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

 

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

 

 

 

The Heart of Balance

I’ve read a lot about balance lately, seeking the middle and avoiding the extremes of anything. “Avoiding” can create resistance however, and resistance can insight imbalance.

What you resist will persist…as the saying goes.

Catch 22

Last week at my day job, I had a conversation with a co-worker about personal training.

She said to me “but you don’t do that anymore”

I immediately felt defensive. Like I lost a part of my identity within an area of my spirit that is very important to me.

I will always strive to articulate and share the gift of health and fitness as it has changed my life. There were many years of my life that I lost to self-deprecation and defeating behaviours.

It’s not about fitting into a certain size.

Or out-running or out-lifting the person beside me at the gym.

For me, it’s a way I can channel the tricky stuff into self-love. To move and live the way our bodies are designed.

It’s seeking the middle.

Balanced.

Mind/Body/Soul seamlessly working together to appreciate the simple joys in life with vivacious energy. Actually experiencing life.

I struggle with the extreme side of the fitness industry.

Push past physical pain.

Eat your boiled chicken and steamed broccoli.

Skip dinners out with friends or loved ones.

Devote all your free time to sweating in the gym.

Craft yourself an ass you can bounce a quarter off of.

Pick apart your body in the mirror, oh tomorrow you can continue the pursuit for that perfect physical frame.

Never fit enough.

Never strong enough.

Just never enough…

Ugh, it’s a dangerous game leading to self-obsession.

Sometimes you have to step back and look at the big picture.

The Why’s.

The heart of drive which lives behind action.

I am seeking the middle.

Living in the right now.

I took some time to answer: Why is health and fitness important to me?

So I can live freely in a frame that isn’t restrictive to movement.

So I can run paths lined with golden trees and feel the euphoria that comes when I find my rhythm.

So that I can better keep up to my kids whose curiosity for life and hope for their future inspires me.

So I can enjoy food without feeding the extremes. Binging/Restriction.

So I can FEEL. The good stuff right along with the tricky stuff.

Understanding that maybe happiness is found within life’s ordinary moments.

The way the sunshine slowly seeps into my living room giving life to cherished photos as I do my Miracle Morning.

The way my son Lucas asks daily: “How was your day Mom?”

The way my daughter Tess side hugs me like it’s no big deal. But she closes her eyes for a brief moment.

They way my son Ty pokes his head out of the basement dramatically and yells “HI!” And we recap our day.

The way my kids tease each other at the kitchen counter as they eat banana bread.

The way my dog excitedly greets me at the door everyday like we’ve been apart for years.

It’s just so simple, but I have overcomplicated it.

I am doing my best at parenting solo (not truly solo, but solo in my home).

And I’m going to focus on the small victories within  my day.

The little bits of happiness that weave a big happy.

I’m going to treat those I love with respect and care, and do the same for myself.

I’m going to spread a little sunshine and happy to others.

Because why not? Oh my…this life has enough negativity and shame within it.

I wish the same for you…

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

The Value of the Present

June 14th, 2018

I’m sharing my writing for this morning.

Today, I ask that I speak with intention and bring peace and understanding into my interactions. Within seeking my goals and purpose, I loose a thread of understanding within the fabric of this life…to live that purpose within the stage I’m currently in. The now.

Us humans always want “more“. We get lost in the pit of not enough.

But what if the job, the social network, the family, the stuff that fills a home, the car, the frame we currently walk around in, the clothes on our back…whatever it is that makes up our current life..is enough.  And what if it was taken away?  Then what value does it have?

There is always someone less fortunate that you. Always. Whether that’s within skill, emotional development, health, or wealth.

Perspective…

The body you have now is someone else’s goal. And that can come down to  the ability to walk, run, or simply move.  The legs you wish were smaller, another does not have the ability to move on their own.

The children you raise, is another’s heart’s desire.

The partner you dismiss or ignore is another’s wish for one last moment with theirs.

The annoying tasks in life such as grocery shopping, doing laundry, standing in line at a bank to deposit a pay check…taking care of life’s little responsibilities…is a flicker in the eye of a past that once was to someone who lost it all.

The good health you wake up with, is yearned for by another in a hospital bed.

So in framing it all in that way, maybe this place I’m in right this second is part of a bigger plan, or maybe it is the plan.

Can I be humble to recognize the priceless quality within my many blessings?

Can I be thankful for the work required to keep  this life, this body, these relationships, this home that keeps us safe and warm running on quality?

Can I find purpose within the ordinary?

Can I be the example to my children they deserve?

Am I giving my all to the job I have right now?

Can I have the courage to let go of the elements that do not support my happiness and self-worth? And can I release those elements with love for all that I learned (that is the better question)

We all have gifts, use them as a way to enrich this beautiful life for others.

It’s not in “what can I get“, but rather, “what can I give” that enriches not just my soul, but others.

If you can make another laugh or smile. Do that!

If you can teach, then teach.

If you have learned valuable lessons found within some of your toughest life challenges…ask that you use those for purpose. I promise you life will bring to you someone who desperately needs that knowledge and understanding in their right timing.

There is always beauty in the present if you open your eyes.

I will remember this as I go into holidays this summer. To enjoy time with my family camping, and be grateful that I can actually take that time to build more memories.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

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