Its that time of year again when we can all start with a "clean slate". We wake up rejuvenated and full of hope and promise for the exciting year ahead. I have always used this time to create my "101 Goal List", a practice I learned from my best friends mom Nancy, back when I was a teenager. I take the time to make a list of the things I would like to accomplish, things I need to fix or buy, what financial goals I want to achieve, places I would like to go and things I want to do.
While creating my goal list, I always set my top goal for the year as well. For as long as I could remember, my top goal was always to lose weight and I would put exactly how many pounds I felt I needed to lose that year. I would see women that I perceived as beautiful and they were always skinny, I assumed that is how I needed to be in order to be happy with myself. Unfortunately, I never seemed to achieve the weight loss goal.
In the past couple of years, I have changed my top goal to "be healthy". To me, this means mentally, emotionally and physically healthy at any weight I happen to be at. Interestingly enough, as soon as I changed my mindset, I became the healthiest I have ever been.
A lot of us live our lives comparing ourselves to others and wanting to be something other than we are. The only thing we need to be is the very best version of ourselves and that makes us beautiful in our own, unique way!
So its the time of year where you can get your creative juices flowing. You are constantly expressing yourself, whether its in the gifts you buy or make for others, the cookies you bake, the people you gather with or the seasonal parties you attend or host.
I love Christmas time and everything it entails. The lights, the music, the sentiment of thinking of others and most of all, the cheesy Hallmark movies (yes I"m one of those!). Aside from all of that, I can express my creativity over and over by decorating my home. I absolutely love this and for those of you who are similar to me, you literally transform from season to season.
I saw this caption and it really resonated with me. How many times do people have amazing ideas that they leave unsaid because they are worried about what someone else would think about them or their idea. No ideas are bad ideas and brainstorming is how the truly phenomenal dreams take flight. So this holiday season, allow your ideas to flow without judgement or filter. Our entire universe was created from single ideas.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to You and Yours!!
I am just returning from my yearly visit to Grail Springs and what an amazing experience once again. It always amazes me at the beginning, not knowing anyone and then finishing the week with new friends. What a group this year!
What I respect the most is when someone decides not to judge others and instead, work on themselves. A saying I use quite regularly is "judging yourself is taking the easy route, its working through it that makes you stronger." I met people who were coming in completely stressed out, feeling a little lost, being very self-critical and not knowing where to start. What I saw at the end was complete transformation- it was inspirational. To all of you (and you know who you are)....keep going! There is so much creativity, beauty and compassion in each of you- it was a true pleasure!
For years I have been told that in order to slow my mind down, I need to meditate. Sounds easy enough, right? I have tried sitting still in silence, listening to guided meditations and moving through yoga. Nope....nothing. I found I ended up putting so much pressure around what a "meditation practice" should look like that I was missing the entire point of why I was doing it in the first place. My amazing Reiki teacher talked to me about this one day and said that it doesn't need to be perfect. It can be anything that allows you to breathe and relax. Okay, there must be something I can do.
And then I found them- two things that work like magic for me! The first is colouring. I have written and shown some of my colouring projects in one of my earlier blogs and to this day, I still sit with a colouring book when I really need to relax and "zone out". Time passes when I am doing this and I find that I am no longer worrying about the tasks in my day or what I need to do next. I am able to just sit and be creative.
The second is walking in nature, and this is probably my favorite. I am typically walking with my dog Bo and nothing gets me out of my own head faster than being surrounded by nature. Something about the massive trees blowing in the wind, the long grass, the flowers and bushes, the animals running around and the amazing songs of the birds flying by. To add to all of those incredible sounds, I am usually talking out loud. Although I'm sure my neighbours think I'm a bit crazy (which I'm good with), this is my way of sorting out my thoughts while being completely calm.
When I saw this photo, it showed me without the use of any words, the kind of tranquility that is possible. The simple act of sitting in water, shutting our eyes and breathing is all we really need to do to find our own internal peace.
So, I'm about to do something I have never done before.....well, not exactly. I have talked for years. I have presented in a business atmosphere for approximately 25 years now and I have always loved doing that. But this is different. This is a topic and a path that I am so very passionate about, it is going to feel like a first for me!
On August 31st, I will be a vendor in the Ottawa Valley Wellness Show being held at the Renfrew Armouries. In addition to being a vendor that day, I will also be giving a talk called "My Self-Care Toolbox", to those who are interested in signing up. I am so excited to meet new people and share some of my learnings and stories with them. Through the years, I have worked with, mentored and established strong relationships with so many people (adults, teenagers and children), who have had issues or some adversity to overcome. We all go through struggles and hard times, however I wanted to concentrate on the positive: quick, simple, tools to help us get through those times. I'm typically a very private person and don't usually share too much, even with those closest to me, but something in me wants and needs to start making a difference. The sadness, hurt and anxiety is everywhere, and if I can help even one person learn to release in a healthy way, that means everything to me.
If you are in the Renfrew area on August 31st, I would love to meet you. Wish me luck!
As humans, judgement can be a very big part of our every day lives. I don't think we intentionally set out that way, but it happens a lot. We judge other people on how they look or dress, where they work, what their habits are and how they live their lives. At a higher level, we judge belief systems and other races. If all of that wasn't hard enough, we place judgement on ourselves so often that we may not even recognize when we are doing it.
Have you ever done something that you completely regret? Had an important meeting and completely messed up? Said no to a friend or family member but then "guilt-ed" yourself endlessly for days? We are human, so we have all been there. Even the most kind, compassionate and loving person can be awful to themselves at times.
One day I was at a reiki session with my teacher and she said something to me that shook me to the core. I was doubting and speaking negatively about myself without even noticing and she stopped me. She asked if I would ever speak in that way to a child or another person, which I answered- NO, of course not!! She said, "then what makes it okay to speak to yourself that way?". I don't think anything has ever resonated with me so much. If I can speak kindly to others, love animals with all my heart and do anything for friends and family, I am definitely capable of being kind to myself.
So today I would like you to look in the mirror, tell yourself how amazing you are, forgive the person that stares back at you and most importantly send them unconditional love. They also deserve your kindness.
I was recently travelling for work and was staying at a hotel for the night. I was getting hungry so I made my way down to the restaurant to have dinner. As I was waiting for the waiter to bring the menu, I was observing the other people around me. There were tables full of friends, families and co-workers, however I started to notice a trend. Every single table had at least one person who was on their phone. They were texting, scrolling through pictures, searching for information, but none of them were joining in on the conversation or paying attention to the people around them.
I understand that technology is a very big part of our lives and that it is important for us to keep moving forward, however I do sometimes wonder how much we are actually sacrificing because of it. Being on our phones has become a very unhealthy addiction and we are all guilty of it. Our face to face conversations are becoming limited and when they do happen we become distracted, wondering what messages or updates we may be missing out on.
As I was scrolling through Instagram one day (yes, I am guilty too), I found an amazing picture that summed it up for me. I can physically feel the complete chaos that surrounds this woman and the utter calm within her. My goal is to get to the point where I can forget my phone, look up and just enjoy!
I dare say that it is finally that time of year again! There is nothing better than waking up in the morning and hearing the sounds of birds singing their hearts out for us.
I am so blessed to live in the country which means some of my wake up calls are given by crows and ravens. Some people may think that the voice of these birds are very harsh, but I disagree. There is nothing that makes me smile more than hearing a crow or raven squawk. These birds actually identify with magic.
One day while arriving at work, I was getting out of my car and a very large crow was up above in a tree. He appeared to be yelling at me and would not stop until I looked up. I said "good morning" but went about my business as I had no idea what he was trying to tell me. I locked up my car, walked around to the entrance of our building and into my office. I took off my coat and was just about to get comfortable when I realized I had left my phone in the car. I laughed because I finally realized what the crow was trying to tell me. I made my way back outside and was pretty sure he would be there to say "I told you so".
When is the last time you looked up and expressed your gratitude for these amazing friends of ours?
Taking the time to be in silence is one of the most basic and important needs of our human experience. Reality and daily life is so busy, it can literally be all consuming. How many times have you run through your entire day only to realize at the end of it that you have no idea what you've accomplished or how you even got home?
Self-care is critical to our overall health and well-being. Contrary to what some people think or in some cases how they try to make you feel, taking care of YOU is not a selfish act. It is a very brave and pro-active one. If you allow yourself to become depleted, you will not have anything left to give. Silencing the "voice inside" will allow you to re-energize and fill yourself back up. It also helps your creativity and problem solving skills to flow with greater clarity.
Take a few minutes each day to look up at the sky, stare at the clouds, walk on the grass or just inhale deeply. Silence is indeed, golden.
Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up and have a sense that everything is going to go wrong? Your internal dialogue starts yapping on and on about how you have so much to do, not enough time to do it and that you won't do a good job anyway. Sometimes the conversations we have with ourselves can be the most negative and hurtful.
Animals live every minute of every day in the moment. You can leave your house for 5 minutes or 3 weeks, and they will react just as excited to see you every single time you walk in the door. They give you love unconditionally and effortlessly. Through their eyes, you are the most amazing, thoughtful and caring person alive.
As you go through your day, envision your animals looking up at you- I guarantee it will change the way you see yourself!