When the Student Becomes the Teacher


More years ago than I prefer to count, I was blessed to have in my personal growth class a young woman by the name of Lezlie. She was eager to learn all about herself and the power within. She proved to be an apt student.

The more often we shared, the stronger the bond became between us – we were certainly sisters of Spirit. We lost touch for a while when I changed cities, but in reconnecting; it was as if we had never been apart.

Over the years, there were triumphs we celebrated and tragedies that we helped each other through. Mostly we connected by email or phone, but the occasional visit found us exchanging book titles and trying to solve the world’ s problems over a cup of tea. By that time, I rarely saw myself as her teacher, and she my student. We were sisters on a whirlwind of adventure.

In 2012, our relationship continued to shift. That July, Lezlie and Ron had dinner with us on one of their rare trips through Edmonton – heading to Hinton for a family re-union. We had such a delightful time; no one wanted the evening to end.

In September, Ron called with the heart-wrenching news that our beloved Lezlie had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and had died during surgery. Her celebration of life in Calgary proved that she had become a teacher to us all. I drew strength from the final words she had written, inspiring us to live our lives with joy, passion, and purpose.

More than once since then, have I been blessed with wise counsel from her when she appeared in my dreams.  She gave me the courage to fight on that October when I faced cancer surgery.

Earlier today, Good Friday of 2014, I was reviewing old Facebook messages. (Lezlie was always more embracing of social media than I was!) As I scrolled down, there was a gift from her dated four years before she died – a message I had not seen until now. It was like finding a beautiful gift at the back of the closet that I’d forgotten to open. The message included a poem she wanted to share.

May you find the wisdom that I found in her poem that follows.

One Moment Please

By Lezlie Molyneaux 2008

I take flight and all the world is spinning

Every need rushes in to whack at me.

I cannot grasp one stick to shake at,

For all shake furiously.

The spinning is becoming tortuous.

I can’t remember who I am.


One tiny feather floats

Between the blades sharpened dangerously.

My eyes blink, yet I am wary

One moment I shake ….

I breathe

One moment I shudder…..

I breathe

One moment I close my eyes

I breathe …..

I breathe

One moment I am totally protected

In a blanket of downy white

One moment – I am

I am.

Dearest Lezlie,

Thank you for transcending time and space to share your wisdom and teach us your truth. We are bountifully blessed as we remember that we are all students and teachers of each other.

Photo courtesy of How to raise your vibration blog

Three Lies Single Women Tell Themselves©


Single, heterosexual women, both young and old, can fall into a pit of despair because of the lies they tell themselves.

Lie #1: I Don’t Need A Man

We often adopt this lie as truth in the aftermath of a break-up or a disastrous relationship with a man. Our hearts are broken; we’re seriously disillusioned with the whole male-female connection. I’ve been in that exact place more than once.

After each of three long-term relationships ended (I guess I’m a serial Ex now) my pit of despair seemed too deep to crawl out of.  In my anger and grief, I damned all men to hell and proceeded to learn to live without them.

In true women’s lib fashion, I bought myself a cool power drill and other even more interesting power tools. I was determined to need no man’s help. Well, maybe it would be okay to let them change my flat tire. And I might need a little help with some heavy lifting or moving.

After my second marriage (of 23 years) ended, it took three years of that focused independence before I began to yearn for a little more intimate male involvement – dinner, a movie, hot sex (I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that last one!).

I missed the romance – the electric regard of a man who was giving me his undivided attention. I hadn’t felt intensely female for a while, a feeling one can only get from direct masculine interest. I longed for that shiver of anticipation over a first date, and the chance to share that excitement with my girlfriends. (Heaven knows they needed some reward for listening to all my whining!)

Lie #2: I Need a Man to Complete Me

Time was passing, I wasn’t getting any younger, so I began to worry about being alone for the rest of my life. I believed I needed a companion, a lover, a man to share my days with – in my desperation, I believed that I would be nothing if I wasn’t part of a couple.

A big danger exists if you buy into this lie.

You may be desperate enough to settle, like I did initially, for the first guy who comes along who seems acceptable. Phew! Somebody wants me. I had hoped to avoid the online dating pool and all its perceived misery, so I got involved with someone totally unsuited to me and my goals in life. When I finally came to my senses, I had a devil of a time getting him out of my life.

Women are not wired for the love ‘em and leave ‘em habits that guys seem to get away with. We get so wrapped up emotionally that we’re easily scarred – oh, and don’t forget about our tendency to want to fix every guy that’s broken. “Oh, I’m so sure Mr. Right Now or Mr. Trainable could become my Mr. Right.” Well, okay, if you have a hundred years or so and more patience than God.

Trust me, I’ve hooked up with over half a dozen “lost boys” over the years. They never changed – they just got irritated when I wanted them to change or grow. Not only have I decided to never bring another one home, I plan to avoid them altogether. I’ve learned the hard way that the only one I can “save” is me – and now I know that I’m worth saving!

The key to avoiding this lie is to accept your own wholeness as a woman. You came out of the womb complete. Even though you’ve grown and transformed from a baby into a woman, your completeness has never changed. You may want a partner to enhance or enrich your life, but you don’t need one to feel complete.

Lie#3: I’m Not Good Enough to Attract the Right Man

Most of us can easily finish these sentences with all the negatives in the dictionary: “I’m not….” I’m too…” Not recognizing your own greatness as a woman is more harmful to your psyche than anyone else’s opinion of you. Maybe when your last relationship ended, your ex said mean things that cut you to the core. His opinion should carry no weight – only your opinion counts.

If you’re feeling unworthy, what could happen if you’re “lucky” enough to attract a really great guy?

If you don’t go into the next relationship feeling whole, you’ll never believe that you measure up, despite what this great guy tells you. You might even start looking over your shoulder for his next girlfriend after you – self-sabotage at its worst!

Or, with self-esteem issues, you might decide to sell yourself so short that you lower your standards and attract all manner of weirdos. (And then moan to your friends that there are no decent guys!)

The truth is, you are good enough right this minute. To confirm this, take a fearless inventory of all the things you like about yourself – you should be able to come up with at least 100. Include your talents, skills, strengths, values, physical attributes, passions etc. When you get stuck, ask trusted friends, colleagues, and family members to add to your list. (You’ll be surprised at how much they value you.)

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make any changes to improve yourself or your image of yourself – I encourage that. But do it from a desire to grow, not because you feel deficient!

Once you start valuing yourself and you’re feeling more at home in your own skin, you become much more attractive to the opposite sex. Then, and only then is it time to cast your line into the dating pool!

What other lies have you told yourself as a single woman? If you have friends who struggle to break free of these lies, share this article. It could save them from a relationship disaster!

Wishing you freedom, wisdom and fun! …Sue

2014 – A Year to Move Forward!

IMG_1111As 2013 came to a close, I found myself looking forward, with a great deal of relief and excitement, to the dawning of a new year. It had been a brutal year, fraught with big changes in more areas of my life than I thought I had energy for.

Yet, here was another opportunity to explore where I’d been, and more importantly; decide about new pathways and goals and plan my action steps accordingly.

Even as a youngster, I felt that my life was geared for something more, something bigger than I could then imagine. I still feel that way, believing that, despite a long list of accomplishments to date, I haven’t yet lived up to all my potential. So how will I live up to that potential? The current catch phrase is all about ‘re-inventing’ oneself, which is like a make-over only more from the inside rather than altering a person’s outward appearance.

Re-inventing means changing. Changing from the old to the new often means releasing or letting go of the parts that no longer serve. Whether it’s old habits and beliefs or an abundance of old files and office clutter, letting go can be a huge challenge.

In my home office, I started by ruthlessly purging files of old information and memorabilia – pages I hadn’t looked at for years but just kept packing around. Next were drawers, cupboards and my desk – what I kept was properly re-organized and filed. As I worked to toss that old baggage, the pieces inside cried out for one last look – so I’d open the bag – big mistake!

Because change seems to be both scary and very hard, I was tempted to hang on to some of that old, familiar stuff for just a little while longer. Kind of like an annoying relative that I couldn’t bring myself to say no to.

Courage and a vigorous commitment to the new vision for my life are the two tools I’m using to continue to set myself free.

As my office and living space began to look clean and clutter-free, I started making lists of what was most important to me – what I treasured, how I wanted each day to unfold, where I would find the most fulfilling work, and how I would build in peace and joy for my body, mind and soul. What new thoughts and habits would I need to focus on?

Here’s where the courage comes in. Courage is needed when it comes time to take the action steps necessary to make those new dreams and visions come true. It can involve many fears and much uncertainty because I can’t see the future, and I may not yet know how to get where I want to be – I only know what I’m striving for.

My commitment to getting there sure helps. That commitment builds when I examine the risks of doing or not doing versus the rewards of achievement. I know I will need patience, persistence, and compassion for myself anytime that resolve weakens.   May all your dreams and goals for 2014 come true. Trust me – you’re worth it!

My Newest Adventure

IMG_0826While I usually consider myself to be the low-tech tool in the high-tech shed, I am gradually changing.There’s an old adage that goes, “grow or die”. When it comes to communicating, I find that if I don’t grow into many of the new computer related tools, my ability to connect with new audiences will be severely limited – and my business could die!

So, somewhat reluctantly, I bought the book, Buzz Marketing with Blogs for Dummies. While I resented being labeled as a dummy when it came to the World Wide Web and all the social media stuff, I desperately needed the simple explanations and the step-by-step process provided for learning this new way of communicating. [I blessed the index more than once when I didn't have a clue what a widget was or how an RSS feed worked.]

What will I do with all this new learning? Well, in addition to all the other fun things I do, I’ve taken on the role of blog mistress for a new site that focuses on dating tips for singles over 40. As a recent participant and eventual victor of the mature dating scene, I learned lots-the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many friends, colleagues and even strangers commented about how tough it was to find a new partner, someone who was just right for them.

Since I would love everyone who is newly single to be as happy as I am with my new love, and since I’m a how-to kind of person, I wanted to blog about this topic. My plan is to provide information, stories, opinions and strategies about mature dating that will help readers work toward their goals of finding new relationships. The site: www.maturedatingtips.com launched July 1, 2010.

If you, or someone you know is over 40 and single again, then check out our site, read the posts and send me your stories and comments. The more the merrier on this new adventure!

2010 A Year of Choices

IMG_9150The number of choices each of us makes during any given day is astounding: what time to get up, what to wear, what to eat, what route to take, where to go for coffee, which piece of work to tackle, who to call, how many e-mails to send/respond to, whether to go out at night or not, and so on, and so on.

Then, of course, there are those times when ‘no choice’ is also a choice. That’s when we let others choose for us: where to take us to celebrate, what movie to see, what plans our bosses have for us etc. I know that I choose most of my activities based on what I want or what I think will make me happy. We’re constantly faced with opportunities to choose between what we want and what we don’t want.

The longer we’ve been on the planet, the more experienced we are at making action-oriented choices. As I ponder my goals for 2010, I see before me a fascinating array of new choices to make. One of the more interesting choices has been triggered as I read Esther and Jerry Hick’s book, Money and the Law of Attraction. In the Teachings of Abraham, they strongly recommend the choice of positive thoughts over negative thoughts – suggesting that we focus our thoughts on what we want, rather than dwelling on what we don’t want or don’t have.

Some might argue, as I once did, that we have absolutely no control over our thoughts – they just plant themselves in our minds because of what we’ve seen or what has happened. Besides which, what we think doesn’t really have any bearing on what happens to us, does it? Well what if it does?

According to Wikipedia, “The Law of Attraction argues that thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) can affect things outside the head, not just through motivation, but by other means. Essentially, “if you really want something and truly believe it’s possible, you’ll get it”, but putting a lot of attention and thought onto something you don’t want means you’ll probably get that too.”

Hmm.  Since I can only speak to this from my own experience, let me say that whether the Law of Attraction has been “scientifically” validated or not, I do know that when I think good thoughts, happy thoughts, I feel better. And when I feel better, I actively look for other thoughts and things to support me in feeling even better. It becomes a lovely upward spiral filled with happiness, joy and wonder. The opposite is also true. When I think negative, unhappy thoughts, more of those come into my head. If I let it continue, my feelings spiral down into a pit of despair, worry, loneliness – well, you get the picture.

But, you say, life is tough – I have no job, no money, not enough food in the frig, people are in pain all around me. True though that may be, it doesn’t change the fact that you still have the power to choose what you think and feel about every condition. Our thoughts will trigger a variety of emotions.  According to David R. Hawkins in Power vs Force, it has been scientifically proven that the words we use to describe emotions have the power to either energize us or zap us of our strength. The most life-giving word is enlightenment, followed by peace and joy.  Shame, guilt and apathy are the most debilitating.

Why would anyone want to hang out in the misery that negative words cause? For example, if my life is sailing along in a wonderful direction but some of my friends are really struggling, I am tempted to feel bad, sad, and/or guilty. If I do that, not only do I dim the light of possibilities that I could hold for my friends and family, it dulls the glow of me feeling great about what’s good about my life. To dwell on that negative seems to be such a “lose-lose” position for all concerned. Why would I want to feel less than, just because of others who aren’t where I am? If everyone’s in the pit, who is left to pull us out?

A number of years ago, a dear friend called in great distress with the news that she had lost her business. This vibrant, take-charge woman was just beside herself with pain and worry for her future. On my way out the door to her house, I grabbed a book from my shelf to loan her.  As women do, I listened  with great empathy to her story, but felt somewhat helpless in the face of it all. So I gave her the book I’d brought, suggesting it might be useful. One day later she called with such a joyful note in her voice. That book (Even Eagles Need a Push by David McNally) was the lifeline she needed to pull herself up. It was onward and upward from there.

Though I may feel bad initially over someone’s situation, when I make the shift and focus my thoughts to how strong, resourceful and determined humans are in the face of adversity and how much I admire their courage, that support holds a much greater potential for forward movement than choosing to wallow with them in the muck of despair. Plus, the gift of rocky road ice cream can change someone’s state of mind in just one spoonful!

Which leads me back to choices.  If one of my goals for 2010 is to feel good in every moment, then I will work to consciously choose my thoughts about any given situation. If bad things happen, I can ask myself, “What is it that’s good about this situation?” or “What will make me feel a little bit better?” Every small shift to the positive opens a doorway to better things.  Then, if I think of a positive action to take, however big or small, that, too will support the ‘feel-good’ vibrations.

The other choice I will continue with is to disengage from the media negativity.  Sixteen months ago, my mate and I decided to cancel our cable and only use the TV for DVDs.  As a result, I haven’t watched the evening news for quite some time (my grandmother called it watching the doom and gloom). I get brief snippets from the radio when listening for the traffic report, but mostly, the pain of things I have no control over does not enter my life. Call me crazy, but this one action has added tons of time to spend on activities that make me feel just great – such as writing this article!

One other thing I do to boost my feel-good meter is subscribe to daily e-mail meditations that lift my spirits and start my days off right. As TUT.com says, “Thoughts become things. Think only the good ones!” What thoughts will you think in 2010?

Permission is granted to copy this article for personal use, providing credit is given to the author, Sue Paulson, and it is not altered in any way.

The Joys of Giving and Receiving

Like many others, our family has been steeped in the tradition and value of giving over many generations. I can remember reading a letter from my great-grandmother who thanked her daughter for the $5 she sent to help them out – a princely sum in the 1930′s.  Because so many struggled in those days, even the smallest amount was welcome; sharing what one had was a common practice on the prairies.

Christmas has become the time for really serious giving, from expensive presents for loved ones to food and cash donations for the less fortunate. Why do we give? Well, I give for a variety of reasons: I’m grateful for having plenty for me and plenty to share; I love the feeling I get when I give; I hope to make life a bit easier for those I give to, and I believe it’s the right thing to do.

One other thing that’s wonderful about giving is being reminded that everyone has a need to give, even those who are homeless or are in some kind of need. For example, one street person who was grateful for the money I gave him blessed me and asked if he could give me a hug. Being a lover of hugs, I think I got the best of that exchange! But I wonder what would have happened if I’d refused his gift of a hug? There are times when gracious receiving is the best kind of giving.

A young friend of mine whose family came as refugees told me a couple of days ago that he wanted to buy me a Christmas present, but that he would have to save up because his parents were having some difficulties. My first thought was to tell him not to buy me anything. Fortunately, before I said anything, I remembered his talent for drawing. I also remembered how I had treasured all my son’s homemade gifts when he was a child. So I told him that I treasured homemade gifts far more than anything he might buy in the store. He seemed just delighted with that idea and his opportunity to give to me.

In this age of overwhelming commercialism, it’s easy to forget that the most important gift to others is often ourselves and our time. My grandmother and I used to exchange long wish lists every Christmas. At the bottom of her list was the note:  Of course, I really don’t need anything except some of your undivided attention. Hmm. How much more precious a gift is there than the gift of self?

The next time I wonder if I have enough in my budget to afford Christmas, please remind me that giving and receiving is all about communicating what’s in our hearts. Everyone can afford to give that and everyone deserves to receive it. May the joys of giving and receiving fill you up and overflow to all those you touch and whose lives touch you!

2008 – The Year to Really Communicate!

If you’re like me, each new year that dawns provides an opportunity to start fresh, begin again. We make new resolutions, structure new goals, and look optimistically to the year ahead.

It’s my hope that those of you with communication challenges and goals will find this site useful as you strive to meet each challenge.

Visit the Books page to preview my public speaking book and my study skills guide. If you need a voice for a website or voicemail, click on Sue’s Voice to connect you to a demo. I’m also available for workshops and speaking engagements tailored to the needs of your group.

Let me leave you with a quote I found on the cover of my 2008 planner – “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” Andre Gide

May 2008 be your best year ever!