Bits of Rubble Into Gold

Three things:

A discussion

I appreciate this idea of turning challenging and unpleasant aspects of our lives into gifts without ignoring the rubble.  Like the ancient art of Kintsugi – repairing cracked pots with gold – which, in turn, become objects of reverence and awe. The metaphor doesn’t exactly hold, but today at my NBC (Non-Bookclub), we discussed aspects of the pandemic that brought this title to mind.

Our book was Lucy by the Sea, written by Elizabeth Strout, an award-winning and beloved author. It takes place during the early days of the pandemic when there was no readily available navigation system, and terrible things, as we all witnessed, happened in ways we could not have foreseen.

In sparse and crystalline prose, Lucy’s story illuminates grief, the complicated human condition, tolerance, fear, love, death, and the deep interiority of individual lives. As NPR puts it, you feel spoken to and in good hands the whole way through.

It prompted the leader of today’s book to invite us to articulate our COVID-19 experience – the challenges and the gifts. It was interesting to hear about the gifts all of us experienced while, at the time, there were losses. We had deeply recognized the significant problems for younger families, teens, and all those with compromised immune systems.  For me personally, a significant loss was not being able to celebrate my Mother’s 100th birthday in person. A gift was facilitating weekly programs on Zoom for Wellspring Alberta ( cancer resource centres), which will be four years old in March. I love doing it, and it came about 100% because of COVID-19 and the unavailability of in-person programs. Additionally, Zoom programs have greatly benefitted people impacted by cancer and other illnesses in the long term because of accessibility.

The Gift of Zoom

Option B for my mother was celebrating her birthday from coast to coast on Zoom. That was amazing, as were weekly Zoom visits with my older grandsons and their families. This now includes the twin baby girls and other extended family members. We were not doing this before COVID-19, but the latter prompted us to prioritize it. Due to the isolation, we all learned, changed, became more resilient, and discovered many new things about ourselves and our loved ones. And the amount of help we could access and the ways to stay in touch with distant family and friends, thanks to Zoom and other video conferencing platforms, has changed our lives for the better.

The Breathtaking Changes to the Light

Speaking of gold, have you noticed the light 30 minutes before sunset? And how we are gaining in that light every single day? I am awestruck with the beautiful sky, all pink and purple. And also, what happens to the snow on a bush or the corner of a porch in my neighbour’s yard when the light strikes it and turns things golden?

A Live Performance

Many still struggle to return to the concert hall, theatre and other public events. And they have good reasons for that hesitancy. However, for those who can, nothing on Zoom or YouTube compares to a real in-person event. Last night, I had the good fortune to attend a recital by Angela Hewitt, a classical pianist best known for her Bach interpretations. My grandson and I left the concert hall floating on the performance and atmosphere. I think this was my first live concert at the National Arts Centre since COVID-19, and I had forgotten how amazing it is to be part of that collective effervescence and with such an outstanding and beloved performer.

The Fountain of Youth

It reminded me of the message from an esteemed professor in Gerontology back in the 90s – “The fountain of youth and well-being is live performance.” She was passionate in her appeal that we get ourselves out to plays, chamber festivals, blues concerts, jazz fests – anything that we resonate with. And whenever possible, enjoy in person.

Whatever terrible things we are going through, let’s do what we can to influence, manage, and change what can be changed. Taking action on the things we can do something about is vital. But let’s not stop there. At the same time, let’s look around to see what good, helpful or joyful things are arising.  This is never to ignore or deny the tough stuff, but we also don’t want to ignore the beautiful and the good. It is also there. Saying Yes to Life is enlivening.



1:) Thanks to one of our wonderful readers, Wendy R,  who put this quote in our comments last week. Most of you don’t get to view the comments, so I am putting it here for all to see. She wrote, “…I’m also reminded of a quote I love credited to Itzhak Perlman when one of his strings broke mid-performance, and he continued to play–it went something like: “It’s what you do with what you have left.”

2:) The live performance from the California Sea Lions is less than music to the ears, but their presence this year on the beach at Gabriola Island is a significant first appearance.

3:) For anyone interested in a joyful two-minute meditative song from Plum Village, France, that is almost guaranteed to make you smile simply from the sweetness of the singers. This was an unexpected gift from a participant in one of my webinars. Breathing In, Breathing Out

4:) I can hardly believe it, but it is 16 years tomorrow when I received my cancer diagnosis. How fortunate for me that there was treatment available and an amazing medical team who saw me through 18 months of treatment and regular follow-ups to help restore my health. I have a special shout-out to oncology nurses who are unsung heroes and earth angels, as far as I am concerned. I am forever grateful!  Also, for the scientists and researchers who worked for years to discover and get approval for the drugs that kept me and so many others alive. A deep bow.

 5:) It’s time for me to stop talking. Thank you again for stopping by here each week. And I hope you know how honoured I am that you do so and how much I appreciate each and every one of you. Many of you have been here for almost six years now. It’s kind of unbelievable. All my best wishes, always, Trudy

12 replies
  1. Wendy Kurchak
    Wendy Kurchak says:

    Bravo Trudy – 16 years in which to touch and change people’s lives, including mine. I’m so grateful for your 16 years!

  2. Darby Rioux
    Darby Rioux says:

    Thank you Trudy for sharing your Thankfulness for all involved in cancer care. Sometimes we forget about the scientists involved in cancer research.

  3. Patti+Morris
    Patti+Morris says:

    Your 16-year note made my heart explode. I am so thankful for you, Trudy. Celebrating all that you bring to the world and to my life. xo

    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you dear Patti. I will never forget you and Teresa arriving at my door, the next day, during a blizzard with a basket full of love. A deep bow. Warmly, Trudy

  4. Jean
    Jean says:

    Happy sweet sixteen ,Sunday eight years since I rang that glorious bell.Enjoyed visiting plum village for two minutes.Thich is a favorite of mine.

    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hi Jean. I am happy to hear you enjoyed that short video. It simply makes me smile when I listen to it. As you read the canal is open. Such fun and excitement even though I no longer skate. (I want to keep my bones intact)See you soon, online. Warmly, Trudy

    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thanks for your continual kindness dear Janice. I wonder if you will go out on to the canal, skating. So special that it finally open, even if not for long. Of course we can’t predict anything about the future, anymore so enjoy the beauty of it while you can, skating or not. Warmly, Trudy

  5. Tamara
    Tamara says:

    Thank you Trudy for sharing your insights, knowledge and encouragement over these years. Jim and I are recovering from Covid the past month our world once again in quarantine from family and friends. Your weekly inspirations have been very positive for us. Happy 16 cancerversary❣️

    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you Tamara. I am sorry to hear that you were quarantined again. It is becoming part of our new normal. Take care of your dear selves and may you have an abundance of joyful moments this year. Warmly, Trudy


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