Tag Archives: reflections

we all experience a little sadness

We all get into a funk from time to time, don’t we?  I did this week.  I had some changes occur in my life and I know I wasn’t responding to them in the most positive way.  I knew they were coming, it wasn’t as if I was blindsided.  I knew.  I was just…sad.  Sad for the changes because it wasn’t what I was wanting or looking for or even hoping on.

But it happened anyway.

Sometimes change can be difficult, particularly when we do not embrace it.  It is ok.  We are all allowed to be a little sad, or a little depressed, or in that funk.  I think the most important thing to remember is that when we do, we should acknowledge those feelings.  Let them be present.  Sit with them for a while, then let them pass on their merry way.  Without sadness, we do not know happiness.  Without the storm, we can’t recognize the calm.

Don’t be sad that it’s over, smile because it happened.  Who said that?  Dr. Seuss perhaps. It is a good mantra.  I will try to not be sad that it is over.  I am smiling because it happened.  I am pleased to have experienced it all and created the connections I did.  Some things are in our lives for a purpose, no matter how short the period is.  They are all significant in creating us who we are.

Onwards and upwards.

the ultimate rollercoaster ride

There are days where I have so many topics that I want to write about, and there are others where I sit at my computer with white page syndrome. I have nothing. Nothing wants to come out. Nothing wants to be told. Nothing is tearing at the seams, dying to be sent out to the world.

Today, there is much that I could tell you. So many things have happened this week. It’s been a week of trials. Of endings and of beginnings. It has been a week of reconnections and of goodbyes. Tears and smiles.

But at the end, sitting here on a Sunday morning with my coffee and keyboard, it has been a week ending in peace.

There are times where that roller coaster of life takes you up and down at immeasurable speed. It can flip you upside down when you’re not prepared for it, and it can take you through corners where you feel like you just might fall off the rails. But at the end, it always gently coasts you to a stop at the end of the ride.

That has been my week this week. Sometimes it feels like the whole month or maybe the year has been that way. Maybe life in general is a roller coaster ride. What it does for me is it helps me to reset. It helps me to see that even if at one moment, I am in that seat, upside down and hanging onto the harness for dear life, that it will come back to being right side up, and I will gently roll back to the point where I need to be before the ride starts all over again.

perspective

A few days ago, I met a friend for a long overdue visit.  I have been in awe of this woman since the day we met almost nine years ago.  I adore her.  We gave each other the Cole’s notes version of what has happened in our lives since our last get together, and I think every single time she tells me what she’s been up to, she continues to amaze me.  She inspires me to be a better person simply by being who she is.  She is the woman I most admire, hands down.  It isn’t because she has won the Nobel prize, or has a triple PhD.  It’s because she is completely and entirely comfortable in her own skin.  She is confident, composed, calm.  Not only that, she inspires the same in others without having any expectations other than to just be the best version of yourself that you can be, because that is what she is also trying to do.

As we sat and talked, the topic of trees came up.  Without the context, it may seem irrelevant to speak of trees, so just trust me that it had great weight in the conversation.  Two days prior, we had a storm that downed many trees in the area.  One happened to be in my neighbor’s front yard that fell into my house.  It caused some relatively minor damage and certainly an ounce of inconvenience since I could not access my front entrance very well, and had to walk around my garage to make it to my house, but nothing unmanageable.  That night, after coming home from my regular Wednesday night meeting and coffee with fellow photographers, the sun was still out and the weather shifted to become a rather welcoming late evening.  I decided to take the dog for a walk and assess the damage to the neighborhood.  Walking down residential streets and the trails, the sounds of chainsaws echoed throughout the community as neighbors cleaned the fallen trees and branches in their yards.

After our walk, I came up to the tree laying heavily on my front steps and took a good close look at her.  She was beautiful.  Even though the blooms had not been ready to open, I examined the clusters of buds on the tree top; the ones too high to be able to see when she was standing tall.  But here, she was at eye level in all her beauty.  I grabbed my camera because I felt compelled to capture this glimpse of her life before it was taken away forever.  At this point, the sun was starting to set above the rooftops.  I realized how beautiful the sunset was in behind the tree, and in several shots I was able to capture that as well.

What struck me most is how much beauty there was in the destruction that occurred mere hours before.  How this perfectly imperfect tree could still be so beautiful laying on her side, how the day could turn itself around from the hundred kilometer an hour winds and driving rains to the gorgeous burnt orange sunset I could see amongst her branches.

There is beauty despite the damage.

It seems somewhat like a metaphor that can be used in so many ways.  Many of us are like that tree or like that storm.  Perfectly imperfect, damaged but still with immeasurable beauty.  Perhaps it is in how you view your environment.  Some would surely say the tree was a nuisance, but I am glad that I took the time to thank Mother Nature for the gift she gave me, even if it was fleeting.

The tree is gone now, but I have some memories of her and some beautiful photographs with a story that needed telling.  I am grateful for my friend who saw the value of my story for many may not have understood what I was feeling.  I thank the Universe for her timely fashion in bringing us together when she did.  Long overdue, yet perfectly on time.

simply you

The other day I went to visit my doctor.  As usual, he asked how I was doing and if I was seeing anyone.  My doctor likes to keep tabs on me since he knew the issues that occurred before and during the divorce.  He always asks how my children are coping as well.

Am I seeing anyone?  No, not really.  But do I want to be?  Well, that got me to thinking.  Then the next day I read a brief article on the benefits of being single.  That got me thinking even more.  There are a lot of benefits to being single.  You are the only one spending your income, so you choose where it goes.  You decide if you use a credit card for a high-cost item or if you decide to save up before purchasing it.  You decide how to pay off debt (like divorce debt), and how you allot your dollars.  You decide how to decorate your home.  Are you a minimalist or do you like to fill your home with things?  Your choice.  You decide if you want a pet, and if so, what kind?  Do you want to travel?  Where do you want to go?

Here’s the best one.  You become utterly and solely you.  When in a relationship, partners tend to pick up on certain pieces of the other partner’s personality.  Quirks, sayings, behaviours.  These things tend to blend.  The dominant personality tends to overshadow the less dominant personality.  You essentially become the same person.  However, when you choose a life of being single, you know that who you are is simply you.  And that is a good feeling.

renewal

Spring is often a time of change.  With the changing seasons, the melting of the winter’s snow, many of us look to spring as a time of change and renewal.  A fresh beginning.  We have spring cleaning which revives our homes. The sun coming up earlier gives us more energy to tackle life’s challenges, and maybe even for us to set new goals and plan for achievements.

I know for me spring is all of those things.  I look towards the future and see what I might like to change.  I review my five year plan, my finances, and see if my goals are still in line with my personal outlook on life.  Sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn’t.  When it’s not, I adjust the goals to match my current philosophy or state of mind.  Life events change how we view things.  We maybe realize that having that Mercedes isn’t as important as it once was.  Maybe we see the value of striking out on our own and creating that dream business.  Maybe we stick out our necks and try to publish that book that was a private labour of love.

Whatever spring may mean to you, I hope it is fruitful and joyous, as life is meant to be.

emotional intelligence

Managing people is a delicate thing.  Knowing how to interact with people.  Read people.  Be able to effectively communicate with people not only verbally, but with body language and the eyes.

To have a higher level of emotional intelligence is key to success.  One of those soft skills that makes a leader good at their job.  But what happens when those oh so soft skills are lacking?

Mistakes happen.  People are not treated with the dignity or respect they deserve.  They are treated like a number.  Employee satisfaction decreases and high turnover exists.  There is no such thing as it’s just business.  People are business.

It is a sad situation when the employee has a higher EQ than the manager.  When it can be clearly seen and understood by the employee.  But does it make it acceptable just because the supervisor has a lower EQ?  Absolutely not.  These are things that need addressing.  Skills that need to be present if the manager is to be good at the job.

This is not a new topic anymore.  I studied it a good decade ago during one of my degrees.  It made sense then, still makes sense now.  It would be a very good tool to be assessed when hiring people for these positions.  Success hinges more on EQ than it does on IQ.

Food for thought.

my tribe

I have been fortunate enough to allow my heart to open and find people who seem to resonate at the same frequency as I do.  It’s interesting how when life seems to be working against you, that truly, the Universe is aligning things for you.

Less than a year ago, I was competing for a position that I was certain I wanted.  I worked endless hours, focused so intently on what I was doing to make that job happen.  Even those I knew thought I was the best candidate for the position, yet it didn’t happen.  I decided for extra insurance, I would apply for another position that came available at a different institution.  Just in case.  It was a similar job, but I still felt that this was maybe not as good as the original one I was vying for.

I succeeded in landing the second job.  I can see now, in retrospect, how this was always the better choice for me.  This is where I am happy.  I feel my work is meaningful.  I have the ability to celebrate accomplishments in a way the other institution didn’t accommodate for.  I have met some incredibly amazing people that I would never have met before.  These people have become a part of my tribe.  I feel that I have been given permission, in a way, from the universe to be myself.  To allow the true me to shine through.  I hid behind the persona that I thought I needed to have.  But in the end, it did nothing for me.  I kept searching for the thing that was supposed to make me happy, yet I could never seem to find it.  It wasn’t until I allowed myself to shed that protective layer and truly allow my own inner self to bare its soul that I found happiness, and others that share similarities with me.

So, thank you, Universe.  I have never felt happier in my life.

an ordinary girl

Is there such a thing as just an ordinary girl?  As I observed the women’s marches that had occurred yesterday and viewed the posts in social media, I realized just how diverse we are.  So what is ordinary anyway?  I feel like there is some 1950s-eque stereotype that is attached to the words ordinary girl.  You know, the type who has the house clean, dinner ready, and standing at the door waiting for her dear husband with pipe and slippers in hand.

Those days are gone.

What I see now is everything but ordinary.  I see women working as welders and carpenters.  Artists, doctors, dentists, marine biologists, paleontologists, corrections officers.  I see body builders and make up artists.

The only common thread I see is that we are all different.  We all dance to the beat of our own drummers.  I believe the ordinary girl is no longer.  We are all uniquely individual, and I think it’s wonderful.  We are all strong in our own right, just as it should be.

the art of simplification

There is a lot of discussion about Minimialism, particularly since the documentary about Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (http://www.theminimalists.com)  came out.  It really isn’t anything new, but perhaps new to the masses who are caught up in commercialization.

I have been on my in and out journey through minimalism for years and years.  I know that I do feel better when my life is uncluttered.  I feel stress and anxiety when there is too much stuff in my house and in my life.  And I could suspect that you feel the same too, whether you recognize it at this moment or not.

I look at minimalism as a component of simplification of one’s life.  I think simplification truly is an art to achieve these days, what with all the social media and marketing proclaiming how we need this and we must have that.  Why you’re just not important if you don’t have x, y, and z.  I call bullshit.  We don’t need any of that stuff.  The big corporations need us to want that stuff.  The CEOs who make six, maybe even seven figures a year because they have convinced the masses that all this stuff is necessary in our lives.

Guess what?

They’re wrong.  So very very wrong.  We don’t need all that crap.  We don’t need to have the latest and greatest phone or computer.  We don’t need to spend a million dollars on a house just because that is what is expected.

What we need is to live within our means.  What we need is to be comfortable saying no to consumerism.  What we need is to spend more time with family and loved ones.  To spend time enjoying life without worrying about debt or clutter or how popular we are or how many friends we have and how we compare financially.  We need to get back to basics.  To live simply in all aspects of our lives.  To find joy everyday in the little things and be thankful for the chance to be here…the chance to wake up in the morning.  Not everyone has that same luxury.

Life in its simplicity is finding joy in the small things.  Recall that motto I posted a while back?  Life is lived in the mundane.  Let’s live.

a time of renewal

In the aftermath of the holiday season, I find myself pleased with the quiet.  Comfortable with the clean and open space once the decorations are put away for the year, I find this is the time of year where I start looking at and resetting my goals for the year.  This is the time of year when we look at where we have been, where we should be going, and how are we going to get there.  It isn’t always an easy answer either.

I have a few goals for this year, none of which I plan to post publicly.  Each of these goals has a plan of how I hope to achieve them.  I have plans for accountability to myself, and follow up lists to ensure I stay on task.  January is a time of renewal for me, and this is part of the process that I tend to go through.

Who else does this?  What is your January like?