The last installment of our series! I will have to find other ways to fill my time now. Who’s for some T-shirt designs?
I would never have thought that things in the world would actually have gotten WORSE in the final two weeks of our countdown. Not the pandemic, that seems to have been all but forgotten, hasn’t it? Now we are being distracted and divided by even bigger events.
I picked a good time to rebuild my relationship with Jesus.
On we go. Let’s do this.
Day 10: Live in Harmony.
The definition of harmony:
a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
When I was young, my sister and I sang in our church youth choir, and were sometimes called upon to sing duets. Being sisters, our voices naturally blended. As a mezzo-soprano she would take lead, and I as the contralto would harmonize to her tune. Our voices vibrated as one, unified in a common song.
When you are listening to a chorus or band, everyone has their notes to sing. There is a rhythm that is agreed upon, a cadence, the heartbeat of the group as it were. Then everyone sings their line according to where their specific range is strongest. (Do NOT ask me to sing anything above a middle ‘C’.)
The song is chosen, and everyone sings their part. Members of a band or choir can’t sing different songs all at once, or it’s chaos. Which is pretty much what is going on in the world now, right? Everyone is sticking to their individual song, not appearing to be interested in finding a common harmonizing chorus to pull their voices together as one.
It’s by finding harmony within the contrast of voices that great music is created.
If you listen to Abraham-Hicks at all, they say that the contrast is what makes you aware of what you do not want and “launches your rockets of desire”. It helps you decide what you do want, so as difficult and abrasive as contrast can be, it has a very useful purpose. The more irritating it is, the more quickly you want to see it resolved. You want to find that harmonious song that puts you at ease.
We all desire – and deserve – to live in harmony with the planet, with our fellow man, with nature. That would be wonderful. Except, how can we live in harmony with others, when we are disharmonious within ourselves? We bathe in fear from the news media. We react and engage from our own deep emotional scars. We might even question our sanity. (Some of us are definitely holding the sanity of many others up for examination lately.)
Therein lies the problem. Once more, we must work on our inner world before we can see the results in our outer world.
When we are at harmony with ourselves, we feel unified, whole, complete. In street terms, we have our sh** together. We can deal with our shortcomings and flaws, improving where we can. We value ourselves, our time, our energy, and that of the people we care about. We stop turning to others asking, “what do you think I should do?” and turn inward to consult our own sense of wisdom and knowing. When we seek our own inner wisdom, we make a practice to be in a state of gratitude as much as possible.
Revisiting once more:
There’s that G chord again, right in the middle of it all.
Day 9: Get Ready to Bounce
2020 has been stormy, to put it mildly. But hopefully here at home, the storm is nearly passed.
Things will remain slow and small the rest of the year, but there is hope that by spring of 2021, things will have rebounded to 2019 levels of business and travel and maybe even better. In fact, there is a new term coined in the tourism sector of the Millennial segment: “revenge trips”.
We are already approaching the province’s Phase 2 opening in just a couple of weeks. There is a heavy focus on exploring local experiences, shopping, and dining. Day trips – those 45-minute drives where we pile into the truck or van and go to a nearby community that they’ve meant to go check out but never seem to have the time – will be the norm this summer.
There is a good probability that we will start seeing more traffic through our community as the summer rolls along. Our local businesses may be pleasantly surprised by the increased volume of visitors they have in their shops.
Remember that even before this virus, the number one reason people travel anywhere in North America was to visit friends and family – between 67% and 70% of ALL travel. Even with business travelers, they often add an extra couple of days to visit people they know “since I’m in town anyway”.
Last week we posted this map of the world that was taken on our familiarization tour in May 2018. Each pin marks a location where a visitor came from. Look at the mass just in western Canada! Another from central Canada, scatters around North America and another mass in Europe.
While we won’t see many international travelers for another year or so, can you recognize the potential right here at home? Eighty percent of the province’s population live within a three hour drive of us.
So the question is, will you be ready to welcome these visitors as they make their day and overnight trips this summer? And are you prepared to grow your presence as the world opens up again in the next two years?
Be ready because if we hit rock bottom in April, the bounce has started and we will only continue to go higher as time goes on.
Day 8: Be Unstoppable.
Have you ever ‘dreamed big’? Some phycologists would tell you that high achievers tend to dream at a ‘middle distance’, aiming for a target that is challenging yet possible with effort.
So, we achieve that middle ground. What next? Well, we set the next goal. Then the next, then the next. Before you know it, you have reached that ‘big dream’.
Think about people who have come back from bankruptcies – sometimes multiple times – and became huge successes. Or people who have lost massive amounts of weight. Or stories like Denzel Washington (crush!) who failed to get a part in a Broadway play when first starting his career and returning to the very theatre that turned him away 30 years before to see his name featured on the marquee.
These people very often overcame incredible obstacles and achieved their dreams. They will be the first to tell you, that they took the risk that was necessary, and were not afraid to fail. They simply “failed forward”. Every day they got up, they got on the treadmill or they worked their business plan, or they went to the audition, and the changes started to happen. Things began to align. Breaks started to come their way.
And that’s what we have to do. Take risks and not be afraid to fail. Keep that end goal in mind but take the incremental steps that it takes to get there. Pick yourself up when it doesn’t go well and carry on.
Don’t lose faith. If it is your burning desire, do what you need to do to make it happen. Be unstoppable.
Sharing with you my beloved Les Brown for an additional shot in the arm.
Day 7: List Your Wins.
It’s been a long three months, yet here we are at our final week.
Some of us feel relief that things are opening again, and some of us are feeling a little disappointed we might not have used this time as we would’ve liked.
I have been cranking out social media posts and graphics and sitting in on webinars and Zoom meetings and writing these posts… and I am exhausted. I need a holiday from the isolation order, if that makes any kind of sense at all!
Yet I look around my home and think: I’ve been here three whole months, and it’s still a disaster. The house needs a spring cleaning. The yard needs major maintenance. The clutter – OY! When can I get this junk out of here? And all my creative projects lay about me half-finished, if started at all.
Anyone else quick to beat themselves up like that?
I forced myself to stop, and list some good things I have managed to contribute in the past 90 days:
- I entertained a few people with these posts. 😊
- I kept on top of a PILE of information that was coming in like a firehose and shared what was relevant on our websites and social platforms.
- I helped co-host some Zoom Cafés to support local businesses at a time when I didn’t even know if I would still be employed.
(And with the decree of a vindictive Council on Monday afternoon, that decision is now final, and I am once again a “free agent”. Now I will have time to do all that cleaning.)
- I created a couple of cool social campaigns for Everything Olds (the concepts of which were ‘lifted’ and re-branded as something else – you know who, again), started some social shout outs of our local businesses (sorry I won’t be able to do more) and helped revive Oldstice for Uptowne Olds.
- I profiled the Olds nominees for the Women of Excellence awards this weekend (good luck ladies!)
- On a personal level, I have been doing a lot of work on myself (ya think?) and reading books like “The Courage to Be Happy” and “Living the Wisdom of the Tao” and “May Cause Miracles”.
- I’m spending time with my “kids” (now adults), playing video and card games and baking cookies. It’s been a long time since all three of us baked cookies together. One will be back to university in the fall and the other at some point will leave for a job away from here, and my nest will be empty. I’ve appreciated having them with me over the past few months. It’s been difficult at times, especially for them I think, but this week, I’m glad to have their presence for support.
How about you? Can you look beyond the dust bunnies and the weeds in the flower bed? Can you find ways that you have made a difference either at work, or in the community, or with your relationships, or in your own personal improvement in the last three months?
Take some time to pat yourself on the back today for all those accomplishments.
Day 6: Your Resilience is Your Brilliance.
This is a little bit of an echo to the “Be Unstoppable” post from a few days ago.
While that post was about getting up and carrying on after a setback, this day we can celebrate that our resilience is what got us through this awful circumstance, individually, as businesses, and as a community.
Being unstoppable was about choosing to continue moving forward after a setback. Being resilient is being strong when being strong is the only option you have.
Everyone at some point in life has some trauma to overcome, be it critical illness, severe injury, death, loss of any kind. Which is why it’s so important to treat everyone with kindness, because we do not know what battle they are fighting at any given time.
This Ted Talk with Lucy Hone is moving. Take a few minutes to feel your way through this today.
PS: At the top of this post, I suggested I might get some T-shirt designs going to replace this blog. Tossing out a few ideas… waddya think? A little celebration of how we survived 2020?
Day 5: Repurpose Yourself.
My husband and I have now passed the mid-fifties mark. He is starting to talk about retirement.
I refuse to accept it. Even though the odometer might indicate otherwise, my mind still buzzes with youthful energy.
My husband is one of those ‘traditional’ guys – work for 40 years, retire and spend your days on the river fishing. I on the other hand cannot imagine not working. Obviously not for Everything Olds – the Town made that decision for me. But I will have to find something to fill my days.
I want to thank to my former colleague from our Olds College days, Ray Gesshe, for giving me the word that will describe my last 30 years. Ray shared that he didn’t like to think of it as ‘retiring’, he thought of it more as ‘repurposing’.
We hit that magical age of 60 or 65 and say, “I’m finished with this career… now what can I do? How can I still be a contributing member of society, while I still have the mind and body to do so?”
This is a good reason why so many volunteers are seniors. They don’t want to just ‘sit around’ and do nothing. They need to feel that they have a purpose. And we thank them so much for all they do in that regard.
I would encourage you – no matter your age or stage of life – to come out of this spring with a renewed sense of purpose. Every decade we live poses the next round of challenges and opportunities to grow to our next best self. Taking hold of a recharged sense of purpose can pull you in a direction that serves the highest and best good for all.
Maybe you find a place to volunteer to share your time and talents. Maybe you go back to school or change your career. Maybe you decide to make your health a greater priority. Maybe you want to seek a more spiritual path in life.
Maybe you want to see a return to positive change, innovation and creativity in the community so you decide to let your name stand in the election for Town Council next fall.
Day 4: Take Nothing for Granted.
There is so much about my life that I am missing right now. Too much to list. And there are so many things I will miss about working for Olds Institute and building this profile through Everything Olds.
(Don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry…)
It’s all I can do to keep from ranting about the hypocrisy and deceit and the dark agenda that is playing out politically, from a global level right down to this little town.
Yet every time I start to go there, I have to pull myself back. This is too, too painful… yet it is part of God’s plan. That is the only thing that keeps me from breaking.
Even when we were advised on Tuesday that yesterday would be our last day, I was not emotional. (Believe me, that’s a big win for me. Oh, and I am putting these posts up on a volunteer basis until all the stuff I had scheduled is done. Because I am a good person.)
Sure I had some tension in my muscles. It’s not comforting to know your Town honchos think you and all that you have done in the service is others is crap.
But as it happened just a few hours before I got the news I was about to be laid off, a message about another job that would be perfect for me landed in my lap.
Synchronicity is a lovely thing. I decided to see that message as a “love note” from God that He has something else lined up for me, and I just have to trust that.
I have to believe that somewhere on the other side of all this garbage – the virus and the lockdowns and the economic disaster and the conspiracies and the riots and the politics – God will be there to welcome all of us, and give our lives back to us. We will be able to hug and hold our family and friends again. We will be able to gather to celebrate and dance and sing. We will be free to move about and live our lives without fear and lies from the media being blasted in our faces 24/7 .
I remind myself to let go and let God. I have to trust that a magnificent phoenix will rise from all these ashes that are piling up around us.
But let me tell you something… when that day comes and love is restored on this earth, I will once again fully enjoy my road trips to the US and around the western provinces like the blessings they are. I will hug my wee little mama tight. I will get absolutely plastered while playing cards with my siblings and cousins. I will push myself to stay up as late as I can so I can laugh and chat with my crafting friends when we gather at our retreats.
I look forward to once again working alongside positive, giving people in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration. We will lift others as we climb together, and we will have a rockin’ good time doing it.
I will never again take all the good things in my lift for granted.
Don’t ever forget how easily the activities and freedoms you enjoy most in life can be taken from you. It will be a helluva fight to ever get it back.
Day 3: Savour It All.
My family has all had some time out west at our little campsite this summer. I’ve yet to make it out there. In three years. I was out there for part of one day late last summer to help hubby with some chores but I’ve not spent an overnight there since… 2016? Maybe even longer.
Now that I am unemployed, I want to get out to my little escape very soon. It’s the one place that remains where I can go to relax. I had been planning a couple of weekend trips to BC and Montana this spring but that’s off the radar. Who knows when the Iron Curtain will lift at the border? And Albertans are getting their vehicles keyed in neighbouring BC, so clearly we are no longer welcome there either. Even my creative retreats with friends have big question marks on the calendar now.
So it will be off to the campsite for me. I’m going to drink my wine and read my books in the evening shade. I will sip warm, creamy coffee on my deck and do my journaling in the golden morning light. I will work up a sweat splitting wood for a cozy nighttime campfire and lay back in my chair to gaze up to the heavens under the clear night sky. I will hear the full force of God’s fireworks as a thunderstorm cracks the heavens open in decibels that are felt in my bones. I will listen to the whispers on the wind as the leaves rustle in the trees around me.
And I will breathe in every last precious moment of it.
Maybe for you it’s heading to the pub, or a family barbeque where music and laughter ring through the air. Maybe it’s getting your bridge club going again to feel that sense of connection with long-time friends. Or maybe it’s taking your kids to the lake to enjoy the feeling of sand squeezing between your toes and the water gently lapping across your feet.
Whatever it is you enjoy doing, savour it. Find small moments that pique your senses. Drink in the sights, the sounds, the sensations of the moment. Be present in that. Immerse yourself in the living of it. Drink it up, and don’t think about the best images to capture for your social media post.
Life is not Instagram.
Day 2: Celebrate!
The second phase of re-opening started a week early!
Our county had a total of 6 cases in these past 90 days, and all recovered!
Businesses are already open and adjusting to accommodate any concerns about safe practices.
In that vein, Summer Oldstice is now reformatted to spread out over 10 days with sidewalk sales and fun activities to avoid large crowds and re-introduce local residents to the great shops we have right here at home.
You are here – hopefully you are healthy and happy.
You made it.
You survived the spring of 2020.
What better reason do you have to celebrate?
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