Category : SHIFT Happens

PULSE Conversations, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange

It’s Saturday …

Weekends are not much different from weekdays at the lake.  The one exception is that there are more people around.  Lots of families are out this weekend to enjoy the new swimming pool in our little neighbourhood that opens tomorrow.  I hope to do that later in the week when there are fewer people around.

I just watched a TED Talk with psychologist Brian Little.  There were a number of things that caught my attention.  Dr, Little talked about the fact the there are ways in which we are like most other people.  Those he refers to as our biogenetic nature.  There are also ways that we are like some other people.  Those he calls our sociogenetic nature. And there are ways in which we are like no other person. Those he refers to as our idiogenetic nature, a term I think that might be uniquely his.  His basic premise is that we can be categorized with others on certain dimensions and we may be hard wired ( my term not his) to act in a particular way in a particular situation, but there is one other variable that allows us to move away from our usual MO and that is our “core project.”  In other words if we need to change the usual introversion to extraversion to protect our family then we will.  If we need to become disagreeable when we are normally agreeable then we can. .. for a purpose.  If we are normally open to new experience but our core project requires us to be safe then we may become guarded. So we do what we need to do to further our core project even if it is out of character. Cool.

DR. Little warns us thought that protracted out-of-character-ness can be harmful.  If we push our introverted self into extraversion for too long we can snap back like an elastic band and cause ourselves some difficulty, but generally speaking what he is saying is that we are not merely a collection of traits.  With that caveat in mind it is still nice to know that we need not worry about exhibiting this trait or that trait because we now know we can get over ourselves and BE what we need to be when required.

What difference does this make?  For me, for example … the penultimate balanced extravert/introvert personality type … I see now the significance of the balance for me.  I  need the balance between being out there and being in here.  I think most people do and that they manage themselves to find their own point of balance or fulcrum on the continuum.  I also think most people generally understand when they are off balance and need to make corrections.  Each of us has a range on the continuum … not just a point.  Movement within the range has been limited to a more introverted, even isolated position of late for me personally.  I have a core project that makes it necessary to behave differently than I may have in the past.  AND that’s okay.  I will heed Dr Little’s warning about protractedly wandering out of character and make the adjustments I need to keep sane and healthy.  Dr. Little has helped me understand that stepping out of character is a choice we make to achieve an end, a worthy core project and our ability to do that is part of who we are as a person … our idiogenetic nature … or should I say MY idiogenetic nature.  I also know that it is what many women my age do so that it is also in my sociogenetic nature. And it is a choice for me.

Dr Little sites five dimensions of personality that I found interesting maybe because their first letters spell something … OCEAN.  Open to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.  He talked about degrees of each but I wonder if he has considered the developmental nature of these dimensions.  I know for example that I have become more introverted than extraverted over the past three years.  It could be a function of age or situation.  I also feel that I have become less open to new experience and more conscientious.  I have become less agreeable on many fronts and possibly more neurotic. I was beginning to feel confused when the next TED Talk video started.  In it Philosopher, Julian Baggini explained that we are a collection of experiences, a process and not a permanent truth.  He used the metaphor of a waterfall that appears the same but is constantly changing.

Combining the ideas presented by the psychologist and the philosopher gave me comfort.  I hope it will also give you comfort.  You are the sum of your experiences which are changing constantly and you choose how to behave based on your core project.  RELAX, RELATE, RELEASE and ENJOY. Become the waterfall.  I certainly will later in the week when my core project will be to experience the new pool.

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PULSE Conversations, SHIFT Happens

The Healing Lake… a Father’s Day Tribute

I know that I have written about Lac St Anne before.  It is an amazing place with a summer pilgrimage each year to bathe in the healing waters.  The pilgrimage has been going on for centuries if not millennia. Where else would you take your father if he were recovering from near death experiences, a couple of surgeries and a foot that refuses to heal?

Dad and I have been here for only two weeks.  It has taken time to get him into the lake house and settled.  The son-in-laws have been marvelous.  Between them they have constructed a ramp in the garage and delivered a hospital bed and his motorized chair and put the hand held shower in place for him to feel at home, safe and at least somewhat independent.  The recovery, from my perspective, has been remarkable.  For sure he has good days and bad days.  But he walks down the hall to his room on his own.  He takes a shower on his own.  He watches his TV in his room or joins me for a couple of episodes of MASH each evening. There are challenges that come from being out of town but Dad has been out scouting out the neighbourhood in his chair and has spent hours in the sun on the deck, listening to the birds and looking longingly at the lake wondering out loud how we could get a boat. ( Once a sailor …. ) His appetite is  his coming back  and his colour is good.  He can be quite social.  He seems to be doing quite well.

There are side effects … good ones for me.  I have settled into a routine that involves preparing three meals a day, dressing wounds,sorting and administering medication,  gardening (I am learning) and WRITING.  The writing has been particularly surprising and may have happened anyway but I really feel that having Dad here with me has helped me settle enough to actually write everyday.  It has been a tough couple of years for me and it has often been  difficult to focus on what I know needs doing on the projects that I have underway.  I think I have moved at least two projects ahead leaps and bounds since Dad first got really sick in early April.  I think the page served as a distraction from the reality of his state of well being.  I was able to lose myself in the writing if only for an hour or so each day. AND that has made all of the difference.  The ideas are not just formulating in my head.  They are appearing in my penciled note books and then, with a little help from my daughter, Julia, they appear on the screen and are spewed from the printer to come back to me for penciling in edits and so it goes….

Manuscripts of the Mapping book have been distributed and gathered again.  Many thanks to those who took the time to read it and comment.  It means a great deal to me to have the feedback.  Now I can move forward with a greater degree of confidence to the next step.  The next version – Manuscript 2.0 – is percolating and should be available for publishers to read soon. ( mid summer??? she says hopefully)  If any of you know a publisher who might be interested in a book about mapping the space between people, please do not hesitate to pass on their information so that we can pester them with Manuscript 2.0 when it is ready.  So far the reviews are good from people who know the Enneagram and PULSE and Appreciative Inquiry and from those who do not.  There is polishing to do for sure.  I am on it.

UVI-PULSE is also moving forward with an ambitious project to put an on line UVI-PULSE “Leadership in Nine Dimensions Program” together.  That provides another chance to get creative as I freshen up some of the PULSE programming from a decade ago and breath fresh life into a classic program on how to do leadership in a changing world. Meanwhile I continue to provide webinars on a monthly basis and starting in July there will also be coaching sessions and office hours set up on line for those who are interested in learning more about UVI-PULSE and leading Conversations for Change.

Writing is like putting together the puzzle in the dining room at the lake.  We have completed one puzzle in the last couple of weeks and today we started a new one. Today I sorted another 1000 piece box of pieces into piles of colours and starting working on the edges.  By ‘we’ I mean my daughters when they are here, my brother who has come on weekends from Calgary, my dear friend Monde who has been sooo helpful with this transition and with many of the other transitions I have been through in our 40 plus years of friendship.  Who ever comes in contributes at least one piece to the puzzle. It is the perfect refuge from the strain or tension of everyday life.  When your mind is full or overwhelmed you can solve the mystery and create the picture.  It is so satisfying to find a piece and place it in to build a more complete picture.  There is always a puzzle you can go to to switch gears and allow the brain to move to present action and clear the thoughts and feelings that may have created stress.

Little do the people who stop by know that their presence also contributes to my writing in subtle ways I’m not sure I can articulate. The company that Dad and I get here is important to him and  his healing for sure and to me.  It has been busy but in a very good way.  It has been tough for sure but the opportunity to care for my dad while I also get to do what I love to do has been good for me …. and for him.  I would like to thank him for this unforeseen opportunity.  I would also like to thank St Anne wherever she is and whatever role she has played in not only healing Dad but in healing me as well.  AND to all of you who have sent prayers and good wishes for his recovery, thank you.  Whatever happens next I am satisfied that this last three months has been time well spent.

With Love from Love and Love….  Happy Father’s Day this weekend.


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SHIFT Happens

Winter is back in Alberta….

This morning it is snowing in Gunn, Alberta.                                  Winter is back

Here we all thought we were on our way to SPRING.  Surprise.  Here is the winter we didn’t really experience …just at a new time.  Some people are calling climate change climate shift and they might be right.

It is beautiful though.  I always love snow falling on trees.  It is so quiet and calming.  Like anything else your experience of a thing is all in your attitude toward it.

Further to my “Tides not Waves” post, the equinox is an important signal in our lives and even though this one change … this slack water for the earth if you will … has been delivered to my part of the world in a snowy blanket there is still the promise of spring and regrowth and starting over.  Soon love and flowers will be in bloom and we know that because it happens every year.

Happy SPRING everyone.


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Blog post, SHIFT Happens

Tides … not Waves

Ebb and Flow… I grew up on the ocean in Halifax.  The rhythm of the tides was something you took for granted.  Sometimes here on the prairie I forget that life is full of ebbing and flowing everyday, every week and every month.  I talk about changes in mood, intention, work etc in terms of waves but today I am rethinking that.  These feelings I experience to be lazy or productive, happy or sad, enthusiastic or depressed are more like tides.  They change but it takes longer than a wave.  Waves follow each other in rapid succession while tides move the water up and down in imperceptible increments, at least in some parts of the world.  That is how I am experiencing change right now.  There are slow incremental changes in my energy levels as my tide begins to change. I am experiencing ebb tide.  The water has receded. The sea bottom is exposed.  It feels like every mistake I have ever made, every flaw is on display and I have lost a lot of energy and enthusiasm over the past few months.  I am at low tide.

At the turning of the tide there is a place called slack water.  What a great description of how it feels to be at the bottom waiting for the tide to change.  I am so looking forward to the tide filling my being and flooding me with energy and excitement again.  It can’t come too soon.  BUT the lesson of course is patience.  No amount of force can turn the tide.  It must turn on its own when conditions are right. The flood tide will come.  I feel the stirrings now, a slow comfortable movement in the atmosphere that warns of a change, a new kind of commitment to live life to the fullest, to finish unfinished business AND set new goals for this anticipated flood tide which will bring back the waters of enthusiasm and motivation.

In Nova Scotia you will find the tides are the highest in the world.  Over 160 billion tonnes of water move in and out of the Bay of Fundy, every day, twice a day.  That’s more than the combined flow of all the freshwater rivers on our planet. The result is a tidal bore .. a kind of wave that washes over the surface as the water begins to come back in.  Maybe because I am from Nova Scotia my highs and lows are more distinct like the tides of my birthplace.  Or maybe not.  I think everyone experiences highs and lows in motivation.  The trick is to recognize when the ebb tide has hit slack water and welcome the turn to the flood tide that follows.  Swim with the tide.  It is so much easier than swimming against it.  Become a part of the natural way of things.  Ebb and flow.. up and down … like the ocean.

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

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…..

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BEACHs, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange

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.

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Blog post, Loss and Recovery, SHIFT Happens

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  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.

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SHIFT Happens

SHIFT – Nancy’s Big Adventure

In less than one week I start my new adventure on the Island of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.  I am equal measures of excited and anxious.  I look forward to being there, being part of something larger than myself and I am anxious about leaving my very comfortable home and the way of life I have developed over the past few years.  I will be staying on campus at UVI and I anticipate a very steep learning curve over this first month of offering classes and moving the intellectual property of PULSE to its new owners.

Am I ready? My suitcases are packed.  I have my airline bookings and my accommodations are booked.  I have made arrangements to have my apartment looked after.  I have paid my bills and notified everyone who needs to know including my cell phone company.  I have sent the proofs for the manuals for the courses I will teach. I have American money in my wallet.  And I still have a week to say my goodbyes to family and friends and put the finishing touches on the packing and planning for a month in the beautiful Caribbean.

Am I really ready? On the SHIFT scales of well being that I ask others to use I would say that I am still getting ready for this adventure.  SHIFT deals with five scales of well being for a well rounded look at how a person is experiencing the world.  This seemed like a good time for me to take inventory. How Sharp, Happy, Independent, Fit and Trusting am I right now?

The S in SHIFT stands for a Sharp Mind. It measures intellectual well being.  Intellectually I still have work to do to get the clear purposes, protocols and processes in place for me to serve the participants I will face in the next few weeks.  I want to be totally prepared to further their understanding of PULSE and the Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge that PULSE, the Frame, represents.  I have acquired so much information and experience over the years that my mind literally races as I search, sort and select, wondering about what to share during each of the programs and when.  Timing is important for understanding and I know that there will be nine perspectives on the world watching me deliver the programs.  Doing a good job of meeting all of those needs is important to me and my intellectual prowess will be tested as I juggle what I know with what they need to know and when. Even though I know that most of that I will learn in the moment by listening and adjusting as needed, I still feel some panic in this regard.  I think I will need this week to think it all through again a couple of times.

The H in SHIFT is for a Happy Heart. It measures emotional well being.  Emotionally I am not quite ready to go.  I am leaving behind my father who is pretty mobile right now for an 85 year old but who I worry about all of the time. I am leaving my children and grandchildren who will all be very busy with September’s glorious beginnings of school and after school programs, new adventures of their own.  I am leaving behind my friends from curling ( and occasional golf) who may need to replace me more often this year as the adventure unfolds. I am leaving my dear friends that I spend time with in St Albert and at the Lake.  I have created a wonderful network of support here and I know they will be here when I get back but I have never been away for a month before … except when I was in Calgary for 15 years.  I’m sure I will miss them all.  I am also sure I can keep in touch and catch up with things upon my return.

I am also sure that I will meet new friends and be reacquainted with old ones on St Thomas.  The sun and the sea always improve my mood.  There will be lots of reasons to smile and to feel happy as I meet new students and work with them so that they become conflict competent.  I hope to visit my favourite place on earth … the Baths on Virgin Gorda … while I am away and that will feed my smile bank for a long time afterwards.  I will not be less happy while I am away.  I will be happy in a different way and for different reasons.  Nonetheless my happiness scale will fluctuate as it always does.

The I in SHIFT is for Independent Spirit. It measures relational well being and today for me is very closely related to the H – Happiness measure.  I am independent.  I am Oprah in my Talk Show life.  I take charge and make decisions with careful consideration and deliberate thought.  I can also be completely clueless, not willing to ask for or accept the help I need to move to the next step.  I have more alone time than I need right now.  Spending time with “coworkers” and workshop participants is something I have been craving for awhile.  I am really looking forward to working with others and spending time with people again, especially like-minded people with similar goals and aspirations.  At the same time I am cautious because I will be in a new environment where there is a different social contract already established.  I will need to have my wits about me.  I hope to create lasting friendships and collegial (double entendue intended) working relationships in the most mutually agreeable way while maintaining my sense of Independence and self control.

The F in SHIFT stands for Fit Body.  It is a measure of physical well being.  I am never really satisfied with my levels of physical fitness.  Maybe that is because it is something that requires daily attention and takes time away from my intellectual pursuits which I much prefer.  Am I ready physically for this adventure?  I think so.  I have packed the necessities … tooth brush and other  tools for physical hygiene.  Although I will miss my first few tap dancing classes, I did put in a pair of runners just in case a university campus has a fitness facility.  I say that facetiously hoping they don’t and knowing they do.  Any excuse for missing a work out that isn’t tap dancing or curling is worth hoping for in my world.  I am armed with Yoga videos to maintain my flexibility and will TRY to walk everyday and because I will have kitchen facilities I am PLANNING on eating well … not out every night.  

The T in SHIFT is for Trusting Soul.  It is a measure of spiritual well being.  Am I ready for this adventure spiritually?  Yes.  Firmly yes.  All roads have lead to this adventure.  At times it does feel beyond my control, that the universe is unfolding and that this will be my legacy.  I am ready for that and willing to work as hard as I can to see that through.  This opportunity is a gift to me that I will not squander.  I am grateful for it.  I intend to work hard to revive the PULSE dream of a world full of people who know how to be gentle and honest with each other, people who can use the tools of mediation to create wonderful relationships, people who recognize each other as whole and complete, where people take the time to honour each other with deep listening and careful consideration of other peoples thoughts, words and deeds in context, where people care about what they say, how they say it and the impact of their words on others. That is my personal vision and mission and this is another vehicle for me to accomplish these things on a larger scale.


The adventure begins next week.  Stay tuned for updates.

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Blog post, PULSE Conversations, PULSE Revival, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange

Letter to the Participants at the First Annual Alumni Conference on ADR in Ghana


Welcome past participants of the Executive ADR programme to your first alumni conference.

First let me say thank you to Austin Gamey for all the work he has done in your beautiful country of Ghana and for Africa as a whole.  His efforts have not gone unnoticed. It is by his good graces that I have this opportunity to share some of my own thoughts on ADR as you gather to affirm your knowledge, skills and attributes as the conflict resolution specialists you are becoming.

We are agents of change.  As mediators we guide people through the PULSE Frame to a new understanding, not only of the situation but of themselves and each other. We open them to reinterpreting past events. We invite them to a safe and structured conversation in the present.  We expand the field of the future to include positive, mutually beneficial outcomes that are sustainable by virtue of their voluntary nature … outcomes that neither would have considered possible at the beginning of their deliberations.

People may ask how we accomplish such things.  We do this through skillful questioning whish changes how people think, feel and experience their circumstances.  We do it by taking a positive stance ourselves and believing in the possibility of such outcomes and holding the space for them to choose, to act, to dream, to be known, to be heard and to be positive.  We do it by acknowledging that every person is unique and each approaches the world from their own perspective.  Unique does not mean wrong and so we teach people to value what they are not.  Often it is not necessary for them to agree with the other person but if they can acknowledge and understand each other than the cycle of conciliation and reconciliation can begin.

And as we become skillful mediators we can the courage to make changes in our own lives and the confidence to make a difference in the world around us.  We begin to apply these skills, this stance and this appreciation for the uniqueness of individuals to all our conversations even those that are not high conflict or high emotions.  When we do we ensure that conversation have sustainable, positive outcomes in every instance.  And as more and more people learn the skills, the world becomes a better place in which to live.

If everyone could learn to speak gently so that the other person could keep listening; if everyone could learn to be honest in a gentle way and be open to hearing the other person’s story; if everyone would speak in specific terms using bahvioural examples rather than terms such as ‘always’ or ‘never’; if everyone could find the courage to talk, to bring up difficult topics and ask difficult questions in a gentle, honest way that clears the air; then wouldn’t that increase the likelihood of us all having peaceful, healthy, happy, productive lives at work and at home?  I believe it would.

The trick, I have learned, is in finding common ground.  My new book “Mapping the Space between Us” is about finding common ground.  In it you will discover paths that we can take in conversation, a compass and a map to help guide you and help you guide others.  We become wayfinders for our tribes, our families and our coworkers.  You will learn to identify the Direction and Orientation of people in conversation and how to plot those.  Once you have that information guiding questions lead to common ground and a firm foundation for strong relationships.

I look forward to sharing this new book with you soon.  I also look forward to working with you through webinars and on site courses moving forward as the PULSE Institute sets up its new home at the University of the Virgin Islands, on the Island of St Thomas, USVI.  Meanwhile be Sharp of mind, Happy of heart, Independent of spirit, Fit of body and cultivate a Trusting soul.  SHIFT to a place where you can guide others to common ground and sustainable resolutions.  I wish you luck and learning as you enjoy your first alumni conference together.

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SHIFT Happens


Sometimes I sit down to write a blog and the topic is there with me ready to go.  Today it is not.  The Muses have been playing with me lately.  They must know that I have nothing on my agenda for today and was hoping to be inspired and finish editing a chapter or two in the “Mapping the Space” book. But first I must find the Muses.

My body and my mind seem to be running slow today.  I might be a 6 on the Sharp scale, a 6 or 7 on the Happy scale, and about the same on the Independent scale even though I have the day to myself to decide what to do.  The Fit scale ought to be higher.  I did tap dancing Monday evening and Yoga yesterday morning. Truth is I feel stiff and sore and kind of dull.  So a 5 on the Fit scale.  The Trusting scale is still higher – 8 or 9.  I do believe the world is unfolding as it should.  SHIFT is happening just at a slower pace these days.

I have been reading the “French Women Don’t …” series of books and enjoying the notes on aging gacefully and staying healthy as we age. Over this past year there seems to be this obvious perhaps culturally motvated choice in front of me.  I can either give up the work and “enjoy” life or I can continue to work and miss the exciting moments that I get to spend with my family when my schedule reads “available” and someone needs a hand. More and more people my age are questioning that either/or thinking and opting for both.

Mireille Guiliano, the author of “French Women Don’t …” talks about four anchors.  For her, good health, a social network, employment as well as time and commitment to your own needs are the four things that keep her going and aging with style and attitude.  I can see how these four fit nicely with the SHIFT measures of well being … a Sharp Mind, a Happy Heart, an Independent Spirit, a Fit Body and a Trusting Soul.

I was struck by the idea that employment is important and I understand that completely.  You really do need something to do that you enjoy and accomplishments that you are proud of as you move through life at any age.  Giving that up seems counter productive even if the money doesn’t seem as important.  People need to feel needed and appreciated. They need a sense of contribution and connection to community.  Some find new careers or volunteer.  Without it we put our mental, relational, physical, emotional and even spiritual well being at risk.

I will always be engaged in writing and other projects that interest me and keep me moving.  These projects serve my need for employment.  There is always lots to do and learn. Now that curling season is coming to an end I have rediscovered Yoga.  There is a studio or two that are even closer than the curling rink in my walkable neighbourhood. Both serve my good health and social network needs.  My family and friends are wonderful.  They keep me socially engaged and ’employed’ if you can take that to mean ‘busy’.   As for time for my own needs …. I have all day today to tend to those.

Take good care.  I plan to.  That way I will not only age gracefully but fiercely and with wild abandon the way I have always aged since I was a child.  Aging is not an option if you want to stick around and see what happens next.  How you age is up to you.  SHIFT and enjoy.


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