Sunday, May 29, 2016


Expanding, peeling back the layers - the white birch
Gillian Cornwall, c. Spring, 2015

Growth: the way we become, the way we change. The distance between our conception and our end point. Growth - we are doing it by the very nature of our being within a system of other beings and influences.

I am not a patient being. I am not patient with myself nor with my fellows on their paths. In the last month, I have thought about this as I believe it is a skill upon which I can work. I have watched the flowers grow on my balcony, somewhat patiently, awaiting the blooms as the goal - the reason I went to the effort of planting them. 

Yesterday, I sat on my deck chair contemplating the portulaca buds in their state just prior to bursting forth into full blossom. The colour was as intense as any precious gem, the shape perfect and compact, like miniature space capsules on the edge of discovery and I realized that they were perfect just then, as stunning as the full blossom and a little further away from the end of their cycle.

I wondered if this were also true of me, as I learned this lesson in, not so much patience rather, being in the moment. There is no better nor worse in the moment. There is simply the moment. There is light and darkness. There is colour and absence of colour. There is joy and sorrow. There is fear and contentment. There cannot be one without the other and this in itself is an equity, a balance. 

If we did not taste that which we dislike, we could not know the joy of the delicious. So I learn to be, more patient - if you wish to call it that, but perhaps I simply grow more willing and open, more fluid in the knowledge that there is a greater balance than that of my mind - my desires and petty complaints. I am part of a greater balance, a greater perfection. 

I am allowed to be, to learn, to grow and to change. I am changing. We are all changing - some quickly, some slowly, some with intent and some simply in the course of nature. I want to be allowed to change and not shoved into some box and labelled. I have never wanted that. Does anyone? 

It is comforting for us to identify, to label, to place and understand things and people, but most of us do not want to have this done to us. We do it out of fear, a need to create order through which we can navigate with a minimal amount of disruption and disaster. The thing is, what we perceive as chaos is simply that which we do not understand and cannot control. It frightens us and drives us into fight or flight mode. 

I am learning that sometimes I can breathe my way through the chaos - leave it be - and move on. I don't need to fix, change, make right nor drive it to order for it simply is part of the all and a necessary part of our journeys. 

Once again, I learn that it is the journey, not the destination. May we all be fully present on our paths, for it is the path on which our lives take place - moment by precious moment. 

-Gillian Cornwall, c. May 29, 2016

The Magnolia - On its way
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2015

Sunday, May 22, 2016

One Thing

A Window of Opportunity - Hampstead, UK
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2015.

The one thing I know is that life is precious - fleeting and precious. 

It is hard to remember that there are moments of incomparable joy and beauty in the times when we feel as though we are in competition with the biblical Job for worst life ever. We lose our job, our partner is gone, we are ill or all of the above. 

How best to respect the sadness, loss and lack of well-being while maintaining the knowledge that there is beauty and there is hope where life remains?

How best to remember that in the midst of our greatest suffering, the birds still sing without hating them for it in the face of our own loss or sadness? Remember W.H. Auden's poem, Funeral Blues
"Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come...."

Auden speaks of how the world must stop and that "...nothing now can ever come to any good."

Our loss can overshadow all the good in the world. Our heartbreak can create a pall that covers our lives in a dark emptiness. Thank heavens we have the capacity to feel our sadness so truly and completely for, if we could not, then how would we know its opposite - the euphoria of the birth of a child, falling in love, finishing a work of art and knowing it is your best or simply staring at the waves roll in from across the sea in a moment of complete contentment. 

Last evening, my girlfriend and I watched some of my old 1960's home movies as my parents crossed the Atlantic for the second time to create a new life for themselves in Canada as immigrants from England. From a great distance from my childhood and a great deal of counselling later, I am able to view these with a less self-centered eye, with the understanding of an adult rather than the need and grief of a child. 

While, certainly, the movie camera only came out for celebrations and epic adventures, it is fascinating to look back on one's life from the perspective of being older now that my parents were in the film we are watching and to have a greater understanding of their experience. I am able to see how many things they did for us, how many adventures they took us on, how damn lucky we were to have the resources to travel and explore, to stay at lakefront cottages and travel through Algonquin Park - not to mention, travelling back and forth to England to visit the family there. 

My parents battled like wildfire and eventually divorced when I was 13, but before then and after, there were so many celebrations for us. There were birthday parties and homemade cakes, Christmas after Christmas with a sea of presents for us, trips to beautiful gardens and visits with friends and family. 

I truly hope that my parents are able to see and know, from a post life place, that I understand better now, that I am grateful for all they did and that I am endlessly grateful for my life. 

I am getting older. I worry sometimes about how much time I might have left and how I want to spend it. I have the luxury of considering this at all as opposed to the majority of the population of the earth who have an endless, daily focus on survival - food and shelter. I have the luxury of deciding how I wish to live and what I might want to change about myself. My entitlement lies in the luxury of living in Canada as a white woman with resources and loved ones to help me through the difficult times. 

Okay, I know two things, not just one:
  1. Life is precious.
  2. Worrying won't help.
Let us stop and think of life itself - the greatest gift we could ever be given and look no further for heaven than to the beauty of another day, as the bird sings outside my window and my girlfriend tells me my tea is ready and I sit here writing to you. It is enough. It is plenty. I am grateful.

With love to every single one of you. 

I dedicate this piece to my parents for the life they have given me and in the knowledge that they did their best to raise four children and give them a good life. To my mum, you were amazing. I can't believe how much you had to do and the grace with which you did it. Thank you. To my dad, thanks for taking me to all the soccer games and allowing me to be the tomboy I was. Too bad, we couldn't convince mum to let me have the drum set - I'm still sure I would have been a rock star. ;-)

-Gillian Cornwall, c. May 22, 2016

Hampstead Heath
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2015

Sunday, May 15, 2016


Less Fear = More Time
Gillian Cornwall, c. May, 2016

Space: even the act of writing or speaking the word helps me to breathe a little more deeply. It denotes an air of sufficiency - a sense that there is enough, enough of whatever it is you need for peace. It indicates room to stop and simply be. Space allows us to let go off the "busy as a badge of honour" pretence of importance that has been rampantly awarded in the last decade. The busier we are, the more we validate ourselves and one another. I recall a time when I could ask someone, "How are you?" and receive a different answer than, "Busy." The sad thing is, the busier we claim to be, the less we seem to be accomplishing. I strongly believe that if we stop, breathe, hold our space and let the energy of the universe flow through us, we will be less stressed, less fearful, more joyful and increase our capacity for true accomplishment.

Why are people working 24 hours a day on their mobile devices, doing email and attempting to complete tasks? There isn't really more work than there used to be; it is that we have convinced ourselves it must be done more quickly. We have convinced ourselves that it is expected of us; however, I see few job descriptions that have changed to indicate that the hours of work are 24/7. We are allowing our mobiles devices to rule our lives rather than serve our lives and, in this practice, we have completely lost the art of stopping and taking space.

I am learning to replace the artlessness of being busy with the art of stopping. I am busy with release - moments of release from all but assessing my own wants and needs. Does it sound selfish? Is selfishness wrong if the result is greater capacity for giving? If we do not know what we want or need for ourselves, how can we possibly be ready and able to serve others? Self-fulfilment is essential - we must be able to fill ourselves in order to participate and interact effectively outside of ourselves. 

How clear and honest can we be in a world that so values chicanery and conniving? I watch many people clawing their way to mere perceptions of power that are so far gone from truth and knowledge. I feel as though I have been air-dropped onto the set of an underfunded, unknown opera: there is a great deal of effort being put into attempts at singing and drama and swordplay, but everyone seems to have lost the plot!

I am letting go. I do not need to question the acts of others nor challenge them. I do not need to know, understand nor fix behaviours I perceive as unfair. I need to work, pay bills, keep a safe space for myself, write and create art that I hope will ultimately draw people closer to themselves and to their inter-connectivity with the universal energy force; for it is this force that offers us space and the knowledge that there is enough - when we let go, when we stop holding on with fear of loss. Listen to the waves, the wind, the bird song - their lyrics are the same - "let go and fly free of fear." It really is your life. 

There will always be the subtle balance of maintaining our wants with our needs; however, if we do not stop to create space to breathe and listen, we will always be afraid of losing something. We will always fear insufficiency.

Let us balance our outer space with our inner until we can live fully in the space of greatest intake and output. Let us save ourselves with a balance between thought (inner) and action (outer). Balance is where we will find our greatest capacity for achievement. One may fuel the ship to its greatest capacity, but if one is not keeping an eye open for obstacles, well, we know the result - tragic and unnecessary loss. 

Stop. Seek your space. Refuel. Trust yourself. Move forward. 

-Gillian Cornwall, c. May 15, 2016

Seek Your Space
Gillian Cornwall, c May, 2016

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Human Recall

Cats Have it Right - Princess Napping
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2014

I'm not talking about remembering. I'm talking, you know, faulty product recall and how I wish I could just be recalled to the manufacturer and repaired or have a system reset to remove glitches and damage and simply start over. 

Is that too much to ask?

I'm sure I've picked up some useful knowledge over the past 54 years, but, whatever, I could just hit reset and pick it all up again. The only thing is, when we go back out into the world, we immediately become susceptible to new problems, viruses and glitches of mental, physical and spiritual impact. 

Great, Gillian. Super-helpful article ....not. Not so far, anyway. 

What to do? What to do?

Lately, I think, okay, I'll just surrender to the chaos. I can't control any of it anyway so I might as well let go, but what does that mean exactly? It sure sounds very dramatic. Does it mean that we just react to things in the instant they happen and deal with the fallout - good or bad? Does it mean we think, then act with our best guess? Does it mean we relinquish choice because the choices we have are unappealing and freefall through our lives at the hands of others? I sure as hell hope not. Do we simply nod and grin and get on with our lives appearing to have acquiesced?

None of these sounds particularly empowering, so, is there a solution to making it through life as contentedly as possible?

I think at some time in our lives, it is valuable to set yourself down with a pen and paper (I know, old school, right?!). Draw a vertical line down the centre of the page and make two columns. On the left, write the things you want to do. On the right, list the things that you need to do. 

By example, here is a section of mine fit for human consumption:

Want to Do:
Need to Do:
  •             Write

  •            Work

  •            Write

  •           Keep house

  •            Write

  •            Exercise

  •            Draw

  •            Grocery shop

  •            Travel

  •            Be nicer to people

Okay, now let's pretend, just for fun, that we get to choose (guess what, we kind of do!). I'm not saying we abdicate all of the necessary life sustaining duties, but by looking at what we need and want, clearly on paper in front of us, perhaps we can find ways of accomplishing both. 

For instance, when I lived a bit further away from my place of work, every morning and evening during my transit, I would work on writing my novel. That meant I had a minimum of 30 minutes per day to write. On its own, that doesn't seem like much; however, the great thing was, I'd usually be inspired by this practice sufficiently to engage in more of it during my lunch hour and when I returned home in the evening. Please be careful, enjoyment can become habit forming....

I am limited in the housework I can do because of spinal injuries and bad knees so I have a lovely someone who comes in to clean for me. It is not very expensive. I am not wealthy. Having someone do this for me is a gift to myself because I have realized that I don't deserve to be in pain and the time that I have where I am not doing this work, is more time for me to write on the weekends and in the evenings. 

As for grocery shopping, if I have a great deal to buy, I go with my girlfriend in her car. Often, I will walk to the shops for a few things and walk home again and this provides me with a modicum of cardio and weight-bearing exercise. 

As for being nicer to people, ..... ooooh, menopause - how you betray my body and mind. I'm really pissed off about menopause. I never had any use for all of that gear in the first place and now it is torturing my body and mind as much as I imagine would be the case had I been abducted by aliens and placed under some horrific sequence of experiments. I am not me. It is not my fault. I do not like it. I feel like I am losing my mind. Let's stir that up with my current employment / lack of employment situation, shovel in some PTSD from the most recent and ALL of the previous trauma I have experienced and then, yes, let's go be nicer to people.... I'm working on it, but I am seriously considering a giant, air-conditioned hamster ball within which I can perambulate through life until things ease up (Please God, let that be soon). 

Travel - by bus, on foot, air (if you can afford it or afford the debt), boat, anything. What I am saying is that there are small ways to explore while you save for the bigger ways. On Friday, I took the wee harbour ferry back from an appointment so I had a twenty minute ocean voyage in the middle of running around completing errands. It cost 10$ CDN. That's like 60 cents/pence US or British pounds right now (kidding).

Victoria Harbour Ferry
Gillian Cornwall, c. May 6, 2016

Anyway, I think it is about determining how we want and need to spend time and whipping that up into a daily menu for ourselves. The key part of it all is INTENT. We must create our own maps for our own paths and be willing to adjust our direction as wanted and needed. It is your life. I say this with recognition that there are people around the world, reading this, who may have a level of hardship that makes it exceedingly difficult to do what they want. For you, I suggest the smallest of ways, which are sometimes the largest. No-one can ever take your imagination, your mind, within which you have the capacity to create a peaceful place, a land and way of being that brings joy and peace. It takes energy, when your eyes see horror regularly, but every moment of joy and peace you can create will spark neuro-processors into feeding your well-being.

So, surprise, surprise. This is your life. As my darling says to me, "Stop 'shoulding' all over yourself." 

It's never going to be perfect (whatever the blazes perfect looks like), but it can be yours for the most part. Don't use your kids, spouse, parents or job as an excuse for not doing what you want and need because if you are happier, most of the time they will be happier and if they are not, well they will just have to adjust. You, being you, doing your things, makes you bigger, brighter, healthier and more real. I am saying this just as much to me as I am to you. 

Choose yourself. Sometimes put the drawing before the laundry and the dishes. There are no special forces units that will burst through your walls and arrest you for it.

Be. Breathe. Live. Love yourself. I love you and I am very smart so you should love you too. 

I'm off to go do something in the sunshine with the people I love. The dishes can wait until this evening when it is not sunny. 

-Gillian Cornwall, c. May 8, 2016

The Olympic Range as seen from Rockland Ave, Victoria BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2012

Sunday, May 01, 2016

The Life of Words

Oil Pastel on Paper - Part of Subjugation Series
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2009

I am re-posting this piece from 2014 as I am feeling a bit wrung out this week. I have a need to conserve my depleted energy cells and I have been working on my book and several other works this week so this post is a sentient explanation of my feelings for the act of writing and it has held up well over two years. If you have thought of writing or enjoy writing, I hope this resonates with you in some way. 

Some days it comes more easily than others, this business of writing. There are days when the pages fill as though the lines of the story are forming queues in my mind, awaiting their turn to travel from my brain down my neck, across my shoulder and down my arm and through my hand where they travel down a river of black ink in my eco-friendly pen and out through the minuscule opening onto the pages of my notebook. Imagine them as workers awaiting the subway at rush hour or as foot passengers, anxiously awaiting the opening of the single lane gate to board the BC ferry to the mainland. They are players on the sideline at the football match: ready, trained and poised to do their part to bring the game to an acceptable result. I'm sure you get the drift. 

Conversely, there are times aplenty when the story plays a game of hide and seek: the words, the plot, the reason is out there, or in here, somewhere, evading my search. Perhaps I wasn't clear about the boundaries for the game and the words have run over hill and dale, escaped across a border for which I do not hold a current passport. Just as easily, there is a chance they are around the next corner, down the hall, giggling under a pile of coats in the hall closet, holding back a sneeze born on a whiff of mothballs and dust. 

This week has held both experiences for me, as is often the case; nonetheless, I will write. I write. I have written. This is my path, my need, my feed, my breath. It is not choice. Whether parading the queue out in orderly fashion or letting it spill out in chaos, whether stumbling over hidden roots, far from home in a forest previously uncharted and unknown as darkness gathers, this is what I do. 

If I had no need of cash, it is all I would do. I love it. It is my closest companion and the conduit between me and the world. It is possibility and passion, fear and triumph. It is Peter Pan and Captain Hook, wine and water. It matters to me and I hope you can tell.

I am grateful to you for playing alongside me. Thank you for reading and expressing your thoughts. I hope it brings you something: inspiration, thought or learning. You are integral in this process. Thank you for sharing your time with me here, for walking beside me each week. 

If you have ever wanted to write, I hope you do it. Pick up a pen and scratch the surface. Keep digging - the treasure is there. If you require a nudge or an all-out shove, consider a course offered at a community centre or a school. Pick up one or two of the many books available. I turn to courses and books as often as I can when I need a push back to my desk (which is actually a dining room table). Here are a few of the guides that help me reset my bearings:

 Happy reading and writing. Enjoy the journey.

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-Gillian Cornwall, re-posted May 1,2016
Originally posted, c. April 6, 2014

Russell's Rare Books
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2015

Sunday, April 24, 2016


My mother - E.A. Jay - warrior woman
Photographer unknown, likely 1943

One of the many strange symptoms arising from PTSD, and there are many, is the memory of previous traumas re-lived emotionally as though they are occurring again in this moment. One night this past week, I remembered, in full detail, the evening my mother passed away, even though she died 34 years ago in June when I was just 20 years old.

My eldest brother and I had both been visiting her - a rare occurrence as we generally took turns so we needn't be there every night. We had taken her outside to take in the late spring evening air where she likely had a cigarette. We took her to the cafeteria for a yogurt and back up to her room where we waited on the bench outside her room while the nurses readied her for bed before we came in to say goodnight.

Suddenly, one of the nurses came out and spoke calmly yet urgently, "You need to come in now. It's happening." ...Or something to that effect. I remember not understanding her. What was happening? What was all the fuss about? We were just sitting with her and chatting, even though it was difficult to understand her words because the ALS had affected her speech.

Nonetheless, we dutifully followed the nurse back into my mum's private room where I immediately gained understanding of what was happening. There she lay, struggling for breath and speaking words that sounded to me like, "Hold me up. Hold me up." Over and over and over she repeated it and so we did it. Chris and I on either side, we held her in a sitting position in her bed. Wherever she was going, she wasn't wanting to go there lying down. That wouldn't have been her style. 

We come from a long line of warriors. She was tough, my mum, tough but refined as well. Fine clothes, fine wine, a love of the arts. She was something, but that evening, she was my mum and I, her 20 year old daughter. She didn't know I was gay - well, she knew but it hadn't been discussed. It showed in her obvious disappointment in me and my lack of femininity. I felt as though I were a bear in a tutu when forced into a dress.

Chris and I, both gay - 2 children out of 4. That seemed perfect to me but not to her.

That night I felt so much anger, frustration, disbelief and terror as we telephoned overseas to tell her sister and her mother, her niece and nephew, and everyone here - "She is gone."

It was horrifying and right to be there as she passed away. Horrifying, because I was so young and I didn't know what to do or how to be. We'd been caring for her, Chris and I, for two and a half years, but I don't suppose you are never prepared - even for an inevitable death. I felt as though she didn't know me very well nor did she appear to approve of the woman I was becoming, but she did love me fiercely, the child she had brought into this world and it was right for me to be there that night, if for no other reason than that. 

I went off the rails after she died. I developed full-blown agoraphobia and was lucky enough to get into a treatment program at the very hospital in which my mum had spent her last year. It took me years and epic amounts of counselling 
to get myself back on track.

By the mid 1980s, I had already been beaten on the streets of Toronto for looking and being different, been sexually abused as a child, sexually assaulted as a young woman, harassed in my workplaces and shamed in my college - to name a few of the crimes and indignities.

The PTSD has been building as a result of these experiences. I work with good medical professionals and I have worked on and off with the same psychologist in Victoria for the past 20 years - and many before her. Sometimes I've had extended health benefits and sometimes I haven't, but I've paid thousands (not an exaggeration) in order to be a functioning and, at times, exceptional being.

It's so sad to me that all this has been triggered by a method of information sharing. I think we can do better together. We can be kind and careful with people when causing upheaval.

We are delicate beings who want to do well. Let us support each other in doing so. Let us come together in strength, diligence and the desire to care for one another. Let us move away from fear - fear of difficult conversations, fear of trusting one another, fear of everything. Let us bring all of our individual threads together to make strong cloth.

I didn't do this to myself. I have done nothing wrong to be sick like this. I am not a pariah. I deserve love and support and wellness. I am doing everything in my power to be kind and true, strong and well.  I will give these things to myself because I deserve them. I share my story here in the hope that others will feel less alone if undergoing similar experiences and because I want to be seen and heard.

I have had to be very busy while I have been laid off. There is an enormous amount to figure out and do - even answering the enquiries of the kind people who want to know what happened and what I am going to do and how I am and if I have yet done this, that and the other. Please know that I am grateful for the concern and care.

Even without the triggering of the PTSD, the entire situation is stressful and painful. With the PTSD, it has taken every ounce of my energy and strength to get up and get through each day.

I ask myself why I am writing this, sharing such personal stories: probably like everyone, I just want to know, "Can you see me? Can you hear me?" And "Does what I say mean anything to you?"  (paraphrased from Oprah)

I just want you to say "yes" to these three questions and mean it. I want you to acknowledge the path has been difficult and continues to be difficult, that I have survived and often thrived despite significant harms. Acknowledge that at every workplace I have had two jobs: the one I was hired to do and the one of fighting to get to the same starting line as everyone else because of my lack of gender and my sexual orientation. I don't need to hear "Isn't it better now?" and "I can't believe that happened!" Oh, it all happened alright and more - more that I may never mention in a public forum and, yes, it is better now (here anyway), but that does not negate the brutal history and harm done to the lesbian and gay community. 

...But could you just say this anyway: 

"Over the years, you got the short end of the stick. I've made errant assumptions and made thoughtless comments and you have been held back from opportunities because of who you are and people have isolated you because you are a woman who doesn't subscribe to gender assumptions and expectations that do not fit. I acknowledge the harm..."

I could keep going with a script, but I can't. I'm sick of, and sick from, asking for the acknowledgement that I have been treated as "less than." I know you're sick of hearing me ask for it. I just need to find a way around it. This mountain ain't moving in my lifetime. 

I can no longer take the punishments that having a voice around gender and sexual orientation have brought. I just want to do a good job in a quiet space and hope and pray I will be left alone to feel safer in my life than I have before.

It's 2016. This lesbian is stopping her fight. I need and want a quiet and peaceful life. 

I will continue to write and I will continue to post on this blog, but no more about this for now. I am weary and I need to heal.

I'm off to the ocean to watch the waves make sand of rocks upon the shore.

-Gillian Cornwall, c. April 24, 2016

Lana'i, Hawaii
Gillian Cornwall, c. December 2012

Sunday, April 17, 2016


Boadicea, The Warrior Queen - City of Westminster, England
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2015

I am re-posting an edited version of the original. It's timely and I think it is something to which we can all relate and take opportunity to re-shape in our lives. 

So, "Expectations meet Joy and Desire; now could the three of you all try to get along?"

Why the blazes am I heading down this path on an otherwise peaceful Sunday morning? Well, I am heading down this path because it came to me and because I believe I can offer some peaceful thoughts on the subject.

It seems to me that expectations are kind of tied up with opinions. We have our own, which may or may not have been influenced by our parents, our history, our spouse, media and so on. We also have the expectations and opinions that come to us quite directly in the now, like missiles.

I've been thinking about the height, depth and breadth of my self-expectations and how often I place them onto others. I am ridiculous for doing this. How many times do I talk about all of us walking our own paths in our own ways? Hypocrisy! Hypocrisy! 

Oh well, I am pleased to discover this about myself. As I continue to unpack it, I realize that my high self-expectations were seeded in my childhood. My understanding of one of my parents was that it was imperative to succeed - that there was no room for accident nor failure. Accident and failure resulted in anger, discipline and those, oh so awful, looks of disappointment. How could I not carry those expectations forward into my adulthood when they were as deep in my being as grain is to oak. The wonderful thing is that when we grow up, if we take the time to look at this stuff, with or without the help of psychology professionals, we get to untie the net and make it into something that fits us now or cast it off entirely. 

We have the opportunity to re-frame expectations as goals - if we wish. We have the capacity to try, to fail, to learn and grow. We have the capacity to acknowledge the same need in those who surround us. I would guess that everyone has felt like a failure in front of someone and, I know from personal experience, it is a wonderful feeling when someone stands by you through your errors and says, "Hey, it's okay. You can do it again. I'm here and I love you whether you succeed this time or whether you need to try again." 

What is horrific is to create expectations of someone and then systematically peel away their tools and set up barriers to their success. If you are in that situation, you are best to trade in your chips and leave the table for a gamble with better odds. Some people aren't able to be direct or clear and will set you up for failure because it is the only path they can handle for themselves. Remember that this is likely not about you; rather, someone's inability to engage safely and kindly in difficult conversations. 

Try to remember, it is the path and not the destination. It is the relationships and the journey that make up the food of our lives. Whenever we reach the end of the road, do we want to be thinking, "Darn it, I wish I had done more - I wish I had at least tried"? Have fun on the journey. Don't worry too much if something breaks or fails. Just learn from it and move on. We are all perfect in our paths as long as we proceed at whatever speed and in whatever way works for us. Unless you are a surgeon ...hmm, maybe get good at it first, really good, and then try. I do not envy them their need for absolute accuracy. I am sure there are other situations and careers to which this applies - automotive brake repair perhaps?

Enjoy the journey as best you can, my peeps. I really don't know if we get another crack at this whole life thing, but I'm not much of a gambler and, lately, my body and soul are far too eroded by those who are filled with fear (including myself at times) pushing me down and holding me down to drown. 

I am resurfacing, slowly, for harm has made me weak, but arise I will, as sure as the sun to another day. There may be clouds; it may be raining, but I am still here and I will continue to rise as long as there is breath in my lungs and a beat in my heart.  Is that not enough to expect of any of us, after all?

-Gillian Cornwall, c. April 17, 2016

Nelson, atop his column, Trafalgar Square, UK
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2016