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Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Christmas Reminder

I send out this piece every year in mid-December, mainly as a reminder to myself. (You might want to admire the way I reduce my own list of things-to-do by recycling this Scene from the Journey instead of writing a new one.) Here's the message:



This is such a time of list-making for me. The list I made this morning includes "make lists," proving that the high-tension time is well on its way. So I decided to make a new list for myself. Here it is:

CALM DOWN. If it doesn't get done, will the world end? Don't get frantic about trifles (or truffles, either, though I wouldn't mind having one right now).

SIMPLIFY. I envision a Christmas dinner made up of X number of dishes. Well, how terrible would it be if I served X minus 1? Or X minus 2? Or even X minus 3? (But I suppose Chinese take-out is out of the question.)


Bring an OPEN HEART to every encounter.

GIVE to those who are less fortunate. Whether it's time or money that I give, and whether it's a lot or a little, giving will help everyone, including me.

And as a gift to all of you, I offer this prayer from the Dalai Lama:

May the poor find wealth,
those weak with sorrow find joy.
May the forlorn find new hope,
constant happiness, and prosperity.
May the frightened cease to be afraid
and those bound be free.
May the weak find power and
may their hearts join in friendship.

Copyright © 2011 Ann Tudor

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Shape of Things

Things should be what they are, don't you think? If there is an elephant in the room, don't try to pretend it's a water buffalo. Or a unicorn. Especially not a unicorn. Only one consonant separates a uniform from a unicorn. Oops. That's a lie. There are two consonants that change. I stand corrected. Does that mean I have been relegated to a corner? "Go stand in the corner, young woman, until your behaviour improves."


Well, that's a pretty silly concept of behavioural modification. How can you change your behaviour if you are standing with your face toward the two blank walls of a corner? And how will that change be measured? And by whom?


I would return to the beginning of this if I could find it. Was I talking about uniform unicorns? Or elephants?


If you object to things in the shape of other things, then what will happen to Christmas ornaments? I hang from my non-tree a bi-plane, a fish, a hummingbird, many bells. These are not real bi-planes or fish; they are tree ornaments. And what about earrings? My earrings are shaped like radishes, scissors, dancing women, faces. Are we to do without such whimsy? Must all earrings be boring, round, button-like objects? (And even there, they are button-like, not real buttons.) How can we resolve this?


Some things must be allowed to take the shape of other things. Look, you say, a Santa Claus piggy bank is an abomination. But a piggy bank in the shape of a pig is still not a pig. What shape shall our coin-banks take? Must they all look like miniature bank vaults?


I champion things in the shape of other things. I champion the thing inside me that is and is not like me. I champion diversity in earrings and piggy banks.


Copyright © 2014 Ann Tudor

Monday, December 1, 2014

Still Trying to Learn

I used to think that it was really affected, the way the self-help books tell us not to "try" but to do. I've been saying "I'll try" all my life, but where did all that trying get me? (Well, I must point out that it got me this far.)


I see the wisdom, though, of eliminating "try" from my list of goals. Just as I recognize the benefits of having banished "should", I know how much more I accomplish when I stop "trying" and just do it.


There are a couple of fallacies in that last sentence, the first of which is "accomplished," which represents the old desire to present myself as a human doing rather than a human being. The bumper sticker that says, "She who dies with the most fabric wins" is as wrong-headed as the equally prevalent idea that it's all about production and accomplishment.


It isn't a race, folks. Try (!) ambling through this journey.


Copyright © 2014 Ann Tudor