Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nothing is Everything

It's that time again...time to make those New Year's resolutions that, come somewhere mid-January we either forgot we made or forgot why we made them. Oh, and if we do remember, we wonder how to keep them! How about trying something different this year? Don't make any resolutions!

Coach U's The Zen of Attraction aptly says, "If less is more, then nothing is everything." This handy reminder hanging on the bulletin board above my desk goes on to say, among other things: "Promise nothing. Just do what you most enjoy doing...Expect nothing. Just enjoy what you already have; it's plenty...Need nothing. Just build up your reserves, and your needs will disappear...Change nothing. Just tell the truth, and things will change by themselves" (Coach U's Essential Coaching Tools, CoachInc.com, 2005).

When you finish doing the above, and if you still choose to make New Year's resolutions, remember to be grateful and express that gratitude to the Universe. Gratitude goes a long way toward attaining more of the good things life provides.

Happy New Year Everyone--may all your goals and wishes for 2012 manifest for you in totally harmonious and satisfying ways!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Meet Carlee--my lesson in letting go

I rarely share such personal stories here on my blog, but this spiritual tome bears telling as Christmas and all the miracles of the season approach.


Meet Carlee. This little gem, the runt of the litter, came into my life as the lesson of letting go was unfolding around me. While facilitating a workshop in New Carlisle, Gaspe, I was dealing with a difficult personal situation occupying my thoughts. After completing the workshop, a particularly unpleasant e-mail threatened to shatter the enjoyment of what would be a day to tour the coast and see Perce Rock with my colleague. So I asked the Universe to get me through the challenge of my emotions and let me enjoy exploring this coastal region. One hour later, I came upon a litter of four furry ball kittens along a dirt road leading up to Black Lake. It seemed they were hitching a ride, having been abandoned as I later learned commonly happens with the local population of unwanted cats. My colleague and I stopped the rental car and the sparse traffic, not knowing quite what to do. It was clear to me: I could not, after asking the Universe for a miracle, bypass these animals whose situation made them far more vulnerable and helpless than mine.

Herding cats is no easy feat; we finally got them all settled into the car, and then the adventure of finding them homes began! I had only one day to place these treasures or locate a refuge that would care for them until good homes could be found. Harbored in the bathroom of my hotel, along with litter, food and water, they ate voraciously and slept in the bathtub while I worked the phones in a networking frenzy that had one little black male placed with a family and the three remaining kittens going to a wonderful refuge called Amis-Zoo run by Andree. Andree and her partner, Michel came to my hotel room the night before I was to leave by plane the next morning. She would take two kittens as I had told her I would take one home with me. Unfortunately, the small private airline's administration told me their policy of not allowing animals on the plane. I couldn't take the chance of not being allowed on-board if I tried to smuggle this little angel in my sweater.

I had to let it all go...let my personal situation and the things I cannot change go, let these beautiful good-natured kittens go, and I had to let go, the little one I wanted to keep, again telling the Universe my wish to have her if a way could be found.

Andree entered my hotel room and got right down on the floor with all of the kittens, now running loose and getting ready for their transfer. I told Andree it would be three rather than two as I could not take Carlee on the plane to Montreal. Then she looked up at me and said: "I'm coming to Montreal in early December. I'll bring her to you." Wow! I let go and the Universe provided!

Carlee is now home, adapting to my existing two cats who’ve accepted her into the fray. She is independent, gentle, affectionate and fearless--an interesting mix of characteristics that resonate with me. Carlee is exactly where she needs to be. So am I. And all this just because of my willingness to LET GO!

What is your story about letting go?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Staying Clear with the Universe

Last week a good friend showed me a gorgeous tablecloth someone had made. It's beaded trim and quality material complement its solid craftsmanship and artistry. My friend considered buying it, but wanted it in a different bolder color. I loved the tablecloth and brought it home to see how it would look on my table, thinking that I, too, would have one made in another brighter color.

The tablecloth fits beautifully and the colors blend so well with my decor! So I decided it was mine. And when my friend left I realized I had forgotten to give her the money to pay the creator of this beautiful cloth. Now my check sits written and ready to be mailed or dropped off.

You see...this is about more than the money and paying for what I purchase. This is about keeping my debts clean and clear with the universe. I want this money intentioned for the creator of my tablecloth, set aside and ready because I want the universe to let me keep this tablecloth. It is about integrity--paying what is due so that the universe continues to provide. This is one of the ways abundance shows up in my life.

What debts do you need to clear with the universe?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just say "thank you"


If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. -Meister Eckhardt

We often hear the phrase "Forgive and forget." It's a tall order. We might think that if only we could forgive and forget, then perhaps we can move on and move past the hurt. In an ideal world, we could do this easily and effortlessly. But we are in a world where hurts resurface and the reminders stay fresh. So I'm proposing another way...

Don't forgive--just do nothing around forgiveness, except for forgiving yourself (see Forgiveness Starts with the Self), then, instead of forgetting, remember. Yes, remember. And finally, say "thank you." What?! Say thank you? Someone has hurt me and I must thank them??? Yes. Be grateful for what you have learned through the hurt. Thank that person either directly or indirectly for they have helped you along life's journey. We are all here to learn lessons, which are often repeated until we do.

Thank you means not resisting. Thank you means accepting that the hurt happened. Thank you means recognizing the good that comes out of the hurt. And thank you means you won't go there again. It's done, the hurt is over, the lesson is complete.

What lesson are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Failure is the Key to Success




I once read somewhere that if you never try something you cannot fail.
 
What's a success you've had that's been shaped by failure?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Creatively Visualize your Reality

Imagine yourself lying in this hammock (Photo courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons Free Images)
I love creative visualization and how it has the potential to shape my reality. While traditionally this might mean visualizing or seeing something in your mind's eye, I believe visualization can happen on a more sensual level, which ultimately makes it creative. We can creatively visualize using all of our senses--seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, touching and even intuiting--to attain a desired outcome.

What might this look like? You dream of taking a trip somewhere...perhaps the tropical south, an exotic sandy oasis bathed in sunshine. You close your eyes and see yourself there, hearing the sounds of it, smelling the smells and tasting the salt of the sea, touching the textures, feeling at peace in this environment, and intuiting what that means for you.

This simple act can create our reality. The mind is a powerful vehicle. According to W. Clement Stone, "Whatever the mind...can conceive or believe, it can achieve."

Now you try it: think of something you'd like to do, be, or have. What does that look like when you close your eyes and imagine your goal and its result, using all of your senses?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The 10-10-10 Principle and Letting Go

How important is it? When I am dealing with a huge decision, I stop and ask myself this: What will be the outcome of my decision...in 10 minutes...in 10 months...in 10 years? And then it is easy to decide because the answer usually tells me what I need to know. Then I can let it go, knowing that the universe will take care of the rest. There is much grace in letting go, like a balloon floating up into the sky.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Self-Awareness Through Conversation

How do I know what I am thinking until I say it? I like this Einstein quote someone once applied to adult learning because it zeros right in on why we need conversation. That space allowing us to verbalize our thoughts also lets us become aware of what we are thinking. It is essential for self-awareness and our learning about the self.

Perhaps this is what makes journal writing so effective. We pen our thoughts, conversing with ourselves. This gets these thoughts out of our heads and into the open for our own examination and learning.

My new experience with personal (life) coaching is that the coaching conversation seamlessly allows this. You achieve this space through the coach's presence and listening. Life coaching is a powerful way to know what you are thinking because you get to say it and have it heard. The bonus is that you get to co-examine your thoughts in a meaningful way.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Freedom

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose..." and so Janice Joplin's song Me and Bobby McGee goes. I love it! Walking in nature yesterday I pondered this word freedom--actually I felt it! It was an aha moment born of a sunny crisp day of fall colors. At that point in time, I felt this sense of freedom. I could walk and be in my head, feeling unhampered by anything or anyone. I felt free. It was this feeling of owning my time and energy, this feeling of lightness, this feeling of intense oneness with myself, not dependent on what anyone thinks of me, how anyone views me or what anyone says about me. And of course, it is born of so much work on myself to get there. When you can detach and know that you are enough as you are, you feel free...free to be yourself.

What does freedom mean to you?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sttrrettchhhh

You wake up and your body elongates in a stretch, pulling each of the muscles out from your core, reaching beyond the space your body occupies. It feels good and limbering. Now imagine applying this concept to your life, stretching beyond your limits and your comfort zone to achieve something more, something greater. What does that feel like?

How can you apply these tips to stretching your life?
Stretching might mean doing a task you normally would not do, like walking up to a stranger and introducing yourself, or beginning a conversation. It might also mean pushing yourself to take action you’d never consider, standing your ground or asserting yourself. It might even mean taking an alternate route to a favorite place. Stretching means getting out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes I’m not even aware that I’m in a comfort zone until I contemplate stretching beyond it. It is that reaching outside of the realm of the known and the comfortable that leaves me questioning, second-guessing and sometimes stalling for time. What really helps in these instances is getting informed. Then I break the task down into small manageable steps, reaching out, and slowly stretching toward something greater, something I envision and then design. That stretch becomes self-growth where the possibilities are endless.

What does stretching beyond your comfort zone mean to you?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Eliminating the Shoulds

"I should do this” or “I should have done x."...Have you ever found yourself saying this? These are the dreaded SHOULDS. The SHOULDS are often based upon unrealistic expectations, as well as the perceived or explicitly communicated expectations of others. Although they may have a rightful place in our lives, usually this place is locked away in a closet somewhere along with its guilty-by-association partner, GUILT.

I’ve done it—shoulded myself into guilt: I should have spent more time...(helping, giving, doing for others). SHOULD and GUILT hang out together, lying in wait in our consciousness and pouncing on us quickly with an invisible whacking stick (yes, whacking, not walking). We beat ourselves up with it.

So next time you find yourself thinking about what you think you should have done, stop, listen and be gentle with yourself (You really should stop feeling guilty). Instead, tell yourself that next time you’ll do things differently. And you will. Now put that stick away and go out and do what you should be doing! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ouch!--Essential Self-Care

It happens yet again...I do for someone else what they can do for themselves, and it comes back and bites me. All I was trying to do was help! Sound familiar? Perhaps all too familiar! The last time this happened to me for what I told myself was indeed the LAST time, I found a brick and tied a pink ribbon around it. This brick now sits prominently on a table in my dining room as a reminder that a brick to the forehead really hurts.

While we may mean well by trying to do well, we may be taking on yet another help mission that stops us from taking care of ourselves and our own needs. I call it essential self-care. It's essential because if we put ourselves last, we are no good to anyone, least of all to ourselves. There will always be someone needing something from us. Certainly no one is an island; we must to work together and help each other. But there are indeed times when we must butt out, step back and allow the other person to take care of their business while we take care of our own.

Speaking of taking care, now I must go swallow a pill for that headache caused by one too many bricks to the forehead...

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Color of Success

What is success? How do you know you have attained it--personally or professionally? If you had to assign success a color, what color might you choose? You see, there are as many definitions of success as there are individuals. And it all depends on your priorities. A passing grade in a course is one person's success while achieving an A+ is another's. It's all relative. While you might be prone to thinking of success in terms of it's likely polar opposite--failure--stretch a little. See success as varying shades of a color. See it in terms of the learnings from some of the mistakes we must make along the way.

I gave this some thought and came up with my definition: "Completing a task to the best of my abilities, based on my commitment to a goal, and then reflecting upon what I have learned and how I will apply that learning in the future." Then I thought about it some more and distilled it to: "Success is achieving my goals" even if it takes longer because I have encountered some bumps along the road.

The color of my success would be yellow, a bright sunny yellow representing that feeling of sheer happiness resulting from my achievement. In fact, I think of a yellow brick road, paved with good intentions, and leading to what I love. For me, so long as the intentions are good, then so are the mistakes made along the way. This is how we learn.

When creating your definition of success, keep it all about you. You cannot borrow from someone else when fashioning your success statement. While imitation is the highest form of flattery, you must define success in terms of your own life and goals. Give it a color that reflects your passion. Go ahead...define and color your success. I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I am

Awesome...just awesome being in the presence of such a great spiritual teacher and inspirational leader--Dr. Wayne Dyer. Speaking at The Palais de Congres of Montreal last night to a room of 1200 people brought together by Anne Thibault-Berube's Autopoetic Ideas, Dyer's energy at this event was palpable. I took away a clarity that has forever touched my soul and my relationship with my higher self and my Higher Power. It is simply this: I am.

Dr. Dyer makes the writings of great thinkers accessible as he interprets these for us. One of his interpretations last night comes from The "I Am" Discourses (Saint Germain Series, Vol. 3), a small book he read from. Dyer said: "The great presence within you that you call 'I am' is God." The discussion then followed that when you say 'I am...(well, prosperous, content)', you are that, your highest self. Therefore, when we say 'I am tired or not feeling well, or or or...' we are creating that reality, a reality which we also have the power to change.

We heard about the five principles Dyer expounds on in his forthcoming book, Mastering the Art of Manifestation, to be released in March 2012:
  1. Imagination - the greatest gift you've been given
  2. Living from the end - seeing what you want manifest
  3. Assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled
  4. Attention - going to 'I am" when the subject matter of something comes up
  5. Now I lay me down to sleep - how our thoughts marinate in our subconscious mind during those 8 hours and the value of applying "I am" in the five minutes before drifting off to sleep at night

Dr. Dyer ended his talk with two very powerful quotes: "When you trust in yourself, you trust in the very wisdom that created you." and "You can either be a host to God or a hostage to your ego."

I am...a host to God and all things that are good in my life. Thank you, Wayne Dyer, for your inspiration and enlightenment along a soul's journey!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How did I miss that??

Sometimes we don't see something happening. Or it is well hidden. Other times, we notice it but don't really "see" it. Or we see it and choose not to notice it. We practice denial, that protective coping mechanism which allows us to live our lives unfettered and not have to deal with what might present a painful or challenging situation. Denial is often jokingly referred to as a river (The Nile) in Jordan--most of us have never been there, nor have we seen it. But we know it exists...just like painful clues to a situation that is uncomfortable for us. And somehow we miss those clues.

Enter intuition--that little voice inside each of us. It tells us stuff. It sends us important messages. It helps feelings surface, for us to look at vis-a-vis what we are noticing. The problem arises when we squash that little voice, rationalizing it as: "It couldn't be. Nah, it's impossible." A dear friend of mine likens denial to sending that little child inside herself back into the basement, not listening to her or hearing her needs. I like to call intuition my sixth sense. And I feel it located somewhere between my solar plexus and my gut. That "gut feeling," as we say.

And so we go about our daily life as if nothing is happening that would upset the perfect balance we have created for ourselves. Except it is not so balanced. In fact, it is downright out of whack. Because next thing we know, we are reacting to something that we don't know or see. We might find ourselves questioning and obsessing. And while it might be crazy and crazy-making, it requires our attention nonetheless.

How do we identify that inner voice or wisdom and give credence to this inner child's needs? We stop and listen--really listen. And we stop challenging ourselves as not knowing best. We do. Let ourselves overreact or feel outlandish in our thinking. And just sit with the possibility of it, the "What if?" of it. When we let ourselves become open to the clues, they all fit like pieces to a jigsaw puzzle. Then we can make our best decisions. And we will. Because we do know best.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Doing Better

From my October 24, 2010 post Facing Adversity
"When you know better, you do better." Maya Angelou's sage words ooze self-growth. When you experience that 'aha moment,' you may realize that at any given time, and through any kind of pain, you are doing the best you can with what you've got. Perhaps you didn't have all the information or see the bigger picture. Perhaps you were reacting to a situation over which you had no control. It's not an excuse nor an absolution. It's simply a way of making peace within. You acknowledge that you did the best you could at the time. And then you can allow others that same space. It ties in with forgiveness--of the self and of others. It ties in with moving on to a better place: a place of healing. You do better now because now you know better. And that is the best anyone can do. A Leonard Cohen line aptly reflects this: "There are cracks in everything. That's how the light gets in."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Path Unfolding

Imagine walking along a path where you cannot see in front of you...perhaps there is fog or haze or dense forest. You push forward. And as you move along the path, sure-footed, but not so sure of yourself, the path unfolds. It opens up to reveal more path, a longer stretch. You keep moving and it keeps opening. You become aware that this is what faith is made of. You begin to realize that you need to trust that the path beneath your feet will be there, level and ready for you. You need only take one step at a time and have faith. This is the miracle of life unfolding. It is the miracle of readiness. When you are ready for the next step, the path unfolds. It's like magic. It's your life. And it doesn't get any better than that. You need only trust.

Friday, August 12, 2011

To Thine Own Self Be True

It's all too familiar: we are asked to do something and we want to say "no," but because we don't want to hurt that person's feelings or make them angry, we say "yes." Then we end up feeling hurt, sad, angry, frustrated and ultimately, resentful. We have not been true to ourselves, selling ourselves a bill of goods around wanting to please someone else. In the end, we have not pleased ourselves, so we have pleased no one.

Then there is the guilt. We may feel guilty for not doing for someone what they have asked, and we may feel guilty for not taking care of ourselves. Controlling people know this--they count on it. They might try to manipulate using words to incite in us feelings of guilt about taking care of our needs first.

It's rather easy to fall prey to this cycle if we answer a request too quickly. What I find helpful is telling someone: "Let me think about that and get back to you." I sit with the request and see if it really works for me and if I have it within me to fulfill that request. Only after taking pause, can I respond with clarity and confidence: "Yes, I would be happy to do that for you." or "No, this does not suit me to do x at this time."

We are not responsible for the reactions of others. We can only be true to ourselves. Now, how powerful is THAT?!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Are you marking yourself down?

This short paragraph recently appeared in my inbox via a dear friend:

"If you are not being treated with love and respect, check your price tag. Perhaps you have marked yourself down. It is YOU who tells people what you're worth by what you accept. Get off the clearance rack and get behind the glass where the valuables are kept! Learn to value yourself more...if you don't no one else will! If you like, repost this. It may help someone get off the clearance rack." --Author unknown to me

A beautiful illustration of this appears in Vanity Fair's recent interview with Jennifer Lopez about her divorce from Marc Anthony. She alludes to deserving better: "Sometimes we don't realize that we are compromising ourselves. To understand that a person is not good for you, or that that person is not treating you in the right way, or that he is not doing the right thing for himself -- if I stay, then I am not doing the right thing for me," she says. "I love myself enough to walk away from that now."

What is YOUR price tag?

Monday, August 1, 2011

To the Rescue

Rescuing...sounds so altruistic, doesn't it? It's the stuff of goodness, kindheartedness and humanity. It's actually the kiss of death. It kills the self and the self in others in subtle ways because we stop focusing on ourselves. In focusing on others, we do not let them own their stuff. In her book, Codependent No More, Melody Beattie devotes an entire chapter to this beast in relationships. She talks about an unhealthy need in us to be needed by others and the ensuing dependency this can create. We try to control others and their behaviors and outcomes, telling ourselves that "we are only trying to help."

Rescuing is when we do for others what they can do for themselves. When I think about rescuing, I think of how we sometimes want more for someone than we believe they should want for themselves. We may even think we know what they should want and when they should want it. We cajole, convince, trick, persuade and otherwise push the other into accepting our help--often before they have even asked for it. What makes this so dangerous for us in relationships? It's that when we help a drowning person, we risk being pulled under as well. We may forget to save ourselves.

Whenever I find myself focusing on someone else's problem and trying to make it my own by thinking and worrying about it,  I now ask myself the question: "What is it that am I not focusing on in my own life that currently needs my attention?" The list is endless! Then I get to the important work of making that phone call I've put off or doing that task I've left aside. And I trust that the other person will get to whatever task will help them along their journey. I rescue myself from rescuing another.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Lazy Days of Summer

Summer is a great excuse for writer's block. So much for the opportunity of time off to write that prize-winning novel! Beaches, sand, sun and sitting on a terrace sipping Sangria all compete with that quiet time and space needed to put thoughts onto the page. So be it! Summer is short. Before we know it, shovels will replace beach towels as snow covers the sand.

There is something therapeutic about digging one's toes into the sand, or walking on a beach as the waves lap at your feet. I was amazed recently by the buzz on Hampton Beach as early as 8 am; people dotted the beach doing activities like jogging, walking and even meditating. It became my routine to power walk for an hour using Nordic walking sticks.

The salt spray and the early morning sun made a heady combination, inciting a euphoric feeling of well-being that set the pace for the rest of the day. I can still hear the ocean's melody of crashing waves!

How are you spending YOUR lazy days of summer?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How do you see your glass?

Lucyna's Blossom Vegas with a glass in the grass
Do you see your glass as half full or half empty? It's amazing how life offers us abundance at every turn. Sometimes we have our sights set elsewhere and we may not see it. Besides seeing the abundance, we must also appreciate it.

Certainly when we are having a bad day or feeling badly about ourselves, we may not see the abundance in our lives, let alone feel grateful for it. We find our glass empty and we may feel empty. Truth is, we need to find ways to fill our own glass and then take the time to appreciate ALL that we have.

It is only when we learn to appreciate the abundance in our lives--in love, family, friendships, our work and our play--that we get more. We are filled up, like a glass brimming with cool refreshing water on a hot summer day (before the puppy emptied it! :-)).

How do you see your glass?

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Year of Firsts

If you've ever had to grieve a loss, you may understand that the first year is the hardest. That first year, with all of its associations and seasons, marks the passage of time as healer. No matter what the loss--a pet, a job, a relationship, an addiction--there is that year of firsts you need to get through and heal through.

Grieving has no time line and you might not know when it ends. It just gets easier and you begin to feel lighter. The cycle completes itself.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Walking Backwards

Try this...as you are walking, stop in your tracks. Now, walk backwards. And don't look over your shoulder--that's cheating! Notice how this feels. Scary, isn't it? You might be afraid that you'll walk into someone or something, or even trip and fall. It feels odd and uncomfortable, doesn't it? Remember doing this as a precarious and precocious young child, along with not stepping on cracks and all manner of common childhood games and rituals?

Now, let's think about change: major life change. As I've talked about change in a former blog post (see Necessary Losses), I am reminded that making a major life change or shift feels just like walking backwards! At first I don't trust that I'll be safe and not bump into anything and hurt myself. There is definitely this strangeness about doing things differently because it feels out of my routine (to walk backwards). It's like writing with my non-dominant hand, or wearing a shirt backwards, or even taking an alternate route to a favorite well-known place.

Walking backwards as in making a major life change, involves trust. It means having faith that this change is exactly what is supposed to happen. It requires trusting that you are being guided along a path, even though you may not see where you are going. It's HUGE really. But just think: you finally get there and then you turn around...and you see the beauty of where you are.

I dare you to try walking backwards today--no, double dare! ;-))

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day, a day to celebrate our mothers, grandmothers and any special person who has mothered us. It's a day to celebrate Mother Nature. It's a day to give thanks and be grateful for that omnipresent universal mother who has birthed all life. We each owe our very existence to a mother, someone who brought us into the wonder that is the miracle of our life. Happy Mother's Day to YOU!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kissing Frogs

Who couldn't help but notice the royal nuptials of William and Catherine this past weekend? It was a grand event that perhaps helped us forget about our own lives, if only for a few hours. It let some of us live vicariously as we watched the fairytale unfold around a story of love and hope, perhaps shedding a tear or two (buckets).

People get married every day (or not). Isn't every bride walking down that aisle, living her own fairytale of sorts? She has kissed her frog, made him a prince and dressed him up for the altar. For better, for worse, till death do they part (but usually not or not before they kill each other!).

What is it about weddings that makes us all soggy-eyed and emotional? Is it the splendor, the hope, the chance to live the dream that we are primed for as little girls? And why don't men grow up dreaming of getting married? Are we, as women, products of a socialization belonging to the culture of western womanhood? Or did the patriarchy invent marriage as a way to keep women busy prepping for life in the frog pond, hopping from one lily pad to the next in search of the elusive frog prince?

I think that we ultimately look to weddings as a source of inspiration, hopeful that those little tadpoles resulting from it are coming into a better place.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, look at all the junk there is!! Spring is a time of cleansing and renewal. Perhaps we have come to associate spring with cleaning and clearing: decluttering, ripping down curtains and washing walls, sometimes even repainting, and certainly repairing. It can be a time of renovation. It's certainly a time of innovation. By this I mean self-innovation or self-renewal. We take down the inner curtains and paint the interior of our souls, repairing and renovating ourselves as we declutter our lives.


We have awakened to the myriad of possibilities after a long winter solstice. We come out of hibernation to meet our new and energetic selves, the ones that lay dormant beneath the snow like so many creatures. The snow melts, giving way to a gloomy wet soggy tapestry just waiting to be made new by the sunshine and air as a new cycle of nature blooms.

I love spring. I love the chance to start fresh with the budding leaves. I am budding; my soul is about to bloom and burst forth into flower and song.

What does Spring represent for you?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Settling for More

Sometimes less is indeed more, but not always. Today a restaurant waitress asked if the basket of charred toast she set on the table before us, was too burned. It took me all of two seconds to decide I would absolutely not eat burnt toast. It got me thinking about how we sometimes settle and particularly about how we sometimes settle for less.

When it comes to our worth, less is definitely not more. We are more and we deserve more. We deserve better than to settle for a basket of charred toast. In fact, we deserve to have our toast exactly how we want it. It has very little to do with getting what we pay for. This off the beaten track hole in the wall restaurant with decent prices for a full breakfast was highly recommended by a friend living in the area.

Consider this important way of the universe: when we assert ourselves as being worth more, we get more. The universe provides--we need only trust and believe. We need only love ourselves enough.

Do you ever find yourself settling for less--in life, in work or in love? Let's raise a glass of orange juice and make a toast to settling for MORE!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ho'oponopono

"I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I thank you. And I love you." These four-phrases form a powerful mantra, that when repeated for several minutes each day, provides a cleansing that opens our energies and helps us to overcome resentment, pain and past hurts. Based on the teachings of Dr. I. Hew Len, this affirming string of simple sentences is wonderfully healing, bringing us back to zero as we take 100% responsibility and make amends...



I'd love to hear back from any of my readers who try this.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Creating from what we know

Do you ever watch a riveting film or read an engaging book or otherwise enjoy any great work and wonder: "Where did that inspiration come from?" At the same time you may be thinking about how that writer, painter, or artist captured the essence of something deep within you. Well, the secret is that artists create from what they know.

My friend and fellow blogger Claudia Del Balso's recent post about writing from pain relates to this notion. Great symphonies can elicit guttural reactions as they reach into us with a poignancy that draws out our innermost feelings. We can see the rawness of Van Gogh's pain in his paintings. The film Incendie is a moving tale. Although not based on a true story, it's an ingenious depiction of someone's reality, even if it's pieced together and woven with threads from different real stories. Creative works usually arise out of a place of knowing, of the known--be that pleasure or pain.

As writers, we write from what we know. For example, over the years, I went on many fishing excursions with family and friends, finally realizing a disinterest in the sport as I turned vegetarian. But those years of hooking worms, getting snagged and patiently awaiting a bite were not lost as I parlayed all that experience into a play about fishing and used it to communicate some important social values around misogyny. It was a wholly cathartic piece of writing, playing with a specific genre in order to express personally meaningful issues, and within the context of fishing, no less!

What do you find yourself creating from what you know?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

And the lucky winner is...

Congratulations to Vasilios whose name was drawn from the toe of a striped sock today. You are the lucky winner of one quarter pound of balloons! May you enjoy filling them with water and throwing them at passing buses! Thank you to everyone who took the time to celebrate One Word Pundit's 1st Anniversary with your shares and comments.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Is Happy the New Buzz Word?

Don't worry, be happy! If I had a dime for every time I heard that line that when I was in Jamaica some years back, I'd be rich--and happy! It's such a simple statement. It rolls off our tongues like some platitude. We try to believe it. When we hear that song, we think of the likes of Bob Marley basking in the sunshine on some beach, reggae music blasting in the background. What's not to be happy about? Here we shiver and shovel, then complain as more snow falls. I have a dear friend (she shall remain nameless) who reminds me weekly about how much she hates the snow. I cringe thinking about what she'd do with a shovel if I suddenly blurted: "Don't worry, be happy!"

Is "Happy" the new buzz word? In recent years, there has been a deluge of articles written about happiness and being happy. Relationship gurus spout about the importance of happiness within the self and how that reflects on our significant relationships. A whole spate of writing exists out there to remind us about the nature of happiness...as if that is not reason enough to make us unhappy. Why all this focus on happiness anyway? Why care if those endorphins are coursing through us, keeping us smiling? I think pigs have it right: they sit in IT and they're still happy.

So yes, it really is that simple: stop worrying for you cannot change the event that has not yet occurred and that you are worrying about, and just be happy about what you do have. I like to say, "Fake it until you make it." It's not always an easy task to plaster a smile on your face and face the world. But then again, it is a catch-22. What you put out there, you get back. You smile at the universe and it smiles on you. It IS that simple.

Don't worry, just be happy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy 1st Anniversary One Word Pundit!

It has been a year since One Word Pundit joined Blogland and it's been a wonderful year of posting!

Come celebrate with us! Here's how...
- Share your favorite blog post from this past year
- Recommend a new follower, or become a follower
- Comment on what you like about One Word Pundit

Your name will be put into a draw for 1/4 pound of balloons.

Happy Anniversary One Word Pundit!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Necessary Losses

Have you ever had to lose something in order to gain something else? Perhaps you left a job in order to gain a career, or let your child grow and go, gaining an adult but experiencing the loss of an empty nest. Perhaps it was more profound, such as a life change.

Change often involves a loss and usually involves a gain. That gain might not be immediate. And how we wish it was! It requires that we let go. Sometimes, even when they are not serving us well, we hold steadfastly to our ideals, our goals, our dreams just so we don't have to experience the pain of loss. Life circumstances might force our hand, making us take that risk, break out of our comfort zone and cut loose, creating a necessary loss. And in the end, a greater good prevails.

Judith Viorst explores this very deep reality of the human condition in her book Necessary Losses. Her best-selling classic on love, loss and letting go helps one to put into perspective, what living through inevitable change is all about.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Only One Word/Phrase

If you suddenly woke up tomorrow and had lost all your vocabulary, what is the one word--actually phrase--you'd be grateful to remember? I'd say it is "Thank you." This is a powerful word. Practice it daily to others and to yourself.

Thank you has way more meaning than any single word, symbol or gesture. A heartfelt "Thank you" goes to the heart right away. It lets people know they are appreciated in a world that moves too fast and often too unpredictably. It validates and soothes. It it the verbal pat on the back for a job well done. "Thank you" is the holy grail of all words. Use it and mean it.

Have you said "Thank you" today? Thank YOU for reading my blog! :-))

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bullying Hurts

It was disheartening to hear it said: "We all bully someone at some time in our lives" when I attended the first two presentations of a medical grand rounds forum called The Bullying Stops Here: the bottom line from neuroscience, psychiatry and education at The Montreal Children's Hospital last week. What does this say about us as humans? An empowering forum it was! It opened with psychologist Dr. Tracy Valiquette, imminent expert in the field of bullying, and then continued with Maureen Baron of The English Montreal School Board, who fully addressed the hot topic of cyber-bullying.

Bullying is any threatening or overtly harmful and repetitive action one takes toward another. It ranges from simple put-downs, manipulation, control and verbal abuse, to physical violence, which occur along a continuum of varying degrees of psychological, emotional, financial, sexual and physical abuse.

Dr. Valiquette's presentation set the tone as she made a connection between bullying as a cause of poor physical and mental health. She did this by explaining how our very real need as humans to affiliate with our peer groups (and families) and belong are what put as at the greatest risk when these same human social interactions hurt us. She explained how we are wired to belong and deferred to Harlow's study of monkeys where monkeys with no peer attachment was critical in terms of the monkeys' later "odd" behavior. She suggested the way our bodies' chemistry is affected by bullying as it seems that physical pain is often short-lived whereas social  pain can last a lifetime. Both of these types of pain share neurophysical structures, a biology, and the effects are sustained and devastating, resulting in poor self-esteem and a myriad of chronic health conditions.

We often think of the bully as a school yard kid ready to pull a punch, but bullying happens everywhere. Today's technology enables cyber-bullying using a multitude of online and technological ways to intimidate, control, manipulate, victimize and revictimize people. Baron explained that the targets are often students by other students, but that it also happens to teachers by students and between teachers. Her job at the school board is to investigate allegations and directly deal with the perpetrators. She elaborated that what makes cyber-bullying particularly potent is that it is 24/7, can be done any time and anywhere, and allows the bully a certain anonymity (Keep in mind that IP addresses can be traced) while reaching a huge audience at great speed. She finished her excellent presentation with the importance of giving children ethical boundaries around technology with the analogy of just like we do not give a child the keys to our car without driver's education, so we must explain to our child, the rules about conducting oneself using technology. Her final advice was to the person being cyber-bullied: "Stop, Close, Tell."

Remember that the school yard bully grows up and goes into the workplace and forms families, as do those who are bullied. Bullying begets bullying. It's a cycle that continues if left unchecked. And it hurts and harms in ways that are not always visible to the eye.

Bullying must be stopped! It is not okay to continually pummel, degrade, humiliate and harm another person in any way. And as a child, you must tell someone. As an adult hearing this, you must act. As anyone of any age experiencing bullying at the hands of another, you must say "No!" and remove yourself from the situation. No one deserves maltreatment. No one.

We need to start with ourselves and take a long look at how we contribute to this growing problem. We need to take a stand and stand up to the bullies. We need to make our world a bully free zone.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Forgiveness Starts with the Self

If you could forgive one person in your life who would it be? I would forgive myself. For what? Well, we are so quick to take it all on our shoulders and try to do good and be good. Sometimes we fall short, in the minds of others and perhaps in our own minds. We may tell ourselves, "If only I had done this or that (better) then maybe..." in a cycle of blame and shame that can only be broken by forgiveness...of the self.

In a conversation with a dear friend last night she asked me what I had to forgive myself for. It was an inspiring question. It made me think. It made me turn inward and come up with: "I need to forgive myself first, before I can forgive anyone else." Forgiveness starts with the self because if we can look at our own humanity, our own areas of discomfort and pain, then forgive ourselves for anything we have done to deepen or prolong that pain, then we can move on to forgive those who collude with us to keep that pain going.

Self-forgiveness is empowering. Have you forgiven yourself lately?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Price of Serenity

What price would you pay for serenity? Serenity is a place of peace in one's life, and it starts in the mind. A close friend recently left her husband because she loved herself more. She told me that she needed to create a space in her life for herself. Serenity is part of that space. And it has a price. That price is change. Change is the butterfly that morphs into an awesome creature and spreads it's wings to take flight. At some point you look around you and realize that like the butterfly, you've grown through that change. The result, as my friend says, "Is that I am at peace in myself. And there is no price for that."

How do you create serenity in your life?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Poison of Resentment

I remember catching part of an Oprah Winfey show where she talked about her resentment and anger toward someone. She told how one day from a distance she saw this person coming out of a department store in New York City, bags in hand, and laughing with a friend. Oprah then said something about here she was being angry while this person was actually living her life, having fun and had no clue!

Resentment is a poisonous pill that releases slowly. I read somewhere that resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.We harbor resentment, actively nourishing it with that negative self-talk tape we play over and over again in our heads. It festers like a boil and just poisons us while eroding the relationship. Is it no wonder we find ourselves physically ill when we carry around long-standing resentments toward someone else?

When someone does something or says something to me that I am not comfortable with, I can practice detachment. Rather than swallow the poison of resentment, I tell myself that I don't own it and that it doesn't belong to me. Rather than die inside, I give it up. In this way, I can let the other person take responsibility for something that was never mine. I am now free to go shopping and laugh with a friend or do another activity that gives me pleasure and boosts my self-esteem.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Turning Over a New Leaf

Happy New Year! It's that time again: time for change and renewal. It's when we make resolutions for this new year. And it can be a lot of pressure and guilt as resolutions often begin with the best intentions, but sometimes slip away from us before January is even over, resulting in guilt and perhaps fear. So let's think of it differently this year and turn over a new leaf in a new way. Think instead of goal-setting. What is one goal you'd like to accomplish this year? As we reflect on our goal, let's look at what makes good goal-setting.

Goals can be both long term and short term. We set small short term goals in order to reach our longer term goal. Taking a trip is an example of a long term goal and putting money away from each paycheck to pay for that trip can be the short term goal. Our lives are made up of many little goals that move us towards larger goals. This is what motivates us to create and achieve.

There's a great acronym that helps us think about good goal-setting: SMART. For us to achieve our goal it must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. The more specific our goal, the easier it is to measure progress and attain it. Ask yourself if your goal is realistic and doable within the time frame you have set.

What I also like about goal-setting is that we are never alone in achieving our goals. It may start by the commitment of ourselves to our goal by telling someone else. At New Year's brunch around my dinner table, everyone took a moment to share their goal for 2011. Telling others about our goal makes it real and helps us to commit to it. Then there is mobilizing resources to achieve our goal. And that is where we need the help of other people in terms of time, energy, resources and support in order to reach our goal.

What SMART goals have you set as you turn over a new leaf for 2011?