Where is truth?

When I read this Zen Flash this morning, it made me smile. Out loud.

So simple.

All the truth I need to live my life today is here, right now.

Whatever is here, right now, is the truth. And if I don’t like it, what are my options? What do I plan on doing about it? Because as my father was fond of saying when I was a child, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”

Truth is, in this moment right now, I am right here, feeling, doing, being, however, whatever I am.

Truth is, right here, right now, is all the truth I have to work with. How I respond to, what I do with what is here right now is what makes the difference in how I live my truth, how I turn up in my truth, how I am accountable with my truth. And, how my truth becomes me.

I can avoid, pretend, ignore.

Or, I can accept, allow, create.

My choice.

My truth.

My life.


Who’s really the problem here?

Do something different copy

Have you ever noticed how life is constantly offering up opportunities to grow and learn, and how we (at least many of us) constantly resist the opportunities?

Life is doing its job.

Too often, we humans are not.

Instead, we’re busy resisting, ignoring, over-looking the abundance before us in our quest to blame, criticise and condemn others for our lack of happiness, joy, love, peace…

For awhile, without my even realizing it, I had been building up a little pile of resentment around my beloved’s inability to understand me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love C.C. deeply, but sometimes, he just doesn’t get me. Know what I mean? When I say with great enthusiasm, ‘Let’s paint the living room!’ He says, ‘There’s a hockey game on tonight’. When I say, ‘let’s go pick out paint’. He says, ‘After the hockey game is over.’

I mean really. Doesn’t he know painting the living room comes over watching hockey? And seriously? Who cares about a hockey game when we peruse the paint chip aisles salivating over teals and aquas and sunshine yellows?

But here’s the deal.

It is not his job to understand me.

That’s my job. Just as it’s his to understand himself and yours to understand you.

It is no more acceptable for me to ask him to go pick out paint colours when the Stanley Cup finals are on than it is for me to pout and shuffle about, maybe even pull out the vacuum in the middle of the game and ask him to lift his feet so I can vacuum the floor beneath them, especially when Crosby has the puck, just because I don’t like his answer.

And no. But I might have wanted to…

See, here’s the thing. Relationship takes work. And sometimes, I like to tell myself I’m doing all the work while he’s watching hockey.

Quite frankly, that is a lie I am telling myself to build my list of resentments so that I can feel sorry for myself. Just because I can.

The thing about life though is that it is always present, always serving up opportunities to get aware and get growing through whatever is eating at my peace of mind — as long as I am willing to stop blaming others for my unease. As long as I am willing to be 100% accountable for my own experience.

And that is something we humans do not like to do a lot of — be 100% accountable for our own experiences.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you thought something like, “What is their problem?” Or, “If they’d just go ‘A’ to ‘B’ the way I want then everything would be just fine.” Or, “Why do they have to be so …? (fill in the blank)”

C’mon. Be honest with yourself.

Now, change the question. When did you last ask, “What is my problem here?” or, “What if I accept their A to B as not ‘wrong’ but simply different?” or, “What’s in it for me to stay so rigid about …… (fill in the blank). What can I do differently here?”

See, life gives us ample opportunity to grow and learn, to understand ourselves better. Life is filled with abundance. Often, we look at it through eyes focused on the other person’s actions, words, thoughts, while we resist looking at our own. And in our resistance to looking deep within ourselves and being 100% accountable for our own journey, we forget, we have the power to know ourselves deeply and in that knowing, change our lives.

We’d much rather someone else changed theirs.

And so, we look at them and wonder why they don’t understand us, when really, the lack of understanding of us is ours.

Life gave me a beautiful opportunity to look inside myself to find the root of my unease. It was a beautiful gift.Especially because, I like what I found in me!

The $8 sniff test

Some time ago, I received an email from two different people about a ‘clear and present danger’ to women. Bands of people were lurking in shopping mall parking lots attempting to abduct women. Their ploy, a tiny strip of ether soaked sniff test paper posing as an $8 knock-off of a $20 perfume sample. The warning came with a long, ‘this almost happened to me but I dodged the bullet’ missive from a woman in the police service. I read the text and thought, this is important information to know. In fact, at the top of the email it told me this was very important information to know and I must share it with everyone on my email contact list.

Even more important about the information I received, however, were the questions I pondered before passing it along. I wondered.. what was the likelihood of a little strip of paper containing enough ether to knock me out? I mean, think about the movies you’ve seen. When ether’s applied to knock out a ‘kidnappee’, it comes soaked in a cloth of unknown origins that is held at length against the victim’s mouth and nose. Doesn’t ether have a strong smell? Doesn’t it evaporate in the air? Couldn’t I tell the difference between an $8 perfume knock-off posing as a $20 perfume that is actually ether intended to render me unconscious?

I went on a hunt. Sure enough. The $8 sniff test doesn’t pass the truth or fiction test. It’s an urban myth. Snopes.com-Snatch and Sniff Test

Which brings me back to being aware and conscious. Making choices that celebrate the wonder of my life in freedom.

When I honour myself, honour my freedom and my beautiful life, I am aware of both the dark and light side of living on this complex, magical and mystical planet we call earth. In The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker talks about the need to face reality. What is real and true and actual. An elevator door opens, he writes and when you look inside you see a man who smiles at you. There’s something about him that makes you feel uncomfortable. You hear the voice inside whisper, “Take another elevator.” Your ‘don’t make a scene. Don’t be rude/insensitive/whatever’ voice, says, “Get in. There’s nothing wrong.” What do you do? Heed the voice of observation and wait for the next elevator? Or, get into a steel chamber with a closed door with a stranger?

Listening to myself means not worrying about whether I look rude, silly, fearful or anything else I think lessens me in the eyes of others. When the elevator comes and I choose not to ride with a stranger, I am perfectly okay with my choice. Doesn’t mean I’m paranoid. It means I honour my life and my right to make choices that state clearly and unequivocally, I am free. I have choice. I acknowledge there are risks, I will not put myself at undue risk. I exercise my choice for my own good.

When I was in that relationship that caused so much pain and stress on my life and the lives of those I love, I didn’t honour my life, nor my right to make choices that celebrated my freedom. I continually made choices based on fear, denial, terror, confusion. I made choices based on what one man told me to be true, and never questioned the possibility that it was all fiction. I chose to believe he wouldn’t hurt me, even when the facts so clearly demonstrated, yes he would.

In my denial, I lost sight of the truth. My choices make the difference in my life. Will I choose to celebrate life, or kill off any hope of freedom? Will I open doors to change, or slam them shut in the face of possibility? Will I step into my fear of the unknown, or, will I stay stuck in my denial of what is, fearful of what I cannot see beyond what I know today?

In my life today, I accept with open arms the truth of who I am. I am responsible for me. Back then, I wasn’t willing to accept that. Back then, I wanted to deny the truth. I wanted to avoid taking responsibility for the one life I have total control of how I live. Mine.

That is the joy in my life today. When I do something that holds me back, puts me down, or simply keeps me stuck, I know I’ve made a choice to undermine my beautiful life. It’s up to me to ask the tough questions. (What’s in it for me to do this? What’s the purpose of my living in fear? Why do I believe I deserve to treat myself with disrespect? What do I want more of in my life — and will this get me more, or less, of what I want?…) And, to make better choices. To acknowledge my mistakes. To change my actions. To step in a different direction.

That is the joy of freedom. I have the power to create a beautiful life for myself. It’s up to me to live it up for all I’m worth.

Engage in the creation of beauty

A new week. A new day. A new opportunity to make a difference.

It happens everyday. Every moment of every day. And something I’m learning through this process of being conscious of what it means to make a difference is that — being requires action.

Several people have commented to me that ‘you make a difference on blogs everyday Louise.’ Thank you — Fact is, the difference isn’t that I turn up and be present in this white space. It is that I consciously fill this white space with my best with my creative intention to inspire.

My presence, your presence, in the world makes a difference by our being here. Air is displaced. We create ripples of energy as we move through time and space. the challenge is — to ensure the energy we extend to the world is the kind of difference we want to see in the world.

I did an experiment on my walk with Ellie yesterday. We took the paved trail as the off-pavement trail was extremely mucky. As we walked east, I spied a crumbled up kleenex on the path. I only had one bag so I decided to leave the kleenex until our return — and also, to see if anyone else picked it up. We passed several people going in the opposite direction as Ellie and I continued eastward. When we turned around and came back, the kleenex was still there. Bless them. Forgive me. (you know I was thinking not all nice things about those who passed the garbage by…)

This isn’t about those who missed the garbage. It’s about, once again, the action I took to ‘make a difference’. My choice. My decision.

The beauty when we take action is that we create a difference for others to experience and enjoy (there’s that ripple). Absolutely no one will know what I did. And it doesn’t matter. It isn’t about others knowing. It’s about what I’m doing to be the difference I want to create in the world. To have left the kleenex would have made a difference — just not in the direction I want to go.

There is no stasis in being present in the world — we are constantly evolving, always moving towards or away from what we want to create. I want to create a world of beauty — to actively engage in my creation, I must take action, constantly to be actively engaged in creating beauty in the world around me. And that includes picking up garbage.

Ask yourself today — what am I willing to do to create the kind of world I want to live in?

And then, consciously look for opportunities to be engaged in its creation.


Keeping My Commitments

It was a ‘no car/no spending’ day yesterday which, I momentarily forgot (about the no spending) when I went to order a book online. But!… the Universe never forgets.

When I went to get my wallet out of my purse, no wallet.

I searched. Everywhere. I even phoned my girlfriend with whom I’d gone to an art exhibit the evening before to see if it had accidentally dropped out in her car. I even phoned the coffee shop where I’d met with a friend Saturday morning. I even checked the roadway in front of our house thinking perhaps it had fallen out of my purse when I’d gotten out of my girlfriend’s car the night before.

No wallet.

Needless to say, I was getting rather concerned. The thought of cancelling cards, getting new id was daunting.

Before I started cancelling cards, I decided I’d better check my car, just in case. Throughout my search, I kept telling myself, it can’t be in the car because after Ellie’s walk I went for coffee and had it then.  Sure enough, there it was. It had fallen out of my bag onto the floor of the passenger seat when I’d come home earlier that day.

Making commitments is important. Keeping them even more important. Not for the universe — for me. Keeping my commitments means I am walking in my integrity, standing in my trust, being who I want to be in the world. And when I walk in integrity, I make a world of positive difference all around me. I’m not trying to hide, when I know I am living from a place of integrity. I’m not making excuses or telling myself stories about why it’s okay to have compromised on a commitment, or belief.

I almost broke my commitment yesterday, but a mistake saved me. The difference in that mistake is I had time to remember what spending money would do to my commitment. It meant, when I did find my wallet, I had time to take a breath and remember — ‘it’s a no car/no spending day’. While as one friend wrote that doing it one day a week doesn’t make that big a difference to the world, keeping the commitment makes a huge difference to me.

Walking with integrity, standing in trust, being trustworthy are all vital aspects of me being me in the world. Keeping my commitments to myself, and others, is the only way to hold onto being who I want to be in a world where all too often, opportunities to ‘act out’ beckon me to take a shortcut to happiness. There are no shortcuts to happiness. There is only the way of being my who I am meant to be when I keep my commitments. In that act, I walk tall. I walk with confidence knowing I am turning up for me — and not letting myself off the hook of my accountability.

Everyday we are presented with opportunities to learn, to grow, to be the difference we want to make in the world. And everyday, we have opportunities to take short cuts to happiness. It is the choices we make that make the difference in the long road of life lived joyfully in the rapture of now.


Living my 100%

Winter has come swooping in for a long overdue visit. Temperatures have plummeted into the sub-zero realms of frost-bit warnings and wind-chill factors.

And I am warm inside my home.

I am grateful today for my warm home. For Ellie, the wonder pooch, lying on the floor behind my desk and Marley, the Great Cat, lying on Ellie’s bed. I am grateful for the life that we have created to allow us the luxury of this home. The luxury of our beds. The luxury of the food on our table, the heat that keeps us warm and the roof that keeps the weather from falling down upon us.

I think about the homeless shelter where I worked and know that today will not be a comfortable day for the 1,000 plus people who slept beneath its roof last night. The coming week of arctic chill will cloud people’s abilities to see the possibility of change. Despair will deepen. It always does in intemperate weather. Moods sour. Spirits dampen. And bodies grate up against each other seeking solace and respite from the feelings of ‘what’s the point’ that invade when the temperature plummets. I am grateful there are places like the shelter where people can come in and be safe from the cold.

I am grateful for the sound of water flowing over the waterfall in the fish tank which sits on top of the bookcase to my left and to my friend Dave who gave it to me. . I am grateful for the oceans that are home to countless fish and waterlife.

I am grateful for this day.

I am now entering my third week of ‘A Year of Making a Difference’ and I am learning as I go the significance of gratitude as the foundation of everything I do. Cleaning up someone else’s dog poop in the park is a statement of saying, “Thank you world. Thank you planet earth. I care about you and the people who inhabit this world. I am willing to do my part in taking care of you.”

Shoveling my walk and my neighbours walk is a statement of:  “Thank you world. Thank you planet earth. I care about you and the people who inhabit this world. I am willing to do my part in taking care of you.”

It is a growing realization within me. Everything I do is a statement of how much I care — about myself, about others, about this world we share.

When I respond negatively, it is because I don’t care enough to do the right thing, for myself, others, this world we share. When I choose to criticism, complain and condemn, I am hurting myself and the world around me.

I am grateful for this place where I come every morning to focus on the difference I can make in the world when I choose to turn up and pay attention to what I’m doing, thinking, saying and how I’m being in the world.

I am grateful for the growing awareness that I am responsible for the difference I make. No one else can make my difference. I can’t make anyone else’s difference either, just as they can’t make mine. We are each 100% accountable for what we do. We are each 100% responsible for how we express our difference. And in my 100% I am 100% grateful.

I like living at 100% in everything I do.