Friday, 21 April 2017

April 21, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings the glass half full or half empty?  Whichever way you answered, are you really sure?  Do you want some more time to think about that before answering?

   We are taught to perceive the world, and all that is around us, in a certain way, and by and large we never ever question those perceptions.

   The drawback is that often those perceptions, and the conclusions we draw from them about our lives, are based solely on an artificially static state that has no bearing on reality, a reality that is in constant ebb and flow, and changing from moment to moment.  Even we are constantly changing, and the you that just read these words is not even the same you that read the first line.

   In our example, we claim that the glass is in a certain state and assume that state never changes, nor can it be changed.  Yet, the glass is never half empty or half full, it is only ever 100% full, perhaps not full of the exact same substance, but nonetheless, it is always completely full.  Even when the glass appears to us to be completely empty, it is still 100% full of air.

   We lock into a particular way of viewing the glass and its contents, and are hard-pressed to view it in any other manner, even though there are unlimited ways of looking at, and describing, the glass and its contents.

   And the state the glass definitely has the ability to change, and is constantly changing.  The glass can be filled with liquid, it can be filled with a solid, it can be filled with a combination of materials and substances, it can be filled with only air, it can be filled an unlimited number of times without changing the essence of the glass at all.

   But, the one thing the glass cannot be is emptied.  We can remove the liquid, solids, or the air, but the glass hasn’t been emptied, its contents have merely been replaced with other contents.

   When we experience a “loss” in our lives, our lives haven’t been “emptied” at all.  We’ve merely had the contents of our lives shifted and replaced with other contents, so that our lives are always filled to overflowing.


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Wednesday, 19 April 2017


Everyone is ambidextrous.  If we are able to use both our legs 
with almost equal effectiveness, than why not our hands? 
The answer is – because we don't practice it. 
 It simply is not essential to be ambidextrous,
 so we quickly begin to favor one hand for certain tasks, 
and the other hand for other tasks.
 - Robb Armstrong

Monday, 17 April 2017


Some people manage by the book, 
even though they don't know who wrote the book
 or even what book.
 - Author Unknown

Friday, 14 April 2017


“When” is the ultimate life hack...
Knowing “when” enables you to perform
 “what” and “how” to your maximum potential. 
 If you didn't change a thing about what you do
 and how you do it, and only made micro-adjustments 
to when you do it, you'd be healthier, happier, 
and more productive...
 - Michael Breus   

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


I've learned, the hard way, 
that some poems don't rhyme, 
and some stories don't have a clear
 beginning, middle, and end.
 Life is about not knowing, having to change, 
taking the moment and making the best of it, 
without knowing what's going to happen next.
 Delicious Ambiguity.
- Gilda Radner  

Monday, 10 April 2017


I love sleep.
 My life has a tendency to fall apart 
when I'm awake, you know? 
 ~ Ernest Hemingway 

Friday, 7 April 2017

April 7, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Earlier this year, I was watching some old movies, including some great cinema classics. Almost each one had the following line somewhere in the movie: “If you really love [him/her], you would...”

   While that line is great for creating tension and drama in movies and books, it is extremely dangerous when used in real life.

   The line gives the impression that the speaker loves, and is concerned about, an individual (or in some instances, it refers to themselves) and it is out of this love and concern for that individual that they are addressing the other person. However, what the line really reveals is the speaker's fear.

   If they truly cared so much, they wouldn't be trying to manipulate another person into making a decision, or taking an action, that the person obviously doesn't want to make, and that would only be in the perceived best interests of the speaker, not the other people involved.

   By manipulating others out of fear, the speaker tries to either keep the status quo, or ensure an outcome that will make the speaker - not the other people - happy and feeling secure.  In fact, the true feelings and wishes of the others are not even a consideration for the speaker, despite what they may profess, because this line is usually brought out during a “secret” conversation between the speaker and other person that must be kept hidden from the individual in question.

   Now, the speaker could fear any number of things, depending on their relationship to the individual: that the individual will abandon them for someone else, that the individual will make a horrible mistake, that the individual is growing too independent and doesn’t need their guidance or assistance any more, that the individual is not willing to fulfill the speaker’s dream for them and their life.

   Any time that line is used, and fear prevails, it is to the determent of all parties involved, and creates more problems than whatever the speaker is trying to prevent.

   “If we did not believe in fear in the first place, no one could control anyone.” - James van Praagh


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Wednesday, 5 April 2017


The most meaningful life experiences
 don't happen in the “when” 
they happen in the “now.”
 - Rachel Macy Stafford 

Monday, 3 April 2017


If you are on the path you are meant to be on, 
everything falls into place; the Universe is telling you that.
 If you are not on your right path,
 you will experience roadblocks along the way,
 and this is also the Universe telling you to stop, look and ask
 if this is where you are supposed to be.
 - Dolores North  

Friday, 31 March 2017


I'd rather look forward and dream
 than look backward and regret. 
 - Anonymous  

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


Go for good 
and all that's not the truth of you 
will fall away.
 - Meleah Jacobs  

Monday, 27 March 2017


If you've got to eat a plate of poop,
 hold your nose and do everything you can
 to make the best of a lousy situation. 
But don't compound the problem
 by telling yourself you should enjoy it 
as much as Haagen-Dazs.
 - Jason Blume 

Friday, 24 March 2017


If you mind isn't cluttered by unnecessary things, 
this could be the best day of your life. 
- Ethan Hughes

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


All of life is in constant motion, and we are, too.
 On the upside, since we are constantly moving
 that means problems can be temporary too.
 Our feelings and our circumstances will always change. 
 It's important that we allow them to flow
 through us and around us, and deal with pressing issues
immediately and fearlessly.
 - Robb Armstrong

Monday, 20 March 2017

Friday, 17 March 2017

March 17, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Because humans are social animals, we have a deep need to belong.  Whether it is in an ethnic group, a religious organization, a particular political party, a fitness club, a gang, a preferred customer club, a social cause, or any other possible group or organization.  It doesn’t really matter what the group is as long as it keeps us from feeling like we are alone, or worse, outsiders.  And, usually belonging to just one group isn’t enough, and before long, the group identity becomes our sole identity.

   The irony is that in order to “belong” and be a member of a particular grouping of people, we have to isolate and separate ourselves from other people.

   Because, at the end of the day, that is the purpose of any grouping of individuals - no matter how altruistic their motives, ideals and actions - to separate themselves from others in some way, to show how different they are from the mainstream, and to give its members a feeling that they are more special than non-members.

   As a society, we need to have cooperation between people, a pooling and sharing of resources, to enable us to accomplish more than we could possibly accomplish on our own.  It is not possible to thrive as an isolated individual.

   But, at the extreme end, a group’s good can get overshadowed by the need to prove that its members are better than others, or that it knows the only right way to accomplish something.  Usually what results is a splintering of the group into smaller groups, each vying for new members, which in turn leads to more people being excluded, which leads to more people craving to belong somehow.  And when people feel desperate to join a particular group, they aren’t always thinking straight, and are very susceptible to pressure from peers, or group leaders.

   While it would be so easy to say that we just need to get rid of the extreme groups, that won’t solve the problem.  Instead, we need to remind those around us what belonging really means.  After all...“Breathing is nature's way of saying we belong here. Otherwise we wouldn't be doing it!” - Ofosu Jones-Quartly


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Wednesday, 15 March 2017


Life is meant to be lived 
not managed, not controlled, not screamed,
 not stressed, not hurried, not guilt-ridden,
 not regretted, not scripted, not consumed
 by distractions, big or small, obvious or subtle. 
- Rachel Macy Stafford  

Monday, 13 March 2017


If we learned from suffering, 
wouldn't the world be enlightened by now? 
 - Josh Radnor

Friday, 10 March 2017

Goofing Off

What I now know
 is that goofing off is actually critical 
to my journey in this life. 
 - Cheryl Richardson

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Monday, 6 March 2017


I am developing the loving awareness 
that everyone is the same, 
only on different paths.
 - James van Praagh  

Friday, 3 March 2017

March 3, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   How much space do you take up in this world?  

   Now, let me clarify what I mean by “space.”

   I don’t mean the square footage of your house, or your workplace/office, or if you even have multiple residences.  I don’t mean how many belonging you have and the entire square footage they occupy.  And, I definitely don’t mean the size of your physical shape - whether you are tall or short, bigger or smaller around.

   Space, in the context that I am using it, has both a macro and micro element to it.  

   On the macro level, how large an area does your influence ripple out?  Are you known outside of your immediate community, or do you tend to keep to yourself?  How large is your circle of friends and acquaintances?  You don’t have to be “famous” to have lots of influence, just kind.

   Now, the micro level of space is a bit different, and, of the two levels, is the most important.  It is also the easiest to measure at any given moment, and boils down to just one simple observation - how full and deep was your last breath?

   There are only three types of “fuel” our body needs: air, water, and food, and the most vital one is air, yet, because it enters our bodies predominately without conscious thought, we tend to ignore it.  The vast majority of us barely fill 20% of our lungs with each breath!  No wonder so many of us - myself included many days - feel tired and weak all the time, and when we feel threatened in any way, we tend to shrink inward - like a turtle into its shell - to protect ourselves.

   Yet the only way to really protect ourselves is to relax, inhale fully and deeply, and open our chests.  By filling more energetic “space” with each inhale we are able to sense - with our hearts - more of the world around us, and filling more space with full, deep inhalations is also the secret to thriving and living a healthy life.

   The size of our houses, and the number of belongings we own, matters not if we don’t fully inhabit the energetic “space” that we have been given to embody with each breath we take.

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017


Breathing is nature's way of saying we belong here. 
 Otherwise we wouldn't be doing it!
 - Ofosu Jones-Quartly

Monday, 27 February 2017


May peace be your ellipsis
 and joy your exclamation point.
 - Christine Smith

Friday, 24 February 2017


The only way to deal with an unfree world
 is to become so absolutely free 
that your very existence is an act of rebellion. 
 - Albert Camus  

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


Stop being boring 
and show the world what awesome looks like.
- Robby Novak  

Monday, 20 February 2017


Creativity test:
Q: Are you breathing?
Score: If you answered yes to this very important question,
 that means you are highly creative.
So the real question is,
 are you willing to bring forth the gift
 that only you can give?
 - Pam Grout

Friday, 17 February 2017

February 17, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Whose life are you currently living?  You might be surprised at the answer when you take the time to stop and think about it.

   If you said you are living your own life, you might want to think again.

   For example, if you have ever made choices to make someone proud of you, then you aren’t living your own life, you are living theirs.  People in our lives are either proud of us, or they aren’t.  If they are, it is because of who we ARE inside, not because of what we do, or other externals.  And, if they aren’t proud of us, well, chances are pretty darn good that nothing we do will change that, and it’s their loss.

   Or, have you ever said that you chose to go into a certain career, or reach a certain milestone, or obtained something because someone in your family wasn’t unable to?  Guess what?  That means you are living their life and dreams, not your own.  While there is nothing wrong at all by being inspired by the actions and dreams of another, too many of us adopt those dreams and aspirations without even considering if they are the right fit for us, and often, they are quite ill-fitting as we don’t have the same qualities or desires necessary for successfully obtaining them.

   Have you ever gone with the flow of society into a lifestyle or career path because everyone else did.  Just because it seems to work for others, doesn't automatically mean that it works for everyone.  We are all unique in viewpoint, needs, talents, and skills, and what makes us unique is needed in the world, provided we don’t let life conform us to some cookie-cutter ideal.

   We think we are living out our own dreams and life, but rarely are we.  There are just too many outside influences drowning out our own inner wisdom and guidance.  

   So, how do you know when you are living your own life and not another's. you feel happy most of the time?  Is your life simple and easy for the most part?  If so, you’re on the right track.  If not, reassess whose life you are living.

   We only get one chance at this particular life, so why not live your own dreams?


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Wednesday, 15 February 2017


You are not in need of self-help; 
you are in need of self-love.
 - Amy B. Scher

Monday, 13 February 2017


Our entire economy is based on
 distracting us from our blessings. 
 - Glennon Doyle Melton 

Friday, 10 February 2017


I think and think and think, I've thought myself
 out of happiness one million times,
 but never once into it. 
 - Jonathan Safran Foer

Wednesday, 8 February 2017


When I think about creating abundance, 
it's not about creating a life of luxury;
 it's about creating a life of possibility.
 It's about taking that which was scarce 
and making it abundant.
 - Peter Diamandis 

Monday, 6 February 2017


Imagine how free you would feel
 if you lived your life moment to moment
rather than milestone to milestone.
 - Gabrielle Bernstein  

Friday, 3 February 2017

February 3, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   We are now a whole month - hard to believe, I know - into the new year.  How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?  That is, if you are the type to make resolutions.

   Most people, even if they don’t formally make resolutions, do have a thought or two of how they would like to make some sort of lifestyle change, or do something different in their lives, or just add new adventures, as it is a new year.

   We feel, since the calendar has changed to a fresh new year, that we need to do something fresh and new too.

   There is nothing wrong with that line of thinking, however, I recently read something that turned the whole resolution thing on its head.

   Instead of resolving to make habit changes such as the typical “lose weight” or “exercise more,” or resolving to make some other radical lifestyle change, we should ask ourselves “what worked for me last year?”

   By identifying what habits or lifestyle choices did work, we can then bring them along with us into the new year and build on them, creating more success.

   We tend to take for granted what is working in our lives, which is a whole lot more than we think since it tends to get overshadowed by the one or two things that don’t work.  Yet, by focusing on, and continuing, patterns of behaviour that do work, and come more naturally to us, and create value in our lives, we are more likely to phase out the habits and lifestyle choices that don’t benefit us as much.

   Humans have a tendency to resist change - especially change that we think we “should” want, but don’t really.  Or changes that we just “know” are going to be hard and challenging, and not any fun at all.

   And by focussing on how difficult it is to change, we end up sabotaging our efforts, and subsequently just give up.

    The only really successful change is the one that leads to relaxation and ease, not struggle and anguish.  Thus, by strengthening our good habits we create change that sneaks in the back door so the changes happen, almost like magic without our knowing.   


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Wednesday, 1 February 2017


It is better to do one small thing 
that you can actually pull off 
than to fantasize about all the great things 
you would like to be able to do but can't. 
 - Judy Lief

Monday, 30 January 2017


As soon as you believe something,
 you have to defend it. When I look, though, 
I can never completely agree 
even with my own beliefs. 
 - John Tarrant  

Friday, 27 January 2017

Wednesday, 25 January 2017


Oh would some power the gift give us, 
to see ourselves as others see us!
 - Robert Burns

Monday, 23 January 2017


You need to accept that you can't fix everything, 
much as you would like to.
 - Judy Lief

Friday, 20 January 2017

January 20, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   15 years...WOW!

   I have a small confession to make...while I am a voracious reader of books and magazines, and while I know there is a wealth of interesting information published on newsprint, I am not really a newspaper reader or fan.  I will skim though the headlines of the Red Deer Advocate, and breeze through the Bashaw Star, and occasionally I will even read an article, but by and large, if there is something of interest, usually someone else has to point it out to me before I’ll read it.  

   So, in a way it is not only ironic that I have published a newspaper for 15 years, but that I was even given the opportunity in the first place, AND that I accepted it!

   In December of 2001, as I had some free time opening up in my life, I offered to help Linda Van Ringen - editor of the newspaper which was then called Chautauqua News.  She countered with the offer for me to take over the newspaper.  Definitely NOT what I had in mind at all.  She gave me a week to think about it, and I hung up the phone and started dancing around the room in excitement.  I had no idea why the idea appealed to me, how I was going to accomplish it, or what the future had in store, and I had a short deadline to get my first issue of The Chautauqua out in mid-January 2002.

   Fifteen years later I still can’t really say why the paper appeals to me so much, only that it is a not only a unique creative outlet, but also a creative challenge as I strive to make it something that even I would enjoy reading, and I hope that you enjoy too.

   And to add to the challenge there are still some days when I have no idea how I will accomplish getting an issue together and distributed - whether it’s been due to technological troubles, quickly learning a new skill, or my health situation, I could not have managed without my friends and various helpers through the years.

   Lastly, I don’t know what the future has in store, but I hope to be around as long as I can.  I sincerely thank you all for your support - without your submissions, and willingness to continue reading The Chautauqua ,I wouldn’t be able to keep doing this.  Thank you so much!


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Wednesday, 18 January 2017


I will dare to do just what I do,
 be just what I am, 
and dance whenever I want to.
 - Beverly Williams  

Monday, 16 January 2017


Often, we feel stuck
 not because we don't know what to do next
 but because we do know what to do next – 
we just don't feel like doing it. 
 - Julia Cameron  

Friday, 13 January 2017

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


You are always on your soul's path
 even if you can't see where you are going 
or recall why you travelled on such a winding road.
 Energy always moves forward
 and will carry you where you want to go.
 - Colette Baron-Reid

Monday, 9 January 2017


You can waste your lives drawing lines,
 or you can live your life crossing them.
 - Shonda Rhimes

Friday, 6 January 2017

January 6, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings
   We have recently experienced the Winter Solstice with the longest night of the year, then Christmas, and New Year’s, and today (January 6) is traditionally known as Epiphany, commemorating the visit of the Magi to the Holy family.
    Epiphany signifies an illumination.
    But in our lives today what illumination do we need?
    In a way, we have too much illumination of different varieties.
We are surrounded by too many artificial lights which blur the line between day and night, extending our waking hours.
    We have too much information coming at us from all sides and in multiple formats, that attempts to enlighten us on anything and everything under the sun (and beyond the sun!).
   If anything, we need less illumination and more darkness.
    Humans used to live closer to nature and its cycles, and unfortunately, particularly with the advent of the Industrial Revolution and subsequent discoveries and technological advances, we’ve lost touch with that vital aspect of our lives.
    We want to go-go-go and be constantly on like the sun, never resting, never pausing, never slowing down. We try working longer and longerhours without breaks for meals, movement or just to rest. We cram so much into our days to try to extend them as long as we can. If it was possible, some would like the day to last longer than a mere 24 hours.
    But we’re not designed to race around endlessly like the Energizer Bunny. We’re designed to wax and wane like the phases of the moon, and cycle like our day/night and the seasons.
    Our bodies are more energetic at certain times of the day, and we naturally require rest at other times. We function best on cycles of 30 - 90 minutes. We naturally want to slow down when the weather gets colder and the days get darker, and be more energetic when the sun is shining. 
    This new year, instead of doing more, decide to do less and give yourself a chance to rest. The greatest growth and activity in nature always follows the darkness and rest of winter, and so it is with us too.
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