West Kildonan community correspondent
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/
Recent articles by Hadass Eviatar
Just because it’s scary …3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022
A couple of weeks ago, the springlike temperatures we have been enjoying plummeted back to about -12 C, and a nasty wind sprang up. I looked out my kitchen window at the swaying trees, listened to the howl, and debated whether to run outside or go and run on my basement treadmill, as I had when it was -35 C. I even asked my social media friends what they recommended. Amusingly, locals told me to go out and run outside, while people from warm climates voted for the basement. It’s all in the perception, right?
Eventually, I pulled up my big-kid panties, put on my warm coat and scarf and went outside. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had thought it would be, especially since I had thought nothing of running in -20 C during the actual winter. By the time I got home, I was carrying both the coat and the scarf, and I couldn’t help laughing at my little whine-fest earlier in the morning.
My friend Jeanie, who is also a life coach, pointed out to me that there was a lesson to be learned here. How many times do we look at something, decide it’s too scary, and then don’t even try? Or maybe, like me, we decide to be brave and do it anyway, and it turns out to be nowhere near as bad as we thought. I’m sure that has happened to you many times, as it has to me.
I find this is particularly true when heading to the dentist or preparing to undergo a medical procedure, or any other situation where discomfort is likely or even just possible. The anticipation is almost always the worst part. Why do our brains insist on imagining the worst when it’s not likely to happen, and usually doesn’t? I suppose this tendency was helpful when we needed to look out for sabre-tooth tigers, but now — not so much. It’s important to remember that our brains like to do this, so we can push past the fear when it’s really not justified.
How lucky are you?3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2022
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I like to listen to audiobooks while running, and then share what I learned with you. I’m currently listening to a couple of books by Denise Duffield-Thomas — she’s an Australian wife, mother and entrepreneur, and her brand is Lucky B (yes, the B stands for what you think it does — she’s Australian, after all).
Denise and her husband, Mark, recently enjoyed a six-month all-expenses-paid around-the-world vacation, staying in luxury hotels and writing reviews of their amenities for a honeymoon company. She wrote a book explaining how they won this competition — what, after all, is luck?
Denise quotes the Roman philosopher Seneca, who said that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Denise and Mark were extremely prepared and worked very hard — not only in their actions, but also on their mindset and belief. As Ray Higdon says: “Why not you?”
However, most of us assume good things will not happen to us, and that we will not be lucky. Why is this?
The day I ditched the heels3 minute read Preview Friday, Dec. 17, 2021
It’s been a long pandemic, and I believe that between March 2020 and the beginning of November 2021, when my synagogue began cautious in-person services again on Saturday mornings, I had worn my high heels maybe once or twice. Not a lot of occasions to get dressed up, alas.
If you’ve never seen me in person, I’m short. So it’s not surprising that high-heeled shoes have been part of my outfit for many years, although thankfully never on a daily basis. I thought they were fun and pretty, made my legs look sexier, made me look taller and more imposing, etc. I wore them on any occasion that called for a nice dress. My feet hurt afterwards but, after all, we must “suffer to be beautiful”, right? That’s just how it is.
Like all of us, I’ve been on a journey for the past couple of years, and have been giving a lot of thought to the weighty questions of who I am and what I want to achieve in this world. With my 60th birthday fast approaching, the truth is I probably have less time ahead of me than behind me.
With this in mind, I have been choosing to abandon behaviours and choices that don’t bring me joy, to quote the great Marie Kondo.
Are you a catastrophizer?2 minute read Preview Friday, Sep. 3, 2021
Are you the kind of person who goes from “it’s getting late and the person hasn’t called” to looking up hospitals online, in the blink of an eye?
Do you think you might not have done well on an exam, and conclude that you will never get a job and will end up living under a bridge?
Do you assume that every medical test is going to show life-threatening results?
This kind of thinking is called catastrophizing, and it is often associated with anxiety or depression, and sometimes with chronic pain as well. It can be quite debilitating, as the person can be paralyzed with fear over something many people would consider a minor inconvenience. However, it’s important to realize anyone can join this dance, especially in times of stress.
What are your affirmations?2 minute read Preview Friday, Aug. 13, 2021
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve seen me mention Ray Higdon. He’s a remarkable man, who overcame a background of abuse and addiction to rise to become one of the best generic trainers in the network marketing sphere.
The reason? Personal development. The following reflects a recent training session with him.
Personal development is the art of changing aspects of yourself that you don’t like; changing the stories that you have always assumed to be true about yourself and others. If your story has always been that you are flawed and unworthy of success and love, likely because of childhood trauma of some sort, you may think that that is an immutable part of who you are.
As a life coach, I am here to tell you that that is not necessarily true. It may not be easy to change, but it is not impossible.
Facing the challenge of emotional alchemy2 minute read Preview Friday, Jul. 2, 2021
For the past few weeks, my family of origin has been dealing with one of the primordial stresses of human life — the passing of an elder, peacefully, after a long life filled with meaning, joy and love. We will miss him beyond words.
Grief and loss are never easy to deal with, but it’s especially hard in the midst of a global pandemic and at a distance of nearly 10,000 kilometres. Thankfully we have Zoom and WhatsApp, but it’s not the same as being there. I will be travelling soon but that’s another source of stress, and I’ve been finding myself being short and snappy with my loved ones right here. It’s not a pretty picture.
So why am I telling you all this?
Because this difficult time is an opportunity for me to work on some long-buried issues that I have conveniently not had to deal with, being so far away from everyone else in my family.
How do you know what’s important to you?2 minute read Preview Friday, May. 7, 2021
I was recently introduced to an interesting little website called 7levelsdeep.com
It’s a great tool for figuring out why you do what you do - so often we do things because we are expected to, they are the next obvious step, or for no really good reason. It can be a useful exercise to stop and think about why we are doing something.
Here’s how it works - you put in something you want to do, and then the website asks why that is important to you. You put in your answer, and it asks the same question again. Seven times, in fact, forcing you to dig deeper and deeper each time. Of course, you can put in surface responses, but you won’t learn much from them.
I’ve done it three times so far with my current main intention, and it’s been quite fascinating to see how I pull different answers out of my mind each time. Some of them are quite evasive, but others go pretty darned deep. It’s certainly food for thought.
How to become free in one quick step2 minute read Preview Friday, Apr. 16, 2021
The fear of what others may think of us is primal. Back in the dawn of humanity, being kicked out of our tribe was a death sentence. So the opinions of others had to be very important to us.
Nowadays, though, we are not in danger of being eaten by sabre-toothed tigers if we don’t stay by our campfires. It’s OK to go out and find another campfire that suits us better. This may ruffle a few feathers, but does that matter?
The inimitable Brené Brown once described taking a tiny piece of paper, maybe one-inch-by-one-inch, and writing on it the names of all the people whose opinions on her life and choices really mattered to her. All the other critics could be safely ignored, because they had not earned the right to her attention.
When you are as much of a public figure as she is, or as many people inadvertently become online, it’s important to understand that opinions are like rear ends — everyone has one, and most of them stink. It is really not necessary to give any kind of attention to people who have not earned it, by demonstrating that they truly care about you and your well-being.
Do you remember to be grateful?2 minute read Preview Saturday, Mar. 13, 2021
The human mind is wired toward negativity. That has been a very adaptive feature of our operating system during most of our evolution - after all, if you live somewhere where there might be sabre-tooth tigers or bears who want to eat you, it’s a good thing to be alert for warning signs of danger. The same might be true if you’re living in a war zone.
Most of us are privileged to live in places where we are not constantly in danger, but our nervous systems have not caught up. A gazelle being chased by a lioness is highly stressed for a short time, but if it gets away, it is soon peacefully grazing again.
Humans, on the other hand, have a nasty habit of replaying scary or upsetting things in our minds, bringing us into that zone again and again. As a result, what we think of as the everyday stress of modern life can keep us in a constant fight-or-flight mode, with our stress hormones always elevated. This is really bad for our health, both physical and mental.
What to do?
Are you living under a glass bell?3 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 23, 2020
In the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, an enchanted rose is kept under a glass bell. You don’t glass bells around too much anymore, but in Victorian times they were used to display flowers or wax fruit in a dust-free manner. Something under a glass bell is visible, but it can’t be touched or damaged.
When I was a kid, I remember imagining myself in such a transparent bubble, safe from any harm or pain. What I didn’t realize at the time is that it’s not possible to numb the bad stuff without numbing the good stuff as well. If you don’t allow yourself to feel pain, you will also not feel joy.
I’m currently listening to Glennon Doyle’s latest book, Untamed. In it, she describes how she broke free of the life she had created according to the expectations she grew up with. She’d built a very successful career as a Christian writer, but then everything for which she had been celebrated was exposed as a sham after she fell in love with another writer, a woman, and had to rebuild her whole identity afresh, as herself.
She narrates this book herself and, as I walked the streets of my neighbourhood, listening to her describe how she learned to heal the numbness she had created in herself, I couldn’t help but cry for all of us who have numbed ourselves, to one extent or another. We think we are safe under our glass bells, but we are also not living. Is it worth it?
What to do when you’ve blown it2 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 26, 2020
So this weekend was … interesting. I was tired, I was stressed, and I got into sugary things I shouldn’t have. I can definitely feel the result, there’s a reason why I’m not supposed to eat that stuff, and it’s not because I’m on a diet.
So now what?
In the past I would probably have spent a fair amount of time and energy beating myself up about this, and probably calling myself some unpleasant names as well. It’s amazing how mean we can be to ourselves, when we would never talk to someone we love like that.
I very nearly fell into that trap again but fortunately I have coaches and accountability partners nowadays, who help me pull myself back out.
Setting healthy boundaries with those who have none3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2020
You may know that I go live on Facebook several times a week, talking about various topics: mindset, nutrition, exercise, and so on. I have a lot of fun with these videos, and you can find them on my social media. Just search my name.
The other day, I was honoured to have a friend ask me to talk about setting boundaries with those who have none, and she particularly stipulated “without hurting their feelings.” After confirming with her that the person in question was not a child or a person with special needs, I told her the following.
Just as we cannot control other people, we also are not responsible for their feelings. Adults are responsible for their own feelings. They may need help dealing with them, so they may benefit from a referral to a life coach or a therapist. But you are never responsible for other people’s feelings. Check with yourself that you are not speaking to them with the intent to hurt. If you are being kind but firm, their anger, disappointment or tantrums are on them, not on you.
As to the boundaries themselves, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is only one reason that people feel entitled to violate our boundaries. That reason is that we have taught them that it is OK for them to do so, by tolerating their behaviour.
Is it guilt … or shame?3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020
I was listening to an audiobook by Mel Robbins called Work it Out, in which she coaches women who are having issues in their workplace.
Mel was coaching a young woman who was the victim of two sexual assaults within six months so, as you might expect, she carries around a fair amount of trauma,and it affects all aspects of her life — at home and at work.
The distinction between guilt and shame came up in the context of the young woman saying she felt a lot of guilt about the sexual assault. Mel stopped her and pointed out that what she was really talking about was not guilt, but shame, and it seemed to me that this distinction is worth fleshing out here.
As defined by researcher Brené Brown, guilt is when you feel bad because you’ve done something wrong.
Why is mindset so important?3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jul. 7, 2020
Do you believe that you can develop new talents and abilities, or that what you have is all you’ll ever have in that department?
In 2006, psychologist Carol Dweck took the world by storm with her concept of two kinds of mindset. In a 2012 interview, she described those two mindsets as follows:
“In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb.
“In a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”
What is the opposite of fear?3 minute read Preview Monday, Jun. 8, 2020
We are living in a time full of fear. Between the pandemic and its economic effects and the situation in some major cities in North America, it’s not surprising if you just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head.
Believe me, I know. That’s assuming you have the privilege of staying home — not everyone does. We are all grateful to the courageous souls who go out and keep our society functioning, our vulnerable ones taken care of, and the health-care system working.
You might be tempted to think that courage is the opposite of fear but I believe you would be wrong. Fearless people go out and do things and we often admire them. But truly courageous people are not immune to fear — they feel the fear and keep going anyway. I believe those people are the true heroes.
So what is the opposite of fear? How about love?
What’s in your ‘Sunshine File’?2 minute read Preview Monday, May. 11, 2020
Do you ever have one of those wall-kicking days, when nothing seems to go right, people are mean to you, and it seems like your mission is destined to fail?
I know I do. That’s when my Sunshine File kicks into action. It cheers me up, reminds me that what I do brings value to the world, and that most people are actually kind and encouraging. It nourishes my soul and helps me get over those difficult moments. It helps me brush off the inevitable haters who are bound to show up if you are playing big enough.So what is the ‘Sunshine File’?
It’s a Google Doc on my computer, into which I cut and paste every time somebody says something nice about me or my work online. Every thank you, every expression of appreciation, every reminder that what I do is helpful to actual humans — not some faceless trolls online, but real people who are grateful and appreciative.
We are all programmed to lean toward the negative — to take every criticism, every bad review, as if it is the totality of our experience. It is a well-known phenomenon — even people who are highly successful have this bad habit of obsessing over the odd one-star review, rather than celebrating the many five-star reviews they receive. I’m sure you can think of situations where you have done something similar. I know I have.
Learn to deal with seasonal critics3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019
December is a time when many people gather with their families, whether they celebrate a major holiday in that month or not. Children are off school, work has slowed down, the nights are long and dark and cold. It’s a good time to be warmed in each other’s love and attention.
Sometimes, however, we end up dreading this togetherness, because we are afraid of what our loved ones will say about our choices — of partners, of careers, of places to live.
“When are you going to have a baby?”; “Are you pregnant again?”; “When are you going to get a real job?”
Everyone has an opinion. It’s enough to make many people want to hide under the covers and not come out until the holiday season is over.
Joy, and how to enjoy the season3 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 25, 2019
I have become a big fan of Rachel Hollis lately — if you haven’t read her bestseller books: Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing. I really recommend that you pick them up.
While Hollis is mostly speaking to women, her words can be very helpful to men as well.
The other day I was on her Facebook fan page, where she had posted about joy, with a list of simple pleasures that make her happy — coffee by a beautiful view, comfy sweatpants, laughing with her kids, etc.
She challenged her followers to come up with a list of things that bring them joy. We spend so much time chasing our big goals, and we often neglect to support ourselves with the things that nourish our souls.
Dealing with clashing priorities3 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 28, 2019
If you are anything like me, you like to set goals and chase after them. There’s a lot to be said for setting a plan, choosing a course of action and putting in the time, leading to the satisfaction of seeing results.
Consistency of action is a major component of this process, of course — if you don’t do the work every day, whether you are aiming to be a musician, an athlete, a business owner, or just a decent human being, you aren’t going to get very far.
Sometimes, however, we run into conflicting priorities, and then it becomes a matter of deciding what is really important to us. It can be an illuminating process, trying to decide what our true values are — you can’t just go along with what other people tell you is important, you have to decide for yourself.
As an example, during a recent Jewish holiday we read in the Torah that the Sabbath, or day of rest, is so important, we should keep it “in the plowing time and in the harvest time.”
Learning how to be truly happy2 minute read Preview Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019
Would you consider yourself a happy person? Would you consider yourself a happy person?
Most of us would love to become happier, but how do we achieve that?
Have you forgotten your childhood dreams?3 minute read Preview Monday, Jul. 8, 2019
What did you want to be when you were little? Did you have dreams of being on a big stage, or of helping people have better lives? Did you want to go to the moon? Did you want to help animals?What did you want to be when you were little? Did you have dreams of being on a big stage, or of helping people have better lives? Did you want to go to the moon? Did you want to help animals?
Did you achieve those dreams?
According to an online study, only about 22 per cent of adults end up in the professions that they dreamed of as children. Most of us seem to have wandered into other things, and often we are very comfortable where we are. We forget what we wanted, or dismiss it as mere childish fantasies.
Whether we wanted to help people or animals, travel the world or stand on a stage, those desires of contribution and significance can be very deep. We may forget about them for a season, but they are not gone.
Pride should not be taken for granted3 minute read Preview Monday, Jun. 10, 2019
June is Pride Month — a time for the joyous celebration of the freedom we all have to choose whom we love.June is Pride Month — a time for the joyous celebration of the freedom we all have to choose whom we love.
To my young adult children, it seems inconceivable that there was a time in Canada that consenting adults were criminalized for their private sexual activities. For them, the words “there is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” as spoken by former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, seem completely self-evident. But, as we all know, this enlightened stance is a fairly recent one.
My teenaged daughter and her friends marched behind a float this year. Last year, the parade went down York Avenue, but this year it took over Portage — bright, noisy and proud. When the mayor of the city is marching with you, you know you are finally accorded the significance you deserve.
The joy in the air was palpable — many of those celebrating with outrageous outfits, or with bright banners slung around their shoulders, were old enough to remember the times of fear and hiding, when the mere whiff of a rumour could be enough to ruin a military or government career or destroy a family.
Experiencing ultimate gratitude2 minute read Preview Monday, May. 13, 2019
Content warning: The following column discusses the death of a child. Content warning: The following column discusses the death of a child.
I recently heard a story that made me cry, and I’d like to share it with you. If you are a parent, you will also cry, but please bear with me.
In this story, which I heard from Ray Higdon, a couple had a young son who was fond of banging the screen door on their porch. Naturally, they would yell at him to stop it — as most of us would if we found it annoying.
Tragically, this child died from cancer — and the parents found themselves standing on the porch, banging the screen door, because they would have given anything to hear that annoying sound from their son again.
Why fad diets are evil3 minute read Preview Thursday, Apr. 18, 2019
Diets are evil and steal our power.Diets are evil and steal our power.
As a joyful and grateful partner with a company that makes nutritional support products, you may find that a bit odd and disingenuous of me.
But here’s the deal. I learned to stop doing diets years ago, and I want you to do the same.
I’m talking about those diets that promise you the moon if you will only restrict yourself for a certain amount of time, and then leave you no better off than before. Diets which cause you to yo-yo back and forth in your weight (because you aren’t learning better habits or developing a healthier body), and which leave the crazy self-talk between your ears, the voice that causes you to starve yourself during the day and binge at night, exactly the way it was. Diets that don’t support your body and mind with love.
What’s luck got to do with it?3 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 25, 2019
Last Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day, the day on which North Americans of Irish descent (real or imagined) celebrate the luck of the Irish.Last Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day, the day on which North Americans of Irish descent (real or imagined) celebrate the luck of the Irish.
I’ve always found that designation more than a little ironic, given the suffering of the Irish people over the generations, dealing with conquest, famine and exile. There’s no question that their indomitable spirit deserves celebrating, but luck?
All you need is love (and awareness)3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019
Hadass EviatAre you old enough to remember when that Beatles song All You Need is Love came out?
Are you old enough to remember when that Beatles song All You Need is Love came out? Even if you aren’t, I bet you are humming it now. The power of sensory association is quite amazing. We can’t remember what we had for breakfast, but we can remember all the words of the songs of our youth.February is heart month. Candy, flowers, jewelry, and teddy bears appear everywhere, as reliably as the snow and ice. Advice columnists pull out their best relationship tips, and as a life coach, I am no different. The best time to talk with people about something is when they are thinking about it, right?One of my favourite relationship concepts is the Manual.The Manual is that unwritten script we have in our minds for the behaviour of other people. As long as they follow that script, we are happy in our relationship - but when they don’t, we become resentful and unhappy.Living with the Manual would be tricky enough if our partners in this relationship even knew that we have a script for them. But we set them up for failure by expecting them to read our minds — if he really loved me, he would know what I want for my birthday. If she really cared about me, she would stay home instead of going out with her friends. Does that look familiar?We have all sorts of expectations which we have never articulated, and we become angry at our loved ones because they don’t seem to be aware of them. Of course, if they were aware of them, they might still choose not to follow our script — after all, we cannot control the behaviour of other adults. But at least they would have a chance to comply.The first step towards resolving this kind of unhappiness is to be aware of the Manual — are we expecting our loved ones to follow the script in our minds? Unless you have psychics in the family, you will agree that that is not very fair.The next step is to communicate those expectations — if you want your family to get you a birthday cake and flowers, tell them that. If you feel like your loved one is spending too much time with other people, express that loneliness.It can be an awkward and difficult conversation, but if you can be calm and clear about your own feelings, and not make assumptions about what others know about them, the outcome can be a much better relationship, and isn’t that what we all want? Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/
Remember the benefit and power of community6 minute read Preview Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019
As I write this column, I’m sitting in an airplane on my way home from an incredible conference in Phoenix, Ariz. Of course, it was very nice to be in Phoenix in January, although it wasn’t as warm as you might expect — it even rained. I learned a lot of things at the conference, and enjoyed some good food and a real margarita. All good things.The real reason, however, that I keep going to these conferences is the chance to meet with team members whom I otherwise only see on a computer screen. We work hard at creating a community feeling that will last us through the months until we see each other again at the next event. So what is it about community that keeps people coming back?We humans are tribal beings — in the second chapter of Genesis, at the very beginning of the Bible, we are told that it is not good for a human to be alone. The United Nations has declared solitary confinement a form of torture. We need each other’s company and validation but it’s not enough just to be with random people whom we don’t know — we want to form a tribe, a community. We seek kinship — either by birth or by choice.Loneliness is one of the big problems in today’s individualized society — we seem to be connected to the world through our screens all day, every day but, in fact, many of us are lacking in basic human interaction. This is true not only of shut-ins or isolated seniors but of young people who seem to be texting all the time. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among millennials. Young people are more mobile than ever before and change jobs every few years, thereby disconnecting from some traditional sources of community. Another source, mainstream religious institutions, is also losing relevance for many young people.There are many online communities that attempt to fill the void. Indeed, I am part of several online groups with people who are important to me. As the group matures, however, eventually members want to meet in person, to solidify that connection — disembodied text on a Discord chat or even a voice and face on Zoom are just not enough. We want to hug, and that is why there are conferences and meetups and other ways for co-workers and teammates to meet in person - even though it might seem more efficient, and certainly more cost-effective, just to work together online.If you find yourself starved of real human interaction, I recommend that you find a cause that excites you, and find a way to volunteer for it in person. It’s a great way to find your tribe, and there’s nothing like spending time with your tribe to fill your heart. Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/
As I write this column, I’m sitting in an airplane on my way home from an incredible conference in Phoenix, Ariz.
Of course, it was very nice to be in Phoenix in January, although it wasn’t as warm as you might expect — it even rained. I learned a lot of things at the conference, and enjoyed some good food and a real margarita. All good things.
The real reason, however, that I keep going to these conferences is the chance to meet with team members whom I otherwise only see on a computer screen. We work hard at creating a community feeling that will last us through the months until we see each other again at the next event.
Make 2019 your best year yet3 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 24, 2018
Do you find that as you get older, time seems to speed up? Do you find that as you get older, time seems to speed up?
As a child in school, or when your own children were young, time seemed to stretch out endlessly, and impatiently awaited events, such as a birthday or summer vacation, seemed to take forever to arrive.
Finding reconciliation in your own life3 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 3, 2018
For many people, this is a time of year when we spend more time with family than usual. While this can be a heartfelt joy, it also brings with it a fair amount of extra stress. For many people, this is a time of year when we spend more time with family than usual. While this can be a heartfelt joy, it also brings with it a fair amount of extra stress.
(As an important aside, what follows is not meant to apply to cases of actual abuse, but to the “normal” wear and tear that otherwise loving families find themselves dealing with because of lack of communication and growth in their relationships.)
Beware the masks you wear every day3 minute read Preview Monday, Oct. 29, 2018
All being well, you should be reading this on Halloween. What better time to think about masks?All being well, you should be reading this on Halloween. What better time to think about masks?
When we imagine masks, we usually see something theatrical, or perhaps that adorable little Batman knocking at your door. But what about the invisible masks we wear every day?
Finish the year strong3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018
Did you set goals in January? Most people do. How well did you do in achieving them?Did you set goals in January? Most people do. How well did you do in achieving them?
Research tells us that only eight per cent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them. That’s a pretty dismal record, as I’m sure you will agree.
A seasonal reminder about finding balance3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2018
There’s something about September that brings on restlessness and a desire for change. The days are getting shorter, the leaves are starting to turn, the kids go back to school. Vacation is over. There’s something about September that brings on restlessness and a desire for change. The days are getting shorter, the leaves are starting to turn, the kids go back to school. Vacation is over.
There is something exciting about the change in the air.
The search for meaning in the darkness3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018
There are very few people on this earth who have lived charmed lives, with no adversity. There are very few people on this earth who have lived charmed lives, with no adversity.
Even young children learn fairly quickly that not everything in life will go their way —sometimes we need to share when we don’t want to, or we fall down and hurt ourselves. What happens then?
When perceptions of ‘rules’ cause problems3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jul. 10, 2018
Summer is finally truly upon us — starting with that weird two-day celebration of Canada Day. Summer is finally truly upon us — starting with that weird two-day celebration of Canada Day.
Somehow the brain just doesn’t want to compute that most stores were open on Canada Day itself but everything was required to shut down on July 2. This was apparently a quirk of the rules governing statutory holidays.
Are you being mean to yourself?3 minute read Preview Monday, May. 14, 2018
It’s spring! The birds are back, the trees are bursting out into leaf and bud, the temperatures are rising, and the pressure to lose weight is on.It’s spring! The birds are back, the trees are bursting out into leaf and bud, the temperatures are rising, and the pressure to lose weight is on.
Most people put on weight during the winter — it’s cold, we aren’t as active, and we tend to curl up under a blanket with comfort food. Our clothes might become a little tight, and we look at ourselves in the mirror and say mean things to ourselves, and put on baggier clothes that keep us hidden, from ourselves and from everyone else.
Dealing with counter-productive habits3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2018
Spring is when a middle-aged person’s fancy turns to mending the ravages of winter — the all-too-obvious results of months of comfort food, sun deprivation and less exercise. Spring is when a middle-aged person’s fancy turns to mending the ravages of winter — the all-too-obvious results of months of comfort food, sun deprivation and less exercise.
Add in stress from family or work and overeating from the spring holidays, and most people are feeling less than optimal these days.
Is your resolve faltering? Hang in there…3 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 19, 2018
March is nutrition month across Canada, and it’s a good time to think about how you are treating yourself, two-and-a-half months after New Year’s DayMarch is nutrition month across Canada, and it’s a good time to think about how you are treating yourself, two-and-a-half months after New Year’s Day
If you’re anything like me, you started the year with great intentions and wonderful resolutions. This was going to be the year of consistent workouts, better sleep and awesome nutritional choices. Right?
We all need a little validation3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018
By the time you read this column, Valentine’s Day will have passed. But February is a time for hearts and love and chocolate, so here we go.By the time you read this column, Valentine’s Day will have passed. But February is a time for hearts and love and chocolate, so here we go.
I was listening to a podcast by one of my heroes, Brendon Burchard. He’s an author, a motivational speaker and a coach, and I love his story. You can find out all about him at brendon.com
Embrace the power of just saying no3 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 27, 2017
Are you an over-obligator? Do you say yes to everything and everyone? Are you the person who can be counted on to do the work that nobody else wants to do?Are you an over-obligator? Do you say yes to everything and everyone? Are you the person who can be counted on to do the work that nobody else wants to do?
There’s a lot of satisfaction and joy to be found in being of service and assistance to others. But if you find yourself becoming resentful and feeling used, maybe it’s time to reassess that helpful persona.
Don’t let family histories repeat3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017
Have you ever noticed how gym mirrors tend to distort, like funhouse mirrors? If you are short and solidly built like me, you don’t find much fun in that kind of mirror — for some reason they never make you look taller and slimmer than you really are.Have you ever noticed how gym mirrors tend to distort, like funhouse mirrors? If you are short and solidly built like me, you don’t find much fun in that kind of mirror — for some reason they never make you look taller and slimmer than you really are.
My personal solution to those mirrors has been to avoid looking in them whenever possible. Since many of the exercises I do require concentration, I just close my eyes and focus on what I’m doing. But, occasionally, a mirror will still catch me by surprise.
Sukkot is a festival to remember2 minute read Preview Friday, Sep. 29, 2017
When you read this, it will be the eve of the Festival of Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths or the Festival of Tabernacles. So many names for a very interesting holiday.When you read this, it will be the eve of the Festival of Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths or the Festival of Tabernacles. So many names for a very interesting holiday.
This holiday appears to have an agricultural origin — it is one of the three pilgrimage festivals on which the ancient Israelites would bring thanksgiving offerings to the Temple. (There’s a Canadian holiday in October that might be related). When the people were exiled from their land, they took the customs and prayers of the holiday with them.
Try exploring the power of gratitude5 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 5, 2017
When you were a child, did your mother tell you to count your blessings? Maybe before you fell asleep, or any other time you might have been agitated.
In doing so, she gave you the gift of one of the most powerful tools in our mental toolboxes — that of gratitude.I’ve often written in this space about the power of our thoughts — how we can choose to change our attitudes. Instead of going deeper and deeper down the spiral of negativity, we can choose to break it and improve our outlooks and our lives. But how do we do this?Gratitude brings up very strong emotions, so if you are truly thinking about things you are grateful for, chances are you might find a tear in your eye. I was recently at a Tony Robbins event, thinking of some health issues one of my children has endured, and my gratitude for his current state of health and strength had tears flowing down my face. There is no room in that state for petty anger or resentment. That is called cognitive dissonance — trying to hold two contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time. We don’t like to do that, and we try very hard to avoid it. It makes it very hard for us to experience hate or anger at the same time as genuine gratitude.Even if you aren’t experiencing gratitude at the Tony Robbins level, if you are able to focus your mind on gratitude for simple things, such as a sunny day (or rain, if your garden is thirsty), you are guaranteed to find that they dispel, at least temporarily, any negative thoughts that might have been pulling you down. You might be grateful for the roof over your head, for your car that goes or for the people who love you. The list can be endless.It seems too simple to be that powerful, but being grateful is one of the great mental gifts that we have, and all major religions capitalize on it — giving thanks and praise to whatever deity you believe in is part of every service I have ever witnessed, in every denomination. If you prefer to think of “the universe” or “the source,” that works too. The only requirement is that you feel gratitude for what you have, regardless of where you think it came from.Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you. I’m always happy to engage with my readers.Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/
In doing so, she gave you the gift of one of the most powerful tools in our mental toolboxes — that of gratitude.
Dealing with your inner saboteur3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017
It’s been a few months since we talked about that intensely human activity— self-sabotage.
We all do it — there’s no shame in admitting it. The question is, what can we do about it?
Just to remind you, self-sabotage is that strange compulsion that makes us toss a bag of cookies into our shopping carts when we are trying to lose weight, or which invites us to dive into social media when we are supposed to be working on our dream project. Your conscious mind, which is the one that sets goals, thinks logically and has the illusion of being in charge, watches helplessly in such situations and then it jumps in to beat you up — you’re supposed to be smart, why did you do that stupid thing? Just to remind you, self-sabotage is that strange compulsion that makes us toss a bag of cookies into our shopping carts when we are trying to lose weight, or which invites us to dive into social media when we are supposed to be working on our dream project. Your conscious mind, which is the one that sets goals, thinks logically and has the illusion of being in charge, watches helplessly in such situations and then it jumps in to beat you up — you’re supposed to be smart, why did you do that stupid thing?
Lessons learned as old meets new in Ireland3 minute read Preview Friday, Jul. 7, 2017
As I write these words, I am looking out of the window of a lovely bed-and-breakfast establishment near Dublin, Ireland. As I write these words, I am looking out of the window of a lovely bed-and-breakfast establishment near Dublin, Ireland.
It’s the culmination of a two-week tour of Ireland with my husband, taken in honour of our 25th wedding anniversary this fall. It’s an incredibly beautiful country and the people are friendly and hospitable. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone.
Avoiding the spiral of negativity3 minute read Preview Monday, Jun. 12, 2017
If you have been reading this column for a while, you’ve seen me talk about our power to control our thoughts.
Many people think their lives are controlled by their circumstances, but that is only a very small part of the picture. The main factor in determining what kind of life we are going to have, once we are adults, is our mind.Many people think their lives are controlled by their circumstances, but that is only a very small part of the picture. The main factor in determining what kind of life we are going to have, once we are adults, is our mind.
Celebrating the ‘Festival of Freedom’3 minute read Preview Thursday, Apr. 13, 2017
As you read this column, the spring festival of Passover has just ended. As you read this column, the spring festival of Passover has just ended.
Jews around the world, even those who might not celebrate any other Jewish holiday, have gathered around their tables to sing, tell stories, and of course, eat. The eight-day festival (seven days in Israel) is a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt, the birth of the Jewish people.
Our world is made better by caregivers3 minute read Preview Friday, Mar. 17, 2017
I recently had the opportunity and privilege to accompany a friend’s octogenarian mother to a medical appointment, as my friend was not able to take her herself. This was the first time I had ever done such a thing. I recently had the opportunity and privilege to accompany a friend’s octogenarian mother to a medical appointment, as my friend was not able to take her herself. This was the first time I had ever done such a thing.
My friend’s mother uses a walker (she firmly declined a wheelchair), and moves slowly and with difficulty. My husband and I met her at her current residence and drove her to her appointment, where I stayed with her until she was done, my husband picked us both up, and we brought her back. We assisted her in and out of the car, helped her with the medical forms, and made sure she understood what the doctor said. All in all, about three hours.
I am not telling you this to laud myself. My friend’s mother, at 89, is still very much herself and in possession of her faculties, and spending time with her was a pleasure. I sacrificed one morning’s work, but many people whom I know sacrifice much more — time they could be working, taking care of their children or grandchildren, travelling, working out, or enjoying their own retirement.
Share your expectations with others3 minute read Preview Friday, Feb. 17, 2017
February is heart month. Candy, flowers, jewellery, and volunteers for the Heart and Stroke Foundation appear everywhere, as reliably as the snow and ice. Advice columnists pull out their best relationship tips, and as a life coach, I am no different.
The best time to talk with people about something is when they are thinking about it, right?
If you’ve been reading this column for a while, you may remember that I’ve talked in the past about the concept of “the Manual” — that unwritten script we have in our minds for the behaviour of other people. As long as others follow that script, we are happy in our relationships — but when they don’t, we become resentful and unhappy.
Living with the Manual would be tricky enough if our partners in this relationship even knew that we had scripts for them.
Resolutions a bust? Set realistic goals3 minute read Preview Friday, Jan. 20, 2017
By the time you read this, January will be nearly over.
Did you make resolutions this year? If so, did you keep them, or have they fallen by the wayside already?
Statistics show that only eight per cent of people keep the resolutions that they have made in the beginning of the year. Why is that? And if you are one of the 92 per cent, what can you do to quit being a statistic and start being true to your word to yourself? Just because January is almost over doesn’t mean your resolutions are lost for the year. You can start fresh every day!
Most New Year’s resolutions have to do with personal improvement — people resolve to lose weight, get more exercise, quit smoking, save more money, or spend more time with family and friends.
Shed images of yourself that get in the way3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 6, 2016
“I’m not a runner.” “I’m not a runner.”
It is my intention that this should be the very last time I use these words. It does not matter whether I actually run or not but it’s very important that I do not lock myself in a non-runner box.
Allow me to explain.
Last spring, I took on a squatting challenge — every day for 30 days, I would perform a certain number of squats. As the number increased, it got harder to do the squats — but I never thought to myself, “I am not a squatter.”
Ways of dealing with our common fear of commitment5 minute read Preview Monday, Aug. 8, 2016
I once met a guy at a networking meeting, who bemoaned the fact that he had trouble committing to regular physical activity. Without thinking much about it, I offered to have him text me every time he took a walk. I now have over 500 texts from him on my phone. He has walked through snow, heat, rain, freezing cold, and every kind of inclement weather, both here in Winnipeg and in Lima, Peru, where his fiancée lives. He has lost over 20 pounds without changing his diet in any way, just by keeping this commitment to himself.Magic happens when we are committed. Opportunities appear, people come out of the woodwork to help us. A person who is committed to a course of action can be very attractive and often becomes a leader. The universe appears to align itself with those who commit.If commitment can lead to such great results, why is it so hard for us to do? Why are we so afraid to make a bold statement, to make a decision, to burn the bridges and cut off the way of retreat? Did you find this last sentence both attractive and terrifying? Why?Some of the fear of commitment stems from FOMO — fear of missing out. This fear not only causes people to be glued to their social media streams beyond all reason but also makes it very difficult to make decisions that will necessarily require that something be abandoned. What if we make the wrong choice? This fear comes from a “scarcity mindset”, as articulated by Dr. Stephen F. Covey in his iconic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If we instead adopt an “abundance mindset” instead, it becomes OK to let go of things, because “there’s more where that came from.” Very few decisions are truly irrevocable.Sometimes we can’t commit because we have a discordance between what we really want and what we tell ourselves we should want. This can wreak all kinds of havoc in our lives, and certainly makes it very difficult to commit to any course of action. Having honest conversations with ourselves, maybe with the help of a coach, is the only way to figure out what we really want, and then we can commit to it wholeheartedly.What do you think, have you found yourself being held back from a commitment by your fears? How did you deal with it? How would you like to have dealt with it? Let me know.Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/
I once met a guy at a networking meeting, who bemoaned the fact that he had trouble committing to regular physical activity.
Without thinking much about it, I offered to have him text me every time he took a walk.
I now have over 500 texts from him on my phone. He has walked through snow, heat, rain, freezing cold, and every kind of inclement weather, both here in Winnipeg and in Lima, Peru, where his fiancée lives. He has lost over 20 pounds without changing his diet in any way, just by keeping this commitment to himself.
On sending a child to camp3 minute read Preview Monday, Jul. 11, 2016
I never went to summer camp — that is not something that people do in Israel. When I was little I went to day camp in the next village over, and I remember making crafts and singing songs and going to the beach. Fun, but hardly life-changing.Here in Manitoba, the attitude towards summer camp is very different.My experience with it started when my oldest son, now 20, came home from school and announced that he had to go to Camp Massad, because they had pancakes. He was just finishing Grade 3, and he went for five days.When those five days were up, I met him as he was brought back from camp. He was wearing a homemade costume with a cape, and he announced, “The boys in my cabin were really mean to me, but I love it, and next year I want to go for two weeks.”Thus began a love affair that lasted twelve years, including three years when he spent all summer there as a counsellor, with those mean boys long gone. Now my daughter is packing to go for five weeks. She is so excited, she can hardly wait.They come home dirty, exhausted, happy, and noticeably taller. They come home reluctantly, because camp is so much more fun. Who wouldn’t want to be parented by 17-year-olds?They come back with a new independence, with experiences I do not share and close relationships with people I do not know. It is the beginning of their separation into individuals, with their own secret lives.Do you send your children to summer camp? What is it like for you?Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/I never went to summer camp — that is not something that people do in Israel. When I was little I went to day camp in the next village over, and I remember making crafts and singing songs and going to the beach. Fun, but hardly life-changing.
Here in Manitoba, the attitude towards summer camp is very different.
My experience with it started when my oldest son, now 20, came home from school and announced that he had to go to Camp Massad, because they had pancakes. He was just finishing Grade 3, and he went for five days.
When those five days were up, I met him as he was brought back from camp. He was wearing a homemade costume with a cape, and he announced, “The boys in my cabin were really mean to me, but I love it, and next year I want to go for two weeks.”
Ah, the many joys of a Manitoba spring2 minute read Preview Monday, May. 16, 2016
Have you noticed that often that which we love the most, is the most fleeting in our lives?
Just like a Manitoba spring.
One day everything is grimy and brown — the snow is gone, its merciful covering no longer hiding the litter and grit disfiguring our streets. There might be a few hesitant buds showing up on the odd tree but otherwise everything still seems to be firmly asleep, as it has been for so many months.
Nature seems to be holding its collective breath.
The great myth of willpower2 minute read Preview Monday, Apr. 18, 2016
One of the greatest misconceptions about emotional eating is that it is subject to our willpower.
In fact, that is one of the most common reproaches we make to ourselves when we find ourselves head-first in the ice cream again:
“You are so weak, you have no willpower. If only you could control yourself better, this wouldn’t happen. Shame on you!”
Give yourself a break.
Emotional eating assails us all in some way2 minute read Preview Monday, Mar. 21, 2016
If you are anything like me, you turn to food in times of joy, sorrow, boredom, fatigue, anger, or pretty much any time you feel like you need something to change how you feel.
Some of this is cultural — every holiday has its traditional foods, and we wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Many of our fondest childhood memories are bound up with the tastes and smells of traditional holiday food.
However, none of this explains why we find ourselves with our heads in the refrigerator at 11 o’clock at night when our bodies are clearly demanding sleep instead, or why we turn to ice cream, potato chips or other foods that clearly don’t serve us when we are emotionally agitated. What’s up with that?
One of my favourite authors in the self-help sphere is Tony Robbins. Among his many thought-provoking ideas, Tony postulates that we can change how we feel by changing our state — in other words, if we are feeling sad, we can change our emotions by changing our thoughts or our physical state. We can change the words we bring to the situation. Instead of “why does this always happen to me?” we can ask, “how can I grow?”
A good reminder to let go and simply love2 minute read Preview Monday, Feb. 22, 2016
February is often considered the month of love — it contains Valentine’s Day, which is actually a lot older than Hallmark. Apparently the first mention of Valentines is in a poem by Chaucer, in the 14th century.
This seems like a good opportunity to talk about the ‘Manual,’ which I have mentioned in this space in previous columns. The ‘Manual’ is that book of rules we have for other people — usually without their knowledge.
We are often firmly convinced that if only other people would follow the rules we’ve set for them, our relationship would be perfectly wonderful and all would be well in the world.
Now, I’m not about to tell you that this conviction is wrong. It is entirely possible that it is true — that if other people would only do exactly what we want them to do, both their lives and ours would be greatly improved.
Keeping resolutions means facing fears3 minute read Preview Monday, Jan. 25, 2016
This is the time of year at which people tend to make brave resolutions, and then find all sorts of excellent reasons to break these promises to themselves.
Every year we do this, we lose a little more self-esteem and have a little less faith in ourselves, until we end up counting the years in which we failed ourselves, and call ourselves ugly names — lazy, lacking in willpower, and doomed to be stuck forever with whatever it was we wanted to change.
So why do we do this to ourselves?
Surely we want to do all those wonderful things — lose weight, stop smoking, get organized, spend more time with friends.
Facing down the year’s challenges2 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 28, 2015
It’s been a fascinating year for me. I finished my coaching certification and was humbled and honoured by the trust my clients placed in me. I travelled to several conferences, met a lot of new people, and learned a lot about running a small business.
I also had some health concerns, culminating in a course of steroids for a chronic health issue. But I have overcome and greatly improved my health by committing to better nutrition. In fact, that has led me to taking on a highly unexpected challenge.
With the help and support of my coaches, I have committed to taking on a lifestyle that requires mindful nutrition and dedicated exercise. If all goes well, I will have transformed my pudgy, middle-aged body into one that can stand on a stage in a figure competition.
As you know, I have long dabbled on the outskirts of this world — I love my kettlebell class, and I’ve recently been enjoying working on Olympic weightlifting. I’ve always been one of those people who get their endorphins from lifting heavy objects, rather than from running or other steady-state cardio exercise.
It’s good to be grounded during holiday season2 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 30, 2015
It’s that time of year again — the streets are decorated, the malls are full of music, and there’s festive food everywhere.
It doesn’t really matter what culture you come from, if it originated in the Northern Hemisphere, chances are you have some sort of observance happening around the winter solstice to celebrate the return of the light.
For people who struggle with their weight, this time of year can be particularly difficult. Not only is temptation at hand everywhere, but there’s a lot of pressure to look your best — so many holiday parties, so many campaigns to “fit into that sparkly little dress.”Resolution season hasn’t even struck yet, and we’re already being bombarded with contradictory messages.
Eat! Enjoy! But look glamorous and slim!
How self-coaching works: a case study2 minute read Preview Monday, Nov. 2, 2015
Recently, someone blocked me on social media and I wanted to share with you, briefly, some of the process I used to deal with the feelings that move engendered. This is an example of the power of self-coaching.
Self-coaching means asking yourself the questions that a coach might ask you, and trying to tease out the answers in a way that helps you understand your emotional reactions to things that happen.
So the first question was: What happened?
Answer: She blocked me.
High Holy Days signify new beginnings2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015
By the time you read this column, the Jewish High Holy Day season will be over.
It’s an intense three weeks of religious activity — for many, it is the only time of the year they set foot in the synagogue. Imagine a month of Christmas or whichever other holiday takes a lot of your time and dedication, and you will have some idea of what this is like. Family gatherings, large meals, a major fast day and for many, building and decorating a sukkah (a temporary booth with a roof of greenery, built near a synagogue or house and used for meals). If you do it all, as my family does, it can amount to seven days of missed work and school. It’s a big deal.
So what is the purpose of all this disruption?
Unlike the better-known Hanukkah (actually quite a minor holiday, given outsized prominence in North America because of its seasonal proximity to Christmas), the fall holidays are mandated in the Torah, the Five Books of Moses. Their original purpose was to purify the Temple from the sins of the people, so it would be a fit place for worship.
What is it that awakens your spirit?2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2015
Oh no, it’s September!
School will be starting soon, and we cast an anxious eye to see whether the trees have started turning. The mornings and evenings are starting to be a little crisp, although it is still warm during the day.
Summer will soon be over and autumn will fly past, as it does at this latitude. By November we can expect everything to be covered in snow and go into hibernation for the winter, until it awakens again in the spring.
In Israel, where I was born and mostly raised, things work the other way. In the hot, dry summer, nothing grows — I remember admiring the snails as they waited for water, quietly glued onto thorn bushes. In the fall, the first rain comes (and it is so special it has its own name, as does the last rain of the spring). Things start to green up, life wakes up to enjoy the rainy season and the easy availability of life-giving water. Snails open their sticky doors and start crawling everywhere. By May and June, though, the hot wind from the desert will have turned everything brown again.
Rhubarb mixes with berries in great dessert2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015
There is much to be said for summer in Winnipeg, mosquitoes and all. Would we have such glorious dragonflies without them? And what would life be like without rhubarb?
A couple of years ago, in this space, I sang the praises of the rhubarb bush in my back yard. It has continued to provide us with a bounty of rosy stalks.
Remember not to eat the leaves, as they are full of oxalic acid and not very good for you. The tart stalks, however, make a great combination with sweet berries. My current favourite way of using them is in a crumble. I made one last week using the last of the local strawberries, and it was truly to die for.
Today I want to highlight a recipe for rhubarb blueberry crumble I found on a blog called Little Kitchen on the Prairie, run by local resident Lori Morton.
Contemplating why we want what we want2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jul. 14, 2015
Human beings are programmed to want — from birth we cry and demand to be fed, changed and comforted.
As we grow older, our desires become more sophisticated but in the end, they still come down to the feelings that we want to have. We think we want a stellar career, a bigger house, a fancier car or the latest smartphone but what we really want is the feelings we imagine we will experience once we have these things.
Take a moment and make a list of the things that you want.
Then ask yourself why you want them, and be very honest.
You really need to read this column2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jun. 16, 2015
Sometimes we don’t realize the power of words. Specifically, the words we use when we are talking to ourselves.
We are taught as little children to consider others’ feelings when using our words — but how considerate are we of ourselves?
We beat ourselves up and call ourselves names we would never dream of speaking to others. If we think of ourselves as kind and polite people, we would never call someone else lazy, stupid or worse. Yet, we have no compunction in applying such names to the most important person in our lives — ourselves.
Recently I listened to a podcast called More Heart than Talent, by a man called Jeffrey Combs. He is a recovering drug addict who has become a very successful business coach. I often find his words powerful but I was particularly struck by the following statement:
Happiness begins with conversation2 minute read Preview Wednesday, May. 20, 2015
Last month, I mentioned the concept of “the Manual” — the instructions we have for other people, usually without their knowledge.
If only the other person would do what we wanted, we say, we’d be happy.
It’s quite dangerous and often futile to hang one’s happiness on another person’s actions, especially when we don’t take the trouble to let them in on our expectations.
Telepathy would be a good attribute in a mate, child, boss or anyone else but, alas, it is quite rare.
Have you got a manual of unspoken rules?2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2015
One of the main sources of pain in relationships is something called “the manual.”
We all have these elaborate, usually unspoken manuals of rules about what we want other people to do so that we can feel happy. If these other people fulfill our expectations for them (which they may or may not know about), then we are happy and if they don’t, we are disappointed and sad.
Does this sound familiar?
Here’s an example: “For me to be happy on my birthday, I need you to remember when it is and buy me something I love, without me reminding you or telling you what I want. That way I will know that you love me. If you don’t do that, clearly you don’t love me and I will be miserable on my birthday.”
Contemplating the definition of success3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2015
Everyone wants to be successful, right? But what does that mean?
Are you successful if you have a lot of money and beautiful things? What if you don’t — does that mean you are not successful?
What if you have joy and love in your life but not a lot of money — are you successful or not?We are taught from a young age to measure our success by the opinions of other people. If a teacher likes what we did, we are successful; if she doesn’t, we have failed.
But who is really more successful in your mind — a child who flits from A to A+ with little or no effort, or one who works hard to achieve a C?
Set boundaries to protect yourself2 minute read Preview Monday, Feb. 23, 2015
Last month I told you a little bit about what a life coach does — he or she holds up a mirror to a client so they can see and understand their own thoughts.
Those thoughts are the cause of all of our feelings and actions. We think we are sad because of our circumstances but really it is because of our thoughts about those circumstances. That is such good news, because we often can’t change our circumstances, but we can always work on changing our thoughts.
Today I’m going to tell you about the concept of boundaries — the lines we set in our relationships with other people. A boundary violation can be physical or emotional -—a person can come into our house without permission, or yell at us over the phone. In either case, it is up to us to recognise that this is a boundary violation, and to request that the person cease and desist.
It’s important to note that this does not involve threats — we aren’t telling the other person what to do, we are just requesting that they not intrude into our space.
Learning just what a life coach does2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015
One of my new projects this year is to become certified as a life coach by The Life Coach School.
So I thought I would share with you what a life coach does,and why you might want to consider spending some time with one.
I should start with what a life coach is not, which is a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist. A life coach is not there to delve into your past or to prescribe drugs for a brain chemical imbalance.
A life coach is there to help you understand your current thoughts and how they are affecting your current life.
Considering the December dilemma2 minute read Preview Monday, Dec. 29, 2014
Living, as I do, far away from my family, I have often turned to my friends on the Internet for parenting support and advice.
This was especially true when my children were younger. Back in the ’90s, before the advent of Facebook and Twitter, I was a member of several Usenet newsgroups. In one that was devoted to Jewish parenting, there was a recurring theme of the “December Dilemma.”
Since our part of the city is so ethnically diverse, I’m sure it is a question that is of interest to more than just Jews.
In short, the December dilemma has to do with the overwhelming presence of one celebration at this time of year. Street lights, music, decorations on public buildings, statutory holidays, all point to the Christian celebration.
Thoughts on a daughter’s Bat Mitzvah2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014
By the time you read this column, there will be only three days left before my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.
It is a very important day in the life of a young Jewish person — she will lead part of the morning service for the congregation, read from the Torah scroll with no vowels or punctuation, and chant the prophetic portion.
She will share her thoughts about the Torah portion of the week (the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau, as well as some unsavoury behaviour on the part of two of Jacob’s sons, relating to a sexual assault on their sister).
It’s heavy stuff for a 12-year-old. She has decided she doesn’t want to talk about the rape of Dina, and I can’t blame her. She wants to focus on the brotherly love, on how Jacob apologized abjectly to his brother for his nasty behaviour 20 years previously, and Esau hugged and kissed him and forgave him.
Looking back on the civic election2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014
So, the municipal elections are finally over.
It was a remarkably broad field, ranging from the sublime to the ‘cor, blimey.’ I leave it to you to decide which candidate was which.
I thought the campaign was quite remarkable as well, in that it was mostly devoid of personal attacks. There were a few, of course, but in general I got the feeling that the candidates treated each other with respect, and that is a great credit to our city — that politicians believe they can score more points with voters by being respectful than by displaying nastiness.
What most struck me, however, was the way so many of us allowed ourselves to be swayed by fear, rather than love, in deciding for whom we would vote.
This autumn will be what you make it2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 9, 2014
It’s that time of year again. I was walking on Scotia Street and heard geese honking, and watched their orderly, thin line stretch across the sky, heading towards Fort Whyte. At least, I hope that is where they are going. My mind is not yet ready to accept the idea of their heading any further south than that.
It was such a long, hard winter and we waited such a long time for summer to come. July was rainy and cold but August was glorious. If there is any justice in the world, September should also be warm and beautiful, even though the kids are back in school, traffic has picked up and the workaday world is back with us.
But is there justice in the world? And if there isn’t, will we allow cold, wet days to determine whether we are happy or not?
Maybe it is time to stop looking for happiness outside ourselves. Lately I have been reading the works of Byron Katie, an American speaker and author who teaches the idea that all of our feelings and emotions depend entirely on our thoughts about circumstance.
Coming together for High Holy Days2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014
One of the most important times in Jewish ritual life is the High Holy Days, a period that stretches from the two days of the Jewish New Year (this year starting on the evening of Sept. 24), through the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) 10 days later, and concluding with the joyous eight-day holiday of Sukkot (Tabernacles).
Many Jews who otherwise never set foot in synagogue will spend the three days of the New Year and Yom Kippur praying and reconnecting with their families, their community and their tradition.
All the major synagogues in the city will have services, and there are several alternative groups as well, which form once-a-year communities, magically reassembling from year to year. The Rose Family Alternative High Holy Day Services have been a fixture in Winnipeg for over 35 years. My family and I have been honoured to be participants for over a decade. This year, however, is different.
Due to circumstances, Rabbi Neal and Carol Rose cannot be with us this year. An initiative is underway, spearheaded by several long-time participants, to continue with the High Holy Day services, even without the physical presence of the group’s founders and guiding spirits.
About listening2 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 20, 2014
When is the last time you really listened to someone?
That can be a very difficult question to answer. We all engage in conversation, which necessarily involves listening as well as speaking (unless you are one of those people who dominate the conversation – but then you probably don’t have a lot of conversations anyway).
But more often than not, we use that time when the other person is speaking to think up our own clever retort or applicable experience, rather than really, truly listening. However, if we can turn off that need to express ourselves and apply that brain power to listening instead, amazing things can happen.
The other day, I had the incredible privilege of interviewing a lady who has been a volunteer pianist at the Sharon Home (now the Saul & Claribel Simkin Centre, in the south end) for over half a century. I came to her home, handed her a sheet of paper with a few questions (easier for her than trying to hear me ask those questions), turned on the recording app on my iPhone, sat down and listened.
Enjoying all the blessings of the season2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2014
It’s that time of year again! The winter that wouldn’t die is finally releasing its icy grip. The geese are returning (this time, they might actually stay — as there were reports that some landed at Fort Whyte, took one look around and headed back south).
The sun is stronger and the snow is evaporating like crazy even when the temperatures are stubbornly below zero. Eventually, the sun will win. We live in one of the sunniest places in Canada, after all.
This time of year is also notable for its celebrations. Christians of all denominations celebrated the Resurrection last weekend. This solemn moment has somehow resulted in an abundance of chocolate eggs and bunnies in the grocery stores but I am not complaining. April also sees the Sikh community celebrating Vaisakhi. The Hindu community celebrated Holi, the festival of colours, in March.
Passover, of course, is one of the major celebrations in the Jewish calendar, when even completely non-observant Jews will at least nod in the direction of their heritage. It is a time for families to gather around the table, to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, to sing, eat and drink, and pass the tradition on to their children. One of my favourite moments in the Seder, or order of ritual, is when the youngest person present rises to ask the traditional four questions: why is this night different from all other nights?
Marvelling at Winnipeg’s appetite for winter2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014
Snow in Winnipeg is nothing unusual. We generally have the white stuff here on the ground from November until May. But I think most people would agree that this year the snow has been more of a presence in our lives than it usually is.
There’s no question that we’ve had more snow than usual, although apparently the quantities are nowhere near record-breaking. Maybe it’s giant piles at every intersection or the unrelenting cold that have made it harder to get out there and shovel.
Maybe it was the graders everywhere, giant machines that dominate the streetscape this time of year. The operators of those monsters are pulling some impressive shifts While we are all grateful for passable roads, the windrows that imprison us in our own driveways are another peculiarity of winter in Winnipeg.
People are getting tired of it. Tired of the shovelling, the cold, the slow traffic, the icy sidewalks. There are hints of spring to be seen — a few buds, a chirping bird. The days are longer, the sun seems a little stronger.
Why I Love MoMondays2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014
There is a gem hidden in north Winnipeg which very few people know about. It’s a fairly new phenomenon, only a year old. It came here from Toronto, but now it is spreading all over North America like wildfire.
I’m talking about MoMondays.
Motivational Monday, or MoMonday for short, is an event at which people get together to hear motivational speeches by interesting people with a story to tell. While some of the speakers are professionals, many are not — in fact, I was privileged to speak at the latest MoMonday, on Jan. 6. I had an incredibly good time because you meet the nicest people at MoMondays, and you will never find a kinder, more receptive, more engaged group of listeners than a MoMondays audience.
In our uniquely Winnipeg format, as developed by host Stephanie Staples of Your Life, Unlimited, the evening starts with half-an-hour of music by a local musician. Then we hear four or five 10-minute speeches. I was privileged to share the stage with Tim Hague Sr., winner of the Canadian edition of The Amazing Race; with Ingrid Reid, who told of losing over 100 pounds; and with Theo Heineman, who dropped everything to spend a year as a volunteer on the Mercy Ships.
We all need a chocolate chip cookie sometimes3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013
It’s a funny thing about the choices we declare for ourselves, and the rationalizations we make when we don’t stick to those choices. I’ve always felt that chocolate chip cookies were the perfect example of this cognitive dissonance.
Aside from those few benighted souls who dislike chocolate, chocolate chip cookies are the epitome of pleasure — sugar, fat and chocolate are guaranteed to hit every palatability measure out of the park. In simple terms, they make our brains happy when we eat them. The question is, is it OK for us to make ourselves happy that way, or do we need to jettison them forever?
There is little debate nowadays in the medical/wellness community over the fact that sugar is largely responsible for most of what ails us. We used to think that the saturated fat in butter and chocolate was bad for us but it turns out the main culprit is almost certainly the sugar.
Chocolate itself, especially cocoa and dark chocolate with a lower sugar content, is so good for us it’s practically medicinal.
This is childhood cancer awareness month2 minute read Preview Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013
I seem to have gone from not knowing anyone whose child had cancer to a veritable avalanche. That’s how it feels — being overwhelmed by a huge wall of fear, anxiety and uncertainty — and these aren’t even my children.
I have experienced having a child in the hospital, and the helplessness that comes with that. I was fortunate that my child was not being destroyed from the inside by his own cells — his problem involved plumbing and the skilled hands of a surgeon were enough to solve it. I cannot imagine living in constant fear of relapse.
My friend, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, maintains a blog in which she and her husband, Rabbi Michael Sommer, chronicle the trials, tribulations, joys and successes of their seven-year-old son Sam, who has just undergone a bone marrow transplant for relapsing acute myeloid leukemia. You can follow Sam’s story at supermansamuel.blogspot.com
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and while my friends are very much aware of childhood cancer every day, they are using some of that frustration, fear and energy to campaign for increased awareness by everyone. I feel that the least I can do is to support them in this endeavour.
Singing the praises of kettlebell fitness3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2013
I despise all exercise machines, including treadmills and ellipticals.
I like walking, I like running, there is definite pleasure to lifting other kinds of weights. But I love kettlebells.
These cannonballs with handles look like some atavistic throwback to the 1700s, when they were developed for use in the Russian army. They became popular in North America in the beginning of the 21st century but have been a real sport in Russia since the 1960s.
The asymmetric shape of the kettlebell lends itself to swinging, squatting, deadlifting and the classic clean and jerk, with either one hand or two; even holding two kettlebells at once. I’m not sure why but there is something incredibly satisfying to me in swinging a heavy kettlebell. Currently my record is swinging a 60-poundkettlebell a total of 225 times, in 15-swing increments over the course of an hour-long class, and deadlifting 80 pounds.
Dreaming of summer fruit as winter hangs on3 minute read Preview Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2013
It’s the Winter That Wouldn’t Die — below-normal temperatures, piles of snow everywhere. Talk of a big flood, again. But I’m dreaming of summer’s fruit.
The apple trees in my yard are still bare, still holding on to last year’s apples that didn’t get picked. I’m sure the birds who stayed here through the winter appreciated them. I need to figure out some way to get those apples — maybe I’ll strike a deal with my neighbour, whose yard they hang over so enticingly. It looks like the same tree is bearing two kinds of apple — I wonder who spliced them together so many years ago? The crab apples on my side made the most delightful applesauce last year, but I can’t wait to get my hands on those eating apples, so tantalizingly on the wrong side of the fence.
The rhubarb bush my husband planted when we bought this house almost 20 years ago will pop up quite early, once the ground is thawed. For years I didn’t know what to do with those big leaves but now I have learned the joys of stewed rhubarb with ginger, preferably with home-made vanilla ice cream. Mmm.
The raspberry canes behind my deck are just poking up through the snow, all dry and withered. Once the snow is gone, we will cut them back so the young growth can spring up. I rarely get to make anything with those raspberries, because they disappear into our mouths as we walk up the back steps. Maybe I’ll snag a few to put in my rhubarb stew.
The journey of an immigrant coffee plant3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013
My coffee plant is bearing glossy red beans. I should harvest them soon, but they are so pretty.
The story of this coffee plant is as impressive as that of any immigrant to this Prairie city. It came to me in a tiny burlap sack, as a hostess gift back in 1995 or so. It has adapted and thrived, after its own fashion, although my Kenyan friend shakes his head over it. And now it has borne fruit, a sign of success beyond a doubt.
It’s a dwarf — no taller than I am, at five feet nothing, while my friend says it should be much taller. It’s nearly two decades old, yet it bore beans last year for the first time. It lives in a pot in my kitchen for most of the year, near the south-facing window, and for most of the year it just survives — a little droopy, but still valiantly green. In the summer, as soon as we are confident the temperature will not drop below 10 C, we put it outside, on the deck. That’s when it really comes to life.
Like my children who come home from camp visibly taller, this plant has done most of its growing in the summer, when it can enjoy the sun and fresh air. Last year it flowered for the first time —lovely little white blossoms. Luckily for it, coffee plants are hermaphrodites and fertilise themselves. This doesn’t bode well for genetic diversity, but it is probably the only coffee plant in any backyard for miles around, so it does the best it can.
Cooking class was anything but cheesy3 minute read Preview Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013
The lovely Louise May (she of chicken-at-city hall fame) taught a cheese-making class at The Food Studio on a recent snowy Tuesday night, and I was privileged to attend.Louise has a herd of goats on her farm that she milks herself, and she demonstrated making cheese from commercially available (i.e. pasteurized) local goat’s milk, licensed under the Manitoba Dairy Act, as well as raw milk from her farm, which is not.The Manitoba Dairy Act prohibits the sale of raw dairy in Manitoba, which is very unfortunate for those of us who would prefer it. A farmer may use it for themselves or their dependants, but can’t legally give it away to anyone else, let alone make a living from it. There are many reasons to consider raw milk nutritionally superior to pasteurized milk, which is heat-damaged. While I understand the public health concerns, it seems to me that a good inspection policy should be able to shut down any farm that operated in unsanitary conditions. It seems insane that fast food is legal in Manitoba but raw milk is not. This is definitely a campaign to consider once Louise is done with the urban chickens!In any case, we learned how to make chèvre, ricotta and feta, all of which turn out nicely with commercial milk, and mozzarella, which in general does not. We were able to compare the milk-curdling capabilities of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice (the vinegar won in terms of flavour). We learned about mesophilic starter culture and vegetable rennet.The queen of cheese making (and source of all the recipes we learned) is Ricki Carroll, founder of the New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. She was mentioned in Barbara Kingsolver’s wonderful book (and the beginning of my journey into making stuff rather than buying it) Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Ricki’s recipes are available online, but also neatly compiled into a book, Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses.Because nothing is ever perfect, I did have one complaint — I would have liked Louise to have given us a handout. With so many different kinds of cheese on the go, it became quite confusing to keep track of what goes into what. While I intend to acquire the book (and Louise’s recipes are available at http://aurorafarm.ca/recipes/), it would have been easier to make notes on a handout while they were fresh in my mind.A lovely time was had by all and there was much laughter and discussion as well as some serious learning. If you are interested in artisanal cheese, Louise’s classes are a great way to get into it.Hadass Eviatar is a West Kildonan-based writer.Neighbourhood Forum is a readers’ column. If you live in The Times area and would like to contribute to this column, contact email@example.com.