We are the Same

I had a conversation with a woman who is pregnant with her first child. Newly married, full of hope and excitement for this stage in their lives. I could relate to her as she spoke of her hopes and dreams for her and her baby’s future. The stage where it morphs from a marriage to a family.

As conversations go, I reminisced about that time in my life. I could clearly see such parallels within our experiences. I was brought back to that excitement within my reverie.

I can’t recall the exact wording she used, and it wasn’t offensive to me, but I realized within our similarities, she saw me differently. Now, there’s no denying I’m a 40 something divorced woman with adultier kids.

At that moment within my mind I said “Oh, she thinks we are different. But we are the same.”

I share this not to criticize her, but rather because it convicted my own spirit. I realized I often see others as “different from I” which causes a division rather than a connection with others.

I have struggled with feeling judged in the past, but how am I feeding my own judgments of others if I can’t recognize how we are the same?

Perhaps it comes with wisdom that builds from life experience. Or maybe it comes from the gift of humility through loss.

There is something so freeing and comforting when you realize we are all connected within our dreams, goals, hopes, desires, failures, fears and trials.  Beautiful connection, we are not alone. We are all navigating life the best way we know with the knowledge and tools we were given.

We are the Same.

At the root of “same” is feelings.

Working Moms or Stay-at-home Moms: we have the same love for our children. We lay awake at night worrying about their futures and vowing to do better the next day. Whether you are a Mom to a newborn; or a Mom to a 40 year old (Love you Mom).

Married or Divorced: There is no perfect marriage. Some make it through those waters, and others choose a different path; but I would hazard a guess that all who walk down the aisle do so with hope and a whole lot of love.

Those who have children; and those who choose not to have children:  We all feel purpose. We will live our purpose how we see fit; the urging of our spirit to pour our heart into something greater than ourselves.  We will find fulfillment in life our own way.

Faith: There are so many religions; I won’t pretend to know the doctrine of each. I do know that I’m called to love; to give more than I take; to serve others and spread a little compassion..and that’s about all I know.  We are the same within love.

I think as humans; we seek to understand…and when we can’t understand another’s viewpoint or choices; we just see difference. But *what if, we seek out those elements that unite us. That we can relate to; in even the tiniest of ways.

Focus on what we stand for; rather than what we stand against.

So today, I will seek out the same. I will look for ways I can learn from others and practice listening to understand. I will celebrate that feeling of unity. I will be grateful for the gift of life lessons which have bred compassion, empathy, and wisdom.

We are the same.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

The Weight of 8 Pounds

In 2013, I started to weigh in and record it once a month only.  During my losing phase, I became a slave to the scale and my moods yo-yoed along with whatever that daily magic number showed.

It’s been over a year now since I took a sit-on-yo-butt job.

I’ve gained 8 pounds.

Oooooh so dramatic.

Confession time…

I have a love/distaste relationship with gym-culture.

On one side you have a collective of people from all different backgrounds/classes/job roles all in track-pants sweatin’ it up. There’s a mutual respect and camaraderie that evolves.

Uplifting and motivating.

Like this gentleman whom I’ve witnessed for well over a year, running the track with a weighted vest on. He’s older than I, and he gives it all he’s got.  I realized today, that he runs so much more effortlessly and he must have lost the equivalent of an entire person from his frame. He whizzes by us all, WITH A WEIGHTED VEST ON PEOPLE. Much respect man.

Slow motion high-five..

But then there’s this other side of gym culture. The focus on an unrealistic standard, not enough, never happy with one’s aesthetic appearance, and scanning others bodies in comparison. The idea that the most important and perhaps valued part of a person is the frame she/he walks around in.

I happened on a woman today, nameless for this post, who gave me the ole’ body scan.  Full on scan top to bottom. Now, I have no way of knowing what her scan meant, nor is it any of my business what another thinks of me…but you guys, I felt this wave of embarrassment which is embarrassing.

She must have noticed the 8 lbs. It might as well be 80 pounds.

My mind went all the shades of insecurity. By the end of the workout, my head was down. I felt no power within. Just embarrassment “how could you let yourself gain 8 pounds. You are on a train to obese town again”

And so this is why I’m writing this blog post today, because I recognize how silly it all is. How insignificant it is. How I am not alone in the comparison game. In the “not enough” world that lives within the minds of many women.

In my current profession, I’ve accidentally stumbled upon a breath of fresh air in comparison to the personal training world. I didn’t know I needed it until I found it. There is very little focus on fitness levels. There’s a focus on memory, fast thinking, retention of information and stellar customer service…but whether or not someone is 8 pounds more?  Meh…it’s like saying I aged 8 days. Zero Facks given.

When I got home, I sat alone in my happy place. My home. And I spun it back.

The weight of 8 pounds does not account for the following…

The year I’ve spent focussing on working and changing careers, taking care of my kids, and studying for the next chapter.

The strength I’ve worked hard for this year. Because it pushed me out of my comfort zone daily, and makes me feel empowered.

The time spent around the supper table, talking and laughing. Movies with the gang, sharing licorice down an aisle and learning much more than I ever thought I would want to know about Marvel movies (which for the record are pretty bad ass).

The quiet voice of my instinct awakening again as I’ve learned to trust myself and surrender the rest.

The feeling of peace I have now that my life is on a good track, where there was so much uncertainty and worry about my future before. I didn’t know if I could keep my home, if I’d have to move. Move my kids away from their friends and schools. If I could start a new career. Or meet new people. If I could laugh again or if I’d always hide behind a forced smile as I was grieving. Starting over is no joke. It takes more courage than I ever thought I had.

There’s 3 elements to staying on an internal-pride high-vibe if you break it down.

Self-Confidence (self-efficacy). The belief you can lean or accomplish something

Self-esteem: how much you approve of or value yourself (often evaluated within comparisons)

Self-compassion: how much warmth we can have for ourselves, especially when going through a difficult experience

I think the hardest one is self-compassion especially if you have high standards for yourself (and in turn others). Without self-compassion there is an element of shame that seeps in and shame is the killer of dreams and moving forward within actions.

So today I will remember to be gentle with myself. I will choose what to give significance to. Perspective is everything.

We all have one life. The difference between a good one and a bad one, lives within your perceptions.

And today I realized just how silly 8 pounds is to my life. I know how to be healthy and keep on rocking a lifestyle that works for me. Balance. There are cycles of rest and recovery and working hard too, in other facets beyond a gym.

I hope you will  be gentle with yourself too, you are so worthy of whatever amazing life you create.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

 

90 Years of Wisdom Delivered in a Bow and a Smile

At work, there is a Mother and Grandmother who come in regularly. Although we do not speak the same language, or in the case of the Mother…bits of the same, we do share the same warm smiles. Each time they come to my wicket, the Grandmother bows and smiles the largest warmest grin that dances within her kind eyes. She reminds me of the wise Matriarch in Mulan.

I’m sure it’s comedic to watch. She bows. I bow. We laugh. She bows. I bow. X10 bowing. on repeat.

I can feel her spirit every time. I know nothing about her past or present other than the beautiful aura she carries with her. A brilliant smile, and uplifting presence.

Yesterday, the Mother came solo.  I asked where Grandma was. She replied that she was resting at home.

She leaned in to my wicket and said to me “You know, my Mom loves you. She thinks you are beautiful and you are very kind.”

I told her I adored her Mom’s energy and I too thought she was beautiful. I wanted to expand more but she pointedly said…”My Mom is 90 years old. She’s always happy. Always smiling. Always thanking. She loves to live.”

I could see how much she appreciates having a Mom who loves life the way she does.  A gift to her family.

Another Zen Joy person who crossed my path. ❤  I am so grateful for these light-sharers who’s mere presence illuminates any room. Who make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Who make you believe in the good within the world. That happiness and gratitude is something you choose.  And spread it freely.

While I struggle some days to choose it; I see that Grandmother as a symbol of what I’m working toward. A countenance of loving life.

I used to think happiness was what I most sought after in life; but perhaps it’s fulfillment within life’s various stages. The not seeking the next chapter.

I’ll be happy when…

Rather, I’m fulfilled now with all that I am and all that I have (none of which are the material variety; but the human interaction kind).

My eyes continue to open to what’s important to my spirit. I embrace every lesson which comes my way; and they are often packaged in welcoming smiles and gentle energy.

90 years of wisdom encapsulated in a warm smile and gentle bow. Zero words spoken yet all the words I need (which I’m having a tricky time articulating just how much they mean to me).

Thank you Grandmother.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

Our Deepest Fear

Marianne Williamson wrote with poetic truth and beauty…

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.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Her words have danced in my spirit the moment I read them.

I have allowed my insecurities and complacency to hold me back from experiencing a richness of life which comes when you take risk, live authentically, and have the courage to be vulnerable with others. It’s what connects us.

We all have insecurities in some form or fashion. They manifest differently for everyone.

Some mask it with bravado.

Some gossip.

Some shelter.

Some gaslight.

Some cover it with anger while others feel the weight of shame.

As I have worked at being more vulnerable, I have also felt convicted about sharing the areas of strength I’ve felt. As though my pride would be mistaken for vanity.

I can spin it back to love however…It’s not vain to love yourself fiercely. To speak passionately about whatever it is that ignites the fires of your spirit.

I want that for my children. To be strong, daring, unapologetic for their authenticity, with a vivacious energy that translates into fulfillment and gratitude for this one amazing grace-filled life.

Going into the New Year; I will try my best to live more honestly and authentically. To work more on my inner spirit than my outer aesthetic. I believe the outer follows suit to whatever you put into the soul.

I am and will be grateful for all that I have and all that I am working towards; quality of life.

I have let go of “stuff” and “status”.

I have let my mask fall.

I have run away pain, and bathed in the murk.

I have exercised my voice like a muscle and walked a little taller.

I have accepted both my light and dark side.

I know my strengths and I know my faults. As I worked daily on my spirit; self-awareness flooded my being with every sunrise of my Miracle Morning.

When you embrace the uniquely beautiful human you are, and explore the areas or life which excite you. delight you. bring a sparkle to your eye…Your light will shine so bright; it will be impossible not to see. And that light is infectious.

What makes you happy?

What makes your heart sing?

What makes you feel alive?

WHO makes you feel connected and understood?

Who celebrates your successes?

You see if you are at a place in your life where you are questioning who is in your corner; look to the people who are truly happy for your successes. The ones who feel your happy as much as your pain.

But never dim your light for anyone. That’s a betrayal to who you are meant to be. Your life has a purpose; live it passionately and boldly.

I will celebrate my successes and will continue to uplift others as they go after their own. Yessss, go get it!

United within strength as much as weakness.

I hope you have an amazing Christmas full of the love of family and friends.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

Private Healing

When I finally decided to tackle my health issues, I knew I wanted to do so privately. I didn’t share with my friends or family my plan to get the weight off.  Perhaps it was due to fear of failing; but knowing who I am as  a person…it was more so because the process for me was full of healing and reclamation of a life I couldn’t live the way I wanted to.

I yearned to run down a field with my kids without getting winded, go swimming without shame, and speak up passionately for what I believed in.

You see, the excess weight for me was a byproduct of shame and loss after a sexual assault. I won’t blame the assault on turning me into a physically unhealthy person (blood pressure issues/depression/etc.); however, I do recognize it was the catalyst.

It took many years to pack on that weight; and when I decided to shed that extra layer of shame and pain…the weight went along with it. I didn’t know who I was as a woman aside from my roles as a Mom/Wife/Sister/Friend/Daughter.

I didn’t follow a plan or strict calorie intake regimen. I made a daily promise to treat me as I treat those I love. To fuel with nutrition and water. Move a little, sometimes a lot, and some days not at all…sweet rest.

These past few years I have faced equally confusing and down days as my life has transitioned during a divorce. When I feel that pull to eat away the pain or stay in bed, I try my best to spin it back to love and simply move and eat well. To rebuild my family dynamic with my children in a new way; and just love them deeper.

I struggle between lending support to others; yet still honouring my pain and healing process.  I prefer to do so privately and quietly. I struggle to articulate to those I love and pull away from that I need to do this for me.  It’s not personal to them. I can not support anyone else if I don’t support my process too. I have lost friendships along the way as I have not met other’s needs and expectations.

Some find solace in sharing openly and aloud. I envy that in many ways; I would imagine it’s easier to keep up your friendships and support circle that way vs. isolating here and there.  I do also see the irony that I’m sharing this on a public blog 😉  I also find healing within sharing in a way that’s comfortable for me (alone in my office lol)

I hope this post shares some insight into the different yet equally healing ways people process various stages in life.

There is joy within the pain. There is laughter even through some tears. There is residual anger within the forgiveness.  And there is a whole lot of love when you drop the shame and regret. I am so thankful for all that I have; it’s all that I need. I am finding my zen joy a little more every day.

Family. Purpose. Fulfillment. Love. Security. Authenticity. Love. Acceptance.

I appreciate all who are still there for me when I do some private growing and we just pick up where we left off. I have nothing but love for my friends and family.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

The Simplistic Beauty of Giving

My reading this morning was on the spirit of giving.

Simplistically beautiful giving.

As I go into my workday, I will focus on uplifting others who cross my path.  Working at a bank, there’s many in a day.

How can I uplift their spirit within that 5 minute window?

The smallest kind word can create grow in impact; you never know what another is struggling with. But you can feel it within the way they hold themselves, their tone, how they interact.   There’s  nothing more monotonous than standing in line at a bank, I remember that by the time they reach me.

Just give a little kindness and understanding.

That’s literally all I’m going to focus on within every interaction today.

I have 100 some odd chances to brighten another’s day today. That’s how I think about it…how many chances will I get today to spread a little good?

Giving does not have to be grandiose or extravagant. The spirit of giving lives within a welcoming smile, a door held open, a genuine compliment, a listening ear, within the song of laughter.

Have a great day! I hope someone shows a little kindness to you today. You are loved.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

Magic Forks and Cracked Molars which turn into Banking Jobs  

There’s a phenomenon in my home, that I’m sure many others can relate to.

Along with the mystery of the missing one sock in the laundry pile, forks also go missing in my house.

What the fork, where do they go?

I was shopping the other day and was drawn into one of those kitchen stores; stocked with pretty kitchen-ey type gadgets.  I picked up a set of forks. It pained me to buy them when I had perfectly good forks just months ago; so I put them back on the shelf.

As I was washing the same 4 forks so we could eat supper; I inwardly made fun of my frugal self for not buying the forks. Later that day, I went downstairs to organize my unfinished basement turned sweat-freely-in-home-gym.  In the corner I spied a wooden box; like there was a spot light on it.

I opened it slowly, like it was a treasure chest. I realized it was a beautiful cutlery set gifted to us by my parents on our wedding day. The weirdest part of about this is I swore I already dumped the whole set into my everyday drawer years ago. I even wrote about it. Maybe I only used half of them; but I was staring in shock at a complete set of beautiful silverware.

I asked for a fork.

I found not just any fork; but a set of fancy forks.

Perception is everything: there was a part of me that lamented not using those fancy forks back when I was married; I am only now breaking out the “good china” now that I’m divorced? Oh the irony.

I think the real message here is within asking and receiving.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye
shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you

What I’ve learned these past three years is that my prayers/affirmations/thoughts turn into things.

Some small…like a fork; and some huge like careers and a happy home built on love with my children.

Like that time when I broke a tooth; which turned into a banking job.

Stay with me….

I cracked a  molar eating ice. I don’t know why my molar couldn’t handle some ice chips, but it was my favourite molar. The one that does the most chewing. Of the meats.

At the time; I had no benefits. And that one molar ended up costing me $3,200.

It was a complicated molar.

Oh the things you do for your favourite molar.

That week; I received some help from my parents via a card in mail with a handwritten note and a CQ.

They are still my tooth fairy.

What was an amazing blessing to me is that I didn’t ask them for help.  They just intuitively knew that I was very much struggling at that time. Thank you

Three weeks after that; I got a job offer at a bank. I had never considered working at a bank; but a friend approached me knowing my skill set. She told me it came along with benefits. For the teeth. 😉

I had a huge smile as the day before, I had also set a goal to learn more about investments and finances. I had even looked into taking courses and said aloud “bring me opportunities to learn about finances.”

I was gifted a learning opportunity which came with benefits.

This is how it works in my life lately.

I trust and surrender.

I have confidence in myself and my abilities.

I stay the course and work hard.

Focus on the good.

The blessings.

Gratitude.

Humble awesomeness.

I’m taken care of.

I have all that I need.

Skeptics may say; you always had fancy forks in your basement…

But I choose to see the magic within Synchronicity.

Beautiful timing within need.

Thanks for the forks.

From my heart to yours,

Christine