Monday, June 30, 2014

SUMMER VACATION

It's finally here. The kids are out of school, the weater is typically sweltering, the landscapers have planted all the flowers for the season, and the construction road-work has begun. Yes, folks, summer is finally here. And with the beginning of summer comes SUMMER VACATION. 

For the last few years my family and I have been vacationing "back home."  Journois, located on the west coast of Newfoundland about two hours from the ferry is where our grandparents grew up and raised their own families. They gathered and lived in little shacks at the mouth of Journois Brook, hence the name Journois, and made a living from the ocean.




Today, only a few houses remain. At the very end of the road there is a B&B my aunt, on my father's side, opened a few years back. 


My mother's sister and her husband live just down from there. 


My partner's father lives in a small home, closer to the shore. 



My brother and his family live farther down the road. 




This is where I live when I am on vacation. It's right next to my brother's house. I run an electrical cord and I'm all set.


At the end (or the beginning) of Journois is where my mother lives. 



What brings us back is the salty ocean air, which helps in the treatment of the following conditions:  

respiratory tract illnesses: chronic inflammation of mucous membranes, rhinitis and sinuses, throat and larynx, bronchial asthma, chronic inflammation of bronchi and lungs, and pneumoconiosis.

allergies and hypothyroidism (abnormally low activity of the thyroid gland, resulting in retardation of growth and mental development in children and adults).

vascular-cardiac ailments: circulatory insufficiency, post-infarction conditions, hypertension.

dermatological ailments: skin inflammation, psoriasis, eczema.

psychosomatic illnesses: neurosis, depression, exhaustion, stress resistance decrease.

As soon as we get off the plane at Stephenville Airport we immediately notice a difference in our breathing. Stuffed noses become unplugged, chest feels light, breating is less-labored.

After a week of walking on the beach, every muscle in my body is working in tip-top shape, my digestion has improved, my lungs inhale more oxygen, and my rosacea has cleared up; my hair is super-shiny, my skin doesn't need moisturizing, and my feet are as smooth as a baby's bottom. (Sand is a natural exfoliator.) 



Salt air contains trace amounts of the following minerals:

Calcium -increases defensive forces of the body resistance to infectious diseases, normalizes autonomic nervous system, prevents antiallergic reactions, and reinforces bone systems

Sodium - supports acidic - alkaline balance in the body, osmotic pressure and cell energetics

Potassium - acts against heart arrhythmia, against edemas and diuretically. Improves conditions of neuromuscular system and motor coordination

Magnesium - accelerates sending nervous impulses to muscles, acts as smooth muscle relaxant and as calming factor, anesthetizes, speeds up wound healing, lowers arterial blood pressure and prevents convulsions

Copper - improves function of the producing blood cells, increases hemoglobin level and decreases sugar level in blood, speeds up knitting fractured bones together, has anesthetic and anti-inflammatory effect

Bromine - lowers arterial blood pressure and prevents convulsions

Iodine - has anti-sclerotic effect, normalizes fat transformation in the body, and protects against radiation

Fluorine - strengthens bones and teeth, stimulates immunity and protects against radiation

So, if I can't sell you on a trip to Newfoundland, then make sure your summer vacation is near a body of salt water. Spend time at the beach, it not only heals the body, but heals the mind and spirit. 


Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, June 29, 2014

ARE YOU A MEDDLER?

UNSOLICITED ADVICE IS ALWAYS MEDDLING


Many times, if someone doesn't ask for your advice, then they don't want it. Even if a person is broadcasting their plight to you, unless they ask, they don't want to hear what you have to say. The least you can do is allow them to vent. Just shut up and listen because often, unless you are asked for your opinion or advice, then it is not appreciated. If you respect that person, then who are you to think that you know what is better for that person? If you respect them then trust that they know exactly what they are doing. There is a reason why people do the things they do. Everyone is different and there is no one way of doing things. You are meddling if you believe that you know what is best for another, unless you are dealing with a child or senile person.

When you are discussing things with other people, everyone tends to give their opinion or tell a story about a particular topic when they are asked, each person relays their own personal belief. It is a form of meddling when you try to make another one believe what you believe about something. In other words, trying to convert another person is a form of meddling.

Sometimes you may find that you are listening to the same problem that the same person may have. What do you do? Listen. If they have asked you before, and are asking again, try not to give the same answer, help them in a different way, because if you continually offer the same advice it may be considered meddling.

See to your life, see to your own family, if someone asks for your advice then give it, but give it with love and understanding, give it because you want to genuinely help that person in their time of need, but never for your own personal gain.


***


THE PAIN OF HAPPINESS

DISCOURSES OF MEHER BABA

The Conditions of Happiness

Part I
REMOVAL OF SUFFERING THROUGH DETACHMENT

EVERY creature in the world is seeking happiness, and man is no exception. Seemingly man sets his heart on many kinds of things, but all that he desires or undertakes is for the sake of happiness. Every man aims at happiness If he is keen about having power it is because he expects to derive happiness from its use. If he strives for money it is because he thinks it will secure for him the conditions and means for his happiness. If he seeks knowledge, health or beauty, science, art or literature, it is because he feels that his pursuit of happiness is directly dependent upon them. If he struggles for worldly success and fame it is because he hopes to find his happiness in their attainment. Through all his endeavors and pursuits, man wants to be happy. Happiness is the ultimate motive-power which drives him in all that he does.
        
Intertwining of pleasure and pain Everyone seeks to be happy, yet most persons are immersed in some kind of suffering. If at times they do get small installments of happiness in their lives, it is neither unadulterated nor abiding.
        
Man’s life is never a series of unmixed pleasures. It moves between the opposites of pain and pleasure which are entwined like darkened clouds and shining rainbows. The moments of pleasure occasionally appearing in the life of man soon vanish, like the rainbows, which shine in their splendor only to disappear from the sky. If these moments of pleasure leave any trace, it is of a memory which only augments the pain of having lost them. Such memory is an invariable legacy of most pleasures.
        

Man does not seek suffering; but it comes to him as an inevitable outcome of the very manner in which he seeks happiness. He seeks happiness through the fulfillment of his desires, but such fulfillment is never an assured thing, hence in the pursuit of desires man is also unavoidably preparing for the suffering from their non-fulfillment. Desire bears two kinds of fruit The same tree of desire has two kinds of fruit: one sweet which is pleasure, and one bitter which is suffering. If the tree is allowed to flourish it cannot be made to yield just one kind of fruit. The one who has bid for one kind of fruit must be ready to have the other also. Man pursues pleasure furiously and clings to it fondly when it comes. He tries to avoid impending suffering desperately, and smarts under it with resentment. His fury and fondness are not of much avail, for his pleasure is doomed to fade and disappear one day, and his desperation and resentment are equally of no avail, for he cannot escape the suffering that results.
        
Goaded by multifarious (a lot of) desires, man seeks the pleasures of the world with unabating hope. Changing moods His zest for pleasures does not remain uniform, however, because even while he is reaching for the cup of pleasure, he often has to gulp down doses of suffering. His enthusiasm for pleasure is abated by suffering, which often follows in pleasure’s wake. He is subject to sudden moods and impulses. Sometimes he is happy and elated, at other times he is very unhappy and down-hearted. His moods change as his desires are fulfilled or frustrated. Satisfaction of some desires yields momentary happiness, but this happiness does not last, and it soon leads to the reaction of depression. His moods subject him to ups and downs and to constant change.
       
Fulfillment of desires does not lead to their termination; they are submerged for awhile only to reappear with added intensity. Suffering caused by desires When a person is hungry he eats to satisfy the desire, but soon feels hungry again. If he eats too much, even in the fulfillment of his desire he experiences pain and discomfort. It is the same with all the desires of the world; they can only yield a happiness which is fleeting. Even in the very moment of fulfillment the happiness they yield has already begun to fade and vanish. Worldly desires can therefore never lead to abiding happiness. On the contrary, they invariably invite unending suffering of many kinds. When man is full of worldly desires a plentiful crop of suffering is unavoidably in store for him. Desire is inevitably the mother of much suffering; this is the law.
       
 If a person experiences or visualizes the suffering which waits upon desires his desires become mitigated. Mitigation of desires through sight of suffering Sometimes intense suffering makes him detached from worldly life, but this detachment is often again set aside by the fresh flood of desires. Many persons temporarily lose their interest in worldly objects due to the impact of acute suffering brought on by desires, but detachment must be lasting if it is to pave the way for freedom from desires. There are varying degrees of detachment, but not all of them are lasting.
        Sometimes a person is greatly moved by an unusually strong experience, such as seeing a corpse being carried to the burial ground, or seeing the corpse being buried or burnt. Temporary detachment Such experiences are thought-provoking and they initiate long trains of ideas about the futility and emptiness of worldly existence. Under the pressure of such experiences the person realizes that one day he must die and take leave of all the worldly objects so dear to him. But such thoughts, as well as the detachment born thereof, are short-lived. They are soon forgotten and the person resumes his attachment to the world and its alluring objects. The temporary and passing mood of detachment is known as Smashan-vairagya, because it usually arises in the burial ground and stays in mind only in the presence of the corpse. Such a mood of detachment is as temporary as it is sudden. It seems to be strong and effective while it lasts, but it is only sustained by the vividness of some experience, and when the experience vanishes, the mood of detachment also quickly flitters away, without seriously affecting the general attitude towards life.
        The passing mood of detachment might be illustrated by the story of a person who once saw at the theatre a spiritual drama about Gopichanda. Illustrative story The drama impressed him so deeply that, disregarding all his duties to his family, he joined a band of Bairagis (wandering ascetics) belonging to the cult of Gopichanda. Renouncing all his former modes of life he dressed as a Bairagi, shaved his head and sat under a tree, as advised by the other members of the group. At first he plunged into deep meditation, but as the heat of the sun grew stronger his enthusiasm for meditation began to cool down. As the day went on he began to feel hungry and thirsty and became very restless and miserable. When the members of his family noticed his absence from home they became worried about him. After some searching they found him sitting under the tree in this miserable plight. He had grown haggard and was plainly unhappy. His wife seeing him in this strange condition was furious and rushed to upbraid him. His mood of detachment had flitted away, and as he was thoroughly tired of his new life, he took her approach as a boon from heaven. So, silencing her quickly, he put on his pagri and ordinary clothes and meekly followed her home.
        Sometimes the mood of detachment is more lasting and not only endures for a considerable time, but also seriously modifies one’s general attitude towards life. Intense detachment This is called Tivra-vairagya or intense dispassion. Such intense dispassion usually arises from some great misfortune—such as the loss of one’s own dear ones or the loss of property or reputation. Under the influence of this wave of detachment the person renounces all worldly things. Tivra-vairagya of this type has its own spiritual value, but it is also likely to disappear in the course of time, or be upset by the onset of a recurring flood of worldly desires. The disgust for the world which a person feels in such cases is due to a powerful impression left by a misfortune, and it does not endure because it is not born of understanding. It is only a severe reaction to life.
        The kind of detachment which really lasts is due to the understanding of suffering and its cause. It is securely based upon the unshakable knowledge that all things of this world are momentary and passing and that any clinging to them is bound eventually to be a source of pain. Man seeks worldly objects of pleasure and tries to avoid things that bring pain without realizing that he cannot have the one and eschew the other. As long as there is attachment to worldly objects of pleasure he must perpetually invite upon himself the suffering of not having them, and the suffering of losing them after having got them. Lasting detachment which brings freedom from all desires and attachments is called Purna-vairagya or complete dispassion. Complete detachment is one of the essential conditions of lasting and true happiness, for he who has complete detachment no longer creates for himself the suffering which is due to the unending thraldom produced by desires.
        Desirelessness makes a man firm like a rock. He is neither moved by pleasure nor by sorrow; he is not upset by the onslaughts of opposites. He who is affected by agreeable things is bound to be affected by disagreeable things. Opposites If a person is encouraged in his endeavors by an omen considered auspicious, he is bound to be discouraged by an omen considered to be inauspicious. He cannot remain proof against the discouraging effect of an inauspicious omen as long as he derives strength from the auspicious omen. The only way not to be upset by omens is to be indifferent to auspicious as well as inauspicious omens.
        The same is true of the opposites of praise and blame. Praise and blame If a person is pleased by receiving praise he is bound to be miserable when he receives blame. He cannot keep himself steady under a shower of blame as long as he is inwardly delighted by receiving praise.
        The only way not to be upset by blame is to be detached from praise also. Only then can a person remain unmoved by the opposites of praise and blame. Then he does not lose his equanimity. The steadiness and equanimity which remain unaffected by any opposites is possible only through complete detachment, which is an essential condition of lasting and true happiness. He who has complete detachment is not at the mercy of the opposites of experience, and being free from the thraldom of all desires, he no longer creates his own suffering.
        Man is subject to many sufferings, physical and mental. Of these two, mental suffering is the more acute. Physical and mental suffering Those with limited vision think that suffering can only be physical. Their idea of suffering is of some kind of illness or torture of the body. Mental suffering is worse than physical suffering. Physical suffering sometimes comes as a blessing because it serves the purpose of easing mental suffering by weaning away man’s attention from the mental suffering.
        It is not right to make much of purely physical suffering. It can be borne through the exercise of will-power and endurance. The true suffering that counts is mental, and even yogis who can endure great physical suffering find it difficult to keep free from mental suffering which is rooted in the frustration of desires. Abiding happiness through desirelessness If a man does not want anything he is not unhappy under any adverse circumstances, not even in the jaws of a lion. The state of complete desirelessness is latent in every one, and when, through complete detachment, one reaches the state of wanting nothing, one taps the unfailing inner source of eternal and unfading happiness which is not based upon the objects of the world, but is sustained by self-knowledge and self-realization.





For more reading click on the link below: 

www.discoursesbymeherbaba.org


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

BEATRICE MARY CORMIER

My aunt Beatrice passed away on May 22, 2014, and upon hearing the news I drove to see my partner and cried in his arms. Beatrice, my father’s sister, had been like a mother to me, and a very important part of my childhood. She was the first person to show me the reward of hard work, the gift of giving, and the importance of never giving up.

Beatrice Mary Cormier was born on February 20, 1928. She was a burly woman with short jet black hair and dark eyes. She had the eyesight of a hawk, the swiftness of a fox, and the strength of four horses. She was a heavy walker and plowed through life. Her never-ending energy kept her up all hours of the night. It was said that she was a night owl, but I always thought she was something more. And everything she did was hurried and so I was hurried, and I guess that’s why everything got done. She wasn’t a believer in wasting time. "Chew on both sides!" she would tell me. She wasn’t a believer in wasting anything. If I needed toilet paper, she gave me two squares and expected it to be enough. I would have to wrap brown paper or leaves in it, so my fingers wouldn’t go through!

I first remember Beatrice coming to visit my family in Flat Bay in the early 70s. I believe that she was the main reason why we moved to Robinson’s Jct.  Looking back, I can’t remember if that was the smartest thing to do, since our father abandoned us shortly after. However, she was dedicated to me and my two younger brothers and she and our Uncle Hubert, my mother’s brother, helped to care for us when our father left. She helped clothe us, put food in our stomachs, and shoes on our feet.

Growing up with Beatrice and Hubert was quite the experience and I wouldn’t change a thing if I could. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I had my arguments and troubles with her, but in the end she inadvertently taught me a great deal about life.

Beatrice was the Mother Teresa of our time. She was a great humanitarian and philanthropist. She gave more than what she should have and never asked for anything in return. I remember her as Mrs. Claus, driving down from Robinsons with a truck full of presents at Christmastime. I don’t know where she got the money from, but it seemed to me like Beatrice had a bottomless wallet where money just kept flying out. Everyone got a gift. She was a very generous person and thought about everyone. She was always concerned about others. Some may have called it meddling, but I believe that she was genuinely worried about people and wanted to help.

She would always say that I was sitting on my fortune and at the time I didn’t understand what she meant, but perhaps if I had my life would have turned out differently, I might have become a millionaire by the time I turned 21. Instead of explaining to me what she meant by “sitting on your fortune” she took me with her to work at the Midway Motel, where I learned how to clean the rooms, make a bed with sheets and pillowcases, dust, and vacuum. I also did laundry and hung the sheets out to dry on the clothesline. There were only ten rooms in that motel, but the work was hard because she was the only one who worked there. I remember sitting to the table with her after all work was done, patiently waiting for my share while she counted her pay. “One hunded, two hunded, tree hunded…” It was only natural that my first job after high school was in a motel as a housekeeper. 

You could always get a lunch and cup of tea when you went to visit and you ate what was offered no matter what it was, whether it was chicken baked in a ½ cup of lard, or bologna just warmed up in a frying pan full of butter.  I don’t know how Hubert didn’t get heart disease. However, he must have gotten fed up at one point because after seeing a TV cooking show called Wok Wit Yan he went out and bought a wok and started cooking and, apparently, he was quite the chef.

One time I remember, I was about 12 years old, my Aunt Ruby, who was a year older, and I were craving for some take-out but we didn’t have any money. Now the owner of the motel also ran a gas station and restaurant, so one day we got it in our heads to go over and order a couple of snack packs of fried chicken and fries and charge it on Beatrice’s tab. So we went over and told the cashier that Beatrice wanted two snack packs charged on her tab. We got away with it so the following week we went again, then a few days later, we decided to go again, but this time we got two snacks each because we tried to make it look a little different so the cashier wouldn’t get suspicious. Of course, God, in his infinite wisdom, decided to punish us by giving one of us diarrhea, I won’t say who squatted in the bushes, but it wasn’t me. After that, we learned our lesson. I have always wondered if she ever found out that it was us who did it.

Beatrice and Hubert lived in quite a few different buildings before their forever home. I remember visiting them in an old school bus, then later they bought the small house next door, which burned down, then they lived in a small trailer while a new house was being built. 

I used to visit them at the small house and try to play Hubert’s organ and when he bought a new one, something called a one-man band, he gave me the smaller one. I was really disappointed when their house burned down, not because their home burned down but because that little organ burned. One time they came home from shopping and I went there. She hadn’t put away all the groceries yet, and she was cranky from being out all day. She opened one of the bags and gave me a dress she had bought for me. I looked at her as if to say, “You didn’t have to do that,” but she interpreted it the wrong way and she went ballistic! I ran home feeling so bad that I hurt her feelings, but I didn’t know how to explain that to her. Heck, I was just a kid! Later she came to the house and told my mother what happened. They were not pleased, but I got the dress anyway. Those two memories and something about jumping beans is all I remember from when they lived in that house. 

“Jargie, Jargie!” Beatrice raised George King. I’m not sure what the problem with conception was, but Beatrice and Hubert didn’t have any kids and I believe that is why she gave so much to everyone. She treated everyone as her own. How we used to tease Jargie when we were kids, it’s a wonder that man never shot one of us! She took care of Jargie up until he moved away from the area, and she still visited him whenever she went into town.

Oh, and she was such a woods-woman, netting the river for salmon, picking berries, snaring rabbit, a real native. That woman never stopped. She kept going until the very end. I would consider myself lucky to live a life as full as hers.

I never knew what her medical condition was, but the words epilepsy, fits, seizures, come to mind. I don’t know if she had an actual medical condition, or if it was some kind of defense mechanism to get Hubert to stop arguing with her. Hubert used to drive a truck and mostly on Sundays he, Beatrice, my mother, and us three kids, would go visit my grandparents. Now, one time I remember Beatrice mouthing off about some thing or another, she was always doing that, and Hubert got mad. He packed us up in the truck, and was driving us home, fast. Well, we weren’t in the truck two minutes when her arms and legs went flailing and flapping like a drowning person. We tried to get out of the way, but we were packed like sardines in that truck. Hubert pulled over and we fell out as soon as the door was opened. He tossed Beatrice on the ground and we waited. When we finally got back into the truck, Hubert drove slowly and Beatrice kept her mouth shut. That woman worked in mysterious ways.

It’s not going to be the same without her, but nothing ever remains the same. Change is ongoing and there can be no life without death.

I will always remember this woman for her goodness and unselfishness, her incredible knack for exaggeration in story-telling, her way of instigating trouble, and her sometimes “foul” mouth. She was certainly one of a kind and I will miss her all the days of my life. Farewell, Aunt Beatrice, and Godspeed.

WHEN I CAME TO SEE YOU

This poem was inspired by my nephew who, as of June 14, turned 3  years old. He was only a few weeks old when he underwent surgery to correct a condition whereby part of his intestine was being "pinched" by muscle and his formula would spew out of him a few minutes after eating. His mother knew there was something wrong and kept bringing him to the doctor, but they kept telling her it was the formula she was giving him. However, she felt different and demanded they do more testing. Sure enough, they found the problem and it was corrected and now he is a healthy, happy, toddler. 




WHEN I CAM E TO SEE YOU

I came to see you the other day
You looked at me in a peculiar way
One eye was open, the other one closed
And you had the cutest little button nose

You were a wonderful shade of pink
With strawberry blonde hair
And when they asked me to hold you
I said, "Oh, I don't dare!"

You see I was more than a little nervous because
Your Mom said you had a build-up of mucous
And I wouldn't know what to do
When that would happen to you

So I watched your Mom feed you
And you burped when she patted your back
But then you threw up
And I almost had an anxiety attack!

But your Nan was there to help clean you up
Your Pop was there too, he came with a mop!
Your Mom felt bad because you were in such a way
And your Dad couldn't help because he was away

Everyone waited to see what you would do
We looked at you without a clue!
Then your Pop started talking to you
And you looked at him and went "Coo."

We were so relieved to see you smile
And you stayed up for a long while
Your Mom took a break and gave you to Nan
And your Pop kept talking to you
He's such a nice man

Well it was plain to see you were in good hands
You're loved very dearly with so many fans
So this is what happened, it's what I say
When I came to see you the other day

Monday, June 16, 2014

JACOB VITUS

JACOB VITUS

On November 3, 2000, at 7:55 pm, you were born unto us forever changing our lives. Since then you have never stopped giving us joy and happiness. We are so proud of the beautiful, kind, loving person that you are.  As long as you are around there is never a dull moment. Our days are full of laughs and craziness. We have all been through so much together and I hope that when you are older it will affect you in a wholesome way. You have strong morals and values and you are not afraid to speak your mind, a very admirable trait indeed. I have no doubt that you are going to be a person who will make change, whether it is in your own life or the lives of others. People will be lucky to have you as a friend because you are loyal and trustworthy. Your Confirmation Day brings about thoughts of your Nanny who passed away and it is partly because of her that you have been raised in the Catholic faith; I am sure she is looking from Heaven with a sense of pride at the steps you have taken in your faith. Being blessed with the Holy Spirit on this Confirmation Day will help you through life as you continue on your spiritual journey. We wish you nothing but peace and joy in your life. May you always be blessed with the strength and courage of God. Remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. 




May 23, 2014


Saturday, June 14, 2014

A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE




Christmastime is always a busy time of year with people scurrying to find those last minute gifts, buying all the trimmings for the Christmas feast, and trying on clothes for all those cocktail parties.

I was no different. I got up early to hit the stores. I still had a few gifts to buy and there were a few things I needed for Christmas dinner.

My first stop was the Metro grocery store where the Butterball turkeys were on sale. I didn't waste any time and cashed out at the self-check-out. I grabbed the bag and ripped the receipt out of the machine and was on my way. 

As I was driving to the next store, I realized that I had entered a cash back of twenty dollars, but in my haste I forgot to take it out of the machine's slot. 

Well, there goes twenty bucks. I sighed, but kept driving, knowing full well that the next person to use that check-out was now twenty bucks richer. 

I went to the other food store but couldn't get out of my mind the twenty bucks I had just lost. I finished getting the rest of my groceries and before going home decided to go back to Metro; it was a long shot but I just had to try or I wouldn't be able to sleep knowing that I didn't do all that I could have to get that twenty bucks back. After all, I wasn't rich.

I went to the cashier, but there was a different cashier there. I checked the cash back slot, but there was nothing there. I spoke with the cashier who was currently on duty and told her what happened. 

"Sorry, but I just got here," she said. 

I was about to thank her and walk away when she suddenly remembered something. 

"Hold on," she said as she opened the cash drawer and started rummaging through its contents. Then she showed me a note that said: Customer left this behind in slot 202. And attached to the note was twenty dollars!!!! 

"This must be yours," she said, handing me the note and money.

"Oh my God!" I  yelled, "I don't believe it!" I was ecstatic. I profusely thanked her and wanted to wrap my arms around her! I just couldn't believe it. I always think the worst of people around this time of year because the world just seems so hopeless these days, with our lack of jobs, our corrupt government, and our never ending struggle to make ends meet. People are desperate. 

I left the store with a big smile on my face and was a bit ashamed that I had forgotten that some people were still good and kind, and as I drove home I realized that this was just the universe's way of reminding me that the Spirit of Christmas was alive and well.