Monday, August 31, 2009


Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live! Bob Marley
This is my 799th post. Tomorrow equals 800. It seems amazing to me that over the past two and a half years I have continued to write in this space a minimum of five days a week -- day after day and I still find something to write.

That's consistency. Perseverance. Stamina.

Today, I received an email from a large health and wellness site inviting me to become a preferred blogger under their "Happiness" section. Wow. Blogging works. They contacted me after one of their principles happened upon my site.

Last week, I finally got up the courage to contact a publisher in New York about my book, The Dandelion Spirit. Within minutes of sending my query via email, he wrote back, Wow. Send the PDF. Minutes later, he asked for a hardcopy of the book to be sent. Doesn't mean it will be picked up -- but it's a far better situation than it would be if I hadn't contacted him.

More good news: This month The Dandelion Spirit will be offered up at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Sometime ago, my eldest daughter, Alexis, was waffling between going back to school this fall to pursue a masters in psychology, or to take another acting course at a private school here in the city. The University route required she still upgrade her Math 30 (go figure) which she was scheduled to do at the time. Three days before she started the math course, she called me in a panic. "The acting school just called and offered me the course for free. They have one spot left and wanted to reward me for my perseverance and commitment to acting. What should I do?"

"It's a sign Alexis. Take it."

It's a sign.

When I was with Conrad, I kept asking the angels to 'Stop it!", to please make the pain and suffering and confusion stop. There were lots of 'signs' along that torturous journey that kept appearing, providing me avenues of escape -- and I kept missing them, ignoring them, refusing to see the possibility of release from his clutches. I remember going for walks with Ellie at our favourite park and making 'deals' with God such as, 'If I find one heart rock, I'll know everything is going to be okay.' 'If that rabbit up ahead leaps left, I'll leave him. If he goes right, I'll know I have to stay.' And then, no matter which way the rabbit leapt, I'd justify taking the path of least resistance. I'd justify staying.

Deals and signs never made. Never seen. Never acted upon.

Like the invitation from a woman I know through my Mastermind Group to contact her publisher in New York.

It was a sign when I was given his contact info -- and it took me months to pick up on its significance.

It's not about 'the sign', it's about having the courage, or simply the determination, to act.

It's what I lacked when I was with Conrad.

It's what I need to stay conscious of today. My Be. Do. Have. of living the life of my dreams.

Be committed to Do what it takes to Have what I want.

Signs are everywhere. It's whether or not we're open to reading them, seeing them and ultimately acting upon them.

I can decipher them however, I want. In the end, the signs mean nothing if I do nothing with making my vision into reality. As in all things, it's what I do that makes the difference.

The question is: Are you waiting for some sign to tell you what to do, where to go, how to act? Or, are you acting on the signs in front of you, seizing this moment to make it your most?

Friday, August 28, 2009

And then... everything is different

Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change, but pretty soon... everything's different. Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes
Fallish morning. Crisp. Bright sunlight low on the horizon, edges diffused, streaming into gold tinged white. Apples reddening on the tree. Hints of yellow and gold in the hedge. Brilliant reds and orange in the flower beds. Stillness. Calm.

Fall is my favourite time of year. It is a time of surrender. Of letting go of summer's bright red bloom into the cool, crisp promise of quiet time to come. It is a time of colour. Of bounty. Of harvest. Of rendering all that was created in summer fields into stock pots and canning jars. It is a time to give thanks. I love fall. Not for the loss of foliage but rather, for its celebration of colour and its promise of quiet time to hunker down and curl up in the dark nights to come.

Over the past few weeks I've watched the crab apples on the tree outside my window progress from tiny green nuggets into bright green and now golden with a blush of red fruit. The transformation of the tree did not happen over night. It has been a slow and steady process. A minute by minute, step by step progression.

Like healing. From heartbreak. Loss. Failure. Illness. Well-being doesn't come in one fell swoop. It takes time. Step by step. Minute by minute progression.

So often, when the wound is fresh, we forget that pain eases. Scars heal. So often we fall into the trap of believing, 'This will never pass. This will never change. This will be forever.' So often we become attached to this moment, connected to this pain forgetting that, now is not forever. This too shall pass.

Centuries ago, Heraclitus wrote, "Nothing endures but change."

Change is here to stay. One moment, the apple tree is devoid of foliage. And then, it blossoms out in a gradual display of tiny green buds exploding into a folly of white and pink blossoms.

This morning I awoke and realized, I had gone to bed last night without taking any pain killers. I had slept without any pain in my foot. It is a first since having surgery just over five weeks ago. There were times when I wondered if my foot would ever feel better again. When I worried that the pain would never disappear and I would become a cranky old lady constantly tired out from never being able to sleep through the pain.

And then, it was gone. The pain. Sure, I can feel the scar. Feel the healing. But the pain, that constant sharp fissure of razor-blade like edginess that was stealing my sense of humour, is gone. And while it felt like it happened overnight, in reality it was a slow, steady progression of healing. Step by step. Minute by minute.

Healing requires patience. It requires giving up on control and giving into the process of letting time and quiet and new growth the opportunity to bloom. No matter the pain, there is always hope of regrowth when we let go of forcing ourselves to hold onto what is hurting us the most. What has caused us the pain. What has made us unhappy.

Change endures. In its coursing through our lives, its our choice in what we create of change, in how we weather its passing. Will it bring more, or less, of what we want in our life?

Our choice.

The question is: Are you resisting change? Are you clinging to what was in fear of what can be when you let go of your believing, 'now is forever'?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In memory of Mary Lynn King

In the sweetness of friendship, let there be laughter, for in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. Kahlil Gibran
She loved to create. Had a passion for fabric and textures and fashion and sewing. She quilted, made jewellery and clothes and shared her love of beauty with everyone she met. She was a daughter, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a friend. She was Mary Lynn King. And though she no longer walks amongst us her presence lives on the hearts of those who knew and loved her for the amazingly kind, loving, caring and generous woman she was. She will be missed. She will always be remembered.

Yesterday was the celebration of Lynn's life. I wasn't a close friend. More of an acquaintance through my friend J.D. I wanted to go to support my friend and also Lynn's sister, Heather, whom I love dearly as a woman with a gentle, kind and caring heart. And, I wanted to go to honour Lynn, a woman who whenever I spent time with her, always left me feeling refreshed, like I'd just awoken to dew sparkling on roses, glistening in the morning light streaming through the leaves of a leafy, green tree.

Because I couldn't drive myself to the funeral parlour, J.D. offered to come and pick me up. "I have to be there an hour early," she said. "The quilt guild ladies are decorating the hall with some of Lynn's work."

And that's when the magic happened. Lynn was a founding member of the Guild, a group of fifteen plus women who regularly get together to sew and share and laugh and create. They've been at it for eight years and in the process of stitching together their quilts, have woven together a beautiful tapestry of friendship and caring and love.

I sat on a chair in the back of the hall watching as J.D., Lynn's sister and two other of Lynn's good friends draped quilts and jackets and jewellery across a table and coat racks at the front of the hall. In the middle of the display a dramatic arrangement of purple calla lilies and summer blooms arced around the stunning vessel Lynn's son had chosen for his mother's remains.

I sat and I watched in awe as love unfolded into the room like dry ice wafting across a stage, lifting up into the air and filling every atom with its sweet warming nature. With every piece of fabric put on display, with each careful placement of fabric, with each story told, love expanded and embraced the women busily creating the story of Lynn through their display of her talents. As they worked, they chatted and shed a tear or two and shared laughter and hugs and smiles. They draped and hung and smoothed out a seam, a fold, a piece of jewellery. Their hands lovingly held each piece, their fingers caressed each item, their voices warm and loving as they told stories of "Remember when..." Lynn found this piece of fabric? This silver amulet. Gave me this bracelet. Made me this jacket. Let out a seam. Took in a stitch.

And when they were done, the room was alive with colour and fabric and glistening beads sparkling amidst Lynn's creations.

What an amazing tribute to a woman who shared freely and generously of her passions, her friendship, her zest for life. What a beautiful statement of the threads of Lynn's life woven together into the warm tapestry of friendship that had surrounded her throughout her days, and which she had carefully and lovingly stitched together through everything she did.

It was a beautiful ceremony. Filled with stories that celebrated a woman who touched the hearts and lifted the spirits of everyone she met. It was a celebration of a woman for whom life was never about getting through the day, but rather, always about filling each moment with beauty, creating joy and laughter and memories out of every occasion and every thing she touched.

You will be missed Lynn. You will always be remembered. In the thousands of stitches on display yesterday, your memory is woven into the tapestry of love you created in the hearts of everyone who knew you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The value in all things

That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not. James K. Feibleman
I read today's quote on my good friend CZ's blog this morning and had to share it. It makes an important distinction. Everything does not always happen for the best. Regardless of what happens, finding value in all things is for the best.

It was not best for my daughters that I desert them when I was in the throes of the relationship with the man who was 'The Lie'. It was not best for me that I be in that relationship waiting to die.

In deriving value from those events we have turned what was a horrendous situation in our lives into something we can live with without fear and loathing today. In its value we have grown beyond the limiting belief that it was 'meant to be'. It wasn't. It was the frailty of my human being that put me there. It is in growing through it I have come to appreciate my right and responsibility to never be in such a dark place again, to never compromise my values, beliefs and worth again. In finding value in those events, I am being human for all I'm worth today -- and that has great value for me!

Growing up in my family of origin my mother would often say, "It's in God's hands." I always struggled to understand what she meant. Her passive submission to believing God would take care of her, or that it was His will that 'bad' things happen never made sense to me.

It was not God's will that put me into that relationship. It was my willfulness. My lack of courage to stand by my principles, to not compromise my values. God didn't put Conrad in my path to teach me a lesson. It was, however, in my refusal to accept my inherent greatness, my God given right to be great, that I eventually did learn my lesson.

Several years ago, my eldest sister J. and I organized a clinic for our mother to enter to help her with issues she was having around alcohol and prescription drugs. After 48 hours in the clinic my mother advised us she was going home. "I don't need this place," she told my sister on the phone when she called to ask her to come and take her home. J. called me to tell me of our mother's decision and I said, "I'll meet you there."

"You won't be able to change her mind," J. told me.

"I don't intend on trying," I replied.

When I arrived at the clinic my mother was sitting on her suitcase, arms crossed in front of her chest, a defiant look on her face. "You can't make me stay," she stated. "I want to go home. God will take care of me."

I searched to find value in the situation. "Perhaps God is taking care of you right now," I replied. "Perhaps he saw that you needed help and knew that this place was the best place for you to find it."

My then, eighty-year old mother paused. "Then why does he send some old man in here who lies on my bed and eats my grapes?"

"Perhaps that's not God's doing," I suggested. "Perhaps, the devil, in seeing you are getting the help you need, doesn't want you to break free. So, he's doing everything he can to ensure you don't stay in this one place that can help you."

She stayed and found value in the program. And we found value in her recovery.

It is hard when we are in the throes of life's turmoil to find value in the loss of those we love, in heartbreak and breakdowns. Yet, the value is there if we can breathe deeply enough to let go of our desire to control our feelings, our emotions and the situation. It is not for the best that someone we love die. It is life. It is what is. And sometimes, all we can do to cope with what's happening is to find value in remembering, "Now is not forever."

My eldest daughter and her boyfriend of five years recently ended their relationship. In her pain, she has decided it's time to move away. To start afresh in another city -- which will also further her career. It's a tough decision but a good one for her. Whether or not it is 'for the best' that she and the man she love break-up, she is finding the best in the situation and moving through her pain with dignity and grace. Yesterday she told me that one of her friends, inspired by Alexis' courage to move away and start out fresh in a new city, applied for her dream jobs. "I was scared to do it," her friend said. "But you inspired me. Thanks!"

Find value in all things.

There is value in all that happens -- it's what we make of that value that makes the difference in our lives today. When we focus on the negative aspects of 'what's going down', we fall into the trap of believing, 'This is forever. I am powerless to change'.

We are never powerless. We always have power -- to create change, to find value, to face truth and do the right thing.

It is in our belief that we are powerless that we let ourselves down.

It is in our willingness to claim our power to be accountable and responsible that we bring ourselves up to our higher good.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The power of thought

Everything is based on mind, is led by mind, is fashioned by mind. If you speak and act with a polluted mind, suffering will follow you, as the wheels of the oxcart follow the footsteps of the ox. Everything is based on mind, is led by mind, is fashioned by mind. If you speak and act with a pure mind, happiness will follow you, as a shadow clings to a form. Buddha
The brain is an amazing place. Filled with about 100 billion neurons, it has the equivalent star power of the universe. And in amongst all that star power is the power to think cognitively, to create, to imagine, to frame and re-frame, to picture any little idea into big picture thinking. To remember moments and forget pain. To capture faces and recall names. To create mountains out of molehills and cities out of dream castles in the air.

What we fill our brains with becomes our thinking. If I choose to believe I am stupid, I will believe I am stupid. If I choose to believe I can 'do it', I will set out to do it. It's all in my thinking. All in how I picture myself in the world.

Yesterday, my daughter Alexis took me on some errands. One of them included going to an art shop that regularly supplies the art studio at the shelter where I work with donations. Originally a wholesaler, Cathy has grown her Cactus Art Supplies into a major supplier of art materials and courses. Recently, she imagined setting up art studio space as well as teaching rooms in an adjoining bay to her existing space. In her thinking, she imagined an arts community growing up around her idea.

Yesterday, I saw her idea in its actuality. From little acorns mighty oaks grow.

As she toured Alexis and me around the new space, I was in awe of what she had accomplished. A room for sketching and drawing including a platform for a live model and 10 sketching horses. Another for flat surface painting. Another and another all suited out to different medium, all interchangeable. Four private studios with their own entrance as well as increased space for art supplies and materials. It was grand.

Wow, I said. You could become an accredited art school with this set-up.

Who knows what's possible now? she replied.

Good question. Who knows what's possible now once the dream is set in fact. Once the idea has taken form.

Anything is possible when the mind sets itself to it. Anything can become reality when we focus on a dream and start constructing substance beneath it.

Harriet Tubman, a runaway slave who once dreamt of abolishing slavery and who went on to lead hundreds to safety on the Underground Railway, once said, "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."

For Cathy, her dream comes at no small risk. She's invested her passion, her energy and her money in this endeavour. She believes in what she's doing. She's focused on her goal.

When we are clear what we want in our life will appear, and only to the degree that we are clear.

For Cathy, she is clear what she wants to create in her life. And, there's no mystery in what she's trying to build. An arts community where artists, professional and amateur, can come and learn and grow and experience dreams come true.

It was an inspiring visit. An opportunity to see how one thought can become of value to hundred's of people. To witness how one idea can become a brilliant star, shining brightly for all to see.

The question is: What are you filling your mind with? Ideas and thoughts on how you can make your dreams come true? Or, limiting beliefs on how it's just not possible to live your dream? It's your choice. Which will you choose today?

Monday, August 24, 2009

I choose to create happiness

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying. Michael Jordan
It is another blue sky day. Birds twitter and flit around the feeder. Beneath it, a squirrel scratches in the grass where errant plants are growing, remnants of seeds tossed out of the feeder. The water in the fountain splashes and Satchmo, the cat formerly known as Kaspurr, sits in the bay window, eyes fixed on the movement of the birds. He can't get out there, but oh, how he'd love to try.

Yesterday, he escaped. The screen door to the backyard sometimes doesn't close all the way. Satchmo discovered it ajar and crept through the opening. He had to do it. He couldn't help himself. It is his nature. Fortunately, Liseanne realized what happened before he wandered too far and enticed him back into the house with his favourite kitty treats. He's been trying to get out ever since. It is his nature.

It is my nature, as a human being, to seek happiness and love. It is in the 'how' that I reveal my nature, my true essence, my true self. And the how is affected by my past, by my family of origin and my work on cleaning up mixed messages, faulty wiring and limiting beliefs that erode my happiness.

Anne Frank once wrote, "We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same."

Remember the happiness setpoint? I wrote about it awhile ago and realized this morning -- how quickly I can forget! I need to take care of my happiness, just like I need to take care of my health.

Being hung up on crutches is definitely a limiting factor in my world these days. While I'm adjusting, I'm not always feeling all that happy! I'm letting my physical limitations limit my inner joy which is affecting my outer world.

Pain's like that. It overshadows my thinking. Limits my perspective to a narrow world view of what's possible, what's not and what's not worth dealing with. Not that the foot is all that painful -- until I go to bed that is. And then, for some reason, it always decides to go into hyper active mode, keeping me from getting sleep. And when I'm not getting enough sleep, I get cranky. And when I get cranky the only thing that seems to make me happy is to take my crankiness out on the world around me -- which definitely doesn't create harmony, peace, love and joy in my world!

I believe to be happy, I must be creating a world of harmony and joy around me. When I am busy creating more of what I want in my life, I know peace of mind and feel joyful and content.

Happiness is a state of being. To be happy, I must be creating -- more of what I want in the world and more of what I want in my life.

It is an endless circle of creation.

Which leads me back to being cranky. Nothing in it for me to let my bad attitude wreck havoc on my day except to make me feel unhappy.

I have the power to choose different.

Today I choose to create happiness. In my thinking. My acts. My words. My creation.

Today, I choose to see my crutches as my friends. They are helping me get around while my foot heals. Because, my foot healing is important. When it heals properly, I shall be able to enjoy running and skiing and hiking and so much more -- things I was limited in doing because of my foot.

This is only three months out of my life. Three months to heal and grow healthy.

Today, I choose to create value in this three month period.

It's my choice. Whenever I am faced with an opportunity or decision, I choose in favour of what creates more of what I want in my life.

I want more happiness, contentment, peace of mind. It's up to me to 'try'. It's up to me to just do it.

The question is: What are you choosing to create in your life today? Are you letting your attitude out in a positive, creative and inspiring way?

Friday, August 21, 2009

In Residence

Cats are dangerous companions for writers because cat-watching is a near perfect method of writing avoidance. Dan Greenburg
So, now I have another distraction than just the birds in my backyard. The Great Cat has taken up residence and been dubbed, 'Kaspar'. It is the pedigree of the name that intrigued us most. In the 1920s management at the Savoy Hotel in London used a wooden statue of a black cat to round out dinner parties of 13 guests. Kaspar was a most welcome guest at many an august repast.

I suggested we call the G.C., 'The 14th Cat', but was vetoed. I think Ellie would have opted for, 'One Cat too Many.' Introductions have been initiated. Ellie is none too thrilled and Kaspar is rather nervous about this large hairy beast with a guttural growl deep enough to be mistaken for an avalanche roaring down a mountainside. Kaspar has also proven to be a people pusher. As in, Pet me. Primp me. Pamper me.

Liseanne and her friend carried him into my bedroom in his carrying case, shut the door (with Ellie whining on the other side) and opened the carrier door. It took Kaspar all of three minutes to figure out he'd hit kitty nirvana. With one leap he was on the bed and in my lap where he proceeded to curl up and purr.

No shyness about this little guy. He's here. He's in residence. He's in command. Think he must have overheard bassist Paul Gray who once said, "Cats were put into this world to disprove the dogma that all things were created to serve man."

We are here to serve you Kaspar. Tell us your wishes. Oh, but we cannot get rid of the dog. We own her. She's not going away.

And so, for now, Kaspar has taken up residence on the floor beside my bed. Ellie has positioned herself on her rug on the floor at the end of the bed. She's turned her back to me, and Kaspar, and is pretending to be unperturbed by this sleek black feline.

Sides drawn. Drama awaits. Sort of like life. We pick our battles. Lay out our turf and defend our right to throw a tantrum if someone usurps our position or invades our territory without our permission.

I have high hopes the two four-legged creatures will come to an understanding. Perhaps an impasse, but an understanding none-the less. Ellie is here to give love. Kaspar is here to be loved. In the grand scheme of things, its got balance. To love and to be loved. As long as both of them know their positions and play by the rules of the game (and those are yet to unfold) I'm confident harmony will reign. As long as Ellie always remembers, while she was here first, Kaspar is here now -- and here now is what counts most in a cat's life. True upholders of 'living in the moment', Kaspar has embraced his new abode as if he's always been here. And we've embraced Kaspar as if he's always been a part of the family.

As we sat in the bedroom for a couple of hours last night, both girls, C.C. and Liseanne's girlfriend, I had to laugh. There's something quite funny about a party in the bedroom in honour of a cat.

Funny and warming too.

Like life. Funny, warming, filled with drama, heartache, heartbreak and heart warming moments that lift your spirits as you are willing to face the truth of the moment -- we are all but servants to a cat. No sense fighting the fact. It's best to just surrender and fall in love.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Great Cat

Thou are the Great Cat; the avenger of the Gods, the judge of words and the president of the sovereign chief and the governor of the holy circle. Thou art indeed... the Great Cat. Inscription on the Royal Tombs at Thebes.
The Great Cat comes home today. My youngest daughter Liseanne left this morning armed with The Great Cat's carrier and an Ellie scented towel. She's hoping the Great Cat will get one whiff of Ellie's sensuous (okay, read that odorous and somewhat pungent) doggy body scent and fall immediately and completely in love, before first sight. She's arranged for a girlfriend to join her in the Great Cat rescue at 5pm and has planned out the Great Introduction of dog and cat over the next few days.

It promises to be a real dog and kitty show!

Ellie will lose her office privileges as that room becomes the G.C.'s introductory space, dog free. The G.C.'s cat house is already in residence, complete with catnip laden blanket and little mousey toe. The mousey toy in preparation for the G.C.'s ultimate task of ridding our home of the little furry rodents who insist on eating through bags of rice and peppering the cupboard under the sink with evidence of their visits.

Ellie, oblivious to the imminent arrival of a furry feline friend, is sleeping on her mat, a fluffy yellow duck toy between her paws. Wait'll the Great Cat gets an eyeful of this ornithologist of the four-legged variety. Can you see the fur flying?

Yup. Today is the day the feline arts take up residence in our household. C.C. is delighted. At least we got a male cat, he said. Though after today's operation the little guy will be missing a vital component of his masculinity. C.C. doesn't care. The Great Cat is a man! And in this household of predominantly estrogen laden human's, C.C. is looking for any support he can get to move the scales more in favour of testosterone and balance out the DNA predisposition of the inhabitants.

We're ready for the Great Cat's arrival. I've notified the birds in the backyard that the G.C. will not be wandering out of doors, and not to be frightened of his presence in the bay window. He may appear to be deadly, but in reality, he is stuck behind glass, doomed to only peering yearnfully at them. He cannot touch them. I promise.

The squirrel, in his continued quest for birdseed, doesn't care. Like Ellie, he appears to be oblivious to anything other than the feat of climbing the tree, going out on a limb and leaping down from the spiralling birdfeeder to the ground to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

All in all, we're all going squirrelly waiting for the Great Cats arrival.

It promises to be an entertaining day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Life's a dirty business

We all have different desires and needs, but if we don't discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled. Bill Watterson
The sun is shining brightly this morning. It shimmers in the leaves of the apple tree, casts shadows across the lawn, glistening on the water in the fountain. Birds flit in and out of its brightness, momentarily illuminated in flight. The birds know what they want. A nip in the bird feeder. A sip of water and they're off. Twittering and tweeting in the air.

Life is a giant bouquet of moments of sunshine flirting with rainy days and cooler climes. Life lays out a sumptuous buffet of delectable delicacies, a cornucopia of tastes and treats waiting for consumption. But, if I'm not sure what I want to eat, or what I like, or if I am waiting for someone to fill my plate with what they think I should eat, life's vast array of edible treats will never appease my hunger, no matter what is on my plate.

It's up to me to know what I want, to fill my plate, pick up my fork and dig in.

Life's a dirty business. Dig in and get messy.

I've had ample time to think about the dirty business of life these past few weeks. As I've sat with my foot up, reading and writing, thinking and meditating, I've had the opportunity of unstructured time to luxuriate in and fill -- with whatever I've wanted.

I haven't always chosen wisely. Some days, I've simply slept and read and watched a movie (sometimes even more than one!). Some days, I've written and read, and listened to CDs about writing and communicating and growing and becoming all I'm meant to be.

And that's the thing -- I am always all I'm meant to be. No need to grow into it. To become it. To be it. I simply am it -- right now, exactly the way I am. I am all I'm meant to be in the moment of being.

It's what I fill my time with that makes the difference because, my angst does not arise from not accepting who I am, it arises when I don't know what I want or won't stand up for what is important to me, for me, about me.

Take my desire to write a book. So many choices. So many options. So many ideas. They are all there. They all exist. But, when I flit from one to the other, I am undermining my own success. Caught up in the angst of my indecisiveness, I lose my focus and drive.

And that's the thing. It takes 'will', an act of will, of self-discipline to stay true to what is important to me. So often, my self-defeating game of giving into my weaker instincts, draws me away from doing what is right, and fulfilling, for me.

I have a day of unstructured promise before me. What will I fill it with? It's up to me to stand up for me. To do what is right for me and not give into my baser instinct to be a sloth, to avoid doing the tough things, to busy myself with unimportant minutiae or to distract myself with irrelevant tasks that do not create more of what I want in my life -- and if I don't know what I want more of in my life, it's up to me to define what that is!

The question is: Do you know what you want more of in your life? Are you willing to fulfill on your higher good?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dreams and dreaming

It is good to have an end to journey towards but it is the journey that matters in the end. Ursula K. LeGuin
When I was a little girl I dreamt of being many things. Some days, it was an actress. Others a dancer and and yet others, a famous psychologist unlocking secrets of the mind. Always, I wanted to be a writer. When I was a little girl, I dreamt my dreams and hesitated in taking steps towards them.

We can all have an end to a journey in mind. But, if we never take the steps towards our desired end, the journey never unfolds.

Last night my eldest daughter and I chatted about her dream. It is one she has held close to her heart since she was a little girl playing dress-up and coercing her sister into re-enactments of Titanic or some other movie 'du jour'. At eight years old, she had written and rehearsed her Academy Award acceptance speech, the delivery itself worthy of an Academy Award. At twelve she had a lead in her school play and at sixteen, the only performance I've missed, she wrote and directed her own piece to critical acclaim at her High School.

It is a dream she keeps stepping towards -- no matter how tentative, or cautious, her steps.

And in her journey, she continues to inspire me with her commitment to experiencing each step of her journey, in all its joy, sadness, confusion and inspiration.

It's the thing about dreamers. They can't help but inspire those of us who hesitate on the sidelines of our dreaming to take the steps we must to awaken our own journey of fulfillment. The world would be a lesser place without its dreamers. They are the spark of creativity, the fire of imagination that ignites the wonder of our lives.

My youngest daughter is also a dreamer. And a journeyer. While her dream has never been quite as clear as her sisters, she has always had great imaginings of what she could do in her life. At one time she thought she'd be an alien, or at least an astronaut, and then became grounded in the realization that gravity was an integral part of life on earth. Since entering college three years ago, she has realized her strengths lie in other fields of endeavour than outer space. Studying abroad has always been a dream of hers and in January, she is off to Holland for a semester. She's worked hard to make this dream come true. Saved up her money. Applied for scholarships and ensured her GPA is in excellent standing. And along the way, she's enjoyed her journey, learning and growing and pushing herself to achieve academically in ways she's never before imagined.

I've got dreams. Dreams I've held close to my heart and never realized. Time to let my daughters inspire me into action. Into joining the journey of fulfillment that comes when I initiate action that awakens my heart to the joy of experiencing each step of the journey.

Time to engage in the journey of what matters most in my dreaming.

The question is: Are you secretly dreaming of moving towards the end of your journey, and missing out on experiencing the journey every day?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mouse Capers Continued

If you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it. Anthony J. d'Angelo
The mouse is back. Or at least, some incarnation of the mouse has returned to haunt the kitchen cabinet under the sink, chewing its way into the cereal and cracker cupboard, leaving a trail of evidence which is both unnerving and disgusting. I don't like the mouse in the cupboard. I don't like mouse poop in my rice.

Ellie, the not so great white hunter, continues to be oblivious to the mouse's presence. A much more Draconion measure was needed. What we needed was a mighty mouse detector. Someone who without a stirring of his whiskers could dispatch our uninvited guest with a flick of his mighty paw. It was with visions of finding such a d'Artagnan of the feline persuasion that my youngest daughter and I set off for the local SPCA.

The place was teeming with people in search of four-legged companions, and willing participants eager to be adopted. Liseanne and I spent an hour or two strolling through the felines viewing us with pleading eyes, seeking release. There was a part of me that wanted to take all of them home -- they looked so sad -- and for some, their age was definitely a deterrent to their ever finding a home.

But I was committed to only coming home with ONE cat -- no dog, despite Liseanne's entreaties that we 'just go see the dogs too.'

I held firm on my resolve (whew!) and we found our knight in the form of a sleek two year old feline of the male persuasion. He stared at us from behind the glass of his enclosure, his green eyes pleading, his paw raised as if to stop us in our tracks. We asked the attendant if we could visit with him in one of the viewing rooms and, within minutes, he was curled up in my lap, purring, rubbing his head against my hand. Liseanne and I were ecstatic. When he'd tired of my lap, he leaped to hers, his purr a steady drone, his body an affection seeking missile that couldn't seem to get enough of our attention.

We can't bring him home yet. Shelter policy -- and my preference -- is that no cat is released without being neutered or spayed. He'll be able to take up residence, and his mouse patrol duties this Friday. In the meantime, we're trying to think of a name.

Marley, after the great Bob Marley, is one idea. Me. I'm thinking of Antonio Banderas. I've always wanted to say, "I've got Antonio in bed with me." C.C., however, is not so taken with the idea. Perhaps, 'Cat Stevens', might be more appropriate. I'm sure if he was a 'she', he would have suggested 'Meg Ryan'.

In the meanwhile, the mouse is living on borrowed time. Can't whine about his presence. But I sure can do something about ensuring that in the future, he is deterred from taking up residence by the aroma 'du chat' that will instill fear and loathing in his heart as soon as he attempts to crawl under the cupboard and wreck havoc on unsuspecting bags of rice and boxes of cereal.

As long as, of course, the yet to be named feline proves to be a mighty hunter.

Here's hoping.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Auger

Life is too important to be taken seriously. Oscar Wilde

It was a day of unexpected occurrences. But then, as Ray Bradbury writes,"expect the unexpected" and you'll never be disappointed.

I wasn't. Disappointed that is.

The first call was from a woman who had read about 'my story' in a magazine article and followed my writing on "I've had a similar relationship," she said. "I want to heal. What can I do?" The other call was from a girlfriend who wanted to drop in for a visit and to drop off a painting C.C. had bought at a fundraiser.

Both visits brought light and laughter into my day.

Both visits left me feeling content, happy, fulfilled and inspired.

It is the power of connection. Of being open to the unexpected without expecting it to be any one thing, or another.

I have lots of time these days to reflect. To meditate. To simply sit and watch the birdies at the feeder. I have the luxury of time to settle into myself and refresh my energy with the healing power of solitude, interspersed with visits and chats from people who bring light and love into my world.

The painting the girlfriend dropped of is by an artist who passed away last year of cancer. Dale Auger. It is a beautiful, vibrantly hued painting of a native elder with tiny yellow birds flying from his mouth. When C.C. and I saw it at the auction table, we both fell in love with it. I had admired Dale Auger's works for years at the Stampede when he participated in the art show that is held at the Roundup centre during the 'hottest ten days on earth'. To own a giclee of one of his paintings is truly wonderful. What is even more wonderful however, is the splash of colour and light it brings into the living room.

Like laughter.

Dale's painting enlightens the room. It lifts the spirit of every thing around it, making the world seem brighter, more vibrant, more alive.

Like a smile.

Like an unexpected phone call.

Like visiting a friend.

It doesn't take much to lift the veil that often descends upon our day, keeping us locked into believing, 'Life is serious business.'

Life is what we make it. And for today, I'm lifting the veil of serious and splashing colour on my day. A dab of blue. A sprinkle of yellow. A splash of red and green and gold.

And suddenly, the day I'd expected to be dull with rain, is bright with the sunshine of laughter.

It's all in my perspective.

The question is: Are you willing to paint your day in the colours of the rainbow? Are you willing to invite the unexpected into your day?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lost illusions

Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth. Ludwig Börne
So often, what I believe is an illusion of what I perceive the truth to be. Yesterday, I sat in the back yard and watched the birds twitter and flit around the bird feeder, happily munching away at the seeds. Now, in my mind, I believe those birds need me to feed them.

That's an illusion.

I'm sure they appreciate the feeder and its goodies. But, in reality, when the feeder is empty, they are off feeding somewhere else. When I refill it, they return -- looking just as fit and plump as when they were last there.

Now, that's a simple illustration, but, how true is it? Who knows what goes on in a bird brain?

Feeding the birds brings me great pleasure. Watching them, hearing their chirps, their song; all of that makes me feel happy. And that's the truth.

Like being kind. I feel better when I am acting with kindness, then when I am sulking or moping about because I believe someone has maligned me or treated me 'bad'. I feel better when I let go of shame, blame, guilt and move into kindness, love, joy.

Yet, some days, the choices I make increase my feelings of shame, blame, built and limit my joy.

It's always about the choices I make.

On Monday, the lawn cutting crew arrived and in the process of weed-whacking, they chopped off two of my vines that are creeping up the trellis in the back yard. I'd just planted them a few weeks ago so it was pretty easy to see the evidence of what had happened.

I had a choice.

Get angry. Call up the lawn guy and scream and yell or, calmly call him up and tell him what had happened and leave the solution up to him.

I chose the latter and he'll be here today to replace the destroyed vines.

Now, in all likelihood, he would have replaced them anyway -- even if I'd screamed and yelled and blamed and shamed his crew.

Reality is, I felt better for having calmly addressed the situation. I felt lighter. I wasn't carrying around unneeded grief and anger. I wasn't stewing in a vat of bilious invective, polluting my body and my day.

Sure, it annoyed me that the workers had been so careless. But, holding onto annoyance and letting it spill over into the rest of my day would have limited my joy and created less of what I want in my world. They didn't set out with the mission to destroy my plants, or with a plan of causing me grief.

They acted without care.

I care how I act. It is always our choice how we deal with anger. It is always our choice how we interact with people.

In realizing that I let go of the illusion that my ill-humour is caused by those around me. Truth is, my ill-humour comes from within me. It's my choice whether to give it the light of day or to let it fall back into sleep, at rest within me.

The question is: Are you choicing in favour of joy in all you do and say? Are you treating yourself to the gift of peace of mind?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The masks we wear

Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is. William James
At Choices, the personal development course I coach in and recommend highly as a great catalyst for personal accountability, there is an exercise which focuses on giving people the opportunity to hear other people's perceptions of them. It is a powerful exercise.

So often we think we're projecting an image that we believe keeps us safe. So often, we believe we're hiding -- our insecurities, our fears or anxieties, when, in reality, we're not.

So often, people are able to see through our 'shields' into the heart of our inner fear and turmoil.

For me, one of the most powerful pieces of feedback I ever received was a woman suggesting I was 'Queen of the Masks.'

I was incensed. Outraged.

Never. I don't wear masks. I am transparent. What you see is what you get.

I was kidding myself.

Truth is, there was a time when I was Queen of the Masks. Most of my life, in an effort I believed would keep my 'self' safe, I had worn various masks to hide my feelings, disguise my fears, obscure my anxiety.

Receiving that feedback gave me an opportunity to examine myself -- particularly because my reaction to it was so intense. I knew in its intensity, lay a truth I needed to investigate.

I still fall into the trap of wearing masks. Sometimes, I tell myself, they're necessary to protect me from other people's dubious motives or behaviours.

Mostly, they're a habit I don when I am feeling off balance, exposed or insecure. Familiar with their inner workings as I look at the world through their gauzy haze, I fool myself into believing I am safe. Protected. Secure.

Ahhh, the stories we tell ourselves when we want to believe the stories we tell ourselves,

Another great quote from William James (American pragmatist and psychologist who also happens to have been the brother of novelist, Henry James). "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."

There was a time when I had convinced myself that masks were my friend.

Reality is, my masks inhibit my growth. They limit my belief in myself and hold me back from being my most magnificent self -- free to be all I'm meant to be when I let go of being who I think others expect, or want, me to be as I become -- me, myself and I -- in love with who I am, exactly the way I am today.

The question is: What mask are you willing to peek out from behind today so that you can face your beauty, perfectly imperfect in all its human being?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Talking about the possibilities

Speech has allowed the communication of ideas; enabling human beings to work together to create the impossible. Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failure by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking. Stephen Hawking
I went into the office today. It was my first day back since surgery three weeks ago. People were talking.

It's nice to know you're missed. Nice to know people are thinking of me -- and missing me too! It's nice to have a place where I fit in, where I belong, where I make a difference.

And it all comes about by talking.

And the first part of talking is... listening.

At our Director's meeting this morning, the assistant Exec Dir. said to me. "I met with," and she named a client with whom I've worked closely over the past two years on several different initiatives. "He sure thinks highly of you," she said. "In fact, as he told me of all you've done to help him, he cried. I just wanted to let you know."

I was touched. Moved. Humbled.

I haven't really done that much, other than to listen. And to keep asking questions. To keep cheering him on as he's made significant changes in his life, and attitude, and worked towards moving out of the shelter.

He's moving out soon. Got a place of his own. A job. A future.

And he's got hope of new possibilities.

All because, we started talking about where he was at. All because we started talking about where he wanted to go and the possibilities of a new tomorrow.

Life is filled with possibilities. But, when I stay silent. When I tune out, nothing happens. When I quit listening, or hold back from speaking up, I am limiting the possibilities of creating new opportunities, of gathering new insights, or deepening my learning and understanding of what makes me tick. Of what makes life go round. Of what makes this life such an amazing, incredible, awesome journey.


We gotta hear what the other person's saying, or what the voice inside us is saying, before we can talk about what it is we can do to change, to move forward, to move onward, to create more of what we want in life.


It's the gateway to more. It's what connects us. It's what makes it possible for us to connect in new and more powerful ways.

The question is: Are you talking about the possibilities or are you shut off from hearing what's out there, waiting, just around the next conversation?
Late today. Our internet service is out of commission at home, seems many quadrants of the city are under siege! -- I actually came into the office ofr awhile which is an adventure in and of itself.

Be back later today!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hearts engage.

You can buy a person's hands but you can't buy his heart. His heart is where his enthusiasm, his loyalty is. Stephen Covey
A friend phones and asks, "Everything okay? You haven't posted this morning yet."

It's nice to have friends who care. It's good to know someone is listening. Thanks!

My youngest daughter comes home from a night out with friends that turned into a disaster. Two young men fight. Blood sheds and police sirens screech. In the end, everyone is 'okay'. Lessons learned. Hearts filled with fear. Hearts broken open in love. "You have to give D. a hug," my daughter tells me. "She sure kept it all together. She's learned a lot working at the shelter."

C.C. doesn't come home as expected. A friend in need has decided to shed his own blood. Sirens screech. The friend will live. His heart is broken. His wounds will heal. His heart will keep engaging him with life.

Hearts engage and disengage. Pound in fear. Beat a gentle tattoo of love. Minds tune in. Tune out. Turn off. Turn up.

Engage. Disengage.

What makes the difference between a heart connected? What makes one man fear living enough to seek a way out at his own hands?

C.C. is upset. He was there. He did the best he could. I shouldn't have let him go to the bathroom alone. He said.

You couldn't have known. I told him. Because you were there, he is getting the help he needs. He is alive this morning. Because you were there, someone's father, son, brother, uncle, cousin is alive today. You did the absolute best you could.

Engage. Disengage.

Long ago, I once believed there was only one solution. To end it. To stop the pain I had to stop my life.

And I couldn't do it. I believed I only had one truth left in my life at that time. I desperately wanted the surcease. Desperately. I loved my daughters and could not make a lie of that truth. I am grateful today that my love kept me from taking that final step. And still, I desperately wanted it. Death that is. Desperately wanted to end my pain. To make it stop. Desperately wanted my heart to quit beating. My mind to quit going around and around in circles.

I had love to pull me through. Love to sustain me.

Just as C.C.s friend had someone there last night who cared enough to pull him through.

For those of us in the light, it is hard to understand how dark it can get for someone who has lost their way. All we can do is keep casting our light to light their way back home to their hearts, where love and enthusiasm and trust and loyalty and hope live.

We cannot stop their pain. We can only be there when they call and be grateful when we get there in time to engage them in our heartfelt prayer that they will come out of the darkness into the light.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Accepting life as it is

We must let go of the life we planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. Joseph Campbell
Life is always waiting. Just around the corner. Just around the next bend. At the top of the mountain, at the bottom of the sea. Life is always waiting for us to catch up, to let go, to jump in.

What holds us back?

It was a question posed by my lovely friend AR last night. What keeps holding me back from accepting I am worthy? Worthy of love. Worthy of being the magnificent human being I am. Worthy of living the life of my dreams.

What holds me back?

Perhaps it is that I am waiting for life to arrive as planned. On schedule. On time. In a format compatible with my thinking. Perhaps, in my waiting for that moment to arrive when I am 'all fixed up', all better, all perfect, all I am meant to be, I am avoiding turning up for me -- exactly the way I am today. Loving myself as I am in this moment, without waiting for me, myself and I to catch up to who I want to be, where I want to be in some magic moment in the future when it all makes sense.

There is no sense to the nonsense of avoiding loving myself for all I'm worth -- except for the senselessness of holding myself back from experiencing this one wild and passionate life as if it's the only life I've got to live. It is.

Perhaps it all comes down to acceptance.

Acceptance that -- this truly is my one and only life and I am the architect of my destiny. I am the driver at the wheel. The helmsman charting my course.

Acceptance that who I am is okay -- in all my humanness, beauty and warts and all.

The quality of my life is not determined by how well I wait for life to happen. The quality of my life is determined by how well I live this moment, right now.

Happiness happens when I take charge of my thinking, my words, my actions -- and make everything I do, everything I think, say, feel a reflection of the wonder and mystery and magic of me.

When do I determine it's time? When I turn up for me and take charge.

I determine my life. Life does not determine me.

The question is: What's in it for you to let life determine your journey? What's in it for you to keep doing what you've always done to hold off on living this one wild and passionate life fearlessly in love with who you are for all you're worth?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

In the moment of now

The past does not define you, the present does. Jillian Michaels
...and the present is always dependent upon what I make of it, how I respond to what is happening in and around my life and how I deal with the 'stuff' of daily living.

I was at the Cast Clinic this morning to have my stitches out and the cast put on my foot. Okay, so, it's a pretty purple thing -- and did I mention it hurt? I hadn't eaten breakfast and almost passed out when the technician took out the final threads. They were embedded and man, did that hurt. C.C. teased me and called me a baby. I contemplated hitting him with my newly encased in plaster foot, but worried it might hurt me more than him!

In the past, I was always defining myself by what other people thought of me.

As a wise friend wrote to me yesterday, " appears to me that the flaw is that she is choosing to look for love in all the wrong places. Shouldn't she love herself first then nothing and no one doesn't matter."


It is what I struggle with everyday. To love myself enough to be me in all kinds of weather, regardless of storms blowing around me or earth moving beneath my feet. To stay grounded in my truth without losing myself in someone else's embrace. The truth is: I am one magnificent human being on the journey of my lifetime, in love with being who I am, beauty and the beast living contentedly within me.

Today is a day of rest. Of laying low, as my doctor called it to give myself the space to heal.

One thing about all this time on my hands, I've got lots of time to surrender and fall in love in the moment of now.

And that's what I'm going to do, right now, in this moment. Be in love with who I am and how I am right now.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reality Is what I make it

May the gates to possibility continue swinging wide open for you. Brendon Burchard
I watched a webinar yesterday by Brendon Bouchard, founder of Experts Academy. It was enlightening and inspiring. One of the things he said, which resonated with me, was why he does what he does. Why he feels it's important to educate and inspire others to become experts in the coaching/speaking/teaching arena -- It's not just about making money, he said. It's about being of service. Of sincerely wanting to make a difference in the world, no matter how small or great.

Later, I watched Forever Strong. The movie was recommended by Brian Willis at Winning Mind Training. And I concur with Brian's thoughts about this film. It is well worth watching.

That's the thing about having time to refresh and restore. I have the time and the space to learn and watch and read and grow.

In the busy busy of daily living, I have been remiss in letting slide my efforts to keep learning, to keep acquiring new knowledge and to keep deepening the knowledge I have. In his webinar, Brandon Burchard compared it to digging a hole looking for gold. Most people, he opines, dig a bit, find nothing, and move on to another hole. People who want to learn and perfect their skills and knowledge, keep digging until there's nothing left of the hole to dig. They keep deepening their understanding of what's in the ground, bringing up the dirt to reveal the 'truth' of what they've found.

The gold isn't in the dirt. The gold is in what we make of what we dig up.

Life's a dirty business. Get digging.

After watching the webinar and then the movie, I started thinking about, reality. What is it? What do I make of it? How do I make it work for me?

See, there's all sorts of positions on reality -- mine, yours, and everyone else's. Lots of perspectives, and lots of stories on why it is the way it is and why it keeps us from having the life of our dreams.

Reality is -- it is what we make it.

Lying here with my foot up in a cast, watching the birds flutter about the birdfeeder, reality is, I am not free to just get up and go out and do the things I want to do. Reality is also, I am free to do the things I want to do right here. To delve into learning more, deepening my understanding of what it is I can do to bring light into the world, to be of service, to create a world of possibilities where dreams come true because each and everyone of us has learned the truth of who we are -- magnificent human beings on the journey of our lifetime. Miracles of life creating a world of joy and wonder.

It is a gloomy day outside, but inside I am alight with energy and hope and love. The best way to be, no matter the weather.

The question is: How are you lighting up your day? Are you walking freely through open doors embracing possibility?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The 100% accountability factor

All forms of self-defeating behavior are unseen and unconscious, which is why their existence is denied. Vernon Howard
I don't deny it. I have many self-defeating behaviours that I indulge in -- And I know they're not to my betterment. But I still indulge.

Stopping self-defeating games can be challenging. Before I even realize I'm at it, the behaviour has manifested itself in some action or word, or even thought, that undermines what I want more of in my life, leaving me with less. And less, is generally in the opposite direction of what I want.

Take my desire for intimacy with C.C. as an example. When he does something that triggers my feelings of being less than, or unimportant, I have a tendency to retreat into silence (okay sulking). Rather than face my feelings and tell him what's happening for me, I clam up and 'pretend' it doesn't matter to me. Thing is, it matters big time and my self-defeating behaviour is interfering with my truth.

When I was married, my husband used to want to climb and hike and ski and spend time in the mountains every available moment. Which meant, we seldom spent a weekend in the city. We seldom did any of the things around the house that needed doing -- the things I liked to do to create a warm and loving home. We seldom just 'vegged out' and relaxed together.

After our daughters arrived, he still wanted to spend every available moment in the mountains. I wanted to spend time at home. The outcome -- he went to the mountains. I stayed home more and more often with the girls and eventually, we went our separate ways. Okay, so it was more complex than that but the outcome was still the same. I engaged in self-defeating behaviours, as did he, and we never did connect through open and honest sharing of our hearts' desires.

My self-defeating behaviour in all of that was to sacrifice what I wanted most -- a loving, intimate relationship where we both felt supported, connected and competent. By not being vulnerable or open about what I was feeling, thinking, 'seeing' in where we were at. I was playing the game of 'get them before they get me', 'silence is violence', 'I'm not worthy'. Any game I play where truth and honesty, openness and kindness are not the foundation of everything I do and say, leaves me feeling -- you got it -- 'less than'.

When faced with those delicate moments when I feel myself retreating, I have the choice of being honest, in a mature and adult manner. Often, if I let myself fall into my self-defeating behaviours, I retreat into silence, stuffing my 'feelings' down with victim thinking like.... 'what's the point? Nobody listens to me. My feelings are not justified. I'm being overly sensitive. I need to grow up. There's no value in rocking the boat. My thoughts on the matter don't count....' And on and on the circle goes as I dig myself into a vat of silence that drowns out all rational and mature thought. My strength and courage becomes drowned beneath the force of my belief -- it's not my fault. If they didn't.... (fill in the blank with whatever they're doing that upsets me), I wouldn't be so....(fill in the blank with a negative feeling).

In my silence, I become my fears -- my voice has no value. I have no value. I have no right to speak up and be heard.

In my fears, I act less than capable of being all that I am meant to be.

In acting less than, I devalue myself and the relationship. I become the problem I fear the most. I become a sulky, inarticulate child in a woman's body, plotting ways to 'get even'.

So, how's that for a positive way to be?

Reality is -- I don't have to be any of those things -- unless I choose to be them.

It is always my choice.

To stop the tide of negative thinking leading me further along the path of self-defeating behaviours, I must STOP and take account of what I'm doing/thinking/feeling.

Is it true?

Is it really true? or, Is it what I am choosing to believe?

What would happen for me if I chose to believe the opposite? What would I feel if I chose to let go of feeling... less than, unimportant, insignificant, hurt, angry, upset by........ whatever someone else did to 'make' me feel the way I am feeling?

Reality is, no one can 'make' me feel anything. I choose my response 100% of the time. Sure, sometimes my responses are unconscious choices -- and I still choose 100% of the time how I will respond to my choices.

One of my unconscious chooses is to feel 'put out' when C.C. says he'll call and forgets. Feeling 'put out' leaves me unsettled, disgruntled and miffed. I don't like any of those feelings.

Knowing C.C., his forgetting to call is not about 'not loving me enough to do the right thing, no matter how engrossed or involved in what he's doing that he loses all track of time'. Forgetting to call really is about his being engrossed.

The story I tell myself is very different. I tell myself -- he doesn't think about me when he's not with me. I'm not important to him. I don't count.

And in that spiral of my negative story-telling, I create a place where angst and dissatisfaction grow. I create my worst fears.

The reality is -- C.C. calls when he says he will, most of the time. Reality is, I know he loves me.

Reality is -- my less than feelings trip me up and I end up falling into a vat of self-pity. It is in that place that I create my problems -- because when he does call, I do not hear him with an open and loving heart. I only hear him through my anger and angst of feeling 'less than'. I let go of being 100% accountable for me, myself and I and make him accountable for how I am acting out.

Being honest, being open and loving require me to let go of my self-defeating games -- doesn't mean the other person has to or even will quit playing their self-defeating games. But, the opportunity for them to do so is greater when I am acting with integrity and not acting out.

The question is: Are you indulging in self-defeating games and keeping yourself from the intimacy you desire? Are you willing to be vulnerable and face the truth of your 100% accountability?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Outside the box of my limited thinking

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you. B.B. King
I thought he was just a squirrel-brain. You know, not too bright, continually doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome.

I watched him climb up the tree, out onto the limb from which the birdfeeder is suspended and try to climb down the string hooking it to the tree. And every time, he'd get a few inches down, desperately try to hang on and end up catapulted into midair to land, fleet of foot on the ground below.

"Silly squirrel," I laughed to myself as. I watched him inspecting the ground, looking for feed. "He's trying to hide his embarrassment by pretending he can find food on the ground."

And then he'd climb up and repeat the same action. Again and again and again. Climb up. Out on a limb. Tentatively climb down. Catapult. Scurry about... Climb up. Out on a limb. Tentatively climb down. Scurry about...Climb up. Out on a limb... Five times. Six times. Ten times. He kept repeating the routine.

And then it struck me. He's not stupid at all. His intent is to be swung from the feeder so that it tips to the side, spilling its contents onto the grass below.

It was a feeding frenzy of the inspired kind.

He was doing the same thing again and again, expecting the same outcome.

I don't know when he figured out that it was futile to try to get onto the feeder. But, he did. And in the process, discovered an inventive way to get the food to come to him.

Very clever.

I was humbled. What had appeared obvious stupidity to me was actually inventive brilliance.

I learned something from my backyard squirrel this morning. I learned that what appears to be at first blush 'stupidity', is not necessarily so. Judging someone, or something, on my narrow perspective of what is true or real, i.e. there's only one way to get food from a birdfeeder and that's to sit on the ledge and peck it out -- limits my thinking.

Where else in my life do I look at a situation and think -- this is the way it should be, is designed to be, is meant to be -- and then limit my options by limiting my belief of what is possible?

There are a myriad of ways to tackle a problem. For that squirrel, he knew his limitations of flight inhibited his ability to land on the feeder. So, he got inventive. And in his inventiveness, discovered a whole new way of getting what he wanted.

Maybe I can do the same thing too.

The question is: Are you limiting your options by looking only for the obvious? Are you boxing up a problem and telling yourself, 'there's only one way to solve it'? Are you willing to take a swing at tipping the box over and seeing what pours out?