t.g.i.Friday – Can You Hear Me Now?

Can you hear me now?

I have to confess that I have never actually read Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages, but I have seen him in interviews and done the online test, and have found it extremely helpful. For those not familiar with it, he says that people "speak love" in different languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. You can check out the webpage for more detail.  

The thing about these languages is the same as if one partner is speaking English and the other is speaking Greek.

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tgiF – I Can See Clearly Now

I Can See Clearly Now

I got new glasses this week. They are “progressives”, so that means I can see near and far without having to lift my glasses to peer down at the fine print. Now with a tilt of my head, I look out through the bottom half of the lens and things come into focus. Ummm, sounds like a column to me.

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tgiF – Think About It

Think About It

“There is nothing good nor bad, but thinking makes it so”—William Shakespeare

“Change your thoughts, Change your life”—Wayne Dyer

“thoughts become things” –Kai Greene

Sounds like the start of a joke, “A playwright, a self help guru and a bodybuilder walk into a bar…” Three men who on the surface would have nothing in common. However, as these quotes show, they all believe(d) in the power of our thoughts to create our reality.

I admit, that I do not always choose the thoughts that move me forward into a more enlightened state. As with many things, when situations and life experiences are going well, I am a fountain of encouragement and positivity, but when I get overwhelmed or take on other people’s pain and hold it as my own, well, not so much with the happy me. The funny (as in ironic, not haha) thing is that those are the times when I need to remember these quotes and apply them.

Here’s an example. You wake up in the morning and it’s raining. Is that good or bad? Well if it’s the first day of your vacation and you had planned a day at the beach, then it could be bad. If you are a gardener who has been waiting for rain to help water your plants, then it could be good. In reality, it is neither. It’s just rain. You could be upset that you “can’t go to the beach”, but that’s not true. You can still go. The experience might be different than you had planned, but that doesn’t mean it would be bad. You could be glad that your plants are getting water, or it could turn out that there was so much rain that it washed away the seeds you had planted.

The point is, that choosing the thoughts we have about things over which we have no control, takes a conscious effort, and lots of practice, and lots of forgiveness for ourselves and others when we slip. By reframing our perspective on situations that occur and just accepting it as it is, we actually create a situation in which we do have control. The control over our own thoughts and reality.

So how do we do that? One thing we can do when faced with “bad news” is to just say, “it’s okay.” Not, sometime in the future it will be okay, but present tense, right now, it’s okay. This helps to shift the thought process from a negative position and helps move the body from fight or flight response, to relaxation. No matter what happened, if you are breathing and have a pulse, it’s okay. Be grateful for that, and take a deep breath and then look at what steps you will take to move forward.

Something else that may help, is to acknowledge your feelings about the situation. So often we mask our feelings by saying “I’m fine”, when it really isn’t. You can feel mad, sad, angry, happy or excited and you should. If it rained on beach day, you should acknowledge that you are sad about it, but then say, it’s okay, and start to look at other options. You can go another day, you can go anyway, and experience swimming in the ocean while it’s raining. J No sunburns that day! No crowds to fight through! Just don’t let the situation dictate how you react, choose your thoughts.

So this week, think good thoughts, and if you’d like, please share your experience with us. Until next week, tgiF!

~Michelle

tgiF- Who Are You, Really?

think. grow. inspire Friday -Who are you, really?

When I was working in the Human Services field, there is a term in use “Social Role Valorization”. Basically it means that society tends to identify certain groups of people as “different” and therefore of lesser value. For example, the difference in our perception of people asking for money. If we see a homeless person doing it, we call it begging, if it is a sports team, we call it fundraising. Our “social roles” are how we identify ourselves and others. So who are we really?

When I was born, I was an only child. That changed when my brother was born 3 years later. I became a big sister, and the only girl in the family. That changed when my sister was born when I was 5. Now I was the oldest of three, the responsible one, the helper.

At this time, I started kindergarten at the school where my father was the Principal. I’m sure I was treated differently by some of the teachers because of this. I know that I got a lot of attention from older students. When I started grade 2, we moved to St. John’s from the small community where we lived, and I became “the new girl”. Through my elementary and junior high years, I was the day dreamer, the bookish one, and the one who just didn’t do well in gym. I was nerdy, and an outsider, even in the group of kids in the neighbourhood.

Then there was another move, this time to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Where the new girl in school started over again. I was also a Newfie on the mainland, who spoke just a bit differently than everyone else. I made friends with a girl who lived close by and who was involved in the school band, so I tagged along with her to all of the band functions. Now I was a teenager, and socially awkward, and trying so hard to be one of the crowd.

Three years later, and another move. This time to Moncton, the summer before I started grade 12. The new girl again, but now in a school where everyone had grown up with each other, and were preparing to graduate from high school. I became Ray’s girlfriend.

Five years after that, I became Ray’s wife.

In the years that followed, I became a stay at home mom and a working mom. I am a Black Belt, a body builder and a Bikini competitor.  I am a business woman, a writer, a friend and supporter to my friends.

So when I look at all the roles I fill in my life. I sometimes (often) wonder if I am doing the right thing at the right time. So many times I am “being” one person, and feeling guilty that I am not “being” another. Trying to be all things to all people is a sure recipe for disaster. I am learning to be in the “now moment”, and it’s not always easy. So many things vie for our attention, and it is hard to shut them off and focus on the project at hand. And to get back to my original paragraph, it is how we value ourselves in each of these roles that impacts us the most.

So, my challenge for you all this week, is to identify your different roles and to recognize the value you have in each one of them, and if one takes over a bit more time than the others, then give yourself permission to be that person.

Thank you for reading today!  tgiF!

~Michelle

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Other columns by Michelle: CLICK HERE

 

TGIF- Facing Fear

Think. Grow. Inspire. Friday.

Hello, and thank you for reading my column! I am very excited to be a contributing writer to Everything Unscripted, and I look forward to sharing my insights with you.

I am a 52-year-old wife, mother of three grown children, mother in law to one, and “elected” mom to a bunch of others. I have been a stay at home mom, a working mom, and now self employed as a franchise owner of Sculpt Health and Wellness, Canada in Riverview, New Brunswick. I have a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, and have competed in 3 Body building shows in bikini. I feel that the range of life experiences that I have had will give me lots of inspiration for this weekly format.

As I read through Facebook posts every week about people grumbling about Mondays and wishing for “thank God it’s Friday”. I thought, “wouldn’t it be awesome if people lived lives that they were grateful for every day that they had?” So I decided to post things that might help people to change their outlook, and thus my version of tgiF was born!  When Ruth Ann asked me to write for her page, it seemed a perfect name for my blog.

My intention with these writings is to share my life experience and things I have learned along the way in the hope that it will be relevant, and help someone else to realize that they are not the only one going through a situation, or to help someone look at a situation in another way. I do not wish or expect you to take my opinion as your own, but to have a discussion and to share ideas. We are all wiser from shared experiences and stories.

So now that you know a bit about me, and my intention for this blog, let me share with you some insights I have had about the nature of fear. One of my favorite quotes is by Marianne Williamson.

 

When I first read this quote years ago, the truth of it struck very close to home. So much of my life was spent not doing things because I was afraid of not doing them perfectly, and how others would judge me because of my “imperfection”.  When I was watching my two youngest children in their Tae Kwon Do class, and especially at testing time, I realized that I wanted to have that experience for myself, to learn something new and to handle disappointment and challenges, so at age 40, I started classes. It was a huge step outside of my comfort zone, and I was going to stop before I got to the board breaking and sparring part, but somewhere along the way, I learned about the power I had inside me.

 

There were so many life changing moments for me in that journey from white belt to black belt. The first was that I was not “mom” in that space, I was the lower belt to my kids, and always would be. So after a few classes of me watching them from the back row, I realized that I was there to focus on what I was doing, not them. It was a great lesson for all of us about our roles and building our own strengths. Then there was the night when I was still a white belt and we finished the night with “no contact” sparring. Of course, as I really didn’t know what I was doing, I contacted with the other person, and my toes were bent back, and I was hopping around in pain. Then I did something that I never would have done before, I kept going, I kept moving. When I got home, the whole top of my foot was bruised, and I propped it up on a pillow and iced it, and was strangely proud of my first “sports related injury”. This was new territory for the geeky girl who grew up avoiding sports.

 

Just about everyone who starts off in martial arts is very timid when it comes to expressing oneself when you kick or punch, especially adults, and female adults even more so. I was no exception, but the class when I “found my yell” was amazing. It came from a place that I didn’t know I had in me, and it felt GOOD! By the time I got to my green belt test, I was learning to tap into that inner strength and I broke a board with my hand, first try! Then there was sparring… Not my favorite part of the process, but necessary as I continued on my journey to Black Belt. What I learned from sparring was that the ultimate goal was more important that the momentary discomfort, and that I can get through anything if I put my mind to it. Again, in the past, my fear would have stopped me from going forward, and I would have missed out the opportunity to do what only a small percentage of people have achieved, earn a Black Belt.

 

These have just been a few examples of how I faced up to fear, through Tae Kwon Do, and the lessons that I have learned have stayed with me, and have been used in many areas of my life. Sometimes they get forgotten, and I have to be reminded of my call to not play small, but I am lucky to have many people in my support network that I will give me a push in the right direction.

My challenge to you this week is to find something that you are “afraid” of and to take a look at where that fear comes from. Then take one step forward into that fear and share with us how that made you feel. All the best to you all this week. I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback. Until next time, think, grow, inspire, not only on Friday, but everyday!

~Michelle