How We Carry the Torch

When we are little, we have a very blurred line between need and want. As part of our attachment system, and the inherent knowledge that we can’t survive without our caregivers, we are quite egocentric as children. As our rational brain develops, we begin to think of ourselves outside of others and by adulthood, have a much clearer delineation between what we need and what we want (or at least we hope so!)

As a result of our egocentricity, we internalize everything as children. This includes messages that get repeated to us, both spoken and unspoken; resulting in core beliefs that can often define who we are. If for example, the message we consistently received is “you can do this; try your best,” we learn with time that we have the power within us to achieve our goals; a good core belief to have. If, however, the message we have received is “nothing you do is good enough,” that also follows us as we navigate through life.

When we are children, we are powerless to change core beliefs; they become an ingrained part of our self-identity and as a result feel very real. Once we bridge over into adulthood, we often “carry the torch,” unbeknownst to us that we have the ability to influence and change our negative core beliefs. Our rational brain certainly has the capacity to begin to question how we identify ourselves, but very often, we lean into what we feel to be true, creating a self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way; forever imprisoned by our negative core beliefs. Tomorrow’s post will address how to begin the process of challenging those very messages that affect the decisions we make in life.

Photo credit:https://unsplash.com/@olgabast

 

 

When the Sun is Setting

What a lovely passage by Morgan Harper Nichols:

And in those moments where the sun is setting

and the house is quiet and you are weary from the day,

may you know that there is grace for you in that space,

and no amount of heaviness or loneliness can take

that away. And because of that grace, you are free to slow 

down. You are free to breathe and rest, no matter the 

things not sorted out. There might be some mystery here,

and there might be longing, wondering and waiting, but

 there will also be boundless peace that goes beyond

any understanding, running wild like a river

through everything, no matter how heavy these moments 

feel. So rest easy, when evening is approaching. Tomorrow

is surely coming, but in the hours in between, 

you are free to rest till then.

– Morgan Harper Nichols

Photo credit:https://unsplash.com/@mullins

Balance for Well-Being

There are five areas of our life that help contribute to our overall level of satisfaction; our work, our intimate/family relationships, our spiritual life, our sense of self and our social life. If we are able to achieve a good sense of balance, and feel as though these areas are for the most part in our control, we feel more secure in our sense of well-being.

There are times however, when we feel out of balance and perhaps one or two of the areas are not in our control as much as we’d like them to be which will require some inquiry and some re-shifting of priorities. A good exercise in exploration is to write down each of these areas and jot down the things you are doing to nourish them; focusing as well on the goals you would like to have in each one. Questions that can also help are ones such as: “Am I putting more into my work than I am into my partner or family? Am I connecting with friends as often as I should? How am I feeding my soul? Am I getting enough exercise? Time outside? Am I finding time to have fun? To laugh?”

Understanding and making conscious decisions in these areas of our lives creates a greater sense of agency and a feeling of simplicity; for it is in our appreciation of stability and equilibrium that our well-being rests and is most content.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@coltonsturgeon

 

June is Indigenous History Month

June is Indigenous History Month in Canada. It is a time to recognize the cultures and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples. It is also a time to recognize the contributions and resiliency of Indigenous people.

Part of our acknowledgement process comes from educating ourselves to the culture and history of Indigenous people. One way to do this is to register for a free online course being offered through the University of Alberta: https://www.coursera.org/learn/indigenous-canada 

History through story is also a way that we can appreciate the resiliency of Indigenous people. Two books that may interest you (that I highly recommend) include:

“From the Ashes” by Jesse Thistle; a memoir that chronicles Jesse’s life on the streets and how he overcame addiction and intergenerational trauma in order to truly embrace his Indigenous culture. Learn more by visiting Jesse’s website: https://jessethistle.com/ 

“Five Little Indians” by Michelle Good. Reading this book allowed me to gain a greater understanding of residential school survivors and the haunting effects of colonialism. Learn more: https://www.michellegood.ca/ 

“Some people naively think they can hijack or control or harness the wind driving this movement forward. Any effort to do this will fail, because the energy behind this awakening, this force, is coming from all directions. Don’t just believe me, go outside and, using your own breath, try to blow back the wind in the direction from which it comes. Think of the drum, the heartbeat, the songs, and how all these beautiful sounds roll into an echo carried by that wind from the ancestors through to the lives of our children’s children.” – Michelle Good, Five Little Indians. 

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@andrewjoegeorge

Four Practical Tips to Reduce Stress

We all know both the physical and emotional toll that stress can take on us. Here are four practical tips in reducing every day, life-catches-up-to-us, stress:

  • Prepare for the next day. An evening routine that allows us to plan for the next day helps us to feel that we are one step ahead of the stress. This can include making tomorrow’s lunch(es), setting out the outfit you intend to wear, checking your calendar and writing out a to-do list. Sometimes neatening the house can help bring closure to the day; it also separates one day to the next by creating a fresh start.
  • Move. Find ways to move your body throughout the day. It can be a short walk at lunch (fresh air always help to reset our system), taking a walk-about the office every hour, using the stairs instead of the elevator, some in-office stretches, exercising before or after work, taking an evening stroll with the family. Movement is a mood booster and is meditation in motion.
  •  Soothe your comfort system. This might include soothing music, having a lit candle, using essential oils, making a warm cup of tea and some periodic deep breathing. When we keep our comfort system as top priority, we can easily add these types of things to our day.
  • Create moments of joy and gratitude. Our day is fully realized when we are able to laugh, feel joy, and are able to feel thankful. When we are overwhelmed, we tend to put fun and play on the back burner. By building moments of joy and gratitude into our day, we help to counter the harsh effects of stress.

As we can see from this list, there is a fair amount of planning when aiming to reduce stress. Although this may seem like one more thing to do, when we manage our time to include movement and moments that promote feeling settled, we are one step ahead of the game as it has moved us from being reactive to proactive. We can’t really escape stress but we can temper its effects. 🙂

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@carlijeen

Disney Quotes to Uplift

We all need the wise words of Disney characters once in awhile. Here are some favourites:

“Never let your wings be stolen from you.” – Maleficent

“The cover is not the book, so open it up and take a look.” – Mary Poppins

“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” – Rafiki

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh

“Happiness is the richest thing we will ever own.” – Donald Duck

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” — Eeyore

 

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@nixcreative

 

 

Ringing in the New Year

Here we are – on the cusp of a new year. I would say that most people are probably pretty happy to bid 2021 goodbye – the pandemic owned this one for most of us. As I remarked in yesterday’s post however, there is always much to be thankful for.

This week between Christmas and New Year’s is often one of reflection. We have moved on from the hustle and bustle of Christmas, enjoyed the magic once more that surrounds the holiday, and have moved into being a bit more reflective in the space that slowing down always allows us to do. We sometimes can get into organization mode as make room for the new gifts received. We may catch up with old friends, take some longer walks, linger over our coffee, watch a movie or two.

I always appreciate the space coming into a new year as a time to think about the past year and plan for the new one. Some like to solidify those plans with resolutions; for others, it is simply a time to quietly reflect. In any case, a new year always brings with it some hope, a sense of renewal and blessings ahead. Perhaps that can be our focus as we make a toast to the year past and to the one that faces us – to live with courage, grace, faith, and the knowledge that we have within us what it takes to live with intention.

Photo credit: Me!

Grateful for 2021

It is almost hard to believe that title. I fully intended to travel this past year as I was sure that things would return to normal. When I bought my Christmas themed mask in 2020, I didn’t think I would be wearing it again this year. And we are entering 2022 much in the same way as we did last year – with uncertainty, restrictions in place, and not knowing when this pandemic will ease its hold.

And yet I still have much to be grateful for. Every day I walk in the woods; the skies in the morning help me to strengthen my faith and remind me of the stillness within me. I relish the time spent with my partner and our families – the bonfires, the family suppers, the game nights, camping weekends and holidays seeped in tradition.

I was able to experience a girls weekend with my high school friends – so good for the soul. I love my work and am grateful for every client whom I have had the privilege of learning with in the past year.

I lost my beloved Great Dane last March and yet I am so grateful for the love of a good dog – Cricket gave me 12 years of loyal companionship.

I continue to be thankful for the grief surrounding the loss of my parents; there isn’t a day that goes by that they aren’t with me in some way and it strengthens the blessings of my childhood.

I am grateful for being able to see my Aunt Rita this Christmas as she travelled from Massachusetts – we wrote to each other for the past two years, had phone and Zoom chats; but nothing compares to being able to hug her and spend precious time together.

2021 will go down in history; yet the ordinary still exists. It is in that space that I am most thankful; for the small things show us why the big things matter.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@wizwow

 

Merry Christmas

 

From

my family

to yours, I wish you peace

 on this day. May you feel blessed;

may you have moments of joy, may you feel

content and full. May you feel the magic of Christmas.

May you find comfort and warmth in your family and friends.

May you feel love.

Kris, xo

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@eleonoralbasi

 

A Quote About the Storms of Life

Thank you to my friend Gurlie who sent this quote my way:

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.” – Unknown

When we are in the midst of a storm, we are often preoccupied. We are focused on what is happening outside, we are at times anxious, wondering if we should be taking greater shelter, we are focused on the unknowns and we worry about the aftermath.

When we are challenged by a storm in our own life, we often focused on the unanswered question of “why?” This is a natural response as we are curious creatures; we also feel comforted by knowledge and understanding. Sometimes we will never get the why question answered. Sometimes we get the answer years later.

It is important while in the midst of the storm to not get too preoccupied with the storm itself; rather to try and ride the storm, seeking shelter in our support system and having faith that we are going to be okay. If we never weather the storm, we also won’t see the rainbow when we step outside.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

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