A Remembrance Day to Remember

Today is Remembrance Day.  November 11, 2015.  Every year since I was a child I would stop what I was doing at 11am to pay homage to all the brave men and women who served in the wars.  This year was the same.

But this year was also very different.

I read the stories about what took place in the wars.  I was even obsessed with watching the British TV miniseries such as Foyles War, Land Girls that were set during WWII.  I can’t even tell you how many movies I’ve seen.  You could say that I had an idea of what went on, even though these were fiction.

Back in September Hubby and I went to the UK for his book launch and also to attend a conference.  We took some days to sightsee, as this was my first time there.  We went to the typical tourist places such as The British Museum,  London Tower, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye etc.  But we also went to the War Museum, something that I normally wouldn’t put on my list.

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When I first entered into the museum I saw a WWI spitfire plane.  I was finally able to see in real life the plane that my Hubby wrote in one of his fiction books.  I could understand the flimsiness that these brave pilots had to fly.  I was in awe.

As we walked through the museum we saw tanks, submarines, missiles.  I could feel my chest getting tight.  I tried to imagine what it would be like to have these huge death enhancing things approaching me.  I just couldn’t.  All I felt was fear.

We visited the WWI & WWII displays.  There we saw the posters that were sent to Canada and Australia to recruit men to help in the cause.  We saw what the Women’s Land Army did to contribute to the war efforts and how women worked in munitions factories.  We also saw how the men were suited to go to war.  They had practically nothing to protect them from the elements!

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There were displays of letters written home by the men, where they pleaded to be saved or killed, as they saw death to be a better option than where they were.  The death and destruction was overwhelming.

I tried to make my way out, but had to go through a make-believe trench.  It was extremely realistic and I could feel the fear growing inside of me.  I knew I was safe, that it wasn’t real.  I could not help wonder what the poor men had to face every day while at war.

At the end of the trench there were props where you could wear army attire.  I usually jump at the chance to play dress up.  However, as I picked up the jack and hat, I had to place it back down onto the counter.  This wasn’t a time to play around; this wasn’t something to have fun with.  There were many men who had bullets go through those very same helmets and jackets.  This was a time to remember and honour and pay homage to them.

I walked out of the museum with a heavy heart.  I couldn’t wrap my head around how something so evil and destructive could take place. As much as I tried I could not understand why someone would want to go to war.

As we walked  London we walked by the river and saw the damage that bombs made to some of the statues of the Sphynx.

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A few days later Phil and I hiked in the English Countryside.  We came across what was recently discovered to be training trenches.  We met a few men who were clearing them for a memorial service to be held a few days from then.  They had said that the men would come for a few days, dig, and then go out and fight.  Wow.

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About a month after we returned home we watched another movie set during WWII.  It didn’t have the glamourous affect that it usually did.  I was anxious throughout the entire movie and I couldn’t sleep at night.  In the past, knowing that I was in Canada, and the war took place ‘over there’ in Europe meant that it wasn’t close to me.  But visiting the War Museum, seeing the conditions these people lived in, witnessing the real damage caused by the war made it very real for me.

And then last week I talked to my Mom about growing up during WWII.  She told me about how the Nazis would go through her town killing people, how her father (my grandfather) was captured by the Nazis and became a POW.  She told me how he survived on potato skin scraps because he was given nothing to eat. This hit very close to home for me.  I couldn’t even fathom going through all of that, and here my mother, my aunts and uncles, people so close to me grew up in this.

I am free because of these people.

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So this Remembrance Day, I don’t just thank you, the soldiers for fighting and giving me freedom.  I thank you, brave human beings, for risking your life.  I thank you for sacrificing for me.  I thank you for doing what you did despite your fears.  I thank you for giving up all that you knew and going into the unknown, incomprehensible.  I thank you for being you.  And I love you.

OTTAWA, ON: NOVEMBER 11, 2013 -- Hand made poppies on display as the general public and veterans attend Remembrance Day ceremonies and activities at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, ON, November 11, 2013. (Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen) Photo Request 115095

OTTAWA, ON: NOVEMBER 11, 2013 — Hand made poppies on display as the general public and veterans attend Remembrance Day ceremonies and activities at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, ON, November 11, 2013. (Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen) Photo Request 115095

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Why Didn’t The Chicken Cross The Road?

To answer the question – it’s because it marched to a different drumstick!!

And on that same day when it decided not to cross it sat down on the side of the road and decided to stare off into the unknown distance.  She just stared and stared and stared and then something happened.  A sudden realization came over her.  She wondered if the chickens before her who crossed the road really knew what they were doing, or if they did it because that’s what was always done.  And she came to know that despite what everyone told her, the grass was not greener on the other side.  But she wasn’t happy with the grass where she lay either.

And so she walked along the side of the road, not knowing where it would lead her but trusting that it would be to a better place.

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And that chicken, my friend, is me.

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I’m In Suspenders

“Your comfort zone is what keeps you back from making, creating and innovating.” 

~ Greta Tomlin

Yesterday, on New Year’s Eve, I decided to share with you all my new ritual – reflecting on my accomplishments, my letting go and what I want to bring into the New Year.

One of the things on my list for this brand New Year is to write more, and that’s what I’m doing.  Over the last few (many) months I’ve received emails from you, my readers, asking if everything is ok, why I haven’t been writing and so on.  I’m very touched by your care and I have let you know in some way or another that yes, I am ok, but…

I just didn’t have anything to write about.  I lost my mojo.

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You see, something happened in the last year and half, but I don’t know what.  Whatever happened squashed my connection to my creativity.  I could not even form a paragraph, could not write a poem.  I had absolutely no desire to string a sentence together. And when I did want to say something, I couldn’t string a sentence together.  When my domain name renewal came up I even contemplated putting this blog to rest and letting it expire.  However something inside of me told me that it wasn’t time and I paid the renewal fee and hung onto it, keeping it dormant but alive.  Yet, I still couldn’t or wouldn’t write.

This was quite troubling for me, especially since the few years before that were quite the ride.  I always managed to find my way, remain optimistic and look for the silver lining in things.  I have always been and still am a firm believer that there is some good that comes out of even the most difficult of times.  I had my creativity to fall back on, to help me sort through things, gather my thoughts, help me to remain focused – but not this time.

A couple of weeks ago when I sat down to write about my reflections on 2014 (and discovered how much I achieved) and what I want to manifest in 2015 something shifted in me.  I was even inspired to write a poem, something I haven’t done in years!  What this also did was light the fire inside of me to write, to be curious about things, to yearn for those lightbulb moments again.

So what happened?

And so, in my typical Smartie fashion, I went into my ethereal closet and grabbed my shovel and flashlight and begun to dig inside of me and shine the flashlight in the dark places.

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And boy was I surprised by what I found out!

What I found out quite sucked to find out.  It wasn’t true that I had nothing to say.  I HAD and HAVE a lot to say.  But I felt like I was muzzled!  And the worst of it, it was ME that was doing the muzzling.

What the heck?

I was AFRAID to say what I wanted to say.  I was fearful of the repercussions to what I wanted to say. And so I didn’t say what I wanted to say.

What a friggin awakening this was for me!

My friends, a couple of weeks back when I did my lists, one of the items I resolved to do is to revive Smartie Knows in 2015.  As today is the first day of 2015, I’m doing just that.

This space is once again a sacred space for me that I share with you.  Through this coming year, I will share with you not only what I discovered, but also my accomplishments, my trials (not legal I hope), my thoughts (air-head sometimes), my deepest desires, my tear jerking times, my over-the-moon moments, my dark nights of the soul,  my curiosity and most of all, my lightbulb moments.

P.S. If you’re wondering why I’m in suspenders (which I make no reference to in this post besides the title), I just want to keep you in anticipation for what’s to come 🙂  So stay in suspenders for my next post.

Oh, here’s a question!  Why didn’t the chicken cross the road?

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With love,

Smartie

Have you heard about The Inside-Out Revolution? It’s awesome!

If you don’t drink rat poison, you don’t need an antidote. – Michael Neill

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Today you will hear many people say that all you need to do is think positively and everything will be ok, you’ll be happier.  This does help, up to a certain point.  There are many books available that discuss this, and their theory behind it is to live in the present moment.  This is true, however I always felt that there was a missing piece, a key per se, which goes a step further in explaining how to do this.

I found this book, The Inside-Out Revolution by Michael Neil to be an easy read and I was able to read this in less than one day while travelling.  The author’s writing style in very simple to understand and the concepts are easy. The book was built on the works of Syd Banks and George Pransky and is about mind, thought and consciousness which is believed to be the path to understanding how life works and to being liberated and happy.   I must admit that a few times in the beginning, the first 20 pages or so, I was tempted to stop reading as I felt that the author was rambling a bit, talking about how easy it is to implement this new way of thought but was not actually revealing how to reach this state. What kept me going was the fact that he actually kept stating to not give up, and give the book a chance.

What was shocking to me was that while reading this book, I had a huge epiphany when I read on page 31 “we’re living in the feeling of our thinking, not the feeling of the world.” I read it in just the nick of time and was able to side step a huge and impactful mistake which would have caused some serious consequences.  I realized right then that I WAS indeed living in my feeling of my thinking.  I was assuming that people were miserable and needed saving, when in fact, they were happy and content and didn’t need my help at all.  It was ME that was miserable.  When I understood this I was able to let go of my preconceived notions and sit back and enjoy life.  This lesson alone made reading the book worthwhile.

Although it seems that the concepts of awareness are simple and easy to do, they are impactful.  I am pleased that the author includes a section for further reading. I also like the fact that, even though the book is short and simple, at the end of each chapter the author summarizes the points of that chapter.

I found this book to be profound.  I highly recommend this book.

FTC Disclosure:  I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review.  The opinions expressed in this review are unbiased and reflect my honest judgement of the product.

 

Shine, Baby, Shine!

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” Harry Dixon Loes

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I have been AWOL for a few months, as a lot has been going on in my life.  A lot of what has been taking place I’ve wanted to share.  As much as I’ve tried to get it down on “paper” I just haven’t been able to get enough words together to form a sentence.  Perhaps it’s been writers block, but I seem to think that it’s been more of a case of mental exhaustion.

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That, along with a bit of fear mixed into it.

Fear is about allowing myself to truly let loose, and be who I really am, and letting me shine through all the gunk that has been thrown on top of me.  My confidence levels haven’t been great in many areas and that has put a strain on me.  I just haven’t felt like I’ve been capable of accomplishing what I’ve been putting my energies towards, which is really strange for me.  But today I came across a quote I’ve ready many times by Marianne Williamson from her book “A Return to Love” which is based on A Course In Miracles.  This quotation spoke heaps to me.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.  And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

And as the lightbulb went off in my brain, I realized that the root of it all is that I’ve been dimming my light, and have been dulling myself down. I’ve been feeling inadequate, unworthy, and all the other stuff she mentions.  Why?  That’s another post for you to read in the close future.  But despite all the hard work I’ve been putting in to healing, moving forward, I just haven’t been grasping the messages which were being conveyed.  Shine! I’ve got to shine!!!

So from today, I’m going to let “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”…la la la la la….

aura

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”   – Jodi Picoult, Perfect Match

Today is Mother’s Day. I woke up to my gorgeous little girl calling me from the kitchen.  She “snuck” downstairs to make me breakfast and wanted to make sure that I slept in.  The proud look on her face was the best Mother’s Day gift ever!

My girl is the best teacher ever, and every day I continue to learn more and more about life from her  So, in honor of my daughter on Mother’s Day, I’m going to repost what I wrote last year called: What I’ve Learned on Mother’s Day.  Enjoy!

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Pay It Forward

“I think you can scare somebody out of doing something, but not out of feeling like they want to.”  – Catherin Ryan Hyde, Chasing Windmills

A few weeks ago while I was on the bus on my way to work, a lady got on a few stops after mine.  After she boarded I had a hard time concentrating on the book I was reading, which I really wanted to read.  My commute time is my reading time, and I am really jealous of that time, so needless to say I wasn’t a happy camper.

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This wasn’t the first time this happened with this lady.  If the timing is perfect, our paths can cross easily a few times a week, which means I don’t get to read.  That day I had enough of the struggle and just sat there and listened to her message.  Let me explain what happened.

I’d like to think that I’m a non-judgemental person, and I do believe that everyone has freedom of speech, and a right to their own opinions.  But this lady was just driving me bonkers that day.  She was preaching very loudly about the fact that God watches everyone therefore we need to be careful of what we do, and that there really is a place called hell.  She would stress that in order to avoid hell we need to follow what the bible says, or else God will punish us and send us to an eternal life in purgatory. She went on to say that God will be angry if we let Jesus’ death to wipe our sins away be a waste of time.  She would go on and on until we reached the subway station, and continue until she got onto the subway and went her own way.  What a heavy message to hear first thing in the morning!

This time while she preached, I observed the people on the bus and how they reacted.  They wouldn’t look her way, would avoid eye contact with her.  I could see that many people didn’t want to hear her, and some looked uncomfortable.  I know that although I was listening to her, I too felt uncomfortable. I had a hard time relating with the message she was trying to convey – that God was an entity of judgement, anger, and something to be fearful of.  I didn’t like the emotions which were being drawn up in me from this.  I was glad when she was no longer near me.

One afternoon this week while I was on my way home , I was on the subway reading my book when someone caught my attention.  A beautiful, older lady who had an amazing presence about her and radiated joy and love walked by me.  I was totally enraptured with her, to the point that I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  Once she reached the front end of the subway, close to where I was sitting, she would go up to every person, stand in front of them and say “You are beautiful.  God loves you.  God bless you.”  I was totally taken aback by that.  She had such a loving way about her, and was delivering such a beautiful message.  Witnessing what this woman was doing, I felt my heart swell and found myself smiling.  I’m by all means not religious, but when she stood in front of me, and said those words, I found myself saying “thank you, and God bless you.”  I don’t know why I did that, it just felt like the right thing to do.

But the strangest thing happened.  I noticed, that although she was delivering a completely different message than the other lady on the bus, the one who spoke of a mean God, this woman received the same reaction.  No one would look at her, give her the time of day.  I know that I didn’t have the same feelings come up inside of me – this time I felt cozy and warm inside and for the rest of the day I felt better, more happy, and I paid it forward.  I was more loving and kind towards others, I held open doors, gave my seat to someone who needed it, and smiled at strangers.  I just didn’t understand why the others on the subway didn’t see what I saw, and reacted the way they did.  Were they threatened by her?  Were they afraid of what others would think if she responded?  Or is it because she used the word “God” and “love”?  I don’t know.  Like I said before I’m not religious at all, but I understood what she was saying.  She was saying that I am special, I am loved.  Who doesn’t want to hear that?  Who cares that she is a total stranger, the fact of the matter is, she is spreading love and joy to everyone, and people, we need it and should pay it forward.

This video which has been viral on Facebook says it all.  Enjoy. Pay it forward.