s spirit in all those loving faces.  Her qualities of  acceptance, appreciation, kindness, good humour, forward motion, and  wholehearted love for the world, her family and friends, kind of made her irresistible. Rather like the old woman who served tea by the side of the road, we all liked to just hang out with her. It is a beautiful legacy.

I miss her and I see her everywhere.

Here are two tiny poems for Poetry month and I dedicate these to my one-in-a-million Mother.

Separation by W.S. Merwin

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

The Window by Rumi

Your body is away from me
but there is a window open
from my heart to yours.

From this window, like the moon
I keep sending news secretly.


1:) It is worth the effort to create family gatherings. We need each other and in the end our friends and family are truly what matter the most.

2:) “Love is the answer to most of the questions in our life.” Jack Johnson. Listen to the song here – Better Together

3:) Thank you for stopping by once again. Warmest and best wishes to you all, Trudy


The Important Concept of Yutori

This morning I began a new plan, or rather, I have revived an old plan. As soon as I dropped my grandson off at school I went directly to Dow’s Lake for an attention walk. This walk is not  to get my heart rate up but rather to  lift up my spirits. Although heart related, it is a measurement of a different kind. This practice requires slow walking, awareness, and my camera. What a beautiful 40 minutes I spent walking by the cattails, listening to the red-winged blackbirds and sinking into the wonder of nature.

Stopping to take a photo at whatever caught my eye or simply to listen to the feathered choir and notice the graceful draping leaves of the weeping willows bursting forth all along the lake shore of my stroll transported me for a time.  The short 40 minute journey highlighted how easy it is to involve ourselves in beauty and how easy it is to miss out. Not, just with this unfolding of spring but so many other aspects of our life too. We need to take the time and use our attention if we want to activate our senses to the life around us.

On Being Project

There is a concept, brand new to me that I also discovered today. The Japanese word is Yutori. One of my most favorite poets,  Naomi Shihab Nye, discussed it on an  interview with Krista Tippet  and the  On Being Project. (link in the notes) Naomi  tells how she encountered this word.

I just came back from Japan a month ago, and in every classroom, I would just write on the board, “You are living in a poem.” And then I would write other things just relating to whatever we were doing in that class. But I found the students very intrigued by discussing that. “What do you mean, we’re living in a poem?” Or, “When? All the time, or just when someone talks about poetry?” And I’d say, “No, when you think, when you’re in a very quiet place, when you’re remembering, when you’re savoring an image, when you’re allowing your mind calmly to leap from one thought to another, that’s a poem. That’s what a poem does.”

And they liked that. And a girl, in fact, wrote me a note in Yokohama on the day that I was leaving her school that has come to be the most significant note any student has written me in years. She said, “Well, here in Japan, we have a concept called yutori.” And it is spaciousness. It’s a kind of living with spaciousness. For example, it’s leaving early enough to get somewhere so that you know you’re going to arrive early, so when you get there, you have time to look around. Or — and then she gave all these different definitions of what yutori was to her. But one of them was… and after you read a poem just knowing you can hold it, you can be in that space of the poem. And it can hold you in its space. And you don’t have to explain it. You don’t have to paraphrase it. You just hold it, and it allows you to see differently. And I just love that. I mean, I think that’s what I’ve been trying to say all these years.

Naomi Shihab Nye is the author of numerous poetry books, including Famous (Wings Press, 2015). Excerpted from interview


I encountered this word, after I came back from my walk. I then tracked it down in several places and understood that it accurately explained my outing this morning. It was the conscious slow down to allow me to savour the world around me. The refusal to rush. No talking. The stirring of what I love and have been missing for too long. I simply stepped into absorption with nature and with no agenda except to see. Spaciousness opened up.

I can imagine that all of you have had  experiences of spaciousness. It is easy for me to imagine how it  happens with a poem, music, and other meaningful moments. Yet this snippet from the interview hints at the many more opportunities we have to savour our everyday.

There is a spot on my walk, where I will take a photo each day to see spring unfold. Slow time is underrated. I picture the bridge as the path to slow and spacious time. Just like the young Japanese girl intimated. You don’t arrive early by going fast; you leave early to arrive early.


Note 1:)Here is the podcast and transcript to the interview for those who are interested.

Note 2:) An angle on the bridge – April 7th, 2021





Note 3:) Thank you all, for reading last week’s blog and sending me comments and emails. I was touched by all of them. I appreciate each and everyone of you and send all my best wishes that you stay safe and resourceful through this next challenging phase of the pandemic. More importantly, “may you take time to notice that you are living in a poem.” Warmly, Trudy

PS I took the banner photo this morning too. It is the small pond in the marsh.