Greetings and Welcome to Innisfree's January 2022 Newsletter. I wish you a special year that sees you safe, healthy, and one that is filled with many mindful moments. Have you given thought to what might be included in those moments? Would it mean eliminating some things from 2021 and prior years, while adding others for 2022? That same pondering has been taking up space in my mind!
A few nights ago I was scanning the titles in my bookcase - those remaining after many book purges and donations over the years. One brought back a 20-year memory that then created a giant - and a continuing - shift in my thinking: Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie; specifically, Chapter 24's Paint Me a Masterpiece. MacKenzie was a cartoonist and artist, previously with the Vancouver Sun and Hallmark Cards.
Paraphrasing and personalizing the story, God outlines the exhausting journey I would take in the process of being born, shows me an artist's canvas and says he would appreciate if I would paint him a Masterpiece. I agreed. All goes according to plan, except that, upon my arrival, the big people - adults - see the pristine canvas and take it away for safe-keeping. When they give it back years later it contains lines and numbers, and a message that I was to paint within the lines and follow the numbers in sequence. The implication was that if I followed the rules and worked hard, my life would be a Masterpiece.
Reflecting on the story and my life's Masterpiece I realized, as did the author, it wasn't mine at all, but was made up of what I thought I should do, or what I believed was the 'responsible' thing to do. For sixty years I had (more or less) followed the rules (of others), worked long hours, and occasionally - with great daring - coloured outside the lines, often resulting in new beginnings that took me back 'inside the lines'. It was time to pay heed to Robert Louis Stevenson's words: "To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying 'amen' to what the world tells you, is to keep your soul alive."
MacKenzie's book is a creative masterpiece of words and colourful illustrations. He ends his story with the reminder that we each have a Masterpiece inside us, one unlike any that has ever been created, or ever will be, and that if we go to our grave without painting it, it will not get done, for there is no one else who can create it. He currently lives in Northern Ontario and has written additional books on art. http://www.gordonmackenziewatercolours.com
Coming to today, where we are each experiencing a very different 'normal', and surviving as best as we can, what is really important to you? Maybe you have a theme / focus for the year. Themes are something I first created 40 years ago and, wanting a simpler, less busy 2022, I have chosen: Be still, listen, trust, act (mindfully), and spontaneously listing 14 priority items! Mmmh, maybe I have some sifting to do? While each of the four is significant, taking time to be still and listen stand out. A beautiful example of really listening is a true short story in Mitch Albom's book, Have a Little Faith, about a little girl who excitedly comes home from school, waving a drawing she had made; her mother keeps responding absently while continuing to prepare dinner, until her daughter says, 'Mom, you're not listening with your eyes'. What a great reminder!
Wherever you are in your life, may you listen with your heart and your eyes and ask yourself, as I did: "Is this MY Masterpiece?" Until next time ... stay well, be safe. Namasté!
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada