Saturday, August 7, 2010

something different - Kelli Kieley

------- i wondered what i should share in this blog. (i have written two pieces already but wound up with a spontaneous one because...) today i did everything differently. (for example, usually i blog privately. i have many blog entries very few people have seen. this is my first public blog). also... i woke up at 5:00 am, and, unlike other nighttime bathroom stumbles, became conscious enough to notice the time. instead of rolling over and going back to sleep, i lay awake, thinking. instead of trying to get back to sleep, i got up to go for a walk. instead of walking around my neighbourhood, i walked to my new neighbourhood (where i will become, for the first time in 10 years, a renter vs. a home-owner). instead of knowing my way around, i got lost. instead of passing by a new coffee shop en route to my favorite coffee shop, i stopped, turned around, and went inside the new coffee shop, aptly called "the New Neighbour. instead of reading a book in my bag, i browsed the offerings on display at New Neighbour's. instead of being cynical and put off by the title The Optimist's Handbook, i thought it might be important. Some of the many things that spoke to me: “In his recent book Courage, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown notes that not all courage is the kind seen on the battlefield, the risk of danger: ‘there is also courage that comes form cultivating a habit of refusing to let fear dictate ones’ actions, courage that would be described as grace under pressure…:’ It is not a an innate or instinctual response, it is not calculated. It can only be tested in action. And courage, as Nelson Mandela points out, multiplies when it is shared….” “Our software for thinking, which we inherited from the Big Three of Greek - Socrates, Plato and Aristotle - is about truth, logic, argument, and analysis. It’s excellent in the same way that a rear left wheel is on a car is excellent. But it missed out on creativity, design, perception. 90 percent of errors of logic in thinking are errors of perception, not Logic.” (-- Edward de Bono) excerpts from The Optimist’s Handbook, Nick Inman ( --- it might be useful to share some things that i experienced prior to my 6am journey this morning, that are remotely related… i have been doing things so differently for the past 3 years that i truly believe i am being cellular-ly reconfigured. 3 years ago, when life became heavy to the point of unbearable i got to thinking... “you know, this (strife) just can't be right. it must be me. i must be doing something wrong. there has to be a better way. i have to do something different...” (i remember driving down the road and having some kind of vision... i saw myself floating in space grabbing and randomly grabbing and hanging on to one star and then another... my consciousness was telling me to choose my stars carefully, this haphazard star-grabbing was a way to stay randomly floating forever...) so i found myself browsing in the (previously laughable) self-help section of a book store. i began reading books such as julia cameron's The Artist's Way, and jack canfield's The Success Principles. (i read them again and keep them by my bed. i also keep Women Who Run With The Wolves.) these books were the beginning of an exciting, scary journey for me. The information was exciting, but.. the journey began terribly with a deep, profound, crushing depression, some uncharacteristic, odd and self-destructive behaviour, a “dark night of the soul. (which was underscored a sense of hope/faith that things could and would ultimately be better, giving me a dollop of courage to do things differently and/or be willing to let go…) then, a chronic problem turned into a debilitating and almost deadly illness. “hmm… definitely still more work to do, have to do even more things differently...” so the illness near-death thing led beyond books to dabbling in therapy. i sat on several couches blabbing and became concerned this was going to take 20 years…but I had two small kids… “no. there has to be something else. i have to commit all my time/effort/money into finding something different, above all else...” and then, more therapeutic exploration until, thankfully and finally, meeting my two angels/health care providers to whom i attribute this literal cellular reconfiguration/healing/growth. (the chronic, debilitating/deadly health affliction that either preceded or was caused by depression/break-down has been cured… an illness for which modern medicine had no cure available. another story.) the books, the therapy, the remedies have profoundly changed my view of my self, my outlook and my (changing) understanding of my place and experience in the world... it cost me money and time and required courage to let go of many things, wounds, relationships, victimhood, patterns, self-images, defenses and blaming, to name a few. the courage to accept responsibility and acknowledge my choices. my life is completely different now. technically, i am still the same. i'm still some chick living in toronto with two children making a living and media and wondering and observing and wandering and stuff. but i now believe i shape my own life. i know how to listen to myself to define what my needs are, and am shaped less by what outside influences tell me they should be. my life still has its challenges, but i feel more confident about handling them and know where to go if i need help. just like today, a saturday like any other, when everything is technically the same, but also very different. kind of like two ways of thinking, or perceiving, or viewing that glass of water. so, what i learned or realized i have to share today is... sometimes you just have to have the courage or will to do something different, to respond to an impulse, small or large, to let go of your belief, routines, the rules and regulations, your idea of yourself, to have faith and believe everything will work out favorably somehow, (and maybe remember to keep The Optimist's Handbook in your back pocket or by your bed, for when you forget...) thanks to michelle van looy – a courageous, creative-thinking optimist with a big heart - for the opportunity to do something different! (and the other lovely ladies! xo) kelli kieley is the owner of a strange brain, a single mother of two phenomenal inspirations, an entrepreneur, a media producer, an aspiring change agent, and community arts fan/participant/collaborator.

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