Quiet or Loud – Do Something

It was time. I had been working for a couple of years and was ready to move away from home. I was super excited to start my adult life. Unfortunately, my parents had other ideas. They didn’t think a woman should be living on her own, especially one that was only 20 years old.

“Wait until you get married,” they said. Well, I was having none of that. I found a nice apartment and moved in. My parents were upset and wouldn’t speak to me for a couple of weeks. We were a close family though, so I knew it wouldn’t last. Eventually they came around and everything was fine.

Around that same time, I was walking into my bank when a young man with a clipboard approached me asking if I would like to apply for a credit card. I knew I needed to establish a credit rating, so I said yes. We filled in the application together. I met all the qualifications so was surprised when it came time to sign and he told me I had to have my husband sign it. I explained that I wasn’t married, so he replied that I needed my father to sign it then. I asked him why I couldn’t sign it myself. I was working and clearly qualified.

“Sorry, that’s the rules.” he explained. He tore the application in half, handed it to me and walked away. Well, I was having none of that either. I searched out credit card companies that accepted women independently and within a couple of weeks one arrived in the mail. Ok, that was settled.

Just a few short years later I was a newlywed and looking for a first-time home to buy. I was supporting my husband as he went through University. I made good money as a computer programmer and knew I could cover the costs, especially if we bought something small. We found the perfect house in our price range. Our offer was accepted and we were assured a mortgage wouldn’t be a problem based on my income. Everything was falling into place nicely.

Except it wasn’t. Sitting in the mortgage office, we were stunned to hear that they wouldn’t give us a mortgage. The reason? I was a woman and my husband was not earning an income. They explained that I might get pregnant and quit, so we didn’t qualify. Well, I clearly was having none of that!

Fortunately, a close friend of mine was a lawyer (and a woman). I asked her advice. She immediately picked up the phone and called the mortgage company herself, explaining who she was and that this was clearly a human rights issue. We were approved that afternoon.

A few years later I had been promoted to a senior programmer position. I had two programmer trainees under me: a woman in her thirties and a young man in his early twenties. The woman was incredibly hard working and clearly had a talent for programming. The young man was lazy and spent a lot of his time at work doing personal things. When it came time for promotions, my manager called me in and asked for my input. I told him that the woman was doing really well and was ready to be promoted, but the young man needed more time to prove himself.

The next day the promotions came out. The young man had been promoted and the woman held back. I immediately went into the manager’s office asking for an explanation. He felt the young man just needed encouragement and that a promotion would help him. As for the woman, she came from a non-technical background and he wanted her to prove herself for a longer period of time, just to be sure.

I was livid but felt that there wasn’t much I could do as I was leaving the company within a couple of weeks. I approached the woman and told her that she was really talented and encouraged her to keep going. She would get that promotion soon. To the young man, I told him he was lucky this time. He just laughed at me. A year later, I ran into someone who worked for the same company and they told me she had been promoted shortly after I left and that he had been fired. Good to hear that time sorted that one out.

I experienced many of these kinds of incidences over the years but as time moved on, they became fewer and further between. We have come a long way, yet there is still so much to do, especially in developing countries.

It’s hard to believe that it was only 100 years ago that women were initially given the right to vote in parts of Canada. I am incredibly grateful to our foremothers for everything they did to make that, and so much more, happen. Their voices would not be silenced and nor should ours.

This year International Women’s Day is being celebrated on March 8 with the theme “Better the balance, better the world.”

Whether you plan to spend the day quietly contemplating ways you can improve women’s rights in your circle or going out to demonstrate for women’s rights – do something.

One step at a time, we can make a better world for women everywhere.  

#BalanceforBetter #IWD2019

Self Discovery in Resting

I’m baaack!

I am back writing in my beloved blog after a long a break. I’m also back in a much more profound sense. I’m back being me!

The last post I wrote was about giving myself permission to take a break. It was needed. I was extremely busy and had only so much energy to give. Since my blog is a love not a job, I had to let it go for a time.

I have since changed my job to a part-time consultant gig that is way less stressful. I also spent the last two months mostly resting. Quite literally as I had the flu and just when I was starting to feel better, fell and cracked a rib. Hmmm… was the Universe trying to tell me something? Perhaps I needed a little downtime.

The last couple of months have really been a blessing. I took the time to think about who I am and where I want to go in my life. I am ready for a change. Ready to try something new.

During this time of self reflection I remembered something I used to love and that is being artistically creative. I had forgotten. Or perhaps I just let that go in the busyness of life.

Now that I do remember, it’s time to make it a priority again. So, I did one simple thing. I signed up for beginner pottery classes – one of my bucket list items. It feels great to find a way to be creative again.

What one simple thing can you do in the step towards remembering who you are and who you want to be next? I’d love to hear about it.

Taking a Little Break

I can’t believe it’s been eight months since I wrote a post. I needed a break from a few things and gave myself permission to do so, without guilt or pressure. It’s freeing to do that once in a while.

I felt compelled to write today because I discovered something recently that has been life-changing for me. It’s a very small thing with a big impact.

My work is busy (who can’t related to that??) and life sometimes gets crazy as well. I have found a technique that has helped me to reduce stress and feel less overwhelmed by responsibilities.

I take mini muscle relaxing breaks. I focus on a muscle (often my jaw muscle which seems to be tense a lot) and purposely let it relax. I wiggle it a bit, take a breath and consciously let the muscle go limp. It’s something easy to do any time because it literally takes a second or two.

I do this throughout my day. Over time I have found that my jaw and shoulders muscles (which I also focus on) have become more relaxed.

In fact, my whole body has become more relaxed. These mini muscle relaxing moments have extended beyond my physical and triggered a mental relaxation as well. I’m calmer and more relaxed in the busyness of life.

I love how simple things can make a difference.

Namaste

No Straw Please

When did we become a society of disposable “one use only” plastic items like water bottles and straws? Have we all become so busy that convenience has taken precedence over common sense?

Recycling isn’t the answer. There is so much more we can all do to continue to respect our planet.

Take a few minutes to watch this video and be inspired to do a little bit more today.

www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org

Daily Heart Practice on the Road

Our lives are often so busy that we run through our days without a care about what is going on inside our bodies… until there is a need to feed it or take care of it in some way. What would our lives be like if we took just a moment each day to do something that benefited one of our most important organs, our heart.

I’m talking quick and easy here.

Most of us travel every day either for work, recreation or to fulfill home tasks. When we are in a hurry, the most stressful parts of traveling  is the wait time. We can use that time to our benefit.

Next time you are sitting at a traffic lights waiting for the light to turn or moving slowly through rush hour traffic or on a long ride in public transportation, notice the anxiety in your body. Really pay attention to it. Then breathe.

Purposely take three long deep breathes in and out. As you do this, relax your body and send love to your heart. Then smile.

That’s it. Simply, quick and easy to do even in traffic. Your body will appreciate the mini break from stress and your heart will thank you.

Understanding the Gut

I’ve recently read a book that was both entertaining and informative, covering a topic that most people don’t talk about – specifically our gut. More specifically, poop.

Ok, before you get all grossed out and leave, think about it.

Do you actually know how it all works? I didn’t. Not really. But I have a much better idea now and all I can say is… it made a difference. 😉

This book covers more than the physical side of the gut. It also covers emotions and gut feelings. It also shows how important it is for us to not be squeaky clean about everything. It is truly remarkable how important our gut is to our overall health.

The book is GUT, The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders, a student of medicine in Germany.

Giulia had been working on her Ph.D in Gastroenterology when her presentation on the gut won her the Science Slam prize in her native Germany. The video of her presentation went viral and the result is her best-selling book.

Here is that original video, which pretty much gives you a sneak peek into the book. The illustrations, by the way, were created by Giulia’s sister Jill Enders.

Yes, it’s in German but the English subtitles work very well.

Giulia’s book is well worth reading. Not only will you be entertained, it will open your eyes to a whole other world that exists… in our guts.

Now what is your gut saying?

Meditation of the Week: Stop!

OSHO’s words are a source of inspiration for so many people, myself included. I found his latest meditation a simple and effective way to become fully aware in the midst of a busy day.

Stop! Meditation technique to do in a moment, any time, any place to enhance your everyday life at work, at home, and at play.

Just as you have the impulse to do something, stop.

You can try it anywhere. You are taking your bath – suddenly order yourself to ‘Stop!’ and stop. Even if it is only for a single moment, you will feel a different phenomenon happening within you. You are thrown to the center and suddenly everything stops – not only the body. When the body stops totally, your mind stops also.

When you say, ‘Stop!’ do not breathe then. Let everything stop…no breathing, no body movement. For a single moment remain in this stop, and you will feel you have penetrated suddenly, at rocket speed, to the center. And even a glimpse is miraculous, revolutionary. It changes you, and by and by you can have more clear glimpses of the center. That is why inactivity is not to be practiced. Use it suddenly, when you are unaware.

For example, you were going to drink a glass of water. You have touched the water, the glass – suddenly stop. Let the hand be there, let the desire to drink, the thirst be there inside, but you stop completely. The glass is outside, the thirst is inside; the hand is on the glass, the eyes are on the glass – stop suddenly. No breathing, no movement, as if you have become dead. The very impulse, the thirst, will release energy, and that energy is used for going to the center. You will be thrown to the center. Why? Because any impulse is a movement outward. Energy is always in movement – either going out or coming in. Energy can never be static.

Remember three things…. One, try it only when a real impulse is there. Secondly, do not think about stopping, just stop. And thirdly, wait! When you have stopped, no breathing, no movement – wait and see what happens.

When I say stop, it means stop totally, fully. Nothing is moving, as if the whole time has stopped. There is no movement – simply you are! In that simple existence, suddenly the center explodes.

Osho,The Book of Secrets, Talk #17

Source: Meditation of the Week: Stop!

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