Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sticking My Neck Out

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Here's my brother, Bill, agreeing that keeping a blog might be a risky business...
When I started this blog about a year ago, I decided to try it for one year and see what happened. Would I enjoy writing it and keeping up with it? Would I be able to keep up with it? Would anybody come by, read, comment?
Well, I've discovered that I love blogging. The combination of writing for others and also for myself is turning out to be a pleasure I didn't expect. And despite dry spells and serious life challenges, I'm still here.

So today I decided to add a counter to the blog in order to see how many people stop by. Up to now, having a counter has felt like a risky thing to do -- as risky as starting the blog did last year. What if only ten people found me here? How awful would that feel? Yikes. Vulnerable.

But as my partner, Dan, reminded me today, I write because I love to write. I offer support and love and ideas because I love doing that, too. Several people have told me they really enjoy the blog, so why not stick my neck out and check the numbers? I blog because I love it and it's helping somebody, so whatever the numbers, I have no intention of stopping any time soon.

I keep learning ways to promote the blog so more people can benefit from and contribute to what I hope continues developing as a dialogue about healing, relationships, and personal growth. I appreciate the post suggestions I've been getting, and I'm always open to more.

So, join me here any time you like...we're all Number 1's, if you ask me. And if you want to help boost the numbers by telling your friends and family...excellent.
And here's Bill reassuring me it is worth the risk.

Just kidding. We were only fooling around at the photographer's
 and I've always wanted to find a way to use the silly pix.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vote Tonight! Theo & Jaime -- Raising Awareness

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Theo Fleury and Jaimie Sale in the Battle of the Blades.
Yesterday I wrote about Theoren Fleury, a former member of the National Hockey League (NHL). His strong advocacy work to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse and to change laws that affect it has lead to his participation in the Battle of the Blades.

Take a look at this information I copied from The Men's Project website:

The Men's Project is proud to be part of Battle of the Blades. We have been selected by Jamie Salé and Theo Fleury as their charity of choice.
So, go ahead. Watch the skating or simply vote for a pair of skaters who believe in helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Here's a situation where your vote really does matter.
Watch CBC on Sunday, October 24th at 8:00 p.m. ET to see their performance and keep them in the game! The Live Elimination will happen on Monday, October 25th at 8:00 p.m.

You can vote for Jamie and Theo a number of ways:

- Vote Online: www.cbc.ca/battle
- Vote Via Phone: Dial 877-844-8158
- Vote Via Text: Please note that each text costs users 15 cents but all proceeds after carrier charges will go to the the charity. Text 58 to 777111

You can text 50 times per voting window, vote online 25 times per person, per hour, or vote by telephone an unlimited number of times.

Canadians can vote after the Sunday performance show from 7:00 p.m. ET to 2:00 a.m. ET.

Your vote matters! The winning pair donates $100,000 to their chosen charity and all other pairs win $25,000 to give to their chosen charity.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Theo Fleury on Sexual Abuse

Saturday, October 24, 2010

The other night I went to hear Theoren Fleury speak about his life. Theo played hockey in the National Hockey League (NHL) for a number of years, and he did speak briefly about that part of his life.

However, Theo spoke primarily about the devastating affect sexual abuse had on his life and the healing work he's done in recent years. Roaming calmly back and forth across the stage, Theo talked with confidence and, at times, intensity about his experiences of abuse, addiction, healing, and recovery.

From what I've read in his book and what I heard the other night, I would guess that for Theo, being sexually abused by his hockey coach was probably one of the worst betrayals he could have experienced. Theo had been passionate, determined, and intently focused on hockey as a boy. He spoke of how hockey filled his mind and life when he was young. So, to begin finding recognition and success in his beloved sport, and then to be sexually abused by his coach, must have sent that young boy reeling into confusion, terror, and despair.

These are common reactions to childhood sexual abuse, and Theo conveyed the impact of his experiences with power, honesty, and serenity -- evidence of the great amount of work he has done to help himself and to reach out to others.

I admire and commend Theo for speaking so openly and publicly about his struggles and his glories along the healing road. I appreciated the straightforward, real way in which he talked with the audience. His air of gratitude and comfort in his own skin felt real and natural. We could all have been sitting around his kitchen table having a cup of coffee together.

If you'd like to know more about Theo's powerful advocacy regarding sexual abuse, click here to check out his website, http://www.theofleury14.com/. Read about his energetic work on behalf of other children who have been and are being sexually abused. On Theo's website you'll find links to several organizations, two of which I list here:
  • The Men's Project: "... a non-profit charitable men's counselling agency that has been providing services to men and their families since 1997. The Men's Project provides individual and couple counselling, as well as a specialized healing program for men who have experienced sexual or physical abuse as children, anger management, emotional intelligence, and fathering."
  • 1 in 6: "...To help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives. This includes providing resources for people who care about them."
If you were sexually abused as a child, perhaps reading Theo's book or checking out his website will help you. And I want to tell you:

It was not your fault. Period.
You don't have to carry your feelings & memories alone; help is available.
Unfortunately, many children get abused sexually, but healing is truly, absolutely possible.
Theo Fleury and I are two examples of that truth.

Please, ask someone for help. Read some books. Click here to read my other blog posts about sexual abuse. 
Life can be better.

 One of them  
I read Theo's book a few months ago

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Word Wonder -- listen

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Earlier this week, a friend asked me to write about the word "listen," saying she thought the Universe was telling her to do more of it. That seemed like a good idea, and two ideas came to me. First, I did my follow-the-bread-crumbs brainstorm about listening. I thought of phrases and words that have, or seem to have, something to do with listening :
  • Listen to your elders.
  • "Friends, Romans, countrymen...lend me your ear."
  • Listen to your heart. Listen to your body.
  • Stop, look, and listen before you cross the road.
  • Listen up, people!
  • Hearing is not necessarily the same as listening.
  • "Listen, my friends, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere."
  • Listen to your father!
  • Mom, mom! Listen to this!!
  • Can't you ever listen to what I'm saying!?
  • sounds of silence
  • "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
  • list to starboard
  • enlist
  • listless
  • bucket list, shopping list, gratitude list, To Do list
These phrases from literature and everyday life stirred a range of images and feelings in me. My seventh grade teacher used to raise her voice over the din of our pre-adolescent cacophony and proclaim, "Listen up, people!" She was prone to pitching text books at the heads of those she felt had broken the rules, so we generally listened up pretty quickly.

Then there's "listing to starboard." I know approximately zero about boats, but I think this phrase suggests rocking, rolling waves that violently tip seafaring vessels and their passengers sideways...maybe towards the starboard side? Anyway, to me listing has always meant stumbling or pitching at dangerous angles. I'll look it up in a minute to see if I'm in the right neighbourhood.

In any case, if listing has something to do with leaning, then listening could have something to do with leaning forward to pay close attention to another's words. And enlisting could have to do with coming forward to have one's name put on a list, perhaps a list of soldiers. So, now, to the dictionary...


1. To make conscious use of the sense of hearing; be attentive in order to hear. 2. To pay attention; give heed. 3. To be influenced or persuaded. [From the Old English word hlysnan, which was related to another Old English word hlyst, meaning "hearing."] -- Funk & Wagnall's Canadian College Dictionary

Well, it turns out I was way off base on the connection among listen, list, and enlist, though I was right about the meaning of "list." Ah, well...I had fun. In any case, I do like the words "conscious use of the sense of hearing" and being "attentive." To me this means listening with every part of ourselves so we can participate as fully as possible. Few of us are taught this skill, but it's well worth learning. In classes and workshops I teach, I talk about active listening in which the listener is as involved and aware as the speaker.

To me, active listening also means paying attention to my own inner voice and the voices of nature, mystery, and experience. To do this, I have to slow down and "smell the coffee."
Stop doing. Stop talking. Stop moving and planning. Just be. Here. Now. ...........Listen.
My second idea about this post was to listen to what others had to say about listening. So, I posted the question on my Facebook page the other day, and here's what several people had to say about listening:

Nature. Listening to nature. That is my tranquilizer. When my head is spinning, or even if I’m in a calm mood, I listen to nature. I remind myself to just sit, think for the moment, be in the moment.

It can be on my deck with my morning coffee, feeling the morning’s sun rays warming my skin. I close my eyes. It starts with the birds, listening to each one with their singing, chirping and cawing. Then the breeze, listening as it rustles the leaves on the trees. Bees pollinating the flowers. A dog barking in the distance. I focus on these, shutting out the rest of the world and give thanks that I am able to hear these little sounds.

It’s a pleasure denied by the unhearing. (My Grandfather became deaf in his later years and often wrote to me how he missed his hearing, especially the birds that visited his garden)
After six days of listening to the roar of an aircraft....I stood still this afternoon and listened to the wind. The sound is amazing.
I love the wind and all the melodies it creates.
i listened to my daughter's eyes...she spoke through with such wisdom and deep feeling...lol even though she can't talk, being only but 3 months old.....she really did talk volumes and i listened with all my heart!
A thought about listening. Listening is feedback and without feedback there is no course correction or appreciation. One thing that is certain is that if you are missing the feedback the feedback will usually become a little stronger or louder until hopefully you are listening.

When we practice the skill of listening, we are rewarded. When we share the gift of listening with others, they are rewarded, too. Thanks for asking, Ellen.
Wind and wisdom, birds and babies. Feedback to help with personal growth. I also love listening to the wind and the birds. I'm reminded that the inner calm which accompanies deep listening feeds me at many levels. I'm reminded of the strength and stillness being offered on the wind and in the eyes of infants who are still so close to the beginning of their time here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Connected -- a journal exercise

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Here's a writing exercise that can foster feelings of connectedness:
Sit in a quiet place with your computer or a notebook and pen. Write your response to each of the following:
  • Something I am.
  • Something I do.
  • Something I give.
  • Something I receive.
Now pay attention to where you are. Write about who might have walked where you walk, sat where you sit right now.

Listen to their voices. What is their message? Is there any connection between that message and what you are, what you do, what you give and receive?

Write or draw or doodle whatever comes to you.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Perfect 10

Sunday, October 10, 2010 (10-10-10...cool -- and no mistake)

The other day I wrote a post thinking it was October 10. I'm not sure what calendar I was looking at, but it sure wasn't the right one.

So today is the tenth day of the tenth month of the tenth year in the century, and I just think things like that are neat. One time I woke up at 4:44 a.m. and had a powerful experience, and that time has stayed in my mind as special ever since.
My parents were married on 4-6-46, which makes it easy to remember their anniversary. I don't know if I was a numerologist in a former life or something, but numeric neatness is fun to me.

These little oddities make us more interesting, in my opinion. Sometimes others think we're weird because of them, but that's okay. They probably do something weird, too...which can make them more interesting, as well.

So take a look at yourself and those around you. What little quirks do you find? Do you find them to be annoying? Funny? Cool? I recommend enjoying the little oddities. They're the gag-candles that won't go out on the birthday cake, the whoopie in your cushion.

Have some fun! Grab onto your oddities and have a giggle. Life's too interesting to let it get boring.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Word Wonder -- depression

Friday, October 8, 2010

2. Low spirits or vitality; dejection; melancholy. 3. A low or depressed place or surface; a hollow. 7. A deep dejection of spirit characterized by withdrawal, lack of response to stimulation, etc.    [From the ancient Indo-European root per-, meaning "to strike." The word "depression" comes from "depress," which stems from the Old French depresser and the Latin deprimere: de- meaning "down" + primere meaning "to press."] -- Funk & Wagnall's Canadian College Dictionary and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition.

To press down. Dejection. Hollow. These words certainly describe depression. It can strike as if from nowhere, or it can follow terrible life events. The stricken person feels a weight pressing down on the chest. Emptiness and lethargy make even the simplest movements difficult. Staring into space or sleeping through the day can seem like the only available choices. Heaviness prevails.

When it feels like one's very life force has turned to sludge or, worse, vanished altogether, "doing" is out of reach. Existing is a challenge. Enduring best describes how the minutes and hours crawl by, and one's surroundings become irrelevant.

Some do not survive the morass of depression. I don't know why. Some do, but I don't know why that is, either. What I do know is that during depression, a beautiful day feels like an insult and that after depression, similar beauty feels like a gift. Dispirited becomes re-spirited. I don't know why, but I have learned that "why?" is often a pointless, even damaging question.

I have heard some people say that during bad times their spirit left them. They lost their spirit, their connection with their Source. I haven't found that to be the case for me. I have definitely felt lost in empty, hollow depression; but for a long time, no matter how I've felt, I have believed that while we may forget about or lose the feeling of our Spirit, we cannot truly lose it, whatever "Spirit" may actually be. If we could lose it, how could it be Spirit? Just doesn't make sense to me.

However, depression does make it easier to forget. It makes it hard to care. Maybe the connection seems to be buried in sadness, grief, despair, or fear, but I do not believe Spirit can be lost. And if that's true, then no pit is actually bottomless, no darkness complete. My pits have sometimes felt enormous, and my dark times have been frightening, but I refuse to believe in their absoluteness.

I guess that's the point for me, once again. I have a choice in what I think and believe. I can, and do, apply logic and hope and emotion equally to the task. I look to my body to give me clues. One time I said to someone who was criticizing my beliefs, "Well, I could definitely be wrong. But I choose to spend my life following ideas that encourage me to be a better me."

I'm grateful that at tough times in my own life, heaviness has always passed back into brightness. I trust it will do so again, and I hope it will for you, too.