Saturday, September 7, 2013

I have moved!!!

The Daringly Mindful Blog has moved to so that you can take advantage of reviewing the Daringly Mindful Blog posts and the Daringly Mindful Advice Column with just one click. Take advantage of 'following me by email' on the new website. See you there!!
diana xo

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Being Open To Change Will Take You To Where You Need To Be

The changing of the seasons is once again upon us, and with it comes wonderful transformations. We often don’t realize the shifts that surround and are presented to us because we are fearful of what may surface if we acknowledge them. Being open to allowing change to show up is the key to moving forward in our lives, in our careers, and in our personal growth.
I was always open to changing things up when it came to what I was doing; it was being open to shifting my personal way of showing up that presented a great challenge for me. Being outwardly brave, yet inwardly afraid, created emotional conflict as I did what I felt was presented as favourable and ignored how I felt. At the time, I coped by keeping my true identity small and hidden and did what I thought was expected in order to feel valued. I have learned that having the courage to move out of the perceived judgemental box and presenting myself as I truly feel is, ultimately, a more comfortable and authentic way of being.

This was reinterated recently when I recognised that it was time to move my business into its next phase. I have been here before and waivered but, this time I was ready and mustered up the courage to listen to what appeared. The wave had presented itself, and I needed to jump into it and allow it to lead me to where it was heading. The experience was different this time because the motivation wasn’t about the money. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want or need money; I have simply learned that when I choose the driving force as money, I am never guided in the direction that is right for me. And, alternately, if I follow what feels right for me, the money that I need eventually and always arrives. It's like magic but, not really!!
I will admit that making my own choices and not listening to what I think I ‘should’ do is scary. It is a very different way of being from the pattern that was modeled for me and that I followed for most of my life. However, changing it up by choosing the route that allows me to make a difference while expressing my unique self has a more natural flow, and provides me with peace and ease.

Thus, a little yet, big shift. For 3 years I labeled myself as a ‘Life Coach’, and I boxed myself into this place where I could gratefully practice what I had to offer. But, something tiny that I wasn't yet aware of, wasn't right. It served me well as I supported others to find and comfortably move towards their own unique way of being. However, there was always something that needed to shift, a little something that needed to change in order for it all to feel right. I was open for it to come to me. I waited patiently for whatever it was, and I woke every day open to the idea that I knew would eventually arrive. And, of course, it did.
‘Authenticity Coach’; a small and subtle change in my title that really fit well with my role, and that was all. It was a shift from what I had designated myself as, and yet, I was still doing what I had done before. The difference is that I am now showing up in my own way and it feels more comfortable; it is a good fit for me. I am not hiding behind something that someone else created and that I adapted myself into. I gathered the courage to make the change to move ahead with something whose time has come and needs to be shared and presented in it's true form.

Since this shift in mindset, I have found more clarity in what I am offering and how I present it. There is endless freedom and no boundaries on the how, when and where. I have decided to delve into the natural transition that presents itself, and consciously see when it comes to me, and trust that it is right and will serve me well. The change of seasons is here, but let's not turn our backs on being open to our own transformation and natural evolution. All that feels right, is right.
wishing you a day of ease, diana
#change #authenticity #leadauthentic #mindfulmentor
What changes are you open to today?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Power of Breaking Bread

I sat at a dining table last night among a group of 10 friends who had not gathered together in this capacity for a couple of years. Our initial ties were formed as parents of children who had, when younger, established extraordinarily close friendships. Some of them, including my daughter, have since moved on in different directions, perhaps to reconnect at a later time in their lives, or maybe not. Until recently, I believed that the lack of physical connection between their parents (my friends) and I had somewhat dissipated the closeness of the bond that we had created over a decade ago.
A few of us still got together on the odd occasion, and most of us connected on social media sites, or at various sporting events or functions. But, it didn’t feel the same for me as when we used to take the time to get together over a well thought out dinner menu, great wine, conversation and many hours of laughter. I didn’t realize how much I missed this ritual of breaking bread with this tribe of remarkable individuals until I received a call a few months ago from my girlfriend letting me know that illness had befallen one of us.
Last night was the celebration of the completion of our friend's treatment. We sat beside and across from one another in solidarity with the sole purpose of supporting her in moving forward with her life. Not much was said about what she had gone through because I think we all knew that she just wanted to experience the comfort of how it used to be. Our coming together was what she had always looked forward to, and being there for her was what she needed to feel what each of us craves everyday; to simply be loved.
At one point, I sat quietly and looked around the room to see conversations and connections being re-ignited after far too long. Memories were recounted and new stories were shared. It was then that I realized that friendships never really end; they just shift a little bit from time to time and move in different directions. Eventually, we end up where we are intended to be, and often it is right back to where we started.
#connecting #lovingkindness #ygk #daringlymindful

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Slowing Down My Racing Mind

Several times a day, I take a breath and step back to reflect on how I am feeling, and what my next move will be. I know when to do this as I feel the necessity through various physical and emotional messages I receive. I have a about a 10 minute window before I lose the ability to maintain clarity of what I choose to focus on and how I will show up next. It’s part of how I manage my leadership in a genuine and authentic way.
For many years of my life I was uncomfortable with being a leader and what it entailed both personally and professionally. Not because I didn’t know how to lead but rather, because there always seemed to be two ways of leadership that presented themselves as options to choose from; the one that came from my heart, and the other that was learned and was intimidating and authoritarian. I found this confusing and lacked clarity on how to choose the way to lead that provided me with moral ease and an ethical conscience.
I wanted to be comfortable with my decisions within a leadership role and for those around me to be accepting and supportive of my values and opinions. Whether I was leading or being lead, my fear of others’ reactions often moved me towards communicating ineffectively.  I usually presented myself as defensive and arrogant; as if my way was the right way, and everyone else’s was extraordinarily wrong. It wasn’t until I slowed my racing mind down and became clear about what the definition of a leader was to me that I was able to become self-confident and decisive within that role. It requires a great dedication to stepping back and creating awareness. xoxo
#meditation #slowingdown #leadauthentic #daringlymindful
Stepping Back

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting Ready to Move Forward Again

It has been almost a year since I last wrote a post in my blog, and I am filled with a jittery excitement as I decide to commit to a weekly offering again. When I first began writing in my blog three years ago, I was moving through immense and painful transitions and personal transformations. My writings served me well as they allowed me to express myself in a very vulnerable way; a way that gave me great support and strength to share how I felt day after day.
At first, it was horrifically difficult to tell my story, and more importantly, the truth. But, after time, I realized how incredibly easy it actually was. I discovered that the more honest I was with myself and whoever was willing to read about my evolution, the easier it was to lay myself out on the the written page for all the world to see. This blog saved my emotional and spiritual self. It gave me the courage to move forward in a way that I was not even aware existed at the time.
And so, I am back, because just when you think you are done growing and you believe you have reached your best self, you actually have not. I realized long ago that the perception that I would figure it all out one day is a fantasy.
We are never done.
And so, here is to all of us and our perpetual moving forward and backward in a steady ebb and flow of ups and downs and turn arounds.
I look forward to doing our dance of authenticity together for another little while.
much LovingKindness,
diana xo
#leadauthentic #mindfulness #authenticity

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Its a Good Time For Change

As you may have noticed, I have taken a bit of a hiatus from the blogging world.  Much has been happening in my world, and as a result, I needed to provide myself with some space to maintain a little more ease through some transitions in my life.  As with all, I learned that it is time for me to shift; this shift will be to change my focus of writing from my blog to the forever waiting book that I have been talking about for  30 years. And so, to my small but ever so appreciated fellow bloggers and blog followers, I urge you to find and connect to another writer who will inspire and urge you toward being the best part of yourself that you can be most of the time.  Wishing you days of ease, years of peace and much self love as you reciprocate with lovingkindness for all whom you meet and greet.
much love,
diana xo   

Saturday, June 9, 2012

If you want to make a difference #JustSlowDownAnd visit the Heather & Whitney Haynes Gallery

As I walked across Market Square, I suddenly felt a familiar stirring of fearful cautiousness that provides me with a warning that something is amiss. I have practiced and learned to listen carefully to the message this wave of emotion offers me; to ignore it would be personally irresponsible as it would not serve me well. I deserve more than to ignore a sign of discomfort and attempt to fly by the seat of my pants.

I was on my way to the gallery opening in Kingston, Ontario of artist/painter extraordinaire, Heather Haynes and her equally talented sister, photographer/jewellery designer, Whitney Haynes. Although there is a small sense of shame as I tell you that I had not heard of these well known humanitarians until the day before this event, it didn't surprise me as I keep myself somewhat sheltered. Many who are close to me would say that I am well connected in my community, and yet I stick to small circles where I feel comfortable and focused on what I am intended for.

As I moved closer to the gallery location, I suddenly realized that there would likely be a tightly knit crowd at this event that, for the most part, I would not know many. This, along with other insecurities, triggered the crazy gremlins in my head that told me there was no way I would fit into this group of invitees. An additional fear of earlier patterning presented itself as a bead of sweat moved down the middle of my spine. I listened to it, and it stopped me in my tracks. I told myself, “Listen and you will learn”. I looked in the direction of some voices to my left, and saw a sign that read ‘lamb for sale’. I smiled at the fact that you can actually buy lamb at an outdoor market; it seemed odd to me. This distraction was a gift as it allowed me the time that I needed to take a step back, breathe and determine the reality of all of the messages being fired my way. Looking ahead, I could see the gallery across the street. A young girl was playing the guitar, and there was a group of people chatting and laughing on the side walk. It was then that I knew I had the choice to determine the difference between which message was real and which was not. I did know the truth, and I pushed the rest aside, and walked confidently toward the warmth of the sweet girl’s music.

I walked through the door with trepidation but it quickly dissipated the moment I laid my eyes on one of Heather's paintings. The look in the woman’s eyes was filled with fear, and yet, it also exuded gratitude; I was overwhelmed with the artist’s ability to provide this contradiction in one piece. Also displayed, was a biography of the woman in the painting. I read it, and a tear came to my eye; it wasn’t so much of sympathy, but of understanding. I was overwhelmed with warmth and calm. Within minutes, I was taken away from my anxious state and absorbed in the mystification of what hung on the walls of this studio. I took a moment to look around the room, and found myself surrounded by painting after painting and story after story of the children and women of Africa.

It was like I was all alone in this room filled with brave and soulful beings, and it felt incredibly peaceful. And yet, I was overwhelmed by a wave of sadness that I haven’t been able to shake for days. After I left the gallery, I realized that I had been there for 30 minutes before I looked up and recognized some friends I knew. I remembered how worried I was just before walking through the gallery’s door, and how quickly the worry dissolved with my first glimpse of a series of paintings that, like a written novel, tell a passionate story of those who are close and also very, very far away.

I left the gallery with a ‘wrap’ bracelet by Whitney Haynes that I have been wearing every day since. As I place it around my wrist each morning, there is a warmth and ‘feel good’ that comes with it; some kind of connection that I cannot describe. What I know for sure is that this sister team provides a natural tranquility more powerful than any meditation you will ever practice. There is a subtle and strong dedication to LovingKindness communicated through their art that provides everyone in their presence with incredible empowerment; a gift that these girls provide with global authenticity.

Monday, June 4, 2012

#JustSlowDownAnd ......

If you could Just Slow Down .......what would you do??  Let me know in the comments below....or catch my 'trend' on twitter #JustSlowDownAnd ......

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Soulful Listening

I listened to my soul yesterday, and took the day off of all things pressing.  I decided to move slowly and go with my flow instead of the rest of the world's.  With this intention, I moved through the grocery store with ease and enjoyed feeling and smelling the food I was about to buy and, ultimately, transform into tasty meals.  Once home, I was already in a different mindset from the days preceding this one.  I was moving with more grace, and I decided to put some music on; Patsy Clline cooing 'San Antonio Rose'.  I cooked all afternoon, and let my mind wander.  Athough not intentionally dancing, I felt myself circling the kitchen island in time with the ebb and flow of Patsy's voice.  Every now and again, I checked the clock and was surprised at how slowly time was passing.  How wondrous it is when we allow ourselves to revel in the moment and choose the experience of the joy that encompasses us.  After hours of cooking, creating and making a beautiful mess, I was suddenly interrupted by the door opening and slamming shut, and the word, "Mom" being called out; a different part of my world entered the house.  My daughter came upstairs and sat at the counter; she smiled at the clutter that surrounded her.  We chatted as I cleaned up and she devoured a plateful of samosas,; I quickly chose to see the wonderfulness of what had just been included in my mindful and soulful afternoon.

Patsy Cline's San Antonio Rose


Friday, May 18, 2012

The Gift of Change

I am finally back to my computer in my cozy space, sitting at my antique desk with all of the trinkets and cards that my community of support has provided me over good times and bad.  With every glance at one or another of them, a flash of a distant memory moves through me like a pleasant quick spark of joy.  Some were made with those who I still connect with every day; some were created by those I seldom see but, are in my daily thoughts; and some remain with me by those who have been out of my life for a period of time but, remain in my heart as part of a possible return in the future. 

With age and experience, I have developed a want, a need, for the comfort of knowing that there are people out there who understand me and what my soul aches for.  It is a connection like no other that enables me to greet each day with ease and matter what that same morning sun has in store for me, I know that I can meet all of it head on with the support of those who surround me in my world.  I do not necessarily need their physical presence to feel their energy that is so powerful it can take my breath away.  I do not need it because it's strength comes from far and wide in a strong whisper and encompasses me without my even being aware of it's entering until a sense of peace moves through me.  Ummmmmm, it is magical.

And so, as I woke this morning I knew that a new day was just another beginning of another chapter.  Change can be a funny thing.  It can be wonderful when brought about with choice and joyous anticipation, but frightening when placed before you without warning and with scary possible consequences.  But, it comes for a reason, and even when unwelcoming, we need to embrace it for the gifts it provides.  What those gifts are can only be determined by those who receive them, and only if we are open to accepting them for what is being offered. 

Enjoy your long weekend along with some joyous and possible fearful changes as they all have a purpose, and they all bring you gifts in sometimes strange yet, wonderful ways.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

We Have A Story And We Want To Share It With You

I woke up today with a renewed sense of optimism. Generally, there are not many times when I feel that the sky is falling, but lately, our family has had a few obstacles placed in front of our happy path. As I’ve said many times before, it’s easy to smile when everything is going the way you want it to go; it’s when something gets in our way that the smile subsides a little. After a few months of transition and ultimately acceptance, this morning presents itself with the start of new and glorious day.  Simply making decisions and having clarity brings us all back to our happy place again.

There is also cause for celebration as Authentic Leadership Global moves into its official Launch today and we want to tell our story. I have been working with this group of people for almost a year now, and we are passionate to lead our lives from our Authentic selves, and to inspire everyone we meet to do the same. There is such dedication behind our mandate that I never question what we are capable of accomplishing. Even when things go array in the world around me, I know for sure and without a doubt that this community of support is there to dissipate the craziness in my life and provide me with what my true perspective is.

Support ~ although prevalent and so powerful, this sense of connection and security is not just found in the group of facilitators that encompass ALG, but within all of my personal relationships, those who I choose to surround myself with and who choose to spend time with me. You know who you are the one who texts me when you think I might be down; you are the one who sends me a friendly email just when I'm thinking of you; you are the one who sends love note comments on my blog; you are the one who calls me every Friday night from far, far away; you are the one who sends me a card in the mail for no special reason; you are the one who comes to my door and sweeps me away for an hour to chat; you are the one who shares your creativity with me for endless hours of the day; you are the one who has time for me and has faith in me and all of the goodness in this world; you are the one.........

You know exactly who you are; you are an Authentic Leader, a person who does the right thing at the right time without questioning your decision. You believe that “who” you are comes from inside your soul, within your heart, and that you have an immeasurable connection to the universe. Because of you, and because we have faith in you and us together, it is possible for the world to lead from that Authentic place that is bursting to come out of the closet and tell everyone that she has arrived.  You know who you are, and its time to celebrate and tell your story.......I believe that everyone will want to hear it and share it over and over and over again. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Magic of Having Courage

I had a great chat with some women today who have incredible faith in the youth of our world. So refreshing to be around like minded people who recognize that we, the grownups, may be somewhat responsible for any indiscretions our teenagers present to us. As we were reflecting on how we can inspire our daughters and sons to lead their lives Authentically, we agreed that we may often ‘talk the talk’, but, on occasion, we forget to ‘walk the walk’. We say that we want our children to be individuals and to celebrate their uniqueness, and yet, we are the first ones to judge their opinions and behaviour if they are not congruent with ours. Our reactions very clearly communicate our personal values, rather than letting them know that we respect theirs.

When we tell our kids how important it is to “love yourself” and “listen to what you believe”, we need to remember that when we, ourselves, don’t do the same, we project a very different message; we don’t really mean what we say. This, in turn, creates distrust. We experience this in our own social circles as we have learned that we only fit in if we act, do and say what others expect us to. We tell our kids not to get sucked in to the peer pressure vortex, and yet we succumb to it every day. If only we could dare to do what we ask of our children, and allow them the freedom to do it as well. The courage to simply ‘be’ provides all of us the freedom to live a life of truth, peace and ease.

The thought that the beauty of living comes from our true nature, creates a magic that exists when we move from pure free flow thinking; raw and unscathed by judgement and ridicule. We yearn for it, and yet fight it at the same time as we worry about the perception of others. When we move from a vulnerable, Authentic place we put in play the courage we need to project our real person without feeling the need to defend it. How great would it be to give this gift to our children; to modelling being yourself and listening to ‘who’ you are and what resonates with you without thinking about whether or not you resemble someone else; celebrate who you are, just because you exist.  Beautiful!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Weekend of Golf and other Distractions

This weekend I learned that I cannot go for 5 hours focused on one thing.  Admittedly, I am only passionate about golf because my son is.  I really have no interest in particapating in actually playing the game as I move much faster than it can be played, and there are many other things that I would rather be doing than hitting a ball way too many times simply to see it drop in a small hole in the ground.  I brought my camera with me this weekend to give me a bit of an aversion while following my son through 3 rounds of this crazy game.  My goal was to support him while he enjoys every minute on the green and to catch him in some beautiful action shots, and I was successful in this attempt.  However, as you can see, I got a little distracted by nature and the beautiful creatures that presented themselves to me.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reaching for a new level of Authenticity.....

I have found that the challenges of life, the "failures" and times of sadness have provided me with the ability to see life as it is meant to be seen.  I have been moved into living in the moment and letting go of worrying about what may be or what might happen.  I have chosen to stop thinking of why certain things happened to me long ago, and instead focus on all the wonders that are offered to me today.  There are the obvious, my kids, my husband, my extended family and the freedom of having a home, food on my table, and all the possessions I am grateful to be provided.  However, beyond all of these amazing gifts are the things that I have been searching for far past the realm of my existence.  Little did I know that they have been right in front of me the whole time. 

As I succomb to the brutal reality that "bad things happen to good people", I simultaneously realize that those bad things are not as awful as someone else's horrible circumstances.  We all face adversity, and yet we all have an incredible amount of stuff to be grateful for.  Wanting to control what comes our way is an unattainable goal that will frustrate the best of us.  The decision to truly commit to change how I view the world is life changing beyond anything I have ever consciously chosen to do.  I will be mindful and present like I have never been.  Just when I thought I had reached the height of Authenticity, I have found that the bar is at a much higher level and I am reaching for it......100 percent.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter Weekend!!

I stole this idea from my good friend Jocelyn at Zendoll much fun!!!

Reyers' Rabbits

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Time To Take Your Place.....

To give birth to a wildly beautiful world.......

Join the WildeTribe 2012


Saturday, March 10, 2012

What Are We Thinking Anyway?

(Make sure that you have had your coffee for this post as it will require some focus :)

Perception is one of those things that creeps up and takes hold of you before you have the chance to take a breath and think about what is happening. If you are not mindful of what is occurring, your interpretation can either create much greatness or inflict much pain. This occurs equally to the person providing the perception as to you, the person receiving it, and then creates your perception based on what you thought was given. "Oy", how complicated is that?  Let me make it a little easier; finding out what the truth is, rather than sitting in what you think it might be, will give you the choice you need to live in the peace of reality, whether pleasant or not.  It kind of makes me wonder, "What are we all thinking anyway?"

Perceptions come from a variety of people and places, but mostly they are derived from the behaviours of others and then created with what we 'think' they mean within our swirling, ever so, critical minds.  They can come from the obvious ‘crazy makers’. They are the ones who behave in a way that is clear and direct and usually negative.  There is no ambiguity; it is there, right in front of you, and you are positive what their message is, and it isn't pretty; they cause you grief.  Although, you carry compassion for those who inflict pain, you love yourself too much to allow them in your life at the expense of your happiness.......right?? (just making sure you've been listening :) This needs to be a no-brainer, a deal-breaker for you as you have decided to not compromise your own happiness for others if it can be avoided.

The dilemma presents itself when you have people who are ‘crazy makers’ in your life in a less direct way. They are the dangerous ones as they play havoc on your psyche. They are ambiguous and practice passive aggressive means  to get their message across. Their verbal and non-verbal language is scattered and inconsistent, and often not in line with each another. You become confused with pleasantries and polite acts mixed in with insults and rude attacks. Which is real? Which is authentic? Do they like me or not? You begin to question yourself as your inner critic tells you that you must have done or said something to instigate such abuse. Maybe you have, maybe you haven't. 

Often these ‘crazy makers’ have developed a perception about you that isn't accurate. For some reason, they have come to the conclusion that you represent something you are not. Perhaps they chose to listen to a friend’s damaging gossip about you. Perhaps they are jealous of who you really are, and need to perceive you in another way in order to compensate for this (there is sadness in that). Maybe they just didn’t take the time and effort to verify exactly who you are when they were unsure about something you said or did. It really doesn’t matter why they developed their misplaced perception of you; it exists, and what matters is how you perceive their perception, and then either react or walk away.

There it is again, the almighty "choice".  It's yours for the taking.  This is where you can use some logic in your determination of whether or not you have played a part in the perception that is coming at you with such force that you can barely think. Take a big breath. Take the time to think; no one said you had to say or do anything right now.  Am I a bad person? Did I do something wrong? Did I say something that could have been perceived in another way; maybe I wasn’t clear? Using reason will help you figure out how to proceed. Remember that just because someone is acting a certain way or saying certain things about you, doesn’t mean they are true; only you know if they are or not. This is your first step toward blocking your inner critic and having clarity when assessing the attacker and the part that you may or may not have played in the development of the perception. Having an open mind about what you might have done to feed such perceptions is the second step as you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to a slight regression.......maybe the ‘crazy maker’ in you (we all own a little bit of that) came out to play for a while, and the perception is valid.

This brings you to the third and final step requiring honesty and truth. a) You may determine that the perception is all theirs. If this person is someone you want to keep within your community of support, you will need to put your ego aside, have a conversation with them, and gently clarify what is real.  However, if this person does not fit into your lovingkindness circle, take the high road, move past their perceptions, do not respond, create boundaries, and place your energies with those who know who you are and reciprocate your love. b) You may determine that you played a bit of a part in the perception they have of you (I know, it's difficult to admit). If this is the case, you know what you need to do; same deal, be honest with those who love and support you, and let them know that you had a little u-turn.  Your vulnerablility will make you stronger, and your honesty will create relationships with longevity.  When it comes to those who don't care about you, simply forgive yourself and move on.

When perceptions jump up in front of you, take the time to think about what they are, where they came from and what role you may or may not have had in their creation. From there comes clarity, reason and reality, as well as, a much more loving approach to what we decide to do next.  xoxoxo

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I Am Red

I feel good around the colour red, the deep, rich red of warmth that comes from the dresses of flamingo dancers and the native art that makes me stop to look.  This shade of red fills me with energy and creativity,  and it brings me genuine joy.  I don't need to wear it or touch it; just looking at it serves up some wondrous love.  It is the love that we provide to others and stems from the love we nurture in ourselves.

The colour red is related to the base chakra and self awareness; the awareness of ourselves as human beings and our spiritual place on earth.  Red gives us courage and strength, and it relates to stability and security.  In times of vulnerability I sub-consciously yearn for the presence of red and all that it gives to me.  When I so choose to wear it, I feel empowered because it brings out the confidence that comes from caring for myself and all that I and all of us deserve.  When I need a reminder, I wrap myself up in its fabric and breath in its warmth and power.  I then become what the colour red provides me; great strength.

Friday, March 2, 2012

"The Way To Finding Happiness is by Building Walls of LovingKindness"

Excerpt from this Saturday's (March 3rd) 'Talk of Life' column in the Kingston Whig Standard........

I read somewhere that we cannot expect happiness. As I type this, my stomach does the same kind of flip it did when I initially read it. I struggle to get my head around the message the writer is sending as being able to achieve a sense of joy every day is my top priority. The idea that one cannot expect to obtain happiness within a lifetime is horrifying to me. The statement was so off putting that I reminded myself I had the choice to believe it or not, and I found solace in the words of the, ever so, wise Buddha;

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense”.

Knowing that I do not have to believe everything I read or hear brought me some comfort, but I still felt saddened for the writer’s readers should they be swayed by his sentiment and for him as he seemed to believe that he was unworthy of happiness. The fact that someone had such a low standard of receiving joy didn’t resonate well with me, and it made me wonder if I was interpreting his message correctly.............

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Just Letting My Mind Wander.........

After a few days on holidays I am finally ino a bit of a groove.  I am a creature of habit so, it always takes me a bit before I feel completely at ease in a new environment.  This morning was the first time that I felt I was into a good flow as I walked around the beautiful driving range at the PGA Centre for Golf Learning & Performance in Port St. Lucie.  After 15 minutes I was well past the training centre and within my thoughts as I absorbed the smell of grass and felt the sun beating down on me. 

It is during times like these when minutes turn quickly into an hour, and I feel like I am connected with the universe in some special way.  Difficult to describe, it is the same experience people feel when they have finally established their spiritual place in their world.  It is what most of us seek for a very long time, but sometimes make it more complicated than it has to be.  Often, it is right in front of us, and it is waiting for us to leap towards and take advantage of it. 

For me, it is a long walk in the woods or a sit down with paper, pens, and stamps.  For my daughter, it is a long run in solitude where she is able to think deeply and with abandon.  For my son and my husband, it is that long walk along the golf course where nature and people meet with cameradie, peace and calm.  For a close friend of mine, it happens within the sanctuary of her church where she can kneel, pray and find comfort in the presence of her God.  For yet another, it occurs throughout her morning yoga and meditation practice.  It is spirituality; the natural force that many of us fight in order to survive the busyness of the day and the chaos of our society as it is today.  We worry about slowing down as it may break our pattern of getting things done.  We have conditioned ourselves to keep the momentum going so that not a moment is lost.  As a result, we miss the moments between our breath that allow our spirituality to emerge and  connect us in a different way than we are used to. 

Sometimes, we need to slow in order to get the things done that really matter.  The moments that we miss are the ones that really count; they are the ones that connect us to ourselves and to each other.  Think about the last time you let your mind wander to wherever it wanted to go........think about where it went and how it felt.  Amazing, right?!?!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Customer Service in the Rainy South

Being here in Port St. Lucie, Florida for the last 4 days has been very eventful as we have had rain every day since we arrived.  This has moved us directly into full shopping mode which my daughter and I have decided to welcome with great enthusiasm.  The sun should be shining by tomorrow offering us 6 days of poolside relaxation and book reading time. 

During our shopping spree we stopped at the Pulix grocery store and experienced customer service extroidinaire!!  Where I come from, gone are the days when an extra clerk packs your bags and then pushes your cart to your car and unloads them into your trunk.  When my husband offered her a tip, she stepped back and graciously thanked him while indicating that she was not allowed to accept his gratuity.  I felt like I was moving through a dream where my standards of customer service were not only being met but, were being exceded by leaps and bounds.  I had already been blown away by the cashier's smile and conversation as she asked how we were doing, and where we were from.  She was courteous, energetic and even provided us with a cloth bag for our wine without charging us for it.  When we walked out of the store she called out to "have a great day", and gave us a wave and a smile. 

Although, I love Canada as my home, I have to say that the people of Florida have proven that customer service is alive and extremely well.  xoxo

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I love you because.....

One of the young men, who work at the Starbucks where my daughter works and that I frequent, shared this photo of the gift his wife gave him for Valentines. It is the epitome of a well thought out gesture, and it is obvious that it took much time and energy. It required tapping into her creative mind and, by seeing the results, I am guessing she enjoyed every minute of the process.

This is what some are missing by flying around in cars stopping at shop after shop in search of the ‘perfect’ gift and card. We hope that we will find the one that will send the message that is the ‘right’ fit for our loved one. How ironic is it that it is as simple as saying or writing down what we want to say? Combined with a little ingenuity and your own personal touch, you end up expressing exactly what you want your honey to know......just how much you love them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wax Paper Petal Pressing 101

Rose Petals Transformed into 'LOVE'

'Faith and Peace Can Only Come From Love'

I sit here in the stillness of my house, with the sun shining through the large picture window. The view seems bare since the old poplar was removed after the small ice storm we had a few weeks ago. It was inevitable as we watched the weight of the frozen branches pull the tree down to the ground like the wire on a bow. It arched over the inuksuk as if protecting it from harm’s way.

The arborist asked me if I would disassemble the ‘stone structure’ before he began his work, and I told him “no, I trust it to maintain its strength through the process; it will not fall”. He looked at me like I had two heads, and started the chain saw. I watched from the window, and he looked up at me once before directing his partner to pull the rope that was attached to the trunk more to the left.  I felt a shift as something about him changed.  I'm not sure if he fully understood my connection with the inuksuk, but he suddenly sensed that maintaining the inuksuk’s existence was very important. He knew that I had faith in his ability to protect its space in my garden, and that I would value his efforts of preserving it.  

It is that silent faith that is most effective within our lives and the people in it. Sometimes, we do not need words or conversation; just calm and universal trust that everything will be alright. From that comes what is meant to be. We give up the need for control and allow things to flow. It can seem good or bad, but in the end, it all works out and with that comes freedom.  The tree moved behind the inuksuk in a slow steady swipe and gently landed on the ground.  The woodsman immediately looked up at me with a large grin and gave me a thumbs up.  I smiled back and mouthed "thank you".  I knew the inuksuk would remain standing because it is where it is meant to be.  If it had fallen, I would have been at peace with that too. 

On this Valentine’s Day, I wonder how much control we allow into our lives when we are seeking love and our perception of it. Maybe we just need to have a little faith in the natural progression of it and how it will play out. I love my inuksuk and the peace that it provides me, but I knew that its fate was in the hands of the arborist’s care and the trust that I had in him. And from that, my new mantra came to me; ‘ faith and peace can only come from love’.

Happy Valentine’s lovelies xoxoxoxo

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Test of Resilience

After visiting a medical clinic today, I sat in my car and smiled at what had just happened to me. I was just diagnosed with shingles on the exact day that my column Having Faith in Yourself will Provide You With Resilience. Does anyone else see the irony in that?!?! At first I was utterly shocked that the painful rash I was dealing with was something that I perceive as extremely horrifying. I went into full victim mode, and my mind was filled with the “how can this be happening to me?” and “I don’t deserve this”. I spent the next 20 minutes waiting for a prescription and wandering around the drug store in a daze. I couldn’t think straight and I was totalling focused on the burning sensation I was feeling where the rash had developed....right under my bra strap!! When I got to the car, I sat behind the wheel and gulped down the first dose of medication and took a deep breath.

I didn’t turn on the engine right away, and I looked around the parking lot. It was a Saturday morning, and there were alot of people walking around the mall. I wondered how many of them had been given bad news within the last 24 hours. I thought of all the different things they could have been told, and I quickly realized that the news I received would not have been the worst thing communicated to anyone today. Quick reality check; I have a choice on how I can view this and how I am going to manage this situation, and I can do it as a pessimist and be miserable, or I can move through it with optimism and grace. So, with that train of thought, I leave you with my most recent Whig Standard column, the ‘Talk of Life’..... xoxo

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Charlie Chaplin Message

This video was made in the 1940’s and is even more prevalent today; it is time for a change.  Prepare yourself….when you open it you will see Charlie Chaplin dressed as Hitler and speaking in the same tone as Hitler, but with a very different message.  Think about the message that the image is sending, and remember that just because someone of power says something, doesn’t mean we have to agree with them.  Chaplin is using the image of Hitler and his power to tell you a very different message………..very interesting.

Charlie Chaplin Message