Learning to Let Go

Learning to let go of something that is keeping you stuck is sometimes really hard to do. This is because so often our subconscious minds are holding on to something and keeping us stuck. Even when we consciously realize, what we are doing is a pattern that is keeping us stuck. So often the subconscious pattern will override especially in times of stress. 

For example, we all know that in order to eat healthy we should have a variety of foods and focus on eating non-processed foods. Yet so often we find ourselves reaching for something quick when we are in a rush or going to the nearest fast food restaurant to curb our hunger. When asked consciously what you should eat to lead a healthy lifestyle almost everyone can tell you exactly what they need to do. Yet so few do on a regular basis. 

What needs to happen is a shift in your subconscious that will allow your brain to redirect you every time you fall back into that pattern. When my daughter was little I was very aware of this and my motto for her was always, ‘you can eat what you want as long as you have the healthy option first.’ Later, I had a friend tell me that because they had heard me with my daughter they had also shifted their pattern. So whenever they reached for their subconscious eating patterns they could hear my voice in their head saying, ‘healthy first.’ That tiny shift in their subconsciousness allowed them to make healthier choices on a regular basis. 

One reason we struggle with ridding ourselves of our subconscious patterns is because we need to replace the subconscious pattern with a new subconscious pattern. The pattern can be a subtle shift like the little voice saying, “healthy first.” When we begin to make small changes and stick with them we are able to maintain them and they become our new subconscious pattern. 

When I stopped drinking alcohol I did exactly this. I was never a big drinker and I honestly think I am allergic to alcohol. Even one glass of organic wine would make me feel like crap the next day, I would still go out with my friends and go for ‘drinks,’ only instead of having a glass of wine I would just order a cran soda instead. When I went to parties I would bring fun bubbly water drinks that were my special occasion drinks that even looked like wine coolers. Unless someone asked what I was drinking or knew prior that I didn’t drink, no one would have known the difference. My fun with my friends didn’t change, all I did was remove one tiny thing that was not serving me and replaced it with something that was. I am not in any way saying people need to stop drinking alcohol. What I am saying is that with anything that you want to shift in your life you need to find a replacement otherwise the subconscious will take over and you will be back doing the same thing you always have in the same way. 

When we start to become conscious of the things that are no longer serving us we can learn to let them go by retraining our subconscious minds. If you need to let go of a past relationship what is one tiny shift that you could do? When you normally would call or text them, you could shift it to texting or calling a trusted friend instead. If you need to let go of stressors on the job. What could you shift your focus to so that those stressors do not affect you as much? As a teacher I focus on the joy of the students and do my best to ignore all of the other stressors and make work projects that come with my career. When I can shift my thinking to the fun with the kids I can completely shift my perspective and let go of many of my frustrations with the system. 

So often people want someone or something to change in order for them to find what they are searching for. This is one of the biggest illusions that we need to let go of. Everything that you need comes from within yourself. If you are unhappy with your current situation, you are the only one who can change it. This involves letting go of blame and shaming of others.  

This realization comes with a lot of healing and a lot of self awareness. Learning to let go of things that you cannot control is literally a life long journey. The good thing is that once we learn strategies to help us let go, each time we are faced with another stressor we have the tools within ourselves to help us grow and heal faster and with more ease. 

What are some of the things that you need to let go of? Are you still holding anger and resentment towards a past relationship? Can you let go and forgive them to free yourself from the stress it is causing you? Forgiveness is not about making what the other did right or okay. It is about freeing yourself of the toxicity that holding on to that anger and resentment is causing you. When you hold on to anger it is like the saying where you drink the poison yet expect the other to die from it. Holding on to it does not help anyone. You can let go of anger towards someone and never have to interact with them. The letting go involves only you shifting your awareness from anger to ease. 

Whenever I come across things I am holding on to I try to shift my thinking to a place of gratitude and ask myself, “What can I learn from this situation and how has it helped me grow?” Each day we have the opportunity to let go of things that are no longer serving us, that is the beauty of life. Those struggles and frustrations may emerge again, yet once you have the ability to be consciously aware you will reset so much faster and be able to heal on a deeper level. 

I challenge you to think of what is no longer serving you and find one tiny switch that you can make to shift your subconscious pattern.  You will be amazed at how your life will change when you begin to let go of what is no longer serving you by replacing it with things that do. 

Are you feeling stuck and want to let go of the things that do not serve you? Stay tuned for more information on my, “Empower your Life Course.” Which will be launched this fall. 

Rewriting Your Life Story: How Changing Your Perspective Changes Your Life

I want you to take a moment and think about your life. Visualize your earliest memories. What your childhood was like. Who your friends were and are. How your family interacted with each other. What your schooling experience was like and the direction you took after leaving High School. What were your first jobs, how has your career shaped you? How do you view your life now? Take a few moments to just let yourself be absorbed in these memories. 

Buy Now! A Better Tomorrow, Starts Today!

Now reflect on the memories that you pulled into your consciousness. Were the majority of them negative or positive? Did the most traumatizing events come to mind first or the most uplifting? When you envision your life do you view it as laced with hardship or perseverance? 

So much of what we experience in life is a product of our perspective. You can shift your life story completely just by consciously shifting your perspective. The first step is to become conscious of your version of your life story. Once you have become aware of it you are able to shift your perception of it and begin to heal and grow from your life experiences. 

We all experience trauma in different ways and we hold on to that trauma differently. The beautiful thing about life is that no matter what you have been through, you can begin to heal from it the moment you consciously decide that holding on to that trauma is no longer serving you. Our subconscious mind controls the way we think, look and act. Once you begin to understand how your subconscious mind works you can begin to shift your patterns and break free of the trauma you are holding on to that is keeping you stuck. 

All of us have experienced trauma. On a global scale, there have been many traumatic events throughout history. Some caused by other human beings and some by the forces of nature. No matter what the trauma that you have experienced, the beautiful thing about life is that as long as you are living and breathing you have the opportunity to experience the beauty and joy of this amazing world if you choose to. 

There are miracles all around us that we don’t even notice as we go about our daily lives on autopilot.  Whenever I am struggling to see the beauty in life, I recall a meditation I used to listen to daily by Louise Hay.  In meditation, she guides you to be grateful for your bathroom. I know it’s weird, but it makes sense when she states, “even kings and queens did not have the luxury of modern plumbing.”  This always makes me think about how lucky I am to have running water and plumbing in my home.  This little glimpse of gratitude can be enough to shift my mood and perspective on whatever it is that I am struggling with. You have this power within yourself too. 

One of my favorite books that I go back and read over and over again when life brings me challenges is, “You Can Heal Your Life,” by Louise Hay. This book was the jumping point to rewriting my life and getting on to a healthier and more positive path. The only one who has the power to empower your life is you. This happens by making the conscious choice to rewire your subconscious mind and as a result your autopilot will shift and your life will shift. 

Now that you have become aware of this, I want you to take a moment to reflect on your life story again. This time I want you to visualize your earliest memories from the perspective of gratitude and perseverance. What your childhood was like. Who your friends were and are. How your family interacted with each other. What your schooling experience was like and the direction you took after leaving High School. What were your first jobs, how has your career shaped you? How do you view your life now? Take a few moments to just let yourself be absorbed in these memories from the perspective of gratitude and perseverance.

After recalling the same life story from the perspective of perseverance and gratitude, how does your body feel? What is going on in your mind? How do you now feel about your life story? Has it shifted? 

Rewriting your life does not mean you go back and change what happened to you. It is about shifting from: this happened to me and has traumatized me, to: this happened to me and I learned so much from that situation. You can be grateful for your strength, ability to persevere and grow from each and every experience in life. 

The first time I ever experienced work around shifting my life story, was when I attended a retreat, run by the Hoffman Institute. It was a week-long retreat designed to help people transform their lives by changing old behavior patterns. The second time was when I was completing my kids yoga teacher training. This time I already knew that the instructor was expecting everyone to focus on the trauma they had lived through. That is exactly what happened.

Each and every person told of the hardships of their lives. I purposely told my story from the perspective of gratitude and growth.  Then after explaining that I already had experienced work designed to make us rethink our life story. Just like at Hoffman, the yoga instructor made everyone retell their story from this perspective. The energy in the room completely shifted from heaviness to a feeling of lightness and gratitude. All from the power of shifting perspective. 

So how do you rewrite your life story? You shift your perspective from hardship to gratitude and perseverance. Become conscious of the patterns you unconsciously do that are keeping you stuck. Then take that knowledge and begin to make tiny shifts in your daily activities. Your life becomes better when you find joy and gratitude in what you already have and the miracles that surround each and everyone of us. Being grateful for what you have will attract more things for you to be grateful for. This shift is unbelievably powerful and will help you to completely “Rewrite Your Life!” 

Are you feeling stuck and want to rewrite and empower your life? Stay tuned for more information on my, “Empower your Life Course.” Which will be launched this fall. 

Why Reading to Your Kids is Essential?

Did you know that young children who have been read to from birth to kindergarten have a significant advantage over those who were not read to? Research out of Ohio State University found that kids who are read one book daily will hear almost 300,000 more words than those who were not regularly read to.

Children who were read an average of 5 books a day, would hear over a million more words by the time they entered the school system. Researchers from this study were blown away at how many parents reported ‘rarely’ or ‘hardly ever’ reading to their children daily in the study. The research suggests a reason why educators see such a big gap in children as they enter the school system. 

Buy Now! What Do You Learn At School?

I have been an educator since 2006, I have taught children from 7 to 12 years old. Every year no matter what grade I teach there is always a bell curve of students when it comes to their reading and writing skills. I am almost guaranteed to have some students a few grade levels ahead in their reading and writing and a few a few grade levels below. I would say on average there is a 6 year gap between the students in my class every year in their reading and writing ability.

This has always fascinated me as to why this is and what it is that educators, parents and society can do to help us close this gap. Usually students who are good readers are good writers and vice versa I think this is because they see the correlation between reading and writing, but this is not always the case. I have had some students in the past who could read well above grade level yet their writing was average or below. This is more uncommon though.  

Many children as young as grade 2 will already have decided if they like reading or not.  When I hear kids who are only seven years old say they “hate” reading, it really makes me wonder what has caused this at such a young age. I even know adults who do not like reading.  Yet reading is so essential to how we interact in society. 

Bob Proctor speaks about how he did not read and did not like reading as a young adult. At 25 years old, he was reading at about a grade seven level. He then went on to learn that the average person reads at a grade seven level. With all of the societal advancements we have made in the last 50 years you would think that the average person would be able to read at a much higher level than grade seven. 

Learning this has actually blown me away, and it should blow you away too. We live in the most technologically advanced society in history yet many people struggle with reading. What can we do to shift this? I think we can by approaching reading differently. 

One thing I always tell parents whose children are struggling with reading is to start reading them books that their child is interested in. Even if the reading level is way above the level their child is reading at. This is because people are so much more likely to invest time in something they are interested in. When they are interested then they will be willing to sit down and listen to the book.

Then you can slowly start to get them to read one line or a few words on the page. I also have found that graphic novels have made a significant impact on getting children excited about reading, specifically boys. Many parents will complain that their child will only read graphic novels. My view is always if they are reading and they are excited about what they are reading you have won half the battle. 

How many adults do you know have not read a book since they left high school? I am sure you know a few or maybe you are that person. I want you to think about the reasons why people may avoid reading. Do they have trauma from childhood over not feeling good enough in their reading ability so now as an adult they avoid it like the plague? When we avold things as adults there is probably some trauma attached to that activity. I have spoken to successful entrepreneurs who barely passed high school.

Yet once they got out of high school and found something they were interested in they were able to excel beyond their wildest dreams. One entrepreneur I spoke to told me he was lucky if he got over a 60% in any class in High School. Yet after High School he decided to study to be a fireman. To pass he needed to get over 80% on the test, he had never got an 80% in his life. Yet he was interested in the material and was determined to become a fireman so he was able to study and pass. Then he went on to start his own business and become very successful. 

I hear many stories like this about school, reading and motivation. When students see a reason behind what they are reading and can make connections to something they want to achieve they will strive above to achieve it.  It is like reading for a purpose has the power to motivate people who struggle with reading. 

As a teacher, I want my students to read for enjoyment and to learn to love reading. Part of the problem is that so many people view reading as just sitting with a book and not interacting with the world. Yet in many cases we are reading all of the time and do not even know it. They read instructions on how to play their favorite games, they read lists for the grocery store and texts that they send to their friends.

They read posts on social media. When text is connected to something students are intrinsically interested in they will read without even realizing it. I think educators and parents need to put more emphasis on how we read in daily life and less stress on can you read the words on this page of a book you are not even interested in. 

Once students see a value in reading throughout their daily lives they will be more inclined to pick up a book and read for enjoyment. This is where the need for good literature comes in. Students need access to a variety of books from a variety of genres. They will not like all of the books in every genre and they may pick up a book and absolutely hate it and that is Ok.

They can pick up a book in a different genre or from a different author and love it. We do not all have the same interests so we should not all be expected to read a book from cover to cover. Even as an avid reader there are some books I do not finish because they just do not hold my interest. Yet I will have had a friend recommend it to me and they loved it. 

The other thing I think is so important, is realizing that even big kids can enjoy a picture book. There are many, many picture books that can empower children of any age. Some picture books can even get adults thinking about the world in a different way. That is the goal of all of the picture books I have written. My hope for my books is that they can resonate with people at any age. Essentially, I think this is key to good writing. When any age group can see the value in the message of a book no matter how long or short it is. 

In summary, no matter what your child is reading, encourage them to read. Reading can look like curling up with a book or it can look different and have more real life applications. The goal for parents and teachers should be to get kids to see the joy in reading. Once they find joy in reading they will see value in it. 

Rainbows of Energy

Learning about the energy centres of the body is becoming more and more mainstream. Research in quantum physics proves that we are all made of energy and the same stuff as stars. Many think that viewing ourselves as energy is a new concept but it is not. The concept of the chakra system began in early Hinduism.

Science has been evolving since the 1800’s proving we are energetic beings and everything is interconnected. Which is completely fascinating. It is also one of the reasons why I coauthored and illustrated, “I am a Rainbow, A Children’s Guide to the Chakra’s.”

Buy Now! I am a Rainbow

Everything is connected. We are connected to nature and people across the globe. We are connected to the moon and the shift of the tides of the ocean. When we begin to explore this concept we start to understand that we are not alone. We also begin to understand what when we are feeling off it could be connected to our energy and the energy surrounding us. There are many different types of healers who work with energy. When I started to explore this my whole life changed.

The anxiety that I had suffered from my entire life began to make sense and I began to finally have tools to deal with it. This was life changing especially because “western” medicine solution was to just give you medication. While medication for anxiety has a place, it is not an effective long term solution. It only masks the underlying issues. Energy work can help you find physical, spiritual and emotional balance.

In our, I am a rainbow book, there are stones, yoga poses, ways to know when each chakra is off balance and what you can do to balance it. Which engages kids in fun ways to connect to their bodies, mind and spirit.

Healing and balancing all parts of our rainbow take both practice and time. When our chakras are balanced, energy is free to flow and we feel lighter and more alive. This can have a ripple effect on everything around you because everything is connected. Our vibe attracts our tribe. If your energy vibration is low and your chakras are blocked it can affect everything around you. There are ways to raise your vibration. It all starts with awareness.

I wish that I had learned about energy work earlier in life. This is why this book is so important. Recognizing that we each have the power within ourselves to shift our thinking, empower our minds and balance our energy is life changing. Awareness of our thoughts and emotions is key to this shift. Any time we become aware of imbalance we can shift to, “how can I heal or balance this?”

For kids, learning this awareness early on can help with emotional regulation, resilience and confidence. I wonder what would happen if all kids were taught how to balance their chakras. Would it help eliminate the anxiety, stress and addictions we are seeing increase around the world? Would it help us build stronger more empathetic and connected communities?

We all have a rainbow of talents and energies within ourselves. This is potential energy that we can tap into at any time to empower our lives and raise our vibration.

Teaching Empathy is Essential

Classrooms today look very similar to what they did forty years ago or even a hundred years ago for that matter. Especially, last year when the students had to sit in rows away from each other an only facing the front of the room. When you think about schooling throughout history you will see that some skills were as essential then as they are now. Yet, there are many things that have become obsolete. Also, many of these essential skills are not clearly taught or nurtured.

Teachers are teaching students for a world that we know nothing about. We do not even know the types of jobs or skills that will be needed in the next few years as technology advances. What we do know is that having skills to collaborate with others, think critically and be able to “read the room,” are all skills that in many ways are timeless. That is why I wrote “I am Empathetic,” to help kids enhance essential skills that are timeless.

So you may ask yourself “am I empathetic.” Almost everyone has some empathy skills, they are built into our very nature as humans to show caring and kindness to another. Empathy expands beyond that by trying to understand the feelings of another even when you have not experienced the situation. You can show empathy by holding space for another to grieve a loss or to be understanding of fears when they are trying something new. Empathy helps make the world a better place.

Buy Now!  I am Empathetic! Helping Kids Understand Empathy

In classrooms, we need to develop skills for children to understand that not everyone thinks and acts they way they do. Some kids struggle with writing while others write pages and pages. Some draw amazing sketches while others struggle to draw a stick figure. We all have our own gifts, talents, interests and things we find difficult. Some are natural athletes, some have two left feet. What kids need is to understand that we all have gifts and we all have challenges they just look different for each person.

Skills to help build children’s confidence and self esteem really are rooted in empathy for understanding the strength it takes to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Some kids jump at the challenge to try new things while other are terrified. We all approach the unknown differently.

Some people are very empathetic and can essentially walk into a room and feel the energy of it. They may ask themselves, “Why am I so Empathetic?” In this case, they may be an empath. Empaths literally feel others energy and can take it on as their own if they do not understand how to protect their own energy. People who are very empathetic tend to take on a lot and will deplete their own energy to help others. The problem is that you cannot serve from an empty glass so empaths need to ensure that their “cup” is full so that they can truly show empathy for themselves and others.

You may also be thinking, “How Empathetic am I?” Well we all have various degrees of empathy for different people and situations. Sometimes when an event or action directly relates to a friend or family member people will have more empathy then they do for someone that they do not know. Some people also question their actions when they ask themselves, “Why am i not empathetic?”

People who lack empathy generally have more problems in their relationships because they struggle to understand another person’s perspective or what they are going through. Lacking empathy can look like: blaming behaviours, being very critical of others, not forgiving people for honest mistakes, no patience for someone’s emotional reaction, reacting with extreme impatience and anger, not understanding how their behaviour affects other people, etc. We all exhibit these behaviours to some degree as well, especially when our energy is depleted. Everyone benefits from self-reflection, when these behaviours escalate in themselves. Self-regulation is a skill that goes hand in hand with building empathy skills.

Empathy plays a huge role in building social connections and will directly affect a child’s ability to create prosocial behaviours. Which is why it will always be a timeless skill that needs to be fostered as early as preschool and into adulthood.

I am Fearless

With so much fear and uncertainty being spread across the world over the last two years. It is now more important than ever to teach students that they are actually very powerful and can over come any fears they have.

I coauthored and illustrated, “I am Fearless, A Yoga Story for Kids and Superheroes,” to help empower kids. You can empower kids too! This can be achieved by building their confidence through I am statements and the power of yoga with our book.

Sometimes events in life can seem really overwhelmingly large. When this happens it can paralyze us in thinking that we are powerless against them. The amazing thing is that when you shift your mindset you can change it from victim thinking to; “beware for I am fearless and therefore I am powerful!” The instant you make this decision your life will change.

When you begin to recognize that the change in the world around you begins within yourself you will realize just how powerful you are. The gift of that power is always in the present moment, not the past or the future but NOW! What you truly have power over is how you chose to act, think, and do in this exact moment.

Buy Now! I am Fearless! A Yoga Story for Kids and Superheroes

When you are feeling powerless in a situation sometimes it can be hard to dig deep within yourself and shift to your thinking to “I am fearless and therefore I am powerful.” Especially if you are like me and suffer from anxiety. Even people with anxiety disorders can retrain their brains as soon as they become conscious of their ability to do it. When you become conscious of your ability to change your thoughts everything in your life changes.

In any situation, you can look at it through the lens of what is this teaching me? What am I meant to learn? How can what I am going through now help me to serve others better in the future? When you shift the situation to a learning opportunity everything changes. You learn more about yourself and your abilities to tap into your own inner power.

“I am Fearless,” is designed to help kids build that inner knowing that they have infinite power within themselves. They are balanced, grounded, brave, powerful and fearless all bottled up in the one unique package that they are. They have to power to let their spirit soar and find harmony even in the shakiest of situations.

Being fearless also means that they can put faith in new situations and trust that everything will work out. This is an important lesson for adults too. What if we approached every situation with the belief that everything was working out for our highest interest and higher learning.

Fearlessness does not mean that you can never be afraid. It just means that when you feel those fears rising that you have strategies to centre yourself. The skills of calming your mind down are essential. We should start to build these skills in children as early as pre-school. Imagine how much better the world would be if instead of hiding in our fears we could step up to the plate and stand in our strength of our true selves.

Empowering Yourself and your Kids During Divorce

Did your relationship fall apart during the pandemic? Are you worried about how your kids are going to handle the transition after an already tough few years? Take a deep breath and relax. You and your kids are resilient! You can shift to a more positive and fulfilling path. I wrote a kids book about divorce because one of my student teachers mentioned to me she never realized how many kids come from divorced homes until she started her journey to become a teacher. 

There are so few divorce books for kids out on the market. I think it is because many feel it is a bit of a taboo subject. Many still have the vision of a white picket fence with 1.5 children as being their ideal life. Life has an interesting way of bringing exactly what you need into it for you to learn and grow. 

Buy Now!  Divorce is a D Word ‘Sometimes two Separate Homes Can be Better than One’

I had experienced my own divorce and supported so many kids and families through theirs. So I went straight to work on creating a book to help all of my students past and present. A kids book about divorce was a really empowering topic for me to write and illustrate because I view what I went through with gratitude each and every day. I am so grateful for my divorce, I know you may think I am crazy, but I am. I am a better teacher, parent and person because of what I went through. I truly live what I wrote about, “sometimes two separate homes can be better than one.” 

The best books for kids going through divorce are ones that help children to understand that their parents divorce has nothing to do with them. They are so loved and their parents are really doing the best they can with the tools and skills they have. Often children will feel like they are part of the reason why their parents are separating and have guilt and anger that will come out in different ways. The best books for kids about divorce help them recognize some of the positives that will come with the changes. All change has its positives and negatives. It is what you choose to focus on during that change that affects how you view the outcome. 

My kids divorce book is designed to help kids and parents discuss their feelings, some of the struggles and some of the good things that they will have to look forward to. Who does not get excited about the possibility of two birthdays? (Well maybe introverts like me) But most people can see the positives in having two birthday parties especially when you are 6-10 years old!

When I first got divorced I struggled with telling the parents of my new students because I thought they would look down on me because so often when I would tell people I was divorced they would say, “I am sorry.” My answer would always be, “I am not, it was the best decision I could have ever made for me and my daughter.” When we shift our attitude and view of divorce we can come to a place of forgiveness and acceptance. Buying books to help kids with divorce is an important step towards healing.

Yes there may be big struggles and mountains of anger, resentment and arguments to overcome. Eventually, as you learn to heal and start to embrace your new life, the struggles that you felt would destroy you, you will realize they have actually made you and your children stronger. Books for kids with divorced parents can be a great tool to open up discussions with your children about their feelings, struggles and worries. There are so many great teaching tools within books that can be utilized to support kids going through any struggle in life. Divorce books for kids are just another tool that can help. 

If you are in a space where you are worried about your kids because of your divorce today is the day you can start to shift your view. Recognize that you have the power within yourself to help your kids and you have a more loving and positive life in two separate homes. 

Just Start!

Do you have an idea or dream that you want to achieve but do not know where to start? I know how you feel. I have been in that exact situation so many times. My general problem is that I have too many ideas and do not know where to start and my ideas are so big that tackling them seems impossible. Which then sometimes paralyzes my progress. Do you ever feel that way too?

When I first started exploring my creative ideas and avenues I asked a friend who had a successful world wide jewelry business, how she started and how did she get to where she was. The best advice she gave me was to just start. My response was I don’t know where to start. Then she told me once I started things would unfold and you would know which direction to continue to go in, but in order to find out I had to start.

I had ideas about writing books, starting an art workshop business, doing yoga and art retreats, teaching reiki. I just wanted her to tell me which one to start with but she didn’t she just told me to start. The crazy thing is once I started I actually did all of these things. That was about 6 years ago. In 6 years I wrote 8 children’s books, ran a number of art workshops for friends (pre covid), ran a yoga retreat and taught my first reiki course all by myself. I had all of these ideas and didn’t know where to start but once I started everything that I had been asking about where to start eventually came to fruition.

When I look back on other parts of my life once I started and set a goal I had been able to achieve what I had wanted too. I had set a goal to be a teacher. Once I was a teacher I set a goal to start my Masters Degree as soon as I could, which was exactly what I did. I started my masters degree almost exactly 2 years after I started my continuous contract as a teacher. Life shifted a bit and I ended up having a baby but that did not stop me from achieving my goal of getting my Masters it just made my timeline stretch out a bit more than I had originally planned.

Many times things don’t go exactly as you had planned which is okay too. When things do not go as planned or take longer than you initially hoped you have the opportunity to learn and grow from that situation. Maybe you were meant for bigger and better things once you start on your path. Sometimes situations arise and you fall off your path which stifles you progress, I know this happened to me a bit the last two years. I feel like I have had a 2 year mental lull. But guess what you can pull yourself out of the lull and get back on track. You just need to pick yourself up and start again. Once you start the right people and mentors will pop up just at the right time.

What Makes a Good Leader?

When you think of a leader what do you think of? Is it your boss? Your teacher? The government and politicians? If you think back on different leaders who have been part of your life you have probably come across some very good ones who you loved and would do anything for. On the opposite end you have also probably had a few that you wish you never had met and probably have some PTSD from being under their command.

Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes. We can see leadership skills in every age group and in every community. There are leaders in your jobs in your community associations, in your child’s sports organizations, the list could go on and on. Leadership plays an important role in our experiences and can literally make or break someones experience.

Some leaders are self serving, these leaders are generally toxic to the community or group that they lead. Leaders who lead like this can be very difficult to deal with.

Good leaders lead with kindness, compassion and empathy. They are able to hear both sides of a disagreement and have compassion for others. They actually have listening skills. Not just listening to respond but listening to understand others point of view whether they agree with it or not. Good leaders are able to admit when they have made a mistake and apologize.

As I continue to watch what is going on in Canada, a country that was once strong and free. I am deeply concerned by the direction leaders have taken through the pandemic. There has been a complete lack of compassion for people, the lack of doing thorough research and hearing from experts on all sides from all specialties.

No matter what your views are on the issues, leaders should be able to sit down, discuss and brainstorm solutions to conflicting sides. Even in elementary school, staff strive to sit down with children, hear both sides and discuss possible solutions for all people involved. Why can we not take a lesson from elementary school and listen to both sides and brainstorm solutions together?

As we navigate the tense division in our society we are going to need leaders in all walks of life to support people to come together in unity rather than divide us further. Humanity needs leaders from all walks of life to help support all of us navigate the fear and hate that has been promoted over the last two years.

I hope that people start to stand up and spread love, compassion and kindness to all. Only through kindness, compassion and love will we get through this and create a better tomorrow for the next generation and generations to come.

Some First Nations groups look 7 generations in the past and 7 generations ahead. They look to the past in order to not repeat it and to the future to provide a positive path for their future generations. What type of world do you want your children and grandchildren to grow up in? If it is not what you are seeing today what can you do to shift things? We all have leadership qualities inside of us, if we all step into that power how could we shift the world for a better tomorrow?

How Do We Heal From This?

How do we heal? The path to healing is never a straight road. There is no clear end point and you may get stuck along the way. You may get lost and struggle for a bit but eventually you get back on a track again. Healing is a journey not a destination. From what I have watched from the Trucker Convoy, I think Canadians are desperate to begin healing.

The pandemic has brought on massive trauma that we do not completely understand. Since the introduction of the mandates in the fall there has been deep division, discrimination, unconstitutional procedures and fear. All driven by the governments dealing with the pandemic. They really pinned groups of people against each other and caused a deep division in society.

As an educator my focus is always on how we can build kindness, compassion and empathy for others even when we do not understand their point of view. I wonder where we would be if the leaders of our governments had approached the pandemic from this view instead of trying to pin the population against each other causing a deep divide.

The Truckers have given me hope that our country and communities are ready to begin to heal from the darkness of the last 2 years. In the last two weeks I have seen unity, community building, caring and compassion from across Canada. Yet the mainstream media has not covered this… why?

The first step in healing is to remove yourself as much as you can from the source that is causing you harm. Next, start surrounding yourself with people and groups who will build you up rather than tear you down. If you are met with hatred and anger do your best to just walk away. In all of the research I have done on anger and fear, people who lash out and are mad are really people who are hurting the most inside. People who are loving, show empathy and compassion even when triggered.

What brings me hope from the Trucker Convoy, is the healing that is happening just by people getting together, singing Oh Canada, playing hockey in the street, waving Canadian flags, hugging each other and smiling. Yes smiling and seeing peoples faces has been so healing. There is research on the chemicals that are released in your body when you smile and when you get a hug. Both of these small actions are immensely healing.

In order for our country to begin to heal I think we need to start hugging more, smiling more, removing the censorship from the media so we have true and honest access to information, and getting rid of leaders who caused this deep division. We should be able to ask questions, hear from experts and have experts debate each other, that is healthy. Isolation, censorship and discrimination needs to end.

I truly believe Canadian’s are some of the kindest, most compassionate and empathetic people in the world. Let’s lead the world in a journey to heal from the darkness of the last 2 years by beginning with a hug, a smile and maybe a little street hockey.