Miracles for all

StormSept52014This is the full definition of miracle according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary.

  1. : an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
  2. : an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment
  3. Christian Science: a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law

This definition explains a traditional view of miracles as something supernatural and divinely generated, belonging only to the theists in the crowd. But what about people who don’t believe in a deity? Don’t they get to experience miracles too? I say they do.

Here is my full definition of a miracle.

  1. And explosion of awe (often accompanied by a feeling of joy) upon experiencing something beautiful, wonderful or inexplicable
  2. The awareness of the complexity of life and everything in it
  3. Deep gratitude for the privilege of being alive in this time and place knowing that you could have just as easily not been.
  4. Extending this sense of awe, joy, awareness and gratitude to everything and everyone you encounter

Miracles belong to everyone. You only need to be willing to recognize them.

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50 things that make me happy – part 2

Perhaps the simplest but deepest wisdom is just being happy.

With my 50th birthday less than three weeks away, I decided to list 50 things that make me happy. This list is in no particular order and by no means is it complete. I’ve left off the big and obvious ones – my friends, family, job and health

1.       Learning something completely new – especially a concept or idea that forever changes the way I understand the world.
2.       Kindness – more and more this is the trait I respect and admire and want to emulate

3.       The full moon.  fullmoon

4.       History. I’m fascinated by the past and how enduring and universal human nature is even as cultures, technologies and ideas change.

5.       Reading poetry. Here’s my favourite poem.

6.       A great big laugh. It’s the best day when I’ve laughed until I’m in tears.
7.       Ghost stories.

8.       Snorkelling –only the sound of my own rhythmic breathing and a secret underwater kingdom before me.

9.       Foot rubs and scalp massages.
10.   Thunderstorms.

11.   Cooking and baking – it’s like magical alchemy right in my kitchen

12.   Fancy soaps, especially handmade soaps

13.   Dawn – still and stirring, promising a fresh start.
haka14.   Watching dancing of any type – from the ballet to the Maori haka.
15.   Coronation Street. I’ve been watching since I was 25 years old and it’s like an old friend now.

16.   Stargazing. Contemplating the universe is mind busting and humbling.

17.   Champagne cocktails.champagne

18.   The Internet, email, text etc. My father lived in Germany when I was a child and I only knew him from handwritten letters and the very rare, rushed, short phone call. How would our relationship have been if we had had Skype and email and file sharing?

19.   And having said that, I love to getting real mail – handwritten addresses on a card or parcel – hooray!

20.   Cheese. I’m pretty sure it’s my favourite food.
21.   Being naked. I’ve hate wearing clothes and only do it out of civility and for warmth.
22.   Animals. They amaze me with their sheer variety, beauty, zenlike purpose, abilities and authenticity.
23.   Frogs singing on a hot summer night.

24.   Walking through the woods – any season or weather! Woods

25. Getting into a freshly made bed – the sheets crisp and clean. Ahhhh!

“They” were right

There are some things “they” have said we should do that I have discovered for myself – to my delight – are absolutely true.

Always have an up-to-date resume. Yes! Write your resume then keep it up-to-date. Whether you’re actively job hunting or not, just having this document prepared will make you feel hopeful and in charge of you, the moneymaking machine. I was able to apply for and get a dream job because I had an up-to-date resume available when it was requested on a whim by the hiring manager.

Use the good stuff. You’ve heard this before – burn the candles, wear the silk lingerie, use the good china. Do it! Sure the fancy soaps, expensive perfume and fine old scotch will get “used up.” That is the point. They’re not made to be forgotten in a dark drawer. These beautiful things add luscious sensory joy to life. Don’t deny yourself that.

Send “thank you” notes. When someone gives you a gift or performs a kindness, send a thank you note (even an email is okay). Is that old fashioned? No. Politeness, gratitude and consideration are timeless. Saying thanks reminds you of all you have to be grateful for and esteems the recipient.

adventureGo out and get some fresh air. Magic and adventure won’t come knocking at your door. You have to get out in the world. At the very least you’ll clear your head and get a change of scenery.

I also can vouch for sunscreen, flossing, hugging, playing with children and afternoon naps.

Eating the milkman’s horse

 It’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada. This holiday, more than any other, makes me think of and miss my mom. She was born in 1930 in Germany. The deprivations and horrors of Hitler’s regime and the Second World War filled her childhood and teenage years. For good and for ill, those experiences shaped my mother.

Although we were a poor family, my mother always managed to put on a lavish Thanksgiving dinner. Every inch of the table would be covered with dish after delicious dish of turkey, stuffing, vegetables, potatoes, sauces and gravies followed by at least three desserts.

My mother would sit beaming at the head of the table and survey everything that was on offer. And then she would say, “We have so much to be thankful for. During the war, we never had enough to eat. I remember serving my father horsemeat once. He didn’t ask where I had gotten the meat and I didn’t tell him. The milkman’s horse had died and I was there to get some.”

At that point in her story, she’d stop and stare off into the distance, remembering the serendipitous moment when she got a portion of a dead horse. And then she would resume, “Now look at all that we have. We have enough food. We have a roof over our heads. We are safe in our beds at night. We are so lucky.”

And we are.