Sunday, September 25, 2016

True Love

Mates - Esquimalt Lagoon
Gillian Cornwall, c. May 2016

Poems and plays have been written, odes have been sung, films have been made and, as a species, it appears to allude us or, at the very least, confuse us:

True Love

What the hell is it and why do we sometimes feel like everyone but us is reaping the benefits of its rainbows and lollipops? 

The thing is, I'm starting to cotton on to the idea that true love starts within each of us. It lies in a soft, warm bed of self care and self belief. It comes when we set down the baggage we have often taken on from another - simply because they needed us to or they told us to or because it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. We become lifelong pack mules for others because we believe them more worthy of a lighter path than we ourselves deserve. Why? 

Practice - that is what I am guessing. Sometimes when we do something for long enough, it becomes our norm. We no longer have a comprehension of lightness of spirit, of space within, of joy and comfort within ourselves because we have lost the ability to set down the baggage of others and move forward without it. 


Damn it

We want someone to notice the sacrifice we have made for them.


What if we just set it all down? 
What if we didn't worry about whether anyone cared that we have sacrificed?
What if we let go of our sense of loss?

We all want to be seen, heard and understood. How about we see ourselves, acknowledge that we have carried enough, or even set out to find the person willing to remind us we needn't carry it - the folks who heal and help us rest? 

Why do we need permission? We don't need permission. There is a new great lie in the world that busy and tired are badges of honour we receive for giving away too much, for wearing ourselves into the ground without stopping. 

This is an errant concept. It serves no-one. 

Put your stuff down. Stretch. Breathe. Look in the mirror and love the warrior you see in front of you. When you stop and engage in self-care, you will begin to heal. Love the amazing being that you have become on your journey. You are more than a pack animal of your own history. You are more than a survivor. You are the epitome of life in every step of your journey. You, and you alone, have the autonomy and capacity to reinvent yourself with love, strength and compassion from all you have seen, all you have borne and all those you have helped along the way.

A change of season
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2015

When you stop to heal, you will create space and strength within yourself. You will remember that self care and love for the gift of your life is the essence of true love. In healing your worn and weary soul, in loving yourself truly, you will create the foundation from which the capacity to give love without need for reciprocation grows. With the ability to feel perpetually full without fear of loss and certain of your place among all of life, you will experience the true love that cannot be battered with the changing tides and clamoring of those around us. You will master the art of setting and balancing your own course with self awareness and awareness of others. From excellent self care arises the ability to care well for others. 

Find your strength within and know that this is your true love. 

Lay down your burden.
Most of it was never yours to carry.
This is your life.
Raise your arms and open them to the universe.
We are with you.
We are inextricably one.
In every cell of your being lies the truth,
the very essence of life and love.
You have everything you require. 

You are well.
You are complete.
You are true love.

Autumn Skies - Heaven on Earth
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2014

You are true love, you truly are. You will not find love in another; you will find a reflection of yourself in their eyes, in the smile they have for you because you are you - whole, complete, perfect in each step of your journey. 

True love? Go look in the mirror. Look deeply into your own eyes, into your soul light. It's right there. It's you. 

Gillian Cornwall, c. September 25, 2016

Gillian Cornwall, c. 2014

 Photo of me by Doug Grant
Rifflandia, c. 2014

Saturday, September 17, 2016

In Stillness and In Motion

Gillian Cornwall, c. July 2015

Breathing, balancing on the edge of a new day, before sleep takes my hand to guide me into the dreamscape. I am the hawk, in perfect repose within the arc of two currents. My wings are spread and I hold my own while the wind blows. With a fractional tilt, I glide into a new air stream. 

Sky Diver, Oak Bay Tea Party
Gillian Cornwall, c, July 2015

From that moment of stillness, before the start of the journey, I see above me, below me, through me and around me. Whether held on the current or gliding through time, I have recognized my freedom to move through my life, just as my pen glides across the page - the motion, the words, as unique and fresh as the molten lava flowing from Hawaii - creating more world, more life, with each exhalation to the whole. 

The Big Island of Hawaii
Gillian Cornwall, c November 2006

We are blessed in our lives with the gift of life itself - a promise, a chance to do well, to pay attention, to give and to receive. May the gift of being always be enough. May we be grateful for our lives, in stillness and in motion, through tears and laughter, through joy and pain. May we love freely and without holding.

With gratitude and love to each of you for taking the time to read my words and share your stories.
-Gillian Cornwall, September 18, 2016
c. September 13, 2015

Greenfields, Stow on the Wold, England
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2015

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Summit Park Garry Oaks
Pencil, Graphite and Ink on Paper
8 x 10
Gillian Cornwall, c 2010
Not Available

Down time: Puzzles, tea, a sketchbook, a novel, a hammock, the cottage, a tropical vacation, a walk by the sea, a nap, a walk in the forest, a movie... the list goes on, doesn't it? There are a million things I love to do (or not do) to recharge my engines. I don't know about you but there just doesn't seem to be enough of it either.

I remember when I was a kid - there seemed to be tons of it. I supposed that comes with a privileged, middle-class childhood. I can't remember the last time I just lay under a tree and stared at clouds floating across a big blue sky through branches swaying in a gentle breeze. When I was a youngster, Heather McGhee and I used to ride our bikes to the Mill Pond on a Saturday and eat our bagged lunches on the grass under the tent-like boughs of the giant willow tree. It was peaceful and fun. We had exercise, food, talk and rest. Life was quite perfect.

I don't know when we lose that space, that time, to just be. I am often admonished for the time I spend staring into one of my many devices: laptop, desktop, iPod, smart phone, e-reader, Etch-a-Sketch ...just seeing if you were paying attention. I actually do have an Etch-a-Sketch - two, actually and I love them. I would definitely put Etch-a-Sketch in the down time list.

Big Island of Hawaii
Oil Pastel and Mineral Oil on Paper
8 x 10
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2006

As you can see, I've included some of my own drawings in this post. The thing is, I used to draw in my down time too. I studied with a number of artists and I used to draw pretty much every day - during lunches, after work and on the weekend. Now that I am writing avidly (on the second draft of my first novel) and sending short works and poetry off to magazines, I don't have as much time to draw, so that has gone a bit by the wayside for now.

Victoria Warehouses
Oil Pastel on Paper
8 x 10
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2006

Now it seems, to really get down time, I have to take time off work in large chunks, get any necessary chores out of the way that absolutely have to be done and THEN I can take some down time after I've worked on the writing that has lain dormant because I've been too tired or too this and that... Blah, blah, blah. And trust me, I know, this is all first world problem nonsense but what I really want to get at is, I think it is crucial to make time to chill out - whatever that means to you. If we want to be well then we need to get exercise, eat well, laugh as much as possible, love with an open heart and HAVE FUN!

The House
Watercolour Pencil on Paper
8 x 10
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2004

Even though I was laid off this year with my position being made redundant, I am still getting work there and it is a beautiful location. At lunch, I try to make time to walk to peaceful campus getaways like Mystic Vale - which absolutely restores the soul - particularly from the distress of uncertain employment! I have learned we boldly walk forward with gratitude and a good heart despite the changing times. I have another day, another opportunity to love and be a part of good lives in a beautiful place. I am not without fear in this - I am not perfect - but positive thoughts help lead to positive results. I remain committed to service for those who need it, benefit from it and have the grace and open hearts to receive it.

The Mallard
Watercolour Pencil on Paper
5 x 7
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2004

What do you do for down time? I'm open to new ideas, suggestions and hilarious anecdotes. I'm excited to know that I'm not alone in my need to chill out. I believe that it is in our moments of freedom, our moments of lightness, that greatness happens. Breathe deeply and give space to your potential. Open your mind and heart to all that is here for us if we just stop for a minute, breathe into our bellies and connect to "all". Yesterday I went for a nice dinner with someone I love and drove down by the cruise ships and welcomed all the new visitors to Victoria! They were quite surprised and delighted to have complete strangers welcoming them to the city! 

Baby Parker
Pencil on Paper
Gillian Cornwall
Commissioned - Not available

I think that if we can integrate down time back into our work, we will achieve much greater standards of excellence. Greatness takes time, space and belief in ourselves and each other. All too often, I look around me and I see people racing to check off the boxes. "Let's get it done!" And all too often, if we stopped, thought and made space for thinking outside of the box, we would get it done a lot better, faster and with greater enjoyment.

Arwen Portrait
Pencil on Paper
4 x 6
Gillian Cornwall, c.1999
Not for sale

There is time. There is space. We just need to allow ourselves to take it. Most of us do not NEED more stuff or more money to get more stuff. We need to stop, slow down and be present in our lives. Down time. That's what we need.

The Grizzly Bear
Oil Pastel on Paper
Gillian Cornwall, c. 1996

This is your imposed down time between a grizzly bear and a farm cat. *Breathe here* :-)

Boots the Cat
Oil Pastel on Paper
8 x 10
Gillian Cornwall, c.1994

If anyone is interested, please share your thoughts on this subject by leaving a comment below or on Facebook. I know most people just want to have a look and duck out unnoticed and that is fine too. I hope you are off to do something fun and relaxing - maybe do some of your own drawings?

The West Coast Rainforest - Long Beach
Ink on Paper
Not Available for sale
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2009

While I may seem fairly light-hearted about this, I want to acknowledge that there are millions of people around the world who struggle in every hour of every day just to survive and if those of us who have so much shared just a bit with someone else, we could ease their path a great deal and perhaps allow them to stop and breathe one day without having to worry all the time. There is always more we can do for others and this can be a down time thing too. Read to someone who can't read for themselves anymore. Bring someone a treat. Make a donation if you can. Share your beautiful gifts with another person - for we are one and we are greater together than apart.

The Wave
Oil Pastel and Mineral Oil on Paper
8 x 10
Gillian Cornwall, c. 1988

Thanks for stopping by and having a read. I hope you enjoyed it. I love sharing with each of you and send you love and blessings for a peaceful and joyous day. Know that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, someone out here is thinking of you and wishing you the very best of life. Never give up. Walk your path with your head held high and feel the simple joy of the sun on your face when it does shine.

-Gillian Cornwall, re-posted September 11, 2016
c. November 2, 2014

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Autumn Life

Wild Kitten, Autumn in Saanich
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2014

"The thought manifests as the word,
The word manifests as the deed,
The deed develops into habit,
And the habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its way with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings."
K. Sri Dhammananda
-How to Live Without Fear and Worry

There is no light so great as the light of the universe that shines through me. With this light, I have all that I need. That which is not held cannot be taken. I will continue to walk my path of truth regardless of the decisions of others. I cannot be made to act against my heart. The light of life shines through me eternal. There is peace in this. No matter what is said or done around me, I act in my best truth and light. Aloha. The breath of god flows through me. I am one with all. Peace and light are my path.

As we rocket ourselves into autumn for another year of "busy-ness," let us not forget these words. Our connections to one another - our time and truth - are of the utmost importance to our survival - more than our schedules, regiments and our desire to fill our days with "busy." Hug your children. Play with them. Listen to your elders. Speak your truth kindly. Stop and talk to a stranger who looks lost or lonely. Add one simple "e" to who you are by being humane, rather than just human. 

Gillian Cornwall, September 4
Original text edited from, May 24, 2012

Pattypan Squash, Dan's Farm Market, Saanich
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2014