Life is Short, Buy The Shoes

It’s the first day of spring, and my Mom beckons me to visit her in ‘The Gardens’ where she peacefully rests. I enter the driveway under the shade of the huge cedar tree, until the warming spring sun meets me, and I circle around beside the lake, and pass by the Chinese pagoda on the right, and the chapel on the left.

I arrive at The Garden of The Good Shepherd, with a statue of a shepherd in the center, his eyes watching over my Mom’s headstone. The only sound comes from two enormous Canada geese who are sipping water running from a hose on the path nearby.

There are more flowers in ‘The Gardens’ than the golf course and all the big lawns of the houses beside it combined, and the blooms are ablaze in pots and bouquets and wreaths in every shade of cheerful red, yellow and orange, creating a peaceful and beautiful spot.

life infusing flowers

Flowers are life infusing

Words matter, and I prefer the euphemism ‘garden’ over cemetery. Gardens are grown, cultivated and nurtured, while cemeteries are maintained.

I do not feel grief, but I feel nature rejuvenating my senses, and infusing me with life honoring energy.

A small miracle occurs each time I visit. On one occasion, my sister felt as if someone was watching us, and there was a beautiful coyote standing as still as a statue, staring at us from the distance. Another time, my brother said it seemed as if all the song birds in the area had gathered to sing for us.

On my first visit after Mom died, I drove out the exit and traffic was stopped. Then a mother duck jumped off the curb, and trailed three wee ducklings behind her across the street, in front of my car. The ducklings were so tiny, they made a few attempts before getting up the curb on the other side. What symbolism! Three of us had helped Mom a lot around the time of her passing, and it might sound weird, but this felt like she was giving a little gift to us.

I place a pot of pink flowers into the holder on her headstone, and sweep debris off her stone with my hand, and remember a verse from her favorite song, Danny Boy, that she used to sing to me:

And I shall hear, though soft, your tread above me
And all my grave shall warmer, sweeter be
For you will bend and tell me that you love me
And I will sleep in peace until you come to me.

Visiting here helps me cherish the gift of life.

I think about the frivolous sign I saw in the store where I bought her the flowers earlier:

“Life is Short, Buy the Shoes”.

It is a metaphor for going after what makes us happy in life, like buying the shoes we long for, and to softly tread along the sweet path of our lives in them.

photo credit: Vietnam Plants & The USA. plants via photopin cc

52 Weeks to Optimizing Yourself – Week 10 – Go As BIG As The Taj Mahal With Recording Family History

Go Big as The Taj Mahal

An Inspirational Building

My brother is recovering from an illness, and when we met this week it was nice to have some laughs together and to see that he is feeling better. I am going to write down some of our family history this week, so it is not lost, and my brother is going to supply me with some information as he has all the records.

We had so many laughs from discussing our dad, who was quite the character, a rough around the edges seaman with amazing stories to tell. My brother dubbed him the original “Indiana Jones”. He spoke five languages and travelled the world many times, often in the grip of some danger or mystery.

He took on the riskiest missions while in The Canadian Navy during WW11, delivering sensitive intelligence to Allies on the cargo ships, with the boxes up on deck with ropes, and orders to dump it all in the ocean if they came under attack. He once captured a German prisoner in his submarine during WW11, clamping his injured artery together in his hands until they got to shore for medical help. After the war, he lived in a boat in Vancouver’s Coal Harbor for a while, and when I was young, he had some land jobs, like walking the high beams as an ironworker building bridges, and driving a gas truck and getting danger pay for it.

For this week’s optimizing yourself, I am going to write down some of his stories, so they are not lost, and I am going to find a Richard Halliburton book, as he was an important part of our childhood:

One of our dad’s heroes was travel writer and seaman Richard Halliburton, and my brother remembered the name of his book that was our family treasure. It was called “The Royal Road to Romance” and my Dad used to read it to us as kids. My favorite story was about The Taj Mahal.

Here is a write-up on Richard Halliburton. (Richard Halliburton was a great writer with columns in many newspapers, including The Toronto Star).

He had a reckless love of life and romance.

Writer, Lecturer, and World Traveler, Richard Halliburton published numerous books during his short lifetime. During his world travels, he visited exotic locales such as the Taj Mahal in India, climbed the Matterhorn, flew across the Sahara desert in a bi-winged plane, and swam the entire length of the Panama Canal. He also roamed the Mediterranean Sea retracing the route followed by Ulysses in Homer’s Odyssey and crossed the Swiss Alps on the back of an elephant in a recreation of Hannibal’s expedition. Halliburton died in March 1939 as he and his crew attempted to sail a Chinese junk, the Sea Dragon, from Hong Kong to San Francisco as a publicity stunt. The vessel was unseaworthy and went down in a storm around March 23-24, 1939. His body was never recovered.
Amazon.com

I will let you know how my family history recording goes next week.

Photo: photopin/flickr/creative commons

Review of Week 7 – Go BIG With Changing The Words “If Only” To “Next Time”

Love of Fate

Love The Hand You Are Dealt

This week, when I had thoughts like: “If Only I hadn’t broken my laptop charger, to “Next time I will not chop the chord up inside the motion furniture when I sit down, I realized that I can’t change what has happened, and it is a waste of my energy to regret it.

I was reminded of the ancient Roman philosophy, and the Latin words: “Amor fati”, meaning “love of fate”.

Instead of regretting the past, and wasting time worrying about things I can’t change, I can embrace them as a necessary part of my journey. All my experiences, good and bad, are lessons that have have shaped me and helped me arrive at the present. If I can love everything, good and bad, and see the value in what it has taught me, I can stop looking back, and be better today than I was yesterday.

photo credit: °*¤©§][ Rα3чαт BмW ]/photopin/creative commons

Review of Week 52- Optimizing Yourself – Report Card for Year of Optimizing Yourself

When I looked back on all the optimizing yourself topics of the year, I found a common thread among them all, and it was improving how I used my time.

My time on earth is short and precious, and a large percentage of it is already used up with sleeping,eating,showering and cleaning.

By setting goals for myself each week, I feel that I optimized the use of my time, and did more activities that I wanted to do, such as spend more time in nature, listening, reading, writing, playing, meditating, working, clearing clutter, visualizing, and being aware. I still have room for improvement on my goals, and will continue to work on them, but I am putting a gold star on my optimizing yourself report card this year, because I feel I came a long way towards achieving my life goals.

This year, I made a habit of optimizing the hours in my life, and added more life to my hours!