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Siobhan Kelleher Kukolic

Words to inspire the belief that we have all we need to be the change we wish to see.

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Killing the moment

I was reading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron and she writes, “We are killing the moment by controlling our experience. Doing this is setting ourselves up for failure, because sooner or later, we’re going to have an experience we can’t control: our house is going to burn down, someone we love is going to die, we’re going to find out we have cancer, a brick is going to fall out of the sky and hit us on the head, somebody’s going to spill tomato juice all over our white suit, or we’re going to arrive at our favourite restaurant and discover that no one ordered produce and seven hundred people are coming for lunch. The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 per cent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride. To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that’s life.” Continue reading

You’ve Got Mail

I was listening to CBS Sunday Morning yesterday and heard a lovely story. Delia Ephron and her sister Nora Ephron co-wrote the 1998 romantic comedy movie You’ve Got Mail. Delia’s sister Nora and Delia’s husband Jerry both passed away of cancer in 2012 and 2015. Nora died of leukemia, so Delia went to the hospital every six months to evaluate her blood to ensure she was healthy. After her husband passed, she missed him so much and she wrote an article in the paper about how hard it was to disconnect his landline. Then she got mail. Continue reading

Mary Oliver

Poet Mary Oliver wrote:

I Worried
Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Continue reading

When Things Fall Apart

I am reading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. In it she writes, “On the night on which he was to attain enlightenment, the Buddha sat under a tree. While he was sitting there, he was attacked by the forces of Mara. The story goes that they shot swords and arrows at him, and that their weapons turned into flowers. What does this story mean? My understanding of it is that what we habitually regard as obstacles are not really our enemies, but rather our friends. What we call obstacles are really the way the world and our entire experience teach us where we’re stuck. What may appear to be an arrow or a sword we can actually experience as a flower. Whether we experience what happens to us as obstacle and enemy or as teacher and friend depends entirely on our perception of reality. It depends on our relationship with ourselves.” Continue reading

The Comfort Book

I’m currently reading The Comfort Book by Matt Haig and it’s definitely quite comforting. He writes, “Imagine yourself as a baby. You would look at that baby and think they lacked nothing. That baby came complete. Their value was innate from their first breath. Their value did not depend on external things like wealth or appearance or politics or popularity. It was the infinite value of a human life. And that value stays with us, even as it becomes easier to forget it. We stay precisely as alive and precisely as human as we were the day we were born. The only thing we need is to exist. And to hope.” Continue reading

March Madness

I’ve enjoyed watching college basketball’s March Madness tournament for a few decades. There’s something about that ‘anything can happen’ factor that always drew me in. And the Cinderella stories… when a lower seeded team beats a top contender, well that’s the stardust that all the best tales are made of.

I had never heard of St. Peter’s, a small Jesuit university in Jersey City, before the game last Thursday night when they upset Kentucky in the first round. As the New York Times mentioned, “Kentucky has about 32,000 students, St. Peter’s approximately 2,300. Kentucky has won eight N.C.A.A. championships; St. Peter’s had never won an N.C.A.A. Tournament game before Thursday. St. Peter’s men’s basketball coach Shaheen Holloway made $266,344 in 2019; Kentucky head coach John Calipari’s base salary is $8.5 million. St. Peter’s basketball revenue was $1.6 million in 2019-20, while Kentucky’s was $29.3 million.” Continue reading

David and Goliath

I’ve always been drawn to David and Goliath stories. Over the years, I helped folks on their journey to get life-saving drugs covered, raise funds when the coverage was turned down, and share the stories of those who beat seemingly insurmountable odds to raise millions, make change and visit The White House. Every time, the person going up against the big system or power had to believe one thing, that they could make a difference.

When I look at Ukraine, my eyes well up at the thought of the mountain so many are trying to climb. President Zelenskyy surviving multiple assassination attempts, Ukrainian grandmothers making Molotov cocktails in their basements for the fight, millions streaming out of the country to safety and being greeted by those offering food and a place to stay, Ukrainians, whether residents of the country or from around the world, standing up to join the cause on the front lines. Continue reading

Ukraine

The world watched in horror as the democratic country of Ukraine was attacked last week. By someone who has been labelled as a bully on a global scale.

There were many scenes of tanks and guns and explosions shared in the media. But the thing that stood out the most to me was the quiet bravery of regular folks. Taking up arms to protect their neighbourhoods. Taking down street signs to confuse the intruders. Even President Zelenskyy, when offered assistance to leave Ukraine safely by foreign leaders, answered by saying, “I need ammunition, not a ride.” Continue reading

Migrations

I just finished reading a book called Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy. It was about family heartache, loss, disfunction, passion and love in all it’s undefinable forms.

The story centres on a certain bird. McConaghy writes through character Franny Stone, “The Arctic tern has the longest migration of any animal. It flies from the Arctic all the way to the Antarctic, and then back again within a year. This is an extraordinarily long flight for a bird its size. And because the terns live to be thirty or so, the distance they will travel over the course of their lives is the equivalent of flying to the moon and back three times.” Continue reading

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