Chaleur humaine (haiga)

How blessed I am once again with another floral  arrangement of appreciation from all the managers at work honouring my milestone.

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© Clr ’15

soothing warmth
strokes of appreciation
yellow flowers
~
yellow flowers
roses, daisies, carnations
puffs of harmony

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 ~

chaleur humaine
coups de satisfaction
fleurs jaunes
~
fleurs jaunes
les roses et les oeuillets
souffles d’harmonie

© Tournesol ’15

yellow flowers

Reaping life’s rewards

This week’s prompt at The Seeker’s Dungeon is:   Gratitude  (running from February 27 – March 5)

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

This week’s Prompt is hosted by Karuna Poole:  “I was present once when Jean Wiger, a psychotherapist from the Midwest, was asked what she considered to be the best predictor of success in therapy.  Her response was, “The client’s capacity to experience gratitude.”  Later, I was taught depression and gratitude cannot co-exist.  That isn’t to say that we should feel grateful for the many ways human beings abuse each other, but rather once we have had a chance to work through our anger, sadness and fear, we can choose to put our focus on the skills and positive qualities we’ve developed as a result of having survived whatever trauma we’ve experienced.”

wpid-20130102_175917.jpgThat really struck me when I read  if depression is still present, it cannot co-exist with feelings of gratitude. I often wondered about that.  I can see how it would cloud my view on the world if I am stuck with past fears, anger and sadness.  But what about melancholy…moments my muse seems to appear as well?  I tend to dip into bouts of melancholy from time to time and I embrace them more lately so I can do some introspection and write, my new-found love, my muse. 

I have stopped trying to figure out the why or what over the years when moods dip into darker states.  Chronic pain?  hormones?  Fatigue?  Life?  Family?  Work?  {I have certainly been in and out of therapy as well in the past to help me through these journeys.}

And, if anything, my work is my salvation. I love what I do no matter how painful it is to hear some stories at times,  from my callers…I feel grateful and privileged to be in a position to sometimes, make a small difference even if it is for just a moment.

As for other reasons to feel down…well, take your pick…life situations or just plain getting the blues for a while.  Sometimes it is a blessing and the universe`s way to say, “Slow down!”   I do believe that I may have suffered for years with SAD and that half of the province where I live…with our long winters probably do to some degree. 

And when life throws a curved ball now and then, I am learning to embrace it, hold on for dear life at times; surprisingly, I am thankful for this as well. The enlightenment that follows any amount of suffering is priceless.

I often tell myself, “Thank goodness I work!”  It forces me to get out of the house in the dead of winter.  Perhaps it is also the feeling of having a purpose. We all want to feel this. Look at those who are not quite ready for their retirement.  It is a huge and sometimes painful life transition if not carefully planned. I am not talking about financially…emotionally prepared.

In the early 80`s my step-father died and it crushed my spirit. He had been given 3 months to live after his diagnosis and he actually died 3 months later. Having a second baby made my visits only twice weekly , less frequently than I had wished;  I felt I missed connecting with him; there was so much I wish I had said to him or heard from him.  

A few years later,  I began a certificate in Gerontology offered to volunteers. Most of the students were over 65 years old. Lovely women learning how to help elderly persons more and most of them sharing, “My husband just retired and I have to get out of the house…he has taken over my kitchen” or “He`s driving me bonkers!” 

At that time I had also started doing friendship visits to isolated, lonely older persons and by the end of my certificate I was hired as a personal support worker in home care. I remember visiting this man who was in his 60’s, dying of cancer.  I loved sitting with him, hearing his stories.  He was an advocate for our small English community and taught me to be a bit of a shit disturber if I wanted to make some changes. He counselled me in my role on school and parent committees. I followed his advice and started a school daycare learning the school board policies and educational laws providing this right for hard-working parents seeking a good place to have their children go after school. This man just warmed my heart and filled me with so many ideas.  He had fought to get English Catholic services available in our town twice weekly including Sunday school for the children.  He was a devout Irish Catholic and I grew so fond of this man.  I was able to listen to him when he wanted to talk about dying since he didn`t want to worry or hurt his loved ones. I was blessed having this privilege to be by his side during these times I had missed with my step-father. 

The universe provides so many opportunities to fulfill our needs!

One day I was at Sunday mass and had not been for weeks and weeks; the priest was at the door welcoming parishioners and made a sarcastic remark, “Well, it is nice to see you pay us a visit today.”  I knew this priest had been summoned for almost a year by the man I had visited. This man waited and waited, needing to share his thoughts, pray with him and lighten his soul. But never did that priest go…in fact a priest from another French parish made visits to sooth this dying man. I was privy to all of this. I have been blessed with this man`s trust as he shared his fears, prayed as I listened and held his hand many times.

And so my tongue was a bit sharp as I smiled, tilted my head to the side and said, “Ah, yes, I have missed many Sunday obligations, haven`t I now, Father. But you see, I have replaced them with visits of compassion these past few months visiting a parishioner you well know, Mr. ***.” To this response, he blushed, forced a weak smile, and I sauntered to the front near the altar to sit with my two children.  

I am so grateful to have met this lovely man who inspired me just at a time in my life I was searching for my purpose . I am thankful to have met him and that he accepted my presence on his last passage. That was the start of my journey on my path in learning, exploring, discovering and getting my degree eventually to work with people full-time.  I am grateful to have started a second rich and rewarding career, blessed having the opportunity to reap life’s rewards.

© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/03/02

Teachers’ Appreciation Day

me sidewaysI am a bit late in submitting this and I have only listlessness to blame. First day of my long awaited vacation I am spending NOT on balconville but pretty much close to le balcon. 

This is humbly written (because I don’t write as many real poets I know) but it is from the heart.  If it were not for some amazing teachers I had growing up, I may have slipped between the cracks. I do appreciate this difficult vocation because I do believe that it is a vocation for good teachers who go beyond their mandate. And yes, many do. I only worked 5 years teaching a very easy course and could not believe the work involved to keep courses alive and students engaged but that is what you need to do…keep them engaged.

I am sure you all can remember a teacher or two (I’ve had more) that inspired you and mostly that believed in you. So here are my thoughts…

Dear Teacher,
without your guidance I’d not be
here writing any form of poetry.
You taught me my ABC`s
and how to write with ease
entrenched a love of word
my nose so often in a book
I did not know I could afford
to have become so hooked.
Arithmetic, geography,
literature and history
opened my mind to the world
except for algebra and geometry
I did not seem to catch on fast
until university
where a humble math professor
with immense serenity
unassuming and patient…
a quality math teachers
could benefit in the future…(hint)
I breezed through with an A minus!
I learned much more from you, Teacher
but it was still sown in academia
whether you were French or Latin teacher,
Physical Education or Drama..
you inspired and moved me to awe
encouragement and self-worth
filled me with determination
stirred such an inspiration
and allowed me to believe
in me… and not give up
you sealed my fate
a long time ago
today …I can`t seem to satiate
my thirst and hunger for truth…
knowledge and understanding
of life by examining, exploring,
investigating, discovering
realities about humanity
probing with curiosity.
Dear Teacher,
many years ago
you lit a flame
that`s still aglow .
So on this Teacher`s appreciation Day
I thank you all for filling minds
and mostly rousing souls…
stirring them to reach their goals.
Thank you evermore.
© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/02/14
 
PostScript: I just noticed a prompt at The Seeker’s Dungeon and I think this would qualify as a good contribution as well to who has inspired me to be the person I am today.

Diamond Jubilee Medal…me?

The universe sure has a way of rearranging the stars so things can happen.  I think that`s because the universe has many helpers…mega-stars and angels floating in the cosmos.  An amazing angel who touched me {KM} shifted some of those stars to reach {SW} and {AJ}  and I am pretty sure {SM) had a hand in it too,  to make way in the sky for me to reach out and receive a very very special award.

This post is a bit more than “Something I just have to share” because it should really be “Something I am bursting to share”.  I am filled with so many mixed  emotions today, pride, elation, compassion and especially, gratefulness!! Last night I received an email from our head office requesting my presence for an award that I and several of my colleagues were to receive this coming Monday in Toronto.  Well, it is a 6 hour drive from my home and to tell you the truth, I had forgotten the date thinking that I probably could not have made it down there anyways.

Well, lo and behold, the universe certainly does provide.  The President`s administrative assistant arranged to make things happen…Thank you, Kathy:)…Merci, Alain and Thank you, Sharon and Susan!  Thank you Bella Maria for allowing to crash at your place:)

To receive this award, to be even nominated by my colleagues and managers is the greatest honour for me.  And let`s be honest, at my age {no spring chicken here!} I don`t think I will be getting many more awards of this standing…it IS an honour to be recognized as someone who actually deserves this.

All I really do is going to a job that I adore…it`s so easy when you are passionate about what you do.  Anyone reading this, who loves to write understands that part, right?  It is not a chore when you love what you do…you are enjoying yourself during that time…period.

So, I wanted to share this with my readers.  I am standing tall, back straight, shoulders pulled back and chest sticking out, chin up with pride…

So I will be travelling on Monday and Tuesday travelling back;  I am taking lieu time from  the Victoria’s Day…yes, la Fête de la Reine {how àpropos} to receive this Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal!!  

Sneak peek at my invitation that I have on my wall at home:)

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You and a guest are cordially invited to attend

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Reception

Monday June 3, 2013

TIFF Bell Lightbox

TIFF Lounge, Toronto, On.

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals awarded by a youth line who recognize individuals whose extraordinary efforts have helped to transform the lives of thousands of young people across Canada every week.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, May 31, 2013