The Cure For It ALL – Julia Fehrenbacher

My regular readers know that I would never say this – the cure for it all. However, I LOVE this poem by Julie Fehrenbacher, found on the site, and you will soon see why.


The Cure For It All by Julie Fehrenbacher

Go gently today, don’t hurry
or think about the next thing. Walk
with the quiet trees, can you believe
how brave they are—how kind? Model your life
after theirs. Blow kisses
at yourself in the mirror
especially when
you think you’ve messed up. Forgive
yourself for not meeting your unreasonable
expectations. You are human, not
God—don’t be so arrogant.
Praise fresh air
clean water, good dogs. Spin
something from joy. Open
a window, even if
it’s cold outside. Sit. Close
your eyes. Breathe. Allow
the river
of it all to pulse
through eyelashes
fingertips, bare toes. Breathe in
breathe out. Breathe until
you feel
your bigness, until the sun
rises in your veins. Breathe
until you stop needing
to be different.

What do I love?

There is so much about this poem to love but the last line explains the title: Breathe until you stop needing anything to be different. It also reminds me of a favourite excerpt from Professor Art Frank who wrote At the Will of the Body. It goes like this: The ill and impaired may, in the sense of fulfilling life, be far more free than healthy people. The healthy require health as an affirmation that their will is still effective and they must continually prove this effectiveness. The ill accept their vulnerability as an affirmation that the world is perfect without any exercise of their will, and this acceptance is their freedom…we are free only when we no longer require health, however much we may prefer it.”

Oliver Burkeman

My friend (we don’t know each other but I feel like Oliver Burkeman and I could be fast friends) recently wrote a blog post called It’s Worse Than You Think. This title sounds the opposite of what we are talking about here but it’s not. He makes several points and this is one:  (I invite you to click on that title and read the whole article)

…maybe your issue is feeling anxious about what the future holds, in your life or the world at large. You feel as though you need to engage in constant planning, or reassurance-seeking from others, or some other form of psychological self-defence, in order to cushion yourself from the worst of the uncertainty. But it’s worse than you think! In fact, anything could happen at any moment. The future is always entirely uncertain. And while planning has its uses, it will never do the slightest thing to alter what the spiritual author Robert Saltzman calls your “total vulnerability to events… you get the picture…

…and you probably get the point, too – which is that when you grasp the sense in which your situation is completely hopeless, instead of just very challenging, you can unclench. You get to exhale. You no longer have to go through life adopting the brace position, because you see that the plane has already crashed. You’re already stranded on the desert island, making what you can of life with your fellow survivors, and with nothing but airplane food to subsist on. And you come to appreciate how much of your distress arose not from the situation itself, but from your efforts to hold yourself back from it, to keep alive the hope that it might not be as it really was.

This might sound like doom and gloom to you, but for me, it has the opposite effect. It is a sigh of relief. Burkeman concludes his essay with these words…In short: we can’t ever get free from the limited and vulnerable and uncertain situation in which we find ourselves. But when you grasp that you’ll never get free from it, that’s when you’re finally free in it – free to focus on the hard things, instead of the impossible ones, and to give this somewhat preposterous business of being a human everything you’ve got. 

And this is why these contrarian views appeal to me. They free us up both psychologically and physically to fully live our lives and not delude ourselves that one day conditions will be just right to do those things we wanted to do but didn’t begin. And this, dear reader, is how The Cure For It All is a twin of It’s worse Than You Think. (at least for me)


1:) A short video of a butterfly on Gabriola Island. Thank-you Gottfried for capturing a summer day. It is only a minute and 20 seconds.

2:) I suggest you take a few minutes and read Oliver Burkeman’s article, It’s Worse Than You Think, you will get an even better picture of the point he is making and it is certainly not mediocrity or hopelessness, but the exact opposite. 

3:) I have been answering the three questions from last week’s post and discovering surprising results. I even said YES to an invitation that I would ordinarily have turned down, and to my surprise thoroughly enjoyed myself.

4:) The beautiful photos today are thanks to Gottfried and Rob. (Son Rob contributed the orange poppies.)

5:) May you enjoy your 1st weekend in July and within reason, I recommend saying YES to summertime invitations. Thank you as always for stopping by. All my best wishes, Trudy

Finding New Eyes

“Taking in the good, whenever and wherever we find it, gives us new eyes for seeing and living.” – Author: Krista Tippett. The On Being Project

When we get caught in a rut and become discouraged and demoralized with ourselves, it is no simple matter to talk, think, or climb our way out of it. When we hold all the aces it can be “relatively” easy to brush ourselves off and start again. But if we are suffering from devastating news and one loss after another, it is a different matter. Many of us know what to do, or what we could be doing, (there is no shortage of information) but there are days when we can’t rise to the occasion. We don’t even want to. And if we aren’t aware, we can then start chastising ourselves for everything under the sun.

The Art of Living Every Minute of Your Life

As I was thinking about these things in my own life, and the many lives of people I know, I recalled a recording I listened to from one of my teachers.  The recording is called The Art of Living Every Minute of Your Life by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen. Lucky me, I got to hear it in 2008, the year I was diagnosed with cancer. Coincidentally, a friend mentioned it to me this week who thought  I would like it so I went looking to check it out once again.

There was one section I remembered that stood out for me – three questions. Dr. Remen called it a heart journal and she had designed it for medical students and doctors as a psychologically sophisticated way to way to rediscover meaning in their work, a reminder of what they were capable of doing and a sense of gratitude for being here to do it. In truth, it was transformative.  Her books with the humble titles of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings along with her curriculum, The Healer’s Art, are now taught in more than half of all medical schools in the US along with several European schools.  Thousands of people have been impacted by her devotion, expertise, vision, and generosity.

Three Questions

Like myself, many have found the three questions a gentle way to end each day and provide ourselves with a new lens to view our lives, even when things are not going according to plan. They go like this:

  1. What surprised me today?
  2. What touched my heart today?
  3. What inspired me today?

What you do is take ten minutes at the end of the day and reflect backward with the first question until you come to “what surprised me?” Write it down and start over with the second question “What touched my heart?” Write it down. Finally the third question, “What inspired me?” Once you find it, write it down. Close your book and go to sleep.

I found it interesting to begin the reflection for each question at the bedtime hour working back towards morning. Although it has been years since I last did this exercise I will go ahead right now and try it. (it is close enough to my bedtime)

My Review

What surprised me today? -Reflecting through the hours I go back to the early morning hour and notice I was surprised that I got Wordle in 2 lines. This has only happened three times before. I realize how much I enjoy doing this delightful and uncomplicated word game each morning and then posting it to our Family Wordle Group. It’s fun.

What touched my heart today? – Scanning backward, once again, I stop at 10:30 AM when I had the privilege to listen to President Zelenskyy addressing the University students across Canada. This was hosted by the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. What touched me deeply was the President’s response to a student’s question about who and what inspires him to keep going. He responded gently and movingly with stories of ordinary Ukrainian citizens, the unsung heroes, giving examples of their courage and strength. My heart was touched.

Who inspired me today? A beautiful woman who has lived for several years was on a zoom webinar with me and other lovely people during the noon hour. To see Elli with her radiant smile that lit up the room, a beautiful bouquet of hand-picked peonies at her elbow, and to hear her expression of gratitude for life with nary a complaint was a gift. I felt inspired just to be with her in our zoom room.

It was interesting to hear Rachel Remen discuss how hard this exercise can be for overworked and exhausted physicians. She indicated that it can take several days if not weeks before some can respond to the questions.

Having just done this publically with you I can say that I feel good going to sleep tonight. How lucky am I to have had these three experiences, and now they are lodged in my hippocampus, temporarily.  Maybe the recall and the writing will move them into longer-term storage. We will see. But it doesn’t matter, because I  had the joy of remembering these three occasions once again.

It is always an invitation to you, to give it a try. I am starting with two weeks and will re-evaluate. We are storytellers and each day is a new page in our story.  Another chance to find meaning and gratitude and love.


1:) In case you want to listen to Rachel’s slow and gentle speaking voice here is a link.  And a link to Commonweal for more current information.

2:) For those who have hard things they need to do. You can do it! A music video by Carrie Newcomer You Can Do This Hard Thing

3:) It is officially summertime, so bring out your bathing suits and focus on sand castles, hammocks, hiking,  and ice cream. In other words, make time for fun.

4:) Thank you once again. I appreciate every one of my readers. That means YOU. Warmest wishes and see you next week. Trudy

Taking Time To Be a Friend to Yourself

Being a friend to yourself is good self-care. It costs no money and you don’t have to get on a plane. There are times to pay the money and take the holiday, go to the spa, or take out a gym membership. But what if funds and even time are short?

I’m seriously practicing with this notion. For instance, last evening I had commitments that lasted until 10:30. However, I knew it was the night of the beautiful, June Strawberry Moon and there were clear skies. It would have been easy to tumble into bed, but I didn’t want to miss it. So, I chose to take a walk down to the canal, and coincidentally, my friend arrived home just at that time and joined me. Honestly, it was delightful. A warm summery night where the air felt like silk and the sky was clear. The walk was refreshing and fun and the moon took up half the sky. (a slight exaggeration) Coming back along Bank St, shortly after eleven, was a rare experience and not only was I not tired I was refreshed and had a great night’s sleep.

This is the thing. I really wanted to see that supermoon and it would have been easy to let it go. There will always be another moon, a common refrain. But will there? Beyond our mortality, it was a friendly thing to do for my own heart, on a special night in June. Just for myself and just for the beauty of it. And now I get to tell you.

This morning I had an appointment at 9:00 in a different part of Ottawa where I had not been before. I chose to leave earlier than usual because it is peony season and I guessed there might be some beauties in that neighbourhood. As it turned out  I got to spend 15 minutes admiring peonys and taking photos. Here is one of my favourites. I like the three different stages of the flower. And my appointment went exceedingly well too. No rushing.

On the weekend My granddaughter Sophie, the puppy Sasha and I visited Rockcliffe Park, a fifteen-minute drive from home. This is a park I kept saying I would like to visit but never did. As we drove along we reminisced about other childhood outings we had taken in that neighborhood and I felt that little flood of warmth from the good memories. And we agreed to return, this summer, perhaps with a picnic lunch. It was a simple joy on a Saturday afternoon.

It is so easy not to do things. Especially when we have lots on our plate.

When we are dealing with a serious illness, and other difficult matters, our own or a family member’s, so much of our life is out of our direct control. In fact, we may never have imagined that we would face such a challenging set of circumstances.  It is way too easy to ignore our own well-being.

These are the times when we are even more in need of each other, as well as beauty, laughter, a few good words, imagination, curiosity and possibilities. And we can learn to be a friend to ourselves and say, yes, every day to something quite ordinary but special to us. It is a mistake to wait for things to improve or be less hectic. That doesn’t happen. We make time, and we take time every single day to do one thing that revives our spirits. This includes seeing our friends. Our circumstances may be such that we ask another friend to free us up an hour or two, in order to do so.

What goes around, comes around. We are here to help and be helped. It is easier, at first, to be the helper but it is a wondrous gift to learn to ask for help when we need it. Step back a little and ask what you could do to be a friend to yourself. I see it now as a practice. I am not always good at it but this month I am more conscious.

Let’s face it. When we take a little care of ourselves through the good times we are better equipped to do so through the challenging ones. So, no matter what, it’s best to get started. A guide to befriending yourself is to treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend. It is as simple and as difficult as that.


1:) No, that moon photo is not mine. Capturing the moon is challenging and this one is thanks to Soly Moses and Pexels, a free source of photographs. I hope you get to see it too.

2:) Consider starting something now for your future self. Maybe it is a daily walk, growing a plant, meditating, flossing your teeth, or changing your sheets before you head off on a trip. How nice it will feel to return to a freshly made bed. So many ways to be a friend to yourself.

3:) We are coming up to the longest day of the year – next Tuesday. I wonder what you do, if anything, to celebrate this interesting day.

4:) Thank you for stopping by. Warmest wishes to you all, Trudy


The Power of Just Showing Up

 Pandemic of Love:


Shelly Tygielski, just showed up at the beginning of the pandemic. She was concerned about the people in her community and decided to try a simple, free, and easy way for people to ask for help and for people to give help. At various times the same person was on each side of that equation. She went on to social media with this post:








Please select one of the options below:

I Need Help  Necesito ayuda                                  I Want to Help Quiero ayudar

The response was immediate, and before long  Pandemic of Love, started by one person in March of 2020, became a global movement.  It is now a grassroots, volunteer-led, and formalized mutual aid community.

Mutual Aid

 “Mutual aid” is a voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services based on the principle that members of a community should feel responsible to care for one another and aspire to develop a community safety net where no individual goes hungry, no individual is without shelter and no individual feels alone.

The organization was started around a kitchen table on March 14, 2020 by Shelly Tygielski, a Florida meditation teacher as the COVID-19 pandemic began to force closures in communities across the world.

While Pandemic of Love was initially formed to take care of the financial needs that people in need faced due to pandemic-related income loss, the organization has been expanding through local micro-community chapters to meet the different needs that are arising in this unprecedented time that we are living through.

Teams of volunteers are partnering with brands and organizations, assisting communities in need, and joining forces with global movements with the intention of creating sustainable, formalized mutual aid communities all across the world, long after the pandemic is over.

What started with a simple post has become a worldwide movement of Pandemic of Love, with more than 1200 volunteers, over one million five hundred matches and over $40 million dollars in direct help.”


I recently listened to Shelly Tygielski being interviewed. She caught my attention when she spoke about the importance of just showing up.  We don’t need to know what to do or say or have a plan. Showing up is what matters. We figure out what needs doing on the job. It reminded me of when people go through catastrophic illnesses and other challenges. We sometimes hesitate to jump in because we feel unqualified or afraid of not knowing what we should say or do. And yet, time and time again, when we brave the unknown and make that call or send a note or knock at the door…we learn that it was the perfectly imperfect thing to do.

My friend Patricia Ryan Madson who wrote Improv Wisdom recommends just showing up. “Showing up is the key principle when we offer service to others. So often it is our presence alone, rather than some special ability, that makes the difference.”

Sometimes we fail to show up for ourselves. We know what we want or need to do but we aren’t in the mood, or we procrastinate or we are afraid. It’s super easy not to do anything. Consider pushing back against that inertia. If a walk is important, show up outside on the sidewalk where you live. Keep it simple. A friend going through a hard time comes into your mind – pick up the phone and say hello.

Many of our good ideas do not see the light of day because we don’t take the first step or the second. Most regrets on our death beds are about what we didn’t do. Not what mistakes we made.





It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could you know. That’s why we wake
and look out–no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.

–  by William Stafford, from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems © Graywolf Press, 1998.


1:) Link to Pandemic of Love if you are interested.

2:) This word poem is linked to the site where I got YES – one of my favourites.

3:) Some team work from the little clown fish BBC

4:) We keep showing up here, every Wednesday. Thank you! Warm greetings to you all, Trudy


When You Have Nothing Give it Away

Years ago I came across an inspiring message about a six year old girl. The story was re-told in Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s  book The Art of Possibility.

I heard Rosamund deliver the opening key note address at the Health, Work and Wellness Conference held in Vancouver October 2006. She is a gifted artist, family therapist and visionary in leadership, creativity, human development and effective action. Her husband Benjamin has been the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic since its foundation in 1979. Besides his stellar musical career he is sought after as a speaker to major organizations for his presentations on leadership and creativity.

The story follows:

Inscribed on five of the six pillars in the Holocaust Memorial at Quincy Market in Boston are stories that speak of the cruelty and suffering in the camps. The sixth pillar presents a tale of a different sort, about a little girl named Ilse, a childhood friend of Guerda Weissman Kline, in Auschwitz. Guerda remembers that Ilse, who was about six years old at the time, found one morning a single raspberry somewhere in the camp. Ilse carried it all day long in a protected place in her pocket, and in the evening, her eyes shining with happiness, she presented it to her friend Guerda on a leaf. “Imagine a world,” writes Guerda, “in which your entire possession is one raspberry, and you give it to your friend.”

This story touches my heart.   With love to you dear readers. Trudy



1:) Allow me to clarify: I don’t give you this story as some kind of moral suasion to give everything away. (I’m sure you know that by now) I pass it on because it illustrates the  amazing beauty of a child’s intrinsic human nature. Viktor Frankl writes about these kinds of experiences he witnessed in concentration camp, in Man’s Search for Meaning. And it also reminds me that it is the little things we  do that can  make a big difference. Ilse inspires me and keeps me hopeful.

2:)Our nature prescription:  The sound of the loon from the Cornell library. I recall the moments when I first heard the call of the loon. Summertime –  a lake in the interior of BC and the quiet of the evening. Haunting and beautiful. I was awestruck.

3:) An invitation to find an unsung hero in your life and tell them so. Let them know how they make your life better, while you can.

4:) I am grateful to be able to  write these posts every week and over the moon blessed that you kindly read them. Thank you! May this new month hold many lovely surprises for you all. Warmly, Trudy