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Authenticity

Authenticity, Creativity, Spirituality

It’s Been A While. How You Been?

Someone asked me the other day if I was too busy to post on my blog lately. As her eyes sparkled and her lips curled kindly she said, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen an email from you. How are things?”

And so I told her the truth. Yes, I’ve been busy. My days have changed drastically and taking on full time hours back in an office writing all day quite frankly, made it difficult to come home and continue writing. And for a while there, I was beating myself up about it, feeling like I was letting myself down in some way. After all, I know what it’s like firsthand to let the things that light you up slide in favour of ‘other stuff’. Shifting priorities sometimes means that some things will have to go on the back burner for others. But I also reminded myself that those things can only go on the back burner for so long until we begin to lose sight of what really motivates us and we begin to feel kinda ‘blah’ about things.

As I reflected on what I was doing every evening instead of blogging, I realized it was a combination of social media surfing, shitty television and some more social media surfing. In an effort to relax, I was tuning out. And then it so blatantly and brutally hit me.

I needed to continue to practice what I preach. And so I made a conscious choice.

I know taking time in the morning to squeeze in some yoga and conscious breathing makes a big difference in my day. So I do it. At times it feels like a drag but my body thanks my every time I stretch my limbs and become present with the air circulating through my lungs. Living within walking distance of the office is a blessing but rather than push my timing to the very last minute, I leave a little early now. I detour my way to work, appreciating how the trees canopy the sidewalk as I wander and I take in the sometimes sticky summer air. And I take a moment every day to count my blessings – even little itty bitty things – those things that make me smile.

And I meditate. I sit still and take the time to let my thoughts pass gently through my mind. With no judgement, I simply observe what comes through and make myself aware of what rises to the surface. I know I can handle the crap that comes along in my days better when I can apply this non-judgement to my day-to-day. I know that when shit hits the fan, I’m more likely to smile in spite of it all when I’m training my mind to observe without reasoning what’s right and wrong, good or bad. I’ll still watch The Bachelorette on Monday nights (because c’mon we all need our guilty pleasures) but it won’t define every evening any more. (This is my vow to myself).

I remind myself that in a city like Toronto where summer days are long yet pass oh so quickly, it’s important to me that I connect with the earth everyday.

My sanity depends on taking the time to soak up the sun, take in all the city has to offer and wander barefoot in the grass. Rather than wait for my next vacation to recalibrate, I decided to create a vacation in my own backyard (so to speak) and made my way to the beach. Granted, I wasn’t at a fancy resort on the other side of the world but it sure as hell hit the spot.


Sand between my toes, I wander along the water’s edge.

As I look to the sky above, birds fly in the most natural formation.

Wind at my back, I feel the chill of the lake brush against my skin.

Suddenly I realize that all my worries and fears are much like sandcastles.

I build them myself, pile them miles high.

In some sense, I cling to them and allow them to define me. To limit me. To stifle my creativity and freedom. My freedom to breathe. To live. To thrive. To open my heart fully.

I can choose to protect these sandcastles – these fears and worries – from the waves that threaten to wash them away.

Instead I choose to allow them to wash away with the tide. One by one, I let them go. I breathe a sigh of relief and know that this is healing. Rising. No longer reaching for something, I allow it all to just be.

Authenticity, Creativity, Spirituality

Celebrating The Feminine: To Create & Nurture

I decided a while ago that I wasn’t going to have children. And anyone who knows me well, knows that I struggled really hard with that choice, thinking it might make me incomplete somehow. Or that maybe I would be missing out on something big that I was meant to experience as a woman.

But we’re a living extension of our mothers, their mothers before us and all of our ancestries. We breathe life into our history everyday when we give ourselves the permission to be exactly who we are, proudly displaying our beautiful and flawed parts and everything in-between. And in turn, by giving ourselves that permission, we give life to something new.

We give life to something when we create from scratch – from a full meal made from basic ingredients, to a spring garden that blooms because we took the time to plant the seeds seasons ago. We give birth to something each time we sit down to write, apply paint to canvas or embrace a creative endeavour. We give birth to something when we take the time to move with pure intention through life and engage with people and places in a mindful and present way.

Every time we encourage someone to follow their gut and try something they’ve been putting off, we help them nurture the place inside them that needs to explore the world and our vast potential within it. The place that, when uncovered, begins to manifest crazy magic simply because it originates from a space of raw discovery.

‘Cuz that’s the crux right there.

We might not realize it but we’re creating and nurturing ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

It’s our choice to continue shifting and evolving to give birth more and more to who we are by doing the things that make us feel good. The things that inspire us. The things that challenge us. And as we do so, we set the tone for others to do the same.

And so, happy Mother’s Day to my incredibly amazing mother. Thank you for being a light in the dark, my strength when I was weak and showing me what it means to be a soul who embraces the living earth, her creative forces and soldiers on when things get rough. Know that the love I have for you surpasses time and space and that as proud as you are of me, the prouder I am to call you mom.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there who constantly wonder if they’re doing the ‘right thing’ for their kids. It’s not easy being a mother and it will test your strength, patience and resolve. Just know that you doing your best at any given time is all your children need because you’re only human after all.

To those out there who can’t celebrate today with their mother because she’s too far away (physically, mentally or emotionally) and you can no longer touch, see or communicate with her. For those who have a strained relationship with their mom and wish things were different. Know that today isn’t about fancy Hallmark cards and flowers. Know that nothing is perfect. Know that this is enough.

To everyone who isn’t a mother in the traditional sense but has created something from nothing, has breathed life into a project that needed a fresh set of eyes and a push in the right direction.

To everyone who’s made an impact – however big or small – on another person’s life and shown them that they can do something or be something that they didn’t think they could. To anyone who’s held another person’s hand, been a shoulder to cry on and lent support to help them move beyond difficulty.

Know that you too are creating and that not having the label ‘mother’ or ‘mom’ stuck to you doesn’t make you any less important to yourself or others. ‘Cuz the world needs more creators, just like you.

xo

Authenticity, Creativity

Life, Art and Creativity: Getting Stuck and How To Find Our Flow Again

“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.” ~ Helena Bonham Carter

Along with art being present in everything we do and who we are, comes the need for creativity, fresh perspectives and inspiration – as it applies to all this day-to-day stuff. Whether we’re plugging away on an assignment at work or staring at a blank canvas with a paintbrush in hand, we need to plug into our creative nature to move forward. But sometimes, we just get stuck.

I can’t possibly recall the multitude of times I’ve sat in front of my laptop, staring at an open Word document, trying to squeeze something out. Just a paragraph, sentence or even a completely random thought, hoping to spark an idea and a narrative thread only to find myself completely uninspired.

But in these cases when we feel like we’re creating something – some concrete form of output – we often assume that these are the only times we need to tap into our inspiration or creativity. But what about the other times we need to get creative and fresh in our thinking?

I was in the grocery store the other day wandering around the produce section when I realized that I’ve been cooking pretty much the same stuff, with the same ingredients on rotation for a long while now. We can often stick to the same old, same old because it’s quick and easy. Couldn’t that use a fresh perspective?

Then there are the times that I bump into a difficult situation with someone. Disagreements and issues are inevitable when we’re dealing with other people but sometimes we get stuck on what to say, how to broach a difficult subject and what really bothered us about it all in the first place. Sometimes we can’t see what’s really bugging us and what we can do to communicate clearly and fairly. Couldn’t that use some creativity?

Here’s the thing though, when we get stuck on something – be that a creative project, a mundane habit or routine or even sticky situations with other people – the more we try to force an outcome or solution, the more we’ll find ourselves stuck.

Inspiration often hits us when we least expect it and when we aren’t replaying details in our head, overthinking every last detail.

We paint the most beautiful pieces of art when we literally turn up the music and get lost in the vibe or find that silence between thoughts where we’re not worrying about things and let that energy take over. We get inspired when we sit back, take a deep breath and just paint, letting the composition reveal itself to us.

We get inspired to change things up when we’re open to it. More often than not, when we set the intention to change something in life, we’ll see things pop up in our days that would suggest how to go about making that change. We might get ideas of who to reach out to, what to do differently and which options are available to us.

We understand how to deal with hiccups in our relationships with others when we step away from a problem and stop trying to ‘figure it all out’. When we gain some distance from our troubles, it’s often easier to see the crux of the issue and get a better handle on what’s what.

Getting creative and finding our flow happens when we open up to possibilities. It happens when we decide to surrender the thinking that we can dig up a solution to every problem as long as we think long and hard enough about it. Getting creative and finding our flow happens when we let go and let inspiration find us.

And sometimes (a lot of the time) getting creative and finding inspiration is about making progress. Sometimes it’s about uncovering a way to move ahead (not finding a way, but revealing it). And sometimes (a lot of the time) progress is about compassion – about being gentle on ourselves and the process. It’s often through this compassion that we begin to move forward and find our flow again.

Painting cred: Patrice Murciano.
Authenticity, Relationship, Spirituality

Letter From Your Future

Dear Human,

Remember how your entire being ached after you lost in love? You vowed you couldn’t possibly ever open up again in the same way. You guarded yourself and tread carefully with matters of the heart. But I was there to give you time to heal, distance to gain perspective and strength to move on.

Remember when you would wake up restless in the middle of the night, your mind racing as you worried about your mounting bills? You felt like you were missing out, lacking something and struggling to survive. Yet you always had a roof over your head, solid ground under your feet and food on the table. You may not have had the biggest or fanciest house or lavish gourmet bites but I was always there to protect, support and nourish you.

Remember when you doubted that your body intuitively knows what it needs? When you dismissed how energizing it can be to stretch your muscles, walk, eat healthy, and breathe deeply. When you could see sickness and lethargy creeping in and instead of heeding the signs, you moved through your days as if nothing was wrong. When you could feel your thoughts reflecting your scattered energy. Yet here you are. You woke up this morning, you walked to work. You didn’t have to ask your body to get you to where you needed to be. You just got there.

There was a time when you felt like you had to have everything figured out. Here’s the thing: you can’t possibly have everything figured out and you’re not supposed to. Your experiences, the things that happen to and around you that make you feel something in the moment, and how you move through them all – that matters.

There was a time when you were obsessed about “finding your passion and purpose” in this world. Passion. Purpose. Those are just labels you use that actually complicate things that can be so very simple.

Does it feel good? Does it light you up? Does it make you spring from bed in the morning to check in and work? Do you fall naturally into flow and lose track of all time as you dive into it? Do you love it? Then go do it.

You don’t need to “find” anything. Your passion and purpose aren’t elusively hiding under a rock. You just need to be and allow things to unfold naturally. Recognize what feels right and trust that the more you make choices based on how you feel, the better you’ll get at knowing where to focus your attention and what to let go of. Don’t try to figure everything out. Just feel everything. Be. Love.

There will be times when you break down and question it all. There will be moments when hearing that ‘everything happens for a reason’ will positively infuriate you in the face of death, loss, sickness and struggle. But I promise you – in even your lowest moments and darkest times – when you think that you’re alone and there’s no rhyme or reason, there’s an invisible thread connecting your experiences resulting in the person you are today. And you’re fucking beautiful.

The point is to try not to busy your mind with over-analyzing and worrying about possible outcomes. Experience your unique experiences. Sit with the emotions. Refrain from judgement. Move through it all. Do everything with love.

Comparison will only rid you of your own personal growth and happiness.

And then.
One day.
You’ll find yourself in some place new, doing something that feels like home. And when your mind is at peace with yourself, your choices and your surroundings, I promise you that you’ll begin to see that invisible thread. And it won’t be about understanding it but rather, accepting it. Being thankful for it. And knowing that the less you try and the more you just be yourself – kinks, contradictions and all – the more things will continue to fall into place.

With mad, mad love,

The Universe XX