More Lessons (finally) Learned ๐Ÿคฆ

It is so strange that we can hear the same truth repeated over and over in our lives and never really understand the meaning or importance of the message.

I was raised in a relatively loving home. The Catholic Church and her teaching were a foundation of our lives. I have read countless books on self improvement. Through all of my life, the concept of forgiveness and unconditional love has been brought forth time and time again. I thought I ‘got it’.

I have tried to be a good, caring person. I have tried to not be angry or hateful towards others. I have tried to not be vengeful or judgemental. I honestly thought I had a fairly good grasp on living a ‘good’ life.

Early this spring, I developed health issues that seriously impaired my life. I was driven to retire from my job (a few months earlier than planned) and to start living a healthier life. As part of my healing, I began walking – a lot! – on a regular basis. My walks gave me time to think and many of my thoughts focussed on peace. (Which coincidentally was the subject I had chosen to focus on in 2020).

Walking in itself did wonders for easing my stress level. Spending time in nature on a regular basis was relaxing and beneficial. I walked for my peace. I walked for my family’s peace. I walked for peace for friends and neighbours and strangers. While my health was my initial reason for walking, peace was the driving force that kept me going.

These past few days, while I still walked every day and enjoyed my time in nature, I have started to struggle to stay focussed on peace. There have been a number of things happening that I have been dealing with – ongoing issues with my daughter, my son’s upcoming wedding (which will involve spending a couple of days socializing with my ex-husband and his family), politics – specifically a provincial election which will once again result in a landslide win for a party led by people who have caused serious grief and pain to many – including my family, and with colder weather moving in, a return to having my husband watching his television programs in the livingroom. (I love my husband and I certainly want him to be comfortable on his days off, but personally I am uncomfortable with television programs the likes of Jerry Springer in our house).

All of these situations have cost me a lot of peace. I ‘block’ one disturbing thing out of my consciousness and three more things gnaw at me. It has become increasingly frustrating.

FINALLY I get it!

Peace is one of those things that you cannot just have and hoard. You cannot have peace and choose to share it with some, while withholding it from others. You do not get to decide who is worthy of peace.

For the last couple of days, I have been walking for peace – for myself, for my family, for friends and neighbours and strangers – but including and specifically for those who I had been previously trying to block from my peaceful consciousness.

I feel so much better. The more I walk for peace for myself and others, including walking for those who challenge my peace, the more peaceful I become. Seriously – how simple is that? ๐Ÿคท

Parenting 101

My Parents’ 50th Anniversary (1989)

On January 1st, I made a commitment to make PEACE my priority this year. I have made a strong and consistent effort to stay true to my commitment. In many ways, I have made significant progress in becoming less anxious and in making my life more peaceful.

There is one area of my life where I continue to struggle on a regular basis . My problem area is parenting – and grandparenting – and when the time comes (if I do not pull myself together) – it will be great-grandparenting. ๐Ÿ‘ต

The problem (for me) started with my Mother. She taught me, that if you love someone you care about them. If you care about someone you WORRY about them. I am sure that is what her Mother taught her and, God forbid, that is what I taught my children. ๐Ÿคฆ

I love my children and I adore their children. I care immensely about them all. So, when my children or grandchildren face any challenge whatsoever, I worry. If they face a serious challenge, I go into a full-blown anxious meltdown.

I know in my mind that I am over reacting. I have faced challenges in my life. I have made bad choices and I have had to deal with the consequences. I have had my heart broken. I have tried and failed. I have struggled with health and finances and grief. I have survived and, more often than not, I have come through each challenge stronger and better for having been through it.

I know my children and grandchildren are smart and capable and resilient and everything else that they need to be to survive every challenge that they will face in life. I want to stop worrying about them and start showing them that I believe in them. Regardless of the situation, I want to be a strong and calm presence in their life.

I have long believed that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This quotation has been repeated by many strong men throughout history. It is true and so extremely important! It is the basis of my commitment to making peace my priority this year.

There is nothing more debilitating than fear. Fear makes any challenge – physical, mental, or emotional – all the more difficult to conquer. Fear makes any dream or goal all the more difficult to achieve. I know because I have too often allowed fear to rule me. I do not want it to rule me or my family going forward!

There is no form of fear that is productive or helpful. Worrying about those you love, even your precious children and grandchildren is not productive or helpful. If anything, it undermines their confidence and that is unhelpful and detrimental to their well being! Worse yet, it teaches them to perpetuate this unhealthy form of love when then become parents and grandparents.

Going forward this year, I will continue to make peace my focus – for myself, my children, and my grandchildren. ๐Ÿ•Š๏ธ

Finding My Tribe

One of the ubiquitous phrases I have noticed on social media recently relates to ‘finding one’s tribe’. Since I am about as about as outgoing as your basic hermit, I didn’t really think this was a quest that I would ever embark on.

Today I realized that I am less of a hermit and more of a nomad. I have always had a ‘tribe’. As a child, I had my family and my fellow schoolmates. As a young wife and mother, I had my own family and my neighbours. As my children grew up and I became a solid member of the workforce, I had employers, fellow employees, suppliers and customers. When my children became even older, my tribe grew to include a parade of amazing and entertaining grandchildren.

With my retirement, my children and grandchildren getting busy with their own lives, and my siblings some distance away, I truly felt my tribe dwindling down to my husband and my little dog, Kat. Between work and golf for my husband, it was often pretty much me and my dog.

Except that, since I have started blogging, I have met many interesting and wonderful people on WordPress. I look forward to seeing their posts and I enjoy seeing that they have read mine. ๐Ÿ™‚ I truly enjoy exchanging the random comments. I have met people I have much in common with, people I have something surprisingly in common with and some whom I find thoroughly fascinating because we seem to have nothing in common. ๐Ÿคท

I have started meeting our neighbours and found that I once again enjoy the time it takes for a front yard chat. I even had one little neighbour over for a playdate with my grandson recently.

And I have started to meet and greet the regulars that I meet on my morning walks. There is one woman I have spoken to a few times. This morning, we had a lengthy chat. One topic led to another. I swear we have been living in a parellel universe for the past sixty-five years. I look forward to meeting up with her on a regular basis.

Whether I was searching or not, I seem to be finding my new tribe!

Kat’s Tribe๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Bits and Pieces

It is hard to believe how busy one can be doing very little of consequence.ย ย  In my quest to putter around to keep occupied – without actually investing a lot of effort into my mission – Iย  managed to snap a few random shots to share.

Our Brown Eyed Susan finally bloomed ๐ŸŒž
Our lillies are still blooming
Puff the Magic Dragon ๐Ÿ‰
Dan refinished another garden ornament – originally a hummingbird feeder from Jennifer.
Wednesdays with Dom
A painting from Genie – I love the colors and the ELEPHANT! ๐Ÿ’—
Peace is my path ๐Ÿ˜‰

Keep well and have a great day ๐Ÿ’–

4th of July

Happy 4th of July to my sister Jeanne, her family, and all of our neighbours to the south of us in the USA.

I used to visit the USA quite regularly, years ago. We lived so close to the American border that it was never a big deal to spend a couple of days in Minot, North Dakota just for the heck of it. After my sister Jeanne and her husband Paul moved to Gillette, Wyoming I made a number of trips down to visit them – at first with my parents and then with my own family.

Wyoming was always a great place to visit. I remember an abundance of steakhouses, country bars and friendly neighbours. There was always a visit to the Black Hills – Flintstone Village, Devil’s Tower, Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Every curve in the road was another tourist attraction and another fascinating little gift shop. I still have pretty little vases and stone bracelets to remind me of those days.

Jeanne and Paul moved to Chadron, Nebraska when Paul left the oil rigs to run an apiary. We were down there a couple of times. As always, it was good times and friendly people. Unfortunately, a few years after the move, Paul died in a tragic accident. Jeanne stayed on, running the apiary with an American friend of theirs. They eventually married and still make their home in Nebraska. Jeanne’s son is raising his family in Wyoming and her daughter is in Washington State with her family.

It is so sad how times have changed between Canada and the USA over the years – with border control, tariffs, and of course now with Covid 19 closing borders. I would love to travel back down through the States. There are so many places that I would love to visit and of course it is always an easy drive to better weather during our frigid winters!

I just want to say, I really appreciate the photos and stories that our American neighbours post on WordPress – it is an inside look at a country that I would love to see more of.

From this side of the border, have a great USA Independence Day!

My Priority is Peace

I have lived a stressful life.   There have been countless ‘situations’ in my life.  Through good, bad or ugly, especially the ugly, my response has been to stress out. 

I am turning sixty five years old next month.  I cannot handle the stress any longer – not physically, not mentally, and not emotionally.   I am done.  

As so often happens when one decides to give up an unhealthy lifestyle, the universe seems hell bent on dragging me back to the darkside. Currently there a number of potentially stressful events affecting my life and the world in general.

1. Family issues. My daughter got upset with me last August.ย  Typically, I have been labelled toxic and she has cut me out of her life.ย  Except she doesn’t cut anyone out of her life. She keeps the anger and the hurt and the hate going.ย  She cuts her entire family out of the life of anyone she has turned against, hurting them as well as herself and those she has shunned. Presently she has cut out her father and his wife, her ex-husband, her ex-husband’s family, her stepdaughter, her brother and his wife and their five year old son, most of her inlaws, Dan and I, friends too numerous to mention, and a few distant relatives.ย ย  As far as her problem with me, the truth is she cannot cut me out of her life – she is a part of me.ย  She cannot stop me from loving her and her family, she cannot erase theย  memories that I have of her and her family – all of the good times we have shared and the difficult times we have survived, she cannot erase all that Dan and I have done for her and her family nor the things that her and her family have done for us.ย  We are a part of her life and she and her family will always be a part of ours.

2.  Finances. I am recently retired.  The plan is for Dan to work for another four years and retire with his full pension.   Lately the plan isn’t looking good.  Dan works making pipe for the oil industry – at a time when the oil industry is struggling and a time when big companies are working to destroy the unions that protect their employees.   Our finances could potentially be adversely affected.   Dealing with financial problems at this point in our life could be serious.  As tempting as it is to start stressing out over this situation, I realize that will not protect us nor in any way improve the quality of our lives.

3. Global Pandemic.   Everything is at stake.  The global economy, personal finances, health, lives around the globe,  lives of loved ones, the viability of the food chain – the potential fallout is endless and astronomical.   There are countless reasons to stress over this situation but far more reasons to keep a level head and potentially become a part of the recovery.

4.ย  The murder of Floyd George and subsequent civil uprising. I can’t even.ย  At first this was shocking. At first the peaceful protests and the support by so many were powerful and moving.ย  At first there was a glimmer of hope that we could overcome the invasive bigotry that courses through humanity.ย ย  Now this movement is slowly being crushed by those who believe violence is the answer and more insideously by those who prefer the status quo – those who feel threatened when others desire the rights and privileges that they have always enjoyed. That is all sad, painful, and potentially stressful and I have no answers.

5. Social Media. I have been on Facebook for years. I joined to share pictures with family, keep up with friends, read the jokes, and play the games. Now it is a source of animosity, ‘alternate facts’, disrespect, insults, and those trying desperately to justify hate and ignorance. Instagram is almost as bad but that is due to its ‘Look at me I am Better’ format. People want to be ‘influencers’ in a race to want more. It is a race all will ultimately lose. There are still good, human, beautiful posts on both Facebook and Instagram, but one has to expose oneself to so much negativity to find them.

I could stress out for countless reasons – but stress is not an option. I have done enough stressing. There is enough stress in our world – it is a violent and destructive force that helps and heals no one. Going forward, peace is my priority. Peace is the healing, constructive power that I need. Peace is what our world needs.

Peace is Possible ๐Ÿ’—

Another Round of Elephants

It has been a bit since I posted photos of my elephants.  These are just a few of my random favourites.  That is not quite accurate.  Every one of my elephants is my favourite.

A ‘Dumbo’ collectors elephant from my daughter.  He should be kept in original packaging but then I would not get to thoroughly enjoy him.
Oriental Harmony Balls
Scented Oil Diffuser – A bit off track here but did you know you should avoid certain scents if you have animals?ย  Dogs are adversely affected by eucalyptus.ย  They become lethargic and depressed by it.ย  Strange but true.ย 
An Elephant Jewellery Box
An Elephant Ring Box
Two Elephant Pins & A Ring – I also have an elephant bracelet that I received for speaking at a career day for Genie’s class but it is out for repairs at the moment.
Tea Diffuser Elephant That I Received for Christmas From Son Danny & Amanda
Glow in the Dark Elephant
My PrimRose Elephant. She was only two ๐ŸคทHe stayed on the elephant shelf๐Ÿคฃ

These are just a very few of the elephants I have. I have everything from a huge stuffed elephant to outdoor elephants to micro mini elephants. I saved one very special elephant for grandson Rory’s birthday post tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Take care and have a great day. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Seclusion

When I created my blog, I was focussed on my impending retirement. WordPress had other plans for my blog. “Instead of Retirement 101…”, My blog website became “Seclusion101….”. As strange as that seemed to me, it was actually a perfect fit for me. According to Wikipedia “Seclusion is the act of isolating from society”.

I admire people who can walk into any situation and make it better. Some people enter a room and radiate happiness. Others can be caught in the midst of drama, conflict or fear and radiate peace and calm. I am not one of those people.

I am a sponge for the emotions of those around me. By the standard of current terminology, I am an empath. I get close to anyone who is experiencing extreme emotion and I absorb it by default. I do not even have to be physically close to people I have close ties to – like my husband, sons and daughter. I feel off if there is something seriously wrong with them or the situation they are in.

There are occasions, when this ’empath’ way of being is helpful. I can generally feel when people need comfort or support. I can also generally feel when people are in a state where it is best to just back away and give them space. For the most part, being in the midst of extreme emotion just beats me up – regardless of the type of emotion.

I hate parades. I always have. When the planes fly over or the band strikes up and the crowd unites in excitement and anticipation, I am overwhelmed by the urge to burst into tears. Funerals crush me – even when the deceased was not someone I was personnely close to. The collective grief of family and friends suffocates me. Angry outbursts are the worst. Even if people screaming at each other are across the street, I feel terrified. I know these situation are over reactions, but that is how I am.

I would love to live on an acreage surrounded by nature. In the city, I make do. Regardless of where I have lived, I have always had my special place where I could ‘isolate from society’. Back in the days when I was alone with my teenagers, my ‘place’ was a corner of the kitchen cupboards. I could open a window, sit on the cupboard with my feet in the sink and enjoy a cup of tea and a cigarette. Nobody came near me when I was in my corner – until Dan came into my life. He was allowed in my corner. (He wasn’t allowed to put his feet in my sink.)

Now it is relatively easy to seclude myself. I have indoor and outdoor places that are perfect for isolating. Life has never been better – in retirement and seclusion.

Have a pleasant and peaceful day๐ŸŒž