siglinde99: (Diane Fancy)
Hopefully this link will do the trick:

I have been trying to stick with the contemplation and not complaining objectives, but I find myself wondering about what counts as a complaint. Is acknowledging a fact a complaint? For example, if I notice that it is cold, and think "wow, it's cold", is it complaining if I'm not horribly unhappy (though maybe a little suprised)? Is it complaining to run through scenarios in my head (those "I wish I had said" or "maybe I should say..." conversations)? How about the ones where I repeat in my head those conversations that actually happened (the ones where someone states a hard truth that I happen to agree with)?

At heart, I'm an analyst and analysts are regularly accused of being pessimistic when really we are just trying to see all the angles (and that can be bad). The whole exercise of questioning myself is interesting, though. As I notice things, I am trying really hard not to let it be anything more than just "noticing". When those endless loops of conversation start up in my head, I work really hard to make them stop. In some ways, this may be helping me to achieve the mindfulness that my leadership coach keeps trying to convince me is a good thing; usually, it just strikes me as flaky, which is why this article made me smile: After re-reading it several times, I'm starting to think that maybe being mindful is a good thing. It doesn't mean I have to like washing dishes, or even dealing with Scary Mary from work. But maybe I can get better at acknowledging my feelings and move on to something more productive.

Enough deep thoughts for tonight. It's time for rum, hot chocolate and some quality time with my pillow (and hopefully a cat).

For Light

Dec. 19th, 2015 09:29 pm
siglinde99: (Swimming in Varadero)
By John O'Donohue from To Bless the Space Between Us
His poem (or blessing, as he called it) was used for an advent discussion at church last week. I haven't been going to the discussions, but they are included in the church bulletin so people can take them away. John O'Donohue was ordained as a Catholic priest, but he eventually left the priesthood to work on social justice issues and his writing. I thought it was beautiful and particularly apt as several friends are dealing with death and sorrow this winter.

For Light

Light cannot see inside things.
That is what the dark is for:
Minding the interior,
Nurturing the draw of growth
Through places where death
In its own way turns into life.

In the glare of neon times,
Let our eyes not be worn
By surfaces that shine
With hunger made attractive.

That our thoughts may be true light,
Finding their way into words
Which have the weight of shadow
To hold the layers of truth.

That we never place our trust
In minds claimed by empty light,
Where one-sided certainties
Are driven by false desire.

When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.

That the searching of our minds
Be equal to the oblique
Crevices and corners where
The mystery continues to dwell,
Glimmering in fugitive light.

When we are confined inside
The dark house of suffering
That moonlight might find a window.

When we become false and lost
That the severe noon-light
Would cast our shadow clear.

When we love, that dawn-light
Would lighten our feet
Upon the waters.

As we grow old, that twilight
Would illuminate treasure
In the fields of memory.

And when we come to search for God,
Let us first be robed in night,
Put on the mind of morning
To feel the rush of light
Spread slowly inside
The color and stillness
Of a found world.
siglinde99: (Default)
This is worth sharing. Also worth remembering.

"Just because we know that we can do better does not mean that we aren't doing the very best that we can."


Feb. 28th, 2012 09:16 pm
siglinde99: (Default)
I have decided to use Lent as an opportunity for moderation and reflection, in the hope it might help me build some long-term behaviours.

I have given up alcohol, most sugar, and have promised I would do a minimum of 30 minutes walking per day. The walking was inspired by this:

The thing I find most interesting is how much I want sugary treats, even though I don't normally eat them. Also, I am really resenting the walking, even though I feel much better once I have gotten some fresh air and exercise. I wonder what the psychology literature has to say about people who crave the exact opposite of what we know what is good for us.
siglinde99: (Default)
It has been a very long time. Part of ShuLing's Christmastime anxiety related to what would happen after she died. In desperation, I asked whether she would find comfort in going to a church, where she would meet people who believe in heaven. She said yes, so we gave it a try New Year's Day. It was really nice to get to sing in a community and meet some friendly souls. Unfortunately, there is no singing at the 8:15 service, and we use the Book of Common Prayer instead of the Book of Alternative Services (more modern English). I miss the singing, and ShuLing would find the modern service easier to understand, but we will cope. Afterwards, we go to riding, and the drive is a good opportunity to discuss faith and philosophy. I'm not a great believer in all the tenets, but I get great comfort from knowing that people I like and admire are believers - if they can have such faith, then there must be something worth examining. And though I may not be a true believer in the first commandment, I have long held the second (love thy neighbour as thyself) as central to my personal believe system. It's nice to hear it repeated every couple of weeks.
siglinde99: (Default)
I love where I live, but sometimes my neighbours are irritating, self-indulgent and convinced the world owes them a living. This is the tale of three cmmunity centres, and a business that has become a cultural and eonomic driver for our part of the city. Those of my friends who live in east end of Ottawa may have heard one version of the story. Here the other side.

I live in one of three closely connected communities. Each has a small community centre. One is little more than a single room attached to a small library (Rockcliffe Park). It has an evening speakers program, gardening club, yoga and ikebana casses, among other things. One has a room, oversized vestibule and ktchen (Lindenlea). It has morning aerobics, play groups for pre-schoolers, an after school program, runs a soccer league, and hosts  summer camps. One has a building that appears to have a couple of rooms (New Edinburgh). I have been told that it was built primarily to boost the argument against extending the planned Vanier Parkway extension through their neighbourhood. Unlike the other community centres, not much seems to happen there.

The New Edinburgh community also owns a 16.5% stake in The School of Dance, although it occupies one third of the floor space. They share a property that was formerly the Crichton Street Public School, an early 20th C school that had been closed. The community fought to keep it open but couldn't afford to buy the property. The School of Dance purchased the space and agreed to give the New Edinburgh community space in the top floor of the building (known as CCCC), in cooperation with the City of Ottawa, which provided a grant.

Not long after, things started to fall apart. The CCCC didn't pay its share of utility bills, and allowed its visitors to wander through The School of Dance (TSOD) on their way to the CCCC. Not that there were huge numbers of people - the CCCC space doesn't get much use except around the time of the annual Luminato festival - but TSOD has hundreds of children in its classes every day, and is responsible for their safety.

In 2008, TSOD had finally had enough and started procedings to evict CCCC for non-payment, return the City's grant, disolve the partnership and purchase the whole building at market price. TSOD had put in a lot of money for sprung dance floors in six studios, and created studio space for three resident artists who collaborate in multimedia dance works and exhibit their works in the School. Last year, they won their case. The CCCC has until the end of June to exercise its right of first refusal and is now trying to raise funds to "Keep Crichton School Public", noting that they would have a wonderful space with dance and artist studios for community activities. If they are unable to meet the asking price, the sale must close by August 31.

Sadly, the CCCC has launched a vicious campaign against TSOD, painting it as a bunch of money-grubbing outsiders. They forget that TSOD runs leisure programs for hundreds of adults and children from throughout the community. It attracts professional students from across the city; in the case of the full-time modern dance program, they come from across the country. Those students (and their parents) live and shop in the community - it is rare to go to our local commercial district and not see one or more parents at the grocery store or grabbing a coffee or lunch. They have been a significant economic boost.

Aside from the economic value, TSOD brings culture and physical fitness to a broad community. Among its programs are DanceAbility for those with physical handicaps, a dance program for seniors at the Elizabeth Bruyere Hospital and Continuing Care Centre, Dance on Tour which exposes schools across eastern Ontario to dance, its collaboration with the National Arts Centre's musical education program, and special projects with Carleton University's Faculty of Music (composition students), the Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre, etc. It makes space available for local teachers of Tai Chi, African dance, flamenco and hip hop. It runs sold-out summer and March Break camps based around dance. It can't meet all the demand and would welcome the opportunity to convert the third floor into more studios.

Of course there are personalities involved on both sides. There are probably lots of things that would have been better unsaid. But it is clear to me that the director of TSOD (a former ballerina) is not the only diva in this drama. And there is much more to a community than a community centre building.


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