Category Archives: reflections, observations & musings

How Far Would You Go?

medium_4045179076

Ok Women, how brave are you?

And Men, where do you draw the line?

Women:
Consider this…
 Would you leave the house without donning even the tiniest bit of make-up if…

…you were just going to the corner convenience store to pick-up a late-night carton of milk for the morning cereal?

…you were driving your kids to school and would be dropping them at the curb and heading straight back home?

…you were doing your weekly grocery shopping?

…you were going to the dentist or doctor?

…you were going to work?

…you were going out for a romantic dinner with your mate?

…you were going to the theatre (live theatre, not the movies)?

How brave are you?

And is it bravery or is it confidence?

…or is it self-worth?

Men:
What would your reaction be to seeing your partner without make-up, out in the real world in the given situations above?

And how would you feel if she dressed ‘comfortably’, not sloppy, but in fitted (yet not snug) clothing which did not bare her shoulders or legs and she wore comfortable shoes in which she could walk long distances?

Now, how would you feel if a female co-worker was make-up free and comfortably dressed?

Would you take her more seriously or less so when she spoke to you?

Gender Gap

I have often wondered why women spend so much money on products to conceal, even-out, enhance, disguise and brighten various areas of their faces not to mention the time it takes to sculpt and paint the daily facade while men enjoy the wash-and-go life.

Women do not think men are less handsome because their cheeks aren’t rosy, their skin colour isn’t even and their lips aren’t a particular shade of red.

In fact, quite often we find you men extremely handsome and we feel the need to adorn ourselves more in the hope of getting your attention.

And why in the rest of the natural world are the males the flamboyant ones with vibrant colours and showy displays to attract the female?

I wonder what would happen if women stopped wearing make-up.

I recently read an article by Lauren Shields describing her “modesty experiment” where she challenged the westernized ideal of beauty.  For nine months, she lived entirely without make-up, revealing clothes and uncomfortable shoes.  (Sounds rather freeing, doesn’t it?)

She examined the philosophy of various religion’s reasons for modest dressing and was surprised by what she found in both her research and her experience.

Does a year of living modestly appeal to you?  How far would/could you take it? And what would you expect to learn or gain from the experience?

Share your thoughts below.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/muffmuff/4045179076/”>galaxies and hurricanes</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
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In Praise of Fathers

Father Holding Daughter's HandHere’s to all of the men out there
who have spent most of their adult days
providing for their children,

financially, emotionally and as role models,
so that they can grow up
feeling loved and important.

We are very grateful.

Happy Father’s Day!!

…Thanks Dad!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/spirit-fire/4739023417/”>Spirit-Fire</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

The Tree, The Apple, The Distance

medium_3174097944As a parent, as all parents, I have tried to instill my values in my children. 

I have spoken to them countless times about the environment and our part in protecting it.

About good nutrition, although I admit, I am not the best role model at the moment – chocolate, yum! – potato chips, equally yum!

About smoking and drugs and the dangers to their health.

About how to treat people with equality and kindness.

And I have tried to model those values on a daily basis.

So, I am proud to report that my eldest apple has not fallen far from the tree.

A budding journalist, for her first-ever post as Postscript Editor of her university paper, she chose to write about…Positivity.

I couldn’t be more proud.

Please take a moment to read her take on positivity in the wake of misfortune or tragedy.  here

And thanks to the trees from which I too have not fallen far,
for most of my values are theirs.

When have you noticed or experienced a positive outcome after a negative event? Please share it below.

photo credit: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/gemella/3174097944/”>LaGemella</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

9 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dad

I remember my Dad teaching me how to dive.medium_4784719807

He would stand in the pool while I stood on the side, toes wrapped over the edge.

He would hold out his arm at the height of my thighs and say, “Just lean over my arm and fall in.”

I would stand there, arms straight up over my head, hands clasped tightly, knees knocked together and slightly bent, toes gripping tightly to the side and I would lean over and take deep breath after deep breath, almost hyperventilating, staring into the depths below.

I’d lean over a bit further, gasp some more then straighten up and say, “I can’t.”

He’d reassure me and I’d go through the whole process again, and again, and again, until one day I tipped so far forward that I fell in.

Not only did I survive, I discovered it was fun!  So I scrambled back out, anxious to do it over and over.

I’ve come to see that this was not a one-time occurrence.  This is my pattern.

Whenever I want to try something new, I read about it, observe others, watch videos, dream about it, discuss it, take deep breaths, take classes, read some more, dip my toe in, quickly pull it back, take more deep breaths, repeat all of the above (more than once) then finally gain the courage to dive in head first.

And I have never been sorry.

9 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dad

  1. No matter how many deep breaths you take before you jump, it’s the last breath that keeps you from drowning.  So stop hyperventilating, take one really big breath and dive in.
  2. If you lack the courage, prepare as best you can then lean far enough forward so that your momentum will take you the final step.
  3. Avoid shallow water, that’s for waders, not serious divers.
  4. You will survive (provided you’ve applied step #3).
  5. It will get easier each time you do it.
  6. This is a mental sport and you are your only opponent.
  7. Soon you will want to try from a new height, until that becomes easy.
  8. You will be glad you did it.
  9. You will wonder why you were ever afraid.

Thanks Dad!

Share below when you struggled with the courage to try something and how it turned out. 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kicks01/4784719807/”>Greg L. photos</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
 

It’s Spring! It’s Spring!

If you are like me, you go through winter with your head down trudging through small_6788912089the bitter short days wishing for the snow to melt, longing to catch your first glimpse of spring growth – snowdrops and crocus pushing through the frozen ground – finally to be awoken one morning by a sound, both familiar and not.

Is it the Cardinal that resides in the cedar hedges year round?

It could be, or is it?

Emerging from your slumber, you hear it again. You know the call but when did you hear it last? You pause for one more reminder.

It calls again.

Your memory clears. Could it be?

You rush to the window to search for the source.

He sings, it seems just for you and you spot him – your first Robin of the season!

Excitement and relief are one as you exhale and welcome the coming of Spring; not by the date on the calendar but by nature’s on-going rhythm.

Spring has arrived once again with its promise of warmer days, longer afternoons, light rains, and spring blossoms.

Announcing its arrival are the migratory birds’ sweet songs.  Each distinctive by species but all with the same message:

“It’s Spring! It’s Spring! I’ve arrived to spend the summer with you!”

But there is nothing like the sound of a Robin: The Heralder of Spring.

As spring turns to summer, the Robin’s cheery song weaves its way into your day small_4325617159and uplifts your spirit almost un-noticed.  From first morning light when they gently draw you from your dreams to dusk when they are settling in for the night, they provide a soothing melody accompanied by the crescendo of rustling leaves on a breeze.

Some birds have squawks that immediately draw your attention, and being awakened by one can set your day off with annoyance.  Others, in a panicked scream for aid, call attention to an unwanted visitor to the yard.

But there is something about the Robin that I have always found soothing and special.

Perhaps it is because they are a seasonal inhabitant to my neck-of-the-woods.  As one of the first migratory visitors, they signify an end to long cold dark days with the promise of Spring’s inevitable arrival.

Soon the buds will appear on branches, the first shoots will push through the barren soil and life will replace the slumbering landscape.

They are a welcome friend whose absence I don’t realize I have missed until once more I hear its song.

I am both envious and sorrowful for those who experience the Robin as a year-round resident: envious of the daily pleasure of its sweet aria yet sorrowful that without its absence perhaps it is under-appreciated.

The excitement I feel each Spring is innate and childlike.  I am anxious to watch for all the ‘firsts’ – the first lady bug, the first bumble bee, the worms that emerge with the rains.

My family each marks a day on the calendar when we guess the first hummingbird will come to our feeder. We anxiously await his arrival and record it boldly when he does.

But it is the spotting of the first Robin, whether by the sight of its destinctive red breast or the recollection of its cheery chirp,  that truly signals Spring’s arrival.

Open the window to your world and listen for the sounds that you perhaps take for granted – the wind, the rain, the laughter of young children…

Appreciate the feelings of joy as their songs add to the soundtrack of your life.

Share below the sounds that enhance your life’s soundtrack.

Video credit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwnhwF9_x2Y
Photo credits:
crocus: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/puzzler4879/6788912089/”>Puzzler4879</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
Robin:photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/goellnitz/4325617159/”>thelearnedfoot_</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

3 Ways To Reach Your Highest Goals!

medium_6156635313-1I’ve never been much for setting ‘official’ goals.  Sure, I’d like to lose 20 pounds, make lots of money and travel to exotic locales but I’ve never put a good solid plan in place to make them a reality.

I sporadically try this or that and can make goals last for a while.  I get all hyped-up and talk a good talk but I almost always let things gradually die out; a slow fizzle.

This is why, truthfully, I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions.  Why bother?  

Sometimes things I intend to accomplish never even get off the ground.

Why is that?

Does it happen to you too?

I’ve been learning a lot over the past year.  I’ve been studying different methods to become successful.  I’ve been reading and attending ‘no-fail’ webinars for tips and inspiration.  And the one common message is:

You Have To Set Goals.  

Ugh!

In order to achieve > the weight loss > the higher income > the dream vacation > you have to do something focussed and concrete to set you on the path to your desire.

You Have To Plan The Steps.

Ugh!

Ok, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  So here are the questions I asked myself…

What do you REALLY want?

Why do you really want it?

How will you feel when you get it?

What difference will it make in your life when you achieve it?

Once you have the answer to those questions, then the real work begins.

Here is the ultimate, time-honoured, tested & proven-by-successful-people question to ask yourself now:

What steps do you need to take to get there?

Method #1

One method I learned about is the SMART method.

  • Specific – How exactly will you do it? Ask: Who, What, When, Where & Why questions.
  • Measurable – How will you know if you get there? How many pounds/wk, clients/month?
  • Attainable – Be practical and prioritize.
  • Realistic – Consider your available time and skills. Can you make adjustments to allow for success?
  • Time-bound – Break it down into manageable pieces: daily/weekly/monthly/annually

The SMART format discusses looking at all areas of your life:

  • Personal
  • Spiritual
  • Family
  • Mental/Education
  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Work
  • Social

Do each of the SMART goals for each area.

Prioritize and Begin

Baby steps can gain ground quickly and allow for multiple celebrations along the way, keeping you inspired.  They also allow you to make adjustments to areas that aren’t working as well as you thought they would, leading to further and faster success!

Method #2

Another method that can kick-start achievement is a 30-Day Challenge.  For 30 days, challenge yourself to do just one goal.  For me it was daily yoga and forgoing bread. (How do you think I fared? Find out here and here)

30-Day Challenges can be a great way to begin a habit, knock something off your bucket list, or cross something off the “I’ll Get To It One Day” list.

Method #3 

The Secret, The Law of Attraction, Faith in the Universe, whatever you want to call it, I believe it works.

You project your positive affirmations to the universe and if they are heartfelt and sincere, they will somehow present themselves to you; but that’s not all there is to it.

You can’t stop there!

Just wishing and hoping that something will happen is not enough.  You have to take steps toward making it happen.

You can’t just say “I want my dream job” then sit on the couch flicking channels.  You have to job hunt, improve your education, network, do what it takes to get there: see Method #1.

And if you are open to the signs, things will begin to present themselves to you in perhaps unexpected ways.  You may not get the ultimate dream job right away but could this job be a step toward that dream? How can you make it happen?

Tip: Be specific!

The old adage “Be careful what you wish for” applies heavily with this method.

Another one: “Like Breeds Like” is especially true here so BE POSITIVE! If  you say “I want to live in Paris and own a patisserie” but in the back of your mind you are saying “Ya, right. Like that will ever happen!”, well guess what will actually happen?

Have I tried any of these methods?

Yup.  I challenged myself to set a New Year’s Resolution: to begin making sincere heartfelt, SMART goals. And I have been working hard to set the wheels in motion.

Does any of this stuff actually work?

You bet your sweet patootie it does!

I’m always amazed at how Method #3 presents itself. (I’ve actually been doing this method for a long time with simple things like “When I get to the store there will be a parking spot right out front” – it sounds silly but you’d be surprised how often that one works!)

For instance, last month I projected that I would get two new writing clients and Tada!; the second one arrived on the afternoon of the last day of the month! But neither of those clients would have appeared if I hadn’t deployed Method #1.

And we’ve all had the experience of thinking of someone and then they call or you run into them the next day.

Sometimes goals or events attained by method #3 are only apparent in hindsight and sometimes they’re standing right in front of you waiting for you to shake their hand.

As for Method #2: it’s the beginning of a new month; the perfect time to begin a 30-Day Challenge.  For me, another 30 days of SMART goals and positive affirmations.

The bottom line: Whatever your goal is…

Own It!

Believe In It! 

Proclaim It! 

Plan It!

ACT On It! 

Celebrate the Milestones!

Repeat! REPEAT! REPEAT!

Do you set goals?  What method do you use and does it work?

photo credit:  <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/venosdale/6156635313/”>Krissy.Venosdale</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

What does “Peace” mean to you?

I believe in the power of positive thinking.  The Secret.  The Law of Attraction. Whatever you want to call it; what you put out to the universe comes back.

“What you think, you become.” Buddha.

Your thoughts; positive or negative, good or bad, productive or un, give things the power to come to fruition in your life.

That is why I read with great interest a recent post about another blogger’s initiative, a rally call really, for like-minded bloggers to join together and blog for a cause.

forpeace6

Bloggers For Peace.  

#B4Peace

My mind began to wander.

What would happen if many people began to shift their thoughts for this one cause?

Peace.  

Imagine…

There is proof that our hearts emit electro-magnetic waves that can join and be felt around the globe.

Imagine the effect of thousands of people writing about peace and thousands more reading about peace, daily.

Discussions, comments and sharing take place and our electro-magnet waves begin to unite.

This was a movement for which I wanted to be a part.

But I needed to noodle on it for a bit.  What would be my role?  What could I throw in to contribute to the ripple?

So I asked:

What does “Peace” mean to me?

For some, peace means an end to war – in their country, in their streets, in their homes.

For some, peace means freedom from restrictions – slavery, religious persecution, child labour, oppression.

For some, peace means not having to worry about whether their children will eat each day.

Peace is all of those things and more.

What also came to mind was that
peace, if achieved, cannot last without environmental protection.

How long can we survive at the rate of environmental decline currently in existence today – with or without peace?

Therefore, for my contribution to Bloggers For Peace, I have chosen this month to highlight a problem for which we can all contribute toward the solution (since we’ve likely unknowingly contributed to the problem).

The North Pacific Tropical Gyre, a.k.a. The Garbage Patch

Watch, Learn, Absorb, then adopt

 The New 3-R’s: Rethink, Refuse, Reconsider

and the 4th ‘R’

REACT!

According to the National Geographic link below, “Because the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is so far from any country’s coastline, no nation will take responsibility or provide the funding to clean it up.”

Find out more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch:

More about Bloggers For Peace:
http://everydaygurus.com/2012/12/20/we-can-make-a-difference-right-here-right-now/
Another Blogger for Peace:
http://tracielouisephotography.net/2013/02/08/blogging-for-peace/

video credit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUjTHB1lvM&feature=player_embedded

Below, share your reaction to this video.
And share what ‘Peace’ means to you.