Columnist - Jaellayna Palmer

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Columnist

Ayr News (Ayr, Ontario)

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Contributor, Bahaiteachings.org


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Personal Journey Column, The Guelph Mercury (Guelph, Ontario)

  • For over 8 years, the newspaper column explored how everyday life brings opportunities to reflect upon, and learn about, spiritual principles.

  • See the opening of each essay below and then a link to the full text.

Note:  The book "Personal Path, Practical Feet" grew out this newspaper column, though at the time I could never have predicted it. Listed by year of publication:

2016

Thoughts on a Stormy Night
I lie awake in bed, listening to the storm. Ice against the windows, roaring wind, the occasional car returning home. And then I hear the snow plow and with it the reassurance of being taken care of. more…

2015

Back to University

I’m taking a for-credit course at the University this semester. It’s my first time to be in such a structured learning environment since – well – possibly since before my classmates’ parents were born. more…

Two Worlds Across the Sky
During a recent camping trip on Manitoulin Island, John and I attended an astronomy evening in a specially-designated “Dark Sky Reserve”. Even without a perfectly clear evening, we saw stars and constellations and other, more exotically-named, structures of the physical universe. more…

An Inconvenient Insomnia
Try spending 2 days with Al Gore and his team and you might end up with so much to think about that your brain can’t stop for sleep. At least, that’s what happened to me a few weeks ago while attending the 2-day Climate Reality Leadership Training in Toronto. more…

Service through the Ages
A hearty, enthused group of people from across SW Ontario gathered in my home last weekend. Meeting for the 3rd time to explore the concept of “Service in Our Senior Years”, what we have in common is more than just our age (late-50’s to mid-80s). more…

Back Home Again
My husband John and I recently returned after 4 months away. Our trip was full of wondrous moments, and now I find myself digesting the experiences, lessons learned, relationships formed as well as renewed, and the dazzling array of sights and activities. more…

2014

After Training – Doing
I love being physically active, and I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to exercise almost every day. My workouts are for fitness, in contrast to people who are training for a competition or a team sport. more…

As Time Passes – How We Use It
As I left a meeting this evening I heard one person say, “Wow, this day really flew by” and yet another person said, “I didn’t think this day would ever end”. Despite the fact that we all have the same amount of time each day, our perceptions vary. more…

Where I’d Like to Visit
A few days ago a friend told me about her recent vacation. It sounded like an excellent trip, and already she was thinking about where she might travel to next year or maybe the year after that. And then she asked me where I’d like to visit.  more…

Energy from Happiness
I’m midway through the annual Fast for Baha’is – no food or drink from sunrise to sunset for 19 days, ending with our “new year” on the first day of spring. Every year I learn something different from this experience, and this time I am thinking about the source of my energy in the absence of food. more…

Strength and Balance, From the Core
While treating me for some sports injuries, my physiotherapist recommended some Pilates classes. Through his clinic I was able to enroll in a series specially designed for people with back issues. more…

2013

When Someone Litters
While walking through the Guelph Arboretum I saw a youth toss a plastic water bottle into the bush. I picked it up, ran to him, and asked him to reconsider what he had done. more…

Follow the Instructions – for Life
The eager owner of a new techno-gizmo, I put the packaging aside, started using it, and almost immediately was frustrated by not knowing how to turn on some of the features.  more…

Back to School and On With Life
It’s September, and that means it’s ”back to school” season. Even though there aren’t any school-age children in my own household, I can’t avoid the reminders more…

From the Other Side of a Traffic Jam
Enjoying both the weather and the music on the radio, I was looking forward to meeting a friend for lunch.   And then I glanced over to the traffic going the other direction more…

Planning Life, Living Life
John and I are in the midst of making some important decisions – well, important to us anyway. I keep trying to think through the long-term impact, projecting events forward several years. more…

Variety Is More Than Just Tasty

It’s spring cleaning season, and yesterday I was working in my kitchen. While sorting items on my spice rack I thought about how dull food would be without them. more…

Inner Space Travel
I heard a story about a taxi driver who was thought to be very well traveled.   His passengers, whether occasional or frequent, found him to be an enthusiastic conversationalist more…

Signs and Directions – To a Peaceful Destination
I went for a walk around town this afternoon, and the closer I got to the downtown area the more I noticed signs, lots of them. more…

2012

Over the Hills and Around the Curves of Life
On a bike ride with my husband John last weekend, I had trouble with some of the hills and curves and was frankly relieved to find an easier, alternative route at one point of the trail. more…

Living a Weatherproof Life
A few weeks ago my husband and I were vacationing at Tofino on Vancouver Island. Though I realized that area is a rain forest, I was dismayed the first morning when I read the day’s weather prediction more…

Sorting through the Clutter
I recently overheard a real estate broker advising someone who was preparing to sell her home.   Beyond the usual items were some recommendations that I hadn’t considered more…

Coffee and Kindness to All

A few days ago when I tried to pay for my morning coffee, I was told it had already been paid for. The cashier then pointed to a woman near the exit and said that she sometimes buys coffee for strangers. more…

The Talent Within Us
My husband and I recently changed our TV service to a package that includes hundreds of stations, vastly more than we would ever watch. Nevertheless curious about them, I scanned them all more…

Health and Dis-Ease
This week I have learned about 3 people being diagnosed with cancer, bringing to 6 the number I myself know with this mysterious disease. And it is not the only disease I’m hearing about more…

2011

The Gift of Speech
In this season of gift-giving for many people around the world, I have been thinking about what “gifts” God, as the Creator, has given us all. The most obvious is the gift of life. more…

Excellence in All Things
I have written before about witty statements on church marquees, and today yet another one caught my eye and imagination. It read “Whatever you are, be a good one”. more…

What I Learned from My Hydrangea

John and I recently noticed a hydrangea in our garden that lacked vigour, didn’t seem to take nourishment, and was apparently dying. We replaced it with another plant and then more…

Finding Direction

A few weeks ago John and I were barely 2 hours into a 9-day car trip when our GPS unit broke down. We considered our options, which included
more…

Teaching and Learning – Both Are Essential

I recently attended an annual conference at the University that focuses on “Teaching and Learning”. I have been thinking since about the relationship between these two ideas more…

2010

Family – What Does This Mean?
During a recent visit to New Zealand, my husband and I re-connected with 2 of his brothers, their wives, their kids and even their grandkids. more…

Searching – Part of Our Human-ness

A few days ago I lost an item of great sentimental value. It was a gift from a friend, something I have enjoyed for many years. more…

Receiving and Giving Inspiration

I recently read about an amazing man – a quadruple amputee who swam the English Channel unassisted. I know this sounds like the cover story in a supermarket tabloid, but it’s true. more…

Surrounded by Beauty

Odd as this may sound, I love movies about Prisoners of War. I am always inspired by stories that show people arising above the worst of circumstances maintaining dignity more…

Fire – What Is It?

On a recent camping trip John and I were eagerly looking forward to a blazing campfire to take the chill out of the evening.   Though we are both generally adept with campfires more…

Thinking about What I Don’t Know
I enjoy reading the clever signs on church marquees. Today I saw one that read, “Some questions even Google can’t answer”.   It got me thinking about different kinds of learning. more…

Lucky Me
A few days ago a colleague told me that she had recently had car trouble and used her cell phone to call for roadside assistance.   While she waited she kept her phone on more…

The Worlds We Live In

One of my best friends in the entire solar system died to this world a couple of weeks ago, and I am among the countless people who miss him greatly.  more…

Justice:  It’s Not Just Us
I’ve been asked to give a talk in a few weeks on the subject of “Social Justice”, so I’ve been thinking about the concept of “justice”.  more…

2009

Smile or Frown – and Pass It On
A few weeks ago I had someone recognize me from the photo on this column and comment that she has posted some of my columns on her cork board at work.
more…

Walking in My Own Neighbourhood
I went for a walk this afternoon. The air was cold but the sun was bright, so I felt warmed inside. And while I walked, I noticed many things more…

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
The well-known book “Be Here Now” was written by Ram Das in 1971, and the title continues to be a reminder to be attentive to the present moment. more…

Service Goes Both Ways
I’ve been thinking lately about “customer service”, having had several truly disappointing and frustrating experiences. more…

Multi-Cultural Communications
Every day is a special day to someone-somewhere. A birthday, an anniversary, a long-awaited event. On a larger scale, there are civic holidays, religious holy days, and cultural celebrations.  more…

2008

The Agreement of Science and Religion
I recently attended an event featuring a magician as the “children’s program”. Most of the time he focused his attention on the children more…

Equal, Not the Same

I love mowing my lawn – seeing the green lines left by the mower, figuring out how to go around obstacles, and how good it looks when I’m done. Then comes the most fun part more…

Green Decisions
I’ve been “green” since before the term was coined. The book “Diet for a Small Planet” inspired me to be vegetarian in the early 70’s, and around that same time I started recycling. more…

2007

Shades of Grey

When I pulled up the shades in my office today, the room didn’t get any brighter. Yuck, it’s one of those grey days, when the world looks like an old black & white photograph. more…

The Roof Causes of Poverty

In the 1980 film “The Gods Must Be Crazy” a community of Kalahari bushmen is thrown off-balance when a Coke bottle, tossed out of a small plane, lands in their village. more…

 
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