Would we read the instruction manual ?


There are many comedians throughout the world, that make a good living joking about human behaviour. No matter what language we speak or our cultural heritage,how we humans behave, can be down right funny.

Just like the old joke about men never asking for directions. They go miles out of their way rather than asking for help. Thank heavens there is gps these days. As long as they are willing to use it, that is,problem solved.

Equally as popular a subject ,would be building things without instructions. Oh there are instructions in the box,but clearly there is little to no reason to refer to them. I have read many instructions in my day, only to be scratching my head at the end of it, wondering if perhaps reading the Japanese version would somehow make more sense, even though I know absolutely no Japanese.

Men take most of the blame for this trait,when actually both genders do fall victim to not reading instructions more often than you would ever hear us admit to.

Back in the dark ages,before the invention of the internet there was such a thing as an encyclopedia. Revised each year, it was a group of hardcover books,that alphabetically listed key bits of information on a variety of subjects.Everything from geography to science, to little known facts, could be found within these pages. It had a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things .undoubtedly it was the point of reference for it’s time.

Modern times finds us scrolling through multiple websites on the computer to have our thirst for knowledge quenched. Even with the seemingly endless terabytes of information available on any subject imaginable. There is yet to be created, a human in depth owners manual. Each individual is it’s own unique model,so even if one was written, it could only at best, be generalities. We are all different,yet physically only 1 of 2 species male or female. That leaves billions of people muddling through life with no instruction book.

Imagine for a moment ,that such a book existed. There would be some people that might read it cover to cover.memorizing every chapter and verse. Could our brains even take it all in? The avid reader would plough through the pages in record time. I am just going to put it out there, that I believe,even with the best of intentions,the biggest majority of us would either read only the pertinent parts pertaining to a current situation or not even read it at all. In that case would it be because we are too busy enjoying life to stop and read it? Maybe it’s simply burying our head in the sand. Ignorance is bliss and all that. As for me I would read the book, take in what I could of it. Be somewhat overwhelmed by it. Then I would put the manual on the bookshelf where I know I could find it for future reference . It would likely sit there collecting dust. Until one rainy day by the fire, I would sit with my cup of tea,reading it again from the beginning. Spending time taking in the bits I had not absorbed the last time. There is one slight problem with this picture. I would read it, except for one small fact, no manual exists.if you came with an instruction manual would you read it or just hope for the best? Would you let other people read the book, or would you keep the contents secret. It’s all food for thought for today.

Mental Health Day

With the help of social media,we can find out instantly what our friend has decided to wear or what’s cooking down the street for dinner, I might not need to know that,however it is there in my inbox,life as it happens.Does this mean we are connected more than ever with the world around us? Yes we might be connected electronically but as far as mentally,that could very well be something else entirely.

Today is Bell’s mental health day. What a fabulous gift to society, to open the dialogue about the state of our mental health. We all know someone or have first hand experience of calling in sick to work because we need a mental health day. The stresses of everyday life just get overwhelming. So we take time to decompress. Or we called in because we would rather be doing anything else on the planet than what we do to make a living.

With everyone talking or texting more than ever we talk about everything under the sun. At least you would think so. I would guess that one of the last things we would dream of talking about is mental health. Out of sight,out of mind. We think nothing of seeing a doctor about everything from ingrown nails to bad breath. We put the brakes on though when it is even suggested that we may not be coping. We focus on physical wellbeing and then often ignore mental wellbeing altogether. Is this because it is dangerously close to our own personal pilot lights I wonder?

The more mental health remains buried in the closet the more damage it is causing. Not just in this very moment but long term as well. Seeing a professional counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist shouldn’t be taboo . It is just adding another healthcare professional to your wellness team. I say BRAVO for bringing them into your life.

No one seeks out help without first discovering there is a problem. If you have discovered that you need help, hats off to you for great detective work identifying that an issue exists.

Mental health is not just something to be left for the professionals alone. It takes everyone as the family of humanity to allow those dealing with issues of the mind to feel safe talking about it. By talking about it you just might discover that knowing what your friend is wearing isn’t nearly as important as knowing your friend feels accepted and can turn to you when the need arises.

Who has perfect health ?

Who has perfect health?

When we look at a toddler we see probably the most pristine picture of perfect health we are likely to find. They truly are a clean slate upon which they write their own story. 10 tiny fingers and toes, wriggling at will as they play.

As we explore the world as a child we often get into things that we have no idea will cause us problems. Emergency rooms worldwide, are full of youngsters with scrapes, or broken bones from just moving. We certainly haven’t learned at this point to sit still. We seem programmed to continually go, like the energizer bunny ,stopping only long enough to charge the battery and then go again.

As we age ,we might do the exact opposite and only sit. This too puts us back at the emergency room. This time with problems developed because we aren’t doing enough. The balance point between the two may be more along the lines of good but not perfect overall health.

How many times do we hear people say they can’t do something because they have a previously broken bone or ailment that won’t let them do what they are trying to do. Wether it’s from a sports injury, accident, or just moving incorrectly we all have health issues of some kind or another.

With surgery ,physiotherapy or something else entirely, we fight our way back to better health. I am going to suggest that most of us at that point, go back to life as we know it. We have survived the ordeal and are now back to life as we perceive it should be.

We go about our everyday lives ,not giving the injury another thought. Until the day comes that we suddenly can’t do something and wonder why that could possibly be. We get ourselves down to the Doctor’s office. When they refer back to the chart in front of them we are almost surprised to be reminded that the wrist injury is related to the car crash we had on vacation years ago, or some such thing.

We leave tell tale signs of our misadventures almost like a breadcrumb trail. We become the sum of our injuries. Our war wounds. So can we claim PERFECT HEALTH.

I was at my Doctor’s office recently, and I found myself thinking that, after all I have been through, do I even have the right to complain about any other ailments? If the latest affliction is not life threatening should I just be happy and learn to live with it? Knowing what I know now, am I as willing to accept the phrase that there is nothing we can do ,we don’t know what is causing the problems? If I had questioned that years ago would things have been the same for me or something entirely different. I shall never know.

We might all want perfect health ,but few people will have that for their entire lives. Going through school we always strive for the best grade. Sometimes we may miss A + by a percent or two. Sometimes it seems the best we can strive for is a strong B. With health, strive to be a high achiever but know your limitations. If you find yourself in the strong B category be proud of the work it took to achieve the B accept the outcome with grace and hold your head high. It may not be perfect health by definition but it feels pretty darn good none the less.

The greatest wealth is our health

We have probably all heard the phrase You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. What most of us fear loosing the most is our health. I question, if I lost my mind,would I know? I rather hope not. It would be far more frightening to have moments of being totally in control and know bit by bit my world was being robbed from me.

Watching someone tumble into the world of prescribed or illegal drug dependancy,along with endless doctor appointments is like watching an accident unfold in slow motion. You want to warn those you love,but you can only be a spectator.

That is the trouble,we can only be a spectator in everyone else’s life except our own. Sure we can have front row seats, to someone else’s life story. We may even be an advisor to one or two people along the way. We might get a guest starring role perhaps if we are blessed. At the end of the day the life for which we take the blame and credit in equal measure is our own.

When life goes according to plan we are pleased,more in control. Things are as they should be. What happens when it goes really sideways though. It is frightening to hear people give you news you are not mentally prepared to handle.

As you find influential medical professionals weighing in on your condition, you are riveted to their every word. You haven’t received their education,so they clearly know more than you do,right? When they say something you like,you want to believe them. If it is something you don’t like,you can almost hear your brain shutdown into self preservation mode.

Things that are genetic are your key ingredients that you begin your life with. Everything else is flavouring and decoration. When the genetic ingredients cause a predisposition to certain illnesses. It doesn”t make it any better to hear. It serves only to give you an explaination. It helps answer the all important question, I am this way because….

Genetic causes of bad health is only one component. What about environmental causes, or heaven forbid what if it is our own poor choices that have landed us at the mercy of the medical profession.

If given a choice we would all unanimously choose good health over illness, am I right? Why then do we as humans continue to knowingly make poor health choices and then want the medical community to put us back together.

I think the first time I was aware of that concept was when I as a young child would see people smoke. I fortunately have never been a smoker. I could not wrap my head around seeing people coughing and wheezing as they would take in their first nicotine enhanced breath. With the lungs fighting off the intruder they endured dizziness and nausea all in an attempt to say they smoked. Wether it was to lose weight or just look cool , the demon was invited in to take up residence. It is an individuals right to smoke, I get that, if it was so great though ,why do millions of people spend their lives trying to kick the habit.

I am proud of those that have fought and won the battle to quit smoking,alcohol,or drug addiction any personal demon in fact. As well as being proud of those that don’t give up on trying to give things up.

The war to get our health back is truly that, a war, complete with enemies and allies. If you can identify the enemy, and form strategic alliances with the good guys, you stand a chance of coming out the other side maybe a little bruised and shaken,but alive,victorious and ready to take on any other of life’s challenges.

A word of caution, when looking for signs of the enemy,one place people rarely look at,is at themselves. We may be hands down our own biggest enemy masquerading as the head cheerleader.

One thing though is certain, the price of ill health, emotionally, physically and yes even monetarily, is astronomical. Don’t give yourself that burden. Make as many positive lifestyle choices as you can. It’s your life to lose.

Mood Music

Music has the singular ability to bring us to tears,send shivers down our spine,or transfer us to another place and time entirely. Wether it’s listening to centuries old masters such as Mozart or Strauss. Led Zeppelin’s iconic Stairway To Heaven. classic Beatles,or more modern favourites like Taylor Swift and Adele. It is all a matter of personal preference.

When was the last time a song came on the radio or your MP3 that made you want to just move from your very inside out? For that instant, a phantom toe tap appears out of nowhere. Inexplicably taking control.

These same random arrangements of musical notes can remind us of our first love,a summer vacation or someone we have cherished and lost, Perhaps even all three. How can that be? One minute we are not thinking about anything in particular and then the next,all we can think about is our 15 year old selves at the school dance,being the best wallflower anyone has ever not seen.

Music written in the 1800 can be relevant to todays listener even though the composer knew nothing about computers,or such a thing as twitter and social media.

Growing up I was introduced to many styles of music. Classical,big band,musical theatre,classic rock and even songs of the Scottish highlands and marches of John Phillip Sousa were commonly played in our home.

You don’t have to love everything that is created musically, to understand how without effort,the right notes at the right time can make us one with the music. The effect is unlike anything I have ever known.

When I look at the musical score that would be the soundtrack of my life,for the most part, I cater my musical taste for the day ahead. If I want to be tranquil I might go with quiet reflective songs perhaps. If a gym adventure is in my future I might switch to something lively to get my body moving.

If you are sitting around listening to sad songs wondering why you are feeling down, may I suggest changing the song to something closer to the mood you want to be in. Give yourselves a few songs and you just might find yourself having the kind of day you wanted all along.

Ode to a solo bicycle ride


If they could see me now
Wheeling free
Feeling the cool breeze tingling my rosy cheeks

The strength of the human spirit realized.
I find myself back in another time
Another reality where
“No” reverberated at every turn,
Be happy being comfortable
It’s all you can hope for
Medicated numbness

Those crushing words
Trying to bury me alive.
Few dared to dream with me
But dream I would
For moments just like this

Whizzing along taking it all in
Sensory overload
Cars flying by
People sauntering with pets in tow
Nervous excitement

I have not settled for comfortable existence
I am fully alive
In this moment
Making memories
With every turn of the wheel

The cost of eating better

When I look at the current price of our fruit and vegetables,  I have an overwhelming urge to scream. You can literally buy enough pasta and garlic bread to feed an entire family for less than the cost of a small cauliflower. What has the world come to!

There are  hundreds of options filling the aisles of our local grocery shops to lure us into the culture of premade edibles. Take home, eat, and serve. If it came with a waiter and clean up staff , it would be a little slice of what many of us refer to as heaven.

A couple of years ago now , for health reasons,  I began reading the labels of the foods we were purchasing. What an education that was. I wish I was joking when I said the first time I did that,  it took over 90 minutes to do our basic weekly shopping. To this day I don’t know what a lot of the ingredients are , even after I have read them. Here I was obliviously indulging in all sorts of foods not even knowing what I was putting in my body.

Over the past 18 months, my body and I have gotten reaquainted. Do I still want some of the old comfort foods ? Heck yes, I am reading labels I haven’t become a superhero. Over the last few weeks I have adopted a more easily managaeable approach. IF IT HAS A LABEL THEN THAT IS A WARNING.

This brings me to the produce department. You don’t find warning labels on fruit and vegetables. The only thing you might get is a label saying organic. No further reading required. Fortunately I love almost all fruits and vegetables.

As I fill the basket with natures goodness, I find myself paying some hefty grocery bills. From time to time, I think to myself,should I cut back? It’s funny how we can justify the cost of a good cup of tea and a treat but question the cost of a kilo of delicious apples.

It comes to a matter of personal choice. I find myself somewhere firmly in the middle of the fast food epidemic, and consistently eating well. Each day I find myself nudging towards the good side with a little back stepping from time to time.

What keeps me focused most of all,is knowing what it felt like having fallen into the rabbit warren of ill health. How dangerous it is to spend time there.
I would imagine it would be similar to waiting for search and rescue at the top of a mountain in a snow storm. Not everyone has the training to rescue you.

When you have had someone that was willing to travel down the rabbit warren, rescue you, dust you off, then hand you back your life, You find yourself label free among the produce. I might not stock up on cauliflower but I will find lots of natures bounty to fill the grocery bags.

The power of words

With the very first breath , we begin to create sound, A cry announces our arrival into the world. When there are no words , we rely on sound to tell our story. To an outsider, a child’s cry is simply that, a cry, nothing more, nothing less. To the parent that identical sound speaks volumes . It tell them that he is hungry, she wants to be held , or that a diaper change is in their immediate future. Without words we use sound , facial expression , and movement to get the job done. It gets our message across.

There is jubilant fanfare when you hear the first words. Daaaaaaaaa to a proud papa is a self expression of the word Daddy. The child is obviously destined to be a genius. Over time random words form more and more. Simple at first NO for example Is a popular one that seems to get lots of use.

At this point there is no stopping us. We pick up words literally, for the rest of our lives. Some we perhaps shouldn’t , while others serve us well. More often than not, most of us say things without a lot of preplanning. That is , unless you fall victim to the curse of imaginary verbal tug-of- war. The phenomenon of doing battle with yourself over something that rarely happens. The mind somehow fixates on something, magnifying it out of all proportion The next thing you know you are drawn into a world that has you strategizing . If he does ” this” then i’ll say ” that” . Or If she does ” this” i’ll do”that”. We ready ourselves for battle. in severe cases , some people have been known to take preemptive action based on what our mind has only envisioned. How exhausting is that !!! I have fallen into that trap a time or two. Despite all the mental ping pong I played in preparation , it has yet to go the way it played out so vividly in my mind.

We have all at some point , attempted to retract our words almost the very instant they have left our lips. Internally scrambling to discover how the internal thought escaped. Like a heat seeking missile we hit the bullseye with deadly accuracy. The damage , immediate and long lasting.

How is it ,that in the case of a direct hit, these throw away words become imbedded into the very core of how we perceive ourselves. “you are lazy ” becomes I am lazy” . ” You stupid idiot” gets lost in translation and finds itself becoming ” I am worthless”.

There is most likely a scientific report out there in the universe , that can pinpoint how many good words we need to hear to erase the damage from the bad ones. If anyone knows it would be interesting to find out.
It appears to me , that we take the bad words to heart and the good ones just evaporate. Humanity needs to reverse that trend. Absorb the nutrients of the gentle words and discard the negative ones entirely. The effect. Of silence will get a post all its own at some point down the road.

For today, even if you think you never say anything that would hurt someones feelings. Add a few extra gentle words when speaking to someone. Avoid using the negative word arsenal we so easily find ourselves reaching for.

The right words can take down the greatest warrior, or build bridges.

The view from the fence.

Many of us perch on the fence, from time to time. We are safely out of the way and can get an unobstructed view of those around us , going about their daily lives. What’s not to like about that? If we are using the fence as just a spot to rest and gather our thoughts it can be quite pleasant.

If however, we are using the fence as a way to avoid making choices, or difficult decisions , the view might not be as good as we lead ourselves to believe. In nature, fence tops are customarily reserved for birds to gather or squirrels to scurry across happily gathering nuts.

For people, the fence is not meant to provide long term rest. We run the ever present risk of falling asleep and the real danger of falling off. The longer we remain there fence stradling, the more we allow ourselves to be limited to that narrow ledge. Pacing back and forth , is our only alternative to just sitting there lifeless.

It is not until we remove ourselves from the fence ,that we can experience the banquet that is life, as we wish to live it. With all it’s colour and richness. The most common reason I have heard for remaining on the fence, is that we don’t want to make a mistake or look foolish. This is valid. The thing is , there is not a person alive that makes all the right decisions in everything they do. It CAN’T BE DONE.

When I make mistakes, i am reminded of something my parents would say to me when I was a young girl ” life’s mistakes are all character building” As it happens, I have been told by many people ,that I am quite a character. Does that mean I can avoid making future mistakes? I might be able to make more educated choices in the future, but to escape mistakes entirely isn’t going to happen.

The best we can hope for is a good safety net of friends and family , failing that,  perhaps a sturdy helmet ,should we find ourselves a little the worse for wear from our mistakes.

Something you might not have allowed yourself to consider though , is this. When you bravely think things through and make a choice YOU COULD BE GETTING IT RIGHT. How exhilarating is that !!! Bring out the marching band, you are far, far , above the fence you comfortably sat on. You are on cloud nine. You feel like all the superheroes rolled into one . There is no feeling like it.

Dare yourself to dream. Your true friends and loved ones are there, ready to hold the net or act as parade marshall. It’s your call.

Is the way it is now,the way you want it to be

A few years back now, there was  one bedroom in our home that was extremely cold in the winter and hot in the summer . The winter chill used to cause havoc with my pain. I couldn’t even get warm once I was under the covers. What surprised me most of all , was that we just adapted . Yes we would complain to one another,  Yet continue living with things the way they had always been.

The following year we actually moved out of the bedroom for the winter into the guest room. It was much warmer . We were quite toasty and thought nothing about the upheaval we just accepted as a perfectly natural thing to do.

About the 3rd or possibly the 4th year into this same pattern, I decided to call an electrician , to see if there was a problem with the radiator. When I touched it it wasn’t producing much heat so I thought that it was likely a part of the problem .Within 48 hours the electrician had been. I happily paid the $75 and we had blissful heat . We were so pleased. We moved back into our bedroom that very evening and things returned to normal. When we renovated later that year we put in new insulation and the overheating issue took care of itself as well.

Now why am I even bringing this up you might wonder. That is until you ask yourself what was wrong with this picture. At no time did I even realize I could take action to fix the entire situation,  never mind actually fixing it, why is that ?  I would like to think I am a reazonably intelligent adult. I am quite capable of phoning an electrician.  So why didn’t I ? That is the million $ question. Was I so into just accepting the status quo that I didn’t even look for a solution ? That just might be the problem right there.

We have all heard the phrase ” can’t see the wood for the trees” I must have been deep in the forrest. The answer turned out , in this case to be a simple solution. To this day it makes me think that if something isn’t working don’t just do nothing. Recognize that whatever it is isn’t working , and take action.

In the case of my declining health, i clearly asked the wrong questions. I was too busy asking the medical profession what they could do for me. Rather than asking the far more important question . That being , what was I prepared to do for me.

I apply this philosophy to a lot of areas in my life now. Even the things I choose to do nothing about, must on some level , be working for me or I would have done something about it by now.

Choose what works , and take a good look at what doesn’t , only you can make those choices for yourself. Once you have done that you too might  find the biggest hurdles have their own easy solutions we just have to look for them .