May 09, 2020

The Great Realisation




Happy Mama's Day and love to everyone.

Whether you are a mother to your own, or a mother figure to someone in your life, or even a mama to a beloved animal, we all certainly know the role of being a mother in some way.

I was thinking how since the new world of covid has arrived that many of us are experiencing mothering in new ways. Especially those who are caring for ones that are sick or in need of help or those giving extra love to people on the front-line in the medical world, so that they can get up everyday and do their heroic jobs in an unprecedented way, in this unprecedented time.

A shoutout of gratitude to all the helpers big and small!

 Enjoy the beautiful video above on this day.

Louise ♥️

April 11, 2020

Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today.... I started Lines of Beauty.

529 POSTS later, I still get excited about having this online notebook to solidify my thoughts, on not just the process of aging, but more importantly, on life itself.

There have been some stretches however, when going through challenging times, that I have considered ending Lines of Beauty. I am so very grateful though that I didn't.

The blog has oddly become a dear friend to me.

Early on, I was hyper-focused on how many weekly hits the blog was getting but then decided that I needed to simply write, just for myself, and that anyone who happened to land here and found resonance with what I was sharing, was icing on the cake.

Thus for many years now, I rarely ever look at the blog's hits and stats.

However, today I looked back to MY VERY FIRST POST and was shocked to find that it has been viewed 28,094 times.

Holy motha'!

Something about this makes me feel good.

What is it that the shrinks say?
That more than needing to be loved, we just desire to be seen and acknowledged...

So if you are reading this, thank you.


I hope you all are doing okay out there.

For myself, I continue to begin each day, during this time of covid-19, as I have the last three difficult years, with two questions:

How can I take care of myself today?

and

What needs to be done?

Maybe ya'all are doing something similar?

In celebration of Lines of Beauty, I leave you with 10 THINGS FOR KEEPING A SOLID CENTER, as well as a video, which I especially love the humor of, because the only thing my mom ever complained about her aging body was her "crepey neck."

Thank you so much mama for not being a neurotic aging mother...


Happy Covid Easter and Passover ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Sending love out to all of you,

Louise


March 31, 2020

Sweet Caroline

Neil Diamond has written a new rendition of Sweet Caroline for Corona-19. I'm digging how artists, new and old, are coming forth to entertain, amidst such a trying time.


March 28, 2020

Six Feet Together

Photo by Caroline J. Fernandes

I've been thinking about writing this post the last few weeks, as my thoughts keep fermenting, as life continues to morph, into the unknown.

For now, I'd like to set aside the devastating health tragedies and sorrows, the crippling financial impact and Mister Agent Orange.

Just for a minute,

in this unprecedented time, as we try and move forward, without any answers or frame of reference for a pandemic.

Suddenly it feels as if the world is shrinking, this virus being the greatest unifier and equalizer ever. We are all in a shake down, living life upside-down, together.

But yet apart.

I love that we are more dependent on each other than we have ever been. As moral support, dropping food off at doorsteps, saving each other from the abyss of boredom. Not to mention the incredible sacrifices those on the front lines in the medical world are coming forth with.

Life is changing every day, asking all of us to do less, give more and live very differently.

Life is asking us to rethink and I find such beauty in this.

A good friend of mine shared, "We always want the situation to change, not realizing we were placed in it, so that we may change."

Truly.

What a disorienting situation this is but there is so much that is being illuminated. So much that we are facing as individuals and as a collective, as we face this global crisis.

To evolve perhaps into a new way of being together?

What if we became curious with this alone time and had no mission other than to experience being? What might we find in the quietness, not just in the night, but now in our days?

What if a true purpose is found in this new space?

I believe this pause is filled with opportunity. Not the opportunity to get the taxes done or finish a book or master something, but the opportunity to get comfortable in our uncomfortableness. The opportunity to be without a path forward, for the first time in our lives.

All over the world people are slowing way down and reflecting.

To perhaps what truly matters.

To love.

I've been lying on my bed and just staring up at the ceiling some mornings. I actually became so still the other morning that I saw one of the lilies in a vase next to my bed, spring open. This I had never seen before, except in time-lapse photography.

So what does it all mean?

I don't know.

All I know is that there is some crazy good things going on in between all the heartache, personal struggles and anxiety.

Good things that we haven't been able to see and live nearly as well, until now.

People singing & playing instruments for each other across alley ways, skies less filled with gas fumes, wildlife benefiting, strangers giving their phone numbers to the elderly, so that they may have someone to call in need and the burst of art and creativity that is exploding everywhere.

All over the world people are looking at their neighbors and the people they pass on the street, in a new way.

In a new light.

Perhaps this is all as it is suppose to be.



Sending love your way,
every day,

 ๐Ÿ’—Louise


February 29, 2020

The Second Story

When I first think of the word spiritual and remember adolescence, I think of being at our Presbyterian, church up in the balcony, with my friends and having very inappropriate bouts of laughter. 

I'm reflecting on one Sunday in 9th grade when this bad behavior grew so hard to contain that I had to leave the church and go out into the hallway. Unfortunately my mom was there as I made my way to the restroom. I was red in the face and still trying to control my laughter, when we bumped into each other. 

She responded quite simply that if this was all I was getting out of going to church, that I didn’t need to come anymore.

WHAT??? 

Was she serious? 

She was.

It was shocking to hear her say this but I felt I had been spared one of the most boring things in my life and was very grateful to be released from my Sunday church obligation.

It is clear to me that my spiritual development in adolescence did not happen inside the church, as nurturing as the community of it was.

Instead, I have very vivid memories of sunsets in my parent’s backyard as I looked northwest from the Niagara River where it met Lake Ontario, across from Toronto. 

Big, bold, beautiful sunsets of brilliant oranges, reds, pinks and yellows. Seeing those sunsets was my first experience with the magnificence of nature. When I think of them now, through my mind's eye, I can still feel how my body felt when I experienced their beauty.



I can also still feel my body when I think about sailing in those days, especially with the quiet solitude of my father. My memories of being on the boat with him, sometimes in very choppy waters, as the wind and weather swept and propelled the sailboat forward, were my first glimpses of my body being connected to a rhythm and physicality, outside of my own.

Perhaps the adolescent years were mostly about getting in touch with spirituality through my physical being.

Enter getting stoned on marijuana for the first time in 9th grade...

...and the music and lyrics that we listened to, while getting high and the delicious kissing that ensued. Now there was some yummy, potent, spiritual development.

Also during this time, like two of my brothers before me, I became a competitive swimmer and discovered the capable athlete that I still am.

Perhaps the socialization skills I learned in the first ten years of life, coupled with getting to know my physical being, like I did as an swimmer, prepared me to join together physically with another human being, in the richness of adolescence, a few years later. 

And perhaps all those abundant hormones pumping through us, were part of the magic, that made it all happen.


February 22, 2020

Tiny New Habits



This brief Ted Talk by BJ FOGG, who wrote Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, is very good.

Doing two push-ups after every time we pee? What a novel idea :-)


January 25, 2020

The First Story

1969 with our foreign exchange student from the Netherlands


As Emerson said, we see our life in glimpses and glances. 

I’ve arrived in my childhood home, where it all began, and I’m knowing it for the first time. 

I look around. 

What comes to me when I think of spiritual here? 

It was 1961 when I was born. 

My siblings were ages 14, 12, 9, and 8-years-old when I arrived. For all my childhood, I was a keen observer of the 4 of them and they shed the love upon me, that my parents taught us to share through example. When I think about spiritually in my upbringing, I think about love and light and the interconnectedness of not just human beings but all living things on earth. 
My baptism ( check out my mom's hat)
My parents loved each other deeply and supported their five kids with compassion for where we each were in our lives. They were usually conscious about not making their agenda our agenda, which allowed our spirits to bloom and grow. 

MY DAD WAS AN ATHEIST AND MY MOM WAS A PRESBYTERIAN, but he escorted her to church on Sunday because he thought the sermons were thought-provoking and he liked the community of church, as well as being with her.

There were never any conversations about God in our home as I remember (except when my hippie siblings revolted against going to church and said that there was no such thing as a God) but I know that spirituality lived in them, even though I couldn’t possibly articulate this then.

I always had the feeling that my parents were incredibly grateful for everything that they had and I don’t mean materialistically. I think they understood that health and life could change on a dime and they showed their gratitude for living daily, with a blessing at night before dinner.

They brought other people into the nest of our home frequently and put their wings around visitors as if they were their own.  

There was a feeling in MY CHILDHOOD HOME that I was in the right place and it wasn’t just because I felt very loved. I think it was partly the light coming in the windows, the classical music that was frequently playing, my dad whistling, the aroma of my mom’s good cooking and the affection that was given each night before bedtime. It was a safe and nurturing place to grow up and I felt very grateful for this, once I was old enough to visit other homes and realized that not everyone was as blessed as I was.

When I think of spirituality in my childhood home, I also think of the five senses. My parents were both such sensuous beings. They were tapped into beauty, touch, taste, smell and sound and I believe they were also tapped into the sixth sense of intuition. I don’t think this was ever articulated but they were both keen observers and very deep in their own way, as well as connected to nature profoundly.

This is my first story.



January 19, 2020

Untethered

Mount Washington's tippy-top
For the first time in 36 years years I am truly a free-floater. If anyone had told me 3 years ago that I would be where I am right now and living alone, I would've been scared to death.

Of course I had thought of the possibility myself, but quickly slammed the door on the likelihood of it happening, as if what lived on the other side of the door was the biggest boogie monster of them all.

Me, untethered to anyone other than my dear family & friends.

Dangling in the abyss, without the grounding cord of a long, long marriage. Finding my way through murky waters, a lone traveler, on a densely fog-filled road.

Those were the sort of visions I'd have in the middle of the night early on.

"But fears are just stories we tell ourselves,” I’d say to myself.

"Do what you're afraid to do," I'd say in the darkness of the night.

So many people make their way alone in life, at least for awhile.

Could I be one of them?

Yes.

Because for me there finally came a fork in the road, in the marriage that I was trying to save.

At the fork, there was a new road that I had begun to pave for myself and I finally decided to take it.

Working to save my marriage felt like a bolder that I was trying to push up hill for way too long. So I stepped aside the bolder and allowed it to roll effortlessly past me.

We know a decision is right when every cell in our body applauds us in relief. This is how I felt when I let the bolder go.

The past 3 years gave me time to grow closer to my soul and what I need and don't need to carry on.

My soul is my partner right now, and it feels so right and so good.

And the new road I'm on,

is exactly where I should be. ๐Ÿ’—