Author Archives: Shelley Hrdlitschka

Do you like what they see? A writing prompt …

You’ve just met someone new. Or maybe it’s an alien from some far off galaxy. They have arrived unannounced at your home. For some strange reason you cannot speak. I don’t know why. It’s not important.

This person can only get to know you by watching you and seeing how you live. You can’t tell them about yourself, so they will surmise who you are by seeing what you do, where you go. They will learn your habits. They will see your home and belongings. Do you fold the corner of the page of your book or use a bookmark? Are the surfaces in your home clean and clutter free or do they tell the story of your day, your week. Maybe your month? What do you have hanging on your walls? How full is the laundry hamper? What is in your fridge?

Where will this person think you put most of your attention?

What will they determine are your priorities?

Really think on this.

Now, here’s the real question:
Do you like what they see?

Wise Words

The following are the wisest words I’ve heard since the start of this pandemic.

“Undoubtedly, the Covid 19 pandemic has introduced uncertainty into all echelons of daily life. But uncertainty need not inspire fear. Uncertainty is the precursor to innovation and innovation is the precursor to change.

We are offered two choices today: To fear uncertainty and to fear change, or to see this generational challenge as a generational opportunity.” (Andrew Weaver, former leader of the BC Green Party)

When the pandemic first hit I was amazed at how fast the grocery stores installed plexiglass partitions, curb-side pick up became the new norm for small shops and crosswalk lights became automated. No need to touch any surfaces. Yes, innovation quickly evolved from the uncertainty of the lurking coronavirus. These were small, quick fixes. Imagine if this same ingenuity was used on much larger issues. I’m thinking of Senior Care Homes for starters. Climate change to follow up.

This is our moment for leaders and institutions to revamp those systems that no longer serve us well.  I’m going to imagine the day where we live in balance with the natural world and also  live harmoniously  with all of humanity in its many delightful hues and cultural variances. These could be the hidden opportunities the coronavirus offers us.

Image: quotulatiousness.ca

Hibernation is over! Hurrah!

Coola and Grinder – the grizzly bear residents of Grouse Mountain – have just woken up from their 19th hibernation. This year they hibernated for 144 days. Don’t they look happy to be out in the spring air?

But they must wonder, where are all the people? Most years thousands of tourists  flock to this mountain resort to view them,  to feel their magnificent presence and to learn the importance of protecting this species. But this spring the resort is closed due to the coronavirus. Hopefully we’ll be able to go see them again soon. In the meantime, if you want to know more about these two bears and their journey to Grouse Mountain, you can read my book, The Grizzlies of Grouse Mountain (The True Adventures of Coola and Grinder,) co-written with Rae Schidlo and illustrated by Linda Sharp.

I’d be happy to mail you a copy. Order it here: shelley.hrdlitschka@gmail.com

(photos courtesy of Grouse Mountain Resort)

Do We Have The Will?

The coronavirus has taught us that it takes every single individual to do the right thing (self-isolation/social distancing) to curb the spread of this insidious disease. Going forward, can we take what we’ve learned from this pandemic to reverse the human impact on climate change?

It may be too late to  wait for government and industries to pass the necessary laws but if each of us – every single person – changes our behaviour as abruptly as we have with this pandemic, I like to think it might be possible. Global warming may kill us at a slower rate than the coronavirus, but the predictions of climate catastrophes (droughts, deadly storms, melting polar caps) are frightening. For now the planet has been given a reprieve as there are far fewer planes in the sky and cars on the road (you can almost hear Mother Nature sigh with relief) but when this is all over, will we go right back to our old ways?

Frantic consumerism has been slowed as we stay home.  Single-use plastic consumption may have risen temporarily as we focus on  food safety,  but If, at the end of this pandemic we all made positive personal changes perhaps we could stop choking the oceans with our plastic waste. We have seen how it takes everyone working together toward a common goal for it to be be successful.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could turn that same  focus toward our beloved planet?  And if not for us, for our grandchildren and their children? The changes would be much less difficult to put in place. We could still gather in groups, hug(!), eat at restaurants, go out and play.  Is it too much to hope for?  It’s easy to educate ourselves on how, we know the why but do we have the will?

Fast Fashion – Is it worth the cost?

Fast Fashion definition: inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends

We all know the thrill of spotting a bargain – that fabulous-looking shirt or jacket that is dirt cheap. Without thinking we reach for it, our brain mentally scanning our wardrobe for matching accessories.  We check the price tag again  (can it really be that cheap?)  before we remember that no, it can’t be. Someone, somewhere is paying the price. We place it back on the rack.

“If these garments cost so little, chances are the factories where they’re made are filled with child labourers and the dyes used to make those bright jeans are flowing into their drinking water.” https://donegood.co/blog/cheap-clothes-cost-a-lot

But it can be hard to shop for ‘slow fashion’.  First of all, how do we know which products are eco-friendly/ ethically make? And if they are, how can we afford them? Continue reading

I Read Canadian

 

Tomorrow, February 19, 2020 is the first I Read Canadian Day.  Every time we choose to read a Canadian published book we know there was a MADE IN CANADA team of editors, graphic designers, layout artists, publicists, printers, warehouse staff, delivery drivers and book sellers behind it.  The Canadian book industry pumps money into the Canadian economy which creates jobs and pays taxes.

So on February 19, show your love for Canada and Canadian books by choosing a Canadian-authored title. Fiction, non-fiction, children’s, young adult, biography, memoir, new, classic, it doesn’t matter which. Check out some books by Canadian authors you have not yet read or read another book by one of your favourites.

And send me a note to tell me what you’re reading! 🙂

One of my favourite Canadian authors, Brian Mulligan, with his book, Drinkin’ Thinkin’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drinkin’ Thinkin’

Having Purpose – Can it Bring You Good Health?

In a conversation with Jonathan Fields on his Good Life Project podcast, Dr. Frank Lipman shared stories that showed how our health can be greatly improved when we find a sense of purpose.  Jonathan agreed, adding that many of the things we’re afflicted with simply fall away when we find that purpose.

So what does finding purpose look like? It can be working at a job that is meaningful to us. It can be participating in our community on a project of common interest or joining a non-profit to work for something that feels important. Volunteering for an organization whose values match our own can provide deep meaning. Setting personal goals and meeting them also works.

Writing gave my life purpose for a long time, and it still does in many ways. Being supportive of  my grown children also gives me purpose as does participating in my community through friendship and activities. But recently I felt that there was room for more and through a couple serendipitous meetings with old acquaintances I found my way back to a local Unitarian fellowship whose mission is to ’empower people to live with greater depth, meaning and purpose.’ Simply being among other people with these shared values makes me feel that a door is opening, inviting me to live with that greater depth.

It’s not easy to discover what our purpose is and it changes throughout our lives.  We can go for long periods of time feeling restless, but I believe if we consciously open our minds for opportunities to live more intentionally those opportunities to live with greater depth and purpose will appear.

And if you like podcasts, be sure to check out Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields.

It All Matters

Today would have been my mom’s 98th birthday.  Her last few years were spent in a care home and the care providers were truly angels on earth. Being a care provider for the  frail is not a ‘sexy’ job. It’s hard, sometimes dirty, often thankless work, and fortunately there are people who are willing to do it, caring for those in our communities that are the most vulnerable.

This passage from “We Are Called to Rise” by Laura McBride makes me think of those wonderful  care providers.

It all matters.

That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing.

What is most beautiful is least acknowledged. What is worth dying for is barely noticed.”

So I’m thinking of my mom today, and I’m thinking of those angels who cared for her at the end of her life. Through them I learned that ‘it all matters’ and it matters a lot. I’m trying to be that person who does those small, seemingly unimportant tasks, those little things that matter as much as anything else. I fail every day, I’m so far from perfect, but I will keep on trying.

  • Angel craft by artist Carole Burdett

Be Imperfectly Sustainable

I love this. It’s about awareness.

Could I use a reusable container to pack the leftovers instead of plastic wrap?

Can I find a similar product (for purchase) that’s not sold in single-use plastic?

Could I  eat a few more vegetarian/vegan meals this week?

Could I walk/cycle to my destination instead of drive?

Small conscious changes, yes, which become habit forming and make us strive to do even better.

 

 

 

 

 

Rewriting last year’s goal

“There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree on what they are.”

— Somerset Maugham

 

One of my 2019 New Year’s goals  was to complete the novel I’d been writing for the past few years. It was a challenging project, my first full length story for an adult audience. (My novels have been Y/A prior to this one.) Continue reading