Thoughts and Musings
What you think you become. What you feel you attract. What you imagine you create. -Buddha
What does it mean when the Law of Attraction says we can attract whatever we want? I believe it means that everything starts with us. We are all puzzle pieces floating around the planet and fitting in certain slots. If we change our puzzle piece we fit differently into the world. I've heard over and over again about victims escaping an abuser when they change who they are from the inside. Or an abuser changing their behavior and no longer being compatible with their victim. I've heard the same thing about people in a relationship with someone who has an addiction. One is an addict, the other an enabler. If one changes their behavior the other must also change or they no longer fit together. I think this is what the law of attraction means. We are each responsible for our own puzzle piece. That puzzle piece will fit with certain jobs, family, friends, lovers, and even opportunities. If we can surrender control of other people and events and simply manage our own puzzle piece, then everything will click into place and life will begin to work in our favour.
So how do I manage my puzzle piece? I manage my thoughts to create positive feelings, and when I am feeling good, I allow myself to dream as if I am already living the life I want.
To manage my thoughts, I started with affirmations to change my self talk to be more positive. Examples of affirmations I've said to myself over and over were All is well in my world and Life supports me in every possible way. Louise Hay the author of You Can Heal Your Life changed many peoples lives with her affirmation work. I highly recommend this book if you are a beginner to the Law of Attraction. At some point after saying the affirmations over and over, something clicked and I started to believe that what I was now thinking was true. This is the first step to creating our own reality. It's how I started to change my puzzle piece and the world began to respond to it.
You can be someone who looks at the glass as half empty or half full. I invite you to create a habit of looking at a glass as half full. I've found that I can think thoughts about how nothing is going right, and nothing is the way I want, or I can think thoughts about what I want to change and what will be my next adventure. Changing my thoughts, changes how I feel. A negative thought is simply a feeling that lets you know what you do not want. So think about what you do want! Focus on that instead. Nothing is more important than thinking and doing things that create really great feelings in ourselves. It's not selfish. It's how to become a positive feeling being and that benefits us all. Some people refer to this as emitting a positive vibration. All that means is feeling good about yourself and the world. We are all wonderfully unique beings and we all need to immerse ourselves in different things to feel good. It's up to you to figure out what that is.
Once we get to know ourselves so well that we know how create our own positive feelings, then the fun begins. While we are feeling good, we can imagine that anything we want to do or be is possible. As long as we can feel ourselves doing it and being it, we can achieve it. Imagine your dream already happening and nurture what that feels like. Bring it into the present moment and watch the magic happen!
I was astounded to hear that Jim Carrey used this technique before it became so widely talked about in self help books. His family was very poor, living out of a car, and he worked an 8 hour shift as a janitor after school. Later, struggling to make it as a comedian, he wrote himself a check for 10 million dollars for acting services rendered because he really liked how that felt. He kept practicing the feeling to bring himself joy while in a difficult situation. He carried that check in his wallet for many years. To this day, he attributes his success to this technique. I don't believe you can create a positive future if you are not finding joy somewhere in the present moment. If you focus on what you are experiencing now, you will get more of that later. If you create some joy, people will find you more attractive and you will soon notice opportunities presenting themselves to you.
There is no doubt that life can be difficult at times, but it is possible to change things so that life is mostly positive, and sprinkled with a bit of negativity here and there. If you are struggling, I invite you to practice some affirmations to change your thinking habits. You can click this link to see some of Louise Hays affirmations:
Another technique is to write a list of 10 things to be grateful for. At a low point in my life, I practiced this every morning. Gratitude can do a lot to shift our negativity. You can click this link for some examples of things to be grateful for:
In the end, we are responsible for our own puzzle piece and we create our own reality. How are you shaping your puzzle piece? What are you choosing as your reality?
One love, one heart, lets get together and feel all right - Bob Marley
As I cultivate a higher viewpoint through meditation, I understand the perspective that an astronaut must feel when looking down on the planet. I see our beautiful blue world as a living, breathing, entity. There are so many different kinds of people, cultures, colors, religions, sexes, and even preferences. Humans, coupled with the wildlife, flora and fauna, and the magnificent oceans all have the ability to work together to create something beautiful. If we can develop a higher viewpoint, we see this diversity is not unlike the different kinds of cells in our own body. We have bone, muscle, and organ cells. None is better than the other, none more important than the other, and when all are being as they are supposed to be and working together, we create a healthy, happy, human being. But when we have cells that change the balance and become more important by proliferating themselves uncontrollably, we get cancer. Trying to turn a heart cell into a liver cell makes no more sense to me than forcing a Hindu to become a Christian or a Christian to become agnostic. Our world problems are not to do with the type
of cell that exists, but with the individual thinking of some
cells. This damaged thinking occurs across all
types of cells. Heart cells can become sick, so can liver cells, muscle cells and so on. We need everyone to be as they are to function properly. They just need to be healthy thinking and being. Once we understand how we are all connected to create something greater than ourselves, it makes no sense to hurt another. When we have cells in the body attacking other healthy necessary cells, we develop an autoimmune disease. This is what war is to me - an autoimmune disease of the planet. Hurting others really does hurt ourselves.
A liver cell isn't concerned that there is a heart cell nearby. It just wants to be a liver cell. It wants to be what it was designed to be. It's even better if we can nourish that cell to be the best liver cell ever. We can do this for our planet too. We can be the best version of ourselves and show others how to be the best version of themselves too. Rather than looking outside of myself by blaming others for my problems, I look inwards and upwards for answers to create a better me. We are the ultimate creators of our lives and once we tap into this creativity we can build a better life. And when we create with the diversity available to us from others, we can build a better world. Competition is lonely and isolating. Collaboration is where the awesomeness lies.
Some worry that we need to wipe out the sickness by attacking back. How will we defend ourselves from the sick people that threaten us? What we are doing now, isn't working. The more we fight terrorism the more we have. The more we fight cancer, the more we have. Antibiotics kill bacterial infections, but will also kill all the necessary bacteria in the body and create more disease. I think we need to approach these elusive problems in the same way we use probiotics to create a healthy gut. Probiotics will grow healthy bacteria and crowd out the bad bacteria. Antibiotics are overused. We do need them in some cases, but not near to the extent they are administered. I think the world needs to cultivate the probiotic approach. Rather than screaming anti-something, how about advocating pro-something? What do you want more of? We can work to create more of that.
Lets be the best we can be, invite others to be the best they can be, teach about love of the self, tap into our creativity to foster our own divine connection and be the change we want to see. Lets grow ourselves so we are the best planetary cell there is without a desire to fix or change anyone or anything around us. Then lets sit back and watch the magic take place before our eyes.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive -- Dalai Lama
We hear all the time about having love and compassion for our fellow man. It is the core belief of every religion I am aware of. But I think the reason for achieving this goal might become muddled by religious doctrine and societal pressures to be good. I don't feel that being more loving and compassionate is something to achieve to ensure a place in heaven. It's not something to achieve to gain approval from an external source such as God, loved ones, or society in general. It's not something to achieve in order to rise above others. If these are the reasons for being loving and compassionate, then I feel the reason is not authentic and lacks sincerity. For me being more loving and compassionate is a goal because it just feels better. It's who we are. Love feels better than hate or fear. Compassion feels better than gossip and judgement. In learning how to love and be more compassionate, I have fewer health problems and that feels better. I can cultivate self love which feels better. People respond with relief and more smiles and that feels great. And in the process, I discovered something wonderful. I discovered my very own personal connection with the divine. That sense of oneness naturally shines through and we begin to truly understand that when we hurt another we hurt ourselves. When we hurt ourselves, we hurt others. There is no separation between the two.
So how can we cultivate more love and compassion? For me, a step is to remain curious. It is that in-between state between love and fear. If we can grow our curiosity, I feel we are well on the way to a more loving, compassionate life. Curiosity by it's very nature releases judgement. The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, rather than reacting with anger, remain curious. Start a thought that begins with "I wonder....". For example, "I wonder what that was about?" or "I wonder what their day was like" or "I wonder what is causing that person to be so rushed and unaware?" There is no need to attach a story to the situation observed. What we think and how we interpret our surroundings creates the emotions we feel. If we think a negative thought, we will feel negatively. If we think a neutral thought, we feel neutral, and if we think a positive thought, we feel positive. While it may not be easy to send love and compassion to the person cutting me off in traffic, I've found that I can at least remain neutral and not create a dark mood for myself about how other people don't care about me. Neutrality allows me to remain in a calm and neutral state. And then the leap to love and compassion is not such a big leap.
Curiosity is awesome and we can take it anywhere. We can apply it to our personal relationships as well. I find it interesting that when we first meet a love interest, we are insanely curious about them. We want to know everything about this exciting, new unknown. It feels amazing to be interested in someone else and to have another just as interested in us. But after the honeymoon period, are we still curious? I believe curiosity can bring us to an understanding that we can never fully know someone elses wants, needs, and desires without asking them. We can never fully know someone elses perception of reality. Rather than telling our loved one what they need to do next, and how they need to think or feel, why not ask? "What do you want to do next?" "What are you thinking and feeling?" "What do you need?" "How can I help?" Curiosity creates space for another person to connect with their true nature - their own divine awesomeness. And they will be eternally grateful for the gift.
Finally, we can apply this curious state to ourselves. When we feel anxious or fearful, it might be too big a leap to love ourselves through it. But we can be curious! We can let go of the story attached to the emotion, and instead ask ourselves "I wonder what that fear is about?", or "I wonder where the anxiety is coming from". This state of curiosity works with the observation part of us that we grow when meditating. Not everyone can meditate easily right away, but we can all be curious! When I am curious about myself and let go of solution mode, I find I am much calmer, at peace with what is, and much more accepting. Our true loving and compassionate nature shows up as easily as the sun shining through windows that have been wiped clean. We can use curiosity as a tool to clear away judgement and negative emotions.
You can care about someone without letting them drain your energy. Remember that - www.livelifehappy.com
Being able to understand what another is feeling can generate understanding and foster support for those around us. As a result our relationships improve. Many people suffer from a lack of empathy and could benefit immensely from learning such a skill.
But what happens when we are so empathetic that we begin to take on other peoples stuff? We feel another person’s pain so much that we try to fix them in order to make us feel better. We’ve absorbed too much and now we’re so involved we no longer know where we end and another begins. Our energy becomes drained and we are a worn out shell of who we really are.
I’ve been an overly empathetic person. I think it drove me to become an enabler where I was doing for others what they needed to be doing for themselves. I was the go to person for every victim that existed in my world. And there were lots of them. I was a magnet for them and it became my definition of who I was. I help others feel better because I understand them so well. It was a badge of honor.
What I didn’t realize was that after being around many people, I would feel terrible. I was incredibly tired, and my thoughts were occupied with their problems and not my own. Even healthy thinking people could drain me as I tried to jump to their rescue even if they didn’t ask for my help. Sometimes I was problem solving for them in my head and they didn’t even know it. Or I’d become angry that they were dumping their stuff on me when really I was jumping into their world and feeling everything that wasn’t mine to own. I made their world my world. And I lost myself. So exhausting.
I’ve since learned some skills to manage myself when I am around others. I no longer attract victims, and I am able to stay in my own world as an impartial observer as I listen to the stories of my friends and family. These skills include:
1. Paying attention to my breathing. This keeps me focused on my body rather than jumping into another person's story where I experience what it is like to be them and how to make it better. I like to notice how my breath feels, how my body moves in different areas as I breathe, and the temperature changes in it.
2. I remain curious. I say things to myself like “Isn’t that interesting?” “I wonder how they will choose to handle this?”
3. If I participate in an intense conversation, I will use this curiosity as fuel. While breathing, I may ask a question like “What do you think you would like to do next?” “Do you have a plan to deal with this?”
4. Finally, I turn up my ego. A little ego is not necessarily a bad thing. According to the book Dying to be Me, author Anita Moorjani says the ego is necessary to maintain our individuality and separate ourselves from others. I think that empathetic people can have the awareness turned up way high, but the ego turned down way low. Egocentric people maybe don’t necessarily have too much ego, but too little awareness. Rather than turning down their ego, they need to turn up their awareness. For me, I need to turn up my ego and I’ve learned to begin expressing myself more. When I am with healthy thinking people, I talk about the things that I like and that interest me. As it turns out, people like what I have to say about myself too!
I’ve learned that as soon as I begin giving advice, telling someone what they should be doing and how they need to do it, I’ve immediately taken ownership of their problem and at the same time disempowered them. Now we both suffer. This can happen in all of our relationships from a parent to a child, between spouses, and from a manager to an employee. It’s their ball, and you can keep it in their court. And we don’t need to be afraid to bounce our own balls a little and show people our moves. It’s all about the balance.
Helping others is a wonderful kindness, but if your energy is being drained, you may be wise to practice these skills. I believe we create our own reality despite the circumstances around us. Others don't need to change for us to live joyful, balanced lives. If we are challenged, then we now have an opportunity to rise above it and learn something new.
It's really important to be able to receive love and receive compassion. It's as important as being able to give it - Pema Chodron.
It’s a recurring theme that in order to receive love we must be willing to give love. We receive what we are able to give in pretty much equal proportions. Ebenezer Scrooge of the famous classic “A Christmas Carol” is a demonstration of this idea. Once Scrooge finally realized his purpose in life was to give love and support to others, his heart opened, and he was a man filled with love. He was able to love himself and express the joy of living. I think that’s part of what giving can do. Loving and giving to others cultivates a love for ourselves. Once we are able to fully love ourselves, we are no longer dependent on our spouse, partner, child, parents, friends or even strangers to provide this basic need for us. Life becomes joyful, we struggle less, and we begin to notice the simple acts of love that are freely given to us every day.
However, I do think that while there is much focus on the joys and benefits of giving, there is very little focus on receiving. What if you are over-giving to the point of wearing yourself out and becoming ill? If there is much giving taking place, and your energy level is dropping, then I think there may be a problem at the receiving side of the equation. Perhaps you are giving to a person who is unable to receive. You are killing yourself giving, but your efforts seem to vanish into the ethers. Burnout ensues as you can become a frustrated, resentful martyr. What would it be like to limit your giving energy to what the other person is able to receive? Then you wouldn't be over-giving to the point of exhaustion.
Another problem with the receiving side of the equation could be that you yourself are not open to receiving. Perhaps you don’t feel deserving enough to receive. It is very important to open your heart and allow people to give to you. Know that if you do, you are not taking from others, but allowing them the opportunity to experience giving. Perhaps they are full from receiving and need to give to feel balanced. Are you open to receiving? Or do you think there are strings attached when someone offers you a gift? Do you say "You shouldn't have", or "It wasn't necessary". Are you filled with distrust and fear? Do you feel unworthy? What would it be like to simply show gratitude and be thankful for the gift knowing that your capacity to give to another has now grown?
Now that I understand the giving and receiving equation, I no longer make demands of people who don't have the capacity to give and I no longer push my giving on those who are unable to receive. Life really doesn't need to be that hard. I've also learned to give and receive to myself making myself less dependent on others to maintain my flow. As a result, my capacity to give and receive to and from others has grown and these interactions are such a bonus in my life.
Giving and receiving is a delicate balance and both must occur for us to be energized and joyful beings. Can you imagine a world of only givers and no receivers? There would be nobody to give to. A world of only receivers makes just as much sense. We would all be grasping at nothing. Giving and receiving is a beautiful, loving, flow of energy. The more I give, the more I receive, but in reverse, the more I receive, the more I can give. We all deserve to receive love and support. Remember that we need the flow to work in both directions to be in balance. Rather than closing my heart so that a trickle of giving and receiving takes place, I like to work on keeping my heart open so there is a vast river of loving exchanges flowing through me. I like to connect to the divine part of myself and picture a massive amount of light beaming down through the top of my head, filling my entire body and exiting out my hands. My capacity for love depends on the amount of flow I allow. I allow myself to receive as I give to others at the same time. There is no grasping, taking, keeping or forcing. What comes in must also go out. Life becomes more vibrant, alive, and wondrous. There is more joy and less struggle.
Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it – Tori Ames
It’s been a rough week for some of my clients, friends, and loved ones who are grieving the results of the American election. It’s clear to me that this isn’t typical grumbling about the loss of their candidate. My social circle is much too evolved to be ungracious losers. This is deeper than that. It’s a sadness of the recognition that such darkness exists… still. So much social progress has been made by the light givers of the world that it’s unthinkable there could be so much hate that could elect an angry, fearful soul into the Whitehouse. Even as I write this, the news reports are flooding in about muslims, jews, latinos, and other minorities being assaulted, ridiculed, bullied, and having their property damaged by hateful graffiti. And the president elect hasn’t taken power yet. But what he stands for is stirring up hateful energy.
My coach training did not equip me for this. I feel this is a domain better suited to grief counselors and psychotherapists. What can I say to uplift and motivate my clients, friends, and loved ones? This wound is deep. But in the end, this deep wound was always there. While we have been busy working on managing our own thoughts, feelings, spirituality, and overall personal growth so we can become better and more loving human beings, we have ignored the darkness. The darkness has made itself known. That’s all. To me, it means we have evolved enough to face it and begin dealing with it. We can take everything we have learned and start using it to heal the hate in others. It’s the next step in our evolution to fully conscious, aware, and loving beings. I still believe we are getting better and better as a human race. We are embarking on a massive nation wide cleansing of the soul of humanity. The US has much work to do and as a grateful Canadian, I will be there to love and support our neighbours through it. They are leading us in another step of human evolution. Namaste.
One of my favorite quotes is by the Roman philosopher Seneca. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
I’ve spent much of my life preparing and waiting for the perfect opportunity. I’ve received a BSc, a diploma, countless numbers of certificates, and am consistently taking courses online. I absolutely love to learn. In addition, I have a wealth of unexpected life experiences that enhanced my education. I was as prepared as I could possibly be. And I could easily find more ways to prepare. Utilizing what I’d learned in the world was a challenge for me. I was a surfer who loved to read about surfing but I wasn’t catching any waves. I was barely swimming. On the ocean of life, I continued to bob along the surface waiting for the right wave - the perfect wave.
I didn’t start surfing until I realized that there is no perfect wave. Waves come and go all the time. If one wave caused me to fall too soon, or didn’t take me as far as I wanted to go, there is always another one! Wave after wave after wave will come and go. Opportunities are the same. Catch one, surf it a while, and then catch another. If you don’t like the wave, if the wave fizzles out, or if you fall too soon, there’s nothing to worry about. The waves coming are endless!
Once I realized that I didn’t need one perfect wave, I was surprised at how much fun it was to catch them. I caught writing waves, I caught coaching waves, I caught business waves, I caught volunteer waves and I caught lots and lots of waves at work. The more waves I caught, the better I got. I started to get really good at surfing my life. Then I started learning the kind of waves I liked to surf. I began to observe and discern my waves. I knew what to let pass by and what I wanted to ride. Now I know that when that really big wave of opportunity comes, I’m going to recognize it immediately. My powers of discernment and observation of a coming opportunity are now as great as my preparation. I know I have the skill to ride the big wave from practicing on the smaller ones.
Start riding the waves, expect the ride to end in some way, and have a blast doing it. Then catch another. Ride as many waves as you can. If you can think less, and surf more, you’ll notice how lucky you are! Preparation and opportunity can’t help but collide over and over again.
Have you ever been under so much stress that you can’t stop the racing thoughts in your head? How will everything get done? What will happen to me in the future? I don’t have enough to retire! Nobody in my family will help! I’m expected to do everything while they get to have fun and be carefree!
I lived this way for many years and it’s awful. I had sleepless nights, knots in my stomach, anxiety, panic attacks, and health problems. Why? Because my mind was spinning out of control trying to resolve the unresolvable. I was taking ownership of problems that weren’t mine to own and I wasn’t dealing with my own stuff. I was trying to fix everyone else’s life thinking that was how to fix my own. I was a control freak because my own life was out of control. I wasn't present in my own life and I lived for others. I was a neglected, broken down home because nobody lived there. No wonder I was ill and stressed. How did I break this cycle? I saw a naturopath to manage the health symptoms I was experiencing, and I learned to focus on the present moment. When we are able to stay present, clarity comes and we are better able to nurture ourselves and give ourselves what we need to be happy.
Have you ever heard the advice to remember to breathe when you are anxious? For me, there is much more to it than that. I find it’s more about focusing on the sensations in the body. And breathing can be part of that. I invite you to try the following exercise:
1. Find a quiet place to sit in a chair or on the floor.
2. If you are able to, sit with your back straight, and your eyes closed. If you must lie down, perhaps hold one arm in the air. The idea is to keep from falling asleep.
3. Become an observer of your body and watch the breath.
4. Gently be curious about the breath. Notice the sensations in the body as a result of the breath. For example, what does it feel like as the breath comes into the body? How does it feel on the nostrils? Is it cold coming in and warm going out? Can you feel the lungs expanding? Can you feel the belly expanding? What else do you notice?
5. If your mind wanders, lovingly come back and notice the sensations around your breath.
I invite you to try this exercise for 10 minutes. It’s okay if your mind keeps wandering off. Be gentle with yourself, and simply notice that it was time to wander and how nice that you are able to come back to the breath. Isn’t it wonderful that we can come back to the breath whenever we want to? If you notice any negative sensations, simply notice them. It’s important not to attach a meaning to them. Try to stay a curious observer and simply find all the sensations “interesting”.
Practicing this type of exercise can bring you to the present moment. The present moment is a place where peace and clarity reside. Like a homeowner who lovingly cares for and maintains their home, I can lovingly care for and maintain my body and peace of mind.
If you can, notice your body sensations as you take a shower, do the dishes, or buy groceries. What does the water feel like on your body? What do you feel on your scalp as you lovingly wash your hair? What do objects you are holding in your hands feel like? Try to be curious about what sensations are there, and if you can, work on staying non-reactive by finding them interesting. Try not to avoid any sensation, and try not to attach a meaning to it. For example, if the water is too cold in the shower, attempt to be non-reactive as you step out and adjust the temperature. That was an interesting sensation! Look how my body tightened up!
Practicing these techniques will teach us to deal with stressful situations, and disagreements with loved ones in a calm, and balanced way. The most wonderful part about paying attention to the present moment is that if we lose our focus, we have another opportunity! There is always another present moment!
We are 100% responsible for our thoughts and emotions. Do you have difficulty thinking positive? Do you sometimes fight to maintain a loving, kind, compassionate outlook towards your world and all things in it? For me, I’ve noticed that my positivity must be nurtured. Feelings of happiness, joy, and love depend on what I’m choosing to expose myself to. What people have I allowed into my life? Do I hang with people who talk about other people, or who talk about ideas? What images do I expose myself to through media such as Facebook, TV, radio, and newspapers? Am I paying too much attention to someone else's problems? Am I spending energy trying to change someone’s perception of me? It’s difficult for me to remain healthy and positive in a negative environment. If I notice myself struggling, I’ll bombard myself with only happy images, positive affirmations, walking in nature, and hanging out with healing people and animals.
I invite you to try the following exercise:
After spending some time looking at the positive images, notice what’s happening in your mind. Notice what’s happening in your body.
- Go to Google.ca.
- Click on the link in the top right corner that says Images.
- In the search field type something positive. Try Laughter (my personal favorite), or Loving, or Friendship.
- Click on a few of your favorite images and examine them for a few moments.
In addition, you might try committing to one day of avoiding viewing or hearing anything negative. It won't be perfect, but I find this can go a long way towards nurturing my positivity. I am able to limit the negativity I'm exposed to that I'm absorbing into my subconscious. I challenge you to bombard yourself with vast amounts of positivity and watch what happens. Did you feel a shift?
Gratitude. There’s a tough one. I was grateful for so many things, but not so much for the supposed challenges that life brings. For me, feeling grateful for those challenges was a long hard road. While I still have work to do in the personal growth and development department, I can honestly say, I’m extremely grateful for the most difficult people in my life. And those people were the ones I loved the most. Perhaps that was why they were so challenging. I didn’t know how to handle the see saw of emotions I felt between the love and anger for the same people. There was a time where gratitude was something I practiced because I was supposed to. Over and over I would hear that gratitude could change my life. It can. But what if you can’t authentically feel it? What if writing gratuitous affirmations over and over cause a moment of joy only to slip back into the reoccurring thoughts of frustration and despair? It means there is work to be done. That’s all. Perhaps there is not as much wrong with us as we might think. For me, I had much grieving to do, and much anger to release. I came from a family that buried emotion. By the time I reached my 30’s after suppressing a lifetime of negative emotions, I developed many health problems leading to additional frustrations. Once I began the work of dealing with what I was suppressing, acknowledging what I needed, managing my stress, and living a value based life, gratitude just started to happen. It was easy and without a struggle. Its amazing how little will power is required when we simply begin to take care of our whole selves - body, mind and spirit.
Now I can clearly see that without these challenging people in my life, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t fully understand love, kindness, compassion, and gratitude. I wouldn’t appreciate the uniqueness that each individual can bring to my world. I would continue to avoid new experiences in order to keep my illusory sense of control. It’s the challenging people that I loved dearly, and who angered me immensely that pushed me to do the work. Life changing work. I made a career out of personal development. I’ve had many jobs, but I never stopped seeking, reading, joining groups, taking courses and learning how to be a better me. I wonder if I hadn’t loved so many challenging people who would I be today? Perhaps someone putting in the time life requires until the end. I am so grateful for the family I have, and for the people I’ve loved and still love. I’m grateful to be a woman who lives in Canada. I’m grateful when the day is sunny so I can go outside, and I’m grateful for the rain so my flowers can thrive. I’m grateful for my groceries. I’m grateful I have a washer and a dryer. And I am so grateful for the adversity I faced in my life that sometimes I want to burst with gratitude. It can happen. Just keep going.