“I wonder if it is that emptiness which swallows our spirit for living?”

218a95fa-f347-470b-8496-0de93e89ca27 They spoke for three hours. Something was weighing on his mind. He was devastated by the number of suicides which he had experienced within his community over the last couple of years.  As they shared their experiences, they both realized that between the two of them, they knew of almost twenty people who had committed suicide.

“What makes them do it?” he asked her.

“I don’t know.” she replied.

“Sometimes I think that we have not learnt how to experience emptiness within us.  There are two types of emptiness – one which last for a short period and one which last for a long period which leaves a feeling of hopelessness within.  Both are normal and both should be seen as healthy but sometimes people can’t cope with that feeling of emptiness.” He answered quietly.

They explored the topic from all angles – from people who have everything and seem to have no clear reason to commit suicide, to people who were stressed by financial, emotional or social challenges…but still, at the end of the conversation, he did not have an answer to justify the deliberate end of a life.

“If you had a serious problem, like debt or you had committed a crime or had been in a situation which made you feel ashamed, who would you go to?” she asked.

He bent his head and got in a pensive mood. “I have no one who could support me if I was in a serious crisis.  No one has time and neither do they have the resources to support someone else.  We are all busy trying to hold our own stuff together.” he replied.

The conversation left a heavy feeling in the air. His body shifted uncomfortably. As she looked closer at him, she saw the sadness in his eyes.  She suddenly became alerted to the unspoken message within the room.  He was close to the edge himself. As he pondered on the grief of others, his own grief of trying to hold it together for so long by himself was beginning to crumble. The tears welled in his eyes and as they streamed down his face. His sobbing was unstoppable. “I am sorry.” he apologized between the sheets of tissue. “It is so hard to keep it all in sometimes.  Just having anyone to listen to relieve the emptiness is so important. I don’t have a problem which I can name.  I have an emptiness in me which seems to be going on forever.  I wonder if it is that emptiness which swallows our spirit for living?”

We often think that problems need a diagnosis.  Maybe most do.  But what if it is just this nagging feeling that won’t go away?  What if the only way to get through it, is to talk long enough?  What if the problem may never be fixed? Depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, stress, inability to cope with life, cannot always be seen on someone’s face. We may not have the answer to why someone commits suicide and there are some things which we may never understand in this lifetime.

My simple explanation is that it is simply their exit point from this lifetime. However, don’t underestimate the power of a conversation today! You may just be that lifeline to someone.  Also, don’t forget to seek support when that feeling of emptiness seems to be taking away your spirit for living fully.

Love,

Magdalene

I gave HER an eviction notice today. The End of THAT relationship.

She has tormented me for ten years.  She has cost me money, time and wasted my investments.

Every single time I am about to “launch” that great creative genius inside of me, Frightful Mags pops up her head and tau-®BalfourPhoto-4551nts me mercilessly, leaving me so fearful that I retreat to this small corner where the familiar voices soothe me, reminding me over and over, that my place is just this small, dark corner. Each time it happens, I remain trapped in the dark room, even afraid to open my eyes for fear that the light would burn me.

Today, I had enough of her. Even within the dark shadows of my mind, the light came through burning those walls which has kept me languishing for so long.  She stood up to me.  Her familiar voice rose high but I found the courage to whip her back.  I cursed her up and threw a tantrum.  I heard my voice transcend the prison walls which locked me with the fear of success and saw the bolts of laziness spring out, releasing me to unfamiliar grounds and the determination to free myself.  I suddenly heard the sweetness of a voice that seem to flow out of my mouth – a voice which I barely remembered. The sweetness of the voice reminded me of the time before she built those prison walls around me.  The walls started to crumble, piece by piece. The longer I sang, the more my voice seem to become one with the entire universe.  The light engulfed me lifted me into this effortless vortex where I felt my soul expanded to push me to the outer boundaries where I could hear magnificent voices cheering me on.

But wait.  Just before I leave, I must give Frightful Mags the eviction notice so that she knows for certain that there is a price to pay when she has sucked up my earnings, time and investment for far longer than I should have tolerated.  I could have another tenant.

Dear Frightful Mags,
 This is to notify you that your failure to step up to your success over the last ten years has rendered you in violation of our lease agreement which stated that you were going to:
  • stand up for your life
  • use your talent to generate a million dollar income and not merely just enough to get by
  • get rid of all these self- destructive, sabotaging beliefs such as, “I don’t have time”; I am not smart enough”; “I have not had this success in my past”; “My life is out of control,” I will rise when I win the lottery,” “Other people are not cooperating with me”, “I am no one important.”
  • be a voice for the vulnerable and
  • use your life as an inspiration to help others achieve their dreams.
 The amount due for payment sums up to $10, 000,000.00. You are hereby requested to pay the above-mentioned amount within 1 year and to vacate the  premises immediately. Failure to do so will compel me to file an eviction suit against you. Your cooperation will be appreciated. 
 The outer boundaries awaits.

Who do you need to give an eviction notice to?  Don’t let this tenant occupy free space.  TuneIn to what he/she is costing you and kick their but out of your life so that you can create space for the MAGNIFICENT person you are!

Sincerely,
Magnificent Magdalene

 

New York!!! New York!!! Friendship, Fun, Synchronicity – Don’t Be Afraid To Dream!

This is a re-blog celebrating one year anniversary of my visit to New York!

For several years my soul friend who lives in England and I have talked about meeting in New York. We have known each other since we were 14 years old and even though we don’t see or talk to each other regularly, we keep each other close within our hearts. Over the last four years, several opportunities have presented itself but none that materialized until the Labour Day Weekend in 2013.  Since I believe in synchronicity and believe that dreams do come true, I thought I would blog about the various events that happened in a whirlwind that made that dream come true.

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Four years ago, the idea of the trip to New York came up.  We put it out there to the universe with the intention that we would be able to do this one day.  Margot spoke very dearly about her aunt in New York and I have always wanted to meet her.

Several weeks ago, my friend Gie told me about a bus trip to New York from Ottawa for the Labour Day weekend.  It sounded interesting but I was not sure I wanted to do it.

Several weeks ago, Margot and I explored for me to come up to England to spend summer with her but that did not materialize because of some other priorities.

However, the longing to see each other was there and she was constantly on my mind over the last few weeks.

Last Thursday, August 29th, we spoke over the phone and she suddenly asked, “What about meeting in New York for the  long weekend?”

It suddenly dawned on me that the bus trip for the Labour Day Weekend was happening on Friday (August 30th) and maybe I could get on that trip.  Within 24 hours, we had booked ourselves to arrive in New York.  I would bus for 7 hours and she would fly for 7 hours – the alignment was perfect!!!!  We were on our way to meet each other.

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It was a fabulous weekend.  We explored Brooklyn, got lost and  found, had long soulful conversations; caught up on the last 25 years; got beauty treatments; met her aunts in New York;  walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan which was  an adventure;  laughed so hard that tears streamed from our eyes; reconnected with someone I had not seen for over 20 years; enjoyed the Labour Day celebrations on Eastern Parkway and enjoyed hanging out without much of an agenda except to be together.  Being present with each other was beautiful.

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This experience reminded me how important it is for us to simply have dreams and intentions.  Sometimes, having a specific timeline for things to happen is useful but if we trust that the universe will provide all things to us, then we must also trust that there is also Divine Timing.  Sometimes, it requires sitting it out and being patient; sometimes it requires taking action steps until it happens and sometimes the forces of synchronicity kick into place when that Divine Timing seems to be right. I love it when there is such beautiful synchronicity and all the pieces fall in place effortlessly.

I experience synchronicity regularly  and  each time it happens, it  further reaffirms for me that we simply need to dream and let go.  Every thought we have becomes an intention and becomes a part of our inner world.  The manifestation of those thoughts happen when the universal forces become aligned with our internal world – I trust that Divine Timing happens when all things align from a mental, emotional and spiritual inner space.  The universe cannot respond to us fully, until we are ready ourselves.

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  • What are your dreams and intentions for your life?
  • What are your dreams and intentions for the lives of those you love?
  • Who would you like to spend some great quality time with?
  • What would you like to do on this earth before you pass on to the next life?
  • Is there a place that excites you?  Meeting a person?  Playing a sport?  Reuniting with someone?

TuneIn to those soul desires and longings. We can feel those from a deep place within us.  StepUp to put an intention out there.  You can write it in your journal, draw a picture of it, put it on a vision board… create something where you have a strong visual idea of what that desire is.

Take your desire and place it in a bubble.  Imagine that the bubble is floating away with that desire and will create and attract all the right energies to make that desire come true.  Trust in Divine Timing  and trust that the world is full of the abundance required to make that dream come true.

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If you believe in yourself and in possibilities, then you will attract that from within your inner world.  Imagine what it would feel like to have that desire happen and imagine feeling this emotion constantly. This is really important because our emotions pull or push manifestations of things in our lives.  TuneIn to desires that will bring happy, pleasurable, soulful joy to you because there is nothing more important to this universe than to have people experience inner joy in their lives.

Love,

Magdalene

Could “softeners” save your relationships, improve communication on the job or even promote you to a better job?

 

 

Communication

“Just do whatever you want to do / think whatever you want to think – I am out of here.”   These were my hurtful words to someone after a long, heated argument and I stopped listening to the complete story.  This left us both drained, frustrated and lost for words to repair the damage we had done to each other’s feelings.

The conversation was something like this:

Him: “I think we should use a device to make our presentation more visible to the head table. Maybe if we tried xxxx it would work.”

Me“NO – that is not going to work. One device would not be sufficient.  We do not have the time or resources to do this now.” (My response did not leave any space for a conversation – the word “NO” was definitive and stern.)

Him:  “I have thought about this for a long time.  I think if I tried it, it would work.”  He was still trying to get me on his side. He continued sharing his ideas but I stopped listening, because in my mind, I was clear that whatever this idea was, was not going to work.

Me:  “Just do whatever you want to do / think whatever you want to think – I am out of here.”

This last statement rocked the boat completely. As I read through this conversation, I am speechless with my tone of voice and behavior.  The conversation was happening within a pressured environment with very little time to implement new changes to a planned event.  Generally, I consider myself to be a good communicator, but under pressure, I can be quite flippant. So I did a bit of research on communication techniques and discovered a simple concept called “softeners” which I could have used to communicate my point more effectively and less hurtful.

“Softeners” means a specific language that softens a discussion and has been identified as a skill worth learning by new Canadians since most Canadians use softeners in their communication with others. Softeners ensure that the process of talking about something does not start with a strong categorical, definitive, unqualified position, even when speaker have strong feelings or strong opinions or feelings about an issue.  They use softeners to send less confrontational and dogmatic messages.

Some examples of words and phrases you can use to soften a conversation are:

“Often” “Could” “Perhaps” “Probably” “Maybe”

“From my experience”; “I observed”; “Can we look at another option?”

“I hear that you are saying….”

“I am just wondering…”

“What do you think about?”

“Can you elaborate more on your idea?”

“Did you change your mind about your previous decision?”

Instead of saying: “NO – that is not going to work. One device would not be sufficient.  We do not have the time or resources to do this now.”

I could have said: “Tell me more about what you have in mind.  Do you think we have enough time to implement your idea? How do you think it will affect the timing for the event?  What additional resources do you think we need? Or can you please elaborate on your idea?”

Good communication is an art and requires tact and discipline.  Several research sources have proven that companies lose millions of dollars each year due to communication problems.  It takes a considerable amount of knowledge and practice to get our messages across clearly, concisely, coherently and within the right context!  In addition to the message we must also pay attention to timing as well as the other person’s mind frame and their space during a conversation.

TuneIn to why you may react negatively to how a person speaks to you.  Does it sound too harsh?  Maybe they are not aware of softeners. Let us StepUp and use softeners in our daily communication. It could save your job, your relationships and even promote you to positions which require good tact and communication.

If you liked this article, please share.  You can also  follow my blog  and like our FB page.

Love,

Magdalene

 

First and last drink with my father – a life changing experience.

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At 43, I had the first and last drink with my father, a man whom I loved dearly but we had a great divide between us – alcoholism. Upon the request of a friend on my way to Saint Lucia in 2012, I brought my dad a beautiful bottle of Crown Royal, a Canadian whisky. At first, I resisted getting that bottle, knowing full well that if I gave it to him, none of us would have peace in the house until it was finished. My friend said, “You must bring him something he likes.” Alcohol was the thing and against my better judgement I brought if for him.

One night, after visiting my mom from the hospital, my dad and I were sitting in the verandah and I had the sudden feeling to have a drink with him.  I got the bottle of Crown Royal and I poured a drink for both of us. It was the first time in my life where I was having a drink with my father, as a “comrade” and a “daughter.” We raised our glasses for a toast and drank that wonderful whisky. Unexpectedly, a quiet feeling of relief settled somewhere deep in me and there was a feeling of unity with my father – sharing with him that thing which he loved  and which was a huge part of his life. In that moment, my eyes saw my father in a light of compassion and love. I suddenly saw the little child in him who had grown up with a habit which had obviously given him some comfort. I saw that bottle taking all his fears away and making him feel like a strong man.  I saw the young man who had no one to counsel him and befriend him or to give him an alternative to drinking. I saw the father who provided for us and did his best, even with the demons of alcoholism. The resentment which I held against him for so many years, suddenly released it’s grip on me and a feeling of acceptance came over me. In the quietness of the evening, we drank, laughed and had a deep conversation about life.

Several nights later, after my mom crossed over, we spent hours looking for him, worried that something dreadful had happened to him. Someone referred us to a small rum shop  a distance away from where we lived. My sister and I found him there without shoes, completely drunk and “preaching” away to the folks in the rum shop. That evening, when he saw me, he said, “My child, how did you find me here? How did you know I was here?” He came towards me in his drunkenness and held me, half falling over. I held him, put on his shoes, paid his bill and led him to the car to take him home. A man in the rum shop shouted, “Mr. Cooman, you have a beautiful daughter.” He laughed, swaying away,  as I struggled to help him keep his balance.

The funny thing is that I too felt I had become a beautiful daughter by accepting him for who he was.

For the days that followed, even after his death, I realized that I had let go of all the pent-up anger I had towards him. It did not matter any more. That anger  had prevented me from seeing all the wonderful things my father brought to my life. All my life, I wanted to change him to be a good man who did not drink and felt disappointed that no matter how hard I tried, he did not change. The truth is that it was not my work to change him. My dad was a good dad who had a generous spirit, a genuine concern for others, a deep mind and a humble spirit which I have  found in few people.

Alcoholism puts a different spin on everything and I know from first hand experience the damage it can cause to a family. I remain grateful that God gave me the opportunity to heal this wound with my father before he crossed over. One of my greatest moments was having that first and last drink with him and accepting him for who he is, without having the need to change him anymore.

All of us have our imperfections. Maybe we come into each other’s lives to teach love, compassion and acceptance.

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Love,

Magdalene

“My love for you is in a lock box” he said.

“My love for you is in a lock box.” he said. “No matter what you do, what happens, who says what, it does not affect my love for you.”

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This is one of my favourite photos of all times taken by a stranger who caught a moment and posted with permission 🙂

These words keep a huge smile on my face – even when I know I am being naughty or being plain difficult.  I know that whatever I do, I am still loved. (Of course I will be mindful of what I do.) Our words to each other are powerful in creating images in our minds. These words make me feel safe.  I can see his love in that lock box.  Apart from saying, “I love you” to our loved ones, what other creative/visual words do we use to express our steadfast, committed love, which also provides a safety net to the other person?

TuneIn and StepUp to making others feel safe around you with words that paint a visual image of your  commitment to your relationship/partnership.

What has someone said to you to make you feel safe?  Do share with us.

Love,

Magdalene

Is living within a supportive family/community structure the key to helping our young women achieve their dreams?

Yesterday, the world observed  International Women’s Day and by mere coincident I was at my son’s girlfriends(KIM) bronze medal final playoff basketball  game  at the Carleton University. She is on the team of Wilfred Laurier University Golden Hawks and they competed against Ravens from the Carleton University.  They won the game – in fact it was an amazing win after a double over time!  Now they will be competing at the National Competition in Windsor!

As I watched the game from the stands, I admired how those two teams of young women competed furiously but also noted that their coaches were males.  Of course it makes me wonder why male coaches – something I will figure out later but it is a wonderful example of how male coaches impact the lives of young women in sports!
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What was the most striking for me though was watching Kim’s 80 + grandmother dance on the stadium bench as she and her husband cheered their granddaughter on.  This lovely woman was entirely present, engaged and completely free in expressing herself.  Now, that is the spirit I want to always have in my life because it is so rare to see people live in the moment and fullness of life!  And even more touching was how her husband supported her – they seem to just mesh together!
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Kim’s entire family, from grandparents to parents to siblings and in-laws and cousins and nieces…. were all there to support her and her team.  As a matter of fact, Kim is the only one from Ottawa on the team (the Laurier University is 5 hours away in Waterloo) but it seems that half the Stadium was there to support her!  Now, imagine the strength of that kind of support in a family.  People could have chosen to be anywhere else but they chose to support Kim and in so doing also supported a community of young women.  What a blessing it is for her grandparents to be able to still enjoy this time with her.
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Kim’s parents make the effort to attend every game she plays.  It was so touching yesterday as I listened to her dad who told me that he would have loved to take the whole team out to dinner to celebrate their victory, if they were not leaving right away to go back to Waterloo.  Her sister Julie told me that she anticipated that they would win so she brought them champagne, which was in her car, so they could celebrate on the bus!  Whether they won or not, they would have still received the champagne!  How sweet!  The treats were not just for Kim – the family ensures that the entire team is supported.
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I reflect on how my son treats her – with the utmost love and respect.  By showing up at her games and ensuring that he is present in what she loves to do is affirming and supporting of her growth and dreams.  Not only does my son go along but he also pulls my daughter and myself along too! Knowing that she was coming to Ottawa, he spent Friday night preparing special BBQ chicken for her to take back with her on Saturday.  Now… what more can I say?  He wore the Laurier cap at the game – this boy is just in love!
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Spending time with my daughter and my son in supporting Kim is important for me just as the rest of all the things I do.  My daughter is beginning to learn how her brother treats his girlfriend, she is being exposed  to another  family who selflessly supports each other – she is seeing the role models all around her and I am sure it will influence her choices in life.
So what is the point of this blog?  It is simply a reflection of how we collectively shape our young women and men within a supportive family and community structure. We all play a vital role in affirming and re-affirming each other in a positive way and the more opportunities we create for such activities, the stronger we grow as a community.  That family structure is what needs to be protected more than anything else to build men and women who can face life fearlessly and contribute meaningfully to society.  Even when a complete family structure  is not present, it is important for us step outside of our comfort zones and find support to develop our skills and talents.
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TuneIn to examine your role in the lives of the women around you.  StepUp to support them to live their fullest potential that allows them to be free in their spirit.  A free spirit  is unstoppable!
Love,
Magdalene