“C” is for Courtesy

One evening a Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between 2 wolves inside of us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
— Author Unknown

This is the time of year when it would behoove all of us to press the “Pause” button and take some time to contemplate how we treat others — which is, in essence — a direct reflection of who we really are.

I have a bee in my bonnet.  And it’s buzzing around one word: Courtesy. Or lack thereof. A false sense of entitlement, perhaps.

Some examples:

  • he or she who texts while driving, completely disregarding the pedestrian crossing the street (who – fyi – has the right of way)
  • he or she who chats on the cell phone while driving (same scenario as above)
  • he or she who does not reply to an important email or telephone call
  • he or she who is consistently late for meetings, appointments, or events
  • he or she who eagerly accepts the fruit of one’s labor and, not only takes it for granted, but also refuses to honor their word
  • he or she who honks their car horn incessantly (this is really, really, annoying!!!)
  • he or she who wastes food (when others are starving)
  • he or she who looks right through you – not at you
  • he or she who listens, but does not really hear
  • he or she who judges others, making assumptions (because they are, after all, assumptions) that are usually erroneous

The list goes on and on….

So, here’s a shout out to all of us in this, the season of light, love and thanks:  feed the Good wolf.

Image via oneheartbeatdrums.com.

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heatherfromthegrove gives thanks for an abundance of tropical sea grapes…

This is one of the twenty-five or so parrots that fly into the sea grape trees in our front garden.  They are exuberant, colorful birds that squawk loudly — as they happily nibble on the grapes (their boisterous behaviour is probably a direct consequence of inebriation —  from the grape juice!).  When I look at these two beautiful trees, which form a welcoming canopy over the front of the house, and the abundance of  ripe grapes and tipsy parrots — I feel happy and grateful for these gifts of nature, gifts that can’t be bought in the Mall – or anywhere else, for that matter.

To my family and friends who know of my weakness for “the Grape,” it is no surprise that I would have a house with a yard that smells like a vineyard — crushed grapes everywhere (you can’t avoid stepping on them!).

Although we haven’t honed our wine making skills as yet, we are feeding some of the people in our neighborhood.  The trees have large branches that  flow over the front fence to the street, providing shade on the sidewalk and tasty bounty for passers-by. Often, I go out to the front gate, and give them paper bags to gather the ripened grapes.   Sharing a harvest of grapes with neighbors.  It just doesn’t get better than that.

” Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life… a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seed time and harvest, the ripe product of the year – and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God. “ ~ Ray Stannard Baker (David Grayson)

Exhilaration

This past week, I worked  14-hour days  – to complete a book draft for a very unique client of mine.  Down to the crunch …  and  with very little sleep. When I did sleep, I dreamt of leopards … leopard spots, leopards grazing, leopards roaring, leopards everywhere. You’re probably wondering, “what’s the deal with the leopards?”  What can I say?  I like cats. They’re independent, somewhat eccentric, and always finicky.

I am exhilarated that this phase in the project is over.  But now, time to get some zzzzzzzzzzz’s.  “To sleep, perchance to dream…”

Images via itsasunnymoment.blogspot.com and pondstonecommunications.wordpress.com.

And this one’s for you, Louise…

” Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring − all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”   Leo Buscaglia

Once again, this is not a post about writers, writing, or that client book project that has me working around the clock.

You may remember my post (back on October 27th) about my old high school friend (since 1971) and co-Leo Club member (the Leo Club is the teen version of the Lions Club) − Ro.   Well, we are all thinking of her every day and praying for a swift recovery. 

But, now I’d like to say a few words about her nearest and dearest Louise.  She has been by Ro’s hospital bedside day and night, despite the pressures of work, family, and having to patiently provide status updates  to a multitude of well-wishers.  She must be exhausted. And stressed.  Yet, she seems to be bearing it with grace and calmness.  She is, after all, a nurse.  Nurses are the ones who keep things together.  I’d rather be taken care of by a nurse, than a doctor − any day. But that’s just me.

Let me tell you a personal story.  I had met Louise a handful of times – through Ro − while visiting my mother at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal. This was back in 2005.  I had been travelling back and forth from the US to Montréal because I was responsible (proudly and gratefully so) for the care of both my Mother and my Aunt – who were each suffering from different forms of dementia and cancer.  Then, my Father-in-law became ill.  They all died in the space of a few months and I somehow mustered the strength (I still don’t know how I did it) to care for them, ensure that they were being treated properly in their respective healthcare facilities, handle the funeral arrangements, and, finally, close up two apartments.  I was running on pure adrenaline. And Grace.  

So, after my Mother’s memorial service, I was standing by myself at the reception (I was a little bit shell-shocked as the emotional after effects of what I had been through began to hit me) when Louise very quietly came up to me with a glass of Perrier and told me to drink it. She had noticed (from across the room) that I was starting to feel shaky and hadn’t had anything to eat or drink.  I looked at her, startled, and did as I was told.  I − who had been taking care of everything and everyone − was being taken care of.  By Louise.  And then I turned to see Rosanne and she was looking at me with those soulful, caring eyes of hers and I felt a sense of calm come over me. 

It was this little, kind gesture that – unbeknownst to Louise – had such an impact on me that day.

So, thank you, Louise.  I wish I could be there in Montréal, to bring you that proverbial glass of Perrier.  But, I can’t.  However, please know that we are thinking of you both, during this very difficult time. We are toasting a glass of wine to your health, endurance, and to better times ahead!

− Heather

Image via theadventuresofmaxdog.blogspot.com.