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Well here we are – it’s 2013 and I although I haven’t written on my blog in over a year, it seems that somehow the amazing world wide web has continued to bring people to my site.  As I received my blog stats via email, I started to reflect on the past – when I started this blog, why I started it, and why I stopped writing.

I think it was a mix of things… I got busy (coaching)… I got very busy (moved, got engaged)… and then I got even more busy (work, travel, wedding planning).  In fact, being busy is the exact reason I have for stopping most things in my life that I probably should keep doing.  I’m not saying that writing a blog should continue forever,  but there was something very important and perhaps cathartic in expressing my thoughts, feelings and ideas.  Maybe it was simply creating something that I could reread, or getting thoughts out that I had pushed away in the process of being productive.  but I think that more likely, it was taking a moment for myself- to leave the outside world for just a moment, and create a little world by myself in a small cafe.

I’ve tried to fill the gap with things like yoga, running and lazy days watching Madmen, but in some ways these relaxing endeavors have taken a life of their own and have become sweat sessions at Bikrams Yoga, half marathon training, and a little too much online shopping to find outfits like Betty and Joan.  It’s funny how “productive” these little moments for myself have become!

So here find myself in another cafe being “unproductive”… and it feels awesome!  As I sip on my americano, and watch the misty rain drizzle on the window, I can’t help but reflect on this past year of successes, and announcements, triumphs and tears.  One thing is very clear- it was an awesome year!  It wasn’t perfect, but I grew and I changed.  And to be honest, it’s taken me till Jan.1, 2013 to really appreciate and think about that.

My resolution next year is to take all of my goals and ambitions and plans and relationships, and find ways to create moments to reflect on and appreciate what is happening with them right then.  I’m not sure exactly how this will change any of the outcomes, and maybe it won’t… but I do think that in the moments of craziness and busyness, if I deliberately take time to reflect, I will be reminded to stop, breathe, and notice that there is goodness and beauty in all of it.  The wins and the losses.  Because at the end of the day, it’s all about learning and growing.

 

I’ll leave you with an amazing little 5 step program! A daily resolution of sorts 🙂

 

The Five Reiki Principles

BY DR.MIKAO USUI

 

I – Just for today, I will not be angry.

Anger at others or oneself or at the whole world, creates serious blockages in one’s energy. It is the most complex inner enemy.

Letting go of anger, brings Peace into the Mind.

 

II – Just for today, I will not worry.

 

While anger deals with past and present events, worry deals with future ones. Although worry is not always a negative phenomena, endless worries may fill one’s head, and each one bores a small hole in one’s body and soul.

Letting go of worry, brings healing into the Body.

 

III – Just for today, I will be grateful.

Be grateful from your hart inward. Inner intention is the important element in this principle. Simple things as thanks, forgiveness, smile, good words, gratitude can improve others life and make them happy.

Being thankful brings Joy into the Spirit.

 

IV – Just for today, I will do my work honestly.

Support yourself and your family respectably, without harming others. Earn a respectable living, live a life of honor.

Working Honestly brings Abundance into the Soul.

 

V- Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.

Honor your parents, honor your teachers, honor your elders.

Being Kind brings Love into the Will.

 

Happy New Years and all the best in 2013 – something tells me that this year is going to be a special one…Unknown-1

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From bad to worse..

8-1

That was the score of the Canucks loss last night.  The players looked visibly shocked, the coaches had no idea what to do and a city bustling with Olympic-like pride and gusto was immediately humbled.

Predictions were generous before the game – Canucks were getting better every game, every series.  Luongo seemed poised and confident, and our record was improving – 7 games in the first round, 6 games in the second, 5 in the 4th… and what was left?  A Four Game sweep of course!

So, if not a sweep, now what?

As an athlete and now a coach, I’ve often gotten caught up in the energy of “perfection”.  It’s what makes athletes, coaches, GM’s and franchises excellent – seeking perfect performances and doing every little thing that it takes to accomplish that.  And here’s where it gets tricky… we can train with perfection in mind but the second we try to play games perfectly is where things go wrong, because it’s very rare for a game to go exactly as we planned or envisioned…  We then miss opportunities as we search for the perfect play; we get caught up in our own mistakes, failing to move on from them; and when things don’t go well  we start to play with fear and caution.

There are a couple of ways to analyse why it happens that way- For all of those “The Secret” believers out there- Law of Attraction is the source of this. What we think about we attract.  Fear breeds the manifestation of fear.  Worrying about making mistakes breeds mistakes etc. etc. etc.  Our minds do not know the difference between what we want and what we don’t want.  It just produces what is on our mind.

And for those scientists out there, it’s pretty simple what happens.  Fear and nerves cause blood flow to pool in the stomach, thereby starving the extremities (aka arms and legs!), and so movement is not only restricted but our reflexes are much slower.  Looking back on last night’s game, does that sound familiar?

This is the “perfectionism trap”.  Perfectionism is great when things are, well, perfect.  But it quickly breaks down when things go wrong as it seems that there is no way out as we have already failed to be perfect.

So what now for the Canucks?  How do you regroup and come back from that performance?  I can’t say that I have the exact answer, but I think that the worse thing that they could do is overanalyze their performance.  They could go into strategy and technical aspects of the game and get caught up in what to change, but the truth is that the change that needs to happen is within them already.  They need to be okay with not being perfect, and have a little humour about the lesson they were given.  Trying to avenge a loss, or prove something to their fans will give them just that – a game spent trying and proving.  it’s uninspiring to watch, and even more uninspiring to play that way.

But I imagine they already know this.  They play week after week, in do or die situations.  They experience the best and worst of themselves on that ice day after day and so they are used to this and get coached through it.  They know how it goes.  But what about everyone else?

I’ve always said that the reason I was addicted to volleyball was because I could go through years of growth in 1 hour on the court. There is a start, middle and end to the game; you see what kind of teammate/partner you are; you see how you think and react when things are close- do you make the right play, do you get scared, do you blame your coach, yourself or teammate?  And then you finish the game, debrief, need to forget it and move on, while implementing new better ways to be in the future.  If this is not life, I don’t know what is!

But normally we don’t get to do the whole thing in such a short time.  Usually it gets stretched out over weeks, months, years and it feels neverending.  A bad play in hockey may see your team at a disadvantage for 5 minutes, but in life a bad decision could cost us years of discomfort, which really wears people down.  And so it gets really tough to forget the mistake and move on… to move past it with the information we learned and make different choices.  In fact, often there is so much time between the action and the result that we often lose sight of what caused what.  And then we (accidently) keep making the same mistake over and over and wonder why we ended up in the same place again.

It happens with work, money, dating, and family.  I’ve seen numerous friends find themselves in relationships with THAT guy that they tried to avoid.  Or people that keep ending up working with terrible bosses or who are perpetually broke no matter what kind of money they are making.

The question is, do we need a referee and a coach around or can we figure it out on our own?  When we make a mistake, do we know ourselves well enough to call the penalty, put ourselves in the box for 5 minutes, and then get back on the ice and play differently?  Or do we keep trying to play “through it” and force our game plan no matter what the other team is doing?  And though the Canucks got to walk away after 2 1/2 hours of playing with an 8-1 loss, what does that transfer into in real life?  Losing 8 things in real life is a much bigger deal – it may include a relationship, a house, a job, confidence, trust, time.

For me, I get stuck trying to be a perfectionist for sure.  Because it has served me in the past.  It has made me great at things and yet there is no doubt that there is a cap that it places on my life and so it’s important to look at my current situation and have a sense of whether I’m learning and changing myself or if I’m just trying to change the game.  Because 5 minutes in the penalty box may just be the perfect little time out – I mean, who knows what can happen while you’re in there… !

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So it all started with Oprah, which most things these days seem to start with…

My mom was watching the show last year on a rare day off from work and comedian Steve Harvey was the guest.  He was promoting his new book about  relationships and specifically about how women are going wrong- seriously wrong.

So, as you may have already guessed my mom started listening a little more intently and with her kids in mind as Harvey answered  questions about love, sex and dating.  I mean, sure this was supposed to be a day off Olympic planning for her, but maybe she could use this time to help US move from the singles event to pairs 😉

Now, I wasn’t watching the show, but my mom felt so inspired to share his thoughts that she declared at dinner that we need to hold on to our cookie  (what?) and followed up with passing along his book for us to read (my mom bought and read a book about dating?).  Oh, this will be interesting…!

So I read it, and I’m going to paraphrase the sh*t out of it but here is the main concept of this book (taken from Oprah’s website):

Though a woman might want many things from a man, Steve says men only need three things: support, loyalty and sex. Or as Steve calls it, “the cookie.” “We’ve got to have your support. Whatever adventure we’re out on, whatever pursuit in life, we need your support. Then we need your loyalty. That’s your love. We’ve got to know that you belong to us,” he says. “And we’ve got to have a cookie. Everybody likes cookies. That’s the thing about a cookie. I like oatmeal raisin…but if you’ve got vanilla cream, I’ll eat that too.”

So he goes on to describe how women give their cookie away too early – all of it!  It’s  the 2010 version of “The Rules”… take your time, have a life, make sure your guy knows he’s what you want, and hold on to your cookie for at least 90 days.  Yes guys, I’m being serious.   Three. Whole. Months.

So The Cookie started to get a whole bunch of floor time at our family dinners.  It was explained, debated, accepted, rejected.  My friends thought it was impossible, my brother declared he was a cookie-monster 😉 , my sister said that this was archaic dating behaviour and we’ve moved so far past this as women, and I decided to try it out. The Cookie was now an intricate part of our daily life and yet I wasn’t ready for what came next…

A couple weeks later we all went out for some drinks at a bar downtown, and as a new guy offered to buy me drinks and attempted laughing at even my cheesy jokes, my sister (sitting beside him on the other side) started a conversation that I only jumped into at the end.

her: “you know, you won’t even get her cookie for 3 months – she’s all talk…”

him: “what’s a cookie?”

her: “her COOKIE… she seems all fun and carefree but she’s like a…a…. she’s a double chocolate chip cookie”.

him:  “those are awesome!”

her: “no, they are the cookie that looks like everything you want and are SO bad for you.  And you buy it, and it’s way too sweet and you can only take a bite before it gets to be too much”.

And there she had declared what kind of cookie I was – Double Chocolate Chip

In her mind, the cookie that never truly satisfies…. but that’s just her opinion, which is what the beauty of the cookie is – everyone has different tastes!

So fast-forward a week and we have all declared what kind of cookie each of us is, and why.  And if you are reading this you are, no doubt, going to find a cookie that perfectly describes how you are in a relationship.  And it’s yours to keep or to give away, to hold on to, or to rebake to become a new kind of cookie if you so choose.

The Double Chocolate Chip:  It’s a lot, a whole lot.  Fun, a little sinful, and you never know exactly what it will be like.

Chocolate Chip Cookie: (mae) Great balance, but has a wild side.  Classic, yet all satisfying – not a daily treat but could be a weekly indulgence!

Oatmeal Raisin:  (jenna) this is the betty crocker of all cookies.  Wholesome, hearty, the kind of cookie that will send you on your way with a packed lunch.  It’s a classic but you aren’t sure if it’s a treat or not…

Mulitcolour Smartie Cookie: (stacy) Hmmmm… who picks a smartie cookie?  Someone who is in for a crazy ride!  Someone who never knows what they are going to get but wants the adventure and all the randomness that goes with it.  But it’s an awesome cookie and almost impossible to find 🙂

The Ginger Snap:  (sally) This is a cookie that you love or you hate.  It has a cult following – I mean, if you love ginger snaps, probably no other cookie satisfies.  In fact, you may not even like cookies but there’s something about a ginger snap that transcends the cookie label!

Oreo:  My personal favorite.  A little of everything.  And full of layers… it can be eaten all together in one bite, or slowly savoured, or separated into it’s different layers.  Chocolate or vanilla satisfies every mood. And dunk it in milk and it’s a whole different cookie.  This one keeps me interested…

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip:  (Lola) This is the one that I aim to become.  That I hope I’ve already become.  Classic awesome chocolate chip with a little wholesomeness.  Or another way to describe it is a double chocolate chip toned down… the 30 year old version to a 20 year old cookie 🙂

The breakfast Cookie: (hanna)  So this one is not a treat, even though you love it.  It’s the healthiest cookie there is. You could have it everyday, and you do.  But it takes awhile for you to acknowledge that you are actually eating a cookie.

The Power Cookie: (Farrah) This cookie isn’t kidding around.  It puts you in your place… it’s always in the zone.  While you may mistake it for a breakfast cookie, the power cookie is a challenge.  The extra protein, nuts and chocolate make you wonder if you can handle one in a sitting. This gives you something to chew on between bites and for some crazy reason, you keep coming back for more…

The Vegetable Cookie:  (harminder) Is there such a thing, you may ask?  Well, I declared that it exists and while I’ve since backpeddled to try to dub it as carrot cake or zucchini loaf, the truth is that as I hurled my accusation at my friend Harminder (that he is a vegetable cookie), I will never redeem myself for it 😉  And in a lot of ways he is a vegetable cookie.  He is massively good for you.  So good for you that every single friend of mine wants a vegetable cookie.  And since there are no others that I know of yet, he’s got a lot of work to represent this kind of cookie. But you marry this one.  Because, I mean, it takes guts to be a cookie that doesn’t include sugar!

So since this has all happened (over a year ago)  I’m pretty over being double chocolate chip.  I agree with my sister that it’s just a special occasion cookie and I’m more interested in being at least a weekly treat! So I think I’ve progressed, or am trying to progress to a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie.  Wholesome (just a little), with the chocolate that I’m known for and that adds a little adventure.

And as for the 90 day rule – I kind of get it.  There’s no question that  getting to know a person helps us make better decisions, and as soon as you throw in too much intimacy too soon (any kind of intimacy), it can cloud things.  But to declare a time frame seems artificial.  It seems contrived.  I think the 90 day rule is more about self awareness and growth as a potential couple than anything.  It’s so that we have time to see the ingredients behind the label of the cookie.  Cause what looks like a chocolate chip cookie could be carob, and we all know that the savoriness of vegetable cookies could be masked with a little apple or orange flavour.  But it takes time to figure it out.

So what kind of cookie are you right now?  And the question is, does it serve you?  Like, are you attracting the kind of cookie you want with the kind of cookie you are being?  Bring on the oreo 😉

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Yes, I’ve uttered those words.  In fact, I even broke up with someone by giving them a link to a song – Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. Yes, I know.  So dramatic 😉  And yes, so very very awesome of me…

It was something about these words that stuck out :

“The path that I’m walking
I must go alone
I must take the baby steps ’til I’m full grown, full grown
Fairytales don’t always have a happy ending, do they?
And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay”

Yeah try waking up and opening an email like that 🙂   – while I felt this in the moment, the truth was that I actually was just looking to break free.  I was looking for an excuse to leave and even though I pulled the “it’s not you, it’s me” story, I actually definitely thought it was him.  And I had to go alone.  aka… without him!

So if the truth for me was actually, “it’s not me, it’s you”, then why didn’t I see that earlier on?  Why was I wrong about who I thought he was, or how I thought he was?  And if I was wrong at the beginning, what’s to say that I wasn’t wrong at the end?

I think that how we view another human being is so interesting.  We treat our opinions, our observations and our judgments as totally real.  As if they are exactly as we perceive them to be.  And we call that the truth.  So what if the truth wasn’t so black at white and that “the truth” about who a person is for us, really lies in how we see them based on our own experiences and history.

One example that comes to mind is that every year at Nationals, we would go to the tournament with a vengeance out for one or two players on another team.  They irked us and we labelled them as cocky, or fake or bitchy, or whatever we decided.  And after the tournament was over, during the afterparty what inevitably happened?  We met them, we partied with them and in one night they became our best friend- so fun, hilarious, cool.  So did they change or did we change?  And seriously, if they actually were the way we initially thought they were, would all of the girls on their own team like them?  Of course not!

So I’ve been really curious about this notion that people are they way we see them based on the “glasses” that we are wearing – the glasses being our own thoughts, experiences and pasts that have nothing to do with that person.  And its why our best friend, who has excellent judge of character, may have another friend that we think is annoying or difficult.  Maybe they remind us of someone that we knew back in the day, or maybe they cause us to see our own darkest side.

I don’t know, exactly, but the question reigns… if people are how we perceive them, then can we simply perceive them differently and they will change for us?  Is that the basis of marriage counselling?  Focus on the things you fell in love with, and ignore the other stuff and you will feel the love again?  Not that the other stuff doesn’t exist, but the responsibility in changing our relationships is to change the glasses that we are looking out from – not in changing the person.

So maybe Fergalicious is onto something here.  Maybe, just maybe she has found a nugget of truth that it really is not you.  It’s me.  And in that case, no matter who is by my side, I am responsible for who that person shows themselves to be.  And until I own that, until I make that real in my own mind, I will be stuck with seeing a limited version of a person and will miss how diverse and whole and complete they really are.  So instead of looking outside for something or someone to show up, it’s time to take a look in the mirror and rock out to Fergie’s beat 😉

“I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you

It’s personal, myself and I
We’ve got some straightenin’ out to do”

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really? a translucent head?

So are there really plenty of fish out there?  I mean, really? People say that “there are plenty of fish in the sea” all the time! There’s even a dating site called Plenty of Fish – casually referred to as POF, and the fact that there is lingo such as “I’m Poffing”,  and “he’s a Poffer” demonstrates that it’s pretty common to look for these supposed fish online.

So do I think there are plenty of fish out there? The answer is yes and no.  YES I believe that there are a lot of single guys out there, just like there are fish in the ocean.  There is also a lot of weird shit in the sea.  There are random things that only come out from under the rock to kill and eat, there are the fish with those massive eyeballs, and the ones that have transparent heads.  I mean, yeah, it’s interesting but do I want to bring it home and look at it everyday?  Probably not.   And so, like fish in the sea, there are many men, but I don’t have any desire to catch them all.

So my friend Jenna had a blind date today.  I’m going to liken him to an eel.  Kind of slimy and like eel sushi, would only be good with a whole lot of sauce on top. He described himself as funny, intellectual and successful on POF and if this is the standard, then the pool is definitely smaller than I thought.   I think that at the end of the day it’s hard to change what you are attracted to, and she is attracted to clown fish – guys that make her laugh, kind of flashy, cool looking, but sometimes lacking a serious side.  I personally think she should go for a goldfish- I know it seems a little simple and maybe a little lacklustre, but goldfish are super social, come in many colours and in my opinion, they are resilient and strong (mine survived living in an m&m infested bowl that my roommates in university used to have candy tossing competitions in!). 

I think that many girls go for siamese fighting fish.  They are total chamelions.  They are beautiful, powerful, actually quite social fish.  They come in any colour you want!  BUT there is one very important thing that comes out over time… they cannot be in the vicinity of any other male.  Yep, this is a big thing that at first comes out as protectiveness and chivalry but in time the truth comes out, and though we try to ignore it they become so territorial they will fight to the death – maybe even the death of the relationship.  And the truth?  Well, they are best in a small bowl on their own, going in circles and circles admiring themselves until they even attack their own image…

But really, all jokes aside, I can only speak from experience and while almost every one of my girlfriends is single right now, I’m not sure that the issue is the amount of fish.  In fact, I’ve met a whole lot of awesome people and so it’s probably which ones we are paying attention to and how often we actually get our line out and go fishing. 

And I think we should help each other out.  I mean, if one of us has caught a throw-away (such as Jenna’s recent Poffer), shouldn’t we make sure to let the other fishers know that they may want to move on to another area… or maybe give up fly fishing for ice fishing?  Cause I hear there are a lot of options up North! 

I’ve gone ahead to work on setting Jenna up with another blind date, but the difference is that I can vouch for him.  There is definitely a much higher chance of catching the right one if the pond has been pre-screened, however I have to make sure I keep in mind that she does prefer a clown fish over a goldfish, and maybe she can send a goldfish my way 🙂  Until then, we’ll play for the experience and hopefully won’t have to cover them up with too much Teriyaki sauce 🙂

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So I was reading a newsletter that I got called “Dating without Drama”.  I know the husband of the woman who writes it, and so it’s been interesting reading about her theory on how to find THE ONE.  It goes something like this:

1.  Get busy, get interesting – fill your schedule with friends, hobbies, interests.  It’ll keep you busy so you don’t pine away for HIM to call you, will make you much more interesting to be around, and will keep him wanting more as it is much more attractive to a guy when you are a little hard to get (legitimately hard to get, not pretending to be).

2.  Follow some basic rules within the “dating phase” including some of these:

  • Only return phone calls, until you are comfortably dating him
  • Do not get physical until you are exclusive
  • “The Conversation” –  never a good idea
  • Keep dating other people until you are exclusive

 3.  Determine if he is boyfriend material (as in, take off the rose coloured glasses!)

Okay, so I know that some of this seems fake, seems game-like and seems inauthentic.  And it is!  Kind of.  Today I’m going to talk about #1…

 I got to thinking about me and my friends.  I think when we are single we are usually in one of  three situations:  1.  We are into a guy that isn’t into us,  2. A guy we aren’t into is totally into us, and 3.  We are totally single WAITING for the perfect guy (I’ll talk about this one some other time).

How backwards and frustrating is it that the guy that we are NOT into just becomes more and more interested in us?  WHY can’t the guys we want to date do that? 

I have a friend, we’ll call her Jenna.  She is totally together and knows what she wants.  The only problem?  She gets really really into a guy when she starts dating him, regardless of whether or not he is worthy of that kind of attention.  I would say that she dates down .  It’s totally obvious to all of us, but she does not see the truth about him because she decides she likes him right away, without really getting to know him.  See, she doesn’t really like him, she likes THE IDEA of him. So what happens?  This guy that should be so stoked about dating somebody like her turns it around and does a 180 or starts treating her shitty. 

The other day I overheard her talking to a guy that she is definitely not into (but likes her).  She was cool, a little nonchalant, relaxed and was explaining how she couldn’t go out with him that night.  It was perfect.  It was exactly as per “Dating without Drama” rules go!  Was this a coincidence?  In my opinion, the answer is NO.  The fact that she wasn’t really interested in him allowed her to be herself, to keep her priorities and committments (rather than cancelling plans to hang out with him), AND she had a lightness about her that if he called again or never called again, she would be fine.  This is the secret! 

So I think there is a difference between gameplaying and playing the game.   When I go into a beach volleyball competition, I would never go onto the court without a strategy.  The strategy comes from knowing my strengths and my weaknesses, as well as my opponents’.  I usually have a strategy that involves hitting one way at the start of the match in order to open up a shot for the end, when it matters.  

Basically, in sport we strategize to get what we want – a win!  And if our strategy isn’t working… ahem girls, listen up… change the strategy!  In dating, don’t just hope that you can keep the same one, which hasn’t produced results, and the “right guy” will just magically appear.  Go from bench player to tournament MVP by practicing, stepping up your skillset, your strategy and your ability to make the right play when it matters (also know as being clutch). I think that the key attitude is FUN.  In anything, when there is a sense of heaviness, and things getting tense, it’s a sign that you are on the wrong path.  You are taking yourself too seriously, and how fun is it to be around a person like that? 

Now I’m not advocating being emotionally distant from people, I’m just saying that perhaps some of us need to change our game plan- ditch the bench, ditch being  a player.  It’s time to BE THE MVP!

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