happiness

Indra’s Net

I woke up at 3am today. Lately I’ve been doing lots of waking up at 3am which means I must be hella stressed. Usually though when I wake up in the middle of the night I lie there and stress about the problems of the world, while lately I just lie there and think about God and where I fit in the universe. Much lighter thinking haha.

This morning (is 3am morning? I feel like it’s still deep night time, or when I was younger it was time to come home) I woke up to a vision of Indra’s Net. Perhaps I’ve been feeling very disconnected lately. I think Covid has a lot of us feeling disconnected and confused. Alberta in particular seems to be filled with anger, confusion, and chaos as we are being divided between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. While I am one of the vaccinated, and strongly believe in it, I don’t like how we are fighting with each other when we would do better to work together.

So anyway, with that I’m feeling a bit separated and confused and waking up to the image of Indra’s Net was kind of perfect.

Indra’s Net is a spider like net that spreads infinitely in all directions. In each “eye” of the net, or where the threads join together, there is a beautiful jewel. Each brilliant jewel reflects every other jewel, which are infinite in number, and every reflected image holds the image of all the other jewels. Infinity to infinity, whatever affects one jewel affects them all. Everything contains everything else, but at the same time every individual jewel is not hindered or confused by the other jewels.

I love this idea because I often get hindered or confused by the other jewels.

In his book Hua-yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977), Francis Dojun Cook wrote,

“Thus each individual is at once the cause for the whole and is caused by the whole, and what is called existence is a vast body made up of an infinity of individuals all sustaining each other and defining each other. The cosmos is, in short, a self-creating, self-maintaining, and self-defining organism.” (Source here)

Instead of thinking that everything is part of a larger, collective whole, the idea is that everyone is the larger, collective whole, but also simply themselves at the same time.

I find this idea so completely abstract that it actually makes perfect sense to me. And I love the way it allows me to see how we are all connected. What affects one of us affects all of us. We are one being working together, but we are also our individual selves with the freedom to choose who and how we are. Some people I find it easy, and a beautiful privilege to think of being connected with, and some make me want to cut their jewel out of my beautiful web. The challenging ones are probably the most important ones as they probably reflect some unhealed aspect of myself. If their behaviours didn’t trigger something in me, who they are and what they do wouldn’t bother me and so I know there is more internal work for me to do in those areas.

Hopefully the 3am wake up time comes to an end soon, but until it does I find gratitude in the comforting thoughts that are coming to me during this time.

Namaste.

Standard
happiness

Bubbles, ball, and blessings 

We finished off the long weekend with a perfectly sunny day.  So often the May long weekend brings snow,  but this year it was amazing. 

After some yard work we relaxed in our yard and the girl brought out her bubble wands. There is something magical and so relaxing about sitting and blowing bubbles. And so we did. 


The girl had ball tonight in town and it is becoming a social event for the rest of us. It’s wonderful to watch her thrive in her sport. 

We have so many blessings. I have been reminded lately of how important it is to let in the light rather than focus on the darkness. There is a lot of light in our lives – and that is happiness. 

Standard
happiness

Sustainable happiness

The farther I walk on this spiritual path the more I believe that choosing happiness and love is truly the most sustainable way for me to live my life. Not that there aren’t days that I want to just lie in bed and watch Netflix, but mostly I want to be out celebrating the fact that I am alive. It wasn’t always like this, in fact it’s taken years of dedication to get to this point. I’ve had to reestablish my spiritual connection, shift a lot of my personal connections, and deepen and strengthen my connection within myself. Fortunately my life now is completely unrecognizable from the one that I was living just 2 years ago.

Even with all the bumps along the road I go to bed every night knowing that I’m closer to being the better version of myself that I’m striving to be. It certainly has not happened all on my own power either. I have this awesome tribe of people here who lift me up every day. My kids inspire me to keep reaching for greatness, and our mixed up pets teach us all what unconditional love really means. And of course the gentle hand of God has picked me up and carried me through it all – even when I’ve been swearing and dragging my heels.

Every time I ask for help I keep hearing you’re on the right path. And even though I get really impatient and want more of the path to be illuminated I know that what I’m hearing is true. I know I’m on the right path because I can feel it in my soul. I see it reflected in the kids’ eyes, I hear it in their laughter – we are moving forward in love.

My happiness moment today was listening to the kids talk to each other (when they thought I wasn’t around) about how much they love living in this house.  I love seeing the quiet moments when they play together. They are such good friends and they are blessed to have that strong bond.

Today I was reminded of the inukshuk that I saw in the sky last year – a reminder that “you are on the right path” A message from Dad, a message from God.

  

Standard
happiness

And now she’s 11

  
A day filled with happiness moments. What a treasure she is. 

We celebrated her day with a huge fondue pig out at the Grizzly House in Banff and then home for Crave Cupcakes (those are addictive. Thank goodness for the mini sizes!)

A bonus happiness was being able to celebrate her with so many loved ones. 

This morning I posted a poem and some photos celebrating this beautiful ray of sunshine 

Standard
happiness

The last day…

Typically this weekend is a sad one. We are usually heading to the airport, crying, and saying goodbye to family. Sometimes we are lucky and a winter storm in Chicago or the East Coast cancels flights and we get to have an extra day or so. But, our hearts always know there is a sad goodbye coming.

This year we don’t have to go anywhere but down the road to our home. We have spent a lot of time this weekend talking about how nice it is to be here to stay and not have all that emotional upset of having to say goodbye to everyone.

I’ve been going over some blog posts from the beginning of this year and what really hits me is how brutally lonely we were back then. I am so grateful that we don’t have to be so alone anymore. Whatever other turmoil the past year brought us, I am thankful that we are back home.

We took the kids out for one last run on the sleds before we are back to the grind tomorrow. I think they had fun….


Hearing the laughter as they flew past me howling in joy was my happiness moment for the day. What a great start to the year. I have felt very held in love by those around us these past few days. It’s so easy to get caught up in negative thoughts, it has been very good to remember that there are loving, kind, fun people to share laughter and life with.

Standard
happiness

On Christmas Day (2015)

We went into Christmas Day a little unsure as to how we would feel about it. I was glad I’d already had my huge melt down cry about missing Dad last night at church while singing Silent Night. Still though, I just wasn’t quite sure what a Christmas  would look like without him. 

I felt his presence here so strongly today that for the first time in forever I kept forgetting he isn’t here in body with us anymore. 

And oh did we manage to pack a lot of fun into the day. We ripped into Santa stuff by 6am and shortly after that into the presents. The cousins played, I pulled kids on their sleds…and we ate.  Oh my did we eat!

 Rear view picture 

There was a lot of happiness to be had on this beautiful Christmas Day. We were surrounded by loved ones in the place that my heart loves the most of all… Home. 
I saw happiness everywhere I looked  today. Happiness on the face of my child though is something that brings me joy and delight right to the core of my soul. Seeing their joy today was my happiness moment. That and hearing their giggles as I pulled them down the driveway on their sleds. 

What happiness looks like 

 
This has been a year of deep spiritual growth for me and I am blessed that we were here to celebrate the birth of Jesus with our loved ones. 

Standard
happiness

Feel the Force 

My happiness moment today was the look on Jacob’s face when we showed him the Yoda Santa Christmas lights that we had to get for him. 

I love it when something so simple can make someone so happy. 

   
 
Saturday will be a very exciting day in our house. Normally it would be regular excitement about the beginning of Christmas break, this time it’s all about going to see the new Star Wars movie with his cousin. 

Truly wonderful the mind of a child is (Master Yoda)

Standard
Uncategorized

The good, the bad, the happiness in between….

Today I have been in a real pisser of a mood. I’m not sure what has made today any more spectacular in the bad mood department than any other day, but the feeling is here and it’s real.

There’s a couple of specific things that are irritating me, nothing that isn’t a first world problem, but irritating nonetheless. While I was away my cousin discovered that my furnace isn’t working – which means we have no heat. Perhaps not a big deal in some places, but it was snowing here when we landed on Saturday and it’s been cold and crappy since then. Today wasn’t bad, but the old house didn’t seem to know that and held onto the bone chilling cold of the past few days.

Because of this I’m tired, I need to sleep in my own bed, covered in purring cats. The purring cats and the lonely dog agree with me – they’re not happy that they’re alone at night.

Jenna was home sick today. While that’s really a poor Jenna thing, I managed to make it about me and was all I never ever get any time to do the things I need to do. My course work is so neglected because I’m always running around after people and I never have a freaking moment’s peace.

I had a massage today. I have found a wonderful woman who not only is working out all the tension and the anger and sad emotions that I’ve been storing in my hips (see where this is going?) but she knows how to release my jaw so that pretty soon I will actually be able to chew food on both sides – and maybe even not walk around with it clenched all the time. What a blessing that is!

I’m pretty sure she hit my anger button today as she was releasing things and it has just about sent me off the cranky deep end. The good thing is after all the work I’ve been doing I know this is just a feeling and that it will pass. Sometimes I can separate from that feeling and just allow it to work itself out of me – which is what it needs to do.

So, as I’ve been observing (and sometimes actively participating) in these pissy feelings I’ve come back to the intention of my blog. Happiness. Thank goodness I decided to follow 44 days of happiness last January when I turned 44, and I’m even more grateful that I decided to continue looking for a moment of happiness in every day since then. Because even with all the trials and tribulations of this year there has always been a moment of happiness in every day.

The flip side of my cranky feelings of today are these:

This wonderful, old, loving house we live in. I love it, the kids love it, it has been home since the moment we walked in the door. For some reason the past few days I’ve when been talking to people, I’ve told them the story of the miracle of how we returned home. This old house was empty and when I was home at Christmas time there were no appliances, the rooms were boarded off, there was no working toilet and it was just not in good shape. When I called on a Monday and said we were moving home I asked if it was possible for us to move into that house. By Sunday when we arrived, my cousins and aunt and uncle had cleaned the house, put in temporary furniture, bought some basic groceries (cheese and buns for that boy of mine), put appliances in, and even left a huge bar of chocolate. My Dad let me use his old car  so I was able to get around, and after he died my sister let me use her old car that she had been in the process of gifting to Dad.

If ever I doubted that miracles happen, the wings that lifted us up and brought us back home have convinced me that we are very much loved and very much supported and that with love absolutely anything can happen.

While my furnace isn’t working my mom has very graciously opened her doors to the kids and I to crash here. We can be messy and annoying and loud and she has been so kind about letting us stay here.

So, when you compare all that love and kindness and support to something as insignificant as the furnace not working – the scales are definitely tipped in favour of the happiness, loving, wonderful side.

Every time I have gotten frustrated today at being overly needed by kids and have groaned inside about it, they have either said something funny or come over and given me one of those awesome kid hugs followed by I love you mom. There is no better feeling in the world than that. I would never, ever trade being needed and loved for being alone and unnecessary. I consider those two my greatest blessings. Again, no contest – the happiness side of that coin is the winner.

As an aside, I spent a great part of the day angry about the fact that I’d lost my headphones. I had racked my brain trying to figure out where I had left then and finally I was forced to come to the conclusion that someone had broken into the house and stolen them (yes, only them – they had left everything of value and not messed anything up, but stolen them for certain). I found then in my backpack just a little while ago and did a little dance of happiness.

I’m so thankful for my happiness project and how it continues to steer me in the direction of joy, peace, bliss and happiness. I’m even thankful that these pissed off emotions are working their way through me, because the other option is that they stay stuffed in my hips forever and that’s not desirable.

My happiness moment today was watching Jenna walk across the room holding Aladdin. She holds him like a baby and from the front all you can see is a big ball of fur snuggled into her chest. She walked past me and he had his arm around her back giving her a huge hug. He loves that girl so much and spent most of the day cuddled up with her helping her feel better.

Standard
Uncategorized

My fairy godmother. 

I am really lucky in the godmother department. When I was a kid, my godmother really was like a fairy godmother – always stopping by with treats, good cheer, and a twinkle in her eye. She is the standard by which godmothers are set. I’m afraid I’ve failed terribly in comparison in my appointment with my niece, but it is an incredibly hard act to follow. 

This afternoon, her daughter – my sister’s godmother- had us over for tea. Not your North American tea either please and thank you. High tea (they are Scottish) with scones and jam, little sandwiches, butter tarts…. you get the picture. 

We sat outside and visited – something we have not done properly in years. Something that was so important to do with these life long friends who are family. They have been an incredibly important part of my life and it was a very blessed happiness moment to get to spend the afternoon with them.  

Standard
Uncategorized

The sisterhood. 

Today dad’s sisters and their husbands flew in from Ontario and a cousin flew in from BC. My happiness moment was watching him sit with a sister on each side of him while he held their hands. He listened while they told stories and we all visited and caught up on each other’s lives. It’s been 8 years since my sister and I have seen them. 

There is something so special about that family bond. It ties through miles and years. That sibling bond is unlike any other relationship. All those shared experiences. All that shared history. I feel blessed to have been a part of that moment. 

Standard