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Archive for the ‘ME FIRST’ Category

I have just returned from a two week vacation on the beaches of North Carolina. The intention was to break completely with the day to day obligations of running a business and have a complete rest. That said, I imagined that I would stay connected, follow my e-mails, keep up to date – not really keeping with the intention you might note!

The Universe has a way of providing what it is you need, so do be careful what you ask for. On the way to our vacation spot I began noticing the SIGNS! First was:

it can wait

Located in the I-81 in New York State, this sign took me by surprise. I could not believe that rest stops had been converted into ‘text stops’ to accommodate those drivers who cannot seem to travel a few short hours without texting. This raised the question, “what are my connection needs?

Arriving at our destination, I noted hat the name of the resort was Barrier Island. Another SIGN?

barrier island

Barrier – suggesting ‘boundaries’ perhaps. Hummm, some food for thought. Perhaps I was being directed in a way that would force me to live up to my intention after all. The next indication: no wi-fi in the condo unit. If I wanted to connect I had to walk to the closest Starbucks, conveniently located about 15 minutes away or the office. While there was access it had to be planned. This was a good thing.

The Importance of Stepping Away
We have become so connected with our electronic devices, Facebook, e-mail, texting or what ever our choice, that it has become an unconscious habit. Without the presence of wi-fi, plus no blackberry or phone as we had not purchased a US plan, we blissfully found ourselves in a vacation vacuum, a space to be filled not by the day to day but simply by ‘being’. I rediscovered books, devouring at least 4 great novels and Cheryl Stayed’s book Wild, walking the Pacific Rim Trail. I spent more time resting, reflecting, meditating, walking the beach, the types of things I rarely give myself permission to enjoy when engaged in a full throttle life.

Returning home, I appreciated the importance of the break – I can breathe again. Yes re-entry has been challenging. As if to keep us dis-connected, our Internet was down when we arrived back in the office today. It is back – a temporary situation, yet a gentle reminder of the benefits of taking time for oneself and for one’s significant relationship. Stepping away also gave Jim and I time to talk without the distraction of technology, to have real conversation outside of work and to re-connect in ways that are vital for couples.

The last SIGN, sighted a few days before leaving our North Carolina Retreat:

good for you

Stepping away gives you both the time, opportunity and a place for you to be good to you. It is an essential ME FIRST act. It offers you perspective on your life, an ability to look at things from the outside in. So here is my parting advice: on your next vacation, disconnect your devices! You might just find yourself again or at least those parts of you that get lost in the busyness of life’s demands.

Until next time,

 

Betty

 

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Average is Over Over a period of three days, January 20th through 22nd, I had the great experience of attending the Cannexus National Career Development Conference in Ottawa. Although not specifically in the career development field myself, I felt this was an opportunity to learn what was going on and how our work with creating strength-based conversations might overlap. The opening keynote by Rich Feller on a Life Re-Imagined was a great start. A number of his comments resonated with me:

  • Average is over
  • There is a world of opportunity out there if you know how to engage it
  • Our ability to be excellent is reliant on our ability to be high in imagination
  • If we are uncommitted to learning we will struggle
  • It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur, and more.

It was his comment that there are two types of work cultures: HIE’s (High Imagination Enabling) and LIE’s (Low Imagination Enabling). This led me to thinking about the factors that would contribute to developing HIE work cultures and how this is related to the work we are developing around Creating Strength-Based Work Cultures. I asked myself, how can a work culture be high in imagination if it does not understand what it already has in terms of resources. Imagination is stifled in many work cultures as people, managers and employees get stuck. They are accustomed to operating in a certain way and have lost or ignored their ability to re-frame situations and opportunities and move forward.

This short video is a humorous and poignant example: http://search.tb.ask.com/search/video.jhtml?searchfor=stuck+on+the+escalator+film+clip&cb=HJ&pg=GGmain&p2=%5EHJ%5Exdm005%5EYYA%5Eca&n=77fd7b74&qid=79b22bcbe11c4f1d8b1891a8eee288a3&pn=1&ss=sub&st=hp&ptb=573BA7D8-CF70-407E-BE32-FF3A869C9375&tpr=sbt&si=CMqjsbbJiroCFYZaMgoddmEAYQ&vid=VrSUe_m19FY

One of our favorite questions to ask ourselves and others is simple, ‘what else is possible?’ I have learned that this question makes people nervous as it forces them to take off their goal oriented blinders and to check their peripheral vision. While most people know that if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got, they hesitate to change it up. That said, how will they survive? If average is over, what steps will people and organizations have to take as success in the future is re-defined. Careers, as we know, are no longer a linear path. Dr. Feller suggested they are more like a ‘slinky’, flexible, energy moving in both directions, easing your way through career transition.

 Slinky

Again, as I examined career transition, and how each individual approaches this, I considered the benefits of self-knowledge and knowing what makes you ‘tick’. Looking through the lens of my own experience, and I was not a typical baby boomer as I transitioned careers several times, I recognize that my approach was less than informed. I simply jumped from one job to another succeeding in having 14 positions in my first 17 years of work. Not ideal. What if I had worked with a professional who could help me assess my future choices? What if I could have seen myself through the lens of my strengths in addition to what engaged me? Would I have made different choices? Recognizing these trends, that average is over, and that imagination is key, how does one approach life and work? In his book Being a Star at Work, Robert Kelley suggests the following:

  • Bring added value to your job every day and go beyond the job description
  • Tap into ‘guru networks’ – know what you don’t know and where to find it
  • Have organizational savvy – promote cooperation and move from conflict to getting things done.

Needless to say, a key to thriving in the work of the future will be internal motivation. The era of finding a job for a lifetime and expecting your employer to provide all the perks and opportunities are disappearing. Related to this is the knowledge of what you are good at, what your strengths are, where your interests and passion lies, and how you want to make a contribution. Daniel Pink summarizes by stating that better performance will hinge on:

  1. Autonomy: an urge to self-direct one’s career
  2. Mastery: a desire to get better and  a commitment to lifelong learning
  3. Purpose: a yearning for something greater than what is

All of this leads me to believe that the idea of self-knowledge, of assessing, naming and knowing your qualities/strengths is an essential ingredient. I see strengths as a foundation upon which to build your ‘what’s next’, choosing the direction in which to go, understanding the learning that supports your strengths and engaging the best of who you are in your inner sense of meaning.

WOW! Thanks to Dr. Rich Feller for his enlightening presentation and for light me up!

For more information regarding assessing your preferred qualities/strengths, go to http://www.roadsigns.ca/products/lumina-portraits-2/

Until next time….

Betty

Join us for Living from your Strengths, http://www.roadsigns.ca/upcoming-retreats-events/coaching-circles-retreat/,   a one-day retreat designed to help your assess your preferred qualities/strengths, to be held Saturday, February 15th, 2014. Follow the link for details.

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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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Do No Harm

There is an ethical code that guides most of our lives. You may refer to this code as your personal principles or perhaps your core values. For most of us, integrity, the importance of telling truth and keeping your promises, is central to a sense of Integrity.  That said, there is another important aspect of integrity that sometimes is overlooked, that of do no harm.

How do we harm?
Harming another is often unintentional. It can be as simple as an offhand comment to someone to as serious as gossip.

Ah yes, gossip. A few years ago I heard the following story:

A priest in his weekly sermon shared with his congregations the confession of one of his parishioners. In her confession she confided that she had sinned, for she had been gossiping about her neighbors.

The priest, as her penance, told her to return to her home, cut open her feather pillows, go to the roof of her apartment building and release all the feathers over her neighborhood.

She did as he said, then returned to the confessional.

“Father, I have done as you said”.

“That is perfect my daughter. Now return to your neighborhood and retrieve all the feathers you released.”

“That is impossible”, she responded.

“Exactly”, he replied. “When you gossip, the words travel everywhere. You have no idea where they will fall or whose ears your words will reach. There is no way to control the harm that gossip creates and there is no way to retrieve it.”

You know the moral of the story. Not only is gossip harmful, it spreads, like a wildfire in dry bush. If you cannot speak of another with care and concern or in acknowledgement or singing their praises, don’t share.

What's right about you

Your principles and Values
Whether it is gossip or some other harmful interaction with others, always remember that the person you harm the most is yourself.

As a young professional in my early twenties I am sure I frequently harmed others. I had a ‘mouth’, a large one. I said things that in hindsight were frequently harmful to others. It was a way of getting attention. I wanted to leave my wallflower roots behind and to be noticed. Well, I was in a most unbecoming way.

And the effect on me was even greater. I believed that if I could be the center of attention by putting others down, I would elevate myself. My self-esteem would grow and I would feel better about me. It did not work. In fact the more I pursued this path, the worse I felt. I was not really being me; I was not authentic; I was playing a role I believed others would be attracted to.

As time went on, I checked-in  with my values and principles. My wonderful husband held my hand to the fire and pointed out that I was acting in a way that was very different from who he knew me to be. He wondered why?

I am not sure what the wake-up call was exactly. Perhaps it was a realization that my tactics were backfiring. Not only was I offending others, I was on a self-destructive path, doing more harm to me than anyone. I decided to simply stop using words as my weapon and attitude as my armor and start being me.

It was difficult initially – I had some very well established habits. One day at a time, occasionally moment by moment, I changed, returning to my true roots. My colleagues and friends noticed. “What happened to Betty?” they would ask. “You are different”. I made no excuses and just thanked them for their feedback.

Slowly I emerged, the authentic me. I became happier because others accepted me for who I was. I was honouring my values and using my principles to filter my actions. Slowly my self-esteem came out of the gutter. This was the first step in saving me.

Final Thoughts
I am frequently alarmed at what I hear, see and read, the things that are being said about others –  half-truths, innuendo, always with the suggestion that something else is amuck. I want to say to all of us let’s simply STOP IT! Let us all commit to do no harm and set the intention to lift others up.

Be aware of those who openly criticize others and spread gossip. They are not truthful. Understand that putting others down is simply a strategy to elevate oneself. When you experience these behaviors in others, bless them, for they cannot possibly feel good about themselves. If they did, they would not have to do harm .

This is my invitation to you to choose the path to higher ground, to lift yourself up by lifting others. See you at the top!

 

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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I never saw myself as a writer nor did I set out to become an author. Pulling my thoughts together in what has now become a total of five books seems more like a happy accident than a specific goal.

Writing really happened when I began to understand that when I wrote things down, I shifted. Journals became a place to ‘dump’ my hurts and vent my anger; a place where emotions which are sometimes difficult to express verbally could be placed and not judged by others. Recording my ideas has allowed me to expand them.

If your brain works at all like mine, ideas appear in rapid succession and unless written down, disappear. As a result I always have a journal with me to simply capture what is in my head, imbed it on the pages and move on. These are the ideas that spawn my work and also feed my own sense of self-discovery.

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes that “the pages are a pathway to a strong and clear sense of self”. It was her book that started my writer’s journey. One of the exercises within the twelve week program outlined within the book are something called Morning Pages, which Cameron refers to as the primary tool for creative recovery.

What are Morning Pages: three pages of handwritten, stream-of-consciousness writing. Yes I am aware that most of you now write with a computer and I have to share that writing longhand is different. Somehow the physical connection of pen in hand is different than pecking at keys. Stream-of-consciousness means that once you begin writing, you do not stop until all three pages are filled. At first it may be nonsense, like ‘good morning world, I have no idea what I am writing about this morning, blah, blah…’. That’s okay for at a certain point something switches and your hand starts writing things that seemingly come from out of nowhere and now you are in the ‘juicy zone’.

As I began my own writer’s journey, I kept to the habit of morning pages for over a year. Poems emerged, feelings were exposed, truths realized. I came to know me. Because I could record anything, free of the judgment of others, I had a sense of freedom rarely experienced in my outer world. In this type of writing, grammar doesn’t matter nor does punctuation. There is no English teacher staring over your shoulder assessing these things. You write only for yourself.

Morning pages is only one of many writing tools however. I no longer keep my ‘pages’, I am more prone to simply record random thoughts and ideas as they show up in my day. There are no rules in my world although serious journal writers would disagree with me.

Journal B W sketch ORIGINAL SCAN

Writing, if you choose this path, is there to serve you, no one else. Writing for self-discovery is designed to feed your soul, lift your spirit, help you to see yourself through the lens of your inner world rather than through the eyes of others. It is designed for appreciation rather than a place for your self-critic to put you down.

That said, I suggest that if you decide to take up your pen, you begin by recording everything you know about yourself, your gifts, strengths and values. As you place these attributes on the pages of your journal, you create an amazing foundation for moving forward and directing your personal journey.

Thanksgiving Day I picked up a book at a friend’s place and found the following poem by author Dawna Markova, which describes my relationship with writing:

 

Thinking Ourselves Home 

I write to fuse inside with out,

to salve wounds and broken dreams. 

I write to understand the many things no one has told me,

to stroke my moments clean,

to squeeze them into tiny mirror fragments shining with mind light. 

I write to turn my bold to ink, to fertilizer, to sap. 

I write so that my yes can feel, so that my heart can lick,

so that my soul can crawl from its hiding place and

gaze upon a mystery which can be neither solved nor explained.

I write to breathe my spirit live.

 

Final Thoughts

I write to breathe my spirit live. Even though you may not see yourself as a writer, I encourage you to pick up the pen. Do it for YOU, no one else. Do it to serve the journey, not to write a book. Do it to find yourself and to discover who you are today and who you are choosing to become, not to live in the past. Do it to celebrate yourself.

 

Upcoming Events: Living Your Strengths Coaching Circle, Saturday, Novemeber 23rd. For details go to:

http://www.roadsigns.ca/upcoming-retreats-events/coaching-circles-retreat/

 

Until next time…

 

Betty

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On the heels of Meatless Monday, I have decided that every Tuesday also requires a specific theme. In considering what this might be, two SIGNS triggered my choice. First was a conversation with one of my clients who decided that October was going to be gratitude month in her organization and coincidentally, October began on a Tuesday. Secondly, October is the month to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, surely another significant indicator.

So, this is my invitation to all my readers to begin focusing on gratitude and, just in case you don’t make time daily for this, to mark every Tuesday, from this point forward, as the day to acknowledge your gratitudes. From now on think of Tuesday as GratiTuesday (nice play on words, non?)

By the way, introducing gratitude into your life has been shown to have many benefits, not the least of which is to look at life differently and to bring your attention to all the great and good things happening in your life. Having a gratitude practice been shown to increase positivity, improve your sense of well-being and make you more attractive energetically to others. For those of you who are parents, introducing children to a gratitude practice has been shown to improve self-esteem and academic performance. Most importantly, gratitude is FREE!

To help you to get started, I have created an acronym based on GRATITUDE.

G =         Great, finding ways to notice and celebrate all the amazing things happening in your life and around you that you typically fail to notice.

R =          Respect, respecting yourself enough to acknowledge yourself for your accomplishments rather than noticing what you fail to get done; taking opportunities to model respect to others by acknowledging their greatness

A=          Awareness, paying attention to life, seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, noticing the SIGNS which cross your path every day and which may be passing you by, pausing and wondering what it all means

T=           Truth, telling yourself the truth about who you are, activating your self-coach so as to tune of the inner critic (who does not tell the truth), reminding yourself that you are unique and that every day you make a difference in the life of at least one other person

I=            Intuition, listening to and living from what you know is right for you, embracing your great qualities and strengths and living from that place, allowing your heart to guide your actions while turning down the volume on all of life’s ‘shoulds’

T=           Team/Community, surrounding yourself with your perfect team, those who you love and who love you, those who are your fans and who see you uniqueness and celebrate your contributions

U=          Unconstrained FUN, laughter and joy and sharing this with your family and friends, engaging in activities which light you up!

D=          Daring, engaging in at least one new activity or adventure every month, taking the risk to stretch your pre-conceived notion of who you are and being successful, then celebrating your success.

E=           Environment, taking in random acts of beauty, sunrises and sunsets, the kaleidoscope of fall colors or the pristine whiteness of new snow, a thoughtful letter or complement from a friend or client, noticing that beauty lives in your environment every day.

Gratitude

Putting Gratitude into Practice:
Here’s the plan, if you dare to join me. Each GratiTuesday, post your gratitudes on Facebook, record your gratitudes in a special ‘gratitude journal’ or share your gratitudes with your family just before dinner or while tucking your kids into bed. Make it a weekly practice and have some fun sharing with others. I actually think this is way more exciting than Meatless Monday!

Until next time….

Betty

Upcoming Events:

ME FIRST Retreat: October 19-20th, 2013
Step away from the busyness of your life and re-acquaint yourself with YOU. This two day program is designed to bring you into the present, defining who you are today and who you are choosing to be as you move forward. Details at: http://www.roadsigns.ca/upcoming-retreats-events/

Living Your Strengths: November 23rd, 2013
Using the Lumina Spark Portrait, you will identify your preferred qualities/strengths and learn how to live and leverage your strengths in service of YOU. Details at: http://www.roadsigns.ca/upcoming-retreats-events/

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Your child or teenager comes home from school and presents his report card to you. You review the list of subjects and note the grade assigned to each one: English – A,  French: B+, History: A, Science: C, Math: F. In the following minutes you discuss the results with your child. What do you focus on?

According to Marcus Buckingham, author of GO, Put Your Strengths to Work, more than 70% of parents will zone in on the F grade, ignoring the decent to great marks in the other subjects. It seems that we are programed to focus on weaknesses rather than strengths.

I am sure that most of you have been on the receiving end of this flawed assumption. In an interview recently with one of my clients discussing the annual performance review, they admitted that little time was given to successes and accomplishment during the review process. Time was dedicated instead to what did not happen and the weaknesses they believed the employee needed to address.

Building a Foundation

Imagine building a house or any type of structure using the same principle. Basically the foundation of human development is being built upon the premise that weaknesses must be addressed and strengths taken for granted. If this were a house, what kind of foundation would that be? Would you want to build on a weak infrastructure or would you choose to build on something strong, resilient, secure and so on.

A New Paradigm

In the work we are introducing to organizations and to individuals, we are convinced that building on strengths is the way to go. Buckingham suggests that there are three myths associated with personality and living from our strengths:

Myth #1: As you grow your personality changes.

Truth: As you grow, you become more of who you really are.

That doesn’t imply that you don’t change and grow at all, this simply means that you are born with the personality you have, and with that your innate strengths. Over time what may change are your values, your beliefs, and even your behaviors, the result of your personality gaining life experience.

 

Myth #2: You will grow the most in your areas of greatest weakness

Truth: You will grow the most in your areas of greatest strength

New medical research is actually showing that those who focus their development from their weaknesses are prone to chronic pain and other illnesses. Spending time investing in your strengths however, keeps you engaged, inquisitive, resilient, creative and invested in your learning.

 

Myth #3: A good team member does whatever it takes to help the team.

Truth: A good team member deliberately volunteers his strengths to the team.

We are taught that we must be all things to all people. This is sure to burn you out. A great person or team member is not well-rounded, a great team is. A great team is well rounded because each member comes to play from their respective strengths. It is not your job to be all things.

Lumina Circle

Final Word

If you are feeling disconnected from yourself in any way, chances are you have invested a lot of time addressing your weaknesses. This is not a criticism of you. In all likelihood, you were told you had to, by a parent, a teacher, a colleague or a boss.

Guess what – it’s time to change the conversation because trust me; it is time to start investing in building a strong foundation for your inner house. Find a way to identify your strengths (we use the Lumina Spark Portrait for these purposes). Take a stand for them once they have been identified. Educate those around you, your colleagues, your manager, your family members, about who you are through the lens of your strengths. This is not bragging – it is stating a fact!

On the Mat 06

Take some courses that help you in invest in your strengths and engage them in doing your work, whatever that may be. And finally, address your least favorite activities by activating your strengths.

Each person is unique, possessing a cadre of strengths that defines who they are and how they play in the world. Wouldn’t it be amazing if each person played from their strengths while respecting the strengths exhibited by others? This is true collaboration.

 

What are your strengths?

 

Until Next Time….

Betty Healey

 

roadSIGNS is offering two programs in the upcoming weeks:

 

The Living from Your Strengths Coaching Circle: go to http://www.roadsigns.ca/wp/our-focus/conscious-communication-for-self-discovery/coaching/coaching-circle/, beginiing September 24th.

The Living from Your Strengths Retreat Day – Saturday, Nov. 23rd/13

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For the fifth year in a row, Jim and I hosted Goddess Camp on the weekend of August 17-18th. I always approach this weekend with a sense of excitement and trepidation. Why? Because it changes every year; there is no set plan, it simply arrives. And then there are the quizzical looks I receive from others when we begin advertising the event, that “I say what?” expression followed by “Goddess Camp?” The look grows when I share that the camp is also for men at which point the conversation shifts to “yeah, right!”

All this to say that the idea of Goddess Camp requires some explanation. The concept began with my desire to understand ways in which the world is changing. I hear the experts talking about energy shifts and of course we just experienced the 2012 phenomenon. It’s not like you can nail it down. Like gravity you know that the energy around you is shifting but you cannot see it, touch it or even name it. It simply is.

Part of this current phenomenon is the shift from masculine to feminine energy. This claim triggered my research. Did it mean simply that women are taking over?

As I discovered the shift to feminine energy or to the Divine Feminine as it is called, is an opportunity for women to step into their power and for men to step into their heart. It is not about men versus women, it is simply a learning opportunity for all of us to grow with the changing times. And so Goddess Camp was birthed around the question, how can we facilitate this shift for both men and women.

Each year we listen to what is happening around us, the conversation we hear, the concerns expressed by our coaching clients and retreat participants, and simply what we observe. This past year I was struck by how disembodied people have become. As a former physiotherapist I have a developed an eye for observing people and their relationship with their bodies. I began to notice that in fact, people were not really in their bodies, they seemed to be living in the space around their bodies.

This created the challenge for Goddess Camp. In the world I live in, we speak of the body-mind-spirit connection in almost everything we do. The conundrum posed by our observations was how do people make the body-mind-spirit connection if they are not really in their bodies – there is a missing link.

The idea for this year’s Goddess Camp was birthed. We began to focus on activities in which we could offer our campers grounding and ways in which to be in their bodies differently. With that clarity we set our intentions for the event.

I am always delighted with how life informs us once the intentions are set and then observe who crosses our path. In the months preceding the weekend I found myself attracted to two individuals whom I felt could help us create magic. Enter Sandra, a belly dancer par excellence, who led our participants through a series of moves which led to a full 3 minute choreography by the end of the second day. You could visibly see the shift in energy and how each person had a new sense of their physicality.

GC 2013

Secondly came Rosanne, who led our campers through several meditations/journeys, each one grounding individuals in one of the energy chakras. Again, observing the changes across the two days, I could see the significant shift in energy and body relationship. Mission accomplished!

Final Word
Goddess Camp lessons apply to everyday life, imparting the importance of having a relationship with your body. You grow to understand the need for self-care versus self-neglect,  for acknowledging your body for what it offers you versus complaining about what it doesn’t do and for communicating with your body in a way that allows your body to share what is going on.

Learn to stay grounded through your breath, through frequent ‘body check-in’s’, or by walking barefoot. All of these have been proven to dramatically change your energy and bring you back to your body.

This may seem like an odd lesson to learn. You may be saying, “really, could I possibly be living outside my body?’ The answer is yes, there are times when we all do. The sensation is usually one of feeling disconnected and ungrounded. Begin to grow your awareness and simply check in. Your body needs you!

 

Coming Soon:

Living Your Strengths Coaching Circle begins September 24th. For details go to http://www.roadsigns.ca/wp/our-focus/conscious-communication-for-self-discovery/coaching/coaching-circle/

ME FIRST Retreat: The next program is October 19-20th. You can register at: http://www.roadsigns.ca/wp/our-focus/conscious-communication-for-self-discovery/retreats-programs/me-first/

Until next time…

Betty

 

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About a year ago, I was sitting at The Grind, in a meeting with one of my colleagues when a new comer to town, Bruce Davis, was introduced to me. My colleague, meaning well I am sure, explained that Bruce had just been given the task of facilitating the development of the new Arts and Culture Council for the region. The conversation expanded, my colleague noting that I had been involved in coaching local artists for many years in business practices, something most artists don’t have naturally. On we went, travelling the landscape until I was asked if I would be interesting in running for the Arts and Culture Board.

Do you ever wonder how you get yourself involved with such things or perhaps more importantly, what is the meaning of it all?

I have been a member of the Your Arts Council (YAC) Board now since its inception. There have been some frustrating moments as we, a group of 13, stormed and normed on our way to becoming a team. Several months later, we have slightly fewer members and we have just completed our ‘Governance Process”. We have learned how to be an effective board and we have reached a point of unity and performance.

Aside for the effort and dedication required in being a board member (and this is true of any board) there have been many additional advantages to my involvement. Personally I have been challenged to once again take a look at my artistic persona or lack thereof. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in my column ‘Happy Accidents’, I had abandoned my art 30 years ago. Now I find myself on the YAC Board, representing the interests of artists and the art community and feeling rather alienated as I am not a part of it. This is not an attractive place to be. I realized that if I wanted to see our community filled with artists who are engaged and successful, I needed to re-connect with my artistic soul. I needed to be part of it.

In stepping back into this arena, re-engaging my passion for art and tapping back into my own artistic desires, I have begun to appreciate once again the importance of art. Art is, in my view, a message. Like music and dance, art is an international language, one that is instantly understood by those who experience it. The appreciation of music, dance and art is individual, guided by our own preferences and experiences, our likes and dislikes. The arts communicate to us, convey a message. There is the intention of the creator and there is the experience you have as a result. The interesting thing is the intended message and the received message don’t really matter. What is important is the connection that art, music, dance and other expressive arts create.

With my increased involvement in the arts and culture community, I have begun to realize how much we need art, dance and music in our life. Consider this for yourself – a painting that stole your breath, a dancer who floated across the stage and took you with her, or a piece of music that plays just behind your ears and makes you smile when you hear the chords or words.  I love music, dance and art that makes me think, that pulls me in and perhaps even shakes me up a bit, or that makes me grin and see the humor in life.

Here is what I want you to know. Our world is filled with gifted and talented people, artists, dancers, musicians and much more. They are easy to miss unless you become aware of them. The Seeker has been great at letting us know what is happening, and there is always something: an open-mike night at the Grind, Arts Fest or Apples and Art (coming late September), an exhibit at TAG (The Art Gallery), drumming circles, dance. All you need to do is be curious, become aware and step out.

Final Word

People are always asking you to support the Arts. I suggest you support yourself and take in the arts and experience the message. In a world that is busy and often filled with negative news, choose to shift your energy to a place where you can allow your spirit to soar. Take in a show or take a class.  Re-claim your artistic soul. Oh, and by the way, all of us are artists; artistic expression takes on many forms. Is it time for you to find yours?

Upcoming Coaching Circle
If you are interested in re-discovering your inner artists and/or identifying and living from your strengths, join us for the upcoming Coaching Circle. This is a 7 week program that begins Tuesday, September 17th. for details go to http://www.roadsigns.ca/upcoming-retreats-events/coaching-circles-retreat/

The Evolutionary Process
Are you experiencing the challenge of living in the higher vibrational energy of 2013? Would you like to have tools and practices designed to help you ‘plug-in’ to this higher vibration, attract greater wellness and live easily in this new reality?

The Evolutionary Process – Galactic Healing is designed to help you heal at every level. Join us September 21-22 for an amazing two-day retreat facilitated by Denine Savage, P.T., I.M.T., C. P.A., C. For more information go to http://www.roadsigns.ca/wp/guest-host-retreats/

Until next time,

Betty

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On Sunday June 9th, Jim and I celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary. Marriage is an amazing journey. Along the way, I have learned a few lessons about what makes a marriage grow and ripen. The first was that I entered marriage expecting it to last. Perhaps this was because of the failure of my own parents’ relationship. Before jumping in, I took the time to be clear of my expectations of myself, of Jim and what lay before us.

June 9th, 1973

   June 9th, 1973

June 9th, 2013

June 9th, 2013

Were there challenges along the way – of course there were. What forty year journey would be void of a few potholes and speed bumps? As I see it, these are only opportunities to come up for air, check-in and ask, “are we headed in the right direction?”

More often than not individuals within a relationship are headed in different directions which is why the relationship fails. The statistics are clear, one of every two marriages don’t work. There are lots of reasons why they don’t and I have no judgment regarding the ones that fail. I also see that some marriages could be saved. The thing is, a good marriage like anything, takes a little work.

 

What I have learned along the WAY…

Here are a few on the many lessons I have learned that build a relationship and save a marriage:

  1. Don’t make your partner wrong. Notice how you use ‘yes, but’ in your conversations, how you want to ‘win’ an argument or ‘make’ your point. Yes but makes your partner wrong. There is room for two points of view in every conversation. Try using ‘yes and…’
  2. Appreciate the differences. Research has shown that successful relationships are built around differences. In many cases there is more room for argument when you are too much alike. There is truth to ‘opposites attract’ – allow the differences to round you out rather than finding fault with them and trying to convert the other person to your way.
  3. Build your relationship around shared values. This in my view is the centerpiece for a relationship. Differences can exist easily when values are shared. Take the time to define and share them and then engage them within your relationship, with your children and with important others.
  4. After ME FIRST comes WE FIRST. So many couples we work with have put their relationship on the back burner because of their children or their careers. It doesn’t work because one day you will face a stranger. Build in WE FIRST time weekly, whether this is a cup of coffee together after dinner or a weekly date night.
  5. Be interested in one another, whether that is your hobbies or your work. In that shared WE FIRST time, ask questions of one another and learn what is going on behind the scenes, discuss issues, support one another.
  6. Speak up! If there is an issue in your relationship or if you want something to change or shift, state it. Too frequently individuals don’t speak up, believing that the other person ‘should know’. They don’t. You can’t have what you don’t ask for.
  7. Ask differently. Through the years I learned that saying ‘I want this or that’ didn’t feel right to me as it sounded selfish. So I found other ways of stating my viewpoint or asking. My favorite is, “What would be perfect for me is…” or ‘Would you consider this or that…”.
  8. Don’t  hide your anger. It does make you sick. I used to do this as I was taught that is was wrong to show emotion, especially anger. Trust me; it is better expressed at the 8th hour than the 11th hour when it is exploding out of you. Take your partner aside and share with him or her what is going on. A good strategy is the ‘I’ message which goes like this, “when you say this, I feel/think this…”
  9. Learn together. Learn about yourself and learn about your relationship. If anything has kept Jim and I going through the years, it is our desire to raise the bar on our relationship, have some fun and find other ways to know one another.
  10. Be your partner’s best friend. Lustful love and the bells and whistles of new love are temporary. Friendship is much more enduring and feeds the love you have for one another. That does not exclude romance however, which is important. Find ways of keeping it in your relationship as well.

Final Word

Remember, marriage is a journey. It will meander. Two partners will diverge and converge along the way. That’s perfect as long as you stay on each other’s radar and keep connecting. Enjoy the ride.

Until next time…

 

Betty

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