Lucky Number 13, telling a writer to read, and other anomalies

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 7 June 2014 | 26 Comments

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My precocious character Rose invoked the ire of her Catholic teachers and dismissal of her mother by her insistence that 13 was a lucky number. Why did she have to explain the obvious? Baker's dozen, an extra loaf of bread just in case, in her childhood world there was nothing luckier than that. Then she grew up, and 13 faded to nothing special, no longer on her mind. With me it was reading. I was devouring books long before I started school, I'm told. I was a voracious reader until the teen years. Then reading became a chore for school. After graduation I began my career as a paid writer. Who has time to read then, and why should I? I'm creating my own stories now. 

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Have you smiled at a plant today?

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 6 June 2014 | 4 Comments

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   I had fresh thyme on my salmon tonight. Tiny green leaves, world of flavour, 15 steps away on my front deck. Cheap, too. $3 per plant at the farmers market. And a miracle, firstly because it hasn't died, and because in the next few months it could double its size. Plants in our world are everywhere: underfoot, overhead, on our window sills, in our gardens. They also inhabit a special place in our emotions. My sweet little grandmother became an axe murderer when a dandelion dared to appear on her lawn. The scent of wild roses takes my mother back to her childhood on Niva Scotia's rocky, salt-kissed south shore. The smell of lilacs, well, we all know there is a special story there. Someday, you'll get to read it .... But enough about that for the moment. Love them for food and beauty or detest them as weeds, plants are wondrous. Some lucky people can grow them. I'm working on my gardening skills, because there is peace to be found in the dirt, a sense of purpose to be seen in living creations that are rooted yet unique. My gift to self today: appreciate a plant, any plant. My herb garden. My perennials that grow despite my lack of empathy. The neighbours' lush cedar bushes. And of course, for a few days yet, the lilacs. Book or no book, they're still beautiful. 

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Day 11: Honouring Friends

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 5 June 2014 | 3 Comments

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   I started the morning feeling completely drained and totally alone. Two hours later, I am not only still alive but writing, with a smile. That is the power of friendship. My gift to self today: valuing my friendships by trusting them and sharing our energies, wanting good for both of us. It started at 8 a.m. with a meeting with my business partner, the legal term for a relationship so simple yet too complex for either of us to describe. I had to look him in the eye and tell him what I shared with all of you 11 days ago; that there would be no book launch this month, maybe not next month either. That we would have the book in hand when the lilacs bloomed was a promise I had made to the both of us. The lilacs blossomed in full force overnight, but it seemed we were now both too exhausted and distracted to do a new book justice.  I burst into tears. He handed me the tissues. "We don't need a book to smell the lilacs," he said, holding my teary gaze, "and you know, they'll bloom next year, too." In that moment he was a pure friend, and I wouldn't trade that feeling of being valued and connected for a bestseller. OK, maybe the New York Times list ... But the point is, we both admitted to our overload, discovered we were on the same page, and made a plan to move forward that didn't hasten the drain on both of us. That gift will see us both through the next several months of chaos and transition that is the current reality of our lives. 

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A scent in time: KISS Day 10

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 4 June 2014 | 0 Comments

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  Today I almost gave up on it all. I awoke with the dull threat of a headache and a queasy stomach. It threatened rain outside. A day to call in sick and stay in bed, but of course, I couldn't. My client's annual conference was today. I had to set up, take notes, help with logistics, all those back end jobs that help make an event shine. I would get through it, but completely ignoring my body and spirit in the process. By the time I got back home this evening, my mind was completely spent as well. I popped some Motrin and fell on my bed, wishing for nothingness. 

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Say it with a song: Kiss Day Nine

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 3 June 2014 | 0 Comments

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    Week One of Keep It Super Simple evolved into nourishing the physical: water, food, exercise, rest, sleep. With essentials covered, it seems my body is ready for more emotional input. Two days ago, I actually looked forward to writing. Two nights ago, I had a memorable dream for the first time in six weeks. Yesterday, I heard a noise that at first I didn't recognize. I was humming. The surprise of doing it was sad enough, but that I had forgotten what it sounded or even felt like ... how much we lose when slowly consumed from the inside out. 

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My Favourite Things, almost forgotten ...

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 2 June 2014 | 8 Comments

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My daughter looked at me with a sadness and fear I've seen too many times in the mirror. She had to speak in front of the class. What if she couldn't remember a word, or say it properly? What if, what if ... I asked her to pick a lucky charm to take with her, and the what ifs stopped. She searched. She brightened. A tiny porcelain sheep became Lucky Lamb, or LL cool lamb, a rapper who would be at her desk cheering her on. That is why our world is given children, to sustain the human race in part by reminding us adults of connections between our power within and the objects around us. 

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Seven days: three lessons learned

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 1 June 2014 | 0 Comments

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   And on the seventh day, He rested. Regardless of belief or religion, that line from the Bible makes sense. Review and reflection are part of recharging, and of smart planning. I'm writing this a bit later today, and my gift for myself today and every Sunday is just that: time to look back on the week, build on the lessons and throw out the trash. So, here's what I've learned so far.

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S is for Saturday, S is for sleep

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 31 May 2014 | 0 Comments

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It's been five full days of little changes. Coincidence or not, I had the energy last night to take in an evening of amazing performances by young musicians at our provincial music festival: solo performers, high school students, forcing air through brass instruments in ways that made your spine tingle, or offering up musical theatre performers that made you think,for a moment, they were really an unwed father, a waitress, or Fanny Bryce. As unique as their selections, disciplines and adjudicators, there was one unifying piece of advice. Keep it simple. 

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Airing things out: KISS Day 5

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 30 May 2014 | 0 Comments

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Just breathe. Well-meaning folks would tell me that, and I would want to choke them. What do you mean, breathe? What do you think I'm doing, flapping my gills? Of course I'm breathing, you twit! How is that going to help me calm down/finish this presentation/get through the next five minutes? It turns out they were being very helpful, and I was/am the twit. Most days, without thought, my breathing is so constricted and uncommitted that the air I take in could barely keep a bird alive, even a tiny bird, like a robin. An adult at rest can take 12-20 breaths per minute. Those breaths need to fill the lungs with air. That air contains the oxygen our body needs for its own internal combustion. We can go days without water and weeks without food, but only a few minutes without oxygen. yet when we're stressed or preoccupied, our muscles constrict and our breathing gets shallow, reducing our flow of oygen when we need it the most. But that's what burnout feels like, at least to me: body, mind and spirit all arguing and pushing each other around like drunken siblings at a family reunion, desperate to connect but too damaged and immature to figure out how. 

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KISS Day Four: Where's the rest?

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 29 May 2014 | 0 Comments

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   I can't remember the last time I did anything four days in a row, which is no doubt why I am now engaged in a search for healing. An unstructured schedule completely adrift on the tide of life sounds like a paradise, but the reality is most of us need some sort of anchor, base or structure to call home. For now, my structure is this 30-day challenge to heal my fried adrenals through tiny, realistic changes. And do you know what? After only three full days, I have a concrete result to report. 

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