Getting there

Getting there

Thursday, September 29, 2011

For One Moment

There are certain things that touch your soul, dear friends. It may be a painting, or a poem. In my particular case it is quite often a few brief words, a quote that sings to me for some reason. The quote above is one of these. It resonates deep within me simply because this is something that has begun to happen to me with increasing frequency, and it all has to do with opening my mind and heart to allow my soul to be touched.

My new writing project has begun to put me in touch with so many new people. I have met so many people from so many different walks of life - police officers and lawyers, city councillors and fibre artists, musicians and chefs. The common thread in all of these encounters has been finding a moment when those individuals and I shared something special - a moment when we bared some part of ourselves - a dream or an idea or a vision - and thus opened our soul. We made ourselves vulnerable in some way, and allowed another human being to glimpse into our core. This is a risky proposition, dear friends. Vulnerability can lead to pain. It can lead to being dismissed or, even worse, ridiculed. What I've found, though, is that we all truly want to share those things with someone. We want to be able to expose that bit of our soul and maybe even see a tiny bit of the soul of another human - and when we do so, oh, what a feeling, dear friends.

I have come away from most of these encounters with new friends, and people that I, quite frankly, adore. They have become a part of my life, and of my own soul. In some small way I sense the same is true for some of them, too, and they have welcomed me into their hearts. Some I am in touch with frequently, and some I only speak to on occasion. Some I may never speak to again simply due to distance or circumstance. I know this, though - for one moment our lives met, and our souls touched. And that alone, dear friends, is truly enough to fill my soul with joy.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Be Remarkable

There are times, dear friends, when you find something that simply resonates with you. It can be a song, a photo, a quote, or even a video. A friend posted this on his Facebook wall today and it just caught my attention. Perhaps it is because I have started in the last year to truly embrace life, to try to live a life that is true and genuine, and, in some humble way, remarkable. You see, even if it isn't remarkable to anyone else it is to me, and that is what truly matters. When you seize those opportunities that come your way, when you see the potential in the world, and when you see what can be achieved you start to see how all things become possible. You begin to see the beauty around you, and you begin to see a path form in front of you. These are choices we can all make, dear friends. We can choose to "live", or we can choose to be "alive". We can choose to be remarkable.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


This past weekend, dear friends, I decided I needed a perfume. Now, I am not really a "perfume" person - I tend to avoid those store entrances in malls that are lined with perfume counters as they give me an agonizing headache. I've noticed, though, that my husband's cologne is a smell I have come to associate with him. He only purchased this cologne in London in December 2010, and yet it has now become a scent that makes me think of him when I am laundering his shirts. I suppose it has become his "trademark fragrance", and I began to think I might want one, too. This decision coincided with the opening of a brand new drugstore in my city, and one with an impressive selection of designer perfumes.

I went down to the local store, and was dazzled by the display. I had no idea how to choose a fragrance - I know what I don't like, which are perfumes that are too funeral-home flowery or musk-heavy. But how to choose a perfume? I decided, in a way that will likely only make sense to me, that what I needed to do was look at the perfumes by some of my favourite designers. The reasoning was that if I liked their clothing then perhaps I would also find their scents appealing. Surprisingly this theory was quite sound, and I found several fragrances I liked - ones by Versace and Burberry, Chanel and Dior. None of them seemed quite right, though, until I stumbled upon a new perfume called "Twirl" from Kate Spade. Now, I like Kate Spade quite a lot. Many of her designs have a retro-50's feel, which is an era in clothing design I've always admired - those nipped waists and little black dresses appeal to me. She has brought these designs into the new millennium, though, like this one:

Kate Spade also designs shoes, and since I loved those shoes I was very hopeful about "Twirl", too :

Kate Spade designs are feminine without being cloying, sweet without the sugar rush. Finding a new scent by this designer seemed auspicious and it begged to be tried. So, I pulled down the bottle of Twirl, and sprayed it on a card to experience the scent. Satisfied that it was not too floral or too musky I then sprayed it on my wrists and neck.

Almost immediately it felt right. There was just something about it, something that seemed very "me". There are floral notes in it - according to a description I found online it combines orange blossom, magnolia, and jasmine. There are notes of blackberry, watermelon, and red currant. And yet there is even a bit of a bakery scent about it, too, which I found described as "a touch of a French macaroon fresh from a patisserie". It was not an overwhelming scent, just the right touch of floral and fruit and yes, even bakery. Even the bottle felt right to me, and the name just evoked a sense of whimsy and joy. I felt enveloped in a sense of happiness when I inhaled the fragrance, and it seemed perfect.

So, I purchased my new "signature scent", and home I went to pull it out of the carton. I arrived at home, pulled off the plastic wrap, opened the box and stopped dead. There on the carton liner was this:

Just those simple words, and yet as soon as I saw them it seemed fate meant this perfume for me. You see, I know I can't walk around every day with a cocktail in my hand and confetti in my hair as if I have just arrived at a party - but, dear friends, I can live like I do. I can live every day like it's a party, and a day to celebrate. I can envelope myself in this fragrance and let it remind me that every day is a reason for joy. I can let it remind me that we can find joy in a cup of coffee, a text from a friend, a beautiful flower, or a lovely scent that resonates with our soul.

I wore my new fragrance out that night to a gala evening event, and during that event whenever I caught a whiff of my new scent I thought "cocktail in hand and confetti in hair" - and the event just seemed that much sweeter, and that much more celebratory. I didn't just find a new scent, dear friends - I found yet another reason for joy. Those reasons are everywhere, just waiting to be found, and sometimes even at a drugstore perfume counter.

Monday, September 12, 2011


There are times, dear friends, when you run into someone that you knew long ago, so long ago that it feels like another lifetime. Sometimes those are occasions that lighten your heart, and it sings with joy at the reunion. There are other times, fortunately rare in my case, where it is a reunion infused with guilt and shame and regret. Recently I ran into someone from my past, and sadly it was a reunion of the latter sort.

I was volunteering at a local event in my city. I had agreed to pick up some people at the airport, and I had their names on a list in my hand. I scanned the names quickly, and they meant nothing to me. Just another airport run, just a few more people to transport. I found them in the crowd, waiting for their luggage, and I shook hands and introduced myself. In the face of one man I saw an odd look, but I became busy with another person who had had their luggage delayed, and so my attention turned to them.

When we were in the car driving away from the airport I was giving my name and phone number to the person with the missing luggage so we could ensure it arrived. Suddenly, from the back seat, the man who had given me the odd look asked if I had grown up in city "X". I had, I replied - and wondered how he knew? Then he said he had been friends with a friend of mine, a girl named A. "A" hadn't just been my "friend", she had been my best friend through high school, and maid of honour at my wedding. I turned slightly from the driver's seat, looked at the man, and suddenly it all came together - his name, his face, my home city, and the connection with A. I felt a fluttering feeling in my chest, and I realized with dread that it was my heart slowly sinking.

You see, this man had, at one time almost thirty years ago, been a boy who had been best friend's with "A"'s boyfriend at the time. I had known him back then - in fact, I had dated him very briefly, and then, I am ashamed to admit, tossed him aside and moved on to another boy without a backward glance or explanation. "A" had told me how hurt he had been, and how cruel I was - but I was a different person then, just 16 and truly in love with only myself. I shrank into my seat as I realized that this man might well remember me, but probably not fondly and not with good feelings.

I summoned up the courage to ask if he recalled the roller skating rink, and he responded that he did. I stopped the questions then, as I knew he recalled it all as clearly as I did. The cruel game of luring him into my sphere, having him think we were involved, and then treating him like he was something stuck to my shoe when someone "better" came along. I was horrified. Embarrassed. Ashamed.

I sat in the driver's seat as memories flooded back, wondering if they were flooding him, too, and wondering how he recalled those brief moments in our lives. I felt nothing but shame and regret, dear friends. He commented to one of the people travelling with him that he had been a "good kid" back then, and I agreed, saying that I hadn't been such a good kid, but had developed a conscience as time went on. And I did, dear friends. I learned that you can't play with the lives of other people and not suffer the consequences. I learned that cruelty is like a boomerang, and when you inflict it on others it will surely return to you some day. I learned that I was not the centre of the universe, and I grew up.

I saw this man a few more times over the course of the weekend, and while I wanted to speak to him couldn't find the words. Then, the night before he was leaving, I was dropping him and his companions back to their hotel. He stopped by the window of the car I was driving, and I told him that seeing him had opened so many memories, many long kept in tiny boxes in my mind. He said he hoped they weren't all bad, and I said they weren't, and I meant it, as I had thought of people I hadn't thought of in thirty years. I told him that it had been great to see him, and that I hoped he would take care. And it had been great, dear friends. You see, when he stepped into that car and told me who he was I had been forced to remember the person I had been so long ago - selfish and cruel, unkind and inconsiderate as only a 16-year old girl can be. My encounter with him made me realize how much I had changed over all those years, and it made me think about how I treated not only him but others. It was a chance to look back and re-evaluate who I had been, and why I had acted as I did. In the end it allowed me to forgive myself, even if perhaps he didn't forgive me (or, maybe, he had forgiven me long ago - that's not for me to know).

It's funny how such a brief encounter with our past can have such an impact, dear friends. His name on the list in my hand didn't trigger my memory, and nor did his face - but once he reminded me I was almost back in that place again, skating around a roller rink intent on my own desires and goals regardless of who I ran over to achieve them. It took me a couple of days to sort it all out - to think about the fact that I had been only 16, and that I had changed so much in the intervening years. It also made me realize, though, how we can carry guilt and shame around for so many years, and how freeing it can be to let it go. Seeing him again, after 30 years, ended something that began so long ago and that I had never resolved, but that I hadn't even been aware needed resolution. It was a stunning moment, rich in memory and meaning. It was, dear friends, growth of the most painful and profound kind - and the kind that allowed me to remember who I was, and rejoice in who I now am.