Blog post
3

Fay

Do you know the song “Smile” By Nat King Cole? Here’s the You tube link …   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-WqFUnqhSc

It’s the perfect song to describe Fay.  She ALWAYS smiled. Even when her heart was breaking.

I have known Fay since her daughter Tammy missed the bus home from Downtown Edmonton.  She was with her drama class at the Citadel Theatre and she and her friend wandered off and the bus left to go back to the school without them.  Fay and Bonnie came to the school to TALK to the Drama teacher.  I was acting principal that day.  The Drama teacher was suitably contrite and agreed that she had a responsibility to get them home.  I had to interject to ensure that the girls also know that they had messed up and had just as much responsibility to stay with the teacher and the bus. That was our first impression of each other.

A few months later I became the VP in the school that Fay owned.  She was the secretary at Bon Accord School and she ruled it with good humour and no nonsense.  She was so fun to work with. You couldn’t really call her sympathetic with the students.  She rarely coddled them.  But she had this smile and this laugh that made everything okay. I was only there two years like many of the administrators that came and went as Fay continued to run the school.  It as a GREAT school.  It still is.  The camaraderie continues thanks in large part to the support staff and the king pin, Fay’s best friend, Bonnie.  The staff still get together and although I left there in 1992 and Fay left in 1999 everyone who ever worked there is always invited to celebrate whatever the occasion.

As it turned out Fay and I both moved to Calgary.  Her family was there and she wanted to be closer especially to her mum who was dealing with Alzheimer’s.  She loved her family, her kids and her grandkids and she loved taking pictures of them.  Her house was full of portraits of all the people and pets that she loved.  Her brother and sister in law and the extended family became a big part of her life.  Her pets were family too and it was hard for her to let them go. It was so fitting that when she retired she began to work with guide dogs and even more fitting that her guide dog friends would form a guard of honour at her memorial service.  There were no dry eyes walking between the two rows for well behaved dogs sitting quietly as we passed.  It was a great tribute to a fantastic and dedicated per person.

She never lost the Bon Accord connection.  Those people she worked with and raised kids with remained close to her despite the miles.  Although she had left many years before she was still one of them, sharing in their lives as best she could at a distance.  A testament to that was the great numbers who attended her memorial travelling 300 k to say farewell to their wonderful friend.  It was a hug fest for sure and so wonderful to see everyone again and remember the stories that we all shared with Fay.

I was so fortunate that Fay moved to Calgary.  I got to know her in both places Bon Accord and Calgary.  I had moved to attend University the year before she did.  The Bon Accord network made sure we connected with each other and we started to go to Weight Watchers on Tuesday nights and then dinner using a coupon book she had purchased at work.  Soon we just did dinner.  We had a standing date on Tuesdays for 15 years.  We had so many laughs and so many tears over the years.  People would join us on Tuesdays and remain in the group for a while.  One of our dear Tuesday night friends passed away suddenly on Christmas Eve in 2004.  After that the group solidified to Carol, Laurie, my sister-in-law Yvonne who had moved from Ontario, Fay and I.  We went to different restaurants and had Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc every Tuesday that we could.  Sometimes I was travelling or others couldn’t make it but it was our night.

Movies were a favourite topic.  Fay loved movies and collected them.  So did Laurie and Carol. So we started Movie Weekends for the Tuesday girls where we would have breakfast Saturday, head to the mountains, arrive at the condo in Canmore and put on our pajamas and watch at least 5 movies before we had lunch and went home on Sunday.  Once or twice a year we made the trek. We always included a trip to the hot tub where we would inevitable make friends with people watching from their balconies or in the hallways.  The laughter was contagious and we had SO MUCH FUN.

Tuesdays were just special to us.  One Tuesday I was dining with the Queen in Edmonton.  Another I was in Ottawa at a George Bush state dinner.  They were always with me in spirit …every Tuesday wherever I was in the world.  When Obama was inaugurated it was a Tuesday.  I got the menu for the luncheon off the internet, recorded the ceremony and we ate what they ate that night… a meal based on Lincoln’s inaugural lunch.  That was our first taste of Duckhorn wine which was served at the White House that day and at the Signal Hill house and became our second favourite wine.

Many Tuesdays it was just Fay and me.  She was my friend. She was such a good listener, always providing a counter view to my sometimes warped view of a situation.  She worked with me to transcribe my research interviews for my PhD.  She was the photographer at my wedding. She helped with my business.  She took care of me.  Just the way she took care of everyone … with the no nonsense Fay truth that I had come to value greatly. And there was always the SMILE and the Fay hugs.  Even when things were not going well,  she smiled.

It was shocking when she got sick.  We watched her battle her way through and out the other side a couple of times.  And it was shocking when we lost her.

I cannot express how grateful I am that she was in my life. She is always with me, especially on Tuesdays.  After her memorial, the remaining Tuesday night girls went to one of our favourite restaurants. It was Tuesday on Friday. We told Fay stories and toasted her with her favourite Cakebread wine.

To FAY and to Tuesdays… forever with us.

Read More
Social Exchange
2

Whoa!!

Are there times in your life when you just want to pause and regain control?

My life has been absolutely crazy since I got back from UVI on January 31st.  The to do list has morphed a number of times as things get accomplished but the list seems to be never ending and I can’t get ahead of the game at all.  Life should be simpler.  My company has been dissolved and the sign has been removed from the St Albert offices.  My trip to UVI for March has been postponed.  Theoretically I should have LOTS of time this week to write and complete the assignment my book coach gave me three weeks ago.

It hasn’t been that way.  A loss in the family and the move to hospice and eventual death of a dear friend have put a somber cover over life.  It is difficult to say goodbye to people even when they have been sick for a long time and you know the end is inevitable and looming.  That was true in both instances and both of these wonderful people were of my generation this time.  I don’t think I am handling it well.  Since I lost my mother ever loss seems to have a greater impact. So even though the sky has been a brilliant blue and we have had unseasonably warm temperatures here in Alberta this month, I have been sad and a little overwhelmed.

I love my family and friends. Losses are deeply felt not only by me but by everyone. Illness of others impacts all of us and adds a strain to our lives.  I worry about Dad and his health and my daughters and their families. It’s also a busy time of year with hockey finals and dance competitions.  And it is not that I can’t handle it.  I know I can.  It is that handling the emergent things means other things get pushed aside… like writing an important blog celebrating the life of my wonderful friend or finishing the final edits on a book that has been in progress for six years now.

It’s interesting.  My apartment and my lake house are spotless right now.  I have been sorting and throwing things out and dusting and washing and cleaning like a mad person.  It is my distraction.  Old files have been sorted.  Any drawer I open gets a make over.  Even my office … the old PULSE office … is looking pretty tidy.  Everyone handles stress and loss differently.  My go to activity is always to create order out of chaos.  Even a hint of disorder is attacked with gusto. Stress turns up my OCD levels and I work hard to control what I can in my immediate environment because there is so much that I cannot control … especially now.

Today is a good day.  I am writing again.  I miss it when I don’t.

Thanks for listening.  Watch for my tribute to Fay, my wonderful friend who had the biggest smile and gave the best hugs.  And as we approach ST Patrick’s Day may the wind be at your back and may you have occasion to pause and enjoy this life, your friends and family NOW.  Later is just too tentative.

Read More
'Tis the Season, Blog post, Christmas, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange, Winter in Canada
1

Small Steps

It is that time of year again when we look back to examine what we have accomplished and set some goals for the New Year.  I always marvel at how much I have accomplished in just one year.  I have initiated my relationship with UVI.  I have travelled to The US Virgin Islands and the BVI by many long and circuitous routes.  I have danced and curled and spent time with family and friends.  I have read books and finished writing one.  I have visited Italy and Scotland.  I have spent time at Lac St Anne and in St Albert and I have written morning pages almost everyday.

There are of course many things I have promissed myself that I would do that I have not been able to add to a daily repertoire.  For Example… I always admired the way my mother went for a daily walk.  It kept her slim, and happier and healthy … or at least we thought she was healthy.  I really do want to add it to my routine.  There always seems to be a great reason to NOT walk today.  It’s too cold.  It’s too hot.  The wind is blowing.  The snow or rain is falling.  Its too dark.  There’s too much traffic.  Beyond weather there are the multitude of distractions in side … dishes, floors, dusting, books to read, garbage to take out, phone calls to make, emails to send … the list goes on … have a shower, get dressed, find warm clothes until there is suddenly not enough time left before work to walk for twenty minutes.  And after work… forget it.  The busy evening schedule which may or may not include favourite tv shows.

I am so good at avoiding it that I am starting to wonder what deep seated, psychological reasons are keeping me from walking.  When I do convince myself to go I usually enjoy the experience. But obviously not enough to do it again the next day.  Since I started thinking about establishing this routine in 1990… 25 years ago… I have NEVER gone two days in a row.  I have enrolled the help of partners… some willing and others indebted to me because I gave birth to them. Buddy or not I have not succeeded.

This is a dire circumstance that I want to change.  Enter the self coaching tools of the certified coach.  Remember Kaizen and one small step.  Remember mind sculpting.  Remember how thinking about doing something and enjoying it can help you want to ACTUALLY do it.  If I can commit to small steps I may be able to short circuit my brain’s built in resistance to the new behaviour. The trick is for me to imagine ENJOYING the walk and how it makes me feel.

I’ll let you know how it goes…..

Read More
'Tis the Season, Christmas, Social Exchange
1

Christmas Lists … Don’t Forget to Wish Your Friends Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone.  You are all on my nice list and I have been meaning to tell you so for a while now.  It has been a great year and on my list of to do’s in January is to review it for myself and for those who might be interested.

Today I want to talk about lists.  We all carry so many lists in our head, in our pockets, on our phones and computers.  It seems like everything we do we do so that we can tick off the box beside that thing on our list.  It could be physically or virtually.  It could be our “getting up in the morning routine” list. It could be our “grocery” list.  It could be our Christmas baking, shopping, wrapping, budgeting or dinner preparation list.

There is not just one list at Christmas.  There’s the naughty and nice lists, and the list of presents that need to be purchased and wrapped and tagged. And just when you think you have everything under control your second cousin on your father’s side invites her new beau to the family Christmas gathering and you are off to the pick up “some small thing” for him to open with us.

Christmas Day is like a wedding day.  You plan and plan and carefully make lists and arrange seating and buy groceries and wine and then cross your fingers.   The Day comes.  You all have a wonderful time.  You share time together, food and drink, laughter and conversation. You leave with great stories and a warm feeling and a full stomach and all will be well in the world.

Then it will be time to start making next year’s lists.  ENJOY.

Read More
'Tis the Season, Winter in Canada
0

Winter

The calendar indicates that we are still in the fall season. HMMMM Out my window I see winter. This morning it was milder than usual for this time of year and it had rained last night so there was a layer of ice over everything that made my 300 step walk from my apartment to my office a little tricky.

I heard the other day on CBC radio that Canadians have the largest wardrobes, that is they own the most clothes. Our weather is such that we have to have clothes for four very different seasons. We have summer, fall, winter and spring clothes that we may need anytime of the year depending on the weather. So very true.

This week I have been sorting and selecting pieces from my own wardrobe that I am hoping refugees might appreciate … things I no longer wear in that overstuffed wardrobe. To be honest I like the change of seasons and the need for lots of different kinds of clothes. I also love my winter forays to the south which have taught me that it is always summer somewhere. I keep my sundresses and shorts handy at all times in case I need to head south but I had really never thought about the need for more pieces in a wardrobe here as opposed to other places in the world. In fact it is hard to imagine only needing summer clothes.

We Canadians also talk about the weather more than other people in other places do. There is obviously more to discuss. Weather changes rapidly here and sometimes our lives depend on how prepared we are for the changing conditions we face. We are also better prepared physically and emotionally to help others in need. People call us NICE and we are in part I am sure because we know that if we don’t stop for someone freezing by the side of the road that they could actually die.

The other cool (as in interesting) part is that we have fewer weather related deaths than many other countries. Good work CANADIANS. Stay prepared and be cautious out there and look after each other. Keep that extra layer of clothing from your abundant wardrobe in your car. It’s WINTER again and although it is supposed to be milder than most we still need to be ready for anything.

Read More
BEACHs, PULSE Conversations, PULSE Enneagram, Social Exchange, UVI PULSE webinars
0

Wednesday’s UVI-PULSE Webinar

This week on Wednesday I will be doing a webinar for the University of the Virgin Islands. You can register on their website.  UVI-PULSE.  This week I am going to talk more about the nine different approaches to the world that can be learned by studying the Enneagram.

I think it will be of interest to anyone who wants to develop their understanding of the nine positions on the Enneagram circle and how you can use the PULSE grid to find out where someone is at the moment.  I will also talk about how you can predict where they might go and how you can help people move when they get stuck.

It should be fun.  There will also be a short ebook available to people who register.

Any exposure to the cultures of the nine points is help full.  It can take only an hour to know how they work and a life time to fully understand.  I always say start anywhere and go everywhere when you are learning a complex concept like the BEACHs.  I hope you join us to expand your knowledge and add to the conversation.

Read More
BEACHs, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange
0

10 Seconds

At my dad’s retirement home there is an elevator.  Once you step in, the door waits 10 seconds before it closes.  somedays that 10 seconds feels like an anxious eternity.  Other days it is a quiet vacation from the hectic world.  I always find it is interesting how time is relative to your state of mind.  Most of the residence push the ‘close door’ button immediately unwilling to wait for the doors to close on their own.  I always wonder why.  Is it because they are anxious to get back to their rooms?  Is it the seemingly natural impatience that I have noticed comes with age … or at least for my dad?  Or is it that time has become precious and waiting for an elevator door is not how they want to spend any of the 10 second timeframes they have left on this earth?

I like to wait for the door to close on its own.  I like to notice my own state during that time.  Where does my head go?  I take the time to examine my own state of anxiety or calm.  I find it helpful.  Where am I?  Not physically, although it is a good reminder of that.  Where am I emotionally?  How connected am I to my surroundings and the people there?  And what has transpired since I was last waiting in the elevator for the door to close?

Life is always about time and place.  Take time in what ever place you find yourself.  You will see that the next time you find yourself in that exact place, it will be like the time between visits has disappeared.

Read More
Blog post, Loss and Recovery, SHIFT Happens
0

I think I finally figured it out…. or maybe not….

Life, the universe and everything ….. I haven’t quite figured that out yet but I am getting a handle on my new identity.  I have been SHIFTing from Calgary to Edmonton for two years now.  The SHIFT includes residence and business model as I move away from PULSE and toward Dr Nancy Love Inc.  PULSE continues with the University of the Virgin Islands and I am happy to be working with them to renew that intellectual property and train trainers to continue the work.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am creating a new identity for myself as Dr. Nancy Love.

The new website www.drnancylove.com  was created over a year ago but I haven’t paid it the kind of attention it truly needs.  I do want to continue to promote work other than PULSE that I have generated and continue to generate.  I also want to use it to maintain my connections with colleagues in the field as we collaborate.

I am finding that separating from your history is not as easy as you think.  There are so many pieces, so many moving parts that even after two years I am still sorting and selecting and searching to eliminate what I don’t need and create the new and improved version of my life.  I think we all do that everyday of our lives.

I am proud of my history and the opportunities it has afforded me.  I am also proud of how that history has created new opportunities for me now at this later stage of my career.  2016 is on the horizon and I am already creating my list of expectations for myself and the WORK I love to do.

Okay …maybe I don’t have it all figured out yet but believe me I do continue to work on who I want to be when I grow up.  Younger people may chuckle at that but those of you over fifty will know by now that this journey, this search, never ends no matter how many years you put behind you.

Read More
Blog post
0

Pre-Mortem

This morning I watched a Ted Talk by Daniel Levitin, a neurologist talking about the impact of stress on our ability tothink.  It was another reminder of why it is so important to have a plan of action so that when I high emotion takes over your body and your brain you have an automatic practiced response to keep you out of trouble.  He called it a pre-mortem … like a post mortem but BEFORE the event.  Pre-mortems give you the opportunity to generate a chain of reasoning before you are in a situation with lowered brain capacity unable to think about what to do next.  The best example I can think of for pre-mortem is the CPR training I took when I was teaching high school.  Repeat the steps until they come naturally.  BE PREPARED so that panic does not have a chance to set in.

PULSE is a pre-mortem for high conflict and difficult conversations.  With PULSE training you have a set of tried and true questions to guide you through a conflict situation.  Even if your brain has moved to fight, flight or freeze because you are feeling threatened, you will have an automoatic system, a structured conversation to use as a guide to get you to a calmer place.  AND you will also have practiced skills for defusing the other persons perception of threat.  This kind of preparation allows you to get to a place where clearer heads prevail, where the corisol caused by the stress has disappated.

Step one: Prepare for the Conversation … ask How will the conversation proceed?

Step two: Uncover the Circumstance … ask What is this about?

Step three: Learn the Signficiance … ask Why is it important?

Step four: Search the Possibilities … ask What could you do?

Step five: Explain a Plan of Action … ask What will you do?

And don’t forget to breath ….

Read More
Blog post
0

All Change is About Adjusting Expectations

Whenever my life has taken a turn for better or worse I have had to adjust my expectations.  As human beings I think we do that on a daily basis and if we maintain our previous expectations in the face of a changing environment we are always headed for conflict.  Ever day is a new opportunity to RESPOND to life rather than to react to it.  When circumstances shift and change we have choices to make.  We can become recalcitrant and refuse to acknowledge the need for us to change our way of looking at the world or we can embrace change with open arms.

Both are valid choices.  There are circumstances where accepting a new way of doing things is NOT OKAY. It may be in some way harmful to you or to your organization or family.  Its okay to become positional and to protect what you know to be a better way.  In those instances we move into fight mode and get ready to battle the forces of negative change.  We defend.  We protect.  We resist.  Or we move into freeze mode and ignore the changes, carrying on as if nothing has really changed.  Or we move into flight mode and run away to a different place where there is no change, where everything is as it should be.

If a change threatens us we are likely to fight, freeze or flee.  It is a natural reaction and is healthy where change is harmful. Where we are experiencing a positive change in our circumstances  we may still resist because there is someting about changing what we do or the way we do it that insinuates that how we used to do it was wrong.  No one wants to be wrong.  That’s why we question any change that we are asked to make or endure.

Over the years I have experienced major changes in circumstances more than once.  New jobs in different places with different people have been part of my history.  I welcome change when it is positive and means an improvement in some aspect of my life … better opportunities or a chance to be closer to family for example.  When I understand the change and the reason for it I can begin to release any resistance, relax into the new situation and relate to the new expectations.

Change has become the norm for me but now I find myself  in a place where change is not as necessary or as easy as it once was.  No matter what change in circumstance you are experiencing it is the adjusting of expectations that takes time and energy.  There are new expectations coming for me to be settled and still instead of uncertain and moving all of the time.  So here I am, the queen of adjusting expectations, setting expectaions for myself around my life circumstances that are contrary and different from how I have lived my life so far.  Can I embrace this change or will I resist?

This should be interesting……

Read More
1 2 3 4 5 39