Back & Forth

you are enough text

From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – The idea of a remote car starter is that, from the heated comfort of your home or office, you can point and click at your vehicle and have it start and get warm as you pack up to go out. When you are ready to leave, your vehicle is cozy warm and de-iced, prepared for departure. What remote car starting practices can you get started in this fresh new year? What do you need to point at – to start up – so that you can be ready for the next step?

For my birthday I received a great gift – a do-it-yourself memoir. The memoir includes hundreds of guiding questions to reflect on and space record the stories; these weave together to make a life, and doing the memoir has me thinking about things long forgotten.

Last night the memoir asked what I envied about others in high school. This question was easy to answer – I did not want to be tall, I wanted to be tiny in stature and frame. This, I had not thought about that in a long time, and now think it rather ridiculous since I am so comfortable in my own skin. If I think about how this shift happened over the years, I think about the gifts that I have allowed the opportunity to grow, and how over time I knew my strengths and weaknesses and tried to work on both.

I got things started long ago that have led to good habits and just plain contentment and, I guess, a healthy dollop of perspective that the grass is greener because it is fake reality.  Point and click at some of your greatest insecurities and start a new idea that you are the single greatest version of yourself ever.

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Aweigh with the Old

3 Teresa.jpgFrom the desk of Teresa Jordan – Here we are less than a week into a fresh new year and the days are getting longer. It is the winter, it is a fresh beginning and it is a brand new year with no mistakes in it.  Fresh starts are always possible – a new week, a new day, a new hour – but there is something super special about a new year, a new decade in fact.  What opportunity will you take, what change could you make, what will you leave behind?

Leaps of faith usually involve jumping into something when you don’t really have all of the facts or assurances of success. I challenge with a different thought – what if the leap is to leave something behind?

What will you leave in the old year, what did you have in the old decade that you don’t need anymore?  Maybe a belief that you did not measure up, a guilt about a long-past mistake, a grudge about a far-off hurt? What no longer serves you and might be weighing you down? Can you leave it behind?

Many years ago, I bought a wonderful metal trunk that has served as great storage for my entire adult life. Painted on the lid were the words “not needed on voyage.” It’s a fresh start, let’s have a think about what we no longer need. In 2020, let’s put some what could be holding us back to the side, set them down, box them up – let’s figure out what is no longer needed on this wonderful voyage and throw it overboard.

Savour the Oliebollen

1 Teresa Dec 27.jpgFrom the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – Days from now a new year will be upon us, a fresh beginning because of which stores will be marketing exercise equipment and storage components knowing on both fronts that there is a renewed commitment to downsize.

I love New Year celebrations, which for my family involve reviewing the “joy jar,” snippets of joyful moments inserted on scraps of paper throughout the year. We read them over, we remember, we laugh, we sometimes cry. We partake in a family feast with others, make a midnight toast, savour the feeling of a fresh start.

On the Dutch side of my family celebrations involve the traditional drop donuts on New Year’s Eve – oliebollen. Here is the thing about this delicious tradition, they are wonderful right out of the fryer, delicious to have warm on New Year’s Eve, but (in my opinion) the next day they are like hockey pucks with some raisins. They simply must be enjoyed in the moment.

The new year is almost upon us. There will be a lot of noise about what to do to make yourself better, so here is my advice … and it involves sweet treats.  Enjoy your oliebollen, right when it is fresh, right when it is happening, in the moment. Sure, we plan, save, stockpile and make adjustments, but the powdered-sugar-sprinkled oliebollen is the best in the minute it is served – savour every one and the entire year will be sweeter for it.

Gelukkig Nieuwjaar (Happy New Year)!

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Have a Perfectly Imperfect Christmas!

1 Teresa Dec 20From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – This is a season of extremes, countless moments of joy mixed with overwhelmed to do list writing, wonderful lights and decorations mixed with late night wrapping and feasting mixed with heavy reliance on antacids.  This is a time during which we are all striving for that perfect moment (or moments) that mean we nailed it, we did Christmas well, we had a Hallmark moment.

So, here is what I have learned – Hallmark movies are a wonderful addition to the season as an escape from the busy, but they are not a guide or manual for the perfect Christmas.  I think the perfect thing is impossible, the almost perfect thing might also be fictional.  However, the we are all in this together, we have some food and some gifts, and we are smiling some of the time – totally achievable and probably the stuff of magic anyway.

One of the greatest Christmas memories of my childhood was my Barbie motor home that came in a box about the size of the toy; however, when my parents opened the box late on Christmas Eve they found the IKEA nightmare of a zillion tiny pieces waiting for assembly – they were up until 5 am. My Barbie motor home is a thing of legend, my favourite childhood present, and my parents greatest challenge.

Make Barbie motor home moments this year and relish them. Have a messy, joy-filled, burnt-turkey, delicious, lights-not-twinkling, wonder-filled holiday with family and friends and fun.

Merry Christmas!

Photo credit: Denise Johnson on Unsplash

Quiet Contemplation

black patio lantern beside body of water

From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – I was struck this week by a lyric in one of the millions of Christmas tunes I have been enjoying – “There is rejoicing in silence.”

I find this to be a bit of a startling idea, since I thought the foundation of the word rejoice was to shout it out loud, make some noise, put your hands together, I can’t hear you kind of term. Yet, here it is, the idea that there is rejoicing in silence.

I also read that snow actually absorbs sound. So not only is winter quiet because no insects sing and there are few birds, but literally all that traffic noise, hustle, bustle and traditionally rejoicing is muffled by the air pockets in the snow, creating the winter quiet.

There is rejoicing in the quiet.

There is a kind of joy that is only found in a quiet moment in the winter heading into Christmas. I think there is great reward in letting a silence fill you up, to not be distracted for just a little while – just breathe and radiate the joy that is in this moment.

I think that the quiet moments can be found even in the busy ramp up to the season. Let’s not miss them, and let’s rejoice.

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Freezing Feat

family of three lying on bed showing feet while covered with yellow blanket

From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director  – “… with his Grinch feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could this be so?” Dr. Seuss

I have a bad habit, I walk short distances in the snow with my bare feet. Walking in the snow like this is not a Yukon survivalist thing, it is simply a matter of there never being slip-on shoes nearby when I want to quickly get my dog’s attention, or make the short trip to the car, or take out some last minute recycling – and all of these things need doing when I am in my jammies. So, it’s cold, it’s a freezing feeling, but I know that as soon as I leap back through the door, I will wipe my feet on the mat and all will be warm.

For some reason when I watched the Grinch this week for the 56,789th time in my lifetime, his cold feet stood out to me just before he makes his grand revelation that “Christmas is something more.” I know that feeling of freezing feet, was that part of his puzzling success?

The big ideas, changes, insights often are uncomfortable at first. There is often a time of puzzling until our puzzlers are sore, as we wade deeper and deeper into complexities. Freezing feet, discomfort in our age-old beliefs, a questioning of what we thought we knew, or yet another perspective in something we thought we knew for sure – these are all part of the passage through as we lean in and learn.

I know what it is for my feet to feel cold, for a really short time, and I know the warm mat is nearby. So jump into the puzzling, the warmth of a new you, new idea, new perspective – a revelation, a puzzle solution is close at hand.

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Setting Sail for the New Year

Christmas mantle and tree reducedFrom the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – I just finished a report and had to double check the date. December? Already? Now, I know what you’re thinking … the Christmas decorations all over the place, including my own house, should have been a clue but, really, how did this year pass by so fast?

I read once, probably in my women’s studies classes, that holidays are part of the oppression of women in that they box you in and keep you driven to decorate and host parties at regular intervals, rather than making lofty plans and aspirations.

There may be some truth to the grind of holidays in that way for all of us, but for me they are key markers in time. Back to school and Christmas are the biggies for me. I suddenly realize that my kids are a year older, my husband is a year older, everyone is aging except for me – how strange?

For me, these are two times that I take stock – what am I doing, what am I dreaming, where do I want to go and how should I adjust the sails? I make lists, I think, I marvel at how another year has passed and then I get started chipping away at where I want to be next. These goals are big and small … guide great quality tools at work, learn to play the trumpet, finally clean my closet … all kinds of goals. This goal-setting is an exercise not of feeling overwhelmed of giving me a little reset and a time to reflect on what is important for right now.

December … the season of food and parties and, in those long dark evenings, a little check-in on direction and the settings of the sails.

The Wisdom of the Wind

scenic view of agricultural field against sky during sunset

From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – On my drive to work one morning I noticed that fog and low clouds had blocked the view of almost all of the wind turbine down the road from my home. Through the mist only one blade could be seen turning and then replaced by the next in the window in the cloud. It created a grand optical illusion of a single blade whirling around mid air.

This sight made me think about the common illustration of the iceberg – there is so much that we do not see. Down my road I know that there is a great big pillar holding up the three spinning blades, and that all together with a handful more, these turbines make up a renewable power source that most locals hate.  In this of time though it was just one blade moving. One blade visible and whirling.

Beyond the iceberg analogy – about understanding that there is way more happening in a story than we can see – I was thinking about how to face problems sometimes. There are times when you need to see the whole picture; however other times the way to survive, sleep, keep on moving is focus. One blade spinning, that could be our agency, our individual role, one day, one task, one phone call.

The one blade in the right now is what we can control, what we can do well, what we know for sure.  Yes, there is a huge turbine of a change perhaps facing our sector and a lot of other parts of the day’s worries, but right here, one blade we can handle, we can do well. We can make a positive change one blade at a time.

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A Sound Solution

black and gray microphone

From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – I recently attended a Remembrance Day service in a rural location. The local legion was there with flags, there were two ministers ready with speeches, and the local volunteer firefighters had their truck and many of their crew on hand. However, the person in charge of the sound system was late … then later … and then actually did not arrive.

As a crowd member, I knew something was wrong since the ceremony was late and there was a scramble among the volunteers to get things sorted. In the end, the firefighters rigged the sound system in their truck to work from the receiver that the ministers then held. Next, the firefighters found the needed music on one of their phones and piped the trumpet tribute through the truck’s sound system.

This was far from the perfect solution and it was hard to hear at many times, but what I love is that everyone worked to come up with a solution. I think plenty of “sound guys” fail to show up when we need them… someone that we were counting on let us down, a plan that did not work out as expected, a crisis arrived on a Tuesday morning that completely decimates the well made plans.

Sometimes, we just need to scan the landscape, think about wild possible solutions, look for the nearest firetruck, regroup and ask for help … take the creative, seemingly wacky, suggestions and then just go with it. Perfect the ceremony was not, but it was still a few moments in time during which a group of people joined together to remember their local heroes – and it worked.

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Vantage Point

person standing on top of rock

From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – I have been working on a speech for an upcoming event and thinking of calling the speech, “Bring it.”

I have been pondering how each of us has an unique perspective, which I have written about countess times. We are hot mess of the influences of our childhood experiences, our heroes, our families, our education, books we read, what makes an impact on us.

When I say “bring it” I mean do not be afraid to ask, to suggest, to recognize something important from your unique vantage point.

Only you may see the situation at hand in a way that points directly to a solution.  However, we are often afraid or hesitant to speak up because maybe everyone in the room has been doing this longer that we have, or don’t seem open to a new idea.

I once heard a story of a long-term care home in which a resident with dementia was “attacking” people walking past his room by running at them and slamming them into the opposite wall.  A brand-new staff member on orientation observed this, read the person’s file and thought about it from his own viewpoint. The resident played professional hockey and the hall was painted and lit in a way that the new staff recognized – the hallway looked the like the boards of an ice rink.  The resident was body checking in the hallway just as he did in his hockey days. The new staff dared to speak out and share this observation – and probably sounded nuts – but a new paint job stopped the “attacks.”

Bring it, all of it, test things out as only you can uniquely do.

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