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Spiritual SOS

Many years ago I found myself quite lost. Adrift in the sea of confusion that was my twenties. When we meditate, when we do yoga, when we do anything to heal our mind, body and spirit connection, miracles can happen.

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Letting the light in

The modern mystic is alive in everyone.

It is anyone who is looking for the magical in the mundane; anyone trying to carve peace out of chaos or a little solitude from our interactive, overly “updated” lives; anyone who has simply sighed and said, “When can I just BE?”

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Free Bird

You have escaped the cage. Your wings are stretched out. Now, fly.

~Rumi

I had been feeling caged. So very caged for quite some time. But no more. This year, year 40 of my life, marks the the beginning of a new journey. Inward, upward and outward. I won’t be stopped.

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Relax. Nothing is in control.

When I read these words on some silly thing that floated across my Facebook feed, a smile touched my lips and a chuckle escaped my throat. Truer words have never been spoken.

Nothing is under control. Nothing. Nobody is driving this bus. The sooner we let go and enjoy the ride, the happier we will be.

Last week three different women told me they awoke in in the middle of the night with a sense of panic. Three! Then it happened to me. I flew out of bed and literally gasped, “What the hell?” Nothing was wrong, per se, but I was uneasy. Not all was well with my soul.

I ran down to my writing room and opened my journal to a blank page and let the words pour forth. I wrote and wrote and wrote. There was, evidently, a lot to get off my chest, hence the crushing panic attack-y feeling.

If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down.

~Buddha

An hour later I fell back into bed, finally able to sleep. But seriously, what WAS that?

It’s time to get serious about not being so serious, I think. Serious is exhausting and terrifying.

My word for 2016, or words in this case: Let Go. Or Release. Same-same, right?

I start every new year by letting go of things; bags and boxes of material debris leave our home each new year, but this time I’m letting go of some way heavier stuff. In that fevered journal-writing attack I had the deep realization that I need to release and let go of what others think of me. I soooo thought I was done with this bullshit! But no, it has been holding me back. What I really want to do with my life has been lying in wait while I somehow overcome my fear of what you think me.

I decided to just rip it off like a band-aid. The very next morning I put it out there that I was interested in teaching meditation, something I have wanted to do for many years.

Anyway, I had a positive response and am excited to see where this leg of the journey takes me. I’m not going to worry about where I land because nothing is in control.

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The Meditation Circle

Welcome to my inner circle

Sometimes lattes or a glass of wine are not enough. Sometimes a mani-pedi is not enough. Sometimes even cute new shoes or a handbag are not enough. We can try to chill ourselves out using treats and material things, but it’s just not enough.

It’s not even close.

We are craving something that is much deeper.

Sometimes we just want to stop. Take the first exit off. Jump from the hamster wheel of daily life.

We just want to breathe. We just want to slow down. We are too busy, our schedules too full and our minds are racing to keep up. We are exhausted and running on empty. We are awakened by our own sense of panic in the middle of the night. This is bullshit.

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I am Open

My word this year was Open. As in, I am Open. Open heart, open mind, open to ideas, abundance, blessings… ridicule, judgement, criticism? Being open is a tall order. Keeping an open mind and heart is not always easy for sensitive types like me. Sometimes I wonder, why did I sign up for this? Why the big quest? Why couldn’t I just be one of those people who gets up, goes to work at the office and then comes home and watches Grey’s Anatomy on the couch, or whatever. Do people still watch Grey’s Anatomy?

I think if I am to progress on this journey, and I am on a journey, then I must be Open and take risks. Most of the time when I am brave enough to do this people will come to me and say they thought they were the only ones who felt this way. Being open means making connections. But being empathic, I have to connect carefully. I have finally learned (finally!) that I am prone to accidentally sucking up other people’s emotions and negative vibrations. I can now hear what you have to say, share my thoughts and feelings in a way I hope leaves you relieved, happy, at peace or inspired, and then after parting ways, merrily go on with my life. Without having to lie down afterward. Without getting a “people hangover”.

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Illusions of Grandeur

Today I conducted a social experiment. I love a good social experiment!

I have been plugging away at the creation of the ideal feminine den, my dreamy writing enclave, the most beautiful girly office. It is, in essence, complete. Except for some pesky tenants who refuse to move out. They are Husband Clutter, Sporting Goods and Laundry Paraphernalia. It is not their fault they can’t move out, they really have no place else to go and my office is right off the garage and our smallish laundry room. I cropped all that stuff out of this photo. But it exists, trust me!  And so I struggle to keep the peace and co-exist with my unwelcome roommates day after day.

The truth is perfection is an illusion.

I got the idea to post a photo of my writing enclave on social media after scrolling through Pinterest last night, looking at nothing in particular, but constantly wondering how anything and everything could really be that perfect. The truth is perfection is an illusion. Much of what we see is propped, styled, cheated, cropped, brushed, filtered and lit and that’s ok as long as we are aware of this fact. What we are seeing is not necessarily real. But don’t we love, love, love the intoxicating beauty of unattainable images of perfection?

We do.

But why?

Even looking at the picture of my office now and I’m actually sitting in here as I type, the photo is somehow more magical. And I’m the one who hand-picked the tiny white Buddhas, the gilt-edge pin board, the ballerina skirt curtains, the perfect pink silk peony blossom and Parsons desk! I created this! Yet, something weird happens when we snap a photo and post it on social media. It goes out there into the world of Grass Is Always Greener.

For the moment, however, I am content to soak up the aroma of my lavender candle and listen to the sound of rain on my window as I sit in my little corner of heaven. I can shut the whole world out and exist in this moment. These few square feet of loveliness are all mine.

Just as long as I don’t turn around. 

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Keep Going

Usually I like to keep myself at an even keel. I try to stay calm, be zen, not overreact. The problem is this is NOT my natural state of being. I am sensitive and emotional creature prone to, shall we say, meltdowns here and there. It sucks sometimes, crying in supermarkets when choosing birthday cards, or having giggle attacks during the childrens’ school assemblies at inappropriate moments. I can’t help it. I just FEEL a lot.

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It’s Coming on Christmas

Yes. It’s coming. Just in case you hadn’t noticed. Step one foot into anywhere that sells anything and you will see that indeed, it’s just around the corner.

Last year I wrote a post called My Christmas, Freshly Cut and it struck a chord with many of my dear ones. You can read it here, but it basically went into the depths of my pre-holiday meltdown and what I did to remedy it. Christmas and the holidays, it seems, have gotten completely out of control. We all know it. It’s no big secret. Yet most of us still arrive at New Year’s Day exhausted and dazed and vowing to never buy into the Christmas chaos again. It’s time to ask the tough question: what are we willing to do to take it back? We want the spirit of the season to resonate within our souls, so a little reflection is necessary before the holiday madness is fully upon us. Because I am already thinking ahead I thought I would share some thoughts.

These are a few of my favourite things:

Make a list and check it twice.

Last year I made a list of things that were essential to me during the Yuletide season. Consider creating a top five or ten and then ask yourself what can be left behind? For example, I love baking cookies from scratch with my kids, going skating as a family every Christmas Eve and decorating with fresh evergreens, candles and twinkle lights. These are non-negotiable for me. I don’t love throwing a huge party that completely exhausts me, costs a fortune and is so hectic that I can’t spend any quality time visiting my guests. I honestly thought I would love doing a big annual bash, but I just don’t, so I let that one go. I also get really overwhelmed by excessive Christmas decor (not just seeing it, but also collecting it, installing it and storing it) so I got rid of more than half of it last Christmas. It wasn’t easy on my husband who is a bit of a Griswald, but happy wife, happy life, right?

Sleighbells ring, are you listening?

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The Restorative Pleasures of Friendship

I don’t have scads of girlfriends. I’m not really a chatty Cathy, social butterfly type. But that’s okay with me. Quality, not quantity is the name of the game when it comes to friendship.

My true kindred spirits – and they know who they are – are my soul sisters. I could call them crying in the middle of the night and they would sit up, rub the sleep from their eyes and say, “What do you need? How can I help?” Fortunately for them, I’ve always made it my business to live a life that requires very few middle-of-the-night phone calls. But I take comfort in just knowing this fact.

The beauty of the kindred spirit is time has no effect on the relationship. Weeks, months or even years can come to pass and we’re able to just pick right up where we left off. There’s no expiration date on the relationship, no awkward conversations, no need to sugar coat the realties of our complex existances and no guilt over the inevitable passage of time. Instead, there’s a deeper connection that spans beyond time and space. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but I think it’s a willingness to be vulnerable. To let down both our guard and our hair. To feel okay admitting we’re scared. Not always easy to do in a world where we are all supposed to be Superwomen, doing it all, perfectly, all the time.

Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Being a writer

My friend’s son is in high school and considering becoming a writer. She asked me my thoughts on this as we waited for our daughters to finish basketball practice.

To write or not to write; is it really even a question?

The question of whether or not to become a writer is a complicated one not easily answered over lukewarm tea sipped from commuter mugs in the atrium of a community centre. This is because I think being a writer is something you just are. If you are a writer, you can’t not be one. Whether or not you find a way to make it your profession is one thing, but not writing is quite another.

I flashed back to my own 17-year-old self. A moderate insomniac, voracious reader, hopeless romantic and obsessive writer. I would fill notebooks, journals, reams of looseleaf, several of those diaries with little gold locks and keys and in some cases, napkins or scraps of paper. I had to write because I couldn’t not write. I was miserable if I didn’t write everyday. If only I could have bottled some of that creative gusto to crack open now that I am a mildly frazzled, constantly distracted, perpetually sleepy working mother of two.

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Doin’ It Wrong

 

This just in: A writer and a blogger are NOT the same thing. At all.

If you’ve never blogged before, you probably assume you just bang out a cute little post using your creative writing skills, hit the “Post” button and call it a day, right? Wrong! Writing is quite possibly the smallest part of the blogging process. Oh dear! For a writer who actually loves writing this is not good news. Writers want to write, not concern themselves with platforms, hashtags, SEOs, advertising, affiliates, categories, Facebook, Pinterestable and Instagrammable images, tweeting and the list goes on and on and on in the most exhausting fashion.

Bloggers seem to lament the writing process, calling their work “content”, complaining about how time consuming it is to generate it. I’ve seen countless articles on how to generate content faster, how to make your blog posts as short and sweet as possible, even articles on how to how-to. The writing is somewhat of an inconvenience for them, one more thing to get through before they sit before their Dashboards- the blinking inner workings of their blog- full of things called Jetpacks and plug-ins and widgets- stretch their fingers like a concert pianist and get to the posting, tweeting, pinning and instagramming, re-tweeting, re-posting, following, liking, sharing and commenting. This is the part bloggers relish, where they truly shine, and the part where the writers just want to check out, take a nap, pour a drink and get serious about procrastinating. Writers be like, Really?

Writers, like myself, want to lose themselves in the writing. They are daydreamers and romantics and dilly-dalliers. And I say this with the tenderest love and deepest respect because I am that. We don’t think staring out the window or at a freshly-cut bloom on our desks while waiting for the muse is a waste of time. We can’t and won’t rush our words. Each word is important; each word matters. We are artists and words are our medium. We lose ourselves in an imaginary world we created, diving down and only coming up for air to reheat our tea or pick up our kids from school in somewhat of a daze. Is it 2:30 already??

Still.

I do want to write and grow and make connections through what I’ve written. Unfortunately, for this little writer, this is where blogging and social media become super important. I’ve been blogging for a while, but I’ve been doing it all wrong, apparently. I have a few social media accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, but none of them are connected or synched or Hoot-Suited. They are all just randomly floating around out there in the cyberverse. No one knows who I am as a writer or a blogger. But if I want to do the kind of writing I like to do, which is like spinning a spiritual spider web of love and support for women, then I am going to have to put myself out there using those tools.

And so it seems, to write, we must blog, and to blog we must learn all the technical stuff and embrace social media. On the upside the whole thing is making the act of sitting down to work on my novel seem like a real treat.  It’s pure writing! Just sit down with the notebook or laptop and write.

And while I am learning more about these tools and techniques, I will also be learning more about blogging itself, how to take this thing to the next level and branding myself. Shudder.

This will be the summer of social media for me. Learning about it, experimenting with it, and finally unveiling a plan I have yet to concoct for my online presence. I’m trying really hard not to grimace or cry. I’m going to be brave and not quit. (Oh, how I sometimes want to quit!)

Look for me! I’ll probably be the one accidentally posting my boudoir photographs instead of my buddha photographs. 

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The Big 4-0… and a confession

I turned forty this weekend. And guess what? I am OKAY!

Since I’m all about the truth and admitting my own fears (even if they’re silly) in an effort to liberate others from theirs, I have a confession. Turning 40 freaked the hell out of me. I’ve been mostly a basket case for the last six months. Ask my husband, he was there for the entire performance.

When my eyes fluttered open on the morning of my fortieth year he was already awake and staring at me. He looked deep into my eyes and said, “Happy birthday, honey! I love you. Do you want to go look at the forty pink flamingos on the lawn?” I laughed. There were no pink flamingos, of course, but he can always make me laugh. Even in dire situations like the arrival of a birthday that has been causing angst for half a year. Continue Reading →

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Meditation Elation

Last night:

Sometimes when I meditate it’s a disaster. It’s not all Buddhas and bliss, let me tell you! I can’t let go and just be. Thoughts thunder around my mind like a bunch of unruly buffalo, I can’t get comfortable and try as I might the mind, body and soul union will not unite. Continue Reading →

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Spiritual or Religious?

Oh-Oh! Here’s a touchy subject!

I have always been pretty open when it comes to my beliefs. It’s pretty simple. Believe what you like, just don’t force it on others or harm anyone with it. I have friends and neighbours from nearly every walk of life and that is exactly the way I like it. I love diversity. I love learning new things. I love the freedom I have to live life, well, freely! Continue Reading →

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How to say “No.”

It is not easy. But a huge part of Self Care is being able to say “no”.

As little girls, we are taught to be polite. To come up with other answers. To skirt the issue. To internalize all the natural responses, feelings and truths. We need to be mindful of other people’s feelings. We need to consider all options. We must find a way to please the other person and keep the boundaries undefined instead of clear. Just in case.

“Are you enjoying school?” an auntie would ask. I would want say, “No. I hate it, actually. I suck at sports, I’m the last one picked for every team. I’m painfully shy. I don’t understand math. I’m the first one on the stupid bus and the last one off.”

This was not an acceptable answer. Continue Reading →

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Derailed

Sometimes you think you’ve got it all figured out. You think you might actually be that spiritual bohemian glamour girl you’ve pinned so many various images of on Pinterest. You think you’ve finally struck a balance, that you know how to manage it all and then with the addition of just one simple favour-one more ball to juggle- it all comes tumbling down. Continue Reading →

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Back to the Mat

Sometimes in life you just know when something is right for you.

That’s how I’ve always felt about yoga. I did yoga way before yoga was cool, trendy or mainstream. Before Lululemon launched a firestorm of yoga pants and controversy, before Bikrams was a thing, before there were as many yoga studios as Starbucks, hell, it’s possible I did yoga before Starbucks. I may be dating myself here, but my point is back in the day when I was very young I tuned into something ancient and I knew it was right (for me). Continue Reading →

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I’m such a Goddess!

And so are you… and you… and you.

The full moon has come and gone and almost every woman I’ve spoken to, not to mention a few tuned-in little girls, have had trouble sleeping this week. Specifically on Monday, which was the night of the full moon. Think back to Monday. How well did you sleep? Not great, I’m willing to bet. I’m also willing to bet this happens every month around the same time, if you were to pay attention. Continue Reading →

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My Christmas, freshly-cut

I love Christmas and the entire holiday season. But I don’t love the madness that can accompany it.

At the beginning of the season we, like most families, decorate our home. This is supposed to be a pleasurable experience shared by the whole family, right? Wrong. Somehow, it has turned into eighteen (EIGHTEEN!!) totes and boxes of ornaments, lights, decorations, dishes, towels, trains, florals and figurines. Continue Reading →

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