When I was very young I had a record of the story of Snow White. It was a full-length record, with a story book, but most of the pages were gone. I remember sitting and listening to it for hours on end. I knew all the words and all the songs, and though the evil Queen was scary, I knew that things would all work out in the end.
MOM’S THE WORD
We live in the house that once belonged to my in-laws, so my husband has been tending the gardens here since 1978. Every spring he cleaned up after the winter’s mess, and pruned, and weeded, and planted a few more perennials, and filled in the empty spaces with a few annuals. He would always tell his mother to let the flowers grow, and to not add anything else. Of course, she never listened and she spent more than one evening going out with her neighbour Shirley to “just pick up a few little plants”. (more…)
tgiF - Use The Force
Two years ago, this week I walked out of the job I had into an uncertain future. The geek in me is pleased to say that it was on May the fourth. I loved the work I had been doing, but the atmosphere of bullying and harassment had taken its toll on me. To be honest, I had almost left several times, but had always talked myself out of it. Worrying about paying bills and having health insurance coverage kept me there longer than I should have been. (more…)
Chapter and Verse
Starting something new is exciting and motivating, or else you wouldn’t have started in the first place. Then we start comparing our progress to those we see around us, and we feel our lack of ability, or progress and we get discouraged. This happens no matter what the thing is that we started, a new meal plan, a new workout, a new job or business or a new relationship. We see the other person as better than we are, and what we are doing. (more…)
No, this is not about the Frozen Let it Go, or the Luba one either (for those of you old enough to remember the 80’s). This is about a lifetime of letting go.
Tugging at the Heart Strings-my day at Work of Heart
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Work of Heart event on March 25, 2017. It was a retreat, and a wake-up call, a reminder about living your life’s purpose and a booster shot in the faith in humanity. Most of all, it was a community. A group of people of all ages that came together and shared amazing experiences. I could write for days on each of the speakers that presented that day, and of the blessing that I felt sharing this event with friends, but for now, I will give a brief outline. I imagine I will revisit these topics in future columns, but I really want thank these people who shared a bit of their lives with us.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Other columns by Michelle: CLICK HERE