By Tracey Craigon
If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow,
we aren’t really living. (Gail Sheehy)
Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life. The two original Chinese characters that make up this word are change and good.
I’ve become acutely aware of how easy it can be to be too content, too comfortable with the status quo. The way things generally are or have always been is not always the best, most life-giving, or secure way. At some point, if I am sincerely interested in improving the quality and effec-tiveness of my work, my relationships, and my commitment to a higher purpose for my life, I need to consider the value of change and the possibility of continuous improvement.
Change can be messy, for sure. It’s frequently difficult, requiring effort and adaptation, even compromise, on my part—and it’s often inconvenient. There are things that I would like to change or that I know need to change … and yet, it rarely happens as soon as I’d like. It’s easy to become discouraged and impatient when I don’t see the desired results I’d like to see. Sometimes things seem to get worse before they get better.
A different perspective, an improved attitude, a renewed commitment, a change of heart, a change of address, or simply a change of scene can really do some good.
I willingly embrace the necessity and power of change.
© Tracey Craigon 2016
Change was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography – Tracey Craigon
Tracey has had a knack for writing since childhood. Her love of the craft has led to explorations in poetry, journalling, song writing, blogging, calligraphy, and fiction. She is considering writing a book about some of her faith experiences. Presently, Tracey lives in Winnipeg and teaches ESL. She recently certified as a Personal Trainer and helps others enjoy the benefits of fitness. Tracey’s other interests include prayer, language, singing, cooking, HIIT workouts, and dance.
By Alison Lock
I have to come back to a beginner’s mind, the first way I thought and felt about writing. In a sense, the beginner’s mind is what we must come back to every time we sit down and write… Each time is a new journey with no maps. (Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones)
How to begin?
A new notebook. I open the first page. The smell of the fresh-cut paper and the clean-lined page taunt me, saying, “well, go on, what are you waiting for?” But somehow I cannot put my pen to the paper. For one thing, I know my handwriting is untidy and only vaguely constitutes anything that can be considered legible.
In fact, if I ever want to read aloud what I have written in my writing circle, I will need to look for my most up-to-date spectacles with the highest magnification just to see the words.
And then there’s the problem of the page being the very first in the notebook and the feeling that I should begin with something profound—some wise words, a flash of clarity that will light up the world.
But actually I am writing, not on the first page—I turned over a page before I could set down these words, these less than impressive words, on this insignificant second page.
I cherish every beginning, allowing new opportunities into my life, wherever they come from, whenever they arrive. I will begin again. No excuses.
© Alison Lock 2016
Begin was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Alison Lock
Alison Lock is a poet and author from Holmfirth (UK). She finds inspiration in the moorlands and the natural environment of the South Pennines, which is often reflected in her writing. She is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Creative Writing. She believes that Transformative Life WritingTM is a unique and powerful tool that can transform our personal journalling, giving us new insights, and encouraging the development of our writing journeys.
By Jayelle Bond
There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. (G. K. Chesterton)
Friends inform me that they are going through their homes, getting rid of things; the buzz words are de-clutter, purge, downsize. Toys, books, equipment, clothes, and other household items are analyzed. A strategy is devised: to keep, organize, donate or discard. Because clutter clings to us, we experience a tug-of-war, as we decide what to release. I think of the quip, “I could keep my closets cleaner if I had another garage.”
My closets are stuffed with garments galore, memorabilia, stacks of paper, hidden cookies, et cetera. I confronted the issue of excess stuff and began to cull, but alas, clutter slowly began to increase as I purchased more. A realization came that the weight of clutter in my abode was like carrying fat around: it is mental, physical, and spiritual stress. It robbed me of nurturing relationships. Clutter clean-up required coming face-to-face with myself. I had to reduce the inventory. My inner voice took on a cogent tone, “Think of it as not losing something, but blessing someone else.”
I work on travelling light. I’m not defined by my possessions, but by what inhabits my heart. On this journey, I pursue letting go of tangible accumulation by doing math. Subtracting stuff from my life is adding to my living.
De-cluttering is a gift I give myself and others.
© Jayelle Bond 2016
De-Clutter was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Jayelle Bond
Jayelle Bond is walking into her prime. She stretched herself by taking the Life Writing for TransformationTM course at Canadian Mennonite University. Poetry is her usual writing; her poems have been published in journals and magazines. A prairie woman who delights in wind-rippled wheat fields and the starry vault of sky, Jayelle engages in watercolour painting, reading, and travelling.
By Bertha Fontaine
Most folks are as happy as they
make up their minds to be. (Abraham Lincoln)
Our minds are very powerful if we choose to believe in something or someone. Only recently has research shown that treatment or therapy can be ineffective if an individual does not believe they are going to get well. We only have to look to children to see how a strong belief system works.
This past Christmas my youngest grandchild told her brother, “You have to come home with us to sleep tonight for sure. If Santa doesn’t see you sleeping in your bed he may think you no longer live there, and so he won’t leave you any gifts.”
Although he preferred to stay with his grandparents, my grandson’s belief in Santa overpowered his desire to stay with us. After trying to persuade him all evening to go home with his family, he quickly changed his mind and put on his coat.
Sometimes, I think, we as adults need to practice our belief systems like children in order for them to work for us.
By the way, Santa did arrive at my grandchildren’s home to deliver some Christmas excitement. The children? They were very happy.
I decide to believe in my hopes and dreams,
with all my heart.
© Bertha Fontaine 2016
Decide was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Bertha Fontaine
Bertha Fontaine is currently a manager and counsellor at an addiction treatment centre in Winnipeg, Canada. She attended a Transformative WritingTM program at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) and other writing classes led by Joanne Klassen. This helped Bertha realize the healing power of writing. Bertha loves being with family, especially her two sons, daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren. She believes and practices the Ojibway and Cree traditional ways of her ancestors.
By Lori Gagnon
Imagine all the people living life in peace. (John Lennon)
What is peace? I ask myself this question in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the pre-Christmas week.
Imagine, if I did not have to hurry through life at a crazy pace that does not allow me to breathe and experience its every exquisite moment.
Imagine, if guns had never been invented and I lived in a world with no war.
Imagine, if love was my only motivating force—not winning, being top dog, or having all the power.
It is easy to imagine such a utopia. I then ask myself, how could it ever be real? Then I realize that such peace must first come from deep within myself, before I could ever expect it to be an outward worldwide concept.
Imagine, if I find something kind to say the next time I feel angry with someone.
Imagine, if I am peacefully silent the next time the office is jumping with gossip.
Imagine, if I purposefully try to live peace every day.
Imagine, if I only allow my thoughts to be loving and peaceful.
Imagine! I wonder if it would catch on. Would other people want to try it? I imagine they would.
I enter this day with peace, determined to remain peaceful.
I breathe peace in, I breathe peace out. I imagine
I am at peace and the whole world is at peace with me.
© Lori Gagnon 2016
Imagine was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Lori Gagnon
Lori Gagnon is a mother, daughter, sister, wife, and grandmother. She has a passion for reading, writing and art. Lori became an avid journal writer and explored writing poetry during the 26 years she lived in Churchill, Manitoba. Lori took a Transformative WritingTM course at CMU and continues to write, journal, make art and explore any creative venture that piques her interest. Her dreams include publishing her own book about growing up in Silver Heights, Manitoba.
By Sallie Cooper
There are not seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.
When Lana, my granddaughter, was 3 years old she came to visit me one Sunday just before Christmas. I had bought a small Christmas tree for the occasion, not much taller than Lana was when she stood on tiptoe to be able to reach to put the angel on top
I got out the box of tree decorations that our family had accumulated over the years and set it down beside her, showing her how to hang the decorations on the tree. She knelt in front of it and I watched with joy as she carefully used up all the decorations on the six to eight inch square of tree directly in front of her face.
Each bough in that little area was bowing under the weight of so many ornaments, but Lana was determined. I tried to encourage her to move around the tree or stand up but to no avail.
So what? I thought. Here we have a perfect example of a child’s eye view of a Christmas tree of which she was so proud. It didn’t matter that all the decorations were together and the rest of the tree was bare. It was our tree.
And now, we have a wonderful memory to look back on every year at Christmas with joy and hugs to share as a family.
I celebrate with joy the wonder,
the individuality and sense of achievement
emanating from the children in my life.
© Sallie Cooper 2016
Wonder was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Sallie Cooper
At 61, Sallie is a proud mother and grandmother and firm believer in lifelong learning. A keen writer and reader, she is also a cellist and trained facilitator of Life Writing for TransformationTM which occupies regular slots of time in the area around her home in North Yorkshire, UK. A lot of Sallie’s work is done in the field of Mental Health, an area which she is passionate about and experienced in.
By Joanne Klassen
A bend in the road is not the end of the road,
unless you fail to navigate the turn.
A mid-winter heat wave in Manitoba is melting the snow, and turning streets to slush. Still, skaters on the river outside my window believe that the ice will hold them—dozens and dozens of them at this moment.
I am thinking that relationships undergo changes in the same way that weather changes the flowing Assiniboine River to solid ice. Belief in one another builds between people over time until it is sturdy enough to carry the weight of the ups and downs of life’s journey.
There’s been a climate change between a friend and me. A misunderstanding has made our path slushy and we tread carefully. I want to take a cue from the skaters who believe that the foundation is strong enough to bear the weight of changing patterns. It may not be smooth and solid between us just now, but I believe that this change is only one aspect of the future terrain we will glide along together.
Belief is not an emotion; it is a choice.
I choose to believe that all is well
as I peacefully move through
© Joanne Klassen 2016
Believe was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Joanne Klassen
Author and Heartspace founder, Joanne began facilitating personal development programs in 1975. Her career and life changed in 1998 when she received a vision for Transformative Life WritingTM which is now offered to teens, adults and seniors around the world. Joanne’s ideal day includes writing, singing to a baby, visiting thrift shops and walking along the river with her husband Ted in Winnipeg, Canada.