blind spots

Enjoy Your Life

It is easy when we are faced with unpleasant and devastating news to sink into seriousness, if not despair. Why not? We are often confronting  situations that require serious undertakings. And yet…one of the traits of  a mentally healthy person is the freedom to enjoy life. Take fall, for instance. I live in eastern Canada and everyday there are more red, orange and yellow leaves on the maples. Even though it is currently rainy, dark and damp there are moments, when the sun comes out, or you are running an errand and you catch a breathtaking glimpse of vibrant colours. When the rain stops your nose wiggles and there it is – a whiff of fall. The lucky ones may get to hear the crunch of dry autumn leaves underfoot or in the spokes of a bicycle.

Life can be tough. But we are tougher and we can help build our resilience when we develop the capacity to enjoy each other and the world around us. But to do that we need to say yes to beauty, laughter, learning and fun. We may not feel like it but we can make a date to take a walk around a lake, or through a forest trail, or visit an art gallery. Perhaps we call the friend who makes us laugh or take in a game or a concert. How about that pottery class that keeps catching your eye. These moments of noticing something outside of ourselves, help keep us sane. They nurture our spirits and boost our ability to bounce back.

I think ordinary moments offer tons of potential for enjoying life but we need to take advantage of them. Staying curious is one sure way to find enjoyment. Extending a helping hand is another. And one we may not give much thought to is not letting our feelings boss us around. If we wait to be in the right mood to do something we will miss many opportunities for joy. Not “feeling like it” is the exact prompt I need to get outside, look around, or pick up the phone and call a friend.

The truth is, life gives us challenges on a regular basis. We use our wit, skill and all the help we can get to take action on the things we can do something about. But don’t stop there. Use all those skills to find precious moments of surprise and delight waiting outside your door.

Note 1: “We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together, and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Note 2: It is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and I extend my heartfelt wishes to you all. May you be lucky enough to reflect on and share your blessings with those you love and those who need your love. See you next week, Trudy

 

 

 

 

 

A Shift of Attention

We are all well practiced in knowing what is wrong with our lives. Our mate is thoughtless; we had to wait for an hour at the hospital; no parking spot; the car didn’t start; the bank made an error; our credit card was hacked; our friend disappointed us; bad news again from our oncologist. Historically, being aware of the negative and all the possible things that could go wrong was part of our survival kit. It was more important to have heightened awareness to a possible attack by a sabre-toothed tiger, if we wanted to survive, than to admire the beautiful sunset.

So here we are in 2018 and that same survival technique can now cause us unnecessary suffering when we use our attention to only notice what is wrong with our lives. Those things that are wrong, by the way, are still inconvenient and harsh and need to be dealt with. We hope to influence the situation for the better. In truth, we ignore real life problems at our peril.

However, we have a chance to influence the quality of our everyday lives by occasionally observing the benefits we receive from often overlooked ordinary objects. Benefits that mostly blur into the background and, therefore, we don’t give them a moment’s thought.

I recently had occasion to assess the benefits I have received from my car, as an example. On my recent trip to Vermont, I glanced at the odometer of my ten year old Toyota and observed that I will have travelled 100,000 KM in my car by the time I returned home. I started thinking about what this car has provided me in the course of one decade:

  • It chauffeured me safely back and forth to my treatments at Tom Baker Cancer Centre for six additional months, through rain, snow, blizzards and sunny days.
  • It carried me across the country when I moved to Ottawa.
  • It was my reliable transportation on a return trip from Ottawa to Cape Breton Island where I did my first cycling trip around the Cabot Trail. Even though I was anxious, scared and tense on that first big trip alone, the car reliably did what it was designed to do. Even the unknown people who helped put my vehicle together crossed my mind.
  • It allowed me to drive my grandchildren to math, music, Dr. Appointments, shopping, playdates, school, museums, picnics, and all the while provided a container for discussion, laughter, stories, philosophy, plans, multiplication tables, singing, and music. (Especially Leonard Cohen – I think we all learned the words to most of our favourite songs)
  • It carried five of us plus four bikes and luggage to the Eastern townships, where we spent a week cycling for my 70th The car was our faithful Sherpa, on that trip, along with the designated driver.
  • It has carried balloons that filled the car for celebrations. And food. And gifts. All of which leave me with memories of happy times.
  • It has provided transportation to Quebec City in the winter, twice. Quebec City is one of my most treasured cities, especially in winter, where it is sheer magic.
  • It carries me routinely to the Experimental Farm Garden, where I am in bliss amongst the beauty of the seasonal flowers.

I am often awestruck by the wonders of nature. I am also in awe by the wonders of flight, my fountain pen or my iPhone, which is more powerful and versatile than many of my previous computers. And this week I have a great sense of awesomeness for my car. That for ten years, it has carried me and my loved ones safely, 100,000 KM through all kinds of weather, and provided access to so many wonderful memories. Those listed above being only a sample.

Through the worst of times we can shift our attention to include things that aren’t regularly showing up on our internal radar. This can provide balance, and give us temporary mental relief when we take some time to reflect on the everyday things in our lives that serve us. We notice  things most often, when they don’t work or are gone. Today, while I consider my car. I offer a word of thanks.

Note: Ottawa experienced a devastating tornado last Thursday, and there are still tens of thousands of homes without power. My cousin is one of those people. She called and commented how she had never appreciated until now, how much she relied on power. And her great appreciation extended to the hydro crews and the sacrifices and dedication they are making to restore power as quickly as possible.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. See you next week, Trudy

Settling for Safety

There is a tendency, as we live longer or have health challenges, to gravitate towards safety. Sadly, what is considered risk free continues to diminish as time goes on.  I understand this tendency, and see it in myself.  The problem is, it can mean that we pack up our sense of adventure and say goodbye to anything that may cause us anxiety.

Tonight I am writing to you from a small town near Burlington VT. I was invited to come and assist at a nine day training in Japanese Therapies. There are wonderful participants from Australia the UK, US and Canada and it is a privilege to participate. Hard work? Yes. And, also, many satisfying, stimulating and fun moments. However, there are risks involved. Here are a smattering of mine:

It is a five hour drive from Ottawa with over half the trip on busy and fast roads. Highway driving is not easy for me. In truth it is highly anxiety producing. Accidents happen.

Residential training is demanding. The risk of failing to keep up.

There is the risk that I may not sound as smart as I want to be.

I left my extended Ottawa family at a particularly busy time and I don’t like to cause that kind of inconvenience. This is not really a risk but a consequence.

My other important projects will be neglected for ten full days. The risk of not catching up quick enough.

However, I have learned to say yes, knowing full well, I will be filled with regret, when it is too late to back out. But guess what? I have never regretted my “yes,” after the fact. What I have learned is that my most meaningful moments have involved risk and they have always been worth it.

For instance, my anxiety about the drive disappeared once I was on the road. Or my cycling trip around the Cabot Trail seven years ago, which was filled with insecurity and sometimes fear, yet, is now a hi-light of my life. Moving to Ottawa to take an active role in my youngest Grandchildren’s lives was a risky business for all kinds of reasons. And, yet, it was the best thing I could have done.

Today, one of the exercises in the training, was to examine our most meaningful actions in the past ten years and our actions with the biggest risk. Interesting to see that for everyone the two were related.

Taking risks is not being reckless. The willingness to take risks frees us to do things that we want to do. While feeling insecure, we can step out of our comfort zone and experience the aliveness of just doing it, (whatever it means to each of us) while we are still breathing. We can pour ourselves into something we love, while accepting the risk of failure.

I wonder about the risk of risking nothing –  might that possibly be the riskiest thing of all.

Note1: It is still summer in Vermont and I get to drive over a picturesque covered bridge almost everyday. The area looks like a pastoral movie set. Sorry that I don’t have a photo yet.

Note 2: When I turned 65, my 91 year old Mother flew 4500 KM from Vancouver Island to Ottawa for the occasion. She also joined my daughter and son in accompanying me on a hot air balloon trip as a surprise gift. (Her friends told her that this was way too risky.)  She is now 98, still taking risks and living fully. Thank you for reading this post. See you next week, Trudy

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

If It’s Raining and You Have an Umbrella, Use It.

If it’s raining and you have an umbrella, use it.

This advice from Psychiatrist, Dr. Shoma Morita, means that when you find yourself in difficult circumstances and there is the possibility of taking any action to relieve or influence those circumstances, then do so.

I suspect that this maxim comes to mind today because I am under the weather. Rarely is there absolutely nothing to be done. This may mean cancelling appointments or making one. We may need to usher in a change of plans, however inconvenient. It may be seeking an opinion or turning over every stone to look for a solution; perhaps a change in medication is required or even a change of Physician. There are so many situations and choices that can arise in daily living and most come with options for intervention. We need to seek those options out.

I find this maxim practical for all manner of difficulties I have encountered. It is the opposite of a victim mentality and encourages me in a proactive stance.

Many years ago, I read a book edited by Claude Whitmyer containing many essays on Mindfulness and Meaningful Work. There were so many gems that have stuck with me over the decades and one was a description of the trap of a “victim mentality” written by Rick Fields. He described it thus:

“The victim mentality ultimately discharges you from any responsibility for your life. Since clearly what is happening to you is not your fault. You don’t have to lift a finger…Now, to be sure, there is a sense in which we are clearly victims, in our culture. We often are at the mercy of forces that we have no control over. A good hurricane (such as Florence, which is zeroing in today on the Carolinas or the super typhoon heading for Hong Kong and the Philippines) or an earthquake will remind you forcibly of that fact. So, will even a moment’s contemplation of what it means to live in a Nuclear Age…

Nevertheless, there is a vast difference between being a victim (which we all are, in some areas of our life) and having the Victim Mentality. Being a victim means there are some areas in my life where I am battling powerful forces, but I will do battle with them. Whereas, having the Victim Mentality means giving up: “what’s the use? Why even try? I have no power at all; the things you suggest may help other people, but they can’t offer any hope to me…”

I want to state a simple truth. And that is, I believe every individual has more control over his or her life than he or she thinks is the case… no matter how much of our life we perceive to be unchangeable, because it is in the control of someone or something else, there is always that part that is under our control, and that we can work on to change, be it 2%, 5% 30% or whatever, it is almost always more than we think.”

One of the guidelines of Dr. Itami’s Meaningful Life Therapy is to be an active agent in your own treatment. Take an interest and inform yourself. Find out things that you can do. The bottom line is to take some action rather than endure unpleasant circumstances, or unnecessary suffering that can be changed, or alleviated in some way.

At times when much of our life can seem out of our control, it is even more vital to take charge of the things –even small things that we can do something about. Never underestimate the impact on our well-being that small steps can make. And notice how often small steps lead to significant change.

Note: I hope you have a lovely September week, the month of fresh starts and brand-new scribblers. See you next Wednesday, Trudy

playful calculations

Playful Calculations

Tonight, while driving home from math class, my eight-year-old Grandson Rowan called out a surprising question from the back seat. How many days have you lived Nana? Since I was at the wheel, I explained I couldn’t do that calculation, until later. He suggested the calculator on my phone would do the trick.

It quickly became apparent that time flies as he informed me that I have lived 26,289 days and he has lived 3,040 days. Yikes, where did all those days go? Of course, Rowan is now on a roll. Next question is how many hours?

630,936 hours, to be precise. And when will you reach 700,000 hours is the final question? Looks like 80.

The enormity of these many hours lived was of great interest to this young mathematician.

The enormity of how these hours have been spent was of great interest to me. None of us knows what the final tally will be but according to Malcolm Gladwell I have had plenty of time to become an expert in more than one field. Oops.

These calculations got me thinking. No matter what I have done or not done with my hours, thus far, going forward I intend to treat them all with the respect they deserve. I want to spend my hours doing this work that I love; being with people that I love; learning new things; being awestruck with the beauty all around me; hours for moodling and watching the hummingbirds at the feeder; hours for creating words on a page that just may be a lifeline to someone I don’t even know; hours with books and music and cycling and lending a hand. Hours for rest and rejuvenation.

I do not want to spend another hour fretting about good enough or “what if’s” but use the hours I have to be bold and brave, exuberant and generous in all the ways that I find meaningful.  I don’t want to take my hours for granted nor do I want to be a slave to inertia or busyness.

Rowan reminded me through his questions that I have lived many, many hours and with a little luck I may even get to 700,000 or more. But since that final figure can not be determined ahead of time, I will look at each hour as a precious gift to be fully used and fully savoured.

Note 1: I have had enquiries about registration for my  online course. I want to launch it in October during the Thanksgiving time and when I do, I will let you know here. Once it is available, you can register at anytime since it is self-directed. I am excited to launch it and thrilled that there are a few of you planning to sign up.

Note 2: You may want to do your own calculation and see how many days and hours you have lived. It is revealing in all kinds of ways. Until next week. Trudy

Thetis Lake I get To blog

Three Little Words: I Get To

Nine years ago, I was happily preparing for my last treatment at the Cancer Centre. “Finally, I will be done,” I said to myself. A celebration seemed in order and I was making plans.  The week before this auspicious date, however, I had pause for thought.

A beloved family member was diagnosed with an advanced cancer, for which no treatment was available, at that time. He, on the other hand, would have given his right arm for the chance to get chemo.

It struck me like a ton of bricks. As glad as I was to see the end of my chemo, I had been one of the lucky ones, where treatment was available.

A common refrain, not just in the sick room, but at work, home and elsewhere are words like this:

  • I have to make dinner.
  • I have to go to work.
  • I have to clean the garage.
  • I have to weed the garden
  • I have to do my taxes
  • I have to go to chemo today
  • I have to go for that cat scan.
  • I have to go for an angiogram
  • I have to xxx (substitute anything that comes to mind)

Imagine, for a moment, what it might be like not to be able to do any of those things for a myriad of reasons: no job; no money; no food; no rights; no hospital; no treatment and so on.

Years before I had cancer, my father had lost his legs to diabetes. One holiday night, my spouse and I were standing at a sink filled with dirty dishes. The dishwasher was broken so it required us to do the job. When we started to complain about “having” to do all this work, we both looked at each other and knew how grateful my Dad would have been to stand at that sink and wash every dish.

I don’t think it is helpful to compare suffering. I do think it can be helpful to assess our options realistically. It is not lucky to get heart disease or cancer or any number of illnesses. But, when that happens, we are fortunate if there is a protocol that just may help us get better.

This is not denying the anxiety and fear and side effects that come along with many medical procedures. It doesn’t imply that there is something to like. It simply acknowledges that today I get to do something that may help me regain my health and extend my life.

There is power in words.

Many people have reported back to me that making that simple shift from “I have to,” to “I get to” has dramatically changed their approach and experience not only to medical treatment but in their daily life. You may want to experiment yourself and see how it works. You could be surprised at the difference three little words can make.

Note 1: This phrase, “I get to,” is more and more in the mainstream. There is even jewelry inscribed with these three little words. It first came to my attention, many years ago, from an article of the same name written by Kate Monaghan, and published in Thirty Thousand Days. It took root in my “operating system,” when I saw that not everyone was fortunate enough to get to have treatment.

Note 2: Because there is such power in words, I caution you to not think of “I Get To” as a formula. Use it where it fits and as you see fit. Thank you for reading these musings. See you next week, Trudy

 

 

transformation, butterfly, blog

Barbara Kingsolver – Teaching Herself Joy – over and over again

Recently, several people I know have been faced with terrible and heart wrenching news. Unfortunately, there is no formula or pat answer to deal with life’s catastrophes. Nor is there an arbitrary timeline to work with. We are all different and we bring different psychological, emotional and physical constraints to our life’s challenges and sorrows.

Yet, we do have examples of how certain people work to transform their pain and grief even when their life is in ruins.

I have found inspiration, relief and practical help by the example of Barbara Kingsolver, in her book High Tide in Tucson, which shows how such transformation is possible.

 Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job or a limb or a loved one, a graduation, bringing a new baby home: it’s impossible to think at first how this all will be possible. Eventually, what moves it all forward is the subterranean ebb and flow of being alive among the living.

In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing:  a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.

Note: When we are in the midst of fear and and uncertainty, it can be helpful to reach out for help from friends and family. Asking for help can take courage. Why? Probably because it shows our vulnerability. Yet, research shows that when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we up our chances to live a wholehearted and meaningful life.  Thank you for reading my blog.  I always love to hear from you. Trudy

 

 

wabi sabi

Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-Sabi – the beauty of imperfection, impermanence and incomplete.

This excerpt from Leonard Koren’s definition of Wabi-Sabi comes from his book, by the same name, for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers. I was mystified by the concept, when I first heard about it, due in part to being a North American child of the post war. It seemed to me that my teachers, at least, were expecting perfection, and spent time looking for the flaws to be fixed in every project. They were certainly not looking for flaws to admire.

Yet the Japanese honoured and celebrated the cracked pots, which were long ago repaired with gold. They honoured the naturalness of ageing, the inevitability of death and an acceptance of what is. This concept appreciates simplicity and pays attention to the details including the flaws, giving value to what is also not perfect.

Although Wabi-Sabi is viewed as an aesthetic philosophy I like to apply the spirit of Wabi-Sabi to everyday living and working. Everything from how we accept the flaws of our fellow mortals and ourselves, to how we manage our difficulties at home and in our workplaces.  Making room for imperfect points of view and an open mindset for problem solving offers potential for greater collaboration and productivity, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.

I find this spirit encouraging. It allows me to be more expansive with learning new things. I approach the unfamiliar more as an experiment and see what happens. Rather than thinking about it forever – like this website and not doing it, I take the first step and then the next. It isn’t about being careless or cavalier. It is about doing the best we can with what we have. Most importantly it encourages completion. The danger we face when seeking perfection is that we can never be done. With a spirit that is willing to take risks, and make mistakes, we enjoy the satisfaction of learning and doing. We recognize the beauty in our imperfectly perfect selves and the works of our lives.

It can be useful to take time to reflect on things that each of us wants to do. That is, if we take action.   Turns out purposeful action is good for our health and our healing. Yet, even then, many of us have decided to do certain things yet never begin. How many things have you decided to do that aren’t started yet? Imagine, things that we really, really want to do, but we don’t take the first step. In my case the reason was often fear of not doing something well enough.

It is a great experience to discover the joy and satisfaction that comes from producing:  a drawing; a new recipe; a book; an article; letters to old friends; learning an instrument; photography; to name but a few. Jump in with both feet. Go for it. Make music, write, do stand-up comedy, see the world, take that pottery class, join a wood working group, dig up a lawn and plant flowers. Learn a new language, travel, ride a bike, take a class in anything that interests you. Renovate a room. U-tube will teach you everything you need to know, according to friends of mine who are always trying new things.

Sure, mistakes will happen. But learn to love the effort you put in to living your life. Celebrate your attempts, your rejection letters, and your uneven hand-thrown bowl. Find moments of joy every day, by the courageous act of  making time for something you love.  Live wholeheartedly and allow room for the flaws.

Note: One of my most favourite stanzas from Leonard Cohen appears to celebrate this same  spirit of Wabi-Sabi:

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

 

 

 

wabi sabi shampers bluff

You Can Do It

Oftentimes when tragedy, illness, accidents or any manner of difficult things happen, well-meaning people do their best to soften the blow. Believe me, I have been enormously grateful throughout my life for the tenderness, kindness and practical help of loved ones. I needed there encouragement and benefitted from it. There is, however, another aspect to caring and I was reminded of this in a story Jack Kornfield described in his book The Wise Heart.

During a time Jack was living in a forest monastery in Thailand and studying with the meditation master Ajahn Chah, he contracted malaria like most others who resided there. Although he had received medicine it was slow to take effect and he was in his little hut feverish and wretched.

His teacher, Ajah Chah came to his hut to check on him and the conversation went like this.

“Sick and feverish, huh?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied weakly.

“It’s painful all over, isn’t it?”

I nodded.

“‘Makes you feel sorry for yourself, doesn’t it?…makes you want to go home to see your Mother?’ He smiled and nodded. ‘Yes, it’s suffering, alright (he continued)…at least now we have good medicine’…he waited for a while, then he looked at me with the warmth of a kind grandfather.

‘You can bear it, you know. You can do it.’

And I felt that he was fully there with me, that he knew my pain from his own hard struggles. It took another day for the medicine to kick in, but his simple kindness made the situation bearable. His compassion gave me courage.”

I was touched by this description and it reminded me of an incident just before my surgery. A student in a workshop I was facilitating, who had been through a difficult cancer treatment, approached me and said something like, “I’m glad that it is you who got cancer, rather than someone else.”

English was not her first language and she explained. “Please don’t be offended…I mean that you have the resources that will help you manage the cancer treatment. You can do it.” And then she kissed me on both cheeks.

At the time I laughed with her over the unusual way to express caring for someone who was diagnosed with cancer. In retrospect I understand the wisdom of her words. She had been through tough times herself and she recognized that we need strength to go through it. Her words stayed with me and since that day they continue to give me courage. They remind me of my own strength and toughness, during difficult times.

Whenever others say the equivalent of “You can bear it, you know. You can do it;” their confidence and strength reinforce my own. I am most thankful for these tough angels in my life. They have made an enormous difference.

When we face the unexpected and the difficult, we all have resources to “bear it.” We need our friends, of course. We need all the help we can get. But never forget this important truth: as tough as it can be, you can do it. We all can.

Note: May you all have many moments of joy during this beautiful month of August. Until next week, Trudy

Change of Scene

Dr. Jinroh Itami, who developed Meaningful Life Therapy, used travel as one of his non-medical tools. He famously took a group of Japanese cancer patients to climb Mt Blanc three decades ago, long before strenuous exercise was encouraged in cancer circles. He also took another group to Yellowknife to experience the magic of the Aurora Borealis at New Year’s, and the opportunity to be part of an Indigenous Healing Circle. Both trips involved a change of scene, customs and new experiences. Showing up with an open mind and open heart was the only criteria.

Travel to foreign lands often opens our eyes and causes us to pay attention in ways that the predictability of life at home does not. Our senses are awakened by the sights, sounds and tastes of a new place different from our own. Reports from travellers indicate that in spite of the challenges that travelling brings, they often feel stronger, more alive and more hopeful especially when they stretch themselves and engage in mental and physical challenges.

I had a powerful experience after cycling the Cabot Trail, which was in my own country but a very different venue. After completing the 300 KM ride, mostly hills, I felt so filled with exuberance and satisfaction that I was certain I could take on the world. This trip had been the most challenging activity I had ever exposed myself to and I seemed to stay in the flow, to my complete surprise, for about six more weeks.

I suppose the crux of the matter when we do something different is we take ourselves out of our comfort zone and expose ourselves to learning new things and sometimes risk. (never fool hardiness, by the way) When we learn new things and immerse ourselves in the flow we temporarily disappear along with our worries and anxieties.

I am currently 4500 KM away from my home but still on the continent of North America and in a place I formerly lived. I notice the air, how light it is; the giant red fireball of sun sinking behind a mountain; the peeling bark of arbutus trees hanging over the water, and the wonder of old friendships renewed in person rather than through updating an app.

I know people, who unable to travel, create the activity of travelling at home. There are many variations on this theme but one example comes from a brilliant woman wanting to walk the Camino. (and she no longer could) She worked out the mileage and created a local walking trip, based on that mileage. She organized some friends to join her and they created passports and mapped out specific and significant locations within their city, where they would travel to. With each time dated goal in mind they made it across the city and surrounding areas covering the mileage they would have walked on the Camino. They all loved it.  Why would they do this?

Four reasons: purpose; companionship, laughter and activity. They all looked forward to their walks and they all experienced a greater sense of well-being. Evidence based? Maybe/maybe not? Anecdotal evidence. You bet. That literature has lots to say.

Worth a try? What have you got to lose? Zooming around a curvy trail on your motorbike; zip lining at Whistler; walking from town to town in England; cycling, singing or reciting poetry in Ireland; strolling in a park at the other end of your town; sitting on a park bench, people watching, in front of your city hall. Exploring with a magnifying glass a one metre square patch of grass in your own backyard. We have no idea what we might discover about our world, each other and ourselves. New adventures, both home and abroad, just waiting for you and for me.

Note: Greetings from Gabriola Island, BC. A place where the summer of 2018 is hot with no humidity. How great is that.  Until next Wednesday, Trudy