Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Favorites

I love Christmas.  I admit it, I really do love everything about it; the noise, the people in the shopping malls, the shopping, the music, gifts, the wrapping, the ribbon, the cards, the chaos in the parking lots (OK, maybe I don't love the parking lot chaos, but it does make me laugh), the baking, the decorating inside and outside the house, all of it just makes me happy.

There are a few highlights to the Christmas holidays that I just love best of all, and because the holidays are about sharing, I'm going to share my favorite holiday traditions and memories. 

Christmas stuff
You know those crazy singing reindeer?  or the Santa doing push ups while the theme from Rocky plays?  or the Santa swaying in a hammock while 'it's 5 o'clock somewhere' plays?  I'm the person who pushes the play button on all those things in the store just to see what they do.  They make me giggle and smile and the temptation is just too much ~ I have to press "play" every time. 

Christmas Baking
Christmas baking was always a special time in our house.  Growing up, I helped my grandmother do the Christmas baking each year.  It was always something we did together and when she passed away, I continued to bake the Christmas treats Gran always made.  In recent years, my niece has joined in by coming over to help me bake.  We laugh and giggle and on more than one occasion there has been cookie dough or icing on the ceiling and no, I'm not exactly sure how that happened, but I can guarantee it was because we were having fun together.

Wrapping & Ribbons
There's just something wonderful about brightly wrapped gifts tied up with ribbon and placed under I tree.  I love the way they reflect the twinkling lights, the array of coloured paper, the way the ribbon curls. Gift bags just don't do it; there has to be paper and especially ribbon, lots of ribbon tied and curled.  According to family and friends, gifts from me are harder to get into than Fort Knox.  

Christmas memories
These are the best part of Christmas and I've been blessed with many years of happy memories and some pretty funny Christmas stories over the years, two of my favorites are Slinky and the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.

When I was about 4 years old, I wanted a Slinky and Christmas morning I was overjoyed to find Santa had given me one, along with a beautiful red tricycle.  It was awesome, at least for the first hour or so, until my big brother took my new Slinky and twisted it into the spokes of my tricycle.  My parents tried to get it untangled but sadly the only way that Slinky was coming out of those spokes was by cutting it out with wire cutters.  I was heartbroken.  Strangely, my parents never thought to get me a new Slinky, probably because they figured my brother would find something to twist it into. It was one of those Christmas stories that in later years we would retell and laugh about; if you had celebrated Christmas with us once, odds are you knew the Christmas Slinky story.  

Then one Christmas about 12 years ago, when my sis was dating the guy she would eventually marry, he gave me an Executive Slinky for Christmas.  As silly as it may sound, it was one of my favorite gifts that year and yes, I still have it and every time I see it I smile and yep, I do play with it now and then.  

Then there's our family's version of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  I'm sure most people have seen the Peanuts Christmas classic cartoon where Charlie Brown goes out and buys a Christmas tree that looks pretty much like a little twig with a few pine needles on it.  Well, my story doesn't start quite like that.  Instead, my story involves my younger sister, who at the time was in her late teens or early twenties.  She decided she was going to get a Christmas tree for our livingroom downstairs so we could have two trees in the house.  So, she and a friend went out to pick the perfect tree.  Now, anyone who has shopped for the perfect tree knows, the better the tree, the higher the cost.  Sis had a limited budget, but she was young, cute and a great negotiator.  So with a little negotiating, flirting and flattery she managed to come home with a beautiful huge tree that should have cost her at least twice what she paid.  Now, this tree was literally too tall for our livingroom, so dad pulled out a saw to just cut a little off the bottom.  Well, while dad was great at many things, cutting straight was not one of them, so he cut it and the tree leaned to the left, so he cut it again and it leaned to the right which required another cut and another and another.   Yes, the Christmas tree started off as a 7 ft. tree had been reduced to about 4 ft. by the time he got it straight.  Sis's beautiful tree became known as our Charlie Brown Christmas tree because it had to be placed on a small wooden box (which I wrapped up like a gift), and the box with the tree on top were placed on a small coffee table.  While sis would bemoan the fact that it's now a little tree, dad would simply point out that at least it was straight one.  

Celebrating Christmas in our house is a time of love and laughter, sharing memories and making new ones.  

Our house is always full at Christmas with family and friends.  There has always been a steady flow of people through our home Christmas day.  Dad's friends would stop in first thing in the morning to wish us a Merry Christmas, then mom's family would arrive and stay for lunch, members of dad's family who lived nearby would join us in the afternoon and stay for dinner, and there has always been an array of friends, my brother's friends, my sister's friends, my friends, anyone who couldn't make it home for Christmas or who didn't have family to go home to joined us.  There is always room for one more, especially since we use a ping-pong table as a dining room table to make sure everyone has a place at our table.  There is always more than enough food, fun, laugh and love to share, and really, isn't that the true meaning of Christmas?  

May your holiday celebrations be filled with the love and peace, joy and laughter, that the season is meant to celebrate.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Talking To Myself

I am sometimes asked how I choose the topic or theme of my newsletter and blog.  To be honest, most of the time it chooses me by appearing in my life as a pattern being experienced by those around me which, in turn, means I am experiencing on some level as well.  If we are all experiencing the same thing in various forms, then it's likely we can all benefit from looking at the pattern from a different perspective which may mean seeing how someone else is dealing with it (or not dealing with it) and then examining our own actions or inaction. 

Writing gives me an opportunity to ponder aloud about the issues, triggers, and patterns which appear to me and allows me to share my thoughts on them.  When I'm writing there are times when it feels a lot like I am talking to myself.  The voice that appears as words on the screen is the voice in my head.  The voice that asks the questions and seeks answers. Questions like "What is the pattern here?", "Where are you experiencing this in your own life?", "What's the bigger picture/message?", "How, where and when does this pattern play out?"  "Is this something a lot of people are experiencing now?"  There's always lots of questions and there are times when there appears to be far more questions than answers.

Since I tend to be a very visual person, I will admit I don't always listen to the voice in my head.I actually need to see what it's been saying and the only way to do that is to write it down. I figure if it's something that I'm working on, pondering, or thinking about, or a common issue my clients are dealing with, it may be something others can relate to and if, by my sharing it, I have helped them in some way, then it's worth sitting down and writing about.  I write a lot. Some of it gets posted here; some of it is still sitting in draft mode, to be shared at a later date or rewritten or perhaps not shared at all.  At the moment I have 5 draft blog posts, will you ever see them?  Who knows, maybe...or maybe not. Like everything in life, writing is a process in which one creates, changes, completes and then begins anew.

People tend to believe that I don't have challenges in my life simply because my work is based on transforming what doesn't work in one's life into something that does work. However, the truth is, no one is exempt and we're done when we're dead and since I am very much alive, I too encounter life challenges from time to time.  The advantage I have, if you want to call it that, is a set of personal development tools and skills and a process which gets me out of what's not working in my life and into what will work.

These tools and skills along with the knowledge and belief that everyone, yes everyone, can succeed in creating the changes they desire (if they are willing to commit to the process of change) is how I am able to guide my clients through their process, to get them out of the Problem (whatever the issue is) and into Solution so they are able to move past the challenges and reach their goals easier than ever before.

While I hope what I write is relevant, I no longer wonder about who is reading it.  I have come to realize my writing is part of my process, it helps me take the next step in my work and in my life, whatever that step may be and wherever that step may lead me. If writing the thoughts from the voice in my head resonates with my readers and gives them a laugh, a smile, some insight, a new perspective, a glimmer of hope, or inspires them to take action towards committing to the change they desire, then I feel I have made a difference in their world.  For me, my work is all about guiding people in a way that empowers them in their life and in the world around them.  I strive to accomplish this through my writing, my work, my day to day life, my conversations with others and with each and every person I work with and that is my commitment to the process of change in my world and the world around me. 

Yes, there are times when I feel like I'm talking to myself, yet I know those who need to hear (or see) the message will; at least that's what the voice in my head tells me and it's never wrong.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Change of Season - Change of Perspective

I took a trip to Ottawa over the weekend to visit a friend.   I was fortunate because the weather was fabulous and Autumn in Ontario can be spectacular if the leaves aren't blown off the trees early in the season.  It was a beautiful drive, traffic was good and most of the construction seems to be winding down so I made good time.

Travelling always gives me some time to 'check in' with how I'm feeling on all levels and where I am in relation to what I had planned to accomplish by this point in the year.  Since most of my friends live at least an hour away from me, I spend a fair amount of time travelling which in turn, gives me many opportunities over the year to 'check in'. 

On this particular trip though I found that I was on track for a number of work related projects which I'm happy about and I'm 'off track' where my personal life is concerned; more specifically, I really hadn't had a lot of fun this year and the year is quickly drawing to a close. How did this happen?  Why did it happen? and the most important question is "What can I do to change it NOW".

As I continued my drive, noticing the rolling hills and the array of autumn colours everywhere, I thought about my Goals for 2010 and I Goals I have mapped out for 2011 and it dawned on me that I had only created Goals for my work/career, I had not written any Goals around my personal life or the fun things I would like to do.  It may seem strange to some people that someone would need to write goals for Fun, yet if you think about it, it really makes perfect sense.   If fun to you is a tropical vacation in the dead of winter, then odds are, early in the year you began making plans around your winter escape.  You probably considered when exactly you'd like to go and where.  You then created a savings strategy so you could put money aside to pay for the trip and any extras you would need.  So in effect, your vacation was the Goal you set and then you developed a strategy/plan to get you there.  I had somehow forgotten to create Goals that would be fun, so all my travel this year has been for work and though I had talked about travelling for fun, I never set a date or made plans.  While I always encourage my clients to create goals that are both career related and fun, I had somehow managed to overlook it in my own plans.

Often we need a change of scene, to see, hear and experience things in order to gain a new perspective on where we really are in relation to our goals; to figure out what's working, what's not, and as I found out, what's missing.

Fortunately, it's never too late to create a new goal, so I'm making sure I have fun goals set for the remainder of 2010 and I have updated my Goals for 2011 to include travel for pleasure and fun as well as travel for work.  Life is all about finding the happy balance between work life and living life.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Silence Is Golden....Or Is It?

Silence is golden, assuming of course the silence is one of peace and tranquility and not one imposed by "The Silent Treatment" (TST).   I'm sure everyone has been on both the giving and receiving end of The Silent Treatment at least once in their lives and it's certainly not a golden silence by any stretch of the imagination. 

In our minds we believe we have a good reason for giving someone the silent treatment and feel justified in our behaviour.  Some of the top reasons are:  "I don't want to fight about X", "I don't want to say something I'll regret", "They don't understand why I'm...(hurt, angry, upset, whatever)", "They weren't listening to me".  We can all come up with some great 'reasons', except the reasons are really just an excuse to punish/control/manipulate/hurt the other person often because we feel they have hurt or betrayed us.

Yes, I understand not wanting to fight with someone, or to say something you can't take back.  I've been there and done that, as the saying goes.  Yes, there are times when others don't understand our feelings or don't really hear what we are trying to tell them, or we need time to sort out what we're feeling and how to express it, however none of these things justify giving them The Silent Treatment.  Shutting down communication without any explanation is at best an unconscious act of punishment/manipulation at worst it is a deliberate act knowing it will hurt/upset the other person.

You see, while TST may get you the short term results you *think* you want, the truth is every time it's used it does more damage to your relationship with that person; it breaks down communication and more importantly it breaks down trust and respect.  Rather than working to create a balanced healthy relationship, TST becomes a power struggle and in the end the relationship suffers and will likely breakdown. If you cannot communicate your point of view or feelings without it turning into a fight, a huge emotional drama or without saying something you will regret, then by all means, step away from the conversation.  This does not mean giving the person TST, it means tell them you cannot discuss it right now AND agree to discuss it later at a specific time.  So, if you're too upset and things are getting out of hand, admit it and agree to discuss it later in the day or even the next day being specific as to when exactly you are going to sit down and discuss it.  

By temporarily walking away you give yourself and the other person the opportunity to think about the situation, what each of you want to express, whether it's facts or feelings, in a way that is not accusing or assigning blame.  Remember how you feel is your responsibility, you are choosing your response, so "You made me feel ...." is not an acceptable statement.  Something triggered your emotional response and you alone are responsible for that response.  That being said, it is acceptable to say "When you did (or said)  X, I felt Y"  Recognize what the trigger was (something done or said) that caused your emotional response rather than blaming the person for how you feel/felt. 

Often what triggers us is not what we are currently experiencing, but instead, our current experience triggers something we associate into from our past>  In other words, what gets triggered is all the baggage from our past that we unconsciously drag around with us.

The best way to avoid The Silent Treatment is to come up with an agreement when both individuals are in a good frame of mind and there are no outstanding issued between them.  Sit down and just write out some rules to follow so you both know and respect the process of resolving issues when they do arise.

A few ideas would be:

1.  If the matter cannot be discussed calmly, agree to walk away and meet again later at a set time when you both have had time to think clearly and unplug from the emotional drama.

2. Agree that past issues are PAST and will NOT constantly be brought back up days, weeks, months or years later in other disagreements.  Keep the discussion revelant to the current situation.

3. Work to find common ground.  You want a win-win, not a win-lose.  When someone wins and the other loses you are creating resentment and a me vs you situation.  You want a win-win, you want a partnership, an opportunity to work together towards a better relationship.

4.  Own what's yours - you feelings, your thoughts, your behaviour.  So statements are "I" based.  "I felt...", "I said..". "I acted/behaved..."    Guilt, punishment and manipulation are unacceptable.

You have to be able to communicate openly and honestly without fear of it being held against you or thrown back in your face days, weeks, months (or even years) from now.  A healthy relationship, regardless of the type of relationship (adult/child, spouses, friends, lovers) grows healthier and stronger when those involved can share openly an honestly anything and everything and still be loved and respected.  Knowing you have that kind of relationship will make your time together golden.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ruby Slippers

Those who know me well know I have a small but funky shoe collection which has been rapidly growing over the past several months.  The current item on my 'must have' list is a pair of red pumps (or ruby slippers if you happen to be a fan of The Wizard of Oz).   For me there's just something about wearing flashly shoes that not only gives my spirits a lift but also boosts my confidence.   While I know confidence and power come from within, it is nice to have something external as a reminder and that's what shoes are to me; an external reminder of my internal power. 

As a society, we have created all sorts of tailsmans to represent 'power'.  Who hasn't heard of 'the power suit'?  Or bought items like cars, jewellery, or clothes because at both a conscious and unconscious level they represent image, confidence, power and sucess?  A tailman also includes 'lucky' items, religious symbols, and even routines (rituals).  The power isn't within wearing or carrying the item or following a specific routine, but in the faith the person holds in their belief that by doing so they are protected or increasing their chance of success.

The point is, the external item only holds the energy and power you put into it; it's your power.  We always have the power within us, we just don't always see it within ourselves.  We have a tendency to attach our power to an external item and after a while we associate confidence or good fortune with the item.  When we give our power away to an external item we run into trouble because we believe the power is in the item and if anything happens to the item we unconsciously feel lost and unlucky.   Remember the old adage "Clothes don't make the man" it's true.   The character and confidence of the man (or woman) wearing the clothes is what makes others take notice of the person.  You can wear a designer suit and yet if you don't feel confident and comfortable in it, you're going to appear awkward, uncertain and uncomfortable; the power is not in the suit, it's in your ability to wear it with confidence.

So even though I know I can't click the heels of my new ruby slippers together and transport myself to where I want to go, I do know when I look at them I see them as bright, daring, a little bold and definitely making a positive statement which reminds me to be the same.  If that isn't enough, they also make me smile every time I look at them which gives me a boost too because when I'm smiling and happy I'm even more confident.

 Remember the power is within you ~ the tailsman, no matter what it is, is merely an external reminder of how powerful you truly are.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Balancing Change

Considering we humans are supposed to be logical thinkers, it's amazing how we can be logical one moment, and totally illogical the next.

For example, think about how we perceive "change" for instance.  Just about everyone has something in their life they'd like to change whether it's something big or small there's a something; and for the record, there really aren't any 'small' changes.  Yet so many people procrastinate about actually taking the steps needed to create the change they say they desire.  Why?

This is where the logical and illogical come into play.  Logically people know when there's something in their life that needs to change because it's not serving a positive purpose in their life.  When change is desired it's because we don't like the way things are, we want something else ~ we want something better.  Think about it, do you ever hear anyone say, "my health is great, I wish it was worse"?  Not a chance, it's always a change to the positive "I'd love to be healthier".  Whether the change is related to their health, relationship, job, or even their spirituality, everyone knows when change is needed to improve some aspect of their life.

Now if a person knows they need to make a change (or changes) more often than not they know what needs to be done or at least they have a good idea about what steps they need to take to create change, yet they don't act on the knowledge.  Why? The fear of change holds them in limbo creating the tug of war between the logical and the illogical thoughts and patterns which run both consciously and unconsciously.

We've all been there, we've all said (or at least thought) these things:  "I really want to do this, but if I do, things will be different"; "What if by changing this one thing, everything else changes for the worse?"; "What if this changes who I am?" "I want to change this in my life but I don't want my life to change".  Any of these sound familiar?

When you think about it logically, then really how can changing a negative thing in your life into a positive thing ruin the other positive aspects in your life?  Think about it, if for example you're unhappy at work, then that unhappiness affects your relationships, and affects your health and well being.  So, realistically, making a change for the better in your work life will only improve your relationships because you will be happier and want to be around people more; your health and well being will improve as well because you won't be stressed, angry or worried about work related stuff.

Since you always have choice, you get to choose what form the change takes.  Perhaps you need to change how you interact with your colleagues so there are fewer misunderstandings, perhaps you need to upgrade your skills so you can apply for a different or better position in the company, perhaps you want to go into another line of work completely.  Whatever you need to do for you to change things for better is going to also improve other aspects of your life.  If you're happy at work, then it's likely you're going to be happy when you get home from work, you're going to feel better, less stressed more interested in being active and involved. 

The same applies for any area of life.  Positve change creates more positive change.

A lot of people get stuck by trying to "keep everything balanced the same way it used to be" while trying to only change the one thing which needs changing.  They create a lot of unnecessary stress and angst simply because they are trying to keep things the same and at the same time change things.  The logical and illogical tug of war.  You can't change something and expect things to stay the same; and why would you want to?  Afterall, the purpose of introducing change is to improve your life. 

When you introduce positive change, know that it is going to ripple POSITIVELY through all areas of your life.  You may feel a little off balance or even confused and that's normal because you have introduced new positive dynamics which require a rebalancing of energies.  What you used to think of as balanced and centered has shifted slightly to accommodate the positive change, so you simply need to get used to your new center of balance. 

Think of it like trying something new.  There's a learning curve involved, a sense of newness and excitement, potential and possibilities, and it takes a little getting used to.  After a short while, it becomes comfortable and familiar, and you're much happier and healthier.  It makes you wonder why you were afraid to change in the first place.   

Change is simply the tool used to align and balance your life as you continue to learn and grow throughout your lifetime.  Rather than fearing what change will bring, embrace it with joy, knowing it will improve your life in ways you have yet to imagine.

Monday, July 5, 2010


For me, decision making is always a funny thing.  I often find it easy to make 'big decisions' in a snap, and yet I get hung up on the seemingly little ones.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, I received an email about a course which is being offered next year.  The course is only available in the US and will require three separate trips to complete.  Yet, I immediately checked the dates and booked it into my calendar without so much as a second thought about the time, money or energy commitment it will require from me to attend.   In fact, I had it booked in my calendar before I had even finished reading the course outline. A snap decision.  I could easily see myself taking the course and felt immediately it's the right thing for me to do at this point in my life. There was something about it I found both exciting and compelling, stirring my emotions in a way that made it hard to ignore.

On the other hand, it has taken me literally MONTHS to decide on a new bed (headboard/footboard). I had narrowed my choice down to two, but for the life of me I couldn't decide which I liked better and I had resorted to asking others for their thoughts and opinions on the two.  Surprisingly, most people were non-commital saying they liked both as well.

So why was the bed decision such a challenge? Simply because both styles would blend into the decor beautifully though with slightly different results. One was more classic, the other more artistic, but both had an elegance and flow that greatly appealed to the visionary in me. Both made me feel a sense of tranquility, comfort and peace which to me are great qualities for a bed and a good night's sleep. It was certainly a rare moment to find that I really didn't prefer one over the other. I actually liked them both equally for different reasons. I think the challenge was really between deciding on whether I wanted the bedroom to have a classic elegance or an artistic elegance because that would determine which bed would be purchased.
I always 'see' my decisions first and then 'feel' them; meaning I visualize the situation or the end result first and then check on my emotions to see how I feel about it. Between the seeing and the feeling, I usually have a pretty strong impression about what I should (or should not) do in any circumstance. I follow my intuition knowing that it is always my best guide.

Intuition is something we all have though we call it a variety of things: gut feeling, hunch, seeing the potential, just knowing it's right.  No matter what you call it, it's that aspect which prompts you to do something, leaving it up to you whether you follow your instincts (intuition) or not. 

What I have learned over the years is following my intuition leads me to opportunities and guides me in ways that make my life a lot easier.  The times when I do choose not to follow it and it usually lands me in hot water.  Like everything, the more you work with it, the better you become at recognizing its subtle signs and signals.

Oh, and yes, I have made a decision on the bed. :o D

Friday, May 21, 2010

Working For A Living

We've all heard the expression "Do what you love for a living and you will never work a day in your life".

Do you wake each morning with a sense of excitement for what the day will bring you that you practically spring out of bed or do you wake with a groan at the thought of having to go to work and feel like you're dragging yourself out of bed?

For those who love what they do for a living, each day holds the promise of something new and exciting.  They experience life with a much more positive perspective simply because so much of their time and energy is spent within a positive emotional vibration.

The happiness they experience through their work ripples out through their lives the same way a stone dropped in a pool of water creates circular ripples moving from the center outwards.  When the originating emotion is one of pleasure, happiness, joy, etc., then it is the emotion that ripples outwards into other areas of their lives, providing a more positive attitude and outlook towards life in general.  This doesn't mean a life without troubles, worries, or disappointments; it merely means when challenges arise in their lives they find a way to tap into and maintain that positive emotion to help them get through no matter how big the challenge.

Think about it.  Imagine feeling happy, excited, contented, or any other positive emotion 8 hours a day, 5 days a week while earning a living at the same time.  Most people cannot even begin to imagine what that would look like, or how it would feel to feel that good all day long while at work.  While most would say they can't quit the job they dislike (or even hate), they do have the power of choice, they can change jobs, or even just begin to change their perspective on the jobs they have in order to improve how they feel about it.

What if instead of dreading each work day, they decided to see it as a fresh start.  An opportunity to find the positive aspects of who they work with and what they do, rather than just seeing the challenges and problems.  What if they adopted the attitude of "this too shall pass" realizing how they choose to respond within any situation is entirely within their control.  What if they realized holding onto the anger or frustration merely creates more of the same adn spreads through their lives.  What if they chose to focus on what they need to do to keep themselves in a place of happiness or at the very least, equilibrium instead of anger and frustration. What if, little by little, they became more aware of this, shifting their view from the negative to find the positive each day.  What if, by finding positive things within each day their outlook became more positive, then in turn their emotions would become more positive, and like that stone dropped in a pool, positive emotions rippled through their lives instead of negative ones. How amazing would that experience be?

Remember, the emotion you spend most of your day in is the emotion that will ripple through your life.  Wouldn't you prefer it to be a positive one?  Happiness in life begins with happiness within yourself.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On The Road Again

I've spent a lot of time in my car during the month of April, travelling here and there, short trips and long trips, totalling 2,347kms. (that's about 1,458 miles for my American friends). Fortunately I love driving so it's not quite as bad as it might sound and I know the roads well so I wasn't concerned about getting lost or needing to read directions or a map.

Driving always gives me a sense of freedom and the opportunity to look around both physically and mentally.  It's a break from routine and the chance to see what's going on around me as well as within me.  As I travelled, I noticed changes in the landscape had occurred since I last travelled the route.  Spring had obviously arrived with daffodils blooming at the side of the road and of course, the ever present road work and detours which arrive each spring and stay until late autumn; similar to the migrating birds, only a lot noisier and annoying than the birds could ever be.  Old buildings are gone, new buildings sprouting up all over the place.  What used to be open land is now populated with houses and stores; getting out of the city takes a lot longer simply because the city has grown. So much has changed, yet so much remains the same; different yet familar.

As I drove I contemplated how the changes I saw around me reflected the changes within me.  A lot has changed over the past year.  I've cleared away some of the old (physical stuff, beliefs, emotions) in order to make room for the new things I want in my life.  I don't just mean new physical things, I mean new opportunities, new people, new ideas, new clarity, new understanding.  Like the landscape around me, I too had to clear a place within me in order to accommodate the new.

Clearing the way was a lot like road construction as there were delays and detours along the way.  Though frustrating at times, I learned delays provide the opportunity to take another look or a better look to see what's going rather than just rushing by without a second glance.  Detours take you to different unexpected places, often showing you something you would have otherwise missed completely.   It really is about the journey and not the destination.  Yes, it's important to get where you're going, to reach your goal, however, it's equally important to be flexible enough to realize there's more than one way to get there.  As they say "all roads lead to Rome". 

While my road trips took me many kms. (miles) in different directions, my internal journey did the same.  Within me there is a sense of newness, a feeling of anticipation and excitement for what is developing, a sense of happiness and freedom, and a desire to seek and explore new destinations.

Once again I am reminded that our outer world is a reflection of the world within us.  There is so much to explore in both!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Cleaning

While Spring officially arrived last month, it's never really Spring to me until the weather is sunny and warm.   What I have noticed is the change in weather often creates a change in attitude.   People seem to become more motivated and energized and willing to roll up their sleeves and do some serious work.

With warmer temperatures and sunny days, yards and gardens draw our attention to the need to clean out debris that has accumulated over the Fall and Winter, pull out weeds that have taken root before the roots become so strong and deep that they seem impossible to remove.  Once everything's cleaned up, there's some prep work to be done.  The soil in the gardens needs to be turned and fertilized before new seeds, bulbs, and plants can be planted. 

Then there's the house.  Spring cleaning usually involves a great deal of cleaning both inside and out.  Windows washed, drapery and carpets cleaned, closets emptied, perhaps even rooms painted.  Spring brings with it a sense of 'new' as everything springs to life bringing colour and warmth into our days giving our spirits a lift.

Spring cleaning is a step by step process, and while it's possible, theoretically, skip a step here and there, we all know the results won't be as dramatic or as beautiful if we cut corners.  We all want the yard and garden to look spectacular because we want to enjoy them for the coming months.  The same applies for the work we do in the house, we want to look around and feel pleased and happy in our surroundings knowing everything is cleared and cleaned, and has a fresh new feel to it.  So we make the commitment and invest our time, money and energy into making our external world clean, fresh and beautiful.

Now the question is, "what about our internal world?"  Have we invested the time, money and energy needed to clean up and clear out the mental, emotional and spiritual debris and clutter we have been carrying for months, years or perhaps even decades?  Imagine how much clearer and lighter it would feel to finally get rid of everything that weighs us down and holds us back.  Imagine how releasing it would make us feel lighter, more confident, happier, focused, younger and energized, so we could approach everything in life with the same sense of renewal, optimism and enthusiasm that Spring invokes in us. 

Clearing and cleaning our internal world creates the space needed to plant personal seeds ~ dreams, goals, personal growth and development. It provides the opportunity for these personal seeds to develop and grow without the disappointments of the past blocking their growth.  You wouldn't plant new seeds, bulbs and plants in a garden that had not been cleared and cultivated and expect a beautiful garden; the same holds true for your dreams, goals and personal growth.  They cannot flourish amongst the the debris and clutter of the past, they need a fresh clean space in which to grow and thrive.

Spring cleaning ~ an opportunity to clean up both your external and internal worlds to create beauty and joy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Past Revisited

Thanks to a friend who celebrated a milestone birthday in February, I had the opportunity to spend time and talk with people I haven't seen in many, many years. While it seemed a little awkward at first, the years quickly disappeared and the evening was filled with both laughter and love.  While I can't speak for the others, I know I laughed so hard at times that it brought tears to my eyes; and it's been a long time since that has happened.  It was a truly wonderful evening and amazing how easily we came together as though we had never been apart.

It's amazing how some people from our past never seem to change ~ in a good way ~ even though their lives have taken them down different paths, through experiences which varied from fabulous to frightening.  The core of who they were 'back then' remains the core of who they are now.  They are true to themselves and to those around them so it doesn't matter if you saw them last week, last month, last year or in the last decade, they are who they have always been ~ friends, in the deepest sense of the word.  You know them and they know you, both sharing hopes and dreams, fears and failures, laughter and tears, and through it all, you are there for each other.

As I listened to and laughed with everyone there that night, I saw a group of friends who had never lost sight of the importance of having and keeping good close friends. It didn't matter where life took them or how many miles apart they were from each other, the bond of friendship has thrived through space and time as well as through life's ups and downs.

As I left that night, I thought of how truly blessed my friend is to have such good people in her life; and how blessed I am, for I too, have amazing people in my life.  

What better gift is there in life than a true friend?  To have one and to be one is one of life's great joys.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Things First

I was reminded the other day how important it is to make sure your priorities are:
  1. in the right order
  2. really your priorities
Seems simple and clear enough, but surprisingly, people often have priorities which don't actually fall into these two categories.

People often approach their goals/priorities from a very logical perspective; analyzing each and arranging them into a list in order of priority.  It's all very neat and organized and makes perfect sense.  Great! Only problem is, they don't feel like doing the first thing on the list. They know they should, they know it's something they want to accomplish, yet they can't seem to get going on it and don't really understand why.

The reason is quite simple.  It' not logic that drives our behaviour and our actions; it's emotion.  So while we think we should do A before we do B, the reality is B is more important to us at an emotional level; and therefore, it's really the priority and should be done first.

I have goals I'm working on, some are big, some not so big.  Each are important to me for various reasons and in varying degrees.  The irony is, the one I had deemed 'most important', ("A") from a logical, rational perspective, turned out not to be as important as the one I thought was my 2nd most important ("B").  Now, while doing "A" first would make it a lot easier to focus on "B", the reality is achieving "B" first will make me a lot happier.  When I'm happy, I am able to focus, to make decisions, and to feel confident in the choices I make and to move forward.  So while "A" is logically the most important, "B" has the emotional connection to it that will motivate and move me into action; in short, I'm more passionate about achieving "B".  Therefore, it makes sense to switch my priorities, making "B" my new "A" and using the energy it gives me to help me achieve both goals.

Remember too, goals need to be self-directed.  In other words, you have to want them for yourself, not because it will make someone else in your life has to make YOU happy.   It's your emotional connection to the goal which will move you towards achieving your goal; if you don't feel it, it makes it difficult to get or maintain the movitation needed to achieve it.

So, when it comes to priorities and goals, you need to make sure you really are putting first things first. Which goal are you most passionate about? Which is going to inspire you, motivate you? The one that excites you the most is your priority, so make sure it's your 1st priority; even if it doesn't make logical sense.  Follow your passion, it's the source of your creativity, inspiration, motivation and the path to your success.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wishes For 2010

Hours of happy times with friends and family
Abundant time for relaxation
Plenty of love when You need it the most
Youthful excitement at lifes simple pleasures

Nights of restful slumber (you know - dont' worry be happy)
Everything you need
Wishing You love and light

Years and years of good health
Enjoyment and mirth
Angels to watch over You
Rembrances of happy years!