I'm a relatively low maintenance individual. And yes, I have already been told that the self proclaimed 'low maintenance' women are actually ALWAYS the highest maintenance. I shake that s*%t off. It wouldn't be the first time I've broken the mold. Wanna know what is high maintenance? Winter!
As a Canadian, I know I am supposed to be in love with the cold. I am supposed to appreciate the seasons. And I do, I really appreciate spring, summer and fall. I have always thought that I needed to participate in a winter sport (ski, snowboard) for me to appreciate it. I ice skate...does that count?
Winter demands a lot of attention. The house needs to be winterized. The car needs to be winterized. We need to be winterized. My winter wear bin explodes when I unlatch it like the dough from a crescent roll casing. Coats and hats and mitts oh my!
As far as I'm concerned it's all about the layering...and layering. Tights under pants, thermals under long sleeve shirts under sweaters under coats...wool socks under boot liners under boots...hats and scarves and gloves. Why am I STILL cold???
If I could just 'tap out' for the winter I would. Blow that whistle already! I would spend these long dreary winter months fireside with blueberry tea, a stack of books and music. Now that could help make winter a favorite season.
Someone once told me 'you gotta fake it till you make it'. So, I gear up and I grin and I bear it. Let's be honest, I'm actually not baring anything at all as I transform into a massive sumo wrestler sporting my tightly woven together masterpiece of winter wear...all of winters layers and me...I am Canadian.
Thursday, 28 November 2013
I'm a relatively low maintenance individual. And yes, I have already been told that the self proclaimed 'low maintenance' women are actually ALWAYS the highest maintenance. I shake that s*%t off. It wouldn't be the first time I've broken the mold. Wanna know what is high maintenance? Winter!
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Have you ever found yourself in a room, surrounded by friendly people and you still felt alone? Loneliness can be a cunning sneak. It will creep up on and invade you when you least expect. There have been times when I have been so overcome by loneliness I have felt paralyzed. Surrounded and wallowing in loneliness, I have found myself wadding in it, staring it dead in the eye, daring it to drown me. I have been overcome waiting with bated breath while loneliness poured itself into the depths of my soul waiting for someone, anyone to come and rescue me. I eventually get tired of waiting and come up for air.
What causes loneliness? Sometimes you are lonely simply because you feel alone. You are feeling a lack of connection. You are longing for someone to connect with. You yearn for another who understands you. You want someone to SEE you. Sometimes, if you are lucky you meet that person. And then sometimes they leave and you find yourself left standing in that dark pit of lonesome again. Only this time, the once unfriendly waters morph into a non-forgiving sadistic quicksand that consumes every inch of us before we can even think about holding our breath. Yes, I have felt that lonely. Our loneliness for this person can send us on a wild goose chase as we desperately grasp at anything in an attempt to fill that void. We drown in the struggle, knowing deep down that they can never be replaced. This is why it is so important to appreciate the moments we share with the people that we connect with and cherish. We know this already. But life has a way of keeping us busy and ego has a way of tricking us into believing we have time.
Often, our loneliness is nothing but a self inflicted result from isolating ourselves as a defense mechanism. When we are hurt, heartbroken or disappointed we become self preservation architects. We attempt to protect ourselves from cruelties and hardships by separating ourselves from others, from the world. We build walls. We camouflage our hearts into the darkness of stone. We sign a declaration in blood stating that we will cease in making any connections. We want to believe love is for the weak. Constructing walls keeps people out, yes. But these barriers also trap us deep inside and will eventually lead to suffocation.
The worst type of loneliness, the type that drowns, is the loneliness we suffer when we are missing ourselves. While we are kept distracted, busy with our lives we often wake to find that we haven't a clue who we are or how we got to this state. We wake to the realization that we are living life as imposters. This is the most deadly form of loneliness because it is the most difficult to recognize. We are more likely just to bow down and deal with the hand we were dealt. We feel it is our burden to bear and accept the consequences. If you can relate, it is time to wake yourself from this zombonic state of being. It is time to reconnect. It is time to shake it off. It is time for an adventure!
Waking up, especially to an earth shattering alarm is hard to do. It becomes even harder when you don't know what you are waking to. It is time to stop worrying so much about where we are going and appreciate where we are. Be here now. It is time to rediscover who you are. Look into eyes. Look directly into as many eyes as you can, including your own. Stop being a stranger trapped in a body. Look inside. You are not a stranger. What if you started looking at you and I, you and her, you and that guy over there...together...ONE. I am not alone, and neither are you. There is always going to be you and I if you open your eyes and see...we.
Sunday, 24 November 2013
How often do you find yourself thinking about things you wished you would have said. Moments, long gone of words left unsaid. Missed opportunities of times when your opinion, spoken from personal experience, spoken from your heart could have helped someone. Words are a powerful force. They can be used as weapons, for certain. They can also be healers and saviours and protectors. We live in a world of big voices. We live in a world that likes to silence quiet ones. We live among people who will only appreciate your opinion if it matches theirs. Speak your truth anyway. If you have been knocked down, shut up, ignored, quieted, shushed, misunderstood, judged or abandoned, you still have a voice. If you are afraid, shy, trapped behind walls, stuck, pretending or oppressed, you still exist. Your voice belongs to you. Find your voice. The world needs and deserves to hear you. You deserve to be heard. You have a voice, even if you believe no one is listening. Sometimes our voice is all we have left. Your voice is your gift. Use it. Then keep speaking...I love the sound of your voice.
Friday, 22 November 2013
When I was a child I had a space I called my very own in our basement. It was an old door mounted on top of four red milk crates. It had this itchy red curtain that hung from the ceiling and drooped across it so no one could see in and I couldn't see out. I had some chairs up there in my basement fort. Mine was a green vinyl mini lazyboy like recliner. There was also a wooden black rocking chair that sat behind that curtain. It had gold flowers delicately painted on it. When you rocked, it was supposed to play music. The music box had long since broke off of its back leg. I remember running my finger across the metal tube and watching the metal teeth fumble over the bumps that were supposed to create the song. I never did quite figure out what that rocker was trying to say. No one was allowed to sit in that chair. I'm not sure why. I always found it tragic that I hadn't taken the time to listen to it's music before it was too late. I could spend hours behind that curtain. It was a place where I could let my imagination run away with me. I could become anyone or anything. Right across from my red fort was one of those old record players. You know the ones that look like long console tables? It had huge buttons that challenged my tiny fingers. One year, we got a new stereo and someone took all of the stereo's insides...outside. One day, I trot downstairs and all of my toys are missing. I turn to this stereo shell and slowly lift the top and peer down to see all of my toys inside this dead music box. I couldn't reach some of them because they were so far down. Creative idea that, a stereo reborn into a childs toy box. My mom had a pair of blue suede platform heels that I would try on from time to time. I decided to put those friggin things on and clogged my way over to that dead music box and reeeeaaached down in a failed attempt to touch the bottom. Eventually I gave up trying to reach and hiked that disco shoe over the edge and dove myself into that case. I'd swim down to the bottom and shut the lid. It felt good to be around old friends again and I would sing at the top of my lungs. Breathing the air that record player did. I swore I sounded just as good-if not better. My stuffed friends and I would sail through the ocean or fly through the clouds in my stereo shell. When our adventure was over, I'd come up for air and run to my phone, you know the ones with the big googly eyes on the front, big red wheels, it made squeaky noises when you pulled it, anyway I would dial up an imaginary friend and we'd chit chat about our day.
As adults, we often don't have a space to call our own. We forget how to spend time alone, with ourselves. We forget how to use our imaginations. My son reminds me everyday that I can still get lost in my imagination. We are meant to use our imaginations, to play, to dream. We become adults and we think using our imaginations is silly and a waste of time. I don't have a space anymore that is just mine. My son has claimed pretty much every space in our house. But give me a pad of paper and some pencils or a canvas and some paints and I am lost for hours. My livingroom often transforms into a dance floor or a stage. Sometimes we need to allow our imaginations to carry us away from the reality of our busy lives. Sometimes we need to get lost in ourselves. To be honest, I think it is healthy to play a little everyday. It is important to stay in touch with the child inside. To play, to imagine, to believe, to honour ourselves by keeping in touch with our dreams. Now, I am not suggesting you start walking around talking to imaginary friends. Become a rock star, colour something, don't step on sidewalk cracks, build a fort and then get lost in it, climb a tree. Stop 'acting' like an adult for a moment. Become carefree and childish. Use your imagination, set yourself free...allow yourself to just BE.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
I have been 'burning the candle at both ends' for some time now. I was sure that I was juggling it all with vigour and grace until...I got sick. It is a challenge to keep burning anything when your body is not well. I feel like I was forced to drop the balls and just stare helplessly at the rubble left underfoot. I feel like my body is holding me prisoner. Looking around our house I grimace as I calculate all of the work that needs to get done if we are to be in the new house by Christmas. My mind attempts to mastermind a list of things to do. My ego tells me that I can do all of these things as long as I just push through. I feel landlocked and suffocate as the walls of uncertainty start to close in on me. Then I can't help but wonder, do we keep ourselves so busy, so preoccupied with 'to-do's' because we don't want to have to deal with 'what is' happening in our lives? I know that I am often guilty of living in denial. If I keep myself busy enough I can live within the charade for quite some time. But I know, deep in the depths of my heart that I am denying my soul of living my truth. When I am forced to slow down, even for a moment, there is a constant burning, a longing telling me that I need to wake up.
I have always been a strong advocate for trusting ones intuition. Our intuition is our truth speaking to us. I also know that once we stop listening to that voice of truth, the whisper will eventually fade away until we no longer can hear or recognize it. If we are lucky we get a gentle nudge reminding us that we are still in there. I am making changes everyday to get back to me. To uncover my truths. To live the life I am meant to live. It is hard. I have moments where I just want to put the mask back on and hide. I tell myself 'the show must go on'! But for whom am I performing? When the curtain comes down, I am left standing alone, game faced and tired. We rob ourselves, and others of so much when we are not living our truth. It takes so much energy to live a lie. And that's what we are doing when we deny our truth. We deny our potential, we hide our gifts, we bury our soul beneath the rubble of our busy lives. How do we find our truth again? I wish I had the answer. I am starting by lifting and throwing away the lies, piece by piece.
Living my truth is going to be difficult. I am a chronic people pleaser. I have always searched desperately for the approval of others. This life change will surely get boo's and hisses from others, and may not be received with a standing ovation. But I do know that this show has long since run its course. I know the charade is over. Every single moment I spend distracting myself now feels like an eternity. I know that when I can no longer stand to look myself in the mirror that there is an urgency to make some changes, to wake up. So, I suppose that in many ways I am indeed burning out. But I also know that if I put my ear to the ground,and listen carefully, I can hear the fire still smoldering deep within the smoke and ashes. I will tend to, and stoke my own rubble until it ignites. Forget the spotlight. Truth is, I am not a burn out. A fire lives within me that cannot be smothered. My truth is my light, and I vow that my flames will rise and my fire will shine again as bright as the sun. When you are living your truth, no one can put out your fire, not even you.
Monday, 18 November 2013
Have you ever had your heart broken? I have, plenty. My heart has felt so broken I've questioned whether or not it could be fixed. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. Maybe too much thought processing. In fact, I've felt pretty darn close to smashing the mirror of self reflection. I found myself wondering why I have felt broken hearted so often. Does that make me a chump? Do I set myself up for disappointment? Am I too open? Am I naive? When I love, I love hard. When I love, I am in it for the long haul. If my heart loves you, you will stay there forever. And then my mind stopped me dead in my tracks today. Is it time to stop loving? Is that the only way to mend a broken heart? Do you have to close and lock your heart in order to protect it? My observation, my heart beats so I can love. Conclusion, as long as my heart beats I will choose love.
When I had my son, I thought my heart may explode. But it didn't. I am amazed at the amount of love my heart is capable of handling. Love is lifes fertilizer. Love grows. I realized today that my heart just keeps growing...and growing. It has never diminished in size...even when I have felt heartbroken. I am proud of my heart...for refusing to shrink. My heart has decided to love anyway...even when it is broken. You see, the only way to heal our hearts is with love. Did you get that? The only way to heal our broken hearts is to LOVE. And I know from experience, the more you love, the faster the heart mends. Sometimes it is very difficult to love someone who has broken your heart. It takes time. But our hearts can function while they are healing, just as we can.
I have decided that I am going to keep loving anyway. I know the stakes are high. I am very aware of the risks, the odds. I've never been much of a gambler but I decided today, I'm all in.
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Back in the day, before we were consumed with consuming and hysterically preoccupied, we helped one another. We relied on eachother. Our very existence depended on it. We looked out for one another. We were acutely aware of the needs of the whole. Everyone had a role and they executed their task. Each person zoned into their talents and knew how they could contribute to the whole. Where have we gone wrong? How could the human race descend so far from our real purpose? We have become a direct disheartened and hardened product of our fall from grace.
Many of us walk around completely unaware of our bottom fed existence. Waking, existing and sleeping soundly in spite of our troubled spirits. We are loosing. Loosing ourselves, loosing eachother, loosing our planet. We are lost.
How do we rediscover ourselves, how do we reintroduce ourselves to one another? One word...help. Help ourselves by helping others. Reach out. Notice eachother again. Find a need, and then fill it. It really is that simple. A good deed is a good deed. And paying it forward is a superb idea. But what if it didn't take someone doing something nice to you, for you to do something nice for another? What if, you just decided to take a look and truly see where you are needed. Decide you can help. We need to relearn how to fill in the gaps and make a connection. We must begin to work and live together again. Humans were not meant to merely exist. We are meant to thrive, together. We were built to live off of the land, and in return to deposit our energies and knowledge and appreciate this planet for what it provides. We are meant to lift eachother up. To assist others in attaining their goals. It is time to reflect and redefine our needs versus our wants.
When my son was born, like all mothers, I held him on my heart and I wept. I examined him for hours. I was in awe of his beauty and innocence. I knew in those moments he was untouched by society. I also was very aware that his innocence could not last. I knew I had to share him with the world. I thought at the time that the only thing I had to offer him was love. I know now that just isn't true. Loving him unconditionally is an important gift yes, but I can also show him what kindness and compassion is. The only way to do that is to be that, everyday. To show him how to behave in a world that often forgets how to give. To help him understand that we must be the light that shines into the darkness. I want my son to shine his light.
Offering ourselves to another can be overwhelming and scary. But it is so important to return to matters of the heart, wholeheartedly. Are there risks in loving? You bet. What you have to offer may not always be welcome or reciprocated. You also open yourself to being taken advantage of, sure, we are human afterall. But the core of our being is our spirit. NOW is the time to share our light and illuminate our spirits. Our very survival depends upon igniting that fire. We must quiet our mind and start listening and feeling and acting from our hearts. Start small if you must. Just begin. Be the light. Shine your light so brightly you spark. Ignite your spirit...ignite the world.
Saturday, 16 November 2013
I am a rock collector. I have been bringing home rocks ever since I can remember. I find rocks in my pockets, in my nitestand, in purses. And my rock hoarding has been passed down to my son. Now we look for, and collect rocks together. I'm not talking about precious stones either. We can become treasure hunters anytime, anywhere. At the park, in an alley, under a tree, by the river, in a stream...if there are rocks to be found, we find em. We pick them up, feel them, examine them, skip them, throw them...and when we find a special one...we collect them and bring them home. What makes a rock special? Many things! We look at them like we look at clouds. Shape resemblance...this one has a face, this one's a polar bear. Colour wet, colour dry. Our favorites have surely become heart shaped rocks (We have gifted many a heart shaped rock).
A couple of weeks ago, my son woke out of a deep sleep and stumbled into my room. I happened to be up reading. He reached his hand to me and said 'here momma'. Clasped tightly in his tiny little hand was one of our heart rocks. He turned immediately and crawled right back into bed. Now, I understand that to most, it is just a rock. But this special midnight delivery had a purpose. He was giving me love. His love. Our love.
Rock collecting belongs to us. It is one way we spend time together. We talk with eachother. We listen to one another. We explore. We pile and balance and throw. We use our imaginations. We embrace the opportunity to quiet the noise and just be. Often times when we get home we will draw or print on our rocks. Sometimes we paint them. Some end up in the garden, many are nestled inside. Our interest in rocks has made them special...to us. This is how we spend much of our time out in nature and our rock adventures often lead us toward many other missions. Bugs and leaves and sticks often derail the quest, if only for a moment. We become hunters and gatherers. Our rock collection proudly declares that we are treasure hunters. Our rocks help us stay grounded and connected.
So if ever you receive a rock gift from us, please don't take offense. You can be sure that the gift is thoughtful and meant for your hands.
A rock standing alone can have very little impact for many. But rocks help us to understand we are capable of building mountains, one pebble at a time. Our rocks teach us that we can climb those mountains. We can even move them, if we choose...together. I am a rock. I may even be a mountain. But I am no island. No one can stand alone. Not even you.
My son and I filled 6 bags of leaves while raking today at our new house. I was aware of the fact that we had a tree on our front lawn from the get go but it wasn't until her green leaves began to turn orange that I started to really pay attention to her. I have been admiring our front yard beauty for a couple of weeks now. She has been standing tall and showing off for us ever since.
I made sure to take some time everyday to stop and look and appreciate our little tree as her muted orange leaves changed into beautiful vibrant red. As the sun shone a little less brightly, our tree seemed to be on fire.
When we began our two hour chore I caught myself thinking, how can such a gorgeous tree make such a big mess! But as we raked and bagged, we laughed and talked and took pictures in her fallen leaves. We created memories. I raked away lost in the task thinking sadly, we are sweeping all of her bounty into brown bags. I soon came to the realization that her bounty was not scattered on the ground. Her bounty was hidden entangled underground.
I learned many things today from what began as a measly task. Much like a tree, humans also must change throughout the year. What a wonderful lesson. Just as seasons change so must we. And as our beautiful ever changing tree discarded her colourful leaves, she reminded me that we must also leave things behind, let things go. That our bounty, our worth is also entwined deep within. Even if we feel dormant and fear we are lacking beauty there is growth and healing occuring. I will remember to take notice of our quiet and naked tree throughout the long and cold winter months. More importantly, I will learn to have more patience with myself when I am feeling stripped and unworthy. I will allow our tree to teach me her lessons. I am always changing. For even in the darkest days, there is growth and beauty waiting to be discovered.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
What drives you? What inspires you? What are your passions? These are questions I ask myself often. As a matter of fact, too often.
The pursuit of happiness has morphed into the ever rotating whirlwind known as the rat race. So what are you chasing? Your passion? Your dreams? Someone else's? When was the last time you stopped to peruse the pursuit?
What would happen if we just stopped. Just stopped running. Stopped chasing. Stopped the huffing and puffing...and...stood...still. Forget the fear of others passing you by. Forget what we are chasing. Forget what we are running from. Forget the fear of what may be chasing us. What if we simply let ourselves BE. Stand with yourself. Still. Quiet.
Take an opportunity to step off of the treadmill. Quiet the noise pollution that fill us up until we fear we may explode. Listen to the sound of your breath. Hear the beats of your heart. Awaken...inhale...exhale...open your eyes beautiful...free yourself. If only for the moment.
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
I have been lost in a sea of house renovations for a month now. My landlegs shake and wander aimlessly aboard what often seems like a sinking ship. The waves of uncertainty can hit you like a squall. But despite having moments of longing to jump overboard, I have found myself falling in love. I find myself vowing to go down with the ship.
When the house was purchased, it was put together. It functioned as a house. It stood, day after day unnoticed. We introduced ourselves by getting a massive garbage bin delivered. And I couldn't help but wonder, how on earth are we going to fill this? This simple house that stood merely existing began to crumble. And as we began to expose its secrets and uncover its past, I found myself whispering 'It is ok, everything is going to be ok. You will be whole again. I will take care of you'. And with every rusty nail being yanked from it's bones, my mantra became stronger and louder. Crazy right! Talking to a house! But you see, I wasn't. I wasn't talking to this house.This proclamation that started as a whisper was meant for me.
This house has become a labour of love. My labour of love. A new beginning. My new beginning. Every nail being pulled and each wall coming down exposing the beauty that I know exists there. And as the house came down and the bin overflowed, I could see its vulnerability. But standing proud in all of its rawness I see beauty. I see potential. And I find myself repeating, 'You are ok. You are beautiful. We will restore and rebuild. We will find a way'.
It is a very slow process. So much of the rebuilding depends on the actions and service of others. And there are many I must depend on. It is difficult and terrifying for me to depend on others. It is one of many of my character defects. I am learning to ask for help. To admit I am not ok. To let others know I can't do this alone. And slowly but surely, as the walls are exposed help arrives. Willing hands who SEE this 'house' and its beauty in all of its rawness. Beautiful gifts who know its potential.
If you are ever feeling abandoned, ugly or unworthy I am here to tell you, you are not alone. There are people who want to see you. People who want to see your rawness and beauty, if you will allow them. If you can be brave enough to break down your walls there are treasures to be discovered.
Having faith in a process you know nothing about is difficult and challenging. Change is scary. I too tire of the endless need to be taught lessons through trials. But this is living. We must take time to renovate and restore ourselves. When we settle we are stagnant. We become old and tired. We begin to rot. Every single day is a new opportunity for a fresh coat of paint, a new beginning. It is ok to start over.
Take some time to awaken from your daily routines. Allow yourself the opportunity to look at the horizon. Don't be too quick to judge what you perceive to be troubled waters. You never know what secrets lurk behind the walls. You never do know who is waiting to fall in love with what lies beneath the surface. Be patient...hope floats.
Thursday, 7 November 2013
In the past, when someone asked me what I did for a living I would start to squirm a bit. I would politely respond with the answer and more times than not, the individual would walk away disappointed.
When I really think about that question now, it leads me to this one, what do I do to live! To really LIVE! Well, in order to be alive I must eat, sleep, etc...and in order to pay for those things I must wake up, like everyone else and go to work. But my work does not define me. I have never thought that it would. It just never has. What do I need to do to be living? I need to dance and sing and be surrounded by music. I need to create. I need to listen and to surround myself with positive people. I need to connect with nature and animals. But most importantly, for me to be 'living' I need to love.
It is very important to me that my family and friends, my loved ones, feel loved. I tell them often. But it is important for me to show them. To make them feel loved, not just to hear me say it. What if I took that a step further. Doesn't everyone deserve to be loved? Everyone has the ability to be loved...everyone CAN be loved. So if a total stranger CAN be loved, why not love them?
If a person you love suddenly dissappeared, would you have regrets? Would you wish you had told them you loved them? Would there be things you felt were left unsaid? If you are trully loving the people in your life, if you are showing them love and allowing them to feel your love, being an example of love, then there would never be anything left unsaid because there just wouldn't be a need for words. Humans know love.
When I leave this place, I want to know that I really lived. And if just one person felt my love, my life would be a success. So the question really should be, what do you do for a loving?
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
While waiting for the car to warm up today, my seven year old son says, 'Mom, we're pretty special you and me'. I know what he is saying. That him and I, that 'WE' are special. I respond, 'Yes, we are'. I remind him how special he is to me, to the world. I tell him how special he makes me feel. I look him in the eye and tell him that is what makes 'US' special. I tell him that it is a gift for the whole world to see. I listen to him sigh with contentment as he looks out the window smiling. I drive off in our warm car with a warm heart.
The world needs to see more of that don't you think? More special. Find someone, anyone TODAY and make them feel special. Allow someone the precious gift to return the favour. Share your special for all to see. The world needs to be reminded every so often that we are all special. Because every single one of us belongs to the 'WE'.