Connecting The Dots

Discussing the threads of my own passions which have culminated in my work as coach, mentor, presenter in my own business.

Our big old country

Mary Johnson - Sunday, August 26, 2018

I am sitting here in Pukaskwa National Park on Lake Superior. It’s a thick forested oasis of quiet and nature. 7 days ago Neil and I, along with dear friends, left on an adventure we have talked about for 40 years. It’s a multi week, cross Canada trip to the Maritimes. We are pulling the trailer. Yup I am doing some of driving! The days have been steady movement across this big old land. Parkland, vast prairie, no fences all the way to the horizon, full of grain that feeds us and the world, the Canadian Shield with it’s ancient rocks and dense forests. It’s only been 7 days as I said and it feels so very much longer. 

You can’t drive mile after mile and not have it affect how you engage with time. It stretches before you like the land itself and you begin to move in a less structured rhythm. Yes you want to be places but if it’s today or tomorrow it really doesn’t matter. You are invited into Kairos vs Kronos time. Something with more ebb and flow and a spaciousness. Less linear and relentless. Your breathing eases and your belly relaxes.

On our daily evening walks, as we shake off the effects of long hours in the car, we have  wondered what it must have been like for the early settlers, to have come from so far traveling very much slower than we, to wonder if they would ever arrive at their destination. What courage it must have taken to leave everything and everyone one you knew behind for what you hope is a better chance for you and your children. Women in particular must have endured great loneliness being away from sisters and friends and miles from neighbours.

Something else has made itself known in this space we are enjoying. A habit of thinking we have caught ourselves in. It’s looking at the newness before us and relating it back to something familiar. ‘Oh this is just like ______.’ There is always something we are reminded of. I have been gentle calling my friends and myself out. This is new. To see it with it’s own beauty and characteristics. Not to shape it into our familiar. Isn’t that why, or one of the reasons why we set upon this adventure? To see new. Not more of what we have already experienced. It’s not easy. Unfamiliar is uncomfortable. It’s hard to be uncomfortable. 

The rain is dancing on the roof. There are no other real noises out there. It’s like a lullaby calling me to rest.

I think I will.

10 years

Mary Johnson - Thursday, August 16, 2018

July came and went in a flurry of activity. Summer months seem to go by faster than say, November! It was just yesterday that I realized it was 10 years ago in July I headed out on my own. Left the comfy nest of a corporate position to fly solo. Most years I have remembered but not this year. In the corporate environment there is usually some sort of prize for hanging out that long. It's a bigger deal these days as churn is encouraged in many businesses. 10 years is a milestone. 

So it's easy, being on ones own, to have an anniversary simply pass. No one comes up and congratulates you. There is no cake or coffee with colleagues. You really need to create your own celebration. Well I am passing on cake (well most days!), I'd like to recount what the last ten years as been for me.

~ In 2008 it was a now or never proposition. My work had ended and other opportunities offered at my workplace did not appeal. Had always entertained the idea of being my own boss. Now was the time.  

~ 2008 was the huge downturn. This required me to really have to put myself out there in ways new to me. I relished it often and actually had some fun as well!

~ With my husband working long shifts up north, I was required to find a new rhythm to my life at home as well. And I did!

~ Wonderful colleagues supported me personally and with work. Grateful, grateful to you all!!

~ I developed some darn good material of my own. Was successful in facilitating it in business.

~ As I experienced shifts I saw in workplaces and within myself, a reinvention or two took place. That kept things interesting for me.

~ I have been a regular blogger averaging a blog every couple to three times a month in excess of 10 years. I'm proud of this. 

~ I have let go of work I felt I 'should' do and have gravitated towards work I like to do. This has been a harder process than I would have thought.

~ And I am, to quote my friend Carol, gliding ever so delightfully towards 'retirement'.

~ In these past ten years I have continued to grow professionally and certainly personally. It's been a real adventure! 

So I bow to what this past 10 years has afforded me and to all of you who have been so incredibly generous with time, support and your love. Thank you! 


It's taken time

Mary Johnson - Thursday, August 09, 2018

Got together will a woman I used to work with. Over the (10) years since we both left the place where we worked, we have maintained a regular coffee schedule and developed a wonderful friendship. It's always enlightening to periodically give pause and consider where you have come from. Today's conversation was one of those times, ......

We were talking about my upcoming workshop series (Offerings) which looks at the personal transition side of being 60 - 65+. The last 30 years of your life come with some angst as well as much freedom. Though it takes awhile to come around to that. Loy told me about a meeting she recently had with a woman approximately 9 years younger than her. This woman was all over the map in terms of what will she do, how will she manage, was retirement the right decision. Not because she was a flighty individual but because as work recedes we have no real idea what this time brings. The biggest question at the root of it all is 'Who Am I Now?' We rush to fill the space left by the route of work because sitting for a time empty scares the crap out of us! We feel the deep need to describe ourselves as a something or still doing. I am still coaching, working part time, volunteer _ days/week, look after my grandkids, have taken up pickle ball, etc etc When we make these statements to others the "I" is still attached to a recognizable something. The "I" still exists.

Loy saw this process happening with her friend. She reflected that this was what she too did when she was at this gal's age/ stage. Didn't see herself as 'wandering the desert'. That's something you don't want to even consider, .... that you are really for a time lost. We laughed. I remember our visits from back then. It was not an easy few years. One is truly in the grip of the bottom of the change curve solidly in 'chaos'. It can suck! :) 

My good friend though actively engaged this time. Fast forward 7 years down the road. There is a deep contentedness with her life. She's does the things that genuinely suit her. Is able to say 'no' to the asks that don't suit. She's comfy with who she is now and in her skin. It's taken time, .... but then doesn't it usually?  

Bravo Loy!