Ottawa Shooting – A Long Hard Day

Oct. 22, 2014

Usually I walk the 15 minutes it takes to get to the parliament buildings or war memorial. Not yesterday.

Yesterday I took my car to get to a corner store that’s 5 minutes away. Somehow it felt safer than walking.

It was shortly after the shooting and it wasn’t clear if there was a second gunman still at large. What was clear was most of the city was on lock down and there were tactical teams with weapons drawn all over the street searching.

As soon as I walked into the store, I heard the news bulletins playing from a laptop and rushed to get my purchase so I could get back home.

But once at the cash, I saw it was Muhammad watching the bulletins. He was ashen and trembling.

I asked how he was.

Stupid question, considering what we were in the middle of, but I’ve been going into his store once or twice a week for the last 20 years, and it was the only “normal” thing I could think of.

I didn’t need to ask, not really.

His voice was breaking, he was near tears and only barely managing to stay composed, “ It’s going to be a long hard day. One extremist person, and a whole group of people bear the blame.”

“None in my heart.” I said. I tried to smile. I think I did, but my eyes filled and I know he noticed.

Except for that one moment, it WAS a long hard day.


An Unexpected Muse


I love this picture; it inspires me.

I have it scotch taped just above my desk. There’s something about it that touched my heart the instant I saw it and it took days to understand what it was.

It’s the spark, the spirit in her eyes. It seems at odds with the life written on her face and yet, it’s there.

I see a woman looking out at the world through her experience – with a fearlessly tender belief in her hard won wisdom.

I see her resilience and a raw sense of what being alive has been like for her. It hasn’t been easy, and I can only barely imagine her life stories, but I doubt she gave any thought at all to what’s called aging gracefully.

There wasn’t time, just necessity. Hunger, war and a life spent working the land do that.

And yet, the playful and carefree essence of the girl she was is still radiantly alive right behind her eyes for everyone to see.

I wonder how she did that.


Drink Tea – Press Publish


Every time I press “Publish” I hold my breath.

Seems I’m not the only one – that anytime anyone creates something and shares it, they feel the same way. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post, a painting, a piece of music or a play. The minute it’s public, it takes on a life of its own…fast.

It’s not just the letting go of it – it’s that we all know what was once private is now public. We put our hearts and souls into our creativity and each piece is a window into who we really are. We’re under scrutiny from strangers and no matter our intention, we suddenly feel exposed and vulnerable.

So why do we do it and is it possible to manage the emotional roller-coaster ride that always follows?

I found some startlingly honest answers to these questions and enough insight to keep me musing for days in this video interview of Brene Brown by Chase Jarvis.

In it she talks about her latest book, “Daring Greatly”. She’s funny, straightforward and for most part a little off the wall (in best sense).

It made me think of Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech at the University of the Arts. It’s full of quirky wisdom and not-so-common sense.

I’ve bookmarked both and made them my “go to” videos for those moments when my courage is nowhere to be found, but the publish button, along with a cup of my favorite tea is right in front of me.