It started with an offer of Kleenex…

I caught a really nasty cold this past week…it may have been the flu but nonetheless, it devastated my whole entire week.

I even missed celebrating our Canadian Thanksgiving. I am not a big turkey fan but hey, I didn’t get to enjoy the long weekend it came with.

I think I caught it from the person who sat beside me on the train on my way to work.  It started with me offering her a Kleenex. In fact, I even texted my good old friend Joya the dilemma I was going through…

 

Joya suggested that I should move…

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I should have, now that I think about it…

Would you have taken a Kleenex from a total stranger?

I mean, I look like a perfectly respectable person, I take a shower every morning so I’m sure I smelled alright, and I had the obligatory Starbucks mug…and I was offering a brand new Klennex packet!  Brand new!!

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The “Debbie smile” as my dear friend alluded to has been known to create confusion. My former boss had once asked… “why is Debbie smiling that weird smile…there is so much to do!…and she’s smiling??!”. Needless to say, she hated it when I smiled my lunatic smile…as if I’m going to lose my marbles…

Anyway, at this point, I was clucking like a lunatic after Joya reminded me about “the smile”…

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Well…I caught the cold..img_3382

So there you have it, folks!  It all started with an offer of a Kleenex to a complete stranger who was in grave need of one…

So what have I learned from all this?

You probably think that the moral of this blog is never offer a Kleenex since it will just be rejected and forget about being all martyr-like and sticking by your window seat since you are comfy and you got there first…

Nope.

The moral of my story that I got from this is…

I am grateful to have very good and dear friends like Joya who would stick by me even when we have inane and silly text conversations like how an offer of a perfectly good tissue morphed into the flu…and actually remember to check up on me.

She is who I am thankful for.

What are you thankful for?

Happy belated thanksgiving, everyone!

Debbie

“Jupiter Ascending”…Not really

I’m going to be honest, I’m a Trekkie. (ˈtrekē/ noun-informal: a fan of the US science fiction television program Star Trek.)

I vividly remember practicing Spock’s Vulcan salute with the famous line “Live long and prosper” until my hand hurt. Oh, and how can I forget the Vulcan Mind Meld…”my mind to your mind; my thoughts to your thoughts.”

Super cool…

So, when I received an email from Netflix saying “We just added a movie you might like”..and it has the name of a planet (aka Jupiter), I’m intrigued.

Jupiter Ascending. Catchy name.

It is a movie about a young lady named Jupiter (so, not the planet!) who helps her family clean houses. Little does she know that she actually comes from a long line of intergalactic royalty and she holds the future of Earth in her hands.  The movie is mishmash of aliens, a genetically engineered bodyguard, a youth serum trade, and bees and other out-of-this world ideas.

I’m sorry to say that I would give this movie 1.5 out of 5 stars.

Well, that’s 2 hours I will never get back but this movie did give me pause….

As I was watching the movie, I could not quite understand why Jupiter didn’t seem to relish the idea that she was SPECIAL!

I mean, you are from a long line of alien royalty, you get to go into outer space, be in a space ship….you even OWN a planet!

Wow!  Except for bad aliens trying to kill you, what’s not to be excited about?

There are some days when I wake up and think “there must be some mistake…I AM destined to do great things, right? So, how come my life seems so boring?”

It’s like when I saw a trailer of the new movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them”.  Jacob,the Muggle, sums it all up when he wistfully says  “I want to be a Wizard.”

I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a wizard or own a planet?

In thinking about this some more, I think it’s not about being grateful. I wake up grateful everyday and I thank my lucky stars that I am alive, I have a roof above my head and food to eat, have a family who loves me, I live in a country which doesn’t have a bully as its leader, I could go on and on…

No.  This is not about being grateful.

This goes much deeper.

It is about feeling SPECIAL.

BEING SPECIAL.

Hmmmm…Interesting.  I’m thinking there is some deep deep insecurity buried somewhere in my psyche that I need to look at the next time I meditate.

…or maybe, I am again overthinking everything and as I learned in my mindfulness practice that this feeling shall pass…impermanence.

It was just a silly movie, after all.

At any rate… Live long and prosper.

Have a good weekend everyone!!

Debbie.

PS:  I STILL wish I was a wizard….

The “I Wish” Game of a monkey mind…

I played that dangerous game all last week…

It all started on Tuesday morning and  was trying to snuggle deeper into the duvet covers since winter has finally arrived.  I did not want to get up and even as my toes braved the cold outside of my cover’s protective shield, I immediately pulled them back in the comfort of my warm and toasty cocoon.

I whispered to myself, “Self, don’t you sometimes wish that you can sleep in a little while longer and not worry about catching the train to work…?”

“….or even going to work?”

“Could you imagine if I won the lottery and l don’t have to worry about money and work and….I could go on these lavish vacations in some sunny exotic locales…..where I could sample local cuisine….and not worry about getting fat…”

I think I could have gone on and on and on….

…and I missed the train and was late for work.

That was Tuesday…

Then, I think around the time Thursday came around, I was in a meeting with all these smart talented people talking about some issue…and a random thought popped up…

“Wow, they really know their stuff…don’t I wish sometimes that I could sound half as intelligent and confident in front of a conference full of people and not bat an eyelash when someone asks a really complicated question that I’m sure no one really thought of before and…Wait, I’m great too so let’s forget about that wish….I wonder what they do for fun or if they have time to go for a run maybe or maybe just goof around…I wonder when this meeting is going to end since I am so tired and I still have to do the laundry when I get home…wait, is it Wednesday already…no, it’s Thursday…”

I think I could have gone on and on and on…..

….and I missed the next topic of discussion.

It’s a new week and I am still playing it.

Yesterday, I had a coffee with a very good friend of mine and she was talking about her plans for the future. She sounds so confident and so sure about what she wants to do and another random thought popped up…

“Wow!  She really knows what she wants to do…I wish I knew what I want to do in a few years….what do I really want to do? How the hell do I know…I can’t even decide what coffee I wanted …or was it tea?  What am I drinking anyway?  Didn’t I want a hot chocolate? Dang, this tastes like crap…not getting this beverage again…”

…and I could have gone on and on…

…and I think I missed new gossip about how someone did something idiotic….

I realize that really what starts as a wishing game (“I wish I bought vanilla ice cream, I wish can retire now, I wish Hillary won…”) morphs to a totally unrelated topic that sometimes I don’t even remember what started the whole train of thought.

This is what my first mindfulness teacher calls my “monkey mind”…it jumps from one topic to another and before you know it, you are in a trance and people look at you funny…

Anyway, I am thinking that I am not the only one who goes through this…I certainly hope not.

At any rate…

…” I wish I could have a nap right about now since I had a super late night last night… it’s probably that coffee I had…shouldn’t have coffee too late in the day since it keeps me up…maybe I should try decaf instead…maybe organic decaf…I wonder how organic coffee tastes like…does Starbucks sell organic coffee?  Forget Starbucks, my former boss drinks it, I wouldn’t want to run into her, she hates me…”

Hahhaha!

Have a good rest of the week, everyone!

Debbie.

“Under construction…”

I hit a raised maintenance cover today. You know the one that is almost always spray painted orange?   The road to the train station is under construction and being repaved…

It actually gave me a quite a jolt.

My first thought was “Dang, I hope I didn’t ruin the car.”

My second thought was “Where did that come from?! I didn’t see it..!”

My third thought was “I wasn’t really paying attention, was I?!”

My last thought gave me a shocking revelation…I was not fully present when I hit it head on. I don’t even recall what I was thinking at that moment…

I remember a story my first mindfulness teacher once told…you would be driving along and you don’t really realize how you got from point A to point B until you get there. But even then, you are already on the next item on your mental list…

That’s the tough part, isn’t it?

It’s hard enough to stay present…but to be present ALL THE TIME…is almost impossible (well, for me it feels insurmountable!)

The “old” me would have berated and admonished myself to nauseam such that my whole day would have been shot. The words of the day would have been “fail, fail, fail.”

The “newer” me did something that would have given the “old” me an ulcer….I gave myself a break. The words of the day were, “this is not a big deal.”

…and you know what?  It really is not a big deal.

Sharon Salzburg (she is a mindfulness teacher who focuses on how we can practice loving kindness–and no, it’s not the mushy kind of stuff!  Google her. She is awesome! ) says give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

So, there you have it. My secret weapon. I have learned to give myself a break.

I also realized that I will probably be “under construction” for a long time…things ultimately will break down and I would have to rebuild…

Come to think of it, I like “under construction” better than “work in progress” since some days, I don’t feel as if I’m progressing at all…but I’ll save that for another blog…

Have a great week, everyone!

Debbie

It is a sad day…

I shouldn’t have gone to work today. I was off kilter, off balance, off centre…just off.

I went to bed the night before with the voice of my husband echoing in my mind’s eye…

“Deb, if I were American, I would vote for Hillary but I believe Trump will win because we should not underestimate the power of the blue collar….we are not all doctors, lawyers or accountants, or read the New York Times, or have an education past high school.”

I recall that I actually wanted to retort back and say…

“Nope…

…Hillary will win. She is the better candidate.

…History will be made.  Madame President.

….Remember when Justin Trudeau (our Canadian prime minister) said “Because it’s 2015″ when someone asked him why his cabinet has an equal number of men and women?

…It’s 2016 and we have LGBT washrooms, same sex marriage, women’s rights have made great strides;

…there is no room for someone like Trump who will set our American friends south of our borders back 100 years….”

Yet, it seems the American people were not in the same wavelength as I was. Along with the rest of the world, I turned out to be wrong and my husband was proven right…partially.

Trump did win but not because of the blue collar vote but because of the “white” vote. “White-lash” against a changing country, against a black president…63 percent of white men and 53 percent of white women voted for Trump.

Wow…the words “racists, “white supremists”, and “bigots” came to mind when I saw this statistic…

On the way to work, I was in a daze ( I even let in a familiar looking white Honda Fit into my lane –read my previous blog please).

I got on the train and started texting friends and family trying to figure out..WTF?!?

Some snippets of conversation during the ride to work echo the fear and panic (my comments in blue):


Even though I am Canadian, I don’t think we will escape unscathed…

I even fear for my visible minority friends living in the US:


My mindfulness practice was tested today as I went back and forth between disbelief and anger. My mediation session was difficult…chaotic thoughts of how people could have voted for a bully, a con man, a sexual predator, a liar, and the list went on and on and on…WTF?!?

One positive thought did somehow manage to squeeze through all the negativity…

Impermanence.

Don’t despair, my American friends…four years is not forever.

Today may be a sad day but I’m hoping tomorrow and the day after will be better.

Have a good rest of the week, everyone!

Debbie.

Being taken for granted …

I let someone into my lane this morning. It was 7:30 am and I was trying to catch my train to work. But traffic was unusually bad this morning and everyone seemed on edge.

I see a car signal go off on my right and I thought to myself:

“Self, someone wants to go into our lane.  Do we let them in or not?”

“Perhaps we can just ignore it and let the car behind us deal with it…”

“But, good deed for the day, you know? What do we have to lose?  A few seconds? A minute?”

“Fine. Just one car.”

So I slowed down to let the little white Honda Fit in…and waited…

….and waited…

…for the obligatory wave.

No wave.

“That’s gratitude for you”, I mumbled.

Was it selfish of me to expect a little wave of thanks or even a small acknowledgment?

At 7:31 am, I was already in a terrible mood.

The good thing about my mindfulness journey is that I am getting better at not getting carried away.

I knew I had to pause and take stock of what I was feeling.

I noticed that my shoulders were tense and had started to hunch up…so, I took a deep breath and at the exhale, relaxed my shoulders.

I noticed that even my face felt tense…deep breath and massaged my brows a bit.

I noticed my hands were clenched almost into fists…deep breath and shook my hands and fingers.

When I got to the parking lot, I put on my headphones and put on Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”.

By the time I got on the train, my internal grey sky was starting to clear….and my day was back in balance.

It is really unnerving that one little thing such as a wave for letting one into my lane can matter so much…but for me, it just does.

It is probably because I always give a little wave when someone actually lets me in because it shows that I am not taking them for granted and that I really appreciate the gesture, however small.

I’m hoping tomorrow starts off better and if someone wants to go into my lane again, I get that small little wave…

…or maybe I should leave the house by 7 am…

Have a good rest of the week, everyone!

Debbie.