A Question of Degree

Greetings.  It’s been a long time.

Or maybe it hasn’t – it depends on your perspective.  Today I’m writing about a topic I often discuss with clients: the notion that most things are a question of degree.

What do I mean?

I mean that far too often, we are categorical about things.  We say, “This is bad” or “This is good”.  We are too black and white. Too definitive.  When I hear these kinds of statements – or when I find myself making them – I pause.

The way I see it, few things are universally bad or good.  Many – maybe most? – are a question of degree.

For example, most people would agree that exercise is good for us.  Generally speaking, that’s true.  But too much exercise can actually be bad for you.  It is a question of degree: How much exercise is considered good?  How much do you need to be exercising for it to become bad for you?

What about bad things? Can ‘bad’ things actually be good in proper proportion?  Sure.  Let’s take chocolate.  Many people say that chocolate is bad for you. But is it? If you are eating good quality, dark chocolate, it actually contains things like antioxidants and other things that are in fact good for you. And the dark chocolate doesn’t contain much sugar and other nasty stuff.  Plus, it makes you feel good.  In modest proportion, that can’t be all bad, can it?

So the next time you hear yourself or someone else saying categorically, “That’s bad”, or “That’s good”, ask yourself: Is it only bad or only good?  Or could it be either of the two, depending on how much or how little it is used, done, etc.

Food for thought.

Spring Cleaning

Spring Flowers2 Hello All – just a brief note here.

Although it currently doesn’t feel much like spring in many parts of eastern Canada or along large parts of the US eastern seaboard, it IS in fact spring. For many of us, spring is a time to clean things up: not just the yard and gardens, but also inside the house.

I’m writing today to suggest that you also consider doing some spring cleaning in your life.

  • Is there a bad habit you’d like to get rid of?
  • Maybe an outdated or unhelpful belief you could benefit from letting go of?
  • Perhaps a behaviour that really doesn’t suit you?
  • Perchance a relationship that needs some messes sorted out?
  • Possibly even a job that you’re long overdue to leave, in search of something more fulfilling?

I’m doing some of this kind of cleaning in my own life, and I invite you to do the same.

It’s refreshing; kind of like (real) spring weather.


Happy New Year

Happy-New-Year-Greetings Hello All. Just a very short note to wish you all well for 2016.

Every new day is a chance to begin again.

And when you start a new year, there’s a little more impetus behind it.

May you savour life’s memorable moments, big and little, walk through life’s difficulties with patience, and celebrate life’s triumphs with humility and gratitude.


The Festive Season is Here!

Christmas Tree OutdoorsDecember 1st!

It’s one of my favourite days of the year.


Because for me, this day feels like the real beginning of the festive season. More specifically, for me it’s the start of the
Christmas season.


I know it’s generally not considered politically correct to say “Christmas” at this time of  year anymore, but that’s what I am celebrating, so that’s what I’m calling it for myself.

Having said the above, I fully understand that it feels kind of wrong to wish someone a Merry Christmas if they don’t observe or celebrate Christmas (in either the secular or religious form).  But “Happy Holidays” doesn’t feel like a great substitute. The phrase feels vague and rather empty to me.  It’s safe – that’s about all I can give it as merit. And when I talk privately with others about this, many of them concur.

So for those of you who are celebrating Christmas, Merry Christmas!

And to be more specific for friends celebrating other traditions this month:

  • Happy Hanukkah (Dec 6-14)
  • Happy Kwanzaa (Dec 26-Jan 1)

Last but not least, to all people who find something to appreciate about this time of year, enjoy this magical season!


Let’s Blackout “Black Friday” and Focus on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

Or should I be wishing you “Happy Shopping Craze”?

Shopping CrazeI hope it’s the former, and I hope you don’t choose to place yourselves in the scene depicted in this blog post.

I always find myself having mixed feelings when American Thanksgiving arrives (for those who aren’t aware, in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving on the first Monday of October).

The reason for my mixed feelings? The increasing commercialization of this holiday that started out genuinely as a time of giving thanks (for a successful harvest, among other things).  As an aside, I am thankful (pun intended) to have our Thanksgiving in early-mid October.  It’s a lovely time of year weather-wise to have it (gorgeous weather and stunningly beautiful multi-coloured leaves on the trees). Furthermore, it is situated roughly half-way between the end of summer holidays and the Christmas a.k.a. Holiday season, which makes for a perfect “pause” in the busy autumn season.

But I digress. Back to my main topic.

As I said, Thanksgiving started out as a time for feeling and expressing gratitude. But more and more, it seems that the “shopping” aspect of this “holiday” is taking over (or HAS taken over).  As if Black Friday weren’t already enough, retailers added “Cyber Monday” in 2005 as a way of cranking it up. Meanwhile, store openings on Friday crept earlier and earlier: 6am, 5am, 4am. People started camping out overnight so they coul be first in line. Then in 2011 some companies started opening at midnight on Thanksgiving Day, and in 2012 most of the nations biggest retailers started opening ON THANKSGIVING DAY (Thursday) for Black Friday sales. REALLY?

And the latest news: Walmart – in its infinite wisdom – is now starting Cyber Monday on Sunday night at 8pm.


See this article for details: Is Nothing Sacred Anymore? Now Walmart is Starting Cyber Monday on a Sunday.

Sadly, in recent years, Black Friday seems to have made its way to Canada, and has become more prominent. YUCK!!

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s a real shame to dilute a potentially lovely family holiday with all of this. Who really needs all that junk anyway?  We all know that buying “stuff” rarely makes us happier. And if it does, it lasts a short time and then we look for the next “fix”.  And what about all the workers in these stores?  Retail employees are already some of the lowest paid employees out there. Now they get pulled away from their families even sooner – all because of…what? Greed?

I’m not sure what all of this is in service of, and I’m not sure where it will all end. But it doesn’t seem like a positive development as far as human well-being is concerned.

So, on this American Thanksgiving Day, my wish to my American friends (and anyone else affected by the “noise” around this theoretically lovely holiday), is for you to stop, reflect, give thanks, and BE with your loved ones. 

After all, we are called “human beings“, not “human doings” or “human havings”.

Wishing peace and equanimity to all.


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