Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Celebrating Growth

This time of year is often a time of closing down and moving on. 

You might spend a portion of your day in a real classroom, standing in the front or you might be real student reclining in the back row. In these instances, you are measured.

When you were a youngster, your family likely purchased photos of your growth. You were able to see what had changed in the past months. Like this little Miss, everyone could see your growth, and guess what? Take my word for it, she's smiling. She knows she's changed, she's literally reached new heights (sorry, I couldn't resist) and she's proud of it.

Celebrating Growth

But as we become bigger, we forget about keeping track of these things. We don’t always document how we’ve grown, there is no measuring tool for our step by step accomplishments.

There is a wonderful quote that says,

“We overestimate what we can do in one day, 
and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year/decade..” 

(By the way, this quote has been attached to many from Bill Gates to Matthew Kelly to Tony Robbins. If you know who first said this, please drop me a line.) Unlike the youngster whose size you see here, we do not necessarily recognize our own growth.

Much like my Feel Good File – where I keep emails sent to me over the years which encourage me or give me thanks, I suggest we all keep a running list of our accomplishments. 

  • Jot down that big sale you made (and why you think you made it )
  • Scribble down your first 10km run with a big star on your calendar (and how you can’t wait to do it again)
  • Do a happy dance when you get your 100th Follower on any Social Media platform (and acknowledge what you did to get there)
  • Tell everyone the day you do your first perfect tumble at the end of the swim lane without-getting-water-up-your-nose (and how you are no longer afraid)
  • Whatever you do, be happy that you have touched someone's life (smile!)

Mark these steps down, we need to celebrate them, because they are all a part of our growth. And then we can use them for motivation when our spirit is lagging... and to share with others.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I’m Sorry, and I Really Have to Say This, Thanks

We are constantly saying Sorry. Do we mean it, and if so there shouldn’t really be a need for a second apology for the same offense? Right?

I'm Sorry, and Thanks. Pixabay Courtesy of Ben_Kerckx

We say Sorry in a hundred different ways. Sorry I took the last piece of banana loaf but... Sorry I was late but... Sorry I spent the money but... Why do people add the “But”? Please don’t justify. Please don’t make excuses. Please explain WHY you’re Sorry.

Like many of you reading this, I learned about the shallowness of Sorry for a long period of my life. If you’ve ever been the recipient of this kind of Sorry, you too will remember those circumstances. Many times you would have heard it through the speaker’s bashfulness, their tears, their supposed remorse.

Yes, there are people who feel that their Sorry is all that's needed.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Silence - Sacred Opportunity

Especially in silence we can read volumes. What did she mean? Why did he say that?

We are bound by words. Sometimes carefully chosen, sometimes thrown in frustration or anger. We mean them and we lie through them. We give the right impression or we fling outward what comes to our minds. We don’t always censure when we should. We speak in whispers in the sanctum of a church, and raise our voices loudly above the blaring music in the neighbourhood bar.

Sacred Opportunity
We say, we’ll “try” to get someone off our back. We’ll try…to meet for coffee, get you that recipe, make an intro call to someone helpful. We use words to impress others, who we know, what we’ve done, what we have. Are we using our words to motivate or to manipulate? Only we know. Or perhaps we don’t.

But in our silence, we must stop and count our breaths, in and out, effortless, hear the heartbeat, feel the ache in our hearts. Are we lonely, feeling abandoned, changing direction? Are we joyful, grateful, fulfilled?

Quiet, the equalizer, the tormentor, the warrior, the hero.

So many ways we can use quiet. To scare, to humiliate, to isolate? To comfort, to enwrap, to protect? To worry, to make up stories, to forget?

Our words do not need to fill each space of silence. Because in those moments of silence, when we stop to contemplate, is when we define who we are.

Next time there is silence in our life, we might like to hold it sacred for the opportunity that it is. And then decide if our words are worth breaking it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Why Volunteer?

People ask me why I volunteer when I already have a full life. How do you fit it in?, they ask. My answer, How could I not?

Here’s a story about what I receive from volunteering.

Why Volunteer?
Anyone who knows me, knows how much I like words. The flow of a sentence that deems a sticky note on the side of the page. The quote that must be saved for future use. The image created by the words that are seared into your mind.

We all know that instant when you meet someone who has stayed in the same hostel you did in Machu Picchu, or someone who puts potato chips into their sandwich as you do. It is that kind of bond with a fellow word lover.

I met a lovely lady two decades my senior, dressed in a fashionable red jacket with ornate buttons, who loves words too. In our conversation about the type of books we prefer (non-fiction) we also discovered that we were both introverts, and liked garage sales. We talked about meditation, and simple living and connections however tenuous they might be with some family members. We both read because we both want to learn.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Put on Your Cape

You have a superpower. I know you do, I've glimpsed it every once in awhile. It might be your warped sense of humour or your laser-like focus when completing a task. And although most of us are shy to disclose it to the world, we are most ourselves when we are using our superpower.

Put on Your Cape, Pixabay Ben_Kerckx

For some strange reason, we are hesitant to talk about it because we feel that we will be labelled as "full of ourselves". Sometimes, we are just plain afraid to shine. We forget that this is our gift to give the world.

This morning as I left for my morning walk, I met my neighbour. You might remember him from Being Alone, Not Being Lonely. He is now 93 years old and he greeted me with "It's a beautiful morning, isn't it?" I'm out for my walk, he said. So am I, I replied.

In that brief instance I thought to myself, where will I be at 93? Will I still be committed, like my handsome neighbour, to start my day with a walk. To overlook my aches and pains and head out into the sunshine?