Personal Mission Statement

I’ve been engaged in a learning program through the Satir Global Network, which is a body dedicated to “to furthering the creation of healthy and just relationships with self and others based on the teachings of Virginia Satir.” Virginia Satir was an American psychotherapist. At the end of the program I will be certified as a trainer and coach in Satir method, which will give me an extra boost of confidence going into my Masters in  psychotherapy.

Part of my current assignment is to develop a three word mission statement. These are increasingly popular and are meant to be immediately impactful. Consider “Just do it” or “Do no harm”.

I’ve been listing words and reading blogs (apart from on Pinterest, I just can’t handle that site). I’ve been overthinking this as is my wont, and taking it seriously due to my frustratingly earnest nature.

I started at “Kindness centred growth” but ack, I hate it. I’m bored halfway through it- which I guess would be at cent–, snore. The lesson plan has a list of words attached. I found another cool list in this helpful blog post.

I wanted it to capture the feeling of facilitating growth – my own, that of other individuals, and that of organisations or communities. I wanted it to capture my taste for adventure and my insatiable curiosity. But I also value the strength and autonomy that can arise from integrity. All of this in three words.

All the blog posts encourage the readers to try their personal mission statement out for a while and to change it as needed. So I’m not marrying myself to these three words. They might change. For now though, and I hope I don’t fall asleep halfway through reading them, what I’ve got is:

Nurture Authentic Curiosity

Knee Jerk Wow

Second Hand Costume at Shopsley Thrift Store

Let me start by saying I would never wear nor advocate for this costume. But I WAS delighted by seeing it at the thrift shop! I couldn’t really SAY anything to anyone there, most especially as it was populated by senior women exclaiming how must further their pensions went before the shop had opened in their neighbourhood. So I grinned and took a photo as one does. I am constantly entertained by such things. Just about everything is either humorous or beautiful or awe-inspiring or at least interesting.

The weekend before leaving Canada, I was speaking with my friend Liz about my concern that I wouldn’t be able to handle Europe. That the wonder and awe would do me in. I’m already captivated by anything novel or beautiful in the realm of the mundane. Surviving even the mundane on another continent seemed improbable.

Liz agreed that each day was essentially filled with wonder and new intrigue and commented that some people view the mountains or sunsets as mundane – in fact, they hardly view them at all – whereas she is struck each time she encounters them. It’s just a different world, she says, for those with a knee-jerk wow.

I love that. Knee-jerk wow. Constantly engaged, endlessly astonished, halfway wincing from the beauty and always reaching out for more. It feels at time like a kind of madness – as if one shock of awe or terror will push our wits beyond reckoning. I wouldn’t want to be any other way. I need only my curiosity and some idle time to be happily entertained.

That’s really why there is a picture of a second-hand costume here and not a proper tourist picture. I won’t be showing many shots of castles or tea shops here although my *Instagram might have dungeons and street signs (I seem to have a thing for signs).

If I do visit a castle and mention it here, it will read something like this – “Visited a fabulous castle today with massive iron gates and a terrifying dungeon. Afterwards, I went to the pub next door and was amazed to see seventeen different types of cheese on the menu!” and the picture I would give you would not be of the castle gates or dungeon, nor of the front of the pub, nor even of a variety of cheeses but rather it would be a picture of a menu, perhaps with a pint of cider just in the foreground – and knowing that this is how it would go I surmise that really to get any pleasure at all from reading this blog you need to have the following two things: a love of very long sentences, and a strong imagination.


*   for dog cemeteries and sign posts

The “Why Does This Exist” File

Riding the bus into Montreal, I gleefully read all the French billboards to myself and only once did I turn to read the back of one, as if I would find English there, like on a box of Shreddies. One billboard advertised Coors Edge – seemingly the cold beverage choice for straight-edge, middle-aged folk.

I am generally, casually in the market for booze-passing, non-alcoholic drinks. I often prefer not to drink but I still like engaging in the behaviours – cracking open a cold one; gesturing dramatically, glass in hand while telling a story; sipping from my glass thoughtfully, while actually scrambling for a witty reply. Beyond the desire to “act” like I’m drinking, I find it’s easier to drink beverages that pass in public as being alcoholic. It stresses people out when you sometimes drink, and sometimes don’t. So, my first day in Quebec, I found a Coors Edge and tried it.

It was pretty terrible.

And what was I expecting? I drink coffee stouts and milkshake IPAs and craft beer that ingeniously incorporates, I don’t know, Christmas trees and maple fudge. I don’t drink Coors so why did I think taking the alcohol out would make it better?

It tasted like a combination of stale soda water and unmet yearnings. It tasted like kissing someone who drank a crappy beer hours ago. It tasted like how watching someone play Scrabble and not being allowed to help feels.

And it really made me want a real beer. So I’m filing it under “Why does this exist?”

Of note in the same file is instant decaf. Why does this exist? Who needs their cuppa nothing RIGHT NOW? I can understand instant coffee in general, I guess – stores well, contains caffeine, easily prepared. You get your morning hit albeit with not even a modicum of pleasure.

And decaf real coffee, well-brewed, has the lovely flavour notes and late-night social grace without the all-night jitters. It serves a purpose.

But instant decaf? It’s just a sad, sad cup jonesing for meaning and worth.