Search This Blog

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Everybody Shift

Things as they are

bear no resemblance

to things as they were.

Every day a change.

Every moment something new

(from this whine, that fatigue,

those other bleak thoughts


I can do this, I remember,

I can, I will, I want to).


And in a twinkling

(perhaps too cheerful a word here)

in a shadowed shift

it can (it will) all change

as one remembers

this sad moment or that piece of joy

and the new thought colours all.


The essence is this

(I don't believe I'm the first to say it):

neither cling to the lighter moments

nor shun the shadows

because neither situation is permanent.

The flow is the whole point.


Copyright © 2015 Ann Tudor

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Question of Meaning

Keep the question (the quest) front and centre through it all.

Ignore—or not—the things, your stuff,

because seeing or not seeing them has no effect on that ultimate question.

Unless, of course, you attribute to everyday things

(Jack Frost's brilliant but ephemeral

window paintings, for example)

a symbolic weight that imbues the question itself

with greater mystery.


Contemplating the mystery lessens the dread.

Nothing becomes something

simply because a bulb pushes out a green shoot

or a red flower.


Whatever is the end

(and, pace Philip Larkin, no one knows it)

the passage is lightened and brightened

by the sun's sudden emerging

on a bitter day,

by the overpowering joy

of the contrast between shadow and light--

our true shades of meaning.



Copyright © 2015 Ann Tudor

Sunday, February 8, 2015


"I just love being me." This is what a friend overheard her four-year-old grandson murmuring as he played quietly by himself.


You could, I suppose, put it into the "cute things kids say" category; but I am struck by how unusual it is, in our culture, to hear anyone—adult or child—express such a thought.


As best I can remember, I was seventy before such a thought would have occurred to me. I now, indeed, love being me. But it took me the greater part of a lifetime to get here. It seems to me that this expression is actually a gift we make to the Universe, to Spirit, to the gods.


Just think of it! There you are, creator and observer of human life. How often does one of your creatures say, "I just love being me"? Which really means, "Thank you for making me who I am." More often they say things like, "Oh, I hate myself!" Or "I know I should love myself, and I would if only . . . ", the rest of that sentence made up of as many variations on the theme of dissatisfaction as there are reasons for not turning in one's homework. Actually, learning to love one's self is a form of homework, to be practiced and worked on and studied until we get it. Imagine what a bonus it must be for Spirit when a four-year-old says, out of the blue, "I just love being me!"


You've created a world. You've peopled it with humans and enriched and decorated it with sentient beings of all sorts, from fireflies to grizzly bears. And all you ask in return is a little appreciation for your efforts. You've created them, after all, in your own image, if that part is to be believed. You've imbued them with a spirit of the divine, each one of them--divine sparks that are inherent, innate, in each living example. And what is your reward? "Oh, I hate my life," they say. "Oh, I'm so unhappy!" "Oh, things aren't going my way!"


Wouldn't it be gratifying to hear, instead of all that grousing, words like "I just love being me!"? Because how can they profess, as some do, to love god if they can't recognize and love the divine that is within them?


Is it just a question of indoctrination? Do unhappy parents inflict misery onto the next generation—through ignorance more often than through malice—so that each of us has to re-invent a wheel of spirituality and self-love?


All praise to that little boy's mother for having fostered, with or without intent, the self-love in her four-year-old that allows him to murmur, "I just love being me."


Copyright © 2015 Ann Tudor

Sunday, February 1, 2015


I've been giving thought to rudeness lately, and here's what I've come up with. (The reason I've been contemplating it is probably obvious—rudeness is rampant in our dear city. Perhaps everywhere, but certainly on the streets of Toronto.)


First of all, I want to point out that I see rudeness as the absence of courtesy or, to set the bar even lower, civility.


Courtesy means acting with respect and consideration toward those around you. I could argue that it is also, and first of all, acting with respect for yourself.

I think many people might define rudeness as specific acts, such as giving the finger to a motorist, or yelling epithets when someone does something you disapprove of. Such things certainly are rude. But rudeness is much more than just active aggression. Rudeness is the absence of courtesy. And I'm fed up to the teeth with our lack of courtesy.


1.         It is rude to hog the sidewalk. If you are walking with friends and someone is approaching from the other direction, courtesy requires that one or two of your group move aside, step back—whatever it takes to allow a fellow pedestrian to pass. You do not own the sidewalk. Now, I will take into consideration your defense ("I didn't see her!") and after careful thought will throw it out of court. It is your responsibility to SEE the people who share the public spaces with you, even if such people are old (oh, shame!), female, homeless, or otherwise undeserving of your attention.


2.         It is rude to stash your used chewing gum anyplace except (wrapped, please) in a garbage container. This means: do NOT throw it on the sidewalk, which has two disgusting results. First, someone will inevitably step in it and have to spend too much yucky time scraping it off. And second, even if your gum does not get stepped on, it leaves a black spot on the pavement. Have you not noticed the grubby, dirty-looking black circles all over our city? Don't contribute to that, please.


Under no circumstances should you park your gum on the railing of a public stairwell. By all means do that at your own house, if that's what you are called to do. But do not contaminate the handrail of the subway steps so that my fingers encounter your germ-laden deposit as I innocently go up or down the steps. Thank you.


3.         Do not horse around with your friends near the entrance to a public building, making it difficult—or even dangerous—for others to enter the building.


4.         Do not play your music so loudly that it disturbs others. Ditto talking. Ditto talking on your various mobile instruments. Not everyone wants to hear the details of your intimate relationships.


5.         Do not cut in front of other people, whether you are walking or driving. This makes them angry, and they will either retaliate against you (for example, with the rudeness of the extended middle finger) or, throughout the day, against others—the domino effect of rudeness. Don't be the first domino.


6.         And while you're not cutting people off, consider your escalator behaviour: do NOT, even if you are a tourist and don't know where you are going, come to a dead stop at the very top or bottom of an escalator to regroup and figure out your next step. Move along, honey, move along. Remember that the escalator is conveying dozens of people right behind you, and they can't walk through you.


7.         Do not block the doors on the subway car. If you are standing near a door and that door opens at a station, move out of the way so people can exit and others can enter. Don't take up the space of the opening by just standing there. If the car is jammed with people and near the door is the only place to stand, you can STEP OUT OF THE CAR to allow people to exit, then step back in.


8. So here's the deal: when you are out in the world,

   among other people, pay attention to what is going on

   around you and respond appropriately. There is more to

   life than texting.


I had wanted to make an amusing list of everyday rudeness, something that would be pointed but entertaining. I feel that I have instead written a rant. How rude!


Copyright © 2015 Ann Tudor