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January 17, 2020

Listening To The Positive Voice

By Maryanna Gabriel

Hard to hear the positive, much easier to hear the negative. Have you ever noticed? Why

do we do this I wonder? I suppose one does not want to be a full blown narcissist but at the same time, which voice is the true one?

I have been researching the work on resilience and the qualities resilient people focus on. Those that focus on the positive voice and what they are grateful for each day, tend to happier and less prone to depression. Makes sense, I suppose.

As a writing student, we do workshops frequently, and it is always interesting to me how one person can really like something and the next person finds fault with it. So which voice do we listen to?  So the point of all of this, I am thinking, is listening to ourselves, finding our inner voice, and detecting what rings true and what does not. It is a bit of a trick. I have always found encouragement so much more inspiring.

Today for example, I can focus on the miserable cold, or I can focus on the blossoms of spring that are emerging by the front door. I can focus on kindness, or I can focus on unkindness. I can hear what people say as a reflection of who they are, and not necessarily a true reflection of me. I can focus on what I know to be true deep in my heart, and believe in that. In this way I nurture the quality of resilience. Spring is coming. 

January 15, 2020

Bummer Of A Plumber

By Maryanna Gabriel

Snow is everywhere and along with it, the quiet. Nobody is daring to move. There is a sense of relaxation that comes with letting go of having "to do" things.

Housekeeping is out because the kitchen sink is plugged. As it began to snow, I called in a plumber as I could see the pipe beneath had buckled. Water was everywhere. He replaced the pipe, making three trips to stores because he lacked parts (huh?), disappeared for an hour and a half (breakfast out?), and returned with a bill for $449 for roughly two hours work. 

"But the sink isn't draining," I said. He shrugged.

"I've left you this bottle of Drain Max Gel," he said. "I probably won't be able to get here tomorrow. Are you healthy?"


"Well, this isn't an emergency, is it?" His face contorted as he stared at me. "My wife is very sick. You have your health."

"I'm sorry," I said taking a step back. Interesting customer technique.

The sink of course, hasn't drained. I knew it wouldn't. I am washing dishes in the bathroom. I suppose there are worse things than being charged for something that isn't fixed and being told it is nothing compared to someone else's problems.

I won't be calling him again. Ever. When I call another plumber he can discount the theory that the drain is frozen when I call next week. 
In the meantime, as I sit out the snow storm, I have my health. 

January 11, 2020

Cup Hooks

By Maryanna Gabriel

Living on an island has it’s challenges and today it was finding cup hooks for a project I am working on. The two stores here did not have the right size. Snow is coming anyways. Time for a supply run. So, based on cup hooks alone, I caught the ferry to the “Big Island”.

     Last year at this time, I was travelling early in the black of morning in a gusting wind. The man beside me opened his car door. The wind caught it so hard, his door slammed into my passenger side, creating a dint. This unfortunately involved an insurance claim.

     Once I was on the ferry and half way across, my blood ran cold. I had forgotten my purse. There was no way around it. A crew member asked the captain if I could stay on board and return to get it. The captain allowed it. I raced home and found it waiting for me by the front door, right where I had left it, then roared back to the terminal. The whole process took about four hours. These things aren’t easy.

     My technique for shopping is simple. Go before anybody in their right mind wants to get up, then get out fast. I was standing in front of some oranges on sale, when I noticed a favourite hand knitted glove was missing. I paced the cheese section where I had just been. No glove. I asked at the lost and found. No glove. I returned to the deli section and asked there. No glove. I was mystified. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

       There it was, perched delicately on my decolletage, lodged within the folds of my scarf. Sigh. These five in the morning starts are not my best times.

     By the third store, I found the size of cup hooks I needed. I was home by noon. Let it snow. 

January 1, 2020

Being Here Now

By Maryanna Gabriel

"Start over, my darling,
Be brave enough to find the life you want,
and courage enough to chase it,
....the way you were always meant to be.
-Madalyn Beck 

Ram Dass has just died. He impacted many of us.

"If you think you are enlightened, try spending a week with your family" ...o
ne of the many things Ram Dass said. Ha, ha. I hope that everybody has emerged intact from the time of lights and celebration. Here we are in 2020 and I am trying to "Be here now." Letting go of the past is healthy, however, parts of me return to it over and over. Maybe that means I am not very enlightened. 

I remember when I was handed a copy of the essay, "Be Here Now." It was in high school. It was presented as a reaction to the fifties, where the generation we sprang from were working towards retirement. Those were such innocent times and we were so sure of ourselves that we would create a better future. Information was private, there seemed to be a sense of predictability and abundance. We were full of ideals.

I find myself still hanging onto these ideals with as much strength as I can

muster, amid a swirling confusion of outer world events, trying to trust that there are reasons for what is unfolding, puzzled that the era I grew up in, did not bid farewell to what is resurfacing, selfishness, indulgence, and hatred. It seems a theme that is replayed over and over within families and in the world without.

The year 2020 has a nice ring to it. One can only be in charge of one's self, and not the behaviour others, after all.  I pull in calm and peace. The sky is blue today and without hope, there is no heaven. Here we are, being, in the now. 
Happy New Year! And so it is.