Going Back 50 years

It has been a rainy day today.  Rainy days have some kind of quietness that moves me inward.  I love reflective moments that deepen my awareness of something even if I struggle with the words to express it all.

I passed an incredibly wonderful weekend with my classmates of 50 years ago.  Can you believe that it was fifty years ago that 89 young single women (key words there because in those days you could not be married and you could not be male in most nursing programs) walked the stage of Convocation Hall in Toronto as graduates of St Michael’s School of Nursing.  It seems impossible.  We come together as though time had not passed.  In fact it is an example of timelessness.  An example of how time is something we only make up to explain change but in reality it does not exist because we simply reconnected as though nothing had changed.

Some of us shared how the bond created back then when as young innocent young women we came together and experienced life and death in ways that we had not realized could happen before.  It was a growing up time and definitely a time of spiritual awakening that affected all of us forever.

We realized that we had become different.  Not just more grown up.  Not just more knowledgeable.  But unique in our commitment to caring and to personal growth.

Some married soon after graduation and some did not.  Some stayed close by and others moved great distances, exploring a world far greater than the city where we studied.  And this past weekend, about 54 of us gathered together again, loving each other, caring about what struggles we had all experienced and marveling at how we had come through them and continue on.  I feel so blessed.

I was a shy little girl way back in my early childhood.  The teachers always had to tell me to speak up and when we had to do our speeches I was terrible. Scared silly.  It took me a while to develop confidence.  The nursing program helped me open up.  I learned more about myself in the process.  Some people said that I was “university material” and should have gone there but for me, I needed that time at St Mikes in order to be stronger within.  I was much more able to handle University when I went there after working a year on Surgery at St Mikes.  Sometimes everything falls into place over time if you just let it.  It falls into place just as it should.

If that little shy girl from my elementary school days me the older adult that is me now, I wonder what she would have thought.  Would little Marie recognize the me that is here now?  Interesting questions.  Would the child and the older adult enjoy each others company?  I think they would.

Life is good.  I enjoy contemplating life.  I suppose that is why I so love offering retreats such as Self care — Soul Care.  It is all connected.  It is who I am.

I still have two spots left in the retreat.  Are you interested?  It will be an inspiring weekend.  You will get to spend some time with some very neat people.  Women who are probably a bit like you.  Give it some thought.  Give me a call and we can talk about it if you like.  You are unique.  Join us to share your uniqueness and strengthen who you are as you work to inspire others.  Nervous about coming alone?  Find a friend or relative to come with you.  Learn more about it here

Namaste,

Till next time

Marie

Fresh starts, new opportunities

With Labour Day weekend over, today feels like New Years day to me.  For so many years of my life the Tuesday after labour day was significant.  Perhaps I was starting something new like a new school year, or a new program at University, or teaching a new class.  Perhaps I was sending the kids off to a new class or a new school or away for university.  My hearts leaps with that remembered sense of fresh start, new learning, new books, clean exercise books, sharpened long pencils.  There is an energy connected with the first week of September.  An energy of exciting anticipation, accompanied by curious flips through new books and new people with whom to connect.  Eager to do well, I imagined enthusiastically completing assignments.  It thrills me to think about it.

I know I am best at starting up new things.  Planning and getting things moving forward are my strengths.  I am not so good at maintenance and finishing up details.  It is good to know our strengths and to have patience with our less developed parts. This summer I willed myself to complete the book I was writing about Mom’s life.  Sticking to completion of the final draft was painful for me.  My struggling attention to detail felt like a snails pace even with the excellent editing and layout help I received.  But I did it.

I have recently purchased a new sewing machine.  Oh it is a smart machine, adeptly computerized to make me look good … maybe.  In the depths of my creative being, I want to be able to sit down and make it do what I want it to do with little effort on my part but … no … that is not possible.  There is a rather steep learning curve requiring my patience to become familiar with its many features.  As smart as it is, it still requires a relatively smart operator to let its features shine.  I am learning through all the struggles.  In spite of my impatience with the process, I know for sure that it is only through more practice that I can actually  work with it more intuitively.  It will come.

How much like life these examples reveal. How much they tell me of what stuff I am made.  How much it helps me learn more about who I am simply by noticing and being aware of my response to these situations. Sometimes it is the simplest of stories that tell us most about who we really are.

What do you notice about yourself?  Are you able to have respect for even your shortcomings?

by the way there are still openings in the October retreat.  I have added a new link to give you a little more information about it.  And I have added October dates for two half-day workshops.  Go to my website at http://marieknapp.com and check out the drop down menu under events for the details.

Till next time,

warmly,

Marie

Time away from mind chatter

IMG_0616What a beautiful morning!  I love the sounds of the birds, the glow of the sun through not-so-humid air, and the greenery dappled with bursts of multi-coloured blooms all over.  Ahhh summer!

Here we are in the peak weeks of summer vacation.  We look forward to time away from the usual.  While for some that time is still filled to the brim with to-do lists, for others it is truly a time to rest from the hassles of schedules, deadlines and technology.  Enjoy!  Remember what it means to experience peace of mind.  Let the crazy mind chatter that constantly invades your active brain slow down and subside gradually.  Allow yourself to rest in the beauty of nature, the closeness of loved ones, and the enjoyed activity of your body in an unscheduled but fruitful way.  Savour the moments.  Recall what is really important for you.

Soon enough you will be planning your fall activities.  Before long you will be scheduling for yourself and the family activities for fall.  This time, let that begin with a foundation of what is truly important and meaningful for you.   Let it arise from your vacation mind-set that recognizes, after all, what you really want, perhaps even what you see as your purpose unfolding as you move through life.  It is the time away that replenishes your soul and helps you rethink your direction.  Simply allow that to happen as you free yourself from the expectations of the life that awaits you when you return. Be in the present and breathe in the blessings of life around you.  Life is wonderful.  Enjoy!

Till next time,

Marie

Oh yes, I still have space in the fall retreat Self Care–Soul Care.  Another opportunity to reflect on what is important and meaningful for you.

Retreat: Earlybird price ends Friday July 17th midnight

Russet Hill House cottageThis is just a friendly reminder that the early bird special price for the Retreat Self Care — Soul Care ends at midnight July 17th.  On the 18th the price will go up from $265 to $295.

Your spot and the rate can be held for you by registering with a $100 non-refundable deposit.  The remainder will be due in September. I am delighted that I already have 3 confirmed participants. They are all wonderful open and caring women so I already know that the retreat will be very warm and uplifting for you.  The absolute Max for this retreat is 10 including me.  It will be a small group building a caring and accepting relationship and holding each other in your specialness as you heighten you awareness of your self care and soul care needs.

Are you interested? Perhaps the necessary commitment holds you back at this time.  Not a problem.  As long as there are spaces left, you can register much closer to the event.  It is the deposit which guarantees that spot for you in case the retreat fills.

Please email me at dallacor@rogers.com or phone me at 519-371-1255 if you have any questions.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Till next time,

Marie

Meaningful Living

marie in canoeIt may be that we need time in a serene and relaxed setting to contemplate the meaning in our lives.  Or maybe not.  Actually my interest in meaning in life began early in my life and has simply grown and deepened with time.  That doesn’t mean that I have all the answers by any means.  Perhaps it has simply given me more questions to ask.

Just last week someone asked my to tell him about meaning in life.  I only had a few minutes and so summed it up quickly by suggesting he enjoy every moment and spend time with people he enjoys spending time with.  Perhaps over simplified and perhaps not.  Give it some thought.

That brief conversation did prompt me to pull my dusty thesis off the top shelf in my office.  I have started to read it again with intrigue, joy and gladness to see that I have not lost what I learned in that process.  My dissertation was a qualitative research approach where I designed a workshop and facilitative process that was aimed at helping well people enrich the meaning in their lives.  In other words they were not in the darkness of meaninglessness, but rather perhaps at a turning point and wanting to make some changes related to what was meaningful.  I guided them in their own process and them watched the changes they made, listening to their descriptions of it over six months.

It is a big book, this thesis  of mine.  I am not halfway through it yet.  Expect to read more of what I learned over the next few weeks.  The workshop I led was a two-day workshop much like the retreats I lead now.  I still use some of the exercises that I described in the thesis and will revisit them for the fall retreat, likely incorporating more into the process.  This excites me.Russet Hill House  Cottage

At the same time I am reading The Four Purposes of Life by Dan Millman.  I just know that these two pieces of writing are going to merge in my mind and help me create an even deeper retreat experience for fall and again next May.  Maybe you will consider joining me. It will be held in that beautiful space you see on the right.  If it interests you, read more about it here.

Till next time

Marie

Personal Change and You

Russet Hill House  Cottage

First let me tell you about the fall Retreat:  Self care, Soul Care

I am delighted to share with you the opportunity to attend a small group weekend retreat close to Owen Sound in this beautiful setting.  This is an opportunity to catch your breath, reflect inwardly through some group discussions, writing exercises, walks in nature and sharing.

Where:  at Russet Hill House, a modern, comfortable, country house on 100 hidden and wild acres (with  miles of trail out the back door) near Owen Sound.  For more pictures of the facility click here.  Or go to www.russethill.com   for more information about the place.  Activities:  The house sleeps ten people.  We will meet inside but also use the outdoors to learn from nature on walks and in meditation.  Bring outdoor footwear and comfortable clothes appropriate for the weather that weekend.

When:  weekend of Oct 23 (evening) to 25 (4pm), 2015

Cost:  early bird rate is $265 if you pay a $100 non-refundable deposit by July 10th.

I am open to having you pay$50 a month for 4 consecutive months following the deposit if that helps you afford this opportunity.  Please let me know in advance of your intentions and we will work it out together.

Regular cost after July 10th is $295

For more details please click here

AND…..

In the mean time, I want to share with you some material from a book I am currently reading.  This book is really meaningful for personal transformation as well as organizational change.   The Four Elements of Transformation is written by Dr Janet Lapp RN PhD and is available on Amazon.

Dr Janet breaks down the process of the change process into four steps to “create radical and sustainable change”.  She is clear that each step must be approached in tis order, not necessarily completing one before the other, but at least having a foun dation in one before moving on.

Dr Jan advises us to be clear on the “cause that drives” us.  The cause is something that comes from within.  It is my experience that that sense of purpose s not something that leaves when we retire.  It may change how it looks externally but it remains at the base of the choices we make. While it may seem as though leaving work removes the opportunities to express that inner purpose, it just could be that instead you have freed yourself up to really express your inner purpose in a way that is even more true to yourself.

But even in the work world, there are ways that enhance how we feel about what we do.  We feel drawn to certain aspects of the work we do.  “trust Your inner voice”  writes Dr jan as she promtps us to live out who we are.

I am considering working through this book as a series of workshops for fall.  You may enjoy reading the book.

It seems to be in my nature to want to share information that I find has meaning for me.  Jan was a classmate of mine decades ago when we both studied Nursing at St Michael’s School of Nursing in Toronto.  She continued her studies with a PhD in Psychology and from there embarked on a later change to become an author and consultant who leads workplace transformation.  We met for tea last fall.  She is delightfully pleasant and approachable.  I can hear Jan talk as I read the book.  You too can hear her talk is you google her name and watch some of her short video clips. Most of them are geared to organizational leadership development but I ave no doubt that this material is easily transferable to personal growth.

I will be writing about the second step sometime soon.  meanwhile do some journaling to notice what ou love to do and where you believe your inner purpose lie.

Till next time,

Marie

Self care – Soul care Retreat

I am very excited about the up coming retreat especially after my visit to the Russet Hill House facility and property last weekend.  Those who have signed up will be delighted with the warm, cosy, clean, spacious house and the 100 acres of rolling hills with a stream and trees.  WOW!!!  I can hardly wait.

Why did I select that theme for the retreat?  Often I select a focus because it is what I sense I need.  I often operate under the assumption that Carl Rogers was correct back in the late 60s when he said “What is most personal is most universal”.

Life is busy.  But it is also complex.  Even in retirement I find myself involved in a variety of things.  Often I am super busy with things I do enjoy but in the busyness of it, the soulfulness of it gets lost.  Hurry hurry means I begin to focus on getting it done rather than being  present in the moment, getting in touch with my inner self, my higher wisdom, my own self expression.

So self care helps me reduce the busyness.  It helps me set boundaries around my willingness to do things.  It helps me find more quiet time, connect with loved ones with intention, set a direction for myself.  But I always need reminders.

Sometimes I need to search for what I do love doing.  I may feel a longing or a yearning for something more but I don’t always know what it is.  Soul care brings us to that place and nourishes our soul.  And that feels really good.  Just writing about it, I feel my heart full and open.

Life has given me the opportunity to learn a great deal.  I feel a lot of gratitude for the opportunities and also I am very thankful for the opportunity to share it with others.

So here I am … doing what I love to do.

If you have not registered and would like to attend, I may be able to squeeze you in but I have to know right away.  Email me right now at dallacor@rogers.com.

I plan to offer this retreat again in the fall.  It will not be exactly the same as I know life will give me more opportunities to learn between now and then, but it will be equally valuable.  Tentatively I am looking at Oct 23, 24, 25 weekend.  Cost next October will be $260 for that weekend.  Includes food, accommodation and retreat experience.

Till next time

Marie

 

Feed Your Soul

I know talking about feeding the soul has meaning when the words to describe it do not feel adequate.  Soul nourishment is not a mind thing where you search for a goal or a strategy.

Soul nourishment is a deep sensation felt in and around the heart that feels strongly connected to a sense of awe and wonder. Sometimes it is connected with doing.  Often it is connected with a heightened awareness of something that you hear or see or feel.  It is beautiful. While it very well may result in achievement and high performance, that is not its purpose or aim.  Is it authenticity?  Perhaps.  Is it spiritual?  I am not sure.  Sometimes it feels very spiritual and sometimes it doesn’t.  It is absolutely not the same for everyone;  it is not necessarily the same today as tomorrow.

For me?  some forms of drawing, feeling strongly connected to music, being in the middle of spirited voices, writing some poetry … sometimes.  Being in nature.  Talking with the trees.

Feed your soul.  It is the foundation of who you are and needs to be tended and loved.

May I offer you some beautiful words written by Piero Ferrucci in Beauty and the Soul:

“When the beauty of the soul is seen, it is invariably considered to be the true identity of the person.  It is not an extra layer, an exterior ornament, a chance phenomenon.  This beauty, the moment it is perceived, is taken to be the real thing… And when people are seen for who they are, they feel affirmed.”

Nourish your soul so that it grows, shines brightly and lovingly identifies who you are.

Ferrucci then discusses how psychotherapy can sometimes focus on what is wrong rather than on a person’s strengths. And I add, how we often do that to ourselves, focussing on what is wrong, becoming aware of our shortcomings.  Instead let us look inwardly at our beauty, at our strengths, at what we might hold preciously within and be afraid to share but is actually more the truth of who we are.

Feed your soul!

Till next time,

Marie

RETREAT

There are still three spots left in the April retreat. Although there are also people expressing a lot of interest so speak up fast.  Check out more details on my web site and email me if you would like to join us.

REIKI 1 Class

I still have 3 spots available for Reiki 1 in March.  Check my web site for details and to learn more about Reiki.  I would be happy to answer any questions by email.

Please feel free to share or to send this to others.

Courage: it is Heartfelt and Meaningful

I am fascinated by the book called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.  I can’t even begin to capture all that she writes about in this short blog.  It obviously touches a deep place in me and my own growth over my long life span.  About me personally and my relationship with loved ones.  She tends to use the word “shame” a lot which makes me cringe a bit inside.

Do you pay attention to your response to words you don’t like?  I do.  But because Brown links her work to vulnerability and creativity, I have allowed my “cringing” to be patient.  The more I read the more I learn from her.

For sure this book will guide my facilitation at the retreat.  Combined with Dr Joe Dispenza’s book, we have powerful growth possibilities when we are ready to work with it.

Meanwhile, I searched for a quote from one of Brown’s books, that supports my deep feelings about courage and the heart.  Here is one I like:

Brene Brown

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.”
― Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame

If you haven’t registered for the retreat yet, ( Self Care — Soul Care) time is passing quickly.  Go to www.marieknapp.com and look for details about the retreat in the pull down menu under “Events”.

By the way, could you consider “liking” my FaceBook page.  And if you haven’t done so already, go to my web site and enter your email address to receive the blogs I write directly into your email.

thanks so much.

Till next time,

Marie

Courage: noticing, acknowledging, and feeling it’s strength

Following a teleseminar by Lance Secretan, I used discussion of courage in a retreat exercise.  People formed small groups of three and shared a challenging experience from the past.  Only this time they were to share it noticing and acknowledging the courage they had in moving through the experience.

Following the exercise we discussed what happened.  Most expressed a feeling of empowerment.  Their perspective on the challenge changed because they saw it through the eyes of their courageous self.   How inspiring it was for me too.

Now as I look back on a few recent challenging events, I am tempted to allow a self perception that is less than empowering.  I can honestly feel a shift in my energy as soon as I choose to change my perception to one of courage.  I feel stronger within.  My confidence rises and I feel more grounded and capable.

Try this for yourself.  Can you feel a shift too? I would be interested in how that change feels to you.

Till next time,

Marie

RETREAT

Just letting you know there are only three spots left in the April retreat. Check out more details on my web site and email me if you would like to join us.

REIKI 1 Class

I still have 3 spots available for Reiki 1 in March. Check my web site for details and to learn more about Reiki. I would be happy to answer any questions by email.

Please feel free to share or to send this to others.