Posts in Self care
Mean it when you ask RUOK?

Today is RUOK day. If you don’t know what this means then say the letters out loud. It is a simple question not asked often enough.  The fact that there is a day dedicated to this reminder says a lot. Our society is in such a state that we forget to ask the simplest of questions “Are you ok?” and mean it.  Of course the key message is to not just ask this question on one day but all throughout the year whenever you feel it seems appropriate.

For me it is more about being sincere and authentic when you ask how someone is doing. It is such a common greeting that we often don’t listen for the response. How often do you meet someone and ask without really thinking about the person’s day. It is likely that you share the words as part of a conversation but not the feeling inside of really wanting to know.  We have someone where to go, thoughts on our mind,  our our own worries and concerns or the task at hand as distraction.

When we ask someone how he/she is doing many secretly don’t want to know. Many of us don’t want to go into a conversation that isn’t upbeat, superficial and trivial. Many of us are too afraid to hold a real conversation and truly listen to another person.

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Act in balance
How often do you talk about something, get all fired up and passionate and then do nothing?  I bet if you are like most, your chatter meter is up high. In our intellectual and communication driven world it is easy to get caught up in the talk so much that we lose time taking the action.  In fact some of you might even say reading this blog post is a distraction from action. Well, it will be if you are someone already taking action. I presume since you are reading you are still on the fence and mustering up motivation.

I know because I am like you. I talk a lot. I confess, with all intentions of being fully open and authentic, that I talk a lot.  Some would say I rant, others might say I waffle.  Then there are people who say I inspire, motivate and encourage. So upon reflection my talk sometimes does work and other times does not. Perhaps the first is my own inner critic and ego in battle with my higher self. Luckily that wiser more knowing part of me usually wins out.

The key here is to know when your talk is just that, all talk, hot air and leading to nowhere.

I write this post in the context of great changes happening around the world. Whether climatic, social or political the world is experiencing a shift. For many of us we have to go to history books to read about events of such life altering significance.  I am not here to comment on these events. I will leave such dialogue to those on the ground, in the midst and fully briefed on such events. Instead I would like to comment on how we as a community respond to and handle our reactions.

So back to the fence.

© Jenn Shallvey
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In good time

I love the adage ‘good things take time’.

But then how is it that in today’s society of interconnectedness, being on rather than off, we have a bad case of impatience. 

How do you know you have a waiting problem? 

Photo © Jenn Shallvey

In the virtual world, you know you have an impatience problem when:

  • you think your computer takes to long to turn on and load,
  • you call a person and you think answer after three rings or voicemail is slow,
  • you send an email and don’t get an immediate response.

Or what about in the physical world, where impatience means you can't stand it when you:

  • have to ‘take a number’ to be served,
  • wait behind a line of other people to get something you want now,
  • get stuck in traffic and miss the light, 
  • arrive late to work because the bus schedule wasn't accurate.    

These may seem like silly examples and on a blog post nothing more than everyday problems. Yet in reality take one of these situations, add a few more, a little dose of stress or pressure and you have the formula for a personal disaster.

By personal disaster I mean letting it get to you and doing the opposite of what you need to do. 

In response to such situations the best remedy is patience, calmness and centeredness. Easier said than done.  Yet if our senses are heightened we can be triggered into the impatience and ensuing emotional responses.

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Watching the waves

I had one whole day to myself on my ‘me retreat’. I had nowhere to go, no plans, no appointments, no structured activities, no time to be anywhere, no driving to get there, no driving back home.  I created a space within time to be what I described as free.  

So where did I choose to go?  The beach of course!  My whole being comes alive anywhere near the ocean and beach. I don’t have to get in the water, just be within sight, sound and smell and I am instantly in heaven on Earth.

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Dining with me

Having attended a few retreats, I always find group dining a key part of the experience. Such moments provide an opportunity to integrate and process experiences as well as connect and meet others under the guise of sharing a meal.  

But on a ‘me retreat’ there is no other, unless you consider the voices in your head companions. When by yourself it is easy to minimize the importance of the meal. Yet for me I still find dining by myself an opportunity for reflection.  Instead of connecting with others the meal is a time to stop, nurture the self and receive.  It is in this type of space where I find self dialogue rich, thoughts expansive and feelings of contentment abound.  Well then such outcomes do depend on the dining experience too.

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Driving to the 'me retreat'

I love to drive. Road trips are a way for me to satisfy this urge. Behind the wheel, favorite music playing and sat nav to tell me where to go, equals a strange form of relaxation. Then I meet traffic and the ever increasing presence of competitive drivers (of course I am not included in this group).

First there are the ones that have to pass by even though I am doing the speed limit. Signs posted everywhere warn about mobile speed cameras. Don't they get it? Inevitably the great equalizer called stoplights and school zones and the occasional camera zone bring in some fairness.

I don't have to get anywhere soon.

I have no self imposed time limit to which I am beholden.

No, time is on my side for a change!

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Departure

As soon as my client left I was rushing upstairs to get my bags packed. Being the last minute girl that I am, I still had this task unfinished. What to take and not take! I couldn't believe I had such a dilemma when I was only going away two nights! I thought of my travelling friends who managed to go around the world with one small suitcase.  Yet whether a month to the States or a quick night away I always want to be prepared for anything, well at least as far as my luggage goes.

This time though was to be different. I promised to myself no computer, not even my iPad. This meant the only device allowed was a phone. How tempting it was to sneak the iPad in. Willpower prevailed though I did leave a note to my son to look after my WeRule farms while I was away.

(Note...old photo, not my car, just playing around with some dreaming.  This photo though captures the feeling I had on my departure so include it.)

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Addicted to retreating

Do you fantasize about escaping from your life? Do you sometimes say “I have had enough! I just need to get away and have a break?”  Well do you? If you do how often do you actually follow through on your frustrated inspiration?

Well I do sometimes. However to assuage my guilt I usually have a purpose. To go away I have always attached some sort of reason. The most common purpose is to attend a seminar or workshop. This learning aspect serves 1) to justify the escape to all in my family and 2) to give me permission to get away. 


A close inspection of my diary over the past several years reveals the real truth. I am a learning junkie.  Ok, more than that. I am a retreat junkie. I have to get my fix or I will go crazy.  Well not literally crazy, but certainly borderline difficult to be around or live with. Hence why my family likely understands and reluctantly sends me off on my little jaunts.

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Being in your funk so you can get out of it

Do you ever just have one of those days?  You know, the ones where you can’t seem to get out of your funk.  I say funk because I can think of no other word that encapsulates the feelings of apathy, frustration, anger, boredom, sadness, distraction, impatience, woe.  Well there are more I am sure, but I am not here to be a Thesaurus. What I am here to be is real.

So I decided that I would post when in a funk. Risky you might say. Some would say this will come back to bite me. Others may say don’t share your funk with me, it might be catching.  You are right.  On one level if I focus too much on my funk then I stay in it. On another level if I hang with you and let this foul smelling energy waft your way you will eventually feel it to. It is not my wish to stay in nor to share it.

IMG_0930Instead I want to highlight a few points that may help you:

A: feel OK when you happen to fall into one yourself, and

B: are around a person you care about who also is in one.

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