Many years ago, a good friend often told me “stop shoulding all over yourself!” Though we have lost touch, her words echo in my mind often. When opportunities present themselves, I try to ask myself whether I want to or should say “yes.” If the latter, to be mindful and cautious before proceeding. In times of imbalance, I look back and realize I haven’t taken this step.

As a family we’ve found ourselves over-scheduled recently. We tend toward a relatively simple lifestyle in comparison to many folks. We value our quiet home life in our lovely small town, our time connecting with nature, and time together. Simple routines provide comfort and flow. Yet it is easy to find opportunities to say “yes” and obligations too, and soon find ourselves with a problem of time scarcity and relationship disconnect, in favour of errands, appointments, work.  Doing. Not being.

Today we took a pause. We had opportunities we should say yes to, like the wintershines festival in the city, because they involved beautiful things and wonderful people.  Yet we said no.  We opted to unschedule; to wake up and see where the day takes us.

The kids were creative, happy, cooperative and engaged.  We ate well, talked, played, listened. Connected.  Nature beckoned and welcomed us. Our son indulged his fascination with tracks.  Our daughter was in her element as the winter wood fairy.  They created games in the woods, including hide-and-seek, fetch, toss the snow into the track, sliding, singing songs.  We saw dead things, live things, and sometimes both together.   We owe our gratitude and respect to organizations like Nature Conservancy Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada for providing access to places like this where we can roam.

Simplicity.  Affirmations of its power.

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