There is another way: Why slowing down matters.

There is another way: Why slowing down matters.

Think back on your day yesterday. If you were to choose a word to describe its pace, what would it be? Frantic? Rushed? Hectic? A complete blur? (Okay, that is more than one word). Now, think back on your last week. Can you see a theme emerging in how your days are unfolding?

When I am caught up in the busyness or distractedness of life, a lot of shame bubbles up. Why am I not a better ..............  (insert any of the following: friend, partner, coach, facilitator, business owner, sister, aunt, community member)? In all of the rush, it can feel like I am not enough, that I am somehow falling short or missing the mark in some or all areas of my life.  

 

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Finding the nobility in others.

Finding the nobility in others.

If you have lived on this planet long enough, it is likely you have days or moments that are as clear today as they were when they happened. One such memory for me was during my time at university in the 90s. I was in my second year, it was a spring morning and I was late for class. As I hurriedly wove my way around and through the other people walking to campus, I heard someone behind me shout out my name. I turned my head and found my friend Carolyn waving. In that moment I realized, in my rush, I had sped right past her on the sidewalk without even a glimmer of recognition. I gave her a big smile and a curt wave and turned around like a woman on a mission.

“Sorry, no time for a chat. I need to get to class,” I shouted into the air, “but let’s visit soon!”

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What happens when you get paid to listen...

What happens when you get paid to listen...

I am a professional Integral Coach.

I work with clients to help them make the shift from where they are, to where they want to be.

I am also a visual facilitator.

As a visual facilitator, I use large sheets of paper to help individuals and groups move through a process. I do this work in offices (strategic planning, visioning), at schools, and on one-on-one retreats in beautiful places like Banff (personal/professional visioning).

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You are what (and how) you eat.

You are what (and how) you eat.

It was not until I found myself recovering from adrenal fatigue that I started to realize how important food is in supporting optimal health and wellbeing. Before that, if you had asked me, I would have told you that I was a healthy eater (and I was…mostly). I ate sustainably as much as I could, I steered clear of processed foods and tried my best to choose foods that were nutritious. Yet, there I was, sitting in a naturopath’s office and listening to the results from a myriad of tests that all seemed to confirm that my body was depleted, that I was not adequately absorbing the nutrients in my food.

“You need to not only focus on what you put into your body”, she said to me, “but you need to pay attention to how you put food into your body”.

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Why less is more: Thoughts on living a reduced life.

Why less is more: Thoughts on living a reduced life.

In late August I headed back home, along with my three siblings, to surprise my father for his 80th birthday. It was a surprise that lacked all the regular fan fair. Spouses and grandchildren were left behind (in the various provinces and states they call home). There were no balloons, no presents and not even a cake. The gift was our presence with each other; time spent together, live and in the flesh. For three days, we simply went about living together. We chatted over coffee, went for walks, ate good food and visited some of the local attractions in our home town (fish derby, winery, local park). It was just the six of us for the first time in more than 25 years, and this fact alone was enough to captivate all of us.

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Tick Tock: Why racing against the clock is killing us.

Tick Tock: Why racing against the clock is killing us.

Do you ever feel like you are racing against the clock? Have you ever find yourself bargaining with the universe, asking for another hour or two in the day? I know I certainly have, many times over. The truth is we have become a society that races against the clock. There are signs on the freeway that tell us how long it will take to get to the next intersection. We find ourselves staying late at work because we were unable to get any ‘real work’ done during business hours. The end result is that we are more depleted, exhausted and overwhelmed than ever before. We have more to do, and less time to do it in. In many ways, our modern society is at a crisis point, a time in human history that is calling (even begging) for a new paradigm—a new way of tapping into a more holistic and intentional approach to the world of work. 

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Go barefoot! An argument for ditching your shoes this summer...

Go barefoot! An argument for ditching your shoes this summer...

Last week, I headed out into the Canadian backcountry for a few days of hiking, camping and detoxing (from technology, that is). Our packs were loaded with everything we would need for a few days, and we headed up the trail to a series of lakes that would be our final destination. An hour into the hike, and after a brief discussion about the benefits of walking barefoot, our hiking shoes were off and we found ourselves navigating the trail barefoot (with fully loaded backpacks, I might add).

Now I must admit, when it was first suggested that we hike barefoot, all I could think about were the potential risks. I am, after all, a North American and former outdoor educator who is used to mitigating risk in the outdoors with protection and protocol. 

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Creating space: How to slow down a busy life.

Creating space: How to slow down a busy life.

In 1997, I spent 6 months living in Greece and working as a bartender at a British resort on the island of Corfu. The resort, perched on the side of the Ionian Sea, was a short swim from the villa that we lived in and the food we ate often came straight from the sea. The days on this island were sunny, hot and so beautifully slow. Although I didn’t really appreciate it at the time, it felt as if no one on the island was in a rush – not at the resort, nor the neighbouring village, or even the city of Corfu. It was the kind of place where waiting was commonplace; things unapologetically took time.

Life on the island was slow, and so were we. 

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Pay attention, be astonished.

Pay attention, be astonished.

You may recall the 2007 story of internationally renowned American classical musician Joshua Bell performing as a busker in Washington D.C.’s Union Station. It was a social experiment orchestrated by Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten to see if people would pay attention to a world-class musician playing in an unexpected location. For 45 rush-hour minutes, Bell gave an all-out musical performance. He played some of the world’s most intricate pieces on his 3.5-million-dollar violin and later noted that it had been some of his best work. Only six people stopped to listen to Bell that day and the musician (who is used to filling concert halls) made a total of $32.00. 

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On Being Fierce.

On Being Fierce.

Last week I had a phone conversation with a woman who is powerful beyond measure. She is a leader, a problem solver, and someone who others look to for inspiration and guidance. This woman’s vulnerability was palpable. She was clearly feeling worn down by the weight of overwhelm and exhaustion, brought on by staying too long at a job that demands too much. On the day we spoke, she had had enough. Enough of being the one to put out the fires. Enough of being there for everyone else. Enough of a system that didn’t recognize her humanity.

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