Keeping the Christmas spirit alive beyond the festive season

The Christmas spirit only asks us, as Mother Teresa famously said, that we “do ordinary things with great love”

Keeping the Christmas spirit alive beyond the festive seasonWith traditional ways of celebrating on pause, Christmas 2020 was definitely one for the books. Despite COVID-19 – or maybe even because of it – I, and many people I know, celebrated the Christmas season well. As one of my good friends remarked, COVID-19 didn’t spoil her Christmas. She mused that she made new memories;…

Craving the touchstones of Christmas tradition

The traditions and rituals of the festive season have a part to play in creating a sense of normalcy during this time of pandemic

Craving the touchstones of Christmas traditionI almost lost my Christmas spirit, thanks to COVID-19. The reality of no family dinners, no gathering with friends and no church services to attend threatened to dampen my enthusiasm for the holiday season. Not wanting to be Scrooge, I took action. One grey, dreary day in early December, I tromped through the yard, cutting…

Think about the common good: wear a mask

The pandemic gives us a golden opportunity to be altruistic or egoistic

“Stay the blazes home,” was Premier Stephen McNeil’s frustrated plea to the citizens of Nova Scotia in April of this year. The plea resonated across the province; it captured the imagination and gave rise to a humorous bout of creativity. People could buy Stay the Blazes Home beer, T-shirts and other memorabilia while chanting a…

How to enjoy being idle without feeling guilty

Enjoying a break from work can be a spiritual imperative that is necessary for the well-being of the human spirit

How to enjoy being idle without feeling guilty“Never do today what someone else can do tomorrow.” In the same category is an Italian saying, “il bel far niente,” or “the beauty of doing nothing.” These adages seem to advocate laziness, selfishness and irresponsibility, but I think there’s a deeper wisdom at play: Doing nothing is good for us. The pace of our…

The relevance of Easter in light of the global pandemic

Uncertainty, constant change, anxiety, isolation and loss have become our universal companions. But this too will pass

The relevance of Easter in light of the global pandemicOver the next days and weeks, people of faith will have to be flexible and creative because COVID-19 has upended religious celebrations. Passover, Easter and Ramadan will have to be observed virtually in the home, making use of online streaming of religious services. FaceTime, Skype or Zoom will be useful in exchanging greetings in lieu…

Showing gratitude leads to a healthier life

Grateful people sleep better, exercise more frequently, are happier and more altruistic

Showing gratitude leads to a healthier lifeShowing gratitude is good for us, and yet gratitude does not come naturally or easily to most of us. Our brains are “like Velcro for bad experiences, but Teflon for positive ones,” wrote neuropsychologist Rick Hanson and neurologist Richard Mendius. This tendency towards the negative makes it difficult for us to be grateful. Research has…

The inconvenient truth of a mountain of garbage

Consumer spending is important to a healthy economy, but each of us needs to decide where we draw the line between our wants and our needs

The inconvenient truth of a mountain of garbageI felt guilty tossing mixed household and construction materials into container bins at the landfill. We did our very best to reuse and recycle, but we still had a couple of truckloads of stuff to discard. I hadn’t been to the landfill for years, maybe decades, and I was shocked at the change in the…

Politically-correct euphemisms obscure the truth

Terms such as physician assisted dying or assisted suicide make lies sound truthful and murder respectable

Politically-correct euphemisms obscure the truthEuphemisms have been around at least since biblical times when to uncover a man’s foot was an idiom for making sexual advances. Today, as in the 10th century, people “sleep together”, and everyone knows the intention behind an invitation for a “nightcap”. In classical times, “curled up”, “gone to sleep”, or “on a journey” were…

Octopus escape a reflection of the human spirit

Inky's escape is allegorical of the restlessness of the human spirit. Like Inky, we are not satisfied with the place we inhabit

Octopus escape a reflection of the human spiritThere are some amazing stories of pets finding their way home after long absences. But an octopus? Octopi are intelligent, curious creatures. They are so intelligent that aquarium keepers use an enrichment manual to help ward off boredom for octopi in captivity. Aquarium octopi have toys like Mr. Potato Head and Lego, and some can…
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