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!

 

 

 

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Transitions

“Navigate your transitions by opening up to living a wholehearted, authentic life grounded in courage and self-worth.” – Gail O’Keefe

I happened to stumble across this quote this morning. It seemed to shoot straight into the centre of the swirling chaos that has taken up residence in my mind as of late. Transitions. It’s the perfect word to describe where I’m at in my Life at the moment. So much so that I can’t even put my thoughts into words where I’m at – which is very out of the ordinary for me. Usually my mind spews out thoughts quicker than I can type, yet over the last few weeks I am living in a perpetual thunderstorm inside my head – and my heart. Not an angry thunderstorm with brooding black clouds but a thunderstorm that is clearing the way for clear skies and thoughts. This quote holds the ticket. The ticket to the usual process of my thoughts and the way I generally choose to live life; with authenticity. My courage has tripped and stumbled and self-doubt has managed to slither in through the crack under the door, so to speak. It always seems as though when there is an inkling of weakness that the nasty nonsense that is lingering on the border of thoughts gathers together and charges in like a raging bull hoping to crush the Spirit that has withheld its advances for so long. I have been sucked into the evilness of over-thinking but today I have decided to grab hold of the parasitic practice and slam it to the ground…then stomp on it with my stilettos. A perfect use for impractical footwear.

” Think for yourself. Trust your own intuition. Another’s mind isn’t walking your journey, you are.” – Scottie Waves

I have made the realization that I have taken up residence in this mindset of over-thinking long enough. Realistic thinking that focuses on forward and positive momentum to better oneself is where I’m finally at. This is not a selfish act as I’ve been privy to hearing a few times lately. Nor is this mere self-preservation. This is about taking charge of my Life. Leaning into it and letting the wind blow my hair into tangles, feeling the sunshine bright and hot on my face, stomping through mud pits that try to hold me in its grasp but staying focused on the other side. Taking ownership of oneself by living authentically not only empowers the individual but impacts those around them, allowing them to do the same. We all hold back far too much. We worry about what someone else might say or think, we don’t want to be seen as eccentric, or possibly we have never thought there was anything else to life except running on the same hamster wheel day after day. I have always had my own mind and been a strong-willed female from the get-go. While I was often soft-spoken and jovial in my approach to things I have found that I have let Life steal moments from me occasionally. No more! I’m here to live…to dream…to play! To embrace the love of living like never before. Sometimes this means pulling forth strength from within that I never doubted having but that I never needed to rely on like I need to in this moment. I need to assemble my courage and self-worth to unprecedented levels and be more Me than I’ve ever been. To be true to Myself and to respect my own instincts while always being gentle with others. There is no accomplishment in being nasty to people in the name of being truthful to yourself. I would like to recommend that those that view another individuals journey into authentic living as a personal offence take a good hard look at their own life. If authenticity is undertaken as a means to embrace Life and love while being in full connection with oneself, transitions will benefit everyone involved. Change isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts like hell but brings a stagnant or unproductive state to one of empowerment and happiness down the line of Life. Other changes are for sheer personal empowerment or unrealized dreams finally brought to the forefront. Ultimately, change brought on in a methodical manner would be most beneficial. However, in this life of mine that never seems to fall short on the pizzazz-o-meter, a plethora of changes have decided to create a landslide at present. I know I will come through the other side, perhaps with a few bruises and scrapes but ultimately I will still have a smile on my face…even if it’s pasted on for effect.

” The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

Boredom Busters

Yesterday was a much-needed day off. One of my least favorite things to hear from my kids is “I’m bored.” Say what!? Bored? There is so much to do! To head off boredom, I decided that my daughter and I would hit Starbucks for a morning latte then go shopping bright and early and get supplies for an at-home mini spa day. We were in experimental mode and tried out some new-to-us face masks. What a hoot! These masks came in the form of (what else but) a mask. They were a fabric piece with eye, nose and mouth holes cut in them with the product soaked into the fabric. We accepted the variance because they are vegetarian approved and not tested on animals as well as looked safe in terms on ingredients. I must say that I don’t think I’ll use this type of mask again though. I like the slap it all over your face type of mask much better.

 

 

We kept laughing like idiots every time we looked at each other and the masks kept sliding around and losing contact with the skin. Not the masks’ design flaw but our hysterics that caused the issues. After 10-15 minutes we removed the masks with great results though. Our skin was soft and non-irritated, which is a huge bonus for my overly sensitive skin. To share in the hilarity of this weird-looking product, I shall shake off the fear of looking silly and share the stupidity with you. I apologize for the photo quality since we couldn’t remain still for long without cracking up. This is the best we could do.

 

 

 

Masks + Laughter = Good times

Masks + Laughter = Good times 

 

 

 

After our spa session, we moved on to the dreaded task of scrubbing the deck. I think we should have done this before the spa session since my “helper” made herself scarce after a short while and I ended up doing much of it by myself.  My work uniform of a tank top and shorts has left my co-workers and I with the most absurd wet suit-like tan lines. I decided that while scrubbing the deck I would try to diminish some of the severity of glaring whiteness that is my torso and don my bikini top with a pair of shorts. Not a well-planned venture on my part, I must say. Why is it that whenever I am the least dressed people start showing up? Nothing like being sweaty, half-dressed and covered with green slime from the deck and trying to be nonchalant when visitors show up! Good thing my 40-year-old self has decided to let go of my seriousness and laugh stuff off.

 

 

 

 

“If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?” – my Grandma

 

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

 

Born To Be Alive

I feel so alive! I’m not sure whether it is the extreme exhaustion of five 8-9 hour days of landscaping/gardening/mowing at work or the sudden warm weather of 16-20 degree Celsius and burning sun that we have been enjoying over the last week. Perhaps it was the crazy dancing that took place last night after a hard day at work until almost 1 a.m. Or just maybe it was the impulse purchases I made today. Whatever the cause, I am bursting with exuberance.

I am thrilled with my first purchase of the day which was a new spade. Yes, I am easy to please it seems. I bought myself the same type of spade I use at work since mine somehow went MIA somewhere along the line. A girl needs to dig sometimes and needs the right tool to do so. Almost as soon as I got home with my new spade I put it to use edging my veggie garden in preparation for rototilling. I am as giddy as can be about prepping the garden for planting. Seeing a growing veggie garden is like a mini Utopia in my own backyard.

Then I went a bit wacky and bought something that I honestly never thought I would own…a leather jacket. Gasp! I am struggling with this a bit, I must be honest. I very seldom purchase leather items as it seems so very wrong to me to wear another animals’ hide. However, this was a pre-owned jacket that I don’t think has ever been worn so buying leather seems a bit easier for my conscience to swallow. This insanely gorgeous jacket nearly jumped off the rack into my arms, I tell you! I wouldn’t bend for any old jacket though. This beauty is lime green and says “purrrrrr”. It really does. As soon as I slipped it on it was mine.

We all need to do the things that make us feel alive. Live life the way we dream in our mind’s eye. There is nothing that fills the Soul with the presence of Life like throwing back your head and laughing until your stomach muscles hurt, letting the wind whip your hair as it so pleases, and feeling Life force make you glow so others notice.  Life is to be lived, not to watch it pass you by.

“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’

and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”  – James Truslow Adams

Spring Whimsy

Lately I have noticed a bit of a trend toward goal-making. I love this concept of putting down on paper (or shouting from the rooftop, so to speak) what one plans on accomplishing within a certain time period. As I was reading many admirable lists that others made for themselves it became increasingly obvious that I am not in this goal getter zone. Normally at this time of year I would be planning what needs to be in order before summer arrives but this year feels different. Why am I not chomping at the bit this Spring to get myself making lists and putting my plans into action?

 

 

 

Here is my list as to why I have not prioritized my life from sun up to sun down each and every day this month.

 

  • I am a whimsical sort of person. I will drop everything if I come up with a more interesting plan. Yes, my Gemini spirit is rather dominant.
  • Lately I feel confined by lists.
  • There are so many great things to do in the Spring! How can I possibly list them all?
  • I have just started back to work (landscaping/gardening) and am aware that by the end of each day I will be moving as though I am wearing a suit of armour. It is temporary until I get back into the swing of things and my body remembers what it is supposed to do. Let’s just get through each day still smiling, shall we?
  • Day to-day stuff like meals and laundry just has to be taken care of, list or no list.

 

 

Included in my Plan of Attack (this is as organized as I am going to get at the moment. In two weeks I will probably be organized to a “t”. I normally like the structure of goals and lists but for now I am going to forego this need to plan everything):

 

  • My intention is to live each day to the fullest.
  • Laugh every day until I either cry  or my stomach hurts from laughing so hard.
  • Enjoy my time with friends and family.
  • Dance like no one is watching…a lot!
  • Feed my Soul and my body with goodness.

 

 

 

 

enjoy life

 

 

 

 

So in the spirit of the riotous behaviour beginning outside in the garden at the moment, I too shall be full of whimsy and delight in the energy of renewal that blows in on the Spring winds. With a dash of sass, of course.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”  – Confucius

Greening It Up for My Blogiversary!

One year ago today I decided to give WordPress a go, encouraged by my friend Crystal over at Change My Body, Change My Life. I am so glad I took her advice. Over the past year I have grown immensely (not in size, but in self-confidence and spiritually) thanks to making myself find words for what I was thinking and experiencing. Thank you to all of you that have read my blog and encouraged me. WordPress bloggers are an incredible group of individuals and I thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie that takes place. I have even made a few new friends to boot! So, once again thank you to all of you that not only visit me here at Live Love Be Green and/or on my Facebook page Live Love Be Green but that also create your own fascinating blogs that capture my imagination and that makes time well-spent reading what you have to say.

 

 

 

So, since it is not only my one year anniversary of blogging but is also St. Patrick’s Day I thought I would try something new and fun with a poll. I am just trying to get the idea of how to create a poll so bear with me if it is lame.

 

 

For our St. Patrick’s Day celebratory dinner I made a vegetarian shepherd’s pie (yum) with a fresh mesclun salad and a mouth-watering pint of Guinness for me. For dessert I lovingly baked a Chocolate Guinness cake with salted caramel drizzle. Holy heaven on a dessert plate! I shall leave you with thoughts of Guinness Cake. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Chocolate Guinness Cake with salted caramel drizzle

Chocolate Guinness Cake with salted caramel drizzle

“May you live a long life Full of gladness and health, With a pocket full of gold As the least of you wealth. May the dreams you hold dearest, Be those which come true, The kindness you spread, Keep returning to you.”  –  Irish blessing

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

Bring It On!

I have reached that point. You know, the point at which change is essential. Like a craving that the Soul needs to quench. I can’t shake it. I am trying to use this motivation for newness in a positive way. I am climbing the walls for some fun and adventure. What to do, what to do?

 

 

This started simply with the funk that settled in around the last post (February Blues) and morphed into the need to be surrounded with fresh energy. The craving has escalated to an  unprecedented pitch that has me almost tearing my house apart in need of a change of scenery. This week I have tackled closets, cupboards and my pantry-o-doom. A total overhaul was desperately needed but up until the past few days I just haven’t had the motivation for anything but putzing around. This January and February have been brutal on my peppy personality. I can now rejoice! I feel the pep returning. It has become my shadow that is stealthily waiting to pounce. I am ready…bring it!

 

 

This morning I decided, spur of the moment, that I had enough and got my hair cut. Five inches, at least, fell around the chair as my Inner Diva grinned like a madwoman. Some of the winter doldrums has been shed – I left it at the stylist. What a great relief to finally say farewell after fighting with it far too long. I was sick of rolling over in bed and pulling my own hair. Not a great wake up call, let me tell you. I haven’t caught my hair with my armpit in the last couple hours, nor have I dragged it over the dirty dishes while loading the dishwasher. I know, such hardship. Last week I had my kids in hysterics at the dinner table when I noticed as I cleared away the dishes that I had a noodle threaded into my hair. Lovely.

 

 

 

Now that I am primed and ready for the change that is in the air, where do I start?  I have so many things on my list!

 

 

 

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective,unstoppable determination.” 

– Ralph Marston

 

February Blues

Never be afraid

This morning I needed these words of wisdom. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in being strong not only for myself but for those around me that I lose track of where I’m headed.  The everyday mundane stuff creeps in until it takes over. Just when I think I know myself and what I want from life a giant bird of prey swoops down and clutches my resolve in its sharp talons. Today I feel “ho-hum” and sort of bumbly. The February blues caught up to me early this year for some reason. I don’t feel depressed, per say, just kind of blah. I’m sure it is the lack of being outdoors that is bringing me down.

In an attempt to perk myself up I cranked up some Buddy Guy on the stereo and am relaxing to the raw sounds of Buddy and the driving rain outside. I know that my dear friend Crystal (Change My Body, Change My Life) would tell me that I have some work to do on myself right now. I think I will listen to her words of wisdom. Today I will focus on my dreams, desires and who I am becoming. Life is constant change.

I need to give my head a shake, open up my umbrella and breathe in some fresh air. I do my best thinking out-of-doors.

“Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.”  – John Steinbeck