Phoenix Coaching Is LIVE!!!

Phoenix Coaching Is LIVE!!!

My friends, the last year (or 5!!) have been full of ups and downs! Perhaps you can relate? And sometimes, when overload happens, the only thing we can do is take the time we need to work through whatever is happening in our worlds. And for the last several months, that is precisely what I’ve been doing.

I’ll share more as we go, but for now, I wanted to let you know that WE ARE LIVE!! Yay!!
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What Lies Within Us

Only a few nights ago, I was invited to fill in at the next Momondays event here in London, Ontario. As soon as I received the message, I immediately wrote back, “YES!! Thank you, that’s amazing!” A wise woman I know had recently been speaking at an event and had said that we need to be watching out for opportunities and jump on them when they come. (Right Paula Morand?) This, in my world, had OPPORTUNITY written all over it and I did not waste a moment, even though I had no idea what I would talk about.

You see, I had only sent my application to be a speaker a few days before and had never expected to be invited so quickly. At that moment, I had a vague idea what my topic would be. It had come to me as I drove home from the last event as I’d been very inspired by the stories and one of them in particular had really hit a chord with me. I’ve been writing and speaking for the last several months about the transformation that’s been happening in my world since we lost my sister two years ago and I know that people are really responding to that story so I decided to keep with that theme.

A few minutes after responding to Victoria’s message, she wrote back that there was an agreement I needed to fill out as soon as possible and submit. They had been holding the advertising and needed that back so they could start promoting. So I clicked on the link and started to fill out the forms. For just a moment, it was a bit overwhelming. What would I say? How would I say it? But then I started to really follow the format and before I knew it, the words were flowing. In fact, they were flowing to such a degree that I decided to start writing when I finished and before I went to bed that night, I had composed almost 5000 words toward what I believe will be my book “Finding My Funny – How Tragedy Helped me Learn to Laugh Again”.

Facebook has become such an amazing tool for business. Many of the people I know use that forum to promote their businesses. For me, it gives me an opportunity to build relationships with people I may not otherwise have the chance to interact with, to get to know them, and to allow them to know me in a more personal way. I use it most often to share something amazing or funny and to offer support and encouragement where I can.

On Saturday, Victoria posted an ad announcing me as one of their featured speakers and my breath caught in my throat. I saw my picture and my story, and tears of gratitude and joy came to my eyes. My story starts with a woman who didn’t think anyone cared to hear what she had to say. Who believed that her thoughts, feelings, and opinions were of no interest to almost anyone so she didn’t bother sharing. Now, after all of the work I had done to heal and move past the things that had caused me to feel unimportant, unworthy, and of little value, there – right in front of my eyes – was a picture of me on an ad that said I had something to say that’s worth listening to. And the best part is that I now know it to be true! Those tears were a celebration of having taken every step and every action that was necessary to lead me to this place.

As often happens, I found the most amazing post the night before the big announcement was made. It’s a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson and it says, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” What is it that you, and only you, have within you that is waiting to come forward? If you don’t yet know what it is my friend, I encourage you to challenge yourself until you do. And when you know it, share it with the world. After all, you’re the only one who can do what you were born to do in exactly the way you do it. How lucky are we that you’re here?

See you on Monday, September 15th at the Momondays London event!

Failure? Or learning?

Recently, someone I care about decided to make some major changes. He moved away a couple of years ago with big dreams of creating a life he dreamed of, but things just never quite worked no matter how hard he tried. So he finally decided to let go of the dream and move in a different direction. One of the things I’ve heard him say again and again while he was away was that he didn’t want to give up because he thought that would make him a failure. So he persevered and persevered against all odds, but no matter what he did or how much he persevered, things just never came together. In my experience, when that happens, it’s just not meant to be and we’re trying to force something to happen that simply isn’t for us. I’m happy to tell you that he has decided that he hasn’t failed after all. He’s choosing to look at the time he spent on this adventure as a time of learning and experiencing things he wouldn’t had he not taken that chance.

So this all has me thinking about all of the times when I did things (or didn’t) out of a fear of being perceived as a failure. I can see how that pervaded my world and slowly made me more and more fearful of being perceived as a failure and that made me put more pressure on myself to get it right and that led to my being more and more fearful of being perceived as a failure and that made me put more pressure on myself which made me more fearful which made me put more pressure on myself… Are you starting to see how easy it can be to get stuck in a way of thinking that leads you further and further down the rabbit hole?

I’ve recently heard a lot of health and holistic practitioners using the term “dis-ease”. What they’re talking about is a lack of ease in the body caused by a lack of ease in our being and the idea is that this is when disease comes to call. The cumulative result of years and years of stress and trauma is what causes people to get sick. This idea makes sense to me. If they’re right that everything is energy and we disrupt the flow of energy, doesn’t it make sense that things don’t work well?

We had a problem with our phone line a few years ago. Something had happened to the connection outside at the pole and we were getting a lot of static and breaking up during conversations and sometimes the connection would be lost altogether. This is how I equate these disruptions in the energy flows. Things may still work, sort of, but the longer the problem persists the worse it becomes. How much trauma do you think we inflict on ourselves when we get stuck in a thought process that causes fear and stress? Does it make sense that if we allow that to continue it may begin to affect how we’re showing up in our lives, in our work, even in our bodies?

So what does this idea of failure feel like for you. It used to feel very, very heavy and even scary for me. That was when I had the idea that in order to be good enough, smart enough, successful enough… insert your enough statement here… I had to strive for perfection. Here’s what I’ve learned. Perfection in the sense of never making a mistake is an illusion. And striving for it, well, that just leads to piles and piles of stress, judgment of yourself and others, and generally a very unhappy space. Where’s the fun in that??

What if you considered that failing was not something to be avoided? What if failing was actually learning? Consider how many times a baby falls down before learning to run or how many times a child will fall off their bike before they learn to balance. Each time they fall, they gain a piece of information they need to be successful so with every failed attempt, they actually get closer to reaching their goal. Now there’s a completely different perspective than I used to have. So what if failure is something to be pleased about and embraced as a necessary part of learning how to be successful? What does that change for you? Does that create a space that allows you to be kinder to yourself, laugh at yourself, maybe even have a bit of fun? After all, isn’t that the whole point? To learn, to grow, and to have some fun while we’re at it. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty great to me.

So the next time you approach a new project or things fall apart, I challenge you to not waste your energy on disappointment. I challenge you to look at what’s happened and learn whatever you can from it, then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. And if it doesn’t come together because it really isn’t for you, take a lesson from my friend and decide to be grateful for the experience and pick a new direction. Life doesn’t have to be as hard as we sometimes make it. It can even be a lot of fun… if you choose it.

As always, I welcome your thoughts. Please feel free to leave me a comment below and to share with people you know. Until next time.

 

Resilience, really??

I recently spent a Friday evening with my son in the emergency room. He was helping me with some projects at the house and had hurt himself in the process. I took some reading material, one piece of which was the latest Chatelaine magazine. I don’t typically buy magazines but had picked up a couple for some light reading material when on my way to visit a friend at her cottage.

As I watched the drama unfold in the ER and oh, there was a lot of drama, I flipped through my magazine trying to kill the time. Of interest to me was a title on the cover “HOW TO BOUNCE BACK FROM ANY CRISIS”, especially with my upcoming workshop and my desire to teach women how to create more joy and happiness in their worlds. I was hoping to find some bright and shiny nugget of wisdom that I could include in my teachings. So I flipped to the article and started to read. What I found left me more than a little bit surprised and disappointed.

I don’t think I’m alone in saying I often find the world we live in somewhat contradictory and confusing. We, who are lucky enough to be born in North America or who came to live here at an early age, live in a world of abundance and waste. If you look at the magazines we buy and read, it appears that our day to day worries are often about fashion and fitness, beauty tips and home makeovers. In truth, this does not create an accurate picture of my world, but I will say that I have never given a thought to a family member starving because I did not have the ability to give them something to eat or having to walk out my door and into a war zone. Medical care is readily accessible even if it requires that I sit for several hours and wait to be seen, and we have so many laws to protect us in this country that I rarely consider if a product may harm me or if I may be attacked when walking down the street (although I’m sure these are possible, the fact that there are laws somehow makes me feel a bit safer).

So when I began to read the article about bouncing back from crisis, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that it was talking about resilience and how to “boost” yours, but I was. Have we really become a society in which it’s necessary to explain that to overcome obstacles, we simply need to be resilient? To be perfectly frank, I found the idea that this was worthy of an article in a popular magazine to be a bit ridiculous. Have we really forgotten that, in order to survive, a fighting spirit may be required? Or have we gotten so soft because everything is provided in pre-packaged, often bite-sized pieces that are “Ready in JUST 10 minutes!” for our almost immediate consumption and marked with an expiry date so we don’t even have to check to see if something may have spoiled before putting it in our mouths?

Just for the sake of clarity, let’s consider what resilience means. In my mind, it’s the ability to adapt to the circumstances with which you’re presented and to thrive regardless. Think survival of the fittest or even leader of the pack. Who leads the pack? The one who wants it most and is prepared to do whatever it takes to take and hold that position. Who survives? In many cases, it comes down to who refuses to die. Doesn’t seem so complicated to me. That we need studies and Dr’s with fancy titles from big institutions to explain something that one would expect to be a matter of instinct concerns me.

I can say, with 100% certainty that if I were ever to find myself in a situation where it was necessary, I would defend myself, my loved ones, and likely anyone else who happened to be there with my last breath. I wouldn’t stop to think or ask questions, I would act and would not go down without one hell of a fight. Am I resilient? You’d better believe it! I know this because I have encountered and fought my way through difficult circumstances. I know this because I have proven it to myself again and again. I know this because I’m still here and I’m still striving toward creating the reality I would like to live.

So here’s what I’m going to leave you with today. Have you gotten complacent to the point where you need someone to tell you that you need to become resilient to make it through this life? If you have, I’m going to challenge you to begin to flex that muscle. If you’re like me and at most may require a periodic reminder that you’re stronger than you realize and you can survive whatever comes your way, maybe start to consider what value things hold for you and how much you have to be grateful for. As I was recently reminded, if you can’t breathe, nothing else matters. If you have no food or very little, food is very important. So if you live in a world of abundance, what really matters to you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this subject. Please feel free to leave a comment or a response below and, as always, if this has been of value to you please pass it on. Until next time…

 

What do you do with ELFs and Rattlesnakes?

This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while. This year has become incredibly busy so I’ve not been writing as much as I’d hoped, but here’s our next edition of “Jackie’s Interesting Point of View”.

If you’ve been following me at all, you’ll probably have heard me mention something called Access Consciousness or The Bars. These came into my life a couple of years ago and have really changed the way I interact with the world. The things I would have to say most attract me to the Access teachings and tools is their simplicity and clarity. What I’m going to share with you here is my interpretation of one of those teachings and I hope it helps you the way it’s helped me.

What are ELF’s and Rattlesnakes? ELF stands for Evil Little F**k (I’ve been known to drop a bomb from time to time, but I swear, this is as defined by Gary Douglas, founder of Access Consciousness) and Rattlesnake really is self-explanatory. The idea is that there are people in this world who take great pleasure in causing difficulty and suffering for others. We’ve all had it happen where we’ve run across someone who seems to be on a mission against us for no apparent reason. The co-worker who tries to discredit us at every possible opportunity, the gossip who starts rumours behind our backs, the people who seem to plot and plan all the time to cause problems and push the buttons of anyone who allows it. Why do they do that? For the rest of us, it can be difficult to understand why anyone would want to live that way.

There’s a story I’ve heard told a few different ways. Same idea but sometimes different characters. My favourite version is one of the scorpion who wants to cross a river so he asks a frog to transport him across on his back. The frog refuses, saying that he knows the scorpion will sting him and kill him. The scorpion argues and convinces the frog that it will not sting him because by doing so they would both drown and eventually the frog relents. As the frog carries the scorpion across the river, all of a sudden, he feels it’s sting. As they both begin to sink he asks the scorpion why it stung despite promising not to because now they will both die. The scorpion’s answer is simply that he stung the frog because he’s a scorpion and that’s what scorpions do. It’s their nature, it’s who they are.

The moral of the story is simple. You cannot expect someone or something to go against their nature, regardless of what they may say. But how many times do we dumb ourselves down and buy the story we’re told? Have you ever done that? I know I have and we hear about it all the time. Someone says they will never drink/cheat/lie/hit/steal… again and because we want them in our lives for whatever reason, we buy their story and allow them another opportunity. And most of the time (and usually before much time has passed) they drink/cheat/lie/hit/steal… again.

So what do we do with these ELF’s and Rattlesnakes? What you choose to do with them is up to you but what I can say with confidence is that these people rarely, if ever, truly change. I can also say that they are often unavoidable. The trick is in recognizing them quickly and not giving them the opportunity to put you in their crosshairs. When you see something or someone for who and what they truly are, it becomes much harder for them to pull the wool over your eyes or manipulate you. It also usually isn’t as much fun when you don’t engage. You may not be able to stop them from messing with you, but if you remove your energy from the situation it usually takes away their pleasure and they’ll move on to someone else who will be more fun to “play” with. Other times, it’s necessary to not back down and to fully engage.

I do my best to avoid these people because I’d really rather surround myself with people who are fun to be around and who are supportive of one another. Causing intentional harm to another is almost never part of my agenda. I’ll admit I’ve considered it at times – usually when someone I care about has been hurt in some deep way – but as I sit here writing this, I’m struggling to remember a single time when I actually followed through. I also am fully aware that I would do whatever was necessary to protect myself and others if the need arose, but to do this for sheer pleasure is really just not in my makeup.

Up until probably about 10 or 12 years ago, I fell victim to several of these types of situations, some of them causing some pretty catastrophic consequences in my life. Maybe that’s how we learn. At any rate, I now seem to have developed a pretty good radar as a result and I can usually smell these people very quickly. It’s often very subtle – things don’t quite make sense or don’t quite add up or when I’m near them I just feel like something isn’t quite right. When that happens and whenever possible, I remove that person from my environment. If they’re family or someone I must deal with for some reason, I’ve learned to really keep my eyes and ears open. That’s usually all I need to do. Somehow, they seem to know that I see them and that’s often enough.

The founder of Access Consciousness, Gary Douglas tells us to recognize people for what they are and not let them convince us otherwise. If you get into bed with a rattlesnake, you’re likely to get bitten. If our friend the frog had followed his instincts and refused to carry the scorpion across the river, he would not have drowned halfway across. Your awareness is like a muscle. If you haven’t been using it, at first it will likely take some practice. But as you flex and stretch that muscle it will become stronger and easier to use.

My most recent run-in with an ELF was at a local trade show a few months ago. It was quite a large event with lots of vendors and thousands of people attended. The first day, a lady approached me at my booth and tried to convince me to join her business as a representative. I politely listened to what she had to say, thanked her for considering me, and told her I wasn’t interested. The following day, she came back to my booth with a VERY pushy man who would not stop talking and when I asked him to move on and leave my booth, he became quite irate, yelling nasty comments over his shoulder. He subsequently returned to talk to people at my neighbouring booths, for some reason trying to discredit me. This continued until I finally reported him to the organizers because he was being disruptive and causing a scene – not good for any of our businesses. He then began to send other people over to my booth and my neighbours and continued in his efforts to discredit me.

But here’s what happened. His attempts completely backfired. My neighbours had watched me interacting with people all weekend and had spoken with me over that time themselves. They not only refused to listen to his lies, they actually came to our defense multiple times. When a friend was manning my booth alone for a few minutes, one of our neighbours slipped in behind the table because she saw him approach and did not want her to have to handle him by herself. He quickly left. And whenever he sent someone over to bother us our neighbours would stand and appear ready to help should it be needed. It reminded me very much of the saying “Circling the wagons” and it was a wonderful experience to see how my fellow business women rallied to support one of their own.

I am obviously qualified both in training and experience to teach what I know and share what I’ve learned. This individual was clearly just an ELF and I gave him no power so eventually he had no choice but to leave me alone. His determination was surprising and I have no idea to this day what caused him to fixate on me. I believe that the other ladies were so determined in their support because I handled myself with complete transparency. And maybe just a little because we girls need to stick together when we have a rattlesnake in our midst.

So when you find yourself in a situation where you are having a reaction that tells you the situation is just not quite right, what would it take for you to trust that without having to know why and regardless of someone else’s thoughts or judgment or what someone else may think of you? What would it take for you to stand up when necessary or simply acknowledge that you see things for what they are? And how will you know the difference? By stretching and flexing that awareness muscle. Are you willing to leave behind the illusion of comfort and begin to require that things change in your life or would you rather just go along? The choice, as always, is yours.

Until next time…

 

Monsters in your closet and “Other People’s Stuff”…

This morning, I woke up with an idea playing through my mind. In truth, it’s been playing around the edges of my consciousness for a while and has really been coming forward as something that I should write about. So I got up with the full intention of writing something before my day got started and headed into the chaos and whirlwind that has occupied my days for the last several weeks. I got myself ready for the day, sat down at my computer, and promptly remembered 2 things I was supposed to have done yesterday afternoon. So rather than doing what my spirit was asking me to do this morning and honouring myself, I got pulled into the vortex we’ll call “other people’s stuff” and that was that.

Has this ever happened to you? You have your calendar, your plan, your to-do list of things that are important to you. Then something happens, and before you know it it’s the end of the day and if you’re lucky, you’ve managed to cross one or two things off the list. The rest of the day has been spent working on things that are very likely very important to people who are important to you – your boss, your client, your family member – but in reality have almost nothing to do with you. They are not of your creation and although you may be the absolute best person to deal with the situation, are not really your responsibility.

This is one of my biggest challenges. Whether it’s innate or it’s a result of my environment and things I’ve learned I have no idea, but I love to help people. I suppose it’s probably one of the things that makes me really great at what I do. The challenge comes when I fail to establish appropriate boundaries and I allow other people’s stuff to creep into my world. I’m getting better at it than I used to be but I confess that I still sometimes find myself donning my cape and tights and swooping in to save the day or struggling with myself to put up the boundaries when I’m already waste deep.

I won’t try to tell you that I have all the answers because I don’t. What I’m really beginning to see is that we all have our weak spots and we all have our triggers. Each of the things that have happened to us have left a mark. Sometimes it’s on our bodies, but often also on our spirits and the deepest of these marks even manage to touch our souls.

A dear friend of mine, Di Riseborough, has written a book called “Forgiveness, How to Let Go When it Still Hurts” that’s launching this Thursday, May 15th. You may have already received an email or seen something about it on Twitter or Facebook. Di has an amazing story of her own journey with forgiveness and possibly because of this launch, I find myself pondering the idea of forgiveness and what it means to me.

It seems there are a few different ideas about what forgiveness is and what it means. Some talk about forgive and forget, others say that we forgive out of compassion for the other party, some forgive out of some sort of moral superiority, and my preferred explanation is that we forgive to release ourselves from the hold our own anger, resentment, or hurt have on us. I like this explanation I think in part because it does not require that I give my “persecutor” a free pass or make what they did to me about something that happened to them. I simply reach a point where I choose to let go of my negative feelings on the subject and move beyond it.

I shared with you the idea that things that happen to us leave a mark. I believe that to be true. I believe that once something has happened, it is not possible to un-do it. When you have fallen in love for the first time, your world is changed. If a person is beaten, they cannot ever be “un”-beaten, and if someone has been raped, they cannot ever be “un”-raped. Everything that happens to us – both good and bad – leaves a mark and you can never again go back to the person you were before it happened. Every experience creates a learning and it changes how we relate to the world.

I used to think that forgiving someone meant that I was saying it was ok for them to have done whatever they did in the first place but I don’t think that’s really what it’s about. I find myself wondering as I observe people, myself included, if those marks don’t become our soft spots. You know, those places that if someone pokes at them long enough and in just the right way, no matter how much work we may have done to heal them, can still flare up and cause us discomfort and distress. Maybe I’m mistaken, but I suspect we all have those soft spots. Some are better at hiding them, some are better at avoiding the people and situations that would poke at them, but we all have them.

So what if healing something doesn’t mean making it go away? What if true emotional healing is reaching a place where we can acknowledge the mark and the hurt that caused it, look it straight in the eye and celebrate ourselves for having survived it in the first place and for having learned whatever we can from the experience. Then we need to be prepared that sometime, the right person may come along with the right stick and poke us there. And in the same way that we may find ourselves having a moment of grief several years after we’ve lost someone, it’s ok to feel what we feel for a moment. The key is to not get bogged down and stay in that space and to develop tools that help us pull ourselves out of it more quickly each time. And to know when to reach out for help. I feel very fortunate and grateful for the people I can call on when I find myself in one of those places and not sure how to find my way out.

In my last post, I quoted something I’d read that said something like “Never be ashamed of your scars, they simply show that you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you”. It seems there’s something of a theme working through my world at the moment. Whatever has hurt you, my friend, whatever pain or shame or anger you may feel about it, remember that you survived it and you’re still here. Can you acknowledge how amazing you are? Can you look it in the eye and feel your own strength and resilience? If you can, I commend you. If you’re still working on it, I commend you too. I suspect for most of us it’s a combination of the two. There are things I’ve made peace with that don’t really have any impact on me anymore and there are things I’m still working on. The surprise is that sometimes I get them confused and something sneaks up on me.

So let me leave you with this. When your monsters find their way out of the closet (just know that it will likely happen sometime), when you realize that you’ve gotten too close to the vortex of “other people’s stuff” and been pulled in, what if you just stop? What if you acknowledge that you’ve fallen into it, but rather than telling yourself that you’re bad or wrong or you should have known better, you thank goodness that you’re cute because that wasn’t the smartest thing you could have done, ask for help if you need it, and choose to move forward with your life and away from whatever that situation is? Just like a fire needs oxygen, these things require our attention and our energy. Deprive a fire of oxygen and it cannot burn. Deprive these situations of your attention and energy and they can no longer harm you or interfere with your life. It really can be that simple or as hard as you choose to make it for yourself. What do you choose?

Perfectly Flawed

Ok, let’s be honest. How many of us have been chasing perfection for as long as we can remember? Trying to be the perfect wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend? And how many times have you actually achieved that? Have you ever or was this just a game you played that gave you another opportunity to make yourself wrong? For me, this used to be a game I played very well. I sometimes still catch myself. What I now understand is that by trying to be someone else’s idea of perfect, I did a great deal of damage to myself. So today, let’s talk about that.

A few days ago was the anniversary of my sister’s accident and death. It was a hard day, I suspect that it will continue to present a challenge whenever April 16 rolls around. That day, I worked until I couldn’t concentrate, then I allowed myself some time to feel what I was feeling and just be with that. This was a challenge because the gremlins in my mind are very good at reminding me of everything that needs to be done and throwing guilt at me for not always being in work mode – at least until the work is done. In my world though, the work continues to come and so is never completely done. (Very grateful for a successful business whose services are in demand.)

The following morning, it felt like a great idea to take my dogs to a beautiful park we have here in London, Springbank Park, for a very long walk. The purpose was purely to get out in the sunshine and fresh air and enjoy the walk. What happened? Almost as soon as we got out of the car and onto the path, I saw a group of other women walking – obviously for exercise – and a little voice inside my head started to nag at me that I wasn’t walking fast enough to raise my heart rate enough for a “work out”. It took a few minutes for me to realize what was happening and as soon as I did, I told that little voice to shut up. Remember, my purpose was not exercise, it was simply to be outside and enjoy the weather and the companionship of my dogs and allow my body to move and breathe. My nag kept after me for a while, but I steadfastly refused to pick up my pace. When the dogs wanted to sniff something, I paused and let them sniff. When someone approached from behind, I felt no need to stay in front of them so I wished them “Good morning” and let them pass. After a while, that little voice got the hint and left me alone.

That may sound a bit off topic, but consider this. Does everything we do need to have a purpose? In my world, that was the case for many, many years. I rarely indulged in spending time purposely alone, and certainly not doing anything just for me. In my mind, that was selfish and as I strove for perfection in my actions, in my behaviour, in my selflessness, there was no room for me, for my “self”. After all, why would anyone want to spend time with someone like me (the real me, not the face I put on for the world)? Wasn’t the entire purpose of being here on earth to strive for Christ-like perfection? If I talked about what’s amazing about me, wouldn’t that make me an arrogant jerk? Only arrogant jerks toot their own horns, right?

Here’s what I failed to consider. We are all enough. Sounds like such a simple statement, but if you’re me a couple of years ago, it’s incredibly profound. How about this one? Our flaws are part of what makes us unique and special and beautiful. What?! You can stop the bus right there my friend. A couple of years ago, that statement would have likely caused me to laugh in your face or possibly my head to explode.

We are all created with a certain number and combination of amazing gifts, talents, abilities. Most of us can accept that. But many of us don’t see them. I am simply me. When I looked in the mirror, I saw the same face I’d been seeing for 40 years. I didn’t see a person with a gift for communicating and an ability to touch other people deeply with my words. I didn’t see a person who can be a bit mischievous and loves to laugh and play. I didn’t see a person who cares deeply and completely and sees the beauty in others and wants to help them celebrate it. I did not see the gifts that make me me. I saw the person who, no matter how hard she tried, could never quite meet the mark. I saw the person who had put on piles of weight without even realizing it. I saw the person who was unworthy and undeserving because of decisions I had made many, many years ago and had never quite forgiven myself for.

All of that has now changed. It isn’t that I don’t see my flaws, it’s that I can now see my gifts. I now understand that NO ONE is perfect and everyone is just as screwed up as anyone else. We all have baggage, we have all made mistakes, we all get scared, and every single one of us is simply doing the best we can.

If you believe that we have been created exactly as we are, doesn’t that mean that those “flaws” were purposely included? What if there is absolutely no perfection anywhere at all ever? What if our flaws are the things that help us learn and give us the opportunity for growth? What if being you is exactly what our world needs you to be – flaws included?

Consider this, my friend. What if you, and everyone else, is perfectly flawed to be precisely who we truly be and therein lies the perfection? And what changes in your world by accepting yourself exactly as you are, forgiving yourself where necessary, and beginning to look for the beautiful gifts that only you possess in precisely the combination you have?

Recently on Facebook, I saw a post that went something like this:

“Never regret your scars. They simply prove you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.”

Who you are is amazing and beautiful my friend. Scars and flaws and all. Rather than striving to be the perfect wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend… are you willing to strive to be the perfect you? Perfectly flawed and awesome in your beauty? I hope you’ll consider that… Until next time.

The Path of Least Resistance

A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting with my friends to file their taxes. (Yes, I do that too. LOL) Somehow, as often seems to happen, we found ourselves talking about things that were completely different from the matters at hand. In this case, my friend’s husband was giving us a lesson in electricity and how it works. The subject arose as we talked about a recent event we’d attended (Harmonics of Healing) and a fundraiser for a bursary being set up by the mother of a young man who was electrocuted. My friend is an electrician and explained that this was really unfortunate because, but for a few considerations, this young man may have been hurt but still survived. Something that he kept saying has really stuck with me and it’s the topic I’d like to explore in this entry. He said that electricity will always take the path of least resistance.

The path of least resistance… this brings up some really interesting things for me. Is it synonymous with copping out and conforming? Or does it mean that you find the easiest way to get things done? Or…. I think it could probably be interpreted and used in many different ways. In this case, and sticking with the connection to electricity, it has me pondering things that are more in the natural order of things. It has me considering how much effort it takes to NOT take the path of least resistance compared to how easy it is to just do what comes naturally.

As those of you know who’ve been following my blogs, I’ve spent a great deal of time going against what was true for me and that led me to some very uncomfortable and extremely unhappy places. I was of the mindset that going against the grain was often noble and preferable to conforming. Funny how we perceive things from different places in our lives. I look back at all of those years when I felt like it was necessary to fight for everything. I didn’t even realize that I was making things much harder than they needed to be. The crazy part is that the harder I fought, the harder I thought I needed to fight and it became a never ending cycle of finding (in many cases creating) something to fight for or against. It was part of proving the value of the things I hold dear and also, my right to have them. Fight for this relationship, fight for this business, fight against that injustice, prove your value… So much fighting… so much energy wasted. In a very real way, it’s like Don Quixote tilting at windmills. It makes NO sense and accomplished very little beyond creating extreme emotional and physical exhaustion in a relatively intelligent and successful woman.

What happened was that the fight became something I identified as an important part of “who I am”. It was something that defined me and that I believed to be one of my more noble qualities. I now see this as not only completely off the mark, but also containing a good deal of arrogance. “I” would fight for the cause and those who didn’t get on my side were not only wrong but somehow “less than”. Only I was capable of doing this – or maybe sometimes – if you wouldn’t do it, well than I guess it had to be me. WOW! So much pressure to perform and so much responsibility. How much fun was my life? Can you say absolutely none?

So what’s changed? I’ve really started to check in with myself and weigh things out when making choices. If it feels heavy or constricting then I do my best to not involve myself, but if it tickles that part of me that likes to giggle, I do my best to completely and fully involve myself. One is easy, one is not. Each one of us has a knowing or an intuition or whatever language makes sense to you. Every time we are presented with a question or a problem or an opportunity, something inside us already knows on an energetic level what is right and good for us. So what stops us from listening to that? In my experience it boils down to expectations and fears. We think and try to figure out what we should do. If we choose A the consequences may be X or possibly Y, if we choose B then we might get Z or maybe T. So much thinking, so much energy, so much effort!

What would happen if you simply made the choice to just check in with yourself before doing anything? There are sometimes real factors that must be considered, but if you feel light and like doing something will lead you to something fun or happy or more expansive for your body, your spirit, your business, your relationship, what if you just trusted that and let that be the determining factor? What if when you begin to make decisions from a place of moving in a positive direction for yourself – not for your family, your friends, your fans, your critics, for yourself – the doors just started to open and the people just started showing up to help with everything that you needed help with? What if trusting your own self and your own gut is actually your taking the path of least resistance in the same way that electricity and water and any number of natural phenomena do? What if the entire point is that things don’t need to be hard and are really meant to easy? Oh my goodness, what could that change in your life? If you’re anything like me, it might just change everything! And let me just say this way feels SO much nicer.

Now I must end this on the note that I’m not completely oblivious and I know that not everything feels good all the time. If you feel something is necessary, regardless of how it feels, you may need to follow through on it. It is never pleasant to deliver difficult news, or to deal with some of the situations life throws at us and the fact is that sometimes, those types of circumstances are unavoidable. I suppose the point is that we don’t need to create them or choose them unnecessarily. Life is much, much easier when you choose your battles and use your energy toward creating than it is when you choose to tilt at windmills and tear things down. After all, you can choose what’s right for you simply because it’s right for you. There is no cause for arguing and no need to defend. You can simply choose to do or not because it’s what you choose. Yes, you are allowed to do that. Something to think about… see you next time.

What is real?

I woke up this morning with an interesting idea playing through my mind. It’s become a habit when that happens to come to my computer and see what wants to come out and onto the paper, so here I sit.

We live in a world full of things that aren’t real. Fake hair, fake boobs, fake sentiments – even fake food – and at times it can be hard to discern who and what is genuine and can be trusted. In my experience, it seems that fake things nearly always have a way of being found out, but usually not until someone is hurt badly enough to start squawking. This is precisely why I don’t lie and why I’m only willing to provide products and services I believe to have true value.

When I came into this world, it wasn’t very long before they realized that I wasn’t completely “healthy”. Fortunately, that didn’t mean anything immediately life threatening. It meant that I was allergic to many, many things. Not an intolerance that might upset your tummy or cause the sniffles, but the kind that could actually cause a person to die (you know, the real allergic).

The end result created a lot more work for my family to keep me alive because I could not consume processed foods and most store-bought products. Our bread was baked at home, our meat was grain fed and bought at a very specific butcher shop, and you should have seen the garden and the canning we did during the year and stored in the basement. Jams, relishes, fruits and vegetables, chili sauce, and pickles…Yum yum…

When I picture those shelves now, I realize how much love went into all that work and I would like to thank my family for going above and beyond to keep me alive. Had they not made the sacrifices they did and put in all of the extra work that went into making sure things were safe for me, I would likely not be sitting here writing this message. I cannot express my gratitude for your efforts. Thank you!

Fortunately, they made the decision to move the family to a cleaner air environment when I was 7 and in short order, many of my allergies cleared up to the point that if they were still present, they were more of the “intolerance” category that might make you feel rotten for a while.

I met a lady I know recently at a Tim Horton’s and she expressed how much she appreciates my “real-ness”. She knows that I will understand whatever she may need to say in a very real way – because in a lot of cases, I’ve been there and am not afraid or ashamed to share that. She is not the first to have expressed that kind of sentiment and it always strikes me funny to have a person thank me for being who I am. The truth of the matter is that I’ve never really been very good at being anything other than myself. I’ve tried a few times and every time has produced very uncomfortable results. You see, I’m just not a very good liar and when asked, you can pretty much count on my sharing what I believe to be true – I’ve been working at doing that only when asked. LOL

So some things for you to consider – What would this world be like if being genuine were not anything out of the ordinary? What would change in your life if you chose to simply show up as you? Nothing more, nothing less, just who you be. What kind of impact would you have on the people you meet and on the world? What if, by being your genuine self, you made it ok for others to do the same? Is it possible that could create more “real-ness” in our world? Is it possible that could create more tolerance and understanding and allowance for others to be their genuine selves? Might that be a world in which we didn’t need to fear so many things and where more people treated each other with kindness and love? What would that be like?

The last few years, for many of us, have been a time of reflection and thoughts of change. I challenge you to consider how you show up in this world and if that’s really how you want to be received by others. As Ebenezer Scrooge learns in my favourite holiday story “A Christmas Carol”, as long as we still live and breathe change is possible.

What would you like your world to look like, and how would you like to be received by others? Only you can create that possibility my friend. You just need to be willing to do what is necessary to make that your reality. Are you?