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Archive for March, 2009

About a month ago I was enjoying a lovely lunch with a lovely friend. I came out to my lovely 6-month old parked car, only to find a not so lovely gouge out of my rear taillight and left bumper. Lovelily (sp?) there was a note from a Good Samaritan (henceforth to be referred to as GS). I will paraphrase here, but it generally said a van smashed into my car, paused for a nanosecond (long enough for GS to get down the license plate number), the driver then cackled and rubbed his hands fiendishly (ok…that could be my interpretation) and sped off.

Rather than elaborating on the minutiae of the steps that I/we had to take to get to this point (one month later) with fixed car, I’ll bullet point here:
• Trying to find the right person to talk to find out what to do now – 1 hour
• Reporting to the vehicle collision reporting centre – 2 hours
• Taking car in for estimate – 1 hour
• On phone with insurance company to find out that if they don’t catch the guy, they’ll pay the $3000 in damages, but we’re on the hook for $500 deductible – 1 hour
• Taking car in for repair and working out rental car – 2 hours
• Time complaining aloud about the rental car we were given (I’ll not brand slag here…not my style…but suffice it to say, we dubbed it the “Crapnica”) – countless
• Picking up happy new car – 1 hour

So…that was all the petty, annoying stuff. Here’s the good part. The day that we were to pick up our car, we got a call from the insurance company…they found the guy. I am by no means a punitive person…BUT after having gone through close to 8 hours of time to resolve the issue and the hassles therein, I would have been beside myself if we had to be out of pocket $500 as well.

And here’s the silly part. As NON-punitive as I am, I would have happily worked something out with the guy if he had have left the note himself, owned up to it and done the right thing. Now…hours of police/insurance tracking time have lead them to him and he’ll face some charges, impact his record and insurance AND be out of pocket. Not cool.

The moral for me…be like GS, and always do the right thing. Good guys win, bad guys don’t. And the reality is…if you do something wrong, you’ll likely get busted…and the punishment is always so much worse at that point.

I’m also aware that GS really didn’t need to bother…many wouldn’t have…perhaps even me given the situation. But I will now…so thank you for that lesson, GS. Am trying to pay it forward.

Now if only we could track down the charming originator of the virus that crippled my computer for the last 5 days…

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Transparency

In my life, both personally (as wife, mother, friend, citizen of the world) and professionally (as Coach and Program Facilitator), I endeavour to honour my values. As I’ve written and will continue to write, sometimes these values are at cross purposes. Choices are made as I ask which ones are most important in a given situation. Today, I choose to honour transparency.

On Wednesday afternoon, our family cat died. I was with her as she went and I know the following: we saved her from certain starvation (she was a stray who found us just before winter set in at our family cottage); she had a very good life (if not full by our standards, but lots of sun spots for lengthy snoozes, plenty of food and a perpetual place on our laps and in our arms); and she loved, above all, being a mother’s helper to us when it came to raising our daughter…she would even get cross if we upset our daughter in any way.

I also know that this will pass, that there are lessons in here for our family and that I am making a choice right now to be with this (when I could *easily* push through stoically, as our society so often dictates)…but I owe it to myself to honour my value of honesty and say the following:

i-am-sad

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2% milk

The “2%” in reference to milk is a bit of a misnomer to me. It’s not really addressing 2% MILK…it’s addressing the 2% FAT in the milk. But we’re not considering that when we drink it…we’re simply intent on drinking the milk.

At a CTI training course this weekend, our skillful leaders Ken and Nina introduced us to the notion of 2%. Consider something you feel strongly about. A person you respect, an image you love, a flavour you detest. Here’s an example: I detest the flavour of fluoride treatment from when I was a kid (especially bubble gum flavour…oooh and the feeling of those horrid styrofoam trays that you had to clamp in your teeth). Got your own example clear in your mind? Envision it, feel it and hold it clear.

Now…consider the complete OPPOSITE. Yeah, I know…it feels weird because it’s completely untrue. I now LOVE the flavour of bubble gum fluoride treatment. So…get that clear in your mind. Own it, feel it, see it smell it…how wrong that statement is for you.

NOW…find the 2% of this perspective that IS true. WHAAAAA? Impossible…the flavour would make me gag. It would make my tears well up as I tried to not throw up. Think, think, think…how can there be any truth in the statement that I could love the flavour. Here are a couple of ways: I live in a country rich enough to make kids’ dental care a priority. I got to miss class because of this temporary discomfort. With this coating of goop, I am now invincible and can eat all the sugary crap I want (I was a kid, after all). Not so nauseated now.

There’s a nugget of truth in every perspective…it may just be 2%, but there’s still gold in them there hills.

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Spa-stic

I enjoyed 90 minutes of sheer bliss yesterday in the lap of luxury. A massage in one of the city’s premiere spas…for an hour and a half with my husband….we relished, cherished and nourished. And after the 90 minutes were over, I couldn’t seem to wait to get the heck out of there. What is that??? There is a tea room of luxurious proportions and a changing room with listening pods to heighten my bliss…and I’m thinking “let’s go and get some veggie dogs!!!!!!”

So what does this say about me? I used to have a golden retriever named Jesse who simply couldn’t wait to get to the other side of the street (knowing the park or the best hydrant was thattaway). When I cross the street unnecessarily prematurely, my husband accuses me of doing a “Jesse”. So…it would be safe to assume that is the reason I make a bee-line out of spas….to get on with things.

But here it is. Yet another confession. This time in caps. I FEEL LIKE A SPAZ IN SPAS. I am always fumbling with my robe sash, my flip-flops forever squeak and I perpetually lose my keycard. I ooh and aah over waterfalls, heartily huff the aromas of the teas and giggle when my feet are fondled. In short…I do not belong. My money (or moreover, my gift certificate) is as good as anyone else’s there, yet, I am a fish out of water…or, maybe a better fish analogy: a carp in a koi pond.

As I reread what I just wrote, I realize that the biggest distinction between myself and my spa-mates (other than my constant robe adjustment) comes down to the simple fact that I have not perfected the look of utter detached boredom. I could work on that, I suppose…but why bother? I think I’ll continue to rejoice in the treat that I afford myself twice a year…because it IS a treat for me.

Being more joyful in the moment…wherever that is (this side of the street, that side of the street, in a tea lounge or at a hot dog cart) shall remain my continuing mission.

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Let’s get this straight…when I refer to “u”, I mean the letter and not that I have devolved into some a slacker texter.

I love “u”. Perhaps not as much as Melissa Etheridge might on Sesame Street, but I do nonetheless.

This appreciation became evident this evening as I watched my daughter draw my likeness. I’m happy to say that my smile (and not the frown that all parents secretly fear that their children will draw) was a perfect, huge U. We discussed the fact that my smile looked like the letter, which devolved into a pretty funny conversation; me saying I like “u”, her saying that she doesn’t just like me, she loves me and so on (“who’s on first, anyone”?)

So…why do I love “u”? Likely because it physically represents a 180 degree change in direction. (BTW, pet peeve # 57 for me…people who say “360 degree change” when they mean “180”). Think about U-turns (and the centrifugal force in your chest and spirits you feel when you do one mindfully and skillfully)…and then think about language. I find it very cool that by doing a simple 180 on the meaning of words by adding un- as a prefix, many have more power than they had in their (no pun intended) unaltered form: uncanny, unrequited, unadulterated, unbridled, unalienable, unfettered, unabashed etc. We rarely use these terms in their original form…so much less interesting.

Change can happen. Shifts can happen. But they are usually mindfully, skillfully executed. There’s effort in redirection, to be sure…but when it all comes together, what a rush.

And finally…add a “p” to and you get “up”. Could there be a more purely beautiful word than that?

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Last summer, I was introduced to the step-wise notion of conscious and competence, or incompetence, depending on if you’re a glass is half-empty kinda person.

Step 1 is “unconscious incompetence” (file that one in the “ignorance is bliss” category). Step 2 is “conscious incompetence” (this one really sucks…“I’m aware how far away I am from knowing anything”). Step 3 is “conscious competence”…“hey look at me, I’m water-skiing…I never thought I’d be able to…SPLASH” and Step 4 is the anticlimactic “unconscious competence”…you’ve mastered it but are so in the zone that you forgot that you once didn’t know how to do it…but by now you’re probably beating yourself up that you’re consciously incompetent about a different skill-set.

At the risk of being accused for being altogether unkind to myself, I will preface the following list with the caveat that I am unconsciously competent at many things (most recently, reverse parallel parking). That out of the way, here are some of the areas in which I am consciously incompetent:

Blogging (or “globbing” as our daughter calls it)

Speaking Italian

Tying scarves in that elegant Parisian way

Making consistently good bread

Playing drums

Snowboarding

Any sort of dance that may involve actual steps rather than flailing gestures

Bridge

Most home renovation projects

While there is most certainly more, these are top of mind today. And I’ve committed to myself that I will seek out counsel on effective blogging, so am shouting this out to the universe (or blogosphere or whatever this place is called…see what I mean?) So if you feel like you want to revel in your competence in this realm, please email me your thoughts, input, tips etc (tanya@boardofyourlife.com).

If not, I’m sure my 5 year old will have the globbing thing figured out before me and can give her dear old Ma some pointers.

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One of my favourite word is “embrace” (“peace” too..I wonder what it is about the “-ce” ending). It evokes so many lovely and comforting images for me: from the obvious – warm hugs – to the more personalized – soft cashmere pashminas and luxurious bubble baths.

On Wednesday night, I came home after facilitating an Advisory Board session as part of my Board of Your Life program. I was reflecting upon the fantastic energy that was shared by that group and was sort of at a loss as I tried to get my head around what it was “like”. Then I received my Daily Om entitled “The Energy of an Embrace”. I realized right then, as hokey as it sounds, that this is what the program delivers…an emotional and intellectual embrace.

Take this excerpt: “Because a hug requires two active participants, each individual taking part in the embrace experiences the pleasure of being embraced and the joy that comes from hugging someone. As both individuals wrap their arms around one another, their energy blends together, and they experience a tangible feeling of togetherness that lingers long after physical contact has been broken.”

My program works on the same premise…two parties engaged: client trusting in their hand-picked Board and receiving their energy, support and knowledge, and Advisory Board honouring that trust, imparting their perspectives and insight and sharing in this person’s self-identified and desirable shift. And I get to be the lucky witness to this communion of energy. Divine.

My Mom had a lot of opinions about hugs. If you were going to bother hugging, then it ought to be a good one. The flaccid pat-pat on the back? Unacceptable. My husband learned pretty quickly what kinds of hugs would pass the muster in the Geisler family. Same deal here. If your intention as an Advisory Board member is to provide a pat on the back, thank you, but no need to bother. Someone who has asked you to participate is boldly stepping in a new direction and needs a firm embrace…”we are here…we will help you see what you are…we support you…we believe in you…we want whatever is best for you”.

And off the client goes…courageously but safe in the knowledge that that togetherness will be there long after the contact has been broken.

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