Tag Archives: belief

In the Mouth of Madness – The Work of a Respiratory Therapist

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Respiratory Therapy

Every day that you breathe comfortably is a gift. This, I say with absolute surety, after 14 years as a critical care Respiratory Therapist.  Every hour you live is a chance to learn something; not a fact or a skill, because these are too tangible, too easy to grasp. No, every day is a chance to learn one more thing about human connection and an opportunity to explore the boundaries set for us by our limitations and our fears.

Flash back 10 years ago to the critical care bedside of a tiny infant, connected to my life-supporting equipment. It is my job, on this day, to be in this room, at this moment and to press that button; Yes, THAT button. The button that turns off a machine that made it look like this baby was taking its own breaths. I’m not alone. On this day there is a doctor with me and a nurse nearby outside the door. But it feels like I am alone because no one is making eye contact. No one is saying out loud what I am screaming inside, “Dear God, this is breaking my heart.”  But really, I am glad it is me. This way, I can be so absolutely gentle and kind, yet swift when I remove the tube from her mouth. This way, I get to say goodbye as well before I quietly leave the room.

Nothing could have prepared us for this. There was no didactic course on terminal weaning babies or palliative withdrawal of life support on patients that look and sound exactly like my grandmother. And so, we learn as we go, pushing the boundaries of our fears and sending out ‘feelers’ into our psyche to probe a dark emotion that we were never trained to recognize. We can sustain life beyond expectations but were not taught to embrace death.

As I sat with an elderly gentlemen in an ER at 4am a few years ago, I finally started to unravel this tangle of emotions that reared its head repeatedly.  I withdrew a BiPAP mask and then watched caregivers duck back away behind curtains. Pieces of the puzzle fell into place. We are healers. We fix people. We pride ourselves in this ability, boastful and resounding. Death is to be overcome! We shall not surrender… but if we do…when we do, we lose purpose. We feel weak. We feel shame. The dark and tangled emotions of failure, fear, vulnerability and shame all blended opaque and smeared across our vision. We can no longer see the person we were caring for without reminder that we were not enough.

So I became enough. Slowly at first but with steady purpose, when there was no family, I became the family. When hands reached out in fear of the unknown, I shrugged off my hesitation and held onto those hands. Fear was overcome by the strength of human connection. In these moments, my practice changed forever and so did I. My rusted old personal boundaries flexed and were broken. Relationships blossomed and life just made more sense. Everything became more real. I have never looked back.

The work of a Respiratory Therapist or any other critical care practitioner is incredibly stressful and exhausting. Finishing a set of 12 hours days and nights, its all we can do to not run out the hospital doors laughing maniacally on our way home screaming ” No one died…it was a great night!” But on those nights when one of our patients does pass away, we can learn so much in reflection. What if we stepped right around our fears and walked boastfully up to death saying “It’s ok that you are here. Let me help you take them kindly”.  Knowing we are enough. Knowing we did our best.

CB

All grown up…?

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Harness more life energy: Boost your EQ!  Photo: www.ppswest.com/blog/

Harness more life energy: Boost your EQ!
Photo: http://www.ppswest.com/blog/

Just wanted to share this great article recently posted by another website.

Emotional Intelligence has profoundly shifted to the forefront of my awareness over the past decade and this article gives a great recap of what ‘EQ’ entails (i.e. what we are striving for).

The real work lies in getting from where you are now ‘in your head’ to where you want to be. Unleashing more EQ. Prepare for emotional blood, sweat and tears because this is the real work of life. Shifting through the thoughts in your head and your reactions to people and events to trace back to the base human emotions that were evoked. What do you fear the most? What causes you shame? Where do you search for love and acceptance? Emotional intelligence effects your search for love, your joy in life and your everyday behaviour. It allows you to have empathy and truly connect to other people.

Realizing your potential, your joy and passions as well as the same features in everyone around you are some of the rewards of an improved emotional intelligence! Don’t wait. This is some of the most important work you will ever do.

Brave – Sara Bareilles

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Bring it! Show me how big YOUR brave is!

“Brave”

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Written by Sara Bareilles and Jack Antonoff

Run for your life.

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On your mark, get emotionally traumatized, take 20 years to get over it,  GO!   Photo source: 941foot.com

On your mark, get emotionally traumatized, take 20 years to get over it, GO!
Photo source: 941foot.com

I don’t run.

I have always looked at people who are running and thought, “What the hell are you running from?”.

Call me judgemental, call me what you will but I have always maintained that it doesn’t look very enjoyable.

“Why the hate-on?”, you may ask? I’m really not sure myself. Maybe it is just habit. Something that speaks to me from when I was much younger. Days in elementary school, dreading gym class because I knew that I was crap at running. I hated things that I was not good at. I didn’t need to be made to feel any more of a failure physically than I already felt. I had a few friends that I fit in with. Looking from the outside, I was included, but it felt like work. Hard, continuous, ominous work. Like my personality needed to be tended like a garden. Cultivated, and trained to be the right way, every day. ‘Don’t drop that mask…they won’t like what they see. So you sure as hell don’t want the humiliation of not performing well. Just stick to what you do well.’ My daily mantra.

I had heard someone say in my youth that I was lazy and even fat (which, I now realize was hateful and untrue). If you hear it often enough, you will believe it to your core. So running… nuh-uh, nope, not an option for me. Can’t do it.

Fast forward 20 years and elementary school is faded like an old photograph. One where I can no longer make out faces or feelings to go with them. I can no longer visualize who stands next to who and more importantly, why. I have built back my inner child, one peice at a time. Like a china doll that was once shattered, I am feeling whole. I am loved, I can give love and I can do anything.

So, I suppose the natural order is to turn a corner and suddenly be staring down that old enemy. I was out walking in the pristine, early morning sunshine the other day – my weekly respite in the morning from children (thank you lovely husband). I felt so full of energy and joy that I just started running. I ran out a full song (thank you iPod), then caught my breath only to find myself running again. Huh. Well, holy crap. This is fun. I started to speculate ridiculous shaming things like, maybe it is easier now because I am not as heavy (hello, you were never overweight!) or maybe I have better shoes, stronger legs. Yep, keep talking self, because you know you are full of it! Truth is, whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are probably right  (thanks Henry Ford for the perfect words).

How many things have I talked myself out of over the years because they were equally as daunting? How sad to have missed this enjoyment because of limitations set by the words of others.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be enrolling in running workshops and running marathons anytime soon (I like dancing WAY too much to spend my free time running) but at least it is an option. A great way to exercise when on vacation or I just need a good calorie burn.

There may be days yet when I feel too heavy (both physically and spiritually), too tired, too chicken to go out in the rain. But my decision not to run will never again be made by that little voice. It holds no value. It has no tenacity. I have lived enough beyond the reach of its power to know the truth. My truth. And in that, I am set free.

CB

Belief

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 Photo credit: flikr.com

Can you forgive yourself as much as you forgive him?
Photo credit: flikr.com

You’ve been there. The relationship that feels one-sided. It feels like you just keep believing and giving and finding ways to try and make it work. If we were able to believe in ourselves as much as we persisted in finding ways to believe in others, can you imagine the possibilities? Keep mulling it over how much you mean to them. Dig deep and find the good. Ignore their harsh, rough edges.

Can you imagine forgiving yourself as often or as much?

Some great lyrics below…

If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

Someone like you makes it hard to live without
Somebody else
Someone like you makes it easy to give
Never think about myself

If I gave you time to change my mind
I’d find a way just to leave the past behind
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

Tim Hardin- A Reason to Believe.

(Popularized by Rod Stewart)

Check out a great cover of this song. And he has a great hat.

CB

The vulnerability factor – MLM can change your life, not just your income.

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Put yourself out there. Risk and find reward.
Photo credit: Gary Trent Photography

Whenever I see a site or post about Multi-level Marketing(MLM), the common theme goes something like this: “Make your dreams come true!  Make more money than you ever imagined possible! Own your life!”

OK, let’s examine. I am all for owning my life. I work in the Canadian healthcare system. I am subject to union negotiations and that alone is enough to drive anyone into the land of entrepreneurship. Yes please, it would be nice to have some control.

Make my dreams come true. Huh. What dreams? You mean the dreams of just making it through the week and ending up with enough money to pay our debts AND have a little left for dinner out? Are those dreams? Because if not, then I know not that of which you speak. Wow…really sad, but true. What the heck ARE my dreams?

Make more money than I ever imagined possible through MLM. Well, easy enough because I really did not think you could make more than $300-$500 a month selling a product by word of mouth advertising. So any more than that is more than I imagined!

After only 6 months working as an Arbonne Independent Consultant, I truly believe all the above statements are entirely possible. However, these things cannot be achieved simply by ‘joining in’ with a company and just letting everyone know. You can buy into the product a little or a lot, but the more you spend on you initial purchase STILL does not determine how well you will do as a consultant or how well you learn to ‘own your life’.

When we step out on a limb and start a new business, we are putting ourselves ‘out there’. We become subject to criticism from all angles. This is an extremely vulnerable position. Some people cannot manage feeling so exposed. They cannot tolerate the repetitive sound of ‘No’ when the offer of their product or business is declined. They react to hearing no and the resultant feeling of shame by getting aggressive, or simply losing faith in the business as a whole. They quit and walk away, making sure to tell every single person they encounter what a ‘scam’ MLM is.

Timing can be vital. Personality is key. Are you the kind of person that has the confidence to withstand hearing ‘No’ again and again? I personally loved the analogy of the waitress/waiter offering coffee to diners.  They are employed to walk around to each table and ask that complex question: “Coffee?” If you tell them “No thanks.”, do they get upset? Do they feel rejected? Do they question whether they are truly made out to be servers? No, of course not. They ask again and again unfailingly. They circulate and play the numbers game, surely SOMEONE is going to want coffee? If you treat your business the same, asking everyone and simply moving on without an emotional reaction when you hear ‘No’, you can succeed.

This is a simple concept, but when we examine the strength of character required for this persistence, it is NO wonder that 90% of attempted MLMers fail. Show yourself some compassion. Allow some time to read, learn and study how to succeed in this business before you judge it. Do you really believe in yourself and your ability to create a successful business? Do you really believe that the products are outstanding and have a unique solution to your clients problems? Do you understand and believe in the model of multi-level marketing? Do you believe in your company and their values?

You MUST have concrete belief in yourself, your company, your product and the dynamic system of MLM to succeed. The ability to create something fresh and new that is entirely your own places you out front and centre. As vulnerable as it gets. Embrace this space of fear and push through. Allow your mistakes to become your pivot points, turning you toward your goals daily.

To understand the structure and goals of Multi-level Marketing…read The 45 Second Presentation That Will Change Your Life by Don Failla.

For a simple explanation of how MLM works, fill out the contact form below and I will email you some fantastic reading material free of charge!

Inspiration abounds – Start living authentically right now.

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You haven’t seen a post from me in a while. I won’t force my writing (can I call this writing?). I  grow tired of my own voice, so you will very likely tire of it too if I post uninspired crud. So, on that train of thought, I am going to speak on inspiration. Where to find it, why some of us cannot see it, why it creates different motivation and action for all of us.

I am in the midst of witnessing a rare thing for the second time this year. A child growing up and in that process, seeing, feeling, hearing, touching and doing things for the very first time. There is no better way to appreciate our surroundings than to watch someone experience them for the first time. Just standing in the breeze makes my daughter giggle. She feels the sun on her skin and asks “Ohhh, dat nice and warm?” She will hear a bird tweeting away long before I notice it. The sound has been drowned out from my senses by all the thoughts buzzing around in my head. To watch her revel in touching the fur of a soft animal with a questioning look and a slow smile is pure heaven. There is such joy and purity in these moments, so many times lost if we do not slow down to notice them.

IMG_1674   My son experiences crawling on grass for the first time!

Looking for inspiration? My suggestion is to hang out with a toddler for a few hours. Goodness knows their parents could use the rest! Take them for a walk. Know that it will be a slow, meandering trail and that the intended destination may never be reached. This is ok. Let go of the need for a path. Slow down and see the journey. Seek out things that are achingly beautiful in their simplicity and mere existence.

A fair warning. In order to slow down to the suggested pace, you will very likely have to clear your schedule. This includes setting aside your dopamine-inducing smart phone that bleeps and flashes joyful, round, red numbers at you; inferring loving words of inclusivity. Ditch it. I do not deny the benefits of technology but we must have boundaries if we expect to become more than mediocre.

Back to the point – I often write about living authentically. What does that really mean? By definition, something authentic is of undisputed origin, something genuine. So then, to live an authentic life will be something unique for us all. Not a cookie cutter lifestyle out of a magazine. Not a life of ‘success’ defined by a megamillionaire. A life lived from the heart, where you connect to your inner child who can guide you toward beauty and simple joy, this would be authentic. A life that uncovers your passions and unique connections to allow every day to be one where you help others to find the same. To find their own authentic life inspiration.

So, if we live by the ideals of others, can we find inspiration? I believe it is far more difficult. We will wait to see what inspire others first. Those that lead us. Those we believe we aspire to be. We will tend to sit back and be entertained until these ‘leaders’ find THEIR inspiration. How perfectly sub-par. Think for yourself. We have been given this basic right, so exercise it.

Inspiration creates different motivation for us all…and what a beautiful diverse world this creates. Some are inspired to move their bodies, some to build, some to show us what they feel in pictures, colors or sounds. Others may be inspired to lead or teach. They are following their passion. Living their journey in a very solid, joyful way. Doing what they love and loving what they do. How many of us find great peace or energy in the music we listen to on an iPod? We are enjoying the fruits of what was created when the musicians were inspired but also by the creation and vision of Steve Jobs!

So get inspired! Find your way to your authentic life and start making small changes today. If you have no idea where to start, contact me and I will gladly guide you toward some resources.We all deserve to experience what touches your heart and inspires you.

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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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