Small Signs

Small signs…

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I don’t ever see dragonflies sitting still, but today when I visited Samuel’s grave I found this little fella keeping watch over him.

Getting up close didn’t seem to disturb it at all and it stayed in the one spot for my whole visit.

The dragonfly has been a part of my experience of Samuel’s death, and part of the experience that reminds me that there are connections continuing.

After I shared the picture above on social media someone sent me a link that provides an explanation about dragonflies as a totem and the history and symbolism of dragonflies, an interesting and thought provoking read.

These are small signs…. I still miss the physical presence of my little man, even though I know and feel that he is around.

Connect, Renew, Systems

new-year-resolutions

I did not make any new years resolutions for this year.. because I have explored all the ways to guarantee that you fail at your new years resolutions before……and as this post is going up close to the end of January chances are almost 80% of peoples new years resolutions will be done and dusted and consigned to failure pile  (or put off for another “attempt” next year)

I have spent some time reflecting on last year and I guess I could sum it up in one word that I do like  DISCOMBOBULATED.

The whole of last year was a time of confusion, feeling disoriented and out of sorts (if you want the summary then start with my xmas post and work your way backwards through the links. In all honesty it was the worst year since Samuel had his accident and created the reason I am here blogging. It was a year where I felt like I had lost connection with a lot of people and things that are important to me, where a lot of things became stagnant and ways of doing things that had worked for me in the past fell apart…

One thing is certain this year MUST be a lot different to last year. Some of the same stressors, like Samuel’s health will continue to decline and with that will come all the uncertainty associated with palliative care, but among all that uncertainty there has to be renewed hope and forward progress.

What do you do in the absence of new years resolutions?

Without new years resolutions there are only two options… keep doing what you have done… or doing something different.

New years resolutions are out… they fail. So what are the alternatives?

Three Words

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For a couple of years I have watched a method used by Chris Brogan called Three Words, in which three words are chosen to provide a framework to create focus and decide goals throughout the year.

What are my three words for moving forward?

CONNECT:  I will be putting much more effort into connecting up with people, making connections between different parts of my life and different things that I read.. asking a lot more questions about how is this connected to that.. what can I do to connect this thing or person with that thing or person.

RENEW:  There are some long-term goals associated with the values that I hold that  stagnated because of life’s circumstances, these projects, goals and connections need renewed effort and focus.

SYSTEMS: I focus on building systems to help me make sure that what ever connections, projects and goals are created or renewed are maintained and built on. Where ever possible I will automate repetitive items or build systemic reminders to keep things on track and make sure that I am as resilient as possible.

What about you?

Have your new years resolutions failed already? Looking to do something different why not try Chris Brogan’s approach… and if you do, what are your three words?

A few follow up posts will be published throughout the year to track progress.

 

The slow boat to China – or cruising through 20 years of Marriage

Mick and Jo

Who are these young people… Me and my beautiful wife back in 1993

Twenty Years

The second of October 1993 to the second of October 2013…A time to celebrate twenty years of being married. Twenty years that feels like it has been a long time, but twenty years that also feels like it has gone by in the blink of an eye.

Twenty years that have been filled with highs, lows and everything in-between. Twenty years that have given us three beautiful children, that have filled us with joy.. and the inevitable sadness of Samuel’s situation.

Twenty years with Jo-ann who is probably expecting me to make a crack about the possibility of being paroled for murder (twice over) by now…[or as a friend put it more politely the other day.. day years married to you Michael, I’m sure she thinks about murder and being paroled every day] …. but no… I’m more romantic than that 🙂 (shhhh stop laughing Jo-ann)

Taking the slow boat to china…

I’m sure you have all heard the term “on a slow boat to China”.. in general use it means something that takes a long time is very slow and may never reach it’s destination. The term also has a few cultural references to romance too with a 1948 hit song by Frank Loesser that has been revised from time to time by the likes of Peggy Lee and Bing Crosby, Bette Midler, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin and many others.

In the romantic sense the term is about wanting to spend as much time as possible with the one that one love…..  and the reality is that I’d be happy to do twenty years with Jo-ann all over again.. and I look forward to spending the next twenty on another ride on the “slow boat to china”… because who really knows that the destination of life is, or when we’ll get there?

But….I’m also playing on words a little…..

The symbolism of twenty years

A twentieth wedding anniversary is represented by China….no not the country! Gifts of fine china are the traditional gift associated with a twentieth wedding anniversary.

It is meant to symbolizes the beautiful, elegant, and delicate nature of your love for one another over 20 years (However, there was no way I was going out to get Jo-ann a nice china dinner set…)

Jo-ann is one who likes symbolism and some of the associated tradition and the romance that it represents … so my gift to Jo-ann for our twentieth wedding anniversary  is this…

Doulton Forever

A Royal Doulton, Fine China Figurine called FOREVER.

I think it is a nice blend of the tradition of China as a twentieth anniversary gift, a reminder of our wedding day (and how damn young we looked!), and that we are on the slow boat to China forever…..

My anniversary message to Jo-ann.

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I Love You… through thick and thin, through the highs and lows. I’m glad you’ve shared the last twenty years with me, I look forward to sharing another twenty with you….[and just so you don’t think I’m getting too mushy… just remember… you’re stuck with me 🙂 ]

 

Checking in for check out and check up…

Our seven and a half-year roller-coaster ride since Samuel’s accident has had moments of intense highs and intense lows, but there is one constant throughout the whole time……

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Jo-ann lives the experience twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, with very little down time to help recharge her batteries. I am lucky that I get a change of scenery through going to work, foundation meetings etc etc, but for Jo-ann it is a constant.

I really admire how much Jo-ann has put up with and how she continues to get on with it, no matter how much it hurts her.. and it hurts a LOT ….

She’s been told to check out….

Check out of home that is…

As things have happened for Samuel we have been in regular touch with Bear Cottage and really appreciate their continued help in discussing things with us and it remains a comfort, knowing that they are there to support us and ready to have Samuel and the family back at a moments notice.

In their usual fashion they have made some space available for Samuel and Jo-ann.

Jo-ann and Samuel are checking in…..

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Jo-ann and Samuel are checking into Bear Cottage today to give Jo-ann a few days where she really does not have to focus on the needs of the whole family, can leave most of Samuel’s care to the wonderful staff and really concentrate on unwinding and recharging.

Samuel gets a check up

While Jo-ann unwinds, it is also a good opportunity to have a check up on where Samuel is up to.

We see Samuel day in day out, yes we see changes and we notice things, however the Bear Cottage staff will have a few days to watch him, catch up on what is happening for him and assess where they think he is up to. That will be useful to us the staff will have an update appreciation of Samuel’s condition and be more attuned to him when we make those phone calls saying HELP… what do we do now.

The girls get stuck with Dad.

There has to be worse fates…. (but you’ll have to ask the girls what they might be :-] ) but the girls are stuck at home with Dad so they can continue to go to school… might have to come up with a LONG work list them…

 

 

How much does a thought weigh?

How much does a thought weigh? Just stop and think about that for a moment… how much does a thought weigh?

feeding your brain, how much does a thought weigh. Image by brain_blogger@flickr

Some of you will say they weigh nothing, some will say they weigh a ton, some will say well that depends…..

It’s a question about which we could get all technical and there are a few posts around the internet that do get technical with physics arguments about how much a thought might weigh.  However, I’m not interested in the technical argument dissecting whether the electrical activity in your brain that causes thoughts has any mass, whether there is a weight attached to them as they are stored in your brain, but I am more in the question of what a thought “feels” like it weighs.

I’ve talked before about sitting with sadness and what that means to me. It is the practice of sitting that has lead to the thinking about the weight of a thought.

Crushing…..

Sitting with sadness is an act of meditation and self-compassion (meditation is something that many of us really should do more often as the evidence about it’s positive impacts continues to grow, certainly something that I should do more often).

What interests me is how a thought that arises during this meditation can simultaneously create two opposite but equally powerful sensations, both sensations that feel like they have weight.

When my sitting is around the circumstances with Samuel I regularly have a very intense experience.

Sometimes during a period of sitting I experience  a profound feeling of emptiness but heaviness at the same time. It is a simultaneous feeling like the weight of the universe is pressing down upon me, giving me the feeling that it could crush me and a pulling feeling like being pulled into myself almost to the point of an implosion.  It is not a physical sensation of weight but it is a powerful sensation.

Yet uplifting….

Almost at the very same time I can experience an equally powerful feeling of lightness, a feeling of expanding as if the weight of the universe is being lifted off me and it creates a very strong sensation of almost floating.

Sometimes it is almost a pendulum like experience between these two sensations, moving back and forth between them. Sometimes it is a linear experience, heading towards and implosion and then feeling an incredible sense of lightness and expansion. Other times these sensations literally feel like they are happening at the same time.

Always relieving..

It doesn’t seem to matter what the overall individual experience is for any given period of sitting… but the sitting always provides a sense of relief.

What about you?

Do you have the sensation that your thoughts have weight, what does it feel like? Does it occur during meditation or periods of contemplation… I’d love to know whether you have similar experiences if you meditate… share them in the comments (or in the comments on FB, or send me a tweet @themickmorris about it)