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HOW TO ELIMINATE A OO7 DOUBLE LIFE

When James* called upon me, he asked that we meet in an open restaurant downtown Vancouver. Asking him why there instead of my office, he laughed and said, ‘Because I need it this way.’ 
 
On the agreed upon date and time of rendez-vous, James sat down in front of me and immediately placed his hands under the table where I could Not see them. This gesture alone told me a lot about James, how easily he pretended to be emotionally open yet felt the want to hide once in front of me.
 
Through my talking with him, I found out James was one of nine children from a very large Catholic South American family. He grew up being an altar boy, going to Sunday school, and saying prayers. But something was Not working for him… In his teenage years, he realized he was gay and being gay is apparently something deemed unacceptable in his family and culture.
 
 

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt rejected for what you are?

 
 
James moved to Vancouver, found a job, and said he met the ‘love of his life’, whom he married a couple of years later. Though saying he is happily married, James had two Facebook accounts, one ‘straight’ and one gay, to ‘spare’ the family as he said. Looking down, he confessed few people (if any) where he came from knew he was even married.
 
 

Can you imagine what it feels like to hide things from the people you love? 

 
 
In tears, James said he needed to come out of the closet as a gay and this is why he was coming to see me. He felt he could Not do it alone, he said this was too much for him to face alone.
 

 
I asked…
 
 

In a perfect world, what would your life be like right now?

 
 
Jame’s face brightened. He shared how he would only have one Facebook account and one Instagram account. He laughed saying he would show pictures from the ‘crazy’ adventures he and his husband have been on, their food expeditions, their vacations together, even their honeymoon trip…
 
I asked James if he truly loved his husband. Without hesitation he answered choking up, “Are you kidding me? He is the best thing that has ever happened to me!”
 
I replied,
 
 

When we truly love someone, including ourselves, do we hide who we are?

 
 
James burst into tears. He did Not seem to care anymore whether the waiter or other patrons saw him crying; his shoulders were heaving up and down with heavy sobs. Then he took a deep breath, clenched his teeth, and said, “I deserve better! My husband deserves better! I am coming out!” I was impressed by this fiery determination.
 
That day, he went home with homework to do. Over the next seven days, he had to call every member of his family, his eight siblings and two parents, and tell each one of them he was gay. His framework looked something like ‘I am calling to share something important to me. I am gay. Being gay is a part of me, it is Not all of me. I love you.”
 
 

Have you ever had to stand up for what you believe in? How easy was it?

 
 
At our next coaching session, James sat down with his journal open. Where he had drawn ten little people with their name on top of each, three of them were still left unmarked by an ‘X’ signifying ‘the job is done’ and they knew he was gay.
 
I open directly,
 
 

What happened to you missing your goal?

 
James grabbed his journal with both hands. He mumbled how he was Not truly close to the only sibling left on the list as this person had once sexually assaulted him when he was a kid… He also said how many of his siblings were now sending him harassment messages telling him he was ‘wrong’, going to ‘hell, and ‘Don’t tell mom and dad! They’re too old and mom’s depression is too bad!’
 
Like so many, James was caught once more living a double life, living in the background of his own life while trying to get ‘approval’ from others, especially from members of his family.
 
 

Whose approval is most important to you to be happy?

 
I pointed to the top of the page where all his little people drawings were and I asked him to write down a story title expressing what his goal is. His pen almost pierced the paper as he wrote in capital letters at the top,
 

“I AM COMING OUT!”

 
 
Let me ask you…
 

Why do we become untruthful?

Why do we pursue lies?

 
 
I believe the answer is, because we think it will be better.
 
Is it though? How was James’ constant lying about being gay going to advance his goal of coming out of the closet?
 
Clearly, denying our truth does Not work.
 
With this in mind…
 

How do things become better?

 

I believe, things become better when we focus on 

  • becoming truthful. ‘What is my truth?’

  • becoming intentional. ‘What can I do right now to uphold my truth?’

  • becoming accountable. ‘What can I do to hold myself accountable so I live my truth?

 
I could certainly relate to James. When I got married, I did not tell my then husband about the way I grew up, the level of violence. I thought he would ‘love’ me more if I buried what had happened to me as a child. Can you relate? My life changed for the better when I became truthful, intentional, and accountable.
 
 

Here are some rock solid tips to assist you who may suffer from ‘007 Double Life  Syndrome’:

Once you have identified what your truth is, whether it is to come of the closet as gay or lesbian, leave an unhappy marriage, change jobs, or …
 

  • Make a list of who needs to know. When we make the decision to come out with our truth, often, we tend to believe everyone ‘must’ know all at once. Spare yourself feeling overwhelmed, work in stages.

  • Come up with an on point message telling your truth. Keep it short. Keep it sweet. Keep it to the point. Understand there is plenty of time later to go into the ‘Why did this happen?’ if you ever chose to.

  • Have an accountability system/person in place. Though many of us say we ‘know’ what we need to do in order to be happy, many of us end up losing our nerve when the stakes are deemed high.Therefore, having someone on your team who is Not emotionally attached to your situation allows for actions with a greater sense of clarity.

 
 
Now imagine somebody has just read these tips…
 

What do you believe will be their greatest challenge?

 
Before James came to see me, he had all the best intentions in the world, BUT he lacked a solid accountability system. This is why as soon as he went into ‘What will they think of me?’ he lost his nerve of telling his truth to his family.
 
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who holds her clients highly accountable so they get to live their truth openly, and like James, get to come out at the top of their story page.
 
For coaching inquiries, reach out to me at anne@walkinginside.com
 
Your Emotional Intelligence Coach,
Anne
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com
 

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acceptance Accountability Assertiveness Authenticity Awareness Commitment Compassion Confidence Conscience Courage Curiosity Emotional Intelligence Empathy Equality Faith Forgiveness freedom Friendship Gratefulness Happiness Hope Imagination Inner Child Inner Peace Intentions Intuition Joy Leadership Life Purpose Love Magic Mindfullness Parenting Self Peace Reality Relationship Satisfaction Self-Confidence Self-empowerment Self-Worth Sensitivity Space Tolerance WalkingInside

HOW FAR AM I WILLING TO GO?

HOW FAR AM I WILLING TO GO?
 
Am I willing to go beyond the stars
Where you and I were born
Where the sun befriends the moon
Where rainbows bridge us all?
 
Am I willing to go further than the eye can see
Where trees plant their roots
Where flowers drop their seeds
Where leaves take in the colours of seasons?
 
Am I willing to go deeper than the ocean floor
Where all the river beds make one
Where the illusion of division is triumphed over
Where we all feel as one?
 
How far am I willing to go?
 
I am willing to go
At the centre of myself
Where I hear it all begins
The point of origin
That unites us all.
 
I am willing to go
Where ‘broken’ lines disappear
Where there is no you or me
Where there is only a we.
 
I am willing to go
Where love is no more a concept
Where love becomes fully being
Where love is visible in all.
 
If ever I think I have reached this place
Where I hear it all begins
Ask me again
‘How far am I willing to go?’
And I will come back to
Being in the here and now
Until we all feel that we belong.
 
With Compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
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acceptance Accountability Assertiveness Authenticity Awareness Blind Spots Commitment Compassion Confidence Conscience Courage Curiosity Emotional Intelligence Empathy Enabling Equality Faith Forgiveness freedom Friendship Gratefulness Happiness Hope Ignorance Imagination Inner Child Inner Peace Insanity Intellect Intent Intentions Intuition Joy Leadership Life Purpose Love Magic Mindfullness Parenting Self Patience Peace Racism Reality Relationship Sadness Sanity Satisfaction Self-Confidence Self-empowerment Self-Worth Sensitivity Settling Shame Social Awareness Space Success Tolerance Trust WalkingInside

I — USED TO THINK

I — USED TO THINK
 
I used to think
A tree was just a tree
I saw it with my own mind
Roots, trunk, branches, leaves.
 
I used to think
You were different than me
I saw it with my own mind
Bodies, fences, judgement, fear.
 
Thanks to my mentor, I met me
For a moment, I stopped thinking,
In stillness, my mind cracked open
Discovering sunshine cooling breeze within.
 
How refreshing
To hear inside the giggles of a small child
Who never thought we were separate
Who’s always known we all belong.
 
Because of my love for this child and me
The lines in my mind are becoming blurry
If there is nothing separating you from me
Then, who am I? What are we?
 
Willing to know, I ask her to show me the way
How I may serve her from a place of integrity
Laughing, she is showing a world full of wonders
Where roots and bodies, you and me,
Are merging into, this or something greater,
Then… I used to think.
 
With love & compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
 
To know more about Soul Leadership: www.fullmontyleadership.com
 
P.S. With this post, I am including more forms and patterns I have seen when opening up pictures. This time, I am not showing the pictures they may have originated from because I want you to imagine what can possibly give rise to …
Categories
acceptance Accountability Assertiveness Authenticity Awareness Blind Spots Commitment Compassion Confidence Conscience Courage Curiosity Dreams Emotional Intelligence Empathy Enabling Equality Faith Forgiveness freedom Friendship Gratefulness Happiness Hope Ignorance Inner Child Inner Peace Instinct Intellect Intent Intentions Intuition Joy Leadership Life Purpose Love Magic Mindfullness Parenting Self Patience Peace procrastination Reality Relationship Satisfaction Self-Confidence Self-empowerment Self-Worth Sensitivity Settling Social Awareness Space Speaking Success Tolerance Trust WalkingInside

AWAKENING

AWAKENING
 
I awoke in the middle of the night,
Frightened and scared,
Thinking I was alone.
I looked around the bedroom,
Stillness and shadows greeting me.
What an unfamiliar sight, I thought to myself,
To be alone with one’s thoughts,
To be shyly greeting one’s feelings.
 
Out of habit,
I called out a name,
Thinking you would come,
But the echo came back empty.
I did not yet understand,
Love is neither a name or a game,
It is a flowing feeling,
Like waves, rising and falling,
Amidst our own waters.
 
Thinking I knew better,
I turned my bed into a raft,
I paddled day and night,
Still hoping to find you,
Afloat on another raft nearby.
 
Feeling more lost than ever,
I finally stopped doing this crazy thing,
And started instead to
Listen to the wind
Who has always known my name.
 
It said,
“Dive,
Dive deep within,
For the one you are looking for,
The Beloved,
Is awaiting.”
 
I told the Wind,
“I am no Mermaid,
To flag my tale under water.”
And the Wind softly replied,
“Trust and Have Faith,
Within you is always the Way.”
 
So I took a majestic dive
Perhaps the way Dolphins do?
Feeling my own breathing
Echoing back to me
The beauty of universes within.
 
I now use my raft as a diving board,
In whatever room I find myself in,
I remember Ocean Waves belong
To the One
Awakened in the middle of the night.
 
With Deep Gratitude,
Anne
 
Dov Baron, thank you for being the Wind speaking softly to me, I am grateful
 
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com
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acceptance Accountability Assertiveness Authenticity Awareness Blind Spots Compassion Curiosity Decency Emotional Intelligence Enabling Forgiveness freedom Friendship Happiness Ignorance Intent Intentions Joy Leadership Love Magic Mindfullness Parenting Self Reality Relationship Self-empowerment Self-Worth Sensitivity WalkingInside

WHAT OUR PEEING HABITS REVEAL…

I am somewhere deep in the countryside. It is Sunday afternoon, sunny, and beside me is sitting my 16 year old listening to her music on her headphones.
 
I love driving on this back road, it is full of twists and turns, a road less travelled, or so it seems.
 
On each side of the road is a large dug trench as a ditch. Each lane is super narrow, nowhere to stop the car, really, unless I want every car coming behind me to stop as well.
 
Every once in a while, we meet an old fashioned mail box, with its flap either up or down, signalling perhaps someone’s driveway nearby?
 
But none of it matters because, right now, I need to pee. I really really really need to pee.
 
Yes, I did pee back at the restaurant and I need to go again.
 
As minutes pass by, the need to pee becomes stronger and stronger. I tell myself, “I’ll wait until the coast is clear…”
 
 

How many of you have ever withheld your pee 

until there was no one else around?

 
 
I sit on one butt cheek then the other. I move my body forward then backward. I am now doing some kind of square dancing while holding the steering wheel super tight.
 
 

How many of you have ever done the pee-pee dance?

 
 
My bladder is hurting to the point it reminds me of the days when I sat ‘still’ during one of my bosses’ presentations to the rest of the board. Arghhhhh!
 

How many of you deny your basic needs, 

afraid to bring attention to yourself?

 
Something clicks in me, ‘Am I doing this kind of shit again?’ I ask myself.
 
Immediately, we get to some kind of crossroad. I can see a small patch of dirt and rocks on the other side. I stop the car right there, pull up the handbrake, turn to my daughter and say, “I need to pee. Now!”
 
I open the glove compartment and take out toilet paper I keep tucked there for a ‘rainy’ day. She simply says, “okay” as if what I am now doing is the most natural thing in the world.
 
She does not point out the seemingly abandoned farm where we were.
 
She does not mention the open hay field on our right.
 
She does not even tease me about the very likely possibility incoming cars might catch me with my pants down.
 
She just said ‘okay’ and smiled.
 
As I walk over to a tree, I think about my daughter’s response, how lovely and understanding it is. I take a look around.
 
The weather is beautiful, sunny and cold, the air crisp, and right here and there, I feel free, freer than I have ever been, me, this grown up woman, peeing in an open farm field, butt naked under the winter sun.
 
I laugh as I pull up my pants. I walk back to the car.
 
As I start driving again, I look around, a fresh perspective in my eyes and heart. I am not driving in pain anymore, I am driving light, present, hearing laughter in my heart.
 
The contrast is so sharp for me that I decided to write this blog.
 
Let me ask you,
 

In your life, 

are you driving in pain or 

are you moving forward with joy?

 
 
If, like the old me, you are feeling more pain than joy, then perhaps you need to revisit how well you are addressing your basic needs.
 

Here are some tips on how to address our basic needs:

 

  • Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Listen quietly to the answer and take immediate action to give it to your self. If you need to go pee, stand up, and politely excuse yourself. We all have a bladder and it can only contain so much before it explodes….

 

  • Affirm, “I matter, my needs matter.” Feel this affirmation as many times a day as possible and use it, especially if you feel the negative pull of putting other people’s perceived needs and wants ahead of yours.

 

  • Accept your humanity. We are not robots, we are not machines. It is okay to stop working and sit down for a nourishing meal. It is okay to take a 15 minutes break from gardening or mowing the lawn. It is okay to go pee in an open farm field on sunny winter day.

 
 
I trust you have found value in this article. My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach. I am also an Expert Pee Ninja who assists her clients from having a too-full bladder piss all over their life. I can be reached at anne@walkinginside.com
 
With compassion & deep respect,
Anne
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com

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THE LESSON BY THE OLD MAN WITH THE RABBIT

His eyes fascinate me, two white eggs with two brown pancakes in their middle. Every time he looks at me, I feel transported inside the world of an innocent child, perhaps confused by how many years seem to have flown by him. His face, a maze of zigzagging lines, looks like a race against time. The more I look at him, the more I want to know the heart behind the beggar I see on the street.
 
Unlike many other pedlars perhaps, he does not verbally ask directly for money to me. He usually leaves a hat or an empty cup in front of him and silently waits. For a while, I even thought he was mute…
 
On some days, I notice him holding a big fluffy brown rabbit in his lap. He seems to love his rabbit very much and the rabbit seem to reciprocate greatly by snuggling its nose deeply inside the old man’s open jacket, maybe to hear their uniting heart beat?
 
As the old man pets his rabbit in long rhythmic strokes, I notice there is no cage for the rabbit and no leash. Amazing, considering we all live downtown where sirens are blared, buses breaks loudly, and passerby talk on their cell phone.
 
Today, though, something happened to break ‘our’ routine. A great gift was given to me. As I was about to enter my favourite coffee shop, the old man suddenly appeared behind me and asked softly, “Can you buy me a cup of coffee?”
 
Startled, I jump. How did he get here? Holy Molly, he can talk! As I look inside his two white eggs with two brown pancakes in their middle, I feel my heart fill with the desire to know him.
 
I reach inside my coat pocket and retrieve a bunch of spare change. I am unsure if I have enough to buy an extra cup of coffee for him, so I impulsively say no, then wishing inside I had brought more money. Peaceful, he says okay and starts standing in line by my side, as if money was a non-issue.
 
I do not know what to think. I put my hand inside my coat pocket again and I find not only an extra $2, but also a free donut prize I had won the day before. I smile at the old man triumphant. “I have extra money! I can buy you that coffee after all!”
 
The old man smiles at me as if he had been expecting this result.
 
Waiting in line, I ask him how he is and he smiles at me asking. I ask him how his rabbit is and he answers his rabbit is fine and at home. I ask him if he lives in a centre and he answers yes. At one point, I mention his new haircut that I believe suits him tremendously and my, o my, he blushes like a young child, passing his bony hand through his balding greying hair.
 
The whole time we are talking, he first looks into my eyes before answering any question. He reminds me of The Fiddler on the Roof. Any moment, I imagine him erupting in a traditional dance with his arms wide outstretched open.
 
We get to the counter and I take a step aside. I ask him to order his coffee as he likes it. Then I give him the coupon for the free donut. His face lights up like a Christmas tree. After I pay for both of us, I realize I am left with spare change close to $2????
 
I do not get what is happening, but I take all the left-over change and give it to him saying, “For whatever you need…” The two white eggs with two brown pancakes in their middle smiles at me in acknowledgement.
 
I watch him choose to sit alone at a table. Wrapping his two hands around the warm coffee cup, he closes his eyes, a peaceful smile spreading on his face. I feel the same smile spreading on mine…
 
In our everyday interactions, we never fully know who we are impacting. My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach whom you can reach at anne@walkinginside.com 
 
With love & Compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com

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acceptance Accountability Anger Awareness Blind Spots Compassion Courage Curiosity Depression Emotional Boundaries Empathy Equality Forgiveness freedom Friendship Happiness Intent Leadership Love Magic Parenting Self Relationship Self-empowerment Self-Worth Social Awareness Space Stress Trust

THE FACE OF ANGER, WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS IT?

The next thing I know, I hear Lucky’s barking and snapping snarls in the driveway. I hear with him the soft whimpering of the little black and white Shih Tzu I am babysitting. Shit!!! I run outside. 
In the driveway is the next door neighbour’s German Shepard. He and Lucky are going at each other’s throat. The little Shih Tzu is laying on her side, her chest labouring to breathe. Patches of blood are staining the snow.
 
I start screaming, running over to separate them. Hearing me, the Shepard’s owner comes running down from his house. Bigger than me, he yanks his dog off Lucky. Sharp words are exchanged; I believe the word ‘police’ was mentioned. Both of us are furious! Both of us likely want to be right.
 

How does blind anger impart responsibility properly?

 
The little Shih Tzu has a couple of scratches. Lucky has bite marks on his neck; his fur is matted with blood. This event happened 8 Christmases ago. 
 
That day, I did not call the police. Why? Somehow I did not believe it was solely the Shepard’s doing.
 

When someone strikes in violence, whose responsibility is it?

I believe both I and the Shepard’s owner, the parents of our dogs, are each fundamentally responsible for our dog’s behaviours.
 
Why?
 
Let’s see… Back then, Lucky was kind of a renegade dog… As soon as my back was turned, he dug a hole under the fence and escaped… he chased rabbits and ran visits in the neighbourhood… One time, I chased him one hour through the forest before I managed to catch him. This is how much my dog wanted to be with me…
 
I can see why now. I was going through a gruelling divorce and had very little quality time to give him. I was consumed by anger and grief; I was barely eating and often cried myself to sleep. I believe this is a lot of emotions to process for a young dog or child…
 
I now also believe Lucky escaped to the places he thought he might get the love and attention he so desperately wanted from me. Sounds familiar?
 

Our children are our responsibility to consciously love and nurture

into adulthood. 

When a child feels ignored, neglected or abandoned, 

they might turn to the outside world for love and attention.

Over time, 

they might strike out in blind anger, also known as rage.

Think about it for a moment….

 
I treated my dog the same way I had been massively treated as a child. I mostly ignored his pleas to play or be loved; I gave him attention when I was ‘in the mood’ or ‘ready’. I have three children too… What did that say about me?
 
As for the German Shepard, his owner worked long hours. To ‘help’ his dog pass time, he had built him a chained-link playpen in his backyard. The Shepard spent most of his days alone, perhaps waiting, trapped in his ‘golden’ cage.
 

Maybe we act up in life because we want to feel loved, wanted, and validated.

Maybe we act up in reaction of long past events  

that may have nothing to do with the current situation at play.

 
I believe my dog somehow knew the Shepard was stuck, for he often peed all over the Shepard’s yard, marking ‘his’ territory as they say. Dogs will be dogs, right?
 

Now can you imagine…

how anyone feeling stuck… may react when they feel overpowered?

 
I believe they will most likely jump at each other’s throat, ‘just’ like dogs.
 
This is certainly what I did to my next door neighbour that day…
 
So let me ask you,
 

How many times have you lashed out in blind anger?

 
I don’t know about you, but I have found out that
 

Violence never imparts responsibility properly.

 
For Lucky, it has taken eight years to get over his blind anger towards German Shepards. Every time we saw one playing in the park or quietly sleeping at their master’s feet, Lucky blindly struck at them, ALL OF THEM!
 
Today, though, 8 Christmases later, a ‘miracle’ has happened!
 
On a park bench was sitting a young Asian woman holding the leash of a young German Shepard quietly sitting at her feet.
 
I noticed Lucky looking with curiosity at the dog. I noticed myself doing the same thing too. The ‘incredible’ happened, Lucky walked over, wagging his tail, and rubbed his face against the Shepard’s face. The Shepard, in response, pawed the ground wanting to play. I took this picture of them together.
 
It is my belief my dog is changing, not because he is older (he is 14 now), but because
 

I am changing:

I am no longer willing to blame others for my current situation in my life.

I am willing to examine each situation with the fresh eyes of compassion. 

 
I believe my dog is picking up this different vibe from me and is acting intuitively on it.
 
Now I agree it is easier said than done to become more compassionate, especially in the face of anger. In my case, this is why I have a mentor who assists me in learning how to take 100% responsibility for everything I do.
 
When it comes to you,
 
Who do you have to assist you in imparting responsibility properly?
 
My name is Anne and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach. You can reach me at anne@walkinginside.com
 
With Compassion,
Anne
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com
 

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Compassion Friendship

Offering a Hugging Ear

OFFERING A HUGGING EAR
In my old neighbourhood is this gas station. They sell coffee. My favourite brand of coffee. Even though I moved out of that neighbourhood two months ago, I still like going there from time to time. Hoping to buy coffee. Hoping to see one of the ladies who works there. I care about her greatly. She is a beautiful soul to me.
I lived one year in that neighbourhood. Over that time, I got to find out she had a sister back in Iran. A sister she was very close to. A sister she had not seen in decades. Because the current political regime will not allow it. This lady, she loves to cook. She brings food at work. When she sees me, she often gives me food to bring home. She is a beautiful soul to me.
Yesterday, I went to the gas station. Hoping to buy coffee. Hoping to see her. She was there. She greeted me with a smile. Seeing my shaved hair, she asked ‘Fashion or something else?’ I liked how she phrased the ‘something else’ to mean cancer or… something else. I grab my coffee. I am now beside her as she stands behind the counter. The gas station is empty except for the two of us. I ask her how she is. She looks at me. Her smile leaves. Her eyes fill with tears. ‘Anne, I am not me. I come here to work. I wear a mask… My sister… she passed away… 40 days ago…. I am so sad… I go home… I drop the mask and I am so sad. Will it ever get better?’
She reminded me of me. Of how I used to be. How I hid my pain to the world. Afraid to be judged. Afraid to be made feel guilty for my feelings. What has happened to this world that we are so afraid to share our true feelings? I look at her in her eyes. Without a word, I open my arms. She comes into them. She rests her head on my heart. I just hold her. Without a word.
A customer comes in. She immediately pulls away. Puts the mask back on. Serving him, she asks me coolly. ‘Will it ever get better?’ I shared with her one of my favourite quotes from my mentor Dov Baron. The one saying that grief is an ocean with unpredictable tides. She listens…stops… takes it in… and nods.
I believe we are all grieving at any given time. I grieve people I have loved and lost. I grieve opportunities missed. I grieve not having been present in my own life for decades. I grieve all these things… and so much more. The thing is, I now refuse to grieve behind closed doors, behinds masks. As I grieve openly, the grief washes away to the shore instead of being buried in an undercurrent of tidal waves proportions.
What if, for today, you offered a listening ear to your partner, child, colleague, friend? What do you think will happen?
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com

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Friendship

Being A True Friend

BEING A TRUE FRIEND
Have you ever asked yourself what being a true friend is all about?
Growing up, in my opinion, a true friend was someone who could keep my secrets. It was someone whom I felt safe with to reveal what I did, what I was thinking, what I was feeling. It was someone whom I could count on day and night. This person had my back. This person understood me. When I spoke, this person listened with their heart. They were there for me. They did not ignore me or abandon me. They loved me unconditionally.
It’s quite a big order, isn’t it? The farce is I have asked from others what I needed to give myself. Most of my adult life, I did not feel safe with myself because I did not trust myself. I often questioned what I was doing, thinking, feeling. Now, here’s a kicker. How could I count on myself day and night if I lived to please others? With my focus consistently on the outside world (those places of expectations), there was very little room for me in my own life. My life actually belonged to the world around me: my life partner, my children, my friends, my family… Therefore, I did not have my own back. I did not understand myself well either. When our life belongs to others, how do we know what we truly, truly want? To answer that question, we need to listen to our heart. Well, I did not listen with my heart. I listened to others with the mind to explain, justify, rationalize. Most often than not, I ignored my own feelings in the process too. Ignoring my own feelings is another way of saying I abandoned me. So, is this the picture of unconditional love?
The beauty is that I am now learning to be a true friend. Being a true friend to me. I feel safer and safer to admit to myself and the world beyond me what I do, what I think, what I feel. I am learning to follow through with my commitments and paying attention to my health. I am learning to ask for help when I need it. I am listening more and more to the little voice within who lets me know when something is not good for me. I am finding my own inner voice. It’s a voice that empowers and inspires me and the world beyond me. Less and less I ignore my feelings. If anything, I am becoming quite vocal about them. And it feels good to stand up for me. Therefore, for me, unconditional love has everything to do with me loving me as I am: magic, warts, and all.
Understanding that I cannot give others what I do not have for myself has been a hard lesson. Think about it. The people who are true friends to others, the ones who know what it takes to be a true friend, will they really want in their life someone who cannot reciprocate from the heart? I know I don’t. This is why I am willing to go the distance, do whatever it takes, to become a truer friend to me so I can be there for you. Thank you for listening.
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acceptance Friendship

The Face of Healing———————————

THE FACE OF HEALING
Did you know I was a cat lover when I was a kid? I loved cats so much. They were quick on their feet and smart! I loved how they purred and felt soft in my arms. I felt safer knowing it was sleeping curved in a ball at my feet. I fell in love with my first kitten at 7 years old. My father killed it in front of me along with all its siblings. I felt crushed too. It took quite a few years for me to look at another kitten again.
I was 12 years old. My older brother Jacques had caught it hiding behind a wood pile at work. It was hungry. It was dirty. And it was wild! He brought it home, locked it in the bedroom adjacent to the kitchen, and gave it to me laughing. I walked in the room and looked at the terrified kitten. It had already pooped on the wall and had rubbed itself in it. I closed the door behind me. I put on thick construction gloves way too big for me. And I started chasing it. It took hours as it kept going under the bed. It hissed at me. Growled. Scratched me on my arms repeatedly. At one point, it got exhausted. I grabbed it. I wrapped it tight in a bath towel and held it against my chest. For hours. I did this for days until it became my cat. I called him Grizzly. He was like a bear to me. He was magnificent! His fur was gray blue just like his eyes. I loved him so much.

One day, someone visited my parents and asked to buy the cat. I said no. They offered $50. That was a lot of money in those days. I still said no. Grizzly was mine. The next day, my cat ‘disappeared’. I looked for him everywhere. He was gone. I was heartbroken. Grizzly came back about one year later. He was skinny and tired. I could tell he had trekked a long journey. I knew it had come back for me. I remember how he looked at me. He had changed so much. So had I. Neither of us was prepared for that. He left shortly after arriving and I never saw him again. I did not cry this time. I was already hardened inside.
When my daughters were little, they asked for a kitten. I refused. I had plenty of ‘excuses’ like cat’s litter smells bad, they shed…. They asked for years. The answer was no. I bought dogs instead. About one month ago, my daughter Elena bought a kitten. She named her Beanie. Beanie’s fur is grey blue just like Grizzly. She is one of the smartest kittens I have ever met. She purrs and she feels soft in my arms. Beanie is now in Vancouver with me. I am babysitting her for the next couple of weeks. As I watch her running across the floor and pawing my toes, I am realizing I am healing and falling in love all over again. This kitten is safe with me. I am happy.
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