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Thanks for the company…

Thanks for the company… on my purposeful, thought inducing, weekly walk… today, John. It is always so much nicer to have someone else to share the space with.

Today I realized how little I really know you… of how much deeper our relationship could go, you know, emotionally. We have spent a fair amount of time together in the past, but how much of that was delving into the inner psyche that is you? Or exploring your worldview? Your values? Your beliefs? Your history? Or just your pet peeves?

Today I realized how little I really know you… of how much we have simply passed the time in the same general space, not really spending time together. What is your favourite colour? Was it always that one? When you played monopoly which piece did you like to be? The hat? Do you have a favourite book? Do you even like to read?

Today I realized how little I really know you… of how much we share in common, yet how much we have yet to discover of one another. What politician have you voted for? Which do you despise? Do you even try to be an informed voter, or are you an apathetic non voter? Did you have a dream when you were little? Like being an astronaut or anything?

Today I realized how little I really know you… of how much you have felt empowered by your life and the choices within. Have you ever truly felt empowered? Do you now? Do you feel challenged and engaged with life and the people around you?

Today I realized how much I wish I had asked you years ago… In so many practical ways you’ve been there for me before, John, thank you… And thank you for allowing me to be there with you when you took your last breath… 3 years ago…

Thanks for the company… on my purposeful, thought inducing, weekly walk… today, John.  It is always so much nicer to have someone else to share the space with.

 

 

Note: The picture links to it’s source within Google pics – and shares some light humour in case you could go for some levity now dear reader.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Confessions, Spirituality

 

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Fishy chameleon trees

Walking led me to 3 things most recently…. Chameleons, trees and fish!

Writing this with Karma Chameleon playing in my head, it reminds me of a few chameleonesk things. (Yes I did just write chameleonesk.) As I’ve travelled along the adventure that is my life story, I often look back and see a bit of a chameleon. Someone who may feel natural, exposed, vulnerable and yet when the seasons turn, so do my colours…. I may have felt pink, lived and breathed pink, until the season of green arrives and I suddenly discover I am no longer pink…. instead I am a deep emerald green. Deep, dark and very much not pink. I settle in to being green and make friends with the likes of Kermit the frog. Once again feeling like me…. the green me. Until the seasons change again and the green fades away…. I am left wondering, was I being authentic and real when I lived and breathed pink? Or was I just putting on the camouflage that suited the season? Was I playing to my environment? Or my heart? Did I evolve and grow into the emerald green creature or was that just another “false” me?

The other element of Karma Chameleon that I am pondering as of late, is the idea of Karma – what goes around comes around. Some may even relate Karma to the movie/book “The Secret” and the essential idea that what you think about, give your attention to, you will get. Focus on where you want to go, what you want to achieve, how you want to feel, rather than your lack of, and you shall see it come to be. Create a gratitude journal to shift the gears of your mood, your vibrational energy, your way of being, whichever you want to call it. Sounds easy enough…. makes sense, why not at least try to be more positive? Psychology today had an article sometime in 2011 that essentially said the old mantra of “fake it till you make it” could be more true than you know. We become what we pretend to be.

This is starting to sound a little woo-woo for me – is that what you are thinking? Almost like the tips of the tallest tree reaching to the great beyond… Enter the tree analogy. Personally I think the woo-woo stuff is fascinating. Does it have any actual scientific evidence? I actually have a small stack of just such articles waiting for me to dig through. So not all the woo and alternative medicine is hocus pocus snake oil salesmanship. I believe every person needs to practice reaching their branches up now and then. Connect to whatever supernatural force/being you see as true, even if it’s just the magic of a little seed sprouting into a mighty oak. Stepping out of my comfort zone of “scientific proof” now and then is good for my soul.

I just need to remember that too much time reaching up and floating among the woo can be hazardous for me. Just as a tree branch can not survive on its own, my arms can not survive on their own… The branches of a tree, can not even come to be, without the sprouting of the seed. and the effective rooting to stabilize a strong trunk. Before venturing into the woo, make sure you are grounded! (That is 98% directed at me by the way) Sometimes I can be a bit like a cat with a shiny thing; chasing after this stuff.

With regard to the views of “The Secret” and its supporters, there are times when life down right “sucks the big one!” and hearing someone quote such things is down right maddening! Cue Fish! It is during these maddening times that it helps me to remember: judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree, will ultimately leave you with a really dumb fish! Specifically there are times when clear, assertive communication seems impossible. Well, if you have never seen or heard about how clear, assertive communication works, you might as well grab your fishing gear and start climbing trees! If you haven’t been taught the skills, how can you fault yourself for being unable to perform them? Perhaps a clearer example is a woman getting frustrated that her computer isn’t working and she has no idea how to fix it. Her IT support guy attempts to help over the phone…. can you see this ending well? Not usually! Can you fault the woman for her inability to fix something she has never really been educated about? Will thinking about how much she wants her computer fixed, or imagining it to be fixed actually help things? I wish it were that simple….

*Sigh*, Fishy chameleon trees…. Feels good to put these roving thoughts to “paper”, although I think that last sentence may get revised at a slightly later point in time… something’s fishy in there…. 😉

 

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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Confessions of a blogger… Part 4

When I started this series, I did not imagine it to be a series… I wrote, I rewrote, I wrote some more… saved draft after draft…  “How do I start the conversation exactly?”… I was not sure how deep to go, or which directions felt “right”… Still sussing out this whole “authentic blogging” adventure myself. Perhaps a great place to start is with some gratitude for prior “parts”

Part 1 I am grateful for the brief, concise nature of it… Just enough to mention difficulties/challenges/issues but not too much to get into that “hot mess” of over-share… As well as mentioning the specific tools recently utilized for moving forward…

Part 2 I am grateful for the almost poetic nature of this intriguing work… and the ability to feel a connection with the writer. Not to mention the fantastic optimism that ensues from the relatively short time frame from “bottom” to being “too busy living again”.

Part 3 I am grateful for the confession straight from the battle zone… The honest fact of the matter stance to triumph the stigmas… and the resounding support that instantly poured in through google+ for this warrior. Such as: Maryann D’Amico’s public response that includes: … I have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for decades. … We are all suffering in some way. Some of us suffer much more. But, we are winners because we go on … We are some of the strongest people alive. If you do not have an illness such as this…and..you look down upon others in hospitals. Maybe you should look up to God and … thank Him that you do not suffer. Stop looking down. Look up.

Part 4 Discussing their experience with divorce, job loss and life in general demonstrates how “shift happens”… These brave souls reminded me of just how normal it is to experience stress, pain and turmoil in life… The previous reblog on “Let’s listen more and drug people less” also reminds me that if such “shift” should lead to mental health challenges, people can and do recover from “mental illness”.

I confess that this blog is my attempt to find just that… a platform to feel listened to, and to listen to others, so we can collectively drug people less. No matter what the illness or disease, I believe that feeling listened to and supported will always have a beneficial effect. (So does humour! Have you heard of Patch Adams? Inspiring PSA movie, based on true events. Hope he is able to see Gesundheit reach phase 6)

Knowing I have created “Wednesday Walk” reminds me to check in now and then… to express, communicate, and walk. To nurture that emotional wellbeing… maybe even share how my own shift is happening and where my passions are growing…  I have enjoyed the idea of “series” posting and may explore that more in future posts… Aiming for a weekly post, holding that with plenty of self compassion if things happen faster or slower… “shift happens” right? 😉

I’ll admit that life is not all “roses and unicorns” right now… and right now, in this moment, that’s okay…

Moving forward, shifting upward… that can be challenging. I do not want this blog to simply produce fluffy pretty things to make it look like my life is “roses and unicorns” and yours ought to be too… I also do not want this to evolve to a lengthy diatribe. I do want this to be a place of conversation, progress and growth… and I must confess, I am somewhat afraid of working the blog too much. I am afraid of having it become a burden that I feel I must pay attention to… I am afraid of posting too much online, or posting something I may later regret… Do you ever think similar things?

Some final gratitude is for you, dear reader. Thank you for stopping in to check things out and read this far. If you feel inclined to join the conversation – thank you again! I really do appreciate it, and look forward to the conversation.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Confessions

 

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Confessions of a blogger… part 1

As I have mini walks the past little while I still ponder the focus, theme or niche if you will, of “Wednesday Walk”… where will this web walk lead I wonder… and todays ponderings have led to 2 other inspirational posts that I want to share with you today… or at least part of them, before delving into my own confessions…

(and seriously, is “todays” and “ponderings” actually worthy of the squiggly red line of incorrectly spelled? Neither is a contraction with the word is, of that I am sure! anyways..)

First and foremost – name that blogger if you dare! Reflecting on 2011 he writes:

Personal Challenges Abound

My personal life underwent a lot of transformations. I parted ways with my wife. Saying this is also not saying three thousand or more sentences of what that all entails, but that’s personal. I wish her well, and my children are now able to enjoy two loving homes. That kind of transitional stuff is never roses and unicorns, but we’re all doing the work it takes to make it successful. I’m grateful that my children and I have spent so much more time together this past year. All this work and travel most certainly impacted my home life, and along the way, I never lost sight of the importance of my children, but I definitely didn’t schedule the time for them the way I do now. My relationship with my children is the best it’s ever been in my entire life, and I’m grateful for that.

Beyond that, I did a lot of work on myself. Through work with a shrink, through some helpful medication, through my fledgling practice of Buddhism, through a lot of my own hard efforts, and through finding love with a wonderful new woman in my world, I’ve done more to repair several things that were “wrong” with me over the last several decades than ever before. This was tremendously difficult. None of it has been easy. But knowing that I couldn’t live my life the way I had been living it has most certainly helped a great deal. I made a lot of mistakes in living with all my demons and I certainly messed up a lot along the way. I can only work in one direction, so moving forward is a strong effort of staying very clear and open and doing the hard work, over and over again.

Have you read these words before? Or maybe written a few?…

bonus points for the first one to name that blogger!

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Confessions

 

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Vegans Vs Meat Eaters: Who’s healthier?

That was the tagline that caught me today and I just couldn’t help but wonder how this would play out on “The Doctors” television show…

Glad to see the presence of Dr. Neal Barnard (President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) to ensure there is at least one vegan supporter in on the debate. He appeared to be knowledgeable and shared some good points – like dairy products reducing the absorption of iron and contributing to anemia.

However, I was generally disappointed with the responses, and lack of intellectual debate among the panel… This debate can become quite involved – as touched on in a previous post on different diet preferences… not today though… Todays show seemed to have more personal anecdotes from the docs than intellectual debate…

(If you want to check out the show synopsis for yourself, you can find it here or the video preview here)

In terms of the show actually answering the question of Vegan or Standard American Diet – FAIL.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is familiar, comfortable, convenient… but…. as thekitchenskinny.com notices…

  • “The United States has the highest obesity rate in the world.” – Business Insider, Dec 10, 2010
  • “The American environment is conducive to this epidemic, presenting temptation to the populace in the form of tasty, energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods and beverages.” – USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  • “This could be the first generation since the Civil War to have a shortened life expectancy.” – CBS News Jan 2010

    the solution…

  • Improve nutrition literacy and cooking skills, including safe food handling skills, and empower and motivate the population, especially families with children, to prepare and consume healthy foods at home.” – USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The above quotes demonstrate how there are very real risks and side effects of the SAD ways… and the need for the solution… so… with that in mind I feel that the vegan crowd tends to be more nutrition literate, with expanded cooking skills beyond meat and potatoes… and when done in an informed and motivated way, the vegan way is healthier than the SAD ways. Also, everyone seems to be in agreement that more fruits and vegetables on north american meal plates would be a good thing 😉

But…. why was this topic initiated for the show in the first place?

Home video clips demonstrate a young woman – Kaitlin – complaining about her vegan sister – Kelly – essentially pushing vegan food choices on her… Meanwhile, Kelly complains that Kaitlin is not accepting that veganism is healthier than the current household diet…

Ultimately when reviewing the video clip, the main issue for these feuding sisters appears to be the  proselytizing vegan… Kelly chose to deviate from the household norm and feels that she has benefited from it…  she quite obviously wants to share this with those she loves… whether they are accepting or not… Kelly may not be validating her sisters way of life or opinions. Arguing and pushing your polar opposite opinion, whether it truly is better or not, does not lead to acceptance…. resistance and defensiveness are expected reactions.

Maybe that is what Dr. Travis’ closing comment truly refers to… 😉  “In the end, what is best for you may not always be what’s best for someone else, Figure out a healthy diet that works best for you.”

It’s up to you to decide where you are most comfortable on this spectrum… And it’s okay if that decision changes from one day to the next… shift happens… Kelly and Kaitlin both have shifts they could make on this spectrum… the important thing from today’s reflections: there are different variations in healthy and ultimately we can only make the best choices in each moment for ourselves…

What shifts have you made recently? Are you planning on making any this week?

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Food, Nutrition

 

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Social Media Madness

Walking today there was a distinct quietness… alone-ness… calm… As the squirrels run, chase and jump between trees, bushes, snow and one another, it got me thinking about all our connection points and our own evolving forms of communication with one another…

“Are getting it? Really getting it? Come on give it to me! Get signed up on linkedin! Give me all of your tweets! Come on baby be friends! Never want it to stop! Oh! Are you getting it? Social media! Really getting it? Social Media! Come on Joey! Uh!”

Maybe not the next American Idols, but a nice short intro to the myriad of social media. I think that diagram at the end of the song says a lot!

Just tipping the iceberg of social media sites with this full diagram, it can be a stormy sea of social media. Since emails came along in 1966 (did you know they have actually existed that long?!) the communication scene continues evolving. Ed Kang says it well with: “anybody tells you that they’ve figured it all out is lying, selling you something, or a combination of both.”

Facebook touts 800million users so that’s where it’s at right?

One user noted that their video store disconnected their phone line as they take facebook DVD reservations… (watch out they probably won’t even be around with more ubiquitous sites such as netflix) Other users commonly note: “Got really irritated by all the posts that were meaningless chatter.” So maybe those millions of users aren’t too sure how to appropriately use each channel of communication… “would you get in your car and go around to someone’s house to tell them that?” Can be a good reality check question for users… I like to think of it as an online billboard, notorious for privacy breaches… so would you be okay posting your message on a busy highway billboard? Or downtown? If not, then why would you post your message on your computer screen that could potentially reach out globally?… Retweets, reposts and copy/paste are some pretty basic tools for average social media users…

Twitter may be nearing 1/4th the number of users as facebook, although it can be just as addicting for tweeters. Focused on short 140 character messages it can be fun to chirp away like Demi Moore or Lady Gaga.

With more people carrying smartphones and data plans there seems to be a push of personal messaging boundaries… with a facebook user noting exasperation at “Having people post messages to me at any time, expecting an instant response”. (I agree! When did we become pavlovs dogs?)

My fave facebook user comment on the platform I just had to share:

” I absolutely hate how intrusive it is. I hate the stupid little ditties that people put on thinking they are so interesting when they really are not. I hate that I feel a need to even read the stupid little ditties!!!! I do, however, love getting to see my nieces pregnancy belly growing as she is too far for me to see it in real life. I love that the girl who was my best friend, when I lived in a different city, traced me on it and we are now back in regular communication. I love that I can keep up with those family members in other continents, and at the other end of this country, and not just talk at funerals!!! Very undecided!!!!”

Google+ appears to be the latest fad in social media. With only 40 million users thus far, it is definitely a quieter, less frequented communication space. Which may very well be a good thing! Personally I enjoy the circles and “follow” method rather than “friending” as on facebook… Just be sure to sort your people into your appropriate circles up front! Think of your purpose and what kinds of segments of society you want to interact with… Not only do you have friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, you may have your own blogging friends circle, or book club. Super great being able to easily post to your profile (equivalent of your own facebook wall) and easily specify who sees it… Not to mention if you want to close your profile, you can download all your google+ related info to your own computer prior to closing your account. Use-ability, generally love it, still learning the appropriateness, and kudos for google demonstrating better boundaries!

If you are interested in spreading your online presence with a google+ profile, or business page, what better time to get in and figure things out before all 800million facebook users jump on board? 😉 Today I discovered a succinct online article on google+ pages that may be worth a perusal…

As my first official blog kicked off somewhat recently (as you may well have noticed), I often pondered why Blog? With google+, facebook walls and notes, windows live, myspace, personal emails, texting, blackberry messenger, etc, and even phone calls, who would have time for a blog and why would you invest in creating one? Well, don’t knock it till you try it “they” say… so here I am pulling back a little from some other inundated forms of communication to give this medium a try… According to a recent online article, blogging is here to stay! Are you?

What is your preferred form of communication lately? Do you maintain a blog? How do you maintain your sanity in the sea of social media? Where do you get your info on current events?

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Business, Social Media, Squirrels

 

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