I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the many aspects of spring cleaning – the clearing away of every kind of debris that clutters up our lives and drains our energy. The first day of spring brings up images of yellow forsythia in bloom, the fresh sound of rivulets and streams, and the hope of fresh starts. It can also bring up discouragement if you are feeling overwhelmed by the daily household chores that sometimes pile up to an alarming degree. It’s okay to hire help! I have been there myself and am so grateful for the day we decided to engage a cleaning person twice a month. If you too have had the gift of an angel helper in your home, you can share the gratitude and help me acknowledge the value of this under-estimated group of professionals. When we moved to our new city, we had to find a new cleaning service and with the usual synchronicity (miracle) Lindsay appeared. Besides the regular biweekly tidy and clean, she has helped us learn about our neighbourhood, checks the house when we are away, and has been indispensable for all kinds of situations with mail, keys, or guests arriving early. Texting is our ongoing line of communication for professional and personal talks. We trust her completely, and enjoy her company when we are home when she comes. The question of cost is no small matter for some, but if you don’t already know the benefits, you might like to give it a go. I for one would give up lots of things before I’d let our cleaning angel go. Besides the sheer pleasure of a cleaner house, in a time when many of us barely know our neighbours and with family members often far away, a relationship like this can bring a lot of harmony and freedom to overloaded lives. Thank you to all the cleaning professionals out there!
After so many years together, my partner and I are reaching a level of understanding and intimacy that I never dreamed possible. When people learn how long we’ve been together, they want to know “What’s your secret?” That’s a topic for a long story we would have to write together, but today I’d like to share a few thoughts.
Like any long-term relationship, we’ve “had our share of ups and downs”. Wonderful romantic moments, travels, joyous and rewarding times with our daughters, personal successes to celebrate together; and on the other side, times when we came very close to breaking up. Our bank of good feelings would become depleted with the stresses and strains of child-rearing, work, and our individual demons. At such times, relationships can easily become the scapegoat: “this marriage isn’t good for me”, or “if only he would change, he’s never going to change”. But somehow, with some luck, some wisdom, some blessings from above, we have managed to keep going forward together. We’ve had some amazing help. Once in a while (on average about once a decade) we sought help in the form of counselors, books, workshops, or just taking time out together. This allowed us get back on track and continue our journey, usually at a higher level of understanding and intimacy. Whenever conflict arises, (and hooray for that: if there’s no conflict how much intellectual stimulation, fun and passion is left anyway?), at least one of us manages to take the high road. Here’s three tips I’d like to share about how that works for us.
- ACCEPT: Remember that you don’t always have to understand what’s gong on with him or her. They have their own sacred landscape, parts you have not yet been privileged to see. Your job is to accept and stay the course. As long as you feel safe and you have openings for communication, you can stay committed to the journey of living and growing together “till death doth you part”.
- WALK AWAY: When you are ready to react badly, saying or doing things you will regret, just walk away, but not too far away or for too long. Just take your leave, with a few words about your intention and find a place to yell, ruminate, call a friend, get a meal, pray, whatever you need to do to weather this particular storm. With luck and a few tools, it should pass within hours.
- COME BACK: Someone has to break the deadlock. It might as well be you. You can be the hero. You don’t know how it will go, so you want to have all that anger, frustration and self-righteousness drained away before approaching. Perhaps you need to make amends? Once you have found some humility a genuine desire to understand and be kind, remembering the goodness, the good times and the future you want together, then you are ready to approach. The reunion is a tender time to walk gently, reach out and listen.
My partner and I are so different we will likely always have occasional conflicts. I accept them as a gift, much preferred to denial and disconnection. This spring, we are attending a marriage retreat down in Washington that my guy has taken the lead on. I can’t help but fall in love with him over and over again.
We have learned that our differences are a strength in the partnership, that we don’t always have to agree or understand the other’s way of thinking or of doing something. That we can each go our own way for a while, take a breather from the closeness and then come back ready to go further, deeper, richer. To stay the course takes effort, and it’s been worth it! Oh, we were married in 1966.
Today when I turned the page of my well-used, hand-me-down desk calendar, the message hit home in the best way. I have more or less given up on that old tradition of making a list of New Years resolutions. It’s usually unrealistic and then when you don’t meet those expectations it’s too easy to “should” on ourselves and get discouraged. Too much criticism and not enough celebration! Nevertheless I did have best intentions for a bracing walk around the bay — that’s before I saw the outdoor temperature of 22 degrees below zero! So that doesn’t mean I can’t get some exercise, right? “[just] move my body in some way or in some form… for 20 to 30 minutes…” I can do that. Thank you Dr. Northrup, your wise advise is never out-of-date. So keep it simple sweetheart. Get moving and celebrate!
The following article, written by my teacher and mentor Janet Amare for her December Inspirational Newsletter, truly spoke to me this holiday season. So with her permission it’s posted here for your inspiration.
Last Christmas, after the grandchildren had already opened a heap of gifts, the littlest one said “no more presents!” We all laughed of course and the kids went off to play before returning to open more things later.
It made me think about how the giving and receiving of Christmas presents has become a bit more challenging over the years. It’s become harder and harder to find the perfect gift for friends and family who are often able to buy anything they want for themselves. And if you ask what they would like and are given detailed specs for an item, you don’t have to put any personal thought into it and there is no surprise for the recipient. You may resort to Gift certificates or a cheque, but that can feel impersonal and monetary – not very satisfying or heart-warming. Sure it might have been easier back in the day with PJs and toboggans, homemade scarves and cookies, but I’m not going to do the “good ol’ days” song. Things are different, the world is a better place in so many ways and that’s what matters! We can keep up by being innovative and re-thinking what constitutes a gift. Some possibilities to consider:
- A coupon to go out together to a favourite restaurant, possibly combined with a gallery visit or window shopping.
- An invitation to go to a special event together – like a play or concert or sports event. For example, taking a granddaughter to a special musical show for her birthday has become a special tradition.
- An offer to provide a service that you are good at – like preparing their favourite meal and serving it up to a group of their friends, or making home repairs or doing alterations on clothes, or taking the children so their parents get a weekend to themselves.
What’s important is making time for one another. Take it from the children, who are so happy whenever we give them our undivided attention. For Christmas, birthdays or whatever the occasion, a gift of ourselves may be the best gift of all!
Grief Recovery: A Supportive Journey
Do you have unresolved grief? Continue reading “Grief Group in Barrie starts November 16”
You may think that joining a grief recovery or bereavement support group may not be for you or you may be worried that it’s not the right time or place for you to participate with others in such a private journey. The truth is that everyone I know who has ever participated in a group program has only positive things to say about the experience. Comments like: ” I was anxious at first, but so glad I stayed”, ” It was so good to hear others talk … and realize I’m not alone”, “I finally found myself again”, ” I felt safe in the group and Lynne helped me feel comfortable sharing,” “I learned that my ‘crazy’s were normal, what a relief”, I’m using my coping tools and they work,” I didn’t realize how isolated I had been.” No regrets and so many benefits. At the same time, you probably have lots of questions so I’ll try and answer some of them…. Continue reading “The Power of The Group: Q & A”
Reaching out for help may be the single most important thing you can do when dealing with grief. Unfortunately for many it is also the most difficult. Continue reading “Reach Out”
Are you suffering from depression, anxiety, chronic pain, sleep disturbance, brain fog, or unexpected outbursts of anger or tears? Continue reading “The Many Faces of Grief”
Reinventing: Six Weeks to a More Meaningful Life.
Are you feeling stuck in your business, your home, your relationships? Are you worried about or fed up with your retirement life? Boost your business, change your career, become more creative, find your life companion, or move to your paradise. You have the right to, and the responsibility for, a truly meaningful life. This 6-week experience is for women who are open to and eager for the next stage, the new chapter in their lives.
This course will consist of four day-long workshops, addressing the four key steps towards renewing and recreating yourself: I) Rediscovering who you are 2) Finding out what you really want, 3) Exploring pathways to attract and achieve what you want, and 4) Manifesting results through action and attraction! The course is spread over 6 weeks, with two-weeks between each day-long workshop to integrate and to receive individual coaching.
Schedule: Fridays, 9.30 – 4.30 , May 6, May 20, June 3rd and June 17th.
Group size is limited to 8 women, which allows for customizing each day to more effectively meet your individual needs and goals – from a possible new vocation to finding more creativity, from enjoying meaningful volunteer work to shifting the quality of relating to others. You may wish to create a more active, busy lifestyle, or alternatively, let go of most of your obligations to focus on something dear to your heart. This is the time and place to make it happen!
The total cost for the course is $390, which includes all materials PLUS three half-hour phone coaching sessions ($150 bonus).
This course is built on my many years of professional experience as a training consultant, counselor/healer, and group facilitator; and more importantly on my own journey of personal survival, growth and reinventing myself.
It will include innovative applications of many experiential methods that will keep the work exciting and effective, as well as optional homework and individual coaching to keep you on the path between sessions. I will bring to it my boundless enthusiasm and heartfelt commitment.
Please give me a call or email if you feel this opportunity may be right for you.