Camino, Friendship, Gratitude, Reflection, Uncategorized

Soul-Soothing Activities

Early on, in our time of social isolation, a couple of different groups of my friends and family began to check in on each other via video conferences. These have been incredibly powerful. With many friends and family members living so far away, I wonder why we hadn’t done this as groups before?

One of these video groups that has formed includes several of my writing friends. As writers tend to have lots to say :D, this group has adopted a rotating facilitator and a guiding question. (This format would not work well for every group, but it is perfect for this one).

The guiding questions have been invaluable. They have often pushed me outside of my comfort zone, caused me to think outside of the box, and have helped me to see the silver lining when I have been at my lowest and most vulnerable.

This past week’s question asked:
“What has been your favourite non-screen hobby or pastime during these weeks of shelter?” This question was further framed to exclude exercise and cooking. Seriously?! That’s all that I had! Then the question went on to ask what “soul-satisfying” activity we were involved in. With that additional descriptor, I immediately knew.

Three weeks ago, Richard and I took in a dog who needed a home during COVID isolation (as she belongs to someone else, we have not included her in the photos below…but she was in each spot). Each morning, after breakfast, we pack a backpack with coffee, muffins/cookies/cinnamon rolls, water, dog treats, a small blanket (and, of course, hand-sanitizer and Lysol). We then head out to the boardwalk of our nearby ocean. Although we make this same trek daily, it never gets old.
Thankfully, the boardwalk is not closed. Surprisingly, it is usually fairly deserted, at least in terms of other humans. (Think small town!) But it is teeming with wildlife. Chatty sea lions, and birds with lots to say, combine with the lapping waves (and the contented snoring of our four-legged companion) to make an incredibly peaceful soundtrack.

If that’s not enough, the arboretum in the adjoining Community Park houses over 80 unique trees from around the world. A feast for all of the senses! And, whoever has painted the uplifting message on the rocks and stones…please keep them coming. They do make a positive difference.

 

Pastel Snow Birthday Photo Collage

I had a teacher who once said that we should begin each day with extra ‘chips’ in our pockets. Mornings like these, help to provide extra ‘pocket chips’ indeed!

How would you answer Janis’s question? What has been your favourite non-screen hobby or pastime during these weeks of shelter?”

113 thoughts on “Soul-Soothing Activities”

  1. How nice to be a foster pet parent during these times, Donna! Sunday Stills is posting about Pet Parents Day this Sunday so you are timely! As far as non-screen time activities, exercise is at the top of my list with walking the dogs every day. Cooking? Not so much, maybe when I get my new kitchen next year, I’ll be more motivated. You look like you are thoroughly enjoying your walks along the beach. I’ve read and heard that more wildlife is taking over some places like the jellyfish swimming in the canals in Venice, kangaroos are invading downtown city centers in Australia and, a record number of sea turtle eggs are hatching on the beaches of Mexico. Nature sure has its way and I am happy that you are enjoying it! Soul enhancement indeed! Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Hi, Terri – I believe that I read on your recent post that many endangered wildlife have been showing amazing recovery during human lockdown, and that carbon emissions have been decreasing as well. COVID has been teaching many important lessons. Hopefully, we will not forget these lessons when we enter our ‘new normal’.
      Hope that all is well for you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wish Covid could teach us more patience, though, Donna. The California State Fair was cancelled which run two weeks in July. That is a huge hit to the Sacramento area economy 😦 We are well, but it reached 90 degrees today. AC on!

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      2. Hi, Terri – I agree that we will all need more patience, understanding….and support to get through this. So many events, like the Califonia State Fair, and the Calgary Stampede (two name only two) have now been cancelled with HUGE economic loss to many who need it most. It’s very hard to see the toll that this is taking on so many.

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  2. Hi Donna I love your photos and where you live seems like paradise. I also like the idea of a guiding question. I think we have all covered hobbies, things to do whilst in isolation but thinking of ways to satisfy our souls is just as important. I have found that through daily walks by the ocean. I have noticed so many butterflies flying in groups, other wildlife and of the course the beauty of the ocean. I think that with less pollution, nature is coming home and it is wonderful. I know have morning visits from Lorikeets (brightly coloured parrots) and enjoy watching them chatter away. It is the simple things that fill our soul and I enjoyed reading your thoughts on how you and Richard are filling yours. Thank you for another inspiring post and have a beautiful weekend. P.S. I’m looking forward to our monthly catch up in May xx

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    1. Hi, Sue – It truly is the simple things that can soothe our souls…if we let them. Thank you so much for reeposting this on your FB page. I greatly appreciate it! I look forward to reading what soul-satisfying activities your followers mention!

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  3. First, what a beautiful area you live in! I could move there tomorrow. Lucky dog buddy to have such a walk. Great question and prompt. Boy, that had me stumped until I thought about gardening and yard work, which believe it or not I truly enjoy. Much more than housework. Somehow, I just enjoy having my fingers in the dirt. 😉

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    1. Hi, Laurie – I truly wish that I was a gardner. Most of my island friends are and I am quite jealous of their passion. Alas, the gardening gene has passed me by. Thankfully, Richard takes care of our lawn and gardens. I believe that that task may even have been snuck into our marriage vows! 😀

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      1. Some people like having their hands in the dirt, and others don’t. 😉 There are lots of worthwhile things I don’t like to do—knitting, sewing, crafting in general. I will admit to being envious when I see what others have created. But…I’d rather dig in the dirt. 😉

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  4. How nice that you were able to take care of the dog. Your pictures are great. Such a beautiful place. I think I would have to say that my scrapbooking is my most soul-satisfying. I’m doing the A to Z challenge and using my scrapbooking to get through some of the concerts we’ve seen over the years. Since I am sometimes going back 10 years or so, the memories of those experiences are filling me with joy, as if the act of creating the pages wasn’t enough fun! Great question.

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    1. Hi, Janet – You are a legend both in terms of the number of concerts that you have attended and in your creative ability to record this. I fully agree that looking at photos and memorabilia can take us right back to moments in time that might otherwise have been lost. ‘Hope that all is well for you.

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  5. Clever girl for using the Zoom prompt as blog material… why didn’t I think of that??? Your pictures are so lovely (and you already know how jealous I am of your beautiful island)! What a lucky dog to be fostered by you and Richard. You are so fortunate that your beaches have remained open… not here. I hope to play around this week in my quest to more soul-satisfying ways to pull myself away from my screen.

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    1. Bless me Janis, for I have sinned. I have borrowed (okay, ‘stolen’) your question. But you must admit, it is a brilliant prompt! It truly helped to bring to focus all of the everyday beauty that surrounds me. The ‘everyday’ can be pretty extraordinary indeed!

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  6. Your walk looks beautiful. My morning beach walk is the highlight of my day – there’s something about watching the sun come up each day at the time it’s supposed to that reminds you that this too shall pass.

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      1. So when the sun gets up earlier do you still rise with it? Just curious because in the winter when it’s so dark I struggle to rise but as spring peaks out I find an earlier rhythm. But never 4:30 cause even though the sun is up it’s still night in my body.

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      2. No, I miss sunrise between October & Feb – when it’s early (we don’t have daylight saving in Queensland). My alarm goes off at 5.30 and I’m at the beach & walking by 6 all year round.

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  7. I love your photos Donna. You live in a beautiful part of the world. Life in isolation and coming to a stop has been so good for my soul. We have a leisurely breakfast every day which couldn’t happen as we rushed off to work in the early hours. This time is very precious to me. With our dog we go walking invthe national park every day as it’s on our doorstep. Lovely post

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  8. Lucky you to have such a beautiful place to walk. Can you believe, it’s already starting to get a little too warm for walks in Phoenix other than first thing in the morning? Fingers crossed, we can travel to our northern destination sometime in May because I do not relish being stuck here all summer.
    Zoom and Facetime have come in handy for me to stay in touch with friends and family.

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  9. I’ve enjoyed watching the people walk by the house. Really. I’ve never taken the time to sit at the front of the house and watch people go by. It’s fun to see the walkers and dogs and cyclists and kids on skateboards. They keep me entertained.

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    1. Hi Ally – I’m just finishing a book called Soulful Simplicity, and while I consider it a bit of a fluff piece, there have been a few good nuggets in it. One of them is the concept of lingering. By slowing down, observing, and absorbing, we can find soul renewal in the simple actions … like looking out the window and watching the world unfold.

      I appreciate now that when I first retired, it was the idea of lingering that I really craved in my life. This pandemic has delivered abundant opportunity to do just that. Linger on!!

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      1. I like the idea of lingering and I am certainly doing that as I watch the people go by. I’m not a gossip and couldn’t tell you who any of these people are. I do feel renewed after I watch the people for a while, so lingering is working for me. Thanks for the info about the book.

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      2. Hi, Joanne – Thank you for sharing this. LIngering was such a foreign concept to me when I worked. Actually, I quite fought against it. It is now so liberting to give myself permission to linger.. I agree — incredibly soul-soothing!

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  10. Your photos are stunning, Donna. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said, “You lucky dog,” but in this case that is truly one lucky dog! Honestly, my favorite pastime during this period of isolation must include screen time, so I can record daily video messages to my mother. My fear is that she’ll forget me before I can see her again.

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  11. What a lovely answer to a fabulous question Donna. I can just imagine being there with you from your words and pictures. Thanks for the smiles this morning. I’ve made ANZAC biscuits, am about to do a zoom exercise session with my mother and sister before going on a bike ride in the glorious sunshine. My soul is satisfied.

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    1. Hi, Deb, Jo’s recent post, and your comment, have made me hungry for ANZAC biscuits. (I had Australian friends in BJ that used to make them for me!) This comment also reminds me of how much I admire your positive attitude. It truly is contagious! 😀

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  12. Hi Donna! Your top photo of you (???) walking on the beach is gorgeous and really captures the beauty of your area. I happen to LOVE where I live and find a lot of beauty but it was 102F today so I’m appreciating your coolness. And yes, how great to focus on the things we can do to sustain ourselves during this time. And as always, appreciating our times to “chat.” Keep walking and staying healthy! ~Kathy

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    1. Hi, Kathy – Thank you for your kind and supportive words (as usual). I don’t know the people in the feature photo, but I thought that they (+ their dog) made a perfect picture, so I took a quick snap. Two mornings out of the last 40, I did not walk. Seriously, both of those days went down hill quickly. There is definitely positive energy in movement!

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  13. Dear Donna,

    You are very lucky to have your pier and arboretum open. The outdoor spaces so essential to health and well being have been closed in many areas (U.S.). I’m of the mind that yes, facetime and zoom have been lifesavers but will never ever replace the human to human contact that is also vital to our well being. They’ve served in a pinch but they do not take the place of hugs or hands on the shoulders. I prefer the latter.

    That said, the best non-screen activity I’ve engaged in during lock down is a deliberate and daily 30-60 minute quiet time period where I engage in a practice that includes yoga, breathing, prayer and meditation. A spiritual practice has always been part of my life but it was put on the back burner and was irregular. (Although I consider my walks as meditations and talks with God.) Now this practice has been my lifesaver because it gives me a chance to get in touch with something that goes beyond human and external drama.

    The other best non screen activity was gathering with two other friends recently in the outdoors under the shade of a tree. It was 100* outside. We each sat in our own golf cart. We talked about life, face to face, and it was like manna from heaven. I don’t do well in lock down situations, but I’ve made the best of it.

    Isn’t it interesting that the things we might have taken for granted before are really the things that are most important for our spirit? Is it a new sports car? No. Is it a European River cruise? No. Simple things like a walk at the ocean or a face to face talk with a friend feed my spirit and have nothing to do with technology.

    Warmest warmest wishes,
    Susan Grace

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    1. Hi, Susan – Once again, your words are incredibly wise. Although I have been grateful for my ‘everyday’ life, this gratitude has been intensified at this time when so much is at stake. Sadly, I am also guilty of rushing past so much around me. The trees in our local aboretum? I had never taken the time to realize that we had so many unique trees from around the world, nor had I read the park guide identifying each of them. I’ve now rectified this, and have vowed not to rush, rush, rush when we find our new normal.
      I fully agree with you that nothing can replace the human touch.
      Stay well!

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      1. Dear Donna,

        I love your words of wisdom too…always. In fact, you’ve hit upon the great secret hiding in plain sight. Let us take the self reflection, self knowledge, gratitude, quietude, and slower pace that many of us have been experiencing into our newer future life however and whenever that unfolds!

        This is what I have gotten from my forced seclusion. I can’t believe I’ve done as well as I have 😁 and how important it is for me to dive deep within and find out who I am, what I’m feeling and have communion with my Source. This is not new knowledge for me; it’s just that I’m giving it a more prominent place in life. Yes the most beautiful and simplest of things that we have always loved just take on more intensification…as you so wisely point out. I don’t want to go back to the same ol, same ol 😅🙏.

        Blessings to you always… the sun is always shining somewhere!

        Susan Grace

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      2. Hi, Susan – Mutual admiration societies are my favourite. So equally balanced! 😀 I am glad that you are doing so well. I’m not surprised at all. You have incredible inner strength which shows through in all that you do (and all that you write)!

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  14. I meant in my writing above that I prefer both hugs and hands on the shoulders! Not one or the other. Human touch is very important to me. ;D

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  15. Beautiful photos and mementos, Donna. You live in such a wonderful area and it’s precious to be able to involve the pup in this environment. It sounds like you had another interesting Zoom meeting. Janis’s question was a fantastic one during these times. All I have been (happily) doing is spending time on my computer an iPad, as I have the resources to do so now. But, we are enjoying our daily dinners and walks with Maya as well, despite the painful wind and cold.

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  16. It’s all about choosing our attitude and finding the beauty and positivity that’s still amply available to us if we look for it (even in lockdown). I’m loving my morning walks and the interaction with others – people seem so much more open to saying hi and smiling than pre-covid. I still miss the physical visits with our kids and grandgirls, but other than that, my soul feels pretty full and happy – and I refuse to let this time in isolation take anything away from me – so I look for the good stuff and I still smile at teddy bears in windows, and rainbows on the pavement,and painted rocks (we have them here too).
    Lovely to see you and Richard out and about and finding ways to stay happy and content (and love that you’re doggy fostering). x

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    1. Hi, Leanne – I always admire your positive attitude and your reminder to look for the good stuff. I agree that neighbours and passersby now, more than ever, offer a cheery hello or a positive comment. Hopefully, we can all find a way to keep the positive and the extra focus on community long after COVID isolation has ended.
      Stay well!

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  17. Hi Donna, I love the words “soul-soothing.” The first time I heard these words came from you a few weeks ago. I smiled when I read “…writers tend to have lots to say.” Yet, many of us are shy/reserved when speaking out loud. I think we do have many thoughts ruminating in our minds, and writing helps us sort through some of these thoughts.

    I also appreciate the rotating facilitator, especially when we are in a group of more than two people. I suspect the guiding questions are specific to our present, unique challenges. Like you say, Donna, they help us see a silver lining during low periods.

    You live in a beautiful part of the Island. You remind me how it is important to use all of our senses especially when we are out in nature. Your photos are beautiful! I think you mentioned you used a website “Cariva?” I will check it out. A great post! xx

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    1. Hi, Erica – Thank you again for your kind words. Moving directly from Beijing to Parksville, Richard and I did not know how we would fit into a small town. It truly has worked for us — now more than ever!
      I used Canva (https://www.canva.com) to quickly make a photo collage.
      I don’t use it to edit photos, but its templates are great — especially when wanting to make a cards, or quickly add text to a picture.
      Hope all continues to be well there. See you Thursday!

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  18. I love the idea of meeting sea lions on your walk. A dog must be the ideal companion for your walks. I have been trying to improve my photography particularly of flowers and birds. Now we have less pollution I am noticing more birdsong and I can see more stars. Yesterday I noticed that the flower scents were stronger and I could smell the Baker from farther away.

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    1. Hi, Anne – My husband has recently made a similar comment about the cleaner air, and the more distinct floral scents. Not that we thought we had much pollution here before, but the clearer air has been noticeable.
      And yes, our dog has made a wonderful companion. We previously walked once a day. Now we are out and about twice each day — once to the beach and next to the forest!

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  19. Hi Donna – what a great post … even if instigated by Janis! Really soul searching … I’ve been remiss – getting on but very slowly … I’ll be back to re-read and spur myself on … I’m fine and I am reading … surprising me. I need to find the soul soothing … though thankfully I’m pretty independently robust … all the best Hilary

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    1. Hi, Hilary – I’m glad that you are doing well, and getting lots of reading in. During that same writier’s video chat, someone asked ‘what is the best way that we should be (shopping/coping/spending our time….). The resounding answer was that there is no answer at all. We all have to find what feels comfortable and works best for us as individuals. It sounds like you are doing just that.
      Stay safe!

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  20. Hi Donna,

    So sorry I couldn’t do this week’s Zoom meeting. If I had been able to make it, I would have shown everyone that I have picked up my knitting needles again and am making a very happy-looking rainbow striped sock!
    Lovely post and pictures.

    Deb

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  21. How wonderful to be fostering a dog at this time. You have a great place to go for walks too. I’m not sure how I would have handled this lockdown without my dog. Walking her has been my favourite off-screen pastime during these past 6 weeks. I ave been Zooming with a writers group here in Spain and with one in Canada. Love it. We need that kind of conversation. Take care and stay safe!!

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    1. Hi, Darlene – Thank you for commenting on our dog. Although we have taken her in to help her, and her owners, she has been actually rescuing us. Her calming, ‘in the moment’ nature is truly contagious. As each foster case is different, and some are confidential, all foster parents (at least for our organization) are asked not to post pictures on social media, etc. Hard not to as she is incredible beautiful and brings so much joy just looking into her wise, thoughtful eyes!

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  22. Enjoyed seeing your pics and how nice of you all to foster the dog! My life hasn’t changed much with self-isolation as something similar unfortunately began for me about 20 years ago when I had to quit working as a nurse due to my health issues. Hubby still hasn’t retired so he’s out the door every morning. I do think about my nursing friends more lately. I can’t imagine having to work without proper protection as the news says is the case but at the same time hospitals are sending nurses home because their patient numbers have dropped. You really don’t know who to believe.

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  23. Arrrrghhh, I just lost the comment I was writing to you Donna 😦 – but thanks to Janis and to you for sharing the prompt “What has been your favourite non-screen hobby or pastime during these weeks of shelter?” It’s an important question we could all do well to reflect on (I wrote it down on a piece of paper); screen time whether TV smart phones, computers etc etc do take up an inordinate amount of time .. (Gulity)

    Neil and I are extremely fortunate in that we have a lovely, comfortable home, views of the sea and mountains to die for, though no walking around on beaches or ‘burbs while we’re in lockdown – or, better put, as Janis said ‘during the weeks of shelter’.

    So, in among keeping house, baking and cooking (completely a new ‘thing’ for me) we do an exercise routine together, I do some yoga poses, I run around the garden although only jogging at this stage – and up and down various flights of stairs inside – and this is all completely new to me. We do a fair amount of Netflix – just finished “Occupied” a Norwegian film with subtitles. The garden is getting attention, Neil’s herb garden (a newbie) is growing, I’ve newly planted garlic ginger and a pepper in a corner of his ..

    How lovely about adopting a dog Donna! there are calls here for people to adopt a dog during this time; I was very keen, my husband not so, although he definitely wants to have a dog at some stage. How lovely that you can go walk about and enjoy Mother Nature with companions at your side 🙂

    Thank you for this post Donna. This time of pause and slow down while very difficult for many in so many ways, has been an interesting one for me .. I reckon we’re taking things one day at a time at this time, we are grateful for all that we have. We like everyone else do not know where this journey will take us, we do know that Mother Nature is taking a breather, that banks are not giving loans to companies that want to drill for oil and gas, that there is a groundswell of looking out for the other in this time of need …

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    1. Hi, Susan – Thank you for your extremely thoughtful comment. I read it twice just to ensure that I caught each of the gems that you had included.
      Thank you for writing it a second time. Three times this week, I lost a full comment that I had written. I then only rewrote a one-liner as I had been so frusrated (with myself for not ‘copying’ first)!
      Along with my daily walks, I have also been reading though the 2020 reading lists for both of my books clubs. I am currently on the 4th last book. Hopefully, I will remember good details of each of them when it is their turn to be discussed (especially the November books)!
      I agree with your closing advice to take one day at a time.
      Stay well!

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      1. Hi, Janis – I agree. The comments have been very thought-provoking, and have generated some great ideas. If you haven’t yet seen it, please also check out Mona’s comment below. Her thoughtful questions could keep our Zoom group going for many weeks to come! 😀

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      1. That’s still the plan! 🙂

        Deb and I are staying optimistic that it will be possible … even though Ironman Canada in Penticton is virtually certain to be cancelled. I’ll just have to make alternate plans to get back home.

        Let’s keep our fingers crossed. A lot can still happen between now and then.

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  24. I love that you are fostering a dog! Very kind and cool! My group of friends did zoom twice. The first time was great but for the second we petered out of things to talk about. There are two teachers and the rest of us are retired. Perhaps the group was too diverse or we weren’t focused. I love working with a question. The last 3 weeks have been overwhelming with a sick cat during a time of limited access to care. It’s not that it takes all my time but it sure took all my energy. On the healing curve now. Patience, I need patience. If you find any, box it up and send it to me.

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    1. Hi, Kate – It is wonderful to hear that Mollie is on the healing curve. I would love to box up patience, and to include love and warm get well vibes. If I could, I would send it today!
      Stay well, and please give Mollie an extra hug for me (if she in fact tolerates hugs)! 😀

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  25. Donna, your walk looks so beautiful. Much as I love Glasgow, I am getting quite fed up with tramping the same streets all the time! We’ve given up on the park, the canal and the riverside – all too busy with people who don’t quite get the safe distance concept. Nevertheless, we persevere, helped by the amazing weather. After the constant deluge at the beginning of the year, the lockdown period has been completely dry so we’ve walked every day. Sunshine must be good for the soul! I dread to think what it will be like when the rain comes back, as it inevitably will.

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    1. Hi, Anabel – Our weather has been good as well — except for today — tons of rain!! Our foster dog came with two rain coats. We tried walking to the beach about 30 minutes ago, but it simply was too miserable. We’ll try again in an hour or so. Fingers crossed!
      I’m glad that you are doing well. I’m sorry to hear about your crowded parks and canals. As soon as I published this post, I kind of regretted it. As much as I love to share, I didn’t want to give too many locals extra ideas. A crowded boardwalk would be a true drag! 😀

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  26. My first reaction to your post to say, “Ok, that’s it. We are moving to the west coast.” And then I went outside on one of southern Ontario’s first decently warm and sunny days to visit the garden shed where I have been overwintering some plants from last summer. I also had started some new dahlias and they were starting to grow. After that I walked around the garden where perennials and showing their new growth and the bulbs and that are ready to burst open at the first bit of encouragement from the weather. When you ask what is my favourite non screen activity, this has got to be it!

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    1. Hi, Fran – My first reaction was, “Yeah, please move here”! I’m sure that you and Walter would love it. But I also have a special place in my heart for the Durham region. There are so many great places there (and amazing people) I dearly miss. Your garden sounds beautiful.
      It’s wonderful hearing from you. Stay well!

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  27. Strange as may sound, the best pastime I’m getting during lockdown is the incredible deep sleeping I am doing, Donna. I don’t think I’ve ever slept so well over the last month. I’ve also had some very vivid, strange dreams, but nothing I could call a nightmare. My dreams have been pleasant, and I wake up feeling refreshed and ready for another new day of lockdown.

    Thanks so much for fostering that dog. I’ve been told that many dog homes are almost empty because so many dogs have been adopted since lockdown came in. That news warms the cockles of my heart.

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    1. Hi, Hugh – Getting good nights’ sleep is a wonderful blessing. I’m so glad that that’s been happening for you. Strange but pleasant dreams?! That sounds like wonderful material for Glimpses 3. 😀
      Our foster dog has been a true gift. Although we try to give her a safe and comfortable environment, she has brought the most to the table. She is a incredible joy to be around.

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  28. Like you, I’m fortunate to live in a rural area. I’m able to look out on the hills and be grateful to practice physical distancing in these river hills. This is the end of week 6; some days are diamond, some not so much. I focus on gratitude for health, home and food. I participate weekly in a gratitude group via teleconference facilitated by a Seniors’ Center Without Walls and I’ve kept a journal focusing on various questions – What am I grateful for? Who am I connecting with? What expectations of normal am I letting go of? (This has morphed into what’s still normal?) How am I getting outside and moving my body? What beauty am I creating, cultivating or inviting in? I try to stay focused on one day at a time. I’m sensitive to others’ moods and can easily go down a dark hole with the helplessness I feel in the face of this pandemic and its economic fallout. I focus on being the space for others to express themselves. I need to give myself space as well.

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    1. Hi, Mona – It’s wonderful to hear from you. I always enjoy reading your comments (here and elsewhere) and greatly value what you have to say. The journal questions that you have listed here are excellent. I just may be borrowing them for our writers’ meetup! And “being the space for others to express themelves”! I am completely inspired!!

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      1. Donna, I can’t take credit for those questions. I came across them at the onset of the pandemic response in a blog I read regularly. Unfortunately, I didn’t record the source.

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  29. Good morning, Donna
    Great post and very inspiring too! I have found two pleasant activities to occupy me during this most unusual time. I pulled out my bicycle for the first time in over a year and have enjoyed riding on some trails laden with spring flowers. Second, I dug out some forty plus year-old slides from when we lived in Europe and converted them to digital files. A project I began five years ago and never finished. Brought back some wonderful memories of a time when we were so young and energetic. Thanks for asking. Stay safe and pet that pup for Helen and me.

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    1. Hi, Joe – Thank you for sharing these ideas. Both are excellent. I haven’t taken my bike out yet (but I have been thinking about it, so that must count, right?). I have been going through a gazillion photos on my computer and have been deleting duplicates and disasters. Try as I may, I find that the most I can accomplish on this photo project is one month per day. My score so far: 2.5 years down, 17 years to go! 😀

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  30. Love your photos, Donna. I recognize the beach and the scenery. We’ve got the same sea gulls here, too. My outdoor walks to see nature by the lake have definitely been soul soothing. Other soul enhancing activities that I like: arts, books, music, and meditation. When the weather warms up a little bit more, I plan to do gardening. Hugs from Toronto.

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    1. Hi, Natalie – Yes, that’s the same beach that we walked with Jude and Ann in the rain! Thankfully it has been mostly rain-free these past few weeks.
      Arts, books music and meditation sound like wonderful priorities to me.
      Stay well!

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    1. Thanks, Antoinette. I am surrounded by incredible people, a beautiful environment, and now a really cool 4-legged companion!
      Your environment looks equally blessed. Plus delicious aromas are always coming from your kitchen! 😀

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  31. My favorite non-screen activity has been walking more. I used to have to squeeze it in. Sometimes I would walk for 30 minutes during my break at work, but now I have a lot of time to walk and I don’t need to hurry. There are definite positives to staying at home!

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  32. Ha, a very good question! As you noted on our post, our routines are very similar. I’m not sure if working on the blog counts as a non-screen activity, but I’m enjoying that more and more – and finding ways to keep it relevant now that we’re not traveling. Reading, for sure, is a joy that I haven’t had this much time for in years. We’ve been stretching the rules a bit and taking longer walks with our dogs, which doesn’t feel too risky since our streets are so deserted these days.

    How blessed you are to have that ocean boardwalk nearby with a dose of nature and wildlife to boot! I’d be there every day. One thing we’ve seen is the return of bird life here, including a large flock of green parrots. Some folks in another neighborhood have been feeding a big flock of scarlet macaws. This, in a city of three million!

    Life isn’t too bad in COVID world 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Susan and John – I was sure that I had replied to your comment, but don’t see that reply here anywhere. It’s funny how having more time on my hands is causing me to be less efficient! 😀
      You are right about the silver-linings. The challenge will now be for us all to remember the COVID lessons and take them into our post-COVID world.
      Glad that you are both well!

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  33. Beautiful pictures, Donna. It’s interesting that the boardwalk has been relatively empty. It seems like such a logical place to go right now. Good on you guys for making it a part of your regular routine now. Our beaches are open again here, but we’ve been staying away for now, lest we be included in the #FloridaMorons hash tag. 🙂 Stay safe! – Marty

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    1. Hi, Marty – I agree that it is surprising how empty our oceanfront boardwalk is. The island has completely closed down our main ferry, so very few visitors are currently coming to the island. The average age of our population is 65 (with most being significantly older). I believe that most of our community is being incredibly cautious. If it does become more populated in the better weather, we will find a new spot to walk (least we be included in your hashtag)! 😀
      ‘Hope that you and Gorgeous are well.

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  34. Love your photo’s Donna. Not including exercise or cooking?! Both at the top of my list, although I’m loving crocheting at the moment. I’ve recently learnt how to crochet and have to say didn’t think I’d have the patience for it, but it’s so calming.

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    1. Hi, Sam – Thanks so much for stopping by.
      I agree! When Janis first added ‘no exercise….or cooking’, I thought that I would have nothing to say. See was very clever that way.
      Congratulations on taking up crocheting. That’s another thing that I wish that I had skill for!

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  35. Donna, the boardwalk and beach park in your community is truly fabulous. When I go there to walk, I’m amazed at how few people are walking there, unless it’s a sunny Sunday afternoon. If the tide’s out, the beach is so huge that you can wander among the tide pools in almost complete solitude.

    Mona’s topics for reflection are great. Maybe some ideas there for our zoom guiding topics?

    Jude

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    1. Hi, Jude – I walk to our boardwalk beach almost every morning…sometimes twice a day. It has amazed me how truly empty it has been for the last three months. Although I must admit I have been grateful for that…and grateful that it hasn’t closed. You’re right — when the tide is out there is ample room for all!

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  36. Hi Donna, I have been laying quite low working from home and then had four weeks sick leave because I broke my wrist and now have a piece of titanium in my wrist which looks like a 50/ 60s Y shape bottle opener. How did I do this? I was standing up from a squat position cleaning out an under kitchen bench cupboard. Fell backwards and landed 3 metres behind. Well may you laugh. The irony. I could have killed myself in Nepal on one occasion. So I have been doing a lot of screen activity during recovery including the addictive Duolingo. In your favourite language – Spanish. Because today was the day we would have been starting out from O ‘ Cebreiro to Santiago with my husband (who else) and my daughter who is currently still working in London. Oh well. Fingers crossed next year. Your board walk sounds lovely. Louise

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  37. Hi, Louise – I am so sorry to hear about your broken wrist….and your cancelled Camino. I was so excited about you doing that Camino — I know that you would love it. Wishing you a speedy recovery….and a smooth Camino rebooking for next year!

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