Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Ready For 2015?

As of tomorrow, I'm putting up new shingles and entering the Expansion Business.

Yup, I will be expanding my heart and embracing:
* new people
* new opportunities
* new things and situations
And even new mistakes that match my vibration  and help me to grow into an even more expanded version of Me!

That's my Mission Statement for 2015. Have you written yours?

Join me on our Facebook page as well as on my professional page and be part of the expansion.

Namaste

Claudette


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Preparing For 2015: Use Your Secret Weapon

Tuesday, December 30, 2014. Are you tired yet of living a life that you are unhappy with?

Well today is the best day to start creating the life you truly desire!

Stay connected with me on our Facebook page, as well as on my personal coaching page at and let us together chart a new course!

Feel free to *like* and share my posts.  Tag your best friend as you would love him/her to enjoy this 'ride' with you!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Claudette

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Preparing For 2015: A Guide

Over the next few days, I will be posting articles, pictures, tips and in general a guide as we continue to Prepare For 2015.

You are invited to check in to our Facebook page as well as my professional page to join this walk.

Looking forward to drawing up plans and constructing new lives for ourselves with you!

Namaste,

Claudette

Monday, 22 December 2014

Not One More Blue Christmas!

Are you single this Christmas? Will you be spending time with family, friends or all in your lonesome?

No need to despair. You are actually not alone. There are thousands if not millions of us who will be and we are not crying in our cups.

Come on over to our Facebook page and share this leg of the journey with us. Also, here is an article that offers some guide how to survive the Christmas single.

Have a great day!

Photo source: pinterest.com

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Filters: Do You Have Any?

Sometimes it takes only one word to launch you off into deep reflection. That word was "filter" for me yesterday. My boss, who had returned to work after being away for over a week on personal matters, used it.

I was updating her on the state of affairs in my department and happened to mention the experience of death that I was still working my way through. She was shocked that I had not told her before she left that this was going on in my life.

Her words were that she respected me and my ability to filter my emotions and do what needs to be done for myself and even for the organization. She compared this to the inability of others to make decisions using such filters; instead responding to every emotional cue others throw at them.

Whether my actions were commendable is not the point. What is, are filters. Are you able to set aside emotions long enough to make a decision for your life and how you will or will not participate in other people's circuses?

Let's look at that today as we continue to #PrepareFor2015. Join me on our Facebook page to explore this topic and share your thoughts.

Have a great day!

Photo source: pinterest.com

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Paying Your Dues: How Much Is Enough?

We are continuing this series of mini-blog posts, as we #PrepareFor2015. The conversation is hosted on our Facebook page. Today we are talking about a different form of debt.

We all have heard it at least once in our lives. We all have tried to do it - with varying degrees of success.

Paying your dues.

Athletes, business people, artists, celebrities in whatever field, ministers - most who have "achieved" their primary goals will say that they paid their dues.

The questions that I have on this today are:
* How much are these dues?
* Who set the costs?
* Is interest calculated on these dues for non- or extended payment?
* Do you ever pay off this bill?

Share your thoughts here with me or follow the link to our Facebook page, as I try to find those of others on the subject.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Preparing For 2015: What Will You Leave Behind

Apologies for the continued absence of regular blog posts. As we continue to #PrepareFor2015, I am finding that this deliberate intention of sorting any residual emotion and stuff that no longer serves me intensifies.

There are a few important to growth things that must be left behind in 2014. What are those for you?

Share with us today in our comment section here.

You can also and always connect with me on our Facebook page. Come on over for regular posts as we sort what is to be left behind but do not trip over the "stuff" that I'm leaving behind!

Namaste

Monday, 8 December 2014

Temporarily Missing In Action

Apologies for the absence of any new blog posts in the past couple of weeks. Due to personal circumstances, there will be no new posts for the remainder of this week (December 8, 2014). However, you can keep in touch with us through our Facebook page, through Twitter as well, you can join our Founder on her page.

Thank you for your continued support and interest. Do browse our archive and be sure to leave your comments.

Namaste,

Claudette

Monday, 24 November 2014

Celebrate Your Talent: No One Else Might

Celebrate Your Unique Talent is a way of life, however, sometimes we need to just stop and give ourselves a pat on our backs for recognizing what we have been endowed with and make much of it!
When I read this earlier – around 5:00 this morning, I knew which of my talents I would be celebrating.

Listening.

Might not sound much to some but to me – it has been my greatest cross and asset.

My mother would beat the crap out of me for not listening to her – or so she thought. I heard her. I listened to everything she said. Did I agree or follow her dictates or even example in everything? No. Yet, I listened.

“Education will take you through this world.” Heard it and so got a couple degrees, diplomas and certificates.

“Manners will take you through the world.” Although I questioned this because she said it was education, I was a very polite and “mannersable” child, young lady and adult.

“Yuh caan depen’ pon man!’ This from a woman who lived her life looking for the next man to save her. So I listened to her words more than I followed her example. Today, I can say without fear of contradiction – I have never depended on a man in my life! Never.

Listening to my inner guidance was another matter. This took me many years to learn. It requires quietening the mental chatter, shutting out the opinions of well-meaning people and totally blocking out the “haters” and those who know how to live your life than their own.

I apologize for my disappearance towards the end of last week. I fell ill and was not able to write. My spiritual ears were highly attuned, however, and I heard every word said and not said in support or lack thereof as I retched for a couple days. The spoken words belied the actions and it was the actions that I listened.

Ten pounds lighter, I came to work today even more clear as to my purpose and why no one, not even those I loved dearly, will detract me from my path. I am a listener. It is my unique gift that I today gratefully receive and will continue to use for my personal freedom and that of those who ask for my support .

What about you? What is your unique talent and how do you celebrate it? Share with me here or on our Facebook page.

Have a great rest of the evening.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

International Men's Day - Is It Really Necessary?

Why should they not have a day?If having an International Men’s Day will:
  • Foster greater respect for themselves and for women
  • Engender compassion, caring and greater understanding of the world
  • Allow them time to introspect and reflect on their role in the family and communities
then I am all for an International Men’s Day.

The rest of the hours is this day is being celebrated in approximately 60 countries in the world as this special day for men. According to Wikipedia: 

“International Men's Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on 19 November. Inaugurated in 1992 as 07 February by Prof Thomas Oaster, the project was re-initialised in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago.  The longest running celebration of International men's day is Malta, where events have occurred since 07 February 1994.International Men's Day, now standardised globally as 19 November finds support from a variety of individuals and groups in Australia, the Caribbean, North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Director of Women and Culture of Peace Ingeborg Breines said of IMD, ‘This is an excellent idea and would give some gender balance.’”

Whether a greater level of gender balance was achieved through the celebrations this year remains to be seen. I for one have no issue with men having a day set aside for things other sports, war and cutthroat competitions.

Not everyone shares this view – you might be one. Share it here with me or on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

My Must Have Stuff List

For the first twelve years of my life, we lived in the then middle class neighbourhood of Pembroke Hall in Kingston, Jamaica. Labels are not my favourite things but to contextualize this conversation about using less, it feels necessary to describe the social-economic background of my first community.

Frankly, for most of those years, I did not really understand what it meant to be “poor.” Judging from today’s standards and the political jargon of the time – I guess we were poor or at least residing on the border of poverty.

Looking around our house you really could not tell that my mother was a “hustler” – doing anything and everything imaginable to keep a roof over our heads and our belly full. We had a Phillips stereo from the 1960’s, its matching television set, more glassware and cutlery than Ammars, bed linen galore, area rugs – everything that any 'ghetto' Martha Stewart would want in her home.

Did we need all of this stuff?

No, we did not. Considering that my mother never owned her own house, all these trappings decorated many rented accommodations.  My friends know that unlike most of them, I love relocating. Why? It was just something we did when I was growing up. I remember us moving six times in two years and twice into the same house under disguise. And all that stuff had to be carefully wrapped, packed and transported!

That tradition of regularly moving was passed on to me. Since her birth to when she moved out at 18 years old, my daughter has moved with me, including to Canada and around Edmonton, at least ten times. None of these moves had to do with us not being able to pay our rent, like my mother. Rather, we moved “up” as well as into our ‘owned’ home.

The accumulated moves over my life meant there was a lot and I mean a lot of stuff to pack, discard, give away, etc.

Am I done moving? No. I actually love it. However, the amount of stuff that would go with me is minimal. I am a re-born minimalist and cheapskate! LOL My current accommodation has the bare essentials and most of them were given to me, bought second-hand or inexpensive enough to have paid for themselves in the three months since purchased.

There is few stuff that are ‘must-haves’ for me, aside from my medication. They are:
  1. Heinz Kitchen
  2. Good coffee
  3. Uggs winter boots (and my daughter has been touting Flurries boots to me so this one is questionable)
  4. Revlon Eyeliner
  5. La Senza bra and underwear
Everything else is either negotiable, replaceable or I can do without. 

What about you? What is on your “Must Have Stuff” list? Share it with me her or on our Facebook page.

Do enjoy the rest of this #UseLessStuff Day.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Good Pre-Natal Care: First Line of Premature Birth Prevention

Temporarily staying at their place, I left my daughter not feeling on top form around 11:00 a.m. for work. She was 35 weeks pregnant and the pain in her legs and lower back refused to go away.

In fact, only a couple weeks or less prior, I had noticed that her neck had darkened, looking a sickly black-blue. It reminded me of when I was pregnant with my first child 28 years ago and a similar colouring overtook my neck. I mentioned the darkening of her neck and how similar to mine it looked.

I did not mention my anxiety.

Less than three months before, I was in Jamaica with every intention of staying there. My daughter and my relationship was again on rocky ground  – ever since November 2013 when I refused to allow my mother to suck me back into her well of darkness and devour me with her self-centred, money-grabbing ways.

Source always beckons or rouse me out of my sleep around 3:30 in the morning. As I turned in the queen-sized bed in my mentor’s guest room in Kingston, Jamaica, an image flashed across my mind.


It was my daughter and she was pregnant. 

Not able to go back to sleep, I messaged a mutual friend to ask whether she knew if Abi was pregnant. Her almost immediate response to me was, “How did you know?” After telling her that it came to me in the early morning, she told me that she had heard rumours of the pregnancy.

A couple or so weeks later my daughter sent me an image via Facebook messenger. It was an ultrasound picture of my granddaughter.  In that moment, I knew I would be returning to Canada. There was no question. It was just a matter of when and for how long but the early news from Source was my cue to come back to Edmonton.

On June 30, 2014 as I said goodbye and told my daughter to call me if she felt worse, Source again whispered to me. I was not sure what was being said but felt a need to be ready for move quickly. So when my daughter called at 4:00 p.m. to say that she still was not feeling good even after doing what I told her at lunchtime, I knew we had to get to the hospital.

The child’s father was out of town on business and, as I did not want her to drive to the hospital where I would meet her, I left work early and picked her up. As we sat in the triage area, a knowing came over me. Her neck had darkened more and the pain in her legs and back was now as debilitating as it was back in 2003 when she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.

Hours later, a young doctor came in and checked the chart, the baby’s heart rate and in ten minutes was about to discharge my daughter with a prescription for painkillers.

My daughter has big eyes – and they are as communicative as mine. She turned them on me and I could see the fear and question, “What do you think, Mommy?” She did not have to ask twice. I was piercing into that intern with my own gaze, slashing him with caustic words, dismissing his diagnosis as the same misdiagnosis that was done over a decade ago. “That is unacceptable,” I said.

After I detailed:
  • my daughter’s journey with sickle cell
  • my own journey as the carrier of the trait and one whose iron level has been officially diagnosed as abnormal
  • the similarities in her physical presentation as mine when I lost my first child, and 
  • the fact that the well-known Edmonton-based obstetrician had not properly managed my daughter’s pre-natal care (in my expert opinion) – no folic acid, no iron supplements, no monitoring of her sickle cells, no amniocentesis  and absolutely no testing to see whether the baby was thriving in the tummy of a woman whose pre-existing condition made her extremely high risk 
the poor intern ran out and called a top level obstetrician-surgeon. That was around 11:00 p.m., five hours or more since we were at the hospital. By midnight, the decision was made to remove the baby by C-section.

Mahalia Fausu was born at 1:39 a.m. on July 1, 2014 – Canada Day – weighing 4lbs 1 ounce.

Her parents were worried but I was not overly. There was a team of prayer warriors ministering to her – my Sistahs of DOS, her grandfather and his family in Jamaica, my 2,000+ followers on Twitter and friends of my daughter all over Edmonton and the world.

Through this journey, I realised why my first child died. My mother had also lost a child – who knows whether the medical issues were exactly the same. Mahalia broke a cycle of child-death in our family.

It is #WorldPrematurity Day and it holds special meaning for us. I am sure my daughter will proudly and gratefully attend the Royal Alexander and the Grey Nun’s Hospitals each year, as she did today, to pay respect to the teams that worked tirelessly to prevent the grief and devastation that would have overtaken her had things gone differently on June 30.

Do you or anyone you know have a child that made its entrance into our world prematurely?  Share your story with us here or on our Facebook page.

Do enjoy the rest of the evening. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Read The Signs For Crying Out Loud!

I believe I have mentioned this before in a previous article that soon after arriving in Canada, Edmonton to be exact, a man said to us as we wandered lost in the subway station, “Learn fast, read the signs!”

Not sure why that has stuck with me but he was absolutely right.

My intuition is very powerful. It was tuned while I studied for my first Master’s degree – literally and figuratively. Being prepared as I was for the diplomatic service, reading the signs – political, socio-economic and historical, as well as the undercurrents was a central part of my training.

These skills were very useful to me in my professional life. As a public relations executive and communicator, it was crucial to have an understanding of the signs of the time for my clients and or products that I was responsible for promoting.

Early in 2000’s as my course changed, my spiritual antenna started to raise and over time whenever I entered a room, two things happen:
  1. I could sense the vibes of those I immediately come in contact with; or
  2. I needed to leave as the energy was too much for me to handle.

Now it is the rare occasion that I will go to crowded events – just cannot hack it. A cinema is the closest thing to a crowd event that I can attend, simply because my focus is on the screen and the only person I speak with or come close to is my companion.

With practice and long periods of solitude, my ability to read the signs – verbal, written, energetic and body language – has been fine-tuned.

Yes, I get it wrong sometimes and that is usually when I ignore the real signals and allow my personal desire to rule. For example, in my last relationship there were signs that the nature of our connection was changing and not for the good. Things were being said that I refused to hear and not just by my partner but what observers were trying to tell me, in code but I did not want to know. Then finally, when the call came ending our relationship I received the ‘news’ calmly and with a shrug because my gut was telling me long before the words were recorded on my voice-mail.

Signs are everywhere for each of us to see. You need not be a clairvoyant, you need no special skills.

All that is required is a willingness to surrender your mind to the will of Love. Sounds strange? It is not. Love is the force of Life and therefore will clarify everything. What is not of Love will be shown to you – a sign will be presented, a warning or a brick over your head as a last resort.

“Learn fast, read the signs.”

Share you “sign stories” with me here or on our Facebook page and have a great long weekend!

There will be no blog posts until Wednesday, November 12 but please browse our archive for many interesting articles.  

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

See The Hypocrite Them...

My friends – not Facebook friends necessarily but those who know me outside of the social medium - they know that I am a straight talker. They also know that when I go silent one of two things or both is happening:
  1. I am in a silent retreat, reflecting, listening and sorting my next step
  2. I am p***** off and prefer not to speak.

Normally and ninety five percent of the times, I will tell you exactly how I am feeling. I am a talker and will not go to my bed without ‘sharing’ my feelings. I laugh as I recall how annoyed a former long-term, live-in partner was after my need to talk escalated during my chaplaincy training!

Hypocrisy is not my modus operandi.

When a situation calls for diplomacy – my vocabulary is wide and deep enough to find the words to express myself in a manner appropriate to said situation. Other times my vernacular sinks to the gutter – forgive me, I worked in the federal correctional system – and I can swear like any sailor.

As I numerically mature, silence is fast becoming my preferred option.

Several attempts will be made to communicate to a person how I feel. Depending on who it is and how much I care for them – I will fervently pray that they get it the first time. However, there are those who are so caught up with their own self-importance that they cannot imagine that you would feel other than they do. 

In those cases, silence is my weapon of choice.

Are you a hypocrite in any way shape or form? Do you say one thing and do another? Are you a bible thumper on Sundays for instance but a fornicator Monday through Saturday? Do you not eat meat but love its gravy?

Maybe I ought not to say this but I am just a plain “sinner” and unashamed of it. I live MY life according to my and the Spirit that guides me rules. End of. Took me years to come to this but am I ever glad that I did! So I hardly have need to be hypocritical with others and worse yet with myself. 

What about you?

Share your thoughts about on this or any of the other topics on this blog here or on our Facebook page. Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Are You Slowly Killing Yourself?

Do you know anyone who hang on for dear life even though the situation they are in is literally or at least emotionally killing them?

When my first marriage slipped off the rocks and was rapidly heading to the bottom of a very steep cliff, some people advised me to work on it for the sake of my child. Only 22 years old but very clear that my body could not stand any more beatings nor was I prepared to subdue my personality to fit into the role of submissive wife, I ruled them out of hand.

A couple decades later and at the end of another relationship that same spirit emerged. I did what we say in Jamaica when I heard the voice-mail telling me it was over – I kissed my teeth. You know, that seething sound that basically means “Whatever!”

Thirty odd years was long enough for me to finally get it – you move on.

After being:
  • Hurt to the core of your being
  • Betrayed by persons who, as they say, you would have taken a bullet for
  • Ridiculed and shamed in your own home
...if the pain does not kill you or lead you to killing yourself, you get tired of the same thing repeating and you learn the lesson.

The one most valuable thing that I have learned about the much-touted “forgiveness,” is that you have to forgive yourself first. Issue a pardon to the ‘little’ you who forgot your divinity, your royalty, the greatness that resides in you and requires no one’s approval or permission to express Itself.

Only after forgiving myself for my forgetfulness of who and Whose I am – the emotional amnesia that lead me to massive weight gain, diabetes, Grave disease and attempted suicides – only then was I able to let others off the hook.

I changed and so my world had to change.

It is a wonderful feeling – this thing called personal freedom. Some believe it requires winning the lottery but they are dead wrong. Jim Carey, comedian and mystic in my view, has the wish for everyone to be rich and famous. He said that only then will they get it that it really is not the fount of happiness.

Happiness and personal freedom – those are the gifts of forgiveness of self and then others. Have you awarded yourself with these priceless treasures? What are you waiting for? 



Claudette Esterine created the Daughters of Sheba Facebook Group in 2010. It has since evolved into a Foundation and she is its lead and visionary.  Claudette is Jamaican-Canadian and lives in Edmonton, Alberta. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

What's Stopping You? Question #30

The second to last question in our October series and it is: “What is stopping you?”

Nothing really stops me. Basically, I am exactly where I want and need to be.

There are days or even moments when I am paused – and what causes that is usually my thinking pattern. For the most part, I have cleaned up and eliminated those thoughts that have paralyzed me in the past.

What pauses me sometimes – not often – are thoughts related to whether there can ever be another “big” relationship in my life. By that I mean intimate.

Yet, that does not “stop” me per se from having great connections with others. I date; granted most do not go beyond two for various reasons. I remember having a conversation with my last “big” relationship mate regarding if we should break up. We both blurted out almost simultaneously and word for word that there will not be another “big” one but a series of “meetings, greetings and moving right along.” I have watched and heard about his progression and he has been true to his word.

I have meet, greeted and said “thanks but no thanks,” for various reasons with the bottom-line being my not being willing to compromise Me in any shape or form just be in an intimate relationship.
So, answering to Question #30 – what’s stopping me is my having given more than I had to others and not willing to be tapped out again. End of.

What about you? Are you “stopped,” somewhere in your life? Where? Why?

Share with us here as we wrap up this series tomorrow. We do not posts articles on Fridays so please check our Facebook page for the finale!

Namaste.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Settle For What? Question #29

I love my job; meaning the one that pays my bills. There are other activities that takes way more of my time than my "day job," but those do not pay me a salary of any size. Those are my calling, my service and my purpose.

When I returned to Canada in April of this year, my intention was to settle for any type of work that paid enough to keep a roof over my head, some food in my tummy and, most importantly, allowed me to stash away money to go back to Jamaica this winter.

Settle. That was what I was prepared to do; settle for any job despite my abundance of qualification and experience.

Two things happened - Life and Lia.

I remember praying as another résumé was about to be sent. The advertisement was about to end that weekend and I hesitated to submit my application , thinking that they must have found a suitable candidate by then.

That was Saturday and on the Monday afternoon as I was exiting the car with my daughter to go in for her 3D ultrasound, my phone rang. By the following Wednesday, I assumed my current position - one of the greatest and most fulfilling jobs that I have ever had!

On July 1, Canada Day, Mahalia, Li-Li or Kitten, whichever of her many names you prefer, arrived. My decision was made soon after to resettle in Canada so that I can enjoy this beautiful little girl while I provide service to one of the greatest nonprofit organizations in Edmonton, Alberta.

Love and Service.

That is my response to today's Question, "Are you settling for something?"

What about you? Share with us here or on our Facebook page and have a great rest of the evening!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Revenge and Romance: What Do They Have in Common?

Question 28:  “What was the last movie you watched?”

Of course I know how to read instructions but going to be a rebel and tell you about the last two movies that I watched.

The second to last movie that I saw was in a cinema, starring my favourite, on most days, male actor – Denzil Washington. The movie was The Equalizer and I have never seen Denzil in a more gruesome and violent role! Leaving the cinema remarked about this to my daughter, who was my movie date – she bought us the tickets, popcorn and drinks – woot, woot!

The story line was a good one, I understand the point of using one’s skills to assist another and in this case, Denzil was a killing machine, a true weapon of mass destruction. Love him to death but this role, fascinating as it was, was not my cup of tea.

This past Sunday, I watched a ‘foreign’ film on Netflix. It was an East Indian production entitled The Lunchbox. I recommended this movie to my Netflix-watching buddy, one of my DOS Sistahs as a human interest story, a tearjerker and one that I was not sure her husband would join her in watching.

Reading today’s Question, No. 28 in our October series and pondering my answer, it struck me that despite the violence of Denzil’s movie and the romance of Lunchbox – they shared common themes – What is the meaning of this life we are called to live?

Have you seen either of these movies?

What was the last movie you watched? Share with us here or on our Facebook page and have a great evening as we are coming to the close of this series.

Namaste

Monday, 27 October 2014

How Many Emails Did You Receive Today? Question #27

One. I had one email today. Okay, one that I actually read.

In April 2014, I returned to Canada after spending five great months in Jamaica. My return was precipitated by a couple of things:
  1. I was awakened from my  dream of 12 years to relocate to my country of origin even on a part-time basis
  2. My daughter was expecting my first grandchild and I wanted to be close to her.

While in Jamaica and prior to that, my email inbox was always jam-packed with messages every morning, especially after opening Daughters of Sheba Foundation to the public and extending our social media presence.

Email came in from all over the world, covering a range of topics, including marriage proposals from very wealthy African princes who somehow could not access their large inheritances without marrying me?!

Try as I might to answer as many as possible some got missed. When it got to the point of ridiculous, I made a decision only to respond to persons who actually needed the support that DOS could offer, as well as emails from Twitter followers who wanted to make contact with me to lend support to DOS.

Google Mail also has a beautiful feature of sending emails to various categories such as “Promotions,” “Social,” “Primary,” etc. If you do not fall in my Primary category – your email might not get read at all!

The only email that I read today actually was from PC Plus – my grocery reward programme. I expected it as the Customer Service Representative asked me whether I wanted her to send me some additional information after crediting my account with a couple thousand points.

In the office, we have a tendency to either walk to a colleague's office or pick up the phone. We are a much friendlier bunch than any organisation I have ever had the pleasure to work with.

The Internet, social media and emailing have become such integral parts of our lives – however, it is important to use them rather than be controlled by them.

That is my answer to today’s Question of the Day (#27). Share yours here or on our Facebook page and keep clearing those inboxes. 


Claudette is the Founder of DOS Foundation and the main Contributor to this blog.

Last article in this #October series:

What Impact Do You Hope To Have?

Image: worktolive.info

Thursday, 23 October 2014

What Impact Do You Hope To Have? Question #23

Quick response to an easy for me question – one that I answered some time ago so this is merely a public repetition of my personal mission statement.

Emerson it seems re-phrased the following quote of Bessie Anderson Stanley – one that I have taken to be mine and the impact that I want to have on the world: 
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it; Who has left the world better than he found it, Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; Whose life was an inspiration; Whose memory a benediction.”
The version accredited to Emerson is my preferred, however the basic sentiment is the same.
What impact do you hope to have on the world? Post your answer to Question #22 here or on the DOS Foundation Facebook page.
 Namaste

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

My Favourite Sound Is...: Question #22

Beyoncé  and I have another thing in common – our love of the ocean. Here is what she had to say:

“I'm always happy when I'm surrounded by water, I think I'm a Mermaid or I was a mermaid.

The ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean.” 
As a child, my mother would send me off to the coastline of Jamaica for most of my summer vacation. This was the most magical time of my life! The roads leading to Oracabessa in the parish of St. Mary seemed extremely treacherous to me, travelling as I did in the back of the car or on public transportation. The hilly turns in Junction would cause me to puke any meal that I was silly enough to eat before leaving home.

My stomach remained unsettled for most of the trip until my first glimpse of the ocean as we entered Port Maria.

Yes, I indeed was a mermaid in another life and shall return to the ocean when I die. That is where I have asked my daughter to distribute my ashes – off the rocks in Wilderness District where many summer nights were spent, listening to my favourite sound  - the crashing waves on the coastline.

Question # 22 brought a smile to my lips – a wide one – as I recalled those days and nights. Whenever my spirit needs reviving, if I am in Jamaica or on any island, the shores is where solace lies for me. My homes usually have a fountain of some sort and failing that, there is always Youtube videos of waves and water sounds to mesmerize me.

What is your favourite sound? Share with me here or on the DOS Foundation page; I look forward to hearing from you. Namaste.


Claudette is the Founder of DOS Foundation and the primary Author and Editor of this blog.

Related Posts in the October Question of the Day Series:

My Last Embarrassment

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Question 21: What More Do You Wish...?

Today’s Question is a tricky one – at least for me.

“What do you wish there was more of in the world?”

Apologies for the absence of an article yesterday – my hours in the office were much longer than usual and there was simple not enough time in my day to sit an write one. Maybe that could be my wish – more time in the world?

No, there is enough time – it is a matter of managing what is on one’s plate, clearing some and simply not putting others on it. My response to Question #21 in our October series is “Nothing.”

Maybe when I was numerically younger, immature and did not yet have my particular life experiences, my response would have been that I wish there was more money to go around. It was my view back then that money solved every problem we could imagine. The fallacy in this thought has been proven to me in my own life but more so as I observe, like most of us, how just as or messed up “people with money” lives can be.

Peace? Tolerance? These are all great things! Yet, is it not subjective to think that there is not enough in our world? Would it not be dependent on your perspective, where you live, who you meet and your experiences in any given moment to feel a need for more?

Honestly, I have no pat answer for this question. Why? My “world,” the one that I choose to focus on, has Enough – money, peace, and more than anything else – Love.

I guess my hope would be that “more” of us would see our world as Enough – so need to rob, maim, envy, hate or war against each other for racial, cultural, religious or any other reasons.

I wish for more Enough-ness? Is that a wish? Well, it is mine.

What is your wish? Share with us here or on our Facebook page where you will find all my answers to the daily questions.

Namaste.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Day #16: What Was Your Last Embarrassment?

My last embarrassing moment?

That is a challenging one to answer. What some might consider embarrassing, I see as uncomfortable at worse but more a teaching moment for me.

As I have written before in a blog post, one of my favourite retorts to my close friends is that “my shame tree has long been chopped down!” It is very hard to shame me either because I just do not put myself in situations that would cause me to be or I consider the consequences of all my actions before doing them - and accept them. Therefore no room for regrets, embarrassment or shame. 

Not since 2006.

My partner of 16 years had walked out and my heart followed. I was having a hard time accepting what had occurred even though the relationship had been on very rocky grounds for a long time. My mind was not maneuvering the corners of the deceit and disloyalty that had played out right under not just my nose but that of the other party whose partner had run off with mine.

Shameless, in a silly and desperate way, for weeks I tried everything possible to win my partner back. From leaving multiple voice mails to calling everyone under the sun who I thought could help get us back together, I eventually resorted one fine morning to going to my now ex’s place of employment to beseech and beg.

What occurred next was embarrassing to say the least. It was what pushed me over the edge – again – and my second suicide attempt occurred.

Instead of coming out to speak with me – as we had not had a conversation since the day of the Walk Out – security was called to escort me off the property! My explanation to the cold and totally disinterested Man In Black went nowhere and I was threatened with the Police being called to arrest me for harassment.

Okay, so maybe it was – harassment that is, however, until that day I did not see it that way. We had being together for 16 years for crying out loud. I had made so many changes to my life and career path to accommodate my partner, including migrating to Canada, that I felt I was owed an explanation.

That was my last embarrassing moment. Once the healing commenced, I was never to be embarrassed again. Uncomfortable, yes. Embarrassed by my own action or that of another, no. 

What about you, what was your last embarrassing moment? Share with us here or on our Facebook page.

Have a shame-free rest of the week and weekend. Remember, there will be no blog posts until Monday. You can stay in touch with us through our Facebook page or on Twitter @DOSFoundation

Namaste. 

Claudette

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Hello! Are You Awake? Day #15

Morning person I am. Very much so and very much unlike my daughter and now my granddaughter.

To answer specifically today's Question: What time did you wake up this morning? I was awake at approximately 6:35.

Hardly ever is it necessary for me to set an alarm. Not even on weekend mornings do I sleep beyond 7:00 a.m. My usual hour of awakening is 3:00 a.m.

That is when Spirit rouses me for quiet conversations.

These early morning talks started many years ago. At first I thought it was merely insomnia, however, days would pass and my sleep pattern was the same. Then, wham! My 3:00 a.m. wake up call would go off.

Image: pinterest.com
When my spiritual journey intensified back in 2002, my life turned upside down, became even more chaotic than it ever was. Yet, from somewhere deep inside me, I knew it was the beginning of my true awakening.

For most of our lives, our feet hit the floor every morning and we get up and get going about our daily routine. We call ourselves awake and are convinced that we are living an awakened life. The contrary could not be more true.

Most are sleepwalking. I did exactly that for 37 years.

My Life alarm went off one day when I looked around and our house was empty save for a couple mattresses on the floor and one car left in the garage awaiting pick up by its new owner.

We had sold off and packed up everything, ready to fly away to our perceived Promise Land - Canada, then all hell broke loose. In Jamaica we have a saying, "when man a plan, God a wipe out." That is exactly how it seemed. Once again, things were not going according to our plans anymore. The proverbial devil had stepped in, at least so it seemed to my then partner who had days earlier received a permanent resident card and, to my shock seemingly ready to fly away without us.

Looking back, it was a challenge to my faith; a question and an alarm for me to wake up. I did, somewhat.

It would be a 12 year rousing but The Divine is patient with sleepyheads.

Image: pinterest.com
Today, October 15, 2014 my daughter's birthday, I physically got up close to 7:00 but spiritually, I have not slept for quite a few months now.

How about you? What time did your feet touch the floor this morning? When did you awaken or are you only sleepwalking?

Share your story with us here or on our Facebook page and stay alert throughout this day! Namaste.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Last Piece Of Furniture Bought: Day #14

Five days since our last blog post and what a peaceful time it has been. Fridays through Sundays are not usually posting days for us and yesterday, Monday, October 13 was Thanksgiving Day here in Canada.

Over this period, we continued to pose and answer the October Questions of the Day on our Facebook page.

Today, Day #14 and the next question in the series which really is not a question is to describe the last piece of furniture you bought. Given that on a Tuesday we also deal with relationship issues on DOS, an actual question was added.

Image: pinterest.com
What I will, therefore, attempt to do in this post is: "Describe the last piece of furniture that I bought and how it affects my significant relationships."

Regular readers will know that I returned to Canada almost six months to the day. Leaving Jamaica was not my first choice as I had gone there late 2013 to set up a snow bird base. That bird being me - the one who was getting tired of Canadian winters and following up a long held desire to return to the land of my birth.

I had reluctantly migrated to Canada a decade plus ago. My then partner had an unquenchable desire to live overseas and mine was equally to please said desire. When that relationship ended eight years ago to the day, I knew I wanted to return to Jamaica. Money, however, stopped me.

Without the necessary financial resources and foreseeable means to earn it on the island, I had to remain in Canada. As the years passed, my longing did not die and so, in 2013 still without a largesse in hand but with a promise of a good flow of income, I gave away what little furniture I had left and went home.

After five months and the promises not materializing, news of my daughter's pregnancy and with her reconnecting with me, I returned to my other 'home' - Edmonton.

Now, I can honestly say this was the best decision for this leg of my journey. As I sat on the Westjet flight taking me back to the city where our Canadian citizenship began, I knew this was a healing time.

People often ask me, especially men, what do I like to do in my spare time. My response always highlights my love of cooking. Yet, it is more than cooking.

My passion is to feed the soul - my own and that of others.

Comfort is what I specialise in - comfort food and comforting words. I love to cook as much as I love to communicate. Throughout my adult years and most definitely since I accepted what I believe to be my mission for the rest of my life, some of the most meaning-filled conversations occurred in my kitchen.

The last and most significant piece of furniture that I bought was a dark wood, four seat dining table. It has a chip on one corner that lends character to it.

My daughter and granddaughter at breakfast
When I moved into my new place a few months ago, I told my daughter,  the first and one of the most significant persons in my life, to be fed at my 'new' dining table that I will be not be furnishing the place lavishly but lovingly.

Lavish or close to it I have done before and it did not bring me love. This time around, my place is furnished with few pieces, most of which were either given to me or bought secondhand, like the dining table.

There are a few new pieces, appliances and odds and ends. For the most part, however, my place will be sparsely furnished and with the greatest emphasis on the kitchen.

Food for the body and soul is my 'business' and my last purchased piece of furniture - my dining table - is my main equipment.

What was yours? Share with us here or on our Facebook page. Whatever it was, do make the most of it.

Namaste

Claudette is the Founder of DOS Foundation and Editor and main Author of this blog

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Mistake! Day #9

The Mistake of mistakes in my experience was trying to live my daughter’s life.

Well not quite.

Due to all the other mistakes that I had made and had learned from, I wanted so desperately for her not to make the same ones. My words to her were “Go make new ones, no need repeating the same old ones that I made and your grandmother before me!”

She would have none of it and I would not stop trying. Then one day, things just came to an head and we were poles apart. We literally did not speak with each other for months and when we tried to reconcile, it soon blew up in our faces as the control would rear its head. Funny enough, she tried to exert some measure of control on my life as I did to her.

My daughter and I at our Citizenship Ceremony
During that time, with much prayer, reflection, support and guidance of Source through friends/Sistahs, I released her, my desires for her and my fears.

Now she has her own child, a daughter as well, and I am praying that she will learn this lesson much earlier than I did. Either way, things always work out, especially when Love is the present.

That is my answer to today’s Question – “What was THE mistake?”


Share yours here or on our Facebook page and have a great rest of the day – it’s Friday tomorrow, yeah!!!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

What Book Will You Read Next? Question #8

For some reason, my reading of books has greatly reduced in the last year.

When I was living in Toronto with little to no friends, books reclaimed my attention as they previously did. With limited funds to spare, each month I would budget a certain amount and visit either Walmart or Chapters/Indigo and make my purchase.

Before leaving Jamaica last year November, I donated most of the books that I had bought and then shipped a couple boxes to my island home. Books are my favourite adornment for my home and now that I have a new place, fortunately I was able to retrieve the ones that a friend had stored for me.

Since the beginning of this year, I have not purchased a book and so today’s question – “What’s the next book will you read?” – had me stumped. It also woke me up that my love of and for books had taken a back seat in the last several months.

That will change. This afternoon, I opened the Goodreads app on my phone and found the BBC Book List Challenge. I was proud of myself as I realised that I have read most, if not all of the classics. As such, I will begin reading books again as of this weekend.

The next book that I will read is – The Little Old Lady WhoBroke All The Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg.


What will you read next? Share with us here or on our Facebook page and do enjoy your next read.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

What Was The Last Stupid Thing You Did? Question #7

In my 40+ years, I have made so many mistakes and I regret not one.

My mistakes, thankfully, saved me from ‘stupidity’ or as Einstein says “insanity.”

Today’s Question of the Day is; “What was the last stupid thing you did?”

Stupidity to me is tantamount to insanity – thinking that doing the same thing over and over again will result in a different result.  Mistakes on the other hand, occur when one attempts to do something and it turns out not to be in your best interest.

These are some of the lessons that my former stupidity taught me

It is stupid to:
  1. Spend more than you earn every single month, hoping to somehow balance your cheque book
  2. Eat way more than your metabolism can naturally handle and expect not to gain weight
  3. Maintain relationships with people who continually treat you as a doormat with the hope that one day soon they will see your value
  4. Be the ‘other person’ in relationship, knowingly participating in infidelity and think the person will change and never cheat on you
Claudette Esterine
Do I make mistakes? Absolutely, every day and I welcome them. When was the last time I did something stupid? I cannot recall – it has been a while – almost eight years to date, I think. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

What about you? Do you make mistakes or have you escalated and remained at the “stupid” level? Share with us here or on our Facebook page and have a great rest of the day!

Image: quotessays.com

Monday, 6 October 2014

What Is The Price of Gasoline? Question of the Day 6

Between the time that I passed the first gas station this morning and now, the price of gasoline in Edmonton dropped from C$1.13 per litre to $1.08.

If you are like me, to answer the Question of the Day you had to check online.

Yes, I drove close by a couple stations but did not pull in to check. My tank is just below ¾ full and as I have no plans for a day trip between now and the weekend, that amount of gasoline will more than take me to and from work for the next few days.

Truth be told, whether I have a trip or not, I never check the price of gasoline. What is the point?

The price will not affect my plans. Neither am I going to waste gas driving around searching for the “best deal.”

Do you?

When I first read this question around 2:30 this morning, my immediate thought was “What a piece of nonsense for a question of the day?” As I ponder it more, it struck me that there was more to the question than the price of gas. What the question did for me was it caused me to:
  1. Find out the price of gas
  2. Realise that no matter the price, there are some things you just buy if you want to or if it supports your feeling of wellbeing.
Soon after I returned to Canada in April of this year, I started looking at car prices. At the time, I was staying at my daughter’s and there were already two cars in the household. None belonged to me. What this meant was either having to fit into someone else’s schedule or take public transportation.

The bus service in Edmonton is pretty good but not as linked as Toronto’s to the train service. There are parts of the city that is not connected, not yet, to the city trains. It makes a trip to the farthest points, well, far. As I was in the job hunting mode, that limitation restricted the areas that I could apply for jobs.

I needed my own car.

Within three weeks of being back, I was more than gainfully employed and by the end of the second month, I owned my own car.  For some, owning a car is a luxury and I understand that. For me, it is not only a necessity but tantamount to freedom – my sense of independence required my having the keys to my own car. I had been a car owner since the 1990’s and temporarily “lost” that status for the two years that I lived in Toronto.  It was not a state that was pleasant for me – no matter the price of gasoline.

Image: heinz.com
It is like ketchup. I have tried eating other brands of ketchup but ever since the day that I was introduced to Heinz Ketchup, no other satisfies my need, yes need, for ketchup on my eggs. It’s Heinz ketchup or none at all.

The same is true for gasoline price. Whatever the price, I am buying.

Some things you do not compromise on – ketchup and fuel for your freedom, correct?

Share your answer with us on our Facebook page or here and continue to buy gas and ketchup! LOL

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Question of the Day: Who Did You Hug Today?

Image: pinterest.com
It is almost 5:00 p.m. and I have not come across one person who I would not have to chase them down for a hug!

That is one of the differences with living in Jamaica and living in Canada – people in the latter country are not generally hug-friendly.

Later this evening, I am supposed to be meeting a friend for a quick bite so my thought was I would get one hug in for the day then. That, however, would not be until late evening, well beyond the time that this blog is usually posted.

“If only my daughter would have come by with Kitten instead of the video call earlier on Tango,” I mournfully thought.

Eyes glued to my computer screen as I worked on performance target for my team, I heard a familiar voice saying, “Hello, hello, anybody here?” It was the evening office cleaner but why would she be asking that? She knows at least three or more of us would be here at this time of the evening.

Then I heard the pitter-patter of tiny feet. I swivelled in my chair to see one of the most beautiful child ever! It was the cleaner’s grand-baby and she was rushing to one of my staff to give her a hug!!!

Hardly able to contain myself, I yelped, “Come here sweetheart!” Without missing a step or a beat, this angel rushed over to me and threw her arms around my neck and yes, gave me the tightest hug a three year old can!


Of course as soon as she jumped on my lap, I asked her grandmother whether I could take a picture. So here is my “hug” of the day so far.

Did you hug anyone today? Who was it? Share with us here or on our Facebook page and be sure to visit us thee for tomorrow’s question of the day.


Namaste.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Quality Time - Who Was Your Last?

“Who is the last person you spent quality time with?”

That is the question of the day from our list of 31 Questions for October. This list was compiled in 2012 by Tami Taylor

For the month of October we will answer one of these questions and when I read the one for today (as noted above), my first thought was, “Well that would be Me, of course!” I spend so much quality time with myself that it seemed like the most logical answer. However, I thought about it more and the next person that sprung to mind was my almost three month old granddaughter, Mahalia.

Kitten, as I call her (or Li-Li as her mother calls her) and I spend at least one day a week together. Mainly on a Saturday, she arrives at my place with stroller, car seat and bag well packed to spend the day with me. Things usually progress quite well, with her insisting that I snuggle her close to me for most of the time. My skill set has vastly increased with having to learn how to mix a bottle of feed while holding her in my arms or using the facilities with her watching me. As I was saying, things usually progress quite well and on the last visit, Kitten actually flashed me a couple smiles and gurgle/babbled at me for a minute or two.

The time I get to spend with this little girl is some of the most precious hours – until 5:00 p.m. when her internal clock tells her that it is time for her mother to return and get her. All hell breaks loose and her wailing is not only piercing but unending. Maybe I ought not admit this but hey, I cannot lie. After 15 minutes of this, I too am wailing for her mother to come.

Speaking of mother, that is the last person that I would finally nominate as the one I spent quality time with. An adult.

My daughter and my journey has been like that of most mothers and daughters – rocky once the teenage years came. Abigail is one of the sweetest and most stubborn women you will ever meet. She is quietly strong-willed. My daughter has mastered the art of being a blend of my best traits and her very own. That oftentimes has been challenging for me – to meet me in my child.

Last weekend, I spent several hours with this beautiful woman. We shopped, caught a movie and chatted about our lives and our past. It was a healing time for me (if not for her). We swapped stories of our love lives, the fleeting one in my case. We laughed at memories and silently prayed for a more interesting and exciting journey for Li-Li.

Yes, the most interesting person that I spent quality time with recently is my daughter, Abigail Ayesha.

Who did you spend quality time with recently or even today? Share with us here or on our Facebook page. Be sure to check our page tomorrow, October 2, for the Question of the Day.

Namaste