Sunday, December 27, 2015

Thank You

Glastonbury Abbey
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2015

We all do things. We are each independent beings, doing things, but it is all so much yelling into the wind unless there is someone to see us do it, hear us do it or feel our hearts as we do it; however; physical presence is not in the least bit necessary for the acknowledgement of the existence of our acts and thoughts as we are all unique parts of the one universal energy force. 

When I consider my blog, I am honoured and amazed by the expansive readership. There are so many of you I have never met in person and yet, with some of you, I have built a connection as strong as that of the deepest, lifelong friendships. There are those of you who have messaged my through some of my most difficult and darkest times, those of you with whom I seem to check in quite regularly - just for a sweet, "Hello! How are you?" There are those of you I was able to meet this year on my overseas voyage whom I had only known through social media for several years. 

The point is, what a magical web we have - both on line and through the interconnectedness of our energy force! With each of our creations through thought and action, we change our world and we choose the nature of our energy behind those creations. We often choose our state of anger, frustration, fear, sadness and joy and support. Let us not forget here, the many who cope with physical and / or mental illness - those for whom the choice does not exist without great work, care and medication. This in itself is a good reminder that we can choose compassion and helpfulness before judgement. We can also lift one another up for our difference, our difficulties and celebrate one another for our capacity to endure, to carry on, to teach the state of grace through hardship and loss that so easily eludes us at times. 

In all things, we make a choice on the path we take. We choose how we will cope through our difficulties and the difficulties of others. Remember those Four Agreements and the words of Oprah Winfrey:

"I've talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common -- they all wanted validation. ... They want to know, do you hear me? Do you see me? Does what I say mean anything to you?"

These are the things that keep my hand on the tiller and the ship on course. 

Oh, don't get me wrong! I go astray regularly. Windows 10 brings out the very worst in me and computer problems send my blood pressure through the roof. Being treated as "less than" for my sexual orientation, my (absence of) gender identity and speaking my truth in my workplace sends me right 'round the twist. I can become tired, frustrated and completely depleted some of you may remember before I went to my UK homeland to restore myself this year.

In these difficult times, it has been you - all of you who chose to see, to reach out, to assist. You are my light and my gratitude is immeasurable and there are way too many of you to even start a list because I would inevitably exclude someone. In fact, it truly is each of you because we are one and each of you, with your unique energetic signal, holds me up when I am down, holds up a mirror for me so I may better see the path I am taking and where I may need to adjust my direction. Each of you is a gift to me and a gift to one another. How many of us shall cross paths in this life and never know we have done so? How many of us never know the impact we have made upon one another? We change the world through a passing smile, a shout out in social media - through that, "Hello. I see you and you matter to me." 

I thank you, each of you, as this year draws to a close, because you all mean so much to me. I am grateful for the fact that you take the time to read my words, that you share them with others, that you take the time to comment, that you inspire me to be better. I am grateful for your very existence, for the intimate thoughts you have shared. For those of you who don't comment nor interact - I am grateful to you for taking the time to be present here and I hope the work brings something useful to you. 

As 2015 ends, I truly want you to know that you are loved, that you are unique and essential and that there is hope and opportunity to enjoy the gift of life in the simple things: the sound of a bee buzzing in the flowers, collecting pollen to make honey, a wee plant pushing through the pavement and reaching for the sun, the glistening of a grain of sand or a thirst-quenching drink of water. 

Let us remember those around the world who cannot see this and send them what we can - love, money, resource - a helping hand, for if we are reading this, we have more than many others who live every day focused only on survival, without the luxury of introspection on a better life because they focus 100% of their energy on simply staying alive.

May each of you find joy, peace, love and contentment in life and thank you so much for your light. 

In gratitude, 

-Gillian Cornwall, c. December 27, 2015

The Ancient Plane Tree - University of Oxford
"All of us need support over the years..."
Gillian Cornwall, c. September, 2015

 A glorious garden in Stow on the Wold
Gillian Cornwall, c. September, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Patient Love

The Rose
Photograph by Gillian Cornwall, c.2012

I am reposting a version of this because I feel it is a valuable post and I think that patient love is the ideal Christmas gift to one another.

There Once Was a Kid who Asked, "Why?"

Every kid asks, "Why?" Some of us grow into adults who ask, "Why?" I am one of those people. It's who I am. At times, it exhausts and erodes me and the people around me. At times I am granite and at times I am worn to sand. I am an explorer of that which is claimed to be known and that which is beyond. I am not one to accept, simply because it is said. If that were the case, I would never have taken the risk of marching in a Pride parade over 30 years ago or refusing to accept a gender binary. I never would have been the first girl in my hometown to take wood shop and metal shop instead of sewing and cooking and I never would have followed my heart to the coast and learned to surf. I never would have kept writing in the face of my own parent telling me I would never be good enough. 

Today, I read a friend's post and she used the term 'patient love". The two words resonated with me and, being who I am, I had to unpack this phrase to understand "why" it has imprinted on my heart and in my vocabulary:

Patient - According to the Oxford English Dictionary, as an adjective or noun:
...enduring pain, affliction, inconvenience, etc., calmly without discontent or complaint; characterized by or showing such endurance...

as a verb: trans.To make patient; (refl.) to calm or quiet oneself; to be patient

Love v. trans. To have or feel love towards (a person, a thing personified) (for a quality or attribute); to entertain a great affection, fondness or regard for; to hold dear...

So... calmly, without discontent or complaint, holding someone dear - this is patient love. I like it. I like it very much. This is a great response to those who perpetually ask, "Why?" Perhaps it is not a common response when one continues to question and remain inquisitive past childhood but it is a good response. May there be more patient love in the world and may there always be people who ask, "Why?" 

May there always be those who stop to question, to question injustice, hate, hurt and that which is widely known or accepted. May we have patient love for those in our lives through sickness and in health. May we not assume we know each other or what we are feeling or how justified our pain or fear or love may be. May we learn and grow with patient love. 

May we allow ourselves and one another the space to reinvent ourselves daily and may we all be blessed to share our lives with those who make us stop to consider patient love.

I dedicate this post to the people with whom I have a bond - to all the people who show me patient love, at a soul-cellular level. I originally dedicated this post to a person who has the capacity to place just what I need before me, sometimes before I even know that I need it. This person is my dear friend, Sheila Jeffries. Sheila is an exceptionally talented artist and writer and one who embodies the term, "patient love". 

Have a look at her website and read her books: 

Sheila has a new book out, Timba Comes Home, through Simon and Schuster. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I am! 

-Gillian Cornwall, December 20, 2015
(Original post date, September 21, 2014)

Heart Rock
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2014

Photo by Gillian Cornwall, c. 2014

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Comfort and Joy

Christmas Time
Gillian Cornwall, c. December 2010

Christmas time, I lay under the tree staring up through the boughs and inhaling the fresh, outdoor scent of the scotch pine, my eyes blurring with the mystery in the strings of painted bulbs of blue and orange and green and red. The delicate, sparkling, colourful ornaments of an impossibly thin glass dangled precariously from the ends of the branches and the stretch of golden garland was carefully wound around the circumference of the tree from the angel atop to the bottom boughs. The whole process was completed by my brothers and me, as strings of silver, tinsel icicles were artfully tossed on select branches. We tried to keep these out of reach of Sarah, our Siamese cat, lest she ingest them in some sort of untimely, seasonal attempt at her own demise. Occasionally, we found evidence of her tinsel snacking in sparkling litter box parcels. 

Back under the tree, I lay pyjama-clad and lost in the magic of the season - small enough that this tree land was a fort unto itself. For a day, perhaps even more, there would be peace and I would be lost in a world where kindness prevailed amid the songs of the season played on our Zenith High Fidelity Stereo System. This was a world of reindeer and Santa Claus, surrounded by mysterious packages wrapped in paper depicting dreamworlds of sleighs and horses, snowmen and silver bells, snowflakes and stockings spilling over with treats. 

May it always be a time to rest, to spend in loving kindness with those for whom we are grateful and may the scent of a fresh forest or a string of sparkling lights always be enough to bring you comfort and joy. 

With gratitude to each of you, for your love, your kindness, and your willingness to get up every day and do your best through good times and bad. You are loved and I am blessed for all the wonder you share - simply through your desire to live with love and kindness. Plant yourself in healthy, clean soil and grow with strong, solid roots; reach for the sky and the light with every sunrise.

May every one of you share comfort and joy this season and every wish for a happy and healthy new year. 

-Gillian Cornwall, Re-posted on December 13, 2015
Original Post, c. December 22, 2013

 The Christmas Tree at Uptown
Gillian Cornwall, c. December 2015

Merry Christmas for the Victoria BC Santa Parade
Gillian Cornwall, c. December 2015

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Health, Time and Loved Ones

Christmas Cheer at the Fairmont Empress, Victoria, BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. December 2015

As I do from time to time, I have decided to repost this piece from 2014 - about a year ago this time. It still stands. It still rings as true as a sleigh bell for me. I hope it is of use to you too:

I have learned so much about myself in the last few weeks - how fear can still overcome me, hindering reason, health, love and truth and how I can get in my own way when it comes to showing people how much I love them and that there is NOTHING more valuable in this world than our health, time to live and the opportunity to be with the people we love. 

When I say I get in my own way, I mean that I can let petty trivialities of day to day living and fear of failure block me from exactly that in which I wish to succeed. As I move forward, I will look at ways of doing a better job of letting go, being in the moment, being of service to those in my life and thinking before speaking. 

I'm not saying I'm awful and I'm not writing this as an act of contrition. This is what I have seen of myself. This is what I wish to change. This is what I choose to share with you in the hope it may be meaningful and useful to you as you walk your own way. 

Over the next month I will be engaging in the work I recently mentioned: regaining the rudder and resetting my course. I will take time to stop, to be and to help others and, I will help myself. I will restore and open that which is blocked within. I will release the holding which is keeping me from functioning in an open and fluid way. Also, I will write!

The holiday season approaches. This is an ideal time to reflect on how we are living and giving, how we spend our time and our other resources and where we are placing our value of life. Consider taking a thing out of your life and trading it for a block of time, even if the act is a symbolic one. Give away something you no longer need, be it an object or a thought that is negative (or no longer serves your well-being) and release it to the universe with love. In return, give yourself the gift of time to fill that space with love - for yourself, for others and for the blessing of good health, the blessing of life. Reset your inner clock with time for you, for your well-being and for those you love. This is your life and the most precious gift you have with which to give and receive. Use it well and with great appreciation - for nothing else matters before this. 

With love to each of you.
-Gillian Cornwall, December 6, 2015
Reposted from Original copyright date, November 30, 2014

The family home, Hertfordshire, UK
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2015.
Edited with text, December 2015.