Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lets Not Forget Haiti: A Necklace of Hope, Love and Healing

On The View recently, Patricia Arquette, was wearing a pretty little silver necklace—a symbol of hope, love and healing for Haiti, supported by her foundation called Give Love.

This foundation is trying to create better conditions in Haiti.

In a visit there, Patricia saw a mother who had given birth in a tent, swarmed with mosquitoes and water, and said that it doesn’t look like the baby will make it. It’s probably one of many sad stories we’ve already heard or will hear more of. But the bottom line is that Haiti still desperately needs our help.

Patricia described their water conditions as contaminated with filth and unusable. She said the only decent water they have is from the sky. So, the foundation will help them utilize this water by setting up reclamation systems and teach them how to do the same for themselves, and provide housing and other types of support where needed.

The money raised from the necklace will help the foundation achieve these goals.

It’s a simple-yet-profound idea—buy a necklace and help Haiti. And what makes this pretty piece of jewellery special is the meaning attached to it…hope, love and healing (and the price is good too).

I also believe this necklace will help keep the cause alive—people will talk about it and Haiti won’t be forgotten.

For more information check out the websites below:

Give Love Foundation:

Patricia Arquette:

Monday, May 31, 2010

Judgments of Others

It’s amazing how judgmental people can be.

I recently had a negative experience with someone in my field (writing) that blatantly characterized me to someone else. She just threw a judgment out there…on a whim that she might be right, yet she couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I won’t go into details about what was said, but I will say that I was shocked at the personal accusation—from someone who’s never met me, and had only a brief glimpse of a few lines of my work—a personal analysis of me (a wanna-be Dr. Phil!).

As if that weren’t enough, she also criticized the grief I shared in an article, along with the fact that people may need counseling during their grief from pet loss (How to Cope With the Loss of a Pet: http://www.healthylivingmagazine.ca/pet-loss). Criticizing people for needing help with their grief…?

Although this isn’t unusual…people often form judgments about others. And in the writing business, criticism of your work is essential, and you have to have a thick skin (which I do). What stands out is how far from the truth one can be in their super-quick assessments of another person.

Most of us have heard old adages, such as “don’t judge a book by its cover” or “don’t judge another person unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” As cliché-ish as they sound, they’re true.

It may be a tall order, but it would be nice to see more people give others the benefit of the doubt—to see more of the positive in others—even through the pitfalls, rather than disparage them.

We’re human, doing the best to our abilities, and a little more appreciation and less flack could go a long way in our society.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lets Not Forget Haiti: A Necklace of Hope, Love and Healing

On The View recently, Patricia Arquette, was wearing a pretty little silver necklace—a symbol of hope, love and healing for Haiti, supported by her foundation called Give Love.

This foundation is trying to create better conditions in Haiti.

In a visit there, Patricia saw a mother who had given birth in a tent, swarmed with mosquitoes and water, and said that it doesn’t look like the baby will make it. It’s probably one of many sad stories we’ve already heard or will hear more of. But the bottom line is that Haiti still desperately needs our help.

Patricia described their water conditions as contaminated with filth and unusable. She said the only decent water they have is from the sky. So, the foundation will help them utilize this water by setting up reclamation systems and teach them how to do the same for themselves, and provide housing and other types of support where needed.

The money raised from the necklace will help the foundation achieve these goals.

It’s a simple-yet-profound idea—buy a necklace and help Haiti. And what makes this pretty piece of jewellery special is the meaning attached to it…hope, love and healing (and the price is good too).

I also believe this necklace will help keep the cause alive—people will talk about it and Haiti won’t be forgotten.

For more information check out the websites below:

Give Love Foundation:

Patricia Arquette:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Strong women in society: Why does it have to be so hard?

In one week, I’ve heard women who have stepped 'outside of the box' described as “mad,” “witches, ” and in for a challenge when in comes to having too much.

In an episode of The View, last Friday, the hot topic was about women having a successful career and marriage at the same time. This was a hot issue, with the suggestion that we can’t have both simultaneously.

As disheartening as it is to hear such a statement, I can relate to it. Currently, I’m in a position where part of me wants to stay away from relationships, so that I can keep my focus on my career and on being a good mom, without any more demands on my time.

Even though I recall the ways relationships have enriched my life, I understand the difficulties of having both. I’ve experienced relationships that command more from me than I could give (and having partners upset with me for it), while working toward my goals. It can be hard trying to give so much of yourself, especially if you don’t fit into that neat little box of societal expectations.

Years ago I was told that my chances would be slim for finding a man because of being an independent woman. And it’s true—more men than not seem threatened by that (especially if you make more money than them). As women, our challenge has always been stepping out of our roles.

A couple of days ago, I read an article called “Were The ‘Mad’ Heroines of Literature Really Sane?” The reference was to women of classic Victorian fiction, with an analysis about whether they were actually troubled. “But were they really mad? Would we today recognize them as mentally ill or were our heroines merely misunderstood, not to mention a tad inconvenient?” asks Vivienne Parry.

My comment to this piece suggested a little of each. Some women (along with men) probably started out mentally ill, and others maybe went mad from being chained up—if not burned at stakes—for being too eccentric for the times. But fiction or nonfiction, some things never change… When we step out of our traditional expectations it’s not without a cost.

Kate Gosselin was ripped apart in The View’s Hot Topics online comments section, regarding her working on Dancing with the Stars. Viewers called her a “witch” and “horrible” to name a few things said. I don’t get it—shouldn’t we be supporting our efforts in this world as women? Would they be happier with her on welfare, with society supporting her, or trying to collect donations from a website…? She is trying to be responsible—working to make her way, and that of her children. Isn’t that a good thing (regardless of whether she’s in the spotlight or not)?

One viewer suggested she isn’t trying to improve herself...Isn’t that exactly what she’s doing? She’s definitely not a dancer, so, she’s stepping out of her comfort zones and learning new things (and—God forbid—maybe she’s even having some fun while doing it). She’s working with what she can to get by, and I don’t see what’s so wrong about that.

But, as is often the case, it’s easy to judge others whose shoes we haven’t walked in. The bottom line is that we all do the best we can with the resources we have. And I believe the degree of resentment we have for others (such as the comments toward Kate) shows more about ourselves… But that’s another story…

It’s funny how when men are successful, they’re not ostracized the way women are, and it’s easy for them to find relationships (especially with younger women), but for women it remains a challenge (and if it’s a younger man, we’re labeled a “Cougar”).

The good news is that society is changing in a lot of ways. And we’re all trying to adapt—as women, to our strengths, and as men, to stronger women. It’s our reality now and we have to get used to it. Confident women are a large part of the world we live in today, and it’s certainly not about to revert back.

Both men and our female counterparts have to adjust to the fact that the world is changing—women are growing—and that is a wonderful and blessed thing, to be able to contribute to the world in a position of growth and strength.

I support any woman who strives to step out of her comfort zone, role, or external expectations, toward a position of increased strength, individuality, and success (as long as her consideration for others remains in tact), and I look forward to hearing more about others who support the same.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Supportive Society

My Twitter bio says, “Passionate about the health of our society, and supporting each other — a little goes a long way...” And it’s genuine.

I’m concerned about the state of our society (emotionally and otherwise), and about how we treat each other…that quite often seems more poorly than not.

For instance, online networks, such as Twitter, have many members just in it for themselves (trying to draw people to their products or services), without a care about anyone they come in contact with. It’s becoming a common annoyance for some.

I recently read a blog by a fellow-tweeter suggesting people be “more interactive” and “less selfish” on these types of social mediums, and I concurred with what he had to say.

But unfortunately, along with the convenience of online socializing networking comes a magnified mirror of the masses — a close view of how negatively many people conduct themselves with others — but it’s our reality. We have to take the bad with the good.

Personally, I’m drawn to sincerity. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but not a one-way-street either. A little compassion toward other people (who also go through struggles, just as we do) can have a great impact.

Supporting each other, even in small ways, such as a kind word, gesture or help with something, can make a big difference for someone, and it all adds up in the larger scheme of things.

If we’re to be a healthy society, we need to exercise more energy from the heart, and less from the ego. We need to genuinely acknowledge and be kind to each other, and less self-absorbed — for the most part.

It’s normal to be selfish at times, such as in the instance of desperately needing a break from ongoing demands. Without a little selfishness (especially if you have children) you can go insane and take your loved ones with you! However, if the scales are tipping too much in the direction of your wants and needs and constantly at the cost of others…well, this is what you’re contributing not only to your immediate world, but to the larger picture as well — it’s your legacy.

I value the health of our society, and believe that in little ways, we can make an impact. I guess the question for some is to determine what kind of society they want to live in, and to think about what they can do to make an impact toward the kind of world they want to see. (Which is hopefully a positive one for most!)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Young Artists for Haiti

First off, I have to say that I’m somewhat out of my element writing about a topic such as this. It’s very different for me… But sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zones, for the sake of the “greater good.”

I saw a music video yesterday that moved me to no end. The song was called Wavin’ Flag, and although it sounded familiar, I couldn’t place it in any regard. Now I don’t want to forget it (not that it will be possible to, with the media…), and I want to shout out loud about it and share it with the world. It’s that profound.

It’s a song—unlike many others—that is not only great to listen to, but has tremendous meaning. It’s a tribute to Haiti, by a whole host of great Canadian artists, such as Nelly Furtado, Sam Roberts Band, Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber…to name a few. It’s a similar but modern concept of “We Are The World,” the iconic tribute from the 80’s, to less developed countries.

It’s a beautiful and moving song. I was emotional watching it (to my surprise). And I’ve never seen so much spirit shine through from so many artists at one sitting like that… It was really special.

But it’s more than that… It’s raising awareness and money for a precious cause—to help Haiti.

In support of Haiti, I felt compelled to spread the word and raise awareness where I can. I urge those who both love music and care about helping, to, at the very least, check out this song.

Words I’ve seen people use to describe it...“beautiful,” “love,” “inspirational,”

You just have to see the video and hear it for yourself. It’s well worth the time—and cause… Lend your support.

To see the video (sorry, links aren't working for me here): http://www.vevo.com/watch/young-artists-for-haiti/wavin-flag/CAUV71000003

To download it on iTunes:

For more info, visit Facebook:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

International Women’s Day / Week

“Strong women…strong world.”

I can’t imagine writing about anything more important right now (except my daughter—but that’s a given).

March 8th is our day (and week) women! It’s “a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future,” as described by the IWD organization, at: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/. The first IWD was 1911, and has maintained it’s significance ever since.

It was proclaimed a day for our rights and international peace, according to Status of Women Canada (SWC). They describe it as an opportunity to “celebrate progress toward equality for women and their full participation, reflect on the challenges and barriers that remain, and consider future steps to achieving equality for all women, in all aspects of their lives.”

Personally, I think it would be a great tribute to connect with each other—fellow genders—on that day (through FB, Twitter, and other mediums) to discuss things such as what this day means to us, people that have inspired us, and to share and learn about anything relating to it, in an attempt to acknowledge this important event.

Just as we reach out to loved-ones on birthdays and other special occasions, we can reach out to each other, to embrace and show our appreciation for one another in society. We really have “come along way baby” in many regards. Why not embrace it?

If this day has meaning for you, mark it on your calendar, and plan a way you can celebrate it with other women. Is there a way you can support your fellow gender—drop an email to say hello, comment on a blog, send a tweet, join a site… We’ve earned this day. It’s only fitting to own it.

I can’t think of a better way to show our appreciation for those who persevered before us—and made it possible for us to be where we are today—than to rise to occasion, and be supportive of each other.

I hope you’re as excited about this day (and week) as I am. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this—ideas, comments, anything. After all, for once it’s all about us!

The following are some links FYI:

International Womens Day site: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/
Women Watch: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/feature/iwd/
Status of Women Canada: http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/dates/iwd-jif/index-eng.html
(note: you can copy the IWD logo above, from this site)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Finding Religion in the name of Convenience

I’m getting tired of hearing about people that use religion when they’re in a bind – when they’ve been caught at something.

No longer an adult responsible for the situation they’ve put themselves in, but rather a broken child of God or a “higher power” that have lost their way.

Tiger Woods, in his press release this week, referred to going off track with his Buddhism as a justification for adultery, saying, “Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.” If he had of stopped his self-indulgent conduct (to put it mildly) because of moral reasons, his finding religion again would be more believable. But, like many before him, he was simply caught in the act, and has to squirm his way out – and make it look good while doing so.

So eloquently put in Newsweek…“Woods was following the boilerplate-celebrity addict script: Check into rehab, find God, make amends. The second step in any twelve-step program is to accept this: We ‘"came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity"’ (Lisa Miller, Newsweek, 2010).

It’s such a convenient way out for some people – using it as they please, when it suits them – when they need it.

Even people that have been to jail apparently “find God” while there… Then they come out and indulge in the same old behaviors over and over again. It’s tiresome to hear about. Why don’t people have faith in religion before they commit acts that hurt others? It seems it’s ok to be impulsive and entitled, as much as they want – until they get caught, then it’s back to being “redeemed.”

You don’t even see a lot of remorse from many of them, but rather just seeking a way out of responsibility – a place to hide, like a broken child that’s somehow going to be healed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having faith in God or whatever religion people choose, but not just out of convenience – a tool you take out when you need it, and forget about it when you want to be self-indulgent.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of Tiger… Lip service? Probably. I just hope he doesn’t blatantly use Buddhism the way he has all the women in his life.

I’m a big believer in people’s actions over the long-term, rather than what they do for “damage control.” I guess time will tell.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Support or Sabotage?

Ever have a feeling (along with clear proof) that you’re being sabotaged? It might be indirectly, such as dealing with someone who apparently wants to support something you’re doing, but you sense “not quite.”

For instance, they offer you an opportunity, and you take them up on it, only to have them say, “Sorry, it’s too late” (even though you went by their time-frame).

Or things are humming along – no bumps in the path – as you’re working on a project (that, at first, is a little slow in coming), until it becomes successful, and they so generously come up with a few more roadblocks for you. Their explanation is “out of concern,” which wasn’t there over the course of the year-and-a-half that you’ve been doing the same thing. And this “concern” is expressed immediately after you told them some good news, about the success of the project... Hmmm.

All of the sudden the door isn’t as open as it initially appeared to be (literally). And they find reasons why they can’t help you with other things too, and you find yourself met with more resistance than support. You’re also frustrated about the fact that you have to depend on this person (to a degree), who outwardly suggests they want to help your project succeed, but evidence keeps pointing in another direction…

This is an experience I recently had… very stressful. However, after the initial stress and disbelief that it was actually happening, I realized that it’s more about them than me. To put it plainly, they’re unhappy. And as frustrating as it initially was (and may continue to be), in the long run, I don’t have to be a part of it – and I won’t.

Some people are miserable, and their way out of it is to try and pass it on to others. “Misery loves company.” But I’m not biting.

I’ll do what I can to succeed, but will absolutely will not fall prey to sabotage (my declaration for the day) - it’s not worth it. Life really is too short.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Helping Haiti: Not Right Now

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about feeling confused about how I – only one person – can contribute to the devastation in Haiti. I felt a little overwhelmed, wondering how anything that I could do could make any kind of difference (even though I get the concept that every little bit helps).

I figured I’d donate some money, in hopes that a little can make a difference, and go from there, in terms of figuring out other ways I can help.

Well, I’m still confused. I find both the fact that they need so much help and the outpouring of aid they are receiving somewhat overwhelming, in terms of where I fit in.

Recently, I’ve heard and read bits and pieces about the tremendous help they are receiving… financially, food and necessities, people opening their homes to orphaned children (although a very controversial issue right now), and so much more. It’s touching to see the outpour of kindness from so many people, especially considering the fact that we’re still trying to recover from a recession. It’s refreshing to see that kind of humanity again, even though the circumstances for it are very sad.

It’s going to take a long time for Haiti to recover and rebuild. It’s not going to happen over night. And I hope that the momentum continues over the long haul – for as long as they need the support - versus just as long as people are interested.

Because of my concern about the support they’ll have over the long term, I’ve decided to wait, and contribute in whatever areas I can at a later date. I believe it’s going to be like peeling back the layers – once the immediate needs are met, other issues will come up - and it will continue like this for a while.

So, as much as I wish I could do more, I’m going to hold off for now. And I look forward to doing my part when the time comes.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

“Help Your Child to Wonder”

This was the title of an article David Suzuki referred to in a piece I read today about the benefits of outdoor schooling for kids.

“Think of how much more interesting and valuable math would be if it were made less abstract by relating it to natural phenomena, such as calculating the height of a tree,” he suggested (Outdoor Schooling has Many Benefits, 2009, David Suziki.org).

It’s a concept worth hanging on to, in an age of computer games and other mediums that are creating more of a pull indoors. Playing outside is seemingly becoming a distant norm. I’ve even heard of schools canceling recess…Can you imagine?

Coincidently, I stood outside for almost an hour (and while in desperate need of a coffee) watching my three year old daughter play in the snow today. It was so magical for her - falling in it, throwing it in the air (and at me), trying to make a mini-sized snowman on her own, in addition to adding snow and eyes to the sad looking and half melted one we made a while ago. It was all I could do to get her in the house – lots of fuss – for the sake of playing in the snow.

Nature is so profound in many simple ways. It gives us so much, and I’m one of those who are in awe of its many wonders. I agree with David about getting our kids outside in nature to explore. And it’s not even that I have much time to do so – but I try. We live in a beautiful environment – and I cherish it tremendously.

So, I also appreciate this quote he cited by the late Rachel Carson, “If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.”

Do we pave the way for a future of facts and figures or a sense of wonder? How about a little bit of both? It’s food for thought I guess – something to think about - as our children are spending less time outdoors, yet are the future determinant of the survival of our environment.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

At the Other End of the Spectrum: The Power of Technology

A few days ago, I expressed concern about whether we’re isolating ourselves in favor of communication technology (“Communication Mediums or Human Contact…?”). And although I maintain concern in this regard, and hope we can hold steadfast to each other – on a personal level – I also appreciate the opportunities that technology provides.

Sometimes it amazes me about how much we can do. I can connect with other people in the world that are passionate about similar issues that I am, have the opportunity to learn about and appreciate things that are important to people I’ve never met, stay in touch with people I care about that live far away, have a variety of clever networking opportunities at my fingertips, be aware of what’s happening in the world (outside of watching the news on television), and so much more. It’s no small feat - it’s ingenious – and we’ve come a long way.

I value the tremendous opportunities that technology provides (even though I’m still concerned about the demise of human contact). It opens many doors and enriches our lives in so many ways - a very powerful tool indeed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How to Mend a Broken Heart…

“I wish I could hold him one more time,” I thought as I broke down and cried, yet again, for my beloved dog of 12 ½ years.

For those of you that haven’t had pets – you may not get the pain of losing one.

For those of you that have – I feel that you’ll understand the turmoil involved with the loss of an animal that you loved and that loved you unconditionally.

It’s excruciatingly painful. And as dramatic as that may sound – the feelings are real.

He’s everywhere I look around my home, inside and outside. And today, I gave his unused food to the animal shelter – a feat in itself.

I won’t go on, even though I could – go on and on about the dreadful ordeal of having to euthanize an animal that I loved tremendously (it would be more of a book read, than a blog).

I will say that the bond between a pet and its owner is a very deep one. Pets depend on us like children do – to meet all of their needs (emotionally and physically). And we depend on their loyalty, love and constant companionship.

I’ll miss my best friend dearly, and hope that the pain will get better. Right now it’s very hard.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti: What’s a Person to do?

I still have the image of a woman’s face staring out from a pile of rubble, as rescuers uncovered her, in a show I watched today that highlighted some of the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.

The conditions were described as being “like a sewer,” by a journalist there, and it showed one area with people ravaging through tons of empty boxes – literally throwing them in the air - in hopes of finding food that may have been missed.

In addition to the issue of getting enough food and water to the people, there’s concern about looting and violence now too.

There’s so much devastation and people being impacted, on so many levels, that it’s somewhat overwhelming trying to figure out how I – only one person – can help.

At the moment, I can only think of contributing with a donation to a reputable organization, such as Red Cross, and hope that it holds true that every little bit helps.

Otherwise, I’ll just have to stay tuned as much possible about the situation, and maybe will find more ways to contribute as the situation progresses (apparently there’s a lot of overlap with the help their receiving). But somehow, I feel like this isn’t enough.

But apparently, this is a situation that is going to take years to recover from – it’s said that Haiti is going to have to be rebuilt. So, there will be plenty to do during that time, on many levels. And I hope that they will have continued support for as long as they need it, because they desperately do.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Joy of Dancing

“The neck bone’s connected to the shoulder bones… The shoulder bone’s connected to the back bone… The back bone’s connected to the hip bone…” And on the song went as my three year old daughter and I danced to our hearts content – marching, turning, waving our arms and laughing.

It’s those great simple things that just seem to hit you out of the blue, and remind you that you’re alive and well. It’s amazing how such a simple little thing, like dancing with your toddler, can make you feel so joyful and like everything in the world is ok.

I cherish those moments, and realize at the time that I should (oops – that rigid word again) do it more often.

It’s amazing how being caught up in the moment, with something we really enjoy, can be a great reminder to do things we value more often. I wish that reminder would hit me in the morning – things I can do to feel happy – before I get entangled in a day of “to do” stuff.

I guess the best I can do for now is appreciate the fun times when they happen, and be available as much as possible, to have many more with my little one. So, at the very least, I have something to look forward to.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Communication Mediums or Human Contact…?

Upon losing myself in research lately about societal issues, a common theme that stood out for me was the imperative role that our communities play regarding our overall health and future. And I’ve found myself somewhat preoccupied about where we’re headed.

We’ve made great strides in terms of our rights as individuals and groups (although there’s always room for improvement), and have progressed tremendously with our many technological advances. But are we moving too fast in this regard?

Technology is amazing (hence this blog), and it’s allowing us to do things we wouldn’t have imagined only a few short years ago. For this, I am grateful! But what worries me is the thought of swinging too far to the end of the pendulum - advancing too much on the technical end - and being so overly preoccupied with our communication mediums or gadgets, to the point of minimal personal contact.

I’ve read studies about the widespread of loneliness and social isolation. It’s a profound issue in society today, which is pretty scary, considering how our advances in communication technology are supposed to be a tool to help us stay connected with each other. But our gadgets can only take us so far.

I’m hoping there isn’t a correlation between our increased preoccupation with gadgets, and less personal interactions and one-on-one time with each other.

Hopefully this isn’t where we’re headed – socially isolated (and lonely) technical junkies. But I guess we’ll see soon enough, the extent to which we value our gadgets more than spending time with each other. Only time (in addition to how we spend it) will tell.

I Love This Quote

“There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout:
This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me... or leave me. Accept me - or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don't fit y...our idea of who I should be and don't try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision. When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad - you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you” (Stacey Charter, 2009, Thinkexist.com).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Years: The Allotted Time for the Weight Loss Band Wagon

Come the first week of January, television shows are brimming with ideas about weight loss – the hype is all about losing those extra pounds gained over the holidays.

Do we really gain that much weight in the span of a few weeks? And do we really need lifestyle re-hauls and new “eating plans” at this time of year, or are we products of good old commercialism?

I’m all for making important changes where necessary, and believe that nothing should stand in our way, whether it be weight loss or otherwise. But why have an allotted time of year to do it?

Wouldn’t it seem that after the holidays – when the turkey (with all the trimmings) and treats are gone – that we’ll go back to our usual way of eating again? Do we really need a special “weight loss plan?”

As much as I value setting goals and taking care of ourselves, I guess I see it more of a lifestyle, rather than a seasonal band wagon to jump on. But that’s just me.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

“That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”

Many of us say this as a means to muster up strength during times of adversity – when we need to be strong to get through challenging times.

This phrase kept creeping up in my head last summer, as I was doing some gardening outside. I don’t even remember a specific reason for thinking of it, but I found myself reciting it over and over.

I know it’s been a challenging few years for me – significant deaths in the family, a birth of my daughter, a major back injury, and lots of day-to-day stuff in-between – enough that had built up, I guess, to tell myself that I’ll be stronger for it.

Someone I know recently cited this phrase to me, in reference to a serious incident that happened to them. It’s amazing how such a simple phrase can seem to help, especially when you think of the alternatives, such as, “why me…?”

I’m glad I choose the first phrase, and hope I can continue to stay strong as I continue to work through the many challenges life has to offer, especially as I enter into this New (and hopefully a little easier) Year.

Are We Still in a Recession, or Not?

It’s hard to know for sure whether we’re still in a recession. One week in July the front page of a newspaper read, “Recession Over!” in big, bold letters. The Bank of Canada (BoC) said we were bouncing back twice as strong as the United States, and that our economy has started to grow.

The next week, it seems they may have spoken to soon. Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty said it might be too soon to declare an end to the recession, indicating that the recovery is only “beginning.”

Fast-forward to September 10, and the BoC backs up its controversial statement that we are recovering, and faster than expected. Good news, right? Up until you hear Prime Minister Stephen Harper say the recession is only “technically” over… Which is it?

It’s enough to drive you insane. The experts are bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong ball. And they make recovery sound so easy and generalized - that everyone will come out of it and be ok.

Are companies going to bring back the people laid off or fired? Are the publications that folded all of a sudden going to re-appear? Are people going to magically get their homes back? Its one thing to listen to the technical explanations about how the changes will transpire and when, but it’s another thing to live it and see the reality of the impact of the recession.

The reality is that many companies have closed – forever, and thousands of people have been impacted very deeply. It’s sad to think of the degree of distress this recession has had on people, and in ways most of us probably don’t even realize.

It’s not just the lost jobs, houses, and other major disruptions and stressors that we’ve been faced with, there’s a ripple effect that runs much deeper than what we see, that has caused more scars than we’ll ever know, and that will take a long time to recover from, unlike the economy.

And this economic “bouncing back” is dependent on conditions, such as a generous government stimulus package and low interest rates. The goal is an increase in domestic activity and consumer spending.

While this sounds hopeful in some regards - such as our economic recovery occurring faster than expected – it’s still worrisome. Just how long is it going to take Canada to get to a healthier unemployment level - for the wheels to start turning - to a thriving economy again?

I wonder if hoping for things to be the same again is realistic…? Once companies have shut down, that’s it - the damage has been done. All losses can’t be re-couped. I worry about the recovery of some industries and the potential for growth again once they’ve been hit so hard.

Do consumers go back to purchasing the exact same things they did before after a recession, or do they hold back, think differently – maybe more cautiously – and put their hard earned money elsewhere?

Will we indulge in the same luxuries and to the same extent after this recession? Or will there be a shift in those that have suffered - putting some of their eggs in other baskets? It will be interesting to see what happens. I truly hope we come out “stronger” as they are predicting. But we’ll see.