Posted in 2019

Listening. vcl©️

Haha ok. I’m a lousy listener. My mom (there she is again, sorry mom) told me once that I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle when I was a child. I think I was the only one in kindergarten that was rapped across the knuckles by my teacher with the pointer and told to “sit down and shut up.” Less social souls would have curled up in a ball sucking their thumbs, not me. I always have a word in due and not so due season lol.

It’s hard to explain, because I get accused of not listening enough. Let me tell you a secret. I hear it all. the important stuff. Ok ok…perhaps my husband Kenneth would argue at this point but ask me…his favorite colour…RED, How he likes his toast. Charcoal…almost. See?

I love words, and conversation. I guess I learned it from my Father who loved a great debate and like myself, loved to read and be informed and discuss, discuss, discuss. I feel strongly about things. I take it to heart. It usually isn’t about who is right. Its the FUN of the conversation. and when people give me their words I fill up with answers. Everyone wants to tell you THEIR story. Rarely do they ask to hear yours.

“The world had a way of speaking to you if you let it; the trick was learning to hear.”

― Justin Cronin, The City of Mirrors

The Bible , a book I read often as a child and adult says something I think is very profound.

“Can two people walk together unless they be agreed.”

That means listening to the whole story. And agreeing to remain friends. Sometimes it means to agree to differ.

And that’s the word. Ciao friends, thanks for listening.

Val

Posted in 2019

Thank you Mr Murray ©️vclz

I remember Mr. Murray well. Designated as our homeroom teacher, the grade 11 class regarded him warily. Perhaps it was the ascot knotted at his throat, unusual apparel for a Nova Scotia fishing town. Or it may have been his pasty skin, the unwell appearance of an unhealthy person, wearily moseying along the road of life.. nearer to the end than the beginning. Every movement he made was languid. I remember the class atmosphere as whispery, as if we were all in a hospital waiting room. It was instinctive that we felt compelled to best behavior.

He taught us English Studies. I loved to listen to him speak about the characters in the stories we studied. He had a lovely way of shaping words. One instance, I cannot remember the name of the book, he stated how over dramatized and “gushy” it was, and that any minute we could expect violin music emerging from the bushes, highly unlikely in the circumstances. We were encouraged to envision it. The girls giggled, the boys rolled their eyes. His danced merrily.

My Father was a religious zealot. He was quite firm on what literature his children should have access to. It was with a sinking heart that I brought home the designated reading for the semester. Of course it had to be “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” by Canadian author Mordecai Richler, newly minted, off the presses and reallllly controversial. My Teacher was that kind of man. Controversial. My father was angry and impetuous. Pulling open the kitchen coal stove lid, he thrust the book into the flaming fires of hell, and slammed the lid shut. No child of his was going to read that garbage!

I was a nervous child. It was not easy living with a Father that talked directly to God. Unfortunately, neither he nor God accompanied me to school to explain the situation to my teacher. Approaching his desk, I gathered all of the little courage I had, and I told him my story.

I must explain here that I am an eye watcher. Eyes say everything, especially in unguarded moments. I can read even the faintest twitch of untruth. My children despise me for it. I remember his eyes that day as they changed from curiosity to interest in my story and then to pain. No anger, I was used to anger. Smiling sadly, he stated that he would give me another assignment. “I want you to write an essay “he said.” I want you to write about Success. Tell me all you can learn about Success.”

Then turning to the class, he called it to order. Pulling an armload of envelopes out of his satchel, he proceeded to hand them round to each student. “ I am going to teach you something that will be the most important information you will ever need to know as you venture out into the world. I am going to show you how to fill out Income Tax forms.” We spread them out on our desks, rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

I wrote my essay on Success. I do not remember much of what it said or the mark I received. I left for another school at the end of the term. I heard that Mr. Murray did not return the next year either. After a I graduated I got a job. I got married. I felt the most happy feeling each year as I got out those forms and filled them out because I had the knowledge my husband didn’t have yet. I felt needed. As the years past and the taxes became more intricate, I willingly passed them over to our tax man.

Oh yes…One quote I do remember is “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. “~Albert Schweitzer

BTW I picked up the forbidden book later in life. Funny thing, it is a story about a young man desperately determined to be successful. And he wasn’t. Thank you Mr. Murray. ❤️

Posted in 2018

That tinge of bright 🌤

“Light is prettiest in the dark.”
Joyce Rachelle

A number of years ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Europe. One highlight was a visit to the Rikkmuseum in Amsterdam. There I absorbed the old art by famous painters such as Van Gogh, Vermeer, Marten, Asselijn and Rembrandt. It was a truly delightful experience.

One of the portraits that intrigued me most was the famous piece by Rembrandt named The Night Watch, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642

Undoubtedly his best-known masterpiece, which is said to have marked a turning point in the artist’s career, takes pride of place in its own gallery. The large-scale painting depicts guardsmen getting into formation, with a young girl in the foreground rumoured to be modelled on Rembrandt’s late wife. The grand space is dedicated to Rembrandt’s vision .

There was seating all around the centre of the room where one can gaze at the painting from various angles. I was struck by the darkness of the room and the picture itself , which was huge along the wall. My gaze centred on the people depicted in front. This was my first introduction to what is called Rembrandt lighting.

Rembrandt lighting was named after of the great master, who often used it in his own portraits. The idea is to create a small inverted triangle of light on the subject’s cheek that is opposite the light source. This is very flattering (especially for people with prominent cheekbone structure) and was often used in old Hollywood portraits. Teachers say that it is important to ensure that you get catch lights in both eyes.

Since then I’ve been mindful of this thought. There’s no wrong in darkness, only a brief departure from the light. To understand the darkness in others, it serves us to know our own darkness. Rembrandt knew his subjects well.

Let’s show ourselves some light.  Allow yourself to be inspired to let go of the need to stay in darkness—your entire life isn’t meant to be a struggle, but if you think it is, that’s what it’ll be for you.

The trick isn’t to drown the darkness with light, or to replace the negativity with positivity, but to bring the darkness to the light, like an offering.

This is my offering today to you.❤️