January 16th - Step 11  Living to work or working to live?

My older daughter is at the age where we are seriously talking about what she wants to do in her future.  She has for the longest time wanted to be a designer and she also loves dance.  I think either of those would be wonderful pursuits to follow and whatever field she finally chooses it is likely she will have more than one career during her life time.  Just like her mum:-)  Of course back in the day, as a "failed grade 11+ student" I was supposed to be factory fodder, a secretary or possibly a nurse.  My ambitions were however higher and I through default luck and tenacity have worked in advertising, as a researcher and director in documentary film making in the UK,  founder of a UK not for profit , as an art therapist in private practice and now in social services at Saanich Neighbourhood Place and co-founder of ARCC Society. Interestingly and perhaps not surprisingly I find the skills that I needed in my past jobs are equally relevant and important in the work I currently do.

To me the changes have been organic, for example it was whilst I was making a film at Parkhurst prison I discovered art therapy.  Being laid off when TVS lost their license, thanks "Mrs. T" - led to training as an art therapist and going on a retreat led to creating an arts therapy program for prisoners which led to more training and eventually ending up in non profit social service work. Being a single mum means working full time and putting ambitions to write full time on hold - recording all the wonderful little tidbits of life that will come out some time in the future and having breast cancer taught me the value of making time to rest, be with my family and make time for creativity.

I guess where I am going with this thought is the importance of being in the moment and being open and thankful for all and any opportunity that comes along.  In the best interests of our health and well being how we spend our time "doing" affects how we are. Of course when we are in survival mode for basic needs and in the midst of a crisis being in the moment is probably not a reality which is why it's really helpful to have what we are thankful for, when we are not in crisis mode, written down.  A few years ago I wrote a book for children called an ABC of Thanks in Prayer.  It was ALMOST published but then it wasn't so, it sits in my laptop and, I hope will see the light of day sometime soon, or perhaps it will become an e book - who knows!  Anyway, it was wonderful to write about all the little things that a child - or any of us - might be thankful for at the end of the day.

Recently on CBC I listened to an interview with a  young female singer/actor Andrea Menard who lives in Vancouver .  Andrea and her co-writer Robert Walsh wrote a song entitled Sparkle.  As I listened to the song it's lyrics took me a to a place of thankfulness and it quite transformed my day which had been full of housework, and the daily grind.

The Step 11 exercise  is to click on the following link and  listen to the song which Andrea and Robert have kindly provided.:

3463K   Play   Download
written by Andrea Menard and Robert Walsh, SOCAN

 I love the idea that one sparkle creates another and we all sparkle together.  Or, find a song that takes you to a place of thankfulness - even if right now you are not feeling very thankful.  Record the moment and remember the song.  Next time you are in a crisis, make time to listen to this song or one you chose  or look at the lyrics.  Remembering that our thoughts control our feelings.  Making time for this activity will help reduce stress and anxiety, bring us back to the moment and give us time to organize our thoughts and cope with whatever life is throwing at us in that particular moment.

Namas Day

What are your successes today?  What were the challenges?  Here are mine:


Completing some unfinished work projects
Making a delicious dinner from leftovers
Enjoying my daughters excitement as they watched the snow fall


Grocery shopping with an almost empty bank account:-)
Making time to write today

Quote for Today:

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.
Oprah Winfrey

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