I was honoured to be asked to speak to a group of amazing women at Words of Wisdom this morning and you too can join in any Sunday. What personal wisdom if any I have is nothing new, but my experiences have helped shape me into who I am and how I became a person full of optimism and hope.
I started off my session with taking a few spins on these wheels, you may wish to take a few spins too here and here. It’s a fun way to escape the worries of the world.
Here are the slides from my presentation:
I hope you can see that around the bend . There is much to be grateful for and the best is yet to be. Had I not had a worldview that felt and believed in hope , I am not sure how my life would have turned out.
My wish for you is that you can see the best is yet to be.
It gets harder and harder to leave a place I love, leaving behind so many friends and family for yet another year. Being near the water brings me such a sense of peace, except when there is an expected hurricane of course, but that doesn’t happen very often.
I loved growing up near the sea. I love being near, listening to the sounds of the water and just looking out and observing the ever changing Mira River. I am connected to the beauty and the people here and each year I need to let go and go west. The coming and the going like the flow of the ocean, is what I am meant to do.
As I head back west I look forward to that chapter as my family and friends there too. I am connected deeply to both places. Fortunately for me I had the joy of growing up near the sea and can keep coming back.
Maintaining connections with great friends although I moved so far away so long ago, has allowed me to feel like I belong.
Growing up near the sea will always be a part of me.
We all need a reason to be. Maybe your reason is obvious and maybe not. It could be just around the corner and you can’t see it quite yet. Each of us will discover our own reason in our own way in our own time, So hold on tight. You have a purpose in being here.
Even though I sometimes say I don’t, I know I do take life for granted. Living through a pandemic makes you examine and reflect on your life. I know there are too many things that I have taken for granted. What about you?
Taking living life without a pandemic in it for granted. Now, listening to the sickness and deaths and tragedies of so many around the world and feeling powerless to stop it, but doing your part as best you can.
Not being able to see your best friend F2F.
The joys of inviting whoever you want for dinner.
Spending time with family and friends and not worrying how close you are to them or of they will get sick.
Walking around freely, not carrying the worries of the world on your shoulders.
Going to work, loving what you do without thinking that what you do could lead to someone being sick or worse.
Thinking your children have finally made it in the world, only now you worry about their security and what their future and the future of your potential grandchildren will look like.
Living life the best you know how, realizing you have reached retirement, but never imagining how the world would turn out in your lifetime.
The joys of having a girls weekend or a shopping trip or other small pleasure that you like doing..
The simple pleasures of going to a farmers market.
The small mundane things that are no longer mundane.
Life as you used to know it and so many other things that you still take for granted.
While these and many more things can be difficult , I choose to embrace every day and remember I can live life in the best way possible given some of the things I took or take for granted. I will seek out ways to enjoy what is, as it is for today.
Especially during this time everyone will have a story of how they got through Covid19 or what happened to them , a family member or friend.
Our role as helpers will be to listen and support, no matter the story. It won’t necessarily be easy as sometimes we may be triggered when listening to others. We are not perfect, I know I am not that’s for sure. I want to give myself an extra dose of compassion at this time as I too have had a range of emotions. Maybe you should too.
We are humans and our humanity makes us people who are often complex. Being the best person we can be is a lifetime venture, filled with many bumps along the way. Through this pandemic many will have gigantic bumps to deal with, my heart goes out to those that do.
As you and I both navigate this chapter in our lives may we do it with courage , grace , compassion and help others along the way that are struggling to the best of our ability, because everyone has a story that they may or may not be willing to share behind the smile..
This year more than any other year we will all need to take a mental vacation. Maybe you will need to take one hourly , daily or weekly whatever works for you.
Turn on a YouTube video with calming music. You can find one here in my virtual calm room. Then lay back in a comfortable space. If you are doing this from home make sure your space is a positive place for you to feel comfortable in. You may want to spice your working space up a bit . Add flowers and visuals that bring you joy.
Then close your eyes and breathe using the box breathing method. Think about a place you love and that feels safe for you. Personally , I always go to the beach in my mind. It might have something to do with all the summers I spent on beaches. I love the smells and the sounds of water. I picture being on the beach and waving my arms around in complete joy with a big smile on my face, but you do what works for you.
Take that mental vacation whenever you need it and ask anyone you want to join you in that space or just be by yourself and feel all the feels that make sense in the moment.
Sometimes life changes from one moment to the next,that’s why it is so important to capture the moments and seize the day. I like getting up early and going to bed fairly early. That way I can catch the sunrise and the beautiful sunsets. Last night I captured this photo out on a kayak ride on the river, but it was just a moment in time until the sun went down.
This morning I caught the sunrise and took time to just breathe in the calm. Life especially during the pandemic is precarious , so when the moments come pay attention and enjoy them. I know I will.
Each day we have a new opportunity to look at our life from a new perspective. We are never sure what life will bring us as is evident from this pandemic and all that happens to people we love and know. No one gets through life without bumps along the way. No matter what challenges we may encounter , how we perceive them is up to us.
As I walk, I notice the world around me and have time to reflect on how I will deal with life. Today is my opportunity to devour all the goodness that life has to offer and so I will.
After not having walked for 14 days , it has been great to get out the last couple of days. Two years ago I set a goal to walk every single day from July 1st to July 1st and I met my goal. Last year and this year I was unable to walk every single day due to unfortunate circumstances. I would have been very disappointed in not being able to reach my goal had I set that goal for this year. Sometimes goals are like that, things get in the way, but we need to keep moving forward. This year I made a goal of writing in my blog every single day. I just need to take each day and do the best I can. Really it’s just about leaving something behind that my children can hopefully read someday and tell our future grandchildren a bit about their grandmother.
I also write in this blog to help School Counsellors, but this year it’s going to be a bit more personal.
Walking is healing for me. I miss it I am unable to walk, so if you like to walk #walkalongwithme . I’ve been at this for awhile now and I have no intention of stopping.
I could not be prouder to volunteer with the Youth Champion Initiative . What the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre , Youth Smarts Calgary and Canadian Mental Health do to support our youth is inspiring and so extremely important. I love that I am able to help in a tiny way . Kim Campbell and Ashley Lamantia lead the way to help youth day in and day out. Thanks for all you do all year-long.
The real reason I volunteer for this initiative is that if I can help in some small way to promote the work that Sheldon Kennedy has already done and is doing to make a difference for youth, especially when it comes to child abuse and sexual abuse, then I too can feel like I have contributed . I can be very proud to stand up and say I have done my very small part to open the door to this discussion and be a part of the incredible work already being done. I can celebrate students and staff who also want to make a difference when it comes to child advocacy.
According to the SKCAC in 2008 there were 14,403 substantiated cases of child abuse in Alberta. 7091 infants , youth and children were seen at the centre and 124 new cases are assessed each month.
Mental health and trauma affect way too many of our students , so collaborating with people who are continuing to have an impact makes me feel I have contributed to a society that cares about the mental health and the wellbeing of our youth and that is something for me that is so worthy of doing!