inside out healing karen armstrong change your focus york region

Happy fall! It is my favourite time of year. As I reflect on the activities of the past summer, I am reminded of one great morning at church where our minister decided to show a movie entitled, “Celebrate What is Right in the World” by Dewitt Jones. It was so rich in inspiration, both visually and literally, as Dewitt told stories from his life and work at the National Geographic Magazine.

I absolutely encourage you to watch the Tedx Talk at this link:

I would also love to share some of my take aways from this video.

I’m not sure how many of you are, like me, hesitant to take in too much mainstream media because it focuses so much on what is wrong in the world. I find that the news I need to hear comes into my awareness anyway. And I can always look into any headline that I may want to learn more about.

Dewitt’s message spoke to me because as an energy worker I know that, where thoughts go, energy follows. In his career life, he was a photographer for the National Geographic Magazine. One of his opening lines was, “Vision controls perception and perception becomes our reality”. He didn’t realize until well into his career how powerfully the focus of his work for the National Geographic helped to reframe his perception. He began to notice how the world of media operates, from a Fear – Scarcity – Competition focus, instead of a “What’s possible or what is here to celebrate,“ focus.

Focusing on the Negative

It’s so easy to fall into an unconscious pattern of sharing stories with friends and co-workers on what is troubling, because let’s face it – life can be really tough!!  We like to have company along for the struggles in our journey. By talking about our difficulties, we can always find an understanding ear, but this point of view can rob us of the joys in life.

Over time, we always get what we focus on. And I have noticed how many people are getting very tired of going down the path of negativity our society has developed. It feels heavy, like it’s dragging you down. That is true!

A New Perspective

If we instead find ways to appreciate special moments each day, we will begin to retrain the focus of our attention. The more we do this the more we will notice how many moments in our day we can actually enjoy and be inspired by.

Like Dewitt, I have been labelled as a Pollyanna in my life. Though I never did understand how that was a negative thing. Even with a naturally positive outlook, I can find myself spiraling down the negativity path occasionally. There are lots of reasons, but typically it is because I’m tired, and not looking after my own self-care needs. But, if I can take time to walk, meditate, journal or share with a wise friend, even when things are a bit rough, it is possible to shift my perspective and create new possibilities.

Dewitt’s message reminds us to connect to the energy of passion every day. To look for what is here in our world to celebrate… to fall in love with. And to remember that every day we get to choose which lens we will look at the world with.

Change your Lens – Change your Life!

At our recent Women’s Wellness Circle, we created Vision Boards.  They represent a focus of attention that we want to invite into our lives. The collage of words and images should be placed somewhere we will see them every day. This subconsciously programs our perception to watch for ways to bring these visions into reality. We begin to align our energetic vibration to become a match for what we want.

Fall Equinox can be a powerful time to refocus and inspire new intentions. What do you want to invite into your life at this time?  Brainstorm, clarify and begin the baby steps to celebrate your journey of life!

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Until next time, enjoy our beautiful fall,




Your reality is created by your thoughts

We don’t see the world as it is – we see the world as we are! Therefore our perceptions create our reality. This is one of the statements I use when introducing the powerful personality system I work with called the Enneagram.  The Enneagram brings ancient wisdom together with modern psychology to reveal 9 patterns of being in the world.  Though we all share a bit of each of the 9 types within us, one is deeply part of our personality from womb to tomb. Read more

Nine Ways of Relating in Life

If you believe that this world is just not predictable and you want to be prepared for what the day might bring:  If you like to take some time to check people out before inviting them into your friendship fold or you are the type that tends to ask many questions or serve as the devil’s advocate because you can see the pitfalls in any plan, then follow along to learn more about the drive of Type Six, the Enneagram Loyal Realist and how that can play out in our lives.

Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own way of being.

Type Six can be called the Loyalist, the Questioner, the Skeptic, the Devil’s Advocate or the Guardian.  They like to call themselves a Realist when others suggest they are a pessimist.  They are called the Loyalist by Enneagram authors because Sixes are the most loyal to their friends and their beliefs. They will hang on to relationships longer than most other types. They will fight for their beliefs more than themselves and defend their community or family more tenaciously than they will defend themselves. The underlying fear is one of not believing they have support or guidance so they rely on trusted others, structures and support outside themselves for these.  They have great inner guidance however they second guess themselves and do not trust their own thinking and judgments.  They can over think issues and worry about many life issues.  This can result in difficulty in making big decisions though they for sure do not want others making the decisions for them. There can be a steady presence of anxiousness within Type Six and a constant striving to ease this feeling.  Many will talk about having a Plan A, a Plan B and likely a Plan C for many occasions just to be prepared!

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Nine Ways of Relating in Life

Do you have a deep yearning to search for the meaning of life? Are you motivated to express your authenticity, to experience your feelings, to be understood and absolutely run from anything you deem “ordinary”? If these statements resonate with you, then follow along to learn more about the drive of Type Four and how that can play out in our lives.

Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own way of being.

Type Four’s can be called the Individualist, The Artist, The Connoisseur, The Melancholic, or The Special One.  Fours maintain their identity by seeing themselves as fundamentally different from others.  Fours feel that they are unlike other human beings, and consequently, that no one can understand them or love them adequately. They often see themselves as uniquely talented, possessing special, one-of-a kind gifts, but also as uniquely disadvantaged or flawed.  However as talented as these types are, there is often a sense that something is missing in themselves or in their life although they may have difficulty identifying exactly what that something is.  Fours have the ability to find meaning in life and to experience feelings at a deep level.  They admire what is noble, truthful and beautiful in life. They can also establish warm connections with people, are very creative, intuitive and can have a good sense of humour.  Because Four’s respond to the world from an inner sense of what they are feeling, many daily decisions are also based upon how they feel such as what to wear, what to eat or what to plan on a free day. This makes advance planning more challenging. I have a friend whose husband can not make a weekly meal plan work; “How could you decide on Sunday what you want to have for supper on Thursday?  That just doesn’t work for me!”  This sensitivity can also have them experience dark moods or periods of melancholic dreaming and they can be quite hurt when someone misunderstands them.

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Nine Ways of Relating in Life – Are You a Type 3?


Ready-Set-Go! Do you love to keep yourself busy?  Like to make to-do lists, set goals, have a plan and don’t mind putting in the time and focus to accomplish what you set out to do?  Do you love competition and have that natural optimistic attitude about life? If these statements resonate with you then follow along to learn more about the drive of the Enneagram Type Three and how that can play out in your life.

Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own way of being.

Type Three’s can be called the Achiever, the Motivator, The Performer, The Succeeder, The Initiator.  Decisive, risk-taking, adaptable and optimistic; no type equals the Three in terms of energy and motivation. They expect success and more often than not, they get it.

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Nine Ways of Relating in Life – Are You a Two?

Would you consider yourself a real people person?  That life is about relationships; of being needed by others in your life to support them and keep them in a happy place whenever possible?  Do you always like to see the best in others?  Do you intuitively know what kind of mood someone is in without having to ask? If you find yourself nodding with agreement, then read on to learn more about Type Two.

Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own being.

Type Twos can be called the Helper, the Giver, the Loving Person, the Caretaker.  Twos are motivated to be appreciated by others, to be helpful and so earn love. They fear rejection.  A huge amount of effort, often to the point of exhaustion, is put out to meet other people’s needs. Twos have a built-in radar to know how to respond to all types of people and to say and do just the right thing.  This sensitivity operates without really having to work at it.  There is an underlying need to receive approval and Two’s tend to be very flattering and positive, always bringing attention to others strengths. If you have a Two in your life, they will always remember your birthday and spend time picking out the perfect card, if you are going through a tough time, expect them to be right there to support you, if you are in charge of a big project, then find a Two to help make it happen.  That is the Twos typical style – to find leaders whose cause they believe in and be the power behind the throne – not the one in the spotlight.  You will wonder how you could ever have done it without them!!  And that is exactly how they want to place themselves.  A Two can be juggling all their balls in the air and if you happen to ask them for help – you got it, the answer is always Yes!  That is definitely a challenge for our Twos – saying no.  They can become drained because of all the doing for others.  After all – it is not okay for THEM to ask for help.  They also have trouble knowing what it is that they truly want as all the focus is on what others want.

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The Enneagram – Are You a Type 1?

Do you like to be organized and orderly? Do you like to be on time? Do you tend to see things in terms of right or wrong, good or bad? Is it difficult to be spontaneous? You don’t like it when people break the rules! Do you think of yourself as practical, reasonable and realistic? If these statements resonate with you, then you may wish to look further at Type One on the Enneagram.

I will cover a basic overview of each of the nine types as we go through the next weeks.  What is most important to understand, is that we have some of all types within us so it is helpful to understand how each one looks at and responds to the world around them.  Besides, we are sure to have someone of every type in our own circle of influence and understanding someone who sees things differently than we do, creates opportunity for less stressful interactions.

Type One can be called the Reformer, The Perfectionist or The Judge. Ones are motivated from a deep inner message to be good, to have integrity and to be balanced. They are idealists and want to make the world a better place. There is an active inner critic that operates full time within the One’s mind steering their thoughts, feelings and actions to do the right thing. Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience.

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Secrets of the Enneagram

This is the first in a series of articles designed to explore your personality type through the wisdom and teachings of the Enneagram, (any-a-gram).  With its roots dating back 2,500 years, the Enneagram describes nine patterns of thinking, feeling and acting in the world. All individuals have one of these nine types as the preference for how they view and interact in the world.

Over the last 30 years the Enneagram has been gaining respect from the business community, counselors, therapists and spiritual teachers around the world. In 1993 the Stanford University School of Business began to incorporate the Enneagram into its program and the CIA uses it to help agents understand the behaviour of individual world leaders. Top Fortune 500 companies consult experts in the field and the number of books and courses available has exploded.  A search on Google will result in 1000s of listings for books, teachers, typing instruments or articles.

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