Author Archives: Jennifer Chandler

Compassion In The Face Of Job Loss

Compassion In The Face Of Job Loss

When clients come to me for help with their careers they are usually at one of the lowest points in their life. Financially they are struggling, they lack purpose, pressure is mounting to find another job and their sense of identity has been stripped away. Their attitude towards themselves and others has changed.

What erodes rather quickly after job loss is compassionate self-observation. The inner critic, which exists within all of us, begins to take over and one can quickly lose sight of who they really are. The data that is collected and stored within the brain leans more to the negative and often isn’t a fully accurate reflection of self or the situation.

This is a particularly vulnerable time for clients, as the generosity and empathy first expressed by former colleagues, friends and family can start to lessen and loneliness sets in. They could also be experiencing an over-abundance of advice from well-meaning people which can lead to dependence or a feeling of being overwhelmed.

One of the first things we can all do to assist someone who has lost their job is to recognize that what we see on the surface is only representative of what they want to share. The rest is buried for personal protection.

The next step in the process is to help clients develop attitudes that support a compassionate path forward. We need to introduce an honest approach that connects the person to facts rather than fear induced worry. It’s a good idea to employ calming techniques, reconnect to self and others, open curiosity to make exploration both fun and meaningful, and find tools to regain confidence. It’s time for clients to stop looking at everything through the lens of shame.

Build up positive self-reflection so that the client can see how they are pulling themselves up and that they are in control of next steps. Far too often I see clients who have been manipulated (willingly and unwillingly) towards options that may not be in their best interest but they acquiesce because they don’t trust their own inner voice. This is a  mistake. The inner guide/voice was there before job loss and must be allowed to remain vocal because the experience of losing one’s job is just another opportunity to practice their skills.

When we and our clients can use the power of compassion it can help shape their future in ways few could have predicted. It is freeing and the transformation between confusion, guilt, anger and shame to creativity, respect, connection and confidence is magnificent!

 

 

 

 

Is Fear Taking Over Us All?

Is Fear Taking Over Us All?

I’m sensing fear is taking over on a global scale and we are letting it win.

In conversations with friends, family, students, colleagues and acquaintances the mere mention of the word “energy” often leads to a larger discussion on how the energy of the world seems chaotic, imbalanced and just plain weird.

I’m trying to keep myself insulated from all of that but from under my protective rock I peek out just long enough to see and hear what’s going on in this world. I look for sources with a ground level understanding about what’s transpiring but it’s hard to find the truth these days. Is it in a book, through appointed experts, social media or mainstream media?  I don’t know anymore.

Speaking of truth and the media….

According to the Book of Trump all we have is “Fake News” which isn’t helping to lessen the dread. (Has he trademarked Fake News yet? That seems like something he would do.) His anti-news media campaigns have extended beyond the borders with plenty of fear and speculation to go around. Sharp tongues lashing and poison keys typing we are swimming in a sea of bad vibes.

Nothing attracts the power seekers or fear mongers more than an opportunity to advertise internationally on social media. What if an excerpt from their life or well-thought out quote wasn’t glamorized through video or retweeted? If we don’t give the person(s) the kind of story they imagined or re-post the images they wanted us to see, will that pot of bad energy they’re trying to stir up dissipate?

Maybe the media is being used as a pawn – especially by those that want to tap into the worst parts of our nature – or selling doom is just the only way to stay in business. Channels are being broadcast figuratively and literally tuned to incite hate, cultural division, gender bashing, corporate slashing and much more. From what we see on the news there’s no vocal harmony just yelling, no peaceful protestors just angry sign-wielding marchers. Learning to be afraid of each other appears to be a theme.

Are we becoming so accustomed to fear that it now becomes the only way for us to feel alive?

Is it possible that I/we could be losing grip on our own purpose by being swept up in the energy of others?

How do I/we begin to tap into that sacred space, the inner guide, when it is being drowned out by world noise.

If my intuition says, “What is happening around you is wrong!”, is it OK to ignore that warning?

How do I give meaning to my life if I witness the absence of hope, joy or human civility?

Is it possible that I’m allowing bullies and fear peddlers to shape my surroundings?

These are some of the questions circling in my head right now.

It doesn’t appear to be enough to think positive, hide from the world or tweet inspirational quotes. I think we are in dire need of a reboot. If only we could create an update button that would be pushed not by the conspiracy theorists, attention seeking  commentators or those with a Napoleon complex but by people who truly want to see humanity, civility and dignity survive.

 

Road Flaggers Injured – Dangerous Job

Road Flaggers Injured – Dangerous Job

Two road flaggers were injured in Vancouver after a woman driving an SUV appears to have deliberately run into them. Caught on video it is apparent this driver lost control of her senses and simply drove over the flagger – later down the road she struck the second worker.

This isn’t the first time flaggers have been injured or even killed on the job and each time we see quotes about how this incident raises concerns about flagger’s safety or comments like the driver was experiencing road rage. I always find it annoying to hear or read these observations because with each new case of flagger injury or death it appears as if we are incapable of finding a solution to the problem.

Yes, Road Flaggers have a necessary and dangerous job but the majority of that danger is preventable. It is time for a multipronged approach that clearly has their safety in mind and stiffer penalties for anyone who’s road rage causes harm to others.

The BC Flagging Association and other representatives need to have the applicable levels of government and the public listen to their ideas on how their members can be safe on the job. Also, our justice system should be taking the issue of road rage very seriously – it is time to be accountable!

Frustrated by the time it is taking to bring charges against this driver, some flaggers had proposed a possible blockage of major bridges in protest. I get that level of frustration. I understand that maybe this will release some angst and bring a very important issue out where it should be, highly visible. My only concern again would be for their safety.

For now, the only thing I can do to support these workers is acknowledge flaggers with a quick wave or smile as I drive through construction zones.  I can be reminded as I drive by that they are keeping me safe and they have a family that would like to see them come home.

Baby Elephant Brought Back To Life

Baby Elephant Brought Back To Life

When it comes to performing miracles, in the world of saving elephants, there is nobody better than the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This is a charity I will support as long as I can because I know the work they do is amazing and it’s stories like this one that really demonstrate their commitment.

This story begins with a baby elephant on the brink of death after surviving on its own for far too long. Lucky for this little one a film crew in the area was keeping an eye on it and they knew something needed to be done. It became urgent when they watched the elephant curl up under a tree – likely ready to give up – so with the DSWT team called a rescue was coordinated.

Check out the video of this rescue and if you’re like me you will be so thankful that there are people who chose this as their job, their mission in life. (The picture above was provided to me a few years back by the woman in the photo. She also dedicated her talents to support this worthwhile charity)

 

The Consequences Of Being Seen And Not Heard

The Consequences Of Being Seen And Not Heard

When I was a child there were strict rules around when to speak and when not to speak. Expressing opinion was not encouraged and how I felt was not considered relevant. I remember when company would visit I had no involvement in conversations unless asked to do so.

The intention was to teach discipline and respect which I’m sure at the time seemed liked a good idea but was that all there was to the message? It should be pointed out that this silence was imposed by my mother and she followed the teachings of her father.

I’ve spoken to many women over the years, professionally and personally,  who confess they didn’t have a voice in their own home. I have yet to meet a man who would say the same. Lately this topic surfaced again and that made me think, What are the consequences of such silence?

Whether we see it as a simple proverb,  a gender specific directive, a culturally accepted request or whatever, to be seen and not heard is not healthy.

I wouldn’t doubt that growing up without an appreciation of your voice, opinion or presence is why so many people find it difficult in the workplace to confidently advocated for themselves or verbally contribute in a way that would demonstrate their skills.

Within group settings I have had participants who experienced a visible or invisible reaction to the mere sound of their own voice. Later they shared with me why that it is so difficult to contribute to topics even though they want to  and so many times its attributed to learned silence.

This also doesn’t bode well for intimate relationships. People who have been conditioned to be seen and not heard often can be prey for abusive or highly dominant partners. That lack of voice as a child may create unsafe situations in adulthood.

There is hope and resources.

As a former “to been seen and not heard kid”, I look back on what helped me develop my communication skills and confidence.

  1. Mentors and good friends – people demonstrated to me the value of self-expression and how to develop MY voice.
  2. I reluctantly put myself in situations that had me use my voice and I reaped the benefits of learning.
  3. I forgave my mother for her role in passing along this opinion by recognizing her father and societies imprint was strongly influential.
  4. I protect my voice from those that seem to want to silence or overpower it and encourage others to do the same. You Are To Be Seen AND Heard
  5. I found an outlet for my voice in singing and writing. Creative expression might help you to find your voice.

Resource: Toastmasters Club is an international organization that can be very helpful in building confidence and your voice. Check them out.

How Terrorism Made Me Feel Guilty

How Terrorism Made Me Feel Guilty

First Manchester’s concert now Kabul’s diplomatic area, targets hit by terrorists within weeks of each other. With every attack that has happened over the years I see images, hear stories and then I run a spectrum of emotions that are likely common for us all. But lately one emotion is standing out over the others – it’s called Guilt.

I wonder if I’m the only one who feels a sense of guilt for the many of moments of joy I felt today when I know others are crying. My biggest problem in the hours that just past was how to fit in time to practice scales for singing lessons. I washed sheets today and it is with great pleasure that this body will lay in a cozy bed next to my husband on those fresh sheets.

Outside my window people are walking and driving by because it is safe to do so. The fire truck drove past without sirens blaring – probably on a little run around the neighbourhood – no emergency.  I made sure there was fresh water for the birds outside and threw peanuts out for squirrels because nature is worth preserving. We’ll have pizza tonight made from fresh ingredients we bought at our local stores, I might have a glass of wine.

It is with all of this in mind and more that my guilt grows. I had a day that will likely not be memorable to me over time but for others in this world it will be a day they will never forget.

Wounded Elephant Crushes Trophy Hunter – Karma?

Wounded Elephant Crushes Trophy Hunter – Karma?

A friend of mine told me about the story of a trophy hunter by the name of Thuenis Botha. She had seen pictures of him and his various trophy kills on Facebook but the story she wanted to share with me was about him being crushed by an elephant. It was hard for either of us to have any sympathy for him and in fact we both felt his death was just karma.

Story: Wounded Elephant Crushes and Kills Trophy Hunter

I sponsor elephants in Kenya through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust so you can’t expect me to care for someone who knowingly goes out to harm them. For the life of me I will never understand the mindset of someone who kills a living being for sport.

The only thing I can figure is that this type of human being is at the lower end of the intelligence spectrum meaning that things boil down to a simplistic understanding of their world. They have little regard for the impact they are having on species and the environment. I also believe this type of person is obsessed with self, lacks compassion for other beings and only feels powerful when he/she can kill a defenseless animal. It is a sport based on status, a pissing contest of sorts that allows for bragging rights at the end. Useless, absolutely useless.

Make no mistake this is big business and, as we have seen in the past, extinction of animals is entirely possible when things are left to greedy hunters and corrupt governments. Hiding behind words like conservation and land management people like Mr. Botha see money through the barrel of their gun.

My mind returns to this elephant that likely saved her herd from further threat. She died in a way that if we were talking about a human being we would have called her brave. Just like a human her instinct was to protect her family and like humans her family will grieve the loss. And that’s another thing…

I find it puzzling that we like to think of ourselves as so superior and believe we are the only species that has the capacity to evolve – to become sentient beings. If we were capable of going from blobs of cells, to walking upright, establishing communication, creating family units and so on, why do we assume other species are not evolving too?

By studying other species in the wild, like primates, elephants and cetaceans, we have learned more about their evolution, intelligence, feelings and the many traits we share. One common thing in all of us is the need to protect those we care about.

Yes, I feel absolutely a sense of calm when I say Mr. Botha’s death was a good one. I don’t see his career as a big game hunter as something that should be aspired to or protected.

The grief I feel is for the elephant family that will never forget one of their own.

It is time to end trophy hunting and call it like it is— a cowardly, barbaric act in the name of sport.