Thursday, December 20, 2012

angel ornaments

A few weeks ago, meaning about three weeks before Christmas, I met my friend, Mary Jane, in the local craft store. I asked what she was doing and she said she was making an angel ornament for the Christmas tree at her church. She said that the lady who always decorated the tree had died this past year and there was no one to dress up the tree, which was an important part of their church tradition. I don't know what happened to the ornaments that she had used, but apparently they were no longer available.  Someone finally suggested that members of the congration could make a new set of ornaments, all angels, in her memory. Mary Jane was having fun designing her ormament and thinking of the lady who had lovingly decorated the tree for so many years. What looked like an issue turned out to be a special moment for those involved and a new tradition was born.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Children's Olympics

When I was at my physical therapy appointment yesterday, I asked Shannon if she was excited about the Olympics which begin today. She told me about the Children's Olympics that she and her sister designed for their kids.

Shannon has two boys, ages three and five. Her sister has two two year old twin boys. The moms try to get together for a play date several times a month and set a theme for the day. This week's theme was the Olympics. They made flags, had an opening ceremony, then had events for the boys to try - running, long jumping, gymnastic bars, sports that they could experience and were appropriate for their age group.

I smiled when I heard about this event. It is a small gesture, but big on impact for the kids as they will understand more of what will happen in the next two weeks. Shannon instinctively marked this moment for her children and helped them connect to the actual sports and get a feel for the global perspective with the flags of the different countries.

This gathering didn't take much money. It did take intention and some planning for age appropriate activities. What a great way to start off the Olympic season!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Healing Bracelet

I stopped by to visit my friend Bonnie. Her dining table was strewn with beads and wires. "What are you doing?" I asked. She said that her friend, Helen,  had been diagnosed with serious cancer and she was making 92 bracelets for people to wear while Helen was undergoing her radiation and chemo treatments. Fortunately, Bonnie had some help making all the bracelets, because requests kept coming in for one more and giving the size needed.

I don't think Helen had asked for this support from her circle of friends and family. Yet this group wanted and needed some tangible way to think of  her during this terrifying time. Everyday all these people would be wearing and looking at their bracelets (many men were wearing them as well as women), sending healing thoughts and messages to her and widening the circle of care and concern. People, in turn, would ask the bracelet wearers what they were about, and the circle widens even more.

I can't help but think that this token of love can't but help the healing process for Helen. She realizes all these folks have her on their radar on a daily basis. When she gets discouraged or feels lousy, she knows she isn't alone, and that thought in itself, is enough to help her make it through another day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Hi's and Lows

My husband and I just finished a 2 week trip kayaking in the Northern Patagonian fjords in Chile. We were with a group of 12 paddlers. The only person we knew was one of the guides. We set up our tents on the beaches in the rain. A local 50 foot Chilean designed boat acted as our Mother ship, where our meals were served - and it was a dry spot.
The first night out at dinner I mentioned to the group the hi/low idea - where each person is invited to look at their day and share the high point and the low point. All decided that it was a good idea and we continued to do it every dinner. This small ritual added a lovely personal dimension to a shared experience. We all see life through different lenses and as we told about our day, the experience was broadened for all. Even some of the lows were taken care of - like a person who was frustrated b/c they forgot their headlamp and someone had an extra. A window was opened for a group who didn't know each other to have an easy and personal way to connect.
Again the magic of taking a few minutes to hear each other's voices added a special touch to an already incredible experience.
The sketch is of a black necked swan from my journal. We didn't see them in the fjords, but on the island of Chiloe where we visited for another few days after the kayaking - so many birds that we don't see here in North America.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Resolutions in the Sand

I know it is a bit after the New Year proper, but I want to share this delightful story. You can put the idea into action anytime you are ready think about your resolutions.

Some friends of ours have an annual tradition of going to the beach at low tide on New Year's Day. Yes, I know. Not all of have beaches with low tides that we can access, but be creative and see what you can devise for yourself. They then write on the sand what they want to let go of in their life right now, and what they want to bring in. It takes them most of a tide and the beach is filled with writing. The couple started this tradition before they had children, and now they have three. All of them attend to this yearly ritual. By the high tide the thoughts are erased and sent away to where they need to go - to manifest at a later time.

For me there is something deeply cosmic about using the earth's rhythm to connect with human wishes and desires. Somehow it all seems appropriate and organic to blend the two. For those who don't have beaches, perhaps find a place where you can write where the rain will wash away the notes. Be creative to think of what nature can provide you to whisk away your resolutions and return them to the Universe for processing.

Let me know how this works for you.