It’s none of your business (and none of mine either)

As my life travels along, there’s always a life lesson theme that pops up when I need it most. Maybe it was always there, and I just wasn’t ready to not only hear it; but to apply it to my life.

I was talking to my dear friend Linda Lou yesterday morning (we have the BEST life talks), and we were discussing this concept: What others think about us is none of our business. Now for a people pleaser like myself, that’s crazy talk. lol

Further to letting go of what others think about me, it goes beyond that into relying on my instincts, trusting in myself to make the best choices for me and my kids, and actually LIVING out loud.

Get out of my head, and start living.

What a concept!

I can truly relate almost any life dilemma back to reclaiming my life when I lost the weight, and this is no exception.  If I had listened to every opinion out there on the best way to lose weight, oh my…how overwhelming that would have been.

When I’m asked my opinion about a food plan, I try my best to just ask questions: Does it work for YOU and your lifestyle? Is this sustainable for your whole life? Is it excessive leading to frustration? Are you showing self-care by fuelling your body this way (which naturally eliminates most restrictive food plans)? It’s really about creating a healthy relationship with that one thing we need to keep us alive: food. Turn it from a negative view into a positive. I’m in control of my choices. How great is that?

Back to caring what others think: here’s what I learned going though my divorce…

It’s no one’s business.

I certainly don’t owe an explanation to anyone except within my core family unit. It’s no different if I was to go up to someone and say “Why are you still married? Did you think about this?”  haha!  It’s ridiculous and entitled to think my opinion should have any barring on another’s life choices.

So I worry about me, and my house.

You do you, I do me.

That’s not selfish. It’s trusting in myself and understanding I am doing the best I can with the tools I have. If I keep investing in my personal growth, I will have more tools to be a better version of myself.

Other’s opinions of me are fuelled by their own values, experiences, inner conflicts, curiosity, whatever; but it’s none of my business what other’s think about me. And that’s so freeing.

I’m ready to start living out loud, on my terms. And I am! 🙂 I’m a great Mom. My kids tell me way more than they should 😉 lol  They feel safe to share. They have a voice in my home. I’m so proud of them. It’s taken me a long time to be proud of myself as a Mom. I wanted to be perfect, and that’s exhausting.  No one relates to perfectionism. It’s actually a barrier to human connection.

I have lived within my head for a long time, and action was halted because of doubt. I want certainty. I enjoy my little comfort zone.

But guess what…nothing grows within comfort. Nothing is certain in life (except death and taxes as that cliché goes).  I will never reach my goals if I don’t act on those dreams.

My instincts were a whisper before; now they are a roar I can’t ignore. I now understand it’s because I trust myself again to make the best choices possible for my home. I answer to 3 people (and one God), and those 3 people are a little fierce army I carried around in my body for a bit; but always in my heart.

I would encourage you to listen to your own inner voice. Pay attention to what drives your soul. Understand your core values, and align your life to them (that includes your circle of influence). Spend your valuable time with those who believe, uplift, support you. Those who make you laugh and take your mind to a happy place (those are my favourite kind of people).

You have one life. Be happy, grateful, proud.

But please start living out loud even if your voice shakes…then again that’s my opinion and you certainly don’t have to listen to it. 😉 Touché  ha!

In the mean time, I will keep on living, laughing, and trudging on. No one said this life would be easy, and I’m thankful for that. I would never appreciate the light the same way without the darkness. I am standing within my light; and ohhhh my it’s beautiful within it’s imperfection. I have all that I need and I am so grateful.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

The Importance of Framing your Day

I have written about “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod a few times on this blog.  The reason this book resonated with me so much, is because the practice of getting up an hour earlier to frame my day the right way has become an integral part of my life. I used to roll out of bed, jump right into the shower and get swept up by the rush of my morning. My mind was overtaken with to-do lists, and all the tasks I had in front of me.  That became overwhelming most days.

Fast forward to this stage of my life, I start my day off with reading/writing/dreaming/thinking/positivity. I focus on gratitude. On the good. On the I CAN’s and I WILL’s. On pride and acceptance.  I dream with a thankful heart. I set my goals. Along with the cascading rays of the rising sun that seep into my living room, positivity floods my mornings and that Zen Joy lives in my heart. How amazing is that?!

Here’s my newest read, I highly recommend it. It’s a badass book, and I’m having a hard time putting it down. When I do put it down, I think about it. I’m addicted to reading it. Go ORDER it.

My Mom can attest to this fact: I am not a morning person. I will reframe that statement now, I have LEARNED to become a morning person. I can’t believe all these years I held the power to change that about myself. I lived with many self-imposed labels. Overweight. Negative. Fearful. Procrastinator. Comfortable. Complacent.

Why did I do that to myself? I was living within destructive limiting beliefs. I type-casted myself and resigned to a false sense of self-image created within my mind.

Well now, that is just unacceptable.

So now, each day I ask myself some pretty important questions.

~Who do I want to be?  Go be that.

~What do I want to achieve in life?  Go do it. It’s so much more than dreaming; I have to put in the work. Believe in my abilities and tenacious spirit. Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). Revisit each goal as I make progress. Set new goals. Be proud of my progress. Get excited about future work. Repeat. 🙂 Think about someone you are envious of in regards to the way they live their fabulous life. You can live your life that way too if you want. Exciting fact!

~What am I thankful for today?  No matter what is happening in my life…there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.  I have a warm home, food in my fridge, amazing kids/friends/family/clients. I have my health, the ability to lace up my shoes and go for a run in the sun. I have freedom to make choices, to learn, to live out-loud.

I was talking to my friend Joe at the gym today, and I asked him how he was doing. He replied with the most emphatic enthusiastic “GREAT!” Ooooh really….that’s amazing, what is so great about your life now?! I asked.  He then explained that he just ran into a long-time friend who was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, and had his prostate removed. This friend is younger than he is, and here they were both working out along side one another at the gym, with thankful hearts and positive spirits. He told me that he was so grateful for his health and he had absolutely nothing to complain about.

His words touched my heart and I became overcome with gratitude that I too had my health. I worked harder than I usually do. I even did burpees, and I detest burpees; however, Joe does them all the time. Because he uplifted me today, I sucked it up and did them too. And then I came home and did a bunch of meal prep with all the nutritious foods in my fridge so I can fuel my body with quality.

I hope you all have an amazing day, and maybe tomorrow you will set your clock and get up an hour earlier to frame your day YOUR way. If you do, drop me a line and let me know. Positive momentum is in fact infectious.

From my thankful heart to yours,

Christine

I Am Beautiful (and you are too)

Yesterday in a big gross cloud of anger, I posted this status:

My daughter came home from school in tears because a few girls called her fat in her swim suit. She loves swimming, and now she has anxiety over it. We talked about all the amazing things her body can do…run, swim, walk, get her to anywhere in the world she wants to go someday. More importantly, all the wonderful traits that make her who she is. Her wit, creative mind, kind sensitive soul, tender heart who loves others, her brilliant problem-solving brain. I’m still so angry about it, yet my anger isn’t at those girls. I’m angry that our society is so shallow. Girls are “more” if they dress a certain way into a single digit sized clothing. Exercise and eating healthy isn’t actually about health at all, it’s the newest fad diet to fit into those skinny jeans. There’s nothing healthy about that mind-set. It’s the unhealthy pursuit of an external ideal that will never be obtained. I’m angry that because a girl’s body type isn’t the standard of what society deems as “perfect”, that a girl feels shame. As she stood there with tears streaming down her face, I had a flashback to my own childhood in the locker room of the swimming pool. A difference of 30 years, yet the very same tears. So I laid awake last night wondering what I personally can do to break this cycle. All I came up with is to raise my daughter to love others. To love her body for all it can do. And I will remind her every damn day that she is a collection of amazing strengths that has nothing to do with her clothing size. I will be conscious of how my thoughts and actions will positively or negatively impact her self-esteem. And I will be so very proactive to build her up and build up those around me. “All we need is love”….well maybe that’s a bit naive, but what we DO need more of in this world along with love is empathy, understanding, and a lot more depth.

On behalf of my daughter, I received many messages of love, support, and relatable stories as a result. This issue is one we can all relate to, either because we have dealt with it as a parent or because we’ve been shamed by another who ridiculed some aspect of who we are.

When my daughter came home from school, I met her at the door with this little poster and then the kids and I went to jump on trampolines at the indoor trampoline park because nothing is more fun than bouncing into a big pit of foamy things.

Tessa is beautiful

After much (too much) thought, I realized something. I’ve repeated the “You are beautiful” mantra to my daughter yet I have an extremely hard time looking into the mirror and thinking that I am beautiful too.

Let me explain…I’ve been thinking about my beauty in an aesthetic sense. I’ve focussed on my outward appearance and I pick apart all the flaws I see on my body. Yet when I think about the beauty of my children, all I see is who they are as a whole. All of them. Their mind, soul, body, every little fibre of their being. I love it all to bits. I think every molecule of their being is beautiful.

Yet I’ve looked at my reflection with shallow eyes. Who I am has nothing to do with the shape of my body.

So today, and in the days ahead, I will look within and open my eyes to see beyond my outer.

How can I expect my daughter to believe she is beautiful if I secretly don’t believe that I am beautiful? I would never say that out loud, but I think it at times. We are what we think. Self-love is as important for us Moms as it is for our children.

I am beautiful. Perfectly imperfect.

Repeat.

And I hope when you look in the mirror today, you see someone who is ridiculously beautiful.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

More than a Mom

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned when I became a Mom, didn’t happen until many years as a Mom. And it’s this: I am more than a Mom.

Let me try to articulate the jumbled thoughts that have evolved with each passing year as my kids get older…

When my son was born, I dove head first into a world I knew little about. I had no idea that I would lay awake at night riddled with Mom guilt over all the things I could have done better. Those first years of motherhood, I believed I had joined a culture of supportive women where the price of admission was simply being a Mom. What I’ve learned through various experiences is that women can be very hard on other women as soon as they join that mommy culture.

I quickly learned that truth night 2 of being a Mom. I was 20 when my first son was born, although I don’t remember feeling “too young” for the role. Looking back at it now, I was very naive about so much. I have a very vivid memory of a nurse telling me so. I felt inadequate within 48 hrs. ha!

There’s always debates within the Mom world about Should’s and Shouldn’ts…

You should breast feed, practice attachment parenting, read up on all the newest parenting trends, put the kids in daycare, enrol them in 2 years of play school, etc. insert should here.

You shouldn’t work full-time, go on vacations without the kids, allow them to play video games, be a stay-at-home Mom, etc. insert shouldn’t here.

Don’t should on me! We are all trying our very best to raise our children, and we all have very different ideas and values on the best way to do that. Us Moms need to support other Moms with empathy and understanding. Because this role is hard! We have enough Mom-guilt as is without another Mom throwing a should in our faces or pointing out our inadequacies. Let’s point out one another’s strengths and learn from other Moms.

I had a moment not long ago of greater understanding on what it means to be a Mom thanks to my own Mom’s influence. I have always looked at my Mom as….well….a Mom for obvious reasons; however, now that I’ve grown along with my children, I realize my Mom is a complex woman as we all are. She’s more than a Mom.

We grow right along with our children.

The idea that a woman’s wants/needs, body-image, ideas, need for autonomy, hunger for self-growth, desire for more knowledge, and wish for fun in her life should somehow magically melt away the moment a baby is placed in her arms is ridiculous.

Not that long ago, I had a conversation with an Older gentleman at the gym and I mentioned I had three kids. “You don’t look like you have kids” he replied. And while I didn’t take that as an insult, it did make me think about what it “looks” like to be a Mom.  Do we have a dress code? Is my awkward sway-dancing (which is a watered-down version of real dance done in a public place even though the music streaming in my ear holes makes me want to break out in full awkward dance) between sets un-Motherly? Is there a tone of subdued voice I should sport? Am I too advanced in Mom years to wear double pony tails while I workout? Is my ACDC shirt not very Mom-like? Perhaps the slippage of the F-bomb is definitely un-motherly (I’m working on that). I dunno.

What I’ve learned as I’ve aged is that my mind hasn’t aged at all. Yes I’ve grown in wisdom through life experiences, but in my mind I’m still youthful. I hope I will always feel that way. And I hope my daughter doesn’t look at me and believe her hopes and dreams have to be sacrificed the moment she becomes a Mom. That’s if she chooses to become a Mom. The fact us Moms make sacrifices, goes without saying. Of course we do, so do Dads.

Moms…I’m sure we’ve all been in venues where other Moms were harsh in their judgments of our choices. Hell, I’ve done it myself, much to my disappointment. It’s a flaw that I’m even more aware of as I raise my children to be independent, kind, understanding people. There is so much power in love, understanding and support. Let’s give one another a break. We are Women doing our best to be Moms. But we are still youthful women within, no matter what our age.

I’m pretty thankful that I’m surrounded by the support of some amazing (and hilarious, fun-loving) women. I wish I had photos of all the amazing women in my life, a project for this year!

IMG_6698 IMG_6966 IMG_7202  IMG_4933 web sekyd12-114 web Mini PoolIMG_7811 IMG_7824 IMG_7842 sekyd13-005 web sekyd13-007 webIMG_8582My family

From my heart to yours,

Christine

Running with a Smile

Again, life has presented many great lessons to me these past couple of weeks.

I am thankful that I have been able to see some of my own faults and insecurities and want to move forward.  Sometimes the characteristics we don’t care for in others are the very things we need to change within ourselves.  We do not have the power to change anyone around us…only ourselves.  So the responsibility again is squarely on our own shoulders.

Pride has two sides.  Reclaiming my life has meant that I finally feel pride in myself, and I feel even greater pride when I see friends around me meet their goals and move forward as well.  It’s one of the greatest blessings that has come from this journey. Pride can also hold us back however.   There are many goals that I haven’t met because of my pride.  Because fear can attach itself to pride….fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of making choices that are out of my comfort zone.

You can’t move forward in life without taking risks and confronting your fears and insecurities.   That means moving out of your comfort zone, which can be scary but so worth it.  It really is simple, change can’t come about unless you make different choices, and react differently to circumstances.  This is also true when working out.  Your body adapts so quickly, and to continue to see growth and changes, you have to mix it up and introduce new exercises.

I have also recognized the areas in life that bring me both joy and empowerment, but also the areas that are holding me back.   So I say cling like hell to the positive, and let go of the negative.

Running does not come easily to me.  The other day I was running on the treadmill and had set a goal that I would run 30 minutes straight, especially because I didn’t want to…at all.  I was very conscious of the many times my legs were screaming to stop and it was very uncomfortable.  BUT I also realized after 30 minutes, that I had run the entire time with a huge smile on my face.  I must have freaked out the people beside me, but I couldn’t help it!  My cheeks were actually sore from smiling.  It was so empowering to set out a goal, and give myself absolutely no permission to stop.

So here’s some thoughts for your Wednesday!

While there may be circumstances in your life that put road blocks in the way of your dreams, its a choice on your part how to react to those circumstances.  Don’t blame your circumstances, you are more powerful than you know!

Give no power to the negative, always seek out the positive and that starts with YOU…your mind and heart.

Put your pride aside if it’s holding you back from moving forward and feel the good pride when you move forward.  It takes great strength, courage, and character to look within and take action to go after your goals and dreams.  Being vulnerable isn’t a weakness, it shows great courage and a willingness to grow.

Dream big and go after it!  Continue to challenge yourself.  Give your mind zero permission to quit when it gets too hard. The best rewards in life come from dedication and hard work.  It’s not supposed to be easy!

Challenge both the mind and body, and great results will happen!  Let your spirit shine, and soak it up.  Loving the life you are living is so good!  🙂

Here’s a quote for you that I love!

There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout:
“This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me… or leave me. Accept me – or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don’t fit your idea of who I should be and don’t try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision.
When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad – you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you.”  Stacey Charter

I’m a Runner

I had to get a quick post in before going to meet up with a friend…I’m coming Miriam!

This morning, as I was walking the kiddies to school, I was talking to another Mom. She said she saw me running yesterday. She asked “So how long have you been a runner?” It took me off-guard and in my head I thought… “crap, she thinks I’m a runner.” I stammered out “oh, a couple of years I guess”. In the brief minute we talked, my mind was thinking “I’m not a runner. I can only run for a few minutes at a time. I’m totally winded most of my run. I run so slowly.” As she was walking away I added in parting… “I was totally winded the entire run”.

So, as I was thinking about it this morning. Why was I so quick to be down on myself? What makes someone a runner? Do you have to sign up for races to be a runner? Do you have to run fast to be a runner? It took me a looooong time to be able to run for a few minutes at a time.

I was the same way with my photography. It took me 5 years to tell someone that I was a photographer. I usually say “I take pictures on the side.”

I think the only way to continue on a course of moving forward, is to be really proud of who you are, and what you can do. If you allow your mind to tell you that you can’t do something, or that you have no business doing something…well, you probably won’t do it.

I’m a runner.

I’m a photographer.

Be proud of all your accomplishments. It takes time and work for your body to adapt to a new way of life. But, guess what?! Your body WILL adapt. Keep pushing, keep going, keep trying. Don’t give up. If you are winded and tired take a moment to catch your breath, then keep at it. The only way you will find out you can do it is by actually doing it.

Don’t give in to negative self-talk. It will keep you from moving forward.

Challenge yourself today, and be good to you!

Christine