Archives for category: Musings

There are many ways to heal. Eventually, any externally imposed guidelines for how to become well must be consistent with your own inner guidance system. You must learn to support yourself through self-respect, not through restrictive regimens filled with should and oughts that feel punitive.  January 14th Women’s Wisdom Perpetual Flip Calendar Christiane Northrup,M.D.

Reading this on the 14th was really a bit of an aha moment for me. I was already planning my blog about Tuesdays With Morrie so health, healing, life and death were already on my mind. This message really made sense to me in an important way – because I think it’s a very simple idea that far too many of us forget, or don’t even recognize to begin with.

The importance of finding a balance between how we choose to heal.  As Morrie says in Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom, “The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”  Far too often when we are faced with health issues even from minor all the way up to crisis, we put our decisions in someone else’s hands. Whether out of doubt, fear or exhaustion or simple lack of understanding that what we believe and how we feel actually matters!

It’s important to find the balance and like most things in life, there isn’t just one path or answer on how to do that. But the first step certainly can be that simple little aha moment that I had.  That it matters. That beginning to pay attention and to care and to take some responsibility matters and is possible.

Taking an active part in our health, learning to support ourselves, and to support others through self respect, love and kindness provides a healing that medical science might not be able to measure in meticulous scientific terms – at least yet. But like most things in life, healing arrives in many different forms along many different paths.  We might not be able to cure everything, but that does not mean that very real healing can occur.

 

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ser·en·dip·i·ty
noun: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
“a fortunate stroke of serendipity”
synonyms: (happy) chance, (happy) accident, fluke; luck, good luck, good fortune, fortuity, providence; happy coincidence
(Thank you Google)
Do you listen to your intuition, that “gut feeling”?
Do you notice the little things and listen to that little thought that just jumps into your head?
Or the little voice that seems to come from the vicinity of your shoulder?
Have you noticed when you allow yourself to be open to positive possibilities, things just “arrive at the right time”, just when you need them? Some might say serendipity…
Experience has taught me it’s usually a very good idea to notice, because once you start noticing, you’ll begin to notice more. It can  take a very long time for things to align and for me to connect the dots to see opportunity. Often I am completely unaware of the process unfolding before me until it’s completed.
For instance, my mum loves to read, so, I tend to scan the used book tables for treasures. It was on one of these excursions that Tuesday’s With Morrie by Mitch Albom caught my attention. I’d heard of the title and accolades about the book. It was twenty-five cents well spent.
When she gave it back to me it was with the gentle recommendation “you really should read this, it was excellent! It’s the kind of book you’d love.”  I smiled and said thank you.  I was very glad she’d enjoyed it. At home, I put it in the bathroom thinking I’d get around to reading it some day.
When guests have visited our washroom they’ve often commented,  “Oh, you’r reading Tuesday’s With Morrie! Isn’t it a great book!” To which I’ve responded honestly, I hadn’t read it yet.
Each time I cleaned I’d move the book as I dusted and then put it back with  the bathroom reading material. Sometimes I’d think “Maybe I should read it” but most times I simply ignored it. This was my routine for more months than I care to count.
Then a couple of weeks ago as I picked up the book as I was dusting. I had a distinct and very loud thought, “You need to read it now.” I really wasn’t in the mood. As a matter of fact I was in a bit of a funk, but I’ve had enough experience with myself and those loud thoughts.  I picked up the book and opened to the first page.  I smiled and said a little thank you to those thoughts. It was exactly what I needed. Serendipity.
I am so grateful I’ve learned to listen to myself, well, at least some of the time. The book is filled with tidbits that I was ready to hear now – not six months ago, not in a year, but right now. Although, no matter when I read the book, I would still learn from it,  NOW is when the words sunk in. Now is when I was ready to receive it.
“I’m going to say it again,” he said, “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”  He smiled, and I realized what he was doing. He was making sure I absorbed this point, without embarrassing me by asking. It was part of what made him a great teacher.    Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
I certainly recommend the book, but what I recommend even more is allowing yourself to be truly aware and open to the serendipity around you. It is always there if you are open to it. The problem is most of us aren’t. We ignore the messages that surround us, and virtually put our fingers in our ears and sing lalalalalalala I can’t hear you.
It can take a while to get tuned in to recognize  and trust the messages and signs around us. But once you make that first connection and recognize it, it becomes easier each time until they jump out at you like a friend waving a welcoming hello!
So when you get that nagging jolt of “maybe I should”, or “maybe I shouldn’t” …. maybe what you should do is take a moment and check it out. Just maybe, exactly what you need is actually right there in front of you patiently ready and waiting for you to simply take the time to pause, listen, and recognize it so you can own it.
Because in the end, it really is all good. It’s just how you choose to look at it.  Go on, be open and let yourself Rise Like Air.
© 2018 JFries/Rise Like Air

As each woman realizes her power she transforms the world – from 2015 WomanSpirit Sourcebook, Patrice Wynn

What do you want to do?

Right now, today, tomorrow, with your time, with your life? Do you want to leave a legacy, relax, learn, travel? Make a difference? But how can you? Just little you.  How can you make a difference? Well…

Have you realized your power yet? 

 

Have you embraced it

Moulded it

Learned how to use it…

 

Do you appreciate it

Fear it

Crave it…

 

Will you reach for it

Believe in it

Trust in it…

 

It is Yours to Choose

To Own

To Realize…

Give yourself permission.  It really is all you need…

 

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Whether you are man, woman, child, adult, it does not matter who or what you are. Realize your Power and you will transform the world.

Rise Like Air.

 

©2018 JFries/Rise Like Air

Originally posted October 28th 2016

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Some days are just like that. You seem doomed from the start. My mother had a day like that a little while ago and she was kind enough to call and share it with me.

It started out simply enough. A trip across the street to the mall for a few groceries.No big deal, except when you’re getting close to 90 years old, things take a little longer than they used to. They take a little more effort than they used to. But independent and undaunted as always my parents went on their shopping excursion.

Upon returning home and unpacking the groceries, she realized she had forgotten to purchase whipping cream for the pie that was waiting for dessert. Of course you can’t serve pumpkin pie without whipped cream. So, taking it all in stride as you tend to do when you’re in your 80’s my mother grabbed a five dollar bill, her keys and off they went again. Back to the mall, to the far end where the grocery store is, picked up the cream and got in line. When the cashier rang the purchase through it came to a grand total of….. drum roll please….. $5.20. Yes. She was short $.20. Two dimes.  Four nickels.  Forget the pennies because we don’t have them anymore.

So, as she tells the story, there she stands, mouth hanging open thinking.  Here we go again! When, a kind gentleman who had heard the exchange reached over and handed her a dollar coin wrapped up with a kind smile.

Now my mom has heard me tell many stories of paying it forward because it’s a favourite thing for me to do. And I tend to hang around with people who like to do it too. So here’s my mother, experiencing a stranger’s gesture of kindness.

I loved hearing my mom’s excitement as she described her relief at not having to go home and return for a third time. She was so appreciative that when she got the change she found the gentleman and gave it to him, much to his surprise. She even confided that she is quite looking forward to being able to return the favour in kind to someone else in need. Watch out! Mom is on kindness patrol!

My mom has always been a kind person, but I do believe she’s been bitten by the pay it forward bug. The only kind of bug I like getting bitten by. All part of living a the kindness lifestyle.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

My mom was just telling this story again last week with a big smile on her face. You really never know just how big an impact a seemingly small action can have on another person.  Sometimes, all it takes is 20 cents. Never doubt your importance and value in the world.

Because in the end, it really is all good. It’s just in how you choose to look at it.

via Twenty Cents Worth

©2018 JFries/Rise Like air

Set your heart on fire

Seek those who fan your flames

Rumi

Credit J Fries 2018

There is beauty in the ashes of a heart that burned for what it loved

Ariana

One loving heart sets another on fire

St Agustine

Love is friendship set on fire

Look a little closer in those delicate eyes, her heart’s a wild creature and her soul’s on fire

– NR Hart

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire

-Ferdinand Foch

Create what sets your heart on fire

It will illuminate the path ahead

©️2018 J Fries/Rise Like Air

‘Tis the season to be jolly and giving. Some of us have just a few people on our lists and others have a list to rival the old man’s in red himself.

But even before the big day arrives, there’s a gift worth giving. And the first deserving person is…

you

Brené Brown talks about the power of permission slips when dealing or reckoning with emotions in her best seller “Rising Strong”. After all dealing with emotions can be difficult, something we’d rather avoid than face head on.

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The act of giving yourself permission to engage with your emotions in a situation is incredibly empowering.  On one hand it sounds so simple, but as Brown puts it,

“This work takes practice. Awkward, uncomfortable practise.” And by the way, you’re worth the gift.

Maybe it’s the neighbour’s annual party you dread.

I give myself permission to say no.

Or that new job offer in a different city

I give myself permission to feel excited and adventurous.

When you lose someone you love.

I give myself permission to feel sad and to grieve.

Maybe it’s after a divorce.

I give myself permission to feel afraid and lonely.

Or after losing a big business deal.

I give myself permission to learn from my experiences.

When a friend lies about you.

I give myself permission to feel hurt and angry.

Maybe before a first date.

I give myself permission to smile in anticipation and be myself.

Or after a first date.

I give myself permission to feel excited and good about myself.

Maybe after a promotion.

I give myself permission to believe in my abilities.

Or after a life altering diagnosis.

I give myself permission to feel afraid and hopeful.

 

So… grab a piece of paper and your favourite pen…

However and whatever you celebrate this time of year give yourself the gift of permission and may your spirits rise like air all year.

After all, it really is all good, it’s just how you choose to look at things.

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

Grit, the stubborn refusal to quit. Now granted, sometimes you just have to know when it’s time to quit, but for the most part good old fashioned grit is what gets us through the bumps and challenges of life. The bigger the challenge, the more grit required. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of grit quietly but so importantly play out around the world.

Sometimes it gets lost in the flood of news about sadly comedic and destructive world leaders, kittens in Facebook feeds and the daily rush of life in general, but it’s there, large as life and begging to be recognized.

And what makes up grit, that stubborn refusal to give up?

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  • Guts
  • Resilience
  • Initiative
  • Tenacity

And that’s why people with grit tend to win. They stay the course. They get back up. They adjust and most importantly they get it done and they inspire along the way. If they have to get a little dirt under their finger nails or make waves here and there, they do.

In her best selling book Rising Strong, Brené Brown says,

Embracing the vulnerability it takes to rise up from a fall and grow stronger makes us a little dangerous. People who don’t stay down after they fall or are tripped are often trouble-makers. Hard to control. Which is the best kind of dangerous possible. They are the artists, innovators, and change-makers.

As I look around my own little world and when I listen to It’s All Good Radio Show each week I am amazed by the everyday people who exemplify grit at it’s finest.

Megan Rose Taylor, an amazing young woman who sustained a head injury which causes her to faint numerous times a day.  What did she do? Entered the Three Peaks Challenge and reached the summit of all three mountains. She has helped veterans, trained her dog Ruby to qualify to be her assistance dog and the pair are favourite visitors at local senior homes. That’s just the beginning.

There’s Wayne Dixon and his dog Koda who are committed to cleaning up the beaches of the UK from all the trash and plastic that comes to rest there. And he’s inspiring others to join the effort.

Orly Wahba, founder of Life Vest Inside, creator of the viral video The Kindness Boomerang and author of The Kindness Boomerang, is a person who has changed my life and others around the globe. She shows how small, genuine acts of kindness by everyday people, performed everyday can profoundly change the world for the better.

Polly Higgins, ecological lawyer and author is determined to advance the international crime of ecocide. Polly is guided by the principal of “first do no harm” and is involved in Mission Life-force a platform to fund ecocide law and to protect activists.

Age isn’t a factor when it comes to grit. Take Zach, “a small dude with a big love of nature” who writes about his nature hunts and what he finds. Zach says, “I’m always looking for new things and love learning about the world around us.”  Zach’s blog A Year of My Nature Hunting just celebrated it’s third year.

Then of course two of my favourite people, Debbie Hyde and David Durant, of this wonderful weekly 2 hour show called It’s All Good Radio Show on Riviera FM.  They share stories about people, businesses and organizations who are changing the way we live and work for the better.

And there’s me, Rise Like Air, conspiring to inspire through the celebration of hope. Sharing stories of people rising above challenges, and actually embracing what might even seem impossible.  And thanks to Debbie and David of It’s All Good, I now get to conspire to inspire with them as well.

These are the kind of people who dare to speak up, stand up and challenge the way we think, the way we do things, and even what we believe. These people have true grit. These are the people that keep getting up, keep believing and keep doing even when others laugh at them, question their sanity and take the time to explain every possible reason why what they are doing won’t work, can’t work and even maybe shouldn’t work.

It is these very people who embrace their vulnerability as they get up and head out to change the world whether it is one piece of trash at a time, one radio show at a time, one act of kindness, one blog or climbing a mountain.

The people with grit remind us that it’s all about our attitude – and our guts, resilience, initiative and tenacity.  It really is all good. It’s just in how you choose to look at it.

Originally published December 2014

I am one of those people who hate waking up in the dark.  I am a sunny morning  kind of person.  If dawn hasn’t cracked and the sun hasn’t risen, then neither should I, especially if it’s cold outside.  And let’s face it; where I live, it’s dark and cold for a good number of months.

©2014 JFries

©2014 JFries

The exception to my usual disposition is the month of December.  December is special in this regard and I actually look forward to waking up in the dark.  Yes, I said it, “I look forward to it.”  I pull on warm fuzzy clothes to ward off the early morning chill, tip toe down the darkened hallway and stairs, flip a couple of switches and am greeted with the soft coloured lights welcoming me on the staircase where the stockings are all hung with care waiting for the Christmas Eve magic that never grows old.   I step into the parlour which is bathed in warm colours from the glowing Christmas tree, it’s branches spreading protectively over the gaily coloured packages carefully wrapped and placed there over the last few days.

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The stillness of the house is still intact as I make my way to the living room where the villagers are just starting to wake up.   The early risers are already at the bakery choosing their delicacies for their own celebrations.

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On a regular day I would throw on all the lights I could to drive the darkness away, but instead, in December I shuffle my way to the kitchen and make a cup of tea.  Deeply I inhale the rich aroma of bergamot and settle myself in a cozy chair with a view to the East.  This morning I’m in no rush for the sun to chase away the darkness.  Instead I am ready to welcome it with patience and wonder, amongst the softly glowing lights that twinkle here and there, much like the last stars slowly blinking their good night as they take their turn to rest.  I marvel at the beauty as the sun paints the sky with brilliant pinks, reds, and purples, welcoming the new day with all the beauty and all the magic it holds, just waiting for me to discover all it has to offer.

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And now, the adventure begins.

It’s All Good, it really is just how you choose to look at things.

©2014/2017 Rise Like Air  J. Fries

Photos are ©2014 J.Fries

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Remember that old game of Truth or Dare? The one where you had a choice of telling the truth OR taking a dare. Showing your cowardice or courage. What were you willing to do? A game that held exhilaration and dread all wrapped neatly into one messy secretive childhood right of passage.

Soooo….

I dare you…

I dare you to be bold, for “boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”

I dare you to be brilliant, strong and clear, vivid and bright”

I dare you to see beautiful,  be you.

Genius, Power and Magic!

Strong Clear Vivid and Bright!

Be You

I dare you.

All it takes is a little courage, a little daring. And you know what?

Here’s the truth, it’s in you! And it’s in me too.

So dare to dare yourself!

It really is all good, it’s just about how you choose to look at things. Do you dare darlings?

©2017 J Fries/Rise Like Air

 

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I’ve been taking stock, realizing that while I’ve got a great life, I want more. Not so much Get More, but Grow More. I don’t want to stagnate. Experience awaits.

And cue life gets in the way. And that’s okay! For awhile anyway. Sometimes at least. Until….

Until life simply becomes and excuse…

So about a month ago Brian Canavan a coach I highly respect and have worked with, posted a challenge on Facebook called Pause Reset Go! A free intensive five day boot camp to help get you moving and grooving to where you want and need to be. I’m going to say right up front it was worth it. The boot in the backside I needed.

The “common sense secret” is its about more than setting goals – it’s about far more than that. Setting goals, well that’s a pretty tiny part on one hand. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a critically important tiny part, the lynch pin so to speak. But you can have the best goals, exactly the “kind you need” goals – but you better have a pretty good idea of how to get there. Actually a better than good idea. You need a plan. Crap. There’s always a hitch.

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Ok, easy enough, I can do this. But wait one minute. You need the tools to make that very important plan become a successful reality.  And… don’t forget I have my own arsenal of talents, skills and more that are important to making this dream aka goal a reality. Yep, all this in five days.  Ok, after five days I hadn’t met my ultimate goal. BUT. And this is a very big BUT….

I knew where I AM right now.  I knew where I wanted to be/what I wanted to do. I had inventoried my arsenal. I had a plan of how to put it together in manageable flexible steps. I had an accountability partner ready to help me stay on track . Most importantly I had the confidence to begin and the motivation to continue.

Baby steps. Second Guess.

An article I read on The Thought Catalogue by Brianna West helped me come to see this process as self care, doing what I need to do to be “me”. But I have to admit, I’ve always thought of self care as the warm fuzzy kind relax and kick back type of thing.  This is a very different kind of self care. It’s the tough love self care. It’s the I don’t want to adult today but I’m going to put on my big girl panties and rock and roll (or whatever metaphor works for you) kind of self care. It’s hard and awkward and scary. AND WORTH IT! Every gut wrenching, mind spinning, self doubting moment of it.

It’s the taking classes, budgeting, saying no to the hard things, yes to the right things, letting go of what doesn’t serve and letting in what does. It’s the risk taking, soul searching, mistake making moments.

A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.

True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to not build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.

And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.

The Thought Catalogue – This Is What Self-Care Really Looks Like, Brianna West

It comes down to what I want and what I’m ready and willing to do to get it. To get what I want. It’s time.

On your Mark…

Get Set…

GOAL!

(and do all the things that go into making that goal a successful reality).

©️ 2017 J Fries/Rise Like Air

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