Mediation vs Litigation

In a recent study conducted by CRILF and CFCJ, findings show that low conflict mediation takes and average of 4.8 months to complete and high conflict cases take an average of 13.7 months. Conversely, low conflict litigated cases take and average of 10.8 months to complete and high conflict cases take an average of 27.7 months. One can only imagine the financial and emotional costs for choosing a longer and more adversarial avenue. 


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#me too

Over the last week, I've been following the various #me too threads on social media.  It's got me thinking; we've got to do a better job. 

As a woman, a wife, a mother, I'm ashamed of our world. I'm ashamed to hear that the culture that I lived in as a young woman years ago, is still happening now. I'm ashamed to hear stories from my daughters of men following them down the road, shouting obscenities. Possibly the sons of the men that followed me or my friends and yelled obscenities years ago. I'm ashamed to hear stories of times when their friends had felt like "yes" but then, decided "no" only to have their words and protests ignored. Like so many of the women who have answered #me too.  I'm ashamed to hear of boys, silently pleading to have a too drunk girl pried off of them as they sit helplessly not wanting to look "unmasculine" for saying no. Just as my husbands friends may have been mocked for being " pussies" if they seemed too caring or sensitive.  I'm ashamed to hear of  my daughters, or their friends,  "just wanting to let it go" because addressing it or acknowledging it would just make it worse or would lead to social suicide. Just like the many stories of Hollywood women that have recently come to light.

We've created this mess for our kids. We've created a world where sexuality equals popularity. Where causal hook ups and "kills" ( the new name for number of sexual conquests) are counted as a type of badge. 

In our world, kids see a lot about sex. But we're failing them. We're forgetting to guide them to see the effects of their actions. We're continuing to perpetuate the concept of sexuality equals popularity without helping them to see the lifelong baggage that it can create.

I don't know the answers. And, more often than not, I feel the heart wrenching knot in the pit of my stomach that makes me feel like I'm failing my girls in some way. I fear for them, and I'm completely at a loss about how to empower them.  

I don't know the answers; but I do know that We've Got To Do A Better Job. Our kids deserve it. 



One of ours has stumbled. Not quite fallen. But the cracks in the "accomplished" facade have opened up.  One of us has shown her human-ness; in all of its unbuffered, unedited rawness.  Seeing it makes us feel vulnerable. We feel fear. We realize that, maybe, were all closer to this rawness than we'd like to admit.  This uncertainty, this vulnerability, this is where the vultures live...

I see you. You hide in the shadows. You circle above. Watching. Waiting. Ready to come to the kill.

I know you. You see, you once waited for me. At one of my weakest moments, you were there. You grabbed on to my raw, wounded self. You picked. You prodded. You took my raw, wounded self and tried your damnedest to pick me dry. Left me exposed, dried out, beaten down. Like jackals chattering in the shadows, you tried to leave a legacy of rumours, lies, pain.

It worked, for a bit. I believed you. I believed that I deserved to be picked dry. I believed that I was all of those stories shared by the snickering jackals in the darkness. I believed the venom spread by your fear.  And then, one day, I stopped believing you.

Stopping took time. Easier to believe stories of weakness. Easier to believe others than believe in myself. But slowly, carefully,  I banished you. Slowly, the sun began to shine through the cloud of circling darkness. Slowly, my cracks started to close. With time, the scars began to heal. The flock of vultures thinned. Or maybe, they just realized that their power was gone. Either way, I became strong. I remembered me; and all of the parts that deserved-- deserved love, deserved friendship, deserved sunlight. I embraced my Human-ness. I remembered that I'm a package. There's strength, wisdom, feisty resolve, anger, sadness, awkwardness. I love it all. I embrace it all.

And now, it's my turn to help another in my tribe believe. I need her to know that even at a weakest moment, she can keep the jackals and vultures at bay. I need her to know that she is stronger and more powerful than them. I need her to remember the amazing parts of her that let the sun shine through. 

I'm  lucky to live in a place with many incredible, strong, women.  Last week, when gathering to celebrate "us" , we saw one of or own own fall. We saw weak. We saw vulnerable. My hope is that we can be the incredible, strong women that we are. We can take one of our own into our embrace and let her know that we understand Human. We understand that being human is not the same as being always perfect.  We can let her know that, even at her weak moments, we value her. My hope is that we can encircle her in our embrace and help her keep the vultures and the jackals at bay. My hope is that we can smother the voices of our own inner vultures and let our kinder, gentler selves shine through.


 Vultures laying in wait... 

Vultures laying in wait... 

Opportunity and Acceptance....the road to "un-f#cked-upness"

We had another great Women and Wisdom night.  It was an evening of sharing and insight.  We talked a lot about the importance of framing our experiences in empowering ways. If we define ourselves as seekers of opportunity,  we can give ourselves the gift of self acceptance. We can see ourselves as a person with boundless possibilities rather than a person who lives in a place of "f#cked up" .

I'm so looking forward to continuing this Woman and Wisdom journey! I'm inspired every time!





Women and Wisdom... Loving ourselves and Creating "un-fucked-upedness"

WOW! I head the greatest experience hosting a group of women for my Women and Wisdom group last night! The topic was "taking care of ourselves.....and why do we suck at it".  These women had some spectacular ideas and insights! So much discussion about our world, the damage of "shoulds" , the importance of believing in ourselves and the self challenge of returning to a place of "un-fucked-upedness" (a group created word).  I'm inspired and fired up !!


Women and Wisdom...Talking Finances

It was so amazing to have April McClung, financial advisor, co-host the most recent Women and Wisdom night!  We had a great group of women with married friends, single friends, mom's of wee ones and mom's of grown ones and others of varied backgrounds and life stories. There were lots of great questions and sharing of tips. Here's an overview of some of the "nuggets" that we talked about: 

At what age should I start teaching my children about money / allowance? 

What is critical illness insurance and why is it important? 

Should I pay down debt before I start saving? 

What are some tips for managing my home finances so that I can make sure that everything is covered?

What  about RRSP's? 

What are some tricks for paying down debt? 

It was clear that everyone at the table had questions, and everyone at the table had different ways of managing life. It always amazes me to see the energy and wisdom in the room when a group of women get together to share! 

Our next Women and Wisdom night will be in April. We'll be talking about "taking care of me" and the ways that we let things get in the way of our success.  I'm so looking forward to seeing everyone again! 



Not My Circus....Forgiveness

We had another great day of sharing ideas, thoughts and wisdom at the Not my Circus, Not my Monkey's workshop.  An interesting theme that emerged at this meeting was Forgiveness.  How do you forgive the past with someone so that you can move forward to a clearer and more peaceful future?  

Here are the top 3 pieces of wisdom that were shared: 

1.  Be your own Best Friend first. 

When people are whole within themselves, they look to others to complement their lives rather than fill a void.  Forgiveness, then, becomes something that enriches a life rather than something that is necessary to make a life feel whole or fulfilled.  Often, we tell ourselves that we are looking to give forgiveness when , in reality we're hoping to reconnect with the person that we've lost.


2.  Check you motives: 

It's important to ask yourself the  questions.  "Why is this important to me?" . "What am I looking for?" 

"Why am I wanting to do this now". " What is my reason for doing this?"  It's so important to take time and look at what your truly seeking from giving forgiveness. Often it's about hope.  We hope that the other person will embrace you with open arms. We hope that past issues can be resolved. We hope that there can be some new, wonderful relationship that can unfold. All of this hope may mean that your journey of forgiveness isn't truly about self freedom. You're actually diving right back into the circus and hoping to exert some control over the monkeys in there.


3. You can only control your own inner Monkeys: 

The giving of forgiveness needs to be about filling a desire in you. You can't control how others may react. They may not be interested in accepting your forgiveness.  They may not be interested in even acknowledging you. It's important to remember that you can't control the other end of the situation. Your effort at forgiveness needs to be the important part for you

There is so much to think and talk about on this topic. It's often at the root of the toxic dance we do with people in our lives. As we seek closure, we may convince ourselves that our willingness to forgive will make things better. But, if we aren't clear on who we are, and what our hopes are as we go down that road, we're going to get pulled right back into the circus!