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Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

I swear my mother-in-law Dorothy is like a cat; it is evident that she has nine lives. My only concern is that by my count she has lived at least seven of them. Two week’s ago she was clearly on a downhill trajectory, unable to recover from a severe gastrointestinal flu and complaining a terrible stomach pain. Multiple ER visits were leading us nowhere (more on that later). any attempt to receive additional care services were in vain. we were in that no man’s land where families often arrive. Even with three health care professionals in the family, we were at a loss as to how to support her.

I reached out to her former surgeon and a friend of mine who immediately referred her to Palliative Care and the physician who leads the community program. The first thing she did was totally clean up the medication Dorothy was consuming daily. It seemed radical, but several on the meds have known GI side effects. That was six days ago. This morning on the physician’s follow-up visit, Dorothy was a new woman. She is eating again and enjoying her food. Her mobility is improving. Her mood is light. She is BACK!

Polypharmacy, yes this is a diagnosis, is common in the elderly. Drugs get added and rarely removed. I am finding that drugs are not being reviewed on a regular basis by family physicians, which is by the way, part of their role. Family physicians are the gate keepers for their older patients. They need to be informed as to the side effects of medications and they need to monitor the possible drug interactions.

Secondly frequent ER visits by an elderly patient should be a red flag for those attending to her care. Several of my physician colleagues were dismayed to hear that no one connected the dots for Dorothy and no one referred her for follow-up care post hospital stay. I assume that those who discharged her thought she lived in a nursing home which is not the case.

Finally, we have a home care system which, at least from my experience to date, is not working. They have been contacted three times in the last two weeks, by myself, the residence where Dorothy lives, and the palliative care physician. to date they have not made a visit.

Let me be clear – I am over the moon grateful for her recovery! Fortunately she has more resilience than most women her age and an amazing network of family support. Without this she would no longer be here.

And I have learned that having a health care advocate is essential. My message to those of you reading this is to stand up for and speak out for the care of your elderly parents. Without my interventions and the help of my colleague, Dorothy would not have been referred to Palliative Care.

I now understand that we as a family needed to be more clear on insisting that she relieve a referral to home care follow-up before being discharged. My advice to you – don’t assume anything.

Finally be a bad ass – a squeaky wheel if you have to. I plan to follow-up with home care today to find out what is going on.

As we all age in our Third Act, we will need to advocate for ourselves as well. While we need to be reasonable in our requests, we need to speak up when we are not being heard, to stand for our own well-being, and to expect the health care we pay for in our taxes. I personally am not a big health care user at the same time I am currently awaiting an appointment to the Joint Assessment Clinic. It took my family physician five weeks to make the referral after we discussed it. Is this reasonable – I don’t honestly know. Is she busy – yes. The thing is, stay with your requests.

Okay, this is my RANT for today. The Canadian health care system is amazing as we all know. We need only yo look to our southern neighbors to realize that we are fortunate. And the system has its flaws which we can all work on to correct. Let’s work together on this, be grateful, show appreciation for our health care workers and advocate for ourselves and others.

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During the Positive Psychology conference, one of my favorite workshops was with a colleague of mine Marla Warner who led us through a number of mindfulness activates. She actually saved my day as this was the final workshop of the afternoon and I was feeling the fatigue of a full conference schedule. Her presentation and the activities were a clear reminder of how restorative mindfulness is.

Just to clarify, many people assume that mindfulness is meditation. In fact, meditation is a form of mindfulness, and mindfulness is so much more. As defined by Jon Kabat Zin, mindfulness means ‘paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally’.

In recent weeks, with a full schedule and the task of working with Jim’s family to mover his parents to a Senior Citizen’s residence, I have engaged mindfulness in many ways. First, I have a daily routine which includes a number of exercises and stretches. At the end of the routine I have a mantra is use as follows: I am the Light of my Soul, I am bountiful, I am beautiful, I am bliss, I AM, I AM. This is followed by an Ohm and the setting of my intentions for the day.

Regardless of your choices, a daily practice such as this immediately brings you to a mindful state. Accompanied by breathing, this type of practice brings you to a place of calmness and clarity.

The second aspect which has kept me grounded throughout a time of significant transition, are the intentions set for new beginnings, in this case on behalf of our family. Living intentionally, stating clearly what you want to attract to your life, is a mindful act. Bringing yourself back to these intentions repeatedly, keeps you grounded, centered and focused. These are just a couple of examples of integrating mindful practices in your day.

Of course mindfulness is linked to positivity. As a practice mindfulness can help you literally sever the link between negative thoughts and emotions. The practice forces you to stop and to notice what is rummaging around in your head and what feelings are associated with these thought patterns. Without noticing, without being mindful, you cannot begin re-programing your thoughts.

So what can one be mindful of on a daily basis? Breath, contact, movement (such as walking a labyrinth), bodily sensations, feelings and emotions, thoughts attitudes and beliefs. You begin to realize that there is so much you take for granted on a daily basis without examining what unconsciously propels you forward in life.

Mindfulness is a skill – it takes practice. Over time it changes the way your brain works – you can use it to break down the circuits that promote negativity and build the circuits linked to positivity, taking advantage of “neuroplasticity”, the fact that your brain can be re-programmed.
Research regarding mindfulness includes the following benefits:

decreased blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension, reduced cholesterol, improved immunity, reduced pain and anxiety, improved sleep, and decreased inflammation.

Add to this, mindfulness leads to more optimism and decreased depression, greater self-awareness, the opportunity to change negative thought patterns, improved coping abilities, greater efficiency and productivity, improved learning capabilities and memory, and developing a sense of inner calm.

As you review this list, can you see the opportunities for all of us in our Third Act. The great gift of this time in our life is that you get to choose how you live. Many of you have the gift of more time. An important and useful part of this time is the investment in a few mindful practices which can serve to help you stay grounded, to intentionally explore the options for this time in your life and invest in your health.

Some Additional Mindful Practices: Meditation; Prayer, Yoga, Creative endeavors, Gratitude Practices, Mindful Eating (putting the fork down between bites and savoring the flavors), acknowledgement of others and what they bring into your life, washing dishes, gardening and so much more.

Consider this my invitation to you to put aside time every day for yourself for some type of mindful practice.

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I have recently had the pleasure to dive into the work of Joan Anderson, an American author whose books A Walk on the Beach and The Second Journey have truly resonated with me. It is always good to be supported on one’s own journey. Joan’s vulnerability and humanity spoke through the pages, as if she and I were having a conversation. And this conversation was an important one as she disclosed that despite her work, that of encouraging others, especially women, to find room in their lives for themselves, was a message that she personally struggled to live. And in their lies my truth, that despite my ME FIRST teachings, I have lots to learn about ME FIRST.

Like many of us, I am caught up in the flow, forward and backward movement. A self-avowed doing addict, I have trouble at times slowing down and even when I do, I cannot seem to harness my mind. Oh sure there are a few divine moments, when the quiet descends and I find myself in the ebb. I relish those moments and hold on to them greedily, for it is in that ebb space that I see, I know and I am. And then, just as quickly as the ebb appeared I am back in the flow. And I know this is right as well, the ebb and the flow, the movement of the tidal waters around the earth and the tidal waters of our life, is as it needs to be. Nothing is static.

All of this insight falls on the heels of a year of what feels like slumber. One year ago in January 2014, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a rather serious, although treatable, auto-immune disease. After month of stiff and sore fingers and toes, blood tests and X-rays pointed in this direction. This is an illness familiar to me as I have been part of the Rheumatology community for a few years as the facilitator of the Colour of Communication designed for health professionals working in this field. The irony of suddenly attracting this illness did not escape me. Yet somehow, in the back screen of my mind all this news did not ring true. My intuitive “energy” colleagues supported that belief. Despite this I embarked of a course of treatment which over the next eleven months included two drugs, Plaquinil and Methotrexate (a form of chemotherapy). I saw my energy levels diminish yet I stayed with the program. I saw no observable forms of improvement in my joints yet I stayed with the program. Without recognizing it, I began to slide in my desire and drive to be of service.

Here Comes the Sun - A New Dawn!

Here Comes the Sun – A New Dawn!

Five weeks ago, in a collaborative decision with my rheumatologist, all medications were stopped. We both agreed that while my blood work was highly suggestive of RA, my lack of response to treatment indicated otherwise. Subsequently I have had additional joint studies completed which have revealed osteoarthritic changes in my fingers, no meds required.

I have written previously about Awakening, and I feel that at this moment I am once again in the awakening process. My energy levels have returned, I am waking up with a new sense of vigor and I feel that suddenly I am once again in the game. I have a suitcase full of appreciation for this. You do not realize what you have until it is removed for a period of time. And I, admittedly was under appreciating my life, my passion, my sense of purpose and my drive. I was under appreciating the ebb and the flow.

I have no judgment of the last year or the decision I made to seek and accept treatment for an illness I do not have. Rather I am grateful for my current state of health and for the lessons learned over the past 12 months. A significant aspect of this lesson is to embrace the ebb and the flow, to be in movement and to be in solitude and contemplation; to find the easy balance between the two.

With the newness of 2015 still on my skin, and an appreciation of all the forecasters and pundits, I know this to be a year for transformation. This means casting aside what no longer serves and creating space for what is waiting on the other side of the door. It is in the ebb that I have time to identify the castaways and in the flow that I can reach out and receive what is next.

I encourage you to identify the ebb and flow, the natural rhythm of your life. So much of daily living is forced rhythm. May this leave you with the desire for contemplation and the willingness to step into the ebb for a few moments everyday!

Until next time,

Betty

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As a facilitator and speaker, it is both challenging and rare to find a team of like-minded individuals to collaborate with. Having been in a solo practice for many years, my learned independence has made me very specific regarding whom I choose to work with. And yet when I was approached recently by colleagues Lianne and Carol regarding the creation of the Awakening Festival, I did not hesitate to say yes.

Over the months of partnership in planning and executing the festival, I felt valued and supported by the team. Without any time to actually become a team, which from my past experience has been a vital component of any success, we simply swung into action. Carol the ever competent coordinator, Lianne the visionary leader, Joanna, Sharon and I the contributors and speakers – we were a team from the moment the conversation began. Perhaps it was a shared vision, our breadth of experience or simply synchronicity, but agreement and forward movement came easy. There are some lessons to be learned from this.

The event, held Saturday April 5th, was for me, a highlight of my career as a speaker. Each of the keynotes we were in harmony and built effectively on the messages of others. Suffice to say, I have never experienced this type of coordination before. The opening meditation with Eleanor, the performers Kathleen and Carrie, the movement and dance by Tiffany, the presentation by Brigitte of Pure Art Foundation, the drumming by Caitlan, as well as the support behind the scenes created a full symphony for the delivery of an amazing day.

I share this as there are moments in life when everything converges: your dreams, your gifts and strengths and the vision of how you wish to live. Awakening Festival, both in preparation and delivery has been such an experience for me. Through the years, I have defined with great clarity the qualities and characteristics of those whom I want to work with as well as those who participate in our programs. This event was the manifestation of this clarity.

It is no surprise to me that the event was called the Awakening Festival. Awakening simply means mindfulness, being fully conscious of what it is you want and aligning your life with these desires.

Clarity + Action = Unlimited Personal Power.

It all sounds so simple when written like this, a perfect prescription for life. Yet in the simplicity lies the complexity for as humans, we are not typically that awake or mindful.

This was a conscious event, built from clarity, the intentions and desired outcomes we had for the experience. Our actions were designed to create the experience, whether this was in our advance planning, setting up to room the day before or coordinating the different speakers and our messages. In terms of attracting the perfect venue, the sponsors and attendees, again we were intentional. Days before the event it was sold out, amazing sponsors appeared, and a hall filled by amazing natural light appeared after the first location fell through.

I know I make this all sound simple, and yes, it still involved all the planning that any event requires. That said, it was for me a profound example of the Law of Attraction and intentionality.

Teamwork, event planning, coordination, and all the things that typically bog us down in organizations can be shifted significantly with a different approach. Setting intentions and outcomes from the get go, CLARITY, and aligning action with those intentions, ACTION, gives unlimited and powerful results.

I have believed and practiced this at a personal level and have found this to be powerful. To experience it at a team level lifts my spirits and renews my faith that everything is possible, that soul connections can be forged with others when you are clear about who you want to attract in your life, and the event management can be inspiring.

I am left wondering what would happen if these same principles were applied to everything we tackle, in both our personal and our work lives. Something to consider…..

Until next time…

Betty

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In my previous post I discussed the steps in creating a Strategic Attraction Plan for your Business/life. Having written these words just a few days ago, I have been observing my colleagues and clients as the approach the new year. It is clear that many of them are going ‘gangbusters’, clearly they are open for business. In contrast there are the stallers, those holding their breath and hesitating to jump in. This raise an important issue for me as a coach and a word to you as a reader which is as follows:

You can plan until the cows come home and
if you are not Open for Business,
nothing will happen or
the results you are expecting will disappoint you.

I know – I have been there.

There are Four ‘C’s’ I have observed in myself and others:

1)      Conditions:
Conditions are linked to the great ‘BUTS’ in life, but I am not quite ready, but I need to sort out my finances, but I need to do more marketing… and so on.

To be attractive, you simply need to jump in. Frankly the Universe doesn’t care if everything is perfect, it simply wants to know if you are ready.

Being Open for Business implies that you are open to receive, believing in yourself and envisioning fully the possibility of what is to come. Conditions exist only in your head and are a distant cousin of fear. Don’t let them hold you back.

2)      Commitment:
The second stalling strategy is lack of commitment. Are you or are you not in the game? Are you or are you not Open for Business?
Commitment means making your business, or whatever other aspect of your life you are endeavoring to change, a priority. This will mean clarifying your boundaries, being clear on what serves your business and what does not.

When it comes to entrepreneurship particularly,  commitment requires that you view yourself as a business person, that you begin to keep business hours which respond to your perfect client’s needs, that you are prepared to say NO to requests that interfere with you creating and growing the business/life you want for YOU.

3)      Complaints:
You get started and things just aren’t going according to plan. Another stalling strategy as you get lost in what is not working.

Complaints are simply roadSIGNS and an opportunity to shift what is not aligned with what you want or expect to what is. A simple strategy is to take your complaint, for example, clients who sign up for your services and then cancel. Now make your complaint about them , then Flip-It and specify the qualities of your perfect client, for example, my clients are reliable and committed.

Complaints are simply contrast and give you the opportunity to clarify and to re-work your Strategic Attraction plan. Simply remember this, if you do not flip your complaints, you will continue to receive exactly what you are complaining about.

4)      Celebration:
This may seem like an odd one yet celebration is a key part of the equation.

Celebration evokes gratitude, an ability to be consciously aware of what is already happening in your business/life and acknowledging this. It is an important element of being Open for Business as celebration stokes the fires and fuels your passion.

Celebration/gratitude also allows you to inform the Universe about what appeals to you, allowing you to attract more of the same.

Final Thoughts
If you are feeling stalled with your business or your life, be aware of the Four ‘C’s’. You are the boss of YOU and Your Business, Your Life. You get to choose to be Open for Business.

Until next time….

Betty

Betty Healey, MEd, is a consultant-coach-facilitator of Conscious Communication. Learn more about her,  her business, her books and upcoming retreats at http://www.roadsigns.ca.

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The GIFT

As the holiday season approaches and the pace picks up for everyone, I find myself reflecting on the meaning of gift giving. So much focus has been placed of giving others material things contributing to the accumulation of stuff. The other day I found a capella version of the Little Drummer Boy and as I listened to the lyrics was reminded that he no gift to give and offered to play his drum for the infant Jesus. I considered what my ‘drum’ was and what I had to offer in lieu of traditional gifts.

Here is what I heard whispering down the corridors of my mind, “Give GIFTS of YOU.”

Building on that my offering to you for this season is the GIFT: Grace and Gratitude, Intuition, Freedom and Truth.

 

Grace and Gratitude
I have always embraced the notion of Grace which for me denotes flow, being in the moment and present to life’s offerings. Grace feels unforced and is that part of the GIFT that allows you to be present for another person. Presence is the greatest gift of all, something that is a rare gift in a time where communication has become electronic and quality time with others has become rare.

In grace, you have the opportunity to be in gratitude for the abundance of your life, to be present to it. It allows you to appreciate YOU and your gifts, your relationships, your family and friends,  and the natural abundance that surrounds you. When you are present to this, stuff becomes less meaningful.

 

Intuition
Intuition is the blend of head and heart and learning to be both open-hearted and open-minded. In those seasons where expectations and obligations run amuck, intuition, listening for what you know to be true, can easily become clouded. Somewhere long ago you knew that the gifts you want to give to others have little to do with the things you can buy. When you create a little space for yourself and check-in, you realize that the great gifts you have received over time had more to do with hugs, a shoulder to lean on or someone listening to you and giving you support.

As the GIFT giving season approaches check in with your intuition and rather than checking out the sales, listen in and ask what would be truly meaningful. What about a gift certificate for 12 wholesome hugs, 11 conversations, 10 homebrewed lattes, 9 shoulder rubs, 8 thank you notes, 7 random acts of kindness, 6…. As the MasterCard ad suggests…priceless.

 

Freedom
Call this breath – freedom from the should’s, have to’s, and must do’s of the holiday season. Freedom is your permission slip to do it your way. It is the opportunity I am offering you to approach this season in a way that is meaningful to you, no more conditions, walking to the beat of your own drum and playing this for others.

If you ask yourself these questions, “This holiday season, whether that be Christmas, Chanukah, of any other tradition:

  • What would be perfect for me?
  • In what ways do I want to celebrate?
  • How would I like to spend my time?
  • What gifts would I love to give?”

how would you respond? You are free to choose.

 

Truth
There is a strong chance that when you choose an alternate approach to this season, that others will point fingers at you calling you a Grinch. So what? Is this true or are you simply re-connecting with meaning and what is an authentic expression of you and the season.

The critics will be there, your own and those of others. And as you pursue your path, giving gifts of meaning, you intentionally begin the shift back to what the season was originally meant to represent. This is truth, being true to yourself, your values and traditions, and to the important relationships in your life.

New Beginnings

 

Final Word
Life is about choices. This season is about choices. My invitation is to begin to make the shift back to meaning, giving of YOU differently, being present, listening to your heart guidance, freeing yourself from imposed expectations and being true to yourself. It is an opportunity to identify your authentic expression of what Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving and any special occasion means to you and to begin living this message.

I invite you to come back to the GIFT of giving meaning.

Blessings to YOU this season and choose to be wildly attractive as a new year approaches!

 

Betty Healey

 

Betty Healey is an award-winning author, coach and inspiring speaker. As a coach-facilitator she offers a number of coaching packages and retreats. To learn more visit  www.roadSIGNS.ca or contact her at betty@roadSIGNS.ca.

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The pressure is on, the Christmas rush has begun. Black Friday and now, Cyber Monday are behind you yet you still have a thousand things to do. There is baking and decorating and partying and…..OMG I am out of breath. The list of to do’s stretches for three pages and every other minute you are adding another item to the list. And you just noticed that as long as this list is YOU ARE NOT ON IT!

STOP! Come up for air. I am giving you permission to make this season easier on you. By the way, this is not only a suggestion, I think you will find that it is a must do. Are you ready?

The 1% Rule

1 percent rule

Here is my recommendation for you for this upcoming season – dedicate 1% of everyday to YOU. I will save you the trouble of calculating it: 1% of 24 hours equals 14.4 minutes. Oh go crazy, make it 15 minutes each day.

Here is how it works. This time slot of 15 minutes must be used for you and only you. It is a time for BEING not doing. That means it is not a time dedicated to lengthening the ’to do’ list, or shopping, or chatting with a friend. It is meant to renew you and re-energize you which means it is a 15 minute pause for no one but you. No friends are invited to share it unless you are being quiet together.

I hear your panic, how could you possibly fill 15 minutes if you are not allowed to DO anything! What a concept. Ready for some suggestions:

  1. A 15 minute meditation
  2. A massage
  3. A warm bath to candlelight, eyes closed, soft music playing
  4. Dancing by yourself around the living room
  5. A nap
  6. A 15 minute walk in nature
  7. A break where you simply allow yourself to breathe and escape
  8. A yoga class

 

My final suggestion I refer to as Book Ends. This one I have to explain as it is a strategy I teach as part of our ME FIRST Program. First, split the time into two chunks of 7-8 minutes each.

Book ends

Dedicate the first chunk to early morning. Before you jump out of bed in the morning, consider your day. Breathe into it. Before you review your ‘to do’ list for the day, check in with who you plan to BE that day. Example, “I am calm and energized.” Next set your intentions for the day. Example: My day will unfold easily and effortlessly. Everything on my ‘to do list’ will occur naturally.” This approach allows YOU to be clear on what you are attracting that day as well as  influence the energy around you.

The second chunk of 7-8 minutes is for your evening. As you lay your head to rest, and before you go to sleep, take a moment to review your day and to express gratitude for how the day unfolded. Remember the intention you set in the morning and notice how this influenced the activities and interactions of your day. Should you fall asleep while doing this, consider this – you will fall asleep in gratitude.

The Book Ends are designed to lift your spirits. By being intentional in the morning, you have more influence regarding how things unfold in your life and by being grateful in the evening, you hold yourself in a positive energy field. Overtime this simple practice will keep you spiritually uplifted and feeling less exhausted by the pace of your life. And yes, it is a strategy for any season, not just this one.

What will this do for YOU?

In times when expectations of self and others are high, the thing that suffers the most is making time for self. I recognize that placing yourself on your priority list at this time of year seems like an impossible task. Or is it? Can anyone not claim 15 minutes each day for oneself? In my view 15 minutes is a chewable chunk that anyone can bite off and dedicate daily to oneself.

The benefits are simple, a strategy for keeping yourself healthy and resilient during one of the busiest and most demanding seasons. Your health allows you to then be fully of service to others, just as you choose to be, and to land in the holidays with energy and an ability to actually enjoy the festivities. Unless I am wrong, many of those whom I see preparing for the season become so engrossed in getting ready that they are totally pooped when Xmas arrives. This year make a choice to change this.

Final Thoughts

Here is my final challenge. For the next 21-days, dedicate 15 minutes each day for you. Use any of the techniques listed above. It takes 21 days to establish a new habit and this is one habit I believe you will want to continue.

 

Betty Healey

 

Betty Healey is an award-winning author, coach and inspiring speaker. You can book Betty for a workshop or speaking engagement at www.roadSIGNS.ca or contact her at betty@roadSIGNS.ca.

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