Saturday, November 17, 2012

Not the End of Our Story

Two years ago, the Canadian company I work for was bought-out by a large American retailer. However, the deal did not include any of the people or the company name – just the store leases. What this has meant for thousands of our employees is loss, sadness and uncertainty.

Yesterday at head office, where I work, our approximately 200 remaining people were reduced to 60. Some of those leaving had been with the company for their entire careers, many spanning beyond 20 and even 30 years. To them, what they have lost is much more than just their jobs. Over and over again, I’ve heard it expressed that it’s like losing family – and it really is. We haven’t always liked one another and sometimes we’ve even fought, however, the bottom line is that we all knew what was important; what we were working towards was the same.

The farewell parties and gatherings have been numerous – capped off by a huge gala this past Thursday evening. Over the last year, we’ve also had celebratory Facebook and Twitter campaigns to count down the final days for our customers. And we’ve even found a good home for our famous mascot, who has now been officially adopted by a wonderful children’s charity.

Yet despite the undeniable sadness we all feel right now, it’s important to remember that this is not the end of any of our stories – it’s just one more chapter closed – and that is not necessarily bad or good; it just is.

I have only worked here for eight years. And prior to this, I have left a few companies on my own, as well as experienced being part of a downsizing situation. But each time I’ve moved on, I’ve also achieved other milestones in my life, such as traveling the world, getting married, and the births of my two children. I also had the opportunity to run my own business, which I enjoyed very much. So although my time here isn’t yet up, once it is, I will try to remember my own advice and look forward to the next adventure – because I know for certain there always is one. 

Image: A country road in Caledon, Ontario.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hard Weather Lessons

What does it really take to unite people to a cause? Do we bond more easily in good times or does it take a crisis? Unfortunately, it seems like many of us are only motivated to respond when the going gets really tough – when situations reach critical life and death proportions. Whether we are talking about war, environmental destruction, a global health pandemic or economic collapse… nothing spurs the public on quite like a good tragedy.

So is this a bad thing? Perhaps we’d wish for people to see what’s going on sooner or that it would take less severe circumstances to get us all moving, yet, it’s through these extreme examples that we can often learn the most. Out of horrible, desperate circumstances we find incredible examples of heroism. Like a wildfire that burns long and hard, but leaves fertile soil in its wake, offering nature the opportunity for new growth – people who have been similarly devastated have to reach down deep to find the strength to turn their situation into a positive. But for those who are able to meet such a challenge, the rewards are often unpredictably wonderful and far-reaching and almost make sense of the original sacrifice.

Is this, perhaps, what life is all about? A continuous cycle of birth, death and renewal: proving our metal through the ups and downs, taking on the challenges that come our way, and growing better and stronger along the way. I think so.

I truly believe that as a people, we are on the spiritual cusp of something really wonderful and it has taken our current environmental crisis to pull us together, so that even the least spiritual-minded among us are forced to recognize how interdependent we all are on one another. We are not separate. That is an illusion. And the only way we can thrive on this planet is to recognize this as fact. We are all connected to each other and to this Earth – and the time has come for us to re-examine and embrace all the ways we are the same, instead of focusing so much on what makes us different.
Images: Belfountain Conservation Area in Ontario.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

On Stillness

 Meet everyone and everything through stillness rather than mental noise. ~Eckhart Tolle

Image: Blue Heron on Penninsula Lake in Muskoka.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blessed Sun

For anyone who has been following me for any length of time, 
it will come as no shock that I am NOT winter's biggest fan. 
And the fact that I am truly excited by any celebration 
marking the return of the sun should be equally unsurprising. 
So I wish you all a blessed Imbolc, joyful Candlemas and happy Groundhog Day! 
From now to Spring Equinox, it only gets better 
- never mind that raging snow storm "they" say is just around the corner... 
the warm weather is coming, I tell you! 


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cultivating Genius

I am so proud of my 13 year old son - The Artist. He is working so hard right now to put together a portfolio of creative pieces for an audition in 10 days time to a high school with a specialized visual arts program. Whether he actually gets in or not, the process behind the attempt has been such a valuable experience, that it almost doesn’t matter.

The Artist is not particularly interested in sports (although he does have a wicked golf swing). And academics have never been his thing. But his wild imagination and eagerness to express it through pencil and paper is truly phenomenal. And as a mom, it makes me so happy to know that my child is passionate about something worthwhile.

We should all be so lucky to have an activity through which we can shine – regardless of how others may perceive it or whether or not it might actually take us anywhere concrete in this mundane life. True passion is about joy and it is rooted in the soul. And when we follow that kind of calling, it can only be something positive.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back to Basics

After all the excesses that seem to define the holidays, I love the simplicity that follows in January. Difficult as it was for me to go back to work this week, I do feel somewhat refreshed from having had a few days to myself. And I am verging on excited with thoughts of all the new projects I know are headed my way – both in the office and at home.

I’m most enthusiastic however about returning to a healthy eating plan and lifestyle. Call it a resolution, if you will, but I just don’t think I can stomach any more bouts of the extreme eating that punctuated the majority of my holiday events - so at this point, it really doesn’t feel like much of a sacrifice!

My prescription: Matcha green tea soy lattes at breakfast instead of coffee; protein at every meal (no mean feat for a vegetarian!); no nasty white stuff – flour, sugar, starchy veggies; lots of greens, berries and filtered water. Five days in: so far, so good.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Recipe for Matcha Latte

¼ tsp matcha green tea powder + 2 tsp organic honey + 1 cup organic soy milk

Combine matcha and honey in a mug until it becomes a dark green paste. Heat soy milk – stove top or microwave. Pour ¼ cup heated milk into mug and stir until smooth. Pour in remaining milk, stir and enjoy!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hello, again...

It’s been awhile since I’ve visited any of my blogging friends or posted anything, I know. And I’m sorry for that. It’s been a tumultuous time, for a few reasons...  but I think I may have finally landed on my feet. Fingers crossed!

Despite the holiday rush, this year the season seems particularly magical to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve finished my shopping early and am now more focused on preparing for celebrations with family and friends. Or it could be because it’s been a relatively long and warm fall - so this morning when I woke to find a light snow falling it made me smile, rather than cringe; afterall, what’s Christmas without snow (at least in the Northern hemisphere)?!

Wishing everyone a blessed Winter Solstice and a wonderful Christmas!