Tag Archives: clarity

A Piece of My Heart

photo of my father, Nick Labaj

On October 18, 2011, I lost a piece of my heart when my Dad, Nick Labaj, passed away.

He was a big part of my life, increasingly so as the years passed. After my Mom’s passing ten years ago, he and I became very close. We shared laughs, stories, a home for a few years, cooking secrets, friends, health concerns, sorrows and joys.

It was at the funeral home and funeral that I came to understand what a big impact he made on so many people outside of our family. Most kids think their Dad is great. I consider myself fortunate to be told just how great others thought he was. At the interment, one of my friends whom I haven’t seen in a few years said, simply, “Your Dad was cool.” This made me smile and cry at the same time.

He was very cool. He would come downstairs when we, the kids, were having a party, and raise a glass with our friends. When my Dad was in his 60s, he had “the safe sex talk” with one of my nephews. He had a great sense of humour that he’d use to make you spurt tea out of your nose, or laugh ’til you had to pee. He had great stories from the old country, Ukraine, and tales from the rough years in a labour camp in WWII Germany that would curl your toes. He worked hard and played hard. When he was given a prognosis of six weeks to live following colorectal cancer surgery, he refused to believe it and lived 24 “bonus” years, as he called them. He would kick your ass in Euchre. He would teach us life lessons. He would deliver lyrical Epistle readings in church on Sundays. He was tough. He was compassionate. He liked the music turned up loud. He was, indeed, very cool.

In his 90th year, he remained a force to be reckoned with, even as his health took a quick, downward spiral from August through October. Just a few days before he left us, he was still teasing his grandchildren, trying his best to muster up a twinkle in his eye, and putting on a brave face.

He left footprints in many hearts, as the literally hundreds of visitors at the funeral home and funeral would attest, as they paid their respects, offered their condolences and shared their own stories about my Dad.

Dad, you will be missed terribly and remembered always.


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BE the Fish

One of my brilliant nephews led me to a few amazing sites that I thought you might like.

In the last hour that I’ve been exploring them, I’ve come across a treasure trove of inspiration, templates to do thing differently, and ways to see things from a new perspective and get that “aha!!” that we all look for. (I know, I just ended a sentence with a preposition — I’m exploring my wild side again! 🙂 Woo hoo! )

The first stop on our tour is at http://zenhabits.net/control/. Here you’ll see how letting go of the illusion of control and learning from fish how to live in and embrace the chaos that surrounds us. You’ll want to BE the fish. Honestly, it’s an amazing little piece. (It also made me think of Dorrie’s sage advice from “Finding Nemo” fame: “Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming.”)

I absolutely loved it and hope you do, too. It’s a quick read, with a light and bouncy, energizing flavour that leaves a slow, contemplative aftertaste.

Like the girl at the end of the recent Disneyworld TV advert, I’m jumping up and down just a little as I squeal, “I’m SO excited!!”

Happy Friday!

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Lost and Found

I found this list of rules I developed in a file that I clearly haven’t opened for some time. The page is dated 1997. That shocked me. Looks like I’ve had these tidbits of wisdom for 14 years without realizing it.

Over the past few years, I’ve continuously gone back to the drawing board to ask questions about myself, to figure out what’s important, to know my values and how I want to live my life. I would’ve saved so much time and angst if I’d posted these rules in 1997 and referred to them daily.

The good news is two-fold:
1. Now that I’ve found The Rules again, I’m keeping them front and centre for reference as I move forward, and
2. It’s worth doing a decluttering, archeological dig in your own home – I’m motivated to keep purging the rest of my files to see what other gems I can uncover!

Stay tuned…

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Inspiration and “aha moments” often come from unexpected sources.

My latest source was a Chuck Lorre vanity card at the tail end of an episode of Big Bang Theory I caught on Comedy Network last night as I was flipping through the channels with no destination in mind.

Here’s what Chuck had to say:
“We tell ourselves stories. We weave together different plot lines, wondering if the outcome of the story might be different were we to have done or said something other than what we had done or said, all the while knowing that the various alternative outcomes are just more stories — fictions meant to distract us from what’s actually happening. And so we pause from weaving and commence breathing, gently and non-judgmentally saying hello to what is.”

As I make my way through my current life transition, this speaks volumes to me. You see, I’m an expert ruminator. I’ll play endless edited video loops in my mind to try to figure things out, to double-check decisions made in the past, to imagine what might have been. Fiction. I see it now.

After reading countless self-help books, processing what the experts say about living in the now, and trying not to let my past define my future, here comes a simple vanity card that gave me not only an “aha moment”, but also clarity about what is, a sense of release from the past, and a way out of the cave.

Thank you, Chuck.

Image: wiangya / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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