I hope this helps you to be in THIS moment with more peace.
Shift your perspective. Notice how things are different when you take the time to really see. Notice how children are with themselves and with the world. If you want to have a lovely lesson on mindfulness and spend a lovely mindful few minutes yourself then watch this video of this precious child talking about her dream and what she saw outside.
I hope this helps you to be in THIS moment with more peace.
I went kayaking last night after work at Lakeside park in the pond there. It was a perfect way to spend an hour at the end of a busy day. Peaceful. Quiet. Just being in nature and noticing. I saw goldfish, yellow water lilies, two blue herons, red wing blackbirds, baby turtles, a mama turtle. She scared me cause she was huge but the good news is that I scared her too because she nose dived as soon as she saw me!. If you want a mindfulness exercise or you are having trouble calming yourself then try going out into nature and staying still and quiet so you see the interactions of the birds and animals in the area. Let yourself 'be' and just notice what you see. Count if you need your mind to be working harder to distract yourself from the hard stuff that rattles around inside. Find 6 birds in trees, count how many ducks you see, look to see if you can find nests or whether you can spot one animal capturing another for dinner. Collect rocks or sea shells if you are on the beach. The invitation is to be actively involved in what you are doing while you are in nature and not just letting the summer race by without being 'in' it!
Ooops! I got to work today and started to work on my blog post and realized that I hadn't sent one out last week! So....what's a gal gonna do? Teachable moment that's what! Mindfulness is not about perfection. It's about noticing....the good, the bad, the ugly, the mistakes...whatever. Notice, without judgement, think and choose. So as soon as I realized that I hadn't sent a blog post last week I decided that I would send one this week about mindfulness and mistakes. And I would remind everyone, including myself, that mindfulness is the process of staying present around what you have chosen to pay attention to. It's not about the mistake. I have chosen to stay connected to you through these blogs. I have NEVER said that I would be perfect!! It's just not possible. However, I did notice that I literally made the decision to write the blog on mindfulness and mistakes in about 5 seconds....which is better than I would've done in the past. In the past I would've agitated and beaten myself up about having forgotten to schedule it. Now my motto is: "if that's the worst thing that happens today then it's a good day!" The decision I had to make was to either skip a week or send a blog post in the moment. I decided to skip a week because I had been on a couple of 3 day weekend holidays. So you can just imagine retrospectively that you opened your blog post and it had a nice photo of Niagara-on-the-Lake in it saying that I was on holidays! So mindfulness works if you work at it. You will notice your brain trending towards the thought habits that you practice. If you practice agitating or worrying about the fact that you make mistakes then that is the neuropathway that your brain will habitually go to. If you practice forgiveness, problem solving and positivity then that will also be the result. The key is remembering that you have choices and that habits are hard to develop because there is usually internal resistance.
Good mental health is really no different than what lots of 12 Step programs recommend. 1) Focus on what you have control of... which is yourself and not other people's judgements or reactions. 2) If you get off track, be accountable to yourself. Own your mistake. If it happened within the context of a relationship then have the courage to own it with the other person/people and don't give shame the power to keep you in hiding. 3) Forgive yourself and calm yourself out of any shame that may have surfaced and then 4) show up with your intention and start at Day One again. The focus is on the learning and the process and not about the outcome or product. You are already ok. We are all learning and NO ONE is doing it perfectly. If someone eludes to you that they are doing it perfectly then .....RUN!!!! They will not be good for your mental health! You are creating new neural pathways and that is not an easy feat. You will have enough internal resistance from your own internalized perfectionism from society and whatever you got growing up. You do not need to add to it by surrounding yourself with people who are outcome or product oriented.
Here's a song by Submersed called "We all Make Mistakes" https://youtu.be/khTS_Q_qPqs
There you go. The person who was role modelling resilience by being mindful of my mistakes and learning from them happened to be me! I will resume my blogs on learning from other people's resilience in the fall.
In the meantime, since it is summertime, I am going to focus my blog posts on 'mindful moments' over the summer.
Have a good summer everyone!
Because how people choose to lead translates to all of us who are impacted by that leadership. I am sending out this blog out early because I feel that voting is our civic responsibility and this election can have implications that many individuals may not realize because of tuning out the media noise.
With all the information that the media disseminates, sometimes it is still hard to look outside our bubbles to find the best candidate for all Ontarian citizens and not just elect someone to get rid of someone else. Ontario Vote Compass 2018 is a way of figuring out which party best aligns with your values. https://votecompass.cbc.ca/ontario/home
And here are the Party Platforms as of the Macleans article June 2, 2018
Looking into facts is an important skill when you are wading through this stuff.
For example Doug Ford has stated that Ontario has highest hydro rates in all of North America. However, as we have heard with President Trump, sometimes people just make statements so they can get people on their side and against the opposition. So it is helpful to use fact checker sites to verify what people have said. Such as: https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2017/08/11/the-truth-about-hydro-in-ontario-a-fact-check.html
And it isn't always about the upcoming election, remember if something sounds too good to be true or too bad, there are sites to help you decipher fact from fiction. https://canadafactcheck.ca/ and here https://www.snopes.com/tag/canada/
And finally be prepared: check out this U of T site Top 10 tips to voting.
Trust me. Speaking up and doing reality checks about what people are important skills for building resilience. I'm encouraging you to do this with the election because then you take the skills of thinking for yourself, knowing who you are and doing reality checks into all of your relationships and jobs. You are building your own resilience as you build the country's resilience! You are focused on and managing what you have control of even if you don't get everything you want. That's all we can do in life.
See you at the polls!
Hear ye! Hear ye! A bi-racial feminist has entered the building!!! And not just the building.....the 'firm'!
Now why would I bother to blog about a celebrity wedding for heaven's sake?! You might be thinking .....gee she's digging to the bottom of the barrel re: her 'real life' examples. (Well....maybe....just a little! ) But not really. All situations are useful to learn from, however, this one is particularly useful because it is a fairly well known 'system' and provides opportunity for everyone to learn from how relationships exist within context of societal systems.
So what is the societal or system context that Meghan Markle is entering? Well, historically, the British are known for being 'pip, pip, pull up your boot straps' 'cheerio and run along then', follow etiquette and ask permission from Queen before doing anything if you are Royalty and do NOT show emotion. You are a public figure and the Church of England and what the Royals represent matters above individual needs and behaviour.
Meghan is a bi-racial, divorcee who began her feminist advocacy at the age of 11 when she wrote to Palmolive about how inappropriate it was to target just women regarding the washing of dishes.
So Meghan meets her Prince. Prince Harry is 5th in line to the throne. Well, 6th now that his brother just had another baby. He admittedly went a bit off the rails when he wasn't dealing with his feelings about the death of his mother. Most commentators that I have heard will now, rightfully, admit that it was inappropriate to expect those young boys to stuff their feelings and walk behind the hearse in front of millions of people when their mother, Princess Diana, died. Harry was 12. As a young man he did two tours of duty on the front line in Afghanistan. He left when his being on the front line was putting his fellow platoon mates in danger because of his celebrity status. On the helicopter he was confronted with a fellow army mate having lost a limb in battle and he understood that this man's life would be forever changed and that he would have to find the will to live his new life with this reality at the center of it.
So in his late 20's Harry went for therapy and figured out how his mother's death impacted on him and what he needed to do to heal around that. He has spoken about this publicly. And he began investing in his life in an intentional way. He created a charity regarding AIDS in Lesotho, Africa and he began the Invictus Games worldwide to help people recovering from PTSD.
So the most resilient thing you can do as a person is to know 'who you are'. What your interests are; what your values are; who you enjoy spending time with; what you enjoy re: taste, touch, smell, sound; and how you want to spend your time. However, knowing who you are doesn't mean that that's the way things are going to be! We live in context with others. Women have known for a long time that they deserved equality but power comes into play if things have always gone a certain way in a particular culture. So Meghan and Prince Harry, well, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex now obviously agree that they are in support of inclusiveness of women, blacks and emotions given that the wedding service last Saturday had a black preacher Rev Curry who spoke with a 'fire and brimstone' flair; a black female, Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin who did a reading and if you listened closely to the vows, Meghan did NOT promise to obey.
So while Meghan will have to adapt to Royal protocol and observe etiquette that she has not had to follow up until this point in her life. She knows herself well enough to have taken a stand with her new spouse and said....as long as I am treated equally as a woman and my black heritage is celebrated.
For any of us, partnering with another person is always a combining of two cultures. Regardless of race or religion. It can be that one of you always had a blue spruce at Christmas and volunteered at the Food Bank and the other always had a Douglas fir and had a big party with relatives at the cottage. There will be strongly held beliefs about what family is and how it should function. The resilient response is to know which things matter to you enough that you won't budge around them and which things you are willing to compromise or let go of. At the end of the day, if both people don't feel that they are getting recognized and valued enough in the situation it will end in divorce as did Harry's parents.
I say CONGRATULATIONS to this young couple! It is a mighty big system to be up against and they did well asserting themselves in it while being photographed and watched by millions of people all around the world!