1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Feminism, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF

Songs For My Soul, #InternationalWomensDay #TGIF #FTSF

Almost exactly two years ago, for something called 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion and for International Day of Happiness, I wrote
this post
of my top ten favourite albums.

This time
for Finish the Sentence Friday
I will choose my top ten favourite songs because it is top ten week.

“I’ve looked in the mirror, and the world’s getting clearer. So wait for me this time.”

Time – Chantal Kreviazuk

This first song is about time that feels like it’s running out and I’m still playing catchup.

“My scars are what got me this far. And now I can touch the stars. Cause’ it don’t matter who you are. Who you are. We’ve all got scars.”

Scars – Emmanuel Jal feat. Nelly Furtado

This powerful and poignant duet is about scars, real physical ones and the scars on the heart. I’ve got both, but I am proud to have them as a part of me.

“DJ’s playing the same song. I have so much to do. I have to carry on. I wonder, will this grief ever be gone. Will it ever go? I’m the
King of Sorrow.” – Sade

This is a truly sad one, but I love this artist because her songs range from sorrowful to sensual.

So that’s why I couldn’t pick one over the other and had to include two in this list.

No Ordinary Love – Sade

Next, I must include an all-time favourite, with the piano violin combo, that makes me cry every time.

“All my plans, fell through my hands, they fell through my hands on me. All my dreams, it suddenly seems, it suddenly seems…”
Empty – The Cranberries

And now, it’s all the more sad, since this singer died early this year.

“Everybody loves you when you’re easy. Everybody hates when you’re a bore. Everyone is waiting for your entrance. So don’t disappoint them.”

Black and White – Sarah McLachlan

Being afraid, not always feeling like I was enough, and this one is all about my fear of being one giant disappointment to the world and the pressures of that.

“Be a good girl. You gotta try a little harder. That simply wasn’t good enough, to make us proud.”

Perfect – Alanis Morisette

This is likely a song about one of those parents who is living through their child. That’s not why it struck a cord with me. It wasn’t anything like that. Yet, there was a time when I felt like I wasn’t trying hard enough and was letting everyone down.

“I believe that when the hurting and the pain has gone, We will be strong, Oh yes we will be strong And I believe that if I’m crying while I write these words Is it absurd? Or am I being real…
I Believe – Tears For Fears

“I believe, no I can’t believe That every time you hear a newborn scream You just can’t see the shaping of a life.”

Okay, so you may be wondering, what’s with all the sad stuff.

This next one, I will write/quote no lyrics from, but see if you can tell the mood of it anyway.

Smile – Lily Allen

It seems more upbeat anyway, than some of what I’ve included here, though it’s a young girl who is acting rather petty. In recognition of yesterday (March 8th) being International Women’s Day, I thought I’d showcase what growth and empowerment can stem from.

Devil Inside – Inxs

We all have a bit of a bad bit, inside, somewhere. This song is my way to end this list, on a bit of a cheeky note.

Of course, there are many more and I could likely do this again, even if it’s sometimes hard to think on the spot. So many to choose from, songs are my fuel and my energy to keep going, but I will stop at these four for today.

I am excited to learn, hear the songs that made the top ten for
Kenya Johnson of Sporatically Yours
as a co-host with Kristi.

Plus, a bonus guest host:

Jen Kehl (one part of The Stereo Sisters)

I see I’m not the biggest music fan here.

And so, the above songs have changed me, made my life better, richer, have soothed my soul.

Thanks for listening.

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TToT: Under My Skin and Out of My Hands – Cascade and Concatenate #10Thankful

It’s March and I’ve been uneasy with the spring weather we had, just a few days ago, and right back into winter storms, Mother Nature not even missing a beat.

I dedicate this song and this week’s thankful post to my niece Mya Lynn on her 1st birthday, though it was last week already.

You Make Me Smile – Dave Koz

She is fourth in a row for nieces and nephews, all of whom make me smile everyday. Whether it’s Mya enjoying her first birthday cake and streamers, her big brother playing Ninja Turtles with his friends at the party, or my other niece and nephew set, making me a Happy Birthday video from the airport as they prepare to fly somewhere warm for a week – they all make my list, top of the list, each week I do this and all those weeks I’m not feeling well enough to do this. That’s when their ability to make me smile is needed all the more, though I happily take it anytime.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful my ERG test went off without any problems, rather painlessly, though slightly uncomfortable at certain points.

Look at the bright, red light. Don’t blink. Count to fifteen. Now you can look away, close your eyes.

I hear back about what it is my retinal impulses say in a few weeks.

The woman doing the test was cheerful and friendly and helpful as she attached the electrodes to my earlobe, eyelid, and my wrist. Luckily, my right eye is my only real eye and so it was only that side I had to be tested on.

I’m thankful I haven’t caught the flu this year.

So many seem to have caught it, different bouts and strains, more than once. I don’t know. I did have my flu shot, though that topic is controversial.

I get colds, not flus.

I’m thankful a celebration of compassion returns.

Sewing The Seeds

It was February of 2015 when I heard a bunch of bloggers/writers hatching a plan to spread words of compassion throughout the online community, to combat all the awful events on the news, taking place all around the world.

It was a project with a lot of steam at first and it lasted several months, but slowly died down over time. People ran out of ways to write about the topic of compassion for 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion and we all moved on.

Three years later and I found something to say to mark the occasion anyway.

I’m thankful our ninth Ketchup On Pancakes podcast episode was ready for release.

Ketchup On Pancakes – Episode 9 – What’s An iMate?

We are aiming for one a month for the entire year, but we’ll see.

I’m thankful for animal/pet therapy.

My cousin owns a hair salon in her basement. She got a new little puppy for her family last weekend. She is only nine weeks and is hanging out down in the salon with us customers for now.

So, she was the sweetest thing and likes to cuddle with people. She spent my appointment in my lap. It was majorly calming.

I’m thankful for something of a head massage for my sore head at a hair appointment.

As my cousin washed and blow dried my hair, it helped my developing headache, likely from my ERG the day before.

I did not want my appointment to come to an end.

I’m thankful for easy listening and new age nature sounds/music when I’ve got an awful headache.

I found some
Tony O’Connor
in Apple Music when I needed something comforting to listen to.

He has albums entirely devoted to soothing natural habitats such as ocean and rain forrest.

I’m thankful for my cousin who creates the most awesome cakes for any occasion.

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She made one hell of a unicorn cake for Mya’s first birthday. It was delicious, even with all that icing.

I’m thankful for a brother and a friend, both of whom are computer savvy, and who put up with my impatience and my tendency to over think most things.

We had a lot to take care of this last weekend (spread sheets), but we finished off our days together (unofficial CFB executives meeting) by making big plans to look forward to.

I’m thankful for all the renewed joy of having a newborn around this past year, to have that with a little girl who shares my middle name.

In a way, I am deeply sad that perhaps the final baby of the family is growing passed that sweet infant stage, but she is growing into an absolutely adorable little girl with an incredible need to explore her world.

The best is when I am standing there and she crawls over to me, pulls herself up on my legs, and reaches up with her arms out.

Happy Birthday little girl. Xoxoxo Mya Lynn.

March…and lion or lamb…which comes first where you are?

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Sewing The Seeds, #TearsForFears #Compassion #1000Speak

“Time…to eat all your words…swallow your pride…open your eyes.”

I won’t include a link to TFF’s most well-known song: Everybody Wants to Rule the World, because I am sick of power and reckless lack of humanity.

As we show the next generation the way, we need to show them love, but too many of us won’t admit where we went wrong ourselves.

Though, (both love and hate, as movements/floods), can, instead, be seen as seeds sewn in each and every one of us given the right environment for such strong emotions.

Adults, those who are handed the positions of power and leadership, do your job and LEAD!!!

I am tired. I am not thinking all that straight. I just can’t…

I was pulled in two different directions on this night, just after February 20th, and of equal wonder, though firmly rooted in sadness for everything I wish could be different but isn’t.

First, a group of youth from the Jane and Finch area of Toronto were treated to a screening of Black Panther and given the chance to see a black man as superhero for a change.

Then, I heard recording of the students in Florida, one in particular, speaking out on the BS they see from the adults and those running their country.

I wanted to cheer all these kids on, to believe they would be in history books in years to come and for only the best of reasons, that they would see nothing else but positive role models that might show them some hope somewhere along the way.

I have two sets of nieces and nephews: one set currently attends a school in an urban setting, in a highly diverse neighbourhood, in one of the busiest cities in Canada.

My second set (nephew for the moment, but soon both nephew and niece, or soon enough) who go and will go to school, in a rural area. It’s out in the middle of the countryside, where their parent/aunt/uncles went to school once upon a time, long long ago, where we grew up in a highly sheltered setting.

If I thought, ever for one moment truly, that any of them were at risk of having some angry/out-of-control person walk into their classrooms with a dangerous weapon, able to kill like we all saw in Florida last week…

My chest both constricts painfully and threatens to burst at such a notion as this. I can hear the anger and the pain and frustration in the voice of that young woman on the video, speaking up for her friends and classmates and herself.

I know there is anger and it is justified. I just wish she wasn’t left with such anger in the first place. It seems to be pushing a great many young people, those speaking with such poise for the media and the world to hear, and these are young people who were born around the turn of this new century, barely even born when 9/11 occurred.

Now I am forced to contemplate my own loved one’s voice shake with anger like that, if anything were to ever happen so dreadful as all this, and I don’t want to.

February 20th was the 3rd anniversary of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, the blogging event that a bunch of writers created all the way back in 2015 and of which I was moved to join in on at the time.

More regular violence in places like Syria (those poor babies), (in schools/places of worship) but also there have been changes for the better since 2015 – #MeToo and #TimesUp to name a few.

On this anniversary, with so many horrible things/monumental things having taken place in the last three years, I thought I’d write again on the subject of compassion toward ourselves, each other, and the wider world. Today I was inspired to speak about this, using one of my favourite bands and their lyrics to make my point.

And so, another senseless event, and I have nothing to say, but I find words anyway, but perhaps I am just too naive to know any better. I still believe:

The songs I’ve chosen for this post, from Tears For Fears, they make me cry and they make me keep on hoping, shouting my message of compassion, even in my most furious and pained moments.

As for 1000Speak, this blogging movement for compassion did not continue more than a few years, as I sensed many of its original participants found they eventually couldn’t restate the same things anymore, that they had no more to give to it, no more to add. The fatigue sets in and we ask “what’s the point”?

I get it. I mean, after all, who’s really even listening to my thoughts on all this anyway?

Things change and life goes on, I understand, as sad as that made me, and still does. I feel that same way, but I still write. I don’t give up on compassion. I keep saying my piece. I am glad new voices are always being added though.

Children do need to be where we find hope, where we first look to demonstrate our own humanity, as those who should know better, even if some of us never were shown the way ourselves.

Compassion is a seed that must be sewn and sewn again and again and again.

Thank you to all the hard-working gardeners who keep at it, season after season, year upon year, and throughout all kinds of weather.

As TFF lyrics once put it, as far as compassion and the spreading of it goes: “it’s under my skin and out of my hands.”

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Thunderbolts and Firewires: The Year That Was 2016, #Farewell2016 #Writing #Podcast

I am feeling a little like I am frozen, and I’m warm while I say that. I don’t need to be out in a snow bank to say it. It is January, a new year, and I am frozen by many fears. I am afraid I will accomplish nothing, that this year of 2016 will be empty and a blank void in my life. I feel frozen by indecision and by uncertainty, but I hope I can find a way to thaw from that feeling of being frozen by all of this, that I can find the courage to take risks and keep moving forward.
I am equal parts afraid and optimistic. I am a lot hesitant and somewhat hopeful. The fear that I could go a whole year and not get anywhere at all clings on tight. On the other hand, I see a wide open year ahead as full of unknown possibility and promise of something great.
You never know the experiences you might have, the events in life that you just can’t plan for, and the people you may meet, who may come into your life for all kinds of reasons, for the short term only or for longer.

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Here I am, a year on from the fear and those remarks I made on my blog at the start of 2016, and a good year for me personally and creatively, trying new things, all by deciding to focus on myself is how 2016 actually turned out.

And now, I end 2016 and begin 2017 by looking back, at the year I’ve just had and ahead to the year to come.

I did it at the end of 2015 with:
My Top Spills and Thrills
of which there had been enough of both to go around.

What a ride! Would 2016 be anything else?

And so, I give you – 2016!

JANUARY

As the January 2016 quote from my blog showed,
I began my year afraid and uncertain and on a bit of a lower note,
with a little
Just Jot It January fun.

Then, to kick things up a notch, I thought the best way to focus on my writing was to take a writing workshop with a Canadian writer I’ve admired since I began blogging and seriously writing.
Carrie Snyder – Obscure CanLit Mama
Her style to creative work was just what I needed and it made me open up and here I am, one year later exactly, off to broaden my writing workshop horizons.

In reality, my brother had just come off a close medical call and was becoming himself again. I had lots to be
thankful for.
I just needed a bit of a push,
some creative inspiration,
and a path for a new direction in my life.

The year 2016 would, by many, be labeled “The Year All the Greats Died…the cursed year” even if you look at that with perspective from other years, past or future.

It began with David Bowie, but for me,
it all started with Snape,
as Bowie hadn’t quite meant to me what he’d meant to many others who felt his loss.

A new year maybe, but a new month meant another
#1000Speak,
focusing on the subject of forgiveness.

With the start of 2016 I decided to start a new Friday tradition.

Thanks to Kristi from
Finding Ninee
I decided to participate in a new blogging exercise
for the first time.

Another first included
Dungeons, Dragons, and Sorcerer’s Spells
but, in the end, it wasn’t for me.

Turns out, the magic of this month has been that I could just write, jot really, and I started to see that I didn’t need to have the rest of the year all figured out in the first thirty-one days.

FEBRUARY

This second month of the year is designated for a cause I know well. It ended up to be my chance to speak my mind about my personal cause and became my first published article of 2016:

To the People Who’ve Never Heard of My Rare Disease – The Mighty

February would end up being a month of
mindfulness and music.

Ten days in, I turned thirty-two and decided to check a big one off of my
bucket list,
and so I went out and rented myself a violin.

Happy Birthday To Me!

I turned another year older.

Harper Lee dies

MARCH

This third month of 2016 would bring more music, as I would discover my theme song for the year and forevermore:
Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado
and I would officially begin to learn how to play the violin, with lessons that would challenge and reward me, in both big and small ways.

Then, in honour of International Day of Happiness, I wrote a piece for
March’s #1000Speak
about how music makes me happy.

By this point in the year, I decided to cut back on blogging and write more of the memoir I’ve always planned for.

This was the best I could do.

I will keep at it.

March brought with it guest blogging spots and more opportunities for publication, other places than my own blog,
with my second attempt at the #BeReal challenge.

Following this, feminism seemed to be the topic of March as a month.

An interview I’d done with
a proud male feminist
and then a piece I’d written on
International Women’s Day
were both picked up by
The Good Man Project.

As for those we lost in the month of march:

Rob Ford (former mayor of Toronto)

and

Patty Duke, at the end of Women’s History Month, March.

APRIL

I got myself a writing mentor and my lyrics were finally heard.

Don’t Look Back

I was trying to focus, to look ahead, and to plan for what I wanted.

Why Oh Why

The writing mentor was a big deal, for that, as great and knowledgeable as she is and as much guidance as she’s been so far, but it was a sign that I could make writing my future – only I could do that.

April’s #1000Speak was all about vulnerability.

Once again, like during the spring of 2015, I was losing my tool for communication and self expression. This makes me feel vulnerable.

So I appreciated
the share from a friend
and another
guest posting opportunity
from a blogger, a young woman I really admire and have interviewed here before.

Spotlight On Single Strides

The end of April brought with it the death of Prince.

It also brought with it
the death of the loner laptop I was using
and a beautiful gift from a stranger, one which would allow me to write another day.

MAY

Back And Better Than Ever

I’d been pondering the idea of doing a podcast for a while, but couldn’t figure out how to make that work. Then, I brought up the idea with my brother and an idea, our idea, was born.

Taking A Chance

Next, it’s the month to celebrate mothers.

Solid As A Rock

I couldn’t do this without thinking back twenty years.

Frozen In Time

For May’s edition of #1000Speak I focused on
Loving My Self-ish.

The end of May and onward to June always causes me to pause and reflect.

Born Again and Forever Grateful

This time these thoughts would grow to become my next piece to be featured on The Good Man Project.

JUNE

My first Song Lyric Sunday on more than just any old Sunday day.

Following “the month of the Mother,” –
Her Dad Gave Her New Life and Rebirth–Where’s the Father’s Day Card for That?
June will always be a month for me and my father.

Electric Blue Compassion, #1000Speak

JULY

We started with a Facebook page,
and soon that followed with
Episode 1 – Intro To Us
with Ketchup On Pancakes.

On top of the release of the podcast, I jumped at an amazing offer, an invite, which would require a whole lot of planning and a wait of nearly six months.

Would the moment ever get here?

I bet my sister was thinking that same thing, we all were, but her good news was finally a dream come true.

A chance at independence and a new life for my writing and for me and a second child for her.

And so I applied for a newly updated passport and began to count down the months.

I read and wrote one of my rarer than I’d like book reviews.

Then I was approached and invited to write another
guest post
about my life and my day as a blogger.

What is courage anyway? #1000Speak

AUGUST

More lyrics for a second song written and, in celebration of and motivated by that accomplishment,
I decided to return to the visual art of my childhood and an old, familiar kind of creativity.

Up next, speaking of being reminded of being a child,
I reviewed a movie about motherhood,
that I’d gone to see, with my newly pregnant sister, in our own empty theatre.

Weeks before, at the end of May, the lead singer of Canada’s own Tragically Hip announced his fight with brain cancer and all his fans of Canada were listening, especially all across the country, one night in August.

The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada – The Planet D

One beloved Canadian spoke up about his oncoming struggle and we lost someone in our family. I’m glad I got to meet Gerti, at least once that I’ll always remember.

As August came to an end, I made a few hard choices about my writing and what I wanted done with it.

If I made a mistake somewhere in there, I guess it will be mine to make and to own and to learn from.

The questioning would and will continue, no matter the month or the year I’m in.

SEPTEMBER

The first day of this new month was one I’d been waiting for, with the release of a new publication, focusing on what travel should be, the kind I’d like to see.

Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel

I remembered what it was like, moving into my house that I bought with my sister, ten years ago.

Collecting Furniture, Memories, and Emails

Ten years later, my nephew started school and my niece began the first grade. Another loved one passes away. RIP Erica.

I got to feature an interview I’d done with one of my favourite editors/writers.

The Other Awkward Age: My Interview with Jennifer Niesslein

This felt like a giant win and one of the best things to ever happen to this blog.

OCTOBER

Episode 2 – Ingredients Listed with Ketchup On Pancakes

But we weren’t the only ones with the idea of doing a podcast. Apparently, the idea had spread.

The Brevity Podcast

I took an autumn trip, to say goodbye,
with more than just the fall colours
as backdrop.

NOVEMBER

The U.S. makes a big mistake and it’s time to get writing – all the more reason to write.

Nano Nano Nano

“Regarding the influence from his poet-balladeer father, Cohen has said, “He’s tremendously helpful. Forget that I am his son. I was tutored in lyric-writing by Leonard Cohen and I had his sensibilities to draw upon. And I’m not just talking genetically. I could literally talk to the cat and he could lean over my notebook and point to a couple of phrases and say, ‘These are strong, these are weak.’ How can I consider myself anything but incredibly fortunate.”

Canada loses a great artist and the world all feels it, a distraction, in the form of
RIP Leonard Cohen,
just following the chaos in the United States.

Stalemate, #1000Speak

Could this possibly spell the end of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion?

DECEMBER

Canada announces the first woman, other than the Queen, to appear on Canadian money.

Black rights activist Viola Desmond to be 1st Canadian woman on $10 bill

One month after November’s U.S. election, we share our Canadian perspective.

Episode 3 – The Great Gong Show of 2016 with Ketchup On Pancakes

I focused on my own personal growth for a greater part of 2016, but managed to fit in a little, last minute dating during the final days. Also, I made new and face-to-face connections with a few local women writers. So, a balance of personal and social, for good measure.

A few of the final famous deaths of 2016 would include daughter/mother pair Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but for me, it was the loss of this guy that brought me back twenty or so years:

I watched Days of Our Lives multiple days a week, while I was sick at home from school or stuck on dialysis. It was my favourite soap opera of the late 90s, as ridiculous as the storylines always were.

Joseph Mascolo, ‘Days of Our Lives’ Villain, Dies at 87 – New York Times

No villain was ever more evil than Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo).

Special Snowflakes and Safe Places – Wham! Bah Humbug! Whoosh! #10Thankful

I featured a George Michael shoutout, in my final 10 Things of Thankful post for 2016 and this was before the Christmas Day announcement of his passing.

I am no fortune teller, but some of my predictions did happen,
as I sit with what did indeed come to pass and look back on what 2016 became.

Ketchup On Pancakes (the podcast) had a final episode for the year, a catch up on all that was 2016, by a cozy fireside.

Episode 4 – Farewell 2016…By The Fireside with Ketchup On Pancakes

And now, here I am, and another January is upon me.

It is a bit of a contemplative month, with the new year so new and fresh, but I value it for its melancholyish quality. It is a quiet time of reflection and so much possibility ahead.
As a new year begins I search for the motivation I see all around me, the kind that is going to get me to the places I strive to get to. I feel the blueness of January and hope I can find some momentum in the months to come.

My 2016 Resolutions were:
I want to make more connections with writers, creative and smart women, and I want to keep writing. I want to not be afraid to keep putting my words out there, even though the fear of more rejection is a lingering one.
Some make resolutions, others pick one word for their year, but I resist doing both. If I have to choose one word though, I suppose I will go with “Adventure”. I do want more of this, as I believe life is one giant adventure, all the years we get to live it.

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Loving My Self-ish, #Compassion #1000Speak

“Every day is so wonderful. Then suddenly, it’s hard to breathe. Now and then i get insecure. From all the pain, I’m so ashamed.”

Beautiful – Christina Aguilera

I don’t look forward to these months, I have to say. This month’s topic for #1000Speak is “Self Compassion” and I find that one most difficult to write about. I could go all day long about any other topic under the “Compassion Umbrella” but when I must turn all my reflections inward, on me as a person, I struggle and even debate skipping May’s linkup altogether.

But here I am. I do like a challenge. Showing myself self compassion is just that.

So many of us wrestle with turning our writing in on ourselves. I know I am not alone. I have my reasons, for why I resist showing myself the kind of compassion I fancy myself so good at showing anyone else, just like everyone else who can’t show themselves that very same courtesy either.

Lately I’ve seen a lot of awful things. I’ve heard from so many with terrible stories of difficult childhoods, all setting them up for failure with self compassion, and I have none of that. I know I am lucky there.

I had supportive and loving parents and a close family growing up. All still true. Every one of them contributed to the best of who I am, not the worst thoughts and ideas I think about myself, during those darker moments.

It is not in spite of them, but because of them that I have the sort of love for myself as a person that I do. I do see my own worth. How could I not, with family like mine? They made me who I am.

We all have our own unique struggles. We are taught a lot about arrogance and narcissism in our world. It’s all around us. How to avoid taking on the worst of those qualities? If we love ourselves a little too much we are called out on it. If we constantly put ourselves down we make it too painful to be around. How to find a balance?

Well, without a stable childhood it is made one hundred times harder. I have the advantage there. I try to show myself compassion and then the negative thoughts creep in. It didn’t start from a need to be loved, not by family, to be perfect, but I got it anyway, in my own way.

Growing up with a disability makes you stronger. I can readily admit that. It teaches resilience and determination. That’s all well and good, but it also creates vast amounts of insecurities and guilt.

Am I worth being around?

Am I good enough?

Am I good at anything?

Am I or have I ever been a burden for someone?

Am I enough, in friendships and in romantic relationships? Do I deserve happiness? Will I ever find it or am I meant to end up alone?

Is that a bad thing in the end? Could I survive it and be okay anyway?

So, how to get okay with any of these?

Of course, I am familiar with the truth that “we must love ourselves before we can expect anyone else to love us” and I agree. My whole life, up until now and going forward, is focused on developing the skills and the belief in myself, to become stronger, for better or for worse.

I don’t know how anyone knows they love who they are enough that love from someone else will work out. Do I push people away? Is there something in me, a doubt and a faithlessness, that anyone I attempt to get close to can feel, of which inevitably ends up driving them away?

These are all questions that run through my head. I don’t know how to make it stop, how to finally answer for my own personal satisfaction.

So, then the challenge becomes finding meaning in what I love and what I know I am all about, a new internal fight begins. It’s more uncertainty that nags at me by this point.

So, I can repeat continuous statements of positivity in my head, out loud, or in my writing. I can then hope those thoughts take hold in my mind, as I desperately hope to believe I can be happy.

I try things like write down what I’m grateful for. I try to remind myself of the things I can do, instead of everything I cannot. That scale often feels unbalanced, but I steady myself whenever possible.

If I feel like I’ve got no friends, no hope for finding love, like I’m not meant to ever have children and a family of my own, like I will never find a job and support myself, like I can never look the way I want or be at the right weight then I would drown in a sea of hopelessness. I have somehow found a way not to lose hope, to keep the faith, even during the rougher moments.

Underneath it all I was raised to value myself. That is a foundation that will never let me down, one which I can always count on and look to for strength. It’s the building up from that initial base, since then that sometimes threatens to crumble. I must do whatever I can to stop that destruction.

I have no finality on this matter, no answers, nor conclusions. I am still figuring it all out.

This month…

And every month, or as it should be.

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

Self Compassion Heals

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Uncategorized

The Year Compassion Rained, #1000Speak #LoIsInDaBl #BlogLove

I wanted to do something to mark the two year anniversary of this blog last week, on the day I turned thirty-two, but I decided to wait.

I knew the anniversary,

We Are The Village (a #1000Speak post),

would be coming soon after. Rather than talking about what I’ve learned about having a blog for two years, I figured that instead I would round up each monthly contribution I made to 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion over the last twelve months, all in one place. This, I’ve decided, is the best way I can think to truly illustrate the importance it has had in my life this past year and I hope to continue with it in the future.

The presence of

#1000Speak

has helped me to focus in on what is at the heart of why I write and at the core of my space, this blog: Her Headache.

FEBRUARY – Compassion

Planting the Seeds of Compassion

I interview two people who make a unique and lasting difference in the world around them.

MARCH – Building From Bullying

Bystander

I speak about bullying, in my own life, for other people, and in literature and how we all see it happening, in front of us at one time or another.

APRIL – Nurture

Nature and Nurture: Bloodroots and Blood Ties

Using a particular afternoon out in nature with family, I speak about the whole nature vs nurture debate and the vital role I think both of these have played in my own life.

MAY – Connection

Connection and Disconnection

I speak about the types of connection I want for myself and how I deal with feeling lonely or alone in the world.

JUNE:

Everybody’s Got A Story

This one speaks for itself really.

JULY – Acceptance

The Trouble With Being Real

I speak about showing compassion to myself in a world where it’s sometimes just easier to hide.

**Here, I took a bit of a summer vacation from compassion for the month of August. Sounds worse than it was.**

🙂

Instead, I’ve included a guest post I was invited to write, a few months later, for the 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion site.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest

I speak about compassion vs pity that I often get from others.

SEPTEMBER – Honesty

Eggshells, Broken Glass, and Scissors

I examine when it’s okay to be honest with other people and how to learn from the sometimes harsh nature of honesty when it is given back to me.

OCTOBER – Compassion

Who Is Malala?

A young girl was shot in cold blood on her way to school and she does not hold onto thoughts of revenge, retribution, or anger.

NOVEMBER – Gratitude

And Then There’s Books

I am thankful for the things in my life that teach me gratitude.

DECEMBER

Compassion For Christmas

I relied on the compassion showed by others during a time when I really needed a lot of it.

JANUARY – Forgiveness

Both Sides of the Forgiveness Story

I speak of looking at forgiveness from several angles.

Thank you,

#1000Speak,

for helping me see the good in people over this last year.

All of these posts listed here are a tribute to you.

Love Is In Da Blog, #BlogLove

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes

And Then There’s Books, #1000Speak #Grateful #GivingThanks

November’s 1000 Speak For Compassion topic is

Gratitude

and today is Thanksgiving in the US, but I am in Canada.

We celebrated our Thanksgiving a month ago. My family and I spent that beautiful weekend at a pumpkin patch and corn maze. I will always be thankful for days like that with my family.

I have had all week to write about gratitude. I did not write a post for this on the 20th, but I thought, since I am not celebrating feeling thankful and grateful by eating turkey and pie, I’d write about feeling thankful and grateful instead.

I like to associate this holiday with pumpkins and harvest, rather than Natives and Pilgrims. I don’t associate feeling thankful with any sort of history and I don’t even really like pie.

🙂

I also don’t like that tomorrow is Black Friday. It feels bad to me. I like things, material objects, as much as anybody. I just wouldn’t be willing to get trampled to death for the pleasure of obtaining more of them.

I know what the holidays, starting with tomorrow are about, a lot of the time, but I am not even sure how I’m going to feel about the holidays this year.

I don’t know about miracles, but I have seen a lot of things that come close. why, just last week my brother became very ill very fast. I am thankful he’s doing better. It could have been something so much more serious.

I can list many things for which I am grateful, because I like to say my glass isn’t ever half empty or half full. I just spill a little sometimes.

I guess I feel weary with all the materialism of these celebrations, when I hear about all the bad stuff going on, but I don’t have to look far to find things to be thankful for in my own life.

I do it on a weekly basis now, thanks to the blog hop I discovered six months ago:

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for this weekly exercise in silver linings, thanks to Lizzi at Silver Linings.

I know Americans like to say what they are thankful for on this day. In addition to Ten Things of Thankful, here are some more things I am thankful for. Instead of speaking about them around a dinner table I will talk about them here.

I am determined to focus on feeling thankful, even as I feel the bad stuff in the wider world growing. If it’s true that terrorists want to divide and conquer, I won’t stop thinking positive. I won’t let them have everything, not if I can help it.

I have enough trouble thinking of the pain and misery humans keep causing for other humans, but I keep many thoughts buried deep in my own head. Sometimes it feels like I might explode with all that bothers me, but as long as I have writing and my blog to help make things a little easier, I will use both for taking the edge off of that hurt.

I am thankful for the direction Canada appears to be heading. I was numb and hiding from national and political stuff for several years. I felt like I had no control and I did not like the things that were going on, like someone was trying to pull wool over my eyes and the eyes of Canada, so I checked out as my way of dealing with that feeling.

Justin Trudeau could turn out to be just as bad, but I have a good feeling about him and I hope I’m right. The change, either way, has made me grateful for several weeks now. I hope Trudeau’s government and the decisions they make on terrorism and environmental issues, for example, are going to make us all proud to be Canadian.

I am thankful for Christmas. Even as hard as last year was, I still am a Christmas girl at heart, which gives me hope that this year I will be able to find all the happiness and joy in the season that I’ve always found.

I am thankful for my father, who turns sixty in a few days. I am trying to figure out just what to say about that. I want to say more than a few words of gratitude, as the best present I can think to give him are my words, but it’s hard to put that kind of thing into words of any kind.

It’s strange to write so much about gratitude and thankfulness, focusing on it at least once a week. So many times I want to let other things win: envy, fear, hopelessness. I remind myself, several times a day sometimes, that being grateful is worth the extra energy it often takes. The reminder is necessary. It keeps me going.

My envy for other people and the things they have sometimes threatens to swallow me whole. If it weren’t for how lucky I logically know I am, it would be impossible to go on.

I am grateful for the kindness of people, those who take the time to get to know me, to speak to me like a human being. I don’t want pity and never have. I am grateful for so much, but that wouldn’t be so true and meaningful if it weren’t for all the things that remain hard and painful and lost to me.

When I am having a bad day, wishing I could see colours still, remembering the loss of a family member, relationship, or time in my life I loved I want to throw my hands up and scream. Then the clouds that were so grey one minute part and the sun shines in. I don’t have to work too hard to make this happen.

I am thankful I have no serious mental illness. A girl shouldn’t have to shoulder both physical and mental illness at once. I know there are people who do, but I got the one, not the other. I am thankful for a clear mind, albeit foggy at times. I look at the world in crisis, so much of the time, and I focus on the stability I am so lucky to have in my own life.

So I am not sure how long I should wait for the other shoe to drop. That’s how I often think. All the thankful posts in the world can’t truly drown that thought out, but I’ll keep trying anyway.

So there you have it. This post did not include lots of statistics or scientific articles about gratitude. Others wrote about that. I could only tackle the subject from my personal perspective. I am thankful for personal perspective, in all its forms.

P.S. And then there’s books. How could I forget books?

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