Posts Tagged With: scotland

My own meandering experience.

Dear Readers, those of you who are still with me, I sincerely regret my absence from my own blog of late. I have no explanation other than Life sometimes gets in the way of what you really want to do and so now, after re-reading some posts of other bloggers’, I realize that I, too, must jump back in the fray if I am to do what I really want to do and that is, simply, to write.

On the other hand, the time I have been away has allowed me to make several observations as well as to learn a few things along the way. The following is a potpourri of sorts of these revelations which seem obvious when written down, but were quite eye-opening when they first occurred to me:

Finding Joy and, more importantly, allowing Joy to find You:

I don’t keep a large circle of friends and I will openly admit that I frequently assess and evaluate the need for certain people in my life. Occasionally, these needs fall short and I am forced, for want of a better term, to trim the fat. This isn’t done out of hate for the person I’ve cut adrift, but more for the sake of my own soul. I am tenaciously and sometimes terrifyingly protective of those that I love, including my own soul. If there is someone in my life who no longer promotes a positive element in my life, then my soul is not being nurtured in the way that it must and so, sometimes regrettably, sometimes with great difficulty, a person has to leave. This is obviously a bittersweet process, but a necessary one just the same. The upside is that having made some room in my life, I have opened the door to other people whom I might never have met, and who have filled those holes in my life with their positivity and creativity and lovely souls. I hope I do the same for them.

Value what you have and stop yearning for what you don’t:

We all occasionally fall prey to the Quest for the Material. This could be items such as new furniture, a new TV, a new car, a new outfit, a new Whatever. We all need Things from time to time, but sometimes that quest to obtain becomes all too engrossing. A recent death in our family, of a not-so-close relative, has allowed me to observe that a person can spend their entire lives accumulating but have very little of true value. This person was for all intents and purposes a recluse. This rendered him a decease hoarder with a bunch of people who rarely gave him the time of day during his lifetime now attempting to, well, hoard his hoard. Again, it is not in tribute of the man or his life or his contribution to their family or society in general that they want his stuff. It is simply that they want his stuff. I pray this is not the legacy I leave when I leave this life.

Accept the faults in others as they evidently accept the faults in you:

There are none of us perfect, and far too few of us try. And this is all right. Harkening back to my first revelation above, keep those who nurture your soul with you, warts and all. While they may not be perfect, they do make a positive contribution to your life and clearly mean well. I butt heads occasionally with those closest to me, but they have a permanent place within the House of Lisa. I just hope I don’t screw it up.

Like Minds:

There are those who say opposites attract. Sometimes they do. My own experience has been, however, that like minds open up your mind and soul to things beyond your own reckoning because they give you a starting point, and then open the door to things you may not have considered yourself. Again, try to do the same in return for those lovely souls who share so much in common with your own, for these people are few and far between. Over the past few months, I have met two people in particular who share such similar interests as I, but the collaboration of ideas and creativity which flows through each of us has grown exponentially as a result.

Take note of where you’ve been, to know where you’re going:

My trip to Scotland last year left me with one thing: the visceral need to return. During my first visit, I learned so much about myself simply by observing the people who live in the place from whence my family came, as well as learning about the people who have lived there over the past several hundred years. I saw similar physical characteristics, personality traits and most importantly to me, similar glints in their eyes as we both looked at the same things and had the same reactions to what we saw. We all take this for granted, particularly if we have lived in the same place all our lives. I have had the benefit of living in many different places across North America and I can tell you firsthand that not all senses of humour, for example, are created equal. This is easily explained since certain regions are made up of certain ethnic groups which share a common thread of thinking and perceptions. But what if you’re the outsider looking in? How do you fit in? Can you ever truly fit in? Not being much of a “joiner” myself, I prefer to observe these conditions before making my move, as it were, and so I have learned through this process that there are places where I am meant to belong, and places I am meant to not. I am not personally affronted by this, but it was heartening to be in two places on this planet where I evidently fit in so seamlessly and that is a true comfort I value beyond the measure of any material good which might take its place.

I’ll leave you with these thoughts for now, but I will undoubtedly share similar observations with you in the future. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave your comments and observations of your own. Slainte mhath!

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The Love of Thousands.

In August and September of 2013, I was able to see to fruition a dream which was planted in my head as far back as 1985 when my Uncle D and I used to daydream about one day travelling to Scotland together thinking that we might be able to finish a family tree which traced our family’s roots back to its beginnings in Newfoundland. We had hoped, you see, of one day being able to trace our family back to its Scottish origins and through its travels to Ireland and other places to connect it with the history we knew in Newfoundland.

The question always asked of genealogists, even those who do it as a hobby, is WHY? In today’s society, we tend to be more focused on the here and now and only recent past, but always looking forward to the future. But, as any good genealogist or philosopher will tell you, in order to know where you’re going, you must first know where you’ve been. Or, in this case, where your family has been. You see, you are not just you. You are the culmination of all the steps your forebears have made as every one of their steps and the steps of those before them, have led you to this moment right here and now.

So, with that mindset, I travelled with my husband to Scotland for the first time last summer. My Uncle D, though not with me in corporeal form, was definitely with me in spirit and I kept him in mind, particularly when we arrived in Dumfries where I had left a small stone procured from the beach near his home in Newfoundland, symbolic of just a little part of him that had made it there, and will remain hopefully for time immemorial. For, you see, without his musings and his enthusiasm, it likely never would have occurred to me to go at all, and without his footsteps – proverbial or otherwise – in which to follow, the gift of that trip and all the beauty and joy I experienced as a result, would never have happened. And so, I must firstly thank my Uncle D wherever he might be, for this immeasurable gift.

Travelling, to me, has always been a double-edged sword. There is the excitement of the upcoming adventure and insatiable curiosity at what lies ahead. At the same time, leaving my home for extended periods of time has always been a great source of anxiety for me as my Virgoan nature tends to want to take over and imagine all sorts of horrible things happening in my absence. For the most part, my logic takes over and calms everything down by simply pointing out that I cannot be in two places at once and I must choose one over the other.

So, that in mind, we set off. Arriving in Glasgow Airport expecting some sprawling structure, we were pleasantly surprised at the smaller nature of their airport and the expedient way in which we were processed for entry. We simply answered the usual questions at customs and were sent on our merry way to locate a cab to our first hotel, which was deep in the centre of Glasgow. To say that we felt as if we had stepped back in time a bit is to put it mildly. The taxi driver must have pegged us off as a couple of rubes as we stared gape mouthed at all the wonderful old buildings and structures as we travelled toward the heart of the city toward our hotel, pointing out nearly everything along the way and being so gobsmacked as to forget that we even brought a camera.

A few days there, and then a train ride to Edinburgh. The train ride was equally entertaining in that it gave us our first glimpse into the Scottish countryside, if only for an hour.

Edinburgh, like Glasgow, is a lovely city with so much history one cannot possibly take it all in during one short 4-day visit. One of the highlights was visiting the Scottish National Gallery and sitting in the same room as Rodin’s sculpture, “The Kiss,” which was on display there during our visit. I had to fight back tears as I stood in the presence of this beautiful treasure with only a few inches and a velvet rope separating me from it. The rest of the Gallery was equally amazing with its priceless works of art from all over the world, and an entire wing dedicated to Scottish artists.

"The Kiss," by Auguste Rodin

“The Kiss,” by Auguste Rodin

After being in the cities, it was a lovely break to get away into the Highlands. There is no way to adequately describe the rugged beauty of the Scottish landscape. Suffice it to say, none of your senses will come up wanting. Castle ruins compel you to come close, as if being called by some distant and unknown voice. I was helpless not to heed their call. One such castle was Urqhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness. To be on the storied banks of Loch Ness was a rare treat in itself, let alone inside a castle which Robert the Bruce himself defended hundreds of years ago. Placing my hand on the wall of such a legendary place, closing my eyes, I was almost able to imagine the people who must have worked tirelessly to carve each stone of its walls, who lived inside and on the surrounding hillsides, wondering what their lives must have been like all those many years ago.

A lone piper greeting visitors to Urqhart Castle, Loch Ness, Scotland.

A lone piper greeting visitors to Urqhart Castle, Loch Ness, Scotland.

I had similar experiences to these during our entire trip there, and our trip finally ended in the town in which my own family’s story began so many centuries ago. Dumfries. Except through a glitch with our travel agency, the first night we were to stay in Dumfries, we ended up staying in Dumfriesshire. Realizing that it was 70 miles away from where we were intended to be left me somewhat in a panic. To have travelled all that way, with my stone from Uncle D’s beach in tow! The thought of not being able to fulfill my purpose! My mood was desolate to say the least, and in that state of mind, I am useless to all. However, my quick-thinking husband came up with a solution and so we stayed the first night in Dumfriesshire, but while there arranged a hotel to spend our remaining nights back in Dumfries.

And so, the first night there, my husband and I took a stroll to the River Nith and with me I carried not only myself and all my dreams and curiosity, but also my legacy…and the small stone I obtained from Newfoundland on behalf of my late Uncle D who never got to take that path with me, but who will always be with me and always, at least in some small way, in Dumfries, Scotland, where each of our paths began fulfilling not only my promise, but in some small way, my destiny as well.

The River Nith, Dumfries, Scotland.

The River Nith, Dumfries, Scotland.

You are the result of the love of thousands.

You are the result of the love of thousands.

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