How the Earth Can Ground Us

I love the cool nights we have been experiencing. Windows open, waking up to the sound of crickets, the cool air settled at your feet; by midday, the sun strong and ready to fill you with its warmth. It is  a reminder that the seasons are soon changing, to enjoy the still summery temperatures of end of August, before we begin to reach for a sweater when heading out the door.

The earth grounds us. Being in nature heals us. Experiencing the changes, the cyclical transformation of the seasons; to be able to enjoy and absorb the full colours and scents of each, that is tied to our spirit.

Victoria Erickson says this about nature;

“Don’t dismiss the elements. Water soothes and heals. Air refreshes and revives. Earth grounds and holds. Fire is a burning reminder of our own will and creative power. Breathe them in. Swallow their spells. There’s a certain sweet comfort in knowing that you belong to them all.” – Victoria Erickson

The earth grounds us. Using nature as one of our daily anchors allows us to also feel the inherent peace that it brings; good for the soul, soothing to the heart.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

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Off to College and Coping with Empty Nest

If we have children, we will inevitably reach the day when they are heading off to college. The transition will most likely bring a mix of emotions, as the adolescent is stepping closer to independence and adulthood. Coming into that move-in weekend can bring some anticipatory anxiety, and as parents, our attention is often focused on the child’s emotions and getting them geared up and calmed down. We load up the mini-van, pack the Kraft Dinner and get pulled into the busy couple of days of getting them settled in.

And then we come home. Although Empty-Nest Syndrome is not a clinical disorder, it can be a very real experience for many parents. Characterized by feelings of sadness, depression, loneliness, loss and a re-ordering of one’s purpose, we can often struggle with the transition ourselves.  Here are some tips for dealing with our empty nest:

  • Mitigate the feelings through having regular contact with your child. Although we want to be able to shelter them from our own feelings (this is their time), it will help to be able to text, begin Face-timing, and have an overall sense that you are touching base.
  • Reach out to others for support. Talk to other friends who have been there, lean on your trusted co-workers, make sure to plan coffee dates if you are feeling the blues.
  • Self-care, self-care, self-care. Make sure that you are checking in with yourself and putting an effort into daily anchors.
  • Shift your focus. It is okay to begin to see your life in a different way. Be curious as to how you want to spend some of your opened-up schedule; with your partner, things that interest you, exercise, and so forth.
  • Seek professional advice. Talk to a therapist if you feel the struggle is reaching an overwhelming place.

Our children heading to college; an exciting time but also an emotional one. A time of important growth – both for them and for us. 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Luke Brugger on Unsplash

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10 Life Lessons for Kids

The following advice comes from a “Raising Teens Today” meme that my partner shared on Facebook:

10 Lessons I Want to Instill in My Kids

If you make a mistake, apologize

If you’re thankful, show it.

If you’re confused, ask questions.

If you learn something. teach others.

If you’re stuck, ask for help.

If you’re wrong, fess up.

If you love someone, tell them.

If you trip, get back up.

If someone needs help, help them.

If you see wrong, take a stance.

What a lovely, yet simple, back-to-basics guide – not only for our children, but for ourselves as well. As this quote by David Bly best demonstrates “Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be.”

Check out the Raising Teens Today website; lots of great articles and blog posts!

Photo credit: http://Photo by Patrick Buck on Unsplash

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An App for People on the Autism Spectrum

In a recent article entitled, “Autistic Teenager Creates App To Help People On the Spectrum” by Nicholas Fearn and featured on Forbes, we meet Ethan Shallcross, an eighteen year old software developer who has created an App for people on the autism spectrum. Created with his own experience in mind, he says:

“The app has been built with people on the autism spectrum in mind, and has influenced the design and functionality of the entire app. However, it is not just for people on the autism spectrum. People who have high anxiety, are frequently burnt out, or struggle with their mental health may also find it useful.”

The App, named Aumi (search for the one that has Ethan’s name associated with it), features a mood-tracking widget, an energy accounting tool to help prevent burnout, a planner, and a feature that creates profiles to make it easier for users to tell others about themselves in situations where they may struggle with communication.

What a wonderful resource for those struggling to manage levels of sensitivity. To read the full article:

Photo credit: http://Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

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A Little Reminder about Fear

I came across this writing by Brianna Wiest:

“Of all the things you can clean and fix in your life, fear is not one of them. It will always be there, a gentle humming undercurrent to whatever it is you do. It can be loud or it can be soft. You can try to hold it back or you can learn to coexist with it, to nod to it as you pull away from the shore. You cannot cleanse yourself from fear, nor should you. It’s how you learn to live in spite of it, the mental strength you develop to listen to your best self, not your most scared one, that will be the point of your evolution. Your fear is not a problem you can fix. It is part of you, as valid as all the rest, that needs to be cared for, and settled with, and slowly quieted over time.”

Fear is an innate feeling, tied to our survival brain; as a result, we are geared to look for danger, both real and perceived. But we can work with fear, we can examine it, question it. We can use curiousity to temper it. We can work to quiet it over time.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Amruth Pillai on Unsplash

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Goldie Hawn’s Reflection on Therapy

In a recent podcast I was listening to entitled “Oprah’s Master Class: The Podcast” featuring Goldie Hawn, she speaks about a time in her life when she was struggling with depression, and subsequently made the decision to go to therapy. This is what she had to say about the process:

“I became depressed. I felt that I was detached; detached from everything I knew. I was afraid I was never going home again. So I then saw a doctor. I wanted help. I started to go back, from the beginning, to remember all of the aspects of my life, with all of the fears – remembering all of these little things that you think just don’t matter. You think to yourself, ‘Oh I dealt with that,’ and I realized that I didn’t really deal with it. I didn’t really go back and look at it. So in a way, I went on one side of the river; I really dove right in the river – my psyche, my being, my intellectualizing, my emotions, my uncertainty – I dove in the river. I didn’t find a bridge to go over it, I didn’t say ‘Hey I’m going to do a couple of quick therapy sessions and I’m going to be cool,’ I went for nine years. It was the most extraordinary experience of my life.”

There is a value to exploration. There is a value to self-reflection. Sometimes we have to push past our fears – fearful that we won’t be able to handle the truth of something, fearful that we won’t be able to change something, fearful that we will discover a reality we have been denying. Going to therapy allows you to be curious, and curiousity always tempers fear. But the best part? Is that therapy allows you to do so with another person, to walk down that fearful path with a trusted companion. It is the relationship that heals 🙂

To listen to the full episode:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash

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The Deeper Meaning of Clutter

I came across this quote:

“You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are full of yesterday’s clutter.” – Louise Smith

Although I suspect that the deeper meaning of this quote is about how being stuck in our past can hinder our future, I like the quote for its tangible reference to clutter.

It is interesting to me how many clients, when having achieved a sense of movement forward, will often begin by cleaning their homes of its clutter. They will admit that their houses have been neglected, that they have stopped putting effort into the organization of their  everyday environment. Just as their effort to organize their own lives has fallen to the wayside.

Our homes are often a reflection of how we feel inside; as a result, it is often part of our human experience to adjust our environment with life changing events. We can begin to organize and “build the nest” when we are expecting a baby, just like we can re-organize rooms during our empty nest phase. After a separation, we re-do our bedroom as a way to reclaim the space.

When we begin to feel as though we are back on the right track, we want our home to be tidier, neater. By reducing the clutter, we reduce the things that do not matter, focusing instead on meaning, purpose and ultimately a feeling of contentment. Looking about at our neater space, we can feel a certain satisfaction that we feel rooted to the space around us, bringing us comfort and a feeling of faith in ourselves.

There is a deeper meaning to clutter 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Oliver Hale on Unsplash

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3 ways of Holding Space for Others

What does it mean to ‘hold space’ for another person? Sometimes a loved one comes to us with their challenges or their concerns. Sometimes it can be about something we may have done that has upset them; other times they may be sharing an experience outside of their relationship to us. Essentially, when we hold space for someone, our intention is to be present and invested to their experience. 3 ways to achieve this include:

  • Place your intention in listening as to understand what they are saying, not as to respond. In other words, when you hold space for someone, it isn’t necessarily to give advice or to tell them what you would do (unless they specifically ask.) Your intention is simply to listen so that you can gain an understanding of what they are going through.
  • Trust that they can take care of themselves. This can be a tough one if you are holding space for your child, or someone who tends to land in a ‘poor me’ place a lot. It means being aware of your own need to fix, be responsible for, judge their experience. Part of holding space for others includes believing that they have the ability to take care of their own needs and choose their own direction.
  • Help by naming their emotions. Sometimes people get trapped in the expanse of their emotions. Holding space for someone can be about gently pointing out what they are reflecting to you by way of deeper emotions. An example might be “I can see how angry this is making you; perhaps it is also making you feel sad.” Sometimes naming the emotion helps to bring it to the surface.

Holding space for someone is about intention. It is a lovely gift that we can give to others; it is a lovely gift to receive.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Matthew Fournier on Unsplash

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Tea and Treats

My girlfriend owns and runs a soap making business. She has a few employees who work to support the business; either in the shoppe, the production room, the gardens (they are extensive – and beautiful) or in helping to market the business. As anyone who is self-employed knows, there is always plenty of work to be done.

One of the things that Tara does every day with her employees is to take an afternoon break to have “tea and treats.”  It is in addition of course to their half hour lunch, but she explained that it is a way for her to be able to connect with the people that work with her. It is a time for everyone to have a little rest, but more importantly, it is a rest that feeds the comfort system.

What a wonderful way to appreciate the contribution of your employees. There is something to be said for the managers and owners of companies who work from the position of recognizing how each person in an organization contributes to its mission; from the ones who make the big decisions, to the person who cleans the offices at night after everyone has gone home. When we can operate from a place of appreciating everyone’s role, we gather everyone into the same circle.

Kudos to my friend Tara for “tea and treats;” what a lovely way to foster connection, appreciation and camaraderie.

Her business is located in Vankleek Hill, Ontario and is called Garden Path Homemade Soap. Garden Path is also a certified Monarch Way Station; a part of their effort to raise monarchs on their property, thereby increasing their population. To learn more about their products and gardens, visit their website at:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

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Letting Go of Love

I was recently asked this question “How do I let go of someone that I still love? How can I get used to the idea of him with someone else?” This was in response to someone who’s recent break up was difficult, yet necessary.

We spoke of two things:

  • Healthy detachment. It is a process we all have to go through in break -up. It begins when we start to acknowledge that the relationship is not working or this person is not right for us (this process can begin while in the relationship.) Once the break up occurs, it becomes important to remind ourselves that “it is time to let go.” Sometimes this will have to happen many times a day; we can use it as a positive affirmation that the decision was the right one, regardless of how painful it is.
  • Do the work in exploring what you want in a future relationship. When you’re ready, begin by exploring both the good and the not-so-good aspects of the relationship. Figure out what qualities you want from an ideal partner. By doing some of your own exploration for the future, it begins to allow you to picture yourself with someone else which can help temper the natural, yet territorial emotions that crop up when thinking about your ex with a new partner. Shift your focus to you and what you need to move past those thoughts (perhaps using your positive affirmation will help.)

Break ups are never easy. They are part of our learning curve as to who we are. Being open to the process of self-reflection during a break up helps us to uncover patterns; leading us to a path where healthier relationships live.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

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