Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Journey of a thousand memories.

It began with squeezing into my tiny seat on the airplane (are they getting smaller or am I getting bigger?). I started to read a new book which began with… “twas the night before my birthday and all through the house” (or words to that effect).  I was riveted already… It was a couple of nights before my birthday I was on my way to experience what was “all through the house”.

The synchronicity, not only of the opening line, but of the entire book accompanied (and at times haunted) me throughout the next ten days. It was about a family with five children, a father who spent part of his life in the Orient, a small cabin on a mosquito-infested property in Ontario, and a mother who, in her later years was treated by a family doctor who used to practice with my sister. The parents were members of a Church whose choir I was lucky enough to accompany a couple of years ago to Britain.  The dad had very similar habits as ours.  (As an example, he would take all of the kids’ shoes down to his workshop and polish them every night as did our Dad.)  And the story was all about letting go of the family home and its contents and carefully preserving memories for future sustenance.

There were times when I had to put the book down as the parallel story felt surreal. I was also in awe of the author’s ability to capture the exact emotions that were surfacing in all of us. It was actually really validating to know that someone else had many conflicting emotions about her parents, how they raised her, how she saw and was seen by her siblings, and how they dealt with tragedy as a family (she, in losing a brother, and I, in losing my son).

We all worked together to prepare our home for the next occupants – a young family who saw it as the perfect place to raise their kids – and we scrubbed it from stem to stern with love. Even though mom has begun her descent into dementia, she was very aware of what was happening, and very determined that the new family be warmly welcomed with flowers, a stuffed teddy bear for the little girl, and each bathroom ready for use with soap and toilet paper.  One of the last vignettes that has stuck in my mind is of her sweeping the front porch with great intention and pride.  I am so proud of her.  She definitely brought her A game to the task at the end.

It wasn’t an easy process.  My three sisters and brother worked tirelessly for months with Mom wanting to be there as well. Mom definitely had a hard time letting go of things, and it was frustrating for the others as she couldn’t grasp the consequences of holding on. There were many times that the temptation to just give stuff away when she wasn’t looking was huge, but to their credit, she was involved in every decision and no one had to lie about where stuff went.  I was able to go back east 2 or 3 times and do quick decluttering blitzes but the others bore the brunt of the gargantuan task and I am indebted to them for not just the work, but for their integrity.

(Joanne and Faye… if you are reading this, please don’t share this next bit with Mom. It’s the only thing we did without her knowledge…)

The five of us really wanted to have the home to ourselves just one more time, so late at night, we all went back and said our goodbyes. We went around to each room and shared our favourite memories. Oh, the stories! It was a good thing Mom wasn’t there! In fine Found fashion, we laughed uproariously at stories that some of us never knew, and quietly endured our watering eyes that other memories evoked.  Then we left for the last time, huddled around the outdoor light and took a selfie with “1347” blazing in the background. We were quiet, serene, and very peaceful for a moment. Closure.

We figured it out that although Dad built the house over 50 years ago, the most any of us ever lived in it was 13 years. We realized that we all only lived together for maybe 10.  It was in those 10 years that the foundation for our adult lives was truly forged. But we all kept coming back with our boyfriends, then husbands, then children, and now grandchildren.  (Even my son, although he never lived there, was clearly moved by the conveyance of our family homestead to new owners.)

We asked each other how we were going to handle our own belongings.  Would we leave the task to our kids? Should we do it for them?  Leave them with nothing to disperse except for the few things that still may have sentimental value for them?

Now, as was the author, I am conflicted.  Although the task was huge, would we have had as many illuminating moments of who our parents really are? Would we have ever known about some of those life-changing moments that only got talked about because we unearthed some hardly-recognizable piece of yesteryear that instantly brought to mind a story? Would we have learned, even just a little bit, to be more honest about our emotions in front of each other (not a strong point in our family)? Would we have come to appreciate each other more because of the close proximity for days on end that hadn’t happened since we all lived together years ago as children?

Here’s to you… Marion, Margaret, Paul, and Jennifer, and to you, Mom, not just for the last 10 days, but for a lifetime of learning how to be a loving sister and daughter,  (in spite of my wild-horse tendencies), and for supporting my journey in this lifetime.  I couldn’t have come this far without you.  I love you guys.

Sentimentally yours,

Christie (a.k.a. Buns, Crocket, Bugsy, etc.) nee Found

P.S.  The final coincidence?  The house in the book was sold to a woman named Hillary... as was ours. (They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson.) I hope to share with her some day how profoundly she influenced my own experience.

And, as always, a little tune to send you on your way... "Home sings me of sweet things..."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pebbles McGillicuddy rides again!

I know. I know.  It’s been months.  So much has been happening it’s hard to keep up.  And actually, a lot of it has been so life changing that it’s difficult to put it into words… but I’m going to try.

The much-heralded arrival of Alexander Duncan, my adorable grandson, features prominently in this chapter.  He is a joy-filled little being, and although I have only seen him once, that’s going to be remedied! They arrive back “home” in a week.  For good. This “Nama” couldn’t be happier!  (They decided to name me “Nama” – short form for Namaste…)

I also decided it was time to test the adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.  I’m not saying that I’m an old dog, but I was starting to believe that it was time to just accept that there are some things that just weren’t going to change – like my reluctance to commit to a long-term goal and stick with it.  So I started small… I said I was going to walk an average of 10,000 steps a day for a year.  Yes.  I am a FitBit afficionado.  Well damned if I’m not on track!  I’m so impressed with myself I’m applying it to other regimens in my life and I’m feeling really great!  Wow!  Of course I’m inspired by my wee Alex… I want to be able to keep up with him!  So far, that’s looking pretty feasible!

Along the same lines… who knew that I could start a completely new career at this stage in my life?  A dear friend of mine introduced me to the world of movie making and I have become quite enamoured with my new role in clearance and product placement. Sounds mundane, but I happen to love it.  It's a perfect fit for me. I’m meeting tons of new people and learning a lot about the art of turning creative thoughts into visible reality.  And… I can work from home and keep my other interests on the front burner at the same time!

What else… oh yes… I’ve been crossing things off on my “to do” list… corrective eye surgery, dental work, rodent removal from the under the hood of my beloved Mini (yikes), updating my will, you know, the usual stuff we love to put off for a rainy day…

But I digress.  In this hiatus of non-writing, a lot of time has been devoted to a “who am I and why am I here?” type of inquiry.  It continues to be an amazing journey of discovery and healing and I could write a book about it.  Let’s just say that I’m working on truly living visibly as who I really am inside, vs. striving to sustain a persona that everyone will approve of. Ironically, I found I was actually suppressing my joie de vivre… my essential presence.  I took to heart the oft-quoted passage by Marianne Williamson…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

… and I jumped into the village fountain. (Well come on... there were bubbles in it!)

Vibrantly yours,


P.S. You all know me as Buns. Alex et al refer to me as Nama.  My newest moniker cracks me up… At a recent backyard BBQ on the DODA (Deck of Do Anything!), I had to put my hair up in a bun because it was getting hot in the sun… one of the guys said I looked like Pebbles and added McGillicuddy just for the fun of it.  It has stuck and I laugh every time I hear it…

And how about a little Bonnie Raitt for ya?  This woman inspires me to the moon…

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Universe is Asking

Happy 2016. Oh it feels ever so much lighter. Can you feel it? There is a note in the air, a tone that is sweeter, distinct in its calling for all the dreams that have been germinating to bear fruit. 

When I think about manifesting a desire into reality, I have always known that faith plays a big part in the process. The belief that what you want is on its way and is coming to you, special delivery, expedited post, overnight Fed Ex, that certainty, is an essential ingredient in manifesting 101.  And then I pulled an oracle card for this year. 


What!!!  I love this. What I want, wants me!!!  How bold, how fantastic and how very tangible. It feels different than simply believing that what I desire is on its way. There is no measure of worthiness or merit or earning inherent in this statement. The reading went on to say, that the genuine desires of your heart are the sacred purpose of the soul, swathed in pleasure. Can you feel the release of freeing energy when you let this land?

To me it confirms my sense that this is not the time to dream small! You do not have to regulate your hearts yearnings, exert control, or subdue them. 

What you want wants you. Stop moderating, settling for crumbs or so called realistic versions of what you think might be feasible. Go for the big picture. What you want wants you. Dare to dream big and KNOW that the universe will connect the dots, you are only called to claim your desire and not shrink from the certainty that what you want, wants you. You are an energy being! As Wayne Dyer said, be realistic, believe in miracles. I am so enamored of this dance with the cosmos it almost feels romantic in its intensity.  What a glorious mindset.

And so it comes down to listening to the yearning of the heart. My heart knows what it wants and I become aware that at times I may have tempered that desire as if making it smaller, more manageable would increase the likelihood that it would come to me. Well no more trying to tame the voracity of what I long for. I will not settle for crumbs or managing my vision in bite size pieces. Let magnitude reign. What I want wants me. 

What you want, wants you!

NOW. Yup right now. 

Branded by my happy dance,

Authentically yours,