Pull Up A Chair

Pull up a chairWe walked into our favourite café a few weeks ago and it was unexpectedly full as there was a guest quartet singing Christmas tunes. There were no empty tables and only a couple chairs at a table that a couple were sitting at.

They gestured towards us indicating that we could sit with them. We took the seats. It did feel a bit odd to be sitting with complete strangers. We turned our chairs to watch the singers and ended up sitting shoulder to shoulder with yet another couple.

We soon started chatting with them and interacting with their two year old who was dancing to the music without a care in the world (clearly my kind of kiddo). We enjoyed some wine, conversation and music and when the music stopped we spent another half an hour chatting with the couple that had offered us space at their table.

We left and both agreed that this was one of the nicest evenings that we’d ever had and it all started with pulling up a chair.

To meet new people, to connect with others, and yes there was also a wee bit of dancing with said two year old, rounded off what turned out to be a wonderful evening.

A few days later we went to a fundraiser at our local pub and I saw someone that I knew, but my partner did not, with her husband. She waved to us and offered us seats at their table. We were meeting friends there for dinner later and they joined us, as well as another couple over the course of the evening. At one point there were 8 of us.

People met each other and connected that otherwise would not have, and after close to 6 hours we called it a night and again we reflected on the way home, that we had an incredible time with these unexpected connections and it all started with pulling up a chair.

I was out for a run with my friend and was telling her about my week filled with unexpected joy and how I wanted more of those ‘chair’ moments.

With Christmas around the corner I knew of a few people that had no plans on Christmas day and my honey and I decided we would invite them to our family dinner and festivities. I invited everyone that I knew was alone. The invite alone sparked joy.

Two people said yes and we opened our home, ‘pulled up a chair’ and I can honestly say it was the best Christmas I’ve ever had.

I want this year to be the year that I create the space to not only offer the chair; to listen, to connect and to be present, but I also want to be available to pull up a chair and to be offered the gift of making new connections by noticing when a chair is being offered.

I wonder what I’ve missed out on in the past by feeling too uncomfortable to ‘pull up a chair’, to risk intruding or the initial awkwardness? What gifts of getting to know another, even if it’s only for a few minutes or an evening, by not risking seating myself and being in that moment.

I want to pull up a chair, I want to also offer that chair. I don’t want to miss out on the beauty of what’s being offered to me with that simple yet potentially meaningful gesture.

Will you ‘pull up a chair’ and join me?

Leona deVinne

Freedom!

freedomThat’s my word for 2017. I have set many a goal over the years and being a coach I have helped many set theirs. I find that the best goals are rooted in what you want the year to feel like and I want more freedom.

I’ve got an inner rogue 5 year old that loves to create and have fun and now a great deal of that fun and creation happens in one of my now three businesses, but with a lot of scattered activities, appointments and clients I feel scrambly (like 5 years olds do) and at some times resentful; mostly with myself and my inability to get it together.

So this year Freedom reigns!

Perhaps you want more of some thing – how does that change things up?

Don’t we all need some goals? This word or intention will serve as a foundation for the goals we make.

Here are some questions to get things started – write down the first things that pops into your head and give yourself permission to not edit answers at this point.

Answer the following questions:

1. What is the feeling or intention that you want for this year?

2. Now fill in the blank with your word/phrase/intention for the year.

3. What’s having more ____________________ feel like?

4. Who will you become with more ____________________?

5. What do you want to let go of in order to create more____________________?

6. What is it that will bring you more ______________________ this year?

7. What will you do with more_________________________?

8. What do you need to be more intentional about to create more____________________?

9. What would an ideal day be like with more_______________?

10. What will I do daily to have more ________________ in my life?

Weekly?

Monthly?

Put those key pieces into your schedule and in your calendar

What permission will you give yourself to honour this intention?

How will you celebrate the wee milestones along the way as you notice yourself living inline with this intention?

Use your word as a filter, on a daily basis, or when making decisions to be intentional about creating the life you want.

Is what I am doing creating more____________? What could I do in this situation to create more____________?

Now for a wee bit more fun:

What picture, symbol or totem will remind you of this intention for the year – put it on your desk, make it your screen saver – we all need reminders – remind yourself often of your intention for the year.

Pick a song that would help you to lock in this intention for the year – start your day with it, play it when you need a reminder – do what you need to make this the best year yet! Play it loud and proud!

The goals that have come out of setting my intention for creating more Freedom for the year are:

1. I will create more processes in my businesses to make things more automated and run more smoothly.

2. I will hire an assistant to help me with those processes and take over some mundane tasks that drag me down.

3. I will get up at 5 am, 4 days a week to get be able to meditate and journal for at least 30 min and do 45 min of work before I go to my exercise class.

4. Take a delicious 20 min nap on those days (nappers live longer and are more productive – I’m all in for that!)

5. I won’t book clients after 2 so my energy is at its best for them (with the exception of 2 clients that can’t meet earlier). I do my non profit work after 2 as it lights me up, but doesn’t require a lot of energy.

6. I will also find a Director of Volunteering and Director of Minutia for Joy Socks so I’m not bogged down in details (which quietly makes my skin feel like its peeling off).

7. Weekly, I will book full days with no clients or appointments so I can focus on business development and writing.

What will all of this give me?

Freedom!

What will that give me? Well, number one, JOY of course, but it will also make me more present with people, more productive, more creative and more energized and that’s just a start to the goodness that this “F” word will give me. I can’t wait!!!

So tell me – what’s your yummy, juicy word for the year?

Leona deVinne

Gear down

Gear down when you're in stormy watersWe all experience it. Life is going full steam ahead and something happens unexpected and we get thrown for a loop. 



I have more on my plate right now than I’d like. It’s not sustainable and for someone who likes balance and spends a lot of time readjusting life and businesses, to feel like things are under manageable, I’m not living within integrity.

I’m working long hours and besides making some time for some family and love commitments I’m working every other moment. I’m sleeping horribly and not getting the rest I need.


So when you’re going 100 miles an hour and a wrench get’s thrown into the well laid plans what can we do to get back to what really matters? This week I had a few wrenches thrown my way…I bet you did too.



I liken it to being on a ship that’s out on the open; in stormy waters.

Focus on what really matters. 



The first matter of importance is to not keep the same frenetic pace.

Gear down.

You can’t decide or do much well going 100 miles an hour. You can’t even see what you’re surrounded with so you’ve got to gear down and look at what you’re dealing with.



Once you’ve slowed down enough to properly assess things, which can happen in a mere moment, or over a course of weeks, you need to decide what your priorities are.



Bottom line: what matters the most? That’s the direction you keep steering in. 



Next is what can you live without?



If your metaphorical boat is going down or hit the rocks -What is it that you don’t need?

Is there a boundary that you need to put in place or something that’s weighing you down and you need to throw overboard? 



After you’ve dropped some of the weight, take a look at the resources you do have. Given your priorities and your current circumstances what do you have that will support you where you need to go?

Finally you may need help. Is there something you could ask for that would make this rough patch easier so you can ride this out with greater ease? That may entail anything from contacting someone who will hear you out or sending out a full flare SOS call. 



Lastly trust. When all is said and done and your paddling back to shore; trust that you’ve got what it takes to push through whatever stormy water you find yourself in. 



You have what it takes. You may not know the course you’ll take or even exactly what you need, but you didn’t come this far to be dashed on the rocks and when you look off in the distance there’s many of us out there, finding our way and paddling right alongside you.

Leona deVinne

Take time to celebrate

Happy Birthday Leona and Joy SocksA couple of years ago I went to a 50th birthday party where the birthday girl rented a hall, hired a band and we had the best time dancing and celebrating and I thought to myself, ‘I want to do that when I turn 50’.

A couple months ago I went to a great wedding and I danced the night away. I could hardly sleep – that was beyond food for my soul.

Today’s my bday – I’m 47 today and I decided I don’t want to wait to be 50 to gather friends and people I’d like to get to know better, to have a party.

Life is precious and I want to celebrate joyfully every milestone and b-day.

I always encourage my clients to stop and celebrate the little things like a courageous conversation, putting up a boundary, getting a new client but lately I haven’t slowed down enough to do that for myself.

SO I’m having a party ☺

Would you come celebrate with me?

We often rush through life and don’t stop – I want my new year to be full, but not so full that I don’t take in those ‘pockets’ of joy.

Good things have been happening to me personally, in my coaching business and Joy Socks is growing almost faster than I can keep up – so I want to STOP and celebrate.

Joy Socks turned one this summer and we decided to throw a party and I wanted it to correspond with my b-day (but soon found out that renting a hall should be booked well in advance and I was a little late.)

So the combined celebration of my blissful aging (a real blessing with my health condition ☺) and Joy Socks youth will be celebrated on November 19 and I would LOVE for you to come. LOVE!

I’ve gathered up some volunteers and leaned into asking for help at every turn and it’s just around the corner. EEK!

I’ve got some happy decorations, polka dotted of course and the playlist set to fun tunes that you can’t help but to dance too. My fave dance instructor is coming to teach us a few new moves to add to the joy. If dancing isn’t your thing there will be plenty of great people to connect with and some yummy appetizers, wine, a silent auction and of course Socks- Joy Socks. (All proceeds go to giving more socks away)

We will be selling designer socks that have been donated for the event for us to sell so all the money can go to help us save 20,000 Soles by the end of 2016. Joy Socks wants to save 10,000 feet from cold feet, boring sock and spark joy for Calgarians in hospitals, shelters and charities. There is no better way to celebrate than giving to others. We will also be hearing from some of the staff that deliver the socks at our donation sites and the difference that they’ve been making in the lives of vulnerable Calgarians.

Come join me!

Take your friends, invite your team – even your kiddos ☺ It would mean the world to me to see you there!

Location: Marda Loop Community Centre
Date: Saturday Nov. 19, 2016
Time: 7:30-11:30

Come as your are – come for a bit or the whole eve. I’d love to see you!

Tickets are available here: http://joysocks.ca/joy-socks-1st-birthday-party-and-fundraiser/

If you haven’t been to the new Joy Socks website – have a look around!!

Leona deVinne

What Do You Do When It All Goes Wrong?

lots of medicineFreak out!

Clearly that’s always the first and most obvious choice.

When that’s not an option, go for the second option and give in to what is – I rarely, if ever, choose that option.

Third option: keep forging ahead – Awesome option! ALWAYS

I was lying in bed early Friday morning and I had this weird pain just under my ribs on my left side. It was like contractions and I would sleep in between them or at least rest. I have a tumour on my pancreas and I was a wee bit concerned that it may be acting up, even though at that moment I have no idea what side of ‘me’ my pancreas is located on and what symptoms of said tumour would be.

Things get worse.

I could care less what’s causing this because within an hour I have ALL the symptoms of the stomach flu including fever and aches. Normally this is an unpleasant experience to say the least, but you take the day off work, take meds and all is well.

Not so easy this time, I had a workshop that evening and the entire next day that had been in the works for the past 3 months, with almost 20 people signed up AND IT WAS IN ANOTHER CITY.

Three hours away (insert Jaws soundtrack here)

I could not be away from a bathroom for more than a few minutes at a time and the drive seemed like a flat out impossibility.

UGH!!!!

To make matters worse, I also missed my mom – I hate that, she died when I was 22, but when I get the flu I miss her, I hate that ache almost more than anything.

The story of my life lately is ask for help…in every single area of my life,

So I reached out.

I texted my beloved and he brought over flowers and meds. Always helps ease the momma ache having someone take care of you (he didn’t even show up in a Hazmat suit like I would have either)

I emailed the workshop organizers at 5:30 a.m. that I was in dire straights as there’s nothing worse than having someone cancel something at noon when they’ve been sick since the morning and you had no idea. It started a scramble to find a sub for the workshop, which didn’t amount to anything

I took meds – tons of them. Enough to bung up an elephant.

I paced myself. By 11 am I could move and the meds where helping with the symptoms and I took one hour naps between showering, then putting on makeup and getting dressed and I didn’t die in the process – that was my current success marker.

I decided to go, relieving the organizers and in a way myself. I couldn’t even carry my workshop/overnight bag to the car as I was so weak and worried any strain would undo the mercy of the meds I’d been free basing.

I did the workshop – 3 hours on Friday eve and 8 hours on Saturday. I could hardly eat and I was popping my array of pills to manage.

What was my big lesson in all of this – DON’T EVER DO THIS!

Don’t do what I did

It’s BS, not always, but it’s a symptom of not wanting to let people down, trying to be tough and ‘strong’ and it’s knowing in your head it’s all too much and soldiering on anyways.

As I finished the workshop and made the 2.5 hour drive back to my house (I gave myself permission to speed) and crawled into bed 10 min later only to feel sick again for a good portion of the night.

I thought

I don’t want to live this way. Not pushing and striving and dragging myself around. This weekend ended up being ‘good’, but it was a reminder to slow down and honour my body, my illness and be extraordinarily kind to this body of mine.

I was talking to a physician this week and I talked about giving people permission to go home and be sick. We talked about people working through Chemo and not taking the rest and seeming proud of it. I worry that I would be that person. Not stopping to listen for even half a second to what my body needs…

I know it’s hard…ITS RIDICULOUSLY HARD

Some might say – ‘nice for you to take time off, but I need the money”

“Handy for you – you’ve clearly got some sick days, days off in lieu, some disability, some sugar daddy.”

Nope, none of those – I’m a single self employed mom, but when I really think of what I count as wealth, it includes time and health.

I want lots of time on this planet and I want to be healthy enough to fill that time well.

I don’t have the answers or the five point plan to make all of this unfold with ease. All I know is that I want to listen more intently to my body and what it needs; I don’t want to detach my head from it and drag it around against its will.

I want a life filled with richness and wealth; time and health to enjoy all the goodness that this life has to offer.

Above the noise of demands and pressure, I will listen and try to respond gently to what my body needs.

Leona deVinne

Will You Just Listen to Me?!

Listen to me!!!

Are you listening?I hear it all the time.

They don’t listen to me!

More often than not we don’t ‘hear’ because we are too busy listening and deciding how we will respond.

Often our responses can be in defence of something that’s being brought to our attention that we did, or we are genuinely trying to help so we are coming up with some brilliant solutions to solve the other person’s problems, or we say sorry quickly and don’t really understand what’s going on. 

None of those options work well.

Its not that we’re coming from a bad place. So often we witness another’s suffering so we listen and then offer some solutions to help ease their pain. More often than not, at least initially when one shares a struggle with you that’s not what they’re looking for – they want to be understood – that’s it.

After attending a couple’s retreat this summer with John Gottman, the world’s leading researcher on what makes relationships thrive, we learned some incredible tools that should be taught in every grade and level of post secondary institutions; it’s easy and effective.

His work is so accurate that he can predict with 91% accuracy whether or not a couple will be together 5 years after watching them interact for 15 min. He and his wife have developed specific tools to help people feel understood and listened to from this research.

The truth is most arguments escalate when one of the partners feels unseen and understood.  We don’t actually have to agree to have a deep and caring relationship. This applies to relationships at work and at home.

Think of when someone shares a struggle with you and you go into problem solving, even those situations can end up in an argument and at times have you stumped as to how that even happened.
 
SO how do we express understanding and create a deeper sense of helping others feel seen and understood? Let’s take it straight from Dr. Gottman himself

Step 1: Prepare yourself

  • Shift your focus away from yourself
  • Postpone your agenda,
  • Tune into the other’s pain, even if you don’t agree
  • Try to see the situation from their perspective

Step 2: Attune

  • Ask open ended questions that cant be answered with yes or no “how’s that feel?”, “what’s that like for you”
  • Do not ask “why”
  • Be empathic, which means try to hear the underlying emotion and think of when you’ve experienced a similar emotion, not in the same circumstance necessarily, tap into what that was like
  • Communicate understanding “I can understand why you feel like that”
  • You are observing, not judging their experience or emotions

A conversation might start like this:

“I’m exhausted with all the kid activities – I can’t carry one like this”

Optional response:
“You take on so much, I don’t know why you get so worked up, ask another parent to drive a couple times a week” Conversation is wrapped up, quick and simple – you’re a freakin’ genius, solved yet another problem and even recognized one of their primary issues at the same time! 

If you’re really brave try out “I told you not to sign them up for so many things, what do you expect?” Get ready to duck if you’re going to lob that back in response.

You’re partner is smart – they would have most likely mentioned that they couldn’t figure something out and would like your opinion if that was the issue.

Another situation…Your teenage comes home and says she’s getting bugged at school. One could respond with some suggestions for finding new friends. Simple really! Dang we are good at this! Bring on the problem and we’ll solve it!

Are we really listening? Do we really understand? Do we really see?

Wonder why some arguments escalate? Gottman says it primarily from people feeling like they are not seen.

People can figure out their own problems, if they want your expertise they will ask for exactly that.
 
In the meantime try listening to understand, to see what’s really going on.  Perhaps there is more than the surface issue and taking the time to really hear will create a new level of intimacy and a deep ‘seeing’ of the other.  This brings life and deep connection.
 
So “I’m exhausted with all the kid activities – I can’t carry on like this”

Try- “Sounds tough (guessing at what they might be feeling-you don’t have to be right), tell me what’s going on”

Ahhhh a blessed invitation to go deeper and explore…

They continue… you respond “That is stressful…what else is going on?”

They continue or not and you say something like “what can I do?” or “thank you for telling me, that means a lot to me”

By thanking them for telling you they feel like you’re in their corner, your honoured to know what’s going on for them. It takes courage to admit you’re not a parenting super hero or someone is picking on you.

Even if it started with “You never help me!” (youch – that can sting!) and then they went into their overwhelm, you can try the same technique and see how it works. Next time around I will be talking about how to bring up issues that increase your chance of being heard, which is the biggest indicator of how a disagreement will end.

In the meantime, if you can:

  • Over look the attack (if there is one)
  • Ask what’s going on
  • Guess/imagine  what they might be feeling
  • Think about a time that you felt a similar way (may have been for a totally different reason
  • Listen to their world/get their perspective
  • Set your opinion and perspective aside

So many arguments would be diffused and intimacy would be greatly increased and by you modelling this you may also get it in return.

More love, more connection, more synchronicity.

More Yum – that makes the world spin on its access a wee bit easier and you played a part in that. Thank you!!

Whether you are a leader, a parent, a co worker or a lover-this skill will make you a relational super hero.

Give it a try – listen to understand and see what happens.

Leona deVinne

What would you say to your 15 year old self?

you are enoughI bet you’d have a lot to say to your 15 year old self. I was asked that question this morning and felt such sadness well up. It was unusual like it had opened a window to glimpse something that I didn’t know existed.

What would you say to your 15 year old self?

I said, with tears streaming down my cheeks:

You’re smarter than you think
You’re more than a pretty face
You have so much to give
Don’t settle

What wouldn’t leave me after I answered the questions was how hollow I felt at that age. I made myself look good everyday – for the approval of boys, who later became the men in my life. I had no idea that I was here for more than that. My mom had given up her education to take care of her much younger siblings and she gave up a lot to take care of her family as I was growing up.

I took on that women sacrifice; we give up things for the betterment of others. We matter less than others.

That breaks my heart.

At 15 I was taking on that in order to be enough I had to empty myself of me, to fit in, to be ‘loved’.

So I emptied, I don’t know what I emptied out as I didn’t come from a culture that valued much more than hard work and no matter what, keep moving – don’t stop.

I emptied and married without finishing my education, I had babies and I emptied more to be a great mom, and oh so striving to be perfect wife – worked hard, served the needs of everyone before me.

I didn’t even notice me. My ‘job’ was to stay thin and attractive, I even had the occasional ‘fat’ test where my father’s children would pinch the skin on my legs and when I asked him what he was doing he told me he was seeing if I passed the ‘fat test’.

What I was at 15 I was even less so in my twenties and a scrap of myself in my 30’s. I poured myself out so the mould I was so desperately trying to fill would be perfect, would be enough and I would find love and the security that I so desperately sought.

When I was 30 I was diagnosed with the same genetic condition that my mother had died of when I was 22. I was terrified. The life expectancy was only 49 and yet I didn’t stop to fill myself up, to nurture my soul, I cleaned and prepared so if my first scans showed some awful tumours I would be no trouble. It sounds ridiculous but I cleaned every cabinet so no one would see that I was a ‘closet messy’ I at one point had 17 casseroles frozen so if I got sick no one would have to cook for me. I suffered from unexplained chronic pain, severe anxiety and got influenza that I could not recover from; eventually I developed a heart condition and lost 30 lb in six months.

I wore make up and nice clothes everyday, regardless of how I felt, to prove I was enough, I never slept in or got rid of anything on my overflowing plate. I took one day off in that 6 months and I always kept trying to look good and keep moving – my life’s mantra.

Still I did not see how empty I was…I was too busy. I had to be enough. I had to. I worked hard, tried to look good and surely that made me worthy of love and belonging.

Surely…Until one day I found out my husband of 16 years had turned his affection and attention elsewhere. He had found someone else that he delighted in and despite my attempt at perfection – I WAS NOT ENOUGH…Not one bit enough.

In therapy he told me that because of my genetic condition I was like living under a blanket of death and that I had GIVEN this condition to his son. He blamed me and even then I took it, I pasted that onto my shell as the truth. Who would want me?

I could work, stay thin, be a decent mom and yet I was so deeply flawed – He was right.

My 15 year old self was right – be pretty, play small, you don’t matter all that much.

I took on lies; I took on the notion that being a living shell of a being is ok as long as you appear a certain way and serve others well. It was all a big fat, empty lie and I gobbled it up.

I look back at that 15 year old kiddo and I tell her, I shout at her until my voice shakes and her ears ring

YOU MATTER

YOU’RE ENOUGH

Your flaws don’t define you, but refine you

You’re free to be who you were made to be – don’t play small.

I take that 15 year old girl onto my lap and I love her back to life, kiss both of her eyelids so she can see her worth and the beauty that has nothing to do with the way she looks and I whisper into her ear, you belong, you matter, you are deeply loved.

I don’t just say that to her, I say that to you…You are worthy of the deepest love.
You are perfectly imperfect and so much more beautiful and exquisite because of it.

You are to be cherished and held in the highest esteem.

You are remarkably you…

So I ask you what does your 15 year old self need to hear?

Don’t leave those words at your adolescent’s feet.

Listen to them, eat them up, and lather up your soul with their truth. Wash away the lies that you took onto survive.

Let those words bring dying parts of you back to life.

Bring to the world all of you, every last saucy bit.

You Are Enough.

Leona deVinne

I’m a Swinger

If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful  spiritual lives, vulnerability is the pathI’m a swinger. I’ve swung between terror and trust a lot in the last years as a self employed single mom with a medical condition.

Thankfully it’s been downgraded to swinging between fear (a small mercy) and trust in the past two years. So much of that has to do with the impact that the Daring Way and the work of Brene Brown has had on my life. If you have not heard of her watch her TED talk here.

I’ve been learning to show up more authentically, lean into what lights me up, be more vulnerable (gulp) live a life that lines up with my values and brings me joy.

I have a genetic condition that I share with some of my family members, including my son and it causes tumours to grown in my brain, spine, pancreas and other organs. I lost my mom to this condition when she was 49, the average life expectancy for a woman with this condition. I’m 46 – that scares me. It makes me feel very vulnerable and at the same time eager to squeeze all the juice out of this precious life.

With the help of my Daring Way – a curriculm based on Brene’s research, working through the curriculum at the DW training, and leading the Daring Way workshops; my life has been transformed.

I was playing small in so many ways and trying to fit in instead of stand out. I still laugh when I think back to how I wanted to be perceived by others – I answered “a hybrid of a lawyer and an accountant”. When I went to do corporate coaching gigs I was so serious and so straight laced, hiding a great sense of humour and a playful side – dang that was hard work!

My coach said, ‘I see you more as Patch Adams’ and told me to re watch the movie – I cried through most of it. I do serious work helping people create thriving lives and businesses and now I have permission to bring my goofy side along with me. What freedom!

Do you have a side that you’re hiding or not letting out as much as you’d like for fear of what people might think?

The outcome is the more genuinely I show up, the more energy I have to pour into helping my clients discover their truth and thrive. My clients then show up more authentically, experience more joy and that gives them the courage to really show up and be seen – the goodness of this just keeps going and going.

I am committed, unabashedly to spreading that kind of Joy. Joy to me is birthed in people knowing their truth, by being authentic and by living courageous lives-all of this is reinforced by the Daring Way work. I believe when we perform a courageous act that Joy is waiting on the other side to give us a gigantic smooch. It’s not easy, but it’s always worth it.

I’ve always had a thing for fun socks which I call Joy Socks as most people know and without the work of Brene Brown, I wouldn’t have had the courage to have launched the Joy Sock Movement.

I started, years ago, sending them out as a challenge from my coach to honour my values of connection and fun, to people who could use a smile and they would send back pics of their feet and say I love my ‘Joy socks”.

The idea of giving people gift wrapped socks to spark joy after my son’s brain surgery was all I wanted to do, but I had so many gremlins that told me to hold back…

Give people socks? Really?! They didn’t heal anyone, feed anyone, or educate anyone. The messages, “who do you think you are?” haunted me and bulldozed me over. They made people smile – that’s it. I was scared that people would see me as weird, trite and odd. I was terrified to give in, to show up and really be seen.

The idea of spreading joy in this goofy way would not leave me. It’s all I wanted to do and so I stepped up. People would know that I was fun, goofy and an all out Joy Freak. I felt terrified when I contacted the Ronald McDonald House to see if they wanted some Joy Socks and they were thrilled at the idea and so it started and within an hour of the donation I got this email:

“I volunteer at Ronald McDonald House in Calgary 
and was having a less than stellar day when I 
went in for my shift today when out of the blue
 I was handed a wee box filled with socks (socks 
covered in spots which I have a thing for) that
 completely changed the outlook of my day. So
 from a deep place of gratitude please accept my 
heartfelt thanks for the kindness and joy you
 extended because it really made a difference today.”

I burst into tears…I’d found my Joy Spot. Starting the Joy Socks Movement, what has now become a Non-profit, has changed how I live my life. To see someone receive an unexpected gift box filled with a pair of socks and for a second see their worries melt away has been so rewarding.

People have burst into tears, refused to have their feet cover up their ‘happy feet’ in the hospitals and nurses say they love being able to give a cheerful gift to a patient.

I’ve come out of the closet as the “Joy girl” and the “sock girl” and it’s given me greater courage to show up authentically in my life and my other businesses.

This venture makes me no money, but I feel beyond wealthy, and graciously I always seem to have the time I need to get everything done without strain.

This is just getting started – we are rolling out a youth leadership program for kids to collect Joy Socks in their own school and will be incorporating the Daring Way work into that program so these Jr. Joy Sock Ambassadors can show up, live brave, embrace who they are and courageously make the difference that only they can.

I’m committed to choosing courage over comfort, showing up and to keep moving forward one Joy Sock footed step at a time. Will you join me?

If you’re interested in attending a Daring Way Workshop series, based on the research of Brene Brown, please join us in Calgary on Sept 8, from 9:30-11:30, every other Thursday mornings for 8 sessions over 16 weeks

This workshop will give you the tools to let go of the ‘shoulds’ in your life, let go of what will people think and live a life filled with courage and deeper connections. Please come or pass on the info to someone who might like to join us. Or if you’re a Brene fan…this will change your life, I promise – money back guarantee. ☺

More info http://accendoconsulting.ca/the-daring-way/. Registration closes Sept 2, 2016

Leona deVinne

Pssst

If you're a live you're a creative personPssst…It wants you as much as you want it


Whether it’s your passion or something you’ve had an idea about doing or exploring and you keep putting it off or you don’t dive into it as passionately as you want, here’s the truth.

It wants you too.

Are you being pursued? 

Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic makes amazing magical sense.(if you have not read it, go buy it, read it, lick the pages, cook it up for breakfast – it will change your world).

She speaks about creativity pursuing us as much as we want to pursue it and when you get an idea to go for it, dive in-not for the purpose of fame or fortune, but simply because it came to us for a reason.

“Ideas are alive, that ideas do seek the most available human collaborator, that ideas do have a conscious will, that ideas do move from soul to soul, that ideas will always try to seek the swiftest and most efficient conduit to the earth (just as lightning does).” 
― Elizabeth GilbertBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
 
It may not make you money, or win you awards or perhaps it’s a book you’ve written and maybe no one will ever read it or let alone get published, but when you think about it and tap out some words on your key board and there something intriguing about it.

It captures you – time doesn’t matter. If you could get paid for it, it would be the first and last ‘job’ that you would ever apply for. That’s pure yum – a real live whopping Joy Spot.

Our purpose and our joy show its bright shiny head in our creative endeavours. If you’ve got your hands on your hips right now, about to say that you’re “not one of those” – join the club.

Just listen

We are ALL creative it just shows up in different ways. We know we’ve found that Flow; when we are in that mental state of operation, when we’re doing an activity, are fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. (Mihály Csíkszentmihályi)

Flow is when we are doing something or perhaps learning something where time fades away, we are miraculously present and we could keep working for days – even coffee and wine start to matter less (ok perhaps that’s just me)

For some that might be painting, developing new software, reorganizing something or taking photos. For me it’s starting new companies and diving into new business initiatives – the angels sing every time. Whether it’s with a client or working in one of my own companies – that’s creative, bliss filled heaven.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about or perhaps you feel some mild form of disgust – you have a job, kids, a mortgage, a dog and life just doesn’t roll out like that for you.

Try making a little space for pursuing something creative; something that intrigues you, if nothing else you may notice that job, kids, partner, and white picket fence will gain some of its lustre back.

Passion begets passion and you may light a fire in your life that won’t be easily contained…

If passion isn’t even in your vocabulary, if you’re worn out just thinking about it, start with what you’re mildly curious about…even if its just having had more than one though about something in particular. It may be as simple as putting your bare feet in the dirt to see what it feels like.

There’s a wee bit of magic to be sprinkled on this passion filled cupcake that you’re creating and taking a bite out of. You may just discover that as you pursue something you’re passionate about that it will pursue you. Doors will open, you’ll meet people that are like minded, opportunities will become available, it may not even be directly around your creative work, but a certain amount of ease and joy will start to bubble up that you didn’t know existed.

“Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself.” Elizabeth GilbertBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Leona deVinne

Space

spaceS p a c e

If I could put something on my Christmas list that would ensure I would feel joyful and fulfilled it would be ‘SPACE’

That’s it. Sounds simple and yet we rarely have it.

We live in a busy, bustling world. We rarely get time to ourselves and when we do its hard to slow down so we dive into things that force us to unwind – think of a good Netflix binge. There’s nothing wrong with that if it’s done with intention, but it doesn’t feel so great when you realize an afternoon has been flushed away when you’d only planned to watch a couple episodes.

What’s the value of said ‘space’?

You’ve probably experienced the effects of it.

You’re trying to solve a problem or come up with an idea, a way of addressing an issue and it has you stumped. Later when you’re taking a shower or doing something totally different the solutions comes to you – downloaded directly into your sweet brain.

If you want to live a peace filled, innovative and creative life – or tap into even a part of the trinity of fulfillment we need space to make it happen.

So often we save vacations for some space or a change of pace, but even then we go from place to place to explore and we rarely have nothing to do.

Space is what we need to be more creative and innovative in order to live the thriving, purpose filled lives that we long for.

I used to fear the “space”. What if I got bored or it allowed for some deep dissatisfaction to surface?…that terrified me. Creating space for some discomfort is far better than living a numbed out life trying to avoid what we really need to address.

If your occupation provides deep fulfillment and you’re currently licking the icing off of the cake of your life while you’re inhaling that cherry on top – that’s great. Purpose and meaning begets purpose and meaning so your creative sparks may always be firing and you’re still going to need to reset.

Space provides that opportunity.

Think of a loved one that you could just eat with a spoon – they are so yummy. Even the most delicious partner or friend’s connection can fade if you interact constantly.

Creating more space does not mean that you sit around and do nothing, although sometimes it might look like that.

The space we create can be filled with things that recharge us and are intentional

  • A walk
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Being creative
  • Driving without the radio on
  • Sitting and savouring a cup of coffee
  • Colouring

Space is meant to be a refreshing part of our lives, a place to intentionally refuel and restore.

If space is a new concept feel free to explore different ways to create space. For me it starts with having 30 minutes each morning to journal, mediate and reflect. It feels like chocolate to my soul.

Explore some ways to create some space and fill it with something that slows you down and fills you up with goodness.

If it feels uncomfortable or even impossible at first, start off small and do more of what makes you feel peaceful and maybe even a spark of Joy.

Summer is a glorious time to crate more space…make room for it and savour it – you’ll be coming into the fall fulfilled and refreshed and who knows maybe even with some new ideas to create an even more wildly fulfilling life.

If you want to create more space in your life…get in touch. I will be sitting on my front porch with my markers close by tapping into my inner 5 year old.

Leona deVinne