Listening To Internal Voices?

July 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

My wife came home from a recent psychic fair to advise me the psychic told her that I’d been ignoring my internal spirit for the last 25 to 30 years. As someone who’s done a lot of self-assessment, I was intrigued by this.

In fact, I saw a strong connectedness with some other thoughts I’d had recently.

You see, I’d considered reflecting on a related topic for the Grande Prairie Public Library Writing Competition this spring in which the theme was Home. However, I chose a different tact and entered my first-ever piece of fiction. But I digress into a future topic.

This blog is an opportunity to explore both what the psychic said and my own sentiments about what the word home actually means to me.

Aside from the obvious clichés like, home is where the heart is, I’d originally thought about expressing my feeling in the writing competition about that word – a place I haven’t been yet in my life journey.

I’ve continually felt there’s always something more – knowledge and skills to gain, new accomplishments, higher personal satisfaction, deeper relationships, and more meaning in life, in general.

In my career, I’ve always recognized for myself that while you never stop learning, there can become a time where the potential to get flat outweighs the ability to grow significantly. As a result, I’ve explored several positions along a continuum in the communications world.

Away from work, there’ve always been additional volunteer opportunities, more places to travel to, new music to check out, and I could invest more time in rooting for my favourite sports teams. Co-writing this blog developed out of an interest in publishing a motivational/inspirational book(s) and I’ve entered three writing competitions.

I can also always strive to be a better husband, friend and father.

Will I ever have a sense of arriving home? I don’t know that I won’t feel driven on a personal or professional level, that there won’t be another “adventure”, as my wife’s cousin, Nancy McGuire, described it the other day in a Skype conversation.

So what about what the psychic said?

Like I mentioned earlier, I do think a lot – sometimes too much – so I’m very familiar with an inner voice.

Have I been ignoring mine, as the psychic said? If she is on to something, I would say it is more likely a case of not recognizing what the inner voice is saying.

Could it be that my continued thirst for knowledge and readiness for change are attempts to satisfy a voice I do not understand?

I mentioned this dilemma to a couple of people who know me pretty well for their thoughts.
Friend Hope Maurice said while I’m clearly not dissatisfied or lacking in contentedness, the psychic’s comments could mean that I don’t live enough in the moment as a result of constantly striving for something beyond today.

Hmmm. Interesting.

I truly do get fixated on a great hockey game and love to rock out at concerts. There’s nothing like hiking to a spectacular viewpoint.

I recognize I have yet to reach my full potential.

Although my motivation is always high, I don’t have long-range plans or specific goals to reach. Many people my age are already contemplating retirement and I continue to think that there are still many more possibilities – more to do.

Chelsea Lewis, a colleague at the City of Grande Prairie, says this contemplation I’m writing about is something she can certainly relate to – though she is just beginning her career.

She wondered: “Is this a case of “the grass must be greener on the other side” or perhaps a feeling that you deserve more than what you currently have – that you were destined to achieve something greater and won’t settle for less?”

Perhaps Hope is right, she says.

“Maybe it’s the fact that you can’t enjoy the moment enough because you are caught up in the ideal – the notion of self-realization/inner peace that hasn’t been achieved yet – that you don’t find the current moment fulfilling enough.”

Could all of these thoughts be partially right? Is it possible that I have simply not recognized what that spirit is saying? Are all these thoughts just a sign that I am still just trying to figure out everything?

Perhaps I really haven’t determined what I want to do when I grow up.

Maybe there are many competing voices in my head and it’s resulted in scrambled messages.

It could be that while I do have moments and enjoy them at the time, my mind is already conjuring up the next possibility.

What’s that you say, Spirit?

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Thankful For The Small Things

July 9, 2012 § 3 Comments

“Time has a way of showing us what really matters.” ~ Margaret Peters

I’m not one to take things for granted. I’m eternally appreciative for what I have – my family and friends, a most satisfying career, good health beyond being diabetic, and a bevy of interests to keep life fun.

Mother Nature forced an unexpected extended vacation at the end of June and a reminder to be grateful for the small things.

Joyce and I were returning from a vacation on Vancouver Island and were driving through torrential rain in the interior of B.C on June 23. We phoned ahead to Valemount, an hour west of Jasper, to book a hotel for the evening.

Just as well we did. Highway 16 east to Jasper and west toward Prince George were closed – a washed out road and mudslide respectively.

Once we arrived at the Super 8 in Valemount, there was a brief window of opportunity to head home when the road re-opened briefly. But we were already settled for the evening and thought we could leave the next day.

Wrong! Repeated delays throughout that Sunday meant we would be staying at least one more day.

Other options such as heading south to Kamloops and then east to Calgary were not in the cards as there were road closures around Revelstoke. Driving into the U.S. and back up through Alberta was a no-go as we didn’t have our passports with us.

Another option suggested was to drive south to Little Fort and west to 100 Mile House, and up through B.C. Bridge and ferry outages would prevent that.

But we did not feel stuck. Quite the opposite.

Valemount is a pretty town. And we would learn there are friendly, helpful and welcoming residents, who would soon incur their own difficulties – the community’s water system was knocked out of commission due to flooding. A local state of emergency was declared.

That didn’t stop a local pointing us to a store where we could buy water or residents welcoming visitors into their homes after hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts reached capacity.

The general manager at the Super 8 was still smiling after a 20-hour shift (some of the hotel’s staff couldn’t get to work as they live on the other side of the mudslide on the way to Prince George).

There was almost a carnival-like atmosphere as visitors wandered around the town, approaching complete strangers to see if they had news on when the highway would be re-opened.

I was amused that a local helicopter company was quick to react with an entrepreneurial spirit by promoting their services on the side of the highway.

Switching on the television news on the Saturday evening made us feel even more thankful.

Flooding in southern B.C. had wiped out numerous homes and put countless   people on evacuation notice. There were stories about forest fire activity in Colorado and Newfoundland. A whitewater rafting accident on the Kicking Horse River had claimed a life.

Yes, we were inconvenienced and would not make it back to work on schedule.

Oh well. We were safe, sound and still basking in the glow of a wonderful vacation that took us around Vancouver Island, over to Mayne Island and on to Richmond, a neighbouring city to Vancouver.

Meanwhile, that same weekend, my friend Natalie Harper, a public relations specialist in Edmonton, made a post on her Facebook page that seemed so fitting to connect to this post:

“I’m convinced that one of the key variables to feeling happy is surrounding yourself with happy, positive and inspired people – the people who uplift you, and you uplift in return,” she wrote.

“I’ve learned I don’t want to be around negative ‘downer’ people – people who are users; people who take others for granted; people who complain about everything; people who don’t appreciate what they have; and people who don’t at least TRY and better themselves, their community, and their life.

Sadly, there are so many people like this out there. But, we can control who we want in our lives. Step one for me is keeping the shiny, happy people around, and giving the ‘downers’ a boot!”

Natalie is right on. It’s okay to feel down. We just don’t need to take others with us. And most often, realizing there are others worse off than us should snap us back to how good most of us really have things.

Where Am I?

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