15 Years at Goal-Hindsight is 2020

Today is Year 15 of Reclaiming Life

It seems very contrite to write a blog post about being at a “goal weight” given the landscape of life we are all currently navigating. The “Covid gain” is pretty insignificant and natural as we change our everyday lifestyle habits.

What I’ve found necessary to stay healthy and mentally sane, is to focus on all 3 elements: Body/Mind/Spirit, which is a prevalent theme in my writing.

Last week I shared about creating a Contingency Plan; It’s been a go-to-sanity-saver and has provided much needed structure and stability during a time of change and uncertainty.

So, in keeping with yearly tradition on this anniversary date, here’s what I’ve learned in Year 15

~I can live on much less than I thought; I’ve streamlined my finances and really examined what’s necessity and what’s a luxury.  I have cancelled services, unsubscribed, decluttered, shopped less, sold some things curb side pickup, and simplified.  I channel that feeling I get when it’s completed…before I even start, because otherwise it’s overwhelming. One baby step at a time. You know you’ll feel amazing when you tackle that junk drawer, filing taxes, cleaning out the garage; feel the feels like it’s done already and then don’t hesitate to just start. The momentum takes over 🙂

~When I was a little girl, we had 3 huge gardens. And I helped my Mom and sisters garden all through my childhood. I vowed to never garden again; although I attempted to a few years running when my kids were young.  The whole process just didn’t feel gratifying nor therapeutic and weeding was a chore I decided was best left to the Farmers and the green thumb-ers. I am shocked to tell you that I have found so much peace and purpose in tending to growing things.  Like who even am I now?!

~If you have a desk job, you are over 40, and you’re not moving as much…your body will freeze up like the tin man by the end of the day. Chair yoga actually helps; especially, “Chair Pigeon Pose”. If you google it, a plethora of resources for seniors comes up. Legit cool for anyone who sits in a chair all day.

~Co-Parenting and blended family time during a Pandemic is tough. It just is. There’s a whole lot more to think about when you involve more than one family in cross-over time. I’ve talked to many in the same boat, or different boats, but all feeling the same way.  Whether you’re working full-time, laid off, working part-time gigs to make ends meet, staying at home all day caring for kids while in insolation, insert situation here…

Oh but wait there’s more!

Now let’s add schooling from home to that equation. Yet, as much as it’s a challenge for us parents (because let’s face it kids are already more scholarly than most of us); the kids are the ones who deserve all the kudos. For kids/tweenies/teens, their school life/friends/social activities are their whole world.

Oh but wait there’s more!

Then you add to their shoulders going back and forth between 2 families (or more cross over for blended families) and you have this grey area of “what’s right”.  You are forced to have very uncomfortable discussions with no real road map to follow. I have no advice here other than, if you understand this part, I’m sorry and I get it.

~I thought I was an introvert. I am an extrovert professionally, but I truly thought I enjoyed an intense amount of introversion recharging. That is until I couldn’t go see my family and friends like I used to. I think we are all realizing maybe “who were thought we were socially”, may not be our truth. It took a pandemic to realize it; and to sort out the importance of human connection. Now, if you are someone who has embraced their introversion, that’s cool too. If anything; I’ve found it interesting we are all figuring out what’s important to us. Won’t it be sweet to remember and act on all we’ve learned when life progressively gets more social?

~I don’t need a gym to workout; but I do need a plan Stan! For a while, I didn’t move as much as I did in the past, and that truly paid a toll on my mental well-being.  A reminder that moving even a little lends big results to my sense of health, well-being, and pride.

To finish this off:  Here’s a couple home workout plans you may find useful.

My at-home workout (3X week strength)

Download “Interval Timer-HIIT workouts” from your app store (there are other apps that work equally well). The ad. version is free and you can customize your intervals. I edited the Intermediate HIIT workout to include 16 sets with a 5 minute warmup/cool down.


The first “round” I choose 3 full body movements, all strength focussed. Side note: if you don’t have weights, use your own body weight, or soup cans/household items with a little weight to them works.

This will be my low interval of 1 minute. Three movements done in sequence; repeated for a total of 3 sets.

For Example:

  1. Squat to press
  2. Reciprocating chest press
  3. Reciprocating row with Tricep kick back

In between each 1 minute strength, your interval timer will beep a 30 second “high interval”. This is where I do my burst of cardio. Choose whatever is your jam! My choice is kickboxing; but since I’m at home alone, I will often dance it out.

Once you’ve completed your 3 sets of 3 strength along with your cardio high interval, there’s enough time for another superset. I choose 2 strength movements as my 1 minute low interval and for my 30 second high interval, I focus on core.
For Example:

  1. Alternating Lunge with bicep curl
  2. Alternating front raise (I kneel on a bosu for extra core for this)

For the 30 second high interval: Plank, knee up (variation of plank/mountain climber)

Do your strength movements for 3 rounds.

I have one minute left over for a plank before my 5 minutes of stretching.

I find this interval session so adaptable and easy to increase in difficulty or make easier for low energy days. You can make it muscle group specific or do a total body routine. I do this 3 times/week.

For a detailed exercise data base grouped by muscle group, check out American Council of Exercise: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/

Free Youtube workouts (follow their channels for more):

YouTube Mr. and Mrs. Muscle: Most of the free workouts are bodyweight and all have modifications.

I stumbled on this awesome lil space friendly workout the other day by Cambira Joy (love her energy)

My current read (Thank you Darrell for recommending more than once I read it, it’s a nugget of perfection): The Five People You Meet in Heaven
By: Mitch Albom
Have you read it?

Every year on this date, I post a photo of then and now to remember the path. This year, my amazing son is graduating. I’m so sad for him that he does not get that right of passage grad celebration this week-end. I’m really proud of him for how he’s handling it all with smile on his face. And as always, there’s playstation to keep him connected 😉 Happy graduation son. Love you!

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

My Contingency Plan to Cultivate Purpose, Peace and Joy

At work, when a major event happens, there are clear processes to follow. A fluid contingency plan is implemented and updated as situations evolve. I find comfort in processes that gift direction during times of chaos.

I had this light bulb moment the other day, why don’t I implement my own contingency plan for my personal life? Body/Mind/Spirt.

Protect my peace.

It sparked my creative mind thinking about ways to bring peace, purpose and joy into my day. I know exactly what feeds my body/mind/spirit. Interestingly, I’ve figured that out during times of hardship. I’ve taken the time to bring all the senses into that which feeds each element and then recorded it…in my mind’s eye or pen to paper. 

My Contingency Plan to Cultivate Purpose, Peace and Joy

Body

Go for a walk in the sun with my dog
Stretch at my desk when I feel my shoulder’s tighten and my leg’s stiffen
Lift weights. Make a plan, schedule my lift days. And lace up the shoes when I wake up (that’s the hardest part…the just doing)
Interval training
Kickboxing
Just move…Some days a little and some days a lot.
Go for a run
Ride my bike
Yoga
Work in my yard
Play basketball with the kids
Kayak (also spirit side)

Mind

Read a book
Learn something new. Daily
Meditate (a work in progress on that one)
Visualize at the start of each day and set intentions
Write
Teach
Play crib
Blog (this is also Spirit for me)
 

Spirit

Cook for my family, and dance while I cook. Cuban music is my jam lately.
Give to another: a kind word, a gift on a door step, a handwritten note. 
Add to my gratitude journal in the morning. 
Connect with my friends & family: phone, text, FaceTime, Zoom.
Write and support others through understanding.
Watch whatever makes me laugh.
Share the tricky parts of life. There is comfort within understanding we are not alone in our struggles. 
Garden: This is new for me, and huge! With the help of my family, we got our greenhouse functional again, and I planted veggies & herbs for the first time in years. 
 
 
Your list can be added to whenever you find an activity that taps into your senses, and makes you feel alive, centred, vibrant, peaceful, contemplative, happy, interested, etc. 
 
The hardest part for me is the motivation to actually do the Body/Mind/Spirit activities when I’m struggling. The last thing I want to do when I’m down is the very thing that will bring me back up.
That’s where trust comes in. I have to trust the proven results I’ve experienced before, and then take baby steps. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just do one thing; which creates the momentum for the next. 
 
It’s been necessary in this pandemic to be acutely self-aware of my metal state and emotions…
Feeling bored…mindless tasks getting to me? See Mind section.
Feeling lack of purpose? See Mind/Spirit.
Feeling lethargic and low energy? See Body Section
Feeling fearful? See Spirit
Feeling depressed and anxious? See Body/Mind/Spirit
Feeling overwhelmed with having to self-regulate through a stressful day? See Spirit
 
They key is to know YOU. What brings about equanimity to your world? What calms your spirit? What gives you purpose? What makes you laugh? What is that task you get lost in and lose all track of time? What can you give to others to fulfill your own sense of accomplishment?
Fear is an all encompassing force that grows and breeds more…if left unattended. It seeps in every so slowly when you are faced with daily unknowns and grows like a flame.
 
So my friends….  
 

Please Protect your Peace.

As always, I hope you choose love over fear.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

Love over Fear…even within a Pandemic

I took the Prince of Darkness (my dog) for a walk today. I value a good walk since the entire day minus as few minutes are spent inside. As is the case for you too. We are all in this.

Life has changed for the world in fast forward. As is a collective reality and not just my own…I was thinking back to just over a month ago. I (we) hugged people still. We shook hands. We sweated around others in a gym. We walked down crowded streets and browsed shops. We brought tea to a co-worker with a cough. We grocery shopped for a week’s worth of items. We went for a drink with a friend.

On March 1st I was in Banff. Alberta was not on lock down then.

On March 13th, I booked a pedicure for my birthday. And for the first time; I actually seconded guessed my decision for human contact that wasn’t necessary. I ended up cancelling it and then wondered if I was being overly-cautious. And I felt bad for that amazing spa as it’s their business which I wanted to support.

A week later, I went into my room for 2 weeks in self-isolation away from my kids; and we all made do in the same home as much as possible. What a foreign feeling to fear hugging my kids, to be near them. It took me longer to disinfect the kitchen after cooking; than it did to heat a meal. I mostly ate eggs. And I ate once a day. Fear diet you could call it.

On March 23rd, I went to a converted school gymnasium to get a test for Covid19. We stood more that 6 feet apart. One-by-one we inched closer to the door, not sure what a converted gymnasium would look like. The woman in front of me reached the front of the line and realized she forgot her ID in the car. She screamed through her mask that she refused to go get it unless there was assurance her place in line would be held. I told her I wouldn’t go in until she returned, and the nurse smiled warmly at me. We understood her abrasive demeanour was just fear speaking.

I finally entered the gym, and my eyes adjusted to the light of a scene that looked straight out of a movie. There were distinct sections, one for disinfecting: wash your hands, put on a mask, and then arrows directing to a section of socially distanced chairs. A man in a mask wiped down chairs previously occupied.

The nurses were like disciplined soldiers. Donned from head to toe in protective gear; disinfecting on repeat. Transferring calm to fearful eyes who presented their ID. After paperwork was completed, and each person held their ID up to be checked from across a table, we sat in the next section awaiting our names to be called. You could hear a pin drop. I scanned the room and wondered each of their stories. There was a pregnant girl down the way. I thought of my niece who was also about to have a baby and felt for her…the stress of it all (side note, he’s here…and he’s beautifully perfect and safely at home with Mom and Dad)

The testing stations were partitioned off, but I could see one lady getting tested with a swab swiftly reaching to the back of her nose. I immediately regretted watching it; because to see it was worse than the actual feeling. A lady in front of me took out her phone, as is customary when us humans have to wait any amount of time over 30 seconds. The nurse instructed her to put it away, and she had to get disinfected all over again. While the whole scene was unfathomable to my mind; I was so impressed with the organization of it all.

The waiting for the results was the worst, but thankfully my test came back Negative. I had the regular flu in unfortunate timing.

As soon as I came out of isolation, my kids went to stay with their Dad. And I’ve been fortunate to see them for a couple of suppers. They talk about a buddy family, and for many of us…buddy family’s are modern families. And the waters are muddy there. Two sets of families, with another set of families. All of whom want to protect their space. Which is the right thing, but it doesn’t feel good in the heart.

This is not my normal; to be away from my kids and I’m processing the lonely. But, within my loneliness…which pressed me to for a walk today…I had a revelation.

We must choose Love over Fear my friends.

While none of us have ever experienced this series of events in our lifetimes before; we most likely HAVE been through adversity which comes with lack of control. A moment when life knocks the wind out of you, and you have no idea how long you’ll be in that state. Or if you’ll ever get through it. That unknown/loss of control of environment...that’s where fear breeds more fear.

I remember this fear feeling. It lived within my spirit navigating life through my divorce. It took me a very long time to learn to choose Love over Fear. To realize it’s a choice.

To create equanimity within my day.

I forgot that skill when I was locked in my room. I spiralled hard my friends. Like grossly hard.

So here’s what I learned years ago, and what served me well today during my walk epiphany.

I am not suggesting you live in a rose-coloured-glasses-bubble unaware of what’s happening in the world. What I am challenging you to decide for yourself is: how much is “too much” for your harmony. Your balance.

Yes, we should be informed; but we should also be empowered to step away from the hysteria it induces. We may have little control on the outside world; yet we can do our part by staying inside as much as possible, and changing our perceptions on what that means…a prison to one is a retreat to another.

OK that’s a given… I sound condescending. My apologies…

During my walk, I felt compelled to encourage you all (and I’m encouraging myself, white knuckling it all some days) to please protect your peace.

Go for a socially distanced walk.

Put on your favourite music.

Have a long bath.

Phone a friend. FaceTime a friend. Connect with a friend. Reach out to those you love because we are all lonely. Am I wrong? Do you feel it too? Even if you have your kids/spouse/partner/parents beside you within a safe environment. It’s still lonely! It’s still hard. I know I’m not alone in that feeling.

Find your equanimity. Every. Single. Day. I learned that word when I needed it most. It’s the ability to install calmness and peace within your spirit. To center yourself even within chaos. What does that look like for you? Is it within music, cooking, chatting with friends, meditating, writing, creating, organizing (heyyyy A-Type peeps)? Find it for a few moments. Daily.

Live day to day. That’s it. Just today. If you have have a front line job on Monday, and you have Sunday off….Please live in Sunday. Nap. Relax. Don’t borrow Monday’s stress if you can help it. I have to tell myself that often. I’m a borrower of stress.

There are two underlying emotions that can be traced to all experiences.

Love

and

Fear

Within the fear of this beast, I hope you can choose some Love in your day.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

318

A few months ago, my daughter got braces.

Now this was before life changed in the midst of a pandemic, falling stock markets, empty aisles in grocery stores, and social isolating.

At that time…just weeks ago (which seems like years ago), I was stressed over how I was going to come up with my portion for operation-straight-teeth…which is a right of passage for a teen. And one she deserves, our smile is our hello.

Then the Covid-19 tornado began, and what was a flicker in the newsfeed, became all of our realities.

Isn’t it surreal, that just a month ago we shook hands, coughed if we had a tickle in our throat without others distancing in horror, and we just bought toilet paper when required.

An idealistic world where “it won’t happen to us”.

Until it did.

Last week-end, I was going through my finances to see where I could cut frayed threads. I decided to call my Credit Card provider for a card I’ve had for years, but rarely use. I wanted to cancel it, but I’ve never redeemed the points. I asked if my points could be converted to cash, and in a voice only reserved for customer service roles he delightfully replied: “absolutely!”

Cool. Money I had, but I didn’t know I had, to be sent via direct deposit to my account.

Yesterday, I received my portion of the initial dental bill…a day where I stumbled through to provide financial advice to others amidst a crisis this world has never seen before. There are no words to comfort those who fear the unknown; while stifling my own fears.

We need peace and level heads right now.

It seemed so insignificant; that I was worried about coming up with money for teeth; when in all reality, the world is seeking reprieve from Mortgage payments.

Yet it is significant in my world.

$318.00

I logged into online banking with a bit of dread to do the math of where to allocate this bill from.

And the first thing I saw was my cash back credit from my credit card (right beside my trip for groceries…I legit ran out of TP people, and essentials)

The credit card I used haphazardly in my youth…now more stringently understanding the WHY with the knowledge you can’t borrow from Peter to pay Paul (<——-do you know this saying?! ha!)

Anywhoooo, that surprise deposit into my account brought tears to my eyes.

As I was filled with trepidation to find $318.00 for my daughter’s teeth, the amount of my Credit Card rewards was…

$318.00

This means so much more to me than a quantitative amount.

It’s filled me with peace in the knowledge that within the trials and the most adverse times in my life, I’m always taken care of.

Always.

So stay true to my values, be kind, give more than I take, head high, and have faith.

It will be OK.

During this time of fear of the unknown, or perhaps fear of too much known, I hope you feel the peace of being “taken care of, and it will be Ok.”

And that requires faith. I know that’s not easy.

Within social isolation, please remember we are all in this together.

We will thrive on the other side of this: a whole lot more insightful and enlightened. Strong within our values which is essential to our inner well-being, closer to those we love most, and with a renewed humility. Yes, I’ve felt a sadenned loss in humanity within the hoarding and the selfishness, yet the voice of what is good and pure will always be louder.

Keep the faith my friends.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

Remember Dear Friends…

Remember dear friends,

Health, the celebration of movement and expression of gratitude for this loving vehicle which transports us through this beautiful life…lives within the Little Things.

It does not have to be all or nothing and please don’t sweat for the “not enough” mentality, the ever striving to be more than we are. Because “more than” is less than you deserve. It’s an ideal that isn’t sustainable; nor attainable.

No, that’s not celebration.

But think on this…

Love for yourself (and in turn others) resides in taking the long way home once and awhile: Taking in new sights and views. Turning off the auto pilot.

It lives within impromptu kitchen dances much to the horror of the teen who is waiting for that meal only you can make just the way they like it. The coming together around the warn-in-wood-knicked family table where gold nuggets of one-another’s days are shared.

It lives within walks with a friend, the 2 or 4 legged variety, down trails of amber or perhaps dusted with snow; where the frosty breath from laughter hangs in the air.

It lives within the outer aisles of your grocery store: the layout you know like you designed it…where vibrant foods are stacked pyramid style in perfect ripeness without the labour of growing it yourself. Although you can choose to do so when the snow melds away to rich earth.

It lives within lifting heavy things so you truly understand your power of body and spirit. A resource just waiting to be tapped into.

It sings within nature; whether in your backyard, or a mountain view.

It settles beautifully into catchup visits with old friends who’ve shared life’s experiences. A vino toast, or a coffee ordered just the way they know you prefer it.

It meditates in silence

Rejoices in family

and comes alive on a run.

It’s your soul’s awakening within Life: truly expressing, sharing, growing, learning, trying something new, challenging tired behaviours and evolving beliefs, giving more than you take, and practicing a whole lot of self-compassion as you seek out your purpose.

Remember dear friends, there is beauty all around your daily life. Seek it out.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

The Power of Words

I have been absent from sharing. I’ve continued to write privately, as I sort through some challenges I’ve faced lately.

To sum it all: I started a new role at work; which involved a whole lot of learning, discomfort within the new, and excitement to take on new challenges. Longer hours melded to exhaustion at the end of my day; when I wiped away the last supper crumb from the counter and retreated to my couch. I’ve been able to be there for my kids in the ways that are important. I also want them to see me work hard; set goals, and achieve them.

My gym: ugh…I do not feel comfortable there any longer. The details of why are not important; I’m still going to sweat freely; but the freely part needs to be in a place I feel comfortable in.

For all the areas I feel confident within this stage of my life; there are also areas I white-knuckle it. And maybe that’s just the ebbs and flows of life: Career, raising teens, staying on top of grocery shopping, cooking healthy meals, ensuring all bills are paid/living within my means, and keeping the home clean and decluttered.. Despite the clutter in the mind…the swirling of thoughts:

What do I need to do today?

Where am I supposed to be today?

How can I be in two places at once? Call a friend…

So, I live one day at a time. Where as before my life changed…I had the luxury of thinking in weeks vs. days.

Which brings me to the topic of today: the power of words. Or more-so, the power I give to words.

You see, there’s a difference.

One perspective gives all the power away to the words; and the other empowers me to choose how those words affect me.

The other day, I talked with a man I see occasionally. He had just returned from a trip, and it had been a few months since I last saw him. We chatted about his trip and then he said something (three times to be exact) which completely took me by surprise…

He said “You’ve gained weight since I last saw you”

I stared at him for a moment with my mouth open. And again he said “I had to take off my glasses to see if it was my sight; but you’ve definitely gained weight”

I replied “OK” ha! I seriously couldn’t think of anything to say to keep a semblance of composure and grace.

Once more for good measure, he adjusted his glasses and said. “Yup you’ve definitely gotten bigger”
(OH NO HE DIDN’T)

I replied “OK”

Because really it’s not OK to say that to anyone; even if it’s an observational thought that escapes the lips. I have no way of knowing if it holds judgment or not. And if I’ve learning anything from my incessant reading of self-help books; nothing is personal.

But you guys, the tears stung my eyeballs; and I felt shame.

Shame is the root of self-deprication and spiralling. The opposite is self-compassion and love.

It took me the entire day; and then the next, and now here we are at today…to work through the feelings from that one exchange.

One phrase has ran over and over on repeat in my mind:

Choose Love

For myself

And for others.

Even when it’s hard to love others.

I still have a choice in this, because the energy I put out to others; the love I show others, is important. It’s transferrable. As destructive as words can be, they can also be beautifully empowering to another. Choose love. And learn where to put your energy.

That’s about all I’ve figured out since then. Do you have a similar experience or story? Please feel free to share.

From my heart to yours (with love and acceptance),

Christine

Year 14 at Goal

Today is the 14th year since I reclaimed my health and dropped the 100. Every year on that special day, I write a post about what I’ve learned this past year.

I’m not sure where to even begin this post, as I’ve truly struggled this year to find balance and have been down on myself at times.

In many ways, I’ve made amazing headway I’m very proud of within my career, family, learning to open up again and trust, and love deeper. To open my heart and home again and be present in the free time I have.

In other ways, I’ve felt depleted within my energy levels and unable to get in the amount of activity I’ve learned fuels my self-confidence and self-efficacy.

You see for me, it’s all connected. If I can’t get out and move my body daily; I feel it internally/mentally/emotionally.

I started working full-time (which happens to be a desk job); scaled back my photography business, continued my learning within my personal training certification, woke up earlier to study towards my mutual fund license, as well as parenting my three kids.

I don’t entirely like the word “single parent” as it implies I have no help…and that I do so solo. I have support and a whole loving tribe who cares.  My kids are older now, and they help me so much.  They are my biggest support system and my reason for all that I do. I’m so proud of them.

As this post is about maintaining a goal; this year, I learned to shift my goals. Relax on one area while I focus on another.

A number on a scale is not the end all be all; and it has little to do with the totality of who I am as a woman.

Movement is a way of celebrating what my body is capable of; it is not a punishment. I’ve needed to find activity I love to do rather than ticking off a list of minutes to get in my “cardio”.

With the melting of the snow after the longest stretch of cold; I began walking my dog at night. At first he struggled as I did, to complete the uphill portion of the walk. I had resigned myself that Teddy was just getting older and with that comes limited mobility. However, my dog taught me if you keep at it, a little more at a time, you’ll grow in strength and stamina. He cries as soon as I get home now to go for that walk; and he can walk twice as far as he could 2 months ago. Old dogs can learn new tricks. He’s become my accountability coach. 😉

I learned I was overtraining in the past; as I now have more rest days. As a result; I can lift heavier than I ever have before…despite gaining this year.

I’ve struggled with night time cravings for food this year; as the stress of the day melds to boredom when it all quiets down.  I haven’t struggled with that for years; so it was humbling to realize how much stress plays a role in emotional eating. I’m working on that area. Like a smoker who has just one drag and all of a sudden is smoking again. That’s the only thing I can equate it to.

As always; I am a work in progress. I want so desperately to be a good role model for my kids. To show them their Mom can work hard towards her goals and succeed. I finally want for myself all the forward success I’ve wanted for my children.

Life moves in ebbs and flows; and I’m on the learning ebb; which I believe with my whole heart will produce an abundance flow. I may not have a lot of time for a social life at the moment; but someday I will. The progress of my life through raising kids has shown me that there are seasons.

I know I have grown a lot this year as I now feel all the feelings so much deeper now; where I was once numb. My instincts scream at me; where before it was just a whisper. I have been gifted humility as I’m more self-aware and can see where I’ve made mistakes within relationships. I have tried my best to make amends when the door opens for authentic connection and have admitted my short-comings. “I’m sorry” was spoken more this year than in the last 10 combined. And I mean it whole-heartedly. I can be better.

This year, I’m most proud of my children and that I’m a better Mom to them; because they deserve the best. They continue to grow, molt, and mature into incredible kind, giving, tenacious, positive, and loving people. I’ve said sorry to them as well this year; for all the ways I let them down when I was down. I’ve learned to admit when I’m wrong; and ask for forgiveness.

I’m looking forward to the next year at goal; as I continue to take in all the life lessons around me and support others in their own growth.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

The Sisterhood of Mothers

I watched an overwhelmed Mom the other day, wrangler her 2 toddlers in the midst of a busy business as they were screaming and fighting down the aisles.  Another Mom near her leaned in to offer some advice “Enjoy them now while they are young, because one day you’ll miss the sound of their little voices”

The overwhelmed Mom’s face fell further as the cloak of guilt surrounded her spirit.

I can relate and recognize both sides of the coin. One where you don’t realize the simplistic beauty of a stage until the next one arrives. And another where the weight of it all is exhausting. You feel up to the very top of your head with frustration and responsibility. You can’t breathe.

Through the years, empathy and understanding have flooded my Mom-heart connecting to my own Mother’s-heart within wisdom of life experiences I’ve shared with her. Separate experience in different decades, hers in her time; and mine in my time. Like traversing the newborn stage while also chasing another toddler to trying to balance a career along with raising teens all while dealing with a loss of a former life and rebuilding.

What I’ve come to understand more than anything; Mom guilt is the root of shame among Mothers. It’s destructive and dark. There’s no growth that comes from shame.

The centre of a Mother is a woman who is doing her best with the tools she has.

She does not have to feel grateful for the temper tantrum simply because one day her hard work will pay off in the form of a well-adjusted former toddler turned beauty adult.

She is not required to appreciate the miracle of life when it’s within a teen who would rather slam a door on her face than say thank you for forcing an education upon them.

What that Mom needs now is the right to be authentic and real. Acknowledged within her fruition and exhaustion. She is not superhuman. She’s merely human and there are days she wants to run from it all. From the expectations to be happy and grateful within the stages of screaming toddler; to the teen who spews anger when held to responsibility.

She does not need an elder Mom to impress the next stage upon her already guilt-ridden spirit; because she’s not there yet! She doesn’t know it until she lives through it. Just as I didn’t understand what my Mom did for me when I was screaming in her face to leave me alone. It’s the cycle of life; life lessons come organically in the form of actually living the life.

And yet, as I type this…I feel the Mom-guilt creep in for all the children without Mothers  and all the Mothers without children. Will this post be met with understanding as I intend it.

I’m writing this within the conviction that us Moms need a sisterhood of women to unite within understanding, compassion, and empathy. To acknowledge that Mothering is not for the faint of heart. It is thankless and crushing at times; and it is beautifully enriching at times. It can be filled with loss and anger one minute and yearning to be better and love deeper the next.

It’s Ok to take a trip away with your girlfriends. To sleep in when you can…nap it out. Take a walk alone or curl up with a good book in a hammock.

It’s not selfish to take care of your own needs along with those of your children.

There is no room for understanding and camaraderie when one Mom camp shames another for mothering in a different way.

This Mother’s Day I want to appreciate, acknowledge and applaud all those Moms who are trying their best. Who collapse at the end of the day on the couch with a glass of wine and some smutty reality TV on their PVR.

Those who stay home with their kids; and those who work full-time.

Those who stand in an aisle flanked by screaming toddlers giving into the chaos for a moment; and those who leave a full cart of groceries behind to carry their screaming toddler out.

Those who slip away for a break; only to realize they don’t really want a break; they just want the right to be their own person as well as a Mom. To have the freedom to feel the wide gamut of emotions that weave the canvas of Motherhood in all it’s successes and defeats.

It’s all OK.

Feel all the feels and then remember that through all the deep love you have for your family; you too are loved and appreciated.

Maybe not today.

Maybe on the day when your own once teen raises their own angry teens.

But certainly on more days than Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s day to all you Moms out there. Especially to my own Mom. I love you.

From my understanding Mom heart to yours,

Christine

 

A Letter to the God-Sized Hole of the Evening

A few months ago, I learned to start my day with 2 intentions (which turn into actions):

Show me what I need to know.

Show me what I need to learn.

I feel pulled to share this morning’s writing… Full of vulnerability and fear, but also hope and surrender. I’m just going to type what I wrote, without edits or grammatical fixes.

April 15, 2019

“Show me what I need to know”

The purest form of truth about yourself is in the morning. You are inspired, loving, calm, centred, grateful, hopeful, energetic, and peaceful.  Somewhere through out the day, parts of you unravel. Like tugging a piece of thread, it pulls away lending to layers of fray.

By evening, you feel a hole. I’ve heard the term “God-Sized Hole” and it’s accurate. It’s something I want to feed, fill with external stimuli. I feel it in my throat and in my heart like a lead blanket on my chest; constricting my breathing. There is nothing external that will ever placate it or remove it. It just grows with every attempt.

“Show me what I need to learn”

You know who you are at the start of each day. It’s YOU. Remove whatever you can through out your day which affects your equanimity. Remind yourself of your truth. Silence the voice of doubt/I’m not good enough/that deceptive narrative of self-loathing.

Bring it back to this present moment.

Where all is as it should be.

There is no pain in this moment.

There is no shame of the past.

There is no fear of the future.

You are taken care of.

Surrender.

Trust.

You’ve been gifted a new path full of choices, opportunity, a fresh perspective, new people who are all placed at this stage of life to teach you. Circumstances to build your resilience. Reminders of what you value and order of importance within that value system.

A faith that guides you and sustains you.

The God-Sized hole lives within your mind; but it is not who you are.

You are worthy and complete. Complicated yet simplistic within your needs.

Abundance is yours and it’s already part of your today.

Your purpose is within shifting focus for yourself and others; so they may also understand their greatness and wholeness.

The soul needs no reassurance.

It’s the centre of all.

It’s the light; there is no darkness.

It’s always burning, creating, evolving, full of freedom and ever transforming within shades of LOVE.

It will guide you back to who you always were and who you are.

Read this at night.

Read it when you are confused, afraid, sad, full of shame.

You are deeply loved and you deeply love others. In all their stages and phases of growth and within your own too.

Practice self-compassion; shame is the root of destruction.

Your life is ever-expanding and evolving just as it was meant to.

You have all you require now. More than.

There is nothing to feed.

You are already full.

Full of love and purpose; fulfilled and grounded.

Your soul is on fire with it.

Just let it be.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

Finding Equanimity in a Line-Up

The other day, as a long bank line snaked to the door, I had this thought…

Don’t look to the end of it. Focus on the person in front of you only. Take good care of them. And then the next and the next.

And that’s how my life has been lately. If I focus on the line: the things out of my control, the weight of changes and forks in the road, the big tasks ahead to keep up a business/another career/certification/doing best for my kids…all together it’s just one big long line up to the door with eyes pleading to hurry up.

But if I focus on each one singularly, with love and attention, I’m able to bring some equanimity to each element.

The word of the year…

Equanimity: The ability to calm and centre yourself especially under stress.

When I first read this word, I knew it was the singular most important trait I needed to learn. Most of my reading has been centred around it; learning tools to bring that balance back no matter what stressors pop up in my day.

You can’t control all the stressors in life; but you can change your perceptions, build resilience, and learn to traverse the path of adversity with clarity and a calmness of spirit.

Don’t focus on the line friends…just the beautiful face in front of you.

The rest will be taken care of in due course.

Trust in your abilities. Continue to learn and grow.

Situations, people, opportunity and loss are there for a greater purpose. Open your eyes to the lessons right in your back yard.

Wax on wax off.

Have a great day!

From my heart to yours,

Christine