Welcome to the party – who brought my past as my present?

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Bring the past, only if you’re going to build from it. ~ Domineco Estrada


I am a big fan of Criminal Minds.  It is one of the only shows I watch with any consistency.  It is an hour of television that does not make me want to change the channel and most episodes begin or end with an inspiring quote to preface or summarize the plot.  The above quote, from the show, gave me the kick I needed to get out of the rut I’ve been in lately.

I have not intentionally been dwelling in the past but snippets of my days-gone-by have been playing in my mind like frames from the old reel-to-reel movies.  They have maneuvered their way out of my subconscious and wormed their way deep into the recesses of my brain.  Fragments of those memories unexpectedly bubble to the surface and simmer long enough to permeate my continual thought process.

I am not ashamed of anything I have done in my past.  Those recollections have not been reintroduced to make me feel regret about any choices I have made.  They have merely reappeared to remind me of the lessons I have learned and to help me appreciate the wisdom I carry beneath my battle scars.  And though these trips down memory lane have been taken unwittingly, they have served to remind me of where I have been and where I prefer to never go again.  


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I have chosen not to bury my past but to use it as the foundation for the life I continue to build.  Those blocks of my lapsed memories serve as a strong support structure.  They ensure that my present and my future are ready to withstand any storm that comes my way by giving me a solid structure to lean on in times of doubt.  Those hidden gems of guidance will always serve as the backbone of my existence and the building blocks to my future.

Discovering what is hidden


Admittedly, I am going through withdrawal.  I have not gone on a cleanse nor have I given up an addiction but I find myself recently emancipated from certain friends who truly know my soul and I feel somewhat lost.

Cultivating a friendship from a distance becomes easier as more time passes.  The initial shock of distress subsides and the feeling of isolation is adapted to and accepted.  But when that friendship is reanimated at a one-on-one level it makes the strain of separation that much more painful when those friends have to leave again.

I had effortlessly assimilated to a quiet lifestyle and one that I enjoy very much.  I had been very content to come home to an idyllic piece of property in a secluded location that I share only with my dog.  I had become ensconced in a life of post-work anonymity.   And then the axis of my world shifted.

After decades of being complacent, I found my mind wandering.  After years of feeling satiated, I found myself yearning for something I had not known I was seeking.  The thought of a different lifestyle became abundantly clear and my mind was in turmoil.

I have not invited any of these conceptions into the realm of my existence at this point, but knowing I have the opportunity to entertain these strange thoughts is exciting.  Having the ability to welcome these curious ideas into my life is liberating.  And just thinking that there is another chapter of my life possibly waiting to be written is extremely enticing.

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.” ~ Francios de La Rochefoucauld


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I want to think I have not lost myself in the process only to discover I have missed out on writing that new chapter.  I wish to believe that the well of ink still exists and will allow me to continue creating the story that is my life.  And I will never know if that story continues here or exists in another place until I become brave enough to turn that next page.








Life is about the simple things


“If I am what I have and if I lose what I have, who then am I?” ~ Erich Fromm

I sold my gazebo in the spring.  It was a beautiful structure but grossly underutilized.  Now when I look out across my lawn I see nothing but nature.  Apart from what looks like a crop circle where the gazebo once stood, it is simple, it is unencumbered and it now more honestly represents the way I live my life.



I am not the sum of my belongings.  I appreciate the eclectic and not the expensive.  I am more comfortable in second-hand jeans and a sweatshirt than I am in a designer dress.  I do not own a coordinating set of anything.  My furniture blends but it doesn’t match and the colors inside of my house reflect the colors outside of my house.  Greens and browns soothe me and that will never change.  It is how I grew up, it is how I live and it is how I thrive.

Life, for me, is about the simple things.  I am not inundated by random possessions, I am not overwhelmed by clutter and I am not constricted by a collection of things that are meant to impress anyone other than myself.

I tend to be a homebody and spend more time with my dog after work than I do in public places.  I like to think I am not anti-social but merely selectively social.

Finding happiness in the simple things brings me a sense of peace.  I am not constantly striving to keep up with any trends other than my own.  I am not seeking a status that I never initially wanted and I live by my own rules.

Happiness has a unique definition to each person who has the luxury of finding that elusive feeling.  Mine is a rudimentary definition, explained with simple words and carried out in the most uncomplicated way.  I live honestly, I live sincerely and I live knowing that I will never be defined by what I have, but rather by who I am.

Putting the life back in our lives


There is a palpable energy in the air in my small town – a feeling only locals can understand when we are within arms’ reach of getting our town back.  The Labor Day Long Weekend is upon us and, for those who are fortunate enough to have Monday off, that means a three-day weekend.  The multiple-lane highways that once allowed travelers to reach our vacation destinations in Muskoka are already becoming congested in the Southbound lanes and the stress levels of those trapped in their cars in slow-moving traffic is escalating exponentially.


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But as the tension increases in those turtle-paced vehicles leaving our little piece of paradise, the stress in the minds of the locals slowly abates.  Faces that have not been seen during the summer daylight hours slowly peek out of their windows, tentatively gauging the right time to re-emerge from their summer hibernation and engage in the life we left behind a few months ago.

The summer is over.  We have survived the tumultuous invasion of a population that we graciously accept for two months, although their civility leaves much to be desired.  We have overcome the barbarity of those who demand instead of ask, of those who expect instead of request.

And along with the manners of our city guests, my writing brain and my spare time to read have been held hostage this summer but the window of those long-lost opportunities has finally been cracked.  The breath of rekindling those passions has been blown into the stale air that I have been breathing the last few months and the breeze of creativity has begun to churn the dead leaves in the corners of my mind.  There really is light at the end of the summer tourism tunnel.

I hope you all had a great summer and I look forward to greeting the many faces, and blogs, I have missed over the last couple of months!







Following the bubbles

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I have never been scuba diving but I understand the basic premise.  Suit up, don the tank and explore a world beyond anything I will ever see first hand.  There is a joy for me in having OASIS on my channel line up, knowing that I won’t have a panic attack meters below the surface of the water but still being able to enjoy the beauty of the ocean from the comfort of my living room.


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I have learned many things about the ocean and its inhabitants by watching documentaries and TV mini-series.  I have been amazed by the palette of colors the ocean is able to paint itself with, the varied species of creatures who contribute to life under the sea and the vast array of reefs and wrecks still waiting to be explored further.  But I learned more from the bubbles than I did from the documentaries.

Scuba divers follow their bubbles to the surface when they don’t know which way is up.  Sometimes the simplest solution is the one that saves you.  The more I began to think about that, the more I realized that those bubbles represent the most important people in our lives.  When we find ourselves a little lost or unsure of where we are headed, we look to those people for support and guidance, knowing they will always lead us to the place where we can once again catch our breath and feel like we are above the surface of our dilemmas.

Thank you to all the “bubbles” in my life…the friends and family who have been those small beacons that help me out of moments when I felt like I dove too far.  The world is a vast ocean and I am but one diver amidst a sea of intrepid mariners trying to navigate their own waters.

We each have our own collection of bubbles to turn to for refuge and a path to safety and I’m fortunate that I am able to exhale and know those bubbles are always there to guide me when I need them.



A place on my shelf but a much bigger place in my heart

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Perhaps it had been sitting on his shelf, collecting dust, for a few years.   He probably looked at it frequently, knowing that I would be in possession of it some day in the future and I’m sure, deep down, he knew he would not be the one to present it to me.

It arrived on my doorstep a few days after learning of his passing the week prior.  I was crushed to hear that he had left us.  But the sentiment in the gift is just as heart-felt now as it would have been had he been able to give me the gift himself because that gift meant that he valued the relationship we had developed.

It began 20 years ago.  I was working a summer job in the pro shop at a resort and he was a man hosting a charity golf tournament to raise money to find a cure for the illness that took the life of one of his children.  As a family, they hosted that tournament every year and I was happy and honored to become a part of it every spring.

As our relationship developed, so too did the amount of time we spent outside of the tournament hours.  Our Friday afternoon “meeting” before the Saturday tournament consisted of a “two-finger” pour of rye and coke.  I made my way back to my office in a bit of a haze since his two-finger measure was his index finger and pinky finger with a good inch and a half in between.  Had I been a smoker, I would have been extremely concerned about having an open flame so close to the fumes I was exhaling!

He was charming and he was a dedicated family man.  He always had a kind word, a comforting hug and a heart of gold.  The family tournament came to an end when his health was a bigger concern.  I eventually changed jobs and we lost touch, apart from the odd phone call, but I always have and always will carry him close to my heart.

God speed, Tom.  You were a special part of my life on this Earth and you will be a very special part of my memories.


The map of a place maybe someday I’ll go

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The caution beacon flashes.  It warns me that the lane ahead may close, yet I feel compelled to keep driving in the direction I’m headed. The pavement is smooth and somewhat welcoming but I shift gears to slow my trajectory.  The road winds in a multitude of twists and turns and, even with the subtle warnings,  I can’t turn back.  The excitement of what potentially lies ahead is enticing.


The spirits of ‘what could be’ sit on my shoulders and continue to whisper sweet somethings in my ear, urging me to go forward and see what lies beyond.  If only the road I am travelling were not so treacherous.  If only those hair-pin turns would straighten for just a moment so I could gauge what lays ahead but the exhilaration of the unknown is like a drug.  Perhaps it warps my sense of reality and, just perhaps, it wants me to be excited by the unknown.  It wants me to feel exhilarated by the element of danger.

I feel the pull to press down on the accelerator.  My engine revs and I shift gears to make the ride smoother.  My carriage rockets forward, almost on auto-pilot, seeking the true ride that it feels is its destiny.  I follow that road, taking the blind corners and skilfully maneuvering the obstacles that inevitably fall into my path.

This road may be fraught with uncertainty but I am obliged to see where this artery of excitement will take me.  The beat of its life echoes with mine and I am a casualty to the incessant drumming in my veins.  The caution signs no longer have meaning and I fall victim to the thrill of the ride.

I keep driving and as my trek continues the sun begins its journey to meet with the horizon and the cascade of hues is breathtaking.  The warm glow of the dying fire in the sky reaches my skin and I am awash in the embers of the end of the day.  The stars begin to mottle the night sky and the promise of another day lies in wait.  The vehicle I find myself in continues on its journey to see where this road will lead, hoping the beauty of the scenery is a portal of what is to come.

I will enjoy the journey I am following on the advice of my inner compass.  If the adventure ends, at least I can say I took the road that beckoned and truly enjoyed the scenery along the way.