A Better Tomorrow

For the last two years I have been struggling with hope for a better tomorrow as I am sure many of you have. This constant fear and changing goal posts has been a lot to handle. As a teacher, my focus this entire time has been on doing my best to focus on the students mental health first to ensure they were supported enough to be able to learn both online and in the classroom.  

One day after school almost two years I came home and jotted down the writing for a children’s book about creating ‘A Better Tomorrow.’ In the three years prior, I wrote, illustrated and self published 8 children’s books. Then the world shut down and I lost all motivation to continue some of my passion projects. I just focused on getting through the struggles of the day and trying not to lose my mind as I continuously questioned how things were being handled and when this was going to end. So my book has sat on my computer and not been touched in almost two years. 

In the last week things have shifted. For the first time I actually feel hope for a better tomorrow and it is because I am finally seeing my country come together under one common cause… Freedom. 

I always teach my students that they can make a difference in the world. Even by just doing one random act of kindness they never know how far that act will go. Also, when you are really passionate about something things will take you in a direction you never expected. This happened to me with writing children’s books. (My original plan was to just write one book and make it on my computer and have the copy in my classroom. The world had a different plan for me and people popped up in my life. I learned how to self publish on Amazon and am continuously learning on the self-publishing journey while working full-time and being a single mom)

What is so amazing about what is happening right now is that we are getting to see one small act of kindness and passion unite an entire country and the whole world is watching. What started out as a group of truckers going to Ottawa to peacefully protest the governments mandates for all Canadians’ has now raised over 5 million dollars in a few short days. Our country seems to be uniting in a way that I have never experienced in my life and it brings me so much hope. 

I finally have hope for a better tomorrow and a push for me to get motivated to finish illustrating my book “A Better Tomorrow.” All I need to do is finish the illustrations and get it out to the world. It is crazy how fitting something I wrote two years ago is fits so well with what is happening right now! 

Let’s start today and make a better tomorrow! 

When I watch the news or learn about the past, I wonder how these awful things continue to last. 

We learn about wars in schools. Which makes me wonder, why we were such fools. 

We learn about indigenous tribes that were almost wiped out. I wonder why did we choose to push them about. 

I sometimes hear stories that are just not nice, I wonder why do we allow things turn into a vice. 

What if we all made a promise to ourselves and peers today. To focus on joy and not being so grey. 

Everyone is doing the best they can. Until they know better things might seem like a jam.  

What tiny step could you take. To give others a break? 

We can start to question the past to change and evolve. We can show empathy and begin to resolve. 

Life can become better now! Do you know how? 

If everyone started to chose kind instead of cruel. We could begin to change the world by starting in our school.  

What if everyone started to lend a helping hand. I am sure we could achieve something quite grand.  

Each day do one little thing to make the world a better place. Then we could flow with love and grace. 

Each person has the power to make the world great. By focusing on this moment and choosing love over hate. 

You can’t change the past. But don’t worry you will have a blast.

By starting now and choosing kind, then empowering your mind. 

Each day we have a chance to make a positive impact. It really depends on how we choose to act! 

How we choose to act affects everything around us. Canada we have a chance right now to act with kindness, compassion and empathy and show the world we are a peaceful people and the TRUE NORTH STRONG AND FREE!

What does it MEAN to be Canadian?  Why I am No Longer Proud to be Canadian but I have Hope!

What does it mean to be Canadian? I ask that of my students when I teach grade school. The kids always come up with great ideas like, ‘we play hockey,’ ‘we have lots of moose,’ and ‘we are known for our maple syrup.’ I love brainstorming with my students; what symbolizes Canada and what does it mean to be Canadian. We often have deep meaningful conversations that involve critical thinking and deeper level of understanding.

When I think of Canada I am generally proud of us being knowns as, ”the True North Strong and Free,” as our National Anthem states. It is heart warming to think about how people from around the world generally view us as such a polite country. I live in a beautiful country that used to be full of kind, caring and compassionate people. Canada is no longer that place. The country that I love has been deeply crippled by fear, division and deception. 

We are no longer free. We are no longer living in a country governed by the rule of law or a functioning democracy. In grade 6, students in my province learn about the “Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” We teach students that we all have these rights as Canadians. However, our current federal and provincial governments have been stripping away these rights since the start of the pandemic and our society has allowed that to happen. 

In the beginning we all obeyed because the world was closing down and we were all working together to ”Stop the Spread.” We shut schools, stores and businesses. If we could, we worked from home and supported each other to get through all of the unknowns the pandemic brought. When schools and businesses opened again we worked together to follow protocols and social distance and ”Stop the Spread.” There continued to be a sense of community and collaboration amongst the people. We were working together to do the best we could with what we had. 

Then everything shifted. The ’vaccines’ were ‘approved’ under emergency order. People who were living in fear started flocking to get their vaccine and ’Stop the Spread.’ This seemed to also make people feel a sense of community and collaboration. They felt like getting the shot was the best way for them to protect themselves and society and this made people feel connected because they were all doing their part. 

Next, the deep division started and this is where I started to truly loose faith in our country. Our politicians started spouting off propaganda against the unvaccinated stating we could not go back to normal until we had 75% of the population vaccinated. Then they started enforcing vaccine passports and things started to get nasty. As soon as these policies were in place a deep division in society emerged. For me personally these policies are extremely concerning, not from a health perspective but from a rights perspective. My first degree is in Political Science, so the fact that rights and freedoms granted in our Charter were being violated and people were okay with this frightens me to my core. 

Regardless of your vaccination status the violation of Charter Rights should be terrifying to you, because if we allow it to start here it opens the door to a very slippery slope of rights violations being okay in many other areas of our lives. This is what is most concerning to me. In the future are you going to have to show your health records to get a job? (Well this is currently happening in many industries across the country) Will you have to share all of your families medical history with every restaurant that you attend for the rest of your life? Will it prevent your child from playing sports because you have a family history of some disease and it will affects the organizations insurance? This is the slippery slope so many people are blinded to because their only focus is COVID. Yet if you take a step back and look at the numbers throughout the world and even within the provinces of Canada vaccinations have not stopped the spread anywhere. So my question is how can the governments justify their mandates? 

As a teacher who focuses on my student mental health first this whole experience has been very challenging. Students want to hug their friends and are being told they can’t. Humans need physical touch. There is a wealth of research on the necessity of touch as a child develops from infancy on. This has been removed. Not to mention how the masks prevent young children from learning facial cues and developing speech. Since the start of all of this our teen suicides have increased, overdoses have increased, family violence has increased and no main stream media is talking about this. In the fall I wrote a letter to my MLA and at the time just the number of overdoses in our province doubled the number of covid deaths over the same time period. Why is this not a giant red flag? If our politicians were truly looking out for societies health as a whole we need to look at the health of society as a whole not just one hyper-focused fear driven pin point of it. 

I personally have really struggled with my mental health through this all. Not because I have ever feared COVID but because I fear how people are treating each other. How there is no open public debates allowed from specialists on both sides of the debate. How our media is being censored and how only one narrative is being broadcast. That narrative is one of fear and division. The Canada I know and love is not a fear driven society. We survive minus 40 and dig each other out of the ditch on the side of the highway. We hike through the mountains and carry tiny bottles of bear spray with no fear. We have First Nations who have survived horrible atrocities from our governments past and we are finally bringing a bit of peace and understanding to it. We are a strong people who at points in history are able to admit our mistakes and try to make amends. 

Since the fall when the vaccine mandates came out I have really struggled with hope. Regardless of your vaccination status you are no longer free. You have to show papers to do anything regardless of your status. That means you are no longer free and your Charter Rights and freedom of information and privacy has been completely stripped from you and your fellow Canadians. 

However, I now feel a small sense of hope. The Freedom Convoy from the truckers is the first time I have seen people collaborating again. Canadians have raise almost 3 million dollars for their cause in a very short amount of time. This group of people is standing up for our freedoms. For everyones freedoms and the chance for our children to grow up in a truly free society governed by the rule of law. 

I ask you… What does it mean to be Canadian? What are you doing to help preserve the STRONG AND FREE country we once were? How do we reinstate our democracy and place people in power who are truly doing what is best for our diverse and beautiful country

Mindful Moments:  Finding the Inner Calm in a Career Driven Life

Are you driven to achieve your goals and will not let anything stand in your way? Do you find yourself getting completely overwhelmed by all that you are doing to run your business, juggle family and maybe get out to see friends once in a while. Sure you have maybe read or heard about this mindfulness stuff.  Maybe you know how important it is to help find balance in your life yet think I cannot add one more thing to my to do list. You think I don‘t have the time or money to invest in retreats and all this hokey pokey spiritual stuff that is supposed to help. 

Guess what, you can practice mindfulness anytime and anywhere. You do not need to go on retreats and learn from gurus to be mindful. It definitely helps but it is not a requirement to start bringing mindfulness into your daily life. You can learn to find mindfulness in the daily moments. 

I am a busy single mom, teacher, author and entrepreneur. I finished a Masters degree while juggling a toddler, working full time and going through a very unhealthy, for me, divorce. Slowly I have learned to become mindful amongst how overwhelming life can be sometimes. 

When I first started learning about mindfulness I thought I had to go to spiritual retreats and practice yoga everyday to consider myself a mindful person. While I have attended a few retreats and have at times practiced yoga everyday those things in and of themselves do not make you mindful. Just as being able to do yoga poses perfectly does not make you a yogi… it makes you an acrobat. 

It is the same for mindfulness, going on numerous spiritual retreats doesn’t make you mindful unless you truly learn how to train your mind to become more present. You could go on hundreds of retreats and still never learn to master mindfulness. What is within everyone’s grasp though, is to learn to become a little more mindful each day. 

Mindfulness truly comes from within and training your brain to be conscious of the times when life starts to become completely overwhelming and you need to reset. You may be thinking I don’t have time to reset. Here is the thing about mindfulness you can if you train your brain to be mindful enough to start recognizing the moments in your day when you just need a moment to reset you are already on a path to becoming more mindful. 

 It can be as simple as taking a moment to just breathe and get grounded on your way to work or in the shower. To be completely honest the shower is one of my favourite places to get mindful. Weird right. The shower works for me because I am alone, there are no distractions and I can become completely aware of my surroundings. I can’t get distracted by my phone or emails or cleaning the house or whatever it is that my daughter demands that day. I have time to take a moment and focus on my breath, time to notice how I am feeling in my body, to be conscious of where my mind is at. Sometimes just taking a moment to get grounded and reset in the shower is all the time I may have for my mindfulness practice that day and that is okay. 

When you practice mindfulness it is not about comparing how mindful you are to others. It is about getting real with yourself and your needs. What do you need to let go of? What can you find a moment to be grateful for? What can you do to be a little more kind to yourself? 

Beginning a gratitude practice can also help you begin a path to mindfulness. When I first got divorced I wrote in a gratitude journal daily for almost 3 years. Each night before I would go to bed I would lie in bed and write down 10 things I was grateful for. It helped me truly get through some of the darkest days of my life. Going to bed each night with the intention of gratitude helped me sleep better, gave me more confidence and kept me going. While I do not write in my journal daily anymore. Anytime I start to feel as though life is getting a bit more than I can handle I pick up my journal and start writing what I am grateful for each night until that uncertain and ungrounded time passes. 

Are you ready to get more grounded and balanced in your life? Then it is time to take baby steps in becoming more mindful and present. One of my favourite authors, Louise Hay, always says, “The point of power is always in the present moment.” Get present and you will begin an amazing new path to mindfulness. 

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FORGIVENESS IS…A Mindful Perspective on Forgiveness

Ever feel like someone has done something that is completely unforgivable? Does it make your stomach churn just at the thought of that person? Does what they have done keep you up at night? Maybe it is time to look at forgiveness in a different light. 

Forgiveness means not only forgiving the other but also forgiving yourself. Forgiveness does not mean the action was right or okay. It merely means accepting it as a moment in time and realizing that only you have the power to determine the negativity or positivity of it. 

Nothing is inherently negative or positive, it just is. It is the ego that projects that moment as negative or positive. When you accept that the moment or situation, “just is,” you can step back and reflect as a divine being rather than a human ego. This is easier said than done, as the ego fears rejection of the set emotions. Ego thrives on reaction and the need to dwell or obsess over the situation. 

To step back and just let things “be” without placing emotion on them is truly divine. Breathe deeply and view each situation from the larger picture… just a moment in time, a grain of sand. Ego takes that grain of sand and builds a mountain. 

The true divine self knows it is just a grain of sand yet the ego disguises it and obsesses over it making it much bigger and more powerful that it truly is. 

Each event is just a grain of sand… a speck of dust. When viewed from above should be recognized for what it is… just a moment in time. 

You are in control… you get to decide. Will you allow ego to fabricate reality causing anxiousness, stress and pain? Or will you feel it for the moment and let it pass. One grain of sand amongst the others.

Forgiveness is very powerful because it will set you free from the hurt and pain that you are holding. It may never make that event or situation okay, but it will allow you to move on and thrive. To forgive is truly divine.