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.