I woke up today feeling inspired.
I had a good night’s sleep after having accomplished a few simple things during the previous day that I had been thinking about. The feeling of sunlight on my arms and face was beautiful as well.
I got to thinking about how I could transmit that feeling of being inspired to others. How to be inspiring? I think it has to do with a few things:
- Openness. Be open to the day and the experiences it brings. Be open to the ideas of others – don’t feel threatened.
- Positivity. Look to see the upside of everything you encounter. This means putting openness in action. Generally people come to you with an idea because they have been inspired or maybe they are worried about something. Both inspiration and worry are legitimate! A positive outlook recognizes this.
- Calm. Maintaining calm inspires others because it gives them a feeling of security and peace. Without those two items, it is very difficult to be productive.
I wish you an open, positive and calm day!
I am taking public transit as a part of my wellness journey.
I am on a trip to Ottawa today, which meant an early morning wake-up at 4am to catch the early train. I took the GO Train at Aldershot Station with the other bleary-eyed riders to Union Station in Toronto. Then VIA Rail from Union to Ottawa.
I meditated for 10 minutes on the train and felt the fatigue from only sleeping 5 hours dimish. I understand that meditating reduces blood cortisol levels, but somehow I feel more awake after meditating, especially when tired. Odd.
In Hamiton, I have been taking public transit as much as possible. I have taken the bus to McMaster since I returned from my research leave. This is for three reasons:
- Stress reduction. It reduces my stress levels significantly. Even if my bus ride is only 15 minutes, I can still do some light reading or just look out the window. Very peaceful when compared with driving.
- Earth-friendly. It is environmentally much more sustainable. I have only filled up the gas tank in my SUV once in the last two weeks, instead of twice.
- Cost savings. My parking spot at McMaster costs about $1200 (not including gas and wear), whereas transit will cost only about $800. I spend about $150 in gas to drive to Ottawa (not including wear), whereas I can get a return ticket for about $120-$150 if I take advantage of the Tuesday deals.
Proper nutrition is a practice, I am finding. And not necessarily one where the path is obvious. I am discovering that for me, proper nutrition requires a little research and planning coupled with mindful cooking and eating.
After paying the $50 or so annual membership to unlock the hidden features of myfitnesspal, I have been surprised to find out that what I thought – through rough estimation and intuition, mostly – to be a healthy diet, is lacking in certain areas.
So I started tinkering with myfitnesspal to see what a balanced, healthy day within my calorie limit might look like.
Along the way, I learned some interesting truths and realised some replacements might be in order. Go ahead and laugh at me if these were common knowledge to you:
- Peanut butter is rich in micro-nutrients, but almond butter seems to have more.
- Cereals are very deceptive in terms of nutritional content. Amazingly, spoon-size shredded wheat seems to be a winner, with high nutrients and low sugar. Kashi Go Lean Crunch is good too, but has a lot of sugar (and is a lot more expensive).
- Chips, regardless of how expensive, organic, non-GMO or other attractive, virtuous labelling are truly empty calories.
- Strawberries are very high in potassium
- Kale, spinach, swiss chard and collard greens are very high in calcium
- Beans and lentils are must-eats for iron, potassium, calcium and protein
- Potatoes are kind of a wonder food: very high in potassium!
- Bananas are very helpful, as are most fruits
- Dates are nutrient-rich
- Avocados are rich in potassium and other nutrients, but very high in fat.
- I will add almond butter to my pantry, and when I have two toasts, I may make one with peanut butter and the other with almond butter.
- Time to cut chips and other “empty calories” out. Eat only what contributes to day.
- Spoon-size shredded wheat appears to be a great breakfast cereal, when loaded with fruit and berries and eaten with oat milk.
- Green leafy vegetables like kale and swiss chard need to be a bigger part of my life, as do potatoes
- Bananas and dates are in. As are avocados, in limited quantities.
Since I have gotten serious about fitness and wellness, I am going to be more systematic about nutrition. Let’s see how this goes.
Remember, I am talking about research and observations for myself here. I am not making any recommendations to anyone except myself. Go do your own research, experiment and find out what works for you.
I rarely complain about the behaviour of others. My attitude is usually live and let live, knowing that everyone is carrying their own burden and that I probably do a lot of things that annoy people of which I am not aware.
There is one thing that I thought I would mention: the horrible, flatulent noise of Harley Davidson motorcycles and sports cars that have loud “sport-tuned” exhaust systems.
Don’t get me wrong. I love cars. I am a huge Formula 1 fan and I enjoy going to the Honda Indy almost every year. I also think motorcycles are cool and a fun, economical, environmentally-sustainable way to get around.
My problem is that Harleys and sports cars are tuned to annoy. They are tuned to make a spectacle of the driver and disturb the peace. I live on a beautiful driving and cycling road in Ancaster, Ontario, which means that lots of cyclists and motorists use the road. Hearing the horrible sound of a Harley or a sports coupé with sport-tuned exhaust is a great way of ruining a moment or breaking a train of thought.
Finally, to those who think these noisy vehicles are cool, I have to tell you that you’re part of the past not the future. To me, loud vehicles read “the past” or “dated” or “old guy” or maybe even “insecure.” They are also incredibly disrespectful of homeowners, shopkeepers and pedestrians.
My advice to these people: impress folks by spending a lot of money on a really beautiful Cervélo bicycle and learn to ride it well or an electric sports car or motorcycle.
Then you’ll be part of the future, not a noisy, irritating relic from the past.
I woke up early today (5:30) and made myself an americano and some spoon-size shredded wheat with blueberries and strawberries. Then meditated for 10 minutes and spent the morning working peacefully, writing and editing on the deck as nature woke up around me.
Then an easygoing 50 minute swim at the Ancaster Lions Pool, lunch at The V-Spot in Dundas (noodle salad with spiraled rainbow veggies and thai peanut lime dressing). A treat after – an ice cream from Purple Pony in Old Ancaster then some writing, dinner (tomato and onion on toast with vegenaise), then herbal tea, meditation, reading in bed and sleep by 10:30 (I hope).
I look forward to seeing what tomorrow will bring.
I am normally an early riser, but focusing on trying to calm to myself and sleep more has led to a couple of later days. Today I woke up at 6:30, much later than normal for me.
I did have a chance to make myself a sprouted grain toast (Ezekiel 4:9 Raisin), one with organic coconut oil (nutiva) and the other with organic peanut butter (President’s Choice). I also made myself an americano, which I drink black.
Then I did my favourite thing in the warm (and warmish) early mornings. I took the steaming coffee and toasts onto the deck and read a little (from a book today, but sometimes my kindle). It is such a lovely feeling to see the light change from the rich oranges, pinks and golds of early sunrise to the pastels of early morning.
Feeling the morning light on my skin just makes me feel alive.
Ok. Now time to get to work. Have a great day. 🙂
Sleep is central to our well-being. It is a healing time when the body rebuilds itself and our mind consolidates memories and learning.
I have found that sleep is a good barometer for how I am doing in terms of day-to-day wellness. I always thought that I only needed 4 to 6 hours of sleep and I wore it like a badge of honour.
People marvelled at it, but now I realise that they were not marvelling at my not sleeping long as an achievement, rather they were impressed that I was willing to make such a terrible sacrifice.
Since my focus on wellness started on Ash Wednesday, I have not focused on sleep. Last night, after a productive day of editing, taking care of things at the office, and an hour-long, easy-going swim, I felt exhausted and slept eight hours. The first time since Ash Wednesday.
I can’t say I woke up rested, but I definitely felt better, calmer, stronger.
I am going to start paying attention to sleep.
I woke up today feeling very grateful.
Grateful for having been blessed with privilege and opportunity.
Grateful for having a supportive family and friends.
Grateful for professional friendships based on trust and warmth that have created opportunities for me to contribute in academia, politics and professional communications practice.
Grateful for life in a peaceful, tolerant and well-managed country, Canada.
Grateful for the warm sun, nearby trails and a cool blue outdoor swimming pool in my town.
Grateful. Warm. Calm. Alive.
It has been a very dry summer in Ancaster, Ontario, where I live.
This morning I was awakened by loud claps of thunder and the sound of rain pattering on the windows and roof. I realised that it has been a long time since I heard this sound. It even felt a little strange to hear it.
This got me thinking about how quickly we adapt to our circumstances. Normally, in Ancaster, Ontario, where I live, summer rain is a part of life. This summer, however, we’ve had a drought. So rain stopped being part of what I expected to see.
I was happy to be surprised by refreshing rain this morning. I could almost feel the plants’ relief.
This Canada Day marked my return from a year’s research leave. It has been a good year- I moved into a new home, got involved in the federal election, made a bunch of great new friends, and wrote most of a new book on social media in Canada. I also became pescetarian and mindfully started on the path to fitness.
I am looking forward to coming back to McMaster as director of the McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management program for a three-year term, until 2019. I love teaching and being part of the university community. I love the rhythm and cadence of university life and the excitement that students feel at the prospect of learning and growing. I love research and discovery – both from the personal perspective of gaining a new understanding of the world, but also because research and the enlightenment it brings help to transform our communities for the better.
The MCM is a wonderful community of practitioners who learn from one another. I count our faculty among the learners as well, because when twenty very bright, leading communicators from across Canada get together in a room to discuss and debate the theories and practices of management, strategy, marketing, and communications, even the top experts become facilitators. What a joy for all involved.
If you have been thinking about an MBA, you should consider the MCM. We offer the course courses of the MBA in a format that works with your schedule and busy life. It really is an “MBA for creative people.”
The fact that the MCM is offered to you by McMaster University in partnership with the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, opens a whole world of experience for you in the United States!
If you’re interested in the MCM, do send me a note and we can chat about the program and your application to join the 2016-17 cohort, which starts in October.
We have extended our application deadline to August 15, 2016.