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…