Have you ever been on a Blind Date?

I was slightly nervous.  My hands were a little clammy.  I was out of my comfort zone.

I was also curious and looking forward to this Blind Date 

I have had the opportunity to meet many new people in my life.  This was different.  This was a first for me.  I was meeting someone face to face when we had only communicated in cyberspace.  

          Spoiler alert:  Donna is even nicer and more interesting In Real Life!

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Donna   Retirement Reflections  and I initially met last Fall, when I was reading anniversary stories on WordPress blogs.  I was deeply moved by her beautiful letter to her husband, a gift of words.   A Love Letter    When I found out that Donna and Richard lived on Vancouver Island, I knew we were destined to meet.  I believe that our paths were meant to cross.  I believe in synchronicity.

As many of you know, Donna and her husband Richard are preparing to hike   La Via Francigena   this Summer.   Monday nights include a two hour drive each way into Victoria to attend Italian lessons.

Donna and I had arranged to meet before the class at a restaurant called “Victoria Sushi.”  

An initial big, warm hug was followed by over an hour of non-stop talking about many topics. 

We talked about blogging in general.  Bloggers know the challenges of writing, editing, revising and critiques.  We know the feeling of vulnerability when we share our stories.  

We shared personal stories.  Donna has led a varied and interesting life with adventures in many exotic locations. I always look forward to opening my inbox and reading Donna’s stories. They make me laugh.   Bear Attack!!    They inspire me to be a better person and a better writer.

Early on I recognized Donna’s warmth, kindness, intelligence and wit through her posts and her comments. Donna has a supportive and kind comment for everyone.  She has a gift for recognizing and validating the core message and underlying emotions in a story.

I know that Donna has a large following of bloggers that admire and respect her.  I am one of the lucky few that have had the privilege of meeting Donna In Real Life.

 I had the opportunity to see her face light up when she talks about her family.  I saw how she smiled at Richard when he entered the room.  I can see why they will be celebrating their twentieth anniversary next year.

 

 

 

I enjoy this positive corner of the internet.  I have met many like-minded individuals.  I have also met people with diverse interests and different perspectives. You have enriched my life on many levels.  I live vicariously through your adventures and photos.  You make me laugh. You inspire me with your stories, your writing, your wisdom. 

I have also made friends along the way.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you go on a Blind Date with a fellow blogger.  You will not regret it.  

Especially when you meet someone as genuine and kind as Donna.

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Postscript:   “Outtakes” 

I always have a lot of material to condense when I write. Since I enjoy watching outtakes, I decided to add a few notes.  aka “my inside voice 

  • Donna sent me links to past meet ups with fellow bloggers.  In the photos I see bottles of wine on the table and glowing cheeks on the bloggers.  Thank goodness for Marty’s timely wine post.   Snakes in the Grass   We can stay within a budget. fullsizeoutput_7768
  • Do I warn my husband about my computer history?  I did research “blind dates” and “what are the ten best dating sites in Canada?”
  • Re: IRL.  Susan’s   Swooning Grace   comment on Donna’s Retirement Reflections blog  made me smile. “Is IRL a secret code word among bloggers? ha ha.”  I am naive about the blogosphere, too.  I saw IRL a few times before I figured out the meaning.  Susan, you also made me cry on the same day you made me smile.  I read your beautiful post,   Tribute to a Father
  • In the age of Marvel comics and superheroes, Kindness is a quality that supersedes all of the other powers.  Thank you Donna, and all of the bloggers that continue to make this community fun. 

I wish I could go back in time and thank that stranger

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They just seemed to appear.  I did not know their names.  It was a gentle touch or a kind word.  It may have been only a small gesture to them although it made a big impact in my day and in my life.

The tow truck driver who came to the rescue when my car broke down on a busy highway, smoke coming out of the hood of my car.  I had two very young girls with me, one who made sure her precious “Mr. Bear” was tossed out of the car first, saved from certain peril.  While transporting the three of us and our vehicle to the garage, this kind man first stopped to buy the girls treats, snacks and drinks.  He turned a stressful day into a fun adventure, especially for these two little girls.

The lady sitting next to us at the Michael Jackson 3D show.  Many hours of  nonstop amusement park rides resulted in our 7 year old having an upset stomach.  To our little girl’s embarrassment, she became ill on the lady sitting beside us.  This very kind lady discretely joined us in the bathroom to tidy herself and help us.  She was thoughtful and concerned.  She helped turn an awkward, embarrassing moment into something minor and now it is a funny story we continue to share.  

The lady that seemed to appear out of nowhere when I had a meltdown in the school washroom and I could not stop crying.  It was the first trimester of an intensive school year. I was overwhelmed with the demands of school work, homework, lack of sleep and raising a young family. No words were exchanged. She stopped and gave me a big hug. I will never forget that hug and how it made me feel.  I could now pick myself up and go on with my day, my morale bolstered by that spontaneous act of love from someone I had never met before and whose name I will never  know.

 Many strangers have made a difference in my life.  Their acts of kindness have strengthened and renewed my spirit, oftentimes when I needed it the most. 

Since I cannot go back in time, I can thank them by remembering, sharing and paying it forward.  Hopefully, I will make the difference in someone’s day and ultimately in their life. 

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I did not know it had a name

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A woman I really like and respect asked me how I was doing. The response I would normally give is, “good, how are you?”  Only the two of us were in the room.  I decided to share with her a challenge I was facing, causing increased worry and sleepless nights.  She looked at me and listened quietly to my story.  When I was finished, she said “I will hold space for you”.

I paused.  I had not heard this phrase before, although it felt right.  She did not interrupt me or give me any guidance.  She had silently listened to me.  I immediately felt better.

We all have challenging parts of our life and worries that keep us awake at night.  We all benefit from a safe place, a friend, where we can share our story.  

When someone shares their struggles with me, I often want to jump in, give advice, fix it.  There are times where possible solutions and other perspectives are welcome.  

Often, what we need most is a kind, loving presence, someone who will be there to give us unconditional support.  I now know that it has a name.  “I will hold space for you.”

The 5 W’s – How do YOU harness your Monkey Mind?

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WHAT?  Writing –  thoughts, observations, pervasive feelings, lessons that begin in whispers……lessons that get louder and louder, stories just for fun

WHERE?  Everywhere

WHEN?  Always

WHO?  6 year old me, the now me…..and everything in-between

WHY?  Creativity, many notes, paying attention, stories wanting to burst out of me, my constant attempt to be succinct, KISS, obtain some clarity……. my goal to Harness the Monkey Mind.  WHY?  Sharing:   your thoughts, opinions, perspectives greatly matter.  You always inspire me.  I am a work in progress, constantly learning, evolving, recreating.  We are in this life together

The Challenge?  Requires courage, overcoming fear, taking risks, increased vulnerability..….…..the rest is fun

How do YOU harness your Monkey Mind?

Do you happen to see 11’s 111’s 1111’s everywhere?

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I had never noticed the numbers 11, 111, 1111.  Now I see them everywhere!

2 1/2 years ago an ICU nurse mentioned to me that this little girl will be special.  She was born on a date that holds special significance.  She will be watched over by angels. 

 It was already an emotionally charged day.  I  thanked this nurse for her kind sentiments and her care.  Over the next few busy weeks, I almost forgot about our conversation. 

Then, I slowly began to notice 11’s, 111’s, 1111’s.  I would see them on the stove and microwave clocks.  They would often appear on the car dashboard and on my cell phone.  Even the motel room we were given had the number 111 on it, the last room at the Inn. 

I mentioned this to friends and family and I now receive texts with screen captures and photos of the numbers 11, 111 and 1111.

There is a lot of information online describing the possible significance of these numbers. A number of sources cite that events linked to 11:11 appear more often than can be explained by chance.  Folklore? Synchronicity? Coincidence?

I actually have no idea whether these numbers randomly occur or whether they are a form of divine intervention.  Although, now when I see 11’s, 111’s and 1111’s, I  stop for a brief second, take a breath, and pay attention. 

 I do think all children are special.  I do think all children are watched over by angels.  Of course, this little girl is extra special to us, and she just happens to be born on January 11.

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