words from the heart (haiga + haibun)

july 9th alain johnsons handicraft

Handcrafted by Alain Johnson, Clinical Director

It is difficult to put into words what my heart feels but perhaps with images and a few haiku I may manage to give a glimpse of le moi à l’interieur.

Changing careers in 2000 was not only a choice but a dream for me. Accepting this position was a privilege not a duty. Helping those who find the courage to reach out is a joy. Hearing disclosures of suffering is an honour which I embrace each day with overwhelming love and humility.

I’ve been privileged growing up swaddled in love and compassion which gave me the resilience in times of adversity. Too many have never had this advantage in life.

On Thursday, I was showered with well wishes and compliments…festive balloons and hand crafted candles announcing my 15 years working at a national youth line. And yet, I am the one to be thankful for doing what I love best.

My colleagues warmed my heart with such sweetness and one special person wanted to show her sentiments by giving me a beautiful bouquet of fresh cut flowers that touched me more than she knows.

july 9

Bouquet from Stephanie Julien-Gaudry

I never felt so close to my colleagues as this day and grateful to be part of such a great team of loving and caring counsellors.  I know how I have always felt but have never realized how I may be perceived by others and truly this is humbling.

july 9 red roses

red roses
spilling fragrance
bleeding hearts
exuding sweetness
hope restored

july 9 yellow daisies

blonde petals
swell of golden glow
souls inspire

july 9 white daisy

unsullied
yet, made of substance
with purest intent

(c) Tournesol’15

in gratitude (haiga)

summer bracken
the shape of the spots
on the resting fawn

wild rivers
the joy unfurls
in ferns
© Jane Reichhold

Photo credits: Taken from http://www.botanicgardens.org/our-gardens/york-street/plant-collections/tropical-plant-collection

Photo credits: Tropical Collection – Denver Botanic Gardens

gift of rain
 liberated leaves peacock
waving grace

© Tournesol`15

fragile beauty
through leaves of ferns
I see the sun

© Chèvrefeuille

torn ferns
I use their leaves like a fan
Ah! that coolness

© Chèvrefeuille

Daisies

Photo shopped by Michelle Marie at Tell me About It
Photo shopped by Michelle Marie at Tell me About It

A daisy for my birthday

a bunch for an entire year

I’ m happy either way

this gift they gave me here,

colours popping I love you

whispering forget me not

I’m grateful for all they do

and so I’m saying Thank you!

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/03/21

Photo edited by Michelle Marie at Tell Me About It Thank you, Michelle Marie 😀

I was blessed with a lovely bouquet of flowers for my birthday last week from my daughter and grandson and a yummy brunch.

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.

Wonders of my life

Photo: Cheryl-Lynn Dec 2013, Montreal
Photo: Cheryl-Lynn Dec 2013, Montreal

The first snowfall
every year
brings the child
in me so near.

When a rainbow
tails the rain
makes me gasp
just can’t refrain.

My first crush
I still remember
and it still
gives me a rush;

My first kiss
from my true love
memories of erotic bliss
how I fail to forget,
my first pleasures
of the flesh
warms my skin
as I still blush.

The first stirrings
in my womb
makes my heart
flip and flop
feeling joy
wrapped with wonder;
baby boy
in my arms
suckling on my breast,
baby girl
in my embrace
next to my son
who’s grown so much
such a wonder…all of this!

soaking up those first smiles,
first words, first steps,
sheer wonder all of this
absolutely total bliss!

Rediscovering nature
in its delight
through the eyes
of my children
giving me a second chance
to embrace life again,
showing reverence
to Mother Earth.

Then the splendor
music offers
making magic
my son plays
on those bronze
copper strings;
watch in wonder;
when daughter
sings soprano
like an angle
in her choir
feel in awe
every  hour.

Watch the birth
of my grandson
cut the cord of life as well
how my heart OH! did it swell!
wept with joy
to see this boy.

Every sunset…
every dawn
brings such wonder
so serene
I’ve been blessed
ten thousand times
and still counting
I’m so thankful
such sheer wonders
I have seen.

 

© Cheryl-Lynn, January 27, 2014

Prompt 40, Sheer Wonder