If you knew you only had a few months to live, what would you change about your life in the time you had left?
It’s a question often posed by life coaches to get a client to root out their deepest desires, goals and dreams, as well as the fears and reservations that are currently holding them back.
For Gord Downie, the frontman, lead singer and lyricist for The Tragically Hip (a Canadian rock band whose music was the soundtrack of a generation in this country), the answer to the question, it seems, was “I wouldn’t change a thing”. Gord was a man who lived his values, who knew his path and never wavered from it. He left us 3 years ago, on October 17, 2017.
After his diagnosis of a glioblastoma (brain cancer) in December 2015, Gord continued to write and record music. He went back into the studio, recording enough material to produce two solo albums before his death, as well as a number of tracks recorded with the band, which have yet to be released.
Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!
If you're not in Canada, you may be confused right now, especially if you are American. It's quite simple, really.
Thanksgiving is traditionally centered around the harvest - we give thanks for nature's bounty. At least, that's how it started, as I understand it.
And in Canada, the harvest comes earlier than in the USA, by virtue of us being further north and having a colder climate. That's really the only reason our Thanksgiving is celebrated a month earlier.
But it's always struck me as a bit sad, that so many of us need a special day to remind us to acknowledge how blessed we are.
Studies show that people who get in touch with feelings of gratitude on a daily basis have better quality of life, both physically and mentally. I share several links at the bottom of this blog that will help you explore both the benefits and the ways you can implement a daily gratitude practice, and I hope you'll check them out.
Do you find yourself constantly worrying that you’ll forget something important?
Or perhaps you’ve started to shut down mentally, because you just can’t keep up with everything on your proverbial plate?
We humans (and especially we women!) have a tendency to bite off more than we can chew. We underestimate how long things will take, and overestimate the number of tasks we can reasonably squeeze into a day.
We also tend to skew the importance of the various items on our lists, particularly when we keep them in our head – magnifying some, downplaying others.
These two tendencies are traps that can make our life far more difficult and uncomfortable than it needs to be. They often lead to overwhelm, shame, and even numbing behaviour as we try to avoid the discomfort of knowing we fell short of our goals.
Our brains are incredible machines of creativity, but they weren’t designed to function as task management systems. Our short-term memory capacity is quite...
Things are getting really ugly in our society; I don't think anyone who pays any attention at all to the media would dispute that.
And I'm not just talking about politics, although certainly that is very much front and centre right now. But everyone seems to be divided these days, on a myriad of issues - pro mask vs. anti mask; pro vaccines vs. anti vaccines; send your kids back to school vs. keep them home; Carnivore Diet vs. Veganism; and on it goes.
We like to think that we are "above all of that". On Facebook, or whatever our preferred platform, we share memes filled with platitudes, and we pontificate about how nasty everyone else seems to be. But all too often, we catch ourselves getting sucked into it, too.
Has that happened to you? Have you ever wondered why? Have you been thinking to yourself lately that you're turning into someone you don't recognize, or don't want to become?
It certainly was true for me. So, I took a step back, and analyzed what was going on. I realized...
Many of us are spending way more time at home during this pandemic than we otherwise would. Some of us are actually working from home, and the vast majority of us have dramatically curtailed our social activities.
It’s hard to keep from blurring the lines between our work life and our personal life, when they are co-existing in the same space. And when the family room rather than the theatre or night club becomes party central, our surroundings become so familiar that it’s easy not to notice that clutter is beginning to accumulate.
At work, I’ve always maintained a neat and tidy office space. It’s a habit I learned in my very first job, as a bank teller. I was trained to keep my station organized, so that any other teller could step into my wicket and have all that they needed ready to hand. (This was back in the days when customers had to fill out deposit or withdrawal forms – you know, the dark ages!)
My home office, in contrast, has always been...
Do you know what you are truly capable of?
I'm guessing the answer to that question is a resounding NO.
How can I say this with so much confidence?
Yesterday, I walked 65 kilometers (a little more than 40 miles), almost all of it within a span of 12 hours.
Understandably, I'm rather exhausted from this activity, so I'm going to keep this blog post relatively short. But that doesn't mean it won't be impactful - or at least, I hope so.
You see, if anyone had told me, even a week or two ago, that I would achieve that distance in the race for which I'd been training since the early summer, I would have laughed hysterically at them.
My goal was to walk 50 kilometers. I didn't care how long it took - the race course was open for 24 hours, so I literally could have shuffled my way to the end.
But a funny thing happened... I reached my goal, and realized I still felt fine. I decided to keep going, to see how far I could push my limits.
And ended up adding another...
There's a well-known productivity hack that you may be familiar with - adding on 15 or 30 minutes extra when you are blocking out time in your calendar, whether it be for a meeting, or for focused work on a project.
I use this technique often. Sometimes, I finish on time, and on rare occasions I'm a bit early, but more often than not, I need all of those extra minutes, and I'm glad I built in the cushion.
Why is this hack so necessary, and why does it work so well for so many of us? It's simple...we humans are generally very bad at judging the amount of time a task will take.
You probably know this to be true in your own life. You think you've allowed plenty of time to get ready for work, and then find yourself running to catch the bus. You tell yourself you'll just spend 10 minutes checking Facebook, and the next thing you know, an hour has passed. You decide to Marie Kondo the garage on a Saturday morning, but 8 hours later, you've got crap strewn all over the...
2020 has been the most unusual year I can ever recall. I’m obviously not alone.
In some quarters, it’s been said that the COVID-19 pandemic will turn out to be one of those seminal moments in world history – things will never be the same again, in many ways.
Many (most?) of us are grieving for our previous carefree way of life, when we wouldn’t think twice about piling into a taxi or bus with strangers, sharing a meal with friends indoors at a restaurant, or attending a concert, public lecture or tourist attraction with hundreds, perhaps thousands of other human beings. Extroverts now bemoan the necessity of working from home and the impersonality of Zoom meetings.
Eventually, unless by some miracle a vaccine is developed that can provide permanent immunity, we’ll need to accept that our new attitude of caution and wariness of strangers is likely to be with us for years to come; perhaps for the remainder of our lifetime. We will adapt, and as the...
We hear a lot about setting goals, pursuing dreams, and pushing to achieve our full potential.
And I'm all for it. After all, a big part of living a Momentous Life is fully utilizing our gifts and talents to make the world a better place.
If we don't have something ahead of us that we're striving for, if we're not growing, as I've said before, then we stagnate, become despondent or lost, and lose our spark. Life becomes mundane drudgery.
But what if our goals and dreams are so big, that they will take months, perhaps years, to achieve? Sometimes it can feel as if we'll never get there.
It always helps, in my experience, to chunk down your goals into bite-sized pieces. How big is bite-size? That depends on you, and how much you can handle at once.
And here's something magical that I've discovered: it's just as important to find joy in tackling each of those chunks, as it is to crave that end result. If the steps you need to take to get there are making...
There are always things in life that we can’t control - the weather; the economy; the way other people react to the things we say and do.
And sometimes, it feels like we have no control over anything at all - such as, when a global pandemic is killing hundreds of thousands of people, and harming millions more, or when political divisions threaten to tear our country apart. Or when we suddenly and unexpectedly experience a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or being let go by our employer.
Sometimes, life can seem utterly overwhelming, and if we’re not careful, we can be overcome by a sense of despair, helplessness, and doom. That, in turn, leads to paralysis, keeping us stuck in place, unable to take action on our goals and dreams.
But the truth is, there are things you DO still have control over, and at times like these, it’s always helpful to focus on those things. Doing so will increase your confidence, and help generate some forward momentum in your life...
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