“Take a Second to Bask in Vaccine Serenity”- Emma Rooney

 Today  is the day

that I received my 2nd shot, and I am over the moon grateful. In Canada we had a supply issue and therefore chose to get as many 1st shots in arms as we could.  In most cases we delayed our 2nd shots for up to 16 weeks. Now, our supply is consistent, plentiful and the 2nd shots are coming earlier than anticipated. As a consequence we do not take this opportunity for granted. Of course there are delays and booking problems – nothing is perfect. However, when I got up this morning I knew whatever else may happen,  I was full of joy and appreciation.

The morning, however, continued to get better as our heat came down enough to be beautiful and bearable. When I arrived at the hospital,  looking for parking on a side street, a stranger flagged me down. He gave me his parking space, his ticket with plenty of time left on it, and a sparkling eyes smile. That’s where we find smiles these days, in each other’s eyes. Once I walked the two blocks to the entrance, I was greeted, and welcomed straight in. No line-up.

The clinic

The highly organized system they use at the Ottawa Hospital – Civic Campus – was impressive both times I visited. I was ushered to my spot 12 minutes early and had a lovely visit with nurse Mary who told me she had returned to work six months ago to help with the vaccine rollout. After I thanked her and let her know how thoroughly delighted and grateful I was, she said this:

“This has been the best place to work. Everyone who shows up is happy to be here and in the past six months I have received more thanks and words of appreciation than I did in my entire career. I love coming to work and being part of this team to get everyone vaccinated.”

If it were not for my mask, every single person who saw me would have noticed my beaming smile. I could not contain it. However, earlier, when I parked my car and was walking towards the clinic I was startled to notice the depth of my emotion as  tears welled up in my heart and a few sprung loose through my eyes. It was clear to me how completely fortunate I was to receive this vaccine when most of the world has not received a first shot, and many will never have one.  I thought about the scientific miracle that these vaccines were developed so quickly and with such collaboration from scientists around the world. And my heart was overflowing  to every single person who had a hand in this. And to every single person who had a hand in getting the vaccine into arms.

Forest Bathing Studio

I was back home before noon and had a chance to pause and quietly celebrate this occasion by attending my second Forest Bathing Studio event. When it was recommended to me by a lovely woman who had attended a program I facilitated at Wellspring Calgary, I wondered how this could be possible. Forest Bathing indoors?? To my surprise it is a beautiful, mindful, and gentle program  designed and delivered by Emma Rooney, a Creativity Facilitator who is inspired by art and nature and informed by many years of formal study.

Yesterday I sent  a note to Emma letting her know that I might miss her session today, because of my vaccine appointment. The title of this post is part of her reply.

“Don’t rush,” she said. “Take a Second to Bask in Vaccine Serenity.”

It struck me as a beautiful prompt – to take a pause. To not miss out on the extraordinary ordinary, by quickly getting on to something else.  I chose to take that second or rather 3,600 seconds to mark the occasion, by visiting her gentle Forest Bathing Studio. I did get back in time. I knew I would find poetry, meditation, an invitation to pay attention to what is outside my window. As well as enjoying a sensory experience through that small window. A little scribbling, book suggestions, something to think about and the lovely company of a few others. No performance pressure whatsoever.

I hope you will all spend some of your moments basking in the serenity of a special, although ordinary, event. Taking the time to take it in, and even wondering what your life might be like without it.

Notes

Note:1) Emma Rooney’s website  has a great deal of information, but for starters here is the Forest Bathing Studio and a little about Emma.

Note:2) I am fortunate that my study is on the third floor with a north facing window, with French style window doors that open in. Light, shadows, rustling leaves in several shades of greens, along with bird songs are my workspace. And today, when I stood at the window, the most incredible fragrances wafted upwards. There is so much to enjoy even when life isn’t going according to plan.

Note:3) Please accept my deep appreciation for taking the time to read my blog and sending me such thoughtful and kind words. May you enjoy these precious days. Warmest wishes, Trudy

A Favourite Spot to Simply Sit and Be

 A Favourite Spot or Two

I can imagine that we all have our favourite spots. Probably a few. My current favourite is at the Arboretum in Ottawa. (yes, I am here again) There is a bit of a lookout where I can look across and down and see several different types of trees, water, a bridge, pathways with people walking, yet not too busy. Lots of green and the rustling of leaves. Bird song.  Not exactly a Vista but perhaps a small v vista.

In front of the stone wall, at my spot, is a stone bench that follows the curve of the wall and I like to sit there. This is where my worries vanish for a while and I can take the time to think my thoughts, feel the sun on my face and listen to the birds sing. I often get to smile at a child scrambling up the hill or call out “bravo,” to an older adult who impressively runs up. Nothing dramatic goes on there but I may listen to a bee buzz or lazily watch an ant at work, or spot a butterfly, or simply observe – notice the changing scene – always different each time I show up and slow down. I have no need to identify anything but I often have the need to photograph the scene, so I do that. I bask in that spot with no cares in the world.

Joseph Campbell

Campbell was one of the earlier proponents of having a special place and going there on a regular basis. A place where you allow yourself the privilege of simply enjoying your surroundings and having some daydreaming time. Outdoors in nature, is an obvious choice. However, it may also be a sunlit screened porch and a cozy chair at your cottage. A place where you can doze off and drift away for awhile. And sometimes when you “wake up,” so to speak, you have the answer to a quandary or a brand new idea – all without struggle.

Shinrin-yoku

The Japanese revere nature and in the 80’s they instituted something called Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing.  This was created to counteract the adverse effects of the tech boom.  Much has been written of the beneficial effects of time spent in the forest both physiological and psychological. Therefore, I included links in the notes to a couple of interesting articles. You don’t have to go to Japan to take advantage of this and you can make a point of taking a walk in your own forest, arboretum, or park, and take full advantage of the many benefits.

Something to think about:

  • Nature itself is the best physician. – Hippocrates
  • Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.  – Rachel Carson
  • I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.  – John Burroughs

Trees, flowers, water, sky, clouds, and stars are all part of what bring me joy. I suppose I sound like a broken record but I love the tune and never grow tired of it. And I am sure that all of you love nature too but sometimes even the things we love, we forget to spend time on.  So this is just a reminder, as I sing to the choir, not to miss the ever changing performance just outside our doors. It is good healing medicine for everything that ails us.

Notes

Note 1:)  There are hundreds of articles on Shinrin-yoku from universities, the NIH, National Geographic, NPR, you name it. If you go searching there will be no shortage of reputable articles. But I chose one from the Ontario Parks, because it was simple, accessible and contains all kinds of links for those looking for both the art and the science of the health benefits of nature.  Ontario Parks Service

Note 2:)  Here in Canada. we are nudging up closer to relative freedom as our vaccination rates soar and our infection rates take a deep dive. This is still a slow process but once again there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Note 3:)  Many thanks for stopping by and for all of your heartfelt comments last week. I am honoured to be here every Wednesday and to have you show up. With appreciation, warmest wishes and may you all enjoy your days. Trudy