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cool canadian culture

Hello readers! It’s been a while! No, I haven’t been slacking off (although that does sound appealing now that the cooler Autumn weather has arrived in BC). I have been working on a new online art business. Thereby, I just don’t have the time for regular blog writing, but I have dug up this old blog from my Athabasca University days for your perusal. And with the crimson and golden maple leaves flying off the trees, it seems apt.

While many of us are still unsure exactly what it means to be Canadian, we do seem to share common so-called ‘Canadian’ activities, such as visiting Tim Horton’s for our caffeine and Timbits fix. Beyond that, there are countless more cultural activities that celebrate all things Canadian, and this can only assist you in becoming a more cultured student, and well-rounded human being.

  1. Support Canadian artists and download their latest music offerings. Remember Stompin’ Tom Connors? “Oh, the good old hockey game…” Good Canadian stuff.
  2. What could be more Canadian for an outdoors person than ice fishing? Consult an outdoors professional first for ice safety precautions, gear up, bring a friend, and ice fish safe.
  3. Try something different on your next beer run, like a Canadian craft beer or cider. Gather your friends around for a tasting. Add locally-sourced food pairings. Made in Canada—as sweet as maple syrup!
  4. Grab a buddy and go canoeing or kayaking in a nearby lake or river. Wear your personal floatation device and explore nature.
  5. Instead of traveling out of country, plan your next trip cross country and see what the other side of Canada has to offer. Absorb local dialects, food, arts, and of course, culture. Halifax and PEI are on my list.
  6. Bake a batch of invented-in-Canada butter tarts or Nanaimo bars.
  7. Proudly wear your flannel and plaid year-round, like a true Canadian.
  8. You do not have to be religious to appreciate the beauty of a well-constructed church. Visit the Notre Dame Basilica if you ever go to Quebec. I’ve had the pleasure of touring through and it is truly a breathtaking feat of architectural wonderment. Visit old churches in your own town. Take your camera for a photographic contemplation.
  9. Museums aren’t just worthwhile in major cities; your local museum is rich with local history and cool objects on display that may leave you scratching your head in wonder at how far technology has come.
  10.  Never miss a chance to tour the Parliament buildings in Ottawa and Victoria and see where all the big decisions are made. Consider becoming a part of them and fix what’s broken in our Canadian political system.
  11.  Art galleries are inspiring spaces to while away an afternoon. As Sir John Lubbock writes in The Pleasures of Life, “Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.”
  12.  Exploring a regional park in Canada can make anyone appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us every day.
  13.  Although Granville Island Public Market in Vancouver, BC, is a must-stop for anyone seeking juicy Canadian culture, your own small town market may also provide rich local colour and delicious produce that wasn’t shipped from another country.
  14.  At the risk of being cliché, I cannot omit eating a giant lump of Canadian Poutine for lunch. And I do mean lunch because this gives you time to go for a long jog later to burn off the fat.
  15.  If, like me, you relate to the song lyrics “you said you didn’t give a f*ck about hockey” (Fireworks by The Tragically Hip), let your defenses down and go to a hockey game. I have to admit, I get caught up in the yelling and music. Now, where did the puck go?
  16.  Ask a friend for an invitation to a sweat lodge or Hispanic Fiesta. Taste someone else’s melded flavour of Canadian culture.
  17.  Join in celebrating a Chinese New Year, a Korean Cultural Heritage Festival, a Potlatch ceremony, or any other type of cultural celebration and find out more about how your friends and fellow students integrate their culture with their Canadian heritage.
  18. Check out a local craft fair and see what talented artists are creating in your own backyard. Purchase your Christmas gifts from Canadian crafters this year.
  19.  Future green-thumbs will delight in a visit to local gardens to discover what grows native to their province’s climate.
  20.  Be a friendly Canadian and get to know your local ethnic restaurateurs. Ask about your favourite dishes and why they’ve been included on the Canadian menu. You may hear a gem of a story that enriches your dining experience and makes you a new friend in the process.

“Arts and culture make considerable and necessary contributions to the well-being of communities. Arts and culture are powerful tools with which to engage communities in various levels of change. They are a means to public dialogue, contribute to the development of a community’s creative learning, create healthy communities capable of action, provide a powerful tool for community mobilization and activism, and help build community capacity and leadership.”  Creative City Network of Canada. ¹

Living in Canada has so much to offer when we mine the gold of talented artists, volunteers, immigrants, and rich history. Honour yourself and fellow Canadians by supporting the arts and culture in our midst.

And do stay tuned for new artworks for sale at some point in the not too distant future….

Acrylic & Ink on Canvas, by Author. Limited edition prints available soon.

Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021

All rights reserved.

Featured

Imagine Van Gogh Escape

Welcome back after another rollercoaster COVID combined fire season summer! I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to find a healthier planet to live on. Honestly, I’m sure we can do better as a species to treat our earth, the animals, and each other a great deal better.

However, let’s move on to the more pleasant subject at hand.

A visit to an art gallery is a transformative escape from the ordinary (and extraordinarily crazy world chaos). There is something magical and downright meditative about strolling through an
architecturally stunning building, quietly contemplating the artwork of talented artists from around the world that transforms your fears and anxieties into a more peaceful state of mind. Perhaps if we did more of this type of thing it would manifest in the outside world? Here’s to faith and hope on that side of things.

In addition to writing, I have dabbled with a variety of creative media over my lifetime. From photography to calligraphy to painting, I love the creative process and satisfaction of hanging artwork around my home and giving handmade gifts to friends and family.

Thereby, I decided to make a short and sweet getaway to Vancouver, BC, for the stellar Imagine Van Gogh Immersive Exhibition at the Vancouver Convention Centre. I found an excellent deal to stay one night at the newly renovated St. Regis Hotel, a convenient 10-minute city walk to
the show. My husband and I fit in long walks around the waterfront, False Creek, shopping on Robson Street and Granville Island, and a lovely few hours in the historical neighbourhood of Steveston in Richmond. Yes, the seafood was divine! 

I do recommend fellow art enthusiasts visit an immersive art show. Being immersed within the artworks of Vincent Van Gogh is something altogether out of this world. I loved the feeling of being inside an impressionist painting and seeing the painterly strokes of Van Gogh’s hand up
close and intimate.

My only complaint would be the speed at which the screens changed, which seems counter-intuitive to actually soaking up the artwork at your leisure. However, I don’t regret our hour spent walking amongst the colourful digital paintings, or the beautiful sunflower poster I purchased at the gift shop to frame and hang in my home.

A delightful slice of Van Gogh heaven:

 

The Van Gogh experience was indeed a sensory-soaked art experience like no other. However, I still prefer the wander and ‘at your own pace’ joy of an art gallery walk.

Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021

All rights reserved.

Featured

5 Key Reasons Why Business Blogs Are So Important

I am a firm believe in ‘change is good’ and the time has come for another empowering change. I will no longer be posting regular personal blogs but will be focusing on painting, gardening, travel, and naturally, my writing business.

Going forward, you can read a selection of business blogs I wrote for clients on a variety of topics on my ‘Links to Tara’s Work‘ and ‘Home‘ pages. From fascinating facts about Vancouver Island to why you should charter your own seaplane, readers can learn something new with each blog, like I have over the past four years.

As for the topic of this post, you may be wondering “Why are business blogs so important?” Here are my top 5 reasons why.

  1. A business blog demonstrates that your company is a dependable source customers can trust.  Blogs also offer an exceptional first impression of your business for keeping current on ever-evolving changes in your industry. Blogs further provide a source of relevant content customers can count on, keeping them returning to your shining website again and again.
  2. Posting new blogs keeps customers and potential customers updated on your company, actions in the community, what’s new with products and services, and how they can stay connected. The competition online for business is fiercely competitive. Your stand-out blog can further reveal your company’s purpose and intentions while clearly displaying core values.
  3. Speaking of connection, your website blog is an ideal channel for building long-lasting relationships and forming a community around your company. Customers can further find your social media contact information where you can also share links to your blog. Picture one of your company’s amazing blog posts going viral, leading to new clients!
  4. Numbers prove that the more blog content you create on your website, the more traffic you drive to view it. Your blog increases your visibility online by showing up in search engines, thus strengthening your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Consistent blog posts provide Google and others with regular content to index.  
  5. Your business blog helps you advertise and promote your amazing business! Instead of outdated, and let’s face it, expensive, modes of advertising, your modern company blog is a creative means of sharing useful information for new and old clients. Dare to show your value, build your stellar business reputation, and customers are sure to come back for more.

Emphatically, business blogs are incredibly important to the growth and development of your business. When you maintain customers for life, they are sure to bring more business in the future.

For professionally written blogs for your BC business, get in touch through my website and stay connected with me on Instagram @tarapanrucker.

Thank you for your continued support and as always, happy reading and happy writing!

Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021

All rights reserved.

Featured

MONTHLY ESCAPE

When everything you do at home begins to feel like an overwhelming chore, it may be a sign it’s time to let go and let someone else do what needs to be done.

Which leads me to this month’s monthly escape–a mental escape. Sometimes all you really need for a break is to not have to do whatever it is that needs doing. Yes, it involves some cash, but truly, certain things are priceless when it comes to saving your mental health.

Following is my list of items to hire someone else to do so you don’t have to!

  • Walk your tired toes over to a walk-in spa and have someone else make your hands and feet amazing again with a relaxing manicure or pedicure or both!
  • Hire a one-time cleaner with a reputable local cleaning company. Instead of spreading your cleaning chores over a few days, schedule a cleaner to do it all in a half day while you meet a neglected friend for a relaxing lunch.
  • Sawing for too long trying to slice things? Hire a knife-sharpening business to come and pick up your dull knives. They will drop them off all sharp and shiny once again.
  • Exhausted with all the landscape and garden responsibilities? Hire a local landscape company to mow the lawn, prune, and weed so you can give your aching back a week off.
  • Why not take a month off from colouring your roots and splurge. Let the hair stylist do it while you read magazines and zone out. Better yet, grow out your grey roots and embrace your natural wisdom and never colour again!
  • Feeling like your dog will never give you 5 minutes of peace? Send him or her to the doggy daycare nearby for some much needed exercise while you put your feet up and read a good book, in peace.
  • Tired of coming up with something new to prepare for dinner? Order from that new restaurant online from your phone before you leave work and pick it up on your way home. Voila! Tasty dinner is ready to devour as soon as you step in the door.
  • If you always seem to run out of certain items, investigate local companies that ship monthly boxes straight to your home. Instead of dragging yourself to several stores, a carefully curated monthly shipment of goodies or personal care items may save you time and mental energy.
  • Have a beautiful piece of furniture sitting for months awaiting your creative refurbishing skills, only to realize you don’t have the time or energy to finish it? Hire a local handyperson to do the work for you.

I hope this list helps you see you don’t have to do it all alone. All you may need is a little help from a local professional to give you a much needed ‘Monthly Escape’ and recharge. And…. relax.

Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021

All rights reserved.

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Obstacles to Our Wellbeing

There are countless methods of improving our wellbeing in all areas of our lives, from meditation to living every day with purpose. However, there remain self-limiting beliefs or mind-made obstacles to our achieving a better state of wellness.

Here are 7 self-limiting beliefs that prevent us from feeling our best:

  1. Fear of change or failure
  2. Feelings of shame or feeling unworthy of all the blessings life has to offer.
  3. Procrastination
  4. Perfectionism
  5. Excuse-making
  6. Inaction toward our goals
  7. Not living with a mindset of abundance, purpose, fulfillment, and alignment with our values in our day to day activities.

Undeniably, it’s worthwhile to spend time each day focusing on any of these areas where obstacles may be preventing us from experiencing our best lives.

You may soon discover the only limits to your own happiness are all in your mind.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021

All rights reserved.

Featured

Monthly Escape

Meditation comes in all shapes, forms, and apps. It has existed for hundreds of years, helping countless people find more peace, calm, and compassion in their lives.

Scientific studies have proven that meditation changes the brain in positive ways. Further, regular meditation increases individual happiness, relaxes the body and overactive mind, and decreases stress, which causes disease.

Here are several topics of focus or techniques I’ve used with mostly successful (and peace-inducing) results for the past 10 years. I find soothing water sounds playing in the background help me relax and get into meditation mode as well.

  1. Sit and simply focus on the in and out of your breath and nothing else.
  2. If you find focusing on your breath too difficult, focus on a mantra and say it out loud or in your head. I suggest ‘peace’ or ‘let it go’.
  3. For fellow writers, I love playing relaxing music and writing in my journal. Write everything you feel grateful for in that moment, from fresh water to drink to a warm bed to sleep in. Nothing is too big or too large to feel glad about.
  4. When thoughts distract you, simply say ‘thinking’ in your mind and go back to focusing on your breath or your mantra.
  5. Lock the doors and do a dancing meditation. Let your body move and flow to the music and let your mind ‘let go’.
  6. Meditate in the shower about everything you feel grateful for about a clean water shower and how it makes you feel. Wash your troubles down the drain. Reflect on how millions around the world do not have access to clean water readily available from your tap. Watch a daily chore transform into a wonderful experience!
  7. Walk in nature and meditate on the stunning perfection of everything you see, from the trees, plants, flowers, rivers, lakes, and birds singing.
  8. Meditate on every way your body is healthy and functioning as it should. Feel grateful for every way your body works for you, from your heart beating to your lungs drawing in air.
  9. Sit with your difficult emotions instead of attempting to distract yourself from, for example, feelings of anger, or sad memories. Instead, sit quietly and simply let yourself feel where these emotions lie within your body. Embrace and accept these feelings just as they are without trying to make yourself feel ‘wrong’ for having them. Know that emotions and thoughts come and go and letting yourself experience them as they come is perfect healing.
  10. Visualization meditations are also incredibly powerful for manifesting what you desire in your life. Close your eyes and picture an area of your life you wish to change. See whatever you desire in great detail in your mind – a new career, a happy relationship, or an experience in a different culture. Imagine all the details–touch, taste, aromas, colours, and so on. Watch for signs in your daily life of these visions manifesting in new and exciting ways.

Seasoned meditators may recognize several of these techniques from spiritual gurus, authors, and leaders. That’s what’s so wonderful about the many different methods of instilling peace. Discover what works best for you.

Retrain your brain to focus on the breath and all you have to be grateful for in this moment. Meditate your mind-made troubles away and clear the way for your mind to handle anything life throws your way.

Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021

All rights reserved.

Featured

Monthly Escape

My apologies readers for not managing to get a monthly escape out last month! Due to work, surgery, and a work trip out of town for eight days, I’m a wee bit behind on my master plans of world domination.

Nonetheless, I do have a great escape for the month of March to share.

Nature never fails to make me feel like I’ve had a wonderful mini-holiday. Rain or shine, the vibrancy of green foliage, the sparkle of dew on leaves, the soothing ripples of waves across a lake, river, or ocean are all excellent escapes from the melancholy of life, in addition to pandemic exhaustion.

If you live in a concrete jungle, you may find nature within city parks and trails. It’s worthwhile for your soul and body to find these hidden places and spend as much free time wandering them and observing the calming antics of birds and critters there, who seem to adapt to any environment.

Fresh air, outdoor exercise, and no online distractions are the perfect ingredients for a monthly, weekly, or daily escape. Plant an herb garden and bring nature right outside your door or on your window ledge. Dust off your bicycle and go for a ride. Nature is calling–you just have to listen.

Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021

All rights reserved.

Featured

Monthly Escape

There are times when the usual distraction from life simply no longer works. The same movies, the same games, the same foods begin to seem dull and uninteresting. Staring at the same four walls working from home doesn’t help either.

An escape from the daily obligations of life is not meant to be a permanent vacation, but can definitely feel like a mini-vacation for the mind, body and spirit.

For the month of January, I suggest an escape to your local library. Why is the library the ideal escape?

  • Every library book offers a new topic, a new country to travel in your mind, a new skill to learn, a new perspective. In fact, books are a holiday from daily life!
  • Libraries are often a refuge of peace and quiet in a world gone made with noise pollution. In spite of the occasional children’s singing visit (which I personally think is inappropriate in a library), libraries offer a quiet place where you can hear yourself think, imagine, and contemplate.
  • Libraries are typically beautiful works of architecture as well. If you appreciate the aesthetics of a well-built building, a library is a heavenly place to admire, inside and out.
  • In addition, you’ll typically discover local artworks displayed on library walls. Enjoy the creative works of others as you explore your local library in peace and quiet.
  • Many libraries loan out a quiet office space on an hourly basis. If you need to get away from noisy roommates or family members, the library is ideal for getting projects completed in peace and quiet.

Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021

All rights reserved.

How to Make a Difference from Where You Are

Looking out at the world, the current issues facing us easily feel overwhelming. From global warming to corruption in governments and corporations, the easiest action to take is no action. However, you may find your life quickly losing any sense of purpose or meaning if you simply sit idly by watching and complaining about ‘how things are’.

Do you want to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution?

Making a change in the world around you begins right in front of your own two feet. Here are a few manageable ways for anyone to make a difference from right where you are.

  • Plant a tree, or several, in your backyard. Get your friends on board with this. Planting a tree provides a home for important insects and birds to flourish and thrive. You can dedicate your tree in honour of a loved one you’ve lost to instill further meaning. Add more life to the world around you and nature at the same time. While you’re at it, add some lavender to attract more bees and butterflies.
  • If you don’t have a yard, that’s no excuse not to grow something. Plant a small organic herb or flower garden in a beautiful pot. Place near a window for natural light. Use the best potting soil you can afford as the best ones are nutrient-rich and almost guarantee success. Enjoy the beauty of your flowers and the nutrition of your own herbs you can snip every time you cook.
  • Feeling a lack of abundance in your life lately due to a reduction of work or income? I’ve found the perfect solution to get your faith and motivation back! Investigate local charities or hospital foundations that offer contests or lotteries. Pool your money with friends or family and purchase a few tickets while supporting a worthy cause. Your chances of winning cash, a new home or vehicle in local contests and far higher than a provincial lottery ticket. Hope springs eternal.
  • Set aside your change to support local women’s shelters, health causes, animal rehabilitation, or any other organization you feel a connection to. Your change adds up to necessary funds that help others who need your hand up to begin to thrive again.
  • Adopt an animal. Make sure you can support your animal first with healthy food, veterinarian costs, and time to care for their wellbeing. A lonely animal you save from a shelter will give you endless, unconditional love and joy for years to come.
  • Pick up garbage when you see it and place in trash bins. Make your surroundings healthier and more beautiful for everyone.
  • Join a peaceful protest in your city to voice your values and concerns. Talk with other like minded people who feel passionate about change.
  • Don’t have the funds for a degree? We are fortunate to have libraries and the internet at our disposal, almost FREE of charge. You can learn anything for free in books, watching YouTube videos, and writing down your perceptions. Learning something new every day is never a waste of your time.

What you do every single day matters in the grand scheme of things. Ask every day ‘what is my purpose’ and you’ll soon discover what a meaningful, wonderful, precious life you have exactly where you are. And genuine, lasting happiness is sure to follow.

Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021

All rights reserved.

Eight Areas of Wellbeing

Our wellbeing doesn’t end with mental or physical care. In fact, there are several areas of wellbeing. Undeniably, if one sphere of your life sucks, it absolutely affects all the others.

That’s why it’s essential to look at your wellness from every angle, holistically. Make goals, no matter how small or big, in each area. Take measurable steps each day and strive for balance. By that I mean celebrate progress with small treats or simply by acknowledging your determination and commitment. And when you don’t make progress, avoid self-judgment and honour your need for rest instead.

Dream bigger for yourself. You deserve it.

OCCUPATIONAL

  • Are you happy in your career? On a scale from 1-10, where does your job rate?
  • What steps can you take to make your job more satisfying?
  • What actions can you take toward doing what you love to do? Write everything down; writing down your goals and ideas is the beginning of making positive changes.

MENTAL

  • What gives you the most satisfaction in your life? How can you do more of that each day?
  • Are you learning something new every day?
  • How can you enrich your mind? Inspiring books, movies, and podcasts abound. Find them!
  • What are your values? Are you living in line or out of line with them? Are you letting other people pull you away from what you honour in your life? Why?
  • Whatever meaning you assign to each area of your life affects you mental wellbeing. Why not write down positive meanings and believe in the best of all circumstances?

SOCIAL

  • Do you have a trusted group of friends? How can you make new friends?
  • Do you have a good relationship with family? If not, how can you improve it? Alternatively, can you find your soul-family through a new social group?
  • How do you show others you care? How can you be of service to others in need? Financially? By giving your time? By being a good listener? Do it! Giving friendship, emotional or financial support to other human beings is empowering. You’ll also meet out compassionate, like-minded people.

PHYSICAL

  • Do you incorporate some form of physical activity into your day?
  • What type of physical activity do you enjoy? Are you doing exercises you dislike? Why not try something new until you discover physical activity that invigorates you body, mind, and soul?
  • Explore the great outdoors, wherever you live. Humans were meant to move and breathe fresh air.
  • Remember keeping a clean living environment is important to our health. Vacuuming, dusting, and washing grime away all burn calories and make your living space healthy in the process.

CULTURAL/RECREATIONAL

  • Are you in touch with where you originate from? Do you know the history of your family?
  • Do you ever visit a local art gallery or museum?
  • Can you find more recreational activities outdoors or indoors you would like to try?
  • Are there other foods you’d like to try? Why not learn to prepare new recipes from different cultures?
  • Do you know the history of your friends? Why not ask and learn about cultural rituals that are important to them?
  • Is there travel on your horizon? When COVID restrictions disappear, be prepared to book your next trip by researching travel destinations, how to get there, and where to stay.

ENVIRONMENTAL

  • Does your living space reflect your inner self?
  • Can you paint your home a different colour? Can you hang more artwork?
  • Do you have plants or greenery in and around your home? Do you know they offer oxygen and life to the humans and critters around them? Plants and flowers also make everything more beautiful and are natural relaxants.
  • What other ways you can make your living environment more in tune with your spirit? De-clutter? Grow an herb garden? Install a sunlight? Do it!

FINANCIAL

  • Do you know how to budget your finances so you don’t go into debt?
  • Can you think of more ways to increase your income?
  • Do you have valuables you no longer use that you can sell?
  • Are you sharing a portion of your income with others who need a helping hand up? Part of being financially responsible is giving to others who may not have all the opportunities we’ve had up to this point.
  • Are you educated about how to invest your savings to maximize passive income?

NUTRITIONAL

  • Do you eat fruits and vegetables every day?
  • Do you drink enough water to stay hydrated and alert?
  • Do you listen to your body when it seems to require more iron or sunlight?
  • Do you incorporate healthy salads, vegetarian dishes, and creative recipes into your weekly meal plan? Eating healthy can be incredibly satisfying when you learn new ways of getting all your micro-nutrients. Get creative!

Remember, life is not all about being a good little consumer or a good little worker. Our souls require so much more than that for real and lasting happiness. A wonderful life takes courage, hard work, determination, and a vision. You will never spend your time more wisely than exploring what you want for your life and how you can go about achieving your goals.

Step away from your screens and LIVE your best life.

Tara Panrucker, Copyright 2021

All rights reserved.

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