scott knows about motorcycle accidents

“I was 21 years old and no one was telling me I wasn’t going to walk again.”

My guest today is Scott Anderson. Scott is a small business owner and an entrepreneur but in 2001, he was in a serious motorcycle accident and broke his neck.

On the show, we talk about the accident that changed everything, the long road as he rebuilt his life and how the things you love can be more motivating than fear and pain. Listen to our conversation here and follow Scott on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/scottygram79/.

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people who know stuff

My podcast starts tomorrow! The big day is March 8, 2018 and a dream that I had long ago when I was sixteen years old of being a broadcaster is going to come true.

I love listening to stories. Often when I’m talking to another I have the sense that I am in a living library, with a wonderful interactive book that I can ask questions of, and feel things with. Are there gaps in the story? I can ask to fill them in. Sometimes, there are moments of such intense humanity … fear and shame, feeling lost and separated … that my heart fills as though I’ve walked into a holy place, the way that I felt when I visited this cave in the Dominican Republic. Most stories have places of disruption and disorientation, when I marvel at the courage it took for that person to keep going. There are moments of connection and synergy, when magical breadcrumbs appear, and the person has the instinct to follow them. There are moments when it is like I am sitting next to someone, on a high vantage point, as though we’ve been on a long, hard hike and we’ve paused, looking over the panorama of their life, and they are saying, “Wow. I did that. Look at that. It was so hard. It was so bad. It was so good. And here I am.”

There is the story, and I do enjoy a good story.

But what I love even more is to gently brush the curtain aside and meet the storyteller. Sometimes, I mistake the story for intimacy, for knowing the storyteller. In fact, I don’t believe that. I am not my story. I am my favourite books and the movies that inspire me and my favourite paintings and the things I cook when I come home at 8.30 p.m. and I’m starving and what I do on a snow day and the songs that I secretly love. I am the things that I am judgmental about (usually showing me where I feel superior, better than someone else).

There are so many people through out history who I would love to interview, to have a good heart-to-heart. I am so glad that I get an opportunity to talk to the creative, inspiring people that surround me right now — sacred and ordinary and not ordinary at all.

People do know stuff. You don’t get to be twenty, or thirty, or forty, or beyond, without knowing a few things. I’m looking forward to finding that wisdom together, to listening to those noble voice.

And, maybe finding my own.

hello, radio

I come from a world where stories are valued. When I was a little girl, my mom says I could listen to stories for hours. I’ve always loved stories … finding them, reading them, telling them, listening to them.

A few years ago, I listened noticed this Ted Talk that promised to help me find my life purpose in five minutes or less. I thought, “That will never work.” I tried it, and it worked. Here’s what I discovered. My life’s purpose is “to tell stories that bring context, meaning and hope that inspire people to live their lives in more thoughtful and appreciative ways.”

There are many ways to do this, and I realized that I would probably have to make something. Artistic expression is already a big part of my life . . . taking photographs, writing, playing guitar, singing, painting, drawing and dancing.

When I was sixteen years old, I wanted to be a broadcaster. I imagined myself leaning into a powerful microphone at my first radio show and saying, “Hello, Radio!!!!!” Whatever happened to that exuberant, hardworking little dreamer girl? So many of the things she wanted for herself never happened, mostly because she felt alone and couldn’t give herself permission to trust the things that she loved. She did not feel worthy of an education or of trusting herself (thank goodness I got an education anyway … but I wish I’d trusted myself to pick something that I liked more).

I’m feeling the fear, and just not caring anymore. In fact, love is finally stronger than fear and I’m so excited to tell you that I am starting a podcast. It’s going to be broadcasting on Mile High Radio on Thursday nights at 11.00 p.m. EST and it’s called the People Who Know Stuff podcast. I’m going to be talking to people from all walks of life who are making things and doing things and who have powerful stories and insights into the important questions that we all wonder about: what should I do next? What do I care about? Where do I belong? What are the connections that inspire me? What makes me feel free? If I knew for sure that my heart was going to get broken, what would I do (this question makes you really think hard about if it’s going to be worth it).

So, that is what is happening next! My show is going to launch on March 8th. Stay tuned for details … and Hello, Radio.

Podcast graphic

saints and witches

In his book Care of the Soul, Thomas Moore says, “One of the most effective forms of repression is to give a thing excessive honour.”

Did you know that for the longest time, Christian men did not believe that Christian women had souls? Enslaving people who were black was also permitted because they were believed to lack souls. To lack a soul was to lack humanity and therefore equality.

Then a shift happened. Women, it was determined, had souls after all, but that didn’t help us very much because beliefs about women were still bilateral — black and white.

I once asked a great uncle what my great-grandmother was like. He told me that his mother was “a saint”. That told me nothing meaningful about the nuanced, complex woman who lost a fiancé in WWI, highly valued education and moved to Canada while pregnant with her sixth child. (And it sounds like she promptly was overcome with depression and homesickness).

Saints and witches … those are the polarizing labels available to women in my culture. I wonder if what we do and how we do it is seen as threatening and hostile because we are all so accustomed to observing the world through a masculine filter (not a bad thing, but it is not the only way to see the world).

I made tea this morning. I keep my favourite breakfast tea in a tea tin that my great-grandmother gave my grandma for a birthday present.

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new moon broccoli

My friend sat across from me and her eyes were full of pain and disappointment. She has such blue eyes; they reminded me of a bunch of violets that someone had stepped on and bruised horribly. “I don’t care about approval from other people anymore,” she said, but her eyes said something else. “I think that I’m different and I don’t fit in with people who are high achievers.”

We talked about the challenges of making friends as grown up women. How did we do it when we were little girls? Well, most of us went to school and the proximity meant that we spent a lot time with other people and they became our friends. Now that we’re older and we don’t spend every day together, no wonder we outgrow some of those relationships. They needed time to work. That was what we had in common, not necessarily values or common interests.

My friend is tall, blonde, beautiful. She is the most organized, efficient and impressive woman you can imagine. I should know, because I used to work with her. She was at once the most approachable and most intimidating person because she was so kind and so competent. If she was organizing it, you knew it would be well done. This is the woman who has been president of local volunteer organizations, has invested a lot of time and money in personal development, is a loving and thoughtful friend, an effective and supportive coach, and will spend her weekends at an event to help teenage girls who otherwise couldn’t afford it pick out prom dresses.

She says she has invested her heart in trying to build community with other women. I know how much she longs for and values community but I have many times over the years listened to her confusion, pain and frustration when rather than finding a supportive and encouraging environment where she can grow, she has confronted painful and intimidating experiences that made her shy away from the community she longs for, and confronting the painful story that maybe she doesn’t belong in the places where she so longs to fit in.

“If I had known it would have turned out this way, I wouldn’t have had the courage to attempt it,” she confides.

We even had to wait longer than necessary for the broccoli tempura to show up when we were both ready to just go. Even broccoli is more work than it should be on a new moon!

I arrived home to find an email from another friend who was essentially reaching out to share her own bad mood.

I had a crappy day today. Started out oversleeping, had a couple of puppy incidents, missed my bus and the following one was over 10 minutes late (after waiting the required half an hour), then our vendor made me want to scream, cry, and swear. All at the same time. Never mind rain on my parade, I think the Fates were doing something else!

There was a new moon in Capricorn yesterday. On Monday, I felt like I was trying to walk through water . . . there was such dense energy and everything felt like it was more effort than it should be, with not enough reward for that effort.

New moons are like that. Sometimes, I look back on a day and reflect that I would have been farther ahead staying in bed — there’s a lesson there, I’m pretty sure. I go through times in my life that are like that, too. Where all of my hard work and careful plans (and I do work hard and I am careful) do not yield what I had hoped and my plans feel frustrated and — worst feeling in the world — I feel that I have nothing “productive” to show for that effort.

I have a love/hate relationship with that fateful word: PRODUCTIVE. I suspect many people do. On one hand, it does feel great to be productive. I now believe that having a productive day can be a part of self care because it does feel great to put in a day of effort, and to feel positive about that work. Sometimes self care means taking the tiger by the tail and focusing on that area of your life that scares the daylights out of you — finances, making a new friend, creating art.

But what happens when through no fault of your own those plans don’t turn out the way you hoped? Where you feel very much that you are exactly where you were this time last month, or last year. When there was momentum and energy behind you and you dared to hope that you were getting close to where you wanted to go and longed to be and then you just stop — or are stopped — for no observable, detectable reason.

Welcome to the desert, to liminal space, or maybe it’s just a bad day. Feeling the feelings that don’t feel great — anger frustration rejection fear shame disappointment irritated sad sad again sad still.

It’s dark, it’s cold and the moon is in the densest, heaviest earth sign there is. Capricorn is traditional, hardworking, and determined. It is also the energy that relentless and pitilessly governed my childhood and most of my life so far so I have a lot of resistance to this energy. But, there are good qualities about this sign, too.

Today, I am thinking about the sparkly new project I am working on. Sometimes hard work and determination are exactly what we need to do. Inspiration is glittery and it is nice when it shows up, but a Capricorn can work without it. Blessings on my new project!

the butterfly

Liminal space . . . the grey country between no longer and not yet. I’ve spent a long time here, longer than I could ever have dreamed when I left the beaten path almost four years ago. I’m so glad that I didn’t know I would spend so long in this betwixt and between place. I think it would have been dangerous for me to have known that.

This is a world where I am trying things, and so many of them aren’t working. Where I am throwing things at the wall, and most of them are not sticking. Where the temptation to go back is pretty strong at times, to turn around and return to what I did before, even though it didn’t work.

I heard someone say yesterday that you should spend as much time as you possibly can in liminal space because if you do, you will get better ideas. If you rush through and settle for the first one or two (or three or four or five) things you thought of, you can sell yourself short.

With art, it works best when the judgmental “bitch brain” gets out of the way, and one way to make that happen is to scare the daylights out of her. Even eating something different for breakfast can be a curb ball for that part of you that believes only the known is safe, even if it’s stagnant and airless. All she cares about is that you survived it. Making art, making music, making love, dancing, asking questions, staying silent, trying new things and asking for help are all overwhelming for her. What she wants is a predictable response. She doesn’t want to feel good, she wants to feel safe, and in many ways, that means she wants to feel nothing.

I have some pretty big news to share with you in the next few weeks. My bitch brain definitely has strong feelings about the stuff that I want to try in 2018! But I am feeling well consistently now and being safe is starting to feel normal (I can’t believe it). Even feeling good is starting to be something welcome and now from a place of comfort, I’m starting to want . . . growth. To scare myself a little bit. To say yes to pleasure and fun and new experiences. I’ve already said yes a few times this year, and it scared me every time. I’m so excited to tell you about what is coming next.

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plot twist

I wanted to start blogging again. Should I start a whole new blog? Maybe this one doesn’t say what I want to say anymore. Maybe that is why I’m not doing it. But there are so many reasons not to do something. So, I’m going to use the platform I have.

You probably won’t be too surprised to hear that I like making New Years’ Resolutions; I always do it. In fact, full and new moon intentions have been a part of my life for a long time now and I really like using the fresh energy of the new year to point myself in the right direction. Goals can be rewarding but sometimes they feel punitive and harsh. Intentions are gentle and draw me towards them. I am starting to trust gentle things — gentle and quiet people, sunshine on my back that feels like a deep tissue massage, the passage of time to heal a deep wound, having fun things to look forward to every day.

Creativity and healthy finances have come up as themes for 2018. The past three years have been painful as I burned my own life to the ground. Then there was a long, dark period of what felt like nothingness. I’ve lived through a harsh and stern winter. Here in Canada, the long winters have the advantage of killing a lot of diseases that can survive in warmer places. Winter offers a chance for a sacred pause, a time to dream and turn inward, to rest and nourish, to replenish energy systems.

I am feeling buzzy and turned on about my life these days. The long winter is ending; it’s spring, and time to plant things.

One thing I want to do this year is a new practice that I’ve entitled, “Plot Twist!” When something happens that I wasn’t expecting — very hard for me, even if it is something good or exciting — I am going to try yelling “Plot Twist!!” and moving on.

I went to see The Man Who Invented Christmas over the holidays about the great writer Charles Dickens. In the movie, Dickens’ emotions are personified and he interacts with them with curiosity, wonder and even joy. Emotions that would scare the daylights (the Dickens??) out of me such as fear, anger or ennui he responds to with excitement. No wonder he was such a great writer — instead of repressing his feelings or avoiding emotional confrontations, he goes towards them. They are all part of the story. “Who are you?” “What are you doing here?” “What do you want/need?” “Why are you turning up at this place in the story?”

It’s all a story. I’m sure now that I’ve put this out there, the Universe will try out my commitment by sending some plot twists along to make sure that I mean it! But, maybe those could be fun. Not a bump on the road that threatens my survival (which is what my whole life used to be like). Just scary and fun, like a roller coaster. I’ve always avoided roller coasters. I do prefer gentle experiences, after all, like quiet walks and watching sunsets from my porch. And, I want to grow and I know that won’t be only gentle, only easy. Who says a plot twist or two couldn’t be the best thing that ever happened to me?