May 26, 2010

check it out

About a month ago I went to an event where I saw someone I'd recently been getting to know better. At this event she seemed to ignore me...actually she appeared uncomfortable and distant when I caught her attention. I knew I wasn't making this up since my companion noticed as well.

I was mystified. The other day I decided to send this person an email to congratulate her on a new position I'd heard she'd made and to check in. I mentioned that at our last meeting she seemed uncomfortable and I wondered if there was some kind of misunderstanding between us.

She wrote back immediately assuring me not at all. She was able to share with me that she was recently having trouble remembering names out of context and was worried about having to make introductions to the people she was old boss that she loved but was blanking out on his last name. There were other personal reasons that she had been feeling rather scrambled that day but certainly nothing in particular to do with me.  She was grateful that I was able to say something and looked forward to our next get together. I was relieved.

I am once again struck by how easy it is for us to make assumptions and even more so, to take it personally when things don't go the way we expect them to. My imagination had taken me down some pretty incredible possibilities related to work and other things....based only on this slim piece of interaction, totally ignoring the other evidence that suggested we were becoming colleagues and friends.

I guess it's possible that there had been a misunderstanding. Either way, my invitation would have allowed us to work that out too. 

I'm so glad I checked out my assumptions.

May 19, 2010

appreciative living

Have you noticed that there seems to be an increasing trend towards gratitude these days? How wonderful is that?!

I'm noticing blogs like 1000 Awesome Things and Leah's Daily Thank You Notes.  Locally a group of folks created Awesome Ottawa where once a month they pool $100 each to award someone with a $1000 grant to do something they consider Awesome!

I think the world needs more of these kind of interventions...and given their increased following... so does the world. 

About a year ago a friend gave me a book called The Joy of Appreciative Living. In it Jackie Kelm describes a study she did with about 30 participants over 28 days. The exercises were simple and pretty painless:
  • every morning write down three things you appreciate; take a moment to feel your gratitude for each of them.
  • ask yourself 'What is one thing I could do today, no matter how small, to increase my joy?'
  • once a week spend 15 minutes visioning your ideal joy-filled life
I've decided to take this on as part of my self care regime. I'll start here for today:
  • I appreciate:  IBprofin, the telephone, and hot tea
  • One thing I could do to increase my joy today: spend some time in my hammock listening to the creek, drinking in the sun

Would you like to join me? It would be great to hear what brings you joy...or simply to learn if engaging in these exercises has affected your day to day experience of life.

From the sick couch,


living with what is

I have been sick with some kind of body flu since Sunday...ironically since being involved in a Wellness Gathering. Guess I must have shook one too many hands.

Of course this was the week I was going to get a lot of writing done. Nada. Instead I slept, drank copious quantities of water and herbal tea, read, and simply slowed down. Another opportunity to practice letting go and going with what is. Getting pissed off wasn't going to change anything.

Tomorrow I am slated to facilitate a team retreat. I am counting on things being better by tonight so I can drive in. We shall see what my body says.

How do you handle being sick? How do you support yourself?

May 12, 2010

keeping deadlines

I'm at Bridgehead, my office away from home, trying to beat the clock (and the end of my one hour access) to post a post.

I've played with four possibilities so far: resilience, a comment on a TED talk, a reflection on a journal article about social change, and  a commentary on a team process I'm involved with right now. None feel ready to go.

So I'm here simply writing about deadlines...self imposed ones. I want to try to keep to Wednesday's at 5:00 - no real reason other than to have a deadline. I work better with them I've discovered. I had given up ... but with minutes to go I decided that even just this simple post is enough.

What helps you stay committed to whatever you're trying to do in your life? 

(let's see if I'm still connected....)

May 5, 2010

self support - know thy self!

I've resumed my self care rituals. Just by doing that I already feel better. Helping myself, doing what I can with what I have some control over, does wonders for the psyche!

A self care routine for me means starting my day with a walk. Not only am I moving my body I'm also taking time to notice my environment, the colours of the season, the mood of the sky, my own breathe.

When I return home I drink some water and then find my way to my yoga mat. Delicious, slow stretches help me notice and pay homage to this body that despite the various aches and pains does a pretty good job of taking me through the world. Appreciating all the many parts that are working well and being compassionate with the parts that need some TLC. The monkey brain continues to chatter but every once in awhile I remember to let it go and just notice my breathe.

From this place of relaxed openness I let loose in my journal. This is where I allow all those thoughts, feelings, dreams, ideas and 'to do' lists to spill out on the page. No holding back. No need to think about spelling, punctuation or style...just steam of consciousness. It is often cathartic and insightful!


Being a Queen of Self Sabotage, I figure it would be useful to take note of the things that help support me following through on this self care commitment.

1) Have my walking/yoga clothes ready for me to jump into as soon as I wake up. I've already decided that this is the best thing for me so no need to debate, dither or be distracted by searching for the right top; just get dressed, drink some water and get out the door!

2) Refrain from 'just a quick peek at my emails first'. That's a big distraction that often is assured to bump me off my track. A way to help with that would be to turn off my computer completely at night. When it's on and ready to go it's a bigger temptation. I tell myself it will be just a quick check. But it's never quick.

3) Get up early enough so that the phone doesn't start ringing while I'm in my routine, pulling me into my work day. Early means I get to enjoy that special quality of morning light and air too. This of course suggests I get to bed a bit earlier...enough quality sleep is certainly a smart part of any self nurturing ritual.

There's a bonus feeling when you walk your talk, when you do what you said you will do, when you work around your saboteur. By taking the time to take care of me I am now more able to meet and greet the rest of the world and it's needs - guilt free and grounded.

How are you supporting yourself through whatever transition you're in? What are you doing to by-pass your self saboteur?

I encourage you to post a comment - your way might just give someone else an idea for themselves.

Breathe Big,