Counting Crows

“One crow for sorrow, two crows for joy, three crows a letter, four crows a boy.”  Does that poem sound familiar?  My mother taught me that poem when I was very young and it is something that I always find myself saying in my head when I see a crow, or a group of crows.  I’ve since taught my daughter this poem, with a totally different flare!

When I actually googled the poem, since I could only remember the first four lines of the first stanza of the poem, I found out that the poem that my mother taught me at a young age, was actually not the true poem.  She had taught me that three crows meant a letter, yet, the actual poem on Google said that three crows really meant a girl.  This actually makes WAY more since, since the four crows stands for a boy.  Where my mother got the letter idea, I will never know.  Probably from her mother, or whoever taught her the poem.  They obviously had a different perspective on the poem and learned it a little skewed from the original poem.

Since my childhood, and my spiritual journey, I love crows.  I feed them my scraps.  I admire them on my lawn and perched in the trees.  I love seeing them in groups and honestly, when I see them I still think of the poem that my mother taught me decades ago.  However, now, I don’t say the same thing, or think the same way.  If I see one crow, I just admire it and realize what a cool creature it is.  I don’t think that sorrow is on its way.  I don’t think negatively anymore, so this poem has been redeveloped in my mind.  But, I do LOVE seeing two crows together!  Then I think, “Yay!  I’m going to have joy today!”  If I see three crows, I still think the same because now I see two crows and an extra.  I don’t look at the group of crows like the poem at all anymore.  If I see four crows, then my mind is programmed to think, I’m going to have double the joy today!  Whoop!  Whoop!!!  And this is the version of the poem I taught my daughter.  Now, my daughter is trained to see the group of crows in my way of thinking.  I’ve changed the perspective of this poem to focus totally on the joy part.

Funniest thing happened while I was teaching my ten year olds the other day.  I was at the front of the class teaching a lesson, when out of no where a crow appeared.  Perched on a power line looking right in my classroom window.  It was like he was talking to my kids and trying to steal their attention.  Of course, I had to acknowledge this fine creature as he was cawing at my class. Then one of my sweet little girls started reciting the same poem that I was taught by my mother, only her poem was again, totally different than mine, or the one I researched on google.

Funny isn’t it?  How could one poem can be changed so many times?  What we are taught as young children is what forms our core beliefs.  If we were taught that Muslims are bad people when we are children, we are going to believe all Muslims are bad people.  If we are taught Germans are mean people, we are going to believe that Germans are mean people.  If we are taught that there is only one way to go to heaven, and the rest of the world is going to hell, then again, that is what we are going to believe.

Are any of these statements true?  Well.  If you believe them, then I guess, in your world they are, but not to me.  I feel they are the farthest thing from the truth!  There are one or two Muslims or one or two Germans that may be super passionate and have a different perspective on life, but that doesn’t make them bad people.  Is there only one way to heaven?  I think God loves all his creatures great and small, and heaven isn’t a fancy country club for only one religion.  No person is a better than another.  No nationality is superior to another.  No religion holds the golden key to paradise.  All human being were created equal!  It is judging and discriminating that is the horrible thing in this world.  It is teaching young minds these horrific beliefs that is unhealthy!

We all have to realize that what is inside of us, is what comes out of us.  I love this quote by one of my favorite writers, Eknath Easwaran, “For in almost all human relationships, we see others not as they really are but as we are.  To a suspicious person, everybody seems suspect; to a resentful person, every action is worthy of resentment.  Similarly, to a loving person, everybody is worthy of love; every occasion is an opportunity to practice love.”

If you have love in your heart, you will see others as loving beings.  If you have hatred in your heart you will see others as hating others.  If you have bitterness in your heart, you will only see bitterness in the world.  Why would anyone want to see the world through eyes of superiority, hatred and bitterness?  We have to change our perspective and realize the world is nothing but love.  Even if you were taught differently as a child, it is never too late to learn a new poem.  It’s never too late to rewrite what has been embedded into your psyche!  Love is all there is in this world, and once you realize that, life is an amazing ride, filled with joy, joy and double the joy!  Try out my poem on the crows and realize every crow is really just a sign that you are going to have an amazing day filled with joy!

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Tribute to Terry Fox

Every September in our school system we have the privilege of raising money for the Terry Fox Foundation.  Every year we are directed to educate our students on why we value this fundraising event.  As I watch the videos, read the stories and share the trivia about this young man, it touches my heart deeper and deeper each year.

Terry Fox was the epitome of a positive person. He was a very determined young man who was going to try and raise one dollar for every Canadian in attempts to raise awareness for cancer.

This man, on a prosthetic leg, ran a marathon a day!  Can you believe that?  There are people in this world that lay around and take advantage of society, and this man was trying to better society by making the country aware of the effects of cancer on a person, their family and their world.  What a self-less man!

Unfortunately, at the height of his efforts, he was rushed to the hospital where he found out the cancer spread to his lungs and sadly, he died shortly after.  Never fulfilling his dream of running across the entire country.  Never being able to be greeted at the finish-line by his family and friends.

Even though he didn’t accomplish his dream during the time he was alive, his efforts go further and beyond what Terry ever hoped or dreamed they would do!  Before he passed away, he even acknowledged that his life had a bigger reason than he ever dreamed and his pain and suffering was all for a reason. What a great way to look at life.

How many of us, see many years later why we had to go through pain and suffering.  It really does all have a reason.  Even when we are going through our season of pain, and don’t understand why we have to go through it, we should use Terry Fox as a guide on how we should handle our painful time.  We still have to remember that we should remain positive and live life to the fullest.

At one point some of the media was turning his story negative.  Imagine.  Man!  Some people.  One lady told him that he was doing too much, pushing himself too hard.  You know what Terry’s response was?  He wasn’t doing enough.  That is an incredible positive response to such a negative person.

How many of us have a bad day, and it is the end of the world.  We get into a bad mood and become all self-centered and wallow in self-pity.  This man had blood running down his prosthetic leg and still pushed on.  This man knew that he was very ill, but still kept pushing for his cause.  This man should be everyone’s role-model.

Buddha said, “With our thoughts we create our world.” When you choose to start looking at life’s bumps in the road with the thought of “what is this bump in the road trying to teach me” instead of the self-pity mind set of “why is this happening to me” your life will totally change.

We have to use people in this world, like Terry Fox, as lessons of what we should aspire to be.  It might not be cancer that you are going through, but when we face pain and bumps in our path of life we should use this pain to help us grow as individuals and as a community. Whatever the subject is, take your pain and turn it into a method of helping others who are experiencing the same pain as you.  Just like Terry Fox did.  A national hero.  Thank you Terry Fox!

Still the Chaos

First week of school over and done with.  Whef!  Now on to the second week…If you have no involvement with a school, and have no idea what goes on inside the four walls of the school during the first four days, I have to admit it’s quite chaotic.  Actually, very chaotic!

We have a huge list of important items we have to accomplish in the first week. Fire drill procedures.  Lockdown protocol.  Make sure students get on the right bus and make it home at night.  Paper work.  Classroom routines.  We don’t get to teach much curriculum during this week but we cover all the important items that they will need to have a successful school year.

I’m in my eleventh year of teaching grade 5 French as a second language.  In grade 6 my students have the option of entering the French Immersion program or continuing in the straight English program that they have been doing all along.  Every year I have the parents that ask me for my opinion if their child has the ability to be successful in the Immersion program where they will be taking every subject in the French language, and I value them asking me my opinion.

Some years, I do have parents that don’t ask for my opinion and put their child in the Immersion program, but usually these children are the ones that struggle with the program and end up coming out and transferring back to English.  If their parents had of asked me, I definitely could have given them my professional and educated guidance on whether their child would have the ability to be successful in this program.

As I’m preparing my presentation for this year’s Meet the Teacher night, a light bulb went off in my head.  How foolish are the parents not to ask me for my guidance on this big life decision for their children, but how foolish are we that don’t ask our Divine Creator for his guidance in our own big life decisions?

Do you know how many of my own big life decisions that I have made without asking in prayer or through meditation what I should do?  I would have to say the majority of my life.  Since I started meditating four years ago, what a difference it makes when I sit in silence and meditate about my life altering decisions.

The Universe is merciful and it will make our life unfold the way it was meant to unfold. The Universe also gives us the ability to have free will and form our own opinions and make our own choices.  Will your choices always align with that of your Creator?  Not necessarily.  That is why it is important to sit in silence and meditate on what you should do when you are making your choices.  Even little choices.

I love Marianne Williamson and her ability to help bring a better light on the teachings of A Course in Miracles. This was one of my favorite teachings about the power of meditation. “Meditation is power. Enter chaos from the place of internal stillness, and your stillness becomes a chaos buster.”

I’m sure I’m not the only one experiencing chaos at this time of the year and I’m not the only one who has many tough decisions to make about my life, my children’s lives or my financial life, etc. Why not try sitting in silence and witnessing how this does absolutely still the chaos of your life and witness decision making become a thing of the past. When you sit in silence all the answers just come to you. As if the Universe was whispering the answers in your ear! Sit and listen for yourself. You will hear everything you need to hear!

September Nights

September nights.  Aren’t they fabulous?  The cool crisp air is nature’s way of reminding us that a new season is approaching.  It’s nice to experience these nights after many hot summer nights, and it gives the morning air an entirely different smell.  Did you ever notice that?

Just from the smell of the air, my brain tells me it is time to do different things.  Pick apples.  Start cooking in my oven again.  Look for the leaves changing their colors on my runs.  My focus just totally shifts, all because the smell of the air.  It’s mystifying really.

The smell dictates the activities that I desire to fulfill.  It’s like it completely takes my thoughts captive, and I have no control over them any longer.  I should be wanting to soak in as much sun as possible on these nice September days, but instead, I want to spend the time in my kitchen again, cooking up some September meals.  Apple pork chops are my favorite!

Am I the only one who feels this way?  When September hits I am ready for a change.  I am ready to turn from my BBQ grill and start using my oven again.  I am finished laying pool side with cold drinks.  I can’t wait to run in the evenings with long sleeves.  Even as crazy as it may sound, I am totally ready to head back to school.  The smell of the air tells my body that it is time to move forward.  A new season is approaching and I am OK with this.

How many of us aren’t ready for the new seasons in our lives?  How many of us try to strangle the life out of the season we are in, even though as creatures of earth, the world is signifying to us that it is time to change.  You see it everywhere.  My husband is the funniest.  I still can’t get him into any other pair of jeans that the classical Levi 501s.  I love them on him, but there are many great denims in the world, but he will not let his season of wearing 501s ever change.

That is just a simple example, but there are some people who haven’t changed their hairstyle since the day they graduated high school.  Some people just grip the living daylights out of the stage they are in and refuse to change.  Unfortunately, life is all about change.  Styles change…even though my husband is refusing change. Relationships change.  Work changes.  Everything changes, and we have to let the changes happen and adjust ourselves to these changes.  Taking a positive approach helps with change.  Find the good in changes, because there is always a positive in every situation.

I’m a huge Eckhart Tolle fan and I love how he describes change! “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

Embrace the changes in your life that come with the wonderful month of September.  I know something new IS going to emerge for each and every one of us! It’s time to love life and realize it’s time to change.  Like it or not, the smell is in the air!  It’s time!  Something wonderful is in store for you! Enjoy!

Emotional Gout

Gout!  I remember studying about it in university for my Kinesiology degree when I was in my early 20s.  I chalked it up as an “Old Man’s Arthritis”.  The type of crippling pain that inflicts underactive, beer drinking, middle aged men who eat a fat saturated diet.  To my surprise, now my husband fits into this category that I once judged and turned my young, immature nose up at!

Luckily, when my husband has a flare up of this debilitating type of arthritis, he has a little blue pill that he can take to decrease the inflammation and lower the uric acid level in his blood.  This little pill isn’t all he has to do to make this painful experience go away as quickly as possible.  If my hubby wants this to clear up for good, then he really has to make some lifestyle changes, or it can cause erosion and destruction at the joint.  Taking this little blue pill is not fixing the problem it is just alleviates the pain temporarily until the individual can make some changes in their lives to make this go away.

Gout is something that can be fixed with a few changes in one’s lifestyle.  Making conscious changes in your diet, body composition, and alcohol intake.  Think of it like a broken leg.  If you had a broken leg that needed pins and plates to fix the problem, would you like for the doctor to perform the surgery and fix this problem at the root, or would you prefer to take Oxytocin and just numb the pain?  I’m assuming your answer is fix it with surgery.

The same holds true with any other pain that you are feeling.  Gout, broken bone or whether it is emotional pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc.  You can find a medication for all of these aliments, but it isn’t putting pins and plates in where they are needed.  You are just taking the Oxytocin to numb the pain and not fix the problem.

As I am learning more and more on meditation and the importance of spending this alone time with your consciousness, I am realizing that the pains that we go through are really just ’emotional gout’ with an unbalanced level of acid in our hearts.  We don’t even realize that we have these pains because they are buried in our subconscious.  Things that we ignored and never dealt with.  Things we took personally that we probably shouldn’t have.  Things that we made bigger than we probably should have due to our own insecurities.

Eventually these emotional problems resurface in our lives as pains in our bodies.  Sure we can go to psychologist or psychiatrist and have them perform their surgery on our broken brain parts, but after the cast comes off we also should be going to a physiotherapist to help the broken part become just like new again.  That is the part that meditation plays.  Meditation is the physiotherapist of the broken psyche world.  We all need this form of rehabilitation for our broken, acid filled or inflamed brains.

I love the quote that I heard from Panche Desai on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday pod cast.  He said, “Life is happening for us, not to us!”  How many of us wallow in self-pity when life doesn’t go the way we planned it, or something happened to us that we feel is unfair or unjust?  How many times have I heard that old cliché saying, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  Because even good people can learn and become even better people!

He also has another great quote that says, “That which we do not bring into the light of day controls us.”  Truer words could have never been spoken!  We have to deal with our ’emotional gout’!  We have to take control of our emotional diet and make some emotional lifestyle changes, by taking time in meditation to deal with our problems.  Taking medication only masks the problem, it doesn’t fix the problem.  I promise with every inch of my soul that if you make the decision to change your daily routine to just sit silently for ten minutes a day, you will see incredible transformations happening in your life.

Once your ’emotional gout’ is under control make the life changes necessary to get off the pills and have control back in your world!  It will be life changing!!

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Braces of Life

My daughter finally got her braces off this week!  She was extremely excited for the unveiling of her new set of pearly whites!  I was excited because of her excitement.  She couldn’t wait to eat certain foods again and most of all she was thrilled not to have food stuck in her teeth after every meal.

As the dental assistant quickly removed the braces to show us her new straightened teeth, I was amazed at the quick transition.  In two years, these two little wires moved things around precisely to have every incisor, canine, premolar and molar tooth perfectly positioned.  I never had braces myself so this process totally awed me!

I couldn’t understand the anguish and pain that my daughter was going through during these two years of braces because I never got to experience this myself.  I did see her having to take Advil after they got adjusted or after she had to wear new elastics.  I hated that my daughter had to be exposed to this needless pain just to have straight teeth, but it is something that she wanted and something that would serve her well for the rest of her life.  This pain, was just something she had to go through and there was nothing I could do to change that!

As I spend more time myself making my trips around the sun each year, I am realizing so much!  I find my children supply me with a great amount of wisdom.  Through this braces experience, and as my children age and are faced with some adult decisions and trials, I’m realizing that we are really all put on this earth to have our braces put on our teeth of life so that we can be straightened out.

We are all faced with getting our braces tightened every day.  We have challenges face us daily.  Some people are faced with more than others, but we are all being slowly shuffled around in our mouths of life so that over time we are straightened out to the place in our mouths where we belong.  A perfect smile of life.

My daughter was lucky.  She didn’t have her braces on for the expected two years.  That is because she was obsessive about the directions that the orthodontist gave her.  She made sure that she wore her elastics when she was supposed to.  If a brace broke she was at me to make an appointment and get it fixed immediately.

My son on the other hand was a total different story.  He never wore his elastics as directed by the orthodontist.  When I would encourage him to follow orders, he would remind me that it wasn’t him that wanted these braces it was me, and didn’t care if he ever got them off.  His attitude with this mouth full of metal was totally different than my daughter’s.  Due to his neglect, he had his braces on much longer than was expected.  Geeze.  I have an athlete I coach that has to have her braces on for five years because her jaw, teeth and bite are so messed up.

We are all going to have a different experience here on Earth, just like all children have a different experience with their journey in braces.  We can be like my daughter and be diligent about every little thing the orthodontist tells her so that her experience with this mouthful of metal is as painless as possible or we can be like my son, and not care about what happens to us and not learn from the wisdom of those who are directing our steps.

This is totally up to the individual.  Either way, we are going to come in to contact with these metal wires in our lifetime.  What we choose to do about them is our free will.  .  Just like I hated that my daughter was exposed to this needless pain of braces, it is hard to watch our children or any loved one experience the other pains of life.   We are all experiencing peer pressure, bullies, broken hearts, failures, and disappointments and this is hard to watch when it is someone you deeply love.  Especially our own flesh and blood.  If you are anything like me, you just want to just fix things for them, but you have to understand that that doesn’t teach them the strategies of life.  It is the person going through the turmoil that has to make the adjustments, and do the work themselves.  Parents can only be like the orthodontist and give them suggestions on what they can do to help this process move along faster.  Whether they listen to us or not is then their choice.  They have to make the effort to take direction and move forward.

If I can teach anything to my children or any loved one, as they are going through their painful time of  life’s braces and straightening out their moral compass of life it would be a quote from William Shakespeare, “Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.”

We are all going to experience the pain of having our “braces of life” on, but it is all part of our straightening out process for our souls.  Use your pain for your good.  Don’t forget the pain, but forgive the situation and learn from what it teaches you.  Try not to make the same mistake again.  If you do repeat the process.  Forget.  Forgive.  Learn.  And most importantly move on.  Eventually, whether it takes you a lifetime of braces or just a few years, you will eventually have the most beautiful and straightest smile of your life!

We all deserve this, but only you can make it happen!

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Emotional Eruptions

I have thoroughly enjoyed all the stages of my children’s development, but I am thinking the teenage stage is probably one of my favorite.  I love how they think they know more than their elders, make fun of our dispositions and actions, and most of all, I think it is funny how they are getting used to the adult life.

My beautiful daughter is learning how important it is to take good care of your face to prevent any acne from surfacing from her pores.  She is now on a fifteen minute routine that she performs morning and night to ensure her face remains clean, oil and blemish free.

I think it is fantastic that she devotes this time to the prevention of these nasty buggers.  We all know that pimples are excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria that get overloaded in our pores and cause this hard, inflamed part on our skin.  It actually comes from the Greek word that means “skin eruption”.  Funny part of the puzzle I think!

As I listen to her perform this lengthy routine every day, it makes me think about the importance of our own emotional health.  We really should be doing the same with our emotional well-being as my daughter is doing with her facial well-being.  She is taking a half hour out of her day to prevent these “skin eruptions” but so many of us should really be taking thirty minutes out of our day to prevent “emotional eruptions”.

Why do we worry about what is on the surface of our bodies, but not what’s going on deep inside of our souls?  Our mental pimples come from the dirty bacteria of our life experiences, the oil of bitterness and dead dream-cells that get plugged up in our minds and cause hard, inflamed parts in our souls.  Emotional pimples so to speak.  They fester in our thoughts and make emotional eruptions just like on our skin’s surface.

I’m sure my daughter isn’t the only one that spends time on making sure her face is acne-free.  Geeze, most women are definitely guilty of this!  Spending tons of their daily time on what their face looks like.  Make-up application isn’t a speedy affair and most woman spend tons of time making sure all their blemishes and imperfections are perfectly hidden under all that foundation, highlighter, blush, mascara, etc.  Meanwhile, their insides are totally falling apart.  They are ready to explode or take a mental breakdown, but they still look good on the surface.

If we spend the time on what our face looks like, shouldn’t it be more important to focus on our emotional pores?  Our emotional imperfections?  If we don’t want things to plug our emotional pores, then we really have to take the time to do the work that is needed to make sure we don’t have emotional eruptions either.

If you have time in your day to spend on pampering your face, feet, hands and even eyelashes, you surely can find time to pamper your soul.  Even if it is just 20 minutes a day to sit and meditate.  You can do a guided meditation, or sit in silence.  The important part is that you devote time to something incredibly more valuable than your face, your mental health!

The excuse, “I don’t have time” doesn’t fly with me.  We all have choices and if you choose to spend hours on making sure your outward appearance is great for all the world to see, than you have time to work on your inner appearance.  In all reality, this is what makes a person attractive, not what they look like on the outside!

Try multitasking.  Use your time wisely.  While you are in the shower, listen to something spiritual that you find touches your soul, or that educates you on the importance of meditation.  While you are putting on your face in the morning and taking it off at night, again, play an audiobook that will teach you the importance of pampering your inner appearance.  This is actually the part of you that people will eventually find the most attractive anyway!

I love the Buddha quote that says, “You cannot always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.”  My daughter can help control her skin eruptions to a certain extent if she spends the time nursing this area of her face, but we can always control our emotional eruptions if we spend time fostering our insides.  I recommend everyone read “Conquest of the Mind” by one of my favorite authors, Eknath Easwaran!  This book will help you take charge of your thoughts and reshape your life, if you are ready to put energy into this part of yourself.

It is time for everyone to realize that their inner health and well-being is more important than their outer appearances.  Spend your valuable time cleaning up the inner you.  I can’t stress the importance of this part of yourself.  Happiness is always found on the inside, not on the outside, so pamper that inner you to give you the happiness you deserve!  Nobody wants Emotional Eruptions, just like nobody wants pimples all over their face.  Clean up yours today!

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