Monday, January 23, 2017

The Big, Big Crayon Box: A Case for Enjoying Diversity

Remember these?  Oh how I loved these, I don't think I every actually had a box like this but it draws me in with wide eyed wonder.  That same magnet has matured into a love of Facebook, I seem to have an inherent delight in diversity, to such a degree that early in our marriage I lamented to my husband that I was afraid that in raising our children in our small town that they wouldn't be exposed to enough people of color or gender diversity (thank you internet for letting me have my white cake Longview and eat it, the children are grown and have been well exposed).

This love of diversity is part of who I am and my Pollyanna desire to embrace everyone and everything.  God Bless my stoic family upbringing for tempering this compulsion to socially acceptable levels and I've only miscued and over-hugged a few people (you know that awkward moment when you realize 'oops, not a hugger, my bad.)

My Facebook yesterday yielded lots of marchers, a few confused men, a few '#notmymarch already equal ladies' (that's good) the regular mix of spiritual enthusiasts and the few who give me enough bathroom humor to keep me grounded - I actually laughed out loud at "with all the ladies marching who's going to make us our sammiches".

I feel fortunate that my response to different is 'yay' or 'cool' or 'that's interesting' and rarely, but on occasion, NO, JUST NO - that's usually in response to the kind of contrary that takes advantage of someone else's vulnerability or a piercing that looks really painful, even in those cases I want to know more, I want to understand what would drive that behavior.

So, this is partially inherent, partly a choice and largely because of luck of the draw.  This larger part is because I feel safe.  I have the support and care I need to meet those bottom four layers of Maslows Hierarchy of Needs- see...

Our beautiful brains, in keeping our species alive, had thousands of years where tuning in to differences was necessary for survival.  Things that are novel, things we've never before seen trigger a response in us, when we feel safe it can be an AHHH (like vista's or new babies), when we don't feel safe it can be an AGHHH.  Our exposure and mixing of cultures through globalization has accelerated exponentially- of course we are freaking out!!!  Our downstairs brain- the amygdala- is saying "WHOA- what is that?  what is that?"  At the same time, expressions that have been hiding for generations are finally able to see the light of day, to feel the warmth of acceptance upon their hungry hearts and hesitant minds.

The whole point of this blog is not to brag on how open and accepting I am, it's to understand those people who are not so that we can move into being who we are even faster.  We are going in that direction and it will happen, the strange cat has been let out of the bag.  Look at this article, the gender assigned roles are being questioned.

When my marchers and my no marchers come into conflict it requires more dialogue and conversation- let's not shut down, let's trade our judgement (bad girl- no, YOU are a bad girl) for curiosity (what the heck? I don't get it sister)

For my privileged attitude to be the common; to allow true freedom for all we need people to feel supported and cared for- to be safe.  Patience as we put this puzzle together, it has 7 billion pieces and in Truth they are all a one and only.

Enjoy the crayons you encounter today, every color matters.

Love, Fawna

Tired of the Drama?  Want to be in charge of how your world looks?
Circle of Trust:  Shift to Healthy Relationships by Fawna Bews

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

You Kids Smarten Up...

Maybe I should take all political candidates and people off of my Facebook Feed.  Maybe I can use this, maybe there are no mistakes and getting fired up is exactly what I need.

Here's what I'm seeing:

Government of Alberta:  Smug, Smug, Smug, Smuggity, Smug, Smug
Opposition:  Scorn, Scorn, Scorn, Scoff, Scornity, Scoff, Scoff, Scoff

and it's not partisan, I saw this when the Conservatives were in too.  Having ads that show what great things you are doing just hit me wrong, and they both do it- isn't that your job?  I have to say- I try that at home too- LOOK AT ME- I MADE SUPPER, I GOT UP today, I MADE YOUR LUNCH...  in script at the bottom - "your Mom cares".  I'd rather the 'we are helping you' was obvious and the ad dollars went to something else.

Here's how I'm feeling.  I feel like when I'm in the car and the kids are in the back bickering.  When I see the tweets, when I see the posts and when I see article's and comment sections that have to do with anything political.  Bickering.  I want to say "if you kids don't start getting along your both going to walk- now grow up and get along".

Now, I have to make the swing from outside to inside- if this is bugging me it's not their deal (how I wish I could just make it their deal and continue with my rant!).  As within so without, as above so below, thank you Hermes.  I'm not responsible for the governments behavior- they haven't made me grand Mom yet (yet...).  I am responsible for my own peace of mind and I really don't want to go into today all fired up about something I can't control.

So, does smug and scorn and scoffity, scoff live in me...eek, think there may be shades of it right above.  My "I know" mind, based on a limited spectrum of knowledge is happy to defend herself.  She's a self righteous do gooder (if you are reading Circle of Trust she's the Rescuer).  On the other side is "who the hell do you think you are?" laid back and harumphing at my 'I'm so right'.

So, do I need a 'get along shirt?'

I am the Mom to me, and I do have Holy Spirit help (Jesus take the wheel!).  So if I want peace of mind, and I do, I need to let go, put down my defenses (I'm right and I'm wrong) and return to Grace. Trust myself, trust others and trust that bigger picture.

Everything is unfolding, my part to play will be obvious (blog away) and we are ultimately figuring it out.  Growing up happens, it's natural and requires gentle tending.  So I'm saying to those kids inside me, I hear you - you are better together - we are going to be okay.  As within, so without, let's see how this goes.

#donewiththedrama #circleoftrust

Monday, November 21, 2016

Do Be Do Be Do

I’m seeing some patterns here so let’s see if I can communicate this with some consistency and get your take on it.  You will need your microscope and your telescope for this one.  A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the “State of the Province Address I Wanted to See” and what I was trying to convey in that piece is that is not so much ‘who’ is governing but ‘how’ we are being governed that is frustrating me.  In the way that the Universe does I have since then had a lot of evidence that supports this.  Now I need to keep in mind that that’s how it works, you make a belief and then that’s what show’s up!  So let me preface by saying that this is a temporary viewpoint and a reflection of what I’m seeing right now on this ride we call life. 

In the last week I came across an author/teacher who is talking about us moving from ‘win-lose democracy’ to ‘cooperative’ democracy (here’s an adorable video of her here).  This is exactly what I was talking about.  Cooperative democracy- can we do that?   What does that even mean and what do we need to let go to let this grow? 

Well, we need to give up fighting for our side and move to communicating for our side.  So often we feel like the choice is fight or surrender, and in a win-lose situation I guess that’s the option.  In win-lose there is a loser, when there is a loser in society we all lose.  It creates an atmosphere of competition and fear that interferes with our caring and supportive nature. 
My opinion is that this is a societal maturation.  Win-Lose democracy was an expansion beyond autocracy and in the past 100 years we have been building a value around individualism and expression. 

I’m going to veer from the large picture here to the individual.  This win-lose democracy is also alive and well inside of me, a near constant election is happening about how I be or do.  Ultimately I believe there is only one choice- fear or love but I’m not always aware of that because fear is really good at keeping me busy with other choices that are actually choices between fear or fear (fight or flight?  Freeze?  Appease?), then busy assessing whether I made the right choice or not and finally busy meting out punishment and reward according to the assessment. 

To deal with this we’ve built up social mores and structure.  The simplest to understand is our structures around men and women.  This is how women are ______________.   This is how men are _____________.   This has made it easier to get along while we are all fighting the battle inside.  This external authority that was once a support to our peaceful coexistence no longer holds what we’ve grown into.  There was a time when men had complete control over the physical domain while women were charged with the emotional domain (obviously I’m oversimplifying all of this to make some point- there’s always exceptions!).  As women have moved into expressing themselves in the physical domain everyone has had to adjust!  The shift has happened and men are being expected to share the emotional load as women share the physical load, we are all becoming more whole as a result, more complex and more diverse as well- more of our True selves I hope, like snowflakes; each distinct.  While some may see that the world has ‘gone to hell in a handbasket’, what we are seeing is a natural growth and response to expanded awareness and ability.  Equality is the truth and no matter how hard we try to enforce unnatural laws, they are inherently unstable.  Just because we’ve told ourselves a story for a long time doesn’t make it true (men aren’t as sensitive, women are too emotional, men are better leaders, can you think of some more?). 

Back to the inner battle (are you still with me?), another way to talk about this is our inner masculine- simplified to doing and our inner feminine – simplified to being.  This do, be, do, be, do battle is happening, it’s what you catch in meditation and mindful activities.  In this we need to move from win-lose to cooperation- these are complementary activities.  We can do so much more when we attend to our being and we can be so much more when we also attend to the doing. 

Cooperation on the outside is going to require this inside cooperation, as Ghandi said, be the change.  Another way of saying this and another sign of societal maturity will be a move from the need for external authority to internal authority.  What a change if we could move our resources, both emotional and physical, from control (fear) to trust!  As one author says, if we could move from spending on weaponry to lifery.  So, bottom line, use the microscope- look inside sometimes so that you can see what’s going on in you, when you find that you can be at peace in you, well, then you can contribute to the peace in your home and beyond until peace is what we see in our telescope.  I can get really excited about that!  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Donald Trump is the President Elect of the United States.

Good Morning.  The world is a little rocked and a little shocked this morning.  Hilary Clinton with her years of experience, her buckets of money and a carefully detailed and executed plan - her mastery of control - has been defeated by something seemingly out of control.

If you are feeling the despair and hopelessness that many of my Facebook friends are feeling, if you are asking yourself "WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?" step back with me and let's take a magnified look.  

We all know somehow that going to counselling or getting coaching is helpful - so what keeps us from going?  Sometimes it's time and money but most often it's that little ridge, that little lip of straight up fear that keeps us complacent, good enough and looking the other way.  I feel that my role in coaching, counselling and in energy work is to simply hold your hand while you look at what you are afraid to look at.  My meditation or in sessions with healers, coaches and counsellors is where I do this work myself- where I look at the darkness, where I look at the shadow. 

In order to reach a goal you need to look at the reality.  It's like my Visa debt, I feel ashamed about it, I wish it wasn't there, so I will tend not to look at it, in not looking at it it lingers- and in fact like a mold- it grows.   The truth is- and I am purposely using a lower case truth because it's not ultimately the truth- but the truth of the current situation here on our Earth is that women, people of color and people of gender diversity are not on an equal playing field with white, heterosexual men.  The capital T Truth is that we are all equal, how could it be any other way?  Equal doesn't mean the same, but it does mean that shared power, value and belonging are a higher truth and more and more people are accepting this.  But not everybody.  

Equality requires trust and trust cannot coexist with fear, when we fear we disconnect.  The people who voted for Donald Trump are disenchanted with what government has become, it happened here in the province of Alberta.  Both elections prove a truth that's been forgotten, the power IS with the people- with people united.  Donald Trump found a group of people who no longer felt a belonging or connection to the status quo, he gave them a voice and he developed a healthy relationship with these people- they trust him and he trusted them- he didn't put near the money or door knockers out there, he asked them to vote and they did.  
Where Donald Trump does not have a healthy relationship is with the other half of the population.  The half of voters who were left in tears early this morning.  These people do not trust Donald Trump and as I saw in many Twitter posts they do not feel a belonging in a Donald Trump winning America.  This half see's a bully.  

The antidote to bully is free expression. Now that 1/2 the country were heard it is extremely important that the other 1/2 do not fall silent.  To be truly heard requires some Grace, some composure.  Donald Trump and his team need to hear about women's rights, the true story of being a minority or of gender diversity in the USA (and in the world!), they need to be communicated to in a way that their hearts cannot help but open.  Donald Trump is married to an immigrant and he has daughters, I'd bet anything that in that big family of his there is some gender diversity!!  

People are asking this morning "what do I tell my kids?", you tell your kids that voting matters, that everyone is equal - even if society doesn't demonstrate it- it was true when slavery existed and women were considered chattel and it's True now.  You impel them to be kind and to be patient with a maturing culture.  You implore them to feed love and not fear.  

Let's fearlessly look at our accounts, we DO NOT embrace all equally right now- maybe you do individually- but I have to say that even the most Mother Theresa of us have trouble with someone (Donald Trump for instance).  When we are afraid we go to bully or rescuer or victim.  When we trust we become care, support and free expression- these are the tools we need now.  Feeding the drama, feeding the fear and powerlessness is not a productive use of our breath here on earth.  This is the opposite of covering it up and pretending- that's what people have so strongly pushed against- I often talk about the blanket over the dog terd.  You can still smell it, you still know it's there.  The dog terd is in plain site this morning.  This is not a personal metaphor for Donald Trump - it's a metaphor for the hidden stinkiness- the obstacles to love that are in all of us.  People who do not support equality are afraid, they feel threatened.  Threatened people react from that part of our brain that doesn't think, it's fight or flight- what I'm suggesting is that we do not unite there!!! 

Threatened people react from that part of our brain that doesn't think, it's fight or flight- what I'm suggesting is that we do not unite there!!! 

Let's stay in harmony and invite them in, listen to one another, if you have information that might alleviate fear don't stuff it down someone else's throat- we need to regulate (get safe), relate (get to know them) and then reason!! Brain science is now showing it.  Using your own self awareness this is the time to resist the temptation to become aggressive or to collapse, this doesn't mean you don't feel those feelings- it means you use those feelings to construct rather than destruct, Donald Trump is not your authority- you are!  Take heart in trusting the big picture, equal power, equal value and equal belonging of all people on Earth is the Truth- it is our destination, we will get there, in order to do so it's good to orient to where we are, please turn your passion towards social emotional strength- I am holding your hand, we can do this.  


If you want to know more about the concepts in this blog post please consider buying (Amazon or me) or borrowing my new book 'Circle of Trust', the time for Healthy Relationships is upon us.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Blessed if I do. Blessed if I don't.

Blessed if you do, Blessed if you don’t?

How much of our precious time here do we spend ruminating on decisions  Should I do this or should I do that?  Is this the right thing or the wrong thing?  I don’t want to make a mistake. Even when we have made the choice and are active in doing what we decided the voice of doubt can be incessant. That voice can make even the simplest of jobs a grind.  I can't tell you how many times I've avoided certain jobs and realized that the only real difficulty in it is the rant inside "this isn't my job or why am I doing this or maybe I shoulda, coulda woulda!"  

It's hard enough when you are in normal everyday life, when you start down the spiritual path you add another slate of questions “how do I know if this is spirit or if it is ego?” and there are lots of answers for this (one is loud, one is quiet- how it feels, etc.) but what if it doesn’t really matter?

What if we are blessed if we do, blessed if you don't? This picture is a postcard that we keep on our dresser.

I have a tendency to set the GPS in my car and then just ignore it, it adjusts.  What if our way to Joy is already set in our GPS, we are inevitably on our way and every time we take a turn it simply re-calibrates the route?

It makes me think of the artist Bob Ross and his 'happy accidents' - many a time when I am so called lost, or off track do I find a really cool store, or meet someone or come upon the magic unexpected pieces of life.  

A statement that has been very supportive to me, I probably read it on a Facebook poster, has been "why do we assume that what's best for us is not what's best for everyone?"

I know that I certainly have held that belief, a hidden assumption that there is some kind of sacrifice involved.  If I choose to do something I want I will either have to pay for it in some way or it will inconvenience or require sacrifice of someone else.  No wonder decisions are so very hard- choosing your own heart or someone else's is not a good feeling choice at all!!  

What if this entire assumption (damned if you do, damned if you don't) is upside down?  And so well held that we see things through this lens.  Beliefs are like colored glasses.  

I am a scientist at heart, so I just suggest that you try it on, do a little experiment, for a day or an hour.  What if every decision were blessed if you do, blessed if you don't.  Some may be more roundabout, but a tour of the countryside can yield new experience.  The other thing I like to think of are video games, in the seeking games you cannot progress unless you have right jewels or tools to advance.  Think about how much more you could do if instead of paralyzed by indecision you were moving!  With that said there is no need to move at all- it's not about doing more, more, more, I think we've pretty much maxed out on that.  I've retired my superhero cape!  The decision to do nothing at all - also blessed, you don't have to buy it yet- just imagine if that were true.  I hear the arguments start right away in my head at that statement, our culture is heavily invested in the value of doing.  

With that said, I believe I will start now, start with the doing nothing.  

Blessed if I do, Blessed if I don't.  Have a great day. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

The State of the Province Speech I wanted to hear...

The State of the Province speech I wanted to hear…

Over the years I’ve been mystified (read judgmental) over the speeches that politicians make.  I KNOW the amount they are paying communications teams.  I just finished listening to Rachel Notley’s and, while I do appreciate her public service and the inherent difficulty of leading at this time- well, I had just hoped for something different.  In hindsight I can see that this was a blind hope- in no way is Rachel Notley governing differently than she said she would, in no way is she wavering from her values and ideals.  What I’m disappointed about is our system of governance, party politics (dogma) and us vs. them would not be seen as the best way to steer (as the word govern originates from) anything.  We are mid sea alternating between one shore and another- inevitably never getting anywhere. 

This would not be a problem if there were no passengers aboard- but there are- a whole province full.  A whole province full of beings with the same needs but different levels of these needs being met.  We all need food, water, shelter, relationships and the ability to express in some way.
Here’s where I think the party system fails us- the actions of our governance is focused on the goal of re-election and this is where the energy on all sides is focused.   The job at hand however is care and support of the people.
So, with that background, here’s what I would have liked to hear today.

Good Afternoon Fellow Albertans,

I’m here today to comment on the state of Alberta, I recognize that each and every one of you have a view on what this is from where you sit.  After years of prosperity and enjoying the Alberta Advantage we are in a different reality right now.  Many of you who enjoyed that advantage are now facing drastic changes and I recognize that the change in government a year ago was a shock and to many of you has been an aggravation.
Our priorities as the NDP party are different than our longstanding predeccesors but our commitment to the goal of prosperity for all Albertans is not.  The ultimate goal of all parties is a thriving economy and quality of life for the people of this province.  With the great privilege of leadership comes the responsibility to make decisions that matter to people.  Equality in this is crucial, for too long this has been a choice of supporting the rich or supporting the poor.  Well, this is no choice at all, when you don’t support the rich you lose jobs, when you don’t support the poor you cost the system more money.  While this is incredibly simplified I want you to hear that in order for Alberta to succeed our people need to be supported, our people need to be cared for, we as a governing body- both those of us in leadership and those in the opposition must have one goal and that is creating an environment in Alberta where people are able to express the wealth of personal contribution that they inherently possess. 
Today’s message must be one of looking forward, blaming anyone for where we are now is not a good use of our energy.  What we can do with that past information though and from what we have learned in the past year governing this province is to get creative.  We as a province are used to doing things different, the maverick and independence that Albertans show again and again needs to be harnessed – but not restricted.  Listening is crucial, listening to Albertans, and you have already spoken, we don’t need to spend another dollar on engagement, particularly if we are going to stick with dogmatic politics. 
I’m calling on ourselves as the sitting party and our complement- yes, I’m going to change the name of opposition to complement, to sit down with our viewpoints, sit down with the voices of Albertans that we’ve already heard and actually do the hard work of making a plan for our economy AND our social responsibility.  A plan that is not a compromise, that is not a half way, a plan that refuses to sacrifice a perspective but an innovation- a world leader.  Let’s stop talking about collaboration, stop talking about innovation and stop talking about leadership and let’s do the collaborative, innovative, leading job of actually putting it in play. 
This will take a new approach, an approach that honors the diversity of Alberta – although a new idea in government this is not innovative in the realm of successful leadership and successful marriage.  These alliances, which serve the greater good and those they are responsible for, are most successful when they have shared vision, communication, respect, chore sharing and the ability to rebuild – we are not currently demonstrating these qualities as a government.  There is no blame in that though as party politics have always led to a winning and an opposing view – who could run a marriage or a business in this way?
The state of the province is in flux, we are having to face a movement away from relying on the instability of the energy market, our success depends on how we approach this.   The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them, as businessman James Cash Penney said Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.  In Alberta we have a lot of forces.  We have our conservative, liberal and new democratic views, we have our new immigrants and our first peoples and everyone in between, we are a colorful unit.
Perhaps this sounds too soft, too airy-fairy, but to work together is harder and more courageous than to continue tearing one another down.  My commitment as leader is to convene a Way Forward movement.  In the interest of stability we will continue on with the plans that this government and the previous government have set in motion and that are already being managed by our valuable civil service and we will also meet in a new way as a group of elected officials- as true representatives of our constituents- and we will evolve our conversations to look for the Alberta win-win. 

Finally, I cannot report on the status of Alberta without talking about our assets.  Our province is rich in natural resources, we are wealthy in beautiful spaces, we are abundant in technological prowess and we have the fortune of a people who come together when times are hard, people who stand up for what they believe in, people who take responsibility for their own chunk of this province and a people who care about one another.  As a government we must demonstrate our worthiness to care take such treasures.  I am asking you for your trust in this way forward and that you will continue to use your voice to keep us accountable to all perspectives.  Thank You.  

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Life is fun.

It's been an emotional week.

My daughter Paige's graduation ceremony exposed a hidden memory.  A thought that had been carefully wrapped in the mind for just this moment.  I woke up Thursday morning with a feeling that I don't have a name for.  It was the same feeling that I had when we dropped Jake at University in the fall, a cocktail of pride and gratitude, bittersweet with a dash of loss.

As I sat in this and the tears rose up ( and continue to rise up every time I go there, like right now for instance) I remembered being 28 and in the hospital that first night that I was ordered to be admitted.  Laying there away from my babies I was stricken at the thought of not seeing them graduate.  I was not scared of cancer but I was very afraid of missing their landmarks.

Now I'm here.  Is this exaltation? It's definitely an octave above gratitude.  I'm glad that I'm alive.  I'm glad that I have seen Jake and Paige graduate, and at the time of that great fear had no inkling that another person would be joining our family.

I'm going to switch gears here a second.  My cousin-friend-sister-mighty companion Jodi and I have been talking a lot about fun.  When I looked up fun (for someone who from day one wanted to know everything Google is the greatest gift) it is described as the interface, or the perfect combination of the expected and novelty.  Of the known, some safety, and the unknown- a sparkle of surprise.  Too much unknown and it gets scary, too much known and it's boring.  Unless we've limited ourselves completely life is seldom boring, often scary, and there is a perspective that offers another option.

This is where the search has brought me.  Life is fun.  Spiritually I'm sitting in a place of knowing that we are eternal beings, we are energy and cannot be created nor destroyed.  This eternal being is completely free and unconditionally loved.  This is the known.  Add in the unknown, this created, temporary condition called being human and you find the overlay that adds fun.  Does this mean spiritual being alone is not fun, well, it would be beyond fun- but we are not there right now, we are here.  Here at the amusement park, strapped in safely on the roller coaster.

What I'm liking about 45 is having the awareness that after every drop there is a rise.  I can't tell you how many times in the past few weeks I've said "we could have relaxed if we'd had a crystal ball", My cancer, my sister in laws infertility, even the losses that we thought someone could never recover from tend to rise to unexpected and joyful places.  If only I could trust that it would all work out.  From here it's getting easier, and supported by faith that in the end it is all truly well allows for a safe dance floor to swing about with the unknown.

The mantra that's been coming has been 'you are taken care of'.  Comforting, it's allowing me to slow down, allowing me to play.

Maybe I am graduating too.

With Love,

Read Full Cancer Story
Coming soon:  The Circle of Trust :  a way to healthy relationships