No matter what else is going on, whether I am tired, feeling flat, grumpy, or anxious when I see the incredible beauty and carefreeness of simple wildflowers my heart bursts. If I were a deer I might lie down on the ground and start munching. This unsophisticated, unmanicured, splash of randomness does me in. I cannot feel anything but pure unadulterated joy.
There are other things that also impact my spirits. Take this boathouse, otherwise known as the Ottawa Rowing Club, where my grandson goes to rowing camp this summer. If you examine it closely you see it is a little shabby and probably needs sprucing up. However, all I see is the blue, and yellow, the open door, and the familiar design from somewhere in my childhood memory. It leaves me with a sense of comfort and ease. Twice a day, I drop off and pick up Rowan, and I receive this gift of the ordinary and the mundane. Lucky for me, it stirs my soul.
Recently, I heard an interview on CBC Tapestry with Cynthis Wallace, speaking about the concept of moral distress, and finding respite and beauty in the mundane activities of life.
(Moral distress is a term first used to describe experiences of health care workers and nurses back in the 80’s. “It is a feeling of exhaustion or concern or fatigue, or even anxiety and depression that manifests when a person sees something wrong but doesn’t have the power to fix it. And maybe they have a sense of what would fix the problem, but they’re not the one with the authority to make that happen.”)
A Balm to the Soul
She goes on to describe that a balm to the soul can simply be making something beautiful or doing something just for the sake of beauty. Dr. Wallace, an English professor, tells how following a health incident, she returned from hospital and “…ordered some embroidery kits. And they won’t make anything useful. But in the evenings, I’ve been cuddling with my kids on the couch and just stitching images of flowers on cloth. And that activity has been so soothing- both the activity of making something and the activity of making something that’s only purpose is to be lovely…and her husband makes sourdough bread that feeds them. Healing can be found in these kids of acts of creation and making.
I invite you to mosey around these July days and take a moment to breathe in the beauty that catches your attention. Don’t take any of it for granted. Just notice what causes a little flicker in your heart and for once in your life, stand still and stare. Or make something just for the love of it. Play a little.
1:) Here is a little something that anyone can do – a splash of colour- called Breathe With Me. I learned about this from Emma Rooney at Blooming Caravan, where you inhale a breath and on your outbreath you paint a line. Take a look at the video and scroll down the page to see more. I took a few minutes this morning to play with this idea, on a sheet of paper with a brush and some colour. You can use markers or whatever you have on hand. Breathe With Me And here is a separate link for a video that was made at the UN and Central Park in the fall of 2019. I include it because I find the website slightly awkward to find your way around.
2:) A song for you A Beautiful Day by Joshua Radin
3:) A sweet story: On a fairly regular basis I do “test kitchen” at my daughter’s home. In other words, I try a new recipe and invite honest feedback. I know it will be edible but I want to know who likes it, shall we repeat it, or never try it again? My grandson, the rower, recently suggested that I only trust his feedback, because he will be truthful. In fact, he said, “never trust dad.” (my son-in-law) “Why not,” I asked, my curiosity piqued. “Because,” Rowan explained, “Dad will always tell you, ‘I love it, Trudy. It’s the best!'” “So, Nana, you just can’t trust that kind of feedback.” I suspect there might be a teeny bit of self-interest in his caution.haha
4:) Here we are in a new month and I thank you for coming by. A special shout out to Rob for many beautiful photos of Allison’s wildflower garden. Warmest wishes to you all and please bear in mind that the sum of small joys adds up to make a beautiful life.