Everyone is all abuzz about mindfulness these days. And so they should be. Now is the only moment in which we actually have control. Yesterday is water under the bridge. All you can do is celebrate the victories, grieve the losses and learn the lessons that are gained along the way. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? In the Alcoholics Anonymous tradition they use the serenity prayer. God grant me the wisdom to accept the things I cannot change, (the other guy or the situation that is outside of your control), the courage to change the things I can (ourselves and the part of the situation we do have control of) and the wisdom to know the difference!!!! When we try and negotiate with people who are drunk or rail against things that can't be changed (like the long cold winters), it makes life much more difficult and full of drama than it needs to be. Our job is to be mindful of where we are putting our attention while we are making the choices that can be made about our situation. The practise of mindfulness will help your marriage, your work, your parenting, and the list is endless. Emotionally it can help to ease anxiety and focus your attention away from the depths of depression. I cannot say enough good things about it.....except that I wish I had learned about this skill YEARS ago. Your mind is not in charge folks. Once you realise that your spirit gets to choose which thoughts it wants to listen to and which thoughts lead your spirit back to wholeness.....you are on the road to recovery. One day at a time.......!!!!
I love meeting people. I wouldn't do what I do for a living if I didn't. People inspire me. I love true stories of people who have faced adversity in resilient ways. The only thing better than that, for me, is Stewart McLean telling stories on CBC's Vinyl Cafe about people who are resilient and inspiring!!! Today's story left me in tears. It was about Dan McGuire. Dan is a man in his 80's who rode across Canada to raise money for Parkinson's Disease. He espoused quiet wisdoms that included "you have to have a purpose in life" and "riding my bike keeps the 'Parkies' (Parkinson symptoms) away". When his family worried about him riding alone on the busy roads he said "don't worry.....people are kind". Dan focused on what he had control of, mostly thought in positive ways, made the best of his situation and surrounded himself with people who loved and supported him. And he exercised!!!! I can't say enough about how important and healing that is for ANY illness, I believe. Movement literally heals the connection between the brain and the body. It helps with coordination, the cardiovascular system, the brain function, processing emotion and trauma...really....the benefits of exercise are almost endless! So find people who inspire you and live your life to the fullest! Thank you to Dan McGuire and Stewart MacLean for your inspiration!
Dan McGuire's daughter's website
"Chilliwack" - March 28th, 2015
So this weekend is Easter for many people. In this culture that means lots of turkey, chocolate egg hunts, getting together with family and friends, and going to church. For others, these dominant cultural holidays can be quite triggering. It might remind them of the oppression and prejudice they feel from not being mainstream. Or it could bring up sadness and loss of a loved one who has passed away and will be missed. My invitation to you is to think of Easter as a time of hope, rebirth and love. Michael Michenbaum wrote in his book "The Road to Resilience" that we are more resilient as human beings than we realize. Only 1.7% of New Yorkers had PTSD 6 months after the terrible events of 9/11. When we see the snowdrops blooming at this time of year after such a harsh winter and we see the birth of new animals and plants we can be reminded that life is a journey and, for the most part, living things are resilient and love heals. If you don't have family to celebrate with then take a walk in nature and let the energy of the living, breathing plants soothe you. Find things that make you feel hopeful and remember that our cells are always being replaced and our minds have more plasticity than we previously thought. We can create new neuropathways and think differently about ourselves and heal our bodies with exercise and good nutrition. And that is a type of hope, love and rebirth that I wish for everyone!
When Kate and David Ogg were told their newborn son Jamie had passed away on March 25, 2010, they took him in their arms and cradled him to keep him warm
So I'm facilitating a group called Artist's Way right now which is a course in discovering and recovering "Who You are Right Now". We think we decide in our 20's 'who we are' and that the decision is done. Ha! Wrong! Life changes and impacts us in so many ways that we are forever deciding "Who am I now?"....that I'm a Mom, a husband, an employee, an employer, a person who is hospitalized, someone who is unemployed. So many unforseen things happen in our lives that we have to reevaluate our priorities and sometimes our values to accomodate the changes. These amazing women have opened up their hearts and minds to each other and have come to support and witness for each other the celebrations, grief and frustrations that are their lives. They are not defining each other. They are witnessing, cheerleading and offering support or suggestions when asked. How often are those kinds of relationships forged in our society? Not often is my observation. A lot of times I hear conversations laced with "You should..." or "I have to ....." instead of "what do you need...." and " I choose to...". One brave woman talked about the confusion she is sorting through about whether she wants to accept her body the way it is or lose weight and she wondered out loud if she really wanted the goal of a smaller waist size or if it was still accommodating to societal and external standards. It gets complicated to find yourself if you've lost sight of who you are from the inside. I like the song they recommended called "Try" by Colbie Caillat. It's about not trying so hard to impress other people and just liking yourself for who you are and relating to the world from that place. Truly empowering. While it's hard to do at first, it is powerful when you can like yourself enough to stand amidst a group of people who are gossiping or judging you and and think "that might be what you think, and I can't control that but I like me and I know I'm ok no matter what". Don't try so hard to be liked. Be authentic and like yourself. You are the person that you spend the most time with.....make how you treat yourself internally count more than what others think and feel. Trust me.....you will have a better day when you do!!!
Colbie Caillat, Try