As we roll into 2016 for me it is about starting a new chapter. A fresh year of exploring, learning and continuing to create the life I want. I have never been big on resolutions such as lose weight, eat better, exercise more, I feel these should not be resolutions for a new year but part of creating a life we want – to feel better, treat out bodies with respect and build a routine that works for us. As I enter a new year I want to reflect on what I accomplished last year, what needs more work and what I can let go.
Last year I saw myself learn (and put into practice!) stopping my downward spiral sooner. Realizing no matter what people said or did it was my choice to take that negativity or anger and stop it spiraling and replaying it over and over in my head. How did I want my day to play out? Not as someone angry and upset over something I really have no control over. STOP. BREATHE. This is an opportunity to put into practice letting go. People often say or do things without thinking or we take it the wrong way – whatever – don’t let some incident real or imaged ruin YOUR WHOLE DAY. If you can deal with it fine, if not, think is it worth ruining the rest of your day or weekend over? No. Continue reading
I took in two things this week that were connected. When I tell you what they were you might not think of a connection so there it goes. I attended a Quality Summit at work and watched Disney Cinderella 2015. Hmmm…. yes they are connected.
The Quality Summit was about health care. One presenter is passionate about family centered care. Involving families and patients in their health care on any level they feel comfortable with. Our health centre has a Family Advisor Council. Patients/families sit on various committees, help develop resources for families and advocate on behalf of them. This presenter told stories of patients and what had made a difference for them when in hospital (I cried). It came down to respect and kindness. All individuals involved from the admitting clerk, nurse, physician to the surgeon showing respect and kindness for the patient. The presenter said she is not asking us to do anything above and beyond our busy, hectic work just to add “and” to what we do. The take away was to add “and kindness” to everything we do.
There was a theme in Cinderella of “have courage and be kind”. That was it. That was all she was trying to do.
So you see how these two situations for me are connected! It felt like I was being told twice what I needed to work on. Such a simple thing to just add kindness to everything I do. There is no extra work, nothing to purchase or schedule in. Just to have courage and be kind. We can do this and feel more balanced and be one more step towards creating a more incredible life. I’m in.
I think we have all heard “what you often see or dislike in others is something you should be working on in yourself.” Well, this happened to me recently – along with countless other times in my life – but this time I caught myself right away.
I could feel myself filling up with angry – how or why can they do that! I had started my day feeling great – I had lots on my plate at work and home but felt things were coming together. I started to let one episode spiral my day down. Negative scenarios started playing out in my head and then WHAM I realized what was happening. That what had been done to me, I have done in the past and justified it. How could I be mad at someone over something I have also done? I was allowing something, frankly not that important, to ruin my day. It was a awake call for me – I don’t have to go down that road of negativity. It is my decision to have a bad or good day.
What can I take away from this situation or any situation? This one was letting go. Realizing no one is perfect and admitting and seeing my flaws – yes maybe through a mirror. If we are getting upset with other people’s behavior, maybe we should be taking a hard look at what we are doing. Is it behavior or opinions that we have expressed in the past. Is it something we should be working on in ourselves? Not just seeing it and criticizing it in others. If we start to look at situations around us and happening to us as learning opportunities think about what we can take away! Less stress, negativity and maybe a different way to look at the world. I’m in and starting now.
Lately I’ve been trying to get my creative juices following so crafting, reading and internet searching. I came across an idea that appealed to me both as a blogger and a writer. What if we came across a letter from our great grandmother, grandfather or anyone. Wouldn’t you be interested in what their typical day was like? What they were currently reading? Music that got them moving or movies/shows they saw or where anticipating. Also the events and news around them at the time and their opinions on these topics.
I would enjoy curling up with an old letter and being taken back to a different time. I know I’d search for any music or books mentioned to see if still available. Would the letter make me appreciate what I have now or would it make me sad at what I missed?
The best part is that we can be that ancestor for someone! We can put pen to paper and write about what is happening in our lives today. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering, it just has to be real and heart felt. So, think about what you want to share and what is important to you now. Wouldn’t it be cool to think of someone opening your envelope in even 50 years and learning a bit more about you and the world at the time? We have the chance to be someone inspiration – think about it.
I listened to a Podcast by Personality Hackers with Sir John Hargrave and he mentioned using the 5 whys technique to solve problems or make decisions. I investigated and thought this is worth sharing. By repeating the question why (5 times) after every previous answer you should get to the root cause/defect of the problem. It is like peeling an onion you start with your problem and first why.
- I can’t start my own blog – why? I have nothing to say.
- Why don’t you have anything to say? I’m boring
- Why do you think you are boring? I don’t do anything special
- Why don’t you do anything special? I’m afraid of failure
- Why are you afraid of failure? Lack of self-confidence
This is my example (for better or worse) and the root cause is lack of self-confidence. The last why is usually a broken process or an alterable behavior. So if we deal with the last why of lack of self-confidence maybe starting the blog will increase self-confidence and also fear of failure. I decided to give another example I found on the web which might explain it better than my example as more concrete. Continue reading
Wanted to give an update on a previous post titled handwritten letters as synchronicity has taken place! Fast rehash saw a play Trudeau about a relationship that developed through letters between two very diverse individuals. I walked out of the play thinking handwritten correspondence is a dying art and set myself a goal of writing three hand written letters in a month.
Well I accomplished my goal and enjoyed it. I shared more than I would in an email or on any social media really. I was determined that people would get their money or words worth so every letter had to be two pages double-sided. Yes, I struggled at times to full the page (third and fourth page) and set it aside for a day or two, but mostly my pen just flowed about what I was doing, thinking and planning. Each letter was individual – some stuff I included the same – but mostly tailored to that person. The three individuals I picked all fell into different areas of my life and have no connection to each other. Continue reading
I am lucky enough to work at an organization that promotes work and home life balance. They bring in experts on topics such as time management, conflict and respectful workplace. I recently attended a session on Relaxation Techniques. He started the session talking about stress and how we can deal with it. Don’t deny it but don’t take it all on. We often carry not only our own problems but everyone else’s around us. His line was “only own what you own”. I love it as it is simple and direct. Also it gets back to what do we have control of (ourselves). We can ask ourselves “how am I responsible?” and are we willing to change the story. We have to let negativity and ruminating go – not let them take us down. Acknowledge it, own what you own, can I change the story/change my way of thinking and doing? Can I learn from this situation? Is it an opportunity? Throughout the session he also guided us through relaxation techniques starting with deep breathing meditation. I thought I’d include the one I had not heard of before for you to try. Meditation and concentrating on the breath gives our mind and body a pause in our stressful lives. A chance to recoup and maybe change our way of thinking. We only have this moment in time.
Freeze Frame Technique
This is a one-minute relaxation technique that combines mental and physical activities to help reach a state of greater relaxation. It was developed, researched and tested, by the HeartMath Institute in California.
Make sure you are comfortable seated and breathing slowly and deeply. Your eyes can be open or closed during this exercise.
Step 1: Imagine that you have a TV remote in your hands, and you press the “pause” button, in effect bringing the present moment to a standstill.
Step 2: Shift your awareness to your heart, imagining that you are “breathing through your heart” for 10 seconds or more.
Step 3: Try to recall a positive, fun feeling or time you’ve had. Attempt to re-experience it by letting every cell in your body, from your toes to the top of your scalp, revisit this happy feeling or time. For the next 30 seconds you can relax and enjoy this positive state.
Step 4: (After 30 seconds), please bring your awareness back to the room, release the “pause” bottom on your imaginary remote, and return to the present moment.
I am truly lucky to live in a city where I have opportunities to take in events like the recent Amnesty International & Human Rights Education Conference. It was held at our new Central Library. I heard a man from Honduras speak about torture and unjustly imprisonment in Mexico (his own), an advocate for the rights of Indigenous women (Canada) and one of the founders of the “Sisters in Spirit Walk”.
There was also a panel on literature and human rights that discussed should literature be politically and socially engaged? Should authors take political or social stands. The last discussion was on human rights in the digital age touching on Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance programs. There were also workshops on what needs to be done on stopping violence against Indigenous women and LGBTI rights now eliminating discriminations and what we can do to work towards justice and equality. Continue reading
I recently saw Brooke Johnson’s Trudeau Stories at the theater. It is about a young theater student (Brooke in 1985) meeting a retired prime minister and their relationship developing over the years. Brooke does a one woman show.. It gave me another view of a public figure from the mostly unlikely pair of eyes.
One thing that struck me from the play is that we are losing the art of letter writing. A lot of the play and their relationship developed through hand written correspondence. Not “likes” and “shares” on Facebook or one sentence replies through emails but pages of what is happening, feelings and plans in the making. Each letter totally focuses on the individual it is addressed to from the moment you write Dear …. Continue reading
I enjoy checking new things out – either at home or when I travel, but I am someone who does like an agenda. Last year when my sister and I went to Arizona – beautiful – we used Trip Advisor a lot. We live at opposite ends of the country so emailing and phone was how we planned our trip. Trip Advisor is great – if you haven’t used it check it out. We found our hotels on it, restaurants/bars, local transportation and places to see. You can join forums, ask questions and for me feel part of a bigger community of travellers.
The other neat thing about Trip Advisor is that you don’t have to travel outside your own area! I have started doing reviews of my city – from local transit, the new library to restaurants. You take in the experience a different way knowing you might be reviewing it for others, maybe locals or someone visiting your area for the first time. Pic from Trip Advisor!
So have you always wanted to be a restaurant reviewer? Maybe check out and make a recommendation on your local gallery? Theatre? Favorite pub? You can always start now! Start looking at your city in a new light and show it off.