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The Space-Time Continuum

Have you ever re read your old journals?  It is an interesting experience that I allow myself from time to time.  Mostly what I learn is that I haven’t really learned much.  I seem to still be complaining about the same things even if things around me have changed.  It seems that internal longing that everyone has remains.  What is it that we want out of life?  The answer to the questions of Life, the Universe and Everything, is 42 according to Douglass Adams.  I am beginning to think their may be nine answers so I divided 42 by 9 and got 3.6 repeating.  Hmmmm.

We repeat our patterns until we learn to integrate the lessons and multiply the 3.6 * 9 to get back to 42 …    if you can!  I know it sounds complicated but really it is fun to reduce life to mathematical equations that can’t really be solved.  Two plus two equals something but the answer depends.  So to it seems to be with life.  Just when we think we have figured things out they get complicated and the lesson that we were applying to a situation doesn’t have the desired effect.  That can be confusing.  The trick is to get curious about what you might be missing.

It seems to come back to the Enneagram for me.  I was reading this morning and came across a passage about illusions.  There were 10.  I was able to easily identify and reframe Nine of them as Enneagram criteria.  The first one was more universal, talking about the illusion of “NEED”.  For me  a need is something that each of the Enneatypes would define differently.  The other nine illusions seemed more specific to the types.  I will write about each of them over the next few days.

For the body types, 8,9 and 1, I identified the illusions of Condemnation, Disunity and Judgement.  Judgement caught my attention.  “Judgement is not the same as observation.” Observation is just noticing.  Judgement is attributing meaning.  I need to think more about that.  I think ones have a tendency to judge and I know that I do when I go to one.  I would like to think more in terms of just noticing or observing and less about judging.  Is that me judging myself???  It is complicated.

The illusion for eight is Condemnation which I would reframe as “deserving” and nine is disunity which is easily reframed to “Unity”.  More about those tomorrow.  Meanwhile Neale Donald Walsch’s ” Communion with God”  Is the reference for these thoughts.  I recommend his earlier “Conversations with God” Series. 

It is Sunday after all ……

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“Shoulders Back”

Last night I attended my niece’s dance recital.  A long time ago I had a short and less than illustrious career as a dance instructor.  As I was watching the dancing, I found myself sitting up straighter, feeling the muscles in my back and shoulders working to help the dancers pull back and dance BIG.  The recital was great.  The kids were all very talented and well rehearsed.

At the end graduands from the school thanked their teachers and remarked on how dancing had given them confidence.  Even as they spoke these young ladies were articulate and you could hear the confidence that you had seen in their performances.  The wholeness principle came to mind.  We talk about Head Body Heart at PULSE and the integration of them.  Dancing is integration.  Dancers need the discipline of body to hold their shoulders back.  The need the discipline of head to remember the next steps and formation.  The need the discipline of the heart to express the emotion of the dance.  The great dancers are those who know CPR – Content, Process and Response.

Body – When we talk about body at PULSE we are talking about “Body in Motion”, present focused and moving.  We are talking about action, filling space with limbs and muscles and noticing the impact on the body of what is going on NOW. Notice two how much bigger you are and how much more space you can fill with your shoulders back. Body is our PRESENT SELF.

Heart – When we talk about heart at PULSE we are talking “Heart in State”, responses to past experiences that we feel deeply and that we can pull into the present and project to the future because they are tied to experience. “State” is a place of emotion, arousal where you FEEL.  Difficult to express but close your eyes an imagine something that happened to your once and conjure the experience in your head and your body and feel what radiates from somewhere in your chest, between your shoulders. Feel how much bigger that feeling is with your shoulders back.  Heart is our PAST SELF.

Head – When we talk about head at PULSE we are talking about “Head in Projection”, thoughts, rationality, concepts and content all being considered as the brain and the mind work together to figure out how the past might have been different, taking the lessons from the past and asking what that means in the present and how all of this impacts the next step – the future.  Think about something you would like to do in the future.  Imagine what it would be like.  What would you be doing?  How would you be feeling? Notice how you can project bigger images with your shoulders back. Head is our FUTURE SELF.

The integration of Heart, Body, Head – Past, Present and Future SELF – THE DANCE.

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RENEW – a PULSE Acronym

Years ago I was working with dentists to organize a conference for wellness.  One of the presenters was a chiropractor with some good advice on how to stay healthy.  He talked about Nutrition and Rest, about Energy and Exercise and about drinking lots of Water.  “Hmmmmm” I thought…. and asked him “Do they have to be presented in that order or could they be reogranized to spell RENEW!”  He loved the acromyn and I think went on to write a book.  It has always stuck with me, too.  Rest, Energy, Nutrition, Exercise and Water are the things you need to maintain health – thinking, doing and being healthy.

Rest – The idea of adequate rest is important to me today.  Three days after a journey through 8 time zones means I really need four more days to regain my temporal equilibrium.  Rest is what Itlaians and many others do after lunch.  We seem to keep busy all day and fall into bed exhausted at night.  Maybe we could learn something from the siesta approach.  I know that nothing puts me in a better mood or frame of mind then a good night’s sleep. It clears our thoughts, our emotions and our bodies, preparing them for a fresh start each morning.

Energy – What gives you energy?  What puts you in that state of flow where time seems to pass at a different speed?  As a seven it is variety that energizes me.  I could be feeling quite low and when a new idea or project is presented to me I find energy and can devote hours to it without feeling the least bit fatiqued.  Others are energized by order or control or detachment or differentiation, by acknowledgement or a sense of security or an opportunity to help others or by a peaceful outcome.  Knowing ourselves and what energizes us helps all of us maintain our healthy perspecitve.

Nutrition – Eating is such a personal thing.  We are all on diets.  Some are deliberate.  Others are routine.  Each of us has an eating pattern that is more or less deliberate that nurtures us and provides us with the nutrients that keep our bodies going.  Most of us have more body knowledge than we know or pay attention to.  Sometimes we fight cravings rather than giving in to them and other times we binge and abuse ourselves with our eating and drinking and yet our body continues to find what it needs in what we give it and get rid of the rest.  We are wonderful organisms that renew and regenerate.

Exercise – Fitness is such a personal thing.  What works for one is not always the right perscription for another.  I have friends who exercise hard everyday.  I have others who never set aside any time for formal exercise programs.  Each person is fit to a degree that is functional for them and each could run a marathon given the motivation to do so.  When I am looking to stabilze my weight, I do not do physical exercise.  I rest more, drink more water and eat more vegetables and stay as still as possible.  Physical exercise gives me energy and strengthens my muscles but it does not produce weight lose. Our levels of fitness – Body, Heart and Head – are indvidual.  What is important, I think, is NOT to neglect anyone of the three. Do something each day to increase fitness for your body, your heart and your head.  Notice which is easiest to do and you will know something more about yourself.

Water – We are water.  We need water.  It flushes our systems.  It hydrates our muscles and other tissues and makes us feel good.  We drink it.  We bathe in it and inside and out it helps us maintain our balance with the universe.  “Water is the first medicine.” That is what on of the Elders once told me.  Drink water for health.

RENEW – I know it is time for me to RENEW my commitment to these things, to give my body, my mind and my heart a new lease.  I once read a bumper sticker that said “You cannot turn back the clock but you can wind it up again.”  Summer is a good time for rewinding.

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PULSE the World Edition

I have been thinking about rewriting the PULSE Conversations for Change book so that it has a greater degree of explanation. Now it serves its purpose of supplementing the training that we offer.  What I hope for it is to be more of an off the shelve Oprah book club kind of read so I am hoping to find the time to rewrite with attention to greater detail.  I am hoping that all of you who have read the book will provide input into what ought to be “beefed up” so to speak.  I think I would like to call it the “World Edition” because of the borader nature of the audience for which it will be intended.

Of course it will be written from nine perspectives on the world and it will take into account the past, present, future aspects of explanation and demonstration through expamples necessary to have people understand PULSE as a concept, a process, and as a response to the world as we know, do and feel it.  I like the idea of the rewrite becuase it allows me to encorporate the things I left out the first time knowing that trainers would be filling in the gaps.  I am not looking forward to the long, lonely hours of concentration that it will take to actually do the writing.  It makes me feel tired just thinking about it.

One thing that PhD’s do for you is teach you the discipline of writing.  It is lonely work. As a seven, I of course resist anything alone that has the potentional to be boring.  It took that call to discipline of the PhD to PULL me to the five perspective where I learned to detach and enjoy the time to think and write.  I am much better prepared for that work than I was before hand.  I really feel different about it, more prepared to deal with the boredom that may ensue if I do not organize to have four or five writing projects underway at the same time.  Juggling is what sevens do best.

This morning two things happened that made me think.  I had a great discussion with my friend about the work of Eckhart Tolle.  We were talking about people and being present and he was mentionning how much the book that Oprah supported had helped him understand his own reaction to others.  I am not as convinced as he as tot he value of the Eckhart Tolle work.  Having only had the opportunity to listen to tapes of his, I was unimpressed.  The conversation convinced me that I might want to read some his work.

The Oprah discussion is fun.  Many of my participatns have suggested that I would make a good Oprah guest.  I love the idea and am following the advice of those who know how to get on the show.  Some have suggested applying to do something on her satelite radio station.  I think it would be fun to do a phone in piece with people who have read my little book.  One of the goals for PULSE this year remains to be on Oprah.  This is me putting that out to the Universe as I do whenever the possiblity presents itself.

 

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Our Own Rocca on Signal Hill

There is this great chandelier in my front hall that catches the light in themorning and sends tiny rainbows through out the house.  It is a special time of day and a wonderful sight for tired eyes.  Rainbows always make me smile.  Being home does too.  There is something bitter sweet about coming home after a great trip. “Bitter/Sweet” – interesting phrase that describes that feeling of relief and comfort that comes at the end of a 24 hour journey and the feeling of nostalgia or longing that has already begun to creep into your psyche as you realize you are home.  Home makes me smile.

So often when I get home it feels like I never really left.  The experience that I was having a day ago is now distant.  Geographically I have moved on.  Temporally I have moved on and in my head remain only the memories to be cherished.  I am confident that we will remember this trip.  My husband, the photographer, took over 700 pictures. He makes me smile.

Because tonight is Tuesday, the Tuesday Crowd will be here at the house.  Our intent is to have the pictures ready to show as a slide show on the TV so they can choose to watch and our memories will be jogged as we tell our tells of Italy.  The word “Italy” has changed for me. I feel warm inside when I say “Italy” now.,  I used to feel awestruck because our first trip there about 6 years ago was brief and filled with masterpieces in Rome and Venice that really demonstrated that enormous creative talent of the Italian people.  Now I feel the warmth of the country side and the people who live there.  It also makes me smile.

Tuesday’s make me smile.  Today a friend of mine will join us.  She lives in Edmonton.  She and I have been friends since Grade 8.  She really is more like a sister.  We have shared our lives even over great distances.  It was here 35th Anniversary yesterday and she and her husband will join us here in Calgary on their way home from a romantic stay in the mountains.  She usually tries to coincide her visits with Tuesdays.  We have so much fun and it is extra special to have Tuesdays with her here.  She makes me smile.

What makes you smile?  What are the little pieces of your life that make the corners of your mouth turn up?  Those are the moments you want to share.  Listen to yourself today and see if you can identify for your self what makes you smile.  Then consider how you might make others smile.

People Using Language Skills Effectively make others smile.  PULSE practitioners and professionals focus attention on the positives, the things that bring relief and comfort …. and smiles so that futures can be brighter.  They choose the positive from the past, contributing to the positive present and creating a positive future.

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Michelangelo – The Master

Today is our last day in Italy.  It has been wonderful.  Believe it or not we ran into Jennifer Pollock again today near the Duomo.  What are the chances?  First thing this morning we took a cab to Piazza Michelangelo.  You can see the whole city from there.  It is truly magnificent from there.  There were about 100 old restored motorbikes gathered on the square, their drivers showing them proudly to on lookers.  Some of the machines looked like they were from World War I and II.  We had a coffee and then strolled down toward the river and walked for miles on narrow streets, some new to us and some we had become familiar with on our first visit two weeks ago.

The town was very busy today.  Lots of Italian tourists in for an important soccer match that is played in one of the piazzas.  Stands had been erected and dirt brought in so the players could play.  There was television coverage and the shops around the piazza were closed.  It all seemed quite exciting and apparently a traditional event celebrated each year at this time.  Except for a shower or two it was a perfect day for playing soccer.

My friend Carol is coming to Italy soon.  She has Italian heritage and I know that she will love it here.  It is so beautiful and so much fun.  I always thought that I would spend time in Paris when I could … maybe Italy would be a better choice.  Who knows?

We also saw a museum which was once a house where Michelangelo’s ancestors had lived for centuries.  There were some of his orignial architectural drawings for Lorenze.  It was a very interesting place.  It seemed that we started with Michelangelo and ended with him as well.  A fitting way to spend our last day … with the Master.

Arrivederci.

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Firenze – A Town Without Pity

Well we are back in Firenze which most of you will know as Florence.  We are at the Westin now.  A beautiful hotel on the Arno River.  Great shopping today.  We said goodbye to the gang … sort of… We are all leaving at different times from different places so today was interesting.  We somehow found our way into town and back to the car rental agency.  One couple headed for the airport for a flight to Frankfurt.  One for the train station for a train to Naples and another had breakfast with us at our hotel before catching the train to Pisa.  We are staying in Firenze for two more days.

I must apologize for not posting on Thursday and Friday.  They were busy days.  Thursday was a drive to Montepulciano and Cortonoa where the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” was filmed.  Both are beautiful mountain top towns.  Narrow streets and panoramic views abound.  Wonderful little shops too. Friday was a different direction and altogether different landscapes, even more beautiful if that is possible.  We headed in to Brunello country, to Montalcino, another mountain top town with a fort and a church that were again spectacular.  It rained.  We stopped for lunch and as we were leaving someone walked up to me and said “Nancy?  I thought that was you.”  It was Jennifer Polluck, our federal candidate for Calgary West and a good friend.  It was wonderufl and surprising to see here.  The world is soooo small.

Later as the rain continued, we all walked up a road we thought would get us closer to the car.  Purely by accident we happened upon a nice BMW parked int he rain and someone recognized the car as belonging to the young German couple we met from Hamburg and sure enough they were inside the car waiting for the rain to subside!!!

What is interesting to me is that each of the 8 people on this trip would describe to you the details fo the trip in a completely different way with a different emphasis.  We each saw what we were looking for. I was looking for learning and self reflection.  Others were not.  They were experiencing things in a completely different way, seeing opportunities to retire and change lifestyles.  Others saw history “in the flesh”. 

What I did notice about everyone was the difficulty we all had with “Saying what we were Thinking”. It was difficult.  Here we were, 8 friends, none wanting to push themselves on the others, each  to please or to go along with the others.  It reminded me the of the story of going to Lukinba. Five people get in a car and head toward a small town in Texas, only to find out when they get there that each thought the other wanted to go there and that none of them really wanted to go.

It is never easy spending two weeks with 8 other people.  This was easier than most.  We had lots in common and we shared a respect for each other that made any concessions possible and even easy.  It was a great two weeks.  We had more discussions about Enneagrams and the political personalities we all know.  We had a wonderful farewell dinner last night at the restaurant at the top of the neighbouring hill so we could look back at the Rocca in the mist and smile.

So why did I call Firenze a Town with our Pity???  I avoided the shopping when we were here a couple of weeks ago but today I didn’t.  It was great. Jim and I had fun.  Tonight we are staying at a wonderful hotel with heat and a hairdryer and a wonderful view of Florence.  We had none of that at the Rocca.  It was a medieval experience whereas today we are in the lap of luxury.  We had a wonderful meal with a wonderful character who basically asked us and told us what we wanted for each course.  Firenze captures you.  It is captivating.  Tomorrow we go back to the Piazza Michelangelo for our last view of the city before flying back on Monday through Munich and Montreal to home.

Question:  If you use the word “tolerant” to describe yourself does that make you a 1???

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The PULSE of People

Your pulse is an indication of the rhythm of your heart. My observation here in Italy is that the PULSE or the indication of communication and human connection is in the face. There is so much information in a look, in the placement of an eyebrow and in the subtle changes in the muscles of the face.  I often sit behind the muscles of my own face and wonder what message am I portraying. 

Facial muscles move in seemingly involuntary ways and yet we do have control of them when we choose to.  Actors for example can tell stories with their faces, and sometimes unknowingly we can and do too.  I like to observe faces and to hunch the thoughts and emotions behind them.  That is trickier in a foreign country.  

Outside my window right now here at the medieval castle is a group of German tourist and I can hear their excitement with what they are seeing.  They are undoubtedly waiting to view the wine cellars and taste the wonderful wine from our Rocca di Castagnoli.  You can hear the pleasure in the tone and the pace and the level of their voices so even with out the faces to read I experience the PULSE of these people.

Yesterday we visited San Gimignano.  It is another medieval town with a fortress and a church on the top of a hill.  the view of the village from below with its 14 towers is magnificent … breath taking.  From the top turret the countryside is magnificent … breath taking.  It is hard to describe in words that truly relate the experience but if you could see my face you would know how impressive and awe inspiring it is to see an historic town like that come alive with modern coffee shops and bars and boutiques selling leathers and spices and food from the region.

Did you know that the story of Pinnochio is set in this region?  Their are puppets everywhere celebrating that history.  The local wines, the Chianti Classico, are also celebrated and they were an important part of last night’s birthday celebrations.  Mama and her son cooked for us at the restaurant at the entrance to the Rocca.  Our group of eight Canadians were joined by our Belgium hotel manager, a lone American Doctor who was convinced to join us and a lovely young couple from Hamburg who are also staying at the Rocca.  A table of four British tourists joined us briefly. Add Mama, her husband and son, the waiter, and her other son, the cook, and we had a raucus rendition of happy birthday and lots of mouths for the delicious cake which had a lemoncela filing. 

It was great fun.  We all walked back to the Rocca wondering when the next sixtieth birthday would be and where it might take us.  Ciao for now.

 

 

 

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Tuesdays are a Special Day

If I were at home today I would be anticipating dinner with friends.  Since I moved to Calgary almost 10 years ago now, I have gone for dinner with my friends on Tuesday when I am in town.  We started with an Entertainment coupon book and a restaurant at the end of my block.  That restuarant has changed hands now three times since we started.  The convenience of it and the good food takes us back there more regularly now.

Over those 10 years I have had dinner with the Queen of England on a Tuesday and with George Bush.  Both were state dinners that I was invited to that just happened to fall on a Tuesday one in Edmonton and one in Ottawa.  It is fun for all of the Tuesday night crowd to experience those dinners even if it is vicariously. 

Tuesdays are special days.  I was born on a Tuesday in July and Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones is one of my favourite songs.  My graduation party was on a Tuesday.  Tuesdays with Morrie was a book that touched me deeply especially when one of our Tuesday Crowd died suddenly on a Christmas Eve.  Every Tuesday I think of her and wonder if somehow she knows that she is not forgotten.

Good thinks happen on Tuesdays.  My favourite part is the sharing of life with friends.  Our Tuesday dinners are full of laughter and love, tears and sadness and all of the things that complicate our lives.  Tuesdays ground us and help us each understand how connected we are.

Next Tuesday we will all be at my house celebrating the birthday of Dr. H. my friend and colleague.  Birthdays are special for the Tuesday group.  We have one in February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September when my step daughter is in town.  Today we are celebrating in Tuscany.  We are celebrating 60 years of living and sharing and loving with friends.  There will be smiles, laughter, and maybe tears.  Some reminiscing from the past, some joy in the present setting and experiences which are truly exquisite and some hope and encouragement for the future.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

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Gaioli in Chianti – Monday

This morning we started the day at breakfast with a mini-lesson the Enneagram.  it was very nice of my fellow travelers to humour me and work with some cards that I had made up to show what each of the nine types was seeking.  It was a good lesson that introduced the triads.  Tomorrow is the birthday that we have all come to celebrate.  We will also learn about wings and stress lines and growth lines.

We spent most of the day in Sienna.  It is another walled city with amazing churches and shops and towers and piazzas.  Ironically, the main piazza in Sienna is sloped and pie shaped.  The pie is divided into nine sections which represent the nine ruling families of Sienna in the middle ages. Coincidence? I think not!!

Our closest town is Gaioli.  It is interesting.  I have no idea how many people live there but it seems small.  The coop is where we picked up pasta and sauce and cold cuts and bread to make our own meal this evening.  It should be fun.  Tomorrow night mama at the restaurant at the end of the lane is going to make dinner for everyone at Frances’ request.  We are all going to dress up and have a great time eating and drinking chianti wines and singing Happy Birthday.

Today as the driver I was very aware of the need for clarity in directions.  The English language does not seem to lend it self to clarity in such cases.  Somehow we got into town and parked close enough to the town that we could walk around.  I worried some about getting back out of town as it had seemed rather fortuitous that we had even found our way in.  Leaving wasn’t that difficult and the country side on the way back was magnificent – just like the pictures by Calgarian, Phillip Craig, that hang in the PULSE offices in Calgary.

More tomorrow.

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