Oliver Raymond Travers (1942 - 2021)
Michael Stanhope Marchant (1924 - 2021)
Welcome to September and the return of Innisfree's newsletter after my two-month retreat. How was your July and August? Some of mine went as scheduled, as did the cataract eye surgeries, whereas other well-laid intentions remain on the proverbial planning table. There were some significant losses and concerns for others' health challenges. Going forward, I shall miss the positive telephone chats with my brother-in-law, Michael, who exemplified living with gratitude and died last month, just a few days before his 97th birthday.
Yet, it seemed that the two months sprouted wings, and here we are in September, which in past years I have often referred to as a new beginning, when classes generally start again, Autumn is in the air, bringing cooler temperatures, crisp colourful leaves, readying to hunker down for the coming winter so as to return, replenished, with the splendour of Spring.
This month's heading is also my theme for 2021. Thankfully, this year I have been more mindful of boundaries, and the creation of joyful meaningful moments. Along with many of you, those meaningful moments became new experiences due to adjustments brought about by Covid, with our social life geared by telephone calls, Skype and Zoom videos.
The illustration above came about during a Zoom discussion with the five inspirational and like-minded friends of my Peer Group at the end of June. As the pink rabbit was visible during our session, one person commented on it, leading to my sharing that it was a gift from my sister many years ago. I had also taken it to a retirement workshop where my talk was on the importance of being real, and referring to a favourite book, The Velveteen Rabbit first written in 1922 by Margery Williams. Its small companion was added as an Easter gift sometime later, and since then the two have been inseparable.
I had first heard The Velveteen Rabbit story when it was woven into an inspirational talk at a Toastmaster meeting in the 1980s, where the wise Skin Horse of the nursery tells the Rabbit that being real isn't how you are made, but something you become, and it can take a long time. I received the book forty years ago from a friend. Since then its classic tale has been re-read and gifted many times.
Some of my precious and meaningful moments in July were after learning that a former Toastmaster, a wise and gentle giant who dedicated his life to protecting the forest and environment, was in critical care in a Victoria hospital, and a number of us sent him caring messages on what he meant to us. I had a treasured conversation with him and expressed my Fireside story book, flagging sections where lessons I learned came through him those many years ago. Today, a treasured photo is of him lying in bed holding the book. Journeying with someone, or with one's pet, at the end of their earthly journey is a priceless gift.
As the authors of our life story, we don't know when we'll write our last chapter, but let us stay curious, continue to learn something new, and keep turning another page with gratitude for each day. Maybe we have lived our lives a certain way, but perhaps there is a time to release that which no longer serves us. On my 'fridge is a meaningful quote from a friend: If you want to fly, you have to give up the stuff that weighs you down.
May you join me in releasing the weight of any past regrets, and go forward with gratitude, creating beautiful memories with joyful moments. I thank you for sharing my journey, for all that we have experienced together, and leave you with words by my favourite Irish author and poet, John O'Donohue (1956-2008): May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
Until next time, please stay well and keep yourself safe and protected.
Many blessings ... Namasté.
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada