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Archive for December, 2009

What’s in a name..

Holidays require travel for us as for most of you. As I watched the news from across North America and Europe I was grateful that our comings and goings involved only a car and not an airplane. Between storm delays and added security, the allure of  air travel has long since dissipated. Of course there was the small issue of freezing rain, and one 6 km stretch of country road that really was more of a skating rink. Ten white knuckles later, I celebrated the sight of clear pavement and began to breathe again. I am forever grateful for Jim’s ability to navigate these treacherous roads.

As we made our way to my brother’s place in Perth, ON yesterday, the Dixie Chicks causing our feet to tap and heads to nod with the rhythm this group is known for, I found myself noticing SIGNS I had not seen before, specifically street SIGNS and I began to wonder what’s in a name, does the name of the street you live one affect your life in any way. We, for example,  live on Beauchamp Drive, the english translation, Beautiful Field. Now I think this is an excellent name. I once saw a street named Little Hope Street. This was a truly curious name – did it mean that the street was short, or that the residents had little hope?

My favorite yesterday was Diversion Rd. just  east of Maxville. Does this road divert traffic around the community or if you live on this road, is life one great diversion? Could it be the road less travelled?

Then there was Precision Drive in Kemptville. I don’t think I’d like to live on this street, although I suspect it would be a good location for those who work in Finance or IT.

I kept thinking that I had seen a Transgression Avenue but I can’t decipher is this is my imagination or reality. Imagine the sinners that would live there?

Of course there are always those streets that bear a family name, inherited from those who originally settled in the area or because you were once the mayor or a famous athlete. And when all else fails there are the number systems. We once lives at 8711 19th Ave. in Edmonton, which meant we lived on 19th between 87th and 88th Street. The entire city was like this – a giant grid. It eliminated a lot of confusion but lacked imagination.

I look forward to more travels, more street signs and more ruminations. If nothing else it is entertaining and keeps my mind off the slippery roads.

My Favorite Xmas Present

I hope all of you experienced safe travels through the holidays and that you continue to as we approach New Year’s Eve. Here at Tigh Shee we have snuggled in with the Feline Clan, planning to entertain guests here.

As 2010 approaches, a new year, a new decade, place imagination in your grasp and begin to dream of what it is you want to manifest. Time to have a vision!

Until next time…

Betty

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On Sunday, December 20th, 2009 we held our annual Winter Solstice Labyrinth Walk. For those of you unfamiliar with labyrinths, they are an ancient tool found across cultures and used to celebrate life, build community, walking meditation and so on. The Tigh Shee Labyrinth at our home was built in 2002, an original design conceived by Betty and Jim (and the fairies who co-habitate here with us).

Here is the brief ceremony and prayer we used for this year’s walk:

In celebration of the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, a time for regeneration and reflection, let us call upon the energy of the seven directions with the following prayer:

From the East House of Light
May wisdom dawn in us
So we may see all things in clarity

From the North House of Night
My wisdom ripen in us
So we may know all from within

Fro the West House of Transformation
May wisdom be transformed into right action
So we may do what must be done

From the South House of the Eternal Sun
May right action reap the harvest
So we may enjoy the fruits of planetary being

From the Above House of Wisdom
Where star people and ancestors gather
May blessing come to us now

From Below House of Earth
May the heartbeat of her crystal core
Bless us with harmonies to end all war

From the Center Galactic Source
Which is everywhere at once
May everything be known as the light of mutual love.

Jose Arguelles, Earth Prayers

Mother/Father God
Bless this gathering, infuse us with beneficial light and energy. May all who gather here today be a peaceful and joyful presence in their own life, radiating this into the world. We walk on this day, the winter solstice, with love in our heats. And so it is.

Blessings to all of you. Until next time…

Betty

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Although this is the week before Christmas, the pace of life has not slowed. All of this is perfect yes and I have been neglecting my blog. I am committed to being intentional as this season approaches, and in that intention attracting all that is perfect for me. Now to put this into action.

This past Monday I had the pleasure of joining a Book Club, a group of six women who meet weekly and who are currently reading and discussing ME FIRST – If I Should Wake Before I Die. I first met this group in late September. They have not only been reading, they have also been doing the work suggested (the exercises) in the book. There were many questions of me, which both thrilled me and served as a roadSIGN as to the importance of what ME FIRST – If I Should Wake Before I Die represents.

What has become clear is:
– that stepping onto the ME FIRST Journey takes a great deal of courage
– how difficult it is for people to know what it is they want
– that wants are generally not for the material things in life, but for the quality of life issues – relationships, how I treat myself, meaning, and so on
– that boundaries, saying YES to oneself and NO to others, continues to be a significant challenge
– that FEAR continues to hold people back from living some of their dreams and that FEAR is different for everyone
– that the self-critic often rules and along with FEAR, spews off a number of self-limiting thoughts – the Old Story
– that acknowledging oneself is a challenge for many

I am sure there were other lessons that showed up during the discussion. I believe I have captured the essence however. I am enormously grateful to these courageous women for inviting me to join them and to dive into the important ME FIRST lessons. They allowed me to witness the ‘waking up process’ in their lives. I feel blessed and humbled to be called to do this work and to share the journeys of so many of you.

At the end of the meeting we all raced out of the house to head to the center of town to see the Olympic torch run. Several hundred Morrisburg residents lined the streets, enthusiastically greeting the entourage that preceded the torch bearer. As the flame approached, I held the Canadian flag, lent to me by Robin, high, feeling the emotion and pride of being a Canadian and for the first time, excitement for the upcoming winter Olympics.

A few minutes later as I negotiated my way through the clogged streets, I reflected on how blessed I am. I said a silent prayer for the Copenhagen Summit, for Mother Earth and her recovery,  and for Peace. And I was reminded that when each of us, you and I, find peace within and care for our own internal environment, we do the same for the world. In the end it begins with us and so it is!

Until next time….

Betty

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My Feline Companions and Office Staff

Mr.Hobbs

Maximillian AKA Max

Tasha Noel

The first winter storm of the season has arrived and with that an innate sense to hibernate. With the shortening days, crawling out of bed to work out has been an increasing challenge. Add on to that snow and wind – you guessed it – it is a pull the cover over your head kind of day.

As I write this my desk is cluttered with the pieces of a strategic plan I have committed to doing, designing the roadmap for 2010. Then there is my phone, my journals, coaching files for clients and three of my four cats (see above). They are smart enough to be sleeping, refusing to place one paw outside the door, content with their warm spot in the office.

Back to strategy. I was listening to an Abraham tape as I worked out the other day, actually my favorite material to walk on the treadmill with as I love the material and I laugh often. Ester Hicks, who channels Abraham, made the point that each of us are responsible for feathering our own nests.

I agreed. In fact this is what I teach, self-responsibility if you will. I had not heard it stated quite that way before. It conjured up a unique image for me, the nest and the feathering and I was left with the question, what is it I want to feather my nest with? This brought me back to the Strategic Plan I have been reflecting and, to some degree, brooding on.

I have not committed to writing goals and objectives since my health care days when, as a department director, it was required. Call me rebellious, but this was 12+ years ago now. You’ve got it, I have been in business as an entrepreneur all this time without a Strategic Plan. OMG!

Okay before you say, what were you thinking, let me be clear that I have always had a vision and certainly clear intentions, a corporate mission and values. Whew! Yes and, it is time to shift from a one extreme to the other  and back to the middle. It is time to raise the bar as I have great dreams for roadSIGNS and ME FIRST and I know that I need to return once again to a structured approach that still allows flow. Let me see, is a flowing structure an oxymoron?

This winter day has given me the opportunity to dive into reflection and lasso the thoughts that have so far lingered only in my head. It is time for pen to paper. The process:
                                    –> my hundred Year Legacy
                                    –> clear intentions
                                    –> concrete outcomes
                                    –> Concrete S.M.A.R.T. Goals
                                    –> Aligned and Attractive Actions.

Sound complex, not really!  This approach simply honors all I used to do when practicing Management by Objectives, with all I have learned, the importance of living my ‘WHY’ and my intentions and marrying the  two. It really is no more complex, it simply allows me to attract that flow that I seek. And with each step, I am feathering that nest.

I would love to hear your comments on my approach and for you to share yours. There is no right way, there is simply the way that is perfect for me and you.

The fury of flurries is slowing outside my window yet the chimes keep singing. They only sing in an easterly wind, signalling more to come. I plan to snuggle into my plan- another round of clarity please!

Until next time…

Betty

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A Day on the Town

I turned out of the driveway at the height of an early morning mist, the windshield wipers clicking busily in an effort to give me clear sight of the road ahead. For awhile I thought my glasses were dirty but I remembered cleaning them just before I left the house. I turned up the heat and the fan and the windshield cleared.

I decided to drive in on the 9th, avoiding the 401 and the trucks that I knew would swamp me with the spray from the fast-moving wheels. I had lots of time, and there is something extraordinarily peaceful about driving through the rolling countryside, the corn now taken in and the fields freshly furrowed. It feels like breath.

I dropped the car off for servicing then pulled the foot long ‘to do’ list from my pocket. I had time to go to Wal-Mart before picking up the car. I don’t particularly like shopping there, but it is the only real department store locally, at least at this end of town. I entered the store a few minutes before 9 am. Already people were shopping, not many, but I was surprized to see anyone. Other than the Greeter the store seemed rather empty as I roamed the aisles looking for light bulbs for my outdoor Xmas lights, a new timer, toys for kids and an assortment of other items all conveniently located at opposite ends of the store. On my rounds I noticed all the employees gathering  to the west side of hardware and as I wandered further afield I heard them cheering. Is this a daily ‘warm-up’ ritual I wondered? It took me 45 minutes to find the five items on my list.

The car was a shiny fire engine red once again. You have to love a garage that not only changes the oil and puts on your winter tires, but also washes your car. I think the last time it was washed was during the last oil change! As I drove from the Nissan dealership, the car felt new, accept for the four tires piled up on my back seat in mud caked plastic bags.

Next was the five-week hair treatment. The grey on my head was once again leaking through my brown locks. As I parked the car I puzzled over the really important points of any woman’s ‘do’ – should I cut my growing locks, should I change the color, does my hair age me or make me look younger? As I plopped my bottom into Nicole’s chair, the usual greeting erupted from her lips, “So what are we doing today?” I am very glad she is competent and that she knows what to do with my uncertainty. Two hours later I emerged with a slightly new layered look, taming my lengthening locks and a new colour, somewhere between auburn and chestnut brown. Whatever, like my shiny newish car, I felt buffed and polished too!

Next to my favorite cafe for a latte and date square. I had conveniently forgotten to pack my Isagenix Protein Bar and thought the cafe to be a perfect place to catch my breath before tackling the rest of the errands. I settled in with my coffee and Micheal Beckwith’s book, Spiritual Liberation. It feels like an academic version of ME FIRST – If I Should Wake Before I Die, and I am loving the poetry of his words.

“When you fully participate in life you courageously venture into unexplored territory, aspects of being you didn’t know existed because you kept on settling, surviving, conducting life as usual, in a state of mediocrity. Be bold enough to step out without knowing how things will end up but trusting enough to break through the safety net you have created for yourself.”

Three young women were gathered at the table beside me, chattering away in french. One of the three was breast-feeding her infant, no more than a few weeks old, still red-faced and wrinkled. I did not want to stare but I was totally drawn into their energy, that look of motherly bliss and love on the woman’s face as her babe lay across her lap. This was unconditional love at it best.

The remainder of that day passed in stops – starts as I finished the remainder of my errands, finally heading home at dusk, the mist still embracing the car. I felt very settled however, a day away from the office and computers and phones and the everyday busyness. We all need a day on the town from time to time.

Until next time…

Betty

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“Are you ready for Christmas?”

The question was asked of me just the other day, and it wasn’t even December yet. I know that as the holiday season approaches the question will be asked again, each time laden with more stress.

It seems to me that the JOY that the holiday season was meant to represent gets buried under the many expectations that this season holds.

Eight years ago I would have felt the same sense of panic that lies just under the skin of every other holiday shopper, but the Christmas of 2001 changed everything. Although having no children of my own, I have 15 nieces and nephews. It had been my habit to spend hours deliberating what to buy each child. Despite my intentions to enjoy every moment, too frequently the result was a sense of disappointment when I could not identify the perfect gift for one of the children. The turkey, stuffing, plum pudding and simple joy of the season faded.

The Christmas of 2001 was more hectic than usual. Twenty-five of us crowded into my mother and father-in law’s 900 sq. ft. home. The gift exchange began with a flurry of hands reaching for boxes under the tree. The ripping of paper crunched through the air. Gifts were hurled in all directions. In the aftermath, the place was a wasteland of gift and paper and human emotions. Somewhere deep inside me I felt a profound sense of disillusionment. This was the SIGN.

Not long after, we as a family decided to discontinue this tradition. It was no longer serving us or the children. As adults, we all had more than we needed. The children had lost their sense of appreciation for the gifts each of us had carefully chosen for them. We had created a holiday monster. We decided to stop giving gifts to one another and to divert our holiday spending to a worthy cause on behalf of our family.

The transition was remarkable. The squawks of dismay we expected from the kids never manifested and several Christmases later the expectation is simple, that we gather to simply ‘be’ with one another. The result for all of us has been breathing room, the frantic countdown of pre-Christmas shopping days no longer an issue.

I am sure that this experience is not unique to our family just as I know that our solution is not a palatable one for all families. From early November, every store window and TV commercial reinforces the notion that buying the perfect gift is essential, marrying Christmas to the latest toy, technological gizmo, or other ‘must have’ of the year.

In all of this, I believe we have lost a bit of ourselves not to mention the true meaning of Christmas. But what if the perfect gift was much simpler than the storekeepers and marketers would have you believe; the gift of simply being with another person, or of doing good deeds for others.

The goal in doing this is not to end Christmas buying or curtail holiday celebrations, but to create more realistic expectations for yourself as the holiday season approaches.

Here are a few suggestions to consider in managing holiday expectations and for attracting holiday bliss:
1. Be very clear on the holiday experience you want for yourself.
2. Have realistic expectations of yourself. What are the absolutes or must do’s and what are the nice to do’s before the holidays.
3. Avoid listening to the commercials and ads featuring the latest gizmos and ask yourself what gift would be truly appreciated.
4. Focus your energy on gratitude. This is not a time to keep up with the ‘Joneses’ but a time to remember all the wonderful aspects of your life.
5. Develop your ‘NO-How”. Understand that saying no is not only okay, but a necessity when the demands of the season begin to mount.

Be kind and gentle with yourself this holiday season. Find JOY and hang onto it. Give it to others – this is a far greater gift.

Until next time…

Betty

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