In Fantasy Land With Morningstars

Today’s post written by Johanna R, VP of PR

This morning’s meeting’s theme was “In Fantasy Land”, and our Chair, William, epitomized the occasion by wearing a pirate’s attire. “Arrrrrrrrgh”. (Why are pirates so handsome? They just Arrrrrrrrrrgh”)

In his introduction, William made us all think about the idea that fantasies are great because they help us focus on our dreams.

Table Topics kept the fantasy theme alive, beginning with Greg’s, who took us on a creative adventure to areas unknown but vividly expressed.

Elvis then took his elderly aunt to the same place and Alicia shared how fantasy was more her husband’s family tradition whereas hers was more one of history reality.

Kate facilitated the Table Topic presentations with the rolling of three dice, all speakers having different symbols to draw their stories from.

There were two excellent speeches. The first from Katherine, who was interviewed by Sandy around the idea of encouraging/challenging the young audience to put away their cell phones for awhile to see how IT devices impact our face-to-face communication with others. Free Your PHone!

The second speech was delivered by Cathie. It was an impassioned appeal to us all to be aware that the country’s newest home census questions do not necessary reflect all Canadians’ input. We need to maintain our globally respected census standards.

At the end of our meeting, we announced the Breakfast Open House plans for Oct. 8th well as our Table Topics and Tall Tale Contest next week. Three members signed up right away as contestants.

Johanna will be chairing the next meeting and will follow-up this week with recruiting 2 more judges, and 3 counters for the event.

It will be fun. Come join us at Harmony Hall next Wed at 7 am.

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My Big WHY

question markFor our final meeting of the regular Toastmaster schedule, the theme was My Big WHY.

Ably chaired by Frank, our newest DTM, the meeting was both thoughtful and diverse. In fact it was quite amazing to hear all the different interpretations of the theme.

Here is just one example from Sheila:

Why ask why? Because it helps us understand the world around us and guides us toward positive action and growth. Children inherently know this. If we don’t explore why, our movement remains lateral, and our growth stagnant. My BIG WHY is…Why is it that in all of history there has never been a time of true peace? Even when we are supposedly “at peace,” there are still atrocities being committed by humans all over the world. Why?

Another interpretation was that asking why is a frustrating and pointless exercise. Instead we were encouraged to live in the moment.

Yet another perspective was that it’s the question we all ask ourselves about why we’re here, and what our purpose is for our lifetime.

And for those who like simplicity, the response to ‘why’ is ‘because’!

If Toastmasters is a place where we learn to listen, communicate and develop leadership skills (and it is), it’s also a place where we get to know ourselves and each other at a deeper level.

It was definitely a good note to end our regular season on.

Our summer schedule is lighter and less formal, with various members hosting the meetings and choosing their own themes. Please contact us for more details. We will return to our regular schedule the Wed after Labour Day at 7 am at Harmony Hall.

 

The Tree of Life

treeWow, stimulating and challenging could describe this morning’s visit to Harmony Hall for our weekly Toastmaster’s meeting. Stimulating because gathering at 7am on Wednesday mornings with like minded energetic, humorous and intelligent beings to create a program of communication and connection in community feeds us…it inspires and ignites us for the day.

Challenging because we are constantly challenging each other with language, structure, organization and presentation. Each week is different, a unique blend of individuals, a provocative theme,  a resulting mosaic of experience…and life wisdom emerges.

Today our theme was Tree of Life.

Cathie, our Chair for the day, lit the flame by using the tree as a metaphor for describing her body and kept us going by linking the individual branches in our meeting with thoughtful comments.

Johanna gave us our only speech of the day humorously relating stories of the three dogs she looks after and reminding us of the mindfulness we can achieve through dogs.

Katherine, our Table Topics Master, used the tree as a metaphor for life.

Questions like, “What keeps you grounded and rooted in your life?”, “Our life is made up of a variety of branches, tell us about one of your branches?”, “How do you plant an idea in your life?” kept us grounded into our individual experiences.

How could we question the wisdom that came forth? On the topic of medical professionals, patients and hospitals…”I got to see how differently it looked from the patients side, it changed me forever” and on the topic of achieving the ideas planted in life “Connecting in with the strength of will required to appear in life through the birth canal can lead us through all challenges in life”.

Brilliant, I know I was changed by these comments.

And speaking of grounding, how could we forget John, our Sergeant at Arms, who grounds us into our meetings every week by setting the room, brewing the coffee and greeting us with a warm smile as we arrive, sometimes bleary eyed. Then after the meeting we are ready to greet our day with another branch of experience and wisdom, designing and creating our own Tree of Life.

Cracking the Code

Many thought provoking ideas emerged today in our theme Cracking the Code. Here’s are just a few of them in an excerpt from a speech by Sheila.

I AM by Sheila Cameron

Have you ever been called weird? Were you told you were stupid? How about whiny? Hyperactive? Too talkative?

What about positive labels? Are you hilarious? Are you smart? Are you inspiring?

What feelings do we attach to the words we are labeled with? And how can we break free from the ones we don’t wish to wear?

Labels are silly. I’ve been called a lot of things by a lot of people in my life and I could argue that I am none of those things that people say. Or I could accept that maybe I am everything they say, and more. My all-time favourite label was when someone called me a blue whale. Whale is often perceived as a negative label but this was being gifted to me. I was being described as rare and beautiful, graceful, silent and submerged but with tremendous strength and surfacing power.

The worst thing I was ever called was normal and that was because it provided the recognition that I had succeeded at something I had spent my whole life trying to do—to fit in. To fit into the box, rather than to celebrate the unique person that I felt was hiding inside. Have you ever met a shy extrovert? I have. Or do you consider yourself more of an exhibitionist introvert?

Even though a person may tend more toward good or bad, scared or brave, optimistic or pessimistic, balanced or unbalanced, we are all actually a little bit of everything, and more importantly, we are capable of anything.

Here’s a method to try and get you started on your way to the labels you want to wear.  To create a vision/dream board, we envision what it is we want to do, where we want to go, who we want to be in our life. We paste some photos on our board (paper or poster board) that reflect how we feel and what we are yearning for. Next, we write out our statements.

And here is where the trick lies. Our statement beside the picture of the Eiffel Tower is not, “I want to go to Paris.” Our statement is “I am going to Paris.” The same process can be used with labels. I AM…fill in the blank. We display our vision board in a prominent place and we look at it often. This is effective because we’re consciously choosing the thoughts we want to put into our subconscious until they become reality.

So let me ask, Who are you? And who do you want to be? Cast off those labels that don’t serve you anymore. Label yourself something new.

 

Learning from the Experts

When we’re learning something new, it’s a good idea to turn to the experts, those who have gone before and set great examples of what we’re trying to learn. Watch this video from a winning humorous speech contest participant, and while you’re at it, find out a little more (tongue-in-cheek) information about one of our favourite things – Table Topics.

It’s All Relative

Written by Katherine Scott

It’s All Relative was our theme of the day. When we compare ourselves to ourselves, we notice how we are growing. What seemed impossible at one point in our lives becomes possible as we become more and more self empowered. It’s all relative!

Natty was the word of the day. Do you know what it means? Sharp and chic! Elegant and stylish! Dressed to the nines! Like (some) Morningstars members.

Speeches were the order of the day and we had three. One on the five elements of Reiki, one on appreciating the small things in life, and one on non-violent communication. Three speeches meant no table topics. Ah, next time.

Fun was, as usual, the tone of the day. It wouldn’t be a Morningstars meeting without lots of fun and laughter.

Timing was the challenge of the day. Too much, too little, or just right? Though we had all of those, we began and ended the meeting right on schedule.

Learning was the mood of the day, for today’s meeting and every meeting. It wouldn’t be Toastmasters without it.

Evaluation will be the theme of the day for next week’s meeting as we have an evaluation workshop presented by Patricia Hetherington, Distinguished Toastmaster. See  you then.

It's All Relative

Written by Katherine Scott

It’s All Relative was our theme of the day. When we compare ourselves to ourselves, we notice how we are growing. What seemed impossible at one point in our lives becomes possible as we become more and more self empowered. It’s all relative!

Natty was the word of the day. Do you know what it means? Sharp and chic! Elegant and stylish! Dressed to the nines! Like (some) Morningstars members.

Speeches were the order of the day and we had three. One on the five elements of Reiki, one on appreciating the small things in life, and one on non-violent communication. Three speeches meant no table topics. Ah, next time.

Fun was, as usual, the tone of the day. It wouldn’t be a Morningstars meeting without lots of fun and laughter.

Timing was the challenge of the day. Too much, too little, or just right? Though we had all of those, we began and ended the meeting right on schedule.

Learning was the mood of the day, for today’s meeting and every meeting. It wouldn’t be Toastmasters without it.

Evaluation will be the theme of the day for next week’s meeting as we have an evaluation workshop presented by Patricia Hetherington, Distinguished Toastmaster. See  you then.

Three Reasons to Create a Speech Outline

Here are three great reasons (there are probably more) to start your speech by creating an outline.

  1. An outline with all the major sections included means you don’t have to memorize each individual word in your speech. Memory lapses happen even when a speech has been practiced a lot. Having an outline allows you to get back on track easily.
  2. An outline makes it easier to decide how you can use the premise of your speech in every section. Your premise becomes the glue that holds your speech together.
  3. An outline makes it easier to practise individual sections separately. This is a great idea when you are trying to figure out whether your speech is within the time alloted. Most speeches are 5 to 7 minutes and a rushed ending means your speech is less effective.

Hear more from an expert…..