Archives for posts with tag: health and wellbeing

Happy New Year everyone!

I may be a little late in saying that – it’s because I have been struggling somewhat with this post – what to say, how to say it.

It seems there is more to ponder this new year than in previous. 2020 has been a challenging one for many. I have heard and seen a lot of “good-bye to the worst year ever” type of messages and posts – and mostly from people who do not have to struggle to put a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and who don’t have to worry about whether or not they will make it back alive and unhurt, every time they leave their homes.

Perspective…. Perspective is key.

I know that this is different for all of us – and whatever our feelings and fears are about this pandemic we need to understand each other.

As much as it is okay to say you are scared and depressed and need help, it is also okay to say that you are doing quite fine. I spoke with the Ladies Who Dine last weekend, and when I said that for me 2020 was actually a pretty okay year, one said she was happy and relieved to hear me say that – because it is the same for her. Why can’t we say it’s been an okay year???

Every year has its ups and downs, struggles, delights and lessons learned. Every year has moments of “the worst ever”, “the best ever”, and everything in between.

It certainly didn’t end up being the year I thought it would be – with the project I was working on coming to a halt and a return to Canada much sooner than expected in April. Thankfully my circumstances are still very good. And I am keenly aware that I am very fortunate. I have also not lost anyone to Covid-19. I know a few people who have caught it, for some it was really rough, for others not so much. Yes, I am indeed lucky. And I am grateful.

I have been working full-time since I graduated from university at 19. I’ve worked hard, been lucky, have seen and done a lot, and met many amazing people – in many wonderful places.

So as I look back at 2020, I see in it the gift of time.

Time to just “be”, relax and restore.

Time to get back into the regular, morning, practice of breath work and meditation.

Time spent with family and friends – all physical distancing precautions taken when in person, and lots of video chats.

Time out in nature – walking, running, cycling – moving my body and marvelling at the beauty around me.

Time to do things that I enjoy and am curious about – like writing, taking a few courses and heck, why not try some voiceover coaching sessions? It’s fun.

Time to read…actual physical books, which has always been my preference. With travelling so much the past seven years, my tablet was best for reading – but it’s just not the same as holding a book in my hands.

Time to have all my “stuff” taken out of storage, unpacked and put into place – which is leading to precious moments reliving what I have been calling my “charmed life” for years now. Ooohhhh the 80’S!!!

Time to just slow things down for a little while and enjoy things like canning fruit, baking, a little home DIY, and of course some quality (and not so quality) streaming of movies, shows, etc.

It is my hope that we can all remember to slow down a little, enjoy and be grateful for the many blessings we do have – the so-called “little things” that are much greater in meaning and worth than we sometimes remember. When things “get back to normal”, let’s remember to stop every now and again, and enjoy and be grateful for what we have.

Let me leave you today with two of my favourite prayers/meditations. I highly recommend taking a few quiet moments regularly to just sit, breath and repeat these words to yourself. It creates positive, loving energy – and there can never me too much of that! Let’s face it, the world needs a lot of it right now (and not only for pandemic-related reasons…).

1: Buddha’s teaching on loving kindness:


Weak or strong

Long, medium or short

Tiny or enormous

Visible or invisible

Nearby or far away

Born or unborn

…May all beings, without exception, be joyful and happy

2: Loving kindness meditation. Think of someone, see them clearly in your mind’s eye and send them the following thoughts/wishes:

  • May you be safe and protected (repeat 3-10 times)
  • May your body be healthy and strong (repeat 3-10 times)
  • May your mind be clear and at ease (repeat 3-10 times)
  • May you be loved (repeat 3-10 times)

You can do this for: someone you really love, of whom the mere thought fills your heart; someone you love, maybe not quite as much as the first person; someone to whom you feel indifferent; someone who really challenges you; yourself (don’t forget to do this for yourself too!). You can do all of these, or a combination, or one of them. You can even just send this out to the world, without focussing on anyone in particular.

Then sit with the loving energy you have just created, and take that with you for the remainder of your day or night.

Stay safe, be smart, stay healthy.

Let’s work together to move past the pandemic.

Let’s work together to create a world where EVERYONE feels safe, seen, heard, cared for and given every opportunity to have a wonderful life.

And let’s get to a point where this single lady, living alone, can hug her friends again! I miss hugs….

Meet Betsy. She’s a beauty!

I decided to add cycling to my regular thing this summer. With all the bike trails in the Eastern Townships, and easy access from where I was staying at the time, it was a temptation I could not resist!

I was already using the trails to run, and wanted to go further afield – literally, in fields, in the countryside, which was so nice.

And I’m not a serious cyclist. Nope. I want to meander around on my bike and explore the area. That is why I chose a classic cruiser. There’s nothing quite like having the wind on your face as you ride down paths and the feeling of freedom as the wheels glide below you – especially when you are heading downhill. All of this surrounded by Mother Nature’s beauty.

There is an estuary you can ride around, a lake, a river and farmland. Stopping at the bench on the top photo was one of my favourite things to do.

Cycling is also a great balance to the running – working the inner thigh muscles which helps support my not-so-great knee joints. Running builds the outer thigh muscles, so this is a good way to try to even things out, or at least build up some inner thigh muscle strength.

But really…it’s about feeling free and light when on the bike. And about discovering lovely little spots like this one:

Sitting on a rock at the river’s edge, listening to the sounds of the water flowing by and the birds singing…aahhh, so peaceful. As I watch this video and hear the sounds, I’m transported back. No wonder the first humans (and non-humans for that matter) who found this spot decided to settle close by.

Luckily there is much to discover along these bike paths. On weekends there can be a lot of people around as families and cycling groups take advantage of the sunny skies and warm temperatures. It was fun to see everyone take advantage of the trails. I even started to feel like a local when people asked me for directions!

There are also a number of sculptures along the paths, a nod to the industrial beginnings of this area. Industry isn’t what it used to be as times change and different priorities come into play. I do like that the city has included these in its art programme.

When I came to Montreal at the beginning of August I replaced the bike paths in the estuary and countryside with those of the Lachine Canal. I’m not super comfortable riding my bike on busy streets, so haven’t done much of that. Although I did ride all the way to Verdun (not terribly far), using as much as the canal path as I could, then riding in the bike lane on the city streets. I stuck to the less traveled roads and was really quite proud of myself.“Look at me! I’m riding on the city streets!” Some days it doesn’t take much…ha!

What I also like about riding and running along the canal is that you see the old industrial buildings – some of which have been converted to condos, event spaces, and restaurant. And at times you get both a glimpse of this history and of the high-rises downtown (which are certainly increasing in number these days).

The canal is also a great way to get to Old Montreal. It’s about a 45-minute walk, and maybe 20 minutes by bike (depending how often I stop to enjoy the views).

Old Montreal wasn’t bustling with activity this summer, thanks to Covid and a drop in tourism. Meandering the cobble-stone streets admiring the beauty of the old buildings was quieter than it would normally be in summer.

As fall sets in I know my bike rides are numbered and Betsy will soon be coming indoors. When that happens, I will look at her and long for the days I can ride again.

PS: for those cyclists who ride these trails and fancy themselves in the Tour de France…. You are NOT. I know that’s a shock to the system, but it is true. So settle down, chill. There’s no need to cut people off. And when you get to a foot bridge that has a very clear sign that you are to dismount and walk your bike across. Just get off your damn bike and walk!

It’s really very clear people!!!!