Viewing: Gratitude - View all posts

Cultivating Compassion 


It is difficult to find compassion in the world. Anger and hatred are everywhere. Compassion does appear in simple gestures, a stranger pausing to allow you into a line of cars or holding the door for you. A smile or wave.

We have evolved to be physically and emotionally protective of ourselves making it difficult to find and express compassion. We are immediately responsive to threats while less aware of opportunities to express compassion to others. Politics and social media are full of the chronically…

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The Joy of Impermanence 

Nothing is permanent. A permanent hairdo,  a perm, is not permanent. It only adds or removes curls for a few weeks before you have to get a new one. Perhaps that's why the perm has fallen out of favour, it's not really permanent.

There are many things we consider permanent. The constant state of frozen ground in the north known as permafrost appears to be not so permanent in the face of climate change. The builders who constructed the roof and spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris likely thought it would…

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Gratitude from A to Z: Zone 

I'm grateful for the zone. The elusive place where performance flows without effort. Easy to imagine but so difficult to find.

The zone is commonly referred to in terms of athletic performance but any of us can find the zone while engaged in any activity. If you want to see an athlete in the zone, check out the documentary Free Solo. It is the story of professional rock climber Alex Hannold's quest to become the first person to climb legendary Yosemite rock face El Capitan by himself without ropes. The…

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Gratitude from A to Z: Yoga 

Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

I am grateful for yoga. Grateful that my body is still able to move, stretch and balance. Grateful for the focus that yoga provides, the mat a refuge from the busy-ness of life - a time to pause, breathe, move and meditate mindfully. A time just to be.

It can be difficult to fit yoga into my day. I'm not sure why that is - why am I often unable to make time to do things like yoga that have such a positive impact? Procrastination is certainly part of it - easier to sit…

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Gratitude from A to Z: Xylem 

Xylem cells in a cucumber stem

Image Credit: Spike Walker (2011) CIL:38928, Cucurbita, plant cell, xylem, phloem. CIL. Dataset.


I'm grateful for xylem - the water and nutrient conducting cells of plants.

Plant anatomy has fascinated me since I first took a course in the subject from Dr. Larry Peterson many years ago. Dr. Peterson's passion for the subject and the amazing images he shared on screen or through the lens of a microscope introduced me to the…

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Gratitude from A to Z: Winter 

I'm grateful for the seasons but particularly winter.

Winter was a magical time when I was a child. The slow wait for Christmas then the day finally dawning and descending the stairs to see what Santa had left. Memorable gifts like a table hockey game, reel to reel tape recorder and one year cross country skis - initially a great disappointment as I had been lobbying heavily that year for a family snowmobile.

In his great wisdom, Santa brought the skis instead knowing they would be better for my health…

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Gratitude from A to Z: Vision 

I am grateful for vision. The ability to see what is as well as what might be.

Reflecting on my previous post on gratitude for silence, I realized many people live in silence due to hearing loss or deafness.  Gratitude for silence should be balanced by gratitude for the ability to hear. I cannot imagine seeking a lack of vision or blindness except to avoid seeing the suffering of others.

I am grateful for my vision. The expressions on the faces of friends and loved ones, a sunrise or a sunset, a…

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Gratitude from A to Z: Universities 

I'm grateful for universities and one university in particular, the University of Guelph.

The U of G has been a touchstone throughout my life. My parents are Guelph alumni along with two of my siblings, my wife, daughter and many other members of my extended family. I spent my career as an educator and administrator employed by the university. Friendships I cultivated as a student and employee continue to enrich my life.

Universities are not perfect places. They struggle with bureaucracy and funding…

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Gratitude from A to Z: Travel 

I'm grateful for the opportunity to travel. The opportunity to remove myself completely from my usual environment can be very relaxing and restorative. Travel gives me an expanded world view that I would never experience in my normal daily routine.

Travel is often restricted to wineries, resorts, gated vacation communities and other areas built to attract me and my dollars. These places do not always provide a deeper understanding of an area and the people who live there. It can be much more meaningful…

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Gratitude from A to Z: Silence 

I'm grateful for silence. The opportunity to be mindful of silence when it occurs, allowing it to quiet my mind. If just for a moment.

Silence is elusive. Try to find a place in your day where you can't hear a machine - a truck in the distance, computer fan or fridge motor. In many places it is virtually impossible to find silence. Silence exists only behind earplugs or headphones.

Why do I intentionally fill my world with sound - to actively avoid silence? Every moment doesn't need to be filled with…

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