When self-isolation started, one of the first items on my list of things to get was a bottle of wine. I am glad that I got only one! Along my life journey, I learnt that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. I certainly did not want to create a new wine drinking habit – and I can see how easy it is to do that!
One alternative to using alcohol, is to go for nutritious drinks. This may not be everyone’s ‘thing’ but if we are going to stay indoors, why not get healthier? I have been using green smoothies for years and I can tell you that it is a great booster for your health. It keeps hunger at bay which leads to weight loss or to maintain a healthy weight, and provides a heap of nutrients which makes you feel energized and healthy!
Here is my quick video for today. Hope that you enjoy!
By the way, most of the vegetables used in a green smoothie can be grown easily and will be ready for harvesting within three months. Think of planting your own parsley, celery, kale, lettuce, spinach… It is even better if you can grow organic!
It is easy to dismiss our physical appearances when working online. It is so easy but it is not worth it!
It is sad talking to a black, faceless screen. There may be some occasions when this is unavoidable. However, we should not make it a habit to show up as a faceless person for meetings. We would not do so in the physical meeting spaces – Right?
Dressing and showing up for your meeting is still a part of the professional expectations. By doing so, you are showing respect to yourself, your colleagues and also providing an opportunity for real human interaction during this period of isolation. You don’t need to be in a suit but do show a clean face, brushed teeth, combed hair, and decent clothing! You will also feel better about yourself. Being isolated does not mean that we let go of our healthy habits! YOU can be the source of inspiration to someone else by taking care of yourself.
Lastly, you can have tea or water while in a meeting. Don’t do any heavy foods – the sound and sight of it can be very distracting!
Let us help each other by showing up 100%!
I know that deep, profound gratitude has the power to transform human thoughts and emotions.
Many years ago, when my life seemed to be upside down, I got two pieces of advice from different books which I read which transformed my world.
1. Be grateful for everything in your life. The good, the bad and the ugly. Learn to give thanks in your darkest hours.
2. Everything which you focus on EXPANDS!
As I started to find things to be grateful for, things magically shifted in my life – from ugly to good and then to great! My thoughts about gratitude expanded. More joy flowed in my life. Whatever I needed, appeared by magic! I seemed to be dancing with the universe all the time!
Here is a poem which I wrote at the end of that dark time in 2003. Back then I had a vision to capture words on photography and I accidentally met a photographer – Chad James, who also wanted to use some of my words against his photographs. We did one piece and another friend mounted it on canvas for me several years later. I have it hanging in my living room and thought I would share it with you.
What are you grateful for?
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
― Albert Einstein
I love the moments where my imagination takes hold of me me and drives me to be creative and expressive. I believe that inspiration drives innovation. Without inspiration, our lives would be dry, boring and without zest!
Here is my latest creative project. I created a large mural using photos from my garden which I took in 2019. My intention was to capture the magic of my garden in a way that would far outlast the garden. At first, I played with the idea of making a headboard but then changed my mind and made a mural instead. I can’t wait to get it into my office space where I believe it will create an inspiring background.
This memory came up in my Facebook feeds and I almost shed a few tears. In moments like this, I am glad that I write! I can’t imagine how many memories I would lose if I did not record them!
April 8th, 2018
Tonight, I had a cup of coffee just before dinner (which I don’t normally have in the evenings). As I sipped the coffee, I found myself thinking of my father and feeling quite amused about those little memories that pop into my mind when I least expect it. My dad always had a cup of coffee before his dinner. Every evening, he would bathe, shave, dress up nicely, put on some cologne and have a cup of coffee in the balcony alone, while my mom prepared his dinner.
As I pen these words, I can almost hear him humming as he made the coffee. The smell of the cologne would perfume the entire house mixed with the aroma from the coffee. This seemed to have been his special reflective moment on most work days. It is interesting how we (the kids) did not disturb him either! It was sort of understood by all of us, that this was his time. Looking back, I think that my dad had some aristocratic blood in him. He was quite a fine gentleman, with his own philosophy about life and played by his own rules to a large extent. He was very humble, generous… and when he dressed… he was quite a good looking gentleman too! He was sleek!
You know when you are growing up, you think that the older folks are just weird…. and it seems now that I am getting a bit weird too… funny how life works!
I am grateful for such memories. It keeps me grounded to my roots and to the memories of my parents.
Any memories to share?
It is a gorgeous morning in Ottawa and I am ready for work! I have established a work routine and it is working out well for me. I also notice a shift in my body when I do or don’t do certain things! For example, when I shower, dress, apply my make-up and get organized in my work space, I feel more productive and I achieve more. My mood is more uplifting and positive than when I stay in my pyjamas or try to work from my bedroom.
Our bodies will follow our minds. Our success depends on our mindset. Therefore, it is important for you to set your body up for success by exercising mental alertness and reaffirming the behaviours which you would like to exhibit. Here are three affirmations which you can use throughout the day:
I am ready to complete my work tasks today.
I breathe in all that is positive, pure and worthy of uplifting my spirit.
I am embracing new habits and creating new opportunities around me.
I know that there will be moments when life will fall apart around you. Yes, I know that we are dealing with unprecedented challenges. But I also know that history is replete with examples of women, men, children who have used their minds and the power within them to make peace and advance their goals. Sometimes, the biggest goal is perhaps simply managing the mind to reassure it that you are safe and everything will work out for the highest good for all in this huge universe.
Why should you do this? Because you are beautiful, worthy and you are a winner!
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Yes, it is a challenging period now.
Be realistic and take action which contributes to your safety, well being and that of your family.
Remember to count your blessings twice!
Whatever you focus on will expand. Look for your million blessings between the earth and the sky!
I look this photo on a summer day and it was one of the most beautiful moments that summer. I smile as I remember that day. How grateful I am to have beautiful memories.
After listening to a radio interview at CBC radio this morning, I feel that we need to address the issue of illegal migrant workers who have no protection against COVID-19.
Illegal migrant workers are most likely working under the table in jobs such as cleaning, construction etc. Most of these are employed by sub-contractors and based on the information from the interview they have no sick days nor do they get paid over time. In our current reality with COVID-19, these workers also are essential service workers who need to show up to work. Their reality is that they cannot take sick time because they will not get paid. They also cannot apply for emergency benefits because they don’t have a social insurance number.
According to Professor Showler of the Refugee Forum at the University of Ottawa, the estimates for the total number of illegals in Canada range prior to this past year between 30,000 and 120,000. Former Auditor General Sheila Fraser once admitted that the government has lost track of over 40,000 illegals whose paperwork had expired or was never in order. While that may seem like a lot, it is a far smaller percentage of the population than the estimated 13 million plus illegals in the USA. Canada would have to have over a million illegals for the proportions between the two countries to be the same. That means illegals do not have the same network of support among fellow “indocumentados” that exists in the USA. You will find it harder to be an anonymous illegal in Canada, as all the asylum seekers arriving at the border are finding as they head to detention centres. (Source: https://www.immigroup.com/news/illegal-immigration-canada)
How are they protected?
One may argue that they should not be here in the first place but we cannot afford to make this an issue right now. These workers are providing an essential service to our country. From a practical point of view, if they are deported back to their home countries it will require travel arrangements. Right now, airports and borders are closed so it is not a real option for them.
Migrants across the world usually move from one country to another for safety, education or better opportunities. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all benefit somehow from the services which they provide even though we don’t often think about it. In times like this, from a humanitarian perspective, we cannot afford to overlook them. As human beings, they should be entitled to being protected like everyone else – to ensure that they are safe and have access to medical services, food and shelter.
What are your thoughts?
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“What happened to you Magdalene? You look so fresh today!” These were the words of one of my colleagues as we held a zoom meeting on the 2nd week of working from home. It was nice that she noticed because I started my 2nd week of working from home with the mindset that I will practice self-care, apply my make-up and dress up as though I was going to the office. This happened because the week before that, I was so busy trying to figure out how to work through new technologies that I barely had the time to comb my hair properly. By the end of the first week, I was exhausted and determined not to repeat the same error during the 2nd week.
However, even though the 2nd week started with a bang and that I did maintain a better routine, I was exhausted again at the end of the week. It was not only me – when I looked at all the faces on our zoom huddle, I thought that everyone looked like me ‘ a bit exhausted!’ Although I have worked from home sporadically over the last couple of years, I would have never imagined that working from home fulltime could leave me feeling so estranged. I can tell you that I have worked harder online than when I am at the office and we have achieved quite a lot within a short period of time. Now I am thinking that pushing ourselves with a new learning curve could be contributing to the exhaustion which we are feeling. Not only that but we are trying to focus while also listening to the devastating news of COVID-19 and also managing our families while working at home!
Under normal circumstances, I am often a bit disorganized and double book myself quite a lot. Nowadays, I am guilty of leaving one online conversation for another and sometimes leaving a conversation unfinished or getting notifications from Zoom that ‘I cannot enter another meeting because I am currently in a meeting.” Working from home seem to look easy on the outside but it needs to be managed. We can buy into the fantasy that we could do more since we are at home but it is important to weigh the pros and cons. Now I have so much more appreciation for my rushed ride to the office in the morning. As rushed as it often is, I miss the familiarity of it and I even miss the traffic! I miss that ‘thinking time’ on the drive to work as much as I miss the idle chats and little stories which are shared from the time I open the door of the office until I leave in the late evening. I miss hearing footsteps and knocks on my office door and the unexpected things which would come about in the day. I miss having the options of choosing where to go, what to eat (apart from my own cooking) or what to do after work!
I know for sure that the social connections with other human beings is important to me and I also get energized by the physical interaction with people.
As I work from home, I realize that being online constantly can be exhausting. My goals this week are to pace myself better, give myself more breaks and manage my online interactions so that I don’t feel guilty for leaving others in the middle of a Facebook or LinkedIn conversation because there is another zoom meeting. I want to practice better self-care and get into a routine which is supporting this new lifestyle. This means learning when to say ‘no’ and when to say ‘yes’ to the many opportunities which has sprung online. I must remember that there are still 24 hours in a day and I am in charge of how I chose to spend these 24 hours.
Today, I also found myself gently inviting my spirit to bring forth memories that will make me feel better as I think about the future. My garden came to mind and I cannot wait to start digging the earth and become immersed in all the abundance of energy that it will give to me. Thank goodness that Spring is here and that the sunshine will be warmer and the evening light will stay on longer. I know that by keeping my mind in a positive future state is one way that I can get through COVID-19 by following the rules of physical distancing and staying home.
What has been your experience of working from home? Please share so that we can all learn now to cope with this new normal!