The Nine R’s of November

Why nine R’s? Well, mostly because it sounds good with the minor alliteration going on. Also, nine is my number if ever I were to have a number. I’ve always liked the number nine. Another reason is that I started singing in a choir recently – I will talk about that in a later post but singing in a choir is really important to me and this particular choir happens to be a church choir. The minister of that church is currently doing a series of sermons on The Nine R’s of Good Religion which, to me, translates into The Nine R’s of Being A Good Person. Maybe what I should really call this is The Nine R’s of Thinking About Yourself Too Much, But Hopefully Not Too Too Much And Trying Not To Be Really Annoying About It. However, that is too long and has no alliteration to make it catchy.

As much as I identify as a personally spiritual person I have never really held with any organized religion. I’ve long considered myself a Golden Ruleist (I may have made that up) – someone who tries to live by the golden rule which is the basis of all religions. My favourite is this version from Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. That is the whole of the Torah; all the rest is commentary.  To me this seems like common sense but as we all know, sometimes common sense isn’t so common. When you are a golden ruleist you feel comfortable reading about the beliefs of others from Anne Lamott to Pema Chodron (two of my favourites) and not worrying about the labels because it is all commentary.  Anyway, these sermons have made me think a lot lately about how I am living my life and the things that I am writing (or not writing as the case may often be). However, these are my R’s, not the minister’s, although a few overlap.

To be honest this started off as a discussion about doing an Instagram photo challenge with some friends. One friend  was talking about her feelings on turning 40 soon and it seemed to me that right now a lot of us are trying to reflect on what has been and what is coming. Many of my friends turned 40 in the last year and I think we are all struggling with some of the larger questions – but this doesn’t seem to be any different than the friends who have turned 30 or 50. We are all looking for connections. Real connections. I turned 40 last January and it was iffy that I would make it to my 41st birthday – but that birthday is fast approaching and I am confident I will still be here.

However, even though I have spent my 40th year facing a terminal illness, even that didn’t cause me to dig deep within myself. This is what I plan to do in my writing for the next month.

Also, doesn’t November seem like the perfect time to reflect? The days are short and cold and all I really want to do is sit under a blanket with a cup of tea and read, write and knit. (If only I could do all of that at once!) Christmas is coming, but isn’t quite here yet, and the pressure of a new year is right around the corner.

If you would like to play along at home – in whatever form that takes (photos, comments, e-mails, interpretive dance) – here are the Nine R’s. They are also posted on Instagram.


Unlike typical Instagram/social media challenges, this is not a daily thing – because nobody got time for that. I’ve given a time frame to work within and a word to work around. It doesn’t get much more loosey-goosey than that.

To go a little deeper, these are the definitions I’m (loosely) using:

  1. Real: definition: actually existing or happening, not imaginary, not fake, false, or artificial. Important and deserving to be regarded or treated in a serious way.
  1. Resilience: definition: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
  1. Recognize: definition: to accept or be aware that (something) is true or exists. To know and remember (someone or something) because of previous knowledge or experience.
  2. Remembrance: definition: the act of remembering a person, thing, or event. Something that is done or made to honour the memory of a person, thing, or event.
  3. Ruckus: definition: a disturbance or commotion.
  4. Respect: definition: a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way. A particular way of thinking about or looking at something.
  5. Reach: definition: to be able to touch, pick up, or grab (something) by moving or stretching. To arrive at (a place that you have been traveling to).
  6. Reduce: definition: to make smaller or less. To change to a simpler form.
  7. Reconcile: definition: To restore to friendship or harmony. To find a way of making (two different ideas, facts, etc.) exist or be true at the same time. To cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant.

See you on the 1st.

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