Clear Road

This morning my father sent an email to my uncle, and in that correspondence, he sent a photograph of a jar of extremely clear maple syrup. The comment he put in there was: “this may be the only clarity we have for a while”.  

Is this so?

What is clarity? We have lived in a world where we have been spoon-fed the idea of who to be and how to be. So often our own intuition or inner voice has been drowned by media surrounding us, and the society in which we live. The entire world is now experiencing something unimaginable even a few months ago; now it has forced us all to hide away in cocoons. By now many of us have overdosed on TV, explored the insides of books, and have played countless video games. Introverts are still in their stride; however, extroverts are wilting beneath the shadow of this isolation. We have drawn all the bubble baths we can possibly have in one week, but still, there is a hunger for something more meaningful. 

What is the opportunity in this crisis?   

The opportunity I speak of is connecting with your inner voice. I invite you to seize this chance while in forced isolation to really identify what your own voice is saying. Hear that inner wisdom, notice the clarity it can provide, and allow for it to adjust your perspective and priorities. There have been trends in our society of taking mindfulness classes and learning to meditate. 

Some people involved in this practice of meditation have even gone to the extreme of travelling to isolated parts of the world to “gather themselves” in complete solitude. We are now in a collective “gathering” with our social distancing. So, what now? What clarity are you truly seeking for the other side, and how do you find it?

Consider unplugging for a while.  

A caterpillar in the cocoon doesn’t get outside tutorials on how to be a butterfly or a moth; it happens naturally. Just as well you cannot learn about yourself from other people. Trust that you have within yourself all that you need to fully connect with your inner wisdom. Once the outside chatter has dimmed, more of you will emerge. As you get comfortable connecting with your inner voice, notice what forms of inspiration may come your way. What clarity does that create for you?  

Getting to this place of inner connection is just as unique of a journey as you are. When you have made that connection with yourself, you will know it, and you will begin to fully step into the values that you hold most dear. From there, the clarity of your next steps for moving forward will open up to you.

The world will be a very different place compared to how we once recognized it as, and we will emerge from it also as different people. Who will you be?

Network of Pillars

Help the Healer – Network of Pillars

I was inspired to write this article last week and jotted down the points I wanted to make.  There are days when inspiration hits you from all sides and you do your best to jot them down as they come fast and intense.  Then you have days where nothing seems to click. That day is today and I realize how much value was written in those few scribbled notes.

Network of Pillars

People who are with you when we are down, hurt or in a panic are healers on so many levels.  They slow down, give you all the time in the world. They seek to understand you and do their best to support you to a better place.  What happens to these healers when they are down, hurt or in a panic?  I know from my 2o years of experience working in crisis response that first responders and other healers struggle to seek out help. Even though they are keenly aware of its value.  Why is this?  The individual may be afraid that seeking help will impact how others see their ability to do their job.  They may perceive it as a sign of weakness or just feel they don’t have the time to help themselves when so many others need the help more. 

I can sympathize with this from my own experiences. 

As a volunteer and assistant trainer at the Distress Centre for Windsor Essex, I was drowning myself in shifts and extra training events.  My home life was falling apart. The work of training volunteers and helping those on the phones gave me a false sense of purpose when my life at home was devoid of meaning.  This happened again many years later as a full-time manager and trainer at Community Torchlight when funding was being pulled. There were huge shifts and pressures along with personal challenges with mental health for members of my household.  There were huge pressures, huge overwhelm and fear. I thought that if I admitted I needed help that I would lose the respect of my peers, and maybe lose my job. It made more sense in my stressed mind to find a way to get hurt in an accident so I would have a valid reason to escape real life and rest for a while.  In both cases, I was fortunate enough to have people who recognized that something was wrong.  My deepest gratitude goes to both Sybil Lowry and Katherine Johnson for being the people who stepped up when I was burning out.

This is happening for others.

I am not an isolated case. Our network of supports is all burning out and suffering from compassion fatigue everywhere. The system is not set up in a way to give them what they need to fully get back on their feet. We need to find a way to create a safe space for healers to reach out and support each other. With this support, they can take the essential time to recharge, and find their footing again.  What I envision is a network of healer pillars in overlapping arches so when we need it we can step away, that our clients and ourselves are supported.  The network would create a space that allows for a full recovery so we can come back at our best. It would be a net of safe people to talk to, who will hold the space for you and support you to find what you need to go from empty to full.

Having my own independent practice there is the flexibility be able to move away from the desk, meditate, contact my supports and be in nature. As well as all of the other things that I know will heal me so I can be fully present for those I support.   This is not the case for everyone.  What I am proposing here is an opportunity to create this network of overlapping arches to be that safe place to support those who are looking for a safe place, because we all need someone to lean on so we can Live Strong and Authentic Lives and not just smile and fake it.

5 Positive Things to Add to Your Life That Support Balance

When you find yourself in burnout and never really disconnecting from the stress of your life, it’s a signal that something is out of balance. To get to a place of balance or a positive life rhythm, you can either remove negative triggers in your life or focus on adding positive things. Adding positive things is our focus today, because “all work and no play” can lead to personal damage.

How to Find a Healthy Balance / Life Rhythm

1.     Reconnect with Your Hobbies

Can you remember when the things you loved doing came first? If you have hobbies, how often are you engaging in those hobbies on your time off? Are these hobbies being set aside because you got a work email, text or a phone call? When we set aside the things that light us up and give us energy, our life rhythm and balance starts to tip and we slide closer to burnout.   When you are off from work be present with your personal life! Even if things go off the rails at work, be confident in the people you have covering to take care of it.

2.     Look Back to the Excitement from Childhood

What were the things that you were excited about as a child or youth? What was the activity you really enjoyed? The activity that you wanted to go out and do with authentic enthusiasm?  Something that you felt was yours and fit so well with who you were. This is the place to start to rekindle the passion and build on your authentic self.  It is OK if the activity has shifted and changed because you have grown and changed too over the years.

An example is an individual who reminisced, ” I used to play guitar in elementary school and high school. Then when I went to university there just didn’t seem to be time. I set the guitar aside to work on my grades. Then I started working and I just never got back to it.  I really miss playing and jamming with other musicians.” The things that you loved when you were younger and had leisure time, those are the things that usually support us and help us recharge. Even if you are not able to connect to a passion from your childhood for whatever reason, ask yourself;

What are other things you’ve always wanted to do and never had the courage to try?

Do I want to try them now?

This may help to create balance in your life.

3.     Set Boundaries with your Personal Time

How often is it that you don’t go to the gym or walk in the woods because someone from work has said, “Well, I may need you between this time and this time,” so you just don’t go?

When you are off, you are off. When you are on, you are on. It is being present for your personal life as well as for your work life. Balance or a healthy rhythm in life is a challenge especially with all the technology that connects us to the world.

Make time for You so you can recharge your batteries for yourself, the people you love and those you serve with your career!

4.     Real Recharge VS Time Suckers

There are so many things that suck time out of your day; TV, games on our phones or computers, scrolling through social media. Do you feel recharged and rejuvenated after engaging in these activities?

Pay attention to how you feel and you will know if these activities help to recharge or if they are time suckers. Many individuals will combine a hobby with these activities or make them into social events. For example, knitting or colouring while watching a TV series or networking with other people who game and play together.

5.     Get Support

Finding balance or life rhythm can be difficult! You may need support to find balance. Connecting with a Life Coach that you trust can support you to find the balance that you are seeking. Creating real strategies that honour your life and allow you to be fully present in all elements of your life. It is a present for you and in turn a blessing to everyone you are linked to in life!