Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Power of Goodbye

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had more visits from the ghost's of my past than I care to admit. I've come face-to-face with people and situations that I continue to hear myself say I no longer want any part of...and yet, here they are, one after another. It's as if they're showing up to test my resolve. Well they're surely testing my patience at any rate.

I must be maturing in some small way though (Hallelujah!) because the only thing I want to communicate to each of these ghosts is a goodbye with a capital 'G' and a resounding period. Time for them to cross over, I think, or at the very least leave me in peace and go haunt someone else.

Their purpose in my life has been least I hope it has (all I can say is 'Serenity Now!' if there is still more in store). I've learned a tremendous amount about myself in the process of working through each situation and, for that, I am quite grateful.

But...and I know it sounds terrible to say (or in this case, write)...these particular ghosts no longer add any value to me or to my life (true, there could be one or two that maybe didn't add a whole lot to begin with and learn). Whenever I'm finding a certain person or situation is continually leaving me feeling depleted or taken advantage of, it's a sure sign in my books to move along - quickly.

It's been a long time since I've done a good purge. Similar to getting rid of all that crap that mysteriously seems to accumulate in my closets so I can make way for the new favorites to arrive, so too do I feel the need to reassess my outdated relationships from time to time.

And that is where the power of the big 'G' Goodbye comes in. It really is that simple. Difficult to execute...oh yes - I won't lie - certainly can be...but once you are ready to put an end to those relationships that no longer serve you, you make room for those that do to come into your life.

The moral of my story: with every ending comes a new beginning. Cliché it may be, but that little sentiment has gotten me through more than a few difficult big 'G' Goodbye's. And I have not once regretted it. In fact, it has always been the prelude to something or someone amazing coming into my life.

So not only is it a song by Madonna, it's also a very effective tool in my own personal development arsenal.

And with that I say bah-bye.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Crossing at a Ford

"'Crossing at a ford' means, for example, crossing the sea at a strait, or crossing over a hundred miles of broad sea at a crossing place. I believe this 'crossing at a ford' occurs often in a man's lifetime. It means setting sail even though your friends stay in harbour, knowing the route, knowing the soundness of your ship and the favour of the day. When all the conditions are met, and there is perhaps a favourable wind, or a tailwind, then set sail. If the wind changes within a few miles of your destination, you must row across the remaining distance without sail.

If you attain this spirit, it applies to everyday life."

~ The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi (1645)

I've been thinking about this passage for days it seems and finally pulled out this treasured book again tonight. I decided to post it thinking it may be of some interest to others as well.

Musashi is my 'go to' guy in all things strategic and philosophical. But it's been a while, I must say. The cover had quite a layer of dust keeping it company. Perhaps the tide is turning. Good sign.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some of My Favorite Things

Every now and again, when I stumble across something new (for me that is) and, I think, fantastic, I am hard pressed to keep quiet about it. Here's a few random things that bring me quite a bit of joy and are worth sharing:

National Geographic Traveler

For the aspiring adventure traveler within, armchair or otherwise. I love this site, the incredible photos and the great content. It gets me dreaming of far away, undiscovered places and new experiences. Perhaps one day I'll be a contributor? Dare to dream.

Campagnolo Restaurant in Vancouver

Hands down my new favorite restaurant in town. If you like simple, flavourful Italian food...authentic Italian, that is...and wines at a reasonable price in an unpretentious environment, this is a gem of a place. Whether I'm on a date, heading over after work to meet up with friends, or going in on my own in my most casual of attire, this is a place where I always feel at home. It has this great quietly trendy (in that not trying too hard kind of way), edgy feel about it. Yes, it's possible that edge of which I speak comes from its less than desirable location in the Main & Terminal area but, if you're in Vancouver, I hope you'll overlook that minor detail and give it a try. It's well worth it.

Nuvo Magazine

It's rare I come across a magazine that excites me. I'm just not a magazine girl, with the exception of the quarterly Canadian magazine Nuvo. First off, it's a visually stunning've got me at the very least picking it up at the newsstand. Second, it's Vancouver based (that was a pleasant surprise). And third, the writing is excellent - especially their book reviews, travel, art, food and wine pieces. It's a high quality magazine that I really look forward to reading.

The Music of James Morrison

What can I say, I actually tripped over his CD in HMV. I was in need of hearing some loud music walking home from work one day, wandered into the Robson store and it was the only headphone station available. I fell in love at first sound. I am in such awe of strong singer songwriters, especially when their words resonate so deeply. He's got a great mix of stuff on his "Songs For You, Truths For Me" CD...which I'm listening to right now actually. Good stuff. Pairs very well with a glass of red wine...but then, doesn't just about everything?

American Eagle Outfitters Favorite Boyfriend Jeans

I hate to shop and I especially hate to shop for jeans. They are one level below shopping for a bathing suit in my mind. I just don't find it to be an enjoyable experience myself. Until...da, da, da...I found the jeans at AEO's. They fit me perfectly and my new find - the Favorite Boyfriend style - is my favorite jean to date. It fits low-waisted, hugs the bottom in a loving way, doesn't grab the thighs in a death grip, and has a boot cut leg, which I love...because I wear a lot of boots. And the best part? They're $34 Cdn! I know! I was a smart girl this time and bought two different pairs. Love them! Can hardly wait for fall to arrive.

If you try any of my favorite things here, please be sure to let me know. I'd be interested in your thoughts. Hope you enjoy!

Ciao for now,


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tick Tock

Crisis averted. Dad is home after 22 days in hospital. HUGE sigh of relief! And the clock is still ticking on my life. Look at that. No time out for taking care of others. Bummer. You know, this critical illness stuff is terribly distracting.

So how did I do on last week's self-imposed assignment? Yeah...about that...

I got about as far as creating a list of the things that get me excited and feeling genuinely engaged (other than reading, of course). And here's what I've got so far:

Dancing - one of my favorite things to do and after 20 years of training, it's still something I absolutely love. Turn the music up loud and let 'er rip. It's a great feeling to be so in tune with yourself physically and the perfect solution for a down mood or to shake off a difficult day. Anywhere, anytime.

Writing - one cannot be on autopilot when they're least I can't be (although I'm sure that's debatable)...especially when I'm reflecting on myself, my behaviour, or an experience I've had. I need to be "on" and definitely present...hence not writing for more than a week here or elsewhere. Always a red flag in my books.

Negotiating - it's one of my favorite parts of the job. It takes some thought to bring two parties to agreement on a deal, or to uncover some common ground, especially if there was never any to begin with. I find negotiating, mediating and closing a win/win agreement incredibly satisfying.

Training - I have always loved training. It's been a very big part of my career, until recently, and I find I'm missing it these days. What I love about training groups of people is how much I learn and grow from the experience. Not to mention how satisfying it is when the light bulb goes off for participants and they have grasped a new concept or you watch as their behaviour reflects their new learning. Now that is exciting.

Adventuring - this is a rather all encompassing category, I realize. It includes everything from hiking a new trail or creating one that didn't exist for a new physical challenge...meeting new people...traveling to a new place...trying something I have never tried before...and on the list could go.

All of these things get me into "the zone", if you will. It is during these times in particular when things seem crystal clear to me; my mind is agile, flexible, adaptable; I'm able to rapidly generate new ideas, alternatives and solutions (or is it that they somehow just seem to flow through me?); I am only focused on what I am doing in that moment; I feel I have access to, what seems like, many more resources than I had before; I am learning, satisfying my curiosity and I am being challenged.

Learning is a big part of each of these activities and why, I'm sure, I love to read so much. My book choices, generally on the heavier side, tend to be about topics I want to learn more about, be they other cultures, other ways of living/thinking, new experiences and travels...supporting me to understand something or to look at it in a new way.

Creativity, as I am just realizing, is also a key component in this list of mine. Hmmmm...that's interesting to me. I haven't considered myself to be creatively inclined. Analytical, yes. Creative, not so much. But looking objectively at the list, each would be difficult to engage in and enjoy if creativity wasn't part of the recipe.

So what does it all mean? F*ck if I know at this point. But I do know that feeling lost, like I do these days, is never a bad thing (although that reminder comes in handy about 56 times a day at the moment). It is simply a step along the path that leads to a new destination. The only way out, I know, is through...and I've got to be getting closer every day, no? Certainly hope so.

Ciao for now,


Monday, August 3, 2009


It occurs to me that my blog posts seem to alternate between silly and far from serious subject matter to much more personal, serious-esque subject matter. It's very much following the ebb and flow of my life these days. One major component that seems to be missing however (or at least to me) is passion. I'm not passionate about anything right now...and I'm not very pleased about that.

It's been a very serious couple of weeks for me...with one or two exceptions...and this weekend I was able to shrug off some seriousness for a longer period when I got into a new book of all things. The book is exciting and has captured my full attention. I'm totally engrossed in it and, when I'm not reading it, I'm looking forward to the next opportunity I will have to do so. Sounds a bit like a drug addiction. Not exactly the feeling I'm trying to create here.

Set in and amongst all the heavy subject matter playing out with my dad being back in the hospital (day 14), it's almost as if this little book (actually, it's more than 800 pages but relatively small in size, if you will) has woken me up in some way and I don't want to fall back asleep.

And I'm not distracting myself in this one...well, not entirely. It's got me thinking about this long lost feeling I use to have much more regularly.

The book, by the way, is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The feeling I have, reading this thriller of a page turner, is of being completely alert and aware. Things seem brighter somehow, more in focus. The story evokes real raw emotion. So much so that I've had to put it down a few times to think through what it's triggering for me (it is a wee bit disturbing in parts, which could be why I'm actually putting it down...either that or my marathon reading sessions wreaking havoc on my full bladder). I lose track of time when I open it up. The book is built like a puzzle; it's completely stimulating on an intellectual level and is certainly keeping me on my toes.

I remember when I use to feel this way about a lot of things in my life, namely my work. I miss these feelings and helping to evoke them - that energy - in others (that would be the positive ones, not the addiction like ones, just to be absolutely clear).

When did I become so apathetic?

Back to reality here. On the one hand, I have a very sick parent. Happens to be the inspiration for creating my blog and not wanting to waste a moment more of my life. On the other hand, I have put certain aspects of my life on hold...because I have a very sick parent. Can we read between the lines here people and identify the issue? Yup. I'm kinda moving in circles both here and in my life. And that's got to stop.

My challenge this week then, is to find another opportunity/activity/experience that makes me feel this engaged, alert and alive (outside of the book...and not to include drunk texting. I, of course, wouldn't know personally but I've heard it can create more problems than it's really worth). Trying to expand my circle of engagement, if you will. I figure baby steps are best when I have no idea how else to break out of this pattern I find myself in.

On a separate but related note, I'm not sure that eHarmony is the answer for me. Jumping on board, I now realize, has been sort of a lame attempt on my part to have someone else (the magic match-makers behind the curtain) do the work for me. It was a half-assed step I took with a half-assed intent. Not one I was ever going to fully commit to and, by being aware of that, I know all I will get out of it are other half-asser's who are not willing to commit. Not such a great recipe for success if you ask me.

Don't get me wrong. I know it can be a great tool and it can work for a lot of people (and has) but you can only get out of it what you put into it - like anything we do - and that is why it will not work for me at this point in my life. Not to mention, I am a firm believer that when we've got our own sh*t together, we are far more attractive to others and things, quite naturally, seem to have a way of falling into place.

My brief foray into online dating was a distraction tool for me (at least this round anyway). A way for me to turn my focus away from the important questions I should be answering about myself and my life. Now that I've realized (or should I say, now that I've been reminded) that the distractions are the very things taking me away from what I want, my course of action is pretty clear: dump the distractions and get on with the business of moving forward...hence this week's challenge.

No idea what will come of it. Could be quite boring actually. Suppose we'll both have to wait until my next post to find out.

Ciao for now,