Be always the curious student

~ Toni O’KEEFFE

Today, try stepping into your life as a curious student.

For just a day, consider parking your solutions, opinions, advice, judgment and “your way of doing things” and focus your attention towards, listening, learning, observing, being patient, being present, and aware of what’s going on around you.

Let your intellectual walls down and let others teach you. Be a curious and humble student.

If you are the resident problem solver at home or work, or you’re a teacher, coach, boss or an expert in your field, you can practice being a curious student by;
~ asking others for their opinion
~ asking for advice
~ asking others how they might do something differently.
~ letting someone else lead a meeting or lead a class, while you observe.
~ ask others questions on topics they know well, then listen.

None of us know it all.
It’s often the quiet observer who sees and learns the most. These wise souls know we build stronger relationships, learn more about our world, each other and ourselves when we practice observation, stillness and humble curiosity.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Step into this day with purpose

~Toni O’KEEFFE

Step into this day, knowing every step and every choice, leads you closer to, or further from, the life you want to live.

Stop wasting time on what doesn’t matter.
Do what you love, with whom you love.
Walk towards the life you want to live, not away from it.

Lace up those boots, slip on those flip flops, and run, (ride, fly or sail) into this day and make it count.

If what you do today does not lead you towards who you want to be, and who you want to be with, why are you doing it?

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Accept and embrace our differences

~Toni O’KEEFFE

It’s those who are different than us, that might make the biggest difference in our lives.

While it might be easier and feel safer, to be around those who are similar, its the ones who think, live, look and believe differently than we do, that provide the best opportunities to learn, grow and deepen our understanding of the world and ourselves.

Spending time with those who’ve had different life experiences, are older or younger, have different educational, cultural and religious backgrounds, lead us to be more open minded, tolerant, accepting and generally better, kinder, well-rounded individuals.

During my professional career, I always tried to hire people who were different than me and thought differently than me. I learnt more from those individuals than I’m sure they ever learnt from me. The more diverse the team was, the better our collective outcomes were.

Being open to building personal and even romantic relationships with those who are different than us, might help us grow and succeed in ways we had never imagined and, may lead us to living more interesting lives.

It’s usually our fear of what’s different that causes conflict. When we take the time to learn about the things that make us different, and accept the fact that we do not know it all, the fear fades and is replaced by tolerance, appreciation, personal growth, new knowledge and healthier relationships in all aspects of our lives.

Your ideas, and your ways of knowing, being and doing, might be exactly what I need to grow and move my life forward. Likewise, I might possess qualities or knowledge that help you grow into your best self.

The strength and support we can offer each other does not always come from our similarities, but from the unique, and interesting, things that make us different.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Life is the forest

~ Toni O’KEEFFE

As I strolled through the forest and along Englishman River today, it struck me how much life is like a forest.

Depending what storms have blown through our lives, where the light is shining, where we’re planted, who’s planted beside us, how solid our foundation is, how deeply our roots grow or what nutrients are in the soil, we will either flourish and grow strong or struggle to survive.

Like the forest, life is filled with twists and turns and unfamiliar pathways or paths that are blocked.

When we meet another soul, we don’t know what foundation they’re built upon, how sturdy their root and support system is, what storms they’ve walked through, what change has blown through their lives, what twists and turns they’ve had to endure or, what might be blocking their light or blocking their path.

Imagine if we were all be bit more understanding, patient, kind and gentle with each other, how much stronger we all could grow.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Stick your toes where they belong

~ Toni O’KEEFFE

Why are we drawn to the peaceful, unencumbered wilds of nature?
~ the awe of forest paths that magically transform when rays of light stream in between the branches of towering old growth trees or,
~ feel inspired when we set our eyes on majestic mountain peaks draped with snow, or,
~ melt into a state of relaxation gazing at an expansive indigo sky dressed in twinkling stars, or
~ fall into a state of peaceful reverence when we sink our toes into the sand and watch the rising and setting of the sun?

Why do these and the other sights, sounds and smells of nature call to us, arouse our senses, bring us comfort and cause us to pause and exhale?

I think this call into the wild is our deepest self calling us home.

Our DNA evolved in nature. Our ancestors spent most of their time in the natural world. We’re hard wired to live amongst the trees, near the water and under the sky.

It’s only been in the last couple of centuries that we’ve strayed away from where we belong and moved into loud overcrowded, concrete jungles and on to busy asphalt highways.

Numerous studies have shown spending time in nature is a natural remedy for stress, can lower blood pressure, boast immune system functioning, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. That’s a pretty good “pill”.

Yet, humanity spends trillion of dollars annually purchasing and consuming self help products and services to make us feel well, less anxious and less stressed; things we’d feel if we spent more time in the great outdoors.

Spending time in nature is like pushing the reset button and going back to our original factory😊settings.

Going into nature is peaceful, comfortable and reminds us of home because, it is home, it is where we’re meant to be.

When you feel the stress of our modern world impacting your well being, go home, stick your toes, your heart and your soul where they belong and BE well.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Fill up on the good stuff

~ Toni O’KEEFFE

When we choose anything; a partner, a movie, produce, a bottle of wine, a job, friends, we try to get the good ones, the ones that are good for us, lift us up and make us feel good.

When you choose your thoughts, you should also choose the good ones, the ones that lift you up and make you feel good.

You know the saying “you are what you eat”? Well, you’re also what you thinking.
If you think you’re unhappy you’re right,
If you think life sucks, you’re right.
If you think you’re beautiful you’re right.
If you think you’re capable you’re right.
If you think a rainy day is fabulous you’re right.
If you think a rainy day is dismal you’re right.
We become what we believe and what we fill up on.
Fill your life with good people, good thoughts and good stuff.

Love Toni 🌹❤️

Healing

~Toni O’KEEFFE

Today feels like a good day to start healing from whatevers hurting or haunting you.

It doesn’t matter how you got here.
It matters how you muster the courage to move beyond it.

Healing can start by forgiving who or what hurt you, including forgiving yourself for the role you played or decisions you made that led to your emotional or physical pain.

Forgiveness does not mean you condone or forget what happened. Forgiveness is the act of reclaiming control over your mental and physical well being so you can live your best life.

When we forgive, we put the weight of our pain down and remove the power it has over us. Forgiveness allows peace to fill in the spaces where sorrow, guilt, regret, anger, grief or other pain once lived and, we begin to heal. You may not be able to get over your pain, but you can get through it.

Forgive the ones who hurt you, left you in a state of fear, or left you feeling less than you are. Forgive the disease, discomfort or physical pain hurting your body and ask it to move on. It doesn’t matter why or how this pain found you, it matters that you move on in spite of it.

Even if you have to live with your pain, as many of us do, you can still ease the hurt and take away the power it has over your life.

It’s on the path through our pain where some of our greatest learning and growth takes place.

You deserve, happiness, peace of mind, love and freedom from everything thats ever hurt you.

If you need help getting started; write down the things you want to heal from and who you need to forgive. Then, find your place of peace. This place might be a forest, the ocean, a wide open field, a mountain top, a lakeside, a garden, your backyard or a room with a view.
In this safe space set your words free in whatever way feels right for you. Burn, bury, scream, shred or flush, the choice is yours,

When you leave, this place, leave what and who hurt you behind. If you feel your pain creeping back in. Go back to this place and reclaim your peace of mind.

Whether your pain is anchored in grief, regret, remorse, abuse, addiction, heartbreak, an accident, disease or other physical or emotional suffering; today’s a good day to start healing.

Your pain can leave you paralyzed or, it can be the wind that allows to you set sail.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Your words have power

~ Toni O’KEEFFE

Today as I sat on the beach with my little dog Bo’, a young girl, about 4 years old, ran up to us happily excited to see Bo’ digging in the sand.

She gushed at how cute he was, stroked his fur ever so gently, softly tapped his head and utter the words; “good boy” and giggled as he licked her hands and face.

Her mother ran up to where we were and apologized for her daughter’s intrusion and excitement and told her to leave us alone.

“It’s quite alright,”I said. “His name is Bo and he loves the attention.”

Then, quite spontaneously, the little girl looked up at me and said “I love you, and I love Bo.”
It was very sweet.
“We love you too,” I replied.
“Thank you for making Bo so happy today.”
The little girl smiled.

Her mother appeared very uncomfortable, quickly grabbed her child’s hand and pulled her away. She turned to her daughter and in a harsh tone said; “You don’t tell strangers you love them. That’s silly, stop bothering this lady.” She went on publicly scolding the child and told her; “You don’t even know this person, You save those words for people you know.”

A quiet reserve fell over this sweet child’s face, erasing her glow and her smile.
Her slumped shoulders and nervous hair twirling, were signs she was confused about what she had done wrong.

I wanted to pick her up, hug her, tell her she had done nothing wrong and, in fact, she had made me and Bo quite happy.
But, I couldn’t, it wouldn’t have been “appropriate” and, her mother had quickly whisked her away.

Let me be clear, I understand the importance of educating our children about stranger-danger. Some people might not want their child running up to strangers saying “I love you”. This situation was different. And, it was a lost learning moment for the mother and the child.

There is nothing more beautiful than the innocence and vulnerability of a child speaking their truth.

Most young children do not possess social restraint, so their raw honesty can be insightful and even comical when they say things we might find inappropriate, such as;
“your breath is stinky like a dog butt”
“I think I barfed in my underpants”
“farts are my favourite thing about granpa”
“mom you look dizzy in that dress”
“we don’t eat meat ‘cause our moms trying to be a virgin”
……or other words and phrases describing the plethora of thought swirling inside a tiny human mind(and yes these are actual raw honest phrases spoken by my two little boys, in public, decades ago).

So when a child is moved to say the words “I love you” its a beautiful act from a little soul under construction.

Saying “I love you” in a platonic way, shouldn’t feel scary (my god I just wrote about this a few weeks ago).
When children say it, it should feel wonderful and they shouldn’t be shamed or scorned.

In a world filled with anger, hate and distrust, we need little people to feel comfortable expressing LOVE.

So what’s the moral of this story?
Our words have power.
The words spoken by this sweet child, lifted me up. Her words were beautiful, authentic and spoken from the innocence of her tender heart.

The words spoken by her mother, were filled with anger, disappointment, perhaps fear, and quickly had the power to bring a very happy, excited child down, and put me off balance for the rest of the day.

Our words can create ripples that echo on long after we’ve left them behind ( this post is an example of just that).
So lets create ripples of kindness that flow gently into (and beyond) each other’s lives, rather than cause and waves of fear, hurt and destruction.

Love Toni~🌹❤️

****Fun fact, I was not successful in my attempts to eliminate meat from my diet. I did not become a “vegetarian”. (You might have to go back and re-read paragraph 11 to fully understand 😁)