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Introducing a New Blog: Shades Of Crimson.

After six months, I’m moving to a self-hosted blog and changing the name to Shades of Crimson.

This has been an interesting transition. I have spent two months dealing with technical difficulties. During that time WordPress released three updates. I changed the tag line a half dozen times, spent hours sourcing images and got into a rather uncomfortable discussion in an online support forum.

I’m sure my face turned a few shades of crimson. I’m not always under the influence of a “loving pulse”.

But, as Lance from The Jungle of Life commented on my last post: “I think we all have a little dysfunction! I’m going to embrace that dysfunction this year.”

Taking the Personal out of Personal Development

It’s been said that dysfunction is an illusion designed by the inner critic, who takes things personally. It does a good job at holding a person in a place of judgment and causing them to react defensively. In my experience I’ve fallen into the trap of defining myself based on the inner critic’s direction.

We give too much credit to the inner critic. If it’s an illusion, how can it design anything? Think about that. Which makes me wonder about spirit too. In my humble opinion spirit exists, although I can’t see it any more clearly than I can see the inner critic. Both of these exist as beliefs for me because of experience, and how I have perceived that experience.

Anyway, when those nasty inner voices cloud our vision we are confused because it goes against what we are made of (whatever that is). Our natural instinct for truth and balance runs deep and the inner critic can be convincing. If a person is sensitive this can easily throw them off track.  An internal struggle ensues because their perception of how things are happening doesn’t resonate with their instincts.

This year, I’m inspired to practice experience without expectation. To notice. Some days I will succeed, some days I will fail – two sides of the same coin. But, getting up in the morning to focus on experience rather than accomplishment sheds new light on things. I feel lighter starting the day this way.

Life illustrates different shades of crimson for people. Whether we are enthusiastically inspired by our experience – resonance, or feeling resistant and judgmental – dissonance.

There is only one outcome we can count on in life. What lies between now and then is experience – the ultimate accomplishment.

I continue to be inspired by the blogs I read and the comments that are shared here. Thanks for a conversational 2008. I appreciate the time each and every one of you take to read and comment because the blogosphere is certainly a busy place.

These bloggers have stepped up to share advice and offer support over the last few months and I want to thank you here and now. I’m eternally grateful to all of you.

Catherine – Cath Lawson Blog

Robin – Let’s Live Forever

Vered – MomGrind

Evelyn – Attraction Mind Map

Stacey – Create A Balance

Monika – Freelance Writing

Sara – Sara Healy

Patricia – Patricia’s Wisdom

Kathy – Virtual Impax

And I must add Barbara to this list from Blogging Without A Blog. Six months ago I learned how to add a gravatar to Loving Pulse, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember how to do it for the new blog. I did a couple of quick searches online and didn’t get the fast information I wanted. So, it was over to her blog where I had it all figured out in 5 minutes. Thanks Barbara!

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Project Announcement — The Quote Effect: A Blogger’s Online Collection

What type of blogger are you? Inspirational? Sarcastic? Humourous? Professional? Let’s put our heads together and get ready for some creative fun!

Join me at Shades Of Crimson to find out more about this project. While Loving Pulse will stay put, comments are closed on this post.

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If this is your first time visiting Loving Pulse and you enjoyed the reading, please join me over at Shades Of Crimson. Subscribe to the feed and you won’t miss upcoming posts. All new comments will go into moderation.

And please, bear with me. I’m new to the whole world of self-hosted blogs and not a computer geek. There may be the odd glitch as I get things up and running and have a few design elements customized. If you have any problems commenting or navigating please let me know; visit the Contact page.

Image entitled Happiness, photographed by Branko Korelc; property of Dreamstime.com. Used here with permission. Illegal download and usage not allowed.
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21578917_08ca661e47_mSomewhere, someone is having a perfect Christmas, filled with chestnuts roasting and sleigh bells ringing…

Screw ’em.

Most of us are having just the opposite: a nutcrackin’ nightmare of anger, hurt feelings, evil in-laws, and carbs beyond counting. A time when grudges grow and gasses pass. A time of maxed-out credit cards and a ham that the vegetarians are ready to hurl through the frosty window.

Evil little brothers, pregnant tattooed sisters, horny dogs, and cross-dressing dads – they’re all here, ready to spread their Christmas cheer.

So untangle the lights, spill some eggnog, and gather ’round the place where happier families would have a piano.

Let’s sing to the tune of  “O Come All Ye Faithful”…

O come meet the family, bad breeding triumphant;
O come meet the family dysfunctional.
Come and behold them. As they brag and fight and whine.
For it’s a celebration, of Christmas aggravation.
And if you’re no relation, just thank the Lord.

Ok, now I have to admit that I didn’t write this. I WISH I could take credit for it, because it makes a dysfunctional family sound a lot lighter. And it made me smile. How about you?

Will you still be smiling on Christmas Day when you are spending time with your family? I hope you are. But if you aren’t, here is something to consider.

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It’s only one day. Make the best of it. If memories of family holidays past are less than desirable, switch the channel.

That’s right. Choose a new program. Take a new perspective.

You can’t change these people, but you can change how you look at them.

If your mean aunt is lecturing you again about how you chose the wrong career, you might be annoyed and want to tell her what to do with her advice. Or, you might ask yourself, “What’s another way I could look at this?”

You could choose to see her in a more positive light; “She really cares about me and only means well.”

Or use this strategy. Accentuate her rottenness; “She doesn’t have a life poor thing and that is why she has so much energy to spend on criticizing other people.” You might end up feeling something different for that aunt of yours.

And if you do react badly you can still switch your channel. Don’t feel badly about how you may have acted. Tell yourself that you will do better next time and don’t hold on to the feelings. Don’t beat yourself up. Your aunt can do that better right? Ask yourself what you have learned.

Usually when someone is criticizing you, if you feel a reaction there is some learning there for you. If there is no learning, then it will fly right past you.

If this does change things for you, then you will be stronger than the day before. Stronger for the next time.

And if none of this works at least you will have kept yourself busy and before you know, it will be time to go home.

This quote from Joubert Joseph is what inspired this post.

“He who has not the weakness of friendship has not the strength.”

I wish all of you the best Christmas that you can SEE for yourself. And take the best of that into the new year.

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Introduction and revised lyrics to O Come All Ye Faithful was taken from The Dysfunctional Family Christmas Songbook, written by John Boswell and Leonore Skenazy.

Photo credits: Kittenagogo’s photostream from Flickr.com

So, oh come all ye faithful and share your comments. Maybe myself or my readers can help you shed some light on a rotten relative!

If this is your first time visiting Loving Pulse and you enjoyed the reading, don’t forget to subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss upcoming posts. Click on Subscribe to Feed on the home page and follow the prompts.

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An Authentic Self Connects With Her Future Self

Hello everyone. This is a Guest Post written by a personal friend of mine.

I’d like to introduce you to Deanna. She works in community health care with older adults as a Case Manager.

Like so many of us, she has been on a quest to connect with her life purpose and to apply it in her everyday life.

As an avid reader and promoter of self-development, she has struck out on her journey with determination.

She employed life coaching services with Crimson Compass and was guided on a Future Self meditation.

This is an inner journey where a person is invited to imagine the possibilities beyond the limits they’ve imposed; beyond what they believe is realistic. The Future Self is the core self that a person is becoming on the path to fulfillment.

This journey taps into the intuitive, internal knowing and enables a person to bring this clarity into the light of their current lives.

It’s a challenge to solve problems and achieve goals while feeling influenced by troubling or confusing life circumstances. Having a Future Self identity will give a person a persona to step into to reflect on their life from a different perspective.

Deanna has been exploring this idea on her quest to come up with a Life Purpose Statement and while reflecting on this, she was inspired to write this story. I have ask for her permission to share it.

If you have comments for Deanna, she would be excited to be a blogger for a day and respond to them. And so here, unedited, is Deanna’s story.

The Story of the Wooden Chest

There’s a chest, a big, clunky wooden chest, upstairs in the attic. I’ve just discovered it. Or perhaps, more truthfully, I’ve only noticed that it’s always been there. I can’t decide if I should be surprised, but somehow I don’t think I am.

The attic isn’t familiar to me. It’s not a room in the house where I currently live and I don’t recognize this space. And yet, this attic, this place where the chest resides, is welcoming me and it seems perfectly natural that I should be here.

The chest is old. But then again, I’m not very adept at determining the age of anything, so it’s easy for me to say ‘it’s old’. But it is; it just looks old. Like it’s been sitting in this spot forever, waiting to be found.

The top is steeply curved, which gives it an overall appearance of something rather large and imposing. But the colour is a deep, rich brown, and it is rather inviting. There are wide metal straps embedded on the top and sides, seeming to hold it together, although I’m not sure these are terribly necessary. It gives me no clue that it’s about to fall apart.

The wood itself is nothing exotic, like mahogany or some other rare or extinct species of wood. It’s just brown, ordinary wood, but nevertheless very appealing in a basic and solid kind of way. Like you’d expect an old friend to be, a little weathered and worn, but familiar and waiting to tell you a grand story about where he’s just been.

I have a lantern in my hand. It’s kind of old fashioned in itself, and not a typical thing I’d carry with me into an attic. Usually I’d have a flashlight, but somehow a flashlight seems poorly suited to the job. The lantern seems just the right thing for me to carry, and it surprises me I knew that. I didn’t have to think about it.

However, I notice that I really don’t need much of a light at all, because the chest is sitting near a small, rectangular shaped window, letting in the right amount of diffuse, soft early afternoon light. The warm glow of the lantern was more than enough to get me here, so I extinguish it.

It seems odd to me that there isn’t a lot of clutter or piles of old junk around this chest. Not much by way of cobwebs, dust or litter either. It’s rather quiet, neat, and tidy up here. There’s just the chest and me alone together, in this space.

I pause for a little while. Shall I open the lid? Of course I know I will. It seems to me this is what I’m supposed to do. Why the hesitation? Out of respect perhaps, it occurs to me. What’s the hurry, after all?

I examine the front of the chest, looking for a lock, and although there is a latch, it opens easily, without a key. I lift the latch and push back on the lid, so the top is fully open. I remain on my knees, in front of the chest. I don’t feel the urge to stand. This works well. I’m comfortable.

I’m not sure if it’s the light from the window or something else in my eyes, but now there seems to be something bright and rather all encompassing in front of me. It takes me a few minutes to realize it’s coming from inside the chest.

When I look more closely, it occurs to me it’s mostly a simple, pure light that I see. But it’s not blinding. It’s soft and yet is sufficient to illuminate the entire inside of the chest. At first glance, I can’t see anything beyond the light. When I focus, I begin to make out a blue striped fabric lining, and the outline of a few objects.

The first object is a collection of five to six glass marbles. They seem fairly average in appearance to me. But I pick them up and roll them around in the palm of my hand. They feel cool and smooth to the touch and seem to be telling me to ensure I have some fun. The kind of fun you have when you’re little, and not too worried about much of anything.

Then I notice, and how could I not, the rather large hand quilted blanket in the right hand side of the chest, occupying a good bit of space. I take it out, and see that someone has put a great deal of effort into piecing this together. Is this especially for me? What a comforting thought! I dare not wrap it around my shoulders, just yet. Maybe I’m supposed to wait for something, to use it at its best.

My eyes stray to an elongated cardboard box, not quite standard paper size, and only a couple of inches high. When I open it, there are several sheets of blank paper, finely textured, pearl white, demanding thoughtful recording. It occurs to me that I’m simply required to ‘be reflective’.

Then I see another small, square box in the far left hand corner of the chest. When I open this one, there are several ‘nuggets’ that for some reason I immediately recognize as fuel for my lamp. I also know that this is enough fuel to last indefinitely, to light my way and for others who follow. Isn’t that amazing?

Ah ha, so now I understand what’s going on. This is a chest of gifts dedicated to self-care. My wise future self sent this to me, knowing that in order to be a guide to others on my journey I must first take good care of myself.

* * * * * * * *

Imagine that you have come across a wooden chest in your attic. When you lift the lid, what items are waiting there to support you?

Or, if you were going to put items into it that symbolize your strengths what would they be?

* * * * * * * *

Meet Your Future Self – FREE

Receive a 20-minute meditation  (long distance fees not included). Includes a 15-minute debrief and a transcript of your notes.

To schedule an appointment send an email to crimsoncompass@gmail.com with Future Self in the subject line. Promotion ends January 31, 2009.

Setting a New Year’s Resolution for 2009?

This special deal would be perfect to support your efforts!

Within two weeks after receiving your Future Self meditation choose one 30-minute follow-up coaching session at a 50% discount. Session includes:

1. Goal-setting for 2009.
2. Tips on how to connect with your Future Self to support your goal.
3. A written summary with accountability steps included.
4. Within two weeks, a follow-up email or 15-minute phone call to review steps you have taken towards achieving your goal. We’ll look at what is or isn’t working.

The cost for all this is just $35. Offer ends January 31, 2009.

If this is your first time visiting Loving Pulse and you enjoyed the reading, don’t forget to subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss upcoming posts. Click on Subscribe to Feed on the home page and follow the prompts.

This is a video of myself doing a presentation on my day of graduation from a self-employment course.

(It’s 2.5 minutes long. You can save time if you start the video and hit pause so it can download while you read.)

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” What this means is that a good portion of human communication takes place non-verbally. It’s not only about the words, but how you deliver them.

I am not an experienced public speaker. During the few times I have given a speech nothing influenced me more than the good mental attitude that came from being well prepared.

My first speech was at Toastmasters; The Icebreaker. I practiced until I had it memorized, pacing around my apartment in circles reading the speech out loud and timing myself. The icebreaker had to run between 4 to 6 minutes. I was a nervous wreck the entire day leading up to that moment. It was hellish!

I had a plan though!

Even though I had memorized the speech I brought two copies of it to the podium. I stood in front of the audience, my heart pounding in my throat. I looked down at the piece of paper I was holding and started reading.

Then I stopped, looked at the audience, waited and then said, “Oh what’s the use. I can’t do this!” I crumpled up the speech and tossed it over my shoulder. They looked stunned and I was extremely pleased. That impact helped me take the focus off myself and focus on the audience and their response.

My evaluation was positive: sincere, good gestures and pacing, excellent opening. One suggestion for improvement was to vary the tone of my voice. Hard to do when you’re choking on your own breath! I did appreciate their support. They wanted me to succeed and that made a difference.

In this video, again I was so nervous I could hardly breathe. What amazes me is that I didn’t look too nervous. I’d imagined I looked like an idiot, but when I watch the video I don’t think I did as bad as I thought I had.

First, a bit of background. In 2003 I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, a condition similar to celiac disease.

In my case there was no damage to the intestinal wall, but the absorption of minerals had been affected. A bone density scan at age 40 showed that I had the bone density of a 60-year-old. After two years on the gluten-free diet, a follow-up bone density scan revealed an increase of 11%.

I decided to start a nutrition consulting business combining my credentials as a nutritionist and experience with the gluten-free diet. And so, GlutenfreeMe was born.

I also completed training as a life coach with the Coaches Training Institute because I wanted to offer coaching to support my clients with their new diets. The nutrition business was not successful. My business focus transitioned from consulting to coaching when I saw how powerful this process was.

In this video I am preparing a recipe called Chocolate Recovery Pudding, created by Brendan Brazier from North Vancouver.

This is the second half of the presentation. For the opening I playfully showed the audience the difference between how big my belly was before going gluten free and how flat it looked that day. This was not part of the planned speech but turned out to be a powerful ad lib. Again, it was an opening with an impact that helped me ease into the speech.

I don’t know how I managed to speak. I could hardly breathe and this is obvious by the lack of variation in vocal tone. My throat was dry and I was shaking. You will hear me say that I was shaking so much that I didn’t have to plug the blender in. All I had to do was hold it. Another successful ad lib. A good sense of humour is my saving grace.

I learned from both speeches that being well prepared supported me the most. I knew the topic well and had rehearsed.

Because I was well connected with the speech I could go with the flow and ad lib. It was easier to be spontaneous and natural. Knowing I was well prepared gave me more self confidence than if I was unsure of what to say or do.

Both speeches had a lot in common.

I was well prepared with a good opening and closing. I used humour, ad libbed, made good use of props and scanned the room to make eye contact.

Even though I had memorized and rehearsed the speech, I had notes nearby.

My vocal tone still needs work, but what I find interesting is that despite feeling paralyzed with fear, I managed good posture and use of gestures. This is the result of being well prepared, so well prepared that the speech became more a part of me than the fear.

The audience was rooting for me; they weren’t strangers. A suggestion in the Toastmasters Member Kit is to know your audience. Plan to be there early to greet the guests as they arrive. It is much easier than speaking to complete strangers.

And on that note, don’t be a stranger. Watch this short video and take your moment in the comment section below.

Tell me about your time in the spotlight or share about a time you faced your fear.

Do tell! Don’t be shy.

If this is your first time visiting Loving Pulse and you enjoyed the reading, don’t forget to subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss upcoming posts. Click on Subscribe to Feed on the home page and follow the prompts.

While I waited for my senses to surrender to sleep, I listened to the wind whispering through the trees outside my window.

I felt connected. Complete. I drifted off to sleep while other senses were awakened.

The wind was the last thing I remembered before waking from a dream. In this dream I was dressed in army fatigues and being held prisoner. I was not alone and eventually helped the other person to escape.

I awoke from the dream slowly, still looking through the eyes of that person who had remained behind. Interestingly that person no longer felt like a prisoner.

I had this dream while preparing to write this article and feeling the frustration of writer’s block. How could I write about living a balanced life when I was struggling with it myself? Nothing I wrote felt right. I had become so attached to the outcome of the article I wasn’t letting the creativity flow. I was disconnected. What was interesting about this dream was my interpretation. The person who had been set free was my creative muse.

My thoughts returned to the connection I had felt while listening to the wind. I knew there was an answer there. Memories of other times I felt connected swam through my mind and I relaxed into knowing what living a balanced life meant to me.

Seeing a shooting star. Catching a snowflake. Watching the sunrise on a misty morning. Admiring a rainbow. Smelling the new cherry blossoms in springtime.

These are things that fill me up. They are without expectation. And because I am not attached to the outcome I can be more fully in the moment. Nature does that for me. It wakes me up. It inspires that feeling of being connected. When I feel connected I also feel balanced.

We have become separated from the natural flow of life in an effort to control it. Calendars and schedules attempt to balance our daily activities, yet we still run in circles seemingly getting nowhere. We have created this world and yet it controls us. We are out of rhythm and less flexible because we depend on these schedules to tell us where to be and when.

Life has a schedule of its own and it unfolds as we are trying to fold it up, throw it into a briefcase and run for the next subway train. We don’t even see where we’re running because subconsciously we’ve already reached our destination.

Because we have become so disconnected with our natural rhythm we feel unfulfilled. This brings an unconscious desire to fill a void. And fill it we do – with things. But it’s never enough is it?

Trouble is, the more things we collect the more complicated our lives become and the more out of control we feel. It is a never-ending cycle.

You can stop the cycle. Here are five suggestions.

1. Feel your connection: Balance is achieved through connection. What are you doing when you feel connected? See it in your mind and remember how it feels. When you feel out of control, revisiting this feeling can stop you from living ahead of yourself. It brings you back into the moment. When you are in the moment you are less likely to be distracted.

2. Honour your values: When you know what your ultimate goal is (the big picture), hold it in your intent but don’t become attached to it. Working with values gives a person the ability to make more powerful and appropriate choices about how to reach their goal.

Finding rhythm in attaining a goal comes through knowing that each step is connected to the other; like a dance. They’re not separate actions to be scheduled in a specific order. They naturally support and feed each other with little effort. One clue that you are not honouring your values is through your internal dialogue. See #3.

3. Choose your dialogue: Be aware of how you talk and think. What words are you choosing? When you say, “I should” or “I have to” you are putting pressure on yourself. Or, perhaps what you are trying to accomplish is not of value to you and you shouldn’t waste your time on it. If it is important, choose more empowering words such as “I want to” or “I will”. They’re less likely to cause resistance to action.

4. Practice meditation: Simply put, meditation encourages clarity. We aren’t scattered because there are too many distractions. It’s because we are not focused that we notice the distractions. When a person is not focused they are more vulnerable to outside influences. Responding to people and circumstances takes a back seat, while reacting takes the front.

5. Focus on fulfillment: Fulfillment surrenders to balance. As I mentioned earlier, when we are not feeling fulfilled we unconsciously try to fill a void with things we believe will fill us up. When a life is built on false beliefs any perceived balance is fragile and short-lived. I’ve had days where my life seems as organized as it can be, but find myself feeling restless. Something is missing. Things appear to be balanced, but I’m not fulfilled.

One thing to remember. If you’ve ever tried to stand on one leg you’ve noticed that balance fluctuates. That means if you aren’t flexible you’ll end up a prisoner of your own controlled efforts.

Wake up to your senses and they will lead you to the fulfillment that designs a balanced life.

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This article is my submission to the Life Balance Group Writing Project over at Create A Balance blog.

Please share your comments below and if you enjoyed this article don’t forget to subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss any upcoming posts.

Photo Credit: Alison Lyons Photography

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