magical moments


I was carrying a lit Muskoka Candle Company candle from one part of the house to another yesterday and a memory popped into my mind: Christmas Eve service as a kid at the part when everyone in the church holds a lit candle – the plain, white kind that churches buy in bulk – and the lights are turned off.
It may have been one of my favorite times at Christmas, a moment of collective peace before we loaded back into Dad’s cold car to go home to cheese fondue and Mom and Dad’s Frank Sinatra Christmas album playing on the stereo.
I had a big extended family and my older brothers and sister married and started families when I was still living at home so there were always lots of people around at Christmas. And although I loved the days of hubbub and feasting, I now know that I am firmly in the introvert category so those moments of candlelight in Saskatoon’s Grace-Westminster United Church were, of course, magical.
Thinking about that made me feel a little better about the vast amount of time I am spending lately staring into space and thinking about nothing in particular.
Although I have lots to do, friends to text, people to call, groceries to order, somehow the whole time since we closed PGB has been a time when I can get lost in thought. I’d like to tell you that I emerge from my reveries with insightful epiphanies, but I don’t. Usually I just shake out of it and make lunch or something.
I just finished William Bridges’ terrific book about transitions called, appropriately, Transitions, Making Sense of Life’s Changes.
I last read it in 2009 between leaving the bank and starting the bakery. I was reminded on this second reading of his theory that making a “change” is, for example, finding a new job or moving from one house to another in the same general area.
A “transition”, on the other hand, is when something in us has shifted and we realize one chapter in life has closed, or some important aspect of us has shifted, and there is a brand new something or other out there.
Bridges encourages people in transition to take time to be in what he calls a neutral zone, a time when we let ourselves float apparently aimlessly. The first edition was written decades ago and his suggestion for a neutral zone time-out is to spend a few days in a strange city watching people from a park bench, clearly not contemplating a never-ending lockdown. But, I’ve decided, a neutral zone can be a sofa and a cat or two and nowhere to go.
I’d like to know where things are going – and when, please-  and a neutral zone refuses to give us those answers. But my experience of it since January is that it is mostly not unpleasant…so I will go with my lost-in-thoughtness  until this lockdown comes to a welcome end.



About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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