|Posted on 1 February, 2019 at 16:45|
“Kissing is a means of getting two people so close together that they can’t see anything wrong with each other.” – Ren Yasenek
February is heart month. When I think of the heart, I think of love. Yes, I know it is a muscle. Yes, I know it needs to keep beating and pumping blood for me to stay alive. But maybe it’s our love muscle. Maybe our ability to give and receive love determines the condition of our heart muscle. And if so, judging from the high rate of heart disease, it seems to me that we aren’t taking very good care of this most necessary of body parts. However, I don’t want to write about the body. The message I do want to convey is the importance of love – of others and of the self.
As a marriage commissioner I see love at its best. Young couples swooning over each other. Middle-aged couples excited about their wedding preparations. Older couples happy to have found a companion. Yet I once saw a billboard that read, “Great wedding. Now invite me to the marriage.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m in love with love. It is truly a splendiferous thing. I cry at romantic movies. I believe in marriage. But somewhere along the line, between the first date and the double-digit anniversary, we often go astray. Or maybe we don’t even get to the starting gate. Why? Too often, I think, it's because we search for love in all the wrong places. What are the wrong places? Anywhere outside of yourself is the wrong place.
We look for evidence that someone loves us without giving any consideration to the fact that, first and foremost, we need to love ourselves. I’m not saying we should be islands or that we should be totally independent. I don’t think being either of those is a recipe for a healthy, balanced life. What I am saying is that we are the only person capable of fulfilling all of our needs all of the time. We are the only person that always (hopefully!) has our best interests at heart. We are the only person who knows exactly where to scratch our every itch.
Now I don’t know about you, but I certainly wasn’t taught the value of loving myself in my first family. I wasn’t taught this in school. When I was growing up there were no self-help books to assist me. No, I learned the hard way. I learned to look after myself by first looking after everyone else but myself. Somewhere in that huge contrast of overly caring for others and totally ignoring myself, I found my way. Actually, I’m still finding it. I’m a work in progress, just like everyone else. But I have learned some things.
I’ve learned that it is better to say no sometimes and risk ticking others off than it is to do something with absolute resentment. I’ve learned that I feel better when I focus most of my attention on what brings me the most joy rather than focusing on what others do that I don’t like. I’ve learned that it is far better to honestly say what I want and need rather than attempt to control, manipulate or guilt others into meeting my needs. I’ve learned that somehow, when I speak my truth and then relax and allow, my good comes to me in ways I often find truly amazing. As I’ve learned these things, I have been able to open my heart to giving and receiving in far healthier ways.
So, I’d like to wish you a happy heart month, a happy Valentine’s Day and a happy Random Acts of Kindness Week. Just remember to take care of your heart. Romance yourself and be kind to yourself – every day. And always keep in mind these comical but wise words of Fred Allan: “The last time I saw him he was walking down Lover’s Lane, holding his own hand.”
Copyright 2006 © Julie Tkachuk (published in The St. Albert Gazette on February 15, 2006)
|Posted on 17 January, 2019 at 10:20|
Quite some time ago I purchased a small gift for a friend. It was something I also wanted and had thought of keeping for myself. But this friend and I were meeting for coffee and I decided I wanted her to have it. I was excited about giving it to her because I knew it was something she wanted. She was very happy to receive the gift and we both laughed loud and hard as she immediately handed me a box that contained the very same gift. Our small but meaningful gifts to each other were the “easy” buttons produced by Staples. Press the large red button and a man’s voice says, “That was easy.”
The two of us often discuss the difference in our results when we do one of two things: 1) attempt to control something into being, or 2) allow events to occur in their own manner and time. Having spent many of our earlier years trying to push people and circumstances into place, we have become committed to letting events unfold easily. I must admit that I am not 100 per cent successful at this yet, but I have certainly come a long, long way. I used to get upset when plans got cancelled, contracts were postponed, or people didn’t do what they said they’d do. Now I understand these things occur because something is not right, ready, or a fit for me. Here’s a recent example.
A cousin of mine and I had agreed to meet in Calgary. A few days of R&R felt like just what we both needed, and I was quite looking forward to the trip. But when my cousin and I spoke again, I found out that the relatives whose home we were going to stay at were experiencing some marital difficulties. My immediate response was that the last thing they needed was company. Shortly afterwards I realized a greater truth: the last thing “I” needed was to be someplace where the energy was full of tension and stress. Instead of calling and cancelling my plans, however, I decided to relax and allow. Lo and behold, the night before I was to leave for Calgary, a storm blew in and created poor highway driving conditions. The solution presented itself. I called my cousin and we postponed our trip.
Time and time again, synchronicities like this have occurred when I have taken my hands off the wheel of my life. There truly is a natural order of events and when I surrender to the Power greater than myself, things I experience and receive are far better than anything I could have controlled, manipulated or forced into being. I have a quote on a sticky note that I carry forward each week in my appointment book. It comes from the Abraham-Hicks material and it reads, “When you give up trying to control conditions and you instead just go with the flow of what feels best to you, then the conditions take care of themselves.” And they do, with absolute ease.
Now I’m not saying that we don’t take action and move forward. What I am saying is that we do so when it feels right and that when things aren’t working with ease and harmony, we step back and re-evaluate our actions and plans. I know for myself that each time I have so desperately wanted something to work and have pushed and contrived to make it so, both the experience and I have gone “splat.” Which reminds me of a quote from Isaac Newton: “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.” To me, that means whatever I am pushing for will push back just as hard. Like when I pushed for my children to behave a certain way, they pushed against my expectations with an equal or greater will. And when I relaxed, they did too. Be easy on others. Be easy on yourself. Relax and allow the people, places and things that you want to come to you.
After our gift exchange, my “easy” button friend and I commented on how, when we unconditionally gave away that which we ourselves wanted, we both received what we wanted. So freely give away what you want. Give friendship. Give love. Give time. Give money. Before long, you will hear yourself saying, “That was easy!”
Copyright © 2007 Julie Tkachuk (published in The St. Albert Gazette February 17, 2007)
|Posted on 20 November, 2018 at 17:10|
The things we receive often come to us in ways that boggle the mind. Miracles we call them, occurrences that have no logical explanation, events that contradict all known laws. Yet Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, published in 1984, defined miracles as, “A divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law.” To think that miracles only take place occasionally is a mistake. Miracles are a natural phenomenon and they happen all the time.
Individuals often share with me stories of synchronistic events that occurred in their lives. One of the most wonderful I have heard was from a man who was doing some plumbing repairs in his home. When he discovered that he needed a new part, a specific O-ring to be exact, he made a few phone calls. He lives in a remote community and quickly discovered that the O-ring was not available anywhere locally and would have to be ordered. There was nothing he could immediately do about the repairs, so he decided to go fishing. While out on the lake in his boat he caught a rather large fish that he brought home. While he was cleaning and gutting the fish, he felt something hard inside its intestinal tract. When he cut it open, what he found was the exact O-ring he needed.
Chance? Coincidence? I don’t think so. The odds of that specific O-ring being found in that particular fish’s stomach was, quite simply, a miracle. I have told this story to others and some of them say it’s fabricated. However, I have seen, and experienced first-hand, far too many miraculous events to agree. I absolutely know that miracles are everyday occurrences.
Trish, the sister of a close friend, was diagnosed with cancer and the prognosis was not good. After a large tumor was removed, she underwent a round of radiation treatments followed by a half-day operation to reconstruct her face. Her doctor did not offer much hope and didn't feel the cancer hadn’t been completely removed. Yet my friend and her family continued to ask for prayers of healing from around the world. Then, just before she was scheduled to go for the next series of radiation treatments, Trish went for tests. When the doctor phoned her he said, “I’ve never made a call like this in my life. You are cancer-free. Carry on with your life.”
There are “large” miracles and there are miracles that we take for granted. Events such as the birth of a child, a breathtaking sunrise or the blossoming of a flower are no less miracles than those seemingly larger demonstrations. Furthermore, when we consider the things we don’t even think about such as the astonishing number of functions performed with precision every day by our very own bodies, we can see that we truly are surrounded by and immersed in miracles all the time.
What about the times when everything looks like it’s going wrong? Where are the miracles then? Over the course of my life so far, my knees have hit the floor many times. Yet today, when I look back, I can see that everything that has happened occurred for my highest good and my personal growth. My mother’s unavailability due to her experience with multiple sclerosis made me strong and independent. Had I not overcome my fear of public speaking decades ago I would not have developed the self-confidence to do the work I do. Overall, I have learned to trust that there is a higher order of events that transpires and that even when it looks like all is lost, it isn’t.
Begin to look at things from a higher perspective and a grander vision. Start to see each day, each opportunity, each experience and each event as the miracle that it is.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.” – Albert Einstein
Copyright © 2004 Julie Tkachuk (published in The St. Albert Gazette January 17, 2004)
|Posted on 18 November, 2018 at 13:25|
When you want to know how much money you have, what do you do … look in your wallet, check your bank balance, or make a list of your assets? Since we live in a world where most of us gauge the level of our prosperity by what we have right now, those would be the most likely responses. But what if you looked instead to the invisible supply? What if you shifted your perception about money and could see that its supply is unlimited?
If you look at the world around you, you will see that there really is an abundance of money. All that you want to happen is that more of it comes to you for your own personal use. And it will not do that if you have limited beliefs about money such as “it’s hard to come by” or “I never get ahead.” Start paying attention to the things you say about money. If you hear yourself speaking limiting phrases about your finances, immediately change them and affirm “money comes to me freely and easily” or “my financial prosperity increases each and every day.”
So where will your additional money come from? If your first thought is for your boss to give you a raise, think again. While you may get an increase in salary, try thinking on a grander scale. Expand your horizons about where money can and does come from. Open yourself up to different avenues of income. Then watch for new opportunities and be prepared to act on them when they arise. A promising investment may present itself or you could be offered a lucrative part-time job.
Not only watch for new opportunities but also create new avenues of income for yourself. Even if you work “for” a company, the truth is that you are selling your services to the marketplace. That means you are an entrepreneur. So, if you want to receive more money, look within yourself instead of outside yourself. Your net worth has far less to do with your current salary or your tangible assets than it does with the combination of your skills, talents, experience and passions.
The work from which you will profit the most is the work you are most passionate about. Ultimately, the amount of your wealth is related to the amount of time you spend doing what you are brilliant at. So, do what you do best?
Do not concern yourself with what others are doing, or how they are doing it. Comparing yourself to others or copying what they do will not create success. Focus on what you do brilliantly, and you will immediately feel more energized and fulfilled.
Next, define what the term “wealthy” means to you. To one person it may mean living in a large house and having a gardener and a chauffeur. To another it may mean living simply, off the grid, with few possessions and responsibilities. Make sure, however, that you are willing to accept the consequences of your version of wealth. If wealthy means being able to stay home to raise your children, the consequence may be giving up a second family income and possibly doing without a new car every two years. Conversely if wealthy means earning a six or seven-figure income, becoming the CEO of a large corporation would likely result in a substantial increase in responsibilities. Basically, there is no one definition that is right or wrong. Just make sure that you choose what is “right” for you.
Keep in mind that if you want to receive more money, you may have to give more. Allow your dollars and good to circulate. Do more than is expected of you at your current job. Loosen up your purse strings and spend more freely (but not to the point of being reckless). If you hoard your money, count every penny you spend, or worry every time an unexpected expense comes up, your consciousness is one of “there’s not enough.” And that mindset is sure to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Know that new ideas create new avenues of income. Remember that the supply of money is unlimited. Claim a greater income for yourself and allow it to come from both expected and unexpected sources.
Finally, because what you focus on expands, focus on what you do have. Focusing on and worrying about rising costs will not help you prosper. Wallace D. Wattles wisely wrote, “Things are not brought into being by thinking about their opposites. …And no one ever got rich by studying poverty and thinking about poverty.” So, spend your time focusing on increasing your income and looking at the good you are receiving. Instead of complaining about your lack of money, upgrade your skills, have a garage sale, give thanks for the lunch a friend buys you and appreciate the unexpected refunds or gifts you receive.
Ultimately the only obstacle to your richer life is you. So, get your negative ideas and your belief in lack out of the way. Decide that you are willing to experience something greater. Stop trying to control how and when money will come. Watch for new ideas and opportunities and allow more abundant good that you could ever imagine to flow into your life.
Copyright © 2005 Julie Tkachuk (Published in The St. Albert Gazette October 11, 2005)
|Posted on 13 November, 2018 at 14:15|
As I walked down a street in my middle-class neighborhood one sunny afternoon, a woman approached me and said, “Could you give me 35 cents for a phone call? My husband beat me up and I’ve been stranded here all morning.” As I reached for my wallet, I noticed something white on her finger. When I asked what was wrong with it, she replied, “It’s broken.” The “something white” was her knucklebone protruding through her skin.
Another woman who was a friend of mine many years ago was standing at her bank withdrawing cash from an ATM one evening. As she began to press the buttons, she heard someone else enter the lobby. A rather large man had come in and he stood so close to her that she could feel his breath on her neck. She turned around, look directly into his eyes and assertively stated, “You’re in my space!” The man backed off immediately.
Both women are just over five feet tall. Both are in their mid to late 40s. So why is there such a remarkable difference in their experiences? The answer: personal power.
Power is not something outside of us. It is not something we get from “out there.” It does not come from our job titles, our bank balances or our positions in society. It is something we develop, and it can only be found within.
It took me many years to feel powerful. My role models were women who were locked in the stereotype of dependent homemaker. And women were not alone in the prison of stereotypes. For generations men were saddled with total responsibility for their family’s financial wellbeing.
I am thankful that today we all have the opportunity to move beyond the stereotypes of the past. Women are now assuming managerial positions, more men are stepping into the role of primary caregiver, etc. … and everybody wins. Never before have we had opportunities like we do today. Yet because we still have a long way to go, the following are some ideas to assist you in developing even greater personal power.
Be Accountable – The power you have to create a fulfilling, authentic and empowered life lies in your ability to control your own thoughts and emotions, no matter what is happening around you. Being powerful means responding to events, not reacting. So instead of looking at your current experiences and feeling like you have no power to change anything, begin to look at your life from a more positive, proactive approach.
Live Authentically – To live authentically means to be you, right down to your toenails. Value yourself exactly as you are while still being willing to grow and learn. Be clear about what you desire and live your own truth. Take the time to determine what is important to you, discover what your dreams are and then do what it takes to make them a reality.
Take Action – When we want something, we tend to either wait for it to show up at our door or we go out and attempt to hammer it into place. While the latter does make things happen, it is best to decide what it is you want, watch for opportunities and then take inspired action. When opportunities present themselves, consider them carefully. Just because something stumbles across your path does not mean it’s right for you or even good for you. Be discerning and above all, listen to your intuition.
Be Loving – When you are empowered, you are not afraid to love others. Since our sense of power and our ability to speak up are interconnected, loving powerfully involves being vulnerable and communicating honestly and openly. Communication is an intricate process of being able to listen and being understood. Work at developing both.
Father Leo Booth said, “We associate spirit with positive and creative energy. This energy gives us the power to live, work and create. Spiritual people are positive and creative human beings. They know, deep inside themselves, that they have the power to create the difference in their lives. They have looked within and found what can be called their 'yes' to life, and this 'yes' shines forth in their attitudes and actions.”
Let this positive and creative energy flow through you and say yes to life by living more powerfully each day.
Copyright © 2003 Julie Tkachuk (Published in The St. Albert Gazette June 7, 2003)