Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Year, New Opportunities

As 2008 draws to a close, I look back over the year to see what goals I have achieved, which still need my attention, what challenges have occurred and what opportunities arose from those challenges.

I will admit 2008 had more than it's fair share of challenges for me and to be honest, I am happy to see the year draw to a close. Yet, there were also some truly positive and wonderful opportunities presented to me in 2008.

I was reminded this year that goals should not be carved in stone; they require flexibility and a willingness to gain a more panoramic view rather than narrow single minded determination. Being committed to your goal and focussing on achieving it helps get you there, but when you can only see ONE way to achieve your goal, you are creating your own blocks and limitations which will ultimately slow your progress.

When you open yourself to seeing things through a BIG PICTURE mentality rather than a narrow straight line, you become aware not only of other opportunities, but also alternative ways to reach your goal. Some times these alternatives turn out to be bigger, better, and faster than you imagined possible.

There are infinite possibilities which means there is more than one way to achieve your goal ~ so be open, be imaginative, be willing to see more than what is directly in front of you, and most importantly, be courageous enough to take the opportunities that are presented to you.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than the fear" ~ Ambrose Redmoon

Thursday, December 11, 2008

December's Here

Well, here we are in the 2nd week of December, a mere 14 days from Christmas, and yet I feel no urge to rush to get things finished. Usually by now I would be finished - finished shopping, finished baking, finished cleaning and decorating, greeting cards mailed, letters written, and able to just sit back and enjoy the holidays. This year is different, the shopping isn't even started, nor is the baking, cards and letters are still waiting on my desk. The cleaning and decorating is about the only thing I've actually done. I just don't feel in the holiday spirit like I normally would by this time of the year.

It's been a strange year. Filled with both saddness and joy, disappointment and success. In some ways it is perhaps a year like any other, yet the highs and lows seemed more extreme this year than in years gone by. While I'm sure this has played a part in how I feel, I actually think it's more than that; I think I just haven't spent enough time with family and friends this year. What's really missing this year is the usual abundance of love and laughter.

Generally speaking, I'm pretty content. Sure there are things which could be better and are improving, but for the most part, I have little to complain about. The one thing I have always had time for in years past is spending time with those who matter most to me. This year, it seemed like schedules conflicted a lot more than in the past, and I missed out on some very important 'milestone' events.

It's these milestone events that remind you how far you have come together, what you have learned along the way, and how some people are meant to be in your life for the long haul. It's these people who remind you the true meaning of the holidays and what the real gifts are: friendship, love, compassion, laughter.

So, perhaps it's not my holiday spirit that is missing, but time spent preparing for the holidays with friends and family. As I contemplate things, I'm beginning to see the simple answer to my holiday blues is as close as a phone call away. It doesn't matter what you do when you're together as long as the time together is filled with laughter and love.

Blessings for the holidays!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Is It A Sign?!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have just completed a couple of big projects. One of which is the creation of a deck of 60 inspirational/guidance cards. I had them proof-read and last week I contacted my rep. at the print company to set up a meeting to get them printed. Instead of arranging a meeting I was hit with some surprising news; the company had gone into receivership just days before my call.

I was surprised to say the least and it left me wondering "What's the message here?" "Is it a sign?" Now, I truly believe everything happens for a reason, however, I also believe that we don't always know what that reason is at the time. This is where I am now, wondering why this 'block' has appeared just as I was ready to complete this project and where do I go from here?

As with everything in life, there are choices to be made and the choices are always made based on the perspective held. So, I can see this as a 'block' and perhaps a sign that this project was not meant to be and I need to give up and walk away.

Or I can see this as an opportunity to take another look at the project to see if there is something I have overlooked, something that needs to be done before it goes to print, or perhaps another printer will do an even better job at a better price. Or, perhaps there is someone I need to meet with to really launch this project on a large scale.

So often, when we hit a block in the road to our goal, we see it as a sign that 'it wasn't meant to be' and we give up. Yet rarely is this really the case. Often the block shows up when we are closest to achieving our goal. It's purpose isn't to stop us dead in our tracks, it's purpose is to give us the opportunity to double check, to see where there may be a weakness in our plan, or to find a more supportive resource (person, place or thing) that will really pull everything together easily and effortlessly. Instead of focusing on the block, focus on what you need to do to get past the block. If you were driving and something blocked your way, what would you do? You'd find another way!! Whether that meant going around it, climbing over it, tunneling under it, or even backing up to find an alternate route, you know there's more than one way to get where you are going so you'd just get there some other way.

The same applies for 'blocks' that appear in the path to your goals. There are other ways to get around these blocks, it's simply a matter of finding the alternate route. Before you throw your hands up in the air and sigh deeply saying "It wasn't meant to be!!" Take a step back and look around. See what opportunities this block creates, how you can benefit from it, where your plan may need a little extra support. In other words, stop looking at the block and start looking for the 'what'; as in "What have I overlooked?" "What do I need to make this a success?" "What else needs to be in place?" Don't be afraid to tell people you've hit a block, you may find the answer to your block comes through your conversation with someone else.

So as I ponder my choices, I know I will choose to see this project through to completion. I truly believe the deck I created hold messages that will resonate and inspire many, many people, so I have no doubt they will be printed and marketed. It's all just a matter of time and, of course, figuring out the 'what' which interestingly enough, is beginning to show itself.

So remember, don't use the blocks in your path as an excuse not to continue, use them as an opportunity to strengthen your plan and to see other ways to achieve your goals.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Relationship Worth Having

This month, my parents would have been married 48 years; I say 'would have' because dad passed away earlier this year (on Easter Sunday to be exact). It's hard for me to imagine spending 48 years married to the same person, yet I know my parents loved each other throughout their life together.

Mom is the daughter of an Irish father and an English mother. Dad was Italian; born in Treviso and immigrated to Canada when he was 20. Dad spoke next to no english, but managed to get a job, ironically, as an apprentice for my's father. A chance meeting one day in 1956, gave dad his first glimpse of the woman he would one day marry.

He managed to convince mom to spend time with him by asking her to help him improve his English. They would go out for long drives each week-end and while dad drove, mom would coach him. On those occasions when she didn’t want to go, dad would coax her to go ‘just out for a coffee’. Since he wanted to spend as much time as possible with her, he would often drive for hours before actually stopping for the promised coffee. He knew she was the one and just needed time to convince her. He eventually won her heart and they were married on November 26, 1960.

They were very different, yet it is as though their differences drew them closer together or perhaps it was their ability to support and encourage each other to follow their dreams. While they built a life together, they also maintained very separate interests. Mom was a classically trained singer, dad raced cars. Yet even though these interests were so diverse and often took them in very different directions, geographically speaking, they supported each other's dreams fully, celebrating each other's successes, encouraging each other when things didn't go quite as planned. They always made time to be together, as a couple, and as parents. Family was always the most important thing in their lives.

They were, to me, an ideal couple. Strong and secure in their love, trust, and respect for each other. They took time to be a part of each other's interests and between them had a huge circle of friends which meant there were always people at our home making it a wonderful environment to grow up in. Our home was 'the place to be' everyone was always welcome day or night often resulting in a mix of racing fanatics and musical afficianados. Odd, yet it somehow always seemed to result in everyone having a good time.

I think we get too caught up in the maddness of life, rushing through it with little time and little thought to give to each other. Is it any wonder the divorce rate is somewhere around 50%? Yet, if we would just stop....for a moment...and think "What is most important to us?...WHO is most important to us?" Perhaps we would see that the things and busy-ness we fill our days with isn't nearly as important as WHO we should fill our days with.

When I look at my parents relationship, I see it as the kind of relationship I strive for. They truly understood that it was entirely possible to have the best of both worlds ~ to follow your dreams and have a happy, stable relationship and family life. To them, it was always a matter of remembering and spending time with what was most important ~ each other.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Working Towards A Goal

I tend to set Big Goals.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's a good thing because a Big Goal gives me something to focus on and work towards. It's a bad thing because sometimes I get discouraged along the way simply because it seems like I've been working on the same goal for ages. Of course "ages" is completely subjective especially when you're working on something big because there is going to be an element of time involved.

Case in point. I've just finished writing a chapter for a colleague's upcoming book and I've just completed creating a deck of 60 inspirational cards and a companion booklet for the deck. I was (and am) excited about both these projects even though they were big and would take some time to complete. While logically I knew I was looking at a couple of months worth of work to complete both projects, part way through both projects I found myself feeling like the time was rushing forward and I was still working on these projects; it seemed like I wasn't getting anything done and it was taking forever.

While setting big goals is a great thing to do, it would probably have been wiser for me to create small goals or benchmarks within that Big Goal. By creating small goals within a big goal, I would have seen the progress I was making and I also would have created a sense of accomplishment and excitement as I continued to work towards completing the Big Goal. Without those small goals, all I saw was how much more I still had to do and at times it was frustrating. Ahh well, live and learn!

Goals, big or small always need to be S.M.A.R.T:
  • Specific

  • Measureable

  • Attainable

  • Realistic

  • Timely
Write them down, then check to see if they meet the SMART criteria and edit as necessary. Then write out several copies and stick them in places where it's easy to see them often so they act as a visual reminder and a motivator.

So remember when you're creating a goal, make it BIG, and then make sure you put smaller goals within it or at the very least some benchmarks so you can see the progress you're making. It will keep you motivated and help you achieve your Big Goal.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Endings And New Beginnings

As I look outside my office window, I notice the leaves have begun to change colour signifying the end of summer and at the same time, beginning to show the beauty of autumn. An ending and a beginning held within the same period of time.

I love to see the seasons change, though I must admit I prefer watching winter turn to spring, and summer turn to fall, more than seeing fall turn into winter. Yet with each season change there is an ending and a new beginning. Each season holds it's own purpose, time, and beauty. While there are times when I feel winter is way too long, there are those winter nights that hold such amazing beauty in their stillness, the darkness of the night, the purity of the newly fallen snow, that it is truly breathtaking, and worth the long winter months just to have these moments of sheer quiet beauty.

So it is with life. As we grow and change, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we will change. Some changes will be exciting for us, creating a sense of anticipation and hope. Some will hold great beauty and significance; and some, will be like dark winter nights, cold, barren and grim; yet they hold great potential if you are willing and able to look past the obvious and recognize the beauty and wisdom that lies within its depths.

Rather than struggling and denying whatever is difficult in your life at that moment, stop and look at it intently. Seek it's beauty, it's purpose, it's lesson for within its 'pain' is also the wisdom needed to free yourself from it. Rather than struggling against an 'ending', whether it's a relationship, a job, a marriage, a friendship, acknowledge it's time to let go, to quit looking back and instead turn and look forward to the new beginning. However, the only way you will see it is if you are facing forward towards 'what will be' rather than looking back at 'what once was'.

For with every ending, there is always a new beginning, the opportunity to create anew, to create something different, something wonderful, something breathtaking.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Making Room

We often hold on to things, people and situations a lot longer than we should. Perhaps it's because it's familiar and in its own way comforting, even if it no longer serves us and is actually slowing us down.

How many people have a garage so full of 'stuff' that the car doesn't fit into the garage, but instead sits out on the driveway? Closets full of clothes, but they have nothing to wear? A job they hate that's going nowhere? Or are in a relationship with someone they don't love? As a society we want 'more' yet so few have figured out there is a need to balance out the energy of 'more'. To draw more into your life, you need to make room for it ~ in other words, you need to release the 'old stuff' so there is room for the 'new stuff'.

I often come across people who tell me they believe in the LOA. They talk the talk, but they don't walk the talk. Some are in marriages that were over a long time ago yet neither partner has called it quits, not because they still love each other, but because both rather have 'someone' in their life (even though they are miserable with that someone) than to be alone. So they are weighted down by their own unhappiness, frustrated their life is not what they envisioned, and most likely angry at their partner for not leaving. That last part is always intrigues me because it's easy to be angry at someone else for not doing something, but the question is, "Why have they not left?!" After all, if both partners are unhappy, does it really matter who calls it quits? The unhappiness and frustration just adds more baggage, leaving them with little energy to really be able to utilize the LOA.

It's not just marriages or intimate relationships, the same goes for friends. People generally grow and change over time. Sometimes they grow closer together other times they grow apart. Interests change, goals change; this is not a bad thing. However, some times it means friends have grown apart and the things that once bound them no longer exists. Time spent together is awkward, stilted and more of a chore than a pleasure. Yet, in the back of your mind you are thinking "we've been friends forever, (s)he has been a good friend, how can I just walk away? Yet, the truth is, perhaps it's best to ease away while you each follow your paths. Who knows, you may find your paths cross again down the road or you may find you meet new people who are more aligned to the person you are becoming. We each have our purpose in life and often people come into our lives for a period of time to help us get to the next stage and then they leave. We should be grateful for the time we had together and thankful for the blessings the friendship held for us. Some people journey with us our entire lives, others are there for a shorter period of time and we must honor that, and recognize when we need to let them go so they too can continue on their journey.

The same goes for physical stuff. Closets full of clothes you haven't worn in years merely create clutter and weight. Energetically speaking, 'weight' (whether it's emotional, mental or physical baggage) equals WAIT. So the energetic equation is Weight = WAIT. The more baggage you continue to hold on to and drag through your life, the longer you have to WAIT for Change/New Stuff to enter your life. Think about it. How much easier and faster is it to tavel with only a carry-on bag vs. 3 suitcases packed full of stuff? Now apply that to yourself. How much stuff are you holding on to and dragging through your life? Old emotional hurts/baggage you refuse to release, thoughts of how you were wronged, mistreated, taken advantage of, things you should have said, things you wish you hadn't said, etc., not to mention all the stuff that fills your closets, garage, storage room. It's all weight and the more of it you have, the longer you will WAIT for the things you truly want in life.

We all know how the LOA works. What you focus on you draw into your life. Well, think about it. If energetically you are surrounded by reminders of the past, still in relationships which drag you down, if you still get upset when you think back on something that happened years ago, just how much of your attention and energy is really being used to draw change/new stuff into your life? Not much. In fact, very very little.

Now imagine letting go of all that stuff and freeing up all that weighted energy and then putting it to work on what you do want...WOW imagine the turbo-boost that would give you in creating what you want in life. Imagine the speed in which the changes you desire would be drawed to you.

It's the difference between going cross country on a skateboard or in a Ferrari.

So, the question is, how fast do you really want what you say you want to appear?! The choice, as always, is yours.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Ever Wonder Why....

Have you ever wondered why we can see the potential and greatness in others but we rarely see it in ourselves? or why people say great things about us to others, but never say them directly to us?

Both these thoughts came to mind for me because of something someone said. Ironically, they were repeating something someone had said to them about me. It was all very positive and supportive, but it made me wonder why the person who had actually spoken the words originally never ever said them to me. After all, this is someone who is very close to me, so why did they find it easier to say it about me to someone else rather than say it to me directly?

I decided to try something. I was going to say positive, supportive things directly to people and see what happens. It surprised me when most people's first reaction was one of denial or dismissal. They often said "I didn't do anything really" or "It was nothing, forget about it". Think about it, when was the last time you just said "Thanks!" when someone said something nice about you to you?

Why is it so difficult for us to accept compliments, praise, and thanks? Is it because we truly don't see our own goodness or is it because we judge our efforts as unworthy of notice, or is it something deeper? Do we fear that by acknowledging ourselves we are creating a level of expectation? Do we really just fear our own success? our own power? our own ability?

Have we become so driven that we cannot appreciate the things we do for others or our personal accomplishments? Are we so goal driven that achieving the goal is no longer something to acknowledge and celebrate but is merely a step towards yet another goal?

Having goals and striving to achieve them is great as it gives you direction and focus, something to work towards and achieve. Yet, if this goal was important enough for you to create, commit to and work to achieve, then should it not also be something to acknowledge and perhaps even celebrate? Regardless of what it is, it has been a part of your life, something you have put time, energy and money into, so when someone acknowledges your success, instead of dismissing it as 'nothing' or qualifying it by saying "Yes, but I still have to....." feel a bubble of happiness within you, smile your brightest smile, and simply say THANKS!

Show gratitude and appreciation for your own hard work. You've achieved your goal ~ you should be proud of yourself , as others are of you.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hurry Up and Wait

It always intrigues me when people tell me they want to achieve 'this or that' and they hope they will do so quickly; then they create all kinds of blocks to slow themselves down.

Setting goals is fabulous, they give you a sense of purpose, a direction to move in, and something to strive for. Yet the reality of any goal is "change". To most people, change, even good change, is scary because there are a lot of unknowns connected to change and what we don't know, we tend to fear. It's often this unconscious fear that keeps us from doing the things we say we want to do and instead, allows us to continue to do what we have always done even if it makes us unhappy.

So, while we consciously want to reach our goals and create changes in our lives, we are not so sure what other effects these changes will have on our lives. We try to maintain control by slowing down our progress and then bemoan the fact things are not happening fast enough and we are frustrated by it! Our need to know how it will all turn out, what it will look like, how it will feel is the biggest road block we create. No matter what you are striving for it will never turn out exactly as you envision simply because you're probably thinking 'small' rather than daring to dream 'big'.

Logically, if you are striving towards a positive goal and succeed, then it can only impact your life in positive ways. With that in mind, would it not make sense that any 'ripple' effects this change creates would also be positive?

We need to have more faith in ourselves, in our ability to create and reach the goals we set and to believe that all will be as it is meant to be. To trust that when we succeed it will be even more wonderful than we envisioned. When we are able to do this, it's likely things will start happening at quantum speed ~ for it's at this point that we have removed the biggest block from our success path ~ we have finally gotten out of our own way.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grief And Loss

The grief and sorrow that we experience when someone we love dies is so personal that often we feel that no one really understands what we are experiencing. They cannot possibly relate to what we are feeling; somehow our grief is different from the grief others have experienced.

We have all heard the usual words of comfort from family and friends. "It will be better in time", "At least they are no longer in pain", "You must move forward, take one day at a time", and so many other expressions of condolences. Well meaning words from people who care, we generally accept their words but we don’t believe them to be true. How can things possibly be better in time when we have lost someone who was an integral part of our life?

How often have you heard people say "I just can’t seem to get over losing him/her" or "I feel like my life no longer has purpose now that (s)he is gone" or you notice people just don’t seem to be interested in anything or want to participate in anything since losing a loved one? Grief, sorrow, loss are very personal and yes, everyone handles it in their own way and in their own time. However, what about those who never seem to get past the loss, what holds them back from finding purpose and joy in life again?

There is so much more than mere grief involved in losing a loved one. So much emotion that often is disguised as grief which needs to be healed in order for the grief to be healed. People don’t often examine their grief beyond the level of loss and sorrow. They struggle to release their grief, never really understanding the complexity of emotions woven throughout it and the need to heal all aspects of it in order to heal and move forward with their lives.

Anger, resentment, bitterness, abandonment, regret, guilt, just to name a few, these are emotions people often deny simply because they feel it is wrong of them to feel this way towards the loved one who as passed. Denying the emotions simply delays the healing and over an extended period of time may trigger the onset of health issues. Examining these other emotions may reveal an underlying fear. When you address everything beneath the surface of grief you are better able to finally acknowledge and fully release these emotions, allowing yourself to move forward in life. This doesn’t mean you forget your loved one or that you no longer miss them, it simply means that you have made peace with yourself and your loss.

Some people are able to do this on their own, others need help to understand why they feel the way they do and how they can get past it and move on. Defining the type of help needed is always the first step. Some require a group environment; being with others who have experienced similar losses. A support group atmosphere so they feel they are not alone in the way they feel. Others find solace in their faith whether it is through attending services, prayer, spiritual guidance, spiritual counseling or speaking with their spiritual leader. Still others go for counseling or some other form of guidance to help them gain the understanding and closure they need in order to find peace. No matter what modality is chosen, the underlying energy should be one of understanding and compassion so the person feels supported rather than judged for feeling the way they feel.

The thing to remember is that there is no disrespect in releasing grief. How deeply you grieve is not the measure of how much you love them; your love for them will always shine through your memories of them and your life together. When you release grief, you are not releasing the memory of them, you are simply releasing the emotional pain of losing them has caused you. You will always love and remember them and over time, those memories should bring you comfort and happiness for having been blessed for the time you had together rather than bring you pain and sorrow over losing them.

If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, allow yourself to acknowledge the 'other' emotions you may be experiencing. Give yourself time as grief often comes in waves where you feel that you are doing OK and then for whatever reason you experience your grief anew. It happens, especially when significant days and/or holidays approach. If you continue to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, seek out help and allow others to support you in a way that allows you to begin to rebuild your life. While your life will never be the same as having the person here with you, you will eventually, find a way to regain the joy of living.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Seemingly Insignificant

My dad successfully raced cars for about 35 years. It was his second passion; his first was always mom and the family.

About a month before he passed away, I was googling for some information and strangely, what came up in the list of possible websites, was a message board posting from someone who had purchased one of dad's old race cars. Curiousity got the better of me and I clicked on the link and found that the buyer had little information about the car or dad and was hoping to find out more about both. He was the 3rd owner of the car and his intent was to return it to it's original condition. The only picture he had of the car in it's original condition was one in which the car had been in an accident. I didn't post a reply, instead I bookmarked the site and figured I would talk to dad about 'that car' and would eventually post some information.

Weeks went by and I didn't get around to posting a reply. Then dad passed away unexpectedly. As I was sorting through photos to create photo collages, one of his family life and one of his racing life, I came across a photo of the car in question. Remembering the messageboard post, I dropped the photo into my scanner, scanned it and posted it simply with a message indicating the photo was of the original car with "George" driving it. At the time I didn't mention that I was George's daughter or that my dad had just passed away. It was really simply a quick seemingly insignificant post to me, my only thought was that while I had the picture in hand it would be easier to post it now than wait and try to find it again later.

I did not expect the response I received. The guy who had bought the car was beyond appreciative; saying that I had made his day and asked how I had come across such a perfect picture as he had been looking for one for several years now. In the midst of my grief, I was astounded how this seemingly insignificant act on my part had made someone's day. I could literally feel his happiness and appreciation through his words. I explained to him how I had found his post, that George was my dad and that dad had just passed away and I had come across the photo while putting together photos for his funeral.

He was touched that I would think of posting the picture in the midst of my grief; asked that if and when I was able to, would I consider e-mailing or calling him as he would like to talk to me about dad, the car, and the racing series. He also said that he would not nag me for information that he was so grateful that I had taken the time to post the picture and he would wait for me to contact him when I was ready. I told him I would be in touch when I was able.

It's been two months since that first post. Yesterday, I sat down and started to go through the first of many (many!) boxes of racing stuff that dad had. Photos, documents, newspaper articles. It will take literally months to go through everything. My ultimate goal is to put together a scrapbook of dad's racing career. As I do, I am also keeping an eye out for things that pertain to this particular car so I can pass it on to the new owner. Dad would want me to help this guy; it's what he would have done.

At dad's funeral, so many people told us about things dad had said to them that impacted their lives. Things that on the surface would be seemingly insignificant to most, yet, touched the person's life in unimaginable ways; giving them the inspiration, guidance, encouragement or whatever they needed at that moment in their lives. It makes me realize how often we touch the lives of others in ways we don't even realize; seemingly insignificant moments we barely remember, yet for that other person, it was a pivotal moment. A word, a deed, a smile, a pat on the back, no matter what it was it made all the difference in the world to the person at that time.

So, my friends, as you go through your day to day life, do not underestimate the impact you have on those around you; every time you interact with someone you touch their life in ways that are not always visable, but just because they are invisable to you, it doesn't mean they are not powerful. In a brief moment of time, you could change a person forever and not even know it. So, be positive, be supportive, be kind, you never know the impact you are really having on someone.