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Graduation

Both of my granddaughters celebrated graduations over the past few weeks.  Charlie celebrated the end of Grade 12 and I am confident that she will find her way through a Bachelor of Science and into her chosen field of optometry.  She is smart and confident and willing to work hard.  Kassidy has earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications.  She has worked hard and has become an ambitious young adult with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Kass has been working on my blog and my website for almost a year and has finally got me writing again.  I am so grateful for that.  I had pretty much abandoned both after my Dad passed away.  She has helped me edit the first four chapters of the Mapping the Space Manuscript and has placed those chapters on my web page under a new tab.  She created my new FaceBook presence and linked it to everything else and I am very grateful for all of it.  

As a dancer for most of her life, she knows about stage presence and imaging.  As a graduate and budding professional, she also knows a lot about web presence and advertising.  This week she created her own web presence with K K Media.  Check it out at www.kasskellymedia.com.   

I know this is rather blatant bragging and promotion on my part but I am proud of both of my granddaughters and their accomplishments and I believe in Kass and her ability to do this work so why not tell you all about it. I have to share that I am reading a delightful and informative book entitled The Subtle Art of Not Giving a BLEEP. It is about a simple way to find the courage to do what’s important to you without worrying about what others might think. Liberating. A graduation of my own. More about this one by Mark Manson in my next blog.

Take care, everyone.

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Procrastination

Putting things off when you have time to do them could be an indication that they were not what you were really passionate about in the first place.  I have a couple of writing projects that I cannot seem to get close to these days.  I have time.  I have energy.  I have the tools I need and STILL nothing…. No progress.  No initiative.  Only inertia.  I am not sure what it is going to take to MOVE me. And maybe that’s okay for now.

Finding hope in all of this takes courage and persistence.  I am hoping that all of you are doing well and have begun to consider what you will do when this is over, how you will feel and what thoughts you will share with others about the time we spent waiting out the virus.  It will go down in history as a time of loss and sadness, of bravery and sacrifice.

Let it also be a time when we find ourselves and our passions just by noticing what we are moved to do when we have all the time in the world to pursue that thing. 

Thanks for keeping in touch everyone.  Now I am heading back to my piano….

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Iceberg of Love

 I have spoken to a number of friends and colleagues and have plans to reach out even further.  When I think about the good friends and colleagues that I have acquired over the years I am always flabbergasted by how many people I have kept because they are all precious to me, they each have a special place with me and I know gratitude.

My Aunt Louetta, all my cousins, my brother, and his family and my own wonderful children, and my talented grandchildren represent the tip of an iceberg of love.  All of them have contributed to my wellbeing in so many different ways. (I may even have to include ex-husbands who keep in touch as family.)

I am lucky enough to have friends still with me that I have known for more than or close to 50 years.  I have friends from high school, my first teaching job and my second and my third.   I have PULSE friends and Parks friends and Virgin Island friends. I have friends from curling and tap class and book club and XIX and the Lake.  I have friends in my building in St Albert and my new friends here in the new condo complex… the fifth-floor coffee klatch.

So, I would like to thank everyone of you for contributing to my mental wellbeing.  

This isolation era seems to be winding down but it has taken a toll on many of us, some more so than others.  Check your list.  Reach out and make sure everyone is feeling okay and do what you can to help if they seem down.  A future focused question or two is often all they need.  

It works for me … at least as long as it is beyond the present state of things.  The “When are you coming back to Alberta?” question is still unanswerable and will continue to unnerve me until I know for sure.  “How do you want to remember this time?”  Takes me to “It was a time when I improved my piano playing, read five books and learned stuff…”

Where will you be next year at this time?  What do you hope to look back on with a sense of pride?  I would love it if you would share your answers in the comments.

Take care everyone.  Love from Love to all of you.

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Passion

Putting things off when you have time to do them could be an indication that they were not what you were really passionate about in the first place.  I have a couple of writing projects that I cannot seem to get close to these days.  I have time.  I have energy.  I have the tools I need and STILL nothing…. No progress.  No initiative.  Only inertia.  I am not sure what it is going to take to MOVE me. And maybe that’s okay for now.

Stress and uncertainty weigh me down.  This week in particular has been beyond difficult here in Nova Scotia.  Forgive me for not writing last week.  There were no words.

Finding hope in all of this takes courage and persistence.  I am hoping that all of you are doing well and have begun to consider what you will do when this is over, how you will feel and what thoughts you will share with others about the time we spent waiting out the virus.  It will go down in history as a time of loss and sadness, of bravery and sacrifice.

Let it also be a time when we find ourselves and our passions just by noticing what we are moved to do when we have all the time in the world to pursue that thing. 

Thanks for keeping in touch everyone.  Now I am heading back to my piano….

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Life is Good

A hot cup of coffee and a beautiful sunrise… life is good.

I am missing my family.  They keep reminding me that, even if I was in Alberta, I wouldn’t be visiting them in person these days.  Most of the time I agree and I suck it up and keep myself busy. Time and distance are increasing daily now and not knowing when I might be there and be with them again hurts.

On facetime one of my friends mentioned that my eyes were sad.  Some days my whole body is sad. I get discouraged and anxious. I am sharing this so that if you have similar days and thoughts and feelings, that you understand that you are not alone. And I know that I am not alone.  So many of my wonderful friends read the blog and leave comments or likes and I am encouraged to carry on. I want you to be too.  Thank you so much, my friends.

Then someone sends me the link to a virtual choir singing a moving rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours… ‘You with the sad eyes, don’t be discouraged … it’s hard to take courage … You can lose sight of it all …”. The song is an encouragement to dig deep and let your true colours shine through. Rise to the occasion, my mother used to say. Stay Calm and Carry On and Stay the Blazes Home. Take it one day at a time.

I think this TEST in time is asking us to be our best selves, to do what we must, to enjoy the sunrise and the hot coffee and never, ever take it for granted again. Now is a time to rise to the occasion, to show what we are made of, our true colours, knowing that as Cyndy says “I see your true colours and that’s why I love you.  Don’t be afraid to let them show. Your true colours are beautiful ….” Whether you are happy or sad, let that show, too. 

It might be time for a stiff upper lip but if emotions set your lip to quivering, let that emotion out where it is less likely to take its toll on you and your wellbeing.  Stay well physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually.  Reach out when you feel the need.

Take courage, everyone. Enjoy your virtual visits with friends and FAMILY. Embrace the sadness when it comes and always believe in rainbows…

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Stay the Blazes Home

This is a direct quote from the Premier of Nova Scotia. “Stay the blazes home.”

It’s a great quote and I like to think that people are basically doing that. For some of us that are more difficult than it is for others.  For extraverts and social personalities, it is unnatural to be at home alone.  These people struggle and, like me, they are probably moving from one distraction to another as they try to move through the day without the social interaction that gives their lives meaning. These people are the ones who are missing their team sport or their dance class and just can’t understand how to or what to do without that outlet. 

For the introverts, the self-preservationists will make out fine.  I heard one introvert say that the isolation seemed to be requiring more ‘check-ins’ then he would normally be able to tolerate.  He found himself hoping to limit who he needed to touch base with and how often. And another friend who is an introvert exclaimed this week that she was enjoying her own company and may just stay in isolation when this thing is lifted.

Some people are most comfortable with one on one interaction.  For them, it can be less of an issue.  As long as they can connect online through audio or video with people one on one they can meet the need for social contact in a way that may not have the physical closeness but can allow them to become closer to other measures of wellbeing.

So, in your household you may find that different individuals are responding differently to the “Stay the Blazes Home” imperative … and that’s okay.  People are complicated.  It might be an opportunity to discuss how people are all really different from each other and we cannot expect that everyone will respond to this situation the way that we do.

Giving people space doesn’t just refer to physical space and distancing.  There may be a need for other kinds of distancing in stressful times.  A good check-in for how you are doing is to consider a measure between 1 and 5, on our wellbeing on all of these scales; Social, Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual.  If one is lower than use the others to shore it up.

More about all of this next week.

PS Check out the Mapping the Space tab on my website www.drnancylove.com. Excerpts from the book have begun to appear.

PPS #staytheblazeshome

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Commitment

Do you ever find yourself wondering about commitments you have made in the past?  I was brought up to honour my word and to keep commitments but sometimes, like when the world turns on its head, it might be time to reconsider doing the things you said you would do at different times. 

I find myself confused. I had a plan for the next few years to be reviewed on my next milestone birthday. I am re-examining that plan. I think a lot of people are confused about how to complete the plans and commitments they made even a month ago. Circumstances have changed and I find myself wondering whether completing another university program is wise at this time in my life. Would that be time well spent? What else could I be doing?

If I am going to be home learning or attending courses online, is that going to work for me? What I was excited about was the opportunity to attend classes and meet new people. I have been working at home and living on my own for a number of years. I don’t like it. I really do not want to study from home. Rather than adding to my mental wellbeing, it will force me further into my cocoon.

I sound like a two-year-old having a tantrum. That’s part of it. How dare THEY take these opportunities away from me and MAKE me stay home alone? There is a rebelliousness in those of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s, people who are now in their 60s and 70s, that needs quieting right now. I feel a protest coming on but I KNOW that would not be wise. Besides how much disruption can one small group of 5 seniors create???

I know that everyone’s life is changing in so many ways. I know that the hardships that people are facing, losing loved ones, getting sick themselves, losing work and income, are real and not to be minimized. My thoughts are with those people. I am just concerned.

We need to say how we feel or we may be headed for the loony bin. Allow me my tantrum today. And have your own if you think it might help you get through this.

If I knew now to create a hashtag it might be #Idon’tlikethisonebit or #justlettingoffsteam

Take care, stay safe and healthy in all five measures of wellbeing. Socially, Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally and Spiritually.

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Uncertainty

I know I have written about uncertainty before but this week has given the word new meaning for me. I am uncertain about my future. I am so uncertain that I can’t make plans to go back to Alberta to reconnect with Friends and Family, to pack a few more things for the summer I intended to spend here in Halifax.

Nova Scotia is insisting that out of province visitors go into self-isolation for 2 weeks. The likelihood of visitors in the near future has decreased. The university program that I came here to participate in has changed to online delivery, defeating one of my primary purposes for enrolling… to meet new people… make new writing friends… in person. My world is shrinking because the world has become so connected.

I am uncertain and I am grateful.  The gratitude is for those making the difficult decisions that are aimed at keeping us safe.  The gratitude is for the fact that my family and friends are in touch and we can smile at each other from across the country and our lives have slowed enough for us to have time to reach out, to once again enjoy connections, savor them.

I am anxious for this to be over, for us to have learned the valuable lessons the universe is teaching us and for us to live our lives more deliberately and thoughtfully having been reminded of exactly how uncertain things can be.

Take Good Care…

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It’s a New World

Last week I wrote a blog called “talk to strangers”. Who knew that only a week later the world would have changed so completely?

Getting off the plane here in Halifax on Saturday, I saw two old friends go a little crazy when they realized they had just gotten off of the same plane and didn’t realize that the other was there.  There were screams of delight and friendly greetings and “I haven’t seen you since…”. There was a quick, natural move toward a hug that quickly became a backing away and an awkward elbow share dance.  I am sure it was a less than satisfying way to meet a friend you haven’t seen in a while but there you have it. It’s a new world.

How temporary is this situation?  Let’s hope that in a little while we will be free to be friendly from closer than 2 meters and that we can regain our connectedness, our closeness. Who knew that electronic communication would become such a vital and integral part of our everyday lives as we work from home and self-isolate?  Now we rely on strangers who deliver our food and other necessities from the outside world and stay ‘in touch’ by phone and computer.

That is where I am and what I am doing. I am living and working from my new condo in Halifax.  The tradesmen scheduled to come today are not taking any chances with someone who flew in on an international flight days ago and will not be back to finish for at least a week. I am unpacking boxes and trying to organize for a couple of weeks of no one here but me.  It is weird.

Take care everyone…

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Travel Lightly

I have spent many hours aboard planes and normally I build myself a fort and hide in the little space I claim at my seat. Sometimes a friendly smile will sit down beside me and, although I have something to read or watch and my pillow and face mask and headphones, my personal protective gear, is at the ready, I find myself in delightful conversation with a perfect stranger.

Everybody has a story. Listening to that story makes both of you happier. 

I have been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s new book “Talking to Strangers” and learning a lot about what bad judges of character we are as human beings, for both better and worse. So, on my flight yesterday, I struck up a conversation with the gentleman next to me to see what story he had to tell. What a fascinating story he shared, complete with pictures, of having been to Africa to spend time with his girlfriend. He was so obviously in love and so desperate to be living in the same place as she was, where ever that would be around the world, that I was moved and began to wonder how I could possibly help.

We talked about travel and time and distance and compared airports and hotels that we had experienced and the time we traveled moved quickly.  Before I knew it, I had reached my destination and, even though I had had very little sleep, I felt rejuvenated by his excitement and anticipation of a wonderful life with the perfect partner.

In Hawaii, they call it “Talking Story” and it is embedded in the culture of the Maritimes where I will be spending more time over the coming years and I am encouraged. People are weird. Their stories can be uplifting or very, very sad. Even so, they take us to places we have never been, through experiences we have never had and they enrich our world.

Talk to strangers…

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