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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

3 Life Coaching Tips to Help Identify Your Personal Values

Personal Values

Clear Values

Clear Values from Chaos

One of the positive outcomes of going through a time of trouble, dissonance or chaos is that a time of chaos often precipitates a re-evaluation of personal values.

Values are the essence of who we are. Values are principles that you hold to be of worth in your life. Values are those things considered right, worthwhile, and desirable – the basis of guiding principles and standards. Examples of values are: honesty, integrity, freedom, community, social responsibility, authenticity etc. ‘Crystal values’ are those values that are so important that if not present in your life will cause your life to shatter. Think of what would happen if you dropped a crystal ball. ‘Rubber values’ are those values that you can drop for awhile with no problem and will come bouncing back when necessary. Think of what happens when you drop a rubber ball.

Getting really clear on the values that are most important to you, will give you a framework for making decisions, taking forward movement and assessing dissonance in your life.
Let me tell you about a client of mine. Carol had identified that she held ‘social responsibility’ and ‘respect for nature’ as very strong values. She found out that the company she was working for was pumping toxic waste into the local watershed. She decided that she could no longer work for that company and in fact, felt she needed to report the company for the poor environmental business practices. In spite of the fact that being unemployed was not attractive, Carol stayed true to her clear values and resigned. While she had to deal with some short- term financial issues, this decision was worth it to her as she gained so much in the areas of self-honoring and self respect.

Is how you live your life in sync with your personal values? If it is, you likely feel great, in balance and fulfilled. If how you are living your life is out of sync with your values, you may feel discontented, frustrated and not all there, kind of like you are living someone else’s life.

Use these Life coaching tips to give yourself the time to gain or re-gain clarity about your values and how you use your values in your life:

3 Life Coaching Tips to help determine your values:

1. Set aside about 30 minutes and first create a list of value words and then ponder and identify which ones are your crystal values and rubber values.  Most people find that they have about 4 crystal values and about 4-6 rubber values. Let me know if you need help with this exercise!
2. Think of a chaotic time in your life and ask yourself what role values or ‘values out of sync’ played in the chaos.
3. Acknowledge and honour yourself for Doug this exercise. It may seem simple, however having clear values is a foundational Life practice.Treat yourself to something special for doing this exercise with flowers, a candle lit bath, a new yummy book, or something totally unexpected.

Although gaining clarity on your values and how you use them is already a huge gift to yourself, it strengthens your commitment to live by your values if you also add in the treat!

 

 

Book Club: The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind

by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

Seldom do I read a book that captures my heart and imagination in the way of The Shadow of the Wind. 

I read it as a multilayered, multifaceted love story with all elements of the ‘human condition’, set in post war Barcelona, Spain.

As my quest is to read all  the Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction, it is not surprising that I found The Shadow of the Wind well written and compelling. What surprised and intrigued me was the depth of character development and insight into the yearning of a great love.

In my personal ‘book club’, The Shadow of the Wind ranks in my top 10 favourite fiction books of all time.

Life Balance 3 Tips to Improve Your Holistic Health

Building on the theme from recent posts about summer energy, poetry and living in alignment with nature and her cycles, let’s weave in some of the teachings of the Tao Te Ching as a foundational theme in creating life balance.

Being brought up in a Western family spiritually grounded in Christianity, I wasn’t exposed to the Tao until my 30’s while on a spiritual quest following a family crisis. Do you find that crises often lead to spiritual growth? It was after reading The Life of Pi by Yann Martel that I decided to go deeper with the learning about the Tao. This may be a funny way to deepen learning, ie from a very enjoyable novel, however it worked for me! Since that time, the books that have helped my western mind understand the Tao have been ‘The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu’ translated by Brian Browne Walker, ‘Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life: Living The Wisdom of the Tao’ by Wayne Dyer and ‘A Thousand Names For Joy: Living in Harmony With The Way Things Are’ by Byron Katie.

Byron Katie’s book I found to be particularly powerful.

As a life coach and executive/leadership coach, the women I work with are often challenged to find a balance or equilibrium between making conscious and strategic changes on the one hand and allowing the gentle flow of life on the other hand. Another way to describe this dynamic is seeing the balance between striving towards change and being drawn towards your future. The Tao seems to be very helpful for the second part of this equation. The Tao reminds us that life is like water, it resides in the low places, over time it carves out deep valleys and can move mountains, and it is hard to grasp. I have found that the more I try to figure the Tao out, the more complex it becomes and if I allow my entire self to be open to it, I ‘grasp’ it more easily. So, the life balance learning is about honouring the Tao of life and the Tao of you.

Life Balance Tips Using the Tao, remember the second part of the equation above, :

1. Read something about the Tao Te Ching, you can pick one of the books above or simply do a quick search on the internet.

2. Ask yourself how your life is or isn’t like the Tao?

3. One of the dominant themes of the Tao is about water and flow, spend lots of time in the water (for fun) and ask yourself what you feel drawn towards? Interesting imagery is to imagine that ‘life’ is a gently flowing river and you are floating down in a beautiful kayak, can it truly be this effortless? Might you run up into a log jam or two? Might the current of the river move you beyond it? Play with this image and sink into the energy of the Tao to bring more balance to your life.

3 Self Care Tips to Enhance Your Life

Happy and free

Do you ever find your self wondering exactly what does ‘self care’ mean? In my life coaching practice,  when discussing self care, I have many women ask me, “but isn’t it selfish to put myself first”? I like to ‘unpack’ and ‘repack’ the meaning of ‘self care’ together with my clients. My thinking about self care has been informed by the writing of Pema Chodron, Buddhist Nun and teacher.
In previous posts, I have included the phrases ‘motherly love’ and ‘compassion towards yourself’ as capturing the essence of self-care! Another word that fits into this discussion is “maitri”. Maitri is a Sanskrit word often translated as unconditional friendship with oneself. As mentioned, I first heard the word ‘maitri’ in the writings of Pema Chodron.

 

What strikes me is that as we can develop ‘unconditional friendship’ with ourselves, we bring compassion and a gentleness into our ‘self-care’ practice. Starting from gentleness and respect allows life to flow forth in quite a different way than striving towards the completion of projects. This is the practice of self compassion and anchors our lives in quite a different way. You can learn more about self compassion through the Center for Compassion Inspired Health.

 

So, explore the practice of unconditional friendship and self compassion with yourself and from a soft and gentle place, experiment with the following :

 

Self Care Tips:

1. Explore the concept of friendship, and consider if you hold yourself to a higher and different standard than you hold your friends ie are you more critical of yourself than you are of your friends?

2. Be extra gentle with yourself and notice when this is easy or difficult.

3. Mark the changing of the seasons in some way. You may wish to buy a new journal or prepare your garden or design another ritual that helps you say good bye to the season ending and ‘hello’ to the season on it’s way in or, if you are in an equinox, notice the uniqueness of the season.

 

“May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in beauty and joy each day.”

 

– Native American Proverb

Inspirational Quote Your Wild and Precious Life

Summer Flowers

Wild and Precious Flowers

One of my favourite poets is Mary Oliver and on this summer day her fabulous poem is a luscious read. I can actually hear the grasshoppers and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin while reading. As a life coach, I particularly love the last sentence about ‘your wild and precious life’ as it is a wonderfully inspiring quote and a great coaching question … :

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

By Mary Oliver

If you feel so inspired, try out some of these summer self care tips to enhance and elevate your ‘wild and precious life!

 

5 Simple Health Tips You Can Use Right Now to Improve Your Energy

Health Tips

Meditate and breathe

5 Simple Health Tips You Can Use Right Now

Its the simple and seemingly obvious health tips, if incorporated on a daily basis, that can have the greatest long term sustainable impact on your health!

Research indicates that for individuals to maintain a new behaviour, there needs to be at least one of the following factors: enjoyment, easy to incorporate, in line with life values, able to be self regulating and effortless. Check out the following health tips to see if there is a fit.

1. Stop every hour and take 5 minutes for gentle movement and deep breathing.

2. Eat only when you are hungry, not when you feel you should eat.

3. Sweat! Sweating on a daily basis is healthy and detoxifying. Since it is warm summer air in most parts of the world this should be fairly easy to accomplish!

4. Do some type of physical activity, sport or exercise that you enjoy.

5. Be mindful of your thought patterns and when you find yourself ‘creating stories’ and ‘getting lost in your thoughts’ simply focus back on your breath … taking three deep in and out breaths with soft focused attention can calm all your internal systems.

Happy 150 Birthday Canada | A Woman’s Perspective

Canada Day

    Happy 150th Birthday Canada

Canada turns 150! This past year particularly has provided plenty of opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Canadian and live in a country that currently is strongly supported by the values of diversity and inclusion. Sure there is a vocal small minority of hate mongers and yes, the Indigenous peoples have an absolute right to further reconciliation and reparations and health care needs must be addressed.

The majority of my Canadian ‘neighbours’ are friendly, open minded, open hearted, respectful, curious, genuinely great people with a subtle and sly sense of humour, possibly undetectable to those who don’t speak ‘Canadian’. This may be why we are considered polite, which of course we are, just on occasion with a bite to it (only if deserved of course).

Just as I love my fellow Canadians, I also love getting to know folks from other Countries and feel that mutual awareness and understanding is critical to a sense of collegiality and collaboration which can shift our world and worldview.

I’m going to revel in my Canadianness today as I do every July 1st, Olympic hockey final game and when I hear the National Anthem.

O Canada, here’s to you today!

Three Daily Habits to Make Happiness a Life Goal

Cultivate happiness

Can Happiness Be A Life Goal?

Do you have the ability to create happiness? How many of you believe that our emotions are beyond our control, kind of like we are passive recipients of our emotional state?

While acknowledging that the full range of emotions, including sadness, hurt and despair contribute to a well rounded and balanced life, I believe that it is possible to not only change our emotional state, but to also ‘prime’ our thoughts to make a positive emotional state or happiness more likely.

Drawing on the work of Barbara Fredrickson PhD, in the area of ‘Positive Psychology’, doing three small things daily can have an impact:

1. Remembering and savouring a positive social interaction, perhaps with a family member, friend or even your local barista.

2. Feeling gratitude for something or someone in your life.

3. Taking a few minutes to sit in mindful meditation each day.

In total, these three things could take as little as ten minutes a day, yet the impact would be mighty.

So, yes, cultivate happiness and enjoy the bounty that will flow your way.

The Importance of Personal Connection

 

The Importance of Personal Connection

I lost my mojo, my personal connection with my deep self essence for a few years. Upon reflection, it feels like walking out of a desert and seeing an oasis in the near distance. Shimmering, energizing and oh so nourishing, my essence draws me closer.

The reasons for the disconnect are many, multi-layered and complicated.

I strongly believe the period of ‘disconnect’ served an important purpose. In archetypal terms, I was doing deep ‘soul work’. I certainly smoothed out some rough edges of my ego.

The power of personal awareness and connection is one of the foundational tenets of the personal development movement and a thread woven throughout coaching. I can share that it sure feels great to be ‘finding myself again’ and I can’t wait to be writing more.

My personal spiritual connection has always been the anchor that keeps me grounded and enlivened. While in the past few years, I had my spiritual beliefs, the strong and steady spiritual connection had dimmed, it’s now back!

Wishing the highest and best for you today!

On Grieving, Loss and The Circle Of Life

In Honour of My Dad and to mark our family’s grieving …



Obituary

‘Carl Edward Johnson

Feb. 19, 1922 – Mar. 29, 2017
A few weeks after celebrating his 95th birthday, Carl Edward Johnson died March 29, 2017, in Surrey, BC. Not only did he not die in hospital, but wasn’t born in one either, rather on his parents’ homestead near Kinsella, AB, where he was next to the youngest of eight children. Growing up with little money and no electricity, Carl was exempt from military service to work on the farm, still ploughing with horses, and he recalled the best entertainment was when they could persuade his father Eric Johnson to play his violin or harmonica. He credits his mother Anna as a strong influence for patience and godliness, and his mixed Swedish Norwegian parentage for his string of Sven and Ole humour. Speaking dialect, Carl would say, “Out fishing, Ole catches a big one and Sven tells him, mark duh side of duh boat vid dis chalk, so ve come back here next veek!”

Carl left home to study in Camrose, AB, where he met and married Renata Wenzel in 1944. He worked as a carpenter and went on to Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, SK, in 1948 where he built a small house for his growing family. Ordained a pastor in 1951, Carl served parishes in Strasbourg, SK, Dawson Creek, BC, Camrose, AB, Burns Lake, BC, Ft. St. John, BC, New Westminster, BC, and Scandia, AB, before retiring in 1984. Always a faithful servant of the church, he was eager to ‘put the most charitable construction’ on what others did, and to bring people together.

Three children were born to Carl and Renata along the way. Carl and Renata made their retirement home in New Westminster, BC, and traveled across Canada, the United States, and to Israel and Germany, places they’d only imagined most of their lives.

After 52 years of marriage, Renata died in 1996, and Carl remarried to Gladys Davidson in 1998, bringing together 3 adult children from each family, along with spouses and grandchildren. Carl and Gladys lived in her house in Burnaby, BC, and enjoyed travels with the motor home they bought together until illness took them to Rosemary Heights Seniors Village in Surrey, BC, in 2010. Carl adjusted gracefully to his declining abilities, but macular degeneration took away the lifelong pleasure he found in reading. Still, he always had encouraging words for his family and those around him.

Carl is survived by his youngest sibling, Mary Finseth of Tofield, AB, by his wife Gladys Davidson, and by his and Renata’s 3 children, Daniel Johnson of Houston, TX, Tim Johnson of Abbotsford, BC, and Zoey Ruth Johnson Ryan of Tsawwassen, BC, and their spouses Diane Persson, Bev Weidman, and Wayne Ryan. Also grandchildren Nils Johnson, Britta Hollrah, David Johnson, Drew Johnson, Kaitlin Ryan, Savanna Ryan, and Delaney Ryan, and great grandchildren Sophia, Isabel, Annette, Zell, and Madz.

Carl Edward Johnson, a life lived long and well, from farming with horses to fisher of men to the 21st century as the oldest of anyone in the history of his family.’

My youngest daughter is in her final year studying anthropology and archaeology and in a recent class on ‘rituals and meaning’ said that ‘funerals’ and the grieving period is a key ritual around the world, crossing all cultures and religions. While we all grieve differently perhaps, it is an important time for family to come together to remember and say goodbye.

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