Category Archives: Interesting Ideas

Interesting Ideas for December 2021

As we near the end of 2021, here are some interesting ideas (around commemorating life events and tattoos for December…and a wish.

You’re never too old for tattoos!  An older couple with tattoos

There are many reasons that we use ‘ink’ to commemorate life events.  As someone who gifted me with a tattoo for a significant birthday, I agree with the people quoted in this Guardian article.

We’re not too old to get fit either!

The Guardian seems to focus on the over-50 crowd recently.  It seems that we’re becoming a tattooed, physically fit bunch 🙂  This article is quite inspiring…

My final thought for you, the following poem, written by Maureen Killoran, found me the other day. It summarizes what I wish for you, not just for this holiday season, but every season. Take care.

Not gold, nor myrrh, nor even frankincense
would I have for you this season,
but simple gifts, the ones that are hardest to find,
the ones that are perfect, even for those who have everything (if such there be).

I would (if I could) have for you the gift of courage,
the strength to face the gauntlets only you can name,
and the firmness in your heart to know that you (yes, you!)
can be a bearer of the quiet dignity that is the human glorified.

I would (if by my intention I could make it happen) have for you the gift of connection,
the sense of standing on the hinge of time,
touching past and future
standing with certainty that you (yes, you!) are the point where it all comes together.

I would (if wishing could make it so) have for you the gift of community,
a nucleus of love and challenge,
to convince you in your soul that you (yes, you!) are a source of light in a world too long believing in the dark.

Not gold, nor myrrh, nor even frankincense, would I have for you this season,
but simple gifts, the ones that are hardest to find,
the ones that are perfect,
even for those who have everything (if such there be).

Interesting Ideas for November 2021

An older dog wearing glasses "reads" the newspaper while sitting in a chair, a puppy in their lap.While T. S. Eliot said that “April is the cruellest month”, I think that November runs a close second (except for Remembrance Day on November 11).  November is sandwiched between the colourful splendor and Thanksgiving celebrations of October and the joys that December’s holiday season can bring.  It is a month of grey, wet days, sopping leaves waiting to be raked and too-early holiday decorations (including pop star Christmas music) in public places.

For those of us who are grieving, November is also the month when we see holiday celebrations heading towards us, followed by cold winter months.  Spring feels a long time away.

Tools for the Holidays

Holiday season string of coloured lightsIn this edition of Interesting Ideas, I’ve provided links that present tools to help us to cope during this challenging time of the year.  In this Psychology Today article there is a list of useful ideas that may make the holiday season easier.  I especially appreciate that they are transferable to any ‘celebration’ or ‘special event’.

Do you have a friend who is grieving?

A friend comforts another who is upset in a public place.As many of you know, I’m a big fan of Megan Devine and her book “It’s Ok That You’re Not Okay”.  Megan also has a website and podcast which is worth visiting on a regular basis.  Ms. Devine’s last few posts have been about grieving during the holidays. Her recent blog post on supporting a grieving friend is very good.  If you are grieving this is worth sharing with friends as a way of asking for support.

More information about grief…

A cartoon of a person listening to audio on headphones outside. A cat does the same, laying down next to them.Finally, if you are looking to hear from others who are steeped in and knowledgeable about grief, I recommend the Grief is a Sneaky Bitch podcast.  Lisa Keefauver, MSW, is a social worker, educator, writer, grief guide, and widow.  In her podcast, she interviews grievers, educators and other grief experts to provide a wealth of information.

As we roll out of November and into December, I wish you peace and comfort.  Stay safe and be well.

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting Ideas for September 2021

Welcome to the end of September!  For many of us, September feels like the beginning of a new year (with return to school, routines and ramped up schedules) more than January 1 ever does.

In this time of Covid, previous September routines have been complicated with concerns about case numbers and the latest safety precautions.  And, I find that I briefly forget about this new type of September when I look outside.  The trees changing colour, with the wind blowing the ‘early turners’ across the road.  I grab my favourite  sweater when leaving the house in the morning–one that hasn’t been worn since May.   Neighbourhood kids are laughing as they wait for the school bus.  When we are dealing with difficult things in life, it’s the small moments that help to get through them.

Here’s some interesting ideas for September.  I hope that you find them to be as helpful and interesting as I did.

Boundaries–We all Need Them

Understanding and setting boundaries can be two of the most confusing and difficult skills that we learn as humans.  What they are, how we set them and enforce them; changes based on circumstance, relationship and personality.  If we have grown up in a family where boundaries were absent, this practice becomes even more challenging.

This article in The Guardian speaks to the power of saying no, as a way to build strong boundaries.  I especially appreciate that the author talks about the obstacles to setting boundaries in a variety of settings–including at work.

If you would like more information about boundaries, you can check out my February 2018 blog post.

A Conversation No Parent Wants to Have

A cancer diagnosis is terrifying enough…and then there are the follow-up actions that are needed–such as how or if we tell our children.  This Atlantic article by Caitlin Flanagan is a continuation of her article that was included in the Interesting Ideas for August 2021 post.  Both articles, written from the position of 20 years after her diagnosis, provide key information to people (and their loved ones) going through cancer now.  Her thoughts are timeless.

More About Walking

And finally, in the Interesting Ideas post for July 2021, I included this Guardian article that told the poignant story of one woman’s 150-mile walking journey along the Thames River from London to Oxford to visit her brother’s grave and the realizations that she had along the way.

Now, here’s an Atlantic article about a family’s hike of the  Camino de Santiago in Spain.  The author talks about the history of this pilgrimage, it’s place in popular culture and what he learned during the 100 mile trek.   As a bonus, the author makes reference to Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  I love this book!

If you would like to read another account of hiking the Camino, I recommend Jane Christmas’ book What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim.

Enjoy…take care…and stay safe!

 

 

Interesting Ideas for August 2021

Funny puppy in eyeglasses with open book
Photo by Sam Lion from Pexels

Labour Day (in Canada) is fast approaching–with hopefully the end to any more heatwaves!  As we come to the official end of Summer 2021, here are some articles that I found to be worth a read…Enjoy!

The Difficult Questions About Vaccine Status

Every stage of the pandemic has asked that we change and/or learn new skills.  In the beginning, some of us had to become more tech-savvy (remember early struggles with Zoom and Instacart?).  Through trial and error, we’ve negotiated how, or even if, to send our kids to school.  Relationships have been altered–some for better and some for worse.  We’ve had to cope with it all.

Now as more of us are vaccinated, we are being asked to navigate the new world of “vaccine status”.  This Washington Post article provides etiquette and sensible advice about many current situations that many of us will encounter as time goes on.

Unfortunately, Some Things Didn’t Go Away

Covid-19 has taken up so much of our mind space since it began.  At the same time, it didn’t chase away other difficult things.  The pandemic overlaid all of our experiences–including Cancer.

Caitlin Flanagan, a staff writer at The Atlantic, looks back on her experience with breast cancer and the “helpful?” advice that she was given along the way.  I appreciate how her article shines a light on some of the cultural misconceptions we share about battling cancer and how they can affect cancer patients.

A “Sheepish” Tribute

There are many ways to honour our loved ones who have died.  This Australian sheep farmer did so in a very unique way.  Please check out this heartwarming story and video from the BBC.

 

 

 

 

Interesting Ideas for July 2021

As I write this post, it’s early July and incredibly warm—not a fan of 39 degree days!  I have no idea where we’ll be by the end of July when this blog is scheduled to be posted.  My hope is that we will be farther along in opening back up, as more of us are fully vaccinated, case numbers are down and fewer of our loved ones are in the hospital battling Covid.

No matter what your temperature :-), here are the interesting ideas links for this month.

River ThamesThe pandemic has changed the way that we hold funeral services (or even if we do) and how we celebrate our loved ones who have died.  This Guardian article tells the poignant story of one woman’s 150-mile walking journey along the Thames River from London to Oxford to visit her brother’s grave and the realizations that she had along the way.

Dining tableThe following two items; an article from the Atlantic and a post from the blog Food52, help us to maneuver as we work our way through post-pandemic social norms around what is now considered to be polite when interacting with others and how to host gatherings. What is the expectations around physical contact? Distancing? How do you have explicit conversations about who is being invited and what the ground rules will be? I especially like the use of compassion in these areas as everyone is at a different place in their re-entry journey. Being around others can bring both a profound sense of relief and its own emotional hurdles and compassion can help us navigate it.

 

 

 

 

Woman dealing with anxiety as she considers what to wear outside.

Interesting Ideas for June 2021

Woman dealing with anxiety as she considers what to wear outside.Life continues to be interesting. Depending on where you live, and the status of your vaccination schedule, your life may be seeing signs of returning to some sort of pre-pandemic normalcy.    While many of us have been craving and dreaming of being out in the world, now that the reality is getting closer, many of us are also feeling anxious about what this may actually look like.

Many people I have spoken to, both personally and professionally, are concerned about social anxiety, loss of confidence and fear of leaving their homes after almost 15 months of being stuck at home.  On one hand, we want to be out and about, yet on the other, our Covid routines are safe and predictable.  In March 2020, our world ground to a screeching halt, and we adjusted.  And, it is reopening at a slower rate, giving us time to re-enter with awareness.

Friends outside

The following three interesting articles speak to this return to society.  This commentary from the Guardian suggests ways to re-approach friends that have fallen to the wayside during the pandemic.

 

 

Introvert hiding on a couchMany introverts have actually enjoyed the forced time at home, and according to the Washington Post author, Roxanne Roberts, are not completely happy about a return to “normal”

 

 

Holding a MugFinally,  a guest post by Angel Chernoff of Marc and Angel Life Hack (as appeared in Becoming Minimalist) provides solid tools to cope with stepping out into the potential chaos as life opens up.

Enjoy, take care, and stay safe…

Interesting Ideas for April

interesting ideas for april - child looking through a magnifying glass at a plantI’m not sure where another month has gone, and yet we’re at the end of April.  Here in Ontario, as we work our way through the ‘groundhog days’ of another pandemic stay-at-home order, here are a few “interesting ideas” articles that may help to pass the time.

Take care and stay safe.

Baby face first into cake with no self controlWhere’s My Self-Control?

Do you find yourself with less self-control as the pandemic drags on?  If so, you’re not alone.  According to this article in The Guardian, our ‘moral muscles’ are getting flabby!  So what’s the ‘fitness’ plan?  Take a look!

A Useful Grief Resource

Some of the best articles I receive are from the people I work with.  The following two articles are examples. The first, this article from the website  What’s Your Grief is a poignant list of what we have lost when ‘our person’ dies.

If you are grieving, this is a great resource to share with friends who may not understand the depth and extent of your loss.

Here’s a podcast link if you would rather listen to it.

Let’s Talk About “Languishing”

interesting ideas for april - painting of a fainting womanIf you’re having trouble putting a description to your mood…not depressed, but not happy either…this second article, from the New York Times talks about the concept of “languishing”.  I appreciate this article, not only for its background information but also because it provides tools.

“Interesting Ideas” for March 2021

Time for March’s edition of Interesting Ideas. Depending on where you live, you are at some place in the ‘third wave’.  Whether you are watching it approach, starting the ride or balancing on the peak; like most of us you’re probably tired of ‘surfing’.

Here are three interesting ideas that can help.

The Fear of Failure

As we’ve spent more time online over the past year, it’s clear that so much of what we do is seen by so many.  With the increased visibility, our fear of failure (and the resulting judgement) can increase to the point that we become afraid to try anything new.  This Atlantic article encourages us to ‘go ahead and fail’ along with ways to build the courage to do so.

“I have to see people in-person again?!!!”

At some point in the future, we’ll be able to socialize with large groups of people.  However, for many of us, this is a source of anxiety–and not just for individuals who experienced social anxiety before the pandemic.  This article in The Guardian lets you know that you’re not alone, and provides coping strategies to ease yourself back into the outside world.

Animal Comfort

While pet ownership has increased over the past year, dog walking or cat litter cleaning isn’t for everyone.  An alternative?  According to this Washington Post article, you can hug a cow!  Even if you don’t read the article, the pictures are adorable!

 

Until next time…take care and stay safe.

 

 

 

 

 

February Interesting Ideas 2021

 

February Interesting Ideas & a funny puppy in eyeglasses with open bookWelcome back for February “Interesting Ideas”.  I hope this continues to be interesting and intriguing to you.

I hope you found the February interesting ideas round to be interesting and that the articles inspired some reflection. If you have articles you think would be interesting to share, please let me know.

“Interesting Ideas” for January 2021

Puppy with interesting ideasI am very fortunate to have friends that send me interesting ideas, articles, videos, or book suggestions on a regular basis.  While I use some as inspirations for blog posts or my work with clients, others are not blog or reference material…and they are too interesting not to share.

So, this is the first month of the “Interesting Ideas” post.  My hope is that this will become a monthly feature.  While not every suggestion will appeal to everyone, ideally something will pique your curiosity.

Here’s the selection for January…Enjoy!

From The Atlantic:  What Moving House Can Do For You

From BBC News:  Lockdown mental health:  Tips for Helping Your Child

From The Guardian:  Why Your Most Important Relationship is With Your Inner Voice