“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” (Proust)

As the sun descends on a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, I am alone in my reflections–but not really alone. My mind and heart are filled with warmth and love for all those I spent time with and wrote to this weekend, as well as the hundreds or thousands that my educational mascot Kwil and I have created and connected with throughout the decades. 

Whether near or far, dear or distant, I give thanks for all those who have so poignantly touched my life. Whether for a certain time, place, reason, or season–or for that infinite and enduring flash called eternity–I am filled with gratitude for the love, experience, and hard-learned lessons of life.

Early every morning as I sip coffee and write my ‘morning pages,’ I express my heartfelt gratitude for all the blessings to be found in the  ‘good, the bad, the sad, and the mad’ and I send well wishes to my family, friends, clients, colleagues, community members, and their respective families and friends around the world. 

I sense deep down in the place where only stillness and quiet may access that we are all connected and we are one. More than ever before, I am convinced that I have a vested interest in the blossoming of each and every soul. 

It is with this deeply intuitive and spirit-filled conviction that I write: Long may our souls blossom as we are so lovingly nurtured by our families, friends and neighbours–the most charming global gardeners  of all time. 

With luv n’ laffs,

Kayo 

xo 

Global Gardeners

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. (Anna Quindlen)

It’s another hot, sunny day in July–the latest in a string of unusually warm days that make the cool confines of air-conditioned coffee shops so very delightful. I am here now, sipping coffee, just one week before turning the keys in the lock of my new live-work office space where I will continue to “keep my pencil moving” with my educational mascot Kwil,  and prepare to welcome individual counselling clients later this summer.

Without a doubt, I am peacefully and lovingly ecstatic for this very purpose-filled time and place in my life. I am so grateful for all who have supported and encouraged me through the decades and all that I have to share at this age and stage of life.

In addition to the honour of connecting and creating  with students, staff, and families in two delightful schools in neighbouring Burnaby, I will begin to counsel clients in the minimalist luxury of a brand new live-work office space in New Westminster. This increased capacity to continue creating and connecting with those who seek my particular brand of wisdom, wonder, and wellness services is quite literally a dream come true.

Although there is a part of me that has spent decades longing for things to come together in this now fortuitous and destined-seeming way, there is great solace and joy in going forward in a much more unabashedly human and humour-filled way. Although I will always be a serious, studious, striving, responsible, reflective, and perfectionist personality type who deliberately tempers this with mindfulness and mirth as situations allow, I am also more content and convinced than ever of the need to be myself.

Still perfectly imperfect after all these years, I know well the power and joy of choosing to be more authentic, genuine, and real.  As more fear-based pretense and artifice fall away, I know greater peace and contentment. I also contemplate a lofty logo and teasing tagline for my new private practice.

I am here to serve. As a therapist, educator, and human bean.

With love and laughs,

Kayo

Becoming Yourself

‘The principal thing in this world is to keep one’s soul aloft.’ (Gustave Flaubert)

It has been a lovely, sun-baked summer with ample time to read and write, write, write but I must admit that too much extra time weighs heavily on me. As a counsellor and teacher, I am used to being much busier and helping to keep a few more ‘souls aloft’ than just my own. It is the grist for mill of my reflective life and an integral part of my need to both ‘pay it forward’ and ‘keep it real.’ As much as I love to write, integrating the deepest thoughts, feelings and experiences of my personal and professional past into present and future awareness, I know how much I rely on the present-moment interactions that are the heart and soul of my work. While I know better than to wish precious reflection time away, I do long for a return to the daily push and pull of too much to do with too little time. I am also buoyed by the prospect of future summers in part-time private practice when I can do just a little more of what I love with love. In the words of a dear mentor, “it’s our oxygen” and, in this regard, I’m always in search of the elusive balance. For me and all those called to help socialize, educate, nurture, and heal, there is nothing greater than helping others find ways to keep their souls aloft during a time of challenge or the doldrums that we all may encounter. It is a gift we give to them and to ourselves. Helpful, loving service is the most altruistic and joyfully ‘selfish’ things we can do. With love and laughs, Kayo xo

Keeping Souls Aloft

I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all. (Maya Angelou)

Having worked around the clock for the first four months of this year to complete the very rough first draft of my manuscript, Creative Connections: The Joy of Keeping Pencils Moving & Keyboards Tapping!, I have taken a break from the lengthy revision and editing process to rack my ‘middle-aged mush brain’ to remember and research the names of all those who have contributed to its making. It has been a joyful and moving process.

Although I worry about the inevitability of leaving someone out and the alphabetical list of acknowledgments may end up being as long as the manuscript itself, it has been heartwarming to remember all the dear people who have contributed to my life and the educational subject of the book in such poignant and touching ways. As my magnum Marquis opus–a digital archive of the best of the last two decades of grassroots creativity and connection–it is essential that I acknowledge and thank as many heroes as I can.

In keeping with the spirit of the Maya Angela quotation above, these people have all been dedicated to making the world a better place for all. Each has contributed in ways that I will forever admire and appreciate and in so many other ways that I and others will never know.

As sentimental or rose-coloured as it may seem, I continue to look around me in the hustle-bustle of everyday life and I see heroes who live the most awe-inspiring lives. Although most will never become the subject of a book or movie, they are all heroes. Like Maya Angelou, they are energized by making the world a better place for ALL. Long may they live and long may they love,
Kayo
xo

A Better Place for ALL

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. (Anna Quindlen)

It is a gloriously sunny morning as I write this. I am laughing gently at myself as I consider all my previous efforts to strive for perfection–an artificially high standard and abstract ideal that is out if step with the ‘reality’ of who we can ever be or the dynamic situations we find ourselves in.

I recognize the trait of perfectionism as an aspect of who I am that has helped me to focus and persist during some of the most challenging times. I also confess that this sometimes torturous trait can tangle itself up with a sense of responsibility, loyalty, and love that re-emerges when it is not tempered by grounded recognition that I can really only be who I already am–a ‘perfectly imperfect human bean.’

While I do not recommend perfectionism as a way of being or seeing in the world, I do recognize its potential for individual development and collective progress. Given the research on the importance of high expectations and equally high warmth and nurturing in the socialization and education of youth, as well as the longstanding historical and cultural triumphs that have resulted from striving for the seemingly impossible, I know the importance of playfully and lovingly challenging oneself and each other to be, do, and have more than we may be born into. It is important to learn, grow, and reach our full potential.

While pleasure can come from a multitude of sources and even fear-based perfectionism can help us accomplish amazing things, pride and joy come from a deeper and more integrated place–‘the work of becoming yourself.’

Although such statements may be superficially judged as selfish or narcissistic, I believe that the work of becoming oneself is fueled by a sense of passion and purpose that keeps looking inward and moving merrily forward. It benefits the one and it greatly benefits all. As one joyful ‘work in progress’ to another, I wish you love, love, love on your journey,
Kayo
xo

Becoming Yourself