I love this blog from 2008.  It was an extraordinary day in Florence.  Thought provoking and magical all at the same time. It did seem like a smaller world that day.  Today I am wondering if perhaps Covid has somehow increased the distance between people and has expanded our world.  Are we still a global village?  Travel connected us.  Maybe someday it will again.  Take care everyone.

It’s a Small World June 2008

Yesterday, here in Florence I saw David. THE David by Michelangelo.  It is a magnificent work of art and the marvel of it is in the detail and the size.  It was wonderful and I enjoyed the experience tremendously.  I was even more touched by a plaster cast of a marble statue entitled Dancing Girls, more because of the personal attachment I had to it immediately and even more so once I read the details of the statue.  The two girls in the statue were among the daughters of Lady Charlotte Campbell of Scotland.  Being a Charlotte of Scottish heritage myself (Charlotte Nancy Love, MacKinnon Clan, Isle of Skye) that caught my eye.  And when the girls’ names were a match for my two daughters, I was even more intrigued.  My daughters are also dancers so the whole experience was interesting and made me smile and think about how we may all be repeating the lives of our ancestors in increasingly modern versions …

The other thing that happened that was astounding was that as we were leaving the Accademia, I literally ran into a friend from Edmonton, a PULSE Practitioner and former high school principal like me.  She was in Belgium for the summer visiting her daughter. We were both surprised and spent a few moments catching up and looking for ways to get together when we return.  What are the chances?  What lesson is in a chance meeting like that?  Now I am on the lookout for familiar faces and it seems that everyone I see could be someone I know. 

It is so much fun to be away and see the world from another perspective.  Perspectives on your own world change too, sometimes almost imperceptibly … but they do.  It is a small world.  Being gentle and honest, open and specific and talking with people you encounter comes back to you and makes chance future encounters a joy.  Enjoy.

RENEW has become an important aspect of PULSE thinking, doing and being.  Over the years it has shown up many times as a way to consider change through conversation.  It is a tool used to sharpen the mind, strengthen emotional wellbeing, improve relationships, keep our bodies fit and bring awareness to our trusting souls. I still rely on the RENEW message when I am feeling less than myself. Covid has impacted all of us, restricting us so that we are less than we were before, thinking less, doing less, and being less.  It might be time to RENEW ourselves to get back to the original or find a new and improved version of ourselves to tackle this changing world. Here is how it began.

RENEW – a PULSE Acronym June 2008

Years ago, I was working with dentists to organize a conference for wellness.  One of the presenters was a chiropractor with some good advice on how to stay healthy.  He talked about Nutrition and Rest, about Energy and Exercise and about drinking lots of Water.  “Hmmmmm” I thought…. and asked him “Do they have to be presented in that order or could they be reorganized to spell RENEW!”  He loved the acronym and I think went on to write a book.  It has always stuck with me, too.  Rest, Energy, Nutrition, Exercise and Water are the things you need to maintain health – thinking, doing and being healthy.

Rest – The idea of adequate rest is important to me today.  Three days after a journey through 8 time zones means I really need four more days to regain my temporal equilibrium.  Rest is what Italians and many others do after lunch.  We seem to keep busy all day and fall into bed exhausted at night.  Maybe we could learn something from the siesta approach.  I know that nothing puts me in a better mood or frame of mind then a good night’s sleep. It clears our thoughts, our emotions and our bodies, preparing them for a fresh start each morning.

Energy – What gives you energy?  What puts you in that state of flow where time seems to pass at a different speed?  As a seven it is variety that energizes me.  I could be feeling quite low and when a new idea or project is presented to me, I find energy and can devote hours to it without feeling the least bit fatigued.  Others are energized by order or control or detachment or differentiation, by acknowledgement or a sense of security or an opportunity to help others or by a peaceful outcome.  Knowing ourselves and what energizes us helps all of us maintain our healthy perspective.

Nutrition – Eating is such a personal thing.  We are all on diets.  Some are deliberate.  Others are routine.  Each of us has an eating pattern that is more or less deliberate that nurtures us and provides us with the nutrients that keep our bodies going.  Most of us have more body knowledge than we know or pay attention to.  Sometimes we fight cravings rather than giving in to them and other times we binge and abuse ourselves with our eating and drinking and yet our body continues to find what it needs in what we give it and get rid of the rest.  We are wonderful organisms that renew and regenerate.

Exercise – Fitness is such a personal thing.  What works for one is not always the right prescription for another.  I have friends who exercise hard every day.  I have others who never set aside any time for formal exercise programs.  Each person is fit to a degree that is functional for them and each could run a marathon given the motivation to do so.  When I am looking to stabilize my weight, I do not do physical exercise.  I rest more, drink more water and eat more vegetables and stay as still as possible.  Physical exercise gives me energy and strengthens my muscles but it does not produce weight loss. Our levels of fitness – Body, Heart and Head – are individual.  What is important, I think, is NOT to neglect anyone of the three. Do something each day to increase fitness for your body, your heart and your head.  Notice which is easiest to do and you will know something more about yourself.

Water – We are water.  We need water.  It flushes our systems.  It hydrates our muscles and other tissues and makes us feel good.  We drink it.  We bathe in it and inside and out it helps us maintain our balance with the universe.  “Water is the first medicine.” That is what one of the Elders once told me.  Drink water for health.

RENEW – I know it is time for me to RENEW my commitment to these things, to give my body, my mind and my heart a new lease.  I once read a bumper sticker that said “You cannot turn back the clock but you can wind it up again.”  Summer is a good time for rewinding your body clock and RENEWing your PULSE.

Looking back over the blogs from the past I found this one from June 2008.  I had just arrived in Italy.  Weeks before I had been entertaining my dear friend Austin Gamey and a contingent of his colleagues from Ghana.  WE all had spent a week together in BAnff, Alberta. The world was different then. People traveled. In 2008, I traveled a lot.  Looking at this now I am beginning to understand the impact the state of emergency and the fear that the pandemic has awakened in me. The restrictions changed our lives in many ways.

Today is the first day of summer 2021.  The restrictions are being lifted and the world will once again become an oyster we can explore and enjoy…. SIGH.

Time, Travel and PULSE June 2008

Today I am in Florence. Yesterday and the day before blended into one very long day. Twelve hours of travelling and eight hours of time change equals confusion for biological clocks. And yet there is so much travel these days. Business people aboard jumbo jets crossing the ocean like they were crossing the street. I have to wonder about the effect that is having on business decisions and relationships. 

When the Africans were in Canmore a few weeks ago. I watched them struggle as they worked to reset their clocks to meet the demands of learning. Now as I adjust, I am even more aware of how they must have felt. And I think to myself about how walking a mile or travelling across time zones in someone else’s shoes is easier if you have in fact had at least similar experiences. 

Here we are talking about time zones as they exist in the world. The same can be said for the past, present, future time zones of the PULSE frame. Once awareness of the existence of time zones of understanding is experienced empathy is closer. Parties are better able to move to Empathy if they have been there before. Seeing the world as someone else might takes courage and curiousity and is not as automatic as we may think. This is especially true if we have never had any experiences of our own to draw on. Hence the skepticism of first time PULSE conversation participants and the conviction of those who have travelled the conversation time zones. 

Thanks to Marjorie for posting this for me. More tomorrow. Today I see David.

June 3rd 2008

The following post was originally posted on June 20th 2008. I think the concepts and ideas are still relevant today. IN 2008 I was relating ever experience I had to the PULSE Frame and the underlying concepts that support the mediated conversations. In this post it is about the integration of head, heart and body and how attending my niece Heather’s dance receital gave me another metaphor for the concept. Enjoy.

“Shoulders Back”

Last night I attended my niece’s dance recital.  A long time ago I had a short and less than illustrious career as a dance instructor.  As I was watching the dancing, I found myself sitting up straighter, feeling the muscles in my back and shoulders working to help the dancers pull back and dance BIG.  The recital was great.  The kids were all very talented and well rehearsed.

At the end graduands from the school thanked their teachers and remarked on how dancing had given them confidence.  Even as they spoke these young ladies were articulate and you could hear the confidence that you had seen in their performances.  The wholeness principle came to mind.  We talk about Head Body Heart at PULSE and the integration of them.  Dancing is integration.  Dancers need the discipline of body to hold their shoulders back.  The need the discipline of head to remember the next steps and formation.  The need the discipline of the heart to express the emotion of the dance.  The great dancers are those who know CPR – Content, Process and Response.

Body – When we talk about body at PULSE we are talking about “Body in Motion”, present focused and moving.  We are talking about action, filling space with limbs and muscles and noticing the impact on the body of what is going on NOW. Notice two how much bigger you are and how much more space you can fill with your shoulders back. Body is our PRESENT SELF.

Heart – When we talk about heart at PULSE we are talking “Heart in State”, responses to past experiences that we feel deeply and that we can pull into the present and project to the future because they are tied to experience. “State” is a place of emotion, arousal where you FEEL.  Difficult to express but close your eyes an imagine something that happened to your once and conjure the experience in your head and your body and feel what radiates from somewhere in your chest, between your shoulders. Feel how much bigger that feeling is with your shoulders back.  Heart is our PAST SELF.

Head – When we talk about head at PULSE we are talking about “Head in Projection”, thoughts, rationality, concepts and content all being considered as the brain and the mind work together to figure out how the past might have been different, taking the lessons from the past and asking what that means in the present and how all of this impacts the next step – the future.  Think about something you would like to do in the future.  Imagine what it would be like.  What would you be doing?  How would you be feeling? Notice how you can project bigger images with your shoulders back. Head is our FUTURE SELF.

The integration of Heart, Body, Head – Past, Present and Future SELF – THE DANCE.

I have just been reviewing some of the 387 posts on this blog site and I am impressed by my commitment at the beginning, in 2008 to do daily blogs and I love the history of that year that is captured there. I am saddened by the gaps in time where I did not post. Most notably is the time between when my mother passed away and when my dad also left the planet. January 2014 to September 2016. I know that all of you have had those times of grieve and upheaval in your lives. I left my marriage, relocated to St Albert, lost a friend and my daughter’s father-in-law among others, moved into my seventh decade with fear and trepidation … I could go on. Of course, there was the joy and the rewards that came with looking after my dad during that time. There was the joy of watching my children and grandchildren grow and mature. There were lots of occasions for celebration and travel and opportunities to read and study neuroscience and coaching. When I think back, I realize that I was also able to complete a draft of the Mapping book and have a group of trusted colleagues and friends read it for me. The casualty seems to have been the Blog.

My apologies again for not having the stick-to-it-tive-ness to continue.

Life moves on. It is now five years later. Some feeble attempts at reviving the regular posts have mostly fizzled. Another move, back home to Halifax, and a continued involvement with Parks Canada and the University of the Virgin Islands have kept the wheels turning. I am happy that I had those things to distract me from the reality of a global pandemic for the past 18 months. It has been difficult to be away from family and friends and now the shift back to social interaction holds promise that the world can come out of the fear that has gripped us. I look forward to sharing happy insights and adventures with you again. With the support of others, the Blog can be brought back to life again. Kassidy Kelly, one of my lovely and talented granddaughters, suggested that I republish the blogs from years ago. Since she is a social media specialist and very smart, I will definitely take her advice. Watch for the older blog posts to reappear with an updated introduction from me. There are almost four hundred posts. I have enjoyed reviewing them and I hope you enjoy rereading them as well.

For many of you it will likely be the first time you have seen these posts. The Posts began in 2008. Thirteen years of observations through the lens of the PULSE Frame. The travel posts are among my favourites and it is my hope that as restrictions lift, I will be able to travel again and post from faraway places. I welcome any and all comments and suggestions for which posts might be re-publishable and relevant to today’s audiences.

Please be careful out there. Coming out of fear is never easy and we have all been asked to stay away from others for our own safety. Asking people to flip the fear switch overnight is going to have fall out. Come back into the changing world at your own pace, on your own terms. TAKE GOOD CARE and welcome back.

I found this in the drafts section. Written two years ago. If this dream had come true I would be a published author of a new book. But it didn’t. It’s ironic that I should find this now. The world has changed so much and so little. COVID-19 changed our lives for sure but I am once again leaving Parks and heading out into the world of writing and publishing. The possibilities I dreamt of then still lay before me. The world is awakening from the deep sleep of Covid. Let’s see if I can catch them this time.

Written but not published April 1st, 2019 ….

April 1st 2019 will be the beginning of a new adventure for me.  For a week or so I will no longer be a public servant.  I will become a member of the public.  Two years and three months of working full time with Parks Canada will come to an end.  I have enjoyed it so much, learned so much and have appreciated the people I worked with so much for the work they do maintaining our national park system.  The honour it has been to travel to remote areas and view our country, my country, in a glorious light and the awe that has been inspired by the scientist and archeologists and highwaymen and accountants who preserve and protect out natural and historic treasures has left me richer and wiser and for that I am extremely grateful.

April 1 will be no joke for me this year.  I step out into the a new world with a swirl of possibilities.  I have been a full time employee since my dad passed away and I am grateful for the opportunity of steady work while I processed loss. Now I will likely continue to teach and learn through conflict interventions with the friends and colleagues I knew and worked along side before the Parks contract but at a slower pace and with spaces set aside to write again.

So many projects dance in my head.  I can complete the manuscript for the Mapping the Space book and get back to regular blogging.  I can go for a walk by the river everyday at noon and make coffee and lunch dates.  I can read the text books that have arrived for my latest adventure.  I have been accepted into a program at Kings College at Dalhousie University.  I will be working toward an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction.  Over the next two years I will be learning to write and publish true stories well told.  I am extremely excited and just a little worried.  My classmates will likely be journalists and storytellers. I am only a teacher.  I want to learn to use the good story to teach the lessons that people need to find their way to common ground.  My goal remains peaceful and productive relationships and organizations … one conversation after another.

I look forward to the challenges and to the opportunities ahead.  I will continue to work as an intervener in conflict situations and to take the lessons life gives me with the grain of salt that lets me laugh at myself and with others.  My hope is that with the right mix of good humour and real situations something good will come of this.

Wish me luck.

People call it the year that wasn’t. Most are hoping we get a do over. It has been tough. Rereading my January 2020 post helped me realize just how much disappointment this year has brought … to everyone. This is the year that was. Tomorrow it will be gone but the effects will linger for sure. I am cautiously optimistic although I am very aware that the fallout from this bad news year on the planet and in each of our lives will undoubtedly linger. Hope resides in the plans we make, in the image we create for more and better. Parts of my plan from last year came to fruition and some I abandoned. I am not really sure why except that I couldn’t figure out a way forward with those plans in our ‘new reality.’ Today I am in St Albert reviewing this 2020 phenomenon and its impact. I spent 7 months in Halifax and the last 3 here. Those 10 months have felt like a decade for me. There have been wonderful connections with friends and family in both places. My golf game and my piano playing have improved. Tomorrow is another day, another year with a new title – 2021. As John Lennon would say “Let’s hope it’s a good one …”

What you are about to read was written in January 2020..

In August I wrote a blog called Untethered describing a thought I had to spend time over the next couple of years in Halifax where I was born and spent my childhood. Control your thoughts. Thoughts become ideas. Ideas become actions and actions eventually become habits. I read that once on a Chinese tea label.

Well, you know how things go when you set an intention and then lean into it? Thanksgiving Day I looked at a condo in downtown Halifax and February 19th I take possession. Just like that.

It sounds so easy and as if no thought or planning has gone into this move. Sometimes life is like that. You have an idea and it becomes reality. It is like the curio cabinet I ordered from Wayfair that now houses my good glasses in my living room in St Albert. I knew I was going to have to move the stuff I valued to my home condo and rent out my second apartment. Intent on consolidating valuables and keepsakes I saw a need for extra storage/ display space. I figured out where there was a space that could accept another piece of furniture and measured it. Then I spent time online looking for just the right piece. When it arrived in pieces, I put it together and then filled it with my precious hand painted Romanian stem ware. Just like that problem solved.

The decision to purchase and fill the new space with furniture now occupying the downstairs apartment took some time. A million little decisions have influenced the thought that became the idea that is now becoming action. A renter appeared who wanted to rent my downstairs apartment for two years. Check. The condo in Halifax appeared. Check. My casual employment supported the move. Check. My program at Kings University College … walking distance from the new condo … accept me as a deferred student from last year’s program. Check. Other thoughts on financing and travel and real estate and furnishing and and and …. and POOF, just like that, I have a plan.

So, with the help of good friends, and with the support of my family, I will be in Halifax April 1st to start yet another adventure, returning to be a part time Haligonian after 50 years away.

Stay tuned as the adventure continues.

Most of you will know that my first name is Charlotte and get the reference in the title. On line, on the WEB, I usually know my way around but now that we are all spending more time and using the WEB to make purchases we used to make in person, it is becoming more of a tangled WEB.

More and more I find myself on-line, lost and confused. I find myself looking for signposts or directions to find my way back to a familiar place so that I can regroup, recalculate and find my way to the place where I can do what I had expected to do… post a blog.

It is complicated. Life is complicated but there are so many rabbit holes and detours and winding roads that come to dead ends on the internet that the webness of it, once a positive connector, serves only to confuse when you are tangled in it.

I need to stick to the beaten paths and stay away from anything unfamiliar. Confusion leads to horrible mistakes and you end up in scary places without a pasport or a way out.

I think I have finally found a way back to all of you, a way to post. Merry Christmas everyone. This new year is likely the most anticipated one in our life times. See you there.

I read an article by Jackie Torrens where she talks about being an orphan and how, as an orphan, she has always felt “untethered”. I like the work and the sentiment and sensation it creates in me. Since my fols have passed away I feel different. I feel like I am missing a piece, like there are few people who have known me since my birth. Reading Jackie’s article, an address to the summer residency students of the Creative Non Fiction Program at UKings here in Halifax, I got to thinking about becoming an orphan and how it “untethers” you once your parents are gone.

I have been in Halifax for almost a month. Halifax is home. It has been a fabulous opportunity for rebirth or reinvention in the place where I was born. There is a freedom here. The ocean sooths me. The sunshine warms me. I feel different and alive. A sail boat moves across the water out my window and it calms me. I have had opportunities to spend time with family and old friends, to write and to meet people who are involved in the King’s College Program I am registered for for 2020.

I know that the weather is influencing my euphoria. It has been magnificent. And I also know that it is not always like this. I have loved through cold miserable winters here in the past. Still I feel the pull of the ocean’s tides and wonder how I can leave here and return to the Alberta landscape and find the same kind of fulfillment, the same sense of wonder and ease that I have found here.

I have wonderful people in St Albert. I love them dearly. That thought keeps me from staying … for the time being. I am toying with visiting them and living here. TOYING. So many things to consider and yet…. It is a wonderful dream to spend the next year or maybe two living on the waterfront, enjoying the place where there are people who know my roots, my family and me.

Saturday I go back. I will let you know how this goes. I have felt untethered there for a while. Here there is a safe harbour for a short stay while I am still young enough to enjoy it. There are like minded individuals working at writing like me. It is a fleeting idea based on blue skies and the call of the North Atlantic? Maybe. Or is this the seed of an idea, a plan I might be able to pull off? I don’t know. Stay tuned.