Infinite Possibilities Abound

At a time in my life that is filled to overflowing with an abundance of change, I pause to remind myself to trust in the process. To not allow stress to make my decisions for me but instead follow my heart and intuition sprinkled with a healthy portion of logic. Instead of panicking, I choose to open my mind to creative solutions. To let my Path unfold before me and enjoy the ride.  I allow myself to be fully aware that I have come to a fork in the road and decisions must be made. I do not make these decisions lightly and take into account not only my own needs and happiness but those of my loved ones – the man to whom I love completely with every fiber of my being and my two children that I have been blessed with to guide through life and share the heart-warming (and occasionally heart-wrenching) love between a mother and her children. I walk with purpose toward the crossroads as I weigh the plentiful paths before me. No path comes without both challenges and happiness. I expect nothing less than miracles…I’m ready for forward momentum and trust the process of building both a positive future and many beautiful moments along the way with those I hold close to my heart.

Lessons of Life

Life has a funny way of teaching us the lessons we are here to learn. I think the past five years there were many stepping stones to the platter of lessons I have recently been blessed with. I say blessed like it’s a gift because quite honestly I look upon all things as gifts. Sometimes they are not gifts we would choose for ourselves, like opening a parcel with a nasty sweater at Christmas. Still gifts just the same. I have unwrapped a few unwanted gifts as of late. I won’t go into great detail due to the private nature and those close to me but to generalize the situations for the sake of soul-searching and allowing a connection with others that may possibly have recently opened a similar gift.

 

 

As a parent, I have been given the lesson of stepping outside my comfort zone. Not just the daily run of the mill parent craziness. Children are a supreme blessing in my mind. Swirling around them in constant motion are many things; love, chaos, frustration, joy, laughter, among so many other beautiful things. Sometimes though, a ripple in the smooth surface depicts an undercurrent that threatens menacingly. The demon reared its ugly head in my child’s life as Anorexia Nervosa. It was a slow and steady build up that went undetected by my cautious eye only to attack with a vengeance like an unexpected sucker punch. I struggled within myself originally, laying blame in my mind where I could. That route was fleeting as I stepped outside myself. This wasn’t about me and how I felt. This was about my child and how they processed things. The alteration to my thought process has allowed me to become the support structure this fragile Being needs. Simply, compassionately, I remain strong in the notion that I need to be the rock when my darling is feeling at a loss. There are those around us that still want to lay blame, find the root cause, or dissect everything to bits. I feel the process is about gaining back self love and control in a positive format. To know that love from those around the sufferer is unconditional. To be strong for them when they don’t have it within themselves to be.  There is a long road ahead to health and wellness for my child. It’s an all-encompassing disorder. Treatment is multi-faceted. To say I wish my child never had to deal with this is an understatement. However, taking this one day at a time makes this lesson a little easier to deal with.

 

 

Too often I hear people complain about their weight needlessly. Who truly thinks a thigh gap is remotely sexy anyway?  Don’t get your knickers in a knot if you are naturally thin and have a thigh gap. That’s a totally different thing. I’m referring to young girls (or boys) that starve themselves for this look that is not natural to their physique. It breaks my heart to see people think so poorly of themselves as to deprive themselves senselessly of proper nutrition. Learning to love and accept our bodies at their natural weight and shape is a practice in self love. We are all constantly bombarded by utter ridiculousness for the sake of industries to prosper at the peril of making us feel bad about our outer shell. Looking good is important for self confidence but being healthy makes one look fantastic! I don’t know about you but looking fantastic due to great health pummels the heck out of a mediocre “looking like everyone else” or not enough energy to do the things you want. I struggle when people ridicule others with differing figures. It matters not whether its an obese person calling a slim woman a bitch or an average built person being condescending to someone of heavier stance. Having hit many different weight points in my lifetime, I realize that every body shape and weight deals with some sort of stigma. When we stop ridiculing and scrutinizing others, perhaps we can all go a little easier on ourselves. Lets all just aim for healthy!

 

 

 

Kick It!

What am I kicking you may be asking. Well, it just so happens to be list making time. While I’ve never really jumped on the Party Your Face Off on New Year’s Eve bandwagon, I do like to use January 1st as a sort of stock-taking day. To scan both the vibrantly glowing and the dusty, cob-webbed corners of my mind in search of what I learned from the previous 365 days and how I choose to move forward through the next 365. An intriguing individual that I have come to know in the past year made a statement that hit the nail on the head, so to speak. I summarize when I say that he stated that each day is a new chapter not each year. Very wise, and the truth as I’ve always believed it to be. We don’t live year by year as those that seem to pivot their lives around New Year’s Eve would lead us to believe. We live day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second. Each fragment of time is unique and within it holds incredulous moments. When my eyes open each morning, I give thanks that I have another day to experience joy. This is always my first thought. Seriously. This may sound hokey to some of you but it gets every day started on a positive note and in a forward direction.

 

 

Kicking it means two things to me – getting rid of something that is no longer of use to me and my journey and to initiate action to the extreme. Those of you that know me well know that I can be a bit hardcore with certain things so kicking it up to the extreme means a whole heap of willpower has to be employed. Let’s  just get right to the list, shall we?

 

 

 

Kick It Style #1 – Don’t bring me down.

 

 

1. Usually external things get to us all and create unwanted stress. Little things like someone cutting us off on our way to work or plain old rude behaviour. I’ve worked on taming the tigress inside of me over the past few years as far as not allowing others to get to me and stress me out as much. I’ve noticed my tigress stretching occasionally  as of late with the desire to lash out (both internally and externally) over menial things to which I would rather use control and poise. I accept my inner tigress and value her greatly but there is a time and a place for her abilities and power. That said, I am all about allowing irritation from others roll off of me. Meditation comes in handy here.   Letting it go.  To realize that some individuals are just moody bastards or buzz killers and frankly, ain’t nobody got time for that! 

 

 

2. Don’t push your agenda or religion on me or others…we all have our own. Just yesterday a patronizing individual tried to verbally overpower me by trying to force their agenda on me. This is more than a simple ruffling of the feathers here folks. When “No, thank you” was not working I had to pull out the big guns…yup, inner tigress. See, there is a time and a place. No stress, no raised voice just simple eye contact and force of character.  Say goodbye to Mr. Irritating!   I would love to hear what others have to say and I highly respect your opinions. However, respect mine as well. Thank you.

 

 

3. Bad vibes. I will merely smile at you until you feel like a tool or scram. Complaining and whining is ugly. I need to mentally tell myself to stop if I head down this path too. There is no use for such things. Let’s just stick to good vibes or if that’s too difficult, neutral vibes.

 

 

good vibes only

 

 

 

4. I am nobody’s doormat. I love the quote by Pablo Picasso, “Women are one of two things, a goddess or a doormat.” I choose to be a goddess.

 

 

Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

 

 

5. Goodbye laziness – hello action!

 

 

6. Coffee as the first thing that hits my stomach in the morning. I know, I know. I am a severe addict where coffee is concerned and this is going to command a LOT of willpower on my part. This practice is doing me no favours so it is being kicked. Simple as that.

 

 

 

Kick It Style #2 – Here We Go!

 

 

1. Since the end of the work season (landscaping ended at the beginning of December here), the ladies I call co-workers/friends and I have been discussing ways to stay strong and fit during the winter months. Interestingly we have all taken a different route. I have embarked upon a mixed martial arts style full body workout daily for three months. After this time, I will be back at work and I’m sure I will still be kicking my own butt at home. Just for the record, I am not sparring or fighting. I’m a lover, not a fighter. I just like the defined muscle and definition of a fighter’s physique which will be mine with much hard work and dedication.

 

 

2. The volume of Life is being cranked! I am ready to ROCK!

 

 

3. I am realizing a few dreams this year that I have carried in my heart for many years. I will share them with you as they come to fruition.

 

 

4. I love, seriously and completely, love to be silly and live and laugh with abandon. Not in an embarrassing immature fashion but in a “let’s not be so serious all the time” sort of thought pattern.  This is not new to me but is a must as this is one of my defining characteristics. It is refreshing to be surrounded by friends of a similar mindset. If they are going to stare, give them something to look at. Or as Bonnie Raitt so superbly stated, “Let’s give them something to talk about.”

 

 

Ooo...so tempting.

Ooo…so tempting. Photo taken by unknown.

 

 

 

5. Staying in touch with nature and spending time outdoors is vital to my wellness. I feel drained when the connection with nature has been severed too long…like more than a day.

 

 

 

Each and every day I plan to make a difference in some way. Whether it be putting a smile on someone else’s face, sharing limitless love, helping others when needed with no expectations, or simply being a shoulder or an ear when such is needed. By bettering ourselves, it becomes easier to be there for others. We have more strength, love and compassion to share when we feel good about ourselves. I challenge you to do something each day that makes a positive difference in your life or someone else’s.

 

 

 

Let’s KICK IT! 

Melancholy Weather, Meditation and Mraz

Upon waking this morning I was greeted by melancholy grey skies that eventually broke open, spilling heavy  drops down on my already muddy side yard and gardens. The work day was called off due to a 90% chance of rain all day. Rain days are always a mixed blessing. I can always use “alone time” and relish the freedom to do whatever I so choose without interruption. Sadly, that usually ends up being laundry, dishes or some other equally mundane task. On the other hand, I seriously enjoy my job and my co-workers so a day that is normally a work day without being on the job feels strange.

 

 

Today I decided not to feel any guilt and use it as a Me Day. To get back to certain past-times I love but have set aside for a while in pursuit of other things. I started my day with a glorious hot mug of Starbucks coffee and some reading material. I do love a good read yet I tend to only read at bedtime, having convinced myself that reading during the day is simply too indulgent. Not today it isn’t. I have devoured numerous different forms of written word today – fiction, blogs, words of wisdom collections, and health reference books in my library. I refer to my large bookshelf in my living room as my rotating library. Books are always coming and going either on loan, new additions, or rotated from boxes in the basement to refresh the material occasionally. I love books. The feel of old paper scented from years of  habitation in musty basements or my fresh-air and cooking smells infused home. There is nothing quite like the feel of holding a real book in my hands. E-readers are great tools but don’t give me quite the same satisfaction as an old, well-loved novel or heavy reference journal. I guess I’m a book-worm. I do feel somewhat guilty at the use of excess paper so I tend not to purchase a lot of new books but either borrow books from friends and family or purchase used books in the name of reusing an existing product. I ponder over which is worse; the use of paper for books, either recycled or new as opposed to the plastics and other resources used to manufacture e-readers/tablets and the electricity to run them as well as the disposal of the battery and the item itself upon its’ completed life span. Books are mostly 100% recyclable and last for incredible lengths of time if treated properly.

 

 

The gloomy day has also brought me the joy of reconnecting with my love of meditation and kundalini yoga. I enjoyed my hour-long session of awakening my kundalini energy. Blissful. I now feel as though I am glowing and warm with energy. I forgot how incredible the feeling of the warm energy rising up the spine feels and how alive I feel after practicing. Perhaps my early mornings will start with a yoga and meditation session instead of racing to the kitchen for coffee as soon as my feet hit the floor. That would be a much better start to preparing myself for the day. My body will thank me profusely for cutting my caffeine consumption, I’m sure.

 

 

kundalini awakening

It was time to infuse my environment with music. Jason Mraz’s music has aroused my senses this afternoon with his gloriously uplifting music. His cd “LOVE”, is definitely one of my favorites and always makes me swimmingly happy. Check it out.

 

I seriously love this song –   93 Million Miles but my fave pick would be Living In The Moment. When I’m feeling stressed out, “Living in the Moment” always brings me back to reality. Interesting how music can speak so strongly to our emotions, isn’t it? While my musical tastes are very eclectic there are certain artists and cd’s I reserve for certain types of days, moods, and activities. Sometimes I insist on loud and proud ZZ Top or Stevie Ray Vaughn when I’m feeling feisty, or perhaps a hit of Ella Fitzgerald when I feel strong yet sentimental. I think the only type of music I don’t listen to regularly is country.  After growing up in a home where country music was the only type of music my parents listened to, I have had my fill. My sisters and I would escape to our rooms to fill our ears with artists like Wham, A-Ha, Madonna and Michael Jackson (that was me) to Duran Duran, Billy Idol, and Ozzy Osbourne. We tried our hardest to steer clear of country music and still do! I am not a country music-hater per say, just not a fan. You certainly would never find me screaming over some country stud muffin yammering on about dogs, trucks and his long lost girlfriend, that’s for darn-tootin’! There is a time and a place for every genre of music and I wholeheartedly appreciate the creativity and artistry of musicians. The world is richer because of music.

 

 

Today continues to be a day of things that bring me happiness and uplift the spirit. We all need to take a Me Day now and then. I think I’ll go give my kids a hug and tell them how loved they are. After that I will go to my other happy place, the kitchen. I’ll pour myself a glass of red wine and start on some onion bhaji, aloo ghobi, daal, a salad and homemade naan for dinner.  The perfect rainy day meal.

 

 

 

 

 

“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.” – Plato

The Countdown Is On

Well, this is it. My very last day being a 30-something.

 

 

I am savouring the final day of being 39. Today I am getting myself and my house in order. I have decided that I shall hit 40 being fabulous. No ifs, ands, or buts. Reflecting back on my life thus far a few things are glaringly obvious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me expand.

 1. I have embraced the concept of being thankful. I don’t ever remember a time when I was not appreciative of the people, things, and experiences in my life. Sure, there are always negative moments sprinkled here and there but that does not define my existence, it only makes me appreciate the blessings even more.

 

 

2. I have an incredible group of friends. I believe it is true that we attract those of similar values and that our lives are intertwined with others’ for a purpose.

 

 

3. I never wanted to “fit in” and still don’t. On the flip side, I never chose to purposely “stand out”. My purpose is to be myself. Comfortable in my own skin and with my thought processes.  During the last few years of my 30’s I have learned to love the real me. Flaws and all – I own who I am. I love being unapologetically Me. It is awe-inspiring to watch my close friends as they come into their true self as well. To witness the confidence shift that makes a person captivating.

 

 

4. I no longer have the patience for idiocy or pompousness. I simply walk away without snaring myself in the web of manipulation. I think it was having children that made me wake up to this reality. I have lots of goodness on my plate, why ruin it with toxic thoughts and actions. No thanks.

 If life really begins on your 40th birthday, it’s because that’s when women finally get it… the guts to take back their lives. – Laura Randolph

 

5.  My grandma was right when she told me at a young age that laughter is the best medicine. Nothing makes me feel more alive than laughter. There is no other feeling that lifts the human Spirit quite like it.

 

 

6. Nature is essential to me being fully functioning. There is a certain vibration, if you will, that is felt when in nature. When we let down our guard and breathe slowly and deeply, the Earth’s pulse is detectable. We are all connected.

 

 

 I make the promise to myself as I turn 40 tomorrow to be true to myself. To enjoy the ride of Life with my arms spread wide open.  I occasionally have a mental boxing match with the concept of turning 40. I have to accept the fact that I am hitting the big 4-0. It isn’t really as big of a deal as others portray it to be. I look at it as though it has taken me 39 years to get to this place of loving Life. If you asked me the same questions at 20 and again now,  I would be much more fun and spontaneous now. Learning to love and be accepting has a magical way of allowing us to experience Life head on.

 

 

Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come. – Lucy Larcom

 

Compassion in the Face of Tragedy

I don’t normally blog about current events but yesterday’s Boston Marathon bomb fiasco has touched my psyche to the point where I feel the need to write down my thoughts. I was at work, nearing the end of my day when a co-worker mentioned what she had heard on the news in her truck. When she first said that there were two bombs that had exploded my first reaction was disbelief. I thought perhaps I had misunderstood. Then the bits and pieces that were known thus far were reported and my body went cold. You know that wash of cold that starts at the top of your head and rushes down every inch of your body? I felt numb. I needed more information so I could process what I was hearing while at the same time I didn’t want to hear more.

 

 

As I drove home after work yesterday, radio stations were awash with reports on what had taken place, the increasing tally of injured persons, and speculation as to who could be responsible. At this point, I am overcome with compassion for those that were affected by this horrid act. Those whose lives have been changed forever. My heart has been saddened by such a senseless attack on humanity. I would like to extend my condolences to loved ones of the victims as well as my wishes for a timely recovery for those that were wounded. My thoughts are with all of you that were in attendance as well. How could anyone want to injure others and families out for a day of cheering each other on while accomplishing great personal goals? My thoughts keep coming back to the question “what is wrong with people?” Seriously. Why are acts upon unthreatening and peaceful people committed? Although simplistic in essence, why can’t everyone just get along?

 

 

 

 

This got me thinking. Perhaps a simple state of mind is where we need to return to process this information. Back to the basics of human compassion. Let’s just all get along.

 

 

 Society seems to have this crazed need for retaliation at whatever cost. I’m sure that the media will be pointing their contorted fingers soon enough and getting everyone all riled up. Look at the greatest atrocities throughout history and it usually stems back to a dislike toward differing opinions such as religion, race, or gender. These acts in turn create a wave of persecution and hatred thrown in sweeping generalizations about certain communities. . If we just got down to the nitty-gritty we would understand that we are all human. We all feel emotions. We all need food and  water. We all want to be treated with kindness and compassion. What does it really matter where we live, what we look like, or how much money we have? It really doesn’t. There will always be a few bad apples on the tree of life but that doesn’t mean the tree should be chopped down. The goodness that is on the tree still exists whether the bad apples are there or not. Don’t ignore the amazing apples in light of the few spoiled ones. When we work together great things can evolve. Hopefully in light of the events that took place yesterday at the Boston Marathon we can try to keep from playing the blame game until the bad apple(s) fall from the tree. The person(s) that chose to plant these bombs acted out individually. They made that decision. At any point in time they could have had second thoughts and stopped themselves, but they didn’t. May I present to you the bad apple(s).  There are far too many horrific events taking place that we are needing to process. We are all in some way trying to take it all in. Blaming others doesn’t make the atrocity go away, it only makes us bitter. Use your energy to show compassion to others whether it be to those in attendance during  the events of yesterday or someone you know that just needs their spirits lifted. We can allow tragic events to dominate our thoughts or we can choose to spread kindness and confidence  in  humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama

 

 

I Am Enough

This has been a tumultuous year for me. There have been far too many bumps along the road for my liking. For the most part I have managed to keep my chin up and smile even when I feel like crying. To be strong not only for myself but for those around me. This is exhausting, let me tell you. I know it’s okay to let down my guard and cry – I do. I am not without emotion. If anything it’s quite the opposite and I wear my heart and thoughts on my sleeve maybe a little too often. My close friends know instantly when I am struggling internally and call me on it. For these friends I am ever so grateful. We all need great and caring people in our lives. Friends are essential for a feeling of belonging, wellness and joy as well as a sounding board that we can truly trust. One thing though that has become clearer than a full moon on a cloudless night is that we need to be our own best friend first and foremost.

 

“I exist as I am, that is enough, If no other in the world be aware, I sit content, And if each and all be aware, I sit content.”  – Walt Whitman

We have ourself and only ourself at every given second during our lifetime. Yes, people come in and out of our lives. We have families and friends, coworkers and acquaintances but only I am with myself all of the time. I needed to learn to love myself. To be my own best friend. Sometimes reaching within is the best resolution.

 

 

This journey to becoming my best friend hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been painful either. I think if I could capture the essence of learning to befriend myself in one word it would be sublime. When I altered the way I thought about myself, things became either intensely clear or absolutely unneccessary. Learning to befriend oneself isn’t conceited or narcissistic. It’s about finding your self-worth and trusting yourself with your thoughts and actions. I have discovered that the more I trust in who I am, the more I enjoy those around me. I don’t feel like I need to compete for attention or gain recognition. I have become happy just being Me. Growing up and maturing isn’t something that happens overnight, it is a process.  When I was younger I always struggled with self-worth and self-confidence, concerned that people would think I was a snob or conceited if I ever patted myself on the back. I thought I didn’t care what others thought of me but it was all just an act. A decoy for self-preservation, if you will. One thing I learned from this is that when we build walls we can’t see very far. My world was small. I have stumbled upon something magnificent. When you are your own best friend, everything you do becomes an experience and a reason to feel loved. Loved by someone who truly cares about my well-being…me.  Greater, more intense living and appreciating others is easier when you are present.

 

 

“Nothing is a greater impediment to being on good terms with others than being ill at ease with yourself.”
– Honore De Balzac

Inner Wisdom

night buddha

snowy buddha

 

 

 

“You are far from the end of your journey.
The way is not in the sky.
The
way is in the heart.
See how you love.”
– Buddha

Why look outside ourselves for direction on how to live life when our heart and Soul already carries this wisdom?

Love with a side order of passion, please.

“Tell the truth. Sing with passion. Work with laughter. Love with heart. ‘Cause that’s all that matters in the end.” – Kris Kristofferson

I must be honest. I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Never have been. It seems materialistic and fake to me. Perhaps it is all the marketing hype and over-inflated prices for one day, one day, that really gets my pulse racing (and not in a good way). Why do we buy into such nonsense? I am not a cynic, seriously. I enjoy a sappy movie as much as the next girl. I believe in love at first sight and that love can conquer all.  The whole idea of having to demonstrate love for another simply because marketers have declared it the day of love, c’mon. I would like to think our hearts are smarter than that.

I declare that we feel and show love each and every day! That we shower those close to our hearts with kindness and acts of admiration whenever and wherever the mood strikes us!

Romance is defined as:  to try to influence or curry favor  especially by lavishing personal attention, gifts, or flattery.  Should we not all be a bunch of romantic lunatics every day? I do believe so. I would find it odd if, in a respectful long-term relationship, my significant other only slathered me with kindness one day of the year. Do we not all deserve to be romanced on a regular basis? I don’t mean annoyingly so but sweetly, gently showing affection with the little details of life. Perhaps a lengthy kiss while running out the door for work in the morning or presenting your loved one with a glass of wine when you can tell from their body language that their day has been taxing. Thoughtful gestures speak louder than any words ever could.

This morning, like many other mornings, two Mourning Doves were snuggled together outside my office window. I am not an ornitholgist but I suspect that these two doves have a fondness for being together. The unspoken language between them would seem as though they find comfort in each other. These two doves always make my heart smile when they waddle around on the fence and cuddle close.  Nature provides us with the most extraordinary displays of caring if we are interested in seeing them.

At the root of being able to give love to others is the need to be able to love ourself. Not in a conceited, immature manner but with a peaceful heart that is accepting of ourself for who we are.  To be able to find an internal peace. When we can be comfortable in our own Soul those around us are easier to love. The world becomes more joyous and colourful.

I am not an advocate for Valentine’s Day,  but for Love. The sentiment behind the occasion is one I wholly support. Let’s just not confine it to one measly day!

Get out there and share some love!

“I find that when we really love and accept and approve of ourselves exactly as we are, then everything in life works.”  – Louise L. Hay




Update: February 10, 2015

At the time this post was originally written, I was in the throes of a very emotionally draining marriage that has since ended. I have recently found much happiness in a relationship with the man of my dreams. He treats me with great love and respect as I hope he feels I do for him. Every day together is like the most meaningful day ever to be experienced! My stance regarding Valentine’s Day have softened slightly. I have no qualms about shouting from the rooftop how much love I have for my breath-taking and incredible man…even on Valentine’s Day.

Ties That Bind

The ties that bind us together. Family, friends and those that weave in and out of our lives to deliver timely messages whatever they might be. On my Path through life I am often reminded how we are all connected to each other by seemingly invisible threads. I have learned that there are many different types of bonds in life; the bond of genetics is strong. Within my heart is a huge section reserved for my family. My parents, my sisters and those that surrounded me by relation. I have an amazing family that I am very honoured to be a part of. My sisters mean the world to me. Although we are each very unique we are also very similar…eerily similar sometimes. We laugh at the same things without speaking or even eye contact and often feel that the other is in some sort of distress just by intuition. Sounds kind of hokey but I think it speaks loudly of our concern and respect for each other as well as the strong familial connection. As we mature, it seems as though we are drawn back toward each other. We don’t get the pleasure of spending much time together as all three of us live in different cities. A few recent family events through both loss and health challenges has brought us back to a common goal of caring for each other. It is interesting how Life throws us back together when we need each other without realizing it.

 

 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with my family. My daughter and I went back to my childhood home to visit. On the way, we stopped off in Toronto to visit with my sister since she had flown in for work. I live fairly close to Toronto so this was a great opportunity for us to spend time together. Growing up, my sister was my closest ally. It was rejuvenating to get to spend time with her and my daughter together. This occasion allowed my daughter and I some time exploring on our own as well. We walked arm and arm down Yonge Street in Toronto and enjoyed each others’ company while we wandered aimlessly through the Eaton Centre. I am not a shopper by any means and I really do try to steer clear of malls and the materialism that is reinforced within its’ confines. However, the Eaton Centre is a really unique space. It is a landmark and focal point of downtown Toronto. It covers two city blocks and is four stories of shopping galleries while having a six-story glass domed ceiling. The Eaton Centre attracts approximately 50 million people per year with 25% of those visitors being tourists. It is a vibrant location in the heart of the city. It’s interesting how the mall itself still has the same feel it had when I visited it as a kid even though the stores have all changed. It is clean and bright and caters to eclectic tastes, not just the same stores and restaurants you find in every other mall in Canada.

 

 

 

Eaton Centre, Toronto

Eaton Centre, Toronto

 

Eaton Centre fountain

Eaton Centre fountain

 

 

 

My daughter was awestruck by Sephora while I just wanted to run as fast as I could away from it while plugging my nose! Sorry Sephora fans. Admittedly, it was a beautifully laid out store and the products are high quality. That is not the reason for my disdain. The odours of vanity hit my nose like a huge green cloud of toxicity. Nail polish remover, perfume, and masks of makeup on every female in the store hiding her natural beauty underneath. Makeup is meant to accent a woman’s beauty when worn on a “regular day”, not as though she were about to perform on stage! I guess I don’t share a flair for the (over)dramatic. I don’t think of myself as unkempt by any means but I felt as though I was totally naked walking through this establishment with my real face showing. I personally subscribe to the thought that we are each given something unique and beautiful, why try to look like everyone else? On that note, we carried on through the mall taking in all of the sights we aren’t normally bombarded with in our city which is surrounded by wineries and natural beauty. I love spending time in large urban areas. Seeing and experiencing how other people live is eye-opening. A reminder of why I have chosen the life I am living is essential sometimes.

 

 

 

Metal Sculpture

Metal Sculpture

view from 21st floor

 

 

 

Later that day, the three of us went out to enjoy dinner together. We found an incredible little place that served vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free pizza, pasta and desserts. Oh, and beer.  Jackpot! It was a great little hole in the wall that we all enjoyed immensely. If you are in Toronto and have the opportunity to eat at the Magic Oven I highly recommend it. The service was friendly, the prices reasonable and the food outstanding.  After dinner we headed to Chinatown. I love Chinatown, but sadly it was getting late and the shops were closing up for the night. My daughter had the shock of her life when she stepped on what she thought was a fish head (who knows what it really was) and I just couldn’t stop laughing at her reaction. If you’ve ever watched the show Pitchin’ In with Lynne Crawford and have heard her when her gag reflex kicks in, this was what my daughter sounded like. Hilarious. We booked it back to our hotel in the -10 degree weather as quickly as possible so we could warm up again. It was an enjoyable, if not frigid, walk. We stopped long enough to snap a pic on this extremely cool sculpture outside the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario). I got stuck holding the bags of desserts while my daughter clambered around behind me.

 

 

 

Sculpture outside the AGO

Sculpture outside the AGO

 

 

 

Saying goodbye to my sister as we left was, as always, bittersweet. I love spending time with her but that was merely the start to our busy weekend. Two more family and friend-filled days ensued. I got to spend some much-needed time with my other sister and parents. Visiting at “home” was a much more relaxed pace which was enjoyable after the hustle and bustle of the two days prior.

 

 

Catching up with my dear friend Crystal (Change My Body, Change My Life)  after a few months apart was grounding. Bringing me back to introspection. She is so good at reminding me to ask myself the important questions in life. She seems to always be able to read me like a book which is very comforting. There is no need to explain myself but just to be who I am…whatever heart space I happen to be in.  I am honoured to know that I am also a safe place for her. We help feed each others’ souls with positivity. Thank you.

 

 

These are merely snippets from my weekend spent reconnecting. Pulling the ties that bind closer to my heart. My world is more colourful and glorious because of those that grace the stage of Life.

 

 

 

 

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” – Henry Miller