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Friday, November 2, 2012

Surrounded

Photo: NLOWE
Last night I went to the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE - www.nlowe.org) Awards Gala.  I saw people I hadn't seen in 2 1/2 years (since moving away to Singapore), people I met over the last year (since moving home from Singapore), and new friends and colleagues that I know I was meant to meet.  It was a powerful group of people.  Success surrounded me.

Today I had lunch with two spectacular women.  One I met through work but has become a friend over the years.  The other I met through work as well and we're becoming fast friends.  Success surrounded me again.

All of these women are talented, strong, powerful, inspirational, selfless, giving, and simply amazing.

What struck me last night at the Gala was how eloquent and humble the winners were.  These award winning women ranged from a Young Entrepreneur who has a successful and growing local business called Beautiful Rock (producing 100% natural bath, body and baby products) to the winner of the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award (who also won the Community Impact Award), who has been powerful and driven since her teen years and now owns restaurants and properties and gives back to the community through her commitment and involvement in numerous charities and non-profit organizations.  She brought a tear to my eye with her genuine gratitude towards her family, who anchor her, and her team.  In fact, I also got teary eyed when she warmly told her reason for being involved in one of her charities.

All of the winners had a vision and demonstrated true passion, knowledge, and commitment to their goals.  They are truly an inspiration to look towards when being an entrepreneur gets tough (and it does!).

I can't forget that our female Premier of our Province was the key note speaker... It's true, some thought her speech was too long... but she delivered it with passion from the core of her heart.  I think it's the most real I ever saw her speak.  I say, "Well Done!"  She's the Premier of our Province for crying out loud!!  Not many have the guts to take that on.

Oh and also, I sat at the remarkable women's table for sure!  (I'm sure every table was the same).  I was truly surrounded by visionaries serving the world through politics, business, and helping others.

Today's lunch had no awards, no keynote speaker, no fancy meal or networking event.  But it was just as powerful.  If you can imagine three women who all have the same passion about coaching others, building leaders, and the impact this has on society and in organizations at the same lunch table, with only two hours to 'fit it all in'.... then you have my lunch experience today.  These two women have families, amazing careers in multinational companies, traveling experiences, knowledge that they not only hold but want to share (yahoo for me!), and still act with grace, compassion, and authenticity.  They are remarkable beings with a humorous side.  We talked and listened and laughed and didn't even notice the time fly by.  I can't wait for our next lunch!

How on earth did I find such incredible people to surround me?  If I was my own coach, I'd probably ask me, "Why do you think these people are surrounding you?"  And then I'd say, "I attracted them into my world because it's where I am and want to be."

Thank-you to my amazing friends, old and new, and to NLOWE for creating this space for miracles.

Namaste

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Was... Were You?

Bullied.  I was bullied when I was in Grade 8.  I had a big Halloween party planned with all my friends.  We had our costumes made and big plans for a fabulous night.  The event was going to be the best event of the year.  Then I wrote a note in class saying one of the girls was an a**.  I don't remember why I wrote this.  I was not the type to do so.  I was actually a pretty popular girl now that I look back.  And I was friends with everyone, popular, not popular, jocks, musicians.  But we all said things about each other and wrote notes in class.  That was probably the worst note I ever wrote.  But she found it.

She and the whole group confronted me that day.  Everyone was full of hatred.  The next day, one of the girls threw my Halloween costume in my face (her mom had made it).  The days and weeks that followed were almost impossible for me as a 13 year old girl.  One of my best friends planned a Halloween party and invited all the same people.  There was name calling.  Ignoring.  Threats to beat me up.  Nasty phone calls.  It was a difficult time... not only for me, but for my parents.

One day after school a group of the people bullying me were calling me names and throwing snowballs at my Dad's car.  My Dad stopped the car suddenly and got out and asked them what they thought they were doing.  Throwing snowballs was dangerous.  They responded with, "She called so-and-so an a**."  My Dad essentially told them to get over it and grow up.  They are hurting people and could cause a lot more damage.

My Dad got back into the car and told me to never write another negative thing like that on paper.  I was pretty proud of my Dad that day:)

I also had a friend at that time who didn't go to my school.  She invited all of her friends to my Halloween party and it was the best party I ever had!  My parents went the extra mile and we had KFC and awesome music and a light show.... pretty amazing party back in the 80s.

And then there was another girl, a friend, who made it possible for me to enter the classroom each day.  She didn't follow the crowd.  She did her own thing.  She even came to my party and not the other girl's.  I knew that when everyone in the class was ganging up on me, she would be there on my side... not saying anything, but not bullying me either.

And those three things got me through.  Being an excellent student and being involved in extracurricular activities also helped.

So what does a teenager do when their parents may not be aware or available?  What if they don't have a friend outside the bullying crowd?  What if there isn't at least one person in their class that stands by them?  What if they don't have an escape to their extracurricular activities?  What if social media causes all of the 'outside school' friends to follow the bullying?

Amanda Todd "had nobody."  She cried out because she "needed someone."  It doesn't matter what she did.  It matters that she was troubled enough to ask for help and then commit suicide.  It matters that our systems in society didn't catch this in time.  It matters that she's not the only one to cry out for help and not get it.

The people that participated in bullying me grew up to be wonderful, beautiful people.  I'm friends with them today.  As teenagers, we're just learning how to behave, how to monitor our thoughts, how to choose what actions are worthwhile to take, where to place our energy... who we are.  We need guidance.  We need help.  We will face intimidation.  We will face animosity.  We will make mistakes.  (I still do!!!)

Parents  need to be aware and support their kids.  But they also need to help educate them to understand bullying... that the bullier has his or her own problems.  And here is where the bigger systems need to step in.  Parents need to be educated too.  Parents need to understand bullying.  Parents need to be able to recognize the signs.  Parents need to be conscious themselves and help raise the consciousness of their children.

This blog post is a cry out to parents and teachers and adults.... educate yourself.  Join the Conscious Parenting Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Consciousparentingnow).  Google 'conscious parenting' and read about it.  Learn about how to become a more conscious person and become that.  Your elevated awareness will have a ripple effect.  Your children and the children around you will become more conscious.  We have to start somewhere and becoming a more aware, more educated person yourself is a good place to start.

Namaste

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Smokin' Drivin' & Havin' a Chat

I was driving my daughter to daycare the other morning and stopped in a line of traffic.  I happened to look in my rear view mirror and the driver was talking on the cell phone.  Worse.... the driver was also smoking!  While driving!  Seriously.  Smoking while driving!  How can one multi-task so much?

Well, the answer is this.  She's a woman.  Not that men don't multi-task... not going there.  But I've spoken to so many women who manage being everything to everyone and still have great hair.  How on earth do they find the time to do their hair??

My last blog talked about discipline.  I'm still working on it.  And while I'm getting more disciplined, I'm getting more done... and my to-do list gets longer!  Because I'm more productive and disciplined, I guess I feel I can take on more.  So I took on two courses and decided to stop waiting around for that perfect job.... and started my own business.  It's in development but I already have a small contract.

So these days I'm a mom to an 18 year old, a mommy to a 15 month old, a wife, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a friend, a chauffeur, a student, a business owner, a cleaner, a cook, a reader (I also joined a book club), a runner, a yogi, a writer...... it's exhausting.  I love every role I have.  I love my life.  But something's gotta give.  So cooking it is.  Oh yeah, and cleaning.

Welcome to my home.  It's messy, but my hair is clean.

Namaste

Friday, September 21, 2012

Discipline is Not a Dirty Word

As much as I create goals for myself and accomplish them, I struggle with being disciplined.  It's like I have a block.  So... in my quest for self-mastery, last month I decided I was going to focus on improving my discipline.  It's no longer a dirty word (if you know me professionally, you know how I do not like the word 'discipline' for managing performance:).

I chose to be more disciplined with my running.  And guess what?  I managed to increase my frequency and endurance from a weekly 10-12k to 2-3 runs per week and a 20k!  Success due to INTENT!  This weekend I'll run a 1/2 marathon.  My first.  Interestingly, though, that's not my goal... my goal is to run a 20k, very hilly race in October.  It's more difficult than the 21.1k half marathon I'll run this coming Sunday.  And so, my discipline must continue.  I can't let it go after Sunday's race, which is so typical of me.

Discipline.  I struggle with it.  I just ate chips for my morning snack!  So now that I got my running kinda sorta under control.... kinda.... sorta.... I want to become more disciplined with my meals.  I skipped breakfast for many years.  Yep... I'm the one that worked through lunch too... maybe grabbing a banana and eating it at my desk.... oh and coffee... lots of coffee.  And then while preparing supper, I ate everything in sight... that is if I managed to get home in time to prepare supper.  My daughter was at the dance studio all the time so I just worked in a coffee shop while she danced... and I drank more coffee.  Then we'd have late supper and probably get take out.  Amazingly, I studied Dietetics and KNOW how bad these habits are.

For the past two years, I've been working on preparing meals.  Yep.  Two years.  And I just ate chips at 11 a.m.!  Yes.... discipline.  That's how it goes, hey?  I once read that self-discipline is like training a muscle.  Train it and it becomes stronger.  Don't train it and it weakens.  I guess I started with a very, very weak meal preparation muscle (hard to believe this, but I'm actually a good cook).

I used to beat myself up that I wasn't self-disciplined.  As a child, teen, and young adult, I was lucky enough that things often came easily to me... I received good grades with minimal effort.  I was blessed with a fairly good metabolism so could indulge and not gain weight (not so now!).  I learned new things quickly.  I increased athletic ability fast.  I was labeled a 'natural' in my musical talent.  I was the youngest in my class to be selected for ballet exams.  I didn't have to work really hard to get what I wanted.  But not exercising my discipline meant it weakened.  My talents and abilities did not grow.  And the beating up began.  For years.  But that's over now.  Phew!  And so is not having to work hard to get what I want.

So I'm continuing to work on self-discipline with my running and meals.  And this month, I've also added another item to my 'self-mastery' list: reduce or eliminate negative conversations.  It's amazing how one can be called a 'positive person' yet have so many negative conversations.......

Namaste

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Another Road

Ego:

I've been unemployed for 2 1/2 months in a so-called booming economy.  And it took a long time to get a job in Singapore.  And when I finally got a job, it was awful, really.  And when I got a job here in NL, I got laid off... and it wasn't doing what I wanted to do in the first place.  I've had a few interviews and I haven't secured a job.  I must not be employable.  I don't have anything to offer an organization.  I really wanted that job from the last interview..... what will I do?????  I can't get a job I want.  I can't even seem to get a job I don't want.  I need to make an income.  But my soul will wither if I don't enjoy my work.

Self:

I've had plenty of time to think about where I want to be in my career.  Funnily, all that time has made me realize I was heading in the wrong direction.  The last interview I had was for a job I really wanted.... and the interviewer told me I was a great match, but the person who got the job had education in a specialized area that I didn't have.  I do have the practical experience... and lots of education.... it shouldn't take too much to get up to speed.  I have a goal..... here I come!  Who knows where this will lead!

This is the conversation in my head these days.  It's more focused on the one from 'self'.... but I can't deny that the one from 'ego' creeps in at times.  It's true, though.  I'm unemployed and jobs that are a match for me where I live are scarce.  But in looking for work, I have narrowed down what I want to be when I grow up!  Funny how that is, hey?

My 18 year old started university this week.  And, it looks like I might be doing the same in the near future.  Again.  For the fourth time (already have two degrees and 3/4 of a third one).  I'm actually pretty pumped about figuring it all out.

So, here I am, beginning another career I guess.  But not really.  It's all related and my background is valuable for where I'm headed.... but it's still starting something new.  Without  my husband, it couldn't be.  Well, it could.  But it would take longer.  And it would be a much bigger struggle (I know because I've done that before too).  I'm so grateful for him... for a variety of reasons, of course.  But I digress...

My search for where to go to school and what program and what format and how long has begun.  I'll dabble in some part-time writing and consulting, but unless the right job opportunity 1) crosses my path and 2) becomes mine, then it's school for me... as long as that ego doesn't get in my way!

Wow... who would have thought............... life is pretty amazing.  And how easily the ego can strip away our dreams....

Namaste

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Bride, The Groom, and The Missing Cake

I'm married!!!!!  And our wedding happened via a series of cancellations and serendipitous events.  It could not have been more perfect.

It all started eight months ago when we were venue shopping.  We decided on a location that was old and different and magnificent... but it needed a huge amount of decorating.  We would manage our own bar.  We would get the family to help decorate.  We'd hire caterers and have live bands play on stage..... it was dreamy.  A couple of weeks later we learned construction would be taking place at that location at the time of the wedding!  Eeeep!

And there it all began.

We called a venue we thought would be nice.  Apparently, it's not so easy to book venues for weddings seven months before your wedding.  Who knew?  They had just had a cancellation on the date we wanted it.  Phew!  It turns out that venue was MUCH LESS work.  A couple of hours of family helping out and that was it.  Definitely less stress than our first choice.

Actually, it began earlier than the venue.... it began with the dress.  I took my daughter prom dress shopping in Halifax.  She and my best friend begged me to go into a bridal gown shop.... I finally agreed and did not like one dress in the entire shop.  But I humored them and tried on a few.  At about the fifth dress, I found it!  It was perfect.  And it was on sale!  Like... really, really on sale!  Woohoooooo!!!!!

As we planned the wedding bit by bit, things were falling into place but some things weren't as fast as others.  About three weeks before the wedding, we had no photographer.  So I searched online and found one that I liked.  I emailed him with the wrong date.  He said he was available.  HOWEVER, when we realized the date had been wrong, he said he WAS NOT available that date..... BUT, he just had a cancellation and could then be available!  I kid you not!  A week before the wedding, my cousin asks who's doing my photography.  My response.... "Some guy..... I think his name is Nate Gates."  Her response.... "WHAT?  NATE GATES?!  He is THE wedding photographer!  People plan their weddings around him!"  Who knew?!?!

So then there was the room.  I booked a large room... a suite... for the guys to get ready in and then we'd stay there that night.  They wouldn't let us reserve an early check-in until a couple of days before the wedding so we weren't even sure it would be available for the guys.  It turns out the early check-in was fine... AND we got an upgrade!  Big huge room with a Jacuzzi (which we were too tired to use), a view of the St. John's narrows, and free breakfast (which we missed due to getting up too late:)!

Oh... then there was the make-up.  My daughter and I were going to get our make-up done.  But I booked it too late, of course, and the salon was completely booked that day.  We then decided my daughter would do my make-up, and honestly, it's the best make-up job anyone could have done.  She was awesome!  And it was special to have her do my make-up on my wedding day.

It didn't end there.  The people who had a wedding at our venue the night before us left their vases of flowers, which were absolutely gorgeous.... and we used them!  We didn't have video planned and my brother got the ceremony on video.  My mom was late for her hair appointment and her hair dresser couldn't take her.  She got in with someone else because they just had a cancellation!  We forgot to arrange a receiving line, and at the last minute, at the end of the ceremony, the officiator asked if we wanted to do it then and there.  That went smoothly and perfectly.  It was supposed to rain.... but it didn't....well, it sprinkled a little but not much... and the overcast day was perfect photography weather.  Everything that could have been perceived at a dilemma was made better.

Of course, you can't have a wedding without a few mishaps.

When we arrived in our hotel room and we were about to crash.... I realized something.... I had no overnight bag.  No clothes.  No shoes.  No cleaning supplies.  No MAKE-UP REMOVER!  What is a bride to do???  Well... wash her face with soap (that was the worst part) and wear her new husband's clothes the next day, of course!  Because I had to wear Terry's flip flops...which were way too big but the clothes almost fit.... Terry had to wear a spare pair of shoes he had tucked away in his bag.  He hadn't worn them in a while.... and he found a head lamp we'd lost and had been looking for since last year!!!  Serious.

On our way home after our wedding bliss, we stopped into our venue to pick up a few supplies we'd left there the night before.  And this one takes the cake......

We packed our things into our car.  We had an amazing three layer cake.... of which two layers were returned to us.  A cake was missing!  Through the rigs and the reels, it was concluded that someone must have stolen the cake.  That was not all.  A big bag of candy was also missing!  We have yet to see any of it.

And the moral of all this is this...

We are happy.  No missing cake could ever change how happy we are.  We have made a beautiful step in our relationship and are grateful for wonderful friends and family with whom we celebrated.  And if someone had a sweet tooth big enough to take a cake and a bag of candy, they should be the one who eats it.  (We still have cake.... and we are going to eat it too!)

Namaste



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Race for....

There is a 10-mile running race in St. John's, NL, called the Tely 10.  It started in 1922.  It's one of the oldest races in North America and has grown from around a dozen participants to nearly 3000 last year.  I've run the race three times and am training for my fourth.

Training.  Ha!  So I've dabbled in running since I was 18, never quite making it to an official 'runner'.  In my 20s, I could run fast.  Now, I'm very slow, but manage longer distances.... sometimes.  I haven't run over 10k in over two years.  Yesterday, I ran 11k.  It felt great, and I still have 5k left to go.  I started my 'training' a little over a week ago, running a mere 7.5k and wondering how on earth I was going to ramp it up to 16k in 4 weeks.

Well, I found the answer.

Yes, you have to get the miles in.  Yes, you have to be consistent.  Yes, you need to push yourself. You need to commit.  But underneath all of this is motivation.  Some people are motivated by getting more fit.  Some are motivated by competition - getting faster, winning the race, beating their spouse.  For me, these are short-term motivators.  I have a marathon on my vision board, but I need that underlying motivation.

Yesterday, as I ran, I passed a little girl who was walking with a lady that was likely her mom.  She was around 7 years old.  She wore a pretty floral baseball cap over her bald head.  When I passed, I glanced at her (which I rarely do when I'm running) and her eyes were sunken with dark circles... but a light shone from them because she was obviously happy to be outside in the sun walking with her mom and enjoying the simplicity and beauty of life.  She looked like a chemo patient.  And I thought about how lucky I am to have my health and the ability to run.  So many people around me have the dreaded C disease or other ailments.  I felt a surge of power and inspiration from this little girl who probably hardly noticed me pass.  And I somehow ran past the 60 minute mark... past the 10k mark.... making it home feeling good.

I'm not saying my heart didn't pound at times, my muscles didn't burn, and it wasn't hard.  It will be tough for me to run 16k in a couple of weeks.  But I have my motivation.  My health.  My ability.  My life.  My family.  That little girl.

Namaste


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Living Your Moksha

I recently participated in Living Your Moksha - a 7-week on and off the yoga mat challenge that follows the 7 pillars of moksha yoga http://mokshayoga.ca/livingyourmoksha/.  Every week you receive emails and Facebook updates and inspirations to help you on your journey.  Each participant donates $10, which goes towards Free The Children  http://www.freethechildren.com/, and the movement raised almost $100,000 - enough to build 7 schools in 7 countries!

I started a week late.  I admit it was tough to do with starting a new job, the baby 10-12 months old during the challenge, my teen graduating from highschool, and my mother-in-law (soon-to-be) sick.  But everyone has 'stuff' in their life so I decided to attempt it anyway.

I had limited success... or at least that was my original thought.

Week 1: Be Healthy

Sounds easy.  Not.  This challenge meant no processed foods, yoga everyday, and remove all toxins in your home.  How did I fare?   Well, cut me some slack... I did week 1 and week 2 at the same time because I started late.  However, I probably fared 3/10 on the processed foods that week (probably worse than normal!) and 2/7 on the yoga everyday - which given my life at the moment, I was OK with.  I chose not to remove the toxins from my home... this meant throwing away all of the cleaning supplies and replacing with natural products.  Given one of the pillars is Live Green, I decided to use the products I currently have and work harder at purchasing more green cleaning products as they run out... which I've been doing.  I can't bring myself to use vinegar and water to clean... I used that mix at KFC when I worked there in 1986 and I have too many memories.....

I beat myself up over my seemingly inability to commit to no processed foods.  Many years ago I studied dietetics and was a bit of a health nut... hence, being unsuccessful with this really drove me insane.  One of the reasons I say above to 'cut me some slack' is because I know I have to do that for myself.

Week 2: Be Accessible

This is about active listening and reflecting at the end of each day by writing in a journal.  I was incredibly conscious of my listening skills that week!  I made extra efforts to be present and really listen to my daughter, partner, parents, friends, and strangers (one that I don't always put so much effort into).  I found it quite empowering actually.  I didn't reflect at the end of each day so much.... I usually plop into bed and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow - I do have a 12 month old you know!  But I did mentally assess how I was doing.

I felt good after week 2.  In fact, while attempting to listen more, I also found myself being available more.  I made extra efforts to visit my parents.  Consciously being accessible made me less self-absorbed.  It was an excellent lesson.... and I try to go back to that week now when I'm feeling overwhelmed... which is often a result of thinking about myself too much.

Week 3: Live Green

Green your plate.  Eat only vegetarian or vegan and only locally produced food.  Reduce your waste to zero for seven days.  Soooo..... I ate vegetarian at least twice a day and sometimes more.  Finding things to cook and having the ingredients on hand was a pain.  We also tried to reduce waste as much as possible.  I can't say I get a 10/10 on this.  But we're all more conscious of waste and living green and we're making baby steps towards a greener life.

What I liked about this challenge was that I got the whole family involved.  And by week 3, I realized that it was OK not to get 10/10... it was about progressing through the baby steps... not so different from anything in life.  I also found myself reading more about the environment during this week.  So it wasn't all about being vegetarian.  Not for me anyway.  I realized I need to plan my life a bit more.  Oh, I know... plan my life.... I'm a spur of the moment, spontaneous kind of girl!  But I need more structure in order to have more freedom.  And this week taught me that.

Week 4: Sangha Support

The challenge was to commit one or more acts of kindness each day.  You could also bring a friend to yoga for free to share the benefits of yoga.  I brought my daughter to yoga that week.  She loved it!  She'd done yoga in Singapore and thought it was nuts.... I believe she did Kundalini yoga.  But doing Ashtanga yoga was something she could better relate to and enjoy.  I loved sharing my passion with my daughter AND having her love it too!

Now, the acts of kindness I completed were not anything special.  I found myself letting people turn in traffic and leaving my change for the clerk more than normal.  I realized I was not so bad in the kindness area.... but could improve on it for sure.  There's a fantastic list of 29 ideas for random acts of kindness here http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/29-ways-to-carry-out-random-acts-of-kindness-every-day.html.  I have to admit that I do some of them and it feels fantabulous!!!   Since this week I have caught myself in situations to be kind and acting differently because I'm more aware of it.

Week 5: Outreach

Volunteer one hour of your time this week.  OK, so I didn't do this.  I scored 0/10!  I guess it just needs to be the right time in your life.  I did think about it, though.... and I even asked a question about volunteering for something.  Let's just say it got me thinking.  I have volunteered for many things in the past, but I haven't committed long-term to anything I'm really passionate about.  So... I thought.

Part of the learning this week was how do I serve others (karma yoga)?  I realized that I spend a chunk of my time every week reaching out to friends.  I give advice and guidance and I lend a shoulder and an ear.  I've always done this and I love doing it.  I like being able to be responsive to the people in my life.  I don't want to give that up.  I'm still thinking about how I can add a more structured volunteer activity.  I'm not sure I need to at this point.  I would not want to reduce my presence in my loved ones' lives... unless they wanted that of course!  There are days!  :)

Week 6: Live to Learn

Read 30 minutes a day and 2 hours on the weekend.  Go for a walk every day with an undetermined destination and observe nature.  I'm trying to recall that week.... oh yeah.... busy, busy, busy.  That was the week my baby was brought to the doc twice and the hospital once and we learned she had pneumonia.  I probably didn't do so well with the challenge that week.  But I do this stuff.  Frequently.  I have been challenged with fitting it all in, but I do read and observe nature.

I would like to take on this challenge again.  What I DID learn was to listen... and I thought I was such a good listener!!!  Terry wanted to bring the baby to the doc earlier and I didn't.  My first daughter and I don't really get sick... hardly ever... and she was a very healthy baby... almost never sick.  So I want my second daughter to be the same.  My learning.... she's not my first child.  When she's sick... we need to accept that and deal with it.  I found this very challenging at work because I had to leave work a lot that week.  I still struggle with the whole work-life balance thing.....

Week 7: Be Peace

Practice one hour of silence every day.  Oh how I love this!  I love having silence every day.  I am more balanced and feel healthier when I do it.  I was not good with it that week though.  I don't have an excuse... not that any above reasons are excuses:)  I just didn't do it.  I tried a couple of times and fell asleep.

And that was the end.  But not really - not even close!  I'm more aware of where I need to put my energy.  I'm more in love with yoga.  And I contributed towards 7 schools being built in 7 countries that need them.  Moksha means freedom.  Having completed this challenge, I feel even more free to be me and also to strengthen parts of me.

Namaste


Monday, June 11, 2012

Little Hands

Babies hands are so little.  Yet they can lift so much.

Last week was a tough one for Terry's family.  One of my earlier posts, Here's Mud In Your Eye, disclosed that Terry's mom has cancer.  She's been fighting it since last summer.  First a surgery.  Then chemo.  An infection.  More chemo.  Sickness.  Loss of appetite.  Weak legs.  Weight loss.  Weight gain!    Appetite back!  Feeling good.  Getting out.  Weight loss again.  Dehydration.  A few overnights in the hospital.  And then last week, she was so sick that we wondered what's next - if anything.  After a diagnosis of thrush and treatment thereof, she is improving.  Slightly each day.  Everyone is relieved.  And although there are many unknowns, we all know what's in store.

The whole family was called and we were all in Central Newfoundland this weekend.  Everyone's emotions and stress levels are high.  Everyone wants the best care for their mom.  And nobody has the answers everyone wants.  But when our baby enters the room, all attention is switched from the heaviness of the situation to the beautiful lightness of baby giggles, first steps (Yes!  First steps last week!), and bright, curious eyes.  Our little girl lifted everyone's spirits and gave the minds in the room a rest.  And Nanny's face smiled.

The next few months will be difficult.  What comes after that is unknown.  But our baby's little hands will be there to lift us all when we need it.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do You Hear Me Calling?


Last week I went to The Dance Centre's end of the year recital - On With The Show.  My daughter danced there for 11 years, after a year of dance in Halifax.  When we moved to Singapore, she danced a little bit, but nothing compared to her dedicated past 12 years of practice.

This year, she started back at The Dance Centre with fewer classes than her previous seven or eight per week but a fire in her soul.  Within three months, she quit.  Sadness followed.  Maybe more for me than her.  Slowly, I accepted that my daughter was not dancing even though I KNEW it was her passion.

I was so knowing, you see, because I did the same thing at about the same age.  I didn't go to a dance concert for years following my departure from my passion.  It plucked my soul strings too hard - it hurt.  So when my wise daughter asked me to go to the dance concert with her, I was a little shocked.  I figured she'd follow the same path I did... waiting years to return to dance.... then not having the same skills and struggling through the acceptance that you're not really a very good dancer anymore.

No.  She went to the show - twice.  She thoroughly enjoyed it.  And she figured out her lesson.

My daughter was one of the top dancers in her class and her school.  She was the youngest assistant teacher they had up to that point.  She completed seven ballet exams and was on her eighth when we left the country for adventure.  She danced as many forms of dance as were offered.  She bowed with her fellow beautiful and talented dancers and teachers at the end of each show she and they performed.  She received flowers from the studio and hugs from her little ones she helped teach.  She dedicated herself to practicing hard.  When not at the studio, she flitted around the house with joy.  She made her mother proud and she filled her soul.  So the day she told me she was leaving dance, I was shocked.

At the show last week, I was wiping tears... for two reasons: 1) because my daughter was grown up and had worked so hard at this passion and then left it; and 2) because I also did not have dance in my life at this time.  As we walked to the car flowerless and costumeless, I asked my daughter if there were no constraints would she dance again.  Yes.  Absolutely.  And here's the lesson.

My wise child tells me that she realizes she left dance because she wasn't one of the best in the class anymore.  She lost some skills while her fellow dancers continued to grow theirs.  She was a little embarrassed maybe... a little proud... a lot disappointed.  BUT.... she has a plan and dance will be in her life again.

My grown up daughter has the same calling as me.  It's not too late for me to fill my soul with dance again.  But, I have so many things in my life that a dedication to dance isn't quite in the cards right now.  For my daughter, she has learned her lesson much earlier than me.

When you hear your calling, your soul would really appreciate it if you listened.

Namaste

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Eye Nose... Eye Nose... Face It Tina... Face It

I had a wonderful friend when I was a teenager who used to say this... "Eye knows, eye knows, face it Tina, face it!"  And now I'm hearing it again.... but from a different source.

Searching for a job can be fun.  It can also be exasperating.  And demotivating.  And frustrating.  And exhausting.

I admit I was very selective in my search.  I applied for maybe 10 jobs since last Fall.  I had three interviews.  I got none of those jobs.  I was applying for positions that I had the qualifications for... I was ready for.  But, indeed, most of them were something different for me...a bit of a leap... a challenge.  I was so ready to take it on!  More responsibility.  Learning new ways of doing things.  A new, less flexible maybe, environment.  A step towards being CEO by the time I'm 50!  Yeah, yeah... I've written it down.

With each job application, I got excited writing my cover letter.  Oh yeah, baby, this is the job for me!  A perfect fit!  I'm envisioning working in this organization.  I got this!

You may see a trend with some of my posts... I get excited about things and confident they are going to happen if I believe it.  But it doesn't always work out that way.

Some greater force got in the way.  An opportunity came to me.  I did not seek it out but I could not say no.  I am working with a small engineering telecommunications company - a boutique - as their Head of Human Resources and Organizational Development.  It sounds grand.... and it is... in this case it means I have to create that whole 'department'.  The company is in a growth stage and has limited HR programming or processes.  It's a side step for me.  BUT... it's flexible.  I get to continue to write.  I get to spend time with my baby.  I can create what I want.  I have a blank slate!  I even still have a bit of time for a bit of consulting work.

My search with the large, more complex, more structured organizations did not work out for me at this time.  I started work last week and it feels so natural.  I like it.  It really is a perfect fit for me right now.

"Eye knows, eye knows, face it, Tina, face it." ~ The Universe


Saturday, April 28, 2012

From One Amazing Mom to A Whole Bunch of Others

Today I met up with another 40-something mom  to walk, talk and play (something like stop, drop and roll).  We talked mommy-doms for almost two hours.  This woman is a first time mom in her 40s.  She's a career woman... back to work.  Her little one is super sweet.  She has the same sense of humor she had when she was 20 (we went to school together).  And she's throwing two wonderfully simple birthday parties for her daughter in consideration of differing family needs.  That's one amazing mom.

I have met a few other moms over the past eight months since I've moved home.  One has the absolute cutest baby who was in the top 10 for cutest babies recently.  She is super organized.... like the kind of person that has Christmas completely ready on December 1st (and I swear she did!).  She brings her boy to swimming and the gym and play groups and the great outdoors.  She always has progress photos posted on Facebook for family to see.  She's one amazing mom.

Another mom has managed to use reusable diapers.  She and her baby were stars last week in our local Our Greener Future series (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib3ggCCNnhA&feature=share).  She's an amazing mom for sure.  I mean, I use local veggies as much as possible and make my own baby food from scratch.... and although I had attempted to use reusable diapers with my first child.... I will admit, I did not even try to use them with the second.

There's another mom too... she's got this uncanny wit and sense of humor that she brings to her blog (A Guide to Surviving Surprise Parenthood http://survivingsurpriseparenthood.blogspot.ca/).  She makes me laugh out loud.  She takes her baby to the museum and the gym and she manages to get spin classes in every week.  She often has play dates arranged.  She also manages to socialize and travel like a 20-something year old since she still is one.  She's one amazing mom.

Speaking of bloggers... my cousin just won an award for one of the top 10 best mommy blogs in Canada (Curtains Are Open http://curtainsareopen.blogspot.ca/2012/04/what-happens-in-meatlocker.html).  She is a single mom of three kids aged 11-20 who has returned to school full-time.  Need I say more?  She's one amazing mom.

Last week my 18 year old had her prom.  I have wonderfully beautiful mama friends who have stuck it out with me since Kindergarten.  We shared stories and tears last week as we watched our grown up girls with complete pride.  These women have gone through divorces, been single moms, raised the most spectacular kids, had incredible careers, maintained their health, and maintained our friendships.  These women are powerful.  They are amazing moms.

There are so many amazing moms in my life (not to mention my own mom!).  No matter what they are doing, they are so full of love for their kids and an inspiration for me.

When I don't find time for a shower, or I'm too tired to sing songs to my baby, or I can't focus on all the great news my 18 year old is telling me, or I go a whole week without running or walking while pushing the baby in a stroller, or I have frozen pizza for supper (this list is endless)... I don't feel so amazing.  Then I remind myself that my 18  year old is loving, respectful, and considerate and really must have the highest EQ of anyone I know.  And I remember how I raised her on my own (with help from my folks!) for 15 years.  And I am now managing a baby, a teen, a new house, an international move, a beautiful relationship and friendships, while also planning a wedding, and starting a new job... and I'm not going insane!

Then I get my mo-jo back and manage to get a shower.

Seriously though.  Thank-you to all you amazing moms.  You inspire me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Frog Splat

Have you tried the Bakasana?  Or Crane Pose?  Or, if you're me, you call it the Froggie Pose.  Yes, it's a yoga pose.

Hot yoga class the other night was incredible.  I was on a yoga high for hours afterwards.  I swear, I glowed.  Well, in my head anyway.  I did not fall out of my tree once.  My back bends were deeper than in the past (since my neck issues).  AND.... I did the froggie pose... a.k.a. bakasana.  It's an arm balancing pose, which I had no problem with as a teenager.  But as an adult with two kids, a changing body, and weakening wrists, it's more challenging.

Anyway, I made my way into this arm balancing pose.... the girl on my left struggled and couldn't find her balance... the girl on the right took a rest.  (I know!  No comparing to the others, but that's difficult when they are in your peripheral vision!)  But me?  No, no, no... I got into the pose.  True, I hesitated.  But I was balanced.  I was strong!  I was powerful!  I was not falling.  I could do anything!  Where did all this strength come from?  I'm amazing!  I am woman, hear me ROAR!  SPLAT!  Face plant.... or frog splat.  Yes, even the instructor had to ask if I was OK.

After a twinge of embarrassment, I felt a sense of accomplishment.  Even though I splat.  I splat because I pushed myself past my comfort zone.  And I was better off for it.

I'm taking this to my career search.  I'm talking myself through my fears of leaping into a more challenging role.  When I don't get that second interview, I tell myself it's just a frog splat. It's not about being at the top.... it's about growing to a higher peak... and trying not to frog splat, but when I do, I'll recover and be stronger for it.

In case I am not clear... I'm seriously seeking employment.  I'm being selective.  I have my mind set on a particular experience.  I have written it down.  And I'm working on attracting it.  I feel powerful.  And, yes, I have frog splat days.

Namaste

Monday, March 12, 2012

Feverish Ride

I was patient when we visited Japan last year.  I was pregnant so I couldn't go on any rides at Universal Studios.  We skipped snowboarding/skiing all together because that would just be mean.  When we booked our tickets to New Hampshire, I was pumped!  I could not wait to strap on my board and shred the hill!  (I got that word - shred - from my teen)

Last Saturday, we excitedly left St. John's for Montreal and spent a great night and day exploring the city.  I was itching to get on the hills.  We drove to New Hampshire Sunday evening and arrived in the snowy town of Bartlett surrounded by ski hills in time for a couple of relaxing beer with some family.  I was finally going to be swooshing down the hills after a two year wait the next morning.

Monday morning I woke with a stuffed head.  I was a bit feverish but that wasn't stopping me.  Terry and I would have to take turns on the hill while the other stayed with the babe.  My teen and I were going first!  On with the gear.  To the slopes.  Up the lift.  Ahhhhhhhhh..... the ride.... my board cutting the snow... the wind brushing my face.... plop.

My legs were wobbly.  My head was heavy.  My eyes were watery.  My nose was runny.  I had the chills and the sweats at the same time.  And it made me fall down a few times.  The ride was not what I'd been dreaming about for two years.

I got through the morning.  Yeah.  Got through!  No shredding.  No big exuberant yeehaws.  No squeals of delight.  I was sick.

The next day is a blur.  Relatives took the baby.  Terry and my teen went to the hill.  And I shivered and sweat the day away in bed.

By the third day, I was on the mend.  Terry and my teen were off to the hill while I prepared myself and the baby.  I was dizzy but was doing this.  I made it to the hill.  It was a different hill and the trails were loooooonnnng.  After the first ride, I needed a break!  The second ride was fabulous.  Best ride I had all week.  Another break.  I hit my head on the third ride.  But it was a good one.  After that I was done.  I had no energy and the fever lingered.

That night I lay awake, dizzy with a headache the entire night.  The baby started waking around 4 a.m. and was up for the remainder of the night.  By 8 a.m. I was asleep.  There was no way I was making it to the hill on our final day.  Terry (he was sick too), my teen, the relatives, the friends visiting for a couple of days.... they all went to the hill.  I sulked at home with the baby.

I struggled through the week.  I had to work hard to listen to my body.  I desperately wanted to be on the hills.  After my fever broke and I started feeling better, I was mad at myself for not pushing to get on the hills.  But that was crazy.  I surrendered when I had to.  It was still a great week.  My daughter had a ball.  We saw family.  I met some of Terry's old friends.  We had a great time in Montreal.  I simply got sick and couldn't snowboard for four days straight.

I'm working on what my lesson is with all this.  My desire to get on that hill was so strong and I am so disappointed.  Maybe that's my lesson.  Maybe I'm too attached to my desire to snowboard.  So I'm letting go.....

Namaste

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hot Mama has a Sweet Life

Have you tried hot yoga yet?  I've been talking about doing it for three years.  Last Friday night, my cousin, Aunt, and I sweat every ounce of water out of our bodies while we stretched our minds and muscles as far as they could go... at hot yoga!  Three hot mamas, and hot we were.

This class was probably one of the most rejuvenating classes I've ever attended.  And it was packed!  I was the 59th person of 60 participants.  I have gone to overlapping mat yoga classes before and, frankly, did not enjoy them.  I like my space... I like the mind and soul part of yoga as much as the body part.  However, last Friday night I didn't pay any attention to those around me as sweat dripped onto my mat while my head hung low in downward facing dog (OK let's be honest, who wouldn't notice that really fit woman who could turn her body into a pretzel?).  The room was quiet space anyway.  There was absolutely no talking for 90 minutes during sweat time.  It was purely invigorating.

After class I had an epsom salt bath.  Yes.  That's right, I have an eight month old and went to yoga AND had a bath all in one night!  It was Daddy time:)  As I relaxed my muscles, making sure the epsom salts reached my inflamed neck muscles (always), I closed my eyes and listened to a meditation podcast. I'm not kidding.  I was really taking advantage of hot mama time!  It was the sweet after the sweat.  And I'm also not kidding when I say my face was all shiny and bright and my energy was high even though it was the end of the week.

With all this mind clearing, I could focus again... get stuff done - and I have a huge list for someone that doesn't currently 'work' outside the home.  Interestingly, a yoga pose I have trouble with is one many people have trouble with, often getting nauseous or dizzy when doing it.  In hot yoga class while doing this pose, I, however, lost my hearing!  I have not attempted this pose in years because I injured myself and completely broke down last time I did it.  As my hearing briefly disappeared, I could barely hear the instructor continue to softly talk us through our feelings.... telling us to just be with whatever comes up... don't beat ourselves up... take a break if we need to.... I relaxed and breathed and my hearing returned - only to leave me thinking.... I have to listen more.

That's my lesson.  I have to listen more.  Listen to others.  Listen to my body.  Listen to the universe.  So when my bootcamp instructor challenged us to cut out sugar for a week, I listened.  I never listen to these things..... but I have a bad neck, a muffin top, and weakening knees and reducing sugar could be so good for all these things.  It's time to listen.

You know... life is very sweet without the sugar.

Namaste

Friday, February 17, 2012

Know Your Tell

I just read on Facebook, "If plan A didn't work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.  Stay cool."

I'm on to Plan B (it's actually probably Plan G or H).  For my wedding that is.  Our venue was confirmed but there will be renovations going on at the time of our wedding... so it's now out.  On to plan B to find another venue.  And I'm staying cool.  I feel pretty non-bridezilla actually.  I never thought of myself as a bridezilla type anyway.  The wedding is about the love and commitment we are sharing.  Everyone will have fun no matter where we are.

When I got the news initially, though, my chest constricted, my thoughts started going a mile a minute, and I started with my defenses.   What if I can't find another venue?  What if I have to change the date and some people already have their air tickets booked?  What if I can't afford the next venue?  What if... what if....??  Ahhh.... the what if dilemma!  Worrying about something that isn't yet and probably won't be.  I remember when I read Wayne Dyer's book "Your Erroneous Zones" and felt freed from worry (sort of) when he described all this nonsense about worrying about things that have not happened.  That was a long time ago... so thank-you, Wayne!

What was interesting about all this is my 'tell'.  Yes, I spelled that correctly.  I attended a leadership webinar yesterday, and it was a great review of things.  But I learned something new!  I learned that I do not know my 'tell'.  Your tell is your outward sign of you getting defensive or angry.  Often others see it before you do, and they will know you're angry before you know yourself.  So knowing your tell is pretty critical for having strong, positive relationships... and definitely for leading and managing.  I'm now aware that my chest constricts and my neck tightens.  Surely, I have other tells and I'm now on the lookout.  Planning a wedding is a great way to find them!

Namaste

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Presence for Presents

Yesterday was Valentine's Day.  A lot of people were lonelier than normal.  A lot of people were cynical.  And a lot of people celebrated their love for their loved ones.  I am thankful I'm one of the celebratory ones, but I was once lonely and cynical.

One year my best friend left a voice mail on my work phone singing "Happy f***ing valentine's to you" to the tune of Happy Birthday.  As hilarious as that was, we were both single and this was exactly how we felt at that time.  But... we did talk to each other and that was, as always, wonderful.

Another Valentine's day I was working into the night... single yet again... and a colleague and I decided to go to dinner.  We went to a fancy schmancy restaurant that was filled with loving couples staring into each other's eyes.  Roses and candles adorned the tables of two and there was a Valentine's special for dinner.  We made our cynical remarks and then had a fabulous dinner with great conversation.

I learned over the years that Valentine's isn't just for couples!  Yahoo for that!  Of course, I always treated my oldest daughter to treats on Valentine's day.  But I created a wall and didn't want any stereotypical Valentine's gifts, even if there was a man in the picture.  Yes, give me wine:)  And chocolate... but not the heart shaped box... I want the kind I like.  And yes, pick flowers and arrange them yourself and write your own poem and bake cookies from scratch... indeed all those things would have been wonderful.  But don't go to the supermarket and buy me flowers and a heart shaped box of chocolates!  And, so, I didn't get anything - even if there was a man.

Well, a few years ago I met Terry... my most amazing and wonderful Valentine.  Cynicism has gone out the window!  Our first year together he gave me a dozen colorful roses.  We were snowboarding in Corner Brook - I had work there, and he flew out of there for work in British Columbia.  He had them laid on the hotel room bed when I came back from my long couple of days managing a final retreat for a project I led.  My eyes lit up and I was sooooooooo happy to receive them!  Seriously.  And he likely picked them up at a supermarket along with the hundreds of other men.  I was totally ok with that.

Last year we were in Singapore.  He arrived home with a bunch of flowers for me, a bunch of flowers for  my daughter, and a bunch of our favorite foods to have for supper that night.  Perfect.  Time together.

This year, we opted for no presents, rather presence.  We went to a heart flow yoga class together.  It was a perfect way to connect and celebrate love.  And that's what it's about.  With anyone and anything.  With yourself.  I highly recommend it for singles and couples.

Namaste

P.S.  I gave my teen chocolates and my time (while she had a hard time not being attached to her phone), and my babe gave me kisses and nips.... errrr... snuggles... to the breast.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Darn Tootin!

I'm having one of those weeks - you know the ones when your washer breaks on Friday and your hot water boiler breaks on Saturday?

True.  This really happened.  Before Christmas our shower leaked too.  And our brand new vehicle's exhaust pipe got bent - somehow?  We've managed to fix most of it... none of it was a big deal.  I still have a hole in my family room ceiling but who notices that?  Oh and our air exchanger is also working improperly.... Terry is trying to fix it as I type.  Our house is only three years old... thankfully, I'm not in a place in my life to fret.  It got me thinking about how much easier it is to deal with 'life' when you have it in perspective.

So I had no problem dealing with the washer and hot water boiler breaks... of course, Terry fixed them, not me.  But my week didn't end there.  

We had snow on Saturday and I shoveled the driveway.  I have chronic neck and back issues so shoveling, although I love to be out in the snow especially after a big fall, is not really good for me.  I made a plan.  After our supper at International Flavors (yum!) I was heading to my big whirlpool tub that I have yet to use since we moved into our house... and filling it with almost too hot water, bubbles, and epsom salts... taking a book with me and getting some om.  I practically ran upstairs when we got home and filled the tub while I put the baby to bed.  My body ached from a massage the previous day too, so gawd, this was going to be soooo goooood.

Upon tub filling, candle lighting, and baby cooperating I waded my hand in the water to make sure it wasn't too hot.  Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!  Sweet lord, it was freezing!  And that was the beginning of the hot water boiler fun.  So much for my relaxing bath.  Off to bed I went, not quite unscathed but coping fine... to be woken seven or eight times until coffee time the next morning.

Yesterday, the sun was shining.  I'm pretty sure I had only three or four wakes the previous  night, so a run was in order.  If you have or are around babies, you know how long it took me to get out of the house.  By the time I got to the lake (just a short 4k run for us that day) I already had a workout.  Then I had to fit a too small weather cover over the running stroller, set up the stroller snuggli thing (it was freezing out!) and put the baby's snowsuit on in the car (because the car seat is getting too small and she doesn't fit in it with her snowsuit on!).  Phew!  By the time I had her in the stroller, nice and comfy, I had my second workout.  Time to run.... 

As you can imagine... that didn't work out so well either.  The trail was icy and bumpy and I was sliding all over the place.  I walked about half of the time but felt good that I was out there... no other mamas or papas were there with strollers (that's because they were smarter than me of course).  As I turned at the top of the lake the bitter wind hit me and my stroller flinging the g.d.  weather protector into my face.  So much for wind protection for the babe... and so the struggle against the wind began for the next 20 or so minutes.  My nose ran more than my feet.  My eyes watered.  And my poor baby's breath was taken away more than once.  I stopped numerous times to check her... tried walking backwards but the ice wasn't cooperating.  Finally we turned at the other end of the lake and the wind hit our backs..... ommmmmmm.  A nice easy run on the bare pavement to end our little adventure.  

I felt like crap throughout nearly the entire run/walk to be honest.  I was a terrible mother to bring my child into this situation.  I was not fit enough to not be able to run against the wind on the icy trail with a stroller and a weather protector in my face.  I was not enlightened enough to not get angry at the wind and call it names.  Then, a man stopped and chatted about how wonderful it was to see us outside that day.  He said he 'admired' me. That's all I needed!  Little ego boost!  And I felt like I accomplished something.  Got through the tough stuff (with a little external assistance) and there it is... ommmmm.

My baby's last month or two has been like my week.  She's had sleepless nights, upset belly, painful gums. gas (oh my how does a tiny little thing get so much gas?)... and this evening I felt it!  A tooth has broken the skin!  All that toughness (still another few nights to go I expect) and then ommmmm.  She'll be able to sleep better (so will Mommy and Daddy) and there will be no more pain... but a white pearly tooth..... to nip mommy with.  Darn tootin!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Love Is In The Air

This photo was taken at my friend's wedding about 2 1/2 years ago.  We'd recently met, but deep down, Terry and I knew we would be together for a long time.  Love was in the air that night.  And it still is.

Yesterday we made decisions for our wedding.  We have gone through the stages of courting and falling in love and living together and being faced with personal challenges and supporting each other and traveling overseas and having a baby together and buying a house together and making decisions together.  It's been a fantastic time, frankly.

I didn't really think I'd be formally married in this lifetime.  I've been in several relationships that were marriage material according to society's standards.  There was a time I didn't really believe in marriage.  My parents have been married for almost 45 years, so, no, I'm not blaming it on growing up with divorced parents.  I simply felt once you signed those papers, it all went downhill.  I didn't want to lose my independence.  I wanted my individuality.  I didn't want to lose full control of my life.  All just fears.... not real unless I make them real.

So.  I fell in real love.  And now I believe in marriage as a way to demonstrate my commitment to this person.  To make a solid intention to support this person in difficult times.  To make every effort to work through challenges.  To grow and help grow.  To communicate.  To enjoy what life brings our way.  To be equal.  To love.

I am still independent - probably interdependent is a better word though.  I am still an individual - I feel more like myself than ever before.  And I know I control every aspect of my life.

This is not to say I don't believe in divorce.  People get married when they are unaware of what love is really about.  They may be unconscious beings.  They may not put in the work required to maintain a relationship.  They may believe there are greener pastures elsewhere.  They may not be able to handle a difficult situation.  They may not love themselves enough.  All kinds of reasons for divorce. None of which I believe are right or wrong... they are what they are for the people involved.

I do not see the world in rose colored glasses.  I am well aware life is hard.  I know I make mistakes and have to face the consequences.  But I believe you create your happiness.  You make choices about how you think about something.  In happy times, that's pretty easy.  In tough times... well, there's a reason they call them tough.  I have the same number of tough times as everyone else.  I try to de-dramatize.  And being with Terry just makes it all easier - he provides strategic reminders to take a deep breath.

I feel that if you have true love inside yourself... and you have true love for others... and you respect your spouse... and you accept the things about him or her that are different from you... and you are both willing to work through the difficult times.... and you are good at laughing... and you respect yourself... then I think marriage can work.  A tall order.  But possible.  And probable.  And I'm going for it and have only intentions to be with Terry forever.

Terry and I love each other in the tough times.  He loves me when I've had no sleep and my hair is looking kinda witch-like and my eyes are surrounded by dark circles and bags and I'm cranky enough to only grunt for necessary communication.  He loves me when I rant.  He loves me when I make mistakes.  He loves me for me... even for the things he probably doesn't like.  Not a bad deal, I say.

Now, I believe marriage is a tool to support one another's personal, spiritual, and emotional growth.... with a lot of perks.

Namaste (this time to Terry)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tick as Pea Soup

I can often be found 'parking' these days.  Now, parking doesn't have the same meaning as it did years ago.  Today, parking means I'm sitting in my car, reading, with a gorgeous view ahead of me, and a sleeping baby (also gorgeous) in the backseat.  I typically go to Middle Cove Beach or Signal Hill - both offering magnificent views of the ocean and the 'hill' also offering an amazing city view (it's one of the best places to watch the sunrise and the parking lot is blocked on a great day).  Yesterday, I chose the 'beach'.  The fog was tick (a.k.a. thick) as pea soup, so the view was limited.  But it's still magnificent.

Newfoundland's weather is well known for its many changes each day.  People don't come here for sunny skies, although you might get them.  Weather is a common topic of conversation... and unfortunately, many times a complaint.  It can go something like this...

A snowy day: "Some bad winter we're havin'."

A rainy day in the winter: "Some awful out.  But it's better than snow."

Yes... many people do not like snow here?!  Many do love it too... those that enjoy snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing, etc.  I LOVE snow!

A rainy day in summer: "Not fit."

A sunny day in summer: "Some hot."

True.

You don't plan your visit to Newfoundland around the weather.  You don't plan special events around the weather.  And you don't choose to live here for the weather.  You are here for the people.  The amazing, lovely, unique, creative, inspiring, authentic people.  And the magical views (and excellent trails as mentioned in my last post).

On one of my 'beach outings' there was a guy strumming his guitar while also 'parking'.  He was playing somethin' fierce!  He looked like he was singing as loud as his vocal chords would allow.  He looked like he was writing music.  Creativity ooozed out of his little red car.  After a while, he took a break, walked the beach, had a smoke, and then got right back to business... making music.

This got me started on my quest for creativity in my life.  But like yesterday, I'm in a fog.  I'm making baby steps towards my professional future.  I'm reveling in being a mom and mommy.  I'm doing pretty good with health and fitness.  My love life rocks!  I've even been getting back to my yoga and meditation with the 21 day yoga challenge.  But I want to do something creative and I'm blocked (indeed, could use a bit of chakra balancing...).

Terry and I have a contest each Christmas... who can get the bestest cheapest gift?  We typically make something - he's seriously creative for an engineer.  This year, I had NO IDEA what to do.  It's like the cells in my brain that create are sleeping - some of the only cells these days!  And the walls in my new house are bare.  I want to create an awesome space with art and color (we have great wall colors - see earlier post, Here's Mud in Your Eye, regarding that).  I want to MAKE something... CREATE.  I know I'll be inspired at some point and I'll be like that guy making music in his car.  And it's kind of cool that I have a clean slate (a.k.a. bare walls) to start with.

I look forward to when the fog lifts.  Like all foggy days, though, I just have to surrender to it and enjoy what is.

Namaste (I'm talking to the fog)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Path Less Traveled

If you're looking for a place to travel, come to Newfoundland, Canada.  Last week, St. John's was listed as one of the top 11 most colorful cities according to The World Geography (www.theworldgeography.com).  We also have some of the best rated trails in the world.

The hiking and walking trails here vary from boardwalks to rugged coastline, from sparse bogs to thick forests. Exploring can continue for hours or days, whichever is your preference.  My favorite time to hike is the Fall, but as long as the trails are not too icy, I'll go all seasons, including winter.

You know when you're hiking, you come to a point where you have to decide which route to take, and it's always fun to explore.  Right now,  I'm at that place professionally.  I have several paths in front of me, and I'm not sure which one to take.  It's a great place to be... so many opportunities to choose from.  But each option will take work and has its benefits and drawbacks.

I want to live overseas again at some point.  My teen suggests doing this before the babe reaches Grade 4.  So working in an organization with international presence would be beneficial... not to mention my desire to do more international related projects, deal with people in different parts of the world, etc.  St. John's is definitely growing with respect to international presence, particularly in the oil and gas industry.  So I could direct my efforts there.  Terry works in that industry and we could both be marketable in the same places we travel to in the future.  That's the logical side of my brain thinking.

I want meaningful work.  No discussion there.  So I could work with not-for-profits, where much of my experience has been so far.  It's comfortable for sure.  But I want to grow.  I need to move forward.  I need to be challenged.  And, indeed, I know money isn't everything, but I do want a certain lifestyle.  Let's be honest, it takes a certain amount of money to do things.  I want to travel.  I want to snowboard.  I want to entertain my friends and family.  Indeed hiking costs nothing, but I want to hike in the middle of winter so I need good gear.  It takes money, and we all know that.  So working with a non-profit would need to provide me with a challenging role and my target income.

I want flexibility.  Yep.  I'm a Mommy again and that means my focus is right there.  My teen may be entering adulthood, but my babe will need me in the morning, noon, and night.  I've been in this place before, and flexibility has won over big leaps and bounds in my career in the past (although I did some amazing things in my career no doubt).  This time, I'm aiming for both.  So there's the option of consulting... using my past experiences and contacts made.  But am I ready for that?   And would that be good for my overseas goals?  And will I make the money I need for my desired lifestyle?

So Newfoundland may be a place less traveled.  And it's one in a million of the options when selecting a place to visit and experience.  I highly recommend it.  But I am not sure which path I recommend for myself - yet.  I've selected the path less traveled before - sometimes it was a success, sometimes not.  For now, I'm lucky to have this time to figure it out. I think I'll take my little one on a trail today to explore, revel in the beauty, and maybe get a step closer to wherever I'm going.

Namaste

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Magical Moments

Our Christmas season is almost over.  I like to celebrate right up to Old Christmas Day - January 6th.  Today is the last day for visitors.  School started this week for my oldest daughter.  Terry is back to work.  Terry's mom has returned to her home for the remainder of her treatments.  And Terry's nephew has arrived to begin a semester of school here (and stay with us).  Next week I'll start the baby's activities.  And I'm fleshing out my vision and goals for the next year.

But the season did not pass without magical moments.  And I mean put a tear in your eye (from laughing) magic.

My teen wanted to open gifts at Nanny's and Poppy's on Christmas morning.  In order to do that, we had to deliver the gifts by Christmas Eve.... there were children and, well, you know why.  After a beautiful evening at my brother's for Christmas Eve festivities, Terry,  my daughters, and I came home, put on our Christmas jammies, and watched a movie.  (We could not find our Christmas movies - still stored in some box - so we settled on The Breakfast Club.)  I fell asleep *surprise*.  At around 1:00 a.m. my daughter mentions something about gifts the next morning.... crap.  I forgot to deliver them!  So I'm cranky and tired and resisting going out in the cold to go to my parents' house.... but my teen has her heart set on all this.  So I go - with my teen.  I grumble my way out to the car with gifts packed in bags.  The air wakes me up.  Upon arrival, the lights are on, the door is unlocked, the furnace is going... but nobody is up.  We tiptoe into the living room, lay out the presents... and giggle.  And giggle.  And giggle.  We felt like true Santas.  We were trying to be quiet, and the more we tried, the louder we got.  As we left and started to drive out of the driveway, my Dad opened the door.... he'd heard voices and thought I was downstairs talking to myself!

At our third gift opening (yes, we had four in total... actually I think it was five!), we passed around family presents and all were surprised and delighted.  At the end of all the opening and thanks and ooo's and aahhhh's, I realized I hadn't received a present from my older brother.  I KNEW he and his partner would have given one to me since they always do and they'd given to everyone else.  So I figure... we're all family... I'll just mention it.

Me: "Kev, I know you had a gift for me... but I didn't open it."
Kevin and Janette in unison:  "What?!  We gave you that one of a kind, unique pottery plate and the woman who makes them donates all profits to a charity.  You opened it before dinner."
Me:  Doh!

Yep.  I'd forgotten alright.  Seriously.  What makes this more interesting is that on my 41st birthday, after opening my brother's gift, I mentioned lightly that I'm still waiting for my 40th birthday gift.  His response was, "I gave you $100 because you were moving to Singapore and didn't want anything to have to pack!"  He was right!  Indeed I'd forgotten a second present from him... not only forgotten, but was bold enough to ask where my present was!

Baby brain was with me all season.  I wondered where the stroller was and I'd just passed it in the porch.  I called my folks' to see when my brother and his family were leaving to return to Manitoba, and they'd left that morning.  I burnt almonds for the rice (had to throw them in the garbage).  I almost missed a dentist appointment.  I forgot many, many pieces of information.

Thankfully, my family is understanding and, frankly, their seasons did not go without some magical moments of their own:)  My mother put cheese in her scalloped potatoes!!!  She has NEVER put cheese in her scalloped potatoes.  My daughter and I do not eat cheese, and my mother often makes dishes that call for cheese without cheese if we're there for supper.  However, she insisted she's never made scalloped potatoes without cheese.  So I'm not sure what her excuse is, but I'm definitely blaming baby brain on my 'magical moments'.




Monday, January 2, 2012

Beginnings

The Christmas jumble was fantastic!  Terry's family members piled into our house for the holidays (in fact they are still here), and my family members arrived from away.  I've been having a terrific break, actually.  All the aunts and uncles want to take the baby.  I've hardly had to do anything except nurse her.  And I've hardly cleaned a dish, although we are certainly messing lots!  I've spent time with my niece and nephew, and am in love with them!  We started new traditions and integrated old ones.

As generations come into their own, they take on their parents' roles of preparing the dinners and hosting the parties.  It's normal.  The traditions change slightly.  New activities emerge.  Old ones sometimes disappear.  This year, we began a lot of new.

My older brother hosted Christmas Eve.  Different?  Yep.  Wonderful?  Yep.  Did my teen miss some of our old traditions?  Yep.

Christmas Day was my mom's (it's difficult to take anything away so this one remained hers for another year).  Different?  Yep!  We now have several dietary issues in the family so my mother had to prepare a plethora of dishes to satisfy everyone.  Given my younger brother and his family were staying at my parents, my soon-to-be mother-in-law was at our house not feeling 100%, and Terry's family arrived on Boxing Day and New Year's Eve, we had three gift openings (and one left!).

Both families gathered for a big street hockey game on the 27th on our street.  It couldn't have gone smoother.  Lots of laughs.  Lots of food.  A fantastical sunny day.

New Year's we all piled into our house again.  Again, lots of food... great conversations... and live music on our back step at midnight while watching many displays of fireworks around the city.  The guitar, mandolin, and accordion music continued until around 2:00 a.m. or later.  Was it a different new year's?  You bet.

And this is all detail.

Really, what we're doing is beginning.  Beginning a new family.  Beginning our next chapter.  Bringing our memories and learning to the new.  I will write my goals and accomplishments in my journal as I do every year.  But now, I'm thinking about this new beginning and how it is necessary to let go of the past in order to begin something new or to move forward.

I see older generations grasping onto the old... getting frustrated with new technologies or new ways of doing things.  My mom definitely doesn't want to let go of her role during Christmas (or any special occasion).  She has always provided the best and most nurturing environment to celebrate.  And letting go of that might seem she's giving up her role, I guess.

My oldest daughter wants Christmas morning to be like it was when she was six... sleeping at Nanny's and Poppy's... waking to turkey dinner smell in the air... feeling warm all snuggled in her bed while the cool night air hits her face.

My father wants to mummer.  Get the crowd together and go house to house for a rip roaring dance and party.

All these memories are beautiful.  And we are trying to incorporate them into our current celebrations.  But what makes us so afraid of new beginnings?  We hold on so hard to the past.  It keeps us comfortable.  We feel safe.  But we miss out if we can't bring new memories into our lives.

So I told my daughter who wants Christmas to stay the same - the new traditions will evolve and become favorites and the old ones will become good stories.  Eventually what is new will be old.  Our past year has been filled with new beginnings, though.  And it's nice to be able to bring some comfort into that.  That's just what we did and I believe it was a success!

Now, I just have to let my mom give up cooking Christmas dinner.... not sure that's gonna happen for a while yet!

I must go get some om while the babe is out with her aunts!

Happy 2012!  Here's to successfully blending old and new traditions and 2012 being full of love!