Be Curious

I love to travel. Meeting new people, learning about their culture, eating local dishes, appreciating their music and art as well as learning a few words in their language are all part of the experience. It’s so interesting to understand how each and every culture contributes to the world.

My curiosity for learning about other cultures has been directed toward my own country the last couple of years. I have come to appreciate the incredible number of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples in Canada. Each community is unique in their name, language, history and culture. Each contributes to our country in different ways.

For example, do you know the amazing things the Inuit and First Nations peoples are doing for environmental sciences? Do you know about the First Nations political system which uses a circle model rather than a hierarchy model? Did you know that in many instances they’ve had much greater success when implementing their own framework for policing and rehabilitation compared to the current punishment/jail system?

Have you explored the diversity of music, art and languages that exist across our country? Have you read any books from the incredibly talented Indigenous authors? Have you taken the time to discuss philosophy or spirituality with an Indigenous person, learning about their beliefs, values and creation stories? Do you know how effective their herbal medicine and natural healing are? Have you read history from their perspective – their interesting and amazing trade routes and economic systems across North America prior to contact with Europeans?

If any of this surprises you, I encourage you to be more curious! Talk to Indigenous people in your area. Ask questions. Find out for yourself.

Today is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Today I honor and give gratitude to the many Indigenous Peoples in our country and to those all over the world for their amazing contributions.

Thank you.

Visiting the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec in 2019

Choose Joy

It may feel like we don’t have a lot of choices right now with so many restrictions on what we can and can’t do. But there are important choices that we always have control over.

It is always our choice where we place our focus, how we respond to a situation and while feelings come as they do, we can influence those too.

If you are anything like me, you spent the first part of the pandemic watching the news, searching the internet for stats and generally living in a state of fear and anxiety. Perhaps you are still doing that? While it’s important to stay informed, it’s equally important to live life as well.

I choose joy.

You may say that is impossible as tragedy has come to your home. It has with us too with the death of a beloved family member and others fighting cancer. Of course we grieve. But then we choose to connect with each other, share loving stories and photos and help where we can.

I realize that sometimes it’s hard to stay positive, and we may need a little help. That’s where the choice of focus comes in. There are a few things we can do that make a huge difference in our mental state.

These may feel too simple to make a difference, but I encourage you to give them a try and see for yourself.

  • Get out in nature (even if it’s your own backyard)
  • Go for a walk and listen to the bird’s sing
  • Play your favorite music
  • Sing as you do your daily tasks
  • Move your body – stretch, lift weights or dance!
  • Watch a funny movie or video
  • Do something fun every day
  • Connect with a friend
  • Read a good book
  • Share something funny or uplifting on social media
  • Smile (it activates neural messaging that elevates your mood)
  • Sit quietly with your eyes closed and take a few slow deep breaths
  • Remember how strong you have been in the past
  • Make a list of what you are grateful for in life

Most of all, give yourself permission to feel joy.

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