Sunday, 8 February 2015

Spiritual Hybernation

I am a Canadian girl. 

 I submitted this poem as an entry that won me this beautiful 'Canadian Girl' piece of art from an amazing Canadian artist.  I would like to say that it is one of my most prized possessions, but I am just not that possessive. Let me say this, I treasure this painting for many reasons, but mostly because of the beauty and strength in what it represents to me. This is my definition of a Canadian girl. I wrote it back in 2009.

A Canadian Girl is proud to be vulnerable. For if there is one single thing she feels certain about, it is the certainty of uncertainty.
A Canadian Girl seeks comfort in change. For she knows to stay stagnant would deny her of her independence.
A Canadian Girl is a dreamer. For she understands the nature of her restlessness.
A Canadian Girl wanders. For she has learnt that taking risks satisfies her wondrous yearnings.
A Canadian Girl reaches out. For it is in her nature to nurture.
A Canadian Girl politely declines her label. For a branding would undermine her integrity.
A Canadian Girl picks up a 'Timmies' on her way over. For she knew that you were a 'double double' the first day you met.
A Canadian Girl will replace her bedhead with her multi-coloured toque. For she'd prefer to share a pint and a smile than time in the mirror.
A Canadian Girl knows that carpets will get dirty...and will also get you down a snowy hillside. For she is playfully realistic.
A Canadian Girl will grasp a paintbrush in one hand and a hammer in the other. For her multi-culturalism has lead to great multi-tasking.
A Canadian Girl appreciates the 'little' things. For it is her sensitivity which breeds her insight.
This woman loves her country and all within it For growing up a Canadian Girl...

She is Free.

'Canadian Girl', A. Shay Hahn
We are in the midst of a typical Canadian winter. And although I have experienced 40 (or so) winters I still have not grown to enjoy them. Let me just say, they haven't gotten any easier. In fact, as an adult, they get much, much more difficult, especially as a parent. More winter gear can put a screeching halt on even the best thought out plan. I have just recently (and shamefully) succumb to parking the ridiculously over sized bright blue shovel upgrade right next to the front door. A personal 'outting' of convenience for all to see. Winters in Canada aren't cute (practicality wins every time but this could be my age talking).  I haven't worn high heels outdoors for a couple of months now.  My footwear must be able to withstand inches of snow and slush and uphold in freezing temperatures. My coat leaves room for layering. I walk around with a toque both indoors and out. I deal with hat head. My winter gear, much like my shovel must be readily available and up for anything, anytime. In the last 48 hours I have had to dig out my car numerous times, push a vehicle out of a snow bank while slipping and sliding to my knees, build not one, but two forts, participate in an intense, no holds barred, snowball war with my eight year old (yes, I won. It's a Canadian thing, don't judge) and I have gone out to shovel the walk and driveway too many times to count. Why the winter inventory of obstacles and the desire to share them you ask? All of this digging out has given me an awful lot of time to think. This past year has had a significant amount of struggles and challenges for me. And believe me, it has taken its toll. One could say that I have been stuck, buried even, within a ' winter' of discontent. It has snowed me in, often paralysing me.
Shovelling yourself out of a snowstorm is much like shovelling yourself out of a 'shitstorm'. It's cold and miserable. You often feel alone as you look at the enormous task ahead. Feelings of regret creep in as you argue with yourself about how it wouldn't be this bad had you started shovelling yesterday and just dealt with the snow(shit) as it fell. Cars drive by and splash slush on you. Plows plow you in as you stand sweat covered and proud, shovel in hand, solely bearing witness to the clean driveway and mountain of snow you have compiled as your once great feat turns its back on you in mockery...defeated as the snow continues to fall. We have surely taken on the disadvantage of ignoring natures signs that the seasons change was upon us. All of nature seems to stop dead in its tracks. The birds have no songs to share. The sleeping trees stand amid the wreckage, winters carrion. But, if you are willing to seek it, there is beauty to be found within winters grasp. The gift of owning a moment within the quiet stillness of a late night winter walk. The blinding inspiration as the sun and snow dance together in a divine moment of truce, creating fields of diamonds. The ease in which we are willing to help a stranger, reminding us that we are not alone.
When I stop to ponder this past year, I would say that it has been one of the worst of my life. But I would be horrendously wrong. My whole world has been turned upside down and inside out. I have felt completely exposed desperate in panic, longing to hide and isolate from the world in fear that they would see the ugliness in my coping, or lack thereof. I have been quick to judge. I have stopped searching for the beauty. You see, I am positive that God continues to work within me, through me. I have been turned upside down and inside out. I have been forced to plow through and uproot my life in order to cultivate it. I am a work in progress. God longs to till the soil of my life. He continues to uncover the enrichment of my spirit in preparation for the planting of new life which can only be found in new beginnings. I have buried my 'crop' beneath a bitter and frozen winter snow and forgotten about the prosperity that waits stagnant underneath. Working through the harshness of the elements is a necessary life lesson. And just as the seasons change, so must we. One thing remains, in the midst of this 2015 winter season, the 2009 Canadian girl still remains, and she will continue to dig herself into the hope of the next seasons promise.