Friday, December 31, 2010

Creating a New Vision for 2011

A new year, a fresh start, a chance to make peace with the year that is ending and to create a strong vision and intention for the year that is just about to start.

So what is your intention for the New Year? I lead an introductory session for the Pursuit of Excellence the other night and wrapped it around that question. What do you want to create in 2011? This is the only year you have, what will you do with it to make your dreams come true?

One of the participants was quite drawn to that statement and commented that it was a very powerful idea that this is the only year I have. I thought about it myself and agreed and yet, really, what other years do you have?

Most of us live our life thinking that we will have plenty of time to create a warm and loving relationship, to get healthy, to lose weight to create the financial abundance and truly live their dreams. How many of us actually do that for ourselves?

I mentioned in a previous post that we tend to focus on being loving and full of goodwill during Christmas and then forget all about it for the rest of the year. Then we wonder why our lives feel empty; devoid of love, joy and money.

What tends to happen is that when January comes – and the credit card bills – we fret and stress over the money we have spent, feel resentful of the people we have spent it on and close our hearts to the joy we thought we'd experience through our generosity.

So what is the antidote to the January hangover? Here's a thought; with every bill you pay and every cheque you write – let it go with love and trust that what has come to you, will come to you again. Money and love are not finite – they are infinite expressions of energy. Give one and the other one trots right behind it. It's up to you how much of each you feel you deserve.

Holding the vision for you to have an abundance of both in 2011.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What Child is this?

We spent the Christmas weekend with my brother and his family. The most charming addition to the family is my niece's son who had his first birthday last month. Christmas really is for children and watching this little being engage with all things Christmas and family was a real delight for me.

It has been a while since we have had real 'little ones' amongst us so this was indeed a very rare and lovely treat. He didn't disappoint us at all; he smiled and giggled while he tore a swath through his grandparent's house. Children, especially one year olds, don't know the meaning of 'no,' 'don't touch,' and 'watch your head.' They are on a mission to discover everything they can in the few short hours that they are conscious and awake.

While we all enjoyed his loveliness it was also pretty apparent that the parents were not always having a great time. The emergence of four new molars were causing more than a few sleepless nights for all concerned and the resulting sleep deprivation, that is a new parents norm, was readily apparent. When asked how they were, the common answer was 'tired.'

I think the thing we get to enjoy about the grand kids or a grandnephew in my case, is that we can appreciate their innocent joy at all things new without the sleepless nights. While their adventures are a wee bit exhausting for the few hours we are with them, we can go home, sleep in our own bed and enjoy an undisturbed night's sleep while reveling in the experience of a Christmas shared with a young baby.

Back home we turned on the TV to the news that that once again, people were being stranded by the snow. Snow has brought a whole new experience to people this year. Being thrown together with strangers is perhaps the ultimate Christmas test; can I still express love and caring with people I don't know? It sounds like many people on the Eastern Seaboard of the US have done just that. Surrendering to the inevitable and enjoying getting to know the strangers who share their predicament.

We may not always get the experience we want at Christmas but I do believe we get the experience we need.

It really is all about the child.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Silent Night, Holy Night

I like to think that tonight, Christmas Eve, will be a special night; full of reverence and quiet joy. I love Christmas and this year is no exception. I have, however, shifted my focus from the usual commercial excess to embracing the spirit of the season.

For me, Christmas was always about gifts; giving and receiving. This part hasn't changed; it is still about gifts. The only difference is that many of the gifts I am giving this year were not bought at a store; they were bought in the school of life.

From my grandmother I learned to cook and with this gift I am bringing some of the offerings from my kitchen to my family; gingerbread, shortbread, French bread, cranberry sauce and dip.

From my mother I learned to listen with compassionate ears and with this gift I bring my willingness to open my heart and listen to my friends and family.

From my father I learned to love work and with this gift I bring my appreciation and joy at being useful and earning a living through doing what it is I love to do.

From my brother I have learned the kindness and generosity of sharing hospitality and friendship with those I love and with this gift I open my home to my friends and family and share the warmth and comfort that comes with good friends.

From my sons I have learned to accept change, grow and develop my potential and with this gift I continue to take new steps forward into unfamiliar terrain and likewise encourage others to do the same.

And last, but certainly not least, from my husband I have learned patience and with this gift I have learned to slow down, to allow life to unfold and to feel at peace even when the world does not always look that peaceful or the way I want it to look.

What a gift to learn at last that patience is indeed a virtue.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It Was the Night before Solstice

It was the night before solstice and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse.

The Winter Solstice is tomorrow and trotting along right beside it is a big old full moon and a lunar eclipse. For those who are fond of observing the movement of the moon and the stars, this is a pretty auspicious time. Evidently, a lunar eclipse hasn't fallen on the solstice in over 300 years. I think that makes it pretty significant. It may not supersede Christmas as the main event but it does deserve a look-in.

When my kids were young I enjoyed Christmas as a wonderful time to share the spirit of the season with them and to enjoy it through their eyes; magical and joyful. These were certainly good times and I can reflect back on them with fondness and love.

Today, however, is a different story and my children don't live nearby. We share our magical moments at different times throughout the year. It isn't limited to one day of the year but rather when we are together. At these times we eat, drink, laugh, talk and share our lives with each other. For me, this is the true meaning of Christmas and the one that I want to keep extending and extending until it is a year round experience.

The lunar eclipse that accompanies this winter solstice is a great opportunity to look a bit more deeply at what this time of year really means. Sometimes it can be painful as we see the gap between where we are and where we want to be. That is the message of the full moon, which is why it can lead to highly charged and emotional outbursts. A good indication that something is not working as well as we had hoped.

This is a season of hope and of love. To experience one, hope, you need to be the other, love. These are gifts that cannot be bought.

John Lennon was right; all we do need is love.

Friday, December 17, 2010

T'is the Season to be jolly

Ok – maybe not jolly but at least slightly happier than usual. A lot of pressure this holiday spirit thing, no where to go if you aren't really feeling totally ho, ho, ho.

Living at the beach and more specifically, on the river, means that the blizzard that wound it's way through Southern Ontario has hit us very hard indeed. I was chatting with a friend yesterday about the possible implications for this storm. She and her husband were completely snowed in and I came to her rescue for a much needed shopping expedition (eggs, bacon, beer and wine – the essentials of life).

I opined that I thought that once the snow thawed we might be finding a few dead bodies in some of these houses about town. 'Enforced confinement due to hostile weather' could be the 'justifiable homicide' claim by the defendants. I'm sure this claim would find sympathy with anyone who has gone through such enforced isolation with a spouse.

Now, it doesn't need to be this way but I feel pretty certain that most people manage their primary relationship around the idea that each partner has their own life and a large part of it is lived separately. To suddenly be face to face with said partner on a continuous basis; 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for almost two weeks – well, ok - you get my drift here? Not always a pretty sight.

That said, I would say that the husband and I have done pretty well through this time of 'snow hibernation.' I think that may be because we have already gone through such a time. Over the past three years since moving back to Canada from the UK, we have spent more time together than in our entire relationship. We have learned to accept each other and our 'weird ways of being' – which do get increasingly weirder – by the way!

Today we are off again for a mini-break to Blue Mountain. It is our 15th wedding anniversary on the 23rd but we thought it would be fun to celebrate it now before Christmas takes over and we forget that we did actually get married after living together for five years.

Marriage isn't always jolly but it is easier to face the less jolly times with someone you love.

Here's to the next 15 years.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

We are in the second week of 'snow days' and Christmas is in full swing here at the beach. While I think it's a shame that we only think about 'peace, joy and goodwill' at this time of the year; I am grateful that we at least have one time of the year that we are open to the Christmas spirit.

We cut down our Christmas tree this weekend and then brought it home to decorate. This is the first tree that I have had since being back home in Canada. Unpacking the Christmas decorations – my own and my parents – was the start of the whole Christmas experience. It was a very nostalgic and at times very difficult exercise. I have always loved Christmas and my memories of Christmas with my parents was always a fun and joyful time.

Growing up and growing away from our family traditions has been one aspect of my life that has been difficult for me to deal with. Learning how to create my own traditions and to understand that Christmas is a state of mind as much as it is an 'event' has been a big part of my Christmas evolution.

Resisting the commercial aspect of Christmas has been my most recent effort towards keeping the spirit of Christmas alive. Rushing around, shopping for things that no one wants and feeling more stressed than loving is for me, the epitome of what Christmas isn't.

This year I am taking one day at a time. The weather is challenging all of the best laid plans and yet, I feel that my new mode of 'slowing down to the speed of life' is serving me well. Shifting gears and making the space for a whole new way of being takes time; time to bake shortbread, time to watch the snow and plenty of time to enjoy the Christmas tree and 15 angels that have found a home on its branches.

Christmas is a soulful time.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Hm – interesting words to that song – 'let it snow' – as if we have had any choice. Snow just kinda does what it does – as does all weather. We really don't have a huge amount of control in this department.

The end of the week and after being inside for most of the week – baking cookies, squares and shortbread – I finally managed to get out today and reacquaint myself with the world. One thing about living in a small town is this process does not take long. One quick twirl around the town – checking in with some local shops, an acupuncture and chiro appt, hair highlighted and gingerbread baked – all done in one day.

The ease and simplicity of life at the beach is in sharp contrast to life in London or Toronto for that matter. Nothing takes long and everyone is a known commodity. I was reminded of this today when chatting with my client who is also a friend and my acupuncture/chiropractor. I acknowledged the fact that I would be spending some time in the UK in the New Year to do some work. Something that I'm quite excited about; a really big venture out into the very big world.

She reminded me that while London has it's attractions and certainly the appeal of interesting work; here in Wasaga Beach I know lots of people – especially in the business community – and this makes it quite a warm and comfortable place to be. This is indeed true; relationships are quite casual and easy going - for the most part.

Building strong relationships in a small town has its challenges too. The same quality that makes it warm and enjoyable can also make it a wee bit claustrophobic. Creating space and having time alone is also a very needful thing.

For this reason, I rather like snow days – they are soulful times and are good opportunities to indulge in what the soul likes best – unstructured, creative and joyful time to just be. For me, that often means cooking and food.

So yes, let it snow – it's good for the soul.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Secret to a Successful Relationship

Spent the weekend with a really lovely group of people and was reminded of what I had learned over 26 years ago about how to create a successful relationship.

The workshop was called '2011 The Year of Your Dreams' and in the process of looking at what I wanted to create in 2011, we looked at what we had done already in 2010. The question was posed, 'What relationship did you enhance this past year?' Hm – my first instinct was – well, actually, my relationship with myself. As it turned out, the correct answer.

This past year has been a very challenging year for me as I have come up against a lot of difficult issues and experienced a lot of 'disapproval' that I have found quite challenging. I didn't realize how much I wanted people to like and approve of me until I was faced with the opposite. Ouch – that doesn't feel good.

Yet, the net benefit of facing these hard realities is that I have definitely enhanced my relationship with myself. I understand even more deeply how important it is to have this relationship in great shape – especially if I want to have a good relationship with a soul mate.

We can only attract as much love and approval from our friends and loved ones as we are willing to give to our self. The real challenge of a soul mate relationship is that it will mirror this reality almost exactly. While the tendency is to look outside of one's self and find fault with the other; it is really the other way round.

If I don't like what I’m seeing on the outside, it's probably time to look inside and see what I do not like about me. Not an easy thing to do but far less stressful and painful than trying to find the culprit out there. Cause it just doesn't exist.

A good relationship with myself is the only path to having a good relationship with a soul mate.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Living your Dream in 2011

The week of reflection is complete; a new vision for my life is emerging. I can't think of a better way to complete this period of 'slowing down' and introspection than to attend a workshop about 'Living Your Dream in 2011.' Timing, as they say, is everything when it comes to moving forward in life. I know that for myself, I'm not ready to move until I'm ready. The internal shift needs to happen first, then the external shift – or movement forward can happen.

This year has been a major year for me around completing in my role as 'Mother.' I'm still a mother, for sure, but the role is not so demanding. The boys are all settled with lovely young women and they all seem extremely happy; what else could a mother want for her children?

It's time to turn the attention back on to me – and that is what I have been doing. What is it that I want? What do I want to create in this latter part of my life? Feeling blessed and being guided to take small steps in the direction of my next vision is where I am right now.

In speaking to the husband the other night about the purpose of life he posed the idea to me that we are here to become enlightened – to realize the truth of who we are and to bring that awareness to our conscious mind. How we do this is our own personal mission.

This idea is not new to me but I have never-the-less thought that part of a life purpose is to 'make a difference' and to have an impact – to help people move forward. That has been my raison d'etre for a very long time. The idea that really all I'm doing is becoming aware of myself and what makes me tick is kind of novel.

I have been in the business of 'personal development' for over 20 years. It has always been my own personal development that has guided me in my training, coaching and facilitation – in never occurred to me that that was the idea all along. I can only pass on that which I have learned and mastered myself.

So, here I sit at the first rung of the next very big ladder as I take on the world of 'finance' – a place that I started my whole work and education process over 38 years ago. How ironic - I would never have dreamt that this would be where my life would ultimately lead me.

Living the dream by taking small steps forward.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Surrender to the Speed of Life

I think I understand the point of going slow now. It allows me to remain present and to really understand what is going on in my body and in my mind. These are all components that contribute to how I think and therefore how I feel. The body mind connection is a fascinating one.

Understanding what it is all about is not quite the same as attaining this state of being. For me, it is a constant process of watching and then becoming aware of what I'm doing or not doing – i.e. relaxing and just being.

This week has been set aside to reflect on my life; where I've been this past year, what I have made important and what I'd like to create in the coming year. This particular process requires a lot of 'slowing down.' It means really telling myself the truth about what I have made important and what has slipped by.

One of the things that I made important this past year was Nordic walking. I love walking and to do it in a group has been one of the most fun things that I have done in a long time. The big net benefit has also been that I have lost weight – or at least I did before my trip out west – and I feel so much better. For me, this is something that will stay for next year.

Something else that I made important was being involved with the community; sitting on the board of the Wasaga Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Wasaga Beach Women's Business Association. Taking an interest in our local community has been very important to me but I can't say that it has been a lot of fun. This is the difficult part – telling the truth about what it really is for me.

As I move forward into the next year of my life, there are some decisions that I need to make about what I'm going to make important. I think that for me having fun and making money (as in not slipping off the financial abyss) is going to be a top priority. So in other words, if it isn't fun or it isn't contributing to our family coffers – it may not make it into 2011.

The purpose of our business and my life is to help people move forward – in every way. So that includes me – what do I need to do to move forward? What is in my way of success in this life right now? Surrendering to the speed of life means letting go of those things that speed me up and keep me on an endless treadmill.

Without the treadmill I get to just be me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Slowing Down to the Speed of Life

While I was in Vancouver, this book literally fell off the shelf and into my lap. The title was the above statement; 'Slowing Down to the Speed of Life.' I thought it was rather ironic since 'slowing down' has never been neither my strong suit nor my desire. Going as quickly as possible through life to make sure I get done all that I need to get done has seemed like a pretty viable path in life. My husband would certainly disagree and has often used the mantra 'slow down Ellen' with me on more than one occasion (as my children could attest).

What a surprise to find out that he was right all along and I was, well, hate to say wrong – but yes, wrong. Going fast, trying to get three things done at the same time – like right now – getting to this blog prior to an appointment in less than an hour while also needing to pack to go away for a mini break in Collingwood. Why do I do this to myself?

I have always thought that I would run out of time. Don't know where that thought came from but now I'm starting to finally understand that there will be enough time to do everything I need to do. What I might run out of time for is being able to be everything that I need to be.

This week has been about coming home and celebrating my birthday week. It has been fun and it will continue. I knew when I made the plans to go out west that I would need some time to recover and reflect on my own life and the direction that I am taking my life. This is an annual thing – happens every year at my birthday – and I appreciate how important it is for me to do that.

Time can pass quickly when you are going fast. It tends to move more slowly when you are in turn going slowly. This next week I'm planning to go as slow as possible – for me – and to take in and reflect on this past year and to set a plan and a path for next year.

The birthday wishes that I have received have been amazing and very moving. It is so wonderful for me to receive these messages and to understand that they are a reflection of what I have made important this past year. Deepening relationships and ensuring that the people I love, know that I love them.

In the end, that is what is most important.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Letting Go

Today is the last day on the west coast and yesterday, I arrived back in Vancouver. The two weeks have both flown and seemed like they have gone on forever. Time can feel that way when you are out of your normal environment.

There have been so many lovely moments; connecting with the boys, meeting and getting to know the newest girlfriend, having time with the 'fleurs', assisting my friend with her transition into a new apartment (more of that today) and celebrating with old friends who have become so dear to me over the years.

It's hard to leave here; I have so much that keeps me here and yet, the time has come for letting go and saying good bye for now. I am aware that these visits always seem even more poignant and sweet because I'm not here all the time. Like all of us, we tend to take those who are around us all the time for granted. It's like we will always be there and the friends and people in our life will always be around for us.

Sadly, this isn't the truth. Last week one of the 'fleurs' lost a friend in a rather freakish accident in Mexico. He had just married his partner and love and celebrated his little girls first birthday. The next day he was gone – a very final goodbye and letting go for his family and my friend. Today she is celebrating her birthday and attending his memorial service. How strange and tragic life can be.

So it is with some degree of sadness that I say goodbye to my friends and family here and embark on my journey back home tomorrow. It's time to say goodbye and I trust that it won't be long before I say hello again – to my other friends and family on the East coast.

Letting go so that I can say hello again.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chilling on the Island with the Kids

I've been spending most of this week on Vancouver Island with my son and his girlfriend. It is so much fun to be around their lovely youthful energy; so refreshing and spirited. They are both musicians and so conversation often flows towards music and the creation of my son's next cd. This is clearly not an easy task and takes thoughtful intent to discern the exact rhythm and focus for the cd.

This has been a more relaxing and joyful time; a time of new beginnings and aspirations that have not been daunted or dampened by life. Their relationship is a real joy to witness. I observe how relaxed and at peace they are in each other's company and as a mother, I'm delighted and relieved. This is how relationships need to be.

Relaxed, chilled and thoughtful; they exchange ideas, sing songs and keep me enchanted and amused. This has been a very good time indeed. I wish it would never end and yet, I know that this is just one piece of our tapestry that will continue to expand and grow with the years.

Tomorrow the pace changes again as I welcome two of the 'fleurs' to my little condo on the Island. We can't all meet this year; one is in the UK, one is in Mexico and one is in New Zealand. So three of us will meet and have a wonderful time for the six of us.

I am so grateful to be here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Optimism in the Face of Fear

I've been in Vancouver for a week now and the experience here has not been the most pleasant one that I have ever had. My friend has been released from hospital and the transition back into the world after an 8 week stay in hospital has been a challenging one.

For myself, I have had to learn to detach and to not take things personally. When people are in pain and in fear, it is easy to fall into the same space. My challenge this week has been to remain optimistic in the face of what looks like insurmountable odds. Stepping back and being the observer I can see how the breakdown of relationships is one of the first things to happen when a person becomes seriously ill.

It is extremely difficult to remain civil, kind and reasonable when your body is wracked in pain and fear is your constant companion. Who wants to stick around or remain present in the face of the behaviour that results from this environment? In my observation, not many people can stick this one out.

Maturity is a progression of moving from dependence to independence – we all aspire to be that strong independent person who can do anything and maintain their equilibrium even when times are tough. There is a snag though with independence and I have seen it this past week with my friend; it keeps people at bay while maintaining the illusion to oneself that things under control.

It turns out that independence is not as important as being dependable. Who do I need to be dependable to –yes, once again myself. I need to be able to depend on me to do what needs to be done to maintain me as a viable entity. That means asking for help when I can no longer cope and doing it before it is a life threatening emergency.

Optimism is an attitude that is worth cultivating every minute of the day. For me, I know that as soon as I surrender to fear and defeatism, my life starts to spiral downward. It takes work to remain optimistic; it doesn't just happen by itself. It is, however, worth the effort. My feelings of health and well being depend on me keeping my spirits up.

Optimism is an attitude of hope and the anti-dote to fear.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I missed writing the blog on Friday. No excuses – just too busy with preparing for the trip to Vancouver. Didn't even realize I hadn't written it until Saturday. By then I was preparing for my flight and then in the air.

Arrived safely at Vancouver airport and was met by some very old friends. Known each other since high school and spent time with them when I lived here so many years ago. The wonder and joy of being back with old friends is that time means nothing. Catching up is just a matter of continuing the conversation that you left the last time you were together.

My life has been blessed with extremely good friends – people who I have a history with and who have known me through all the events of my life; the good, the bad and the downright ugly. The ties that bind can also connect and keep you grounded in who you are. Sometimes this can be a very healthy and welcome reminder.

It is easy to lose touch with old friends and sometimes it is worthwhile to make the break as you shift and change into different experiences and people in your life. The challenge of our past is that people can want to keep you there and remind you of all your mistakes and a life you may want to leave behind. It is with those kinds of friends that it is perhaps best to keep the ties as loose and as detached as possible.

With real friends, however, the thread they hold of your life can be a huge gift when you look back on the tapestry that you have weaved over your lifetime. Each thread of friendship becomes a part of a picture that really only begins to emerge as you have the perspective of time to look back and see what it is you have become.

I am the sum total of the friends who have touched my life and weaved a piece of their life's thread on my soul. For this I am extremely grateful and thankful that I never have to navigate this life completely on my own.

I am truly blessed by the friends in my life.

Monday, November 1, 2010


The first day of November and is strangely calm and serene outside. After the previous week, of storms and wind and snow today is sunny and and yes, serene. Relationships are like the weather – stormy one day – blue skies and sunny the next.

The key to keeping the flow is by remaining serene - with an aligned heart, head and mind operating as one. While not always easy to do, generally well worth the effort.

I was chatting with a friend yesterday and we were discussing the current man in her life who she hopes will be 'The One.' It has been a rather up and down relationship with lots of drama and odd twists and turns. We had talked a few weeks ago about how she might stay centered and calm in the midst of some pretty tricky complications with this guy.

Our conversation yesterday was much more positive. Things were once again in a flow and moving back on track. What I heard in her voice and in her communication was that she took back her power and ceased to allow this 'man' to have such an effect on her.

While I understand that in practice it isn't easy to not become emotionally upset by the odd behaviour of the people in your life. It is, however, useful to know that you do have a choice in how you respond. You can react and get emotionally upset or you can observe and respond appropriately and detach.

Most issues in life will sort themselves out with calm and detached reflection. It is understandable that when things do not go our way that we can feel very emotional and angry. The anger is useful for fueling action – no doubt about that. The point, however, is to remain centered, calm and serene – in other words, in control. From this place 'right action' will emerge and solutions will abound.

Serenity is the way forward.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friendship and Goodwill

Ok – it's the end of Friday and I have come painfully close to missing this deadline to do my blog today.

The week has been a full one; an election here at the beach, meetings with clients, networking events and then more meetings to initiate a plan to move a vision forward for our community here. These are the tangible bits and pieces of my week.

What is really happening though is that relationships are being built or being broken based on some intangible essential ingredient called 'good will.' We either have goodwill for each other – and therefore a friendship – a trust and a bond that allows us to work together- or we don't.

I treasure my friends and I am currently mourning a friend who has meant a lot to me. Now, it needs to be understood that this friend is far from perfect – in fact, she can be very annoying. But that is the true gift and privilege of friendship – it allows us to be who we really are – warts and all – and to feel loved and accepted exactly as we are.

If there is enough goodwill in a relationship, then it is possible to overcome the inevitable glitch – the annoyances, the fights, the disagreements and the tears. If there isn't, then nothing will resolve the differences.

We need to come together in friendship now more than ever. Goodwill is in short supply in many parts of the world; maintaining it in our own world is extremely important.

The words of Randy Revel – founder of Context Associated – ring in my ears often and never more often than now – he believed that we needed 'to strengthen the fabric of goodwill that exists in the world.' This was an idea that I bought into over 26 years ago and I continue to buy into it today. It is a simple but very important idea – an idea whose time has finally come.

Friendship equals goodwill.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saying Goodbye

I'm having a difficult time getting to my blog today. No real inspiration and a lot of sadness. I have received very sad news about a very close friend of mine. She has cancer and she has been told today it is terminal – 6months to a year to live.

For me, this is a first. I have never had a friend of mine in this position. I have of course had other people in my life – family and close family friends – who have passed away. The difference has been that they weren't my peers, she is my peer. We have known each other since high school and we have had a lot of laughs and good times together; including a trip to Italy. We have also shared many sad and difficult times; this obviously being among the most difficult.

Soul mates can be friends too – friends who share a certain soul connection, an understanding and a history that I thought would last forever. It has called me up very sharply to know that this particular friend is nearing the end of her time here with me and with everyone else who knew and loved her.

This isn't the usual kind of thing that gets posted on a blog about 'Soul Mates' but I made a commitment to write this twice a week. That means that I write it, whether I feel like it or not. I also promised myself to be authentic and write about what was in my heart and on my mind.

Today – this is what is in my heart and on my mind – the termination of a relationship through death. A tough one because it isn't the one we expect or feel any sense of control over. So for me, it is coming to grips with this passage and to make whatever plans I need to make in order to honour this relationship and give it the respect that it is due.

Time to say goodbye.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Point System

The other night on my way out, sans the husband, my parting remark was, 'Don't have too much fun without me.' To which he responded, 'I never do.' My retort back was, 'Correct response.' To which he said, 'One point.' Ah but a very good point.

Women and men count differently. When a man does something for a woman, say buys her flowers, or takes her out for dinner or a trip to Jamaica – it's one point for each event. On the other hand, when a woman does something great for a man, it usually is about 50 points or several hundred. A man can live on the bounty of a good compliment from a woman for a long time. Sadly, the same is not true for the woman; it is still just one point.

I was introduced to this particular point system many years ago and thought it was rather interesting – didn't quite believe it and then I noticed that it was true. A great evening out with my husband, fun as it is, is still just one point. The next day, the counter starts again. Now the men reading this may think that this is totally unfair and yes, it probably is but if you can adapt yourself to the system.

For example, one rose = one point; a dozen roses = one point. Given the points system what is the better thing to do; one rose a day for twelve days = 12 points or a dozen roses on one day = 1 point? See, you can make this work for you.

Women have a short attention span when it comes to grand gestures; they enjoy them but they don't have staying power. In other words, you can't sweep a women off her feet, take her to Vegas for a weekend, wine and dine her and buy her diamonds and expect that to last a year or two, no, it doesn't work that way. The way women count that would be about 4 maybe 5 points and they all disappear once the weekend is over.

For a man, a wonderful meal, a great compliment, a beautiful gift can rack up any where from 50 to a 1,000 points; often good for a few weeks and perhaps even a year. Men will remember and therefore forgive a woman when she's moody, unhappy or downright miserable – he's still living off the points from last Christmas.

So then you have to ask yourself, why is the woman moody, unhappy or miserable? That's right; he's thinking that she's doing the same thing – living off the many points from that great birthday present or holiday. Nope – she isn't – she is down a few points now and any little thing he does is upsetting – because those big events were only two points and the slate was clean the next day.

This may seem like a very unfair way of counting and frankly, it is. But here’s how it works, you can accumulate many points in one day and it doesn't cost much. A great compliment, a helping hand, a thoughtful gesture – hug, kiss or even a rose – every day will keep you in the black.

Now aren't you glad I taught you how to count?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Feeling Blessed

I started this Blog with a focus and title of 'Soul Mates' and now it looks like I am off on other tangents. Well, it may look like that but the theme running through all of these blogs is on relationships. The relationship that I am focused on is the one that I am having with myself. This is the one that needs to be in tip top shape before I can have a relationship with a soul mate.

Also, just to further clarify the point, a soul mate relationship can be any relationship; between same sex friends, between parent and child, between brothers and sisters – the connection is the important factor. A soul connection is a deeper more meaningful connection that features transparency, honesty, integrity and acceptance. There's that word again – acceptance – joyful in particular.

Creating 'soulful' connections with people starts on the inside. How I think, how I feel and how I extend myself out into the world is a function of me and my acceptance and love for myself.

When I am in 'right relationship' with myself; I can then be in 'right relationship' with everyone else. Creating right relationship with self begins with feeling blessed and knowing that you are absolutely perfect just as you are right now. You don't have to fix yourself, lose weight, buy a new wardrobe or do anything else to 'improve' yourself - you are beautiful, lovable and completely 'perfect' just as you are.

Now don't you feel blessed?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Miracles are everywhere

Stop and think for a moment about the miracles that have happened for you today. We don't do this often enough and yet it is only in being aware of the miracles that we open ourselves to more.

The world has recently witnessed 33 men rescued from a mine in Chile. Out of the darkness into the light – who would have thought that would happen? They faced enormous fears; the worst kind possible and yet, they are alive today to tell their story. This is a miracle and we are all a witness to it.

In a previous post I wrote that a miracle is a 'shift in perception.' A simple definition but think about it – how much did those men need to shift their perception to retain their sanity and optimism that they would be safe? They emerged from this ordeal not haggard, not miserable, not angry - in fact, the opposite; prayerful, thankful, feeling blessed and smiling with joy. That didn't just happen because they were released from their prison. They were released, I would suggest, because they were able to shift their perception of the situation to one of acceptance beforehand.

I may be wrong about this but I think that before we get released from the prison we place ourselves in; we need to shift our perception and accept where we are and notice that our life is already blessed.

Now can you see the miracles?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness as a spiritual practice is the act of letting go and being able to 'give again.'

We forgive so that energy can flow again and we can start receive what it is we desire. This relates to love, money, joy, inner peace – whatever it is that you want to be flowing in your life.

For example; if love is missing then the antidote is to forgive someone who you are currently withholding love from. Usually that person is the person closes to you; your partner, children, friends, brother, sister, mother, father. When you forgive you return to a place of 'joyful acceptance' or unconditional love – you welcome the flow of love back into our life.

So, why am I writing about forgiveness today? Well, traditionally after a long weekend like Thanksgiving, things don't always go to plan. Sometimes feelings are hurt, words are spoken (refer back to the previous post) and there may be some anger and resentment that you are holding onto.

Times with family can be like that. People do their best and yet, the afterglow may not be as beautiful as had been hoped.

To start this week off fresh – let go – forgive who ever you need to forgive – including yourself – and begin to enjoy the flow again.

My favourite definition of a miracle is 'a shift in perception.' Miracles abound in the energy of forgiveness.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Men, Women and Medals

Why do women continue to choose to have a man in their life when it really isn't essential? This is a conversation my husband and I had earlier this year. I had commented to him that we are in our 20th year of being together as a couple. My husband's response was that he deserved a medal – I said, no, actually, I think I'm the one who needs and deserves a medal.

Needless to say, he challenged that remark and stated that we women were pretty darned full of ourselves. My response back was that previously women have needed men for social and economic reasons and as such, put up with their bad behaviour. Since these reasons no longer apply and women are creating their own wealth and social networks, men are no longer essential to requirements. Explaining why many more women today are choosing single life over being married or co-cohabiting with men. They no longer feel the need to put up with behaviour that is unacceptable.

My husband's response was that this statement had a disturbing ring of truth to it and must be immediately denied.

Women don't need men anymore but they certainly do want men in their life. The question becomes, how do you live with a man and not go crazy with some of his weird and wonderful ways of being?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Living in the Flow

Relationships like most things in life have an ebb and flow. Living by a river, I feel quite connected to the flow of life.

Life is simple on the river. Nature operates in a pretty balanced way; for every day of sunshine and smooth waters, we have days of thunder and lightening and rocky water. The river, and nature in general, reminds me to enjoy the smooth days that flow and prepare for the stormy weather.

This is true of our relationships; they have days that are smooth, that flow like the river; life feels effortless. Then there are days when it feels like the sun will never shine again.

Part of being in a relationship, especially with a soul mate, is learning how to go with the flow and trust that storms do pass and the sun will come out again.

Enjoy the weekend and remember to not get caught in the rain!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Spiritual Growth and Relationships

For a long time I thought that a relationship, especially a soul mate relationship was meant to complete me. The idealized version of the one big love was that all of my wonderful light qualities would be reflected back to me through my partner.

What a shock when I found out the opposite was actually true. More often than not it was my shadow side – or the part of me that I am less than in love with – that showed up in my partner.

Love is like that and relationships are definitely like that. While we wish for the ideal it is often all things unlike the ideal that appear. This is why a soul mate relationship is really a very 'big love' relationship because you need to sincerely love yourself a whole lot to love your partner and yourself exactly as you are.

How many of us go into a relationship with expectations and dreams of how wonderful it will be? And yes, a lot of the time it is wonderful – but certainly not all the time. It is those times when the relationship is difficult that we do indeed grow. That is the point of a 'soul mate' relationship – to grow at the level of your soul.

Embracing the relationship as it is – letting go of expectations of how it should be – this is the stuff of 'spiritual growth' and the path of true love.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What is a Soul Mate?

A very long time ago I wrote a very brief book on the Soul Mate relationship. I thought it was a nice little book and was happy to have put pen to paper and come up with some thoughts on how this relationship works.

Soon after that, there was a plethora of books, articles, movies etc. on Soul Mates and I became rather embarrassed about my own little book and kind of hid it away so that I wouldn't be connected to it. I tend to be a bit like that; happy to write and think about things when they aren't that popular but once it becomes a cliche - which soul mates did - I tend to move away from the subject matter.

Why I am I now returning to it? Good question and the only answer I seem to have is that the world seems a bit crazy right now and the thing that seems to be front and centre for a lot of people is their relationship. Those that are in one; are acutely aware of what is or isn't working in the relationship. Those that aren't in a relationship seem to be yearning for that one, big love that will make the world ok.

We are in love with love and as much as there is cynicism about relationships and the state of divorce statistics, each of us in the secret and most sacred part of our hearts are aware that it is this one big love that we all desire.

What is the answer to finding your soul mate? Or, elevating the current relationship to that status? Paradoxically, it is to 'let go' and allow it to find you. Love doesn't tend to happen when we are searching - it is something that happens when we least expect it.

It is not dissimilar to when you have lost something - the minute you stop looking - it shows up. It's the same with a relationship - stop looking - set the intention and then let it go.

Today is the first full day of Fall. Looking outside I can see the leaves starting to drop - they are letting go with the knowledge that come spring, the leaves will be back.

In the spirit of the season, we can all learn from the trees. They don't resist what is - they just let go. Trusting that soon - after a good hibernation - they will be full again.