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Posts Tagged ‘values’

Imagine that you have won a prize at – oh I don’t know – the local fair? A game show…whatever tickles your fancy.

You are given the opportunity to take a completely paid-for vacation to exotic lands, with everything included (yup, even your spending money).  Even better it’s just so happens that this is your dream vacation.  The only glitch is you have to go alone.  You will spend a week or two enjoying your own company or perhaps those of people you meet.  Your family will be presented with prizes that makes them only too happy to see you get your dream vacation so no guilt there!

Or you can take prize number two.  A vacation one town over, nice hotel I suppose but not exactly a dream vacation; however, you do get to take someone with you!

What do you do?

Now please take out of the equation the guilt over leaving your family or spouse. They are perfectly happy in this scenario.  The point I am hoping you notice is many people could never imagine taking a trip on their own no matter if they had a significant other or not. 

How about the idea of sending your spouse on a trip, or the kids to camp.  A month by yourself!  How does that make you feel?

Many people have mixed emotions about it I think. They would love some peace and quiet on one hand but many people are truly uncomfortable being on their own.  When I have coached women who are working out who they are after (and during) a divorce that is one thing that keeps coming back over and over.  They are afraid they will end up being all alone.

Why is that a problem? 

I have to tell you first of all, that I have been on my own quite a lot and sometimes it feels a bit lonely when you want to share things. Then again, I have been in a long-term relationship where I felt lonely every single day. The latter was much, much harder to take. 

I enjoy spending time alone with my thoughts.  In fact I often seek it out.  For me, I like to be in nature, hiking with my dog.  I often find a place to sit and breathe in all that surrounds me and find that inner peace. 

Can you be lonely when you like who you are?   I think so, but it’s not the desperate lonely of a broken heart that is afraid to shine.

When you no longer need to be validated by others externally (not that you don’t like to hear how wonderful you are…you just don’t need it to be happy) you are less likely to despair about being alone.

It can be rejuvenating, refreshing and give you a fresh perspective and appreciation for those who are in your life.  Or the strength of conviction that clarity of thought brings to change and let go.

It can be hard to be comfortable in your own skin and when you are alone, you hear your thoughts, feel you pain and face your ‘stuff’ much more clearly.  Avoidance via being socially busy is a great tool if you want to ignore your higher self.

When we are with others we can’t hear ourselves as clearly. Sometimes we even believe we shouldn’t think/feel/desire certain things because of the company we keep.  When we are teens we call it peer pressure right?  When we spend time alone we question and know ourselves. 

Scary stuff at times.  Painful stuff at times.  Still, it is here, in our alone-ness that we find true and honest selves.

The thing is if you are not fully you, you cannot fully bring all of you to the table to be with others anyway.  Changing who you are and how your thinking is denying your core values and you cannot be content with your life if you do this.  There is conflict within and it presents itself in many ways including physical, mental and emotional. 

Spending some time alone, exploring who you are and becoming comfortable with your higher and best self is a gift that you give not only to yourself but to everyone in your life.  I know I have said many times that we were not meant to travel this life time alone; but I also believe that spending time with just our self is important in order to know who we are traveling with when we are not defining ourselves by what other people think.  Do you agree?

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I have to admit first of all that this post wasn’t my planned post for today.  I was on a kick all about stress and stress busting.   All good things to talk about these days. 

Still I feel compelled to write about Grace.  Not the girl…the concept behind the name.

Over the last few weeks I’ve heard snippets of conversation, read comments and today I read a beautiful blog post  by Lynn Baldwin-Rhoades, all connected to this idea of Grace.   Clearly there is a whisper here to look closer at what Grace actually is…you know?  Those Divine Whisper have been getting louder again.  So I’ve spent the morning doing some reasearch and self discovery around finding out what Grace is; besides a nice lady who used to live beside me when I was a kid…no fooling!

Now I want to be clear as we go about all of this, I am also not speaking so much towards the ability to move in a pleasing way (ie graceful) or what we say around dinner time  okay ?

However, I bet you know I’m heading to my dictionary right? lol And I tried really hard not to get too distracted.

There were quite a few variations on the word; 10 definitions with parts in each in fact! Interesting.  The 3 that I took away (ones that seemed to fit our talk here) are:

  1. (a) a disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill   (b) Mercy; Clemency
  2. A favour rendered by one who need not do so
  3. (Theology) Divine love and protection bestowed freely upon mankind

So in fact Grace is a gift. 

A gift that we are given from the Divine: be it God, the Universe or however you name it. 

Grace is also giving this gift freely to others; even though no one is making us and we don’t have to. 

I’d like to point out here that there is the flip side to this…we also don’t have a ‘right’ to it.  To be a gift something must be given freely, with no obligation attached. 

There is also something to be said for giving this gift to ourselves.  Showering our ‘self’ with love is already being done by the divine of course, but we should also show the same love to ourselves; can we do no less?

I’d also like to point out that gifts should be received with an open heart, acceptance and thanks.  And this is true no matter where they come from; yes..including yourself.

And so we return to living in gratitude for that which we already have. 

So where do we find Grace?  Right here, right now in everything.  While thinking about it today (yes I woke up with it on my mind) I see gifts of Grace everywhere.  From the patter of furry feet in the morning who love me no matter how crazy my hair looks in the morning; to the clear blue sky and to the kind man willing to pet even my giant goofball on our walk that made Charlie dance. 

I find the Gift of Grace in forgiveness; both given to me for my mistakes and that which I give others.

I see gifts of Grace in all the online family I have surrounded myself with (you know who you are!).  And today, I give myself a very special gift of Grace to allow the happy tears and revel in the joy that life is far more good than bad.

For his heart was in his work, and the heart giveth grace unto every art.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Find your gifts of Grace today, hand some out yourself.  Let me know all about it here, or on my facebook page.

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Do we as a society have crumbling pillars of character? 

No, I don’t think character is lacking in people these days.  Generally I think we all have a decent set of values and character. It’s just we seem to have a tendency to keep it hidden inside.

The reasons? There are two big problems as I see it right now, things that really need to change. 

First, we have to stop glorifying the wrong sort of things.  There is a thinking that says you become that which your surround yourself with.  It seems everywhere you turn these days you see stories about some celebrity’s downfall.  And yet we talk and talk about them and their behaviour or lack of judgment becomes normalized.  We begin to accept it and stop questioning what the heck people are doing.

I was in a classroom not that long ago and the kids were talking about some news that had broken about some celebrities.  They were so fired up about what was happening. I started talking to them about it and asked them if they would want to be friends with someone like that.  Some said yes, some said kind of. So I took out the fame and money factor and all decided a resounding NO to being friends with such a wreck (their words!).  Interesting.  And yet this is all they could talk about. 

Where are the role models for kids (and yes, adults too)?  We need to change our ways of rewarding and celebrating those who lack values and character to holding up those who DO have values and character.   Look around, all we see are the famous and politicians who have scandals being reported on. 

“Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

As adults we need to question this.  We need to open up dialogue with others, especially our children, about this.

We need to reward and talk about those who are upstanding and do good things. 

We also need to be these people…the ones who do show values and character. Which brings me to the other big issue.

The other issue is fear.  We are afraid to stand in our truth and in our own light.  We are afraid to ostracize ourselves.  We don’t want to been seen as causing waves right?  Well here is the problem.  Waves happen with or without us.  We only get to choose what boat we decide to ride in.  Saying and doing nothing is often giving permission to those who don’t show respect for themselves and others.  Thus perpetuating the issue.  Time to get out of that boat!

It’s time to stop this. 

It’s time to show our character, to live from our values.  It’s time to celebrate those who do the right thing, who stand up and say what needs to be said. 

This is what I think. I’d love to hear what you think. Please let me know below.  Discourse is how things open up. 🙂

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Who we are, how we act, when no one is looking is the true measure of our real character.  I think most people have heard this idea or something similar to it. 

While I totally agree with that, there is the flip side that is much more difficult handle these days it seems.

Character is also who we are and how we act when everyone is looking.

I must admit that while not following the crowd has, on occasion, made my life a little more difficult than it might have been if I just followed along, I can’t imagine how else to be. 

I can remember, one day while I was still in high school, standing at a corner waiting for a light to change.  Across the street, was a young man who clearly had some challenges mentally.  Along came three other boys who immediately started teasing and pushing him around.  I still remember how angry this made me.  With out thinking, I crossed the street and gave them crap…it wasn’t language my mother would have approved of I’m sure.  Told those boy exactly what kinds of *ahem* jerks I thought they were and something along the lines of  why don’t they crawl back under the rock they came from.  

You know, I never thought at all about what I was doing.  Okay I can admit some of this was temper lol. Later, still very ticked off, I relayed this what happened to some friends who were horrified; but not for the reason I expected.  They pointed out that those three guys could have easily turned on me.  Valid point…but would I have changed anything about what I did?  No, I just could not have stood by and done nothing. 

Then there is my Dad.  Growing up I would see my father come home early in the morning, from a 12 hour night shift and begin shovelling the snow outside our house.  He must have been exhausted, but he did it.  I can’t even count how many (probably every time it snowed) times he also cleared the walk, steps and driveway of the elderly lady across the street as well.   I don’t know if this lady knew it was my dad who did it, he never told her as far as I know.  I would see him as I got ready for school or what have you.  He would just shovel and come inside.  Never said a word about it.  He did this because he has values and character.      

This is showing who you are when no one is really looking.  Doing what’s right no matter what.

The flip side is a little different.  Human nature provides us with a ‘follow the crowd mentality’.  Truly, it’s a real thing.  This is the what we do when we all stand around in a crowd waiting for ‘someone to do something’.  

Character and values come into play here as well.  It’s really easy to see in kids who have been brought up with a strong sense of self and raised with values and character.  These traits are what prevents them from joining in bullying, from doing drugs or hurting others.  They are okay walking away from situations even when their friends call them weak or other unpleasant things.  They have faith in themselves. 

I don’t see that very often, and that is just sad, and kind of scary.

Not many people speak out because they don’t want to be the different one.  They don’t want to be seen as radical or upsetting the apple cart.  They don’t want to be wrong or left out. What ends up happening is the bully gets away with it, the BS is figured to be true (or someone would say something right?) and nothing changes.

You know what?  This has to stop.  Look around. We are too worried about fitting in, to the point we are allowing things to go on that we should not.  We seek the approval and validation of our ‘self’ from others so much, that we have forgotten whether WE approve of who we are.

This starts at home where we teach our family that when no one is looking and when everyone is looking; our character matters.  Our traits, beliefs and values matter.  Isn’t it about time we acted like it? 

When we see persons of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
~Confucius

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It’s been a busy month already.  I enjoy that, but still it is nice to have down day.  It got me to thinking about what a perfect day might look like.

It too would be a busy day yes? 

Oh yes.  A perfect day could be the day they discover how to make zero calorie chocolate that tastes like regular!  It would be partly spent at the beach, partly deep in the wood hiking. I’d have my pup with me and the weather would be hot, low humidity with a good breeze.  Oh..and we’d have ice-cream somewhere in there too.  And every meal would be delectable and full of my favourite things. Most importantly I would not be the one cooking or cleaning up!

Hmmm, maybe I should finish my breakfast before I write more. I’m sensing a theme 😉

You know what I noticed?  All of the stuff I’ve thought about so far is all about me.  There is nothing in there that reaches out to the rest of the world. 

Ouch.  What is that saying?

I actually lay awake last night contemplating this.  It was really bothering me.  Somewhere in there I was missing something really important.  I suppose I could reason out that the perfect day would be about indulging in all my favorite pleasures right?  But that seemed like a childish way to create a perfect day.  I want to live my life bigger than that.

So I realized at some point that my day of pure focus on me-me-me and indulgence doesn’t make sense because I get a great deal of pleasure, joy and elation when I help a person with a breakthrough.  I love knowing that I created something or caused someone else to have a better day.  My heart needs to feel that I have been compassionate and done something to assist those who cannot speak for themselves and who are vulnerable in order to be at peace with itself. I know this.  How are these things not in my perfect day?

So, the universe heard me. This morning as I sat down to write I came across this quote quite by accident.

You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. ~John Wooden

Yes.  The universe is not always super subtle is it?  The thing is, I needed to hear that. I was correct in where I was going with this thought process.  Even a made-up, perfect day would need to fall in line with my values in order to really be perfect.

Shoot, this stuff runs deep doesn’t it?  I am always being amazed at where I discover my values making my life run its true course.

In all truth, this wasn’t what I had planned to write about today.  The realization of how important living in your truth is and how it touches every single aspect of life really made me sit up and take notice today.  When my heart and soul gets a message like this I have to share it.  It’s bigger than me and I need to let it out.

My truth.  My joy, my peace comes from right there. 

Have you experienced a deep movement like this? How did it change your life?

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I don’t know that I’d call this post a ‘rant’ persay…but it’s up there!

So. You want to give me the old line about how you want ‘Peace on Earth’ for the New Year do you? 

Really? 

Interesting. Okay so how are you going to go about getting that

Yes, yes I’m being a bit obnoxious here but you know it kind of irks me that people spout this old line as if they really DO want this to happen yet DO NOTHING about it. It doesn’t work that way.

So what do most people say when I start this line of questioning?  They tell me that they are only one person and can’t make the whole world peaceful.  Oh. I see…you think one person can’t fix everything so why bother fixing anything?  Oh goodness…how many of us are waiting for someone else to take care of this?

Too many!

In fact, I see this kind of nonsense all over the place.  Here’s the thing about that kind of thinking. It’s self-serving and full of BS.  Sorry but it’s true.

One person can most certainly make a difference.  In fact, sometimes one person can start something that can change the world; or the world of one other person.

So I was challenged on this, as I’m sure a few of you are getting ready to do in the comments below (and please do!).  The challenge was “how can I, by  myself create world peace?”  (okay, there was a bit of “don’t I watch the news or anything?” thrown in there too but let’s keep this civil ).  Maybe you can’t, but you can begin the process by creating peace within your own heart and soul, within your family and from there it will spread out and start creating postitive change.

Think about this.  If you raise 2 children to be kind, compassionate and forward thinkers, you have put two more ambassadors out into the world.  If they each touch some lives and make a difference they spread the movement.  Geesh, if they each raise two children the same way…now you have 6 right?  C’mon you remember exponential growth. 

The time you spend offering those who are struggling a hand up might make the difference in the lives of more than just that one person.  Not only do others watch and see what you are doing and hopefully become inspired to do the same but that one person affects others lives as well. 

You know that old saying about ripples in a pond?  Well the pebble that started it all never really gets to see how far they go does it?   But the ripples are still there and go on affecting all that they also touch.

If you step up and live in the truth of peace and compassion even when it’s hard you will inspire others to do the same.  You give strength to those who are fearful of living their truth.  The lives you touch are made better.  For one person (or many) you might show a kindness that changes everything for them.  Their world suddenly becomes different. 

How is this not healing the world?

So please, don’t tell me some tired old line about what you want for others.  Instead show the world that you can make a difference.  Change your world.  Make some ripples in the pond that you live in!  What you think is tiny might be a game changer for someone else.  Start the movement where you stand today.  Peace on Earth might not come for the whole world just yet, but it can begin with you. 

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It is just a few days before Christmas and I just had a talk with someone who started off in an unusual way.  This (possible) client wanted to see what coaching was about and so set up a time for the free discovery session that I offer.  The most interesting part was they told me straight away that they didn’t think this coaching ‘crap’ would work.  Well, while I appreciate honesty, you’d think I’d be upset by that wouldn’t you? You know, on some level they think must differently or they would not have set up this appointment.  THAT was fear talking.

I introduced my practice as I usually do, which includes me asking what brings them to coaching.  Well it was a good thing I was sitting down because a flood gate opened.  Normally, I try to keep my discovery sessions to between 20-30 mins. About half the time of a normal session. 

Thankfully today I was able to extend that because I am certain that for 20 mins I just listened until they wore themselves down and could take a breath.  I know what it’s like to finally feel like someone hears me so I simply listened with an open heart and let them have the time.  So glad the holidays mean I slow everything down. It meant I had the time to offer.  And once again the universe conspired!

I, of course, will not share the details but my heart really hurt for this person. They were in a great deal of confusion, fear based reality and stress.  Yes I could help them work through this but, as with everything, the person has to be willing

When they finally seemed to have spent their emotional release, I asked them to stop, breathe and helped them center themselves.  I suggested they pick one issue for today that we could bring to the forefront.  It really didn’t take long for the question to come back.  “What did I think? Is it better to be with someone who makes you feel crappy over the holidays or feel lonely because you are by yourself?”  Yup, I know…there must be a deep story there right?  One they don’t seem ready to open up about.

Here’s the thing, my opinion isn’t what counts here. It’s yours.  That being said after a few minutes of my questioning, asking and trying to reflect and get more from them I heard a divine whisper this was not just about the problem, it was a trust issue between the client and I. They didn’t yet trust that I cared or that I could/would help them.

I paused for a moment.  I regrouped and asked a very important question.  “what is the third option?”  I won’t burden you with the  responses of confused ‘what?’ and ‘huh?’ However, the point got made.  We are not limited to the options we often think we are. 

Now I don’t want to sound too over the top,  but this was a wonderful moment for me as a coach. I could almost hear the swooshing sound as realization set in for this person.  We actually came up with about a half-dozen, really do-able options.  The voice I was listening too already felt much more at ease, much lighter and hopeful.  Gosh but I love what I do!

The last thing I ask after every session is for clients to tell me what important thing they are taking away from the time we spent together.  I was expecting this person to talk about the ‘third option’ or something like that.  Instead they told me, totally seriously, that they learned today that coaching isn’t really a bunch of  crap. 

I am still smiling from that.

There are two reasons I tell you this story.  First is the lessons I learned. Sometimes, the question hides more than just the answer.  And yes, there is often many more options available to us if we remember to look for them. 

The second reason is to share the happiness I felt when I was not only able to spend the time freely and compassionately, but when I hear someone able to find belief in themselves, to look for the light in the dark and to realize they are worth the effort. 

If you are regular reader you know that compassion is one of my very top values.  I realize that I could have gotten annoyed that this half hour turned into over an hour. After all, this was a free call!  Instead I am rejoicing because I was in a position to show compassion in this case and release the time to this person.  I look at is as gift I was able to give and to receive this holiday. 

This holiday look for your opportunities to practice compassion, to really take time to listen to those around you.  Look for the unplanned opportunities to be kind to others; even perfect strangers.  It really is a gift you can give yourself. 

Blessings and warm hugs this holiday time from me to you!

May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain,

tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you,

those you love near you, and all your heart might desire.

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