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Stepping Up!

Welcome to 2014!

I would like to wish you a happy and successful year!  May all your dreams and wishes come true and may you continue to TuneIn to this amazing person you are and StepUp to having the courage to fulfill your own dreams.  It is all within YOU to develop the courage muscles to do the thing which you are called to do in this lifetime.  Life opens forth the doors for you as soon as you DECIDE.

In January 2013, I started this blog as a personal soul journey to get me out of the rut of procrastination and to do something about my passion for writing.  It is quite funny how one of my ambitions in  life is to be a writer but I hardly devoted any time at all to writing! (A good example of the wishy-washy goals we set and don’t follow-up!) It is like saying you want to lose 10 pounds at the beginning of the year but you don’t do anything about it and get  disappointed when you don’t get the result you desire.

My goal in 2013 was simple – to write one blog a week and get into a writing habit. I am the worst editor for my writing but I consciously did not allow that to intimidate me, knowing that I was really working on a way to express myself, first.  For every blog I re-read, I can easily find typos and small grammatical errors.

I really thought the blog was just going to be about me and my silly thoughts about life.  However, as I wrote more purposefully,  I also started to automatically connect  with things, ideas, people, events which were all so much bigger than my little isolated thoughts.  Half-way through the year, I was doing real interviews with people and was actually capturing their stories!  This actually brought me the greatest satisfaction and I sincerely thank all those who gave me the opportunity to showcase their stories.  It fulfilled one of my fantasies to be a journalist! 🙂

By the end of 2013, I was happily exhausted as I looked at the tangible results of what I and you (readers) have achieved together.

  • I published 90 posts (well over my goal of 56).  Thanks for your encouragement that spurred me on!
  • We have a viewership of 10,000 across 82 countries  through Facebook, LinkedIn( and by you sharing on your timelines and within your own circle).  I have now learnt about countries I had never heard about before!
  • I developed my writing style and my thinking process expanded very quickly as I challenged my thoughts and sought ways for my writing to represent the core of who I am.
  • I made peace with myself.  I finally have accepted my intuitive gifts which God has blessed me with and I have stopped questioning whether I am good enough to be blessed with those gifts.  Embracing myself was half of the battle won and the joy I  feel now, cannot be measured.
  • I gained the courage to say what I needed to say without needing approval from others. I owned my voice and trusted what I felt and it is one of the most exhilarating feelings one can have.
  • I “adopted” a restaurant and with the support of 3 other amazing people (Mengis, Rosie and Eden) and my amazing network in Ottawa, we helped the restaurant owners keep their doors open by bringing in a couple of hundred people  to dine at the restaurant within 3 months.
  • Many people wrote  personal letters to talk about their own TuneIn and StepUp journey which they want to embark on and there were many testimonials about how an article or a subject helped in some way or the other.
  • I travelled to New York – not once but TWICE and met with great people who inspired me even further!
  • My professional and personal network expanded hugely – I have met so many AMAZING human beings along this journey that I know there is hope to see more beautiful things in the world even though it looks so dismal sometimes.

What have I learnt through this blogging experience?

  • We hold the power in OUR hands to decide the kind of life we want to live.  We have the power to  MAKE DESICIONS and to SET GOALS and work at them steadily.  If you make the wrong decision, it is fine to change your mind if you have tried everything within your power to make something work. It is better to fail at trying than not trying at all.  It is also fine to change direction.
  • It is fine to take steps even when you don’t have the whole picture and it is perfectly fine to be less than perfect.  As you work through your journey, clarity will come along the way to help you define it even better!
  • Although my story and thoughts are important, I had greater joy connecting with others and helping to get their story out so their work could expand more into the world.
  • We are all capable of stepping up and making a difference in whatever corner of the world we live.  By giving to life, we receive everything a hundred-fold back into our lives.
  • We don’t need to ask permission from others to do the right thing.  If it feels right, most likely, it is right and the universe will provide all that you need to carry the responsibility.
  • Connecting to our authenticity and DOING what it takes to live an authentic life is the key to living with purpose.
  • There will be days when we just can’t get it right.  We feel frustrated and tired.  It is perfectly fine.  Ride with the waves.

Here are some of my leading stories for 2013:

Brooklyn, New York

Meet Dawta Maloe who is a single mom and feeds hundreds of homeless people each month for eight years.

Carla and Magdalene - on the streets

Read more: https://tuneinandstepup2013.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/meet-dawta-maloe-a-single-mom-who-feeds-200-300-homeless-people-a-month-a-call-to-feed-the-poor-worldwide/

Meet Taj Weeks, an international musician and Wilson Jn. Baptiste who worked together with Jet Blue in giving children in St. Lucia brand new bicycles and toys for Christmas.

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Read more: https://tuneinandstepup2013.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/a-great-partnership-effort-to-bring-smiles-to-the-faces-of-children-in-st-lucia-children-will-be-receiving-bicycles-and-toys/?relatedposts_exclude=1491

Ottawa, Canada

Meet the Kingdom Culture Ministries. They are creating a bridge between the ministry and the community and supporting many people who are in need all through the year!

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Read more: https://tuneinandstepup2013.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/the-holiday-dream-a-great-christmas-initiative-which-will-bless-500-people-with-over-25000-00-of-gift-cards-and-gifts/

Supporting two entrepreneurs to keep their restaurant going!

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Read more: https://tuneinandstepup2013.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/going-back-to-basics-eating-with-your-hands-a-heart-warming-eritrean-dining-experience/

Meet Sigar, the man who rescues parrots!

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Read more: https://tuneinandstepup2013.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/letting-go-of-my-fear-of-feathers-meet-an-incredible-man-with-a-soul-passion-to-rescue-parrots/

Bringing together 10,000 – 15,000 people together from the Caribbean in Ottawa!

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Read more: https://tuneinandstepup2013.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/what-can-bring-10000-15000-caribbean-people-mainly-from-st-vincent-the-grenadines-together-in-canada/

The International Black Summit – the conversation that is so powerful, that your life can be transformed to live your vision!

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Read more: https://tuneinandstepup2013.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/can-a-conversation-be-so-powerful-that-your-life-can-be-transformed-to-live-your-vision/

Meet St. Lucians in the National Capital Region, celebrating a National Festival!

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Read more: https://tuneinandstepup2013.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/st-lucians-celebrating-jounen-kweyol-in-the-national-capital/

Best wishes to you for 2014!  If you are reading this blog for the first time,  you can FOLLOW THE BLOG – see the side bar,  or LIKE the TuneIn and StepUp FB page.

Look out for more information about our TuneIn and StepUp Challenges for 2014.

Love,

Magdalene

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He has held 31 different jobs – a few tips on embracing life’s unexpected journeys…

“If I can put a smile on two people’s face each day, I will give back to my parents what they did for me.” This is the philosophy which Kyle Wannermaker lives by and which many of us in our neighbourhood have experienced with him. A single dad of three daughters for a good part of his life, although he is now happily married, he has faced several challenges in his life but his upbeat and positive attitude about life can’t help but give hope to others. His constant message is “Don’t give up!” His mom was a Mohawk and his dad a German – an interesting combination which has had a strong influence in his love for the earth and his entrepreneurship spirit. Kyle’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances especially with the workforce is incredible.
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His first diploma was in electronic engineering and he worked back then with Nortel until the crash which forced him into new career pathways. He has another diploma in recreation management and in festivals and community events management from Algonquin College. He showed me his folder which has business cards of about 31 different job titles he has held over the years ranging from being a mason’s helper, a plant specialist, running a taxi service, the owner of three retail flower stores, staffing supervisor, marketing director, landscape, event manager, property manager, banker, auto sales and repair and so many others. He has done all combinations from having a full-time job to having two jobs at a time, to being his own boss and to sometimes having no work at all! When I asked him what his best job was, he asked me “Economically?” And so I was surprised when he said he netted $78,000 as a flower delivery staff for a flower store. I would have never imagined there was so much money to be made in delivering flowers… this was what led him to owning three flower stores later on. His experience in life is so broad and varied that he also describes himself as an “old fashion encyclopedia” and encourages people to ask him anything!

How can one shift from so many jobs? In North America, I have learnt that it is normal to change careers 3 – 5 times, but Kyle has far broken that record. His response to that is to embrace the journey. “Every time I search for a new journey, I meet amazing people. However the key dominator is gardening!”

Interestingly enough, it was his garden that ignited my interest in wanting to talk to him. He has a passion for gardening and you can feel it immediately as you look into his yard which is very close to the bus-stop where many of us catch the bus in the morning. His garden is usually the topic of conversation because of the combination of flowers and vegetables in there but more importantly, the people in he area feel connected to the garden because he has opened it up to us to use whatever vegetables he has growing. Last week, a neighbour was joyfully telling us that she had picked about 20 lettuce leaves the night before. He gave a few of us some tips about harvesting the lettuce by pulling the leaves from the outside of the plant and not pull out the entire plant. This allows the plant to continue producing more leaves from the centre.
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“I try to put a positive spin on the eco system as well and use what people throw away into something useful.” This is clear in the many recycled things he showed me in his garden from the stones he used to create his walkway to the flower pots and my favourite one was the small tomato plants he rescued from a neighbour who was throwing them away. He created a lovely row of tomato plants at the curb.
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Kyle also shared with me that he took thrift management courses which has also helped him to be wise about how he uses things as well as to think more carefully between needs and wants. Over the years, he has learnt that he does not have to buy everything. For example, most of the plants in his garden came from “somewhere” or “someone”. He shared one story of being able to get about $6000 worth of plants from a person who was changing his front yard to interlocking bricks. Kyle took all the plants which would have been discarded and beautified his cottage property. Similarly when someone else was changing his front yard and Kyle received six truck loads of topsoil for this garden. He also gives back a hundred fold to others from this garden or if someone gives him a plant he would happily be of some service in their garden. Instead of buying plants full price, he waits for them to go on sale and then buys them. He starts plants from seeds in his small greenhouse in the basement – so from a packet of seeds which cost $2.49, he can get up 19 plants which could cost as much as $60.00!
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It is hard not to notice the deep gratitude that Kyle has for everything in his life and the compassion which he has for people. Regardless of the challenges he has faced, he seem to attract good things to him and I could not help but ask him how he does that. His simple answer was “Give back to others” He feels blessed and that feeling of gratitude and trusting that life will offer all that he needs as he also plays his part in making an effort to move forward, is really the key to personal success.

For those of us who think that we don’t have a green thumb to start a garden, his message is “Can you care for a seed?”

We are living in times where our ability to adapt to change is critical for survival. More importantly though, is our ability to embrace those changes as part of our journey but to also stay rooted in our values and who we are at our core. One of the things that Kyle has learnt about himself, regardless of all the career/job changes, is that being with the earth matters to him. “When I am with the earth, I feel I can get access to higher powers within me… it is my inspiration.”
TuneIn today to that inner place within you. What would you need to remain connected to in your toughest moments in life? StepUp to offer something to someone… giving and receiving is the continuous natural cycle of life which keeps all things flourishing. Sometimes, we perhaps don’t need more money… maybe we need to re-think the difference between our needs and wants and how to better use what we do have!
Love,
Magdalene

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Do you deliver 70% or 100%?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Don’t expect others to do things exactly as you would do it yourself. If you can deliver at least 70%, it is o.k.” These were the words of my mentor advising me on how to deal with a project several years ago.

Why was 70% o.k for him? It was not good enough for me. At that time, I had high expectations of myself and others plus the need to control the results of the project which added additional stress on my mind and the team. I couldn’t understand why others could not put as much effort in getting things done as I was.

Wisdom kicked in over the years. I have lost several committed friends to illness and death who wished they had a more balanced approach and had spent more time enjoying the journey of life. I still aim high but I know that most importantly when managing projects and my life in general, each person involved can make or break the targeted results. For excellent execution, 80% of problems are solved by simply having the right people in the first place who also understand the true value of a team and how to balance each other. While we all want our visions to materialize perfectly, we need to consider other factors that life throws at us and continuously work at risk management. My mentor’s suggestion for delivering at least 70% of my results allows me to cater to the days that someone is ill; a few moments to enjoy and celebrate something special; a few moments to breathe a little better; a few moments to connect at a deeper level with someone; a few moments in between to simply let life lead me down paths I would not think about before. 70% allows me a few moments do nothing sometimes.

My 70% helps me to manage my expectations around other human beings in my path and acknowledge that they too are their own soul journeys with their dreams and challenges. Managing these expectations significantly reduces my stress level which increases my ability to manage everything around me better. Surprisingly, my 70% is becoming a restful and enjoyable 90% of living life generously, gracefully and with a sense of well-being. I actually prefer to live life with this balance than the stressful drive to getting things done perfectly well. Sometimes, we get to 100% with the least effort simply because a space has been created to be at ease with each other and to feel happy. When expectations are managed, we feel happier and life opens up more and more opportunities for us to live in this ideal space of well-being.

What is your % in meeting your life/soul deliverables? If going for a full 100% works for you, don’t limit yourself. We all have different approaches to work/life balance. TuneIn to how you balance your life and StepUp to create a space of well-being around you and those around you.

Love,
Magdalene