Alberta has started to re-open.

This is good news for many. Others are still fearful.

Having spoken to several members of our business community, it is important for you to understand: EVERYONE is concerned, and has full intention to adhere to recommendations from their regulatory bodies, Alberta Health Services and government to put practices in place to keep you as safe as possible.

There is enough vitriol on social media that if it were diesel, it would fuel an army. Don’t add any more kerosene to the wildfire already blazing around us. Turn the firehose on to “kindness” mode and let ‘er rip.

Remember Day 42: We are ALL doing the best that we can.

Find Humour in Everything

Day 40: Find Humour in Everything.

That’s a tall order. Particularly if you tend not to have a strong sense of ha-ha.

Studying art – and living with depression – you come to realize that you cannot recognize shadows without there first being a source of light. It’s the contrast of light being cast across something that creates the shadow.

It stands to reason then that every time we find ourselves ‘in the dark’, we know the light must exist. That’s enough reason to go look for it.

Not that it’s an easy thing to do. Take for example a situation that can be unpleasant, like, oh I dunno, a global pandemic.

How many funny memes and videos have been created about isolation life and people’s weird behaviour while stuck at home? Exactly.

Moaning about an already unhappy circumstance does not make it better. Having a laugh might not fix the problem at hand, but it sure helps alleviate the tension.

Maybe go back to the last segment of these Positivity posts and listen to Eric Idle’s whistling again if you don’t believe me.

Design Your Recovery Plan

Day 39: Design Your Recovery Plan

Our days-ending-in-“9” are primarily chats with our business friends, but they can be taken on a personal level too.

We are five days out from starting to re-open in Alberta. There will still be a period of adjustment as stores re-open under new protocols and operating standards. Recovery part one.

At Everything Olds, we are already receiving updates from Travel Alberta, as an example, of what their recovery plan looks like.

Phase 1, which they are wrapping up now, was “reSponse” — navigating the situation and responding accordingly. Phase 2 is “reStart”, where we are all finding ourselves today, at various stages.

The final phase is called “reBuild”. When it is safe – and for Travel Alberta, this will happen more next year than now – they will focus on rebuilding Alberta’s tourism industry.

The focus will start off with what they call “hyper-local”, encouraging Albertans to explore their own community and what they have close to home. Gradually the rebuilding will reach out to regional markets and eventually back into an international presence.

You can create a similar strategy. Make a plan for your well-being… financially, physically, operationally, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. As a business you can find assistance with our Entrepreneur Coach Harvey Walsh.

On a personal level, there are many excellent life coaches in the community. You can find some of them in our Community Directory on this website.

Write a letter to a child

Day 38: Write a Letter to a Child.

If you know a kid, send them a little letter in the mail. It can just be a little note to say you’re thinking about them, maybe include a photo of you with your pet dog, or a coupon for a favourite treat they like. Kids LOVE getting their own personally addressed, hand-written letters.

Even for your own children or grandchildren, you can write them a letter – one for now and one… for later.

This is something we might all consider doing… that “do not open until…” letter.

The one where you share with them your dreams for the future. The one where you apologize for the mistakes you made as you look back on those challenges you had while raising them (we all make them). The one where you share your favourite memories of them growing up. The one where you tell them the important lessons you learned you want to pass to them, so they can avoid the disappointments and heartbreak you suffered.

You can leave them a letter, if they are little, to recall your experiences of this 2020 spring and the global events going on. You might feel you need to tell them about “the time before” – and let them know what life was like: the bad and the good.

Make it a letter of love, and peace, and hope. You don’t know yet the impact that might have on them one day.

Write a Letter to Yourself

Day 37: Write a Letter to Yourself.

While we have you writing, have you considered writing a letter to yourself?

Again, there are a few ways to do this…

  • Write a letter to your younger self – reflect on the lessons learned through the hard times you experienced, and rejoice in the great times you’ve had.
  • Write a letter to your future self – recount what you’re going through now and ask an older, wiser version of you “how could I be managing this better?”
  • This one is the toughest… ask your Higher Self (God, if you prefer) to speak to you in a letter. You have to be very quiet, breathing deeply, very calm, taking up your pen, and just let words spill onto the page. No editing or re-reading… just write.

I’ve done this a few times and it is amazing the volumes that come pouring out. When I’m done I’m exhausted, but I read back and the realizations in reading through those words are so strong, it’s a little unnerving.

The last exercise is called “automatic writing”. Some people are not comfortable with this (too “spiritual” for them) but if you want to think about it rationally, the mind you are accessing in this is your subconscious. The conscious mind is the editor, filtering out the deeper information you can access when you park it and let everything else pour in.

Here is a Wiki How article doing the step-by-step practice, with and without the “woo-woo” factor.

https://www.wikihow.com/Do-Automatic-Writing

Positive Affirmations

Day 36: Engage in Affirmations.

Affirmations are a declaration of belief – stating something to be true. The biggest problem with we mere mortals is we are prone to making negative affirmations…

“I suck at this.”

“I’m never going to get that promotion.”

“I’ll won’t get a second chance at an opportunity like that.”

Our thoughts become our reality. We take that harping inner voice, and around that, we form our beliefs about our identity, and our destiny.

When we are prone to that sort of thinking, making the switch to positive affirmations creates cognitive dissonance. We get upset when our beliefs are challenged.

Cognitive Dissonance

To suddenly make statements like…

I can learn how to do this.”

“I’m able to have the career of my dreams.”

“Opportunities are all around me and I am willing to see and act upon them.”

…it feels like a flat-out LIE when you first start doing it.

Say it anyway. Believe it anyway.

If you’re going to talk to yourself, you might as well make it a pleasant conversation.

Failures are lessons

Day 35: There are no Failures, Only Lessons.

I’m a goalie mom. I’m used to sitting alone in hockey arenas.

At some point, it was brought to my attention that ‘goalies don’t lose – they win or they learn’. And I saw that play out. If a goal would go in, I’d see my goalie’s gears start grinding. I could tell by her body language if she thought ‘oof, my bad’… and knowing my girl she was in full-on analytical mode, figuring out how to correct her actions. She then shrugged it off and got back into the game.

Financial stories about of people who filed for bankruptcy and came back stronger than ever can be found everywhere. David Ramsey, Walt Disney, Elton John, Abraham Lincoln all went through it, learned from the mistake, got back into their mission, and won. They didn’t let the setback stop them. They learned how to do things better and succeeded in their comeback.

Failing simply meant you took a risk. As the saying goes, no risk, no reward. Failure is only an end if you allow it to be.

Learn whatever lesson you need. Then get your helmet back on, get square to the puck, and get back in the game.

What is Going Well

Day 34: Focus on What is Going Well.

Today is the day we officially start to open up again. That in and of itself is what is going well.

It’s been a tough haul for some of us. So it’s worth a pause to make a mental note of what has been or is going well.

Headed back to work? Still healthy? Family life is happy? Where are things looking good?

It’s said that if we can start our day with a positive thought, as soon as we open our eyes in the morning, and if we can hold that thought for 17 seconds, we will gradually see more things going well in our lives.

Let’s try it! Even if you have to start by leaving a note for yourself by the alarm clock at night to remind you. Think of what is going well and hold that thought for 17 seconds – or more! – every morning for the next 30 days.

We’d be curious to hear if you see a difference a month from now. Let us know!

Trust

Day 33: Learn to Trust Again.

There are more mixed messages out there than ever before. One thing is certain: No matter if it is a You Tuber, a blogger, or a main stream media outlet, every source of information — every individual — has its own bias.

So how do you know who to trust? And how do we ever again fully trust anything or anyone?

It comes down to first trusting yourself. (For those of us who believe in a higher power, yes, we first trust God… and since God lives within us, well, now I’m covered from both angles.)

Whether you are a believer or not, it’s important to check that the ‘inner voice’ you tune into is that of your intuition and not your ego.

Your ego – like those we see from certain politicians – is only interested in self-preservation, power, and control. When you tap into your *real* inner guidance, it will lead you to the choices that are right for you and others.

You know your inner voice if the voice of the ego if your thoughts are those based in fear, which is the root cause of anger, frustration, depression — the desire to control not just yourself but others as well.

Your true intuition — call it instinct, your spirit or soul,  or God — sounds like love: the voice of tranquility, calm, assurance, kindness, patience and compassion. While the voice of ego will cause you to put up defenses to keep out or condemn those you “oppose”, the voice of your intuition will guide you to seek understanding, and will lead you to answers that serve not only yourself but a greater and higher good.

Your ego is the voice of the mind. Intuition is the voice of the heart.

If you’re trusting your instincts – which takes a lot of practice and an open mind – you can sort deception from truth for yourself. Your intuition – not your ego – can help you know who and what to trust “out there”, and how much.

Sound of Silence

Day 32: Spend an Hour in Silence.

It’s funny to see how people will avoid silence like it was the pl… oops. Never mind.

Finding a place of silence is becoming more and more difficult. Which explains why the media bombardment just…never…stops…

When you are in silence you can truly start to hear. You literally unplug from the world around you, and tune into something greater – your own mind, or inspiration from the aether.

The best place to find beautiful silence is, of course, in nature. Perhaps in the middle of an open meadow, or by a trickling stream, in your garden just after sunrise before the world gets moving, or under the stars on a clear night.

It’s a Saturday of a long weekend. A perfect time to find a golden hour of silence, to listen and take note of what is going on within your own mind. Listening to your inner voice (re-read yesterday’s note) is life altering.

Perhaps that’s why people run from it so much. They might not like what they hear.

Seems appropriate to share “The Sound of Silence” here! Does anyone NOT love this song? The message in it is more meaningful than when it was written over 50 years ago. Pay attention to it, especially as it closes…

“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls,
And whispered in the Sound of Silence.”

Birdwatching

Day 31: Go Bird Watching.

The mural at Olds Town Square by Kevin Johnson is a painting of blue herons, a bird native to this region that has been here long before we ‘hoomans’ occupied what was once their home. (If you’re not aware, Olds is built on a marsh. The Uptowne district was once under water. A little natural history for you today.)

We can still find herons around the area – they’ve been spied along the Red Deer River at Red Lodge Park, where today’s avatar image was taken.

Birders are also well rewarded at locations like Cipperly’s Pond, Bloxham’s Slough, or Copley Lake just south of Olds. You’ll find plenty of waterfowl to photograph as they’ve made the trek home and are starting to nest in the area. Mallards, Canadian Geese are plentiful, but with luck maybe you’ll see a Barrow’s Golden Eye or a Yellow-Billed Loon. (I don’t know, I researched the topic and apparently these are somewhat rare. I defer to the experts in the community.)

Olds Golf Course is a recognized Audubon Sanctuary that offers educational opportunities for students of Ecole Olds Elementary School on bird habitat. You see many blue bird boxes around Mountain View County thanks to the dedication of volunteers like Dick Stauffer and Ron Reist sharing their knowledge.

Taking a trip around town and the outlying area is sure to give you many opportunities to spy some of our lovely winged friends this weekend. Grab your binoculars, camera and zoom lens, and let us know what you find. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Birdwatching hot spots

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