1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Shows and Events, Special Occasions

Still Searching #Anniversary #Compassion #1000Speak

Four years ago, I joined in with many other bloggers and writers, all wanting to speak up on the need for more compassion in the world.

I was fresh off of a lot of rejection and I needed a reminder of something good:

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

was that goodness.

I wrote my first post
“Planting the Seeds of Compassion”
along with I believe, more than 1000 other writers. We wrote about good deeds, selflessness, rejecting anger, and now we come to that one, four years later.

What have I learned about compassion in the four years since 1000Speak?

Since this blogging movement took place, #45 has come into the picture. Before he became leader of the US, I could ignore him, turn from his fake television show and to something worth my time. Now, being America’s neighbour, I can’t simply turn the channel. I wish I could.

I can look for compassion in myself, offer it to other people, but he is a good example of one time I cannot.

The creators of #1000Speak have stated:

“Due to current world events between Trump-era America and the Brexit Shambles, the theme for 2019 is how to get beyond complacency or apathy to find compassion in times of division, and how to be compassionate towards people we disagree with, without condoning cruelty.”

Anyone who can judge character could spot the lack of it in the current president. That is me, lacking compassion in not even trying to understand what someone (#45 voter/supporter) may be thinking, but there are times that I come to a brick wall and there’s nowhere else to go.

I can try to understand what brought the US to voting in such a man. I can do this. I can’t give compassion for the man himself. I could try to imagine him, as a child, to wonder at what made him into the man he is today. I can and have done this, but unlike with the same for his base, I know he is who he is and he won’t ever change. It’s nice to be able to believe in redemption, but reality smacks you in the face like walking (face-first) into that brick wall I just mentioned.

Ouch! Now my nose, your nose is broken and bloodied.

Of course, I condone no cruelty toward anyone, not even him, but the world took an ugly turn since we first wrote about compassion, and there’s no point in covering that fact up.

I still try to live the best life I can. I am not at all complacent or apathetic, though I feel so helpless most times. I have done several things since 2015’s 1000Speak, including making an effort to improve life, here in Canada specifically, for those who are blind like myself.

I discovered the benefits of yoga and I learned the basics of how to play the violin. I let the music sooth my jangled nerves. We need to take care of our own well-beings, if we even have a hope of showing compassion toward those we disagree with, fundamentally.

Those who are self-serving can and will do what they please. I can let myself live in disgust and anger, or I can focus on the better world I’d like to see.

I can see that there is more going on in the world than what’s happening in the US or in the UK, though those places are major players in the world.

I can worry about a new friend’s birthplace in the brewing nastiness between Pakistan and India that’s going on, has been for many years. The world is full of greedy, selfish men who run things, not to mention a few women who are making giant moves on the world stage, in charge of countries too. It’s all about power and it sickens me, but I can’t let that feeling of being so small in a big, big world get me down. If I do that, compassion for others or not, I would drown in the despair of it all.

I’m afraid of where the world is heading, that we’ve allowed the fascination with something so destructive as nuclear weapons even become an available option baffles me to no end. It is so easy to lose control of many things, of it all.

So I let other bloggers and writers I’ve been blessed to know since starting to blog myself speak to the beauty that still exists,
like here for example,
and I keep searching, determined to stand with those finding silver linings.

I owe a lot to the instigators of this compassion movement:

Lizzi and her Silver Linings
and
Yvonne Spence and her inspiring compassion stance.

Though it has fizzled out somewhat from the original explosive response to the idea of writing on compassion.

It won’t ever fade away completely. It is a necessary effort, but I am still fighting with my internal bewilderment at the choices of other people, not wanting to call them out on it, but being unsure how to find a way to better understand.

I guess I can’t claim any great victory over my emotions on many things going on in the world today and since 1000Speak. I wish I had come to some grand revelation on the path to seeing the other’s side. I am still searching for a way to that place of comprehension.

I still wanted to participate, on this four-year anniversary, though my wisdom is lacking in my contribution. I am showing up, anyway, and showing my willingness to keep trying. I will not give up on the search for more and greater compassion.

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TToT: Thirty-five For Me and Five For Her Headache, #Blogiversary #10Thankful

Here, I hope to leave something behind when I go. Here, I won’t look back with any shame or regret at what I’ve said, what I’ve written. I am proud to be Her Headache.

I am
thankful
for this blog and all those who’ve found me here and read what I’ve written on these virtual pages, ever since that 2014 February of my thirtieth birthday.

As for how to celebrate my five-year anniversary with this space, I couldn’t quite settle on how to best show my gratitude and my pride on all that this blog has brought to my life.

In the beginning, it all started with me showcasing my
BUCKET LIST
of items I’d wanted to experience.

Since my kidney transplant, twenty-two years ago, I am all about not taking each day for granted and my list was a way of stating my purpose and no longer settling for less out of fear. Things like chronic pain and disability threatened to take away a life worth living, but I fought against that and found this blog as a part of that.

In this last five years, I’ve been lucky to check off several things on the list, though I am enjoying the ups and downs of the journey, as I’ve learned that to be the best part of the whole thing really.

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Still, I can’t stop wondering where life will take me and so here we go with the review of the things I have done and seen in five years that I may not have dreamt I’d do, during the most difficult days in my past:

I am thankful for the teacher I’ve had, for the last three years, since I decided to take a chance to learn to play an instrument in my thirties. Violin was beautiful to me and I wanted to learn to play with a bow, to produce those kinds of heartbreakingly gorgeous sounds I’d heard from the violin for years. I was drawn to it since I gave up on clarinet back in high school. (Too much air needed, blowing into that thing, which was hard on my head, prone to headaches already.)

She is leaving on a new adventure soon and I must face that thing I often dread, “Change”.

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I am thankful for my violin and the progress I’ve made so far, even when I get down on myself for not learning more, faster.

I am thankful for my autumn of 2018 visit to the Maritimes, Canada’s eastern provinces, even my short visit and the limited bit of Nova Scotia I saw. I am thankful I got to place a small item, a token of my appreciation for her gift of iconic literary characters like Anne Shirley in Canada’s cultural landscape, on her gravestone. I got to write a note of my gratitude, from one writer to another, in the guest book in the house Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in. I was brave to finally state, in writing, that I think of myself as a writer, even up next to someone as talented as Montgomery.

I am thankful I got to walk along those Prince Edward Island beaches, the coastline and the smell of the sea. Red Point. The End of the World P.E.I. and the force of the wind at that spot, lighthouse next to a drop down to fearsome ocean roaring down below me.

In these last five years, (not only out east) but I’ve traveled to Mexico, Yukon, British Columbia, and back to Florida for the fourth time.

I am thankful I got to make it to my twenty-year anniversary with my kidney, from my father, and that I got to celebrate that with him and my family and friends, zip lining at my favourite Niagara Falls on the Canada side. I hope to zip line in more places around the world in future.

I am thankful I technically did get my writing available in bookstores, when I wrote a short piece which was included in a print magazine called Misadventures. It was only available in Barnes & Noble, in the US, so a friend went into one and took pictures for me of that magazine on the shelf. I hold that book in my hands and am proud to know I have writing inside of it.

I thought it fitting to make my five-year blogiversary into a TToT post, one of the best things to come out of this blog since 2015 when I discovered other bloggers doing it and I joined their exclusive TToT blogging community.

Thank you, TToT comrads and all of you, for visiting me here. You’re the best.

All jokes aside on the wisdom of getting older, as I turn thirty-five and look back and look ahead, I know the fun is in the journey, not necessarily its destination. Still, I will always write about it all here, or for as long as I am meant to,

Where will I be in five years? And, how will I have gotten there?

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TToT: From Longest Month To Shortest #AllOverNow #10Thankful

“January so far has been a month of cold gray days, with an occasional storm whirling across the harbor and filling Spook’s Lane with drifts. But last night we had a silver thaw and today the sun shone. My maple grove was a place of unimaginable splendors. Even the commonplaces had been made lovely. Every bit of wire fencing was a wonder of crystal lace.”

Letter from Anne to Gilbert ANNE OF WINDY POPLARS

Though I took a few weeks break, I am still full of gratitude and I am finishing off the month, looking ahead to February and beyond.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the sound of Canada geese out my window.

I heard them out in the cold January sky, just as I heard sad news from the literary world, and something about it felt less coincidental and more like a sign of a poet leaving this world.

I am thankful for poetry like that of Mary Oliver and her love of nature and the natural world, which she showed through her poems.

I am thankful for orchestral musicians and their conductor who keep up and play the beautiful music of a Harry Potter soundtrack, as I watched the movie on the big screen with a bunch of other crazed HP fans.

I am thankful for snow that’s like cotton balls, like the kind that makes me feel its cold, but also like maybe I’m living inside of one of those snow globes.

I am thankful for the energy of a productive violin lesson where I know why it is I love the instrument so much.

I am thankful for a few minutes of time with my niece playing beside me, even while on the phone. She is the sweetest, coming and sitting beside me and cuddling, then hiding under the blanket.

I am thankful for our thing together where I sing the Elton John line: I’m still standing … and she then sings the next part, yeah yeah yeah.

As cute as it is that she now does high fives and fist bumps, that’s more of a silent action, whereas the singing is an audible one.

I am thankful for new Dido music:

I am thankful for classic love songs, duets, and for beautiful musical talent.

Lots of sadness in the music world, with love song guru James Ingram dying and I end off January with one more glimpse of the voice we lost, one year ago:

RIP to them both and to Mary Oliver too.

I am thankful for the end of January and February arriving, a short month (my birthday month) now beginning.

Well, if I am living inside of a snow globe, time to shake things up! Bye bye January and hello February to come.

The Garden In Winter

Frosty-white and cold it lies
Underneath the fretful skies;
Snowflakes flutter where the red
Banners of the poppies spread,
And the drifts are wide and deep
Where the lilies fell asleep.

But the sunsets o’er it throw
Flame-like splendor, lucent glow,
And the moonshine makes it gleam
Like a wonderland of dream,
And the sharp winds all the day
Pipe and whistle shrilly gay.

Safe beneath the snowdrifts lie
Rainbow buds of by-and-by;
In the long, sweet days of spring
Music of bluebells shall ring,
And its faintly golden cup
Many a primrose will hold up.

Though the winds are keen and chill
Roses’ hearts are beating still,
And the garden tranquilly
Dreams of happy hours to be­
In the summer days of blue
All its dreamings will come true.”

—L.M. Montgomery

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No Going Back, #JustJoJan

Two crime proceedings happening in Canada this week.

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One, a monster pleads guilty for his crimes. Good. His victims are not here to
testify,
but family is always more than willing.

The other, a senseless crash between a bus and a truck last spring and bereaved loved ones
testify
about how they’ve been forever affected.

The first, evil. The second, a careless accident.

A bunch of young men, athletes, and coaches were killed. Many were badly hurt and injured. A man must live with that fact all the rest of his days. The forgiveness, though it may not have been found by all at this time, was shown with moving offerings from families toward the man who was at the wheel of that truck.

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Wrong Washroom, Who Cares? #Disability #JusJoJan

Sometimes I let it slip on by and other times I take hold of it and don’t want to let it go.

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There is likely somewhat of a
cathartic
feeling I get, during those times I can’t and don’t let it go.

This week, I come to discover that public washrooms at a local university aren’t labeled in braille and I feel stunned, but I don’t know why I’m surprised at all. I guess this is just simply one of those little things blind people are supposed to live with?

Our blindness does require we take risks, face fears, and don’t let so many things hold us back, even from using the washroom.

We can wait for someone to come by, which is how we ask for help when we can’t first solve something ourselves. Or else, we have to go, bad, and that means we must pick one and walk in. Whatever happens after that…who can say.

A small thing, unthought-of by most, because they don’t live with it every day. Understandable, on one level for me, but am I speaking up for the greater good or just making a fuss?

That word, activism is a push away word when people hear it too often. It becomes tiresome, but I get it.

Then I want to bring attention to a scam, people thoughtlessly asking for money in grocery stores, representing the grassroots organization for the blind I have found empowering. People say, what’s wrong with raising money, as a rule? Nothing. Many organizations do it. We, as our organization made up of blind people, wish to show that we can be more than symbols of pity and need.

But of course, there is a need, a lot of need. We have the need to be understood and accepted. We can’t sit back, all our lives, waiting for the rest of the world (mostly sighted) to get those things for us and more.

Some saying, oh these things are hard to deal with, when a scam spreads across Canada and I still need to do something to stop it.

It might be a bit of a
catharsis (thank you Enthralling Journey),
to tell people they’re not being thoughtful, or else I am a scene maker who loves the rush it offers when feeling self-righteous about any given situation when up against the insensitive.

Call it what you like. It is my reality. I often long to hide from it, but that only works for so long before I need to be doing more, doing something.

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Whistle A Tune As You March Toward Hell #FilmReview #JusJoJan

The documentary begins and ends with their voices, ghostly, from the past.

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All of them, their collective voice is a powerful
echo
of a war with no discernible point, but massive waste and loss of life. But still, they must not be forgotten.

I love Peter Jackson for his bringing to life of Middle-earth and now he shows us what fresh hell war was/is, and not the kind of war in fiction where men and elves and dwarves (with the help of a wizard) defeat the orcs in an epic battle. It’s reality at its worst.

From what I hear, the grainy old footage moves into vivid modern colour and then back into the old shots, but I see none of it.

I don’t see the ugly part of war, bodies blown apart and such, but I do hear the bursting of artillery in battle, the men crying out, shots and screams coming from all around me as the surround sound has me sitting on edge, forward and stiff in my seat.

Archival recordings from the 1960’s and 1970’s, of the First World War veterans, all the way back to actual British army camera shots and film that was taken, live on the western front. Lip readers were even brought in by Jackson to interpret what was being said in those shots. Actual interview voices speaking, with no narrator. I wasn’t sure what to expect, if I could get enough from the film, but these kinds of documentaries are usually accessible, for the most part.

From the boys they were, lying about their ages to sign up and on into their basic and specific training. To heading into misunderstood horrors of war. To the trench life to off duty time. To the lead-up toward the battle itself. Then to the aftermath and home once more, for the lucky ones.

It ends where it began, with the time passing habit of whistling and the innocent sound that portrays, the nonchalant spirit of such a tune.

It’s all ringing
echoes
of history in Jackson’s latest film, which played in theatres in Canada on January 21st, for only one day and two months after the anniversary of the armistice that finally ended World War I – They Shall Not Grow Old is a solemn phrase of fact for millions and a gripping title for Peter’s latest. Check it out when and where you can.

It’s not about why the war happened, but rather what it was like being there. And still, I left asking “why?” anyway.

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One Continuous Motion and the Cooling #JusJoJan #SoCS

I am tracking my plans for 2019 as I take part.

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Or jotting is more accurate.

For today’s instalment, it’s my
television
that is front and centre.

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I can also write from a stream of consciousness POV about my thoughts on how I hate working out, but I do need to build up my strength.

The blowing snow today is the kind of wintery wonderland I love to see, as part of why living in Canada is a beautiful thing. As far as exercise goes, I am indoors and on my exercise bike. It is an old one that I started riding back when it sat in my oma’s furnace room, along with the fruit cellar I used to go into to get a can of Coke. As a kid, maybe some sugar gave me more energy to ride that bike, but now I stick to soda water.

I am in definite need of a new seat for the thing though. I rode for about 10-15 minutes the other day and I got up to 35 today, but my arms have been sore all day and they stretch a little too far to reach to hold onto the handle bars and my butt is so sore, it is painful to get off the bike when I’m done. The knitted seat cover has its charm and it came from my oma, but maybe there’s something more comfortable out there, even fit for this old thing.

I can’t say I like sweating, but I know I need to break into one to be getting some benefit. Although, there is something refreshing about getting of the bike and feeling the cooling all over my skin that the process causes.

But back to why I speak of needing my TV. I have music channels on there that I crank up, with my speakers out here, and I focus on the steady roar of the bike and the sound of those songs that keep me moving my legs in one continuous motion.

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