Sunday 29 December 2013

You mistake my compassion for...complacency, cowardice, and contempt.

It takes a great deal of courage, respect and forethought to choose to live a life based on compassion.  One who chooses a compassion based life, learns it often becomes a life of solitude.  The greatest blessing and gift of living in this choice is learning about yourself; accepting who you are and celebrating you.  And so, when people come into your life knowing this about you....they too discover an extraordinary and exceptional new awareness about all existence.
Remember....beyond all is all about choice!!!!  This also means YOU can choose what “solitude” means for or looks like to you.  Some of the loneliest and most isolated times I’ve experienced, have been during my marriage or surrounded by many people.  Have you ever been at a party or family function, you’re at a table with a group of people, lots going on all around – you may even be engaged – yet you feel separated/detached; as if you’re in a bubble wondering 'why am I here'?  It’s as if everything is coming ‘at’ you, rather than you being a ‘part of’ it.  That can be very isolating; a state of solitude.  But, then there’s the flip side... whereby you are alone.  Perhaps you’re in nature or writing, painting, shooting hoops, working on a car, or cleaning a closet....and you feel so included, part of a greater experience.  This too is a state of solitude, but you don’t feel isolated.  What I’ve also come to learn is, as I rediscover myself and accept graciously my life based on compassion...the new  and renewed relationships entering my life, have deeper meaning, are more purposeful and so much more rewarding. 
Living in compassion means to truly know who you are; to see value in all who are around you and the value all life forms bring to your life.  It means recognizing and learning about the differences between you and all things, and then celebrating them as well as those qualities that are similar to and shared with you.  It means, when faced with conflict (or possibilities of growth, as I like to think of it), you consider options that inspire all who are involved, to be their best authentic self; and that will promote outcomes that will provide opportunities to maintain the dignity and value of all.
This is in no way meant to be a means to manipulate one’s own agenda; far from it in fact.  The truth is, engaging in a life based on compassion often means you’re always evaluating who you are.  When things happen you always seem to be looking at the bigger picture find yourself contemplating, does this feels right or...doesn’t it?  Then....the questions begin.  Do I have a choice to engage or not?  If I do nothing; what then?  What do I have to offer? How does my engagement change anything, or will it?  Is my intent ego based or heart centred?  How does what I have to offer inspire and promote compassion rather than trigger conflict?
Questions; questions; questions.  When this happens...I find it best to choose to stop; pause to simply be still.  Mediate, reflect, regroup...whatever you want to call it.  The point is, to just listen quietly to your own heart.  The answer is always there.  The challenge is - recognizing it; and then....truly hearing it; then....having the courage to act accordingly.  Sometimes ~ the right answer is to just let go, even if just for now.
Other times...the answer is to engage; but how.  This is often when you will learn some of your greatest life lessons and.... THAT IS OK!!!!!!    That’s what life is about.  As long as you believed your decision was best for you at the time....never second guess it!  (One of the Four Agreements: Always do your best!) If you truly thought that decision was best for you at the moment you made it....I promise you....IT WAS; otherwise you’d have made a different one.  But, to torture yourself after you made your decision is pointless.  It resolves nothing and it’s counterproductive.  Guilt comes from choices you make out of malice or as a result of allowing yourself to be convinced by someone other than your authentic self.  However you come to make your decision, you are ultimately responsible for it.  As soon as you make your decision, you gain one more bit of information or experience you didn’t have, at the time you made your original choice.  The next time you’re faced with a similar situation you will have this experience to reflect on and.....that is one of the amazing things about life it!
The more you know yourself....the easier this becomes.  The more you accept yourself...the easier this becomes.  The more you cherish yourself...the easier this becomes.  The easier it becomes for you to be your best authentic self...the easier it is for you to be assertive when you need to be.
“But I’m not an aggressive person” you say....I didn’t say you were or suggest that you should be “aggressive”.  But isn’t it funny and sad, that our ignorance tries to convince us “assertive” and “aggressive” are synonyms.  Even a thesaurus, will suggest these words are inter-changeable but... If we look up the word “assertive” it means to be confident; and  “aggressive” means to be ready and willing to fight.  If we look up “synonym” by definition it means: words within the same language that have the same meaning.  Therefore, assertive and aggressive cannot be synonyms; as they have very different meanings.  After all not all people who fight, are confident; and not all confident people, fight.  So, yes....
When you embrace your life and live with will learn how and when to be assertive; not aggressive.  You will have the forethought to see what is fair-minded.  You will learn to respect differences and similarities, not only within yourself but also in connection with all things that embrace and affect your life.  You will learn to be confident as you courageously stand in your truth, honouring the importance of dignity and value in all. If you don’ may wish to ask yourself...I am really living a life based on compassion?
As I live a compassion based life and when I choose to be assertive it means, I am aware of your feelings and your opinions.  I will be respectful of them as well as your rights.  I will endeavour to be kind, peaceful and gentle so that your feelings and opinions are honoured.  I will not apologize for my opinions or my feelings; for I too deserve to be treated with respect, allowed dignity and to be valued for exactly who I am. 
Do not mistake my compassion with complacency, cowardice, or contempt.  If you do, you are likely to also mistake my choice to respond assertively with being aggressive. 
With great respect for all; I remain yours truly,  ~Carleana

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Just a quick message today....

I took some time visit some of my past posts.  It’s always a good exercise, if you journal.  I have always believed in ‘magic’ and the power of “inner knowing”. 

These gifts are not science based, nor can they be proven or disproven by any research.  They are truly a gift of “knowing” and either you choose to believe (and I promise you, you will find your own affirmation) or not.  The challenge comes in having the courage to believe in you; especially when tested.  I love is really an amazing state of being. When I’m feeling lost or discouraged and a sign appears....AND I recognize it; it is a soothing a warm blanket on a cold day. 
New Year’s resolutions and I never really worked well together, so many years ago; I started my own tradition whereby I would meditate to set an intention for the new year.   Sometimes the intention is deliberate, but most often I simply allow myself to be still.  When I’ve got to the point I feel I’ve connected to my inner self, during my mediation, the first ‘feeling’ I  get becomes my intention.  If I don’t get a ‘feeling’ during my mediation...that’s ok.  I go about my day will come.  An ahh moment if you will.
2013 was no different. 
Most of my time ‘surviving’, this year was spent surviving, which meant I rarely recognized the signs in my life that were in relation to my intention.  When you’re use to seeing them...I assure you, you miss them when you fail to notice them.  I’ll share more about this in another message but what I did want to share today was the intent I set January 1, 2013 and briefly how it manifested in my life.
HELP....that would be my joie de vivre.  Check out my January 1, 2013 entry.  It was my intent to learn more about help.  Help is not just about offering or giving it, it’s also about knowing how to ask for it.  How to recognize when you need help; where to look for it and when to realize help isn’t where I might be looking.  How to deny help, that is not helpful; and then how to accept help graciously.
WOW.... as I muse this past year, I had no idea how impactful this journey and intention would be.
With such a change in my own life, by March, I realized help would no longer come in familiar forms or from the source I had become so comfortable with.  As a result, I discovered how to reach out in different directions.  Often I wasn’t aware of how this was manifesting.  However, as I became aware of the consequences...the magic or knowing was incredible. 
This new pathway has presented many new opportunities for me to learn how to offer, ask, look for and the most to graciously accept help.   Another blessing I am thankful to have received.
Did you set an intention for 2013?  If so, how did it present itself to you?  What have you learned from about you in relation to that intention about yourself and how will you incorporate that in your life?  If you’d like to share, I would be honoured to hear from you.
With excitement and enlightenment, I extend my sincerest appreciation to each of you, who have travelled with me on this journey of “Help”.  This journey has truly been a blessing!  ~Carleana

Sunday 22 December 2013

2013 ~ It has been one interesting year :)

In no way do I feel like a victim, but I will admit to often feeling very confused and lost this past year.  I’ve learned so much about people this year.  There are specific people who have surprised me and have behaved in a way I never would have believed and....then there is just a new awareness about humanity, in general, that I’ve come to notice.  This experience has been very exciting; and in some cases caused great anguish.  But...that truly is the journey of life.  Alice once said,

Imagine how the world might be if we look at it with wonder and curiosity.”

And that is how I try and choose to look at my world.

Financially the girls and I have struggled most of this year.  As some of you know, in 2011 I resigned/retired from my 20 yr career with public service in order to pursue a new career.  In 2011 I registered my for profit business.  I registered my not for profit organization in 2012.  The first eight months of 2012 seemed to start of very well but...ended in confusion and chaos.  
I felt as if I had gone “right bonkers.”     
~ But I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.”

As 2013 began, ignorantly I still believed I could rely on the commitments of others.  I learned very quickly, that would prove to be another life lesson I would be reminded of - that is not always true.  Before the first quarter of the year was over, I realized, without an income, I would become almost solely financially responsible for the costs of caring for my children.  Very quickly, I was forced into establishing a budget without knowing what expenses to expect.  I tried to rely on my past experienced. Wow...was I off! Let me share one of the Four Agreements with you again...this hit me upside the head many times this year; “Don’t make ANY assumptions.” 

Oh and... $1000-1200/m to feed clothe, educate, cover house and auto repairs, health care costs, care for a pet, and more...for four darn near impossible.  To all those angels who saw what we were going through....THANK YOU for all your helped out!!!!  You have no idea what your generosity meant and means to my children and I.

Some of the highlights in 2013, for me, include....a renewed relationship with daughters, my parents and my brother.  Getting reacquainted with my friends and meeting so many new ones.  I had forgotten what it was like to have friends to spend “girly” time with and do crazy things like, drinking tea, reading cards, giggling, cutting down a Christmas tree, hanging lights, installing a toilet and chatting – sometimes till the wee hours of dawn. I’ve read some great books and watched some good movies.  Oh and OMG....the person I’ve rediscovered and who I had forgotten about... ME!!!!!   

I learned how to work a snow blower, change a car battery and chase critters out of the attic.  I learned how ask for help and accept it graciously.  I’ve found a reliable car service...the Muffler Man; Thank you for treating me like a person and not taking advantage of me because I’m female’.  I’ve also learned just how important it is to make sure home maintenance is kept up; not only does it cost a ton to repair when left unaddressed....but it also negatively impacts the value of your home.

This year, my daughter and father took me to NYC ~ Broadway to see The Glass Menagerie.  I spent an afternoon with Jebb Bush in Toronto and an afternoon in the House of Commons followed by a private reception as a guest of Hon Steven Harper; PM in Ottawa.  My brother made it possible for my daughters and me to continue our annual fall trip to Bronner’s in Mi.  It was also the second year my parents were able to join us.

In so many ways....2013 has been bitter sweet for my daughters; from crushed dreams of post secondary school to school honour roll, and everything in between.  My eldest has chose to attend Continuing Education classes, my middle daughter returned for a victory lap and my youngest graduates this spring.  Together our goal is that the all three will attend some sort of post secondary program in the fall of 2014.  It is not an unrealistic goal, but it will require a LOT of hard work and hopes that factors outside of our control to go as they should. 

I cannot say enough, how impressed and proud I am of my daughters – their understanding of the situation and their commitment to work together is brilliant and amazing.  I truly am blessed with and thankful for all their love and support!!!!  

During 2013 I completed my Reflexology course, became an Indian Head Massage practitioner, and I earned my Nia Instruction certification – White Belt. For both my businesses, I’ve been a guest speaker, participated in Expo’s and co-ordinated several events.  One of the businesses, or entities, that I started is a non-profit organization called Artistically Speaking OutAgainst Bullying.  Our board of directors doubled in size this year and during Nat’l Anti-Bullying Awareness week we coordinated several events to raise awareness and funds: There was the Orchestra London and the Grand performances we sold tickets for, a community conversation evening about Bullying we facilitated and two SafeTalk (suicide awareness) certification training sessions we hosted. 

In spite of all the challenges my daughters and I have had to face, I think we did ok.  For me, it is proof we could do so much better, if certain matters were resolved.  It is my hope, that there will be a fair and equitable resolution to our financial situation and other matters during 2014.  Once there is some stability in our lives, I believe the children and I will be able to focus better on our lives and attaining our own goals; hopes and dreams. 

As Christmas greets my family and 2013 comes to an end, I am reminded of opportunities lost, barriers overcome, and so many blessings we’ve received. 

With hope and excitement, I welcome 2014; believing it will provide my children and me with continued good health, more independence, new challenges and fresh prospects.  Until then, here's hoping our Christmas tree hold together a few more days.

From our home to yours...
...a very Merry Christmas to you and a wonderful New Year!


Sunday 8 December 2013


Ok, so I've written many blog entries but not posted them ~ for a variety of reasons.  Today I decided to post this one.
It’s Sunday morning, December 8, 2013; and I find myself reflecting on me and my life.  At first I thought, I wasn’t reflecting on anything specific.  After all, my house is a mess.  My yard is in desperate need of some TLC.  My children are still sleeping and...chaos is all around me.  And yet....I feel serenity.  How strange is this?

So here is my reality; and perhaps why in all my chaos, I find a sense of stillness.

Two years ago, I was so excited about my future.  My children were almost finished secondary school and planning their post secondary school futures; university or college?  My husband wasn’t completely happy with his current career situation but, was hopeful things would soon be changing.  After 20 years with public service, and several years of contemplation and planning, I was counting down the days till my buyout (retiring).  A few years earlier than anticipated, but in the New Year, I would be beginning a new career, with my passion work.  In 2013 my husband and I would be celebrating our 50th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary.  The dream destinations were Bora Bora and/or an Alaskan cruise.  Life couldn’t get much better than that.  Finally all our hard work would be paying off and our lives would be changing.

2012 started as any new year often did.  Messy house, sleeping in and amazing hopes for the year ahead.  You know how you feel when, something just ain’t right but you can’t put your finger on it dismiss it? many changes were happening.  I cannot say this enough or explain it, but when you tell the universe your hopes and dreams, and then put yourself out ready for the ride of your life!  I couldn’t keep up with momentum and rather than trying to control it....I chose to keep my vision clear and trust!  Trust in myself.  Trust in my vision; in those who were closest to me.

My 2012 training and experiential learning plans were in place.  It was six months since I left public service and....something felt wrong; but I didn’t understand it.  I know when things become too good to be true, I have tendency to self sabotage.  Maybe you do that too?  You say to yourself, “Ok. Things are going too good.  Something bad is going to happen.”  Because I was finally feeling excited in my life again, I didn’t want to believe something ‘bad’ was going to happen.  Plus, I know...when you put it out there...often we bring it on ourselves.  I couldn’t ignore it any more so...I checked in with those closest to me.  “All is ok” was the response I got back.  I believe in their words, but I had no idea what the next eight weeks had in store for me or how my life would change so profoundly.

It was eight months to the day, since I left my job – with my husband’s support and encouragement, it was my choice.  But now, at 50 years old, my hopes and dreams were being shattered and falling into chards all around me.  I found myself alone and lost without the one I came to believe was my best friend.  I was unemployed, uneducated, unaware, and unprepared.  I now found myself a single mother of three teenage daughters whose lives, as they had always known it, would also be changed forever.  It was as if we had been living is a glass snow globe and someone thought, “Hmmm” as they grabbed our world, turned it upside down, gave it a great shake, put it down again and walked away.  Only for us, it wasn’t beautiful snowflakes that dotted our world.  It felt more like a home invasion; and fire – if you’ve ever lived that experience, you’ll understand the metaphor. 

At first you’re in disbelief.  You’re stunned and you think... “man I wish I could just wake up”.  Then you think, well...if I can just... fill in the blank... stop throwing up, get some sleep, assure my children, or you think, well maybe this...again fill in the blank...will pass or is a good thing or....  Then reality sits in.  We’re two reasonable and responsible adults surely we can.... fill in the blank.  Then, another reality sets in and days turn to weeks, then into months and....your life is sinking faster and faster into the obis.  A lone, the world balance seems to be relying on you. 

Another eight months of your life has past by and you’re life preservers are water logged.  You think you see land ahead but you’re not sure.  The choice you face now is do you hang on to these weakening securities and hope to reach land you let go of them and try to make it to land?  First you must’ve got three other people relying on you and your choices and don’t even know if what you see in the distance is actually land.  The last thought you have is... “I know what I’m doing isn’t good and staying here means certain failure for all of us, least if I make an attempted, we’ve got a chance.”  A lone....unsure of what might lie ahead and between where you are and where you’ll end up, you make a decision that will impact your life and all those around you, beyond anything you could have imaged.

My journey has been very interesting.  My world has been opened in so many ways, as I live these experiences.  My passion work is about helping people rediscover their own value, worth, purpose, magic, trust and love.  The idea was to show people no matter what life experience you’ve had; you can live life with peace, love, forgiveness and passion.  I thought with all I had been through in my life, I had a lot to offer.  Well, let’s just say....I’m in the process of rediscovering myself.  I lived the 25 years of my life on my own and developed coping skills that worked very well for me.  With a few ‘cross over years’, I lived the next 25 years of my life with a man who became my best friend (or so I thought), my husband and the father of my children. 

On that journey, my copying skill set grew exponentially.  I had no idea what was involved with living with a ‘partner’.  What I thought and what it was....night and day different.  I guess I thought there would be more mutual compromises when there were disagreements or differences.  And I thought both people would be happy for the other when good things happen to each individual.  I didn’t imaging married life would be two individuals sharing living quarters and competing with each other.  That living arrangement, I imaged would be similar to roommates or dorm life; and the like.  I was so excited when I became a mom.  Scared sh.tless, but so excited.  I thought my excitement would have been shared, as well and the parenting journey.  Clearly, another core value difference between me and my ‘partner’.  However, as I mentioned....all along this journey, what I didn’t realize was what I would learned about me. 

Who is Carleana?  What are her core values?  Where does she turn in her time of growth/need? Why does Carleana do what she does?  How does she find the courage and strength to live her life?  When does she make the choices she does? 

While there are specific answers to these questions, the truth is...there is always room for change; as required.  I will offer this insight to you as well.  99.9% of all I do is based on the relationship I have with my heart and soul.  I chose the battles I’ll engage in carefully; “Is this the mountain I want to die on?”  If I choose to ‘take up arms’ I do so after lots of contemplation; in the spirit of justice and compassion.   In my previous entries and in those to too will discover your own answers to these questions and/or perspectives about me.

Anyway, I chose risk; to let go of the soggy life preserver, eight months after the storm hit my family.  I felt, I had nothing more to lose by letting go of the sinking device.  The unknown allowed me to believe, there were many more potential positives by taking the risk.  And let’s face it....if nothing else....I would be free.  Freedom always comes with great costs but being a slave, in my opinion, costs far more.  In more ways than one, I am still paying the price of $wimming to shore.  At least now, I’m able to make more choices for myself and my children without having to ask for permission or always weighing the pros and cons.  My decision has greatly improved the atmosphere in our home.  One day we’re faced with decisions like going to the foodbank and/ or social services for aid and the next day, we’re in the presence of people like Jebb Bush or accepting an invitation to the House Commons from Hon Steven Harper.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt appreciation to all of my angels too.  In some cases only you know who you are, but I assure you the girls and I have received your gifts, cash, food, supplies, opportunities, etc; with thanks and humble hearts.  Thank you!!!!!

With all that has happen in my life over the past two years, the thing I am most excited about is....what I am rediscovering about myself.  Once again, I am rediscovering my ability to live in resilience and to forgive.  Both of these are gifts I give to me.  They have very little to do with those who throw my life into chaos but everything to do with how I chose to make order of it.  To heal, I choose to allow myself the opportunity to be angry and sad. 

It’s no different than when we allow ourselves to feel the pain of a broken bone or paper cut.  As soon as you feel that pain/hurt you are reminded of feeling and that you have choice.  We can choose to stay and live in that pain or we can chose to say “Wow...that sucks” and act by looking for away to move out of it.  We can choose negative responses such as, regret or retaliation, but in truth....we then choose to stay living in that pain; or...we can choose to feel the pain and do what we need to, to heal.  We wouldn’t stand on the broken leg or pour lemon juice in that paper cut, would we?  As long as we choose to heal; we, by default, give ourselves the gift of hope.  We empower ourselves by making choices that help us feel better.  With every single thing we do that helps us feel less pain...we inspire ourselves to choose health, choose life. 

I know...this is often easier said than done, but nothing worth having in life is every easy.  Cliché?  Perhaps, but...there is some truth in it.  Often when we have things given to us, we don’t really appreciate what it means to have them.  Don’t believe me?  Ask some who’s lost something special or lost someone they loved/cherished. 

For months, I’ve been living in and out of a state of mourning for what I thought I had lost.  Today as I find myself in a state of peaceful reflection, I’m discovering it’s not what I recently loss that I’ve been mourning, but rather what I had lost a long time ago; and that I’m rediscovering on this journey.  I’m reminded of Maya Angelou words, “Never allow someone to be your priority in your life, when you’re only an option in theirs.” 

As I move forward in my life, I will share my journey to self-rediscovery.  Hopefully, it will inspire others to have the courage to live their truth in kindness and respect.  I love quotes!!!!  Not only will I share them, but as I can, I will incorporate them in my life, especially with those who wish to walk close with me; in my heart and soul,.  I say:  “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.  Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.  Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ~Albert Camus

Blessings of abundance, Carleana

As I close, I just wanted to say, thank you to each of you who have reached out to me many times and have asked me to start blogging again.  I invite you to visit ASOAB’s facebook page to see part of what I’ve been doing.