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Saturday, January 19, 2019

January: A Month for Reflection

Generally, the school of thought is to squeeze some annual reflection time in between the holidays and the new year for a few resolutions in the New Year. I'd hope that many of you are going to slow down and take stock of your year during the entire month of January. Take these 31 days to reflect on the past year and really think about what you want to achieve in 2019 -- personally and professionally. Don't rush at the end of December to come up with a set of resolutions that feel a little flimsy and are easy to walk away from.

May the words of poet Mary Oliver be your mantra his year: 

"What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

This January, go back and take a look at each month of 2018 and remind yourself about what happened in each month. Take stock of what you did and how you felt through the highs and lows and jot them down. Now think about the 11 months of blank canvas ahead. What would be your greatest personal satisfaction for the year? Who are the friends you haven't seen in a while that you want to make sure to see this year? Are you making a plan to gather with friends on a regular basis? Are you taking time for your loved ones? In what ways will you do this, this year? What one new skill do you want to learn this year? Are you factoring in your health to your 2019 plan?

Put these thoughts on paper. Now the list is official. Tape it to an inside cabinet, post it to the fridge or to the back of the door. Don't run away from your goals.  Make it a year full of constant joys! 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Reflections for the New Year

With the arrival of the new year, I find a quiet place and embrace some time to just be. The act of simply sitting for a moment of time, in a space of quiet, opens the door to one’s soul for a journey of reflection.

I inhale. I exhale. I take in this moment of life. I reflect upon the sun, the clouds, the bright blue sky and the light of the full moon rising in the distance on this cold winter’s eve.   I reflect upon recent conversations and interactions with colleagues, family and friends. I reflect upon the year gone by.
What a delight it is, I am reminded, to “just sit and be” with a loved one or friend and share in an open and trusted free-flowing conversation with no intent or agenda.

Why haven’t I done this more often?

We fill our schedules so full with daily activities and external noise that our conversations are often filled with “outputting” information shared through texting and other forms of social media as opposed to interactive conversations with one another.  I find myself facing this dilemma of our modern, fast-paced world: say as much as you can in the shortest amount of time. We are all on a hamster wheel of non-stop movement, activities, electronic noise and distractions. 

My friends and I question if we have lost the “art of conversation.” For many centuries the gift of interactive conversation was a treasure for our human spirit. We used to look forward to the time to sit around a kitchen table to share our thoughts while we would break bread—with no boundaries and no time commitments. Where has the time gone?

As we reflect upon the year that has come to a close, find time to welcome in the new season with warm thoughts of new dreams and intentions to be more present for yourself and for others. I would like to encourage all of us to take time to slow down, breathe in and exhale. Silence is time for one’s soul and spirit to reflect.

Then re-engage in the art of conversation with those around you, free of distraction. Turn everything off so you, too, can enjoy the power of sharing and learning from one another.  You never know what you will discover about yourself and those around you if you are willing to reflect, share and listen.  The more you practice breathing this year, the more you will discover ease, peace and comfort in your daily life.  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Just for You!

We’re reflecting on all of the different ways we have explored slowing down this year. Having tea with a friend, sending a written note to a friend and taking a walk were just a few of the ideas we had. One of our all time favorites is taking time to reflect. 

As we enter into hectic December, remember to take some time for yourself amongst all of the preparations. Enjoy the special moments, the memories and the warmth of it all. It is the end of the year, after all. Before you look ahead to 2019, take stock in the many events that took place in your life this year. They all deserve reflection as we make way for a peaceful new year. 

Enjoy your surroundings! Enjoy you!

Warmest holiday wishes to all! 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Thanksgiving and the Art of Conversation

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the rich harvest bestowed upon a family, the blessing of an abundance of food in preparation for the cold months of winter.

Today's Thanksgiving gatherings are still about an abundance of food and getting together with family and friends, with a few modern traditions such as playing touch football, watching the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade followed by watching a college or pro-football game, if you are at my household! Everyone works up quite an appetite and awaits patiently for the call to eat…

As I prepare for our Thanksgiving gathering, I am reminded that the times we spend at the table are as much about sharing in the delight of good food, as sharing in the delight of good company and the rich cross-generational discussions to be had among relatives and friends.

The meal often lasts much longer than the food on our plates, as we spend time talking and listening to one another, sharing our thoughts and opinions on various topics. And although we would not agree on some subjects, we would continue in the tradition of respectfully agreeing to disagree. One of the greatest gifts I enjoy from this time of year is the cross-generational sharing of wisdom and knowledge.

This year, relish the different viewpoints more than ever. Slow down, engage in a conversation and learn something new.

And, always, always give thanks for the bounty set before you every day.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

In the mail...

And, just as soon as I had written about writing a note, in came some notes to my mailbox!

I always remember looking forward to the mailman stopping at our mailbox in the summertime. My mum would send me running down the driveway to "check the mail" at about 3:30pm. We'd have catalogs and magazines, a letter from a friend (and the occasional bill)! It was always so nice to slow down in the afternoon with all of this new information. Before the internet, it was the newspaper in the morning, the mail in the afternoon and the 6:30pm news in the evening that kept us connected.

Some people say it's a dying art, but I like to think otherwise. We may be writing less letters, but what an impact they have when they are received! The reciprocity of staying in touch and the intention of sharing with each word written is a very special act of friendship.

Thank you, my dear friends, for all of your notes. I love hearing from you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Thinking of You...

As we come to the close of another season of long summer days, I always feel a tug at my heart, thinking about family and friends I may  not have connected with over these action-packed months.…I'll make a phone call in between family chores and leave a voicemail to share some updates.  I realized I wanted to do more than just leave an electronic voicemail, text or email. I wanted to send a note with actual handwritten words to say hello and just let them know I was thinking of them.

Receiving handwritten thoughts is always a treat for me…and I hope it is for you….

So as we close out the summer days, may I encourage you to take out your pen and ink a note to a family member or friend to share your thoughts and to let them know you are thinking about them during these long and crazy days. Share a hello and a thought of comfort as we welcome in the new season. There's nothing more cheerful than an unexpected letter in the mail from someone dear to you. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Subject: You

“The act of naming the world, in ways uniquely your own, 
is one way to spark the creative energy 
that lives inside each human being.”  
- Rebecca McClanahan

I came across this quote in a magazine this week. It felt so relevant following my last post about being comfortable in one’s own skin. Spend some time alone. Learn to like yourself. Enjoy doing things with yourself. Make time for just yourself. You will see that a great fire burns within – the fire of imagination and creativity. We keep so busy being accountable that we forget to circle back and look within. Children have it but we spend a lifetime dulling that fire. What if we made room for it again? For possibility? For creativity?