Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Living Life on Purpose

How do you know when you are fulfilling your life purpose? I was challenged by Monique MacDonald of Sacred Gifts fame, to answer that question but she wouldn’t let me reason my way through it. I had to “feel” my way to it. So for the last three weeks I’ve been concentrating on when I “feel” like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. Here’s how it feels for me when I know I am “on purpose”:
  • Relaxed
  • Centered
  • Engaged
  • Curious
  • Entertained
  • Balanced
  • Serene
When I’m on purpose the noise in my head settles down. I’m not distracted. I often amaze myself at what I can get done in a day or even an hour. My communication with my family, friends and co-workers is positive and healthily. I’m good-humoured and good-natured. The small sniggly things that often bother me don’t seem to matter anymore. It’s a nice place to be. I plan to get there more often. In fact I’m there right now ;-)

So now that I know what feeling on purpose is like, I have to begin to pay attention to the things I’m doing when I feel that way. Since most of my time is spent at work it seemed like the natural place to start observing myself. I work for a non-profit organization and the Christmas season is busy. Endless details to track, presentations to create, constant changes in plans and a whole host of other things out of my control. But, now that I’ve started to connect with myself I’m oddly calm and effective. When I pay attention to my role – using my skills and talents to promote this cause – stop judging people or predicting how things will turn out, I can turn to reflecting on my gifts and life becomes surprising easy. I then get to see the gifts in myself and others.

Most of the actual activities that help evoke these feelings of purpose are centered around transforming ideas, gathering information and working to include everyone’s point of view. Since my job is to be the communications officer I feel like I have the right job, although I don’t always feel like I’m in the right place. So to combat those negative aspects I’ve decided to lower my expectations. Rather than trying to decide if this is the perfect place, the only thing that is important is that I’m engaging in my purpose. I’m trying to let go of what I think I should be doing and just do. Just be. After all it’s really all up to me. Why torment myself with the idea of making mistakes, being unhappy and not satisfied? Isn’t it much better to show up, look for confirmation of my gifts and raise the energy to attract what I want?

And that’s exactly what is happening. I learned that three of my gifts are wisdom (see all the wisdom in this email), encouragement (hoping this email encourages you) and facilitation (showing you all that it really works). So I guess I’m getting it. Living life as I should and looking forward to it getting better.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Where do I go from here?

Inspiring things have been happening lately. Some I've taken charge of, others happening out of the blue. This last weekend I attended a workshop called Discovering Your Sacred Gifts by Monique MacDonald. I can't remember a time when I felt that comfortable with myself in a room full of people.

I was with some people from work and its funny the perception that you have when you work with others. They see only a sliver of your life and vice versa. So many people where saying how proud they were that I've come out of my shell. Well I don't really have a shell but I can see what they mean.

At work I'm mostly quiet. I'm surrounded by women with very strong  personalities who voice their opinions. I voice mine if I see something that doesn't fit but mostly I listen and collaborate with others, taking their ideas and packing them up. I can see how people might think that makes me shy but that's not me really. I just like ideas. I like thinking. I like to see how I can make different points of view merge into one. Then send it back without the stamp of my own opinion on it.

It's not that I don't have an opinion I just like the challenge of puzzling others opinions out. Often times I see both sides of an argument as equal and valid. It's fun when you can write or say something that makes people take a little step closer to one another. To think outside their own experience and step into the shoes of someone else. I can often make people consider options they've never thought of before.

I guess I've discovered that this is one of my gifts. Leadership of some kind? I don't know what to call it. I think its really a kind of servant leadership. Someone who leads from behind maybe. Perhaps its all about finding a balance. Most folks see a leader as someone who leads the charge over the ridge to take out the enemy. Not me. I like to lead with ideas. Not actions. Plans. Not emotions.

But the big question remains, where do I go from here. Maybe I'll just blurb on and on here on the blog and figure it out. Perhaps by writing for myself, I can lead myself to where I want to go. Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Growing Awareness

Life lessons are slowly making it through the dense gray matter that is my brain. I try so hard to make things happen. I worry so much that the world won't work out the way I want it too. But there are whispers forming in my ears, "Don't try so hard. It will happen." Life feels like its coming full circle. Much like the days when I first sobered up. Simple messages. Obvious observations.

Drunk days - if you don't drink maybe bad things won't happen
Today - if you trust yourself bad things won't happen

See the trend? Worrying about life doesn't lead you anywhere. Striving hard on the outside and worrying on the inside doesn't lead you anywhere. Just walking, one step at a time, towards your destiny is the only thing that works.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Saying Farewell to a Facebook Friend

A few years ago I wouldn't have believed how much of my life revolves around being online. I certainly wouldn't have believed that I could care so much for someone who I've only related to through a profile picture. Someone who started out just as a Friend of a Friend. But here I am quietly grieving the loss of this someone special. I'll call her PG for the sake of her grieving family.

We must have met once, through career contacts, but I don't remember. Its funny that you don't always know who remembers you in the world but when she sent me an Friend request I accepted. The face looking at me was sweet. And so was she. Over the months PG commented on my silly status updates and nature photos. She posted some wonderfully encouraging comments when I indicated that life wasn't going quite the way I planned. Her presence was like a long-lost friend who provided comfort and support in a way that touched my soul. I was amazed by her caring.

But behind that profile was a someone who was sick. Very sick. She first alluded to it in some private messages. Doctors appointments became clinic visits. The 10 o'clock appointment morphed into an all day treatment session. Fuzzy thinking was later revealed to be the chemotherapy side effects. All comments were unassuming and not at all resentful or angry. Just a matter of fact. "Here's what's happening with me today. What's new with you Kelly?"

We said that we were going to plan to get together. I was going to try to meet her at the cancer clinic for coffee. I really wanted to but that pesky day job got in the way. Now I wish I had taken a day off. It would have been nice to hold the memory of meeting one-to-one and sharing the same space in time. At the time it felt odd that someone I didn't know wanted to share this part of her life with me. I always think of illness as a family matter not an occassion to bring new people into your life. I was wrong.

She told me how much she relied on my silly status updates and loved the photos I was taking. She also loved the humour and grace of the friends that share my Facebook life (as do I). She found in me someone who would provide respite from her daily grind of treatment. Someone willing to be silly and who was open to exploring the quirks of everyday life. She also found someone she could reach out to encourage when time was tough. I'm honoured to have been a part of that. I hope she knows. I'm thinking she does.

So today when her face popped up on the Suggestions section of my profile I thought I'd check in. One click and then I found out. She must have passed on today. All the comments read "one hour ago" and many ended in Rest in Peace. My last Wall posting was there, unreplied to, from March 23. So I said my farewell on her wall. The last bit of communication but I hope her family can see how many peoples lives she touched.

So farewell my online Friend. This silly technology taught me much about reaching out and your quiet struggle showed me about real connections. Rest in peace PG.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Embrace your inheritance

You have inherited a past. You cannot ignore it. You don't have to live up to it. You can try to better yourself by doing things differently than how you were raised, but until you accept the bounty of your all your inheritance - good or bad - you will never be free. Know that your ancestors, your relatives, your parents or friends were not wrong in how they lived their lives but struggled just like you might be struggling now. Their legacy, like yours, will be defined by how much you think their lessons are worth.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Your wants are calling you home

When you feel that aching and yearning for something different, something unique, you know that it is a sign of a deeper want. Unless it's a dark need - like hate or revenge - most wants are asking for attention. They are pointing out a small piece of your life puzzle or recognizing an emptiness that's asking to be filled. Don't ignore it. Take up the challenge and champion your own wants, honour your own needs. Believe in those niggling ideas and desires. Don't let those yearnings fall victim to your indecision. Your wants give meaning and balance to your life and, in turn, give balance to the world around you.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Journal Entry 1 - The Star

Yes, I'm attempting to journal. One of those gratitude journals that help me recognize my own inner strenght and such. I'm bartering with a life coach in exchange for my marketing expertise and she's "making" me do my homework and admitting to myself that I need to appreciate myself more.
So for the next two weeks, everyday, I have to come up with five things that I am grateful for about myself. So here's the first shot:
1. I'm learning to respect my feelings.
2. I'm opening up a lot more to others.
3. I've led myself to this place of healing.
4. I trust I can mix my own remedies for healings.
5. I know, at my core, I am a good person.
Well that wasn't so hard now was it? It's amazing that say, ten years ago I couldn't have made this list. It's nice to be able to make it now.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Vison Board for 2010

This is a vision board. My friends Toby and Kerry suggested that I create something visual to inspire me on my life's journey. I turned to my other good friend, Photoshop, to help me create this digital collage.

All the things I love are represented here both as actual activites (canoeing, working outside) and symbols of what I want my world to feel like (natural with a little sanctuary inside). It's overly dark, I know, but I've always loved the I Ching imagery of how the dark fuel creates the flame. Darkness is the dimension where dreams are born. The flame represents the power of fire to fascinate, enlighten and destroy. The water reflects the light but it too has the power to extinguish the flame. The drop of blue water, where warm meets cool, represents an action by me to access both.

The horse images represent many things to me. The horse in the corner is the greatest horse of all time Secretariat. He was the love of my life back in 1973 when I was an 8-year-old horse crazy girl. Click here to see a video of his Belmont Stakes win. You'll see the power of this magnificant animal and I dare you not to get goosebumps as he wins by 31 lengths ahead of the other horses. He represents endurance and heart. The weather vane points to new directions in life and the labyrinth Minotaur, represents the journey within. In most legends the Minotaur is half man/half bull but I liked this image with him as half man/half horse.

The birds represent the dual application of my spiritual learnings. The dove is tribute to the legacy of my Catholic up-bringing and the hawk represents a looser, less dogmatic, and more natural approach to my spirtual journey. I love the formal aspects of the dove image, how art and light represent a classic religious mystery form as well as the image of what I call "highway hawk spirtuality" a mix of western belief influenced with aborginal nature spirits.

The hugging image is especially powerful. Its a wall of words hugging a female outline. The original image had an actual image of a woman but I cut her out so I could envision myself being embraced by my own words.

As for the words on my collage I plan to blog about them in future postings. It will give me the challenge of focusing on my vision and I'll post revisions to the collage as I go along.