What Does Great Coaching and Buffy The Vampire Slayer Have In Common?
Coaches take on many different roles in our life; some may be great; some may be indifferent; and some may do more harm than good…
You may have heard about a coaching incident in Vancouver on June 23, 2012, where a hockey coach was accused of purposely tripping a young player during the post game handshake. Video of the incident clearly shows the coach sticking out his leg in order to trip a 13-year-old boy on the opposing team.
The player required a cast on his wrist and the coach was suspended pending further investigation by the RCMP. This is coaching at its worst!
At the exact opposite end of this spectrum was an amazing display of coaching I witnessed after one of my daughter’s hockey games back in 1999...
Leah’s team was playing for the gold medal in a Christmas tournament, against a team they had yet to beat in the regular season. Her team was up by 2 goals and while Leah was not known as one of the team’s big goal scorers; she was having an amazing game having scored 2 of their 5 goals.
It was the third period and Coach Murray told his players that the next goal scored would be the “Buffy” goal (Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a popular TV show at the time); because it would be like driving a stake through the other teams’ heart. (OK - when I read this now I’m wondering whether this is really Coach of the Year stuff – but stay with me.)
Leah went on to score the next and final goal of the game resulting in a 6 – 3 win; and what would be the only hat trick of her 10 year hockey career. I was beaming with pride as our players collected their gold medals and I anxiously awaited the announcement of the Player of the Game. Leah had never won Player of the Game in all of her tournaments, and surely the only player with a hat trick in a 6 – 3 win would be the recipient this time around.
I tried not to show my disappointment when they announced our goalie as the Player of the Game. Lauren was a lovely girl and a great goalie who always gave her best in every game – and she was the Coach’s daughter! The team celebrated their win in the dressing room afterwards, and Coach Murray made sure to spread accolades around to all the players, including Leah.
But where Leah’s Coach really went above and beyond was at the team’s next practise, where he presented Leah with a hand crafted wooden stake with “Buffy” engraved on one side. He knew Leah had played her best game ever and that she truly deserved being named the Player of the Game. Leah beamed with pride as she showed us the special award that had been crafted just for her.
As a parent, Coach Murray’s gesture towards Leah will always be remembered and appreciated as something so genuine and meaningful. I can’t speak for Leah as to the impact of this award except to say that all her other trophies and medals from over the years have disappeared; but 13 years later, she still has her Buffy Award.
A Great Coach sparks something "above and beyond" in us and helps us recognize it, even when the world doesn't...
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September 2012 Blog
I tend to resist the end of summer and nothing weighs more on me to this end than the appearance of September on my calendar. Perhaps that is why I have been so delinquent in writing my September blog – I have been living in denial of its arrival these last 27 days.
September brings more of a reflective time for me than even New Year’s Day. As a child, you mark the passing from year to year by the start of school; and if you're fortunate, celebrate its arrival with crisp new school supplies and clothes. This annual marking of time continues on once you have children of your own (although the years pass by so much quicker as a parent than they ever did as a child).
With the start of school, I would set my sights on new goals – perfect attendance; becoming the captain of patrols; or making the volleyball team. Good grades weren’t that hard for me to attain and I never concerned myself with making the honour roll – it might happen; and it might not.
I was an above average student and accomplished everything I did through my own determination and efforts. I don’t recall my parents pushing me, or any teachers for that matter (except for Mr Buchan – and I’ll tell you all about him in a future blog). At the time (1965 to 1978), it seemed that coaching was reserved for low performers and problem students.
Now as an adult, I am still amazed by how quickly another September appears. I reflect on what has changed from the year before; how have I grown; what have I accomplished? Oftentimes, I would be left feeling that I had coasted through another year on autopilot, surprised to have arrived at the same starting point once again. Last September was different though…
For the last 7 years I have made an effort to live my life more consciously; co-creating my life path with the Universe as opposed to just waiting to see what might appear. Last September, during my “annual review”, I decided it was time to focus on my physical wellness and adopted a wheat free diet. I took a number of courses that would align with the trajectory I was setting for my life. And I brought increased focus and attention to the work I truly wanted to do in this world.
My gung ho attitude started to wane around January (just when everyone else was getting excited about their New Year’s Resolutions). I was determined to truly be in a different place in September 2012 and decided to hire a Life Coach to help me clarify my goals; make sure they aligned with my authentic self; and to see them through to success.
My Life Coach held me accountable to my goals and provided insight and encouragement to move from “I think I can” to “I know I can” to “I’m doing it”!!!
I had always thought of coaching as something that under performers or problem employees needed. But I now believe that coaching is just as valuable for those who want to move from good to great; or from great to (whatever you define as better than great)!
This September, I am happy to say I’m exactly where I dreamed I would be a year ago, and maybe even a littler further down the road than that. But it’s not time to rest on my laurels; next September will be here before I know it and its time to map out my dreams for the next 12 months. I may or may not need a Coach to help stay on track and meet those dreams; but if I find myself meandering off course, I won’t hesitate to pull that tool from my dream manifestation tool kit!
So what about you? Is there a passion tugging at your heart or a dream whispering in your ear that you’re ready to give life to? Take the first step to realizing that passion or dream by acknowledging its existence. Then take another step towards it by simply envisioning its completion in your life and how that would make you feel. Embody that feeling of joy, bliss, accomplishment – whatever it might mean for you.
Don'y deny your authentic life path any longer. Take the first step, and then another, and then another. Because before you know it, another 365 days will pass and September 2013 will be upon you. And where you are at that time depends completely upon the choice you make today.
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August 2012 Blog
Watch What You Reach For…
If you’re a Mom with school age kids, you already know that June can be a crazy and demanding month. School windups, sports windups, music recitals…and if you have the same luck as me; two kids’ birthdays just four days apart (June 22nd and 26th).
I recall one particularly challenging June with all of the above activities crammed into a one week period. After this particular week of mayhem which involved me bringing potato salad to no fewer than 4 activities; I decided to enhance my Super Mom status by hosting a Sunday family birthday party for my children, Leah and Jeff.
Immediate family meant about 30 people in our backyard with me digging in to my 4th jar of Miracle Whip for the week (yup – more potato salad)!!! The weather was great and everyone had a wonderful time enjoying the pool and my mayo laden salads.
The guests were gone by 7:00 pm and by the time I finished cleaning up it was approaching 9:00. I was exhausted and ready to drop into bed when I suddenly remembered that Leah had a school field trip the next day, and I always liked to pack a special lunch for my kids’ field trips.
Luckily, there were plenty of treats leftover from the party and I lovingly filled Leah’s lunch kit with an assortment of her favourite items; garlic sausage, cheese, a bag of chips, a little chocolate bar, and a can of pop. (Please note – in 1997 it was still acceptable to send a can of pop in your child’s lunch.)
Everything was packed and ready to go for the morning; the Birthday Party had been a great success; and I crawled into bed a proud Mom.
Dragging myself through work the next day was a challenge as I was still feeling the toll of all the activities the week prior, topped off by the family party the day before. I was anxious to get home after what felt like a very long day and hear all about Leah’s field trip.
I knew something was wrong as soon as I saw Leah’s long face and wondered what could have happened. She opened her lunch kit which still contained her entire lunch and handed me her can of pop. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a can of pop – it was a can of beer!!!
Leah was so mortified when she opened her lunch kit and found the can of beer that she quickly zipped it back up, for fear of being discovered and expelled from school. She was upset and starved by the time she got home, and was in the process of revoking my nomination for Mother of the Year.
The disheartened look on Leah’s face made me realize that with the best of intentions I had over extended myself the entire month of June; culminating with me “reaching for the wrong thing” and sending my 10 year old daughter to school with a can of beer!!!
I carry this lesson with me even today; when I catch myself taking on more than I should; or notice that I’m running on empty. During these times I especially need to “watch what I’m reaching for”…
We all resort to a guilty pleasure here and there, and so we should! But if you start finding yourself at the end of a hectic day (or week, or month), and barely remember how you got there; you might be spreading yourself too thin and reaching for things on autopilot, that just aren’t supporting your overall well being.
In times like this, make sure to check the can before you pop the top!
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July 2012 Blog
Love Thy Neighbour...
Like many people, my husband Gerry and I have lived for 20 years with an extremely difficult neighbour (and he would say the exact same thing about us). This neighbourly dispute is rooted in the fact that we have a swimming pool which over the years has been frequented by hundreds of happy, squealing kids during the summer.
We consider ourselves considerate pool owners and rarely play music in our yard; never have parties that go past sundown; and when our children were old enough to have a few friends over after dark, we stressed how important it was to “keep it down”.
We don’t actually share a property line with this neighbour; our backyards merely touch at one point, where our fence corners meet. The sound of splashing and fun from our pool drives this neighbour to distraction and his retaliation over the years has included all of the following:
This ongoing antagonism caused us to feel increasingly uncomfortable in our own backyard, and to obsess about what he was going to do next. We would step out in our yard bracing ourselves for blaring polka music; and would get exactly what we prepared ourselves for. We realize now just how much negative energy was expended on our part in reaction to the whole situation.
The final straw occurred about 4 years ago when our neighbour installed a video camera high up in a tree, pointed directly into our backyard. The camera’s red light blinked continuously; a reminder day and night of who had the upper hand in this backyard battle.
We immediately went to our local police station to report this invasion of privacy and were surprised to learn that our neighbour had done nothing illegal. For the next few weeks I had a sick feeling every time I set foot in my backyard and could barely enjoy our usual summer activities. Visiting friends couldn’t believe this was legal; and their furor only fuelled our own anger and frustration.
Our emotions and behaviour continued to escalate and became completely misaligned with the spiritual practises we attempted to define our lives by. We knew deep down there had to be a better way to deal with this latest assault in our backyard and decided to bring some humour to the situation…
We started to pretend that we were “Brad and Angelina” – hounded by paparazzi hiding in trees, trying to catch our every move! We moved our lawn chairs from their usual location towards the back of our yard – away from the ever present eye of the camera. Imagine our surprise and gratitude when we discovered this was actually a much nicer place to enjoy our backyard. Why had we never sat back there before?
We began to meditate regularly under the apple tree in our new found sanctuary, with a focus on peace and harmony with our neighbour. At the end of one of our first backyard meditations two doves flew directly overhead, confirming we were moving in the right direction. Our focus had to be “what could we bring to diffuse this situation” as opposed to “what could we do to get even”.
We placed a clear quartz crystal that we had infused with peace and love on a fence board right where our properties touch; the belief being that the crystal would amplify the peaceful loving energy we were manifesting. This crystal disappeared shortly thereafter and we have always wondered if our neighbour brought this token of peace and love unknowingly onto his own property.
As we continued to raise our consciousness and become more self-aware regarding our role in this situation, we began to recognize that we could choose our attitude at all times, independent of our neighbour’s behaviour. For the first time ever, we were at peace in our yard. Our neighbour continued to act out but he no longer had the same effect on us; and we made every effort to only respond with peace and love.
I believe our energetic change in perception, attitude and intent led to a levelling of the negative energy that existed between our two properties. Over the last couple of years, these instances of disharmony have drastically reduced. We also discovered that the camera aimed at our backyard never actually worked; it was simply a decoy to intimidate us.
I won’t go in to the details of what’s transpired at our neighbour’s house over the last year; and I’m not suggesting that a sudden friendship has formed; but remember the German flag that flew defiantly beside our yard? Well it has now been replaced by a beautiful baby blue flag with a Peace Sign on it!
Are you involved in a conflict situation with a neighbour, co-worker, relative, etc? Try the old Love Thy Neighbour approach!
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June 2012 Blog
My “A-Ha” Healing…
The End To My Lifetime Struggle With Eczema…
I have struggled with eczema for as long as I can remember, and especially so on my hands for the last 20 years. My life has usually involved the use of a topical steroid cream to keep my eczema at bay until 2 years ago, when I developed intolerance to these steroids and had to stop using them immediately.
As a result of the abrupt end to my steroid use, the eczema on my hands and fingers quickly escalated to a debilitating state. My fingers were usually cracked and bleeding and I was in chronic pain. Water would feel like burning acid on my hands and I could not stand my sheets or covers touching them through the night.
The itch was unbearable and while I knew I would pay the price for scratching, I could not control myself – I needed the immediate relief that scratching brought in spite of the ongoing price. I would hide my hands from people because I was so embarrassed, and regularly took Tylenol to quell the throbbing pain and be able to sleep through the night.
During the last 2 years I would have numerous containers of creams on the go; all promising to provide relief for eczema, with none of them delivering on their promise. I saw a naturopath who determined various food allergies that could be contributing to my eczema, along with a number of other nutritional imbalances in my system. So I embarked on an expensive regimen of supplements and clay treatments, which provided marginal improvement at best.
Then in September of 2011 I stumbled upon the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis; and his wisdom and cautions about wheat in our diet resonated with me in a way that the truth tends to resonate with us. I decided I would attempt to eliminate wheat from my diet with the hope of controlling my eczema.
My first 2 weeks of being wheat free included classic withdrawal symptoms such as body aches, irritability, and exhaustion (all of this was forewarned in Wheat Belly). Once my withdrawal symptoms subsided half way through week 2, I noticed that my ongoing stomach issues were gone and my chronic knee pain was greatly reduced!
However, my eczema persisted – the burning, itching rash rampant as ever; BUT the chronic pain “inside” my hands was nearly gone. Was I actually suffering from eczema and arthritis, and was the wheat free diet reducing the pain and inflammation associated with the arthritis in my hands?
After two weeks of being wheat free I experienced so many immediate health improvements (apart from my eczema) that I decided to keep going for another two weeks. “Maybe it would just take a little longer for my eczema to respond to the wheat free diet”, I thought to myself.
Well that was 8 months ago and I am quite resolved that I will never go back to eating wheat – the health benefits have been too great! I’ve lost about 30 pounds; the chronic ache inside my hands and left knee is completely gone; and all my stomach problems have subsided (bloating, gas, discomfort, etc).
However, my eczema continued to severely impact my life, until…
A short time ago, Dr. Davis promoted the book The No Carb Revolution by John McLean, which I downloaded and devoured in 3 days. This book was similar to Wheat Belly in many ways; both advocated the elimination of wheat, and all unhealthy carbohydrates from your daily diet; but The No Carb Revolution also offered a holistic (some might say spiritual) approach to imbalances with your health and weight.
In John McLean’s Secret # 13, he writes “If we want to continue restoring well-being and energy in our lives, we must continue working on our relationship with our bodies. We can all stand to communicate more with our body. That means, first and foremost, listening to it. Instead of immediately dulling its messages with pills, potions and powders, we should listen to our body first and be open to what it’s trying to communicate to us.”
John McLean’s approach resonated with me as another personal truth and I began to adopt a state of gratitude and meditation with my hands. My body, through my eczema, was screaming a message at me that I just wasn’t getting. And after just 4 days of really listening to my body from this new place of understanding, I uncovered the underlying emotional reason for my eczema, and began to let it go.
I came to realize that I was holding all of my anxiety in my hands. I was clinging to these worries with tightly clenched fists and it was time to let them all go. I can hardly describe the clarity of this situation once I was ready to really look at it from a Body / Mind / Spirit perspective, as opposed to strictly a Body perspective.
Each time I felt the itch of eczema on my hands, I thanked my body for the message it was sending. I would then check in with the unconscious thoughts swirling in my mind at that exact moment, and discovered they were consistently of a negative or anxious nature.
I would then acknowledge the ineffectiveness of this thought pattern and release the negativity from my mind. At the same time I would release the itch through my fingertips with gratitude; for pointing out that I had allowed my mind to wander to such a negative state. During this new practise I could energetically feel the anxiety (and eczema) being released from my body through my fingertips. Within a week of this practise, the eczema on my hands and fingers had improved by at least 90%.
Today the itch still arises with some frequency, and most often I scan my mind for the unbidden thoughts that have come to rest there, and with gratitude let them go. At times I might revert to old habits and start to scratch; but most often I follow my newly developed practise and am enjoying healed and pain free hands for the first time in years!
So what was at play here? Did my wheat free diet do anything to eliminate my eczema or was it strictly the body/mind practice that finally brought relief? OR, did I require the right combination of the two?
I believe the eczema in my hands has been conveying my unhealthy levels of anxiety for decades but I was unable to decode its message. The underlying emotional causes of eczema in Louise Hay’s groundbreaking book You Can Heal Your Life, lists: “Breath-taking antagonism and mental eruptions.” I read Louise Hay's book years ago but never made this complete connection until the other pieces of the puzzle appeared in my life.
For years steroid creams managed to keep my eczema bearable and I could avoid looking at the toll these negative, anxious thoughts were taking on me. Perhaps my body in its ingenuity developed intolerance to these steroid creams to force me to finally deal with these unhealthy thought patterns. Did my body then intuitively move me towards a healthier wheat free diet; the next step on my path to health?
I believe this to be the case; but this step in itself was not sufficient. I was not yet incorporating the necessary Mind and Spirit perspectives that were brought to light in The No Carb Revolution.
In other words, the physical fix (the elimination of wheat) was not successful in isolation; I also needed to address the mind/spirit fix of letting go of my anxiety. Once these three modalities were unified, my healing was immediate and astonishing!
If I had truly known what I was in for, I would have taken many horrific “before” pictures for you; but my family and friends can attest to the extreme healing that manifested once I finally “got it”.
Is my eczema 100% gone? No, but its 90% gone!
Do I follow my new practise 100% of the time? Not yet, but I will; and I have no doubt that my lifelong dance with eczema is entering its final turn around the dance floor.
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May 2012 Blog
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
Can your childhood dreams lead you to happiness today…
One of the questions we love to ask children, is “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. Do you remember what your answer would have been when you were 5 or 8 or 10 years old? Your answer might be quite revealing, especially in relation to the career you actually decided upon (or did your career decide upon you?).
When children face this pivotal question, their answer is often an archetypal career that resonates with all of us…doctor, teacher, fireman, police officer, nurse, astronaut, etc. These professions speak to our innate passions and desires to teach, help, nurture or experience adventure. Rarely does a child express a desire to be an accountant, officer clerk, salesman, or upper level manager.
When I was in Grade 4, I was enamoured with the spectacular opening credits to movies by 20th Century Fox Studios (do you remember the skyscraper adorned with the words “20th Century Fox”, and the booming orchestral music?). I vividly recall my dream of one day writing movies for 20th Century Fox. And then a few years later in Junior High, I became interested in psychology and believed that would be the path I would follow.
However different choices were made, and I have worked for more than 25 years in an office where I made lifelong friends and enjoyed a salary that allowed for a lovely home and comfortable life; BUT where the discord between my childhood dreams and adult reality grew stronger and stronger with each passing year.
In answer to this discord, I was motivated to revisit these long held dreams and bring them to life wherever I could - by going back to school to obtain my psychology degree; exploring more holistic avenues to support people on their life path; and taking a stab at blogging to satisfy my long unanswered desire to be a writer.
Now think back to your childhood and how you would have answered the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. Would you have chosen a teacher, fireman or astronaut? Whatever your answer, what underlying passion would have been associated with your dream – teaching, helping, nurturing, the quest for adventure – or something else entirely?
And now thinking about your true childhood passion, consider the following questions:
Getting in touch with your oldest and most authentic dreams can bring great joy and direction to your life. These dreams and passions never died – but life happened, and adult priorities may have caused them to fade.
If you would like to explore these unmanifested dreams through Life Path Coaching, an Interpretive Card Reading, or creating a Vision/Dream Board, please consider a free introductory session with Life Path Pursuits to determine the best option for you