Category Archives: spirituality

Awesome weekend


Just a quick post to say Hi. I’ve been out of town this weekend. There was a group of seven women in two vehicles and I was one of the drivers. I didn’t set the trip meter but there were many hours of driving. From here to the coast on Friday, around the city every day, and back home today. I am converted to the use of a GPS as I couldn’t have done it without one! Well, my fellow passengers could have used a paper map but it would have probably taken longer to get around.

The weekend was full of spiritual and physical food, new friends, great experiences. We were welcomed by so many people, entertained, accommodated and fed.  Highlights include sushi making class, learning the Chinese tea ceremony, yoga, visiting Steveston Landing in Richmond, BC, and a high wind that blew through Vancouver with such a force that many tree branches and leaves ended up on the road and the power went out in many places.

Not only did our group of seven have a great bonding experience, with lots of laughs and hugs, but we met new people who just flowed out love, generosity, selflessness. It was a true life lesson and I want to keep that feeling and draw on it in my daily life.

Now that I’m back, I need to make a list of a few priorities, like getting my middle son registered for courses at the local college, preparing a talk for next weekend, and deciding what scrap projects I want to crochet with my stash of acrylics! I have a lot of greens, blues and pinks in older acrylic, and my plan is to combine them with black somehow to make another blanket. I welcome any ideas for colourful stained-glass type afghans.

I ordered myself some birthday yarn from Deramores. They had a 25% off deal and I have invested in some more Stylecraft yarn. This time, it’s the Special DK and the Harlequin. Plus some Aran weight in black. I think one can combine more colours in an attractive way if one borders the motifs with a single neutral. Having said that, I was browsing through people’s Ravelry projects just now and saw a gorgeous Groovyghan which was VERY bright. I had to Favourite it with a click on the Heart. Maybe I’ll make another Groovyghan with the stash. But first, I know, I should get on with the current WIP. I didn’t get a stitch of crochet done over the weekend – one of the downsides of being the driver.

I think it’s time to write down my priorities and actually attend to them each day. Now that the weather has cooled down, there are fewer excuses for things like daily walks. I will leave you with this from my weekend of spiritual sustenance:


Wishbone Sweater – finished



It may be hard to see, thanks to the dark colour, but the sweater is finished. I can now reveal that this sweater was made for my dear husband, though the sleeves and body may prove to be a bit long. In my concern that I would make them too short, I may have over-compensated, a fact which can never be discovered until the yoke is finished.

I’ve left it on the sofa (he’s already in bed) with a note, reminding him that this is the second time ever I’ve knitted him a sweater and that he never wore the first one (hmmm, maybe 25 years ago)! If he hates it, I will adopt it as a snuggly accompaniment to my new jeans.

I’m surprised that at 11.30 at night I’m still awake. With it being Chinese New Year, I was up late last night with friends seeing in the New Year with the appropriate rituals, which included a lot of bowing (I crawled into bed at 1.45am) and repeating similar rituals again early this morning. Four and a half hours of sleep means I have had a couple of spacey moments today, but the push to the finish line on the sweater kept me up this evening.

Gong she fat tsai!

So the crochet afghan will accompany us to the cabin for our anniversary retreat, and after that I have a big sewing project – some zippered and drawstring bags with a sheep print as gifts for the Year of the Sheep.

And finally, the two skeins of yarn I invested in at Michaels today…Loops & Threads Chunky in the Stonewashed colourway. Planning a little arm knitting for a gift.


Vest squares



I didn’t get to touch my crochet hook for a couple of days because Friday and Saturday were work days and there was other stuff going on, and then today was an all day dharma class which was very fulfilling but, again, tiring.

However I whipped up a couple more squares tonight making a total of four smaller ones and one large one, so the back of the vest is done. Of course they aren’t sitting very flat as they need some blocking, or maybe just a good wash and dry when assembled.

Looking at the coat design in the original photo tutorial, I will need 12 squares for each front plus a little more yarn for edging the fronts and neck, if I go that route. Hoping I have enough yarn.

The photo is showing the colours paler than I see them.

So what was I learning about today? Wu Wei, flexibility and detaching from form. We are studying and discussing the 15 Buddha guidelines and also trying to remember to put them into practice in our daily lives. As usual, we shared some amazing vegetarian food so returned home spiritually and physically fed. And now I really must go to bed…….zzzzzzzzz!

Coming down…


I feel like I’m coming down from a bit of a high at the moment. Not in a bad way. I need a quiet day to rest and recuperate from a busy couple of days.

I am part of a team who officiates in ceremonies with my spiritual group and sometimes we get to go out of town with our Master to do ceremonies elsewhere. Monday, five of us shared a car to Vancouver. We left at 10am. The drive, with one stop for lunch, took five hours. The afternoon was spent preparing, the ceremony took place in the evening, and then we had to travel another hour to another home to sleep. A driver was needed because the Master was exhausted from his early start that day, and I volunteered to do it. It was dark and raining, I was driving an unfamiliar large car, and the roads were busy despite it being late in the evening. There was construction everywhere (you know the saying, we have two seasons – Winter and Construction)!

Suffice it to say, I was very glad to get there safely and be able to freshen up and let my head hit a pillow.

Breakfast was abundant – my Taiwanese friends really know how to cook and eat well – and then we were off for some shopping in the Richmond area. Most stores had signs in both English and Mandarin. We went to a herbal store, a Taiwanese supermarket, an Asian mall with a huge grocery store with the most amazing display of fresh vegetables I have ever seen, and a place that sells frozen vegetarian meat substitutes, all without onion and garlic, some of which are also vegan.

I bought something at each store, including a huge bag of goji berries, some Chinese curry powder, chili paste, black bean sauce, vegan organic Worcestershire sauce, cedar leaf spice (a savoury herb that has a wonderful flavour) and lots of noodles. I passed on the dried sea snail and sea stars!!

We had finished our shopping by lunchtime and returned home, snacking on the way and only stopping for a couple of pee breaks. Home by 5.30pm, shower, Yorkshire tea and a greens bar, and out the door again at 6.20 for an evening meeting.

I was a little hyper and over-chatty – it may have been the gas station coffee, or the Yorkshire tea, but also a kind of energy that I get when going to spend time with my friends. We came home after 10 and I still didn’t get to bed until midnight.

As I said, coming down now, enjoying the wonderful abundance of summer. My boys are like many, in that they would rather grab some cooked carbs than wash and eat fruit. So I washed some grapes and blueberries and strawberries, cut up some cantaloupe, and put it out in the hope they will at least start the day with some raw antioxidants!

Forecast is excellent for a beach day, not so much for tomorrow, so planning to take those boys swimming this afternoon. Then yoga tonight.

While I was a passenger in the car, I crocheted a lot of the time, and have finished the body of a market bag using the pattern from bobwilson123. It’s called Mesh Market Bag, One handle, and has a written pattern and a You Tube tutorial. I’ll publish this, so as not to lose it, and go find a link afterwards. (ETA: link added, you’ll need to scroll down to find the specific pattern)

A few photos from the last few days…





scorcher of a weekend


It was a busy weekend. Yesterday was supposed to be the hottest day, up to 36 Celsius, though Tai Chi Man said it reached 41 on the deck (106 Fahrenheit). We did the usual library and shopping in the morning, followed by a social event where we spent time with a lovely group of people at a friend’s house which is much cooler than ours. So we beat the heat by avoiding it, rather than immersing ourselves in it. Oh yes, and mustn’t forget, we also had dinner out at our favourite restaurant, which is of course air-conditioned!

Today we attended the local Holistic Market. It’s an interesting place to go, currently being held once a month, with all sorts of weird and wonderful people and modalities to check out. Many of the people with booths are in our spiritual and social circle. Tai Chi Man had another energywork treatment and I had some balancing done from a kinesiology practitioner who uses sound essences to help you get back to centre.

There was only time for a cup of tea and packing a bag with towels before we were off out again with ds2 and ds3 to a nearby town for this…

…a group of drummers (Bobby Bovenzi and the West African drummers) who were playing in a lakeside park. I was hoping it’d cloud over a bit so we didn’t bake, but in the end the sun stayed out and we did bake, but I didn’t mind. I just love listening to drums and preferably participating, which meant when more drums were brought in and people asked to volunteer I went up. By the time it was over, we were all so hot, but our favourite swimming beach was just down the road so we all went for a swim, including the rope swing, which I love as it makes me feel like a kid again!

After we returned home, the boys made their dinner (yay) with ds1 doing most of the work, and I made dinner for Tai Chi Man and myself and we ate it outside on the deck. It is so hot this evening – not a breath of wind – and it feels like a thunderstorm may be in the offing. I’m hoping so.

It was a gorgeous sunset.

with flash

without flash



lighting up the solstice


The winter solstice was pretty chilly here. The temperature didn’t get above about minus 2 Celsius though we did have sunshine. Sunrise happened at 7.54 and sunset at 15.59.

We’re having our festive meal and gift-giving on the 24th this year, because that’s what works well with the calendar. As you can see from the top photo, there are many gifts to open. The five of us have made an effort this year to find good quality gifts for each other rather than going for quantity. (I seem to contradict myself here, but one year we had over 100 small presents under the tree – that was the first year that we stopped having “Santa” come and visit.)

Dinner tonight wasn’t anything special but I did want to add some extra light to the darkest day. Lining these candles up along the windowsill worked well as they reflected in the new window film.

Seen from this angle, you can see the circle of candles on the dining room table, the line of candles on the windowsill with their reflections, and yet more reflections in the wood of the table itself.

It’s been a long day…the SPCA this morning, followed by a decaf gingerbread soy latte with a friend, to delivering newspapers with my sons this afternoon, making dinner then doing some last minute grocery shopping, and finally finishing off a crocheted gift (which I will show you in a couple of days time)…I’m surprised I’m still awake!

Wishing you all warmth and light in the coming year as the sun returns.



A drop of ten degrees Celsius takes a bit of getting used to. Monday was hot, Tuesday was cloudy and showery. I see from the forecast that it’s going up again towards the weekend, but the nights are staying cool.

Here’s a peek of my new tea-towel, though I’m not sure I will be using it as such. Maybe it needs to be on display somewhere safe. Why? Because it was made by my friend on her loom. Yes, a handwoven tea-towel. When I went over to her house a few weeks back, she let me have a play on her loom, so somewhere in that long length of warp she had to cut out a crappy weird section which was the bit I did! 🙂

Another friend gave me a paperback novel which I haven’t read, so that will be something to look forward to.

I’ve already been for two long walks this week, and I was going to do another this morning….behind my mower. However, as usual, I couldn’t get it started, so it will have to wait until this evening. Tai Chi Man has the touch with our old mower – I think we should buy a new one that I can train to work for ME.

Ds2 and ds3 are doing more pottery classes this week. Eight hours of instruction over four days. They don’t say a lot, but I know they love it. This is the first time they’ve used pottery wheels, which to me feels like the “real” way to do it! I shall have to learn that myself some day.

I shall leave you with a book recommendation. Wayne Dyer’s Change your Thoughts, Change your Life: living the wisdom of the Tao. Dr Dyer spent a whole year reading Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching (pronounced Dow Der Ching) verse by verse (all 81 of them), meditating on them, studying various translations, and putting it into his own words, with a “Do the Tao” paragraph at the end of every chapter, suggesting ways we can put it into practice in our own lives.

This is exactly what I’ve been studying for the last year and a half with my Tao group. At first, we read and discussed The Sutra of Hui Neng (the Sixth Grand Patriarch of Zen) and now we’re working on the Tao Te Ching. It’s life-changing, it really is. It teaches us how to be the best spiritual/human beings we can possibly be. It exhorts us to return to our original or true nature, which is one of unconditional love, peace and non-judgment. Very powerful.






zenhabits’ post for today


I know that it’s OK to paste part of Leo’s post here, as he says that his entire blog is uncopyrighted. Here’s the first part of it but I encourage you to read it all here.

It comes at an interesting time for me. I struggle daily with my issues of control and expectations, mostly around my oldest son. Today I came home from the park and found that ds1 had been prepping food in the kitchen and had, as often happens, left the dirty dishes etc lying around. I asked him nicely and calmly whether I could expect his help to clean up the kitchen so I could prepare dinner and consciously made sure that I had no expectations of him agreeing. I washed, he dried and put away the dishes, I thanked him, and all was well.

My Tao cultivation has moments of success like this which make me realise how much better life is when we stop acting automatically, and become mindful of our thoughts, speech and actions.

Toss Your Expectations Into the Ocean


‘Act without expectation.’ ~Lao Tzu

Post written by Leo Babauta.

How much of your stress, frustration, disappointment, anger, irritation, pissed-offedness comes from one little thing?

Almost all of it comes from your expectations, and when things (inevitably) don’t turn out as we expect, from wishing things were different.

We build these expectations in our heads of what other people should do, what our lives should be like, how other drivers should behave … and yet it’s all fantasy. It’s not real.

And when reality doesn’t meet our fantasy, we wish the world were different.

Here’s a simple solution:

Take your expectations, and throw them in the ocean.

(continued at the zenhabits blog)

sharks and tsunamis


I haven’t said anything before about the earthquake and subsequent tsunami affecting Japan. Only occasionally do I  get into serious discussion of current events, or rants.

However at my Tao Book Study this evening the Master showed our group photos from Kesen-numa which, it turns out, is a village on Japan’s coast which is totally devoted to killing sharks. Or should I say, WAS. It was wiped out by the recent tsunami.

Millions of sharks have been dying because of  the Asians’ desire for shark fin soup. It’s a delicacy, so I hear. Expensive. But what a waste.

We can never know whether it is karma that caused that village to be washed away by the ocean but it does seem to sort of balance things out – those people have been going out to sea and bringing back millions of fish to butcher them and sell their fins – and now the people  have been claimed by the sea.

In our book study, we are learning to observe things as they are, and not to call things good or bad. We are learning to accept responsibility for everything in our experience, because we are all one, so even though I am vegan and I never have eaten shark fin soup I have to accept that I am part of the problem.

In times of what appear to be catastrophic events, it does seem that human beings, whilst losing all their material possessions, rally together and remember what’s really important. A sense of community, compassion for others, these are what will get us through.

Our physical bodies are only on the planet for a limited time but our “selves” are infinite. Whilst in our earth “school” it is our job to remember who we really are – act from our Buddha nature and not our human-mind consciousness – and practise unconditional love, trust and non-judgment. We all need to awaken now and make the world a better place.