As I write my book and encourage people to communicate more clearly around their own touch boundaries and needs, I find myself observing, even more than usual, the ways individuals communicate and touch in various cultures and situations. I also observe the ways that people create strong and clear connection without using touch, as this is just as important.
I have observed cross-cultural use of many of the ideas that business gurus and communication professionals have been recommending for years, e.g. reflective listening, looking others in the eye, and body language. But I have also noticed, being a non-native speaker, on how people interact with me and with others who are from other countries. In the tourist areas, some English-speaking natives start by asking ‘do you speak English?’ but many will automatically start talking English, and hope the other person knows what they are saying. Many workers are adept at picking up on cues from their patrons and can identify whether to speak a native language or start with English, as English is default to those who know multiple languages but not the language of the country they are in.
I start my conversations with as much of the foreign language I know before I switch to English, ask for clarification, or request slower speech. I find people are more communicative and warm in return than if I just lead in English. My mother is visiting, and she says in Swedish ‘do you speak English.’ It seems to me that people are also more open with this level of communication. Perhaps because it shows a basic attempt to learn and respect where we are?
People I have met are more than willing to help me learn their language. They are willing to speak slowly, use simple words and phrases, and say things in a different way if I don’t understand. They will switch to English if they know it and I cannot understand, but if I ask them (once I understand the words) to say it again in Swedish, not only will they say it, but they will help me pronounce it correctly. It’s amazing and heart-warming and really fun to be able to learn to communicate this way.
However, sometimes I don’t attempt clarity. People speak to me and I just pretend I understand, even when I have no clue. Maybe I think I know what they said, but instead of clarifying, I just respond and then watch them give me an odd look because my reply wasn’t congruent with what they said. Every time I don’t ask for clarification, I reflect on it later, usually with a bit of regret at a missed opportunity to learn and connect. Usually I don’t clarify because I am in the midst of self-judgment or ego. Frequently I am afraid I will be perceived as stupid by the native speaker, other times I just am being lazy. At times I recognize the words and am upset at myself for not remembering them, so I “punish myself” by not engaging. Now and again I default to English, as I can’t even think about how to say a sentence under my own perception of pressure but after the situation is done, I think of three or four ways to express what I needed to, even if I do sound like a 4-year-old. (At least I will learn that way!)
We all have to start somewhere with clarifying communication-at work, in relationships, and in social media. It’s important to speak clearly and gently with others. To take time and trust the other person is doing the best they can in the moment. I encourage you, as I am encouraging myself, to let go of the ego and ask for clarification if you are being triggered by another’s words, or if you don’t understand. Take a few breaths, know that communication is one of the trickiest things we engage in. Give yourself and the other/s time and space to really understand. It’s time to be kinder and gentler with ourselves-and each other. Communicate what you want, what you need, and what you want to understand. Allow engagement, allow for mistakes. I am, and am finding it’s one of the best and most rewarding ways to learn.
I have officially hit the half-way mark with writing my book, and
thank goodness I hired a writing coach to help me. I write in spurts of energy and enthusiasm,
but then hit blocks. I wonder how to
phrase my ideas. Are they too
repetitive? Will they trigger someone or
make them feel uncomfortable? I find
myself getting upset as I poke around at old memories and lay them out for the
world to see in an open and vulnerable way.
Luckily, I also create time to hike to ground myself back to the
earth and breathe. I also do a lot of
tapping/EFT work with myself. I’m even
using my EFT practitioner once a month to help find deeper sources of patterns
I cannot see on my own. It’s been an
invaluable tool of healing and processing emotion so I can neutralize the past
and keep using those stories to help others.
I started reading a book once called The Way you Do Anything is the Way you Do Everything. I got about halfway through it, like I do with most books that are not fiction. But the point was valid, and the video below I took reminds me of that book.
I started hiking a mountain, but hit snow. I wasn’t sure, due to the melt, if I should
walk across it or not. I know a lot of
these mountains have deep crevices and holes that are buried under snow, or
streams that run deep underneath, creating potential pitfalls for the average
hiker wandering alone. I wandered at the
same level for a long time, entertaining myself by building a small snowman,
and taking pictures. Then-I found tracks
in the snow leading up. So, I followed
them. I had planned a 3-4 hour hike
round-trip. The book had said 3.5 hours,
6.9 km (4.29 miles), but I had already deviated from the path and circled the
mountain to a different path— a ninety-degree difference on the map.
I kept going, bit by bit, checking in to see how it felt to go
farther. Was I going higher up because I
wanted to? Because I felt I should get
to the top because I was already halfway?
So, embracing my inner child, I just did what I felt like at the moment. I took a rest on some rocks in the sun. I thought about patterns of pushing myself for others. How often I do things in life because others expect me to, want me to, or because I just want to prove that I can. I forget to tune in sometimes.
As I write this book that asks people to tune into their bodies
as they learn to integrate physical contact into their life in a way that is
both comfortable and consensual for everyone involved, I realized I better
start doing that in all areas of my life.
Tune in. Be present. Make
choices. Say ‘no’ when I want to, even to myself, no excuses needed.
I did make it to the top, after checking out a live bug hanging out on the snow with me, here and thinking about how I want to overcome and make a bigger impact on the world. 17.72 km (11.07 miles) and 6 hours later I was back at the bottom, waiting for the bus.
Perhaps, if I can allow myself to conquer the mountain bit by bit,
using play and exploration to figure it out, I can do that with the book as
well. I can use the support of my coach,
my friends, and my own healing tools and get it done. No rush, no timeline. Of course I’d love to have it done before I
come home in January so I can focus on my business. Yes, it would be amazing to have it done by
November so people could have it for holidays.
It would be even more exquisite to have it done before I leave the
safety of my friend’ s house in Norway in a week so I’m not stirring myself up
and trying to travel at the same time.
But, I am going to remain playful. I am going to heal the world by balancing a wooden spoon on my nose. I’m going to try to be zen, or at least laugh, even when being surrounded by black flies.
I encourage you to do the same. Find something that you do habitually, a pattern that exists in your life, and shift it to something that suits you more. That allows you peace and balance and freedom. That allows you to tune into yourself and your relationships on all levels. Be prepared-bring a carrot along for the snowman you want to build, but upon finding no snow, eat it instead for energy.
Let me know how I can help you tune in. You can email me from my contact page on my website, put a comment below, or give me a call. My work phone works in Norway! I would love to hear from you.
weeks of self-imposed peaceful isolation to write my book on community bonding
and touch has created a bit of loneliness in my heart. This morning, I made the choice to open Facebook and
catch up on my dear friends and family.
As I scrolled down the feed, my heart sank and tears came to my
on earth am I supposed to help us connect with each other when we cannot even
use civil tones with each other on social media? I sighed, as I scanned
faster to avoid the barrage of hatred laid out in front of me.
people lie, people do bad things—not liberals, not conservatives, not
whites, not gays, not the immigrants, not the millennials, not the elderly.
There are hate groups, of course, but in general communities of all styles, individuals make these choices, the same way my individual
friends make the choice to use tones of hatred.
goal seeming suddenly hopeless, I stepped away from my computer and wandered
aimlessly around the small house in the Norwegian valley. The windows offered the same view to the
beautiful mountains, and the sound of the waters rushing down them hadn’t
changed, but it all seemed suddenly worthless.
mind drifted back to an exercise at my Blandin Community Leadership training. If
only people understood how much our beliefs are actually part of our brain
am going to put you into groups based upon your Meyers Briggs results and have
each group figure a way to solve this problem.”
One of the program leaders said, standing in the middle of the U-shaped
table formation near the front of the room.
rural community leaders, a variety of ages, backgrounds, gender and race had
been chosen after a lengthy application process to learn to build and sustain a
healthy community. We were learning
about ourselves, where individual and organizational blind spots may be, how we
interact with others, how to see problems from a higher perspective, how to build positive social structures, and
how to resolve conflict. Quite an undertaking for a five-day retreat.
should be interesting, I thought, as she divided us into three groups. The last
few exercises taught us all a lot about individual roles and reactions, but
this is the first big group problem-solving exercise. I smiled as everyone
stood up and a cheerful buzz filled the room, as people grabbed their materials
and re-organized themselves.
the situation,” she interrupted the chatter as people organized into smaller
circles, “You are on the board of
directors of a nonprofit organization.
Your bookkeeper, a volunteer who has been loyal, accurate, and timely
for 15 years, suddenly starts making mistakes in the financials. The mistakes seem to be growing slowly, and
one day it is brought to your attention that someone smelled alcohol on her
breath while she was at the office. What
do you do?”
stepped back and smiled knowingly. “Does
anyone need me to read that again?”
not quite as challenging as I anticipated, I thought as I turned back to my group
with a thoughtful look on my face, I already know what my plan of action
of course we need to have a conversation with her,” one member piped up right
away. “We don’t know what’s going on or
if it’s true she really had been drinking.”
“She is a volunteer,” another person chimed in. “But we do have a duty to our organization, especially when it comes to finances.”
we definitely cannot sacrifice our organization if she isn’t able to continue
here duties well, but if she needs a bit of time away from the job to deal with
a personal issue, we could find another person to help temporarily,” the next
this is easy, I
sat up straighter and looked around the rest of the conference room to see how
the other two groups seemed to be getting on. Looks like there’s a lot of
agreement in the other two groups as well, I noted, people are smiling and nodding and
seem enthusiastic with their hand gestures—-at least the extroverts.
giggled to myself. Blandin had broken
our 16 types down into sub-types, giving us further insight to each category,
and I could see that playing out in the room. Our group is much smaller than
each of the other two, I noted. We only have about ten, and the other
two are around twenty people each. That
must make it a bit more difficult to come to a resolution.
have three minutes left. Please pick
someone from your group to present your decision to the group.” The leader interrupted loudly over the
hastily picked a leader, had her summarize our final decision to us quickly,
and turned to the front of the room, waiting.
one, please present your results.”
A prominent businesswoman stood up and projected the decision easily and clearly over the group. “As the board of directors, we have no choice but to terminate her volunteer position immediately and find a replacement. We cannot tolerate any financial impropriety in the organization, as it could cause a negative impact on our nonprofit status, our revenue, and the community trust in our organization.”
that is super harsh, I
thought, stunned. No communication?
No making sure that there wasn’t some other error in the system or an
update that wasn’t her fault that was creating the errors? Wow. So much for years of loyalty. I know how much time that stuff can take.
three, go ahead,” the leader interrupted my thoughts as I shook my head and
turned my body the other direction to hear the verdict from the other side of
the executive director of a nonprofit stood and faced the group. “She has had 15 years of loyal service. We thought it was in our best interest to sit
down and have a conversation with her, offer her help, see if the matter was
one in which she wanted to leave the position temporarily or permanently. We will give her support in finding help with
her drinking if that is necessary, and do what we can to get her back on track. She is a volunteer after all, and we don’t
need to jump to harsh conclusions or actions until we understand the totality
of the problem.” She sat back down.
that doesn’t seem to protect the organization fast, and is completely opposite
of the first group’s answer.
2?” The leader prompted.
spokeswoman, who worked for a large corporation, stood up and announced our
decision, an exact blend of the other two.
Starting with compassion and curiosity, and if the issue wasn’t fixed,
to take strong disciplinary action.
brain wiring determines how we make these kinds of decisions. Holy crap. And my group’s brain wiring has a blend of
both sides, which is why we are smaller and have a blend of both answers.
understanding hit me as ways to increase communication and synergy to pull two
conflicting sides together became clear.
and nurture both influence how we see and interact with the world as
individuals. The drama in the media of
all sides now shapes the tone and grace, or lack thereof, in which individuals choose to share their
opinions and the stories they hear.
mom told me that if I can’t say anything nice—-don’t say anything at all. I don’t believe that is true. Communication is necessary for a vibrant
community. We need to be able to
disagree, to have respectful conflict, to speak our minds, to share what is
disturbing us and why. However, it can
be done in a curious, educational, and amicable way. Are there people spouting melodrama and
hatred out there? Of course. Does that mean you need to match their
tone? Absolutely not.
something someone says triggers you and makes you extremely angry, is there a
way to pause, take a breath, and reply in a manner or tone that conveys your
disagreement in a way that opens communication? What kind of attitude and tone opens you to
listening to an opposing point of view? Try using that.
my challenge for you this week. Whether
it’s a disagreement with your child, your coworker, your friend, or on social
media, take a breath. Realize that
everyone has a right to their own opinion, no matter what information or lack
thereof informs it. You may not be able
to change someone’s mind, but you won’t for sure if you attack them. Ignore those who haven’t learned these lessons
yet, except to prompt them to please use a different tone.
give ourselves a chance to heal our communities and our relationships. Let’s
say what we need to, nicely.
There is something about hoar frost that I have always loved. It is so delicate yet so beautiful as it sparkles and shines in the beauty of the sun— even as it melts away. I love the fact that most people don’t know what it’s called, and that it is created by a beautiful blend of moisture, temperature, and light. In my memory it comes in late winter or early spring as the earth is coming out of it’s hibernation phase. Some of my favorite winter memories revolve around a ton of snow or a beautiful landscape of hoar frost.
I almost didn’t go hiking. I cut my foot, I had blisters, and I felt a little tired because I didn’t sleep well. Yet, I was restless and disappointed about the thought of staying home, and was feeling cooped up after all the hubbub over the holidays. I REALLY wanted to be in great nature and have a challenging hike instead of one along roads in towns. The previous time I hiked the trail disappeared, including all markings, just as it left town via a housing complex under development. I backtracked my steps because it was too late in the day to wander into the woods without a clear idea of where I was headed—especially since I was on a timeline to catch the last bus home.
I am so amazed that the hoar frost stayed all day. I am on the bus ride home with frost on the ground, some fog in the air, and a fantastic lengthened sunset (at 3:18 pm.) I also feel empowered, because the movement and peace helped my mind to clarify how to combine all of my skills into a lovely and beautiful healing process for everyone. I also worked through some beliefs I held about what is possible in my life (and what others expect from me) using EFT (tapping) as I was walking. Peaceful fields, hoar frost, and calming my mind by tapping easily moved me out of a place of feeling stuck and fearful back into a place of power and strength.
I am excited to come back to Minnesota to visit. I have two job offers in Sweden, so will be returning to Minnesota March 23rd to do massage, homeopathy, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/tapping) in Red Wing and in Mahtomedi. I am finalizing dates and times currently, and will be in touch with anyone who has mentioned they are interested. I will also be holding a few free classes on EFT for those who want to learn it and use it for their own growth. It can help with many things, but the focus of these classes will be around daily use for stress, cravings, and fear.
Now that spring is coming fast, I encourage you to use the energy of growth and extended sunlight to challenge yourself in some way. What is it you want to do this year? How can you be a bit happier, a bit more peaceful, a bit more “you?” I have challenged you in previous newsletters and blogs to search within yourself and see clearly what beliefs you hold that drives you in life that do not suit you anymore. What do you do that has become pattern or habit or expectation, but does not really make you happy? Let’s work together in 2019 and get rid of that so you can be peaceful as you move through your days. With age comes wisdom and the power to dump all social expectations and step into our true selves. I wish this for you!
To continue the playfulness of last blog, and my friend who asked me to take a picture of something odd every day, I have not been finding anything odd, beyond myself, and the pronunciation of the Swedish language. No new fun toilets or anything!!
Hello everyone! My last few blogs and newsletters have been way too serious or philosophical, so I thought I would lighten it up and share some things that I am finding interesting and/or amusing.
(I apologize in advance for the picture formatting/sizing and placement. WordPress changed how I can work with pictures. They publish different than the back end shows, so I currently cannot get the pictures to do what they are supposed to. It looks great on this end!! I swear!!!)
1. Toilets. I know…who starts a business newsletter with toilets? I am having a strange fascination with the structure of toilets and flushing buttons, and finally used my first in-floor toilet in Italy. (Is that TMI??)
2. Spelling. Before I flew to the United Kingdom, I was considered great at spelling. But words are very different there than in the US, and I was reminded of that often. Even my computer picked up that I was in the UK and told me I was was misspelling words such as: theater (theatre), color (colour), neighbor (neighbour), license (licence) and so on. They actually use the word “whilst,” yet Americans avoid the word as much as we can. (Like swum… we much prefer to say “went swimming.”)
3. Enunciation. Training one’s ears to a different language can be challenging. My friend Martina, who is Italian, and I were taking turns reading to each other and I read the word “quarrel.” She suddenly stopped me and exclaimed “squirrel?!” while proceeding to take a squirrel pose and make squirrel-like noises. (It still makes us giggle!) We also had a great miscommunication about “leak” versus “lick,” which sound very similar to non-English speaking ears, as well as “hate” and “ate.” In Sweden, I am often corrected when I think I am pronouncing something PERFECTLY and my friends tell me it is completely wrong. I cannot hear the nuances of some words…yet!
4. Knives. Did you know it is illegal to carry around a knife that has a locking blade (think multitool, camping knives, etc) at all in England unless you are going camping? I didn’t. My friend’s 11-year old told me when he saw it lying on my bed. In Sweden, I also found out it is illegal to bring knives out of the house, so one cannot just grab the kitchen knife and go get it sharpened at the local grocery store. It is a good thing I know how to sharpen my knives myself! It does explain all of the extremely dull knives I have dealt with at hostels though.
5a. Bonfire night/ Guy Fawkes night. This holiday in the United Kingdom commemorates a failed plot to assassinate King James I of England back in 1605 (Catholic vs. Protestant.) There are large bonfires (often with an effigy of Guy Fawkes in it), fireworks, and toffee apples. It is cerebrated November 5th, and overshadows Halloween (which is barely celebrated here.) I found it delightful and community-oriented, and I managed to eat just as much junk food as usual.
5b. Armistice (Remembrance) Day. November 11th is Remembrance Day, and, unlike the US, it is taken very seriously over here. Many people start wearing their poppies a month in advance. One town I was in had structures all over town decorated with poppies, some of them handmade by the local artisans.
5c. Sant Lucia. This Italian Saint is also celebrated in Sweden on December 13th, although they have different traditions. In Italy, the kids bring letters to her, asking for what they want as a gift (like we do with Santa.) In Sweden, there are no gifts given, but often kids dress up and wake their parents with singing early in the morning dressed as Saint Lucy. There is a traditional saffron bread made as well. Here are the pictures from a concert and the homemade bread (I helped!!)
6. Strange Things in the Streets. My friend, Trish, asked me to post pictures of odd things I find as I am traveling (travelling??) She showed me her favorite butcher shop, who, for Christmas market, hangs pheasants, ducks, and other animals you can purchase outside. This shop also sells squirrel, which I have never eaten before. Maybe next time!
These water bottles strapped to a post are supposed to prevent dogs and cats from peeing there. I saw many framing doorways as well.
7. Navigating Trails. I am pretty good at navigating, but I find that not all public trails are marked thoroughly. For example, while I was in Italy, I decided to take the long version of this trail around a couple mountains. It is marked very well, just past the blue split to the north. Then, the trail splits about 4 times, none of which are marked. I thought I found the trail later, but it turned out it was someone’s property markings. After bushwhacking for about an hour straight up a beautiful mountain using a compass and Google Maps, I found my way back to the trail.
To be fair….perhaps sometimes I lose a trail because I get sidetracked or I think I’m smarter than Google (just because an unmarked-by-Google hiking trail crosses a road…. it doesn’t mean I can get on that road,) but I have seen a huge difference in the ways trails are marked in different countries and the resources available to find them. Hands-down Scotland had the best preparation information online, including length, bogginess, difficulty, pictures, descriptions, and a variety of ways to download the trail information. Sweden’s big trails are very well marked, but I have to buy a map/book/guide for each one.
8. Silly things that Make Life Easier.
I love these automatic light switches in pantries and closets that turn the light on and off when one opens and closes the door.
I also loved a garbage can, whose lid popped open when you opened the cupboard door under the sink. It’s truly the height of brilliance, as I am easily impressed.
This may not make life easier, but I loved the concept of a bunch of trees growing out of buildings. These buildings in Milano caught my attention, and I have been told I missed some that were better.
9. Seemingly Innocent Yet Dangerous Spots. The Strid, near Bolton Abbey in England, is a stream that goes from being about 6’ wide to about 1’ wide. The water rushing through it looks and seems fairly peaceful, but it is super dangerous, and has a 100% death rate for those who enter it. Cameras, cages, and anything else placed in the water here for research disappear. My friends jokingly call it “the babbling brook of death.”
10. Coming Home. I have two job interviews in Sweden in January. One on the West Coast in Gothenberg, the other on the East Coast in Stockholm. The outcome of those will determine when I will come home and for how long. I may be coming back in February or March for a few weeks when I accept a job. If I do not take one, I will not be home until June or July. Once I have my tickets and have confirmed with the spaces I rent, I will be booking people who are interested in massage and healing appointments. If you are interested, please let me know by replying to the newsletter, Facebook messaging me, or by texting me via my old Red Wing business line/mobile number.
11. New Certification! I am over halfway through my international certification process for Emotional Freedom Techniques a.k.a. tapping. It’s really amazing and I am seeing great results with my online clients. If you are interested in learning more, I am still offering it at a huge discount. **Note: Those who are seeing me for homeopathy and/or EFT also get first pick at massage appointments when I return.**
12.Other updates. if you missed my past blogs, you can find them HERE. One is a story of me thinking my tent was going to blow off a cliff with me in it. Quite exciting??!!
I miss you all and I miss Minnesota, but I am learning valuable and interesting things over here! I look forward to hearing from all of you. (BTW, if your plan is to come to Europe in the next 6 months or so, I might be able to meet you to say hello if you give me notice.)
I work with a lot of people who have dissonance between what they want out of their lifestyle, career, relationship, or health, and what they have become or are expected/pressured to be. I use Emotional Freedom Technique and homeopathy to help each person discharge emotions and have the power to step into the life they want–without feeling judged. I have been observing in different cultures and situations how people subtly judge, and wanted to write a bit about it today.
Hiking up Fairy Hill with the group
I went to an event outside of Dublin called “Hammered Hiking.” It was advertised as a walk to a local pub, a 4-hour challenging hike through the hills, a brief stop at another pub, then a walk back to the meeting location. It sounded like a lovely way to meet some people in a casual atmosphere. What surprised me was the number of people in the group who did not drink. It came up in casual conversation as someone passed around a small flask, and three of the 10 of us did not drink at all. We got into an amazing and eye-opening conversation about judgements and social expectations of others. The question all the “non-drinkers” have been asked/hassled about/judged around: Why don’t you drink?
It’s a question I have heard myself. When I traveled to California and was on a detox, people were astounded I would go there and not have any wine. “What? We are near Napa! You can’t go home without having a glass of wine with me!” I also was asked by a couple of people if I was pregnant. Because WHY would I CHOOSE not to drink? The women I was with were astounded to see that I danced, laughed, and engaged as much or even more than if I had been drinking. I know people who will carry around drinks at parties and pretend they are drinking in order to deflect the social pressure. There can be a strong undercurrent of judgement as well. I.e. If you don’t drink, you must have a Problem with drinking. (If someone is respecting themselves and the others around them by honoring their choice of sobriety, we should be applauding them, not judging them!!) Others look for a Reason beyond just the fact that one doesn’t want to drink that day/week/month/ever. My clients and friends report having to make excuses (I have to drive, I’m not feeling well, I’m on a detox, it interacts with my medication, I’m trying to lose weight, etc.) for it to be socially acceptable not to drink. One friend of mine in Minneapolis quipped, “if I say I’m not drinking alcohol, people wonder why and judge me. If I say I’m straight-edge, I’m a cool part of the culture.”
View over Dublin area
One person in the hiking group said “I feel split from myself when I am drinking. I don’t like that feeling.” Another woman just doesn’t like the taste of alcohol. Both of them reported being pressured to drink over and over. As if the people they were with were not comfortable unless everyone is drinking. One said, “I don’t pressure others not to drink because I’m not. Why do they feel they should pressure me to drink?”
I hear the same thing said about food judgments. I know a woman who has an extremely high metabolism who has a hard time gaining weight. People say things such as: “Really, you are just going to eat a salad?” “You’re so skinny-why don’t you eat a sandwich!” With the increased allergies in our society, the people with serious food allergies versus just intolerances are not always taken seriously. “Oh, you’re one of THOSE gluten-free people.”
Why do we make these negative/judgmental-sounding comments towards people for their choices instead of being supportive? Is it us trying to feel better about our own habits and choices? I know in Minnesota we have a mentality where we have to offer food or drinks of any sort over and over again to feel hospitable. “Are you sure you don’t want anything?” I have friends who don’t like chocolate. They get comments like, “who doesn’t like CHOCOLATE! That’s _(insert word of choice).”
I really think that we don’t realize we are making comments that are negative and tiring to others. Perhaps we think we are being playful. Regardless, the words we say have an impact on others. My challenge for myself and for you this week is to watch how you engage with people about their choices. Are the words you are using implying judgement or support?
Resting after hiking 3 mountains in Connemara, Ireland
If you are ready to make changes in your life and let go of the emotional and social ties around it, send me a message and we will set up a complimentary 30-minute talk to explore how I can help you. I provide a safe, non-judgmental space for you to share and heal. I look forward to our conversation.
P.S. Comment below to share other ways you observe judgement in everyday conversation.
I woke up one morning in Kilkenny, Ireland to find ice on my tent.
Some of you want to see more pictures of my journeys, so here they are!
This great fjord swim started around 8 am. It was 42 degrees F air temp. Connemara, Ireland. I did not participate. Instead, I went hiking up three mountains (see pictures below.)
Walking down the last mountain after “a difficult seven hour mountain climb of three peaks in the wild 12 Bens; Benbaun (Mweelin), Benbrack and Knockbrack. Distance is about 8.5km. Terrain includes rocky mountain tops, steep open hillside, wet bog, sheep track and road.” Connemara, Ireland
Looking at the 2nd and 3rd mountains to climb.
I loved the color and texture of these plants on top of Knockbrack mountain, Connemara, Ireland.
Sitting in the leaves & considering how simple life was when I was a child
Hi Everyone! I thought I posted 2 other blogs between September and now, but it looks like they got stuck in my computer (I did have the voice-typed files saved) and I never finished the process. No worries, today I will post one from early October I wrote, then will post the next few blogs over the next week so we can be all caught up! So I apologize-I did not fall off a mountain somewhere and get blown away!
(Early October, 2018)Today was a challenging day for me emotionally. I am running into challenges and old belief systems as I try to figure out what I want to do for my next steps in life. Today my ego is telling me it’s impossible, that I should not bother, and that all government paperwork is stupid (which isn’t entirely untrue….) Today I miss my family, friends, clients, and the ease of being in my own country. Today I am close to tears walking down the street and I’m using my tools just to manage my emotions so I don’t have a breakdown instead of moving forward. But it’s OK.
One of my lessons this lifetime is to learn how to actually feel emotion really deeply.
Swans in one Dublin park
And when I do it’s always overwhelming. But in a really lovely cleansing way. Today what made things better were the random reach outs of strangers. I caught myself crying in public, and a woman came up to me and put her hand on my arm and simply asked if I was OK. I told her I was OK, but just sad. She asked if I needed any help, and when I said “no,” she gently told me “take your time.” And then she moved on. It was a great moment of connection and remembering there are good caring people all around me.
Later, I was walking down the streets feeling emotional, and a gentleman walking down the street grabbed my attention and gave me a very compassionate and smiley and uplifting look. It completely changed my energy, and I felt a surge of happiness and peace. A few people have looked at me with compassion, which I also appreciated. I’m sure quite a few people have averted their eyes or avoided me more than they normally would have. But I didn’t notice those people.
My learning for today goes back to the idea of being vulnerable. There is power behind being vulnerable and feeling and expressing one’s emotions It also reminds me that when I see people struggling I can reach out and offer a kind word, a smile, or a gentle look, all of which can speak volumes and really change somebody‘s perspective in the moment. It can help them feel connected and part of humanity.
Sunset in Phoenix Park
My challenge for you is to bring that forward it to your life. How can you show compassion and empathy to someone who is having a challenging day or who is struggling? How can you show compassion to yourself when you feel like what you’ve done (or are doing) is wrong or not good enough, and those messages are trying to penetrate your being? How can you take care of yourself and take care of others in a way that doesn’t put you out? If you haven’t seen it, thisBrene Brown talk is one of my favorites. It’s a good reminder that as people it is healthy to feel a powerful mix of emotions, and that it’s a good opportunity and often needed for growth. Included here are the pictures of many of the parks I walked through today as I was trying to be present with myself.
I woke up the other evening an hour after I went to bed to the top pole of my tent hitting me.While I slept, fairly
On An Gearanach, where I will set up my tent. “The” rock is to the far left.
straight-line winds started blowing through the mountains where I was camping.My first thought was that my tent was going to get picked up and thrown off the edge and I was going to be a goner.Yes, my brain/ego mind does get overly dramatic at times, and this was one of them.I held up my pole and hoped my tent wouldn’t break as I considered what to do in my fully-adrenalized state.Of course, I started talking to my angels/God/Universe/whatever you want to call it, asking for help and calmness.The first thing that popped in my mind was to “calm down-at least no one is shooting at you.”Yep.It put it all in perspective.I am not in a hurricane, tornado, snowstorm, or war, nor am I injured in any way.I am tired, cold, and a bit confused, and my mind wants to tell me it’s the end of the world-because that is how our mind works to try to keep us safe.It doesn’t matter if it’s a break-up, death, job change, or self-induced stress—-our mind wants us to be safe and cozy and to not take chances, risks, or to grow.Uugh.
I am sitting by the rock cooking dinner, and this is the view of my tent.
So, reminding myself that I survived getting locked in an elevator with barely the edge of a panic attack, and that people in this world have had to cling to cliffs to stay alive overnight…. or swim hundreds of miles… or overcome torture…or find cover while being shot at or hurt…so on and so forth…I got dressed one-handed (the other one was conveniently still holding up my center pole), packed up the bits of my hiking pack that weren’t packed, and took down the center tent, leaving the rain fly and footprint in place.I noted that my stakes were holding strong.Hmmmm, perhaps it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, it was just something new that I had not experienced before.I was cold and nervous and it sucked, but there was nothing to indicate I was in any actual danger, no matter what my loud brain voice kept telling me.
I waited kind of patiently for a small break in the wind (with my ego monkey mind telling me that if any of the stakes let loose I should let the tent go and crawl out and allow it to sail away so I didn’t go with it…the drama of the ego mind really was being annoying that evening) and when it calmed down a bit, I took the rain fly off the structure, stuffed it and the tent into my bag, then broke the rest down and put it away.
Now what?I was near the top of a mountain, in the full-moon semi-cloudy dark with my headlamp and my pack, with at least a 90-minute hike down to dry, flat, protected ground.I decided that was too dangerous, so I opted for the 2nd best option.I pulled out my emergency blanket (the kind that looks like aluminum foil but really traps heat as well as provides a bit of protection from rain should there be any) and climbed next to a large rock.I slept in my sleeping bag and e-blanket sitting up/propped with my pack on my back and the rock on my left.It was a bit chilly, and I got a bit stiff in my neck and hips and didn’t sleep very well, but I survived.Heck, it actually was pretty great to be out in the open, listening to the wind and watching the fogbetween the mountains.
The sun peeking over the mountains after I climbed back down and set up for breakfast.
The next day was absolutely gorgeous.Sunny and 70-75 F with no rain-just as predicted.I was bummed as I was too tired to feel I could safely continue the hike. The path was to take me over 3 more peaks, and was rated a 4/4 difficulty with narrow ledges and loose rocks (not in the same spaces) and I just didn’t want to risk getting hurt because I was too tired.I learned a lesson though….I think.
First-no matter what you want to overcome, shut off the part of your mind that says you cannot do it.Second-focus on potential and what is going right (stakes were still there, there is no rain, I was well-fed and had a lot of good equipment to keep me warmish and dryish, even without a tent.)Third-look at the wind reports, not just weather reports if I plan to camp on top of a mountain or near it.
How else can I apply this subtle lesson from nature?Our fears manifest in many ways and our ego mind wants to make many excuses for why we cannot or should not do things like make a career change, shift a relationship, take a risk, and so on.It can sound like logic and we can have so many reasons coming from that ego-driven monkey brain why we are not going to thrive or prosper.Shut it down.It is there to try to keep you safe, but it is false safety.It may be scary, uncomfortable, and even really really sucky, but it probably isn’t going to kill you.
I encourage you to take the chance!Look at me-over here in Europe, trying things I never thought I would have the opportunity to try, while also taking chances in all kinds of ways. I have a basic plan here and there, but I am winging it and it is turning out even better than if i had planned it in full detail.It becomes easier to shut off my mind and to calm the voices that really aren’t there to help, but are only there to hold me back.
This week, listen to one thing that your ego voice is telling you that isn’t true.It could be about how things are hard, how a change cannot be made, it could be something you believe about yourself and your own value and worth in the world.Then tell it to be quiet.You are strong and powerful, and you can do anything you set your mind to.I know this to be true.
Dawn (more pictures below of this great hike!)
I crossed this steel cable over the river with my 50 lb pack on my back!
Steall falls-I will camp on top of the mountain that you can see just a bit over the top in the distance.
Blackberries are in season here, and they are everywhere! It takes me longer to walk to town than it normally would because I stop and eat them right off the bush everywhere I go.
This is how I cook my food when I camp. I am cooking behind the rock that I slept behind. What a great rock!
Happy Labor Day. It has been a while since I have posted anything, because I accidentally deleted all my pictures from my phone.I didn’t want google photos to keep backing up my photos because I have a backup elsewhere. I told it to stop syncing, then deleted all my pics from the cloud in google.And…off my phone they went. Technology does not like me sometimes. But I didn’t want to post anything pictureless, and my photo storage wouldn’t give me the option to re-download to my phone.**Insert long dramatic yet slightly frustrated sigh here.** I now have my laptop back, so here we go!
I am on the bus, heading back to one of the most beautiful places I have encountered in Scotland so far….the Isle of Skye.I was lucky enough to have one of my co-volunteers in the hostel I was at in Fort William allow me to ride with her on her trip there. It rained almost the whole time, but I got these pictures.
Fairie Glen, Isle of Skye
Quiraing, Isle of Skye
I want to hike this island in a way that I cannot describe. There is so much subtle and untouched beauty here (as well as a lot of fully destroyed things by tourists. Rant ahead: Toilet paper DOES NOT DISSOLVE when you throw it on the ground.Think about how long it sits in a toilet without dissolving! Either cart it out like you would any other garbage or burn it in your campfire. My friend has a picture of a beautiful area and behind every tree and bush you can see TP in the bushes. Gross. It is my new pet peeve and the strongest source of irritation for me on this trip when I camp or hike and there is TP stuck into the landscape.)
Phew.I feel better now. 🙂 After my 3+ hour bus-ride home, I hopped onto the volunteer exchange website and looked for positions available.I am lucky to be volunteering in Skye Backpackers Hostel in Kyleakin from today until September 17th! 5 hours a day, 5 days a week gives me 7 days of lodging and the opportunity to do hiking and sit in the beauty. Tasks include cleaning the hostel, doing reception, doing laundry, and whatever else is required of me.
View out the hostel window my first day here
In 1882 the first Labor Day Holiday was celebrated in New York City. It was meant to honor the “working man” and to honor the “social and economic achievements of American workers…(a) tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” Source:The U.S. Department of Labor.I am still learning a lot about the work ethic of different cultures, (see my newsletter Cultural Similarities & Differences) and just met a woman who lives in Israel.She talked about doctors she nannied for who worked 12-hour days, 7 days a week because of the shortage of doctors, then talked about how hard she personally was expected to work in all of her jobs.The value of her area was to work hard, sleep, then work again. No real time to play or enjoy life.When I visited San Francisco, they were having a problem because housing was so expensive, minimum wage workers could not afford to live, thus there is a huge shortage of service staff in the area.I also know farmers in Minnesota whose workers are trying to get citizenship and/or appropriate visas, but they keep getting deported, thus leaving the farm struggling to survive.NO answer for any of this is easy, but it makes me think a lot about my own values of how I work and how I want to show up in the world…for my clients and for myself. I had a multi-hour conversation with a social worker from Michigan the other day, and he discussed how most people who are “on the system” want to get off of it and be independent, and how strongly they want to contribute to society.I feel grateful to be contributing in any way I can while I am here, while also taking care of myself.People as I travel also want to help.They want to make sure I have places to stay, see the best sites in the area, experience local culture, and will often go out of their way to do so!
Managers and volunteers at the Chase the Wild Goose Hostel, Fort William
To summarize this random thought process- often working helps people place a value on their worth in society.They get to decide how they experience that, but I want to say Thank You to everyone for doing what they can, how they can.We all have a role to play, no matter how insignificant it can seem.I hope you can find some kind of fulfillment in your work-whether it is for pay, for play, volunteering, or tucked in the past. Enjoy your Labor Day.