Saturday, July 11, 2009

Past Perfect… Right Where It Is

It’s Saturday morning. It’s storming out – so no golf lessons for the boys today – which presents the perfect opportunity for me to enjoy a leisurely cup of caffeinated heaven and indulge in some light reading. The first thing I pick up is the University of Western Ontario’s Alumni Gazette. As usual, I flip through it quickly, looking for snippets on people I used to know until I reach the last page, where I find an interesting piece written by Paul Wells, BA ’89.

Paul is now a well-respected political columnist with MacLean’s Magazine, but back in the day, he was a student just like so many of us. I didn’t know him (at least I don’t think I did – frankly, it’s all a bit of blur at this point), but the nostalgia of the glory days he writes about sums up summers spent in hometown’s past quite succinctly for most of us: That peaceful calm that descends over a city during school’s off-season; the fun of getting up close to our favourite bands at the local pub; planning but never getting around to completing (or starting) that mega reading list of important must-read books; the crushes - ah, so much cuteness wasted on too much awkwardness; the late night chats with great friends, set to an awesome soundtrack of whatever latest musical genius; and of course, the necessary summer job.

It’s fun for all of us to look back. Reading Paul’s article absolutely made me smile, but at the same time I am absolutely content to be where I am in this stage of life. None of us are the same as we were back then and that’s a really good thing. At 21, I was idealistic, distracted, and always searching outside of myself for something fundamental, yet elusive, I believed I was missing that would make me feel worthy.

The true gift of time is that it provides us with a mature perspective and an opportunity to grow into our own authenticity. I wouldn’t trade the memories of my youth for anything, but I don’t have any desire to relive them, either - I’ll leave that to my boys! 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Truth and Consciousness

One thing most of us know but often choose to forget is that very little is ever truly as it appears. And while there are many reasons we might happily resist the inclination to examine something more closely (financial need, desire for companionship, emotional comfort, convenience, etc.), the fact is if a situation isn’t right (or right for you), the truth of it will always win out eventually.

To accept anything for how it seems on the surface is an exercise in self-deception. And difficulties that arise from ignoring truth in situations close to us span the gamut from emotional discomfort to serious life-threatening illness, depending upon the length of time one is out of integrity. As it has been said before: the greater the deception, the greater the fall. The beauty of this system, however, is that the fall itself is our wake-up call; the time when we have the option of learning from our mistake, reassembling our broken selves and deciding to a make a better choice the next time around.

The key to living our lives in integrity is simply our own consciousness. We get out of alignment when we miss or ignore the signals our emotions and bodies send us. But if we are paying attention, we can recognize when decisions we are about to make are based on ego or the opposite, which is love. The ego is all about perception and concerned only with its own preservation. It looks for lack in all areas of one’s life, exploits fears and encourages an “act now, regret it later” philosophy. On the other hand, actions derived from a place of love are routed in truth. And our emotional and physical responses are always the best barometre. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh Canada!

As a proud first generation Canadian, I want to thank this beautiful country on its 142nd birthday for blessing me with wonderful memories of a carefree childhood, the opportunity to chase my dreams, and plenty of reason to hope for the future.
My parents arrived here from northern Europe as children, after having endured the horrors of World War II. For them, like so many others who came before and after them, Canada has been a haven - a place of true promise for fresh beginnings. And while it certainly has not been an easy transition, their early hardships absolutely ensured a better way of life for my children and me. 
So, in appreciation for having been born and raised Canadian, here are just a few of the reasons I love this country:
1)   Freedom – We can be who we are and live how we wish without fear of government interference.
2)   Collective Social Conscience – From universal health care to welfare assistance… We care about our citizens, and the amount of money we pour into all our social programs is proof of that.
3)   Multicultural Heritage – Our diverse collection of ethnicities provides us with a more global perspective and makes us more tolerant of each other’s differences. It’s also why there are more interesting varieties of food available in our grocery stores and restaurants. (Yup, it’s all about the food!)
4)   Breathtaking Wilderness – From the Rocky Mountains to Georgian Bay, Ellesmere Island to Fundy National Park we have one beautiful country!
5)   Greenpeace and David Suzuki – One kick-ass environmental organization and a crusader who has spent his life educating and inspiring us all.
6)   Peacekeepers – We don’t start wars and we don’t finish them. Instead, our brave men and women soldier up in an effort to bring harmony to devastated communities. These are true heroes who do us all proud.
7)   The CBC – for preserving and celebrating our unique Canadian perspective.
8)   Maple Syrup – What would pancakes be without it?
9)   Four Seasons – Because it's good to mix things up and the weather around here always sparks conversation.
10)   Good Manners – What can I say… our mothers raised us right and the world knows it!
Thank you, Canada and happy birthday, eh!