Renewable Resource

Dream Yoga conclusion. A conversation with the little girl

Conclusion to Concrete Dream Series…for now

I enjoy reading fellow bloggers’ thoughts. I came across  a sentence that mentioned that doing things out of obligation or guilt can not be sustained. When you act out of love it’s repeatable. 

Love is a renewable resource.

I have done many things in my life out of a sense of duty. 

How wonderful it is to change the way I think about what I chose to do in service of others.

This week, in the Dream Yoga class (hosted by Yasodhara Ashram), I committed to explore further the people in my Concrete Dream. I decided to zoom in on a conversation I had in the dream with the little white haired girl when I first approached her on the stairwell in the stadium.

“ I ask the little girl if she is lost?”

She replies “you don’t know the dangers here”. She says she can’t trust me.

I am stunned and quick to negate her.

I feel that I missed out on being curious about what she meant by “the dangers” and why she couldn’t trust me. My dream self didn’t give her a chance to explain before rushing in with a response.  

There is a practice that I can do that enables me to speak with the child through asking questions and then recording the response through journaling. Since both characters in the dream are representative of my personality traits I can both ask and answer the queries until I come to a point that I feel is conclusive.

I decided to take my van out for a drive, park in the coulees close to my home and lit some incense I had brought back from Bali. Breathing in the aromatic air I quickly sunk into a comfortable space.

Pen in hand with plenty of paper to gather my responses I decided on my first question.


What dangers are here that I don’t know about?


If I put myself out there and deviate from the safe and comfortable stairwell I am on I will get stuck again. I will become anxious and want to retreat. I will find myself back in the stairwell moving through life compelled by guilt and a sense of duty. You do your best work when it’s focused on someone else’s needs instead of ours.


How can I become aware and change my thoughts and behaviors to mitigate getting stuck?


I am quick to act impulsively. It’s my life that is being affected so what’s the rush?


Is this impulsive behavior what I meant by not being able to trust?


Yes, in part. The intuitive better response is there and I do come to understand it eventually. Often though, it’s after I have acted upon something and not before.


How long do I have to wait?


Patience is a suit that I could wear more often.


In the red tube in the dream, I get stuck and retreat. If I led with my heart open would I have made it to the blue seats?


There are many ways to get to the “blue seats”. They are not the destinations per say but places to rest along the way. Treat them like markers in the journey. When I need a moment to regroup or a reminder to rely on my practices or tools I should think of them.

My questions and responses continue for a while until I am satisfied with a “concrete” understanding of the missed opportunity in my dream conversation with the little girl.

I can imagine her smiling at me. She is feeling heard and understood. I am even beginning to think that she trusts me just a bit more than she did before.

Love is a renewable resource. Loving myself enough to seek out awareness of why I do the things I do, feel the way I feel and say the things I say is a gift of compassion to me.

I hope you have enjoyed this dream series. I find the practices extremely helpful to unlocking the inner guru.

Date Night Ideas

Martin is home tonight and has three weeks of vacation. Since we aren’t going anywhere this year, I thought I’d ask ChatGPT for some date night ideas.

  1. Have a picnic: Pack a basket of your favorite foods and head to a nearby park or beach for a romantic picnic.

    It’s winter in Alberta. No picnics for us for a few months.
  2. Cook together: Spend the evening cooking your favorite meal together. Choose a recipe you both love or try something new.

    Cooking is Martin’s thing. He likes to do it alone. I can choose the recipe and go shopping with him, but he insists the kitchen is his domain.
  3. Go for a hike: Find a scenic hiking trail and spend the day exploring the outdoors together.

    Yes, we do this on mild days. However, our definition of “mild” differs.
  4. Have a game night: Stay in and have a game night. Play board games, card games, or video games together.

    This is something we often do. We love playing chess, Monopoly, cards, and Wii games.
  5. Take a dance class: Sign up for a dance class together and learn a new style of dance. It’s a fun way to get active and spend quality time together.

    Hell will freeze over before Martin ever agrees to a dance lesson! It works in my favour. He wants to go ice-skating on the lake. I’ve skated as a kid and I don’t like it. I told him I’ll skate when he dances.
  6. Have a movie night: Rent a movie or stream one on your favorite platform and cozy up on the couch together.

    We do this. The trick is finding a movie he won’t fall asleep to while watching it.
  7. Try a new restaurant: Go out to a new restaurant and try something different. This is a great opportunity to try new foods and explore new places.

    We don’t go to new restaurants often. We have a couple of places where live music is played and we like to go there.
  8. Go stargazing: Find a spot away from city lights and spend the evening stargazing together.

    We did this when we were in Mexico and Hawaii last year. We don’t do it much at home.
  9. Have a spa night: Pamper yourselves with a spa night at home. Give each other massages, put on face masks, and enjoy a relaxing evening together.

    Funny thing – Martin likes giving me massages but he’s not a fan of them for himself. I’ll see if I can talk him into a face mask.
  10. Take a mini-vacation: Take a weekend trip to a nearby city or town and explore a new place together. This is a great opportunity to create new memories and have an adventure together.

    We did this two years ago and we’re doing it again in a couple of weeks. We also like to take day-long road trips to explore the small towns around us.

All-in-all, ChatGPT came up with a good list.

What’s your favourite date night activity?

ChatGPT on Elder Care

I’m taking some time today to explore ChatGPT and what it has to offer. I’m always looking for new things I can incorporate into my work.

I decided to ask it for advice on elder care. This is the response. I have to say – it is ‘spot on’ from my experience. I like how the last three points are for the caregiver and not solely the elder.

Caring for an elderly loved one can be a challenging and rewarding experience. Here are some tips for elder care:

  1. Get organized: Create a care plan and schedule to help you manage your loved one’s needs, appointments, and medications. This will help you stay on top of things and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  2. Communicate: Communicate openly and regularly with your loved one about their needs, concerns, and wishes. This will help you provide better care and avoid misunderstandings.
  3. Practice patience and compassion: Caring for an elderly loved one can be frustrating and stressful at times. It’s important to practice patience and compassion and take the time to listen to and understand their needs.
  4. Prioritize safety: Safety should always be a top priority when caring for an elderly loved one. Make sure their living environment is safe and secure and that they have the necessary equipment and support to prevent falls and accidents.
  5. Provide emotional support: Elderly loved ones often feel isolated and lonely, especially if they are unable to leave their home or care facility. Provide emotional support by spending time with them, engaging in activities they enjoy, and staying connected with family and friends.
  6. Seek professional help: Don’t hesitate to seek professional help when needed. There are many resources available, including home health care services, support groups, and counseling services.
  7. Take care of yourself: Caring for an elderly loved one can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise and self-care activities.
  8. Know when to ask for help: If you are feeling overwhelmed or unable to provide the level of care your loved one needs, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This could mean reaching out to family and friends or hiring a professional caregiver. It’s important to prioritize your own well-being and the well-being of your loved one

Elder Care

Let me tell you, elder care is not for the feint of heart. My parents moved in with me 5 years ago. I had this romantic view of what it’d be like – my mom and I would go shopping; Dad and I would go fishing. They’d be able to go to all of my son’s basketball and football games. Dad would have a place to garden again; Mom would have space to read and do her puzzles. It seemed perfect.

I had no idea it would be so much work. My dad had cataract surgery shortly after moving in with me. A few months later, a heart attack. Mom was also dealing with severe depression and anxiety. She was convinced Dad was getting Alzheimer’s. I cannot tell you the number of medical appointments we went to in a month. There were at least two or three a week between the two of them. It wasn’t short-term, either. The medical appointments were constant. They always wanted me to attend as they didn’t trust themselves to remember everything they were told.

It didn’t stop after Mom died and Dad went into assisted living. There are fewer medical appointments since a nurse and doctor are on-site, but there are specialist appointments. It’s never just one. One appointment leads to another…and another. Dad is now completely blind. He doesn’t move as well as he used to. A 20-minute appointment is now a 3 to 4 hour excursion. By the time I get to his home, get him in the car, to the appointment, and back to his room, half a day is gone.

Hearing aids never stop working at the same time. I take one in and a week or two later the other needs to be fixed. There’s always something Dad needs me to get for him.

Martin is experiencing this now that we’ve moved his dad to be closer to us. It’s never-ending. With both of the dads, we ask if they need anything. “No, no, I’m good.” A few hours later or the next day…”I need…”.

It’s a tough situation. We want to be there for our parents. We also need to live our own lives. From an observer’s standpoint, it’s fascinating to watch. The older they get, the more toddler-like they become. They can’t walk as well. They are fussy eaters. They need help doing almost everything. They can only focus on what what is an immediate thought or need.

I try to frame my mindset to “I get to …” rather than “I have to …”. I’m fortunate to still have my dad. I know that. I know how much he and Mom did for me as a child. Still, when I’m tired, part of me thinks, “They chose to have children; I didn’t choose this.”

It’s normal to have these feelings. I still have an young adult at home. I work more than full-time hours every week. Getting enough exercise is important to me. There are all the ‘adulting’ things that need to be done. Sometimes, Dad feels like one more obligation. There’s a reason respite is offered to caregivers.

My dad lost his wife of 53 years and his vision within two years of each other. He can’t do any of things he loves to do. Yet, his attitude is still one of, “Well, it could be worse” or “Well, what can you do?” He loves his family. He’s so very proud of the adults his grandchildren are becoming. He stays in touch with his extended family. If I ever need anything, Dad is there.

As exhausting and frustrating as it can be, being able to look after my dad is a gift. He will be 85 in April. He’s already outlived everyone in his family. He won’t be here forever. I’m fortunate we are still able to create memories.

The Circle

Reaching out to find common understanding no matter the tongue spoken.

woman hand holding red paper heart
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Yesterday afternoon was my first time attending The Circle. 

Immigration and family services offer support to people who are “new to Canada” for the first twelve months or so. This time is spent helping them to integrate into the community. I thought it would be an interesting opportunity that could help me understand an immigrant’s journey to a country I often take for granted.

I walked into the room and was greeted by a friendly elderly lady who manages and facilitates the group discussions. We started right in with a craft. Making an outline of our hands which we placed onto a bigger heart. The facilitator encouraged us to write our name, where we were from and something special across the collage. We then strung the hearts on the wall and put little fairy lights interspaced among them. The art is to honor women during International Women’s Day.

I sat next to a lovely woman from Somalia. She has been living in Canada for a year now. As she struggled to tell me in English about herself and her family I had to admire her determination. 

I have traveled to numerous countries and know what it’s like not to have a decent grasp of the language. Along with all the other challenges one must face when fleeing their country, just responding to simple questions about yourself can add another layer of burden. 

I like the idea of a place you can go to practice your English in a safe and non-judgmental setting. 

I smiled at my new friend and helped her to cut out her traced hand and heart. We even used some glitter glue to create fingernails. Being open and inviting with a smile and soft gaze I could see put her at ease while we tried to figure out what each other was saying. I could see the understanding come. It’s so random the things you connect on. Explaining how to say “fingernails” was the ice breaker. Then connect fingernail to thumb, index finger, middle finger…we laughed at that one, ring finger-great discussion on what that entailed and baby finger or pinky-which got another smile. I am not sure she understood all of the names but the conversation was flowing.

In the larger group the discussion was on the use of the local library. One of the immigrant ladies had mentioned that she got help setting up her social media account there from one of the volunteers. I was happy to hear that as my next week’s interview is with the adult learning group which is hosted at the library. The group seemed very interested in learning about how to use their social media accounts which is not surprising. I asked their favorite one and Instagram seemed to be the winner.

Finding small things to connect on is so important. It joins us in common interest and opens a window for more in depth understanding and discussion. Simple things like making an appointment or taking a bus are on the list for future discussions.

Car Shopping

I took my 20-year-old son car shopping last night for his first car. When he first got his license, he drove a hand-me-down the ex and I had at home. Since the divorce, he’s been driving my car or using Uber. Now that he has a good job, it was time for his own.

He originally started in the 8K-10K range. He wanted something to get him to and from work and the gym. He also wanted to finance it so he can start to build a credit rating.

We started at a used car lot. At the first one, we drove into the lot and drove out. The building itself was derelict. While it may not reflect on the condition of the cars, our thinking was, “If they can’t look after their building, do they really look after the cars?”

The second used car lot told us we wouldn’t be able to find anything decent under $20,000. Since neither of us are mechanically inclined, and the people selling cars privately wouldn’t allow us to have them inspected by a mechanic, we then decided to go to the reputable car companies and see what they had for used cars, knowing the budget would increase.

At the first dealership, they had nothing. But, the woman was the same age as my son, clearly smitten, and tried her best to sell him something. She had to “go talk to her manager” so many times, we finally got up and left. (It wasn’t lost on me that, after she commented on his braids, he took off his jacket so she could see the results he’s been getting working out at the gym!)

At the second dealership, there was a fully loaded, 2017 Chevy Cruze with two sets of tires (important here in Canada where we need winter and summer tires), still some warranty and the salesman would sell it for $20,000 taxes and fees included. However, there was hail damage on the car. I could tell my son wasn’t impressed. The salesman, sensing there wasn’t going to be a sale, started the hard sell – “We had a lady looking at this yesterday. I can’t guarantee it’ll be here tomorrow”, then “Let me run the numbers…OK, if you finance for 7 years….”

He held firm. He knew what he was prepared to spend, what length of time he wanted the financing, and this car wasn’t it. The more I suggested we keep looking, the more frantic the salesman got. I finally said I needed to go make a call in my car. My son was too polite to simply say, “Thanks for your time and walk away” when the salesman started to show him even more cars he wasn’t interested in, I made the call. To my son. I told him what to say so it sounded like he had to leave immediately.

I took him to the Mazda dealership where I bought my car a year ago. That’s where he found the car of his dreams. Having grown up with BMWs, he has an affinity for German cars. He test drove a 2015 Mercedes Benz C-300 and immediately fell in love. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy.

When we went back inside to talk numbers, the total came to over $27,000. He was devastated. That was too much. So, he started negotiating. By the end of the night, he got the car for $21,000 taxes and fees included. We’re waiting on financing to go through but, since I co-signed, I don’t think that’ll be a problem.

I am so proud of my son. His football coaches have always told me he’s a leader. I didn’t see it at home. I live with an introverted young man who doesn’t care to talk much. He seems content to go with the flow of whatever his friends want to do.

Yesterday, I saw a young man who can stand up for himself. A young man who looked at his overall financial situation and decided what he was comfortable spending. A young man who saw the car he wanted, had the down payment, and did what he had to do to get it. A young man on the cusp of adulthood making his own decisions.

As good a negotiator as he is, he won’t win the last battle. My car parks in our single garage. Momma pays the mortgage.

Strength and Restore

I tried a new class last night – strength and restore. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Strength training, for sure, and maybe some yoga?

There were 14 people of all ages and genders in the class. Later, I learned that’s 12 more than usually show up. No wonder the instructor was so excited.

It was a good class. We used steps, dumbbells, and mats to do various exercises to strengthen our muscles. All are exercises anyone could at home with minimal equipment. After intense sets of exercise we had periods of active recovery. No yoga – that’s OK.

The instructor was a tiny woman with a big voice. She’d be merrily chattering along giving instructions, when she’d suddenly shout “HALF”, “NO QUITTING” or some other point she wanted to emphasize. I got a kick out of her.

I was concerned about how my leg and shoulder would feel today. I’ve been having some issues with them. They feel great. I’m thinking this might be the class that slows me down and helps me strengthen my weaker areas. I’m looking at this class as a version of physiotherapy (I see one regularly so I know what I need to be working on and how to do it safely). I can take it twice a week and fill in the other days with water workouts, spin classes, or the weight room.

I’ll be boxing again next winter. 🙂

Peanut Butter

I started volunteering at a local food bank a couple times a week. I chose to work in the front area where the hampers and other food related items are handed out. 

I was curious as to who are the clientele for these organizations and what is involved to qualify for the support?

According to statistics, 1 in 7 people in Canada are food insecure. Out of that number 33% are children. On average there are 1.4 million visits to a local food bank in Canada every month.

As I toured the local food bank I was told that they supply lunch programs for children to most of the schools in the city now. On the day I visited they made 1500 sandwiches to bring distributes to elementary schools.

We all know that our dollar isn’t going as far these days. Whether you rent or own a home, once you get done paying all the bills and expenses not much is left over. It can be intimidating to go into a grocery store these days with the hopes of finding affordable food that is nutritious but doesn’t break your bank account.

Since when does lettuce cost $7.00 a head? It wasn’t long ago when you could buy a dozen eggs for less than a buck. Now you are lucky to find them for under $5.00.

As I stocked the shelves with donated items I was curious as to what people would choose as their two items from the dry/canned goods and condiment areas. They have a choice of one sweet or salty snack as well. The most popular is the bags of chips or if available, packages of big Costco muffins. I understand the concept of making it last.

I loaded a shelf with big containers of vinegar and thought that no one would want such a big bottle. I was wrong. As soon as the doors were opened the 8 bottles were gone. The more I think about it the more sense it makes. There is lots you can do with vinegar. You can clean with it, as a hair conditioner or use it in dressings and flavoring. 

The foodbank I volunteer for has a big homeless population. I was surprised to see that it had all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. There was no one group that was over represented.

A Lot of people are very skinny and you have to feel for them. I admire how tough they are too. I noticed their hands. I have experienced frostbite and it isn’t pleasant. It can be quite painful. Long term exposure can cause permanent damage. I wish I had a box of mittens to hand out along with the muffins. The more practical side of me knows that they would probably just get abandoned somewhere or not used.

Humans are adaptable to their environments. As I get to know this curious group I am fascinated by their inventiveness. 

What do you do with a jello package when you live on the streets? I asked someone the other day? I was informed you can put it in a bottle of water and make jello or just drink it. The same goes for cake mixes. You can add water and if you have access to a microwave you can cook it.

Buns are selected over sliced bread. White bread is chosen more than brown. Honey is available quite often and leads to the obvious question…”Do you have any peanut butter?”

I sigh as I am a big fan of peanut butter and honey. When peanut butter is available it goes in the hampers and is not usually available for people of no fixed address. I am tempted to go buy a few boxes of small jars of it to put under the counter and bring out when someone asks. The challenge is that once expectations are there it becomes hard to go back. The foodbank adheres to strict rules. They have to. Some days the food is plentiful and the selections are vast. Other days there isn’t enough to fill the shelves up completely so rationing is needed to make it last.

I have never known what it is like to go hungry and I don’t wish that feeling on anyone. 

I look into the faces of the little kids that come in with their parents. I hug them in the light in my heart.

We have become a society of haves and have nots more than ever before seen. The gaps seem to be getting larger.

If you see that bin in the grocery store marked for the foodbank and you can afford a few dollars to donate I would encourage you to do it.

I have a new understanding of what it takes to feed a community and feel grateful for my lifestyle and new appreciation for peanut butter.

A Different Kind Of Love Song

14 times seeing KISS. Now that’s love.

I am part of you and you are part of me. I have come to this realization slowly over the last four decades of being married to the same guy.

We have a common history where we shared a life. As traditional relationships go I would say that we were unconventional for the time. We learned about each other early that he was better at cooking and cleaning. He took the kids on a two week camping trip to Yellowstone Park when our daughter was just over a year old and our son was four. I got a call from the border patrol asking me if I knew that he had the kids and was planning on taking care of them without me? I laughed but the official didn’t think it was funny. The kids and him had a blast. He has always been one to jump in and change diapers. Have snacks ready when the kids come home from school as I was at work or traveling for work.

We have had our share of struggles. Times when we grew apart as well as times when we stood united. 

When I think of romantic love I reflect on our journey together through this crazy world and life.

This summer I spent several weeks in the mountains in my van. One night around 10:30 pm I look out my window and my husband is standing there. It scared the crap out of me…lol. He comes in the van and gives me a big hug. I have missed you, he says. 

The stars are out in full force and the night is calm and warm. We walk down the road a bit and lay down to look up at the sky. Our hands are connected. I know every bump, scar and tendon of these hands that are entwined with mine. He doesn’t understand why I like to go up into the mountains and stay for so long. He asked if I could maybe try going for a few days then coming home for a few days then going back instead of for such a long period of time at once. You would think that having been married for so many years that time spent apart would be a gift.

Apparently he doesn’t think so.

We don’t buy gifts for each other as we know that we have everything we want or need. He shows up with things at home that he thinks might benefit me the most. It has taken time for me to get used to his ideas of what I might need. He is always sorting through discount bins and buying things on sale. I remember he brought a feminine cup one time. I was horrified. He proceeded to explain to me what it was for and how to use it. Let’s just say I did try it and didn’t care for it.

Nothing is off the table or that private when you have been together for that long. It takes alot to surprise me where he is concerned.

We are a different kind of love. We have made our own rules and followed our own advice on what marriage should be for us. We have tossed traditional roles, stereotypes and obligations out the window.

We run naked in the forest every chance we get and make love on the back of skidoos and against palm trees on the beach. We spend time apart and we spend time together. I have been to 14 Kiss concerts just because he wanted to. Now that’s love…lol.

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