Spring Awakening ~ Highlights From the FIGT 2014 Conference

My anticipation grew as the plane took off from Denver, headed to Washington Dulles airport. An early morning flight had brought me from Calgary, one on which I dozed off, trying desperately to keep my head from falling onto the unknown shoulder next to me.

Families in Global Transition Conference 2014 was about to begin. My 5th time attending and 4th time having the honour of presenting – excitement brewed within. Memories of FIGT’s past flashed across the billboard of my mind: unknown feelings at the 1st conference, quickly replaced with a sense of “at home” – an unusual feeling for an ATCK (Adult Third Culture Kid). As a professional, I have gained new learning and tools to add to my tool kit. Networking is always a favourite part of FIGT. Their move from Houston to Washington – an “I-fit-here” sense with each conferences I attended. A place where understanding, respect and open-mindedness were mutually shared through presentations and amongst relationships. A bond created from both the excitement as well as the pain of international living.

What would make FIGT 2014 unique? It didn’t take long to find out. I hadn’t stepped both feet into the lobby, when I heard my name, and there was a friend. Someone I had met at a previous FIGT. Others that were on-line acquaintances. Many this year were new to the FIGT community, which added vibrancy. It felt like a family reunion – the kind where you’re enveloped in hugs, accepted for who you are, and challenged through questions and thought provoking conversations. [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…]

6 Keys to Understanding Resilience

Resilience is the ability to withstand and rebound from crisis and overcome life’s challenges, strengthened and more resourceful. Froma Walsh

purple iris

What transition or trying time are you experiencing? Where you wonder if you can make it through? Life includes hardships – short and long seasons that take us deep into thick jungle valleys, far from the spacious delight of mountain tops.

Excerpts from my journal these past months read:

woman holding her head with one hand“I am bone weary. Shoulders sag, heart is heavy.”

“I feel like giving up… walking away… checking out of life for a while.”

“One crisis dissipates and another replaces it. Let me catch my breath- I haven’t recovered from the last one yet.”

“At night, my mind ruminates a stew of thoughts, unable to sleep. I cry out. Where is God? Has He walked away, given up as well?” [Read more…]

COMPLETING 2013 and CREATING 2014 as a FAMILY, Guaranteeing Better Expat Family Life

New Year is a great time to build family rituals because there’s not a lot of ingrained family traditions associated with it. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Make it fun. Have your kids and teens WANT to participate by setting the mood with lighting and music, action – a dance party or banging pots and pans, and certainly add their favourite foods! When you’re done, curl up and relax with a great movie.

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COMPLETING 2013 and CREATING 2014 as a COUPLE, Guaranteeing a Better Expat Marriage

One sure way to make 2014 a successful year as a couple is to take time to connect around what went well last year and what you’d like to see happen this year.

3 Steps to A Better Relationship in 2014

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COMPLETING 2013 and CREATING 2014 New Year’s Reflections and Intention Setting for Expat Success

Open DoorWelcome to 2014! The door has opened to a whole fresh year! What do you see as you peer through your door? What thoughts come? How do you feel? Maybe anticipation or excitement. Overwhelm or fear. Perhaps there’s a sense of numbness or grief. Joy or peace. Whatever it is for you – it’s ok. I’ve felt all of these at a new year or another, depending on the season I’m experiencing. Wherever you’re at, join me in looking at the ritual of reflection and intention setting.

Why not resolutions? Honestly, I’ve never liked New Year’s resolutions! They tend to be promised plans for self-improvement – to do something “more, better or different”. I then fall flat on my face in failure by the end of January, having me feel worse about myself and the start of a new year. Not a good way to open the door to 2014!

There’s no magic formula that says the last day of December is for reflection and the first day of January is for intentions. I like to take my time, well into January, because I’ve learnt that pondering and preparing infuses passion to carry through on what I choose. I encourage you to take time for both reflection and intention these next weeks. Seems following the Christmas holidays we’re either:

a) … in an “I-ate-way-too-much-food-and-am-exhausted” state, joyful from wonderful celebrations and fun times with family and friends, or
b) … on a sugar high, feeling down with the holidays exaggerating losses and grief. A sense of emptiness as you rear view peer and perhaps dread as you look forward.

This can change, because you can choose to reflect, then move on, letting go of the past and pressing on to what lies ahead!

ReflectionHow can this play out in your personal life? [Read more…]

Intentional Questions To Ask Yourself…

During Relocation and/or Challenging Times

  1. Who do I want to BECOME through this experience? What am I becoming?
  2. What are my STRENGTHS and how can I build on them during this time and beyond?
  3. What/who are my SUPPORT systems? How can I utilize them in the best possible way?
  4. What are my NEEDS right now? Where do I take responsibility for them?
  5. What do I need to LET GO of? EMBACE?… in order to manage and sustain myself [Read more…]