A Money Coach in Canada

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Ah! I’m an epicurean at heart, no doubt about it.

I’m too lazy/intimidated to make croissants from scratch and was thus utterly delighted to discover some frozen *these* at my local co-op:
20100703 making croissants 13
Photo Credit: JStove

But that is not all, friends. That is not all.

Consider this image of my stove carefully (don’t pay attention to the clock):

And a last hint:
Photo Credit: cygnoir

I’ll paypal funds for a latte to the first person who figures out what’s got me so excited – a new gentle source of Contentment in my life.

Feature Image credit: konqui

UPDATE: @Al, sir, I’m shooting you a little latte fund! You got it — I put one in the oven the night before and awake to the aroma of freshly baked croissant. Le voila:

Vancouver’s a damn hard act to follow in the realm of quirky and wonderful places to eat or enjoy a good latte. *sniff*: Six Acres and Acme Cafe with its own flickr pool for heaven’s sake and my all-time favourite Smart Mouth Cafe!

However, I have found a new place of contentment up here and its name is the Nuthouse.   Nuthut.  TJ’s Nuthut. I’d link to it, but most stores up here don’t bother with websites much because, really, what’s the point? Either you find out about it, or you don’t!

The owner is bigger than life, passionate about nuts (did you know pecans are native to Canada? I didn’t know. Nor would have thought to ask. But I found out nonetheless!) and makes a MEAN Thai soup and delectable home-made desserts, and I don’t mean the kind of homemade that in fact came from a mass-produced factory. There’s a handful of cozy tables just made for laptops and blogging.

And dine and laptop and blog I did last Saturday, and I reckon I’ve found my new hangout. It’s about a 20 minute walk from my home and located right on the shore of the Great Slave Lake. Currently it’s still frozen over so planes on skis are still landing but eventually it will be all wavy and wonderful with people canoeing out to their houseboats.

Photo Credit: eclectic blogs

Readers – do you have a fave eat/laptop/blog place where you feel just right at home and content to while away a couple hours?
Yellowknifers- if you haven’t visited it yet, you gotta go. But not on Saturdays between 11 – 1pm, if you don’t mind!

I have a confession to make. For several months (and by that I mean 24+) I’d stopped hoping and dreaming. Having had a couple shattering experiences, I think life just got the best of me for a bit. Life got reduced to making tough decisions, putting one foot in front of the other and then a series of accomplishments. Not particularly joyous accomplishments mind, just, getting stuff done. Making a move up north. Navigating my way through an unexpectedly tumultuous employment experience (I’ll have had 7 managers in 26 months! – and only twice because of a change I made!). Adjusting to life in general in a very different environment. It has not been easy.

And in the mix, I’d stopped hoping or visioning or setting goals and making plans – activities that have characterized me for most of my life. My core values, my respect and appreciation of life and my compassion for this global village of ours remained intact but a lot about life became: Meh.

What about you? Do you aspire? Do you reach and strive for your desires? Do you know what you desire?

If money – and managing it well- is about creating security for ourselves (inasmuch as is possible) and about doing right by the planet and people by donating or thoughtful consumption, surely it is also about giving expression to our inner longings and cherished dreams.

In January I stepped outside my comfort zone and joined Jamie in her DreamBoard teleseminar. For three full hours I gave myself over to re-exploring what makes life lovely for me. It was water on dry ground and I need much more.

But friends, I moved forward on my discovery. I re-jigged some of my finances, I re-prioritized, and by next week this time I should be able to show you one result.

So my invitation to you is this: in this month of April, join me in letting the genie out of the bottle. Join me in dreaming and hoping and planning on good things for ourselves, and in managing our money effectively in part to that end. Wednesday and Weekend posts will give tips, ideas and with any luck a measure of inspiration to do just that.

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you; Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want; Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.” -rumi

Photo Credit: Our Enchanted Garden

What do you already have in your life that you appreciate? The art of contentment is just this: learning to derive satisfaction from that which we already have.

Monday posts will be a personal praxis of contentment.

Don’t you love the feeling of sleeping in a cool room with just the right weight and warmth of a quality blanket? Yellowknife of all places is good-blanket worthy! This pure wool blanket was made in Canada by the MacAusland Woollen Mills in PEI. This family-owned business has been making blankets since 1932! Thanks to The Old Faithful Shop for introducing me. And as you can see by the last photo, a little friend also fully appreciates it too (and I indulge him).

Waiting for the Return of Light

I used to call them my demon nights. Sleep patterns and the hours between 3 – 4:30 am can really mess with our heads. Our insecurities and vulnerabilities are magnified and it’s hard to find our inner core. I frequently experienced insomnia at this hour and went through a silent hell. I felt utterly alone in the universe. Anguish.

I don’t experience those torments anymore, Thank God. Somewhere between then and now I have, over the years, become at ease in my own skin. Between long-lasting and robust friendships, discovering my own unique strengths I bring to the world, and a particular romance which, though it didn’t end in marriage (a sadness I will always carry with me) nevertheless dropped tender love into my heart, between all these, I’ve become (generally) at ease and secure. Also rooting myself into a faith and belief in an all-loving and tender and compassionate God has been foundational.

There’s a proverb that says: Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it.

So on this Christmas Day, I encourage us all to hold lightly to the gifts we received (or maybe didn’t) – delight in them, yes. But mostly hold them lightly because mostly what we all need – by definition of being human – is love and belonging. What love and belonging we each have in our lives, be it little glimpses or in spades, let’s soak it up. If we need more, let’s set our intentions to build and deepen our community. If we have some to spare, let’s open our hearts more widely to others.

And for those who are inclined toward religion, let’s open our hearts all the more to the God of Love, and spill that love as indiscriminately wide and far as possible — Peace, on earth, good will to all.

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