Spring Clean Your Family Relationships

This year my last-to-launch 17 yr. old son is taking charge of spring cleaning his own room. Being rather OCD on the whole spring clean thing, over the years I’ve had a list breaking down every aspect of room cleaning for my kids. We’ve made it fun and spread it out. They enjoyed it (or gave me that impression!) Not this year. My son doesn’t know where to start. He’s overwhelmed. It’s been a killer on me! How many times have I reached for the duct tape so as not to say what I’m thinking? After some coaching as to where to start and 3 weeks later, only the closet is done. Everything in me wants to march in there and just do it. It would take a 5th the emotional anguish and a 10th the physical time. But that’s not my goal.

I realized one day as I walked by his door, trying hard not to look in, yet catching a glimpse of already-messed-up closet and nothing done on the rest of the room: This is how it can be in family relationships – we want to “do it” (fix, get rid of, try to change) for the others. In reality, we’re responsible for ourselves and need to look at how we can parent from a place of calm rather than clutter.
What can be done in family relationships to add renewal and get rid of the dust bunnies? [Read more…]

Soul Retreat: Living From Your Truth

I had a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains in front of me and the river meandering along a stony bed below, sitting in a Muskoka chair high on the ridge. The sun gave the large popcorn-shaped clouds above me a bronze ruffled-edged glow. The mountains were snow peaked, rugged and immovable.

This was my reality last weekend, out with some girlfriends away from Calgary to find soul rest. We were at Kingfold Retreat Centre. Time tends to consume me with its responsibilities and demands, pressures and challenges, moving me along the river of life at a frantic and tumbling, turbulent pace. I find I’m weary and longing for rest. Spiritual and soul renewal. I have learnt to take time; to swim, often it seems, upstream, to the river’s edge. This is where the water is less frantic, cool and calm. An ebb of peace and quiet. At first it feels foreign – lots of ‘what if’s’ and some fear that I won’t come away with what I expect. In the end, it’s what I need.

The quality of our outer life is always dependent on the quality of care we give to our soul.

[Read more…]

Renewal – A Different Way to Look at Transition

Change happens so frequently in our lives that one isn’t complete before another bombards us. This puts us into “transition”- coming to grips emotionally and spiritually with the change itself.

We experience continual mini-transitions daily – coping with interruptions and adjustments to our schedule and to relationships. If it isn’t too major, life gets back to equilibrium quickly. There may be a sense of stress, impatience or overwhelm, but we recalibrate and move on.

If it’s a positive change, we still feel a transition, but because there’s positive emotions, we get on with the adjustment easily and without too much challenge.

However, if it’s a major change, or several changes happening at once, it can become a full blown life transition, and we feel it greatly – grief from losses, ambiguity from chaos and an emotional rollercoaster ride (check here)[Read more…]

5 Emotional Love Languages For Expat Partners

No one knows as well as an expat what it’s like to try communicate without speaking the language of the host country. Gestures, nods and smiles only go so far. Feelings of confusion, frustration, misunderstanding and anger are felt when communication is blocked.

The same emotions can be felt within expat marriages when we can’t convey our love as we’d like. Dr. Gary Chapman, a marriage and family psychologist, in his book “The Five Languages of Love”, states that people speak different love languages. Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Cantonese and English. Once you know what love language your partner understands, you can learn to speak their language, connecting you deeply.

The 5 Emotional Languages of Love [Read more…]