Category Archives: Inspiration

You have a superpower

Oh yes you do.

The youth leader at our church introduced me to the book What’s My Superpower? by Aviaq Johnston. Within that book lies the answer.

The main character, Nalvana thinks that everyone but her has a superpower. She has friends who run fast, build with super strength and dangle from monkey bars for hours.

Every day she watches her friends and wishes she could do what they do. She tells them how great they are.

Nalvana is feeling badly until her mother helps her to recognize her own superpower. It’s a power we all have, if we choose to see it.

Nalvana makes people feel good.

Book cover: What's My Superpower, by Aviaq Johnston

Social media hate/love: Catch you on the flip side

Sometimes I think: “I should dump all my social media accounts.”

I get irritated by people tweeting or posting about foods I should or shouldn’t eat. Sometimes one post telling me that I SHOULD eat a certain food is followed quickly by another telling me that I should NEVER eat the food. It’s irksome.

And people can be horrible. Hateful. Mean.

But I don’t dump my social media accounts.

All those contradictory food posts make me realize how much I trust my body to let me know what it needs.

And people can be so wonderful. Inspirational. Kind.

I decided to ask my circle of social media acquaintances for their thoughts. The results wouldn’t stand up to scientific method scrutiny, but they represent an overall picture of the situation. And that is:

For every bad, there is a flip side of good.

We don’t like:

  • HATE that is easy to spread, aided by anonymity. “I do not like how cruel and thoughtless people can be when not face to face,” one person said. “How quick to judge, and attack, how divisive some posts can be.”
  • FALSE NEWS and rumours
  • SHALLOW “LOOK AT ME” POSTS, sometimes mindless and trivial
  • ADS and blatant self-promotion
  • HOW IT ENCOURAGES US TO CONSTANTLY COMPARE OUR LIVES TO OTHERS
  • HOW IT WASTES OUR TIME

But then, we stick with it because all those things have a flip side. We like:

  • ALL THE LOVE AND CONNECTION, with friends, family, distant connections and people we wouldn’t connect with otherwise. “The other side of that the hate] is how kind strangers can be; how supportive and uplifting,” one friend said. Another added, “I’ve developed supportive friendships around the world and have met several of them.”
  • USEFUL INFORMATION, breaking news, information in emergencies, recommendations for services, event notifications, genuinely happy news from friends, and hobby groups.
  • PEARLS OF WISDOM AND INSPIRATION, intellectual stimulation
  • PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE, finding out about something we need
  • THE BOOST we get from others who share their creativity and positive experiences
  • ENTERTAINMENT “Oh and I love the cute animal videos,” a friend said. Don’t we all.

There are valid reasons to cut and run from social media. There are valid reasons to stay. I’ll stick it out, because I’m an optimist.

Catch you on the flip side.

* Exits whistling *

Words of wisdom: Parent-isms

When you think of your mother or father, what sayings come to mind?

For me, it’s my mother: “It’s a beautiful day. Get outside.”

I grew up on a farm, so outside for us meant playing games of hide-and-seek in and around the trees of the woodlot, swinging on homemade swings hung from the rafters of the barn, or skating on the frozen creek in winter. To this day, I can’t abide being indoors on a beautiful day, so my mother’s words served me well.

A person I follow on Twitter asked this question and got some interesting responses. My favourite: “If cows shit butter, you wouldn’t have to churn it.”

My mother would never have used those words, but she made the same point in other ways more times that I could count.

As parents we live day to day, tackling challenges as they come. We don’t realize there will be a through-line to our actions, that someday our children will attach an overall theme to how we tackled the parenthood job.

It made me wonder, how would my children answer that question, so I asked my daughter. I was hoping for, “Be kind,” or “Honour yourself and always be creative,” or “Don’t ever make yourself small to try please someone else.”

When I asked my daughter, she thought for a lo-o-o-ong time. “I don’t think you use sayings.”

“Oh, great. I’m boring,” I said.

“No, if anything it means that you really think before you say something,” she said.

I can live with that.

Woman in a chair contemplating a mountain view. A thought bubble says, "Think, think, think."

3 deep breaths

Stop what you’re doing.

Take three deep breaths.

Look around.

Now, in this moment, how many amazing things can you find to be grateful for?

Three deep breaths can’t solve the busy-ness of our lives or dissolve our problems. But taking time for three deep breaths can re-centre us and recharge us to get through it.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Leap Day: The gift of an extra day

Most years have 365 days, but leap years have an extra one.

I know that time is a human construct and all that, but when we have the gift of an extra day, we should take best advantage. This post is inspired by the poem “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver. That poem ends with:

Tell me what else I should have done? | Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do | With your one wild and precious life?

The Extra Day

Where to be today? Who to spend it with? What makes my soul leap, like the day?

There is a place.

The one where I plug in to recharge, where each face is love reflected, where the synapses of my brain snap with new ideas, faster and deeper, where the rainbow falls on the tree of life.

Reassurance and growth.

Wisdom and compassion.

This is where people are SEEN, where peace is made, where we question how to live, where graces falls on us all.

This is where I dance “Like a Prayer,” I travel on pilgrimages, and where my head sizzles.

Here, children’s laughter ripples through the air. I thrill in their sparks of insight, and their truckloads of questions. Here is where I say, “I don’t know.”

In this place, people are fed, body and soul, smiles right the world, and friends embrace in tight hugs.

Spicy soup simmering, tart, sweet pies, pinkie squares.

Guitar strings strumming, harmonious voices, organ crescendos.

A silent night of candles and tears.

This is where I am.

A place of steadfast friendships, where good grows out of my mistakes.

Wisdom and compassion. Healing through hardship and celebration after the light returns.

Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Do you have a place like this? May you find it and spend this gifted extra day there.

A time to reflect, no matter what you believe

Red Velvet Pancakes IHOP
Red Velvet Pancakes from IHOP

It’s Pancake Day, a Lenten tradition with roots in the Jewish history of the Christian tradition.

On the day before Passover in observant Jewish homes, the family cleans thoroughly and uses or removes any food that has leaven in it. It’s a symbolic way to let go of old life and embrace the new. Christians morphed this idea into Pancake Day, a time to use up eggs and fats in decadent foods before the deprivation of Lenten fasts began.

Few people I know “give up” anything for Lent anymore.

  • Some have abandoned organized religion because they see only the harm that it can cause.
  • Others are still a part of a faith community but don’t “give up” because they see that as punitive instead of inspirational.
  • Still others don’t “give up” something they love in a way that feels like deprivation or punishment. They examine their lives to find something that is not feeding them mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually, and they give themselves “freedom from” that harmful element.

The minister at my church says Lent is like the time between when a seed is planted and when it sprouts. You know the seed needs to be nourished, but you can’t see any signs of new life yet.

No matter what you believe, this time of year is good for reflection. It’s a time to ponder what you can give yourself freedom from, or what you could take up instead.

Whether you eat pancakes tonight or not, take some time to plant a seed. Nourish it until new life grows.

What kind of sprouts do you want to see?

A field of sprouting corn stalks

Different kinds of brave

You might be dismayed to learn the number of times that I’ve been told over the past year that I am “brave.”

My feat of daring? Letting my hair return to its natural colour.

On the weekend my husband was told many times that he was brave.

His courageous act? Performing a stand-up comedy routine for the first time.

If each of us were to create a “bravery spectrum,” we would place different actions in different places.

For those with a fear of public speaking, a stand-up comedy routine would be off-the-charts. For others, it might be more in the middle. Most people would agree that it takes guts to be vulnerable in front of an audience that way.

But my hair colour? Please. Let’s not even.

There are people who perform acts of bravery truly worthy of our admiration.

  • First responders who run toward danger. Firefighters, police, paramedics, and members of our military who put their lives on the line every day.
  • Volunteers who work in vulnerable countries around the world, healing the sick or wounded, building wells, providing food.
  • Refugees who leave behind everything they know and start over in a place where everything is foreign to them.
  • Staff and volunteers who work with the vulnerable people right in our own back yards, supporting the homeless, encouraging those affected by mental health issues of addictions.
  • Single parents who juggle work and family, doing their best to provide for their loved ones.

What do you think of as “brave”?

Stand-up routine at Absolute Comedy, Ottawa
It takes guts to do this.