Monthly Archives: June 2013

Friday Night: Zoë Keating

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Another great find from one of my favorite bloggers. Please listen…she has created something unique and beautiful.

Live & Learn


Zoë Keating, 41, is a Canadian-born cellist and composer based in San Francisco, California. She is a one-woman orchestra. She uses a cello and a foot-controlled laptop to record layer upon layer of cello, creating intricate, haunting and compelling music.  Keating was classically trained from the age of eight.  She obtained a liberal arts degree and then spent her 20’s working in software while moonlighting as a cellist in rock bands. She eventually combined the cello and the computer, developing her signature style of live-layered music while improvising for late night crowds at her Francisco warehouse. She speaks regularly on artist-empowerment, sustainable careers and the concept of artist-as-entrepreneur, has been profiled on NPR’s All Things Considered, named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.   For the last two years, Zoë has been slowly touring North America, young child in tow, to support her latest album,Into the Trees, which spent 49 weeks on the Billboard classical charts…

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Women on Top

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Get serious. No holding back!   Photo credit: 1photos.com

Get serious. No holding back! Photo credit: 1photos.com

Women in the workforce. A boring, crusty old topic of conversation, am I right? Well, maybe so, but perhaps there is still more to learn. More to explore. A new cultural norm to ponder.

Many women still want ‘it all’. We want family and we want a career. So, this must mean that we should strive for a mediocre career goal at work, running on autopilot, biding our time before we get married. Once children enter the picture, you simply don’t have the energy (and sometimes the will) to return to work with gusto. So, setting a good pace before we have children is a good goal, yes?

But what if we set the bar a bit higher? What if we fully engaged ourselves with massive momentum and intent from the start?  What if we drove change, honoured creativity, stood firm with clear vision and belief? What if we became the kind of leaders that inspire with every conversation, be it in the elevator or behind the podium? Imagine the kind of impression would that leave, even if we knew that in a few years we would be off on maternity leave and preoccupied by family.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook speaks in her TED talk of the need to encourage women to ‘lean in’. Instead of sitting back both literally and figuratively in our careers, we must engage. Share your ideas, partake in big conversations, seek promotions, set big goals. Don’t shortchange yourself…  what you think about, you bring about. If you don’t believe in your potential, you lessen your ability to make an impact.

I have often felt like I may not be ‘ready’ for a particular  promotion. My husband informed me last night that this is a disparity that  exists between most men and women in the workplace.  He said “Men will take a job even if they don’t know what the hell they are doing.  They are confident that they will just figure it out as they go.” He believes that women often need to feel like they are fully prepared: armed and organized. As a result, we often let huge opportunities pass us by.

Perhaps this is a character trait and not gender-specific? Maybe it is more simple and directly related to self-confidence. Either way, are we showing everyone our true potential? Are we on cruise control or really giving every moment, every day, our very best with the goal of huge personal and professional achievement? “Less mediocrity, more mastery.” -as Robin Sharma puts it.

Women have amazing life experience to bring to the table before, and particularly after, having children. So even if your goal is to spend a few years on and off maternity leave raising a family, make them yearn to have you back at work. Make them remember how amazing it felt to have you there. When you return and you choose to set those big goals…never look back.

CB

Modern Poets

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Today I had a patient quote me some poetry. It was beautiful, had a rhythmic flow and he had it memorized perfectly. It is quite sad that this is not such a common occurrence anymore. Yet we overhear poets everyday, just in a different context. Musicians can inspire with powerful lyrics. Today’s post is about song lyrics that stimulated my thoughts and emotions perfectly this week. 


“The Age Of Worry” – John Mayer

Close your eyes and clone yourself
Build your heart an army
To defend your innocence
While you do everything wrong
 
Don’t be scared to walk alone
Don’t be scared to like it
There’s no time that you must be home
So sleep where darkness falls
 
Alive in the age of worry
Smile in the age of worry
Go wild in the age of worry
And say, “Worry, why should I care?”Know your fight is not with them
Yours is with your time here
Dream your dreams but don’t pretend
Make friends with what you are

Give your heart then change your mind
You’re allowed to do it
‘Cause God knows it’s been done to you
And somehow you got through it

Alive in the age of worry
Rage in the age of worry
Sing out in the age of worry
And say, “Worry, why should I care?”

Rage in the age of worry
Act your age in the age of worry
And say, “Worry, get out of here!”

 
I am in a wonderful, positive time in my life. I am excited and building my heart ‘an army’ to allow me to persist every day in fighting for my dreams and not back down an inch. I can make mistakes and frankly, I prefer to. I am learning more about myself now than I ever have in all my 35 years. I can walk a different path. My journey is my own. 

The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Out on a limb.

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The spirit of an entrepreneur. Is it possible that it exists intrinsically everyone? The brutal truth is ‘no’, it is not in all of us, but in some it lies dormant like a sleeping dragon.

Many of us grow up hearing the same phrases, repeatedly echoing from the mouths of elders. “Go to school. Work hard. Get a good job.” That is success. This is the dream. This is as far as they want or expect you to reach. In truth, now that I am a Mother myself, I can empathize! Perhaps they are  just trying to keep us safe. They want us off the street. They want us to be able to feed ourselves, pay our mortgages and put clothes on our back. Our parents want to know that if they were not around, that we will be ok. It is understandable. Many a respectable life is led this way.

There are a rare few mentors though, that have the sense to inspire a little more. Or perhaps, the entrepreneurial spirit is burning stronger in others by nature. The need to work outside of the basic rules and framework established by school, job, school and then (hurray!) career. Energy and inspiration seems to burn aflame in these fantastic folk. They persist and keep reaching every day for what they want, ‘rules’ be damned! They fail. A lot. But they just keep on going! ‘No’ does not resound harshly and deflating to these ambitious types. It just means not yet, keep going.

Of course, the spirit may move us conventional types later on in our lives too. In my case in particular, the shift was unintentional, unexpected and subtle. I keep reading a quote that inspires me. “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where all the fruit is.” It now has a permanent place on my vision board. A vision board is a fantastic tool for those of us in transition. We are just babies when it comes to following dreams. Vision boards are our baby walkers…helping us to form the permanent ability to walk and then run on our own. Dreaming and pursing those dreams becomes a daily habit, not a random act when you get frustrated with your job.

Psychologically speaking, not every human is capable of thinking this way. For some people, their hardwiring is too permanent. They are not only unwilling to change, they cannot comprehend the need or desire to strive for anything other than security. A steady income is a safe harbour. These folks need offices, desks, deadlines, rules, policies, co-workers to complain to and a boss to lead them. They can be harsh and cruel to the entrepreneurs when someone breaks free of the structure. “You will fail!” “Are you crazy?” “Why would you risk all this?” (insert arm-wave gesture sweeping from worn grey carpeting up to buzzing fluorescent lights).

I can tell you now why branching out on a limb is all worth it. Self-discovery. You will learn more about yourself in a month than you can learn in a decade of working at a JOB (just over broke!). Where are your strengths? Where are your weaknesses? What are your fears? How strong is your vision and your belief? Can you make the changes necessary to achieve your goals? The freedom to dream about possibilities will keep you energized beyond any dose of self-inflicted ‘caffeination’ in your old routine.

So let them bray… it’s ok. To walk a separate line takes great courage and the insights you will gain are tremendous.  So climb up that trunk and stare at the branches. Choose one that looks good to you. One that speaks to you. Take a deep breath and start climbing.

CB

A fine balance – Sources of positive energy.

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sunflower field

Energy…it flows through us and around us every day. The world is swirling, turning, and teaming with energy. So, why do we all feel so tired? Why do our days feel overwhelming and exhausting?  Is it because we are exhausting our energy stores without knowledge of  how to fill ourselves back up? Are we not making time for the things that create energy in our lives?

With this post I am hoping to give you some options. Ideas on how you may ignite a new spark of energy flowing into yourself instead of the endless river flowing out that you are likely very familiar with.

Idea #1 –Mindfulness practice. A few years ago, I was struggling with my first child as he made his way slowly and steadily into the ‘terrible two’ stage. I was a mess. He was a mess. I could not manage his random tantrums and they threw me so off-balance that I would end up on the floor beside him in tears. I looked for help. It came in several resources. The one that has made the biggest change in my life (and likely thousands of others) is Dr. Dan Siegel. If you have not yet heard about neuroplasticity…get Googling! Your neural pathways can be altered, your habits changed, your fears alleviated and your stress reduced. Books I suggest for learning about how to become more aware of your mind, brain and relationships around you are: Mindsight, The Whole-Brain Child and Parenting from the inside out. Once you begin the practice of disconnecting your emotions from your core belief of self…you can lose the negative and revel in the possibilities for good.

Idea #2 – Success and leadership coaching . There is nothing like a fantastic coach to boost your self-esteem and your drive to surge forward with energy.  Learn time management skills , how to set goals and actually achieve them, how to craft your vision for the future and how to lead without a title. I personally enjoy the teachings of Robin Sharma and think he is a GREAT place to start since he has so many free video resources on YouTube and his website. Jim Rohn’s book Twelve Pillars is a must-read also.

Idea #3 – Rediscover how to communicate. I’m just going to come out and say it. Television is toxic. Victims watch television. If you are sitting in front of the television between 1-3 or more hours a day and you are complaining about your life….then you are your own worst enemy. PUT DOWN THE REMOTE! Take control of your own life. Go out and join a class. Meet new people. Make things happen simply by engaging in conversation and participating in your own life! The only way to reap the rewards of a positive life with great energy is to do the work. Start reading and stop playing the victim. 

Idea #4 – Play, play, play. This point is especially key if you have children and feel so overwhelmed by a busy schedule. There is time for work and a time for play. Separate the two and find joy in games and play again. Rediscover fun and laughter. Swing on a swing. Race across the sand. Stop being so SERIOUS for even just an hour!! Remember that simple things can bring great happiness and good energy.

Idea #6 – Exercise the demons/You are what you eat. This one is so self-explanatory and we KNOW this by now! Exercise takes your energy to a greater level. It is necessary if you do not have  a job that requires physical labour (most of us!). The more you exercise, the more energy you will have and the more time you can commit to becoming  WHO you want to be and getting WHERE you want to be. Learn what a healthy diet looks like and make small changes every day to get you on the track for success.

Idea #5 – Choose your ‘peeps’ wisely. In my short 35 years on this earth, I am sure of only a few things. One of those things is that you cannot change other people. People can only change themselves. If you have friends or co-workers that routinely suck the energy right out of you by way of negative thoughts and comments, then you must simply choose to limit your exposure to them. Move on and surround yourself with those that do impact you positively. The negative ones WILL protest. They will call down your new choices. They will say nasty things to get you back under their dark cloud with them. Let them bray like mules and keep focused on the light ahead! You will be more beneficial to so many more people if  you find the BEST you.

Go for it!

CB

Love the skin you are in. Healthy choices for skincare.

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FC5all

Let’s face it. As a society, we continue to covet things that are beautiful and that make us beautiful. Women in particular, but men are beginning to catch up. Creams, lotions, hair dye, sprays, emulsions, tints, BOTOX (good lord do you know what that stuff really is???) and the like.  However, I can only hope by now that a decent minority of people are stopping for at least a few seconds to turn those bottles and cans around to read what they are applying on their bodies.

Look around, do you see any grave sites for euthanized pets or roadkill? How about dead stockyard animals too sick to eat? That’s right, not a one. Animal waste is very efficiently recycled (read: heated up and boiled) into different grades of tallow. Have you ever made chicken soup from scratch? Well, that fatty layer that we typically scrape off the top is the layer of fat that can be delightfully used by the cosmetics industry as emollients and fillers for all of your beauty needs. So, the next time you defend your bottle of $3.99 shampoo that smells as though an entire rainforest of tropical plants has been unrooted and stuffed inside, take into consideration where the ingredients came from and what you are really applying to your skin and hair. Do your research. Look for a safer product.

Is it worth it? You tell me. Your skin absorbs whatever you apply to it directly into your bloodstream. There is no filter. Even when you eat, there is some small amount of defence via digestive enzymes. I experienced a heightened awareness of this with my first pregnancy. All I could envision was chemicals going straight towards the unsuspecting fetus inside me. Very uncool. Poor kid never stood a chance! So I changed the way I looked at skin care.

Yes, it WILL cost you more. Be selective and make the change for products that cover your whole body, regularly. Shampoo/conditioner, body cleanser and body lotion at the very least. I owe it to myself and my family to shift finances and make it happen.

Things that I will cheap out on:

Home decor – Honestly…I have small children and I could care less! Don’t get me wrong, I love a great looking space but I am not willing to waste money on expensive pieces. Particularly at this time in my life. 

Clothing – Again, running after kids every day does not jive with a pair of 6″ Michael Kors sandals. Hit the thrift shops. You will feel like such a smartie pants when you find an amazing deal!

Things that I cannot afford to cheap out on:

Skin care – When you start doing a little reading, you will get where I am coming from. Look at the labels, know the nasty ingredients to avoid. You may not be able to avoid all of them in all your products, you want to retain a little performance out of your products right? Check out this link to David Suzuki’s website to learn more about his ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of chemicals you should avoid.

Food – Organic fruits and veggies are a top priority for me. Not only do they taste better, but I want the companies that make them available to stay in business.

We are just getting started in this revolution. In Canada, there are only a handful of chemicals banned for use in cosmetics. In Switzerland, there are over a thousand. We will catch up, but until then, there are better options readily available.

I happened across one particular company that provides a better option 6 months ago and was so impressed with their standards and performance that I became an Independent Consultant. I started a home-based business with Arbonne that grows simply by referring the products to friends and family.

Check it out at http://www.arbonne.ca

NO matter where you decide to shop though, keep your eyes open.

C.

 

Building castles…my new profession!!

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Building castles…my new profession!!

So entrenched in the bustle of everyday ‘To Do’ Lists, I had lost the ability to dream. By dream, I mean to make a list of what I want from my life. For myself and for my family. I found the spark to allow me to open my mind to every possibility again. What about you? What do you want? Do you still dream or have you forgotten how to build a castle?