Thursday, 28 September 2017

For the love of... Beaumont.

Before I share my thoughts on last nights forum, I wanted to take a moment to say a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to our outgoing mayor and council.  Your job hasn't been easy, and in many situations incredibly thankless.  Please know there is no greater gift that the gift of your time.  Thank you for your passion, your vision and your strong desire to do what is right for the citizens of Beaumont.  We are grateful for your leadership, for your sacrifices, and for your commitment. 

Last nights forum for Beaumont Town Council hopefuls has come and gone leaving many of us contemplating where our votes will go, and further researching candidates we were hearing from for the very first time.

Thank you to Beaumont Chamber of Commerce for organizing this event and giving us, the citizens, the opportunity to capture a glimpse of all those vying to be our representatives in the municipal level democratic process for the next four years.  I was enlightened and l appreciated all the different backgrounds and perspectives on the hot button issues in our community.

With the state of the world today I found myself, at times, fighting tears witnessing the beauty of what it truly meanse to be Canadian.  You do not have to be born here...  Neither English or French has to be your first language... and yet you are able to freely stand tall and proudly speak about the community you dearly love hoping to capture enough votes to be granted the opportunity to leave a positive impact on its governance as one of your legacies of this life.

I am so excited that there are so many passionate people who love Beaumont and want to do right by its citizens.  My take away from last night is that our future is SO bright.  There are 20 candidates hoping to fill the six seats in council chambers.

As an advocate for showing love for our community through service and volunteerism may those who aren't elected on October 16 find alternate ways to channel their passions for Beaumont and continue to positively influence our community through volunteerism.

We are at the precipice of change in our community.  We will have a new mayor.  We have a new Chief Administration Officer, a new fire chief and a new leader of our local RCMP.  We have only two incumbent council members on the ballot.  We are at an era of new blood, fresh ideas, and new beginnings.  Exciting, and terrifying all at the same time.

It is no secret I am a proud and supportive wife of one of the 20 vying for a seat at the table in council chambers.  To him I wish to say... as always it is my greatest happiness in this life is to sit in my front row seat witnessing your moments to shine.  I feel so blessed to be maneuvering this life with you by my side.  The example you continue to set for our children is immense and I am very grateful they get to call you dad.

Any whom I have had a candid conversation with regarding this election, know this is not my favourite situation to be in.  I am not a competitive person- at all.  I believe in loving and accepting all people first.  I believe in seeing people as beautiful perfect souls trying to maneuver this life in an imperfect shell...  I believe everyone is just doing their own 'next right thing', trying to make their time on the green side of the grass as meaningful as possible.

Words really matter to me.  I have built a successful business on the power of words and how they can influence, empower and inspire each of us to authenticity show up and walk in our truth each and every day.  

Simply put, I believe wholeheartedly in kindness - even when there is a disagreement.

But, when used as weapons, words can be my nemesis.

Some of the harsh words, judgments, and name calling I have witnessed in the early stages of this election have been very hard on my spirit.  As one who gains strength and energy from small groups having heartfelt and soulful connections, I knew my introverted spirit would have to armor up and I would have to clearly define my boundaries in order to protect my peace, so I could show up and authentically support the one I love most in the world to realize one of his dreams.

I have effectively used the Facebook 'block' and 'unfollow' functionality to shield myself from seeing things that would not add value to my role in this process.

Last night, after the forum, I sat at the end of a very long table at a beloved local establishment that, as serendipity would have it, advocated for 'positive politics' not that long ago.  I witnessed many of the 20 council hopefuls lightheartedly laughing, toasting, and sharing their thoughts on the grueling 2 hours they had just endured - together.

They opened up and reminisced about what questions they answered from the floor, presented to them at the mercy of the random draw by the moderator.  They consoled and related to their fellow candidates who got 'that' question and stumbled for a suitable answer.  They congratulated each other, they supported each other, they laughed... and they connected.  

For an amazing extended period of time, their disagreements on busing, garbage, relationships with neighboring communities, or rec centres were irrelevant.  It didn't matter that there were way more than 6 people sitting around that table - in fact the more who came, the merrier it got.  They all dropped their defenses and spoke about their human experiences, as humans.  They learned about each other kids, and jobs and hobbies.  They toasted a job well done by all for simply just showing up to express and be accountable for their opinions in a very public way.  As more would arrive, they didn't have to ask to join the table.  It was automatic, they were immediately welcomed and absorbed by this group.  There was a seat for absolutely everyone at the table.  People would stand and shuffle, another table would be added, then another, and then another.  They would then move chairs to sit by someone new, and chat and laugh and relate.  Designated drivers were determined, more spirits were ordered and camaraderie was established.  It was an incredibly beautiful thing to witness... 

I left that establishment after this impromptu gathering with a deeply seated feeling of HOPE instilled upon me by sitting at a table of passionate people with nothing but a strong desire to do a little good in our community.  THIS is the Beaumont I love.

There is SO much potential.  Beaumont, your future is so very bright.

So, if you are reading this, and if you are from Beaumont, or any other Municipality ready to undergo election, I strongly encourage you to do your own research and make your own informed choice on October 16. Make your opinion count.

Photo courtesy of Ealanta Photography

Saturday, 7 January 2017

2017 - My year as "ChangeMaker"

Well here we are.  The first week of 2017 has passed and we are all trying to get our bearings on what this means for us.  Some are looking at what that might mean politically, while others are hard at work implementing their plans and promises to see their resolutions through, despite the statistical odds to the contrary, and then there are some simply hoping to correctly write the year in the 'date' field sooner than they got that mastered last year.

This time of year for me always means reflection and contemplation.  2016 was my year of 'Quiet'.  I chose that word after my 2015 year of 'Grace' kicked the shit out of me and tested all that I knew about what "Grace" could possibly mean.  You can read about that here.

My year of Quiet was meant to be about introspection and self evaluation.  It was to be about figuring out how I truly feel about myself, and my place in this world.  WTF does all that really mean?  How can I, in my awkward free spirited uniqueness, fit in to this world AND feel comfortable in my own skin.  It was meant to encourage me to silence the noise and intuitively listen to the whispers from the universe... before they turned into screams...  It was about choosing to NOT drink from the fire hose of information I was bombarded with every day.  It was to be about listening, meditating, planning, and just figuring shit out.

My score card...?

Well, the things that made 2015 difficult, spilled into 2016.  Our Provinces economic downturn saw our income significantly drop and we had to face some really hard decisions.  Some we had a say in, and some we did not.  We downsized, simplified and decreased our living expenses.  That meant saying goodbye to our cherished home that we felt we would live in forever.  It meant fewer extracurricular activities for our children, it meant no restaurants, no concerts, no trips, and no family trips to the movies.

With regards to "Quiet"?  well...  Quiet meant pulling the covers over my head once in a while and blocking out the world.  Quiet meant ignoring the rings on the telephone knowing it was not a pleasant party on the other end.  Quiet meant an ongoing and constant battle of shame versus spirit. Quiet meant putting on a smile and a brave face whenever I was with someone other than my husband and a few of my dearest friends. Quiet meant getting really fucking real with the concept of "If I do not have all these things, all these comforts, all these possessions that make one "worthy" in today's world...  WHO AM I?  Do I like me?  but most importantly... am I OK with the person that is left standing there when there is nothing else shielding her from the prying and judging eyes of the world."

Quiet was my solitude.
Quiet was my best friend.
Quiet was my lifeline...

Quiet was putting on my big girl panties and pulling myself out of the swirling vortex of darkness that threatened to swallow me whole.  Quiet was leaning on my ever optimistic, always positive, and unbelievably supportive husband, grasping hands, and facing the shit storm while standing tall.  Quiet was crying with my kids as we held each other up to get through the disappointment of "no more chances", "no more options" and "not gonna helps".

Quiet was power.
Quiet was strength.
Quiet was courage.

2016 was the year of endings, but it was also our year of new beginnings.  Yes, it was a year of loss, but it was also a year of SO many gains.

  • My year of Quiet sees me with NO unread messages in my inbox accomplished only by the days of massively unsubscribing from all the crap that I never read anyway.
  • My year of quiet sees me 6 months free of cable TV.  I now only watch what I mean to watch...  and there is NO TV news.
  • My year of Quiet meant more yoga, more mediation, and less mental chaos. (I said less, not zero! ;) This will continue to be a work in progress.)
  • My year of Quiet sees me with a growing base of solid friendships comprised of real people who truly see me and my heart.
  • My year of Quiet has directed me to a group of amazing mentors that inspire me in my life and in my business.
  • My year of Quiet sees me more focused, more driven, more confident, more determined, and less concerned with what others think.
  • My year of Quiet sees me in a home with a walkout basement studio and an amazing view of the little pond behind my house.  There are SO many birds ... truth tellers ... whispering.
  • My year of Quiet has allowed me to bury my head, lick my wounds and tend to important family and life business...  But it also quietly fanned the smoldering embers within my spirit...

Goodbye 2016.  Even though you presented some very hard times, know that I am keenly aware of the beauty you possessed.  I am completely cognizant that beautiful things that ALWAYS follow periods of darkness...  I have the beauty in my sights..  You were a catalyst, you were lesson filled, and I am grateful...

My year of Quiet has revealed a path.

I move on to 2017.  My year of being a ChangeMaker.

I have learned to not predict too much what the year has in store for me by simply declaring my word of the year...  But today, as I sit here, I can give you a summation of what I hope it to mean...  while still remaining open to what twists and turns may come my way.
  • This is my year of making a difference in this world through my business as well as my collaborations with other artists and businesses.
  • This is my year of supporting my husband as he strives to make changes within our community.
  • This is the year of me cheering my children on while they travel their own journeys which always seem to be inately ingrained in helping, contributing, and leaving beautiful waves of goodness in their wake.
  • This is the year of lovingly using what I know, what I have learned, and what I can do to help light the way for others.

2017, I am rested and I am ready.

With love and gratitude.