Archive for May, 2009

Reading James Hollis

This weekend I finished Hollis’s book: Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally Really Grow Up. At 72 years old, you would think I was grown up before now, but I think it has taken me at least until my 7th decade to feel grown up.  I still feel young at times, but my Self is an adult, thank goodness!  Hollis’s book explained so well what I’ve been going through, especially the last 3-4 years.  The reasons for me ending my long-term relationship was difficult to explain or understand, to myself as well as to my family and friends.  Perhaps they get it better than I, because they are looking at me from the outside.  However, Hollis writes about the soul’s journey, and that each of us can only do it independently.  Whatever this life that awaits me, it is only mine, and I’m responsible for my choices and my actions.  I value all the good times shared with my partner, but now I must be on my own.  I felt grown-up last year, but now I am acting that way.  What’s in my future?  No idea, really.  I have dreams and some goals, but mostly I just want to live each day richly and passionately.  I love writing.  I love my friends.  I cherish my son and daughter and their families, even though some may think I don’t love them because I don’t live near them.  In a few days I’m off to B.C. to visit them.  Should they ask me why I ended the relationship, now, with Hollis’s help, I can explain it.  I will memorize the end of his book:  “The soul asks each of us that we live a larger life.  Each day this summons is renewed and leaves you, unspeakably, to sort out your life, with its fearsome immensities, so that, now boundaried, now limitless, it transforms itself as stone in you and star.”  (italics: Rilke, “Evening,” II.9-12, author’s translation)


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Last week at Words & Music evening, at Knox United Church here in Calgary, I started the evening with a short questionnaire.  What’s Your HQ? was written 2 summers ago, on the way home from 3 weeks of visiting with friends and family in B.C.  My partner and I talked about the wide variety of treatment we had received from people, and chose to laugh at some of the more inept behaviours.  We wrote this questionnaire, adding incidents experienced on other trips.  However, all of these choices are based on real-life experience.  Discover  your own Hospitality Quotient in only 10 short questions!


            By Sharon Montgomery


This summer I visited ten sets of friends and family in three weeks.  Besides being “peopled out” I became very aware of different  hospitality styles.  I decided that ones  H.Q. (Hospitality Quotient) has no relationship to I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient).  On the return home my partner and I laughed our way to creating this questionnaire.  Give it a try. Remember your last company and score your behaviour accordingly: a 4, b3, c2, d 1 (The last item, #10, has different points.)


1.  When visitors arrive when expected, you greet them with:

a) a smile, hug or kiss then offer them a drink within three minutes

b) a wave or handshake and ask how their trip was

c) a ‘hi’ from your soaker tub and promise you’ll be out soon

d) a closed door and no answer to the doorbell


2. When visitors arrive unexpectedly you greet them with:

a) “What a surprise!” and invite them in enthusiastically

b) “Oh, this is a surprise.  Uh – do you have time to come in?”

c) “Wow, I didn’t expect to see you so soon again.”

d) “What is it this time?”


3.  When friends or relatives visit on their way through town you:

a) ask them to stay overnight and buy groceries to prepare meals and clean house prior to their arrival

b) ask if you can help them find a motel/hotel room

c) tell them of your plans for the day/evening and ask them what plans they have for same

d) ask them to babysit because you have a dinner engagement


4. Dinner time is nearing.  You:

a) suggest menu choices that you will prepare at home

b) ask what type of restaurant they would like to attend with you

c) wait for them to offer to take you out for dinner

d) make a light meal for yourself.  If they look or act hungry, ask “Do you have any food with you?”


5.  Your guests have a small pet with them, you have two cats, and the temperature is 36C.  You:

a) choose an air-conditioned room that can be closed and invite them to bring the pet inside where it can be comfortable

b) arrange time and places where the pets are separated, taking turns in air-conditioned rooms

c) expect their pet to stay in their car

d) let the pets interact, letting fur fly as it may


6. Your guest will use the second bathroom, which is usually used only by the man or children of the house.  You:

a) tell them the bathroom will be ready shortly for them, clean it, and provide fresh towels, facecloths and soaps

b) check the bathroom and pick up the worst of the clutter, then show them where it is

c) leave the toys in the tub and brag about how cute the baby is when bathing

d) tell them where the second bathroom is if they ask.  Don’t bother cleaning; it will only get dirty again.


7.  Your in-laws arrive as planned.  You have a one-year-old baby, the newest grandson.  Friends call to see if they can visit with you.  You say:

a) “My in-laws are visiting and I want to spend time with them.”

b) “Sure!  Come meet my in-laws.”

c) “Not right now, unless my mother-in-law looks after the baby.”

d) “Mom, would you please look after the baby?  I’d like to see my friends tonight.”


8.  Your mother, who lives out-of-town, arrives the same day as the big game on TV.  You:

a) program the TV to record the game so you can see it after she leaves

b) invite her to watch the game with you

c) watch the game by yourself but make time to visit with her later

d) watch the game in private.  If she wants to talk, she’ll join you, but you hope she doesn’t because she doesn’t understand the sport and she interrupts the play with stupid questions


9.  Meals, drinks and snacks can reveal much about expectations and values, especially during a visit with people you see only occasionally.  You:

a) think about who else would want to see them and arrange a potluck party of friends and relatives

b) grocery shop for special items you want to share with them, especially wine, beer, appetizers, entrees, fruit and veggies

c) expect to have at least one sit-down meal with them, but perhaps at a restaurant where it’s Dutch treat

d) tell them to help themselves to food in the fridge or cupboard but don’t offer to get items for them


10. You entertain your guests by:

a) making no special plans.  Conversation flows easily and steadily with everyone involved.  Questions, experiences and opinions are comfortably shared. (6 points)

b) planning an outing of mutual interest (game, theatre, music, walk, etc.) (5 pts)

c) sharing pictures of your latest vacation (4 pts)

d) watching young children at play (3 pts)

e) giving them an Entertainment Guide so they can go out without you (2 pts)

f) watching a TV program that interests you  (1 pt)

g) showing them your garden and garden tools,  encouraging them to help water or weed (0 pt)


Add your score for each item.  Remember, this is based on the last time you entertained guests, whether family or friends.  Then see if the descriptions fit.

Score 10-20

            This could mean that your home is your castle and you have no interest in sharing it with freeloaders.  You convinced your company not to return any time soon.  It could be your ‘company’ was uninvited family members, or perhaps you are an only child.


Score 21-30  

Some people are better company than others.  If they are true friends they’ll accept your style and relax.  People feel comfortable, but perhaps not as much as you do.


Score 31-40

Your honor your friends and family with thoughtful acts but don’t set a standard too high for them to return. 


Score 41- 45

You are so hospitable that people could easily take advantage of you.  Make sure you visit them also so it equals out.

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So, what is a quantum plate?  Actually the full title is Quantum Power Plates.  It is a design, not unlike a mandala, created by artist Renee Luther Hamilton.  I bought two of these at the recent BodySoulSpirit Expo in Calgary.  Rene creates these designs and mounts them on a foam-board.  You can place the smaller ones under a glass of water, or whatever else you are drinking.  Rene said it changes the water so you get more energy from drinking it.  Who knows?  I couldn’t tell much difference in my water, after sitting it for 30 seconds on a small plate named The Rejuvenator.  It’s beautiful to look at though, so even if it doesn’t work, it is calming and centering for contemplation.

However, here’s a picture of my Quantum Power Plate, which is big enough for me to stand on.  I do this whenever I want to feel more centred.  It is particularly helpful before I tackle a writing project!  Rene’s website is www.powerofsoul.org, if you want to find out more. H is promo says he is the inventor of the “Quantum Nano Patch Technology”.  Rene was just one of the marvellous free spirits at the BodySoulSpirit Expo.  Fun to talk with, absolutely convinced of the effectiveness of his designs.  Because I’m familiar with the work of Masaru Emoto, and also know the power of image in Tarot cards, and indeed, any good work of art,  I had no trouble buying Rene’s theory.   I guess that makes me another free spirit!

Standing on my power plate feels wonderful.  Last night at our Healing Touch meeting each of the 7 members took turns standing on it, to see if they could feel energy shifting in their bodies.  Five of them definitely sensed stronger energy flow.  We  test these theories with an open mind but a healthy dose of skepticism. 

Quantum Power Plate
Quantum Power Plate

It works for me!

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I don’t usually push past fatigue.  Yesterday I did so, however.  I awoke at 5:30 a.m., startled by a metallic clunk that was too close to ignore.  Groggily, I wondered what it could be, then realized that the cat trap left in my back yard must have been sprung.  So I grabbed slippers and a jacket and went outside.  Sure enough, a cat had crawled in after that yummy salmon pate, but it wasn’t my cat.  This one, an orange tabby, belongs across the street.  I lifted the trap door and it sped out the cage, down the sidewalk, out the gate to freedom.  Since I was now thoroughly awake, I decided to relocate the trap to an address where I’d received a call about a stray gray tabby.  I set it up in front of the building, then waited for an hour to see if a cat would emerge.  Home by 8:00 a.m. for breakfast and coffee, then a call to that address to alert them.  They were to phone me if a cat became trapped.  I was tired, and just wanted to go back to bed.  However I had a 10:00 a.m. appointment, so wondered how I could stay awake.  Well, would you believe by cleaning?  My list of “should do that one day soon” included cleaning the shelf below the sink.  An hour later it was clean and sweet smelling.  Then I washed the floor in the bathroom and hall.   I did lie down for a short nap before my interview arrived, then, after receiving her call that she was on the way, I stood on my Quantum Plate to re-energize.  It must have helped.  I accomplished the interview, errands, then went to check the trap.  It was full!  A beautiful grey tabby was inside.  I didn’t know where it belonged, so was going to take it the Animal Rescue Centre.  Fortunately the owner appeared, saying “If it has a red collar, it’s my cat.”  It did and it was.  Saved me a trip to the Centre.  At home later, I worked on my raspberry patch.  I’ll have to remember  next time I’m bagged:  Don’t lie down and nap; take on a cleaning project.  Well, maybe.  Time will tell.  Perhaps I’ll just stand on my Quantum Plate.  Skip the cleaning.

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