Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lessons from 2013

Much like the 37 years that preceded it, this year was full of lessons learned, felt, and shared.  While I write this post, my son is supposed to be napping but instead has chosen to croon a few classics from his favorite show, “Bubble Guppies”.  He's a big part of my reality and I wouldn't change a thing even on my most challenging days. 

As 2013 winds down, I find myself reflecting on everything that's brought me to today. 

A lot of ….

A healthy dose of joie de vivre,
And a few glasses of wine (everything in moderation, right?)

Thanks to a seemingly endless supply of love and compassion, I've developed high tolerance for temper tantrums, schedule dictatorship, finicky palettes and Treehouse children’s programming.   

It’s not that I wasn't a loving person before, but I now believe that life throws you tests just to see how deep your “love" well is.  Apparently, I'm at a surplus and the reason why is because when I look at the big picture I see that I have a good life

Now don't mistake me for the eternal optimist; this year hasn't been free of challenges.  I never imagined myself single, in the latter part of the "thirties"and tasked with raising a beautiful boy into respectable man. 

Yet here I am.   

But, I've discovered that I am a lot of other things, too.  I’m strong, fiercely independent, a bit outspoken, wittier than I used to be, a writer, a beautiful masterpiece of imperfection and a better person all around since motherhood was added to my resume just three short years ago.

This year I've learned that it’s okay to concede to the low points in life as long as you don’t surrender to them.  There were some “What the…???” moments but then there were the good ones.  Ooooh, those good ones made everything worth it.  

Those moments weren't derived from expensive purchases, the company of the “ideal” men or relaxing vacations (although I certainly wouldn't turn any of those things down!).
Instead, I've come to find joy in a nice email from a friend, a successful potty training session with my boy, laughs with people I enjoy or a quiet moment just to take it all in.

Like now.

My sincerest wish for anyone reading this post is to realize that the life you want is fully within your reach and will often come to you in ways that you never expected.  Your body, friends, partner, mind, job, home, kids, opinion and many other things may change (and sometimes without your permission!) but don’t miss the lessons offered in quiet evolution.  They can be painful yet precious; sweet yet fleeting and for one moment in time, they are yours for the taking.

All the best in the fast approaching New Year!

Until next time…

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Words of Encouragement

Never Settle.

So you’re down and out.  You’ve lost sight of “The Holy Grail”.  There’s a chance you’re pissed off with leaps of faith that have apparently provided zero return on investment.

Don’t give up.

Think back to a time when you believed in infinite possibilities.   Life was simpler living on your own terms, right?  Life’s much easier to navigate when you’re the commander of your ship.

Oh Captain, my Captain… nothing’s stopping you now.  Take the helm once more.

I beg of you. 

Don’t settle.

The one that broke you’re heart wasn’t meant for you.
The dress that didn’t fit wasn’t made for you.
 Average is no longer acceptable.  
Make room for extraordinary.

A growing number of people are conditioning themselves to set sights lower when a goal is missed, a spill is taken or a battle is lost.  The mantra, “Nothing should be this hard” perpetuates a convincing story that “the good life” is meant for someone else and yet…..

No one’s more deserving of the dream than the person who dreamt it.

Belief trumps self-doubt every freakin’ time.

Never give up.  I implore you.          

You’ll get there.  In a time yet to be determined (and most likely sooner than you think) you’ll be sitting back, reflecting on your success and telling stories of yesteryear with a satisfied grin on your face because you decided to push forward.

You’ll be the wise sage saying, “I’ve been there. Don’t settle.”

Until next time, friends.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Legacy....

I stepped away from my blog in a conscious effort to step up my game in life and I can honestly report that the trade-off (to date) has been worth it. It’s been almost two months since my last post and a lot has transpired behind the scenes.  Looking back, I’ve been working at a seemingly frantic pace to move from the shaky ground to solid land and though at times I questioned my footing, I feel confident about the path ahead.

I’m constantly learning ways to stop taking this life for granted because tomorrow is never a guarantee.  My instincts have pushed me to say “yes” when it would have been safer to say “no”.  My friends continue to be a network of comfort, support and knowledge.  My career is filling me with the kind of purpose, ownership and pride that’s rare to find in today’s market. My son remains determined to “school” me in the world of fun, patience and spontaneity. 

And yet…

Hardship and heartache sometimes make a guest appearance.  We’re here on this earth for a good time, not a long time and life occasionally sends us a difficult reminder.  Someone that I love very much is leaving me much sooner than I anticipated due to an illness that has been fought for a very long time.  Since hearing the news there have been tears, there’s been anger, there’s been reflection and now I’m coming into the homestretch of hope.

I hope there’s a lesson in all of this.
I hope loving someone this much replaces the hurt long after they’re gone.
I hope they believe my words when I tell them, “I’m a better person because you were here.”
In thinking about the news shared with me, I’ve become aware that I would hate to leave this earth without making a mark on it.  I want to leave tangible proof that I was here and that I made a difference in the smallest way.  Do you feel the same?  In the words of Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

This isn’t a call for grandiose strategies or elaborate ideas.  It’s a simple request for proactive actions that will circumvent regret.

If you’re reading this, it’s my sincerest hope that today you do something to contribute to the life of someone else.  Say you’re sorry, reveal a crush, right a wrong, be true to your word, hug your child, write your story, or make your art…. Do whatever your heart truly desires.

Create your legacy and one day someone will thank you for it.

Until next time, friends….

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Build A Life Less Ordinary

So you want to live a life less ordinary? Build a life less ordinary.  It seems so common sense but so few of us make it a point of intention in our day to day activities and interaction.  We move around in personal silos often oblivious to the benefits of connection.  Countless strategies for success are designed a “safe” time in our future which cleverly absolves us of accountability today.

“When I lose more weight I’m going to…”

“When the kids are older I’m going to…”

 “When I have more money in the bank I’m going to…”

“When I get settled I’m going to…”

“When I know how s/he feels I’m going to…”


What are you going to do then that you can’t start doing today? 

The endgame is usually an aspiration to be happy and sadly we’ve become desensitized to the things that bring us joy today because we’re so caught up in getting “there”.

We quickly forget that the small gifts that are found in a lending a hand, sharing a laugh, being ourselves, exploring new things and everything that lies in between.  Solace from boredom, fear and loneliness is often sought in things that we drink, shows that we watch, acceptance that we seek and company that we keep. The funny thing is we’re looking in the wrong places.  Yup, the joke’s on us.  We’re the game changers.

The good news is that self-awareness often breeds change or at the very least, it lays a solid foundation to build on.   Decide where you want to go and take one action today towards it.  Go for a walk, sign up for an online course, meet new people… the world is open.  Take a tour.

Become your own biggest cheerleader and advocate.  When other people voice opinions about what's not possible in your life, show them what is possible.  You might stumble on your first few attempts but with consistent effort you'll be on your way towards flawless execution.

Nike brilliantly immortalized the slogan, “Just Do It” and I echo the notion.  Life is yours for the living, it waits for no one. 

Now that we’re clear on that, what are you going to do about it?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tonight I'm Gonna Party Like It's.....

Word on the street is that the world was supposed to end today and yet here I type.  Millions of people poked fun at the rumored prophecy of Armageddon and made plans for tomorrow despite it.  I have to confess that I was amongst the skeptics.

That isn’t to say that “what if” scenarios didn’t creep into my mind, though….

What if the world were to end today?

 How many things in life would have a sudden sense of urgency to them and why would they suddenly matter?

I’m actually wincing right now.  The truth that lies between these words and lines is like a wakeup call.  It’s one thing to live a life full of intention but without action and conscious effort all you have is a neat little idea.

 A new year is synonymous with beginnings, clean slates and fresh pages.  I challenge you to go into 2013 with a different perspective on your life.  Examine it from various angles and explore areas that may have lain dormant for a while.
  • Are you where you want to be (geographically or otherwise)?
  • Are you excited about what you’re doing?
If your answer is “no” to either question then I boldly ask, “What are you going to do about it?”  Life doesn’t promise unlimited joy and euphoria but it does entertain the notion of endless possibilities often turned into reality for those of us what want it badly enough. 

Do you?

My wish this holiday is that you love more, hurt less, find joy, ditch anger, work hard and play A LOT!  Forgive me for the video clip but I couldn't help myself :) 
Until next time, friends……






Friday, October 19, 2012

My Message to a Little Cocoa Goddess in Training

A dear friend of mine recently requested that I write a letter to my three year old self.   I laughed and then cried at the prospect of completing such a task.  What are some of the things that I would want her to know?  I had to dive deeper than “look both ways before you cross the road” and “just say no to drugs”.  I wanted to honour what I’ve learned and offer the guidance that only my experience could provide.  This is a glimpse of what I came up with.  I hope you enjoy it.

1. Love will find you.  I promise. -  The “who, what, where, when and how” of it all won't be  necessary (at least not when you are dealing with the real, deep, inspiring, fulfilling and reciprocated kind of love that you are so deserving of.)
Don’t try to rush what promises to be good thing.
Anticipation can be like throwing away time better spent living.  Go ahead and travel, open up the doors to self-discovery, or simply enjoy moments with the people in your life who are committed to loving you right back just as you are. 
Forget what will be, what should be, and the “could be” contemplations running rampant in your mind.  Just explore what is for a while and all will be revealed in due time.

2. Some days your pants won’t fit and that’s alright - Don’t get bend out of shape about it because your true value and worth isn’t measured by the size of your jeans or the cups of your bra.  If you really want to quantify things, just ask yourself:
How full is your soul?
How many of your thoughts are positive?
How many times have you allowed faith and action to sustain you? 
How many dreams lie dormant within you and how many steps must be taken to awaken them?
Numbers like these embrace more of a one size fits all mentality.  Be cognizant of the importance to live from the inside out because later on it’s much more challenging to do things in reverse.

3. Always find time to play – Life will throw you some fast and hard curveballs. If you don’t know how to laugh and shake things off (and duck!) from time to time, you may just fall apart.  Get messy.  Giggle like a school girl.  Dance for the mirror and no one else.  Turn cartwheels if you feel so inclined.  There’s always time for recess (even a quick ten minute one) regardless of what grown-ups tell you. They could probably use a recess, too.

4. You’re enough – There will be times when you need to have a big ugly cry (that’s a guarantee) but please don’t shed a tear for what you perceive to be your own inadequacy.  I implore you!  You can’t be good at everything because everyone deserves a piece of the spotlight in this show we call "Life".
You (yes, you) are a star at so many things! 
I need you to find your niche and revel in it for a while.
Nurture your passions, grow with them and if there comes a time when it feels right to move on, heed the call with a heart of gratitude.  The world needs you, never doubt that (and ditch the naysayers that say otherwise.)  
5. Be conscious of your desires – The birthday candles that you’ll blow out and the stars that you’ll wish on from time to time hold a special kind of magic.  That magic is born from your sincere desire to make something happen.  For example, if you pray and pray for a day off from school,  you will probably get one….because you’ve contracted the flu. 
See, wishes don’t always come to fruition in the way that we expect them to, so be conscious of what you put out “there” because it’s quite plausible that you will get it.  Your beliefs will be the fuel that sets your dreams on fire. Trust me.

6. Communicate, communicate and communicate some more – Expression is your sweet spot and if you don’t share your voice, you’ll feel choked.  Later on in life it might seem like no one understands you and you may fall victim to your own pit of despair.  To avoid listening to ballads of angst and eating copious amounts of ice cream, please use your words and express your emotions clearly.  Doing so will benefit you and the people trying to decode you.  They’ll probably thank you for it.

7. Your heart will undoubtedly be broken.  Don't worry, you'll live. – It may seem like there’s not a Band-Aid big enough to protect all of the shattered pieces but you’ll recover.  I’m living proof.  I’m sitting here sending you this letter aren’t I?  Sometimes we think that our journey is meant to be shared with one specific person.  You may feel like he just “gets” you and you can’t picture your life with anyone else. 
While I hope this holds true for you, please know that you may have to kiss a few prince-like characters before you find your destined prince.  Each of them will have something to teach you about yourself.  While you learn, don't forget to stay true to yourself, respect your body and listen to your heart. (When in doubt, refer to #1 noted above!)

8. Forgive – 
Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die” 
– Malachy McCourt

You may be hurt, wronged, lied to, stomped on, chewed up or spit out.  The question is where will you go from there?  Moving forward with one light overnight bag is a lot easier than moving backwards with cinderblocks in a knapsack.
If you choose to stay angry, you might be the only one suffering (especially if the source of your animosity has moved on to greener pastures).
Drop the baggage and the blame.  You’re better off without it.

9. Enrol in the School of Life – Some of your greatest lessons with come from life experience.  Not someone else’s per se, but yours.  Oh, you’ll love to read textbooks, manuals and stories but remember to step away from the pages and step into the world going on around you.  Travel to learn more about geography.  Interact with people to get a better grip on psychology.  Explore the mechanics of your body as an interactive biology lesson or just set an example you can be proud of in your quest for leadership.

You’re a beautiful little girl and a really big world awaits you.  You won’t remember everything that you accomplish, but always be mindful that you will leave an indelible mark on someone’s life and memories.  Try to make it a good one.

I love you,

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Catch

You can go from rags to riches.
You can be the hottie that everyone wishes that they could be.
You can be the super mom that does it all, leaving everyone wondering, “How does she do it?”
You can be ANYTHING that you’re heart desires but here’s the catch….

It’s up to you to make it happen.

When it comes to bringing your ideal life into fruition, there’s no room for tales of woe-is-me or excuses stemming from your past.  
You own the policy on your life. 
We all have battle scars that we've acquired throughout our lives.  I used to look at mine as blemishes but now I treat them like badges of honour.  They prove that I’ve gone toe to toe with adversity and won.
Whatever hurt me didn’t break me and sometimes I need that reminder.

I recently found a list that I had written long ago of things that I wanted to accomplish in my lifetime.  After a quick scan, a smirk of satisfaction fell across my face because I could mentally check off several of the items I had noted.  As it turns out, I’ve kept my eyes on the prize (even on the most challenging of days) and because of that, I was able to enjoy the fruits of my labour.

I didn’t give up (despite the times that I wanted to).
I didn’t fall apart (even when I was walking on shaky ground).
I didn’t lose faith (even when I felt alone).

I chose to make things happen for myself and they did because I did the work, I shed the blood, I cried the tears, I whispered the prayers.  The work still continues and I'm grateful for the opportunity to dig in and exercise my free will as I see fit.

If you’re reading this and are mourning over lost opportunities, I have good news for you.  It’s not too late.

You’re not dead so there’s no reason to live a life that has no pulse.

There’s still time to make things happen for yourself.  The catch is that you have to commit to starting now.

Not tomorrow. 
Not next week. 
Not next year.  

Those timelines don't come with guarantees. What you have is now and I can’t think of a better time for any of us to start living fully, completely and with heartfelt intent.

The key to making this venture a success is to ensure that you’re doing it for you and you alone.
Living in accordance to someone else’s agenda will definitely extinguish any fire and passion that you generate along your journey.  Walking along someone else’s path only guarantees to get you lost.

 I came across a Nike ad that has helped to push me along the way and I want to share it with you:

The first step towards getting somewhere
is to decide that you are not going to stay
where you are.

 Everyone needs a reminder sometimes.  I hope that this post has been yours.

Until next time….