Jul 28, 2010


The capacity to overcome adversity...is that what resilience is?

Reslilence makes me think of tender seedlings we put out gradually in the spring so that they can build up their ability to cope with the big out doors and it's varying weather and other conditions. We want the plants to become hardy, tough, strong, flexible...and to develop deep roots.

In terms of people, is that what exposing us to hardships is supposed to do, toughen up our skin, make us less sensitive? Not sure that's what I would want. I like being sensitive. It allows me to enjoy so many delicious and curious sensory experiences - it makes living come alive! On the other hand, I could stand to take things less personally at times. How much time and energy have I wasted in getting bent out of shape to only later acknowledge how out of  proportion my response was? (retorical question!)

In steps flexibility with the skill of discernment - teaching us through experiences when to pay attention and when to let things slide. Teaching us to bend and sway so as not to break. Deep roots are part of what supports that flexibility.

I see my roots as the values and beliefs that guide and strengthen me - both in times of trouble and joy. My roots also provide a lens with which I percieve and interepret my life experiences. I can attest to the difference it makes when I am able to turn an obstacle or a disappointment into an opportunity (car in garage = time to write; economic downturn = creative sabbatical) vs. when I stay stuck in negative, woe is me mode.

Right now I'm surely getting tested on the financial front: slow year work wise, the Revenue Quebec saga (yup it continues), and most recently a large unexpected car repair bill. Can't say that it's been fun but underneath it all there's a sense of trust - in myself and in the world around me - that it'll all work out, that I'll handle it, that this too shall pass.  I believe I have the assets and creative mindset to find my way...one day, one bill, one reframe at a time...and so I do!

Perhaps resilience is less about overcoming adversity and more about working with it, greeting it with grace, acceptance and trust. And acknowledging that it will take a lot of trial and error, self awareness and loads of support to find your way!

How does resilience show up for you?

Jul 21, 2010

late again

OK this makes two Wednesday's in a row that I'm 'late' with my blog. Is this the proverbial slippery slope? Am I losing my commitment? Don't think so...just circumstances. Last week I was heading out on a canoe trip and today I was facilitating a group.

I suppose I could reason that knowing I was going to be busy with these things I could have created my entry earlier. True. OK - so maybe I am slipping. No need to beat myself up, just notice and focus.

So what am I noticing? That I've been suddenly busy again. This means I've allowed my relatively regular journal writing practice to fall away. Also haven't managed to be consistent with my usual morning walk or yoga time. I realize these are the times that I tune into myself, into my world and my thoughts and feelings about it. It's when idea's come forward or are at least heard.

It's time to renew my commitment to these rituals in order to keep my writing vision alive.

And focus. Yes the focal point has certainly shifted these days. The 'plan' (a vague idea in my head) has now moved into the implementation phase.  Tenant has been found. The move is imminent. No more thinking about what to purge...it's now time to actually sort, chose and let go of things. Always easier in ones mind than in reality. But I will persist. I'm both making lists and enlisting support. Action is very close at hand. Maybe even as soon as tomorrow. :)

Jul 14, 2010

a celebration of life

Went to a celebration of life - otherwise known as a memorial - yesterday. I was moved to tears and to laughter as those who spoke revealed their relationship with a man who had lived his life large.

Daughter, sister, boss, friend, granddaughter...each spoke about what both inspired and frustrated (even infuriated) them in their interactions with him. They spoke honestly, candidly and often with humour. Here was a man who had not hidden his talents nor his limitations. Jim was always Jim.

Various objects were brought forward; Jim's clarinet teased out stories of music and learning new skills. His paddle reminded us of his wood working prowess as well as his canoeing adventures in remote wilderness areas. The most startling and revealing of objects displayed were his legs, his two prosthesis, dressed in his socks and running shoes. These truly did encapsulate Jim's character.

In his 80's Jim lost both his legs below the knee to diabetes. Despite a myriad of other health issues on top of the diabetes, Jim was determined to make walking again his last adventure...and he did it. He also showed his leg stumps to anyone who was interested (or even those not). I believe this kind of openness helped many be comfortable with the changes. In health and in illness Jim was himself - forceful, directive, warm, interested, curious and it seemed to me, fully in love with life.

Not sure if Jim ever asked himself what he hoped would be said about himself or his life ....but I believe he would have both agreed and approved of what transpired yesterday. I'm glad he was a part of my life.

Tomorrow I head out on my own canoe adventure. Perhaps the spirit of Jim will accompany me as I ponder my current path and what living my life large means for me.

Jul 7, 2010

fighting fair

Well Revenue Quebec is certainly testing my commitment to trusting the process and going with the flow these days. I received another letter claiming I haven't paid them adequately enough for several past taxation years. Huh?!?

The last letter I received a month or so ago, claiming I'd not paid my 2009 taxes in full, we were able to prove their error. Before that, back in April, an audit of 2006 turned up an expense that was deemed unacceptable, resulting in me paying the difference now. My attempt to defend the expense, already seen as appropriate by the professional bookkeeper and accountant I hire to help me interpret these things, only resulted in an extra interest charge of $170 for the delay. I don't get it!

No business person knows it all. I feel I am doing my fair share of due diligence in hiring professional and respected folks to decipher the rules in area's that are not my expertise. Mistakes happen - we are all human - but let's fight fair. Allow time to review the different perspectives and interpretations, to clarify any rules that are ambiguous - without penalizing the small business person in that process.

I'm thinking it may be time to speak out, take this to my MPP or some form of ombudsman for the small business person. I've seen research that suggests that the small and medium businesses are an important part of our Canadian economy. I believe in accountability and oversight...but it should work both ways. Let's not have policies that work at cross purposes: some designed to create a supportive and nurturing environment while others erode and destroy.

Not quite sure what the lesson is for me in this experience yet. Perhaps it's about finding different ways to fight for my rights and beliefs even in the face of what feels like a formidable power. All suggestions on how to proceed most welcomed!