Monday, May 21, 2012

Jaime Love

When I invited Jaime, my son's girlfriend, partner, love, to write about her mother I didn't expect this. I was excited about her contribution because I've listened to her share stories about her childhood, and they were rich, and deep, and magical. I wanted to share that experience with you. I also know that Jaime has a relationship with her mother, Cheri, that expresses beautifully, daughter-mother love. I am incredibly moved that she included me.

Cheri, Happy Mother's Day, today and everyday.

“I told my Mom about you.” Kohen said as we walked along Union street on a crisp Autumn day in Kingston, Ontario. I remember my footing as we cleared the intersection as well as the golden sunshine slinking below the tree-line waiting for dusk. I remember everything from that moment because those words are poignant, saturated with meaning, and resonating to this day.

I have always been close to my Mother. I have always heralded her as this beacon of strength, reason, and compassion. She see’s the world in a spectacular and vibrant way and has taught me to breathe, see, listen, and experience with raw and liberated intention. She was, and continues to be, the first one I call for, cry for, smile for, and love.

I adore Kohen for the ways in which he loves his Mom. He knows what love is, and has learnt it from her. I know that we share this unshakable bond with the women that brought us into this world. Sharing this gives us more reason and strength to love ourselves and each other in ways that are amazingly positive and nurturing. The four of us, while maybe not obvious, share this incredible connection. We all call each other for support, for laughter, for consolation, and for affection. We draw inspiration and wisdom from each other. This gives us strength to put our best selves forward and to project kindness, love, and compassion onto our own individual environments.

Kohen and I know what kindness and love is because of our mothers. We are continuously learning and experiencing while practicing this knowledge so that, we too, can grow older sharing this light.
Jaime makes love feel like a beautiful blanket she has unfolded, and wrapped around your shoulders.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


To continue our honouring of Moms throughout the month of May, I have a story that perhaps has already crossed your FB or inbox in one way or another. It is about a mother's love. The other day I saw a card that illustrated how M-O-M spelled upside down is WOW......this is a WOW MOM.

I don't want to canonize Lacey Buchanan, she lives with enough pressure without the rest of us holding her to inscrutable standards, but I do want to honour her creativity, courage and beauty. She is beautiful, very much like her name, delicate and transparent. And she shows us the deep truth of true beauty - how the eye of the beholder can transform how others see.

For me, the most moving part of the video is watching Lacey's expressions. Motherhood could probably be defined through these expressions.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to experience the transformation.

You can find a great article about Lacey here, and join her on FB here.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ainslie's Mom

My mom has always volunteered her time. As long as I can remember she has been involved with many worthwhile organizations, from church to seniors homes, and women's groups that support communities locally and overseas. Now, at 80 (something) she still volunteers. She is really remarkable that way. She spreads kindness through her service to others, lending a hand wherever it is needed.

I now volunteer because of her example, and I thoroughly love it!

Ainslie xoxo

Thanks  Ainslie for sharing.

For those of you who are not aware, Ainslie and I have been friends since high-school. Best of friends. From her days as a principle dancer at Ballet British Columbia, to her current role as incredibly successful entrepreneur and business woman (see Ainsliewear), she has been an inspiration - much like her mother Selma, whom I adore. Whenever I get the opportunity to connect with Selma, she has some wonderful story about some wonderful, exotic place just visited. These are some of the most precious gifts I think that she has passed on to Ainslie, her curiosity and adventurous spirit. I feel blessed to be part of their lives.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Celebrating My Mother's Kindness

 I don't know how it got to be May already, but the signs are unmistakable: big yellow bags dirt dotting driveways, the sounds of lawn mowers and that intoxicating smell of fresh cut grass, garden centres springing up in parking lots and early morning walkers and runners celebrating sun and warmth after a long, dark winter. And of course, signs and messages everywhere reminding us to celebrate our mothers. So I've decided to do just that, by inviting friends to write a guest post about how their mothers influenced their perception of kindness. Scattered throughout the month we'll share stories and memories celebrating these amazing women.

I'll begin.

When I sat down to consider how my own mother influenced my perception of kindness I realized that the task I'd given so many friends was not as simple as I imagined. Not that I can't think of innumerable ways in which my mother is kind, there are just too many to express easily.  I have many vivid memories of my mother extending herself to the service of others. Yet it is only through hindsight I recognize her selflessness as acts of deliberate kindness. At the time it was just my mother being herself. For example, although she had four children under 5 at home, and we lived out in the boonies, she took a course to help illiterate adults learn to read and write - then she learned to drive so she could go to their homes. She always took care of neighborhood children and families whenever there was a crisis, all the time, cooking, canning, sewing, for her own.

I'll never forget the summer we spent driving to the west coast (and back), camping (in a tent) along the way. Four kids and a car sick Labrador in a station wagon for three long weeks. Somewhere in the prairies we came across a hitch hiker, my mother told my dad to stop and pick him up - how times have changed :) Well, he must have been desperate because he spent the next four days squeezed into the back seat with us. This was my mother, she could spot a stray soul from a distance. She still can. I love that about her. I love everything about her.

And it probably explains why, at sixteen, I showed up at home with two penniless, french guys who were traveling around the world - without even a call to warn my mother that they were with me. They walked into the restaurant where I was working and I could just sense they needed family. They stayed three days (and for years afterward, we received post cards from them, as their adventures continued).

I guess my mother expressed her kindness best through family. She knows that family is not defined by relatedness, but by relationships. Thank-you Mom.

Last year was my parents 50th wedding anniversary - I love this picture of my Mom

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Spaces Between Us

I recently came across a wonderful article at one of my favourite sites, Brain Pickings. It provides an excerpt from David Goslings' book, Science and the Indian Tradition: When Einstein Met Tagore. Most of us know who Einstein is, but if you're like me, you were probably unaware that Tagore was an Indian philosopher and poet, as well as, the first non-European to win the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. In 1930 Einstein invited the then 69 year old Tagore to his home in Berlin. Gosling calls the conversation between the two great thinkers, "a masterful meditation on the most fundamental questions of human existence".

At one point Tagore is describing how he perceives humanity and the universe as inextricably linked. He compares humanity to matter. Matter is made of tiny particles that have gaps between them, although it appears to be solid. Humanity is made up of individuals, but we are inextricably linked by relationships. Using Tagore's model it stands to reason then, that the quality of the relationships, the energy that unites us, makes us solid, gives us form by teaching us about love, values, morals, and principles of truth, compassion, and kindness, determines how we exist.

While contemplating the magic of this analogy I stumbled upon some research about social capital. Social capital was first described in 1913 like this:

"I do not refer to real estate, or to personal property or to cold cash, but rather to that in life which tends to make these tangible substances count for most in the daily lives of people, namely, goodwill, fellowship, mutual sympathy and social intercourse among a group of individuals and families who make up a social unit… If he may come into contact with his neighbor, and they with other neighbors, there will be an accumulation of social capital, which may immediately satisfy his social needs and which may bear a social potentiality sufficient to the substantial improvement of living conditions in the whole community. The community as a whole will benefit by the cooperation of all its parts, while the individual will find in his associations the advantages of the help, the sympathy, and the fellowship of his neighbors (pp. 130-131)."

Interestingly, research suggests that neighbourhood social capital helps to generate more social capital between individuals and this in turn has a protective effects against depression. Instead of a vicious circle we have a virtuous cycle. I think that social capital is the gap that makes us appear solid, whole, united. I like to think that dakbands help to generate that social capital by reminding us that we are all part of the same Universe, inextricably linked - and how we treat each other matters (pun intended).