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Archive for the ‘Space Management’ Category

The Struggle

The struggle of transition to the Third Act is a familiar one for me, one which has been embedded with fear and loss. Likewise, the journey has opened new horizons to explore and opportunities to embrace. This is the Struggle Phase of the Third Act, creating space for what is to come while releasing things from the past that no longer serve you.

Key to success at this phase of the transition experience is understanding that there can be no new beginnings without endings. Beginnings and endings are two sides of the same coin.

This is the point where you recognize that you are a creature of habit, that fundamentally you like things the way they are and have been. You really don’t want your life to change and yet it has. There are choices to be made – hang on tight and refuse to budge or take a deep breath and dive into the deep water not knowing what you might find there.

Craving for the comfort of desired events and outcomes, we ignore the uncomfortable but exhilarating gifts of living life as a continually unfolding process in which all moments are valuable. Absorbed in our ‘inner movie’, we miss the many minute transformations that enrich and ennoble our lives”
Julia Cameron, Transitions

Julia Cameron in her book of reflections and prayers for transition, suggests that you trust your own resilience and trust in the generosity of life. For me this also goes to the power of intentionality, reminding myself that the transition to the Third Act can be arduous and difficult or it can be fueled by ease and grace. I personally prefer the latter. So yes, you are in the struggle and yes, you can guide your own journey with an intentional choice.

I am transitioning into my Third Act easily and effortlessly,
enjoying the many moments of this journey,
fueled by curiosity and the power of ‘what if?”

 

Shift Happens

I began writing this blog posting over a month ago. Yes, time does fly and ‘shift’ was happening.

Jim and I have been discussing releasing our current home and property, which we call Tigh Shee (house of Peace) and what would be the best timing for this. This is a natural part of our transition to the Third Act as we have stepped away from offering retreats and we have downsized our business. We no longer require this much space and, as we grow older, the property, all 2.5 acres of it, is placing more demands on us physically as our bodies age.

On a recent trip home from Niagara on the Lake, Jim said he thought we should consider putting the house on the market next spring. Silently I said to myself OMG then drew a deep breath. That soon? We have been discussing this move for a while now and yes, sooner or later this release will happen. I found myself fully in the struggle, in a wilderness of grief and anxiety. Overwhelmed, I turned to meditation and reflection to understand what I was experiencing and why.

There are three qualities that define my persona and guide my life: purposefulness, responsibility and loyalty.

As I retreated into my struggle I began to appreciate that so much of my life here at Tigh Shee was connected to my purpose, the work I had been engaged in for the last two decades. Releasing the property feels like releasing a huge part of who I am.

Then comes responsibility – Jim and I built this place together, the gardens and our labyrinth, as a gift to ourselves, Mother Earth and others. How could I give up this responsibility now? Were we, was I, finished with this work?

And finally, loyalty. It is a challenge to release anything, anyone, that I have dedicated my life to. And yet….

I share this because while in theory I understand the struggle and the art of letting go, this past summer I have experienced the depth, width and pain of the experience. I have also come to understand that my purpose is intact and will continue to be expressed, albeit in another form. That my responsibility for our beautiful Tigh Shee has been fulfilled and now it is time for another person or family to assume the stewardship of this property. All of this understanding has been guided through reflection and prayer.

 

Space Management

So now it is your turn. The struggle is about managing the space you have in your life and questioning what you want to move forward with.

Without realizing it, you, like me, have accrued a backpack of responsibilities, beliefs, attitudes, and belongings that may or may not continue to serve you. It is time to empty the backpack, to examine fully what the contents are, to discern what continues to serve you as you move forward and to divest yourself of the rest.

I can assure you, this is not as easy as it sounds. Give it all the time, reflection, meditation, prayer, and conversations with yourself (and a higher power if necessary) to examine the contents and begin the release process.

Remember that when you release, you create space. You experience endings and you invite new beginnings.

In the moment, the decisions you make will challenge you, perhaps make you sad. Grief is a natural part of the process. All of this simply lightens the load and I can promise you that levity, optimism, and curiosity live on the other side.

 

Until Next Time,

Betty

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Five months have passed since my last blog. I won’t record all the usual platitudes related to time passing too quickly; time has simply passed. the time needed to wonder and wander, to reflect and explore, to experience sadness and grief as well as curiosity and exhilaration. This is the great duality of any journey forward, of the inevitable changes that life offers us.

In my ‘weekly courage’ message this morning, was the following: Spirit has little regard for human comfort. The spiritual path is one of relentless change and letting go until you are stripped of all that is no longer working for you.

That pretty much sums it up. My experience of the last few months has been one of re-evaluating what occupies me. To the notion of what I refer to as ‘Space Management’, I am exploring what takes up space in my life and asking is it important, does it make a difference to me and others, is it something I want to continue to do and more. It is a challenge for as I examine each question I have begun to realize that many of my ‘doings’ stem from a sense of obligation, of duty, which I have to say surprises me. I had thought that my choices were predicated on what is truly important and engaging. Not always so!

What now, I ask. Back to the origins of this blog: learning to release what no longer serves me, relaxing in the space I am creating, allowing highest good opportunities to show themselves to me. OMG this sounds so easy and OMG it is not. I find myself in judgment, and occasionally worry. What if my new life is not as engaging as the life I am leaving behind? Yes this is silliness I know and yet, I am sure you will agree if you are on the journey with me, that it is real.

Here is the other side. I have released several aspects of business and with each release I do feel lighter. I am enjoying the freedom afforded me as the result of fewer clients and projects on the books. I enjoyed the opportunities the lengthy fall provided and hours spent in the garden.I recently qualified in a new psychometric evaluation called Lumina Emotion which I look forward to offering others. I have more time to paint and write, if I chose.

Here is my observation – it is easy to get bogged down in what you are giving up and lose sight of what is opening up. It is challenging to trust your intentions and let them unfold when the time is right. It is equally challenging to be patient with the process and forgiving of yourself when you have an emotional reaction to the changes in your life. All this to say, this is the journey, this is the experience of being stripped down and letting go.

So to all of you out there who are, like me, walking in your Third Act, I have simply this advice to offer you today. Love yourself and love the journey. Embrace what you feel, cry if you must. Allow yourself the opportunity of stripping away the stuff that fills your space but no longer fuels your spirit. It is your time; it is my time. We do get to choose and I for one plan to choose well. And I get it, now may not be the time for choosing as I am still releasing. The space needs some more de-cluttering and organization before I begin redecorating.

infusing-the-grid

Infusing the GRID,
Peace, love, courage, grace streaming
into the seams of  life.

This painting, Infusing the GRID with its companion Haiku,  is an apt metaphor for the experience of this journey. As you infuse your grid, chose that which fuels your spirit and helps you create the Third Act which is distinctly yours.

Until next time…..

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Here is where I am struggling a bit these days – what is it I want at this point in my life. Most days I am pretty clear regarding what I don’t want and yes, just as I teach others, I can turn these into ‘do wants’. Here is a small sampling of what shows up for me so far:

I want:

  • To be healthy and vibrant
  • To be engaged
  • To continue to cultivate my curiosity about life and people
  • To be of service in a way that is meaningful to me
  • To attract and create my legacy work
  • To remain involved with the arts community, and to new forms of how this might manifest.
  • To travel to places I have not previously visited
  • To have ample ‘being’ time for savoring, flourishing, reading, writing, painting and gardening and of course meditation
  • To care for our aging parents and see them safely through the transitions in their lives
  • To be present to and for my family and friends
  • To have clear boundaries regarding what is perfect for me

Okay! That’s not a bad list. AND why is it I feel like something is missing. I think it is simply this thing we call TRANSITION, the letting go of what no longer serves me, emptying the plate so that the new can be defined and take its rightful place. This is an important act of ‘Space Management’, something I have come to understand through years of piling too many things on this plate. Perhaps this leads to the next list – what am I prepared to let go of:

I am releasing:

  • Work that no longer engages me and that no longer serves my clients
  • Doing, doing and more doing
  • Always pre-planning the future rather than savoring the moment
  • Unrewarding and unfulfilling volunteer commitments
  • Responsibility that is not mine to own
  • Worry

That’s a start. I am sure there is so much more.

As we all move into and through our Third Act, knowing what we want, or at least asking ourselves the question, is perhaps the first step in determine our Third Act experience, or our legacy work. I have learned repeatedly that I cannot have what I don’t ask for and that If I am not clear, stuff shows up that I may not want.

There is not rush in developing this list, in fact I suggest we all take some time to slide into this zone, breathe, and take time to relax into it.

Some things to consider as you develop your wants:

  1. Remember all those things you always wanted to do/participate in and never had the time.
  2. What about your “Bucket List”? If you don’t know what this is watch the movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.
  3. Remember your youth and all those values/ideals you had which vanished the moment you went to work. Want to re-visit them?
  4. What are the passions, creative endeavors you always meant to make time for and never did?
  5. What are the causes you most identify with? Is there something that you want to contribute to that cause within your community?
  6. What wisdom, learning or experience do you have to offer others?

As you take time to consider these questions, I encourage you to keep track of the answers – write them down. You may be surprised at what shows up. It is important for all of us to remember that our Third Act is a new beginning, filled with and fueled by possibility. The most important quality we can exercise at this time of our life is CURIOSITY!

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On Tuesday October 21st, Jim and I travelled to Ottawa with our friends Lynn and Norm. As they were visiting us from New York, we wanted to take the opportunity to briefly tour the nation’s capital and take in an event at the National Arts Center. After parking the car we walked by the National War Memorial. Norm, who is former US Army Corp of Engineers, noticed the two soldiers keeping watch and commented on how respectful this was. Interestingly, as many times as I have been to Ottawa in the past, I had never noticed the soldiers standing there before. Our day continues with the joy of sharing our capital city and enjoying an evening performance of ‘Once’.

Then Wednesday arrives. Following our friends departure I become suddenly aware of the activity on Facebook and expressions of horror, fear, sadness and more. Canada and Canadians have, in a few short moments, seen the arrival of terrorism at the foot of Parliament Hill. One of those soldiers, perhaps one of the same soldiers we saw the previous day, has been gunned down. In a country of peacekeepers, the guns they lean into during their guarded stance, are not loaded. That same gunman heads for parliament hill where havoc reigns for several hours until he too is killed. Again, as Canadians, we have never required the extreme security measures of our southern neighbours and as a result, he easily entered the building.

More than inheriting fear from this sudden attack, I feel that we as Canadians have lost something much larger – our innocence and perhaps our peacekeeping soul. I will admit to having shed tears this morning, at the unnecessary loss of a young soldier’s life and at the enormous loss we as Canadians are experiencing.

And, this is only a beginning. Now comes CHOICE!

I have long understood that there are only two ways to live in the world, in LOVE or in FEAR. Yesterday’s incident thrusts into a crisis of consciousness and an opportuntiy to decide where we, individually and collectively, will play from here. Will we dive into fear because of this act and in response to the terror that reigns in locations around the world or will we hold ourselves in love because this is really what we want to perpetuate.

I ask you to choose Love!

Radiate Love - Painting by Betty Healey

Radiate Love – Painting by Betty Healey

Through sceptical eyes you might ask me why.

My simple answer is this: what you give energy to grows.

Do we want to grow FEAR – no! Do we want to grow LOVE – yes!

And so with that in mind, this is my request and advice. Feel outraged! Express it through writing or discuss with a friend. release it. Fill the space with LOVE, peace, gratitude and all the emotions that you consciously want to perpetuate and grow in your corner of the world. This is the way we curtail terrorism.

Living in FEAR offers fuel to a fire that I do not believe most people want to live in.

I invite you to join hands with me and feed the fire, feed yourself, feed your life with Love and Peace. You get to choose.

Until next time,

Betty

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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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With the sounds, sights and smells of spring appearing all around me, the urge to purge has also arrived. It’s that time of year for spring cleaning. This year I am also resting with the question, what would it be like to spring clean my life, not just the house or the garden?

With some contemplation on this theme, the following spring cleaning tips have emerged.

  1. The Great D & C: I am not referring to a surgical procedure here, rather the desire to simply dust and clean. Doesn’t it feel like there are a few dust bunnies in the corners of your mind and a few dirty floors where you allowed yourself to be a bit of a doormat?

Time to change that and get out the scrubbers and the dust mop. Your Strategy – consciously dust out the corners and release any conversations, left over arguments, less than perfect interactions with others, worry and self-criticism and sweep them into the dustbin. Remember it is only stuff, dust. The beautiful you lies underneath and you want to shine yourself up and prepare for all the amazing things you are about to attract and manifest.

  1. The Great Purge: You can start this process physically by visiting the closets and cupboards in your house. As you  survey the contents, ask yourself what you no longer need or require. When it comes to your clothes, release anything that has not been worn for the last year, anything which does not have the WOW! Factor, anything torn, used or abused.

Now apply the same principles to your closet of thoughts. Release any thoughts, usually sourced from your inner critic, that no longer serve you, which are worn and torn, don’t fit anymore and are seriously out of date. By the way, most of your inner critic’s messages are out of date, born of some voice from the past who certainly does not deserve any air time. Finally, any thought that does not have the WOW! Factor, that does not lift you up or support you, is destined for the garbage bin.

  1. The Great Forgiving: I have through the years made a number of clothing purchases which were outrageous to say the least. Once home and in my closet, I have asked myself, “What were you thinking?” Okay I wasn’t! It is in these moments that I have learned to forgive my momentary lapse in judgment.

The same rule applies to other life choices, whether this has been a decision about work, friendship, family or whatever. Forgiveness always  starts with self-first, to those places where you have set the standard for yourself so high that you could not possibly meet it, to the places where you have disappointed yourself and possibly others, to those      occasions where you have been angry and judgmental of yourself.

Let it go! Live by the rule that you are perfect just as you are and that you have done your best. The ’best’ is a moving target, one that gets better every day with the many life lessons you experience and the accrued wisdom that accompanies these lessons. Learn to look to the present moment, what is happening and who you are being today. Consider who you are becoming. Create the space for yourself to continue to grow and learn by forgiving yourself of all the sins you think you have committed. And when you forgive yourself, forgiving others is a lot easier.

  1. Manage Space: Once you have purged, dusted and cleaned, there will be more space in your life. You have released all that no longer serves you. The next step, and perhaps
    just as critical as releasing, is replacing. Once space is created, do not leave it vacant as that allows backwash, a return of all that you are choosing to let go of.

Replacing means becoming very clear regarding what you are choosing for your life. For example, and easy, effortless and unconditional loving relationship with yourself, replacing the messages from your inner critic. Or an openness to receive all that is in your highest good, whether this is in terms of relationships, your work, or opportunities to grow and expand. I call this Clarity, being clear about what      you want in your life and making the choices that lift you up.

Spring has arrived providing you with an opportunity to clean up anything that is currently less than perfect. Do not fall prey to the belief that this is not possible. It’s all about choice, you choosing what is perfect for YOU. Invite your friends to join you and create a spring cleaning extravaganza.

I look forward to seeing you on the other side, all shiny and sparkly and fueled by all the possibilities that show up when you give them the space that they need!

Betty Healey

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In recent years much has been said about our ability to work under less than perfect conditions. There are a variety of things that happen within the modern day workplace which continually attract attention these days, issues such as the ‘toxic boss or colleague’, bullying (yes! It’s not just an issue for kids!), feeling underemployed or underappreciated, and simply spinning from the many demands placed upon you.

So how do you protect yourself? How do you remain resilient?

During the closing session of our most recent Coaching Circle in Cornwall, we all put our heads together and came up with the following strategies:

  • Practice Gratitude – In the day to day working of life and living, we humans have the habit of focusing on the negative events and happenings of life. When you switch gears and re-focus on those aspects for which you are grateful, it lifts your spirits. Having a gratitude practice where you do this on a daily basis, creates resilience.
  • Don’t Take It Personally – Create space between yourself and the negative nellies in your life. Their stuff is their stuff and always remember not to take what they have to say      personally. It has nothing to do with you.
  • Speak UP – Learn to speak up for yourself and to speak from your authentic self. You cannot expect others to know what you want or what you are thinking.
  • Stay Positive – Appreciate that everything that happens in life is perfect; it is there for a reason and a lesson. Learn from mistakes or hiccups, laugh at yourself, and move on with this new lesson tucked under your arm.
  • Flip-It! – whenever you find yourself focusing on what you don’t want; flip it to what you do want. Remember you attract what you focus on.

Attraction2

  • Go Downstream – If you find yourself in a battle with yourself, your work or someone else, change directions. Recognize that you are swimming upstream and ask yourself what it would take to change directions to downstream.
  • Be clear on your ‘I AM” – Your I AM statement represents who you are choosing to be in any situation. It is your source of inner power and clarity. It begins by saying to yourself I AM —-, breathing it in, feeling it and radiating it.
  • Attract your  Perfect Tribe – Be clear on who you want to surround yourself with. Make sure these are people who lift you up and love you unconditionally.
  • Have ME FIRST time – Commit to a minimum of 15 minutes/day of ME FIRST time. This is time just for you, not to be shared, for breathing, meditation, setting your ‘I  AM’ statements or for gratitude.
  • Space Management – It’s not really about time management, it’s about space management . Be  clear about your ‘have to’s’ versus your ‘can do’s’. You can all do lots  of things, the question is do you want to, is it necessary or does it  belong to you or someone else.
  • Develop your NO-How      – Be clear on your boundaries. Know what your priorities and t your responsibilities are. Develop your ability to say NO to what is not yours to own or take care of.
  • Single Task – Much attention has been given to our ability to multi-task. The thing is it doesn’t  really work. You find yourself with many balls in the air yet nothing ever  really gets completed. Learn to set your priorities and take on one task  at a time. When you bring tasks to completion, you will grow your  self-esteem and confidence.
  • Affirm Yourself –Check in and make sure you are not diminishing yourself with negative inner talk. You are in charge of this. Become consciously aware of what you are saying to yourself and change the message to something uplifting.
  • Self-Acknowledgement – When you receive complements form others, accept them graciously and simply say ‘Thank-You’.  Take it in like a sponge and acknowledge yourself for the complement you just received.
  • Choose Inspiring Messaging – Monitor what you choose to read or watch and choose that which inspires you. A highly recommend two sources of daily messages: www.tut.com and www.pattidigh.com.
  • Listen to Your Body – When you feel unwell or something hurts, turn inward and have a  conversation with your body. Ask “what are you trying to communicate to me?” then listen. It’s better than anything a doctor can give you.
  • Laugh a Lot – Find a friend to have fun with or watch some comedy, whatever it takes to bring laughter into your world. Laughter is a great healer.
  • Go with the Flow – Notice where the big rocks or obstacles in your life are and move around them versus pushing against them. As one member of our group shared, “It’s easier to ride the horse in the  direction the horse is going!”

You will recognize that these suggestions really are just common sense and yet, common sense is not common! I encourage you to take this list and pin it up in a place where it is fully  visible and then practice 1, 2 or more of these suggestions daily.

Until next time…

 

Betty

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I was inspired this morning after listening to an interview with a favorite author of mine, Simon Sinek, who wrote the book ‘Start with WHY’. In the interview he began by saying that when you do something that you love, it’s called passion. When you work at something you don’t love however, it’s called stress.

This for me defines the difference between your WORK versus your J.O.B. Your work is connected to your ‘WHY’, your sense of purpose or mission, or what you want to stand for in this lifetime. It is rooted in your early years, something that you are deeply connected with and something that you felt would make a difference in the world.

As I think back, my earliest memories are linked to playing in my back yard, lining up my dolls and teaching them what I then knew to be the important lessons of life. Even at the early age of ten I knew that I wanted to influence the world in a way that allowed others to believe in themselves and to see the beauty and power of who they are.

Isn’t it interesting that you can know that so young and somewhere along the way lose track of it. Why does that happen? You learn more, life becomes more complicated and you lose sight of that simple truth, your all important work. Then you find a J.O.B. – a Justifiable Occupation or Business, which pays you a good salary but, (and here is the rub) does not light you up. It is simply a job. It is not connected with your passion and you lose sight of who you really are.

Can Your J.O.B. be your WORK?
Yes. Skeptically you may look at what you are currently doing and think that there can never be a connection between what you are currently doing and your passion. Frankly you don’t really know, at least not until you take the time to search back to your roots and consider what is really important to you. In our roadSIGNS work we call this your Personal Guidance System which is formed by your core values, the guiding principle by which you choose to live, and your ‘WHY’, what you really stand for and who, as a result, you choose to be.

Only in remembering your ‘WHY’ can you understand whether or not this is connected to your J.O.B. Those workplaces which truly value their employees will understand that any time an employee can connect their ‘WHY’ to the ‘WHY’ of the organization, passion and performance are unleashed.

WHY, How and what
In his book Sinek describes the Golden Circle. Like a bull’s eye with WHY in the center, the next circle is your how and the third circle your what. You will notice that most of you focus on what you do and how you do it, both in your work and other aspects of your life. Ask yourself if this is where you currently play? What would change or be different if you took the time to re-connect with your ‘WHY’, your sense of true purpose.

Living Authentically
Living authentically requires consciousness and courage. First it requires that you actually slow yourself down and step off the treadmill which has become your life. Secondly you must ask yourself what is really important to you, what contribution are you here to make to the world around you. Everyone wants to make a difference and reflecting on this allows you to claim your unique desire to change or shift the world in some way.

Next is courage. It is one thing to become aware of what lights you up, your ‘WHY’, and it is another to live it. There are plenty of naysayers out there who will put you down once you stand up and start living your ‘WHY’. I refer to them as crabs. Crab fishermen know that you never have to put a lid on a crab bucket because as soon as one crab tries to escape, the others pull him back in. It takes courage to live from your ‘WHY’ and ignore the crabs.

Crabs and Other Creatures

Take the time to step back and discover your work by remembering your ‘WHY’. This has the capacity to release your passion and we sure could use more of that in the world!

Until next time…

Betty Healey

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I have always prided myself on being planful – it’s simply the way to get things done. There are long range plans for the next five years and short range plans for the next 2 weeks. It’s makes life so easy when life is planned – you are in control.

CONTROL – am I really in control? Does planning really eliminate worry and make life a smooth running road? NO. Control therefor may simply be an illusion. I am considering this.

And all this planning … perhaps this needs to be re-examined. In one of our coaching programs recently, one of the participants noted that she was spending so much time planning, she was not living. Who’s the coach? I heard the comment and it dove deeply right to the core. I was left with the questions, “Am I living?” Am I so concerned about having control and planning my life that I have forgotten to simply BE in the moment?

The thing about planning is that it also limits choice. Take a look at it for yourself. You have your life planned and your eye on the ball. You know where it is and you are heading in the direction you have chosen for YOU. It’s all perfect and the ducks are lined up a in a row. BORING! (Yes, I have said this to myself as well!)

When you are overly planful, it’s a bit like walking through life with blinders on. You are so focused on the goals you have set for yourself; you cannot see what is in your peripheral vision. You eliminate unnecessary ‘distractions’, you don’t see the SIGNS crossing your path and in many ways, you are cheating yourself of some rich, playful and interesting experiences.  Life is happening around you and you are simply not in life.

Control freak or control free? What would be the benefits of less planning and more being? I have pondered this question since the moment the questions was posed. Did I mention that the person asking the question was only 17? Darn, don’t you hate it when the young are so wise, when they see the obvious and end up teaching you life’s most important lessons!

Here is the lesson for me and I am thinking for anyone reading this column. We all need to:

  1. Lighten up and be a little more in the flow of life
  2. Live more and plan less
  3. Be aware of what is happening on the side lines, in our peripheral vision
  4. Become more present in today and less concerned about tomorrow
  5. Pay attention to the SIGNS crossing our path and be curious about what they mean
  6. Relax, breathe and wonder what life might be like if we were control free.

I am sure that like me, you have heard the phrase living in the moment. I totally agree. So why is it I find it so difficult to simply be present, in this moment and feeling what I feel rather than planning the rest of today, tomorrow and all the days after that?

Here is my new morning ritual – setting my intentions for today. They are not plans; they are more akin to how I want to feel and the experience I am attracting during the day. I know the ‘plans’ are in my agenda and I am giving myself permission to relax and breathe into them. This feels different and I am beginning to encounter the shift from control freak to control free.

Here’s the other notice – life is flow. Control is an illusion (oops – who knew!). Back to flow – there’s lots of things to take a look at and enjoy when everything is not pre-planned. And for some reason everything in the plans still gets done. It is amazing how this works.

Back to you – control freak or control free – it’s a choice!

 

Until next time,

 

Betty

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There is a saying which goes, “Fake it until you make it”. It is not one of my favorites and I have often been tempted to dispute it. It’s the ‘fake it’ part that bothers me as it seems inauthentic.

This past weekend I attended the inaugural conference for the Canadian Positive Phycology Association in Toronto. There were a number of impressive presentations all leaving me with a desire for more learning and immense sense of curiosity. One of my favorites was the opening keynote address by Dr. Greg Wells a neurophysiologist from the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, skyped in from the Olympic Village in London. (Watch for him as part of the CTV broadcast team). He covered a number of topics within the context of his presentation. One of the pieces that stuck with me was ‘act-think-feel’ – you guessed right, fake it until you make it.

In his work with athletes and the mind-body connection, research has demonstrated that what you show on the outside is replicated on the inside. The two key variables which have been researched are smiling and posture.

You have all heard the other phrase, ‘smile and the world smiles with you.” While that theory has not been examined scientifically, the reality is that when you smile, outwardly, your inner world begins to smile. You lighten up and your attitude shifts. When you act – smile, you begin to think and feel differently. Your smile activates a physiological response that makes you feel better.

Remember your mother saying, “Johnny or Jane, stand up straight!” It really annoyed you because you were a teenager and slouching was simply cool. Well it turns out that slouching is not only bad for your posture, it’s bad for your attitude and your health.

The second part of the act-think-feel equation is that standing tall, stretching your height upward and elongating your torso, makes you feel better about you. It is almost impossible to think positively about yourself and feel the resulting emotions if you slouch and slink. Stretching upward enhances your esteem and boosts your confidence.

Step outside yourself for a moment and begin to notice others. Imagine for a moment the person who is frowning, slouching and slinking. What is your response to them? Do they appear positive or confident? No they don’t. You are probably judging them and wondering why such an attractive person wouldn’t stand tall and occasionally smile.

Here’s your choice point – start acting different yourself. Decide each morning to begin the day with a smile, even if it does feel fake. Just plaster it on and then notice:

  1. How you feel about yourself as the day goes on
  2. How others respond to you

Next, begin to check your posture. You don’t want to stand military style; you simply want to stand tall, as if there was a pulley attached to the crown of your head stretching you upward. As you elongate your posture, your shoulders naturally pull back a bit, you can breathe more easily, your chest opens up, you are more receptive, and others will notice.

As a former physiotherapist, there are numerous other advantages to improved posture, including preventing long term back issues and, for women as they age, that ‘dowager’s hump’. Remember, checking in with your posture and standing tall, supports what you think and feel and positively affects how your brain functions.

As you tune into the Olympics this summer, watch the athletes as they prepare for their event. You will see intense concentration; you will see them correct their posture and stand tall, and if you are lucky you may catch a smile or two.

Most importantly, check in with yourself and begin today to smile more and to stand tall. Do your own research project – begin every day with a smile and by stretching your head to the sky. Do both regularly each day and notice what changes or shifts in your energy, confidence and esteem. I guarantee you will feel better and your thoughts will be more positive. Notice how others respond to you and when that friend says to you, ‘what are you smiling about?’ simply say, smiling is changing my world inside and out – want to join me?

It’s really up to you.

Until next time,

Betty

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