Shannon Lawrence returned to Hastings when her son was nearing school age. Having grown up near the Village, she could not envision her child as a grade point average in a school of 1,500 pupils. She wanted him to experience the intimate, attentive class settings that she had known as a student.
She attended Fleming College during her Peterborough years, majoring in Retail Marketing Management with business degree. Her specialty is social media management, and she has put that talent to good use in Trent Hills. Shannon manages the website, facebook presence and Instagram for The Village of Hastings. Sponsored by the Hastings Revitalization Association, the website offers a thorough summary of happenings, community groups and local businesses within the Village and surrounding areas. Although she has recently stepped down as Vice Chairman and Secretary on completion of a four-year term, she continues to work with The Hastings Revitalization Association. She has been dedicated to volunteering since 2011, when Hastings entered (and later won) the yearly race for the title of Ultimate Fishing Town Canada.
Shannon founded the Hastings Hub news platform and produced monthly issues for over two years until October 2018. Archives are still accessible on The Village of Hastings website.
She is dedicated to the small-town way of life and believes that communication and commitment within the community are crucial keys to growth and betterment. The Hastings Field House, she says, is a great asset to the area. The demise of Hastings’ defunct arena put the town at the top of the list for recreational project funding from The Municipality of Trent Hills. The facility provides year-round team training and game opportunity for soccer, golf and racquet sports. Programs are also offered there for other segments of the market including indoor walking, an active Pickleball roster and fitness classes.
Hastings’ most recent loss, in the opinion of some residents, is the former ball field or, at least, the fence surrounding it. The property has tentatively been sold and will be developed with residential units if approved by the Ontario Municipal Board. Although it hasn’t been used as a ball diamond in recent years, the fenced-in area provided a leash-free dog park for canine owners. Shannon says there is some unused land behind the Hastings Field House which could possibly be fenced in to fulfil this need in the town.
Shannon enjoys a supportive, equal partnership with her husband Jason. The couple is looking forward to their 7th celebration of love this year. Her son is now in his twenties and spent a month last summer touring Europe. Her parents live near Hastings, happily still ensconced in her childhood home. Recalling summers that were golden and shoeless until Labour Day, Shannon just can’t imagine wanting to live anywhere else.
Village of Hastings, www.hastingsvillage.ca
Archives of The Hub
Hastings Revitalization Association group, on facebook
Hastings Field House, Municipality of Trent Hills website
Volunteerism Celebrated in Hastings, Trent Hills Now, April 2018
Tiffany Dean, founder of The GoldenLine Spiritual Studio in Warkworth, defines herself as a Spiritual Seeker.
“My journey began at a young age when I innately knew that I had an immense passion to delve into the study of world religion and spirituality,” she explains. “Since then, I have been on a quest to quench my thirst for knowledge and understanding of universal beliefs.”
Inspired by an opportunity to hear the sacred teachings of the Dali Lama at a convocation ceremony at the University of Toronto, Tiffany enrolled at York University in 2006 and successfully completed an honours degree in Religious Studies, providing her with a strong foundation in world religion and culture. After graduation, she moved to Taiwan to teach English as a second language while deepening her understanding of Eastern based religious practice. She subsequently completed her Masters degree in Humanities at York University in 2016, specializing in Religion, Mysticism and Spirituality.
These varied experiences, she says, have allowed her to develop “a heightened sense of compassion and empathy for all fellow human beings, and believe deeply that we are all intrinsically connected through divine love, which knows no race, religion or culture.”
The time she spent in Asia led her to the practice of Reiki, a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being. She offers Reiki healing sessions through her studio as well as offering Level 1 and 2 practitioner training courses.
Originally from Cobourg, Tiffany moved to Warkworth in June 2016 with her husband, Rick, and opened her studio shortly thereafter. She also started teaching for the Interdisciplinary Studies Department at Durham College in September 2016. The couple have two young daughters, Avila and Zoe.
“This is where I find myself now,” she posted on her social media page just before the grand opening of GoldenLine Spiritual Studio in October 2016, “embarking on new budding adventure where I can passionately assist others in their own personal journey towards emotional, physical and spiritual enlightenment. I am now offering Reiki to those who are interested in receiving a treatment. I am also available for spiritual counselling, guidance in affirmations and positive thinking, meditation, and sacred smudging practices. Please be a part of my new venture so that we can grow and learn through each other.”
The studio has grown exponentially since then. Despite taking a sabbatical in 2017 to give birth to her youngest daughter, Tiffany has been actively offering outreach programs as well as a number of in-studio initiatives since the beginning of 2018. She completed renovations on her studio space and compiled an extensive lending library for clients. In February, she launched her spiritual store, offering healing crystals, jewellery, malas, sage smudging and meditation aids. She led a Spiritual Workshop at The Natural in Warkworth in February and, the following month, launched Spiritual Saturdays at GoldenLine.
“Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday for the first Spiritual Saturday Event at The GoldenLine Studio,” she posted afterwards. “I had a great time talking to everyone about mindfulness, meditation, energy healing and spiritual ceremonies. I was left feeling full of love, energy, and high vibrations.”
Her Spiritual Saturdays are now fully booked, often months in advance. In May, she offered a “Woke Women and Wine” workshop, “a fun night to celebrate all things fierce and female.” She presented a workshop at the Fertility Wellness Retreat at The Willow Studio in Peterborough last November, addressing the ways in which energy healing, affirmations, and mindfulness can assist mentally, spiritually, and physically.
She began creating her own healing jewellery in October 2018. “I finally gave myself permission to embrace my inner creatrix; in order to manifest these divine wrist malas,” she announced. “Each mala has been handcrafted with genuine healing crystals, and infused with healing energy and love.”
Each crystal has unique healing and spiritual properties, she explains. Rose Quartz, for example, carries a soft feminine energy of compassion and peace, while Moonstone ignites intuition and promotes creativity. Other crystals may alleviate stress and induce tranquility, attract abundance and prosperity, or facilitate understanding of alternatives in one’s life.
Tiffany will be leading the first Forte Presents workshop at The West School on Saturday, February 23, 2019. The workshop will offer the opportunity to learn more about the healing power of crystals and the purpose of wearing a mala. Tiffany will also assist each person in choosing the right crystals. “It’s fun for me to do some intuitive energy seeking for those who might like to know what crystals best align with their current path,” she says. Attendees will then be able to create their own mala bracelet in the company and community of like-minded women. Registration is limited to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and empowering experience.
Mala Bracelet Workshop with Tiffany Dean, Event Link
Goldenline Spiritual Studio on facebook, www.facebook.com/goldenline.reiki
Register via email or etransfer, email@example.com
Humility is a wonderful thing. I’m not talking about the grovelling, ass-kissing, Uriah Heep kind of humility. I’m talking about the kind of humility that comes from confidence in yourself and the understanding of your own strengths, the kind of humility that isn’t afraid to admit that you can’t possibly know everything. Humility opens your mind to the wisdom of others.
The Cambridge English dictionary defines humility as the “quality of not being proud because you are aware of your bad qualities”. Nope, not that kind. Google defines it as, “a modest or low view of one’s own importance.” Uh-uh. The Urban dictionary says, “True humility is to recognize your value and others’ value while looking up. It is to see there is far greater than ourself into who we can become, who others can become, and how much more we can do and be.” A bit convoluted, perhaps, but definitely more on point.
The best leaders are humble ones, although that certainly does not seem to be the case on the world stage these days. A humble leader knows that they don’t have all the answers, and they understand that it’s not at all in their best interests to pretend that they do. Arrogance is bad enough on its own, but it’s positively deadly when combined with a lack of substance, knowledge or understanding.
Anyone who has spent time in a hierarchy has probably encountered the type of person who is intoxicated by their own power when granted the role of managing others. This person revels in being “the boss”. She may feel a strong need to control and she might micro-manage ad nauseam. In an effort to portray confident and capable leadership, she may not be willing to admit that she has shortfalls, and worse, she may make decisions and issue directives without consulting her team, listening to them or using their ideas to achieve mutual goals. There’s also the despicable sort who does listen to her team and incorporates their ideas, but fails to share the credit for them. All of these behaviours are anathema to building a loyal and successful team.
An article penned by Bill Taylor in the Harvard Business Review in 2018 offered up this insight:
“Edgar Schein, professor emeritus at MIT Sloan School of Management, and an expert on leadership and culture, once asked a group of his students what it means to be promoted to the rank of manager. “They said without hesitation, ‘It means I can now tell others what to do.’” Those are the roots of the know-it-all style of leadership. “Deep down, many of us believe that if you are not winning, you are losing,” Schein warns. The “tacit assumption” among executives “is that life is fundamentally and always a competition” — between companies, but also between individuals within companies. That’s not exactly a mindset that recognizes the virtues of humility.”
Sadly, the concept that life is fundamentally a competition is not restricted to the world of business. We see it every day. There are women who are so intimidated by stronger personalities that they’re afraid to contribute. Others are threatened by ideas that are not their own or by alternative points of view. Some resent the success of others, and some present a dishonest persona to the world in an effort to convince everyone that they’re something they’re not. Last but not at all least, there are those who would rather monologue about how amazing they are than listen to anyone else. Like the meme says, “a lion has no need to tell you that it’s a lion.”
Ridding society of these unproductive interactions is what the empowerment movement is all about. It’s a mind-shift that requires self confidence at its very core, and it’s an essential element of a mutually supportive community. We all have different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. We need the confidence to share the wisdom we’ve gained and embrace the wisdom of those who have walked a different path. As Artistotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
The really cool thing about it is that striving towards and practicing confident interactions will empower you in ways you never imagined.
Best is a subjective term, and one that should not be used indiscriminately. It’s all in the context. “That’s the best lasagne I’ve ever tasted,” states that, in the speaker’s experience, that lasagne is the best. No problem. Had the speaker instead said, “That’s the best lasagne ever,” the statement rather casts aspersions on all the other lasagnes out there that may, in fact, be just as good or better but have not been sampled by the speaker within the parameters of her experience.
You can unequivocally make the “best” choice for yourself. You can aspire to be the “best” you can be. You can make the “best” lasagne you’ve ever made. Those are all very good and appropriate uses of the word. On the other hand, you may want to beware of declaring a store, a restaurant, a service, a class, a program, an artist or yourself the “best”, because all the other stores, restaurants, services, classes, programs and artists are diminished to second best or worse by that statement. It may seem like a minor and absurdly literal thing, and it is exactly that, but I assure you that those who have been relegated to second best by your statement will likely resent it and wish that you’d said what you had to say with a little more discretion. The end result is that your supportive statement of goodwill ends up totally pissing somebody off. Or possibly, many somebodies.
It’s an easy fix. Try describing your subject as “one of the best”, or forget the word “best” and go with some other positive adjective like great, wonderful, excellent, first-class...... the list is endless. Really, it’s the best thing to do.
Taryn’s Creative Crafts specializes in the very thing its owner was unable to find as a child – personalized items catering to those with unique names. “It’s been a passion since my childhood,” says Taryn Manning-Tolnai. “I had an unusual name, and I was never able to find magnets or anything made for me.” Her parents took advantage of every opportunity to gift her with personalized items whenever they encountered anyone who made them.
Thanks to Taryn’s Creative Crafts, personalized items are now available to anyone, even the Rumpelstiltskins of the world. The online business opened in December 2018, offering personalized cards and custom special occasion cards as well as handmade hats and garments. “I am a lover of all things crafty,” she explains. “I specialize in crochet, cross stitch, embroidered cards and a little bit of knitting too. I enjoy customizing orders to suit clients’ needs and am working towards having items in stock.”
Her love of crafting is also due to childhood influences. Although her grandmother passed away when she was eight years old, she well remembers the lady coming over to visit every Sunday with her knitting bag. “I used to sit with her and pretend to knit with my fingers,” she laughs.
Taryn grew up in Orillia and moved to Hastings with her husband Doug in 2009. Her parents were dedicated supporters of Sleeping Children Around the World, an international initiative dedicated to improving living conditions for children. “We lead a 100% charitable global community of volunteers and partners who have transformed the lives of over 1.5 million children in developing countries by providing bedkits for a good night’s sleep,” explains their website. “Each $35 donation provides a bedkit that consists of a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net, clothes outfit, towel and school supplies.”
Taryn’s family spearheaded annual fundraisers for the cause. “I first donated $25 in pennies when I was 12 years old, to buy my first bed kit,” Taryn remembers. “And then I received a photo of the child in the mail and I realized what a difference $25 could make”.
Taryn has travelled to Kenya and India on distribution tours for the Sleeping Children organization. “It was a life-changing experience,” she recalls. “It gave me a new appreciation for everything we have here.” Her last trip in 2014 was to India with her mom, Anne Tolnai, during which her group distributed 5,000 bedkits to kids in need.
Although travel has temporarily been back-burnered by the birth of their son, McKeever, in 2016, Taryn says that future tours are definitely on the agenda. “After three tours, I can be a team leader,” she notes. “I’d love to go with my son when he’s old enough. I think it would be an amazing experience for him.”
In the meantime, Taryn’s keeping busy with her new online business and, of course, her role as mom. Taryn’s Creative Crafts doesn’t have a website yet but it will in the near future, thanks to a website designer in the family. Until then, you can find her and browse her products on facebook.
Taryn's Creative Crafts on facebook, www.facebook.com/tarynscreativecrafts
Website, Sleeping Children Around the World
Back in the 1960’s, a couple of psychiatrists put together a scale rating the impact of various stressors in life. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale rates 41 life events, giving them each a number of points. The highest stresses have the largest numbers, called “life change units” (LCU).
The idea behind the scale was not to learn that something happened to you and that’s a ‘25’ on the stress meter. The premise is that stress is cumulative, and that experiencing numerous stressful events at the same time can lead to illness.
This is a brilliantly designed biological system. We’ve all heard the stories of incredible strength created by the stress response, like a petite woman who was suddenly imbued with the superhuman ability to lift a car to save her child. Endorphins contribute to this phenomena as well. Those endorphins we love so much after a great workout also kick in during a stress reaction, suppressing pain and giving us the will and stamina to act without stopping to consider that there’s just absolutely no way we can do that.
Where does this brilliantly designed system fit into our modern world? Our lives today are riddled with minor stresses aside from the big ones identified on the Holmes and Rahe scale. We are constantly bombarded with stress and stimulation. Our ancestors did not carry devices that plugged them into constant communication with the world at large. They didn’t watch the news and find themselves horrified at the atrocities that humans commit, nor did they worry endlessly about the state of politics on the world stage or the threat of nuclear war. They had no traffic jams, no mortgage payments, no car trouble, no social pressure, no deadlines, no overwhelming uber-busy lifestyles.
We, however, do have all that going on and it can be pretty intense when combined with the personal situations we’re dealing with in our lives and, possibly, the internal demons like self-doubt that we need to face every day. One important operative concept here is that the stress response is triggered not only by “real” stresses, but by “perceived” ones as well. In other words, we have to beware of an overactive imagination, particularly when it comes to needless worry or negative internal dialogue.
The problem is that repeated activation of the stress response on any level can lead to a host of physical issues. Chronic bombardment with stress can have long-term impact, leading to high blood pressure and clogged arties as well as psychological changes that contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, digestive problems, depression and addiction. It can also contribute to weight gain and obesity in that elevated cortisol levels lead to increased appetite and fat storage. It goes without saying that many of these outcomes exacerbate the problem by increasing stress levels even more.
Ways to deal:
Get grounded. Recognize the feeling of excess stress. Take a deep breath or, better yet, many of them. Do whatever you need to do for distraction and relaxation – a nap, a workout, meditation, a cosy throw and a good book. Identify and quantify the stressor – major or minor? Will it matter a year from now? Reach out to a friend. Seek community interaction or solitude, whatever you need to ease your mind and soothe your soul.
Try to compartmentalize your stressors into separate entities that can be challenged individually. This is where the Holmes and Rahe scale comes into play. Remember that every one of these entities contributes to your total number on the stress chart.
We all have unavoidable stresses to deal with. The goal is to minimize the stressors that are unimportant and learn to readily recognize what we need to do for ourselves at any given moment to manage the rest.