“I wish I were a girl again, half-savage and hardy, and free.” ― Emily Brontë

I read this quote today as I was searching for just the right “MMM” for my staff at work. The MMM is my Monday Morning Motivation. At times, it reflects how I am feeling or things that are on my mind. More often or not though, it triggers me to think. Which is what this little gem did today.

You see, I read that and the first thing I thought was that I am, in fact, much more hardy and free NOW than I ever felt when I was a young girl. Racked with shyness and insecurity I dreamed of being fearless and confident. Free from everything inside of me that held me back, that told me “I couldn’t” or “I shouldn’t”. I grew up and struggled to push through the shyness, able now to carry that off most days. The insecurities and self-confidence are a work in progress…better than it used to be and still growing and evolving and making strides forward.

Free though, yes. That is something that, for the first time in my life, I can say that I feel. Reading that quote this morning brought a smile to me -inside- as I realized that for the first time I can say that I feel free. Something that I didn’t so much “find” as uncovered that it was there all along. I just had to let myself unleash it. Better late than never 😉

I came across a Facebook posting from someone on my friend feed the other day. It popped up again today as someone made a comment that jumped it back up. It was a post that I had made a very conscious decision to pretty much avoid reading the other day as it was troublesome to me.

It was a “share” of a horrific case of neglect and abuse that ended in the death of a toddler. I gathered that information from a one line heading that was with a picture. The other couple of sentences that were immediately visible gave me enough of an insight to the article that I knew that I didn’t want to read it. So I kept scrolling and tried to put it out of mind. I was pretty successful. I did think for a few minutes about my choice to not click and keep reading though. My thoughts were pretty simple actually. The couple of lines of text that I had read were enough to put a nasty knot in my stomach and upset me. I have been known to follow through with a click and expose myself to something that literally haunts me for days afterwards and I have started to wonder what purpose it serves…

There is the argument that we (the communal “we” as a society and culture) need to see these things; that we need to know about the atrocities and the hateful things that people do to people so that we can be knowledgeable… so that we can be enraged and moved to affect change. Good argument. But is that what really happens? Not from what I can see. We become enraged and even disgusted. We commiserate and agree that it’s horrible, that it has to stop, that people can be monsters… it goes on and on. And there is always another “share” another post, another story of what grossness and evil lives in our world with us. More lives lost, more people hurt and damaged. Fear takes hold. Accusations are tossed about.

What happens is the virtual petting and stroking and assurances that “we” are better than all that. That if we just keep talking and exposing all the horrors, then we can somehow end them. What happens is that we have a culture of people who are addicted to riding the wave of the next tragedy.

I’m not saying the answer is to stop news reporting or to pretend that these things happen but what purpose does it serve to gawk and dissect the pain and suffering of it all? You can’t “un-see” or “un-read” something so be conscious of what feeds your soul by way of your eyes and ears. If reading those facts will serve a reason and a purpose, all good. If not, and if all it is is a virtual rubber-necking of the proverbial crash scene, maybe think twice about how it will impact you and be honest to yourself with the answer. I can read a headline and be outraged and want to change something without having to read an entire article that outlines, in grotesque and painful detail, things that I won’t be able to get out of my mind. “More” is not always necessary… actually, it rarely is.

Energy is an elusive facet of life. It’s something that, when you mention it, some people roll their eyes and label you as one of “those people”. It’s intangible to the physical (but not really) and can’t be measured (well, it can in a way) and can’t be seen (but it can be felt).

Energy is something that plays a large role on my life and it’s something that has become more and more integral to understanding my Self as I have grown. When I teach Yoga, I instruct very energetically. I don’t mean that in a way that it sounds to most people… I’m not leaping about doing cartwheels and dancing. Energetically in the sense of imparting energetic connection and helping people become more aware of both their own and others energy. Feeling the palpable energy that flows from one hand to the other… from your hand to another person’s heart … it’s simple and real and there. That feeling you get when someone is standing behind you; you know they’re there even though you didn’t hear them? It’s you sensing their energy. The energy of a place, of objects, of living things…all have an impact on us – whether draining or rejuvenating or neutral. Just standing near some people is calming, others incite the opposite response. Why? It’s their energy.

We both receive and give energy. The fascinating thing is how we are all so unique in what we need to recharge and balance our own energy. Extroverts generally need outside energy to fill them up. They become sluggish and despondent even when they spend too much time alone. They thrive and soak up the energy that’s around them in crowds. We all know those people that get pumped up and absolutely vibrate almost in massive crowds and gatherings. It feeds them in a way nothing else does.

The introvert bunch (of which I am a content member of) exists in a different world. For myself, I need the solitude, the quiet and introspection of connecting with my own personal energy to fill back up again. Interacting with others is like a battery being drained. Slowly but steadily wearing down my reserves. Crowds are exhausting mentally and emotionally. Having to put on the public face when it’s a chore and I’m not feeling it? I can do it, but it is going to take some serious restore time to fill that back up!

It has taken me years to figure this out but with understanding comes peace. Knowing what it feels like when I hit that point of “done” is integral to my well-being. Having the self-ease to be able to just say to a friend that I’m done and need to say goodnight or goodbye is freeing. My very close friends can see it even before I say anything. There is a very distinct shift in my energy and those that know me well will look at me and say “You’re done, aren’t you”…in a nice and understanding way ☺…and I finally have the ability to be able to say if I am and to know that it’s ok. It’s just how I’m wired.

Being conscious of the places , people and activities that recharge me and bring me calm and that fill my well is where I am now in my life…the energy that flows in and out… The people I encounter receive from me but also give. It’s all about the balance. Being conscious of where I give and from where I receive is integral to that balance.

A conversation today that was partly about decision making has me thinking. How it’s hard enough to make decisions when you know what you want and have to choose; but what about when you don’t even really know what it is you want?

I’ve been doing a lot of searching lately trying to decide what it is that feels right for me in a number of areas of my life. Something that keeps coming up for me is the indecisiveness that is prevalent. Grief and hurt that is a struggle again for me have me in that place of not trusting my own instincts. Of feeling my gut reaction and second guessing it again. So I do what I know is the prudent choice when I’m like this. I make the choice to not make a decision. Because in the end, that’s what I’ve learned is right for me.

There have been so many times that I was indecisive, that I just wasn’t sure… some part of me told me to just …wait. To not choose what I was leaning towards because some part of me was just not quite one hundred percent sure. So I would hold off. And you know what… every single time, there would be a point – usually not very long after – that I would be so glad that I hadn’t made the choice I was leaning towards…because it showed itself to be the wrong (or not best) choice.

So now when I find myself starting to beat myself up for being unable to make a decision I stop and really feel… is it that I can’t read my own “gut” or is it that my instinct is saying that the decision IS to be indecisive? And I trust. I trust that I will know when it feels “right”, whatever that may be.

There are some choices right now that are clear and action is in progress. For others, for now, I wait and I listen and I feel.

The following is an older one but in light the wonderful Yoga time I had yesterday (the first in a far too long-span of time) I dug it out and am sharing it again. The words resonate with how I’m feeling today about my committment to bringing back the things that I love into my life.

My body remembers the seated posture
Silence
My breath slows, controlled against desires to race ,like my mind
The rhythm becomes embraced as my Self becomes aware

Like the welcoming of a long-awaited and sorely missed lover.
I feel my muscles soften and my spirit start to edge outwards
A warmth in the base of my spine
Kundalini awakens

I move my body with my breath, instinctive and knowing;
As it was when I first practiced, so many years ago.
It feels as if my body and spirit are merely embracing
A movement that has always been there, sleeping and waiting

My feet now grounded on the mat
Feeling the four corners of each foot.
The rooting of my body firm and resolute,
The steadiness grows with each breath

Hands and arms cycling through with legs
Asanas far too long left unpracticed
Soreness settles as joints creak
Pressure builds as my spirit soars and I drive through sequences

My body all at once familiar and obscure to me
Placement hindered by tightness that never was before
A freedom to accept the limitations
Freedom that never was before

Heat flows through my body like a river
Swirling and cascading
My breath driving it onward to nourish
The fire that has been sparked

My Self answers “Yes”, with clarity and strength
Before my mind can even ask the question.
Doubt and uncertainty do not exist in this place
The place that I found my strength once before, still resides here.

namaste

I’ve spent a fair bit of time lately thinking about happiness. What it is and how to be more happy. What it is that brings a smile to my face and to my soul.

I watched a fascinating documentary called “Happy” that was a tour de force of inspiration but also left me pondering; what is it that makes me happy?

A question that I have been musing over with a friend as well and an interesting conversation ensued. A seemingly simple question that turned out to be really hard to answer. It’s one thing to know what makes you happy and not be able to do that or have that – it’s a whole other issue when you actually don’t know. As my friend was slightly stumped over pondering the fact that he wasn’t even sure what made him happy, it got me thinking of my own “happy list”.

I thought I knew myself pretty well and that I knew what I would put on that list. As a matter of fact, I decided to jot down my little list and be done with it. So it was a shock when I got thinking and then went “hmmmm, um, hmmmm…” and got stuck. What things can I do for myself when I need a boost… what experiences or things bring me happiness?

It took more thought and triggered more introspection than I thought it was going to. One thing doing this showed me is that most of the things that bring me happiness are in fact simple and already in my life… and some awareness that some things are missing and need to be brought back into my life.

So here it is, my top 11 (because this one goes to 11 *winks* ) …

1. The sound and smell of the ocean.
2. Sunrises enjoyed from the seat of my bike with the wind on my face 🙂
3. Yoga outside in the sunshine.
4. A book, my couch and a blanket and tea, all together on a rainy day.
5. Hiking in the woods, the more off trail, the better.
6. A hot coffee in my hand and a used book store to wander in
7. Hot tubs, even better in chilly weather and in the dark under the stars.
8. Camping (this one is a newly rediscovered happy place, much to my surprise!)
9. Ziplining (like flying, what’s not to love!)
10. A day spent in bed with my love, no schedules and no plans. Lazy and indulgent and blissful 🙂
11. Picnics on the beach.
12. Bonus one! Coffee and people watching.
13. Baker’s Dozen bonus (just because I can…) Chosen family. You know who you are and I love you all.

The most amazing thing about this is that once I got rolling, I realized that there are so many things that bring me happiness… and that’s the best part of doing this is being reminded of the abundance that is around me for the taking.

“island time”

When I moved to Vancouver Island, one of the motivating factors for me was a change of pace and lifestyle. I had no idea that island time not only existed but was so prevalent and accepted :). Just a couple examples of this awesomeness right in my neighbourhood…who needs anything more than “ish” to capture the sentiment of island time so well? Ahhh, smiles 🙂

Victoria-20130703-06206Victoria-20130704-06207

I had a quote pop into my head today from long ago: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” (Marianne Williamson) Have you ever wondered what and who you could be?

It’s scary to admit, even to yourself, that you’re more afraid of succeeding than you are of failing. Some people are so mired in who they are as the smaller version of themselves that they have become too comfortable there. Truly, the only thing in the way is what you’ve put there. What if all that energy and focus that now sits on the negative was instead directed and fueling the positive? Now that would be something…

We are so much more than we let our Selves be. Let’s lift the caution tape and take the blinders off and put the fear to bed and just live who and what we are. Realize the potential and say f*&# you to the little voices inside that say we probably will fail so why bother trying.

I see those around me struggling. I have clients and friends and loves who start and stop over and over with goals and dreams. Not just physical but life goals. Wanting to travel, wanting to go back to school, needing changes… and when push comes to shove and I ask them why not, what’s holding them back, what answer is there? There are excuses, there are shrugs and “I don’t know” or “I know, I need to change” or “I know, I should do that”, and then? Nothing. Followed by, a few days or weeks or months later, the same energy put into complaining or revisiting what they don’t have in their lives that they want. People who really are only limited by them Selves.

I referenced a little secret desire I have to be Lara Croft in my blog post yesterday and that’s what has been on my mind…For those who don’t know, Ms. Croft is the kick ass awesome independant sexy strong heroine of both the video game of the same name and the Tomb Raider movies. Suffice to say that my reaction the first time I saw her was “I want to BE her!” Ok, ok, also, that’s she’s hot, but that’s another post…

What was it that struck that chord in me? Her strength, her independence, her rawness in being who she is and living how she wants. Her physicality and skill. More than anything though, her strength. Even typing that, I see that I do embody a lot of those qualities. Which brought me to my musing of…what can I achieve if I really put my mind to it.

Just think…how amazing, truly amazing, can you be if you got out of your own way and let your Self actualize what’s already inside? That’s what’s been bouncing around in my head lately. What can I achieve if I really put the focus into eating well and regularly, exercising hard but balanced. Caring for my body and my mental health the best that I can. Where can I go in 29 days? Just how much can I do? That’s the question. The answer is limitless.

*jumps up and down and squeals* (bet you didn’t know I do that when realllly excited?)

Well, I was following a link to a link to a link as I often do and stumbled across the annual nanowrimo page. I’ve pondered this one in the past and even gave it a go once (made it 6 days – which is 6 days better than I thought I was going to do). Imagine my giddiness when I noticed noblopomo!

So what is this fun little acronym you ask? The answer is, simply it stands for “not being up to writing a fricking novel in a month but still feeling like you accomplished something”…OR NAtional BLog POsting MOnth which you can check out here

So, since it’s only November 2nd and I technically posted a blog entry on November 1st (let’s hear it for time zone glitches in WordPress!) I have decided to give it a go this month!

Even though I could stop here because this absolutely counts as a blog entry, I will bestow upon the interwebland a short blog posting that I had actually been planning on doing anyways today 🙂

Yesterday I ran a little race. Mudd Sweat and Tears is a mud based obstacle course in the same fashion as Tough Mudder and the like (without the fancy electrical or flames). I ran one in July and really thought that was the pinnacle of me and my mud love. You can check out my recap of that here.

But no, I got back from that race and shared with my co-workers what a blast it had been and a group decision was made to do the November 1st one as a Team. That bonding group moment soon turned into months of hunting people down to get them to put their money (and bodies) where their collective mouths were. ;).

Sadly to say that due to circumstances beyond control (read: finances, unable to get time off, weather – apparently November chill and potential rain is NOT the draw I thought it would be! – and one team member in an aircast two weeks before the event…)our original Team of 10 was culled down to myself and two others. One, a Physiotherapist in my Clinic who is in excellent shape and just did a half marathon last weekend. The other, a quiet and unassuming accountant controller from head office whose love for spreadsheets is only second to his love for graphs and charts of all kinds. Note: I harboured an absolute belief that the accountant was a secret ninja and would kick both of our asses…kinda worried going in.

The day dawned overcast and chilly but with a promise of sunshine and no call for rain so I figured we had hit the jackpot. A freezing check in and milling about followed by fun and mud and bruise-inducing obstacles and voila, we were done!

So here’s my, slighty shorter than 10, list of things I learned from mud love, second time around.

1. I still hate being cold and wet; and I hate it even more in November than I do in July. No way to sugar coat that one. Nope. Cold, bad. Mud, not great. Both together, blech. The saving grace is that the fun IN the cold and mud outweighs the blech. All good in the end.
2. I really can’t get myself over an 8ft vertical wall without help. This is a whole blog entry on accepting help wrapped up into one point. When you need help and someone offers it, be grateful and accept. Simple. (and many thanks goes out to the anonymous guy in the pink shirt who let me use his leg and shoulder as a stepping point – much appreciated!)
3. Conquering your fears makes you feel awesome – and like Lara Croft in Tombraider (who I secretly want to be, well maybe not so secretly now…). Staring at a wall over cargo netting 20 feet high and knowing that you have to climb it, no matter how much you shake, shows you what you’re made of. Staring into the blackness of a 50ft tunnel under earth and knowing how scared of tight spaces and dark you are – and doing it anyways – shows you what you’re made of. Good to know when you have moments of doubt. You rock. Own it and believe it. Simple.
4. Even as the isolating introvert that I am, it’s fun to do things with people and to share the moments. This is a tough one for me but yesterday taught me that having someone I know to turn to laugh and high-five did make it more fun. Many thanks to my Teammates for showing me that (even with some possible blurring of lines between work and personal life – sorry about my hip in your face over that wall). Having my Teammate take my hand and run with me when I slowed – perfectly captures it.
5. When you live and train at sea level, it’s so much better when the race is essentially there too. Yay for in town courses!!
6. One final point; the human body has many nooks and crannies and muscles that we never even think about, never mind know anything about. And you can hurt in all of them. Ouch and ugh. But in a way that makes me smile.

Until the next time my maelstrom of controlled chaos signs up for another event, these lessons will sit with me.

November is my birth month and I’m not usually a big celebrator of my birthday but this year I’m feeling a different spin on it.

I’ve been going through a bit of a shake up recently and the past year has been one of tremendous awareness and self exploration and growth. Discovering – and rediscovering – my Self and what makes me tick has been a roller coaster this year…and it’s just the beginning 😉

So I was musing over the past couple of months in particular and seeing that the stressors of life since the beginning of September have taken their toll. The basics of eating and sleeping and self-care have fallen by the wayside as they have a tendency to do with me. Bad habits that I thought I had set to rest have reared up again, a couple of them with a vengeance that’s frustrating. The worst part is that I’m no longer ignorant of the changes that I want and need to make. I no longer am able to ignore the lacking that sits inside of me when I slip up. But that awareness is also the best part; because it gives me clarity.

Clarity to ask myself what can I do? What do I need to do? I have struck upon an answer…and if you read my last entry you’d know that the awesome thing is that the answer was already there, waiting for me 🙂

I’m giving myself a birthday present this year. I’m going to celebrate Me. My Self gets a gift. The gift of freedom.
The gift of feeling not just good, but amazing. To eat healthy and wholesome so that my body feels nourished and cared for and valued by the Self that lives in it.
The gift of feeling strong physically. To know sweat and pain and the joy it brings me again…often and as much as I can. To know the serenity that comes from well worked muscles as they relax and soften after exertion. To feel the peace and the strength that flows through my Yoga practice again. Energizing and restoring me in a way nothing else can.
The gift of being challenged and to know the joy of achievement. To also give the gift of acceptance of knowing when my best is enough.
The gift of feeling nurtured. To experience a mind and a body and a spirit that is treasured and cherished.
The gift of expression and non-judgement. To follow where my Self meanders and explores and wanders. New paths and experiences are boundless and I give my Self permission to indulge and experience. Without judgement. With a knowledge that fear can’t and won’t hold me back.
With love, from Me to My Self.

A month to not just have a birthday but to have a celebration of the knowledge that I can, and do, chose to actively create and live my life. A life that embodies and embraces what fulfills me and expresses my Self. I put to rest those things that hold me back and move forward with those things that fan the flames of my fires.

Living Openly, Living Abundantly.