Rock your inner youth!

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I don’t know about you, but as a 41 year old woman, I seem to be in denial that I am actually getting older. Until I look in the mirror in the right light and exclaim “What the #$@!%!, where did all those wrinkles come from?” Incidentally my father in his seventies also has the same shocking moments of wondering who the old guy in the mirror is.

I am in a smaller class of women that chose not to have kids, my number one passion is still surfing, and I am occasionally still seen ripping turns around our mountain neighborhood on my electric Skateboard while listening to Eminem.

While talking today to a “sister of the cloth”, meaning a great friend who is as much of a punk as me, I exclaimed the frustration of societies expectations for people at a certain age. While yes my husband and I are incredibly successful in our own hand crafted world, we still seem to be swimming against the tide of others following the accepted norm.

As people in our forties and above, we seem to have to behave a certain way, reach the bar of an accepted level of success, or be at a certain phase for us to “fit in” to a mold. This expectation piles on the ever-building weight of being an “Adult.”

How can we retain our weightlessness of youth?

Stop caring about what other’s think of you for one. I am reminded of my most valuable lesson fitting this topic. Be all that you are and the other black sheep will find you, before you know it you have a tribe of like minded people, that celebrate you and all your quirks.

My invitation to you today, is to ask what are the small stories you can let go of in your life that trap you in your age?

Can you shift a mindset here and there, to one of a child and play? To create a lightness of joy and simplicity, even for an hour a day? Are there things you gave up over the years that brought you such joy in your earlier years, and would you want to add them back into your life? Think of the shift of mindset or step of action that would allow more freedom to explore happiness, connection, and possibility.

Of Friends and Time.

 

Friends of the world, you hold tatters of my heart.

Memories and love echo in my mind like laughter at sunset.

I share your journey near and far; feel my thoughts through the moon, my wonder in the stars and utter joy with each rising of the sun.

Feel my hand, my lips, whispering on the wind, across the water.

Cherished moments shared, rippling across time.

Until we gaze once more, shining eyes and brimming hearts.

– Vanessa Plimley

A puppies tale.

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A Puppies Tale.

After many years of travelling outside of Canada I was home and decided I really wanted a dog. I kept redefining what I was looking for, and after only a few weeks back on the continent, I woke from a dream with her name ringing in my mind. 4 days later she showed up in my life, given to me in a coffee shop. She was an amazing wee companion that was with me for 15.5 years. Her death was not a surprise and I was so happy she went quickly. But the aching hole it left in my heart even two years later amazed me.

I knew I wanted another furry friend, but I could not just go pick one out. Not after the way the last one came into my life. I believed once again that the right one would appear with time and place.

Living in two countries did not seem like a big enough reason to not have a hound, and what our last dog taught us was that they are resilient, adaptable, and conform to your life as long as you teach them early on.

I began to imagine my new friend, we thought about the attributes we would want, I ached for furry companionship, but it still did not appear.

Until a few days ago.

6 weeks before, my husband and I were at a surf spot hanging out in the parking lot – post session, when a cool Nica dog came up for a hello and some pats. The owner was the property caretaker, and we chatted about his furry beast, I told him how much I wanted a new pup. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and lead us around the corner and into his house where seven, 3 day old puppies wiggled in the dirt, and snuffled for their mother and siblings.

Two caught my eye. A brindle male, and a female with a stripe down her back flowing over to the tip of her tail. I got his number and said I would call him in 6 weeks to see if they were still alive or around. Life for animals in Nicaragua is complicated at the best of times.

A few weeks later EJ knew some friends were going to the same fishing village and asked them to take photos of the pups, and they came back gushing that they had picked out our hound.

”You have to get the one with the 4 white paws! She is the best and the only one you want!”

I did not get my hopes up, or attached to the idea yet as the weeks flowed by, yet a calendar in the back of my mind kept track of the passing of days, until one morning I awoke, and all I could think of was the puppies.

I did not know if they survived, if I would be allergic, if they would like the sea, or be healthy. How would we travel back and forth with it? Could we have it in our house rental? So many variables and all I could think of was today was the day our new companion would show up. I second guessed myself and tried to distract my brain from dogs but was restless and pacing, and getting emotional about it. Like all my cells were telling me we had to go look.

I mention this to my husband and was not sure how he was feeling about it all. He said I don’t want to just get a puppy cause they are cute; it has to be the right one. Then we open a thank you card left from his mom who had just visited from Canada, and my breath caught as I slid open the envelope. All on the front were puppies. I look at my husband and whisper, “It’s today.”

I call the caretaker Jose, and at first I think he says no more left. But then the line clears and I hear “ We have one left, a female, come if you want to see.”

I walk into my room and burst into tears. For the loss of my last, the yearning for another, and so many unknowns. I try to distract myself some more until my husband comes through the door and with a voice full of patience and inevitability, he asks, “ Well should we go have a look?”

On the half hour drive bumping through dusty dirt roads, I tell myself, if she is the one you will know. I convince myself we are going for tacos for lunch and maybe look at a puppy that is all.

We are lead in the front of the house, and there in the dirt curled up in a ball, is the pup with the stripe down her back, and with four white paws no less. I knew right away she had arrived in our life, but wondered how I would convince my husband that it was she.

We took her to the beach and with wobbly legs and a curious face she immediately followed along and most importantly was not afraid of the sea when we took her to the edge to wet her paws.

EJ turns to me with her tucked in the crook of his arm, “ Well, should we wrap this up?”

I look at him in shock “Really?”

He smiles at me and then at her and confesses, ” I had in my mind that if it was the one with the white paws she was ours, and here she is.”

I sob with joy and Jose just smiles as he watches us, already enamoured. When we asked how much for her he looked at us and replied, “She is a gift for you.”

Yes. Indeed she is. Welcome to our life Coco (Coconut)

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The long term pain in the ass.

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For those who suffer from chronic pain, there is absolutely nothing that compares to the feeling of having a pain free moment, minute, hour or day.

It’s that moment when you move in a certain way that makes you feel free, smooth, and agile. It’s that ah-ha moment of joy that bursts from your heart and sends all the happy signals to your brain. The astounding weight on your shoulders that you are so used to carrying is removed and the brain actually begins to function like it used to or better. Space is freed up to think, to feel, and to dream.

Chronic pain is reminder of the small things in life that bring happiness. At the beginning of writing this post I was on an upswing of back health, being positive and trying to add in mini exercises to feel like I was actually doing something. Then overnight I am seized up and bed bound without strong enough pain meds, and just able to make it to the toilet or vertical for 5 minutes.

Yet once the pissed off “sulks” of denial pass, I am an old hand at finding wee happy things. Like inspiring movies, and treating myself to some junk food. To have friends pop by with trashy magazines, and having to tell my husband to stop making me laugh as it’s shearing stabs take my breath away.

It’s watching the sunlight or wind in the leaves, painting my nails crazy colors, and rolling on an unshackled time schedule. Of stoned Iphone scrabble, and a platinum audiobook account that can I plow through on triple speed.

Having a mega flare up once again has put my modified aching normal life into great perspective. At least then I can put on shoes and ride in cars, rather than being a floor mat of that which I seem a professional. Yet even here, I am thankful for a warm house, internet, and loving people in my life.

Here’s a toast to my super hubby, sending me sweet texts and making sure I have all I need. To the caregivers that suffer emotionally along side. This is shout out to other chronic pain people who will hopefully find light in the dark. Here’s to having gratitude, faith in healing with time and many more ah-ha moments.

Care Bear Vs GI Joe – The art of communication in the workplace.

My husband and I make a point of going on frequent dates and having team meetings to plan our lives. We also end up having great philosophical conversations about the work I do as a coach. He is an industrial project manager and has that clear and concise, no wasted time approach to work, and recently we got on the subject of communication.

We were discussing his work, and communicating in an industrial environment. He said it in a great way. “There are some people that need the GI Joe approach like – your a bad dog. Barking at them gets them hustling, and let’s them know you want serious results. Some people will have a cry with this approach and need a care bear hug to perform well, and know they are being respected and looked after.”

I loved this analogy. When I think of so many places of work over the years, I saw that so many managers and staff had no idea of the finesse that can be executed with the right approach to communication.

The Newfield Network School Of Ontological Coaching has a great approach to this, and it was one of the key concepts that I share with all my clients.

They chose four dispositions to communicate from:

Resolution, Strength, Openness, and Flexibility.

These four dispositions when practiced and used, can be an amazing tool for communicating in the workplace but also in every day life.

Resolution – Is the ultra focused, Samurai approach. The body disposition if you were to embody the idea of it is like a boxers stance, fists up, tense all over and with a laser point focus to the eye’s and intention.

An example would be the focus of a competing athlete, or a leader when things are falling apart at the seams. This is not a negative way of being and communicating, but certain words will be used to go with this, they will be clear, concise, and no fluff (GI Joe category)

 

Strength – Is the solid strength of the mountains or like the steady, calm and controlled reign of a king and queen. An example would be someone of authority leading a meeting, or a hiking guide sharing their knowledge of their surroundings. The body would be strong and stable legs, eyes ahead, calm and controlled. (GI Joe category)

Openness – This disposition is used by artists and visionaries, or high performing teams. The body has soft eyes, a slight smile on the lips, the heart and arms are open. (Care Bear Category)

Flexibility – The adventurers, the dreamers, and inventors. This is the category of the outrageous. The body is unpredictable, changing and moving all the time, in a fun and flexible way. (Care Bear Category)

When you think of these dispositions, it really is an amazing tool to use with those around you.

Do you have someone that you always find hard communicating with? Or someone that always seems to misunderstand you or take you the wrong way?

Think of what category this person falls into in a general sense. Then think how you normally approach them. Now just for the hell of it, try to really embody a different disposition from above, and I guarantee the results will be different.

When we truly practice these dispositions they have a completely different feeling. Body stance changes, and language choice shifts, therefore offering very different results. And a very important point – you will be heard differently.

Lets say you have a manager who is so busy he/she can barely keep all their ducks in a row. This person most likely spends their workday in resolution. They will be ultra focused, on a time line, and will be clear and concise. This person if interacting with someone in openness or flexibility, will come across, short and gruff, and in all honestly the listeners will most likely be feeling like they want to quickly get out of his/her way and either perform out of fear, or generally feel ruffled.

Yet if this person in resolution knew he/she was talking to the “care bear” category, and made a shift into openness, the results would most likely be that the care bears felt excited, heard, and would want to perform because they felt nurtured.  This is a completely different result.

The point is we live and communicate with these dispositions all the time. If we can master them ourselves we can be a way better communicator in and out of work and be an effective conductor of our own world.