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

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

The Forest vs. the Tree

You know the saying “you can’t see the forest for the trees”…

The other day I was talking with a co-worker and we chatted about the next phase in careers. She told me she hoped one day she would be as knowledgeable as a Senior staff member; and worried how she would she ever get there. She felt defeated that she wasn’t growing as fast as she hoped. Now, this girl is 20 years my Junior and we are at the same phase in careers. For me, I can see the next 20 years for her clearly as I have witnessed her work ethic, intelligence, and wisdom beyond her years. Plus I’ve lived the years she’s about to go through. But she’s staring right at one tree. There’s a whole forest beyond.

As I was explaining that POV to her, I realized I’m staring at one tree too.

Within every stage of life, it’s easy to stare at one tree. The more narrow your focus, the closer you are to that one tree. The bark is all up in your eyeballs.

If you are feeling worried about the details of this stage, remember there is a whole forest beyond it.

A whole world of learning, growing, opportunity.

Take a step back.

Trust in the ever-evolving stages of life and just do your best.

You learn the most when you are handed challenges. Expedited growth, which is a gift when you get out into the forest.

Have a great day!

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