One of the Most Powerful Dimensions of Being Human

I think one of the most powerful dimensions that humans possess is their emotional dimension, or feelings.

I’ve studied psychology, marketing, and health. I’ve been involved in retail, music, beauty and art.

In everything I’ve experienced in life and work, there is this necessity of having to know; of learning and becoming an expert in our field with our product or service.

Our mind seems to dictate our life.

Or does it?

Most people do not make decisions based on what they have learned or know. They make them based on emotions – on how ‘it’ – whatever ‘it’ is –  makes them FEEL.

I have always worked with feelings.

I worked in a bank. People had feelings about money – their money.

I worked in an esthetic salon. People had feelings about how they looked.

I worked in retail. People had feelings about how the product they were purchasing would make them feel.

I also worked in a bookstore. People wanted to feel smart. It was a personal development bookstore, so people wanted to feel smart and aware of themselves.

I worked in a medical office. People wanted to feel better.

I worked as a professional organizer. People wanted to feel free of administrative tangles and clutter and backlog.

I worked as a life, career and job coach. People wanted to feel like they could manage their life, discover their ideal career and find a dream job.

We are creatures of emotions and feelings.

My point?

As I walk this path of life, I have become more acutely aware that one of the components that makes me most human; that makes me want to love and be loved; to connect with others; to have others connect with me; to paint; to write; and to go to work each day, are my feelings. They are my compass. They provide me with information about my environment and myself. They are unharnessed at times (which can be embarrassing), yet, they must BE. They are who I am. I was born with feelings. We ALL were!

Let them BE! Make no excuses or apologies. Do not try to always override them with reason if you are inclined to do so. Reason and rationality are very important, but not at the expense of our feelings. Knowing things is great. But knowledge is just as mutable as feelings.

So, my thoughts – or feelings to you – are: EMBRACE how you FEEL. In your whole body. We tend to think (HA) we feel in the heart region. And yes, we do, AAAANNNNDDD, we feel in our body. Connect with this wonderful, whole, creature that you are. And trust your feelings!

Christine

New Moon, Full Circle: A Journey

The last few weeks I have been reflecting on how a full circle has occurred in my life. By this I mean that I’ve had experiences – through time and space – that are now being experienced again on some levels.

There is recognition of my environment, which is where I’m living geographically. There is recognition of my world of work and connection with others. There is recognition of the thoughts and feelings I am experiencing. There is recognition of the landscapes, smells, sounds and moods of the morning and evening skies.

A new time, an old place. Kitsilano

My journey started in Kitsilano 55+ years ago (which is where I am now, again). I loved the area then because of the trees, gardens, and proximity to English Bay. I had a playground and some friends I appreciated. I had kitties and bugs to play with. I enjoyed the sunny days, and the rainy and snowy days. I could not stay inside. I could not stay still. I loved to dance, draw, sing, invent things, swim, bike, and teach the neighbourhood kids how to add and read (because I had a wee blackboard attached on the wall of my playroom in the basement).

There was so much wonder and beauty and possibility living here, however an extremely disturbing home life was dripping poison into my veins, filling me with anxiety, fear, self-loathing, conflict, insecurity and anger.

This ‘world’ pushed me to another world, one in which I was very much alone and had to learn to survive physically, emotionally and mentally – on my own. I had very close calls to not surviving this period of my life. I was 14 going on 100.

Yet I did. I kept moving, which seemed – and still seems – to be my Modus Operandi. I have moved all over the Lower Mainland. I have held many jobs in many different industries. I have met many people and lived different lifestyles. I have experienced many different ways of being. I have lived, loved and lost almost anyone and everything you could imagine.

Sometimes I have waited too long to make a move, and therefore the damage has been harder to repair. This last big transition of my life is an example of this, but I embrace the time and space that’s ahead of me for the healing journey.

I am back where I started, and I am seeing it again for the first time. I’ve been given yet another chance to reconnect with my Self, Soul and Heart. It feels uncomfortably familiar, yet liberating. I will walk through the darkness of the New Moon, and embrace the cycles of new beginnings that will be revealed on the other side.

Bye for now,

Christine

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Friendship?

I’m learning a lot about friendship these days…..these past few months for sure……
I have learned, and AM learning the value of people who can walk with you on the path of your life, whether it be full of joy or pain; of silliness or despair.

Friends are people who can be accepting and non-judgemental and who give without expectation of receiving.

I call these people the True Blue Friends. The ones who don’t walk away when you’re suffering, and don’t cling when they need something from you. They are there when you’re on top – and don’t make you feel guilty because you have something they don’t. They are the ones who watch you when you fall and lose, and help you to regain your strength, courage and sense of self in order to be in a good place again.

True Blue Friends don’t have to correct you every time you make a mistake or flub a word, but they do call you on your BS.

True Blue Friends are those who say “I am here for you”, and “I love you”, and who do not make excuses for why they cannot get together with you. They just make getting together happen!

True Blue Friends are not afraid to show their vulnerabilities, and they will hug you for no reason other than to hug, because it FEELS REALLY NICE TO BE HUGGED!

True Blue Friends are those who offer sincere and loving thoughts, without expectation of reciprocation.

Thank you True Blue Friends!

And now……for some really profound words by David Whyte…..

I love the form and flow of David Whyte’s poetry, and of the way he is able to provide such depth and insight into words. In this book – Consolations –  he provides meaning to a concept; a feeling; a way of being that can be nebulous and abstract.

I have been reading and re-reading this book for months, and today would like to share his words about Friendship.

FRIENDSHIP…..

is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our trespasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn.

A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die.

In the course of the years a close friendship will always reveal the shadow in the other as much as ourselves, to remain friends we must know the other and their difficulties and even their sins and encourage the best in them, not through critique but through addressing the better part of them, the leading creative edge of their incarnation, thus subtly discouraging what makes them smaller, less generous, less of themselves.

Through the eyes of a real friendship an individual is larger than their everyday actions, and through the eyes of another we receive a greater sense of our own personhood, one we can aspire to, the one in whom they have most faith. Friendship is a moving frontier of understanding not only of the self and the other but also, of a possible and as yet unlived, future.

Friendship is the great hidden transmuter of all relationship: it can transform a troubled marriage, make honourable a professional rivalry, make sense of heartbreak and unrequited love and become the newly discovered ground for a mature parent-child relationship.

The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life: a diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in deep trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity, of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most average existence.

Through the eyes of a friend we especially learn to remain at least a little interesting to others. When we flatten our personalities and lose our curiosity in the life of the world or of another, friendship loses spirit and animation; boredom is the second great killer of friendship. Through the natural surprises of a relationship held through the passage of years we recognize the greater surprising circles of which we are a part and the faithfulness that leads to a wider sense of revelation independent of HUMAN relationship: to learn to be friends with the earth and the sky, with the horizon and with the seasons, even with the disappearances of winter and in that faithfulness, take the difficult path of becoming a good friend to our own going.

Friendship transcends disappearance: an enduring friendship goes on after death, the exchange only transmuted by absence, the relationship advancing and maturing in a silent internal conversational way even after one half of the bond has passed on.

But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been SEEN by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.

From: Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words by David Whyte

 

 

Falling into Fall

To me, this time of year always is bittersweet. I love the colours, smells and the crisp air of autumn; the ultra blue skies, and the crunch of leaves under my feet and chestnuts rolling around on the ground. Nature brings such wonderful gifts to those of us who are blessed with this season, especially here in Vancouver.

However, this time of year also brings me pain. I have always suffered the autumn blues, for whatever reason I don’t know. Ever since I can remember, this veil of melancholy would fold around me and linger until winter snapped me out of it. I was born in December, so perhaps winter is my abrupt entrance into consciousness, and autumn the transformation from one way of being – alive in the womb – to another, being alive in the world.

However, over the last 25 years, I’ve actually had experiences that have intensified this melancholic state in the form of losses such as the death of friends and cats. This has definitely added to that most bitter part about this time of year for me. While I can become so enchanted with the autumn sights, smells and sounds, my spirit and psyche become steeped with the sad memories triggered by this season. It’s so hard to shake, no matter what I do.

And this autumn, I am falling again into Fall. I have experienced and will be experiencing even more losses – again! Things, animals and people that I have loved and a way of living that has been full of beauty and comfort for many years, have dried on the branch, and are floating down to the ground like the autumn leaves. Their season is over.

However, these leaves may be dead, but they still hold so much colour and that provides me with hope and comfort that I too will be able to see and embrace colour in my life again, as I make this journey from one way of being and living –  to another.

Here’s to Autumn…..or Fall.

 

Helping Those With Life, Career, Transition and Loss

Hello there….

I have been working as a Life & Career Consultant / Facilitator with individuals and groups since 1997. During this time, I have worked with thousands of interesting, talented, skilled, creative and colourful people who have been committed to working hard to make sense of themselves, their hopes, dreams and challenges. My role has been, and is, to help people see different perspectives and possibilities; to discover purpose and meaning in their lives; to set up tools to manage their situation and to design practical strategies to achieve their goals.

Since 2008 I have been leading Grief Support Groups. Life brings us many gifts and loves, but sadly, it also takes them away. Losing a loved one is incredibly painful, whether from illness, injury, homicide, suicide, or substance abuse or whether their death was anticipated or sudden. Whatever the relationship with the person they’ve lost or however that person has died, will be traumatic for the survivors. My work in helping people through this heartbreaking pain has been one of my most challenging and one of my most rewarding experiences in working with people.

Additionally, my grief work over these past years has also made me quite aware of how many people are struggling with the loss of their precious animal companions. It is because of this that I have created a specific division of my grief work whereby I offer one-on-one Pet Loss Counselling to those who have lost their little furry, scaled or feathered friend.

As writing has been a big part of my connection with others, I have created this site/blog in order to offer my own thought-provoking observations, philosophies and questions as well as to provide information and inspiration.

I hope you will take a tour around, reading and commenting on my writings as well as checking out the different services I provide, which may be of use to you or someone you know. If you would like to contact me, I live / work in Vancouver, BC. 

C: 604-839-3167

E: canewell@uniserve.com

Linked In: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/cmcnewell

Bye for now,

Chris

MISSION STATEMENT: “To move people – spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically – to take positive and effective action towards living a life of purpose, peace and integrity by being aware of their choices and taking responsibility for aligning their actions with their core values.” 

Goodbye 2014! Hello 2015!

Goodbye 2014!

My time with you is almost over and I’m really ready for you to just go! However, I will give you a most proper and gracious send-off, just to show there are no hard feelings.

In honour of your departure, I have created a countdown clock that will represent something I’ve learned/experienced/realized/been challenged with/succeeded at, or grown from during my time with you.

Ready??

T-E-N….Words and actions from the heart contribute to meaningful and intimate connections with others. We may come across as an interesting, resourceful or smart person when we provide knowledge or information, but we exude kindness and beauty when we give from a spirit non-ego place.

N-I-N-E….The Greeks had two descriptions for time – Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is time we can measure and quantify. It’s the time we get obsessed and anxious about. It’s hard to manage, creates stress, and is used as an excuse. I am opting for living more in Kairos time. It’s purposeful, flowing and fluid and doesn’t have so many boundaries and expectations.

E-I-G-H-T…..We can waste a lot of precious time and energy hoping, wishing, worrying and obsessing about those things that we have NO control over in life. It’s better to just put that energy towards what we DO have control over. (As with most of what I’m reviewing about 2014, this is NOT a new insight. Just a reminder….sigh)

S-E-V-E-N…..When we experience those things we fear the most about experiencing in life, we can move into a different way of being. In some respects, we can become more liberated and more at peace. Whatever our fear might be – unemployment, death of a loved one, homelessness, a serious illness, bankruptcy, being a victim of crime – if we are always afraid of that event occurring, we can hold ourselves back from truly living. But once we’ve experienced the event, we can access an inner power and strength because we have gotten the so-called ‘worst-case scenario’ out of the way. We can acknowledge that this horrible event occurred and we’re still here to talk about it. We have survived!

(Note #1: this is not an invitation to manifest and experience all these events, but to know and appreciate that we may, and others have, and life still goes on! Note #2: I have experienced most of these things listed – and more – myself, and I’m STILL here to talk about it!)

S-I-X…..When we insert ‘how do I want to be remembered after I die’ into our daily thoughts, we can really alter the way we live. We can choose to do and have those things that are most important. We can be a person that holds those qualities and experiences that are most appealing and powerful to be!

F-I-V-E….There will ALWAYS be chores, errands and projects to do around the home. There will always be some person or some creature to take care of on some level. This is the price we pay for having a place to live and people and animals to love.

F-O-U-R….‘We can’t get blood from a stone’. Rather than focussing our hurts and frustrations on those who are not doing it ‘right’; who are not living up to our ‘expectations’ and who have done us ‘wrong’, we need to acknowledge and appreciate those who DO show up for us! We need to receive, respect and nurture those relationships that ARE available and loving!

T-H-R-E-E…..Our physical dimension always responds to our emotional and spiritual dimensions. Always! Our body will hold, react or expel whatever our mind and heart are experiencing. Whether it’s anger, worry and guilt, or contentment, peace and joy, our body is the container for our thoughts and feelings.

T-W-O…..Everyone has a story! Every One! When we activate our curiosity and open our heart, we’ll discover there are biographies that will alarm, charm, titillate, confuse, provoke, inspire and inform us of what another has really experienced in their life. Sharing our stories creates connection with others. It helps us to be more understanding and patient and to eliminate judgement. It offers a new level of realness, vulnerability and intimacy.

O-N-E…..Love and be loved. Because that’s REALLY what it’s all about!

Hello 2015!

 

 

 

 

What’s Luck Got To Do With It? *spoiler alert*

Like many people, I am acutely aware of the things people say. Words have always been a big part of my life (journaling); work (workshops, reports, articles) and avocational pursuits (songwriting, comedy). I love words! Words have so much power to inform, educate and entertain us. They offer inspiration, hope, enlightenment, and reflection. They can help and heal.
But words can also do harm. They can be used intentionally as weapons of anger, intimidation, humiliation, guilt and shame. And they can also be used awkwardly, ignorantly, and insensitively – perhaps not to intentionally hurt another, but all the same, they can contribute to another’s distress and despair.
But I’m here to talk about luck, not words…..well……not really…….and yes really!

I am one of those highly sensitive people (they have a name for this too apparently), who can be easily triggered by another’s comments – or in some cases, a lack thereof. A few comments that have been made to me recently have been stewing in my ‘mind pot’ and now they are bubbling over and I need to comment on the comments. Of course, this opens up the filing cabinet in my brain, whereas I am reflecting and reviewing all those comments in the past that have ever affected me in a potent way. However, for the benefit of those who are reading this, as well as my own sanity, I don’t think I’ll declare all those now, or here! 🙂

So, just what WERE these comments that started this discourse? Well first of all, I can tell you that they all had a theme, and that is, they all began with the words: “You are lucky that……”.
I suppose one would wonder why someone telling me I’m lucky would be such a provocation. Well, I shall explain.

When someone says to me: “You are lucky that…..”, and the item or situation of which they are referring to has little to do with luck, but more to do with effort – my effort – then I feel belittled and disempowered.
Here are a few examples, and ones that I’ve heard several times:

• Within the context of a financial situation: “You are lucky to have a husband who makes a decent income.”
• Within the context of not living alone: “You are lucky to have a man to help you with that”
• Within the context of living in Vancouver: “You are lucky you live on the West side.”
• Within the context of my vocation: “You are lucky you have work you love to do.”

When I hear these comments, I have to wonder what people think – or assume – is really going on in my life that I am blessed with such fairy dust. Do they think I don’t make a living, and that I’m lying on the couch eating bon-bons while my husband makes the bacon (or in our case tofu), and does all the chores and fixit jobs? Do they think I just walked through the magic door and my dream job appeared? Do they think I make a million dollars a year and therefore can afford to live on the West side of Vancouver?

I cannot, and will not try to understand what people really think, but what I would appreciate people doing more often, is thinking before they speak! If one were to consider how a comment like that could sound to another person, especially a person like me who is sensitive and who’s had many challenges to overcome in order to have certain things in life which are not associated with luck, they may (hopefully) realize it’s a put-down. These things that I am ‘lucky’ to have are the result of thinking, researching, planning, and lots of blood, sweat and tears – literally!

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
~Seneca

One of the things that pushes my buttons (and yes, we all get triggered by stuff, no matter how much therapy we participate in 🙂 ) is anyone, anything and any comment which jabs at my self-concept. I have spent a lot of time, money and energy trying to develop myself into a reliant, independent, self-sustaining, kind, industrious and interesting human being. I feel I have worked very hard at finding some form of contentment and peace, overcoming health issues, helping others and contributing to society. Yes, there is ALWAYS room for improvement and development, and so I don’t want to sound all preachy and self-righteous here. It’s just that those things that people are perhaps trying to give me credit for, come out in words that make me feel that it was all chance, that all I did was roll out of the womb like a pair of lucky dice, and voila…I had those things.

But that’s not how my life has been. Like many people, my life has (and still is) woven with threads of adversity. I have experienced violence and bullying. I’ve escaped one world of abuse, only to find myself in another. I’ve been attacked, sexually assaulted and robbed. I’ve been homeless, unemployed and alienated. I have been exposed to sick, depraved and troubled individuals and have had to run from jobs, people and places in order to find emotional and/or physical safety. I’ve been displaced, and lived on the street and in my car.
I have struggled with identity, self-esteem and destructive behaviours. I’ve had to start my life over many times. I’ve had acute and chronic health conditions that have rendered me unable to function. I’ve lost relationships, and possessions. I have known sorrow, discomfort and the feeling of being completely ALONE in the world! I have tried to die…more than once.

And in this age of disclosure, we are learning that many people have also been challenged with similar situations and experiences. We hear of the ‘survivors’ and the ‘success stories’.   They show up on Ted Talks and Oprah. They write books. They blog. They go out into the community and share their story, because EVERYONE has a story. Even me! So please don’t say: “you’re lucky…”, because, if you can really see luck in where I’ve been and what I’ve had to do to be who I am and have what I have in my life, you may not call me so lucky.

And yes, of course there have been situations and things that I would claim as being associated with luck – good and bad – on some level. But there are always the factors of having done something, or being somewhere in order for these events to occur. Maybe it’s more about that word (luck) for me, as I tend to prefer fortunate; serendipitous and coincidence as better words to explain those events that don’t fall into an obvious cause and effect scenario.

I also try to learn and understand people and their situations; to go beyond what ‘appears’ to be their so-called lucky or successful life. Most times, I have been humbled and awed when I find out how they’ve overcome and managed their obstacles and pushed forward with their passions, plans and goals. These people are MY inspiration to be a better person and to keep going on, even when I am plagued by issues and challenges (as I am currently experiencing again!)

These people fill me with hope and gratitude. At times, there is a part of me that almost slips to THAT place – the place I am referring to in this article: “Well, you’re lucky because……..or…”it must be nice…..”, but then I stop and catch myself, because I KNOW that these thoughts and words are not a sincere compliment to their efforts, nor are they empowering for them…………or for me!