Sunday, 31 October 2010

In the Kitchen: Deceptively Delicious

I watched Oprah the other day. Her guest was Jessica Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld's wife, who has just published her second cookbook.

A couple of years ago, I watched her on Oprah when she published her first book. The first book had a number of unique recipes in which she hid all sorts of vegetables. She often purées vegetables and places them in soups, cookies, muffins, etc. and all sorts of other dishes where you wouldn't necessary expect them.

For example, here is a recipe found in her first cookbook Deceptively Delicious. It's for brownies and includes carrot and spinach purée.

Deceptively Delicious Brownies
Cooking spray
3 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

1/2 c. carrot purée (approx. 1 cup cooked)
1/2 c. spinach purée (approx. 1 packed cup, cooked)
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBSP soft tub trans-fat free margarine spread
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
3/4 c. flour (oat flour is best - adds another gram of fiber)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8X8 pan with cooking spray.

Melt chocolate in double boiler or over a low flame.
In large bowl, combine melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, cocoa powder, margarine and vanilla and whisk about two minutes until smooth and creamy.
Whisk in egg whites.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon.
Pour batter into pan and bake 35-40 minutes. Cool COMPLETELY in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.

Her new book, Double Delicious, was featured on Oprah this week.

These recipes are easy and family friendly. She has a great presence on camera and it is fun to watch her cook. Here is one recipe from her new book, that I found on her website do it delicious

Grilled Chicken Breasts
4 6-ounceboneless, skinless chicken breasts
1  tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1lemon, quartered

Heat a panini press or grill pan over medium-high heat. Wash and pat dry the chicken. One at a time, place the chicken in a plastic bag and pound to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Remove from the bag and coat both sides of the chicken with the herbs, oil, salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the press (you may be able to cook several at once depending on your press) and cook until cooked through, about 3 minutes. If you use a grill pan your cooking time will be longer.

Helpful Hints:
•Pound with skin-side down; start with thickest part of chicken and move down
•Remove thyme leaves by pulling them off the sprig in the opposite direction they grow
•When chopping you always want to look down and see the top of the knife. Move your pile of herbs close to you for ease, safety and precision

Both of these recipes are from her cookbooks.
It was a good show and I have to say the combination of ease and healthy choices in these recipes makes me hungry and want to cook some good food!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Effective Communication

Effective Communication Habits 
  • Speaking the truth, respectfully, even when it may cause some conflict
  • Ability to negotiate
  • Assertiveness
  • Listening to others’ point of view, rather than assuming or expecting that you are always right.
  • Owning what one says
  • Using ‘I’ and showing respect for others
  • Through the tone used
  • Through body language and gestures.
  • Through avoiding labelling and blaming

The Importance of Effective Communication
  • Effective communication in the workplace is necessary for productivity and smooth operations.
  • People in organizations typically spend over 75% of their time in interpersonal situations.
  • People get along well, when respect and appreciation is practiced in the workplace, through good communication
  • When people don’t know what is going on, they rely on others, including rumours to fill in the blanks.
  • Effective communicators share information.
  • Effective communication allows for feedback, which when given properly can be both reinforcing and motivating.
  • Learning to communicate effectively helps prevent misunderstandings.
  • Communication is collaborative, not competitive. Effective communication allows for a two-way process and an exchange of ideas.
  • Effective communicators recognize the best way to deliver their messages. They understand what their audience needs to know and the best way to convey their message.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Sinclair Ross

In a previous post I wrote about Canadian short story author, Alistair MacLeod. I mentioned that I find Canadian authors to write with depth. Here is another author who fits the bill. (James) Sinclair Ross, a Canadian banker and author is known for his fiction about life on the Canadian prairies. Ross did write novels, but it is his short stories that I enjoy the most.

Ross's stories that I enjoy the most are "The Painted Door" and "The Lamp at Noon." In each of these stories, the harsh prairie environment is an important character that drives the stories as much as the 'human' characters' responses to the environment and each other. While the stories are tragic, there is beauty in their realism and in the fact that they aren't of fairy tale quality.

A monument in Ross' honour has been erected in Indian Head (where he attended school) by Saskatchewan artists and readers with a bronze statue sculpted by Joe Fafard.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Assertive Communication

Assertive Communicators
  • Choose and make decisions for themselves.
  • Are sensitive and caring with their honesty.
  • Are direct.
  • Are generally viewed by others with respect and trust.
  • Are self-respecting, self- expressive and straight forward.
  • Convert win-lose situations to win-win.
  • Are willing to compromise and negotiate.
  • Value and respect others.
  • Speak with confidence, and self-respect.
  • The outcome of their communication is determined by above-board negotiation.
  • They respect others’ rights.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Actve Listening and Thoughtful Speaking

Seek First to Understand .... Then to Be Understood

Formulating our responses as people talk can limit our actual understanding of their message. Listening with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply, allows us to be active listeners. We can determine our responses after we’ve heard the message. This also eliminates most misunderstandings.
Before you speak, ask:

Active Listening

  • Listening is as important as speaking.
  • Pay attention to what is being said and how it is being said
  • Show that you are listening by reflecting what is being said, using nonverbal responses.
  • Ask questions to clarify or summarize what has been said
  • Do not interrupt unless the conversation has turned into a monologue
  • Get rid of your hidden agendas. They’ll keep you focused on how to convince people, rather than listening.
  • Check your assumptions
  • Practice Active Listening
Thoughtful Speaking
  • Acknowledge the need to meet other people’s communication needs.
  • How do they need to hear your message?
  • Notice how others speak
  • Adapt your language and style to maximize understanding
  • Acknowledge their personality preferences
  • Know your audience:
  • What is the best way to share your message with them?
  • What do they need to know?
  • If the message is not understood, the communicator needs to reframe the message
  • Practice Thoughtful Speaking
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,  by Stephen R. Covey, gives some great advice and practice in Habit 5, for communicationn skills.


First there was one blog, then there were two...then there were five. Talk about going overboard! It would be fine if I had lots of time to keep up with all of them.

So, it's back to two blogs.

Life's Lessons now has my books, recipes, diet, and travel stuff all posted on the same page. Having different blogs to categorize the various things I like to write about was good in theory, but difficult to keep up and still have a life that also happens so that there is something to write about! This page will have ALL of my Life's Lessons!


I'm still going to have the Life on Purpose page for the things I learn and read about Leadership.

I'm simplifying...

(The other blog pages will be closed for good by November 30, 2010.)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


"Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all of your energies on a limited set of targets." ~ Nibo Qubein

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Island, Alistair MacLeod

Born in North Battleford Saskatchewan, Alistair MacLeod moved to Dunvegan, Inverness County on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island when he was 10.

A specialist in British literature of the nineteenth century, MacLeod taught English for three years at Indiana University before becoming a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Windsor. Now retired, MacLeod lives on Cape Breton Island in the summer, where he spends part of his time "writing in a cliff-top cabin looking west towards Prince Edward Island."

MacLeod's stories focus on the "complexities and abiding mysteries at the heart of human relationships...Eloquent, humane, life-affirming, the stories in this astonishing collection seize us from the outset and remain with us long after the final page." (from the back cover)

Of the 14 stories in Island, I don't have a preference; I find them all interesting and unique.

I am really drawn to the work of Canadian writers, particularly those who write short stories. I find the depth of humanity and feeling that they explore in their short pieces to be intense and interesting. MacLeod is an author that lives up to the expectations I have of Canadian writers.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Muhammad Yunus

It seems that many North Americans do not know of Muhammad Yunus and his work. The winner of many awards, most notably the Nobel Prize in 2006, Bangladeshi Muhammad Yunnus founded the Grameen Bank.

The Grameen Bank is a wonderful example of how basic paradigms can be shifted to create some very basic, yet amazing changes in our world. What if banks lended small amounts of money, to help people get ahead? The Grameen Bank does just that.

Banking on the poor: Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus delivers Beatty Lecture
$27: How much it took for one professor of economics to change the world
By Tamarah Feder
Since the early 1970s, Dr. Muhammad Yunus has been making the world a better place for millions living in dire poverty but who possess an entrepreneurial drive. The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate pioneered a micro-credit banking system that provides loans to the most deprived, creating opportunities for self-employment and a way out of an endless cycle of poverty and despair.
Delivering this year's Beatty Memorial Lecture, Yunus recounted how he went from being a professor of economics to founder of the Grameen Bank - a major employer and business partner and, ultimately, a game-changer in how we perceive the potential of the most economically and socially disadvantaged.

"I had no idea I would get involved in anything to do with lending money," he said, attributing his career-path change to external forces following his return to poverty-stricken and famine-ravaged Bangladesh from teaching in the United States.

"When you teach economics with lots of enthusiasm and feel totally confident about the validity of what you are teaching and then you walk out of the classroom and see famine all around the country, you start questioning yourself. You feel useless in the face of dire emergency, so out of this emptiness you try to come up with something."
Yunus walked out of the campus and into the villages, "to see if I could make myself useful to just one person, even for one day." The villages of Bangladesh became his university. He witnessed the devastating effects of loan-sharking on the poor. "I couldn't believe people had to suffer so much for so little!" He saw a simple, immediate remedy. "Why don't I just loan them $27? [the total amount owed by 42 individuals]" No interest rates, no payment deadlines. He paid off loan sharks and loaned money to the villagers. They called him an angel. Bemused, he realized, "for just $27! With just a bit more I could become a super angel!"
From there the seed was sown for what has turned into the first and largest micro-credit bank and social business enterprise. Grameen Bank and its subsidiary businesses help millions of the world's most disenfranchised launch their own businesses and find empowerment.
Dismissed and berated by banks, economists and government officials, Yunus sought to persuade naysayers that we are all born with entrepreneurial potential. He wondered, "Why call economics a social science if we remove humans from the equation?"
When banks pushed aside his request to provide tiny loans to villagers and beggars, he offered to serve as guarantor. The banks relented. When the loans were repaid, the loan requests grew. The banks grew nervous and shut the door. Undeterred, Yunus set about changing the laws and establishing a bank more in keeping with his goals to alleviate poverty.
Recipients of Grameen Bank loans had to change their self-perceptions, too. Women had been accustomed to deferring to their husbands on money matters and husbands were concerned about taking on responsibility for their wives should they default. Yunus assured them Grameen would never go after them. Borrowers would pay when they could. And then they could borrow again.
Responding to concerns from some that giving money to women was contrary to Islamic law, Yunus pointed out that after working for her, "the Prophet Mohammed married a businesswoman." He said, "If you want to be a good Muslim you have to follow in the footsteps of the prophet and marry a businesswoman. And if you can't find one, come to us!"
To the business challenges he faced, Yunus had business solutions. He built solar-powered homes that people could purchase through a Grameen loan. When importing solar panels was cost-prohibitive, Yunus opened a solar-panel business.
Grameen has established several business partnerships that serve double duty - employing villagers and addressing health issues. Grameen Danone provides nutrient-rich yogurt for children that villagers can sell. He convinced Adidas to create an affordable shoe - "less than a Euro" - to protect citizens from injuries and infections.
Today the Grameen bank has more than 8 million borrowers in more than 80,000 villages in Bangladesh. Almost all are women. Grameen's repayment rate is 97 per cent. They've also set up shop in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Borough of Queens in New York City.
And if all that were not enough, Yunus was featured on The Simpson's recently, at which point one of his daughters told the Nobel prizewinner: "You've finally made it."

McGill has signed a memorandum of understanding to work with Yunus to promote social business and for it to become one of the strategic models for change implemented by the McGill World Platform for Health and Economic Management, a joint initiative led by McGill's Desautels Faculty of Management and the Faculty of Medicine as part of its knowledge-to-action activities.

Alexa Roland, an undergraduate studying International Development and Environmental Studies, was inspired met Yunus at a private lunch with students. "I want to follow that path to alleviate poverty and inequality. We talked about incorporating social business into our curriculum. I responded to his humanity and that he's taking a chance in business. To properly understand international development, I need to understand every perspective, so I'm taking some business courses as electives. A lot of good ideas and policies don't work because we can't communicate with businesses." 
That Yunus won a Nobel Prize for his work, adds to the wonderfulness of this story and his work.

The following two videos give more information about Yunus and his work:

Video 1 (click on link to be redirected) This video is a preview of one used in Franklin Covey Leadership courses. It gives a short glimpse of Yunus's work.

Video 2: Muhammad Yunus - The Social Business Model, which comes from the Yunus Centre's website is linked below

Friday, 15 October 2010


"True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not the enrichment of the leaders." ~ Robert Townsend

Pajama Day

Did you ever stay in your pajamas all day?

I am in need of a pajama day. I've had a crazy week and the thought of lounging around in comfy my comfy pjs and reading a good book or watching a movie is something I've looked forward to all week.

I thought I'd see if anyone else has ever posted about wearing pajamas all day. This is what I found:

On 1000 Awsome Things  #554 is Staying in your pajamas all day. This site always has great things and staying in your pajamas all day is truly awesome!

There are lots of sites with discussion about why stay at home moms shouldn't wear their pajamas all day. But, for me, that's a debate for another day. I'm not interested in wearing my pajamas all day, every day...just sometimes on weekends especially after long weeks. It's best in the dead of winter, but I'll take a fall day like tomorrow.

Some schools have pajama days. I remember my kids enjoying those days when they could wear their sleepwear to school. There's something so cozy and comfy about lounge wear.

Since I am having this great dream about wearing my pajamas all day, tomorrow and writing this post, I thought I'd find out some more things about pajamas.

On Wilkepedia they have some info about pajamas:

"Pajamas, also spelled pyjamas can refer to several related types of clothing. The original paijama are loose, lightweight trousers fitted with drawstring waistbands and worn in South and West Asia by both sexes. In many English-speaking nations, pajamas are loose-fitting, two-piece garments derived from the original garment and worn chiefly for sleeping, but sometimes also for lounging, also by both sexes. More generally, pajamas may refer to several garments, for both daywear and nightwear, derived from traditional pajamas and involving variations of style and material.

The word "pyjama" is a variant of "pajama" which was incorporated into the English language during British Raj from Hindustani (the progenitor language of modern-day Urdu and Hindi). This word originally derives from the Persian word Peyjama meaning "foot garment"."
I'm not prepared to be Hugh Hefner or someone else who wears pajamas every day all day.

BUT...Tomorrow is pajama day for me!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece looks absolutely beautiful. I've never been there, but it is definitely on my wish list.

Santorini is a volcanic island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast from Greece's mainland. It is what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion.
In 1956 a major earthquake and a volcanic eruption resulted in the demolishing of many buildings on the island, leading to the desertion of many of its villages. These days, due to tourism, the island has rebuilt and is prosperous.

From the reading I've done, I know that the island has small wineries that provide the fruit for the Kánava wineries. It also used to have pumice quarries. Because of the volcanic ash soil, this island has some lucious produce such as cherry tomatoes, white eggplants and a variety of large cucumbers called katsoúni that apparently have a sweet taste like a melon.
Houses on Santorini are often low and cubical. They are made from the local stone and are often whitewashed with volcanic ashes used as colours. The houses are built into the surrounding pumice, which also provides unique insulation because of its porous quality.

Yep, I'm putting this place on my wish list.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Miracles and Restoring our Faith in Humanity

The story of the Chilean miners and their rescue, with its happy ending has been fascinating. That 33 men could be trapped more than 700 meters below the earth's surface for 69 days, is absoultely frightening. That they were thought dead for the first 17 or so days is astounding.

They say on the news that safety rules need to be enforced and maintained. Will this event create better awareness and safe procedures?

I actually don't watch the news that often. I get tired of hearing bad news and stories of people who treat each other inhumanely. I knew the story of the miners, but I didn't follow it as closely as most people probably did.

Yesterday and today, as they brought the miners up the newly drilled shaft, I watched with admiration as the men stepped out of the rescue capsule. Watching the families wait with anxious anticipation for their loved ones to ascend from the depths has been so wonderful.

I remember watching the first man come up and one of his sons standing at the site, the boy's face showing such emotions as he waited to catch a glimpse of his father. Then his father emerged and hugs were exchanged and the love and relief were in their eyes. Each subsequent family showed the same concern, anticipation, love and emotion.

If only so many possible tragedies had such happy endings.

The next happy ending will happen if they learn from this experience and work toward safer conditions in the Chilean mines. These miners only earn $1.00/hour.

And other happy endings....

that people will rally around countries that have other disasters, such as the floods in Pakistan and the earthquakes in Haiti, and that those who provide support will stay involved during the long days and nights of relief work.

 More on CBC news

The Vinyl Cafe books, Stuart McLean

Stuart McLean has a weekly show, The Vinyl Cafe, on CBC radio. The show features Canadian music, some letters from viewers, and a story.

McLean mixes great stories with his incredible storytelling abilities. His stories usually feature Dave and his wife, Morley and the various adventures of their lives.

Dave owns a record store and he and Morley have two children: Sam and Stephanie.  Dave often fumbles his way through life and his own personal adventures/confusion create some pretty funny stories. I found a decent one on YouTube that you might enjoy.

There's also a story about Morley and the year Sam started hockey. As a mother, I found this story absolutely hillarious. Although the stories about Dave are traditionally the best, I needed to include this one, too.

I've attached both of the stories, below:

The Blood Pressure Chair:

The Jock Strap:

Maybe only a mom with a son can truly appreciate the Jock Strap story? I hope that even without a son you found some fun and humour in this one!

Monday, 11 October 2010


Contagious, spectacular, uplifting, fun...

I'm sure you've seen the Old Spice commercial. I've put it here for a quick reference. What you need to do, is also watch the Sesame Street video...a cute parody of the commercial!

Old Spice

Sesame Street

Sunday, 10 October 2010


"To my mind, empathy is in itself a healing agent...because it releases, it confirms, it brings even the most frightened person into the human race. If a person is understood, he or she belongs." ~ Carl Rogers

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Body Image

I'm sure you've seen this commercial from Dove. I think every little girl should see it.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Drive, Daniel Pink

Employee engagement is an interesting study. There are many thoughts out there about what makes us 'tick' in the workplace. Does the generation we belong to affect how we are engaged, or is it just our personality preference?

Daniel Pink has written an interesting book that looks at what motivates and engages employees. His book is a must read for those who are trying to understand what engages employees.

One thing that I have discovered through my own research, is that we all need to be valued and respected as individuals in order to feel engaged. Simple things like being greeted, being thanked, asked their opinion and having their ideas acknowledged are so important. Employee recognition isn't actually the big long service dinner or tea, or even merit awards. While they are nice, they mean little to employees who feel that their day to day accomplishments are ignored. No matter the age, 20 or 60, employees want to feel that they are valued as people.

The problem, is that even with this knowledge, many don't actually know how to value and appreciate their employees. Daniel Pink has a great book to get you thinking.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


"It is a leader's responsibility to demonstrate what it means to keep your word and earn a reputations for trustworthiness." ~ Hank Paulson, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs

Chakras and Food

On Rejuvinating Lounge, they have posted information about a new book by Dr. Deanna Minich called Chakra Foods for Optimum Health. Some things they have gleaned from the book:

What to feed your root chakra (red):
Recipe suggestions - Nourishing bean soup, winter root vegetable soup, red whirl smoothy, grilled tuna steak with oven roasted red peppers.
Think protein, root vegetables and red – tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, apples, red cabbage and beets.

What to feed your sacral chakra (orange):
Recipe suggestios - Smoked salmon, carrots dipped in fresh almond and cashew nut butter, creative curry soup, grilled salmon with apricot orange sauce.
Think fats and oils (omega’s 3), fish, nuts and orange - sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, salmon and mangos.

What to feed your solar plexus (yellow):
Recipe suggestions - Brown rice pudding, steel cut oats, toasted rye bread and sunny corn salad
Think foods for power and transformation – low GI complex carbohydrate, fibre, whole grains and yellow, tan and golden foods – corn, ginger, banana’s, pineapples, yellow lentils, amaranth, quinoa, whole grain breads and cereals.

What to feed your heart chakra (green/pink):
Recipe suggestions – Hearty split pea soup, pesto pasta with broccoli florets, flax-zucchini muffins of joy.
Think sprouts, raw food, foods rich in chlorophyll and green - asparagus, mixed greens, spinach, kiwi fruit, avocado and green grapes.

What to feed your throat chakra (torquoise/blue):
Recipe suggestions – Vegetarian nori rolls, mango lassi, Asian miso-dulse soup.

Think – Chew food, try new food, mindful eating, sea plants, juices and fruits.

What to feed your third eye (indigo/purple):
Recipe suggestions – Ask your intuition! Of course there are recipes in the book.
Think purple-red foods – eggplant, blueberries, black berries and purple cabbage
Spices to stimulate and protect: cardamon, nutmeg, tumeric, wasabi, corriander

What to feed your crown chakra (lavendar/white):
Fresh air, sunshine, moonlight, prayer and love.
If you have an interest in chakras, this is an interesting look at how they work and how what we eat can balance them with food.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Animal Friendships

Animal friendships are simply wonderful.

Our dog, Cheeky is good friends with a number of different dogs in the neighbourhood. Her very best friend is Conan, a beagle. Cheeky and Conan love to run together. When I take Cheeky out and say we are going to get Conan for a walk she immediately turns toward his house.

The family of a former student of mine has a great dog that adopted a baby crow one summer. Their dog found the crow at the edge of their yard. She wouldn't come in the house, but instead stayed by the baby crow guarding it. She 'took care' of the crow for the entire summer. The family taught the crow how to fly and their dog let her go by the end of the summer.

There are many stories of animal friendships out there. This video tells the story of Tarra and Bella, a dog and an elephant.

Chartres, France

Chartres is about an hour southwest of Paris. The town is probably most famous for its more than 800 year old gothic cathedral. This cathedral was one that many people travelled to on pilgrimages during the Middle Ages.

Embedded in the stone pavement of the cathedral is a labyrinth. The pilgrims would end their journey by walking the labyrinth to the center and then retrace their steps to its outer edges. The Chartres labyrinth was also sometimes walked by pilgrims in place of an actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. "People believed that if you walked the labyrinth with the full dedication of a pilgrim, you would be transformed, the old you will be grounded at the threshold stone a purified you emerging, ready to tackle new directions in your life's journey."

The Chartres labyrinth, like many cathedral labyrinths, draws upon ancient northern Celtic, middle eastern, and Classical Greek and Roman origins of the Christian faith. "The Medieval builders were careful to incorporate their understanding of sacred architecture into the design and location of the labyrinths, which were usually placed near the entrance at the west end of the nave, beside the baptismal font at the foot of the Church. This location symbolizes our first steps on the spiritual journey."

The current Chartres cathedral may be more than 800 years old, but it replaces five previous cathedrals also built on this site. The previous cathedrals were destroyed by war or fire.
During the French Revolution mobs destroyed parts of the sculptures that adorn building. The townspeople were able to stop complete destruction of the cathedral, one of the few cathedrals that was attacked but not demolished during the Revolution.

I visited Chartres for a brief afternoon a few years ago. While the cathedral is what the town is most famous for, the town itself is beautiful. Many of the other buildings also date back to the Middle Ages.  

Saturday, 2 October 2010


"Listen or your tongue will make you deaf." ~ cited as a Native American Proverb

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey has been around for more than 25 years. I've heard Stephen Covey speak about this book. (What I write is from memory, not direct quotes) He has said that it came about from his research into the leadership and personal development literature of the last one hundred years. He notes in his talks that up until the mid 1950s or 60s, that these books focussed on the development of character. He noted, however, that by the mid 60s these books began focussing more on personality or even manipulation. This literature focussed more on getting people to do what you want, than to influence through personal integrity and intent.

The book is great, but I must admit what I love most is to be in a session learning its materials. If you ever get a chance to attend a workshop, the videos and participant materials are also amazing.

These are the things that I like so much about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
  1. It requires you to think about who you are and what your purpose is.
  2. It asks you to live your purpose and gives you skills to make it a reality.
  3. It allows you to learn how to master your personal development so that you can become more effective with others.
We can all walk around with our own list of values and principles that we say guide us. The proof is in our living of them. This often takes courage. It's not that we are still teens who can submit to peer pressure. However, even adults sometimes get stuck in their concerns about what others think about us.

The test of true character is what we do when no one is watching. Are we able to be the same in moments of stress as we are in moments of ease?

This book really helps you discover what areas of personal leadership you need to develop and helps you to learn how to 'walk your talk.'

While each person is different, learns differently and needs different things, this book is one that can really help anyone. Whether people are leaders of large corporations, or just leading their own lives, there is so much that they can learn from this book. In the end, you need to apply it to yourself and you need to decide how these principles work for you.

Friday, 1 October 2010


Chakras are energy systems in our body. According to traditional Indian medicine, tghey are the force centres of our bodies. These energy systems keep us balanced and healthy. They whirl in a clock-wise direction. A blocked chakra can inhibit energy from moving through our bodies.

Our bodies have many chakras, but there are 7 that are most well-known and the largest:

The root or base chakra is called the Muladhara and it sits at the base of our spine. It's colour is a deep red. Physically it governs sexuality, mentally it governs stability, emotionally it governs sensuality, and spiritually it governs a sense of security.

The next chakra is the sacral chakra and is called the Svadisthana. This chakra sits below our belly button and is orange. It is connected to family and relationships, emotional needs and pleasure. Physically, it governs reproduction, mentally it governs creativity, emotionally it governs joy, and spiritually it governs enthusiasm.

The third chakra, the solar plexus chakra, sits above our belly button. Sunshine yellow in colour, it is called the Manipura. This chakra is related to the metabolic and digestive systems. Key issues governed by Manipura are personal power, fear, anxiety, opinion-formation, introversion, and transition from simple or base emotions to complex. Physically, it governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually, all matters of growth.

The fourth chakra sits at the centre of our chest at the level of your heart. This chakra is green, the colour if a new bud on a tree. This chakra is also called the Anahata. The Anahata, or heart chakra governs complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, equilibrium, rejection and well-being. Physically it governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love for the self and others, mentally it governs passion, and spiritually it governs devotion.

The fifth chakra is the throat chakra. The throat chakra is a lighter blue colour. This chakra is also called the Vishuddha. The throat chakra relates to communication and expression. It is also connected to the thyroid. Physically, it governs communication, emotionally it governs independence, mentally it governs fluent thought, and spiritually, it governs a sense of security.

The sixth chakra is the brow chakra. This chakra is often referred to as the third eye and is found at the centre of your forehead. This chakra is generally associated with the colors violet, indigo or deep blue. This chakra is also known as the Ajna. This chakra's key issues involve balancing the higher & lower selves and trusting inner guidance. It relates to intuition, mentally to visual consciousness and emotionally to clarity on an intuitive level.
The seventh chakra is the crown chakra it sits at the top of your head. The crown chakra is also called the Saharara. This chakra is often associated with violet or white. The crown chakra deals with the release of karma, physical action with meditation, mental action with universal consciousness and unity, and emotional action with "beingness".

These chakras move energy through our bodies, balance and ground us. Many people who practice yoga know that there are certain poses that they do to help their chakras balance. has some good information about chakras.