Hello! Is anybody out there?

It’s interesting when you stand back and observe things going on around you. Within days – sometimes hours – of my posting or preparing a post on a subject, it shows up in a Facebook feed, on a You Tube video, or someone sends me a web link.

Weird? No. It’s synchronicity baby, manifestation in action. It’s why we thought, “we need to keep the porch lights on, we need to keep people in a positive mind set.”

Really though, when was the last time whining about something actually worked out for you? Maybe when you were four. But do that as an adult, and even if you get what you want, you end up alienating (aka “p*ssing off”) people around you in the process.

There’s no point expending energy in the negative. So as Eric Idle sang in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”… Keep Looking on the Bright Side of Life!

(OK, now I just HAVE to insert that You Tube link!)

Admit it. You cannot help but sing along.

 

This is a sfift show

Day 50: This is a Real SHIFT Show.

I’m probably going to have to answer to higher powers for this one. Meh. Don’t care.

This is most definitely one of those periods in human history where a major shift is taking place. And we are caught right smack dab in the middle of it.

Some think the shift is a welcome slowing down of our normally frantic pace. An opportunity to get grounded, and not zip around like hyperactive squirrels hopped up on Halloween candy.

Some believe this is an opportunity for the planet to breathe, to heal, to cleanse itself and in the process, perhaps therein we can find healing too. Namaste.

For others, it just feels like some giant universal force grabbed us by our ankles, hung us up in the air and is shaking us down for our lunch money.

There’s no doubt, no matter how you view it. Change is afoot.

The question is… what kind of shift are YOU going through?

Are you angry and blaming people for the situation you are in? OR are you working on getting centered with yourself, your priorities, your family, what matters most to you… and only giving your attention to the things within your control?

Because let’s face it: There is a TON of stuff going on that is well beyond our control right now. So don’t give yourself ulcers worrying about it.

We are seeing some really good things happening with people coming together to support one another, shopping local, and connecting with friends and family – even if it has to remain by phone or Facetime chats for a while longer.

We are doing good things. Let’s keep THAT shift up.

MacGyver It

Day 49: MacGyver It.

(Before I even get going… No. I don’t care who that punk kid is pretending to be MacGyver. There is only one MacGyver. The brown-eyed, mullet-topped 1980’s era Richard Dean Anderson. Full stop. Don’t start with me.)

You know that something has had a cultural impact when a noun becomes a verb. Think about it… we don’t “search” for something online, we “Google” it.

Little surprise then that anyone born after 1978 know what it means to “MacGyver” a solution. A paper clip, gum wrapper and a rubber band and bingo! You escape the peril that otherwise befalls you and live to see another day.

Because. Science.

During a time when we didn’t have to preface the episode with a “don’t try this at home you idiot” warning label.

Discussions in business circles has been how to pivot, innovate, adjust processes and still deliver services. On a personal level too, we have had to adapt our ways of doing everyday tasks. Grocery shopping has become a social experiment in which the store is a maze and we are all white rats just wanting to get a lousy hunk of cheese and go home.

Cut to scene: There’s no clear way out of this. It isn’t going to end tomorrow. You feel the pressure. What to do?

We will have to find our own way out of this.

And like MacGyver showed us, if you can’t find a way, create one. Use what you have available – including the supports we have at Everything Olds.

Which is more than gum wrappers, rubber bands, and paper clips, just so you know.

Garden Ready

Day 48: Get the Garden Ready.

Ah, the great outdoors. Sunshine, deck chairs, lawn mowing, weed pulling… ugh, the weeds. Oy.

The weather is warming up and the garden centres are starting to open their doors! YAY!

There is something very Zen about working with the soil and planting in the garden. The fresh air, gentle breeze and warm sun is calming and your mind drifts away from the stresses of the day. I often think as I’m pulling (yet even more) weeds from my flower beds, about how it also feels good to weed out false friends and deadfall projects from my life.

Don’t have a garden? Potted plants and “vertical gardens” are making urban gardens a popular feature these days. If all you have is space on a window ledge for some fresh herbs, do it.

Want to check out some local greenhouses, garden centres and landscapers to get planning your outdoor oasis?

We have our big centres:
Home Hardware | Canadian Tire | Walmart

Local small businesses:
Lohr-a-lee Greenhouse  |   L.A. Greenhouse  |  |  Prairie Crocus Garden Centre  |  NEW!! Mountain View Herb Company

Looking for Planter Boxes?
Mountain View Rustics  |  Didsbury Garden Boxes

Landscaping & Tree Care:
For Trees  |  Cloverleaf Land Works  |  RiteLine Renovations & Landscaping

(Psst! If we missed you – let us know! We will update our list and give you a shout out!)

And for those of us who want some fresh food but don’t have big gardens, or just want to get crafty here are some handy how-to’s and idea kick-starters:
Grow Potatoes in a Bag!
Vertical Gardening Ideas!
Balcony Garden Ideas! <- These are just pretty!
Garden Art Ideas!

Emotional Checkup

Day 47: Have an Emotional “Check Up”.

Preface:

We got some good news last night that things will begin to reopen in a couple weeks. So while most of us are feeling uplifted this morning, once the jubilation settles there will be questions to resolve. How will this look? What are the new protocols? It will be a little teeter-totter of emotions as things gradually move along, from exaltations of “hallelujah!” to dejected “ah crap how am I supposed to do THAT?” So this tip is timely. And look… a glimmer of hope as we approach the half-way mark of our 90-day project. Yay.

We have been asked to “check in” on people through this isolation, to ensure that people are doing alright in their particular circumstances.

Have you checked in on yourself? How are your emotions doing?

Emotions are fickle things. During a strange and challenging time like this, it’s probably a good idea to check up on your emotions. We are going to experience ups and downs – that’s totally appropriate. For the most part though… how are you?

This is something worth making a habit post-isolation. Check up on yourself. What does your daily schedule look like? What’s your overall mood? Frantic and running or slothfully slugging along? Neither is healthy. We need enough activity to be stimulated and feeling useful but not so much we burn out.

Speaking of activity, are you getting some exercise? How are you eating? Have you picked up or dropped any unhealthy habits? Have you picked up or dropped any unhealthy people around you?

All of these are factors that will impact your emotional health. Just remember, we control our emotions, we can’t them control us. Recognize what’s going well, what could use some work, and what you can let go.

If you are struggling in any way, there is help available. Visit oldsinstitute.com for information on mental health supports that are available. We want you to come through this healthy and happy.

Take a Photo Hike

Day 46: Take a Photo Hike.
PLEASE NOTE: We don’t know with certainty if these trails are open to the public yet, so if you venture out, don’t be upset if you find there is no access. This is an experiment in creating a Positive Mindset, so just enjoy the view and pull off where it is safe to do so, and wander about. You can add these trails to your list of places to visit once these spaces open up later in the summer.

Last week we posted some images from a road trip around the county. That was a nice ‘country drive’ activity. Now we think it’s time to get out of the vehicle and venture a little further.

Charge up your camera battery, pack a lunch and appropriate clothing, and find some cool hiking spots.

For an easy hike that’s a short drive away from Olds, head out to Sundre and hike along the Red Deer River. It’s a leisurely three kilometers along the north side. You should be able to find parking along Alder Close.

If you’re a little more adventurous, continue west to the Forestry Trunk Road and try a 6.5 km trail at Marble Mountain. It’s rated ‘moderate’, a nice little loop with some sweet views.

A little further west is Limestone Lookout. This is a longer 12k hike but very popular. (The trip down from Limestone Mountain looks like it would be much easier!)

Be sure to prepare yourself properly for mountain exploration – bear bells, bangers and whistles. Brutus is awake now so be bear aware.

If you’re not much for steep hills or the risks of wilderness hikes, a stroll through Olds College Botanic Gardens will provide lots of local photo ops.

When you get back, post your photos on social media and use the hashtags #explorelocal #explorewhereyoulive and #exploreMVC Let’s show off what’s in our own back yard!

UPDATE: Since all the images get this post rather long, we created a PDF with all the maps so you can download and print if you prefer. We threw in a bonus hike, Blue Hill Trail, 15km with more calories burned as you approach the top!

Trails in Mountain View County

Day 45: Practice Visualization.

HALFWAY THERE!

Having followed sports over the years, I’ve noticed that the practice of visualization has been a primary technology in sports psychology for a while and it continues to grow. “What happens out there is a result of what happens in here,” is a common mantra.

I’ve found it fascinating that even away from sports, people who only visualize being able to do a new task are able to do it as well (or nearly so) as people who spend the same amount of time physically practicing it!

Since I’m not a sports psychologist, and I’m still working on visualizing myself as independently wealthy, I will defer to someone who is much more familiar with this subject. This is a TEDx Talk on the Power of Visualization with Ashanti Johnson, a fitness instructor and the owner of a fitness brand 360.Mind.Body.Soul.

Start a Good Day Jar

Day 44: Start a “Good Day” Jar.

Here is an easy thing to do! The kids can get involved too, and it can become a perennial activity.

Find a mason jar or other decorative container and keep a notepad or sticky notes nearby.

Whenever something good happens in your day – a phone call from a friend, a surprise gift on your doorstep, or YES! You scored on restocking something that was looking a little low on the shelf – write down the date, what happened, why it made you feel good, and put it in the jar.

It can be surprising how something so small can shift an otherwise dull day.

Later this year when this is all over – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve – open the jar, and read out all the things that made you feel good that day. You can even save all the notes and put it in a journal to remind yourself of the little things that helped get you through this period in your life.

What a great reminder that so often it’s the little things that make our days brighter.

BONUS! Want a starter for that Good Day Jar? Have a laugh at our salute to Star Wars Day.

Flip Your View Point
Day 43: Flip Your View Point

When you study drawing and art, you learn a variety of exercises to open up your perception so you can truly observe what you think you see. For example, we did sketches with our non-dominant hand. Being right-handed, I would draw with my left. Sometimes we would switch hands every 30 seconds. That exercise challenged you to use both hemispheres of the brain – we analytical, systems-oriented, left-side dominated righties could access the creative, free-flowing right side of our skull’s content when we went southpaw.

Another exercise was to draw the subject in front of you – a bowl of fruit, for example – but to draw it upside down. In other words, draw the tabletop and linens at the top of the page, the bowl upside down in the middle, and the fruit at the bottom. Talk about being forced to really look at what’s in front of you differently! (Plus, it was easier to do this than hang by our knees.)

If you don’t take a step back now and then and really observe life, you can miss important details, different angles, and new perspectives. Worst of all, you end up living life in an echo chamber. You fill your head with the sound of your own voice.

When we take a stance that “I’m right, dammit, which makes you wrong!” you are not recognizing the other person’s view of the situation. (And if that’s generally how you speak to or about people – in person or online – well, newsflash: You’re a bully.)

You don’t appreciate that their experiences, or interpretations, or frames of reference are simply different than your own. It is entirely possible that you are both correct, just looking at the situation from different vantage points, like in the illustration below.

Read the opening sentence again. You think you see something a certain way. But the mind is very tricky, and the ego can run out of control if you let it.

The reality is, you see only what you see in that moment, from that perspective, and only as much as your ego will allow you to see. If you or the subject was flipped upside down — and you parked your ego so you could genuinely be open to truly observing — you will most likely see things differently.


PS: For those who didn’t see this for #GivingTuesdayNOW… Thank you to all the people in the region that sewed masks! We didn’t learn until after this video was made that there is actually a FACEBOOK GROUP for them! Great work everyone!

You Are Doing the Best You Can

Day 42: You Are Doing the Best That You Can.

Aren’t we all?

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re having a difficult time — whether you’re struggling with living in isolation or you’re feeling conflicted about the world starting to open up again. It’s OK. Take a deep breath, give yourself some space and some self-care, and reassure yourself you will be fine. There are others feeling the same way.

Remember how far you have already come. The weather is getting warm, which makes it easier to get outside. Have a stroll, or coffee on the deck. Take time to relax and re-center yourself.

It’s absolutely acceptable to allow yourself to ‘break’ now and then… to put yourself in time out just to have that cathartic bawlfest to release the tension. Tears are cleansing. Let them out. You’ll feel better for it.

You have done well, and you will get through the coming weeks.

Day 41: Get Really, Really Clear.

Can anyone think of any other time in recent memory where more confusion and chaos has been created — and yes, I am using that word in the literal sense — than during the past four months?

The goalposts are constantly moving. The message is perpetually changing.  The numbers bounce around like a ball at Chucky Cheese.

What are we supposed to believe?

Since we can’t control what’s going on outside of us, we need to go within. We need to get really clear on what we are about, what we want, what we believe to be true, how we choose to behave, speak and think.

As we proceed with opening next week, you will need to navigate the new abnormal, and you will have to do it according to what feels right for you. You cannot apply your own standards and choices for what is “right” to another person, because they are doing what they feel to be right. (Re-read the first line of yesterday’s note.)

Further, as we go into the last half of this upheaved year, you will want to get clear on who you want to be and the life you want to live as we emerge from this craziness.

Take some time to sit down this evening and ponder: Who am I today? Who do I want to be in the future? What matters to me the most? If I had to choose between the two, would I choose safety or freedom? Why? How am I making that decision? Is it based in fear, or based in love? How do I want to live the rest of my life?

Just to confirm, there are no “right” answers. This is not a test for anyone else’s grading. It’s your own personal litmus test. It is intended to bring into your awareness what you want from life, and what is motivating those decisions. Nothing more. It’s your life to live – just be sure you are clear on what you are asking for, what you expect, and why.

Because that is exactly what you will get.

< Days 60 – 51: Read here.               Days 40 – 31: Read here.
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