It has been a while dear blog..

The communication process for me is a transaction. It should be mutually beneficial exchange. I value communication a great deal. For those of you reading this that do not know, I have a graduate degree in this field. Communication requires authenticity at all levels for me as a person. No matter how or where this transaction takes place, it has to come from a place of a shared desire for mutual understanding.

I have not been able to post anything, anything at all, and for the longest time. I don’t know why but something was literally preventing me from opening up. Like a mute button was clicked.  I felt constrained. I felt ashamed. I felt guilty. That’s it…I felt guilty for abandoning my blog.

I was hamstrung. I was stuck – there is no other way to put it.

There was a change in me, a minor set-back perhaps, but a moment in my recent history when sharing anything that came too close to sharing the real truth of my life just didn’t feel right.

Both literally and metaphorically speaking…I was tongue-tied. I am even bewildered that it took me this long to even notice that I lost my own voice. Admitting is always the first step.

I notice that I sometimes get tongue-tied around really inauthentic people. Perhaps I couldn’t write because I lacked authenticity with myself. I know what I have wanted to say to my readers, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be coming from an authentic place. The truth of the matter is, I have been dabbling in too much of everything and nothing all at the same time to be truly passionate or authentic about anything.

I knew that I had look inside to fix the things broken on the outside. But it proved to be too hard to do for a while. Hindsight is always 20/20. It wasn’t just about my inability to be honest with all of my lovely tell your mother readers, or the people in my cue, it was likely related to me being avoiding being honest with myself. Today I am being truly honest, brutally honest in fact.

It has been my authentic self of the past who was been driven to the laptop to share my life experiences and views with you. Driven by some blind optimistic faith that somehow my triumph and heart breaks might inspire you to look inside yourself too… question your own morals and values and find what direction your own moral compass should point when dealing with the “messy” parts of life, the grey areas of living.

I was neglecting my shadow self. The darker side. The side that doesn’t always have a positive perspective. The side that doesn’t just accept what is with total faith for what is yet to come. I was hiding a part of myself that makes me whole. A big part of myself that contributes to my true self. I am not always positive. I am not always loving. I do not always treat myself or others with the utmost respect and consideration. I am not perfect.

My darker self says, the more that I learn, the more that I realize that I don’t really know shit. It says, the more something means to you, the harder it is to attain it, so don’t give a fuck and things will come easier. My darker self says that I choose to learn the hard way, time and time again, that when people show you how awful they are, that you should believe them, too not, is only self hate and how can you love hating yourself? I came to the conclusion through getting to know my darker self and darkest thoughts, that the better my questions become, the more difficult they are to answer.

I had given up the fight inside of myself or darkest and light because I has lost sight of what the end goal really is. So here is to re-awakening my desire to pursue my highest self and discover what my true higher calling is. Sometimes the best way to really find yourself again is to completely get lost for a while. It has been a weird trip and I am happy to be back.

My word press stats reveal something that did not occur to me, just because I have not been writing, does not mean that people have not been reading.

I am shocked to find that I still have readers despite abandoning my responsibilities to post new and relevant articles, someone out there still is reviewing my stuff – so thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Breaking the silence

Secretes have power. They can be positive once in a while but more often then not concealment is designed to hide the truth and avoiding the truth can be toxic. Breaking the silence of the secrete can release the pain associated with memory and start the process of healing and reconciliation.  Here is a secrete of mine, I have low self esteem. It likely began with rejection early in life. It wrecks havoc on life daily. I am at war with the thoughts in my head. I have this audio that replays in my head that goes like this;  I am good enough (for whatever), that my accomplishments are never enough (for whoever), that no one will ever love me (why would they I don’t love myself) and that no matter what I do to try to stop this bad recording, I fall into a trap of this belief that I can’t change my situation. My issue with low self esteem is that it doesn’t get better from someone telling you, its not true. I believe in the power of healing. My hope is that I can heal myself. I want control of my head space back. I want to return to a place of self confidence and all of the abundance that sort of mentality brings. 

Addictions versus habits: what separates the addict from the social user?

No matter where I go, or what I am doing in my life I tend to cross paths with people who lose their way due to addictions. I also see a lot of excessive behaviour which looks like its going to cross the line towards addictions. I can’t help everyone all of the time, but I really try to offer some comfort to people that with a bit of faith, love, and trust all things are possible. Addiction really does make me wonder, what really causes this issue, and knowing the cause I suppose might lead to a cure.

The jury is out on the scientific research, the nature versus nurture debate continues, it’s likely a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B.  I am not a doctor. I am not a psychologist. I am not a social worker, a counsellor or a health care professional of any kind.  I am just a woman with a few degrees, who enjoys thinking, reading and writing and who has lived a very interesting life despite being under the age of 30.

What is addiction and what is a habit? Addiction has some psychological/physical component that compels a person towards the harmful substance or behaviour, so an individual is unable to control the urge can sum up addiction. These people have a number of contributing mental or physical conditions involved in the need to use or abuse something. A habit or better stated a bad habit by comparison to addiction it is done by choice. The person with the habit can choose to stop, and can subsequently stop successfully if they want to. The psychological/physical component is not an issue as it is with an addiction. What separates the user from the abuser? What is ‘tipping point’ that takes someone who engages in behavior that is risky to themselves and others towards behaviour that consumes and controls their lives and their well being. These of course are rhetorical questions 

In addition to being a woman, I am an orphan and a widow. Addiction has been a part of my life since as long as I can recall. My beautiful mother, bless her soul, made alcoholism and drug abuse a part of my daily life, she was eventually murdered by her partner who then killed himself when I was 11, they were no doubt high on either illegal or prescription drugs. My daughter’s father and my first true love died before he was 30, following a tragic pattern by his father who died before he turned 34, no doubt due to substance misuse. He froze to death outside by what I can only imagine was caused by a drug induced hysteria.

What I do know about addiction is that it can happen to anyone, from any socio-economic background, it can affect people at any age, of any gender or race, and it affects the people who are close to the addict as much as the addict themselves. Addiction seems to be a toxin that spreads itself throughout an environment. Maybe finding a cure for persons with addictions is as much about curing a society, a household, or an environment that promotes and feeds addictions.

People don’t just become addicted to drugs or booze, they can be addicted to things such as smoking, anger, gambling, sex, steroid use, fitness, video games, the internet, food, heck one can almost develop an addiction to almost anything. What makes something an addiction is the nature of the excessiveness related I suppose, the degree to which one loses sight of other things in life in the pursuit of the excessive behavior, which ultimately consumes them. Addiction for the person who is addicted inevitably leads to feelings of guilt, shame, hopelessness, despair, failure, rejection, anxiety and/or humiliation because when they lose sight of everything else around them, and only focus on the addiction things start to fall apart, whether it be their personal relationships, their careers, or their mental, physical or spiritual health.

Addictions harm the people closes to the addicts as well as the people who are addicted. Either because of the continual disappointment in their lack of consideration for others while they are using, or because of the failed expectations for them to stop using, in my case it was that the addictions lead to death.

I don’t know what specifically inspired me to write this post. I don’t have a particular point to make. I suppose in a way I just want to raise awareness that there is a fine line between a bad habit and an abuser. When you spot the warning signs in yourselves and others around you reach out for help. Don’t let the addictions consume your life or end it. Love yourself and love those around you by seeking help through rehab programs, counseling and or health care programs where available. And the biggest part is don’t lose hope and faith. Just because people go down a wrong path due to bad habits or addictions, doesn’t mean that this is the only road they can travel. Everyone can change. The point is you can’t help anyone who does not want help, and you can’t force anyone to love themselves or others enough to seek the help they need. When all else fails, pray. 

The Wisdom of Nelson Mandela

great post on a great man!

“Fake it till you make it,’

“I don’t subscribe to this one,” says my favourite fashion lady and all around awesome for life friend, Lisa Drader Murphy. She is the creative genius designer behind the Turbine fashion brand and the recently launched LMD line (Collection of her own name if you don’t catch the acronym). For more on her visit www.turbine.ca .

I met this marvel of a human through a charity event that she was hosting for a the bursary program Amanda’s Gift through the Nova Scotia Council for the Family. Lisa started her own charity the Turbine Fund through her business. The bursary was a life changer for me, it offered me both financial and moral support in the pursuit of my dreams when I seriously lacked support in this area from anywhere else. I received my Master’s diploma today. Today in many ways, is a day I will never forget. The bursary did more than help me finance university, it connected me to a mentor whom I will forever admire and cherish and draw inspiration from. Lisa and I first connected online to help promote the charity event, and she later she invited me to visit her at her home for a good old fashion sleepover to get to know one another better, and it was one of the best evenings of my adult life. After the first hang out I was hooked. I am like a wet blanket when it comes to finding comfort and sanctuary, a overnight visit eventually would turn into a 3 day week-end retreat and at the risk of outstaying my welcome I could never find myself to be ready to leave her company, always so uplifting, always so much to learn, always so much to think about after spending time with her.

Getting back to the title of this post, during her visit in conversation she said “Fake it till you make it: I don’t subscribe to that one,” and I can’t get it off my mind. She made her statement with an equal amount of dignity and distain. Sitting in my overpriced, cramped and cluttered one bedroom Fort McMurray basement suite chatting with my friend, she dished us a huge reality check in 12 words. I love what she said and how she said it so much. It’s absolutely brilliant. I see now that it was nonsense to believe otherwise.

Lisa was visiting my community for the first time for a guest appearance as a keynote speaker at charity driven fashion fundraiser. I naturally made the connection for her to attend as I wanted to share her with my new community and hope she plants some seeds of inspiration in my new home, like she has in me, every time we spend any amount of time together. She did a whole lot more, this one simple comment  effortlessly shattered years and years of faking it till we were making it for my friend and myself. This will no doubt have a massive ripple effect.

Lisa rubs shoulders with celebrities often but she doesn’t get caught up in the glamour of fashion industry, she is downright hardworking, and down-to-earth and she emerges more humble than half of the people I have ever met.  The fashion industry isn’t bursting at the seams with both talented and approachable and genuine people. No wonder I hold her in in such a high regard. Lisa has been through a lot. Her history isn’t mine to tell. But I will say she has never once ever led me to believe that she has felt like a victim of circumstance. She has always made the point clear that when life brought her to challenges she had to make choices and for her, empowerment in life is knowing that while choices may not always easy, they are ours for the taking, and each of us always options. Hopelessness and being trapped is a self created issue, it’s not relative to situations or circumstances.  Lisa is a leader who leads through her setting standards by her own example. Dream big, but make the dreams real within your means, work hard but make time for meaningful relationships, think things through but follow your gut when the time calls for it and learn to know the difference between intuition and impulse, and all the while reflect constantly along the way and adjust as is required are all-important key messages I have drawn from her from our conversations over the years. Lisa can be counted on to not tell you what you may want to hear. In fact she can be counted on for the opposite. She speaks only her truth and for that I commend her. That is why she likely doesn’t fake anything to make anything. It’s not founded in truth. Faking is false and that fact is unchanging. My brilliant creative and talented friend is 100% correct; we can’t fake anything and expect to it create something of substance. 

I had “fake it till I make it” stamped all over me prior to this conversation. I carried this statement all around, repeatedly told it to myself and to my friends. To me the shoe seemed to fit. The idea was that when you feel like crap, the notion of getting dressed up even if you don’t feel like it and getting on with it was somehow going to help it along. Enacting this statement for me was a demonstration in perseverance, a tell tale sign of strength. Lisa shared her truth to us in that moment by bluntly declaring that unsubscribing to this sentiment was empowerment. in my reflections I draw that you can’t ever fix what is not right within yourself by just disguising what is visible on the outside. Coming from a fashion industry person, this is truly deep. Her truth that we as people cannot ever dress up dissatisfaction and expect that disguise to garner any sort of altered outcome is pretty amazing. I won’t lament this statement leaving my repertoire.  Its sort of like the iceberg theory, only 10% is above water, is what is seen, the other 90% is what lies underneath the surface and that part is so much greater part of the whole that what is visable. It’s about seeing the surface but knowing what is beneath, its about the bigger picture and understanding that what you don’t see is more often, what is most real and behind what is obvious is where you find what really matters, what must be faced, thus window dressings cannot ever make anything better. “Fake” can not ever manifest something we expect to become “real’. 

Looking back at the last 9 months I draw this important perspective into my my personal reflections. My most recent chapters in life learning and personal growth are tough ones. I see now that putting on a strong front, suiting up for battle, or showing a good face didn’t do me any favors, it didn’t change what was underneath the surface, it didn’t fix what was wrong and is did not clear away my dissatisfaction about how choices that were being made on things I did not think were right. I see now that no matter how much I put into fixing what I conceived as problems could not window dress what was really festering beneath the surface. Other people saw what I was trying to hide and what I was really refusing to accept and expose and face. I was not a victim in my circumstance, I was just covering up my ability to choose.  I know now that I was lying to myself and continuing to attempt to “fake it to make it,”. My fake it every day didn’t make it better or change the ultimate outcome. I didn’t show what I knew was real and I didn’t face the 90% of what was under the surface. The 10% of what I put forward was fake window dressings and when I started to unveil the truth, it was too late and the consequences of my lack of attempts to take control of my available choices on the issues relating to my circumstance came crushing down on me without mercy.

The fake it till you make it statement is stricken from my narrative, if only to reappear to be debunked. Truth and only truth can bring about the necessary change that we sometimes need in our lives when we reach our pinnacle moments, despite if we find ourselves in good or bad circumstance. If you feel like crap stick in your yoga pants for a day or so. It’s not the end of the world. 

Truth means facing the “I feel awful” moments and then as quickly as possible making the honest attempt towards honest reconciliation of how we feel about where we are in that rare moment, and in assessing what we are doing about our circumstance and on making the action plan towards getting where we want to be. We must expose our emotions, our realities, and our truths, no matter how much they may not be aesthetically pleasing to us. It’s the only way to activate inner empowerment, the kind that shines through on the outside, the kind that can initiate the changes we desire within ourselves and the world around us. For me this means success in my future in is based on truth and that concealment will always fail.  Moral of this story for me, donning a disguise will never help me attain any real or measurable results, no matter what I package or present myself, choosing genuine truth is the only way to release myself from the things that happen in life that might try to hold me back. Present the truth of the matter and move forward with eyes wide open.

I think when she makes her beautiful designs, from time to time; she cringes at the thought of anyone faking it till they make it in anything she created. She aspires for the women who wear her works of art to face the world and its circumstances with confidence and truth that’s so entrenched on the inside, that it very naturally is visible on the outside when the woman puts on her Turbine for game days.

Please consider making a donation to the Turbine Fund via the website http://www.turbine.ca and know that every dollar donated really does go to those who need it, and the gifts given through the fund really do make meaningful impacts towards empowering women, in Canada and all around the world by motivating people through kindness and helping them to raise above circumstance to reach each recipients full potential. The Turbine Fund is not just offering funding but more so about offering inspiration, food for thought, mentorship and most importantly by planting seeds of empowerment towards making helping those who need a hand up, not a hand out, in hopes that the world can become a better place through acts of compassion and kindness. 

Thanks Lisa – you are so very lovely tell your mother.

20 Ways to Give Negative Feedback

Good post. Better timing.

Life is not so lovely tell your mother right now

Life sure has its share of ups and downs. Luckily I can count on my share of downs in life to attribute my resilience factor too. I survived a lot in my short 28 years and I continue to survive.  I am grateful that struggles big and small have not completely overcome me by now. But I am on the verge of losing my hope and my faith and that is terrifying. If I don’t have my hope and my faith what do I have to propel me forward and to fuel my passion for my purpose in my life and my existence with injustice.

 I arrived in this world with a number of disadvantages. Being a female I suppose was one of them. Despite marked improvements in women’s rights there are still many fronts to further even as Canadians. Despite many advances to human rights, all people still have hurdles to jump and mountains to climb to gain access to the protections provided. I became an orphan at a young age. My mother was murdered. Her murder killed him self. Her loss of life was brought to justice here on earth. I became a ward of the court and had all privileges associated with being a foster child stripped by the government of the time. I became a young widowed mother at the age of 22 and had no justice to this tragedy also. Despite all of this I look back and don’t see myself as a victim. I have turned my experiences into positive motivation to move forward. To become more than what society says I should be. According to statistics I could be dead, or a criminal or some other something or other that’s not good. I am alive. I am well. I have pursued higher education despite the odds thrived in academic attainments. Despite not having a good upbringing I like to think I am a loving and caring parent. I like to think I am a decent person. I like to think I make life choices that don’t harm others. I like to think I do my part to add more good into a world that sometimes has more bad floating around.

I am grateful for so much. I have made human connections who have become like family where I had none, I have an extended circles of friends who bring richness into my world in so many ways. My daughter and I are healthy, and at least if for this moment, I have a roof over our heads, food in my fridge and a few dollars to cover my December bills. But what is the meaning of it all – the struggles, the challenges the heartaches the tears and the fears.  Did I sign up for this human experience for spiritual growth and if so can I ask when will I be done growing?

I sit here today pondering a much larger question of my purpose in life. I sit here today questioning my moral obligations in this life. Have I been born and bred to be a fighter, or have I been born and bred to simply exist and attempt survival and continue to learn from life hardships. Will I ever have that eureka moment, or the Oprah “aha’ moment where the accumulation of my life’s experience all make sense and I say YES I know why this has all happened, I KNOW what I am supposed to do with my lessons learned, I understand HOW to apply the learning to benefit myself and others and rest easy with some sort of satisfaction that it all makes sense.

Maybe not, maybe I just think too much. Maybe I expect too much from humanity. Maybe the pursuit of justice in an unjust world is just too much for me, one person to ponder let alone affect. Maybe I just need to stop thinking my purpose is to make everything better and just accept that being selfish and just investing in bettering my life is all that I am capable of.

This message is somewhat cryptic. I can’t disclose the events, which have recently provoked these existential questions. That’s even more disheartening. I thought freedom of speech was real. It’s apparently only real in certain circumstances.

I had a good cry. I have had my share of sleeplessness nights. I have had my share of mediation and prayer. I need divine intervention to tell me what to say, how to act, and what to do. While I await that, I need a good joke about now. I need a full belly laugh that will wash away these feelings of apathy and helplessness. I need a laugh that’s so soul soothing that my restlessness will subside so I gain some clarity and quiet.

 Life will be lovely tell your mother again. (Wash, rinse and repeat as is necessary) 

National Bullying Awareness Week (November 17-23, 2013)

Bullying is not just something that as adults we have left behind on the school yard playground.  Unfortunately it’s in our workplaces, our neighbourhoods, in our groups and professional association’s and so on. Bullying affects us all at some point, either through first hand experience, or through creating unhealthy environments which prevent us from being happy, healthy and productive.  It’s become a norm unfortunately, but together we can works towards changing this towards becoming something that none of us tolerate. Bullying

If you are being bullied, or are witnessing bullying contact the Bullying Prevention Helpline. It’s available toll-free 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1‑888‑456‑2323. Help is provided in more than 170 languages.

 

School of Hard Knocks

Learning from our mistakes is easier said than done. None of us are perfect. Anyone who thinks they are, will be eventually and inevitably be placed in a situation where their perception of their perfection will be mercilessly crushed. In this framework it’s best to admit that we are in fact human. We can and will make mistakes. Some of us may make the same mistake more than once.

My universal empathy factor is that we are all just doing the best we can at that time.  This ideal however comes with a price to pay, and that price is knowing that improvement is always possible. The topic of making mistakes and learning lessons leads us to forgiveness. When you “f up” eventually at least we hope, we tend to experience remorse, which lends itself to self evaluation, asking what went wrong, how did I have a part in the mistake and what could or should have been done better. The importance of mistake making as it relates to humanity and each one of us on an individual level is that spiritual growth happens for us when we make mistakes. The lessons we learn from goofing up generally tend to shape our character, the  “who” we are and “who” we become then gives us our own set of parameters on the “how to” of living.

 If this article only addressed recounting all of my own personal mistakes it would become a novel. I won’t write that novel today, but I will definitely sum up, that all of my wisdom comes from my personal life experiences. I am wise because I have lived through heaven and hell in my 28 years and boy have those years given me some serious education of the school of hard knocks. If I seem wise, its only because I have made many mistakes, and I have learned through these experiences how to find the silver lining and apply the lesson learned on a go forward basis. Part of this lived life learning is shared with the responsibly to transfer the wisdom. It’s a poor cliché but when a parent says to the child, “Do as I say not as I do,” sums up what I am trying to describe here, which is a moral duty to share the hardest life lessons we have learned with others so that they too may not only help us get through these challenging times, but so others may be armed with the lessons learned and avoid making the same mistakes, not so that they can avoid mistakes all together.

Mistake making is a part of life. The most important lessons from making mistakes not to repeat are the ones that are harmful to yourself and others and to forgive yourself and those who have made mistakes against you. 

Gratitude

For a moment I would like to just simply stop and thank the Universe for giving me all that I need in this particular moment. Most of all my beautiful, smart and healthy daughter sleeps soundly.