Being Elsa (K.Blais)


Yep, that’s right. I have become Elsa. I don’t spontaneously burst into song, nor do I conjure up a storm and freeze everything in my path when I am angry or upset (now that’s not to say that some days I wouldn’t like to!), but for all intents and purposes I like to think that I have become, at least a little bit, like Elsa.

While I have written and posted on similar topics, ideas, and concepts throughout the years, I have found myself, as of late, really relying and focusing on the idea of “Let it go”.

I have used and reused the phrase lately probably more than anyone cares to hear, and, perhaps in some ways, it has become my mantra. But whatever works, right? And “let it go” works.

I say “let it go” to my children when I recognize they are becoming bogged down and focused on issues which seem big to them, but which I know are draining their time, energy, and positivity. When their friends (or their siblings) treat them unfairly and they cannot get past the point that it “isn’t fair”, I tell them to “let it go”. They are right, ‘it’ may not be fair, but they have to recognize that, realize it for what it is, express their feelings, but then to move on.

I tell my students to “let it go” for many of the same reasons. It is important that their voices and concerns are heard, but they must also realize that it is equally, if not, more important to “rise above” and move forward. Dwelling on things which we cannot control seldom does us any good. We must also recognize that and move on.

I tell myself to “let it go” when I recognize that I am becoming weighed down by things which are not good for me to be so focused on. There are days when the world either becomes too big or too small and either overwhelms or underwhelms me. There are times when I want more and then there are times when I want less. There are moments when I forget to be simply be grateful, to be happy with what I have been blessed with, and to work for what I want.

Far too often we may find ourselves caught up in issues or business that are really none of our concern. We need to take a step back and ask ourselves some pretty serious questions when we involve ourselves in things not directly related to our own personal life. Does or should this really concern me? Does being involved in this, does knowing (or needing to know) this information really affect my life? Am I involving myself for the right reasons, or am I becoming involved to benefit or to make myself feel better? Am I holding on to something that isn’t mine to begin with? Would it be better to simply “let it go”?

One of the most interesting quotes which I have read most recently is by F. Scott Fitzgerald , “It is more important to be kind, than to be right.” Perhaps maybe we need to let go of things which weigh us down, of the things which are unfair, and of the importance of being right. It is more important to be kind than to let less than important issues and concerns hurt our relationships with others needlessly. 

Maybe it’s time we were all a little more like Elsa. 

Testing Your Patience (K.Blais)

It’s usually right around this time of year that I begin to feel frustrated. I become frustrated with a season that seems reluctant to arrive (even though technically it is here already on the calendar) and frustrated with the “in between” feel of things – between wanting to move forward and relishing the fact that I can still hold back. 

It seems that this time of year is always when the most valuable lessons in patience are given to me and my tolerance for learning through those lessons is truly tested. 

But, in thinking about that, I realized that we often find our patience is tested, not just when we are waiting for spring to finally arrive, but also throughout the year, in different ways.

We find our patience being tested with the people in our lives- when we see what they need to do to help themselves and when we offer our advice and yet they still keep trudging down the same old path. Some days that can be likened to trying to convince a drowning person that he can save himself just by standing up. Our patience is surely challenged then.

Other times we may find ourselves having to be patient with those in our life by letting them figure things out for themselves. We can offer advice, even from valuable experience, but there are times when people just need to live and learn. As much as we may want to protect them, sometimes they need to make their own mistakes and learn from the consequences which arise. It takes patience to stand back and simply watch things enfold.

We learn the lessons of patience from our own wants and desires too.  We may want things to happen in a certain way and at a certain time because we believe that is what’s best for us, but things always happen when and how they are supposed to – in our necessary patience we are reminded that it is God who knows what is best. 

So we must learn to also have patience with ourselves. We will slip up, we will regress, and we will change direction several times in our lives and on our journey. We need to be patient with ourselves throughout our own mistakes. We need to allow ourselves to fall down, as long as each time we fall, we get back up again stronger than ever. If we fall down 7 times, we need to get up 8. 

We may have all heard the phrase “patience is a virtue” and it really is. Patience is something which can be learned though- it is a behaviour of high moral standards that we can all aspire to. We may need to learn patience through timely lessons, but we are all capable of learning. 

It just might take some, well, patience. 

  

Don’t Wait (K.Blais)

Sometimes it’s easier to put off today what you can do tomorrow, right? 

We all procrastinate to some extent. Some of us are better at procrastinating than others. I, personally, can be a self proclaimed expert at it. 

There are times when I am very good at getting ‘stuff’ done right away, and, in fact, I’ve gotten better at procrastinating less about many  things. With some fairly recent lifestyle changes, my energy levels have increased and I’ve been much more productive in many areas of my life. But… there are still moments when I can’t seem to push myself to get to doing things. (Hence the lapse of time between this blog post and my last one, right?)

I think it’s ok to take breaks and to give yourself time to tackle things. I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason and that taking a reprieve from things (even when you don’t intend to) is good. When the time is right we often find ourselves getting back at “it” (whatever “it” is) with renewed vigour and enthusiam. 

We often place too many expectations on ourselves. This doesn’t help then when the world weighs us down with expectations as well. Sometimes it’s hard to force ourselves to clean out that closet or to get to the bank to pay the bills on time when the world is constantly screaming at us what we should be doing anyway. 

But we must remember this also: life is too short to put off doing the really important things. In a blink of an eye life can change completely. 

There are some things that we should never procrastinate in doing; the things that should be on everyone’s “Don’t Wait” list. 

Don’t wait 

To tell someone how much you care, whether that is to say I love you or to air out your differences. Life is too short to live with words left unsaid.

To show someone how much you care, whether that is with actions or deeds. Life is too short to live with acts left undone. 

To appreciate the little things in life, whether it is a sunrise or a sunset, a beautiful view or warm crackling fire. Life is too short to let the “busy-ness” keep us from enjoying the simple things.

To smile and laugh, whether it is at your own silliness or with great company. Life is too short to not laugh every day. 

To enjoy what you have, whether it is little or much, whether it is how you dreamed life to be or something completely different. Life is too short to always worry that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. 

Maybe instead of procrastinating it is better to do what you must today and what can wait until tomorrow should be left to wait. 

Life is too short to not enjoy each moment and to waste time beating ourselves up for procrastinating, isn’t it? 

Eyes Wide Open (K.Blais)

I turned 39 over the Christmas break. It wasn’t a huge monumental occasion or anything like that, but it did give me a reason to pause for a moment and think about life so far. I’ve learned a lot in my 39 years.  Probably though, I believe that I have learned more in the last 12 than in the previous 27. 

As a child, teenager, and even young adult I believe that I, in some ways, coasted through life a bit oblivious, unaware, and sometimes with my eyes closed. I had a loving and innocent childhood. I led a somewhat sheltered life, but I don’t see anything wrong with being sheltered as a child. As a teen and young adult I attended a great university, obtained three degrees with honours, and got a job in a fulfilling career field. I got married and began a comfortable life with my husband and friend. 

I grew up believing that people are generally good and want to help others. The times in my life where this was proven completely inaccurate (at least by some) were shocking and devastating to me. Betrayals, lies, injustices, and the like shook me to my core in those early days of my ‘awakening’. I quickly came to realize that not all people are good and not all people want to help others. For some this may have been common knowledge, but for me it was as if my eyes were opened wider than they had ever been. 

Twelve years ago, just about the time when I had my son and started a family, I began to realize that not everyone wants what’s best for others. Many want what’s best for them. This was a foreign concept to me in certain ways. I still struggle with understanding it to some degree as I grew up believing that if we want what’s best for everyone then what’s best for us will naturally fall into place. 

Sometimes your childhood beliefs are the hardest ones to adjust. 

In all actuality I haven’t changed that thinking entirely. I still believe that when everyone benefits we all win. I still believe that most people are good and that most people want what’s best for us, at least in my world (I hope) they do. 

But, when we encounter those individuals who are out for number one only, who take and take and take and seldom give back, who chastise and criticize us for their own shortcomings, and who look to hurt rather than to help then maybe it’s time to clean house, to take out the trash, and to burn the bridge. 

I believe in giving everyone a fair chance, but I also believe that there are times when we need to rely on our own common sense and intuition. There are times when we need to use our God-given intelligence and realize when enough is enough. There are times when we need to see those who really love us and those who only love what we do for them.

Unfortunately, it is often in our time of need, when we are at our lowest points, when we look to those individuals that we thought were our closest allies and friends, that we are brought back to reality. Sometimes we are disappointed, perhaps even shocked, by their inability to be there for us. These are the times when we need to have our eyes wide open to the individuals whom we choose to allow (and who we choose to allow to remain) in our lives. We need to ask ourselves whether the people who take the most time, energy, and love from us will actually give the same in return. 

The rest of our lives lie stretched out in front of us like an open road, whether we are 39, 59, or 79. At any age, at any stage, and in any situation maybe it’s time to pause and reflect on what we see in our lives at this point and if who we have in our lives is a positive reflection of who we are and what we hope to achieve. If we have uncertainties about those things and people maybe it’s time to ask questions and to see what the responses are. We may not always like the answers, but the questions will always be worth asking. 

Maybe it’s better to have our eyes wide open sooner, rather than later. 

My Fall Down The Rabbit Hole (K.Blais)

In a fall down the rabbit hole, an individual sets off on the path with a goal, gets sidetracked by various events and changes direction several times along the way, eventually ending up somewhere unexpected, typically without having satisfied the original purpose of the quest. Nevertheless, the path often leads to serendipitous discoveries. Furthermore, … the meandering path may eventually turn out to be more productive than a more direct one. (Courtesy of http://whatis.techtarget.com)

  

I fell down the rabbit hole again. Contrary to Alice’s great adventure down the rabbit hole, I haven’t been off on any exciting or intoxicating adventure to a Wonderland of sorts. Nope, just living my regular life, putting one foot in front of the other.

I ‘settled’ into life again though, content with going through the daily motions and adhering to the various hectic schedules in my family’s life. I didn’t push myself to write a lot, to challenge my thinking (or anyone else’s), and my perspective didn’t vary much. I guess in the security and calm of the rabbit hole I focused on quiet for a bit.

In the quiet of falling down the rabbit hole I stopped carving out time for writing and for doing those things that I had originally planned for my own “quest”. I quit fighting against the grain of trying to fit it all in and to make it all work. I went MIA on the literary world and on other parts of my world as well. But… I began to miss those who I had developed strong bonds with, those who supported me in my writing and the other aspirations in my life, and I realized from the quiet calm of my rabbit hole that I simply only needed to reach out, to poke my head up into the light to see that those people missed me too. 

I became sidetracked by other components in my life, none of which I regret because they have led me to now appreciate and explore life in other directions. My goals have changed because of this exploration. My perspective has been jolted a bit, but in that awakening my reality has been altered. Things I once believed to be true have been challenged, but this is not a bad thing. In fact it has been exciting and adventurous (in its own way).

In meeting new individuals I have learned that unusual and different is interesting and refreshing. The known is comforting, but there is something to be said about stepping out of our comfort zones as well. Talking to and reaching out to new people, people who share common interests or don’t share in them, can vary our perspectives in a much needed way. Even talking to someone in the grocery store lineup can change the direction of our day takes us.

I was introduced to someone the other week. The woman I was being introduced to expressed that she felt that maybe she had met me before. I knew we hadn’t met, but I had seen her comments on my blogs through our mutual friend’s Facebook profile. When I told her this, she said, “Oh that’s right – you’re the writer!” Initially I was a bit surprised that anyone would officially call me that, but it was enough to make me stop and think that it was time to emerge from the rabbit hole.

A writer writes, I thought, and that is what I need to do. Couple this with some actual requests that I post again was enough to kick start me into action. Yes, it’s a busy season, and yes, blog stats say most readers drop off reading this time of year because they are so busy with their own lives, but personally I need to refocus on what truly matters in my life. 

My reemergence from the rabbit hole is on my own terms though. I’m not promising that I can still meet the demands of posting every week and that I will finally take steps towards getting published. My goals have changed and I have meandered a bit, but I’m still the same me, my own Alice of sorts, figuring life out and trying to make sense of this crazy world which I am blessed to live in and to be a part of. 

Perhaps the other ‘stuff’ in our lives takes up too much time and energy that we have lost focus on the things that we should be giving our most time to: our loved ones, our hopes, and our dreams. 

Maybe we all need to take a peek out of our rabbit holes and take a good look at the world around us – have we surrounded ourselves with things that make us proud to be who we are or have we become someone or something we swore we never would be? 

How’s Your Conscience? (K.Blais)

con·science
ˈkän(t)SHəns/
noun
an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.

synonyms: sense of right and wrong, moral sense, inner voice

Soooooo, how’s your conscience doing lately?

When you lie your head down at night are you able to peacefully reflect on the day and all of its blessings or do you lie awake because of things you’ve said, behaviours you’ve displayed, or because you didn’t speak or act when you should’ve?

Did you live the day by the Golden Rule or did you continue throughout the day without thinking about how your words or actions may have affected others?

Did you speak to others with respect, even if you didn’t agree with them or their opinions? Did you treat others’ feelings with care so as not to embarrass them or cause them to feel ashamed for things either you misunderstood or for something beyond their control?

Did you attempt to be honest with yourself and with others? Did you take responsibility for your own behaviours or did you attempt to blame the purpose or cause of your actions on someone else? Did you make excuses or find reasons to be ‘right’, instead of being kind?

Did you attempt to justify the choices and the subsequent actions you took, however poor those decisions were, by rationalizing that somehow you ‘did what you had to do’? Or did you acknowledge your own choices as poor and vow to strive to do better the next time?

Did you try to be a positive role model for your children, children in your care, or children around you? Did you lovingly guide those children to appropriate behaviours and manners in dealing with others? Did your own actions reflect those you want to see in our future generation?

When you fell short, did you reflect on where you went wrong and how to avoid doing so again in the future? Did you ask for forgiveness when necessary? Were you able to find peace with yourself and others in talking things through and making amends?

When others approached you with their feelings and wanted to discuss concerns they have, did you keep an open frame of mind or did you become defensive and spring on the attack in order to point out their wrongs as well?

When you lie your head down at night or look at yourself in the mirror the next morning, are you able to accept the person you’ve become?

At the end of the day can you give an honest answer to the question : how is your conscience?

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Is Your Life The Perfect Storm? (K.Blais)

Have you ever thought about your life as the perfect storm? Let’s think about it for a moment.

A “perfect storm” describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances aggravate a situation drastically. (Wikipedia)

Has there ever been a time or times in your life where you have thought that nothing else could possibly go wrong and then something else did? Have you wondered and/or had regrets about the choices you have made? Have you ever wished that you had tried a little harder, done something else that may have made things somehow different than they are right now?

Many of us have had regrets, have wished for “do-overs”, or have yearned for the road less travelled. But consider this: perhaps everything that has happened to us, the good, the bad, and the ugly, has all come together to make the perfect storm which is now our life.

The ‘perfect storm’ is a bit of an oxymoron if you think about it and consider its true definition. There is nothing perfect about a storm which creates a calamitous situation, other than that the storm is the perfection of the elements which came together to create it.

I considered this as I drove home tonight. Maybe our lives are each the perfect storm in their own way because our lives are themselves “the powerful combined effect of a unique set of circumstances” like the actual phenomenon itself.

In my own self-reflecting, I considered that perhaps I have experienced betrayal and hurt from those I thought would always support me because I was meant to reach out to others who I would learn would stand by me to ride all the waves in the ocean.

Perhaps it was supposed to be that I would find myself needing to search for ways to improve the quality of my health and my lifestyle and in that search I would find a new friend and establish a great support system with others.

Perhaps the things that have happened in which I have felt wronged, attacked, slighted, or ignored, have all happened so that my own self confidence and self awareness would grow.

Maybe we are meant to lose or suffer loss somewhat in life – our jobs, our dignity, our friends, our loved ones, in order that our situation becomes aggravated enough that we are driven to change. Maybe we are meant to lose so that the storm pushes us in the direction where we can win.

Perhaps we fight, we battle, we live, we learn through all the negative and aggravating experiences in our life so that they all come together to build us into the people who we are today. If we consider it this way, then we need the negative, the bad, and the ugly, to allow us to grow and to ‘perfect’ ourselves.

All of our experiences combine themselves into the rare and unique set of circumstances which God has intended to be our life. While in most contexts anything described as the ‘perfect storm’ is most likely to have severe and negative consequences, if we think of our life as a series of factors and components which have shaped us and formed us, then maybe we can realize that our own chaotic lives are perfect storms indeed.

Calm Amidst Chaos (K.Blais)

Many of us find ourselves racing from the minute we get up in the morning to the minute we lay our heads down again at night. We rush to get up, to get breakfast and lunches made, and then we rush out the door to get to work or wherever the day may need us. We rush around at work trying to get things done, to achieve our own goals, and live up to our employer’s expectations. We rush home to our families to get supper on the table, to get to extra curricular activities, and then to get home again to get the kids and, eventually ourselves, to bed. Our day is filled with chaos, however organized it may be, and seldom do we feel or find any moments of calm.

It occurred to me today while chatting with a dear friend, that our lives are indeed chaotic and at some point there does seem to be a need to change that. In fact, my dear friend was the one who expressed this very need! Her statement got me to thinking: Where can we find calm amidst the chaos of our everyday lives?

For some of us, myself included, we rarely take time out for ourselves. We are so busy being a parent, a spouse, a friend, a (insert job title here), that we forget that before we were all of these things, we were a person first. Interesting how we can lose ourselves in being everything else to everyone else.

Now please don’t misunderstand, I am by no means implying that being those things to others makes us any less of a person, but when our responsibilities towards everyone else take priority to taking care of ourselves, even when we need it the most, that is where we can run into problems.

So, back to the question, where can one find calm when the world around us is chaos?

Surrounding yourself with positive people is a great place to start. Your closest friends should be your confidantes, your cheerleaders, the ones who go to bat for you when you can’t bat for yourself. Surrounding yourself with positive people will help you to avoid the trap of “falling into the negative” (a quote from my dear friend). And it’s ok to do fall from time to time; that’s where those positive people will help lift you up and get you righted on the waves of life again.

Calm may also mean finding something to do for you, whether it is to find a healthier lifestyle in regards to diet and exercise, or to find a hobby or pastime that you are passionate about. Decide that calm will be something that you do only for you. Think “Me Time”.

Don’t be afraid to take a break. Take some time away from your loved ones, even for a few moments, to take some deep breaths and to refocus yourself. Squirrel yourself away to read, to soak in a warm bath, or to just sit quietly to pray or meditate on life. Unplug from technology for a bit and try to remove yourself from the negativity society tries to ram down our throats. Instead, focus on the good, the uplifting, and the positive. These things can bring calm into your world in the simplest and smallest ways.

Our world will continue to be chaotic from time to time and not much may change that short of winning the lottery and moving to a deserted island. In reality, things may slow down a bit here and there, but the important thing to remember is that amidst the chaos calm can be found if you simply know where to look for it.

Less Is More (K.Blais)

Saying less is definitely saying more. Sometimes saying nothing at all is even the best approach.

It’s been a while since I posted. I hadn’t intended on taking a break, yet again, and it’s not that I didn’t have anything to say, because I did.

It occurred to me today as I contemplated a blog post topic that sometimes saying less is more.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people use words carelessly and don’t seem to realize the effect their words have on others. Many don’t consider, or want to acknowledge perhaps, that there are some of us who take words and how they are used very seriously.

Yes, I am one of the many people who listen to (or read) carefully the words people use and how they actually are being said and then derive the intended meaning from them. Is there anything wrong with that? No, I don’t believe so. Does that make me vulnerable to people? Maybe it does. We are all different and some of us may find it easier to let things ‘roll off our backs’ than others. Many of us don’t believe that words are just words and that we should not take them too seriously. I think words deserve a lot more respect than that.

It bothers me to no end when words are thrown around carelessly towards others, comments are posted on social media without thought as to whom they may affect or hurt, and that it seems everyone has a “right” to speak first and think later. Yes, we are all entitled to our thoughts and opinions, but not at the cost of hurting others or attempting to make them feel badly about their successes or things beyond their control. And “jokes” are only funny when both people see them as so (just because a ‘just kidding’ is added doesn’t make hurtful things ok to say).

Sadly, many of us that these words and comments are directed towards take these things directly to heart. We process and re-process the words, comments, and statements over in our minds as a way of trying to understand why they were said and how to deal with how they have made us feel. Even those who shouldn’t matter that much to us (you know the ones who wouldn’t jump puddles for you) have a way of affecting us with their words, whether we want them to or not. We may try to say that we don’t care, but in reality we do. Does that give them unlimited power over us? I don’t believe so. Some of us just may feel more deeply and be more sensitive than others, a difference which is to be respected not controlled or abused.

I realize that this blog post echoes many of the thoughts and perspectives that I have shared over the last three years, but I felt that they could bear some repeating.

Think first, speak only after much considered thought.

If it isn’t positive, productive, or true, don’t say it.

Words can hurt just as much as sticks and stones and can do even more damage.

Not everyone feels, thinks, or believes the same things that you do. Respect those differences.

You truly don’t know the battles or successes that people face each day, especially when you haven’t bothered to try to get to know them. Refrain from passing judgment.

Not everyone receives and interprets information the same way that others might. Some people just don’t know. Some just may not understand.

It is more important to be kind than it is to be right. Being right doesn’t make you a better person.

We were put on this earth to help one another, not to compete with or to be better than one another.

Use your words to help and to heal. Choose them wisely.

You Win Some, You Lose Some (K.Blais)

I was thinking about this phrase as I drove home tonight. I must say that this familiar saying seems to appropriately paraphrase my life lately.
Here’s something you may or may not know about me: I enjoy things that I am moderately “good at”. Things that challenge me are enjoyable as long as I can have a fair amount of success (even feigned success or success in my own mind) at doing them. Things that are left up to ‘chance’ often frustrate me.
Tonight I played bingo with some of my family members. It’s a simple radio bingo. You buy the bingo cards at a local grocery or convenience store and you tune in to the radio station at a certain time to hear the caller ‘call’ the numbers. You phone into the radio station if you win. I don’t play a whole lot and I have never won. My family members play regularly, but they seldom win either. To be honest though, no one really cares. It’s the time together and the laughs that we have (including the tears rolling down our faces!) that we cherish.
Sometimes, though, I get frustrated with these games of chance and perhaps that is because I believe if you work hard enough at something you can probably achieve what you are working towards, at least to some degree of success. Radio bingo is not like that. Sure I can make the effort to drive to the store to buy my cards, I can be successful at purchasing one, and I can even be lucky enough to be on time to tune in to the radio station to hear the numbers called, but beyond that there is nothing more than I can do to be successful, that is, to win. The rest is left up to chance or should I say, God’s will.
So much of life seems to operate on this idea of “chance”. I caught myself saying this week – “We should hope for nice weather and maybe we will be lucky.” This is so totally not the case though, really. That nice weather will only truly depend on the weather patterns and, ultimately, God’s plan.
It goes for other things in life as well. So much we think is dependant on chance or the luck of the draw, I truly believe is part of a bigger, deeper plan beyond our realm of thinking.
Winning or losing though has a lot to teach us. We teach our children to be gracious winners, to be good sports, and to treat others they way they would like to be treated. We should also adhere to this way of thinking ourselves.
There will be things or people in our life who seem determined to knock us down for whatever reason. That reason may be known or unknown to us, but these things will still happen. We may also seem to do and say all the “wrong” things and the only success we may have is screwing it all up or sticking our foot in our own mouth. We can definitely feel like we are “losing”.
There will be times where we seem to do the right things and find ourselves fairly successful at them. Things may seem to be falling into place and going our way. Others may support and encourage us and seem to be “on our side”. We may even seem like we are “winning”.
There will also be times when neither may be the case. We may simply feel like we are putting one foot in front of the other, some days taking five steps forward and ten steps backward, and never seeming to get anywhere. Those days may seem to be the most frustrating of them all. It is those days that seem like we are neither winning or losing, but that maybe we are at a “draw”.
In any case, winning some, losing some, we continue on, we press forward, we trust in God’s will and His plan for us. We can believe that the days will get better if they are rough right now and we know that tomorrow offers a fresh start and a new beginning. If the days have been good, we should remember to be grateful for them.
Tomorrow will offer another day to play again, or, in the case of radio bingo, next Thursday. 😉