Do you feel like you have to increase your life insurance or at least put on extra deodorant when you need to speak to a group of people?
Have you heard of Toastmasters?
Are you afraid of public speaking?
Did you know Toastmasters started in 1924?
Do you find it difficult to listen?
Do you know you have a unique perspective to share with the world around you?
When a mentor of mine told me about his over twenty years with Toastmasters, I was curious. I had never heard of it, nor did I know what it was even about. After being asked to speak in front of adults at my company’s events, I knew I needed to checkout a Toastmasters meeting. Speaking to children is no problem for me. I even find it fun and feel like I can be one percent myself. Speaking to adults, makes my face turn crimson red and the sweat to start flowing down my back.
Thanks to Vic Lindal’s encouragement and support, I googled a local meeting time and went. The meetings are an hour long and there is actually a timer to ensure that we don’t go over time. There are prepared speeches, humour, impromptu conversations, evaluations and amazing growth that happens at every single meeting.
I have regularly been attending meetings for over a year. Jumped this September into the role of Secretary Treasurer. I can honestly say that Toastmasters has changed the trajectory of my personal growth, not only in my public speaking, but my ability to listen and lead small groups with growth.
Last fall, I was asked to speak, with a microphone in hand, to two hundred pre-service teachers and I loved every minute of it. This spring, I am preparing to speak to a thousand plus people about technology and our children at a local university. Speaking has become a place of peace and joy for me.
This last Wednesday at our Toastmasters meeting, I was the Toastmaster, the person who runs the meeting! We had the theme of Winter Wonderland and it truly was the most fun I have ever had as a speaker and leader. I introduced the “Toasties” who had prepared speeches. I kept things flowing and managed to keep us exactly on time.
Now that you have a bit of knowledge about Toastmasters, I encourage everyone to seek out a local meeting to attend to see what its really all about. See how it feels for yourself. You receive three meetings for free and the vibe at every meeting is different in every club. Our OC Toastmasters Club is fun, kind-hearted and growth-focused. We love and desire for everyone to contribute and bring their unique gifts to the meetings.
Now, I must come back to that last question I asked at the beginning. That one about your unique gifts. Find a way to feel comfortable sharing with others what you are passionate about and the unique gifts that God has given you. They are there, I promise you. If you can’t see them, talk to me and I will help you discover them. Once you know what they are, learn to share them, speak them out and listen to the gifts of those around them.
What a journey!
What a life!
Thank you Toastmasters for being the impetus for even greater learning and growth that I could imagine.
There is a pervasive message in our culture that is saying “stay positive”, “think positive”, shift your mindset to be more positive and everything will be AWESOME!
Those that know me, know that I do have a positive mindset, but I did not, I repeat, I DID NOT, get there by being positive all the flipping time.
Let me tell you a little story about these three geniuses above:
My boys were 7,4 and 2 years old when my mom was dying. This grief experience would become the greatest gift that our family has been given! Plus, isn’t it amazing to know that we all having the incredible Nana waiting for us in heaven. When we were given this gift of grief, I spoke with my counselor, a tremendous amount, about how we grieve as human beings She taught me, and my children showed me, that the very best grievers are actually children. What they do is feel things very deeply, stay in each moment and move in and out of grief very quickly. This was exactly our experience. They would see or remember something from Nana, wham, the tears would come. Then they would see their favourite LEGO and wham, they are smiling and playing again. My counselor taught me that the best thing I could do for them, and myself, was to sit with them in their grief, feel things with them and wait for them to shift or helps them slowing shift after being present with them. Rarely, did I need to do anything but merely sit and be present with them.
Imagine this same grief journey, if I constantly put on a positive face, ignored their feelings and told them to be positive. “Just be positive” said over and over and over again. In a child’s world, this would be completely invalidating their feelings and not give them the permission to feel or grieve. I wonder what counselling they would need later in life to get over not feeling the feelings they had during this time?
This year is going to be our fifth Christmas without my marvellous mama and I must admit that I have become an expert at negotiating grief. I sit with myself. I feel things deeply and then gently move myself when I know I am ready. I cried in the pool this morning while swimming lengths. I feel the feelings, I let the tears flow.
I am blessed because I can now see and sense this grief process working in others and I easily give them space to move through the process. We do this often with relationships, situations, and even with our food. I can see people giving themselves lashes for not being positive enough or at all. I can see people trying so hard.
This brings me back to the positive rah rah that is overpowering our culture. I WANT TO BE A PERMISSION BEARER. As I observe and grow a business in this culture of a constant positivity, my message has clearly become “keep sh*t real”. The more honest my customers can be with me, the more I can walk with them. The more we can sit with each other in the real sh*t that exists in this world, the more we can move each other into positive places. We have to sit together, listen together and then move!
Feel the feels.
Sit in them.
Then look, seek and find solutions and that positive place.
When you look around and feel like sh*t because you aren’t positive enough, pretty enough, doing enough or…. <insert what it is for you here>… keep it real and sit with your sh*t. And realise that when I look around and see the pervasive positivism overwhelming my feed, it’s usually being put out into the world by men, young couples or empty nesters. You don’t often seen mom’s waking up to puking kids or having to put every single thing they had planned that day on hold because of a child with a fever, spewing the positivity message 24/7.
It’s about keeping sh*t real. Finding a way to keep taking one step forward every day towards where you want to go. Surrounding yourself with people who will cheer you on and be positive even when you have spit up on your shoulder and haven’t combed your hair. Find that tribe that keep things real and can be positive when you can’t be.
If you aren’t feeling that you are good enough, positive enough or that you are doing enough, STOP that sh*t. Remember my lessons from grief that my boys taught me.
God has given you many talents that you may not be able to see right now.
God is taking you through a season that is going to give you great strength.
God is going to reveal everything to you in EXACTLY the right time.
BUT, life isn’t always okay, amazing or incredible.
But you “Cann”:
Always hold hope.
Always brings peace.
Always hold love.
Always keep sh*t real.
Even when the positivity police try to overtake you.
Learn from my greatest teachers, my boys, in this upcoming season.
My mind has shifted from living in lack, in scarcity.
It has moved into a place of abundance, of lavish luxury!
I have realized that I have everything I need, in this moment.
I am listening, looking, learning and living as I talk about in my book, “I Am Free!”
Inside and Out!
I previously believed, I never had enough time or that time was ‘slipping’ away. My lists seemed endless and my priorities were blowing in the wind by others visions for me. I was flitting here and there trying to get things done and make up for “lost time”. Now I know that I create my time and I have enough each day. I enjoy and savour moments throughout the day. The moments create a beautiful life. I know that I have enough time.
FAITH! (not lacking faith!)
Before, I would worry about spending money $$$$, didn’t enjoy spending it nor never thought that we would ever have enough. I budgeted, spreadsheeted, pondered and prayed about how to make our finances “work”. Now I know that we can create the financial future that we want by being awake to how we are spending money, by saving practically and enjoying the journey along the way. I now find money EVERYWHERE and my boys do too! It is fun to see how this currency we have created is coming our way.
FINANCIAL FUN! (not lacking a cent!)
I used to think, that I was a border collie when it came to relationships. My role was to herd everyone together and to make sure that everyone was okay. I would endless reach out to people and communicate in a way that I thought would “make things better” by often listening to gossip or by saying I am sorry are just a few examples. I now know that I am a loving, strong woman with a wonderful tribe of people surrounding me, with their own personalities and traits. Everyone is responsible for themselves. I no longer am responsible for the herd, but choose to enjoy those that are attracted to my golden retriever personality.
FRIENDSHIP (definitely not in lack here!)
I am humbled to admit that before I never thought that I could do enough. EVER! I ALWAYS felt that I was at fault if something went wrong. I ALWAYS felt that I was never able to meet anyone’s standards, even my own. It was pressure, my friends, pressure to perform to the MAX. I rarely rested. I never let my mind sit, afraid of the lengthy to-do list that would push my face down into the pavement. I now know, that I am enough. I am doing enough, each day, with my gifts and imperfections. I ALWAYS know that I can add value to people. I ALWAYS feel freedom just to be. My mind can sit and I often find myself lying down on the ground in awe of the divine moments that come my way!
FREEDOM (soooo much freedom)
What are the possibilities for you to move from lack into lavishness? Is it related to your thoughts on food, friends, exercise, sleep, sex, communication, spirituality, writing…?
As we enter the season of the new school year, may we all move into a place of lavish luxurious living! This is my hope for everyone who reads this post!
This night do not allow the light of others to diminish all that you can do. Allow your light to find strength in their light. Be strong in who you are and build up those around you also living in their light! Shine my beautiful friend! Light it up!
Glory to God whose power in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine! (Eph 3:20)
After celebrating my birthday, I knew my pain had turned to peace. So, I picked up a brush and roller this morning and began to pain.
I was able to talk to my boys about the pain I felt when Nana died. I told them that painting this wall orange helped me. I told them I wanted to paint this wall white today because of the peace, love and joy that surrounds us now.
Now back to the wall to no longer wail but to have a whale of a time doing something my mom loved to do.
Thank you God for giving me perseverance to deal with my stuff and to have such a supportive partner.
I have had the privilege to come across a few women with the gift of prophesy or in my words “a way to speak God’s words into their own life and those around them.” I am truly privileged.
My counsellor, whom I started seeing last winter, has this gift.
Every time that I see her she will share a metaphor about my life and this metaphor will be confirmed by two or more people within twenty four hours.
Here is the latest prophetic instalment brought up by my counsellor and confirmed by Emi and Jenny.
My counsellor was speaking about grief. I heard her say that grief is like an ocean. You are going along on your life path when suddenly tragedy strikes and there lies before you an ocean of grief. The only way to get across it is to row. Sometimes the ocean is calm and other times the waves are rough. Waves can also come out of nowhere. But rowing we must do through tears, sun, love, sadness… You get the picture.
Here’s a photo my counsellor gave me. I am looking forward to a ‘calm’ moment while riding the waves of grief.
As we row this ocean of grief, I am grateful for God’s presence and the prophetic words of those around me.
This is not the end to my wave metaphor, but only the beginning…
After I returned home, I checked my email. My inbox had a message from my University roommate, Emi, who has paved the path of grief by losing her dad last spring.
Here’s Emi and her dad:
Here’s what she wrote:
I’ve read through this a few times… Good for thought and much rings true for me…
The link is here BUT this is what struck me: The author is talking about fifteen things they wish they knew about grief.
Number 3 is that grief comes in waves.
Whew, time to lie down, but this ain’t the end.
This morning, we woke up and I dragged myself to cross country ski lessons with the boys. My new motto is fake it til I make it! I shed an ocean of tears behind my sunglasses as I met many friends who had just heard about beautiful mom not joining us up on the ski hill. I was honest and then exhausted.
But God continues to help me walk one step at a time as I ran into Jenny from Elle Mikal. She made the toques for our family. Take a look here and here!
The first thing Jenny said to me is that grief is like a wave. She always thinks about being on a surf board. She told me to grab my bikini to ride the waves.
Riding the waves.
My boys at my side.
Tears falling down.
God is my guide
Beautiful photos from Jenny, each with a story I will keep close to my heart.