About Me

My name is Christine. I'm a visual artist, musician, traditional storyteller, DV survivor, and have been a fulltime caregiver for an individual living with various diagnoses. After my marriage, I learned how to play various instruments, started exploring various means of creative expression, worked with at-risk teens/families, volunteered with the local crisis lines, participated in starting up a family resource center, completed my BA, furthered my studies towards becoming an art therapist, managed homes for adults living with disabilities, and facilitated therapeutic music/art sessions. I was doing everything I could so my children and I could have a brighter life, present and future. My physical health, however, continued to show evidence of too many chronic stressors over many decades. This blog is about my journey in discovering peace and better health by meeting life in the most basic and, in my opinion, the most rewarding of ways - by focusing on the riches of simplicity. If you're a new visitor to my blog, you might be interested in starting here: Finding the Riches.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I choose.

I choose to see beauty. I believe part of that is intrinsic and part of that is conscious choice.

Consistently, frequently making that choice has provided the opportunity for my brain to learn to seek out. The more I've chosen to mindfully seek out beauty, the more my mind has been drawn to it, and seeks it out during times of difficulty. In my way of thinking, training our brain is actually done by everyone. Some train their brain by teaching it to react to whatever's happening, some by teaching it to turn to various means of coping whether healthy or unhealthy. I choose to train my brain towards beauty, nature, creativity.

I choose love.

I believe love is an active verb. If I feel affection towards someone but use terrible communication/behaviour towards them and then tell them that I am sorry and that I love them, I view the latter as an inaccurate statement. To me, it's akin to someone saying that they feed animals and then doesn't feed them but still says they feed animals, or someone who isn't a cyclist saying they bike everywhere. In my view, love is something we do or do not do.

I also believe that sometimes differences in the definition of love create a disconnect. I've seen this come into play in the scenario where one person is showing love and desire for peace by setting boundaries with another person regarding behaviour, whereas others are viewing those boundaries as being an indication of not accepting the other person and therefore not loving them. My view is that when someone has repeatedly shown damaging/disrespectful/inappropriate behaviour, setting boundaries with that person facilities love because it removes the potential for further damage and facilitates peace for all concerned.

I choose sadness.

Some seem to think that feeling "negative" feelings is a terrible thing; that "sad" needs to be "cheered up" and that anger is a scary thing. I believe it's what we do with those feelings that categorizes into what some believe as necessarily "good" and "bad" feelings. If we direct our anger at others in inappropriate/disrespectful ways, we've created problems for ourselves and those around us. If we wallow in sadness and wade into dwelling on the past, we again create problems. If we learn to make appropriate/healthy choices with our feelings (see below), we are capable of embracing our feelings as part of our life experiences. I have felt both sadness and anger. Embracing them has fostered creativity, for example, in the form of writing and painting, and has also ignited awareness and drive for advocacy.

I choose  happiness inner peace.

We all have events in life with which we have varying emotional responses. We feel. We all know it's not healthy to bottle up or ignore feelings. We all know it's not healthy to use feelings as a means to inappropriate behaviours. We also know that we can make choices. Except for those dealing with various medical conditions, we can choose how our feelings effect our lives. We can choose to put on our jacket and go for a walk even if we don't feel like doing so. We can choose to be active, be creative, be mindful - BE! We can choose to carve out all sorts of good stuff in our life whether we're feeling sad, happy, angry, etc. Where is our energy? I find mine in my mindfulness and in what I choose to do. Even during difficult times, we can choose to take steps towards healing. Focussing on a tree outside the window or the clouds in the sky is an active step towards healing through those difficulties. Training the mind to continually clear out other thoughts and focus on what the eyes are seeing can be a new exercise for some, but well worth the effort and a step towards  teaching oneself to tap into good. Training our brain to focus on what we want it to focus on can lead to all sorts of healthy paths in daily living, relationships, our way in the world.

What about happiness?

It seems to me that society teaches us to define happiness in relation to how we are affected by external circumstances. We are happy when someone gives us something or when something happens to us. Something "makes us" happy. I've given this much thought over the years. I feel happy in my core even though there are many circumstances in my life that would be considered "negative". I'm almost always feeling happy inside. I find it easy to smile. I feel very much at peace with myself. Then I began to wonder - is that what happiness is? Is it inner peace? In my experience, happiness and inner peace are different. I have a deep sense of peace about who I am and what I'm doing in this world. But there are times when there is turmoil happening around me. There are time when I cry. So is it possible to have a deep sense of peace about oneself yet have moments of not feeling happy? Yes. Is it possible to easily tap into a sense of happiness even when there's nothing different happening that would "cause" the happiness? Yes.  

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