A feature blog post on Call Me Curious!
You may remember that I was interviewed about the themes in my book on a storytelling show on a Vancouver radio station, by my friend Tracey Wimperley- that was a few years ago. In my mind, Tracey is equal parts hilarious and insightful in real life ( along with other fine attributes). She also has the superpower to express her well developed voice in the written word. Luckily for us she shares her writing on her Blog: Call Me Curious.
Recently she sent me a lovely invitation- she would like to write about her reflections of my approach to life which I share on my instagram account, my website, my newsletter and here in my blog. I know that it can be an overused word, but I felt really honoured.
If you are interested, I would love for you to read this edition that was released today. You can see that it has been copied and pasted until I can figure out a more polished way to share it here- I have plants waiting to be dug into the ground today.
I would also invite you to treat yourself and add her blog to your online reading. The blog posts are beautifully crafted, thought-provoking, hilarious and always reflect her unique perspective and voice.
Leaning into beauty and living in the now: Lise-Lotte embraces simple pleasures
Lise-Lotte Loomer is the warmest person with the coolest name. I’ve known this exceptional human for more than 20 years, and she lets me call her “L3.” I use the nickname with fondness.
I met L3 at ICBC; we worked in different departments, but our paths crossed from time to time. Years ago, she moved with her family – husband, Tereus and daughters, C and Ilse – to Victoria where they’ve lived since. Happily, we’ve stayed in touch and try to visit when we’re in the other’s hometown.
There are many things I appreciate about Lise-Lotte; her calming presence tops the list. She has a grace and perspective about living more fully in the present that I find myself leaning into more and more these days. L3 observes, “[The present] is, of course, the only moment we actually have. We have no influence on what is in the past. We do not have all the information to live a future event until we get there. So here we are in the present.”
Amongst the sturm and drang of today’s world, I thought a healthy dose of L3’s insights on the simple pleasures of life might be welcome. That could be a colourful delight from her bountiful garden. It might be a demonstration of how to make a wreath or dye a piece of fabric. Maybe it’s burning candles, or slowly sipping tea from a favourite mug – perfect to wash down a fresh-baked scone. Simple, but not simplistic.
L3 creates abundant magic in her garden and crafts with her hands for sure, but she doesn’t rush through these moments; she pauses to notice the sensations that lead to joy – reflecting on them, embracing them, and relishing them. “There’s no telling just how much happiness you can find in a single day,” she muses.
She makes it a daily habit to honour the present whole-heartedly by noticing and embracing small moments and experiences. Several weeks ago, I asked readers and Facebook followers this humble question: “What do you think of as a simple pleasure?” I was gob-smacked by number of responses. And while I’m not going to list all the simple pleasures offered up (this would be a verrryyy long post if I did), some common themes emerged: being in Nature, time spent alone with a cup of coffee or tea, quality time spent with good friends, watching birds feast on backyard feeders, beachcombing, licking the beaters, the smell – and taste! – of fresh bread, riding a bike, belly laughs. A surprising number of people mentioned the simple pleasure of fresh linen. Less common were these two that made me smile: “Putting a segment of a grapefruit in my mouth and biting down, the juice exploding in all directions” and “singing Jesus Christ Superstar loudly.”
I shared the input with Lise-Lotte and she observed, “These simple pleasures speak to what people really value. It would seem people here value time, beauty, connection, love, living in the moment– the noticing, the mindful approach.” Simple pleasures aren’t universal, so one person’s idea of pleasure won’t necessarily bring the same boost of happiness to another. “The moments in the stillness of early morning or intentionally being in Nature, burning candles or seeing bulbs coming up certainly speak to me,” L3 muses.
Two deeply personal losses have molded her way of being. When she was 21, her father experienced a stroke which left him unable to walk and talk. His healing was very slow (and he never fully recovered), and that sudden life change required really slowing down to make time for what mattered. L3 remembers that the moments were “distilled down to their essence. That experience of losing everything and healing to a point where one doesn’t take anything for granted was a real gift in my life.”
Then, in July 2020, Lise-Lotte’s younger daughter unexpectedly passed away. “I was extremely conscious and clear about being present with my daughters. Thank heavens I was because now, having lost my Ilse to a brain aneurysm at age 21, I will no longer have her to learn from for the rest of my days. I live completely without regrets. I am so thankful that I enjoyed my time with her.”
She expands on her personal relationship with tragedy to put into a larger world perspective: “If we look at the people who have had to flee conflict in their country, or people who are dying in hospice, or injured so much as to change their life forever, those people don’t talk about missing or wishing for big things, but they talk about seemingly small ordinary moments. Perhaps if we can learn from others in this way, it will inform our current priorities.”
Over the past few years, Lise-Lotte has shared her love of photography, flower growing and gathering, Nature and connection on her Instagram account, @greenhousehygge. She says: “I believe that I have a perspective to share in the world that is helpful.” Recently, she’s expanded her reach with the launch of lise-lotte.ca – her website that captures the spirit of leaning into beauty and living in the present moment.
She sells flowers from her garden on a makeshift stand out the front of her house. Lise-Lotte comments, “I’m growing these flowers to that the kind people who buy them can express their caring in the world.”
She offers workshops on wreath making and creating botanical cyanotypes. She’s branded the cyanotypes – an old photographic technique – “Out of the Blue.” It’s an apt description for what happens when you lean into creative exploration and the lack of control and find beauty at that intersection. “There is always an element of surprise in the final outcome,” says Lise-Lotte. No two cyanotypes are the same.
Her sister and niece introduced L3 to cyanotype while she was learning how to live with her never-ending love for her Ilse along with the grief she experienced in the missing. “I had the immense privilege in my life to give birth to her, love her, be loved by her, learn from her, and be right next to her when she needed me most. Being a mom has been one of the greatest gifts I could ever have been given in my life.” Discovering and creating cyanotypes was one of the ways she found she could be fully in the present moment, appreciative of the beauty in small and ordinary things.
For a different, yet complementary perspective on the magic of simple pleasures, my friend, Anne, recalled an interview with Olympic speed skater and cyclist, Clara Hughes. When speaking of her struggle with depression, Clara noted that the simple pleasures are vast and each day, she tried to find that “moment of bliss.” Anne adds, “We are blessed, in this crazy, distressing world, to have endless simple pleasures available to us. We just have to stop for one heartbeat.”
I encourage you to stop for a few heartbeats and visit Lise-Lotte’s website and her @greenhousehygge Instagram account. You’ll want to linger to savour both ordinary and the extraordinary simple pleasures.