Tag Archives: Gratitude

Only Child on Christmas Grinches and Gratitude

Only Child  rests before doing more battle with companies screwing the consumer

Only Child ponders Christmas Grinches and Gratitude

This is turning into a Christmas to forget if I can. You have all probably heard about the terrible ice storm that hit southern Ontario and has now moved into eastern Canada and Michigan. Of course it hit Toronto and hard. Toronto’s hit was in patches and of course where I live got hit at 1.10 a.m. Sunday morning. I’m writing from a hotel in downtown Toronto and if you think I suddenly got rich in money think again.

The only good thing about all of this unacceptable and unwanted nonsense is that my son Martin and my ex-husband Colin (the latter out in British Columbia with his wife Lynda) decided that my roommate/boarder, her cat and I had to go to a hotel. My son is footing the bills for that and some meals (breakfast at the hotel and he took us out to dinner last evening and is meeting us for lunch today). The other good thing is my friends Tanya and Alex next door to me (my home, not the hotel) who are checking on the house. I left the cold water running a bit in the laundry tub downstairs to try to fend off frozen pipes and Alex was to check on that on his way out early to work and after he got back. And check the freezer as I didn’t want to open it – it’s full so that is supposed to help keep things frozen for a couple of days.

Tanya phoned last evening just after ten p.m. and said the power had gone back on. But because the weather got much colder the ice on the power lines and trees remains, so there could be more trees and their branches falling, power lines falling some more, etc. etc. It is very unstable, scary, unacceptable and unnecessary.

So, who am I labelling Grinches – with a capital G – you’ll see why the capital in a minute.

Toronto Hydro for not working fast enough and for the priorities to get customers back on grid. Hospitals first I agree with, but we the average consumers are at the bottom of the list. Of 300,000 households that lost power initially, still 90,000 without power – it is over 48 hours and of those, 50,000 will need to be put back on the grid house by house That is not acceptable. The TTC – Toronto Transit Commission is working harder and got everything but the short subway line up and running by late yesterday afternoon. And they have shuttle bus service on the surface of that subway line,

Of course Toronto Hydro is hindered by Toronto’s egotistical Mayor Rob Ford – he of all the scandalous who won’t resign – because he won’t declare the City of Toronto in a State of Emergency which means the province can’t enforce emergency measures. So the province is hampered in what they can do to get around this but they are doing what they can including bringing in employees from Forestry to help cut down trees. Ford thinks just calling in hydro crews from other areas of Ontario, Manitoba and Michigan are enough. Well, Michigan may not make it because they got the ice storm in some areas too and without declaring Toronto a State of Emergency, the armed forces can’t be called in to clear some of these trees. I know it’s power line down dangerous but more numbers helping would help.

The other Grinch is God – partly because I believe he has something to do with this weather. Even if you don’t believe my take here, consider this – I prayed to God not to let it happen and if it did to keep the power on. We can see where that got me, Praying is out of my vocabulary and instinct is in, but more on that in my next week’s post to wrap up a very bad year.

Meantime I’m hanging onto my two (and maybe three areas of gratitude if the power has stayed on (and stays on) and all the food lost is in the snall freezer over the fridge and  the stuff in the big  freezer is still frozen and stays frozen, and the food that I didn’t put in the “second fridger” – the milk chute stay cold and safe.. I will find out when I make a trip back home this afternoon I guess.

And meantime I’m not celebrating Christmas anymore, You might want to consider that Christ was not born on Christmas Day. Centuries ago Dionysius Exiguus, a 6th century monk, declared Christmas Day as Christ’s birthday. And wonders of all wonders, the current Catholic Pope Benedict XVI is disputing December 25 as the day of Christ’s birthday in the third installment of his trilogy on the life of Christ. See the story at http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/22/pope-benedict-disputes-jesus-date-of-birth/

So Christmas is now Xmas to me.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Only Child on family help and support

Only Child and son, Martin on the Danforth in Toronto.

Only Child and son, Martin on the Danforth in Toronto.

When Mom’s baby sister, my godmother’s first husband died and she had to raise seven children under nine years in age, my Mom stepped in to help. She couldn’t be physically present 24/7 – she had my Dad and me to look after in Toronto, the house and garden, and her sister lived miles away on the farm near Lucknow, Ontario. But we had Canada Post.

The sisters wrote back and forth a lot and Mom used to show me my godmother’s letters, but not her replies. Instead she made a big fuss out of playing Goodwill to help her little sister, something that people did then.

When the snow piles up in Toronto and stacks up on the farm, boxes of hand-me-downs, mother’s old clothes, my no-longer fitting clothes, and I suspect some store-bought ones find their way from our house to theirs (Excerpted from You Can Go Home: Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2012 Sharon A. Crawford).

This family help and support appears to be following in my family’s footsteps – albeit from the other way round. And it gave me a reminder that maybe not all is so bad here (excluding basement leaks, sinusitis and the like).

Sunday my son Martin came over for lunch and to help me with computer stuff. He not only helped with the latter, he also fixed and helped with a few other repairs, etc. around the house. No, he didn’t fix the basement water leak. Some of that is humidity and the rest – where it is actual puddles of water getting in – is the fault of the a****** who did the excavation, etc. two years ago.

But some things and worries are out of the way.

Martin figured out how to use my knife sharpener, despite the instructions being in German only. My son is studying French and German and said his German isn’t that good. He sharpened my large garden clippers with the knife sharpener, explaining how it works as he did so. Not that it will stick in my non-mechanical brain.

He also fixed the battery in my wireless phone handset. After having The Source put in the new one last month (I had a three-for-the-price-of-one deal), it slipped out of my hand one day – that’s how bad my nerves were over all the worries – and its tenure in the handset was slightly out of kilter. It connected to the phone’s cradle- if I removed the cover and then I had to place the cover back on when carrying it around.

He changed the battery in the basement smoke detector. I did the main floor one (not completely mechanically-challenged here) but I can’t reach the ceiling one in the basement without standing on a chair. The main floor one is actually on the overhead of the doorway, so that gives me something to grab when I’m standing on a chair. Freefalling from the basement ceiling doesn’t appeal – a side effect from having vertigo.

Martin helped me sort out my accumulation of electronic extra gadgets – from adapters to ?? to various wires and cords, to an old router no longer used to a very old hard drive which I have no clue as to its origin. Most got chucked in the electronic-labelled plastic bag from the City of Toronto. I can place this at the end of my driveway for pickup on garbage day.

And he removed the Styrofoam from and broke down some of my “collection” of cardboard boxes and tied them together so I can put them out at the end of the driveway for collection on recycling day.

Maybe the best was when Martin and I cooked lunch together – he cooked the pasta and sauce (Note: sauce was from a store-bought bottle and pasta was store-bought, but he does have a pasta-maker at home and makes pasta there sometimes) while I made the salad with most of the lettuce coming from the garden. We didn’t sit outside to eat but sat at the kitchen table. We had spent a bit of time sitting outside on the back patio before lunch.

Lesson learned: sometimes family can help – even if family doesn’t consist of a partner or any siblings.

I am grateful to my son for helping me. And yes I told him so – verbally and in an email after he left.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Family, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Martin Crawford, Mom and Dad, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child looks at the old and new year

Only Child contemplates changing for new year

Only Child contemplates changes for the new year

Carpe Diem!

The world is still here despite predictions of otherwise for late 2012. So, I am here too and starting out this new year with good intentions and goals. My modus operandi for 2013 is to live creatively, efficiently, simply, frugally and be healthy. In there I will also try to help my friends who need it most and perhaps be more grateful for what I have, but I’m still expressing my non-gratitude for what is lacking that I need because it is here I can possibly find ways to change. One of the latter is time, which went way out of control in 2012 and that can’t happen anymore. I’m a year older and need to rein in my time and what I do and will not do in it.

Today I’m especially conscious of making the most of 2013 one day at a time after talking with a friend on the phone last evening. To respect her privacy I’m not naming her or describing her situation except to say, like me, she is an only person (but she does have siblings in another country). She also faced serious health issues last year and continues to do so this year. She is someone I want to help where I can – despite her stubbornness and independence. She does realize her situation is a wake-up call for change and has already embarked on making changes.

Talking with her also reinforced what I have to do – make changes. This is my year of transition in work and personal before the beginning of 2014 when I can finally start receiving the Old Age Pension (I wish the Canadian Government would change the name). But that’s for next year.

This year, I will do what the late John Lennon did – try to live one day at a time.

Happy New Year. May we all know what our necessary changes are and have the courage to make these changes daily.

And read the book 18Minutes by Peter Bregman to get some ideas where to start. See http://peterbregman.com/18-minutes/ for more information.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Balance, Carpe Diem, Family and Friends, Goals, Health, Only child, Peter Bregman, Sharon A. Crawford, Time management

Only Child looks at gratitude

Only Child is grateful for her family – with son Martin and his partner Alison

As we Canadians just celebrated our Thanksgiving it is time to look at gratitude – especially its relation to happiness. In the past 10 years a number of studies have linked the two. I’m not impressed with the results.

Look at the title of one study Practicing Gratitude Can Increase Happiness by 25%. That doesn’t even make the halfway mark. This article at http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/09/practicing-gratitude-can-increase.php refers to a study carried out by Dr. Robert A. Emmons in 2003 which is published in his book Thanks. While Dr. Emmons covers all sides of the fence in his studies (gratitude, hassles and everyday occurrences), the bottom line is only 25% upped their happiness scale for expressing gratitude.

In another later study by Dr. Emmons, subjects did a daily practice of writing down what they were grateful for and the gratitude-happiness ratio increased. Another study focused on adults with congenital disorders and adult-onset neuromuscular disorders. The ones that wrote down their gratitude every day slept better, woke up more refreshed, and felt more optimistic. More studies are outlined in this excellent article by Ocean Robbins in The Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/having-gratitude-_b_1073105.html.

I have no quarrel with the studies, the articles or the books. My point is nobody’s life is perfect and burying the bad while expressing gratitude for the good in your life doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe it’s because of my late Mom’s weird sense of honesty. Maybe it’s my grade six teacher always harping on “I’ll give credit where credit is due” and my silent addition (“and discredit where discredit is due”).

Or maybe it’s because my parents died young – Dad at 66 after almost seven years of cancer off and on and Mom at 63 of a brain aneurysm five months after its cause hit her (she had arthritis and it caused a nasty fall onto the hardwood floor in our apartment). I was 16 when Dad died and 22 when Mom died.

Add in my own long list of ailments (which I won’t bore you with but they number almost as many fingers, including thumbs on my hands). I certainly don’t feel grateful for these health issues, especially as they are all permanent and some interfere with my life. I try to make the best of my situation but that doesn’t make me grateful.

Except for one health problem – migraines –for two reasons I am grateful for migraines – Migraines started me writing in the healthcare field, but my migraines are long gone. That makes a big difference.

I’m not advocating that we skip giving gratitude. I’m just saying we should also acknowledge what we are not grateful for. Doing so gives me motivation to improve my situation where I can but also to acknowledge others suffering which may be worse and perhaps lending a helping hand. For example, if I see someone struggle to get on a bus and they have a cane I will move so they can have a seat close to the door. Or if I see someone with feet or leg problems struggling down the stairs or taking their time, I give them their space and am thankful I can still walk with ease – most days. When my legs or feet “act up,” it’s a different story.

Some people can be grateful for having cancer and I am not slamming them. I think gratitude and well, non-gratitude, are subjective. I also believe in balancing the gratitude/non-gratitude equation. Fair is fair – something else I learned when growing up.

It really doesn’t do to be all Pollyanna. There can lie the route to denial.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Death and Dying, Gratitude, Happiness, Health, Mom and Dad, Mother dying, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, startling statistics

Only Child looks at serendipity

Only Child contemplates serendipity

In my short story, Road Raging, I ask the question “Do we land in situations by chance or does someone out there direct the traffic?” Events this weekend in Toronto vis-a-vis where I was had me thinking seriously about this question. And growing up Catholic also factored in.

As most of you probably know we had a shooting at one of Toronto’s largest malls, The Eaton Centre, Saturday evening. One man died and six were injured, two critically, not to mention the fear, panic etc. when it happened. I’m not going into more details except to say that Toronto Police Services arrested a suspect yesterday. If you want to read more details, you can go to online newspaper stories such as those at http://news.nationalpost.com, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/06/04/toronto-eaton-centre.html, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news, http://ca.news.yahoo.com/toronto-police-made-arrest-eaton-centre-shootings-112342482.html

Toronto also had another situation Friday and into the late evening. After a dry spell, Toronto received torrential rains which flooded a main subway station – Union Station, which is also the hub for Go trains and VIA rail and Amtrek trains. The railway train tracks were okay and except for some water on the lower Go train commuter waiting area, the main part of the station was basically okay. The flood was on the subway tracks, subway platform and main area of the subway station– some rain pouring down the stairs from the street. A sewer problem either compounded or caused it.

Both Friday and Saturday I attended the Bloody Words crime writing conference in downtown Toronto. I was bemoaning the location being just a bit out of the main downtown core until the Friday. When travelling on the subway I heard the announcement about the flood and that subway trains were not running under the main street (Yonge St.) from Union Station to Bloor Station and were turning back on the other line at Osgoode Station. My stop for the conference was Osgoode Station and then it was a three or four minute walk to the hotel. The service resumed while I was on the way home – after I exited the subway for my bus.

Fast forward to early Saturday evening with the pre-banquet reception. As I milled around and chatted with other crime writers and readers I heard somebody mention that a shooting had occurred at The Eaton Centre. She said  that maybe we should go there (because of our writing focus) but none of us did.

Just as well. After the banquet I caught up on some of the news. The subways were not stopping at Dundas Station and Queen Station  (the two stations encompassing The Eaton Centre) and The Eaton Centre was closed. Being a writer I had to nose around a bit even if from a subway. I took the subway line around Union and up Yonge. At Union I leaned into the window (can’t lean out – windows don’t open) to check the platform. No water remained but I could see a big mop. Queen and Dundas stations looked eerie in their emptiness. At Dundas I could see a police officer by one of the exit doors to the subway platform.

Back home I watched the news – full screen (those small iPhone screens don’t cut it with me) and realized the seriousness of the situation. I saw the panic; the terror and when I heard that one of the random victims was a 13-year-old boy, I think that’s when it hit me.

There but for some grace I go. If the conference location had been at its former place there would have been no subway running by it Friday and Saturday and we’d have surely been in the crowd outside –  that hotel is right next to The Eaton Centre.

Makes you wonder – is somebody out there looking after us?

Being an ex-Catholic who is a skeptic/optimist and sometime pessimist, I have to say. “Maybe some of the time.”

Comments?

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Floods, Gratitude, Only child, Public Transportation, Railways, Rain, Serendipity, Sharon Crawford, Shooting, Toronto public transit, Train Stations, Union Station Toronto

Only child takes another whack at trust

Only child contemplates water and trust - from main floor

I must have hit a common issue with last week’s post on water and trust – going by all the hits. And thanks to all who read my posting.

The water-trust saga continues. Lots more water did get in on the Saturday and I am so grateful for the help I had from my friends next door. Tanya mopped up while I was at a workshop I had to be at – my East End Writers’ Group was sponsoring it. I took over the mopping up with towels and mats when I returned…and continued with towel changes every hour or so until 1 a.m. when I finally went to bed.  It took until late Sunday until all  had completely dried on the leaky side. Total estimated water in my basement room equals at least eight pails full. The suggestion for protection from my masonry guy obviously didn’t work. He has another temporary fix – if he gets here today to do it – he’s postponed the day/time twice already. We have more rain coming tomorrow and Thursday and still the ground is frozen and the big fix can’t be done – the big excavation on that far side of the house and sealant put on that wall all the way down to the bottom. And of course, I will go deeper in debt to pay for this.

So, where does trust come in? I think it is really learning to trust in yourself and a few close family and friends who have proven they can be trusted. All the “putting it out there” and praying for help in the world doesn’t seem to work – at least for me. You have to be more proactive and make it happen – or in my case, not happen, or at least try. How you do this is up to you – each individual situation is different – based on who you are, what life has shoved at you, etc. For me it is accepting that I will need that excavation done and going into more debt. Also taking another look at my budget. I am big on budgeting, thanks to my late mother’s legacy.As I write in my memoir:

Late at night, long after my parents think I’m off in the land of nod, they discuss the family finances. Their loud whispers seep under closed hallway and bedroom doors.

“But we can’t afford that,” Mom says.

“We need . . .” Dad’s voice seems to hit the hallway door.

I throw off my bedcovers, sit up and strain to listen. I never get a clear idea about their plan until it happens or my parents discuss the revised version at the dinner table the next day.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, Copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

Mom did better than I, but then she had funds on hand. But I will prune and delete where I can.

I am pruning and prioritizing in other areas of my life – work, included, so that there isn’t too much overwhelm and I can focus on the most important problem. If people don’t like it that I can’t get to them and their requests and other stuff immediately, too bad. I have also started buying lottery tickets again. I know some of you are thinking “big wishful thinking.” However, I  can afford one $3. ticket a week and no, I don’t expect to win big time. Don’t want to – just enough to get out of debt. But I’m not counting on it. I’m just trying to do something about my situation or should that be situations?

Speaking of which, I better make sure I have dry towels lined up along the rec room walls overnight. And stay put for the next few days so I can mop up. And perhaps take comfort in that I am not alone – a heck of a lot of people had water come in their basements, mostly (my ex husband had water come down his fireplace chimney – scary stuff) last Saturday. The insurance companies have a name for this (and for tornadoes, hurricanes, earth-quakes, etc.) – they call these Acts of God. I am not making this up. Check your residential insurance policies.

So, the bottom line right now is – trust down and water up. Let’s hope that can be reversed.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Debt, Floods, Gratitude, Insurance, Life learning, Only child, Prayer, Trust, Water

Only Child looks at Christmas “after shocks.”

Only Child's mystery gift

You know the saying, “The best made plans of mice and (hu)men… ” Christmas (so far) has been going like that and it’s made me do a combination of re-evaluating my attitudes and also confirming some of them.

My friend was feeling a bit under the weather Dec. 24 but she did come here Christmas Day; so I went to that Christmas Eve candlelight service on my own and while there lost or had stolen a leather bracelet I was wearing. And I have a mystery Christmas gift – one of two packages where the giver didn’t leave his or her name.

I’m glad my friend did make it here to celebrate Christmas Day and part of Boxing Day with me. She felt somewhat better and was quite chirpy – she made her mean stove-top dressing and we caught up on each others’ news. So, no regrets, upsets here. The other two – the bracelet and the present are something else.

First, the present -I know it arrived with someone who came to my annual Christmas Open House party earlier this month because it sat under my little tree since then. I’ve been playing detective but the “prime suspect” says it isn’t from her. So I will go back over my party guest list and do some more detecting. It’s important that I thank the giver.

The bracelet – in a church? When I told my visiting friend about this and added that I’ve had more luck when I leave things at the library – I always get them back – she made some comment about going there instead of a church. She might be right. Christmas Day in daylight, I retraced my steps to and from the church. I also phoned the church’s pastor yesterday; he took my phone number  and he said he’d check the pews and perhaps someone found it and it would turn up in a few days.

I have my doubts – partly because I’ve had items go missing before and the “return rate” is about 25 per cent maximum – the items sometimes show up months later and for that I am grateful. Maybe I’m going on about trivia, but I’m looking at the bigger picture and trying to see what it can mean. Sure, I’m getting older and anything remotely connected to memory can deteriorate. When I’m under a lot of stress and overwhelmed by too much to do, I don’t pay attention to every little thing. However, this wasn’t the case Christmas Eve. The church service was inspiring and relaxing.

No, the bigger picture seems to be a combination of  “life happens” and you gotta accept it. That’s the part I’m re-evaluating and trying to use. However, it also reinforces one of my beliefs based on my personal experience – about 75 per cent of the time – seeing is believing. In this case if and when the bracelet shows up, then I’ll believe it. Some of you reading this will think: shouldn’t the belief be the opposite? I’ve tried that, even envisioned the event happening. Sometimes it does but more often it doesn’t or it arrives late or skewed. That’s the attitude I’m reaffirming. Call me a jaded skeptic – being a journalist for many years plus bad life experiences will do that. I believe that many people can have good law-of-attraction experiences but I don’t seem to be one of those. I can envision something happening until the cows come home on roller skates (as my cousins on the farm used to say) but the latter is more likely to occur first.

And a few minutes ago I talked to one of my closest friends. She’s had a terrible December. She banged her head twice, fell inside her house once earlier this month. Yesterday, she had to go to hospital emergency with a broken retina (she had cataract surgery earlier this year) and her brother-in-law just died. I’m complaining about a lost bracelet? I feel somewhat ashamed and realize now I gotta get a grip on what’s important and what isn’t.

However, I still maintain my beliefs as mentioned above. My friend’s experiences are more proof of them than anything I’ve experienced so far this month.

So, what do others think? Ever have good law-of-attraction experiences? I’d like to know.

Cheers and Happy New Year

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Christmas, Gratitude, Life learning, Only child, Prayer, Siblings and friends, Trust

Only child sees helping others come full circle

East End Writers' Group 10th anniversary readers. Teresa Petrie photo.

They (whoever “they” are) say that if you get off your rear end and help another person it will all come back to you. I saw that happen last Wednesday evening when my writers’ critique group, the East End Writers’ Group, celebrated its 10th anniversary. Group members came out of their personal writing zone to help me put it all together by brainstorming what the heck we were going to do, designing the PR flyer and distributing it, suggesting a pub to go to afterwards, bringing refreshments to the celebration, helping me set up at the venue, introducing me to read (after I introduced the other readers),  and driving me and all my stuff to and from the celebration (One member even showed up at my house without asking to take me, but I already had someone on her way). We caught up with her in the library-venue parking lot and the three of us marched in with all our stuff to find another person already there who had set up the chairs.

But the highlight for me was seeing and hearing some of the group reading their creations on the library auditorium stage. Some were new writers, recently published, some since they joined the group and benefited from the constructive criticism. Readings included a travel piece, an inward look at visiting India, a humorous but positive look at the neighbours, a novella excerpt, an essay on life expectations, an historical  novel excerpt, an op/ed piece on looking out for your children, and perhaps the most unique – an interview with a novelist’s main character about his situation. Some readings brought tears, some anger, and some laughter. Afterwards, eight of us walked or drove to a nearby pub and stuffed ourselves with food, drink, writing wisdom and stories. One writer even mentioned that the first story he wrote for his now published collection of short stories came from a freefall writing exercise at one of the monthly gatherings at my house. The incentive: a small straw witch which I had held up for everyone to write about for 10 minutes. It might be significant that this witch dangles front and centre in my Halloween decorations on my veranda railing.

The whole experience  has made me think that sometimes by doing something that you need you actually are helping others. I started this writers’ critique group because when I moved back to Toronto I couldn’t find one near me. Over the past 10 years I’ve learned as much as I’ve given – not just about writing, but about helping others. You don’t have to do something big like organize a walkathon or charity gala – just the little things can help. And choosing something your are interested in can motivate you.

I am also realizing that for me the helping could have started with my late Mom. One of her sisters had seven kids and her first husband died when the youngest was a baby. Until this aunt remarried, Mom regularly mailed them clothes that no longer fit me (and I suspect some new ones she bought). And this family of cousins and an aunt also received plenty of neighbourly help on their farm.

Does it all go back to family environment? Something you pick up as you go along in life? I think it’s a little of both. What do you think?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Consideration, Family, Gratitude, Karma, Life learning, Literary Readings, Only child, Uncategorized, Writing critique groups, Writing groups

Only child on gratitude and not

 

Only Child and barbed wire July 1950

 

The Canadian Thanksgiving yesterday prompted me to think about gratitude. The self-help and new age gurus tell us we need to express our gratitude daily – write it down, maybe five things we are grateful for. Period. Well, I do a different take on it. Yes, I do a daily gratitude expression of what I’m thankful for, but I also add what I’m not grateful for in my life. I need to get that balance – life is not all good; neither is it all bad. I need to deal in reality. Blame it on my journalist background where you try to be unbiased and get a balance in your stories – unless you’re writing an Op-Ed (Opinion-Editorial) piece. Or it probably goes back to my childhood, to my mother, with her somewhat offbeat take on honesty.

In my memoir I have a chapter called “Mom’s Ten Rules of Honesty” and after I go through that I add:

Mother’s honesty didn’t just encompass telling the truth; it covered people’s basic integrity and how they dealt with the screw-ups, bad times and bad luck that always pop up in life. Nothing is certain except taxes and death, but the trick is to wind yourself through the days, months and years until you die – without falling into the muddy waters.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2010 Sharon Crawford)

Or it could also spin off from my grade 6 teacher who told us, “I’ll give credit where credit is due.” Over the years I’ve added “and discredit where discredit is due.”

Now I can hear some of you thinking, “Why doesn’t she just accept what is?” That is good to a certain point. However, if we all accepted everything in our life then certain big changes would never happen. For example, what would have happened (or not) if  Terry Fox merely accepted he had cancer in his leg and left it at that? What if he didn’t take his cancer a big leap forward and start his walk for cancer research? Just doing the proverbial lying down and accepting our conditions in life and doing nothing about them doesn’t help us or others. Methinks if we do that we often end up ranting and complaining about our plight in life.

Of course we can’t go out and try to change everthing. The key may be the old serenity prayer  which goes something like this – God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I don’t read anything here  about accepting everything.

And so I do my gratitude/non-gratitude list daily. And I do work to change what I can in the latter. But sometimes  it is a long road getting there.

What do others think?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Balance, Family, Gratitude, Life learning, Only child, Only child memoir, Parenting, Teaching