Saturday, June 30, 2012

Transitions and wardrobe malfunctions

This deep blonde entry is for those who are also going through transitions, either personally or professionally. 

In addition to Middle Age, the following are a few more books I have been reading lately, addressing personal, artistic and professional transitions. 

While out and about town a few weeks ago, I visited a branch of the Ottawa Public Library I hadn't been to before.  Although they didn't have the exact books I was looking for, I picked up a few that were related. 

Transitions - Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life by Julia Cameron

"Julia Cameron shares beautiful prayers of empowerment followed by potent declarations and reflections on the nature of change and coping."

This book is the perfect size for reading while riding or waiting for a city bus.  In previous years, I have also read and attempted the 12 week program from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.  I really got a lot of benefit from the morning pages exercise. 

"The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life."

Selected quotes from Transitions:
  • It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.  - Ursula K. Le Guin
  • To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it. - Mother Teresa
  • People need joy, quite as much as clothing.  Some of them need it far more. - Margaret Collier Graham

That last quote goes out to the other middle aged lady I encountered, running errands today in the 30 C plus heat.   Sweetheart, the next time you head out on a breezy, hot day in a light sun dress, please remember to wear panties.  Parking lot up-drafts can be embarrassing - for everyone!  I don't feel so silly now for wearing my big, floppy sun hat.

The next book is one that was interesting yet a little to tiring to read all the way through.  Yes, I skipped a few pages, looking for gems and interesting bits.

Light in the Dark Ages: The Friendship of Francis and Clare of Assisi by Jon M. Sweeney
"The Middle Ages were not so very dark, as the old textbooks say. As you will discover in this intriguing portrait of the first Franciscans, we live in dark ages whenever we become preoccupied with power. In this popular history, Jon Sweeney reveals the timeless temptations that come with being human---greed, competition, ego, and selfishness---as well as the many ways that Francis and Clare of Assisi inspired change and brought light into darkness."

This book is also the perfect size for reading while riding or waiting for a bus. I wonder if Francis was a disenchanted youth and had daddy issues.  Perhaps his spiritual life in nature could be compared to the 1960's hippie commune movement.   Kudos to him for helping the lepers when not many others would.  I cannot understand his marriage to lady poverty and dislike for owning books - even religious ones.  He did not like to own things. 

I'm sure some of my family and friends thought my downsizing efforts a few years ago were a little extreme with my new-found minimalist desires.  I consider Francis' rule for not owning more than one garment a little severe and ... would be unhygienic by today's standards.  Maybe that lady in the parking lot had her other set of underwear in the laundry?  

Francis believed in only cooking enough food for the current day and saving none for the next.  He lived in the moment.  He obviously didn't have a family to cook for, to pack and freeze casseroles and containers for meals throughout the week.

Seriously, people need to work to survive and support their families using as many economical tactics and time management techniques as possible.  You have to be efficient and penny-wise to make it in this modern world.  In addition to volunteering, I see gainful employment as an important part of contributing to society.

My heart goes out to folks at RIM and the federal government who have recently learned that their jobs may be cut.  On that related note, the last book I will mention is called Promote Yourself, book focused on self marketing by Anita Caputo of the Big Picture Institute.  

Anita is also a public speaker and co-author of Learn to Bounce, a book that came out shortly after she and hundreds of others were laid off from Nortel.  I saw her speak at a professional development seminar a couple of weeks ago and was so impressed and inspired that I purchased a copy of Promote Yourself.  It's "a practical guide to marketing yourself without being too pushy or too shy!".  Being content and sufficiently challenged in my present employment, I mainly wanted to garner tips for promoting my nom de plume, Florence T Lyon

Thanks for reading this far.  I hope I spaced out my thoughts and paragraphs enough for a pleasant experience.  

I like reading.  I like reading paper books.  I'm sure you do too.  Do you also like to read books on your Sony, Kindle, iPad, Kobo or other electronic devices?  As a reward for your patience, permit me to offer you a discounted eBook copy of my novel, The Year of the Rabbit.  Drop by before July 31st though.

Thanks for visiting.  Relevant comments are welcome.  Please +1, like and share and remember:  Semper ubi sub ubi


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Stop over-thinking things!

That's the key message I received after reading "Middle Age" (Art of Living) by Christopher Hamilton.  Too much navel gazing and thinking-thinking can make you depressed!

I had picked up "Middle Age" at a used book store while out on Rideau Street with a friend
last month.  At first, my choice was on a lark as we chuckled at the book's title and the fact that each of us were either in the middle of middle age or starting to feel it.  I have recently been going through changes in different roles and areas of my life.  Although there are many life change books aimed at women, I chose to try reading this one written by a man.  Meh... It was on sale.  It was also thin and compact enough to read on my daily commutes. 

The book was a difficult, slow read at the beginning, enduring this man's lengthy tale about his family, his strange childhood and the impact of the revelation about his real, biological father.  I gradually appreciated and related to his comments about religion, faith, philosophy, family and relationships.

The focus was that he felt the need to re-evaluate who he was after hearing the news about his real father, confirming  suspicions of his mother's dalliances in the early years.  Was he who he was - who he had grown up as?  How or why would one feel any different knowing this news?  Talk about serious navel gazing and philosophical questions! 

I am curious to hear comments from visitors if you at some time wondered about your family and if you had been adopted - or switched at birth?  I used to.  I sometimes wished it.  I would look up at the stars at night while wandering outdoors, avoiding family outbursts and wished I could be taken away by some benevolent alien race.

In my novel "The Year of the Rabbit", twelve year-old Sera Fletcher eventually discovers who is her real, biological father.  Does it change her view on life?  Does she look at Matthew Fletcher in a different light?  Could she forgive him for his neglect since he had learned the shameful, disappointing news himself?  Well... you'll have to read the book. 

So, thank you very much for reading this far.  I am really flattered.  If you'd like a free copy of the Ebook version of
"The Year of the Rabbit", hop on over to this page by July 1st. 

In addition to performing glamorous domestic duties and reviewing my short term and long term goals, I would like to get back to writing in my pen and paper journal. That's where I record the mundane as well as my goals and deep reflections on life.  I will certainly return to this blog on occasion, offering my deep blonde thoughts. I hope you will return to read them :o)


Middle Age (Art of Living)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Send in the Ghouls?

I was very disturbed after watching the news a few days ago.  More like shocked, horrified and ... angry.

Hopefully the majority of fellow humans can commiserate. 

According to CTV news, "The appalling details revealed in the media coverage of the Luka Magnotta story have had an unsettling effect on many.

One psychologist said that it's normal for such unpleasant revelations to leave people stunned and outraged."

No sh*t.  I cringe every time mention of this story comes up or the revelation of new, gory details slither into view.

It's something that makes you shake your head and say, "No way.  How can someone do something like that to another human being?  What kind of childhood did this ghoul have?  How can someone do something so cruel - to kittens?!  And seriously... What twisted sicko would want to post videos of these events online?"

This is definitely not something that one would want children or fragile seniors to see.  But how can you shield them from information that is available all over the Internet?  It's a strange new world, adding on to the crimes committed by the likes of Paul Bernardo, Karla Homolka and Jeffery Dahmer.

To add to the disbelief, you discover that there are web sites that cater to hosting these ghoulish videos.  Next you learn that there are people who record their friends' responses while watching these horrifying videos then post them online. What the h3ll is wrong with these people?  What harm are they doing to their psyches and those of our future world leaders? 

What a troubling time we live in, when gruesome information is freely shared using common forms of publishing and Internet technology, bordering on violent obscenity yet being defended under freedom of expression.  

While writing, expressing and offloading in my pen and paper journal yesterday, I surrounded myself with three lit candles:  one beeswax tea lite within the aromatic diffuser; one in the lovely wine bottle lantern; and another white candle of hope.  Call it quirky but this works for me.  It works by being in a place of semi-solitude and calm.  Sometimes, I wish I could be hermit, wrap myself within a safe cocoon and shut off the outside world.  

Yesterday I tried out Skype video calls for my first time.  I shared updates, congratulated recent accomplishments with family members across town and across the Atlantic Ocean.  It was exciting to use this technology to gaze upon smiling faces and send love over the ether.

That is what I want to remember.  That is what I prefer to know people are doing with their time, energy and use of technology.  Sounds naive, doesn't it?  

Now it's Sunday morning and I'm fuelled up from my first cup of coffee and strawberry Eggos while listening to CBC R2's Choral Concert.  

While we cannot deny the dark side of humanity, we can each take a moral stand, working together to dilute that twisted darkness with acts of compassion, respect and good cheer.  

Thank you for reading this far.  Relevant comments are welcome.  

- - - 

I acknowledge there is a violent scene in my novel The Year of the Rabbit.  It was not written to shock or glamorize violence but to demonstrate how within a few seconds of anger and passion, even the most innocent person could be pulled into harming another human being.