May 6, 2019 - Become Still

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I have been in a downturn the last little while, getting into a slump and not understanding why. Perhaps because I was running from the one project to the next, or perhaps because I was juggling too many things at once, who knows? Then, because sometimes we need to slow down and reflect, it hit me. I got sick. First it was a flu/cold for 2 weeks, which kept me on my back for 5 days. 2 weeks later it was the stomach flu, with violent vomiting for 18 hours.

I realized that quiet time was important. I had to slow down and look around me. If I didn’t take care of myself, I couldn’t help those I wanted to help the most – our youth. The same goes for parents and teachers. Being busy all the time means that something will be missed. The little signs a child would show to tell they were struggling, will not be noticed, because of busyness.

Society has become a smorgasbord of activities, events and social media. People don’t know how to become still anymore. The times where families sat together at night after supper in front of radios listening to stories, sports games around the world or the news are gone. Instead, those together times as families have been replaced by a flurry of sports activities, parents driving their kids all over. The busier a child could be after school, the better. At the water coolers at work people are talking about how they have become taxi drivers, how they spend evenings taking their kids to these activities. It has become a badge of honour to talk about all the extra busyness.

How much time do we as a society spend being still? Reflecting on the day’s activities, our lives? How often do we give thanks for what we have? To have a roof over our heads, heat or cool air, clean water, food on the table and clothes are basic necessities, yet there are millions without those. Do we appreciate what we have? Do we complain because that’s what we have been taught to do? Do we feel it’s our right? Do we feel righteous, because the ones without basics don’t know better?

So-and-so is getting a divorce, or is addicted to drugs, or lost their job, or is battling a debilitating disease, or has temper outbursts, taking it out on their kids. What would you do when you see a child whose parent is bullying them at every one of the sports events or activities you take your child to? What would you do if you knew someone is struggling, and with them the children as well?

Children do not care about flashiness, or fancy clothes. They want to be loved. They want to feel safe. Their basic needs are simple. Yet, do we recognize when a child is struggling? Or do we believe the school when they tell us our children are just looking for attention when they act out, they are drama?

Become still. Quiet. Reflect. Let’s teach our young generation how to breathe. Let’s show them how to be still. In the moment of stillness we find our wisdom. We find our solutions. And we grow. We become stronger. We are able to help our youth.

Hugs,
Irma

April 1, 2019 - Be Mindful

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As I share my journey at speaking events to teach and motivate others, more and more memories come up. It makes me realize that we are on this planet for a reason. What we experience, is but a drop of paint on the palette of our lives’ master pieces being created through our experiences. Without the lessons we will not be able to learn and grow as human beings.

Did you know that at one time or another, almost every single person on earth has gone through an experience that affected the way they make choices today, and how they look at life? Did you know that almost half of every population has had feelings and thoughts of exiting this lifetime of theirs?

How we address any situation, or person, will have a ripple effect. How we speak to someone when they are having an emotional outburst, affects not only ourselves, but the recipients as well. Dwelling on situations that happened, and not making the most of those experiences, only in turn could make us stay in a dark and negative place, asking “WHY ME?” to justify not showing up for ourselves, and our families and colleagues.

I have been there. I have asked the “why me” question. When we create our realities through our thoughts, the question has to be asked: Do I want to be seen as a victim, the poor me going through so much? Or do I want to be seen as victorious, taking what gets given and becoming stronger because of it? Do I blame others for my choices? Or do I take ownership of making the wrong decisions?

Teenagers make decisions without thinking things through. They tend to have a skewed perception of how situations will pan out. It’s up to the adults in their lives to see and recognize the signs that could affect their young adult’s futures. The frontal lobe has not been fully developed until the age of around 25. An article written by Jay N. Giedd, M.D. states that the teenage brain is “primed to learn, primed to take risks “. So teenagers know exactly what they are doing, they just don’t realize the full extent of those choices and what the consequences would be. Once we understand that, we can start helping our youth.

Start today, and think before you speak or act. Start today, and love yourself, so that you could love others the same way. Start today, and become mindful. Start today, and become the example. Become the leader. Before you hurt someone on purpose, make sure you know it could backfire, and in the end you will be the one hurt.

Hugs,
irma

February 23, 2019 - Celebrity Event

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I was fortunate to participate in an amazing event on the Saturday before the Academy Awards on 23 February 2019. I was at the gifting suite at the W Hotel in Hollywood, California, sharing the experience with a wonderful friend and artist, Dawn Reiffenstein from Divine Spark Art. I met amazing people, not only actors and actresses but media moguls, social influencers as well as behind the scenes specialists.

It was a crazy, busy and fantastic experience. The planning and organization just to get my books there was minimal compared to what the Celebrity Connected team had to do in conjunction with the W Hotel staff. I have only praise for everyone involved.

I loved walking along the stars on the sidewalks, and experiencing the atmosphere in one of the oldest areas in the city of angels. I saw Kinky Boots at the Pantages Theatre, and the glamour of the old theatre was still vibrant as ever, if a bit frayed around the edges. The idea that I was sitting where so many famous stars sat and waited on their names being called as winner of an Oscar, made me feel in awe. The wide aisles brought to my mind ball gowns and tuxedos, glamorous hairdo’s and the smell of perfumes and cigars.

We went for breakfast at the 101 Coffee Shop, where many movies have been filmed. A historical landmark in Hollywood, the great food and atmosphere both reminded one of the fact that we were sitting at tables where great ones have been before.

Of course no visit to the city of movies would be complete without visiting Universal Studios. A place where I became childlike with wonder and awe. Dawn and I had a lot of fun, and it felt as if we must’ve walked 10 kilometres. I learned how noises are created, went on crazy rides, and discovered the little girl inside of me didn’t mind being giddy with fun.

The day of the flight back to Canada, a place I’ve long wanted to see became a reality when we went to Santa Monica Pier. I love the ocean, the ever changing waves breaking then retreating, in a never ending song. There was a trapeze school entertaining us, and the atmosphere was one of holiday. It was great, and a truly beautiful sight.

Something very noticeable were the many tents and shelters by homeless souls who didn’t have a fixed home. Young people, older generations. Their eyes were empty, they had given up hope on life and themselves. Drugs have ravished their bodies, and inconsistent diets have completed the task. My heart ached for them, for the choices made, circumstances forced them to succumb to a life without light.

It made me realize that my message is important. Many many people feel the way I do, that we have a task ahead of us making sure we raise awareness about the challenges young people go through. Social media makes for an instant experience with smiles and happy moments, but don’t always go behind the scenes to explore what really happens.

I have made contacts I will have future dealings with, and I know I will always remember the Celebrity Connected event. It would not have happened without Alisia Nhoeuk from Holistic Hustle. She approached me after she had heard me talk, and introduced me to the CEO, Gene Sheynis. The rest is history, as they say.

Hugs
Irma

February 20, 2019

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I’m listening to a blistering winter storm outside, and realized that it was time for me to say what was on my mind. This is the first blog on my website, and it is interesting how our minds wander…

Even though the words are only being written now, the thoughts have been in my mind for a very long time. As I pondered, back spaced again and again, I came to the realization that we as human beings crave perfection.

I think that’s the same for our children, whether nieces and nephews, children we gave birth to or adopted, or someone’s children we might know. We expect them to be perfect, to achieve our impossibly high standards we have set for them. Then, if they fail, we feel as if we have failed as well.

Social media pushes the bar even higher. Now we not only compete with our perceived notion of perfection against friends and family, we also have to do well with likes and hearts on the Facebook pages and profiles, the Instagram followers and don’t forget the LinkeIn business groups. That’s to name a few.

Did we become so affixed to the idea of being loved by the world that we have forgotten why we are here in the first place? We are in this lifetime for a reason. Some of us are following our paths and learning the lessons, while others struggle. Our children are our teachers, probably more so than what we are theirs.

If they are our teachers, then why is the number of teen suicides so high? Why is the demographic with the highest percentage of mental illness in the ages 14-24 years old, per statistics?

Let’s face it: we have become the perfect parents, the perfect teachers and grandparents and aunts and uncles etc. In fact we are so perfect, that we are missing the signs. The signs of a young adult crying for help.

How could I say this? Because I was that person. I missed the signs, and almost lost my daughter in the process. She was crying for help through her actions, and little snippets of words. I was too busy to be the perfect wife, mother and employee to take notice of my angry, crying for help, teen.

None of us are perfect. Let’s start changing the way we look at our teens. A grunt is a full sentence. A hug is worth a million dollars. When they talk to us, put that tablet or remote away and listen to them, because we are raising tomorrow’s leaders.

Hugs,
Irma