Friday, December 30, 2011

The Correction Line

(photo courtesy of site)

Do you know what a “Correction Line” is? Don’t feel badly if you don’t….it is an obscure land survey term that is used when a slight correction is needed. You can actually see a correction line when you are driving down the road. For example…you may be driving north in a boring straight line and then seemingly out of the blue, you will come to a sharp corner that will perhaps take you east for maybe 500 metres, followed by another sharp corner that will take you north again, returning you to the original direction of travel. That is a correction line. You might have seen these and said to yourself… “was the road builder medicated at the time?” or “Did someone make a mistake?”. Correction lines are not mistakes, they are necessary to compensate for the curvature of the earth’s surface. If we didn’t have correction lines appearing every now and then, we would have chaos (yes, I will admit that was a bit over dramatic).

Okay…so now let’s go on a wee bit of a journey. Are you willing? What about taking the same principle and applying it your life direction? Instead of the same old, same old resolutions like losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more (all very valid, meaningful resolutions)….instead of making traditional resolutions…why not resolve to create a Correction Line in your life direction. No rules, no one will judge you – this is a gimme. You can take a short diversion to get your life back on track.

What will you do with your “correction”?

Use it for education: Let’s face it….the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket. If I see one more commercial showing a momma polar bear separated by her babies on an ice flow, I don’t know what I am going to do. During your correction, you could begin educating yourself about the world in which you live. You could educate yourself about global warming and how it has and will continue to impact your life.

Use it to see/look/become aware: Take some time to become aware of the world around you. WARNING! This will involve removing your head from the sand (we are all guilty of this from time to time)

Use it to advocate: Advocate for others less fortunate, who do not have a voice.

Use it to give back: Make your community a better place.

Use it to make a plan: Are you making the most out of that thing called “life”?

So what do you think? Do you want to try it with me? Tell me what you would do with the opportunity?


Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Bonus Sandwich

I was watching my hubby make some tuna sandwiches the other day. He mixed the tuna with some Miracle Whip (not mayonnaise), added some chopped onions and then combined it until it was just perfect (I prefer dill pickles in mine). Then…he removed four slices of bread from the bag and buttered them thoroughly. Finally he began to transfer the tuna onto the buttered bread, methodically spreading the tuna out to all of the edges of the crust. After he had made the two sandwiches, he realized that he had enough remaining tuna for a third, albeit smaller, sandwich. A tiny smile tugged at the corner of my mouth......I said to him, “You are lucky! You are getting a “bonus” sandwich!”

I began to think…..why can’t we look at our lives like it is the unexpected “bonus” sandwich? Would we greet the day differently if we did? If we got up each morning and said to ourselves, “I am going to live today as if it was a bonus….given to me unexpectedly. I am going to appreciate that I am healthy, that I live in a free country, that my children have clean water to drink, that we have enough food to eat. I am not going to look at my life through the eyes of a cynic…I am going to appreciate every beautiful nuance of today because tomorrow it could change.

It struck me that when we lack appreciation for the wonders which surround us and never take a moment to express or acknowledge our pleasure of simply being alive, we are shortchanging ourselves.

So…look at today and all of your tomorrow’s as your ‘bonus” sandwich. Unexpected…. and appreciated.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Table Topics

Tis the season for a myriad of social interactions, both professional and personal: Office parties, large family gatherings, and even the random chit chat with folks that you bump into at the mall while shopping. Do these events make you nervous? Are you concerned that you will forget a name or commit a social faux pas?

Imagine you are spending your very first holiday season with your in-laws, surrounded by people you probably met only once (at the wedding). You meet Uncle Joe who drinks a bit too much which results in the occasional wandering hand; Auntie June who is a “close talker” and tends to spit a bit and, to wrap up this gaggle of fun, you have been seated for dinner next to Margaret who has recently experienced an unusual “awakening” while on sabbatical from her University teaching job. This “awakening” now precludes her from bathing regularly, leaving her smelling like stale tomato soup.

Tongue tied due to nerves, and on edge because of the group dynamics, you are hesitant to join in on the conversation.

There is an art to making great conversation, but many of us fall a wee bit short. That is okay because if we were all extroverted wordsmiths who love to hear the sound of our own voices… would be painful and probably mean that we were on Parliament Hill (wink).

Here are some tips to get you through the holiday season. DISCLAIMER – I took some (cough) artistic licence with these tips and they should be taken with a grain of salt:

Remembering Names: Face association and repetition can be helpful tools in remembering names. When you meet someone, repeat their name a few times (do this in your head – not out loud please) and associate their face with the name. It doesn’t always work, especially if you are meeting many people for the first time. If you are in a work setting and are exchanging business cards, try to take a moment to jot down something specific about the individual on the back of their card. It will be a useful reminder for when you return home, and need to begin putting faces to names.

If you have forgotten someone’s name, sometimes it is best to ‘fess up and say, “I’m sorry, what was your name again?”.

If all else fails….Listen!: Becoming a good listener is definitely a gift that many do not have. A good listener is both attentive, and reflective and focuses their full attention on those talking and being open to the conversation. Do not sit with your arms crossed, instead, lean in slightly, making eye contact (except when you are speaking with Uncle Joe or Auntie June). “Reflect” back which means to occasionally repeat back some of what they are saying so that they know you are listening, and that you have understood what they are saying.

Awkward Conversations: There are times when people want to over-share. Oftentimes this will occur in direct relationship to the amount of alcohol which has been consumed. If you feel you are going to become the conversation target of “TMI” (too much information), disengage yourself from the individual and walk away. If the TMI is a result of alcohol over-indulgence, you are doing them a favour by not staying to listen to all of the personal detailed information and sparing them potential embarrassment.

The Seating Chart: If you have been seated next to an Auntie June, Uncle Joe or a Margaret, you do not have a lot of choices available to you with the exception of jumping up to offer the hostess your assistance in the kitchen. You will be remembered as being “such a helpful” guest and no one will know that you had an ulterior motive.

The Safe Word: Lastly, if you are going to a social event and want to be able to signal your friend or partner that it is time to go, or if you need rescue…come up with a “safe” word before you arrive. Interjecting the safe word into the conversation will allow you to remove yourself from conversations or situations where you feel uncomfortable. Reminder!!! Unacceptable safe words are: Fire! Bomb! Gun! Rat! Bee! and finally, Spider!

Happy Holidays!