Finding Beauty in the Ordinary
I've been on the 'down-low' due to cancer treatment recovery,  but was reminded of the joy of skating outside when, on Christmas Day, I could see the neighbourhood outdoor rink full of swirling skating bodies.  I was not on the ice this Christmas, but with my Doctor's 'okay,' I intend to purchase some skates (and equipment) and play on the ice again. 

All of this wonderfully coincides with the NHL's Winter Classic on New Year's Day. So in honour of the Winter Classic and to how it began for me, and so many others, here is the ArtWork & Words of The Joy of It
The Joy of It by Barbara Burns
The Joy of It artwork by Barbara Burns.
The Joy of It

I started skating when I was two years old. In the back lot, between the rows of houses, there was a dug out piece of earth that would be filled with water every October. The Winnipeg Winter would arrive and the frozen water would become my rink. 

The rink was only a hundred feet from my home.  The number of shovels left behind with my last name on it, and the fact that my brother and I were always on the ice, it was known, in the neighborhood, as the “Burns’ Rink.”  It also happened to be named that because my home was the place for the neighborhood kids to layer their clothes, warm up, tend to injuries and put on, and take off, their bladed shoes.  My mom would position a kitchen chair, in the small back entrance, so one could tie up their skates (but it also created a protective barrier to the waxed kitchen floor).  Often there was an overflow of friends, wanting to play on the ice, and they would sit on the stairs, heading down to our rec room, to tie their skates.

The winters were cold and the ice was hard.  My eyelashes were hanging posts for icicles and my nose, ears, hands and feet were numb. And despite the freezing temperatures and clouded breath, my spirit ran fully on the ice (as well as my nose).

On the ice, time stood still and I would find myself in another world.  And yet, the whoops of joy and sounds of competition were heard throughout the neighborhood as everyone battled for the imaginary prize.  And if you were closer, you could hear the cut of an edge and the spray of shaved ice.

There were times when others had to go home (because it was dinner time or it was too cold outside), and I was alone on the ice. The rink was a place where I lost time, all my senses seemed alive and every emotion was fully felt.  My actions were ruled by my intuition and not by rules. Every time on the ice, I challenged my skills and asked “what if…?”  And it seemed like there were no boundaries, but only possibilities.

My body has changed as I have a growth on my spine. I miss the ice. I miss the ice a great deal.  With all the emotions I experienced on the ice, one emotion tied this entire experience of time, space and sensation together, and it was joy.  The lessons I learned on the ice, still carry me today.  I know that I need to nurture whatever activity or pursuit that encourages me to feel at home, and that cheers me on to reach for my best.  I truly believe we can change the world when we are, at home, in the joy of it.


If you are interested in this ArtWork & Words, by me, or any other works, please feel free to contact me!  Enjoy the game!

Radiation is done! WooooHoooo!!! (insert happy dance, with fist pumps and a huge smile)

After a month of living at Compassion House, in Edmonton, while undergoing radiation treatment, I am now home. Actually, this week I will be temporarily at home. Tomorrow, I go into the city to watch Beatrice, my radiation buddy, who is 84 (or 85), ring the radiation bell to shout that her treatment is done. Then on Wednesday I have another medical appointment/check in, but I will balance that with a massage! And then on Friday, my friend Paula will drive me in for another treatment (some call it 'chemo maintenance'); this is the one (IV Herceptin) that I will get every three weeks, at the Cross Cancer Institute, for a year. Then, phew(!), I will be at home. (and once I am home, and in between resting & recovering, I will share with all of you about Compassion House, the people I met and my journey)

With this shared, I have completed three major treatments; surgery to remove the tumour, and chemotherapy & radiation to ensure the cancer is out of my body. So below is a picture of me ringing the bell at Compassion House. Being a teacher, a bell represents the end and the beginning. So, I rang the bell to state that this leg of my journey is completed, and I am off to begin another. 

Thank you for all of your love and support. You have raised me up and given me legs to stand on when I felt so very weak. I am so very grateful for the love that surrounds me. XOXOXO

(Below are some photos of me ringing the bell at Compassion House, me bundled up and leaving the House, #iseehearts as I leave the city, and "I've finished chemo and radiation" portrait in my Compassion House room. Click on the photos to see the entire image).