Sweet Spring

Today my senses expand as I turn the corner onto my street. 

With no blooms in sight I smell the sweet aroma of Spring flowers in the air. 

The sleepy grey morning sky is swept with the brilliance of yellow daffodils, lavender-blue muscari and pink tulips. 

Like the creamy aroma of strong espresso waking me up from a groggy morning descent, so does the sharp and satisfying perfume awaken my spirit. 

My head, facing forward, begins to tilt upwards. My nostrils open, my belly and chest widen, welcoming the fresh floral bouquet. 

I savour the special moment between nature and me.

As I receive the fragrant offering, my sluggish senses are filled with hope.

Unsolicited, my routine is liberated by an invitation to breathe-in beauty and bathe-in gratitude.

Spring has come and gone each year. Still, this season is the first I have indulged in years

…but it won’t be the last.

The Space Between

My neighbourhood has not been the same since the pandemic. Not too long ago, a quick wave from a car window on our way to and from work was all we had time for. Nowadays cars remain in the driveways, and we sport comfy joggers and uncut hair or home haircuts instead. A more relaxed and slower pace of life, along with the common concern and responsibility for the global pandemic has generated fertile soil for more meaningful conversations.

Last week while on a dog-walk, an unrecognizable car pulls up beside me and the driver rolls down her window, “My dear I haven’t seen you in a while. I was hoping to see you.” A lovely grandmother (and neighbour) who lost her dog about a year ago wanted to stop and catch up with me. She bypasses the small talk and tells me everything that has been going on in her life (tears included). I wondered why this neighbour felt so comfortable sharing such meaningful conversation with me. Could it be just the type of person she is? Or was it the fact that I listened happily to her? Maybe both?

The phrase “holding space” comes to mind when reflecting on the changing dynamics of my neighbourhood. Holding space is a way of intentionally settling into a moment and being fully present in your body and mind, and observing both your inner and outer world. Holding space also refers to making room for conversation that goes beyond talk about the weather. This phrase used by yoga instructors, online meditations, podcasts and in therapy has made it’s way into my personal practice as well as my neighbourhood.

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Success

When I was younger I thought success was an onward and upward journey mapped out by culturally embedded markers: high-school, post secondary education, a career, love and marriage followed by children. If I followed this map, I would know that I had arrived. Reality hit hard when I missed some of these predetermined markers by my late twenties. I felt unaccomplished because of the value I had placed on this familiar timeline. It was during this time in my life I began to question the notion of success and reexamined the many constructs I had built around it.

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More Than A Meal

It was Saturday night a few days before Christmas and with nowhere to go and no friends to meet, we decided to live like the not so distant past (the time before lockdowns). “Let’s pretend we’re going out to a restaurant!” I exclaimed. “Sure, why not!” my husband replied. Gourmet nachos for dinner with craft beers and bar tunes transformed our dining room into a make shift restaurant for the evening. We dressed lime flavoured nachos with peppers, onion, tomatoes, ground beef, refried beans and topped them off with an excessive amount of cheddar cheese. We made fresh guacamole, spooned full fat sour cream and our favourite salsa into festive bowls. We poured local brews into our favourite beer glasses. We drummed up dinner conversation and laughed as we imagined asking our waiter for another round. It wasn’t the same as getting dressed up and meeting friends at a restaurant but, it sure felt nice (a friendly reminder of a luxury we once took for granted).

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Simple: Swimming

I was aimlessly scrolling when my finger stopped at a post that read, “What makes you feel free?” I thought to myself, “I’m going to answer this.” Without over-thinking or complicating the question I allowed the first thing to pop into my mind: swimming. I feel most free when I’m submerged in water. Swimming ignites an instant child-like pleasure where your adult concerns are tossed aside like a beach towel draped over a lawn chair.

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Grief and Gardens – One Year Later

Earlier this year I shared my story of loss with Grief Stories Podcast. I am thankful for this opportunity. Every loss matters. 🌼🧡

Before the interview I spent many days mulling over what I wanted to share. I had scripted most of my words for fear that I would be too nervous during the actual podcast to remember anything. The process was slow and therapeutic. Each time I went over what I wanted to share tears welled up in my eyes followed by a moment of silence. On the day of the recording I placed a photograph of Grandma and I close to me and poured myself a glass of water in her souvenir glass from Austria. I surrounded myself with memories of her and borrowed from her courage as I shared. As much as I wanted to present a perfectly packaged script I knew that I needed to let go and speak from my heart. …and with slow methodical pauses I did. Here’s to you Grandma. 🌼🧡
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Unveiling

I’ve longed for sunshine like the arrival of vacation after months of drudgery. 

My unrelenting desire is consuming. 

I beg for her return, that she would pierce the grey gloomy skies with the sharpest of knives.

Piercing and peeling back the heavy winter sky.

Like an avalanche delivering streams of liquid gold, she wakes up the hibernating Earth. 

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Grief & Gardens

I sat outside that afternoon on a blanket laid across the grass in my backyard – the sunshine providing the perfect temperature to enjoy the pleasures of summer. I was surrounded by my garden, over grown in places, but green with life.

The type of life that activated fond memories of Grandma and her gardens. My lemon balm reminds me of the time Grandma walked me through Gretel’s garden at the cottage. Grandma bent over and plucked a leaf from the plant, rubbed it between her fingers and placed it under my nose. A fragrance entered my nostrils followed by a deep breath of contentment. “Another name for lemon balm is Melissa” she smiled. “Melissa” has taken over my garden and is a stop that every visitor has to make at my home during the summer months. Just a few weeks ago I walked my sister over to the garden, bent down and plucked a leaf from the plant and handed it to her. “Smell it!” I exclaimed with pride.

A house is not a home – Grandma taught me how to make a home. My house will never be as tidy as hers, but what she taught me as a child became my pride and comfort as an adult.

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