Category Archives: Lessons learned

Facing off with fear

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A tale of floods and tornado warnings

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Metamorphosis and goodbye CS8904

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Happy without a plan

out of controlMay something good happen to you today that you didn’t plan. That’s what I saw written on a sign in front of a building as my daughter, grand-daughter and I walked along Bank Street in Ottawa a few days ago.  It was one of those ‘ah ha’ moments for me.  Something about that sign kept drawing me back and so we drove by it again today as we were heading for the airport for my flight back to Ottawa.  It wasn’t the wish for something good to happen today; that kind of sentiment is generic and pretty much always there.  It was the ‘that the you didn’t plan’ part that really caught my eye … and my heart. Continue reading

Retiring my kayak … again … with optimism in my heart

Here it is October 1st.  In one month I will have been retired for a whole year.  Holy crow!!!  Soon it will be time for me to reflect on this first year “beyond work” … but not quite yet.  What’s very exciting is that by the time I enter year two of retirement I will have not one website  (www.sylviabereskin.com), but two.  wkshp_calling_card (2)Next week we’re going to be launching a For The First Time website that will focus on women and retirement.   For only the second time in the past 18 months that means I’ll be missing a posting; we’ll be “in process” next Monday so my next posting will be next Thursday.  You’ll be automatically directed to the new site when you check the blog.  Here’s hoping it will all go smoothly!

Meanwhile, as sad as it makes me, I think I might just be finished kayaking for another season.  There’s nothing that I do in the fall/winter courses_meditation_mindfulness_retreatmonths that gives me the same sense of peace and the same opportunity to think deeply as paddling along a river.  Often when I’m paddling I meditate.  That means that I’m trying to stay aware of just the very moment that I’m in; the feeling of the air, the sound of the paddles in the water, the motion of  my arms moving back and forth, up and down.  Nonetheless, other thoughts do pop into my mind (the point in the approach to meditation that I use is not to empty my mind but just to acknowledge the kinds of thoughts that pop up and then go back to the moment).  So what slides into my awareness as my kayak slides along the surface of the river? Continue reading

Thank you President Obama and President Clinton

Sometimes, living in Canada, it’s just veryUS icon very hard to figure out what goes on south of our border.  I’ve been feeling that way quite a lot lately and it’s truly mystifying … and distressing.  True, I’m not an American although I’ve spent a part of my life living in the US and, since my sister and her family live in California, and Santa Fe, NM is one of my favorite places, I spend a lot of time south of the 49th parallel.  So why am I spending so much time thinking about this?  Because, in the end, I’m pretty sure there’s something I can learn by figuring out what’s going on in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  And in that quest for understanding I want to pause and thank President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama for the light they’ve recently shed on this confusion and for how they’ve both helped me deepen my understanding of what life’s all about. Continue reading

Feedback: Breakfast of Champions

feedbackKen Blanchard, one of the most influential leadership experts in the world, said that “feedback is the breakfast of champions”.  Not Wheaties; feedback.  I’ve been thinking a lot about feedback lately because it’s one of the things that I don’t get nearly as often now that I’ve retired as I used to get when I worked.  I know that this is an issue for me because I’ve noticed my response when I check the blog (several times a day) to see how many people have been reading it.  That’s not all though.  When somebody makes a comment a little red flag goes up on my screen and a great big smile crosses my face.  Until I read the paper this morning I’d just attributed this to some insecurity; without feedback of the sort I used to get these are the ways in which my work is “approved” these days.  Okay, you’re right … lots of issues embedded here. Continue reading