Room With A View

Window View

 

I long to sit in silence…to slow my thoughts to what is in front of me, around me, inside of me if only for a moment. To allow the flow of the moment to wrap me gently in its arms and tell me that it is alright to take this sliver in time just to breathe. I long to steal away to that place within that has been neglected for the sake of the “musts”.

All in good time, Spirit. The moment shall be sweet indeed when it arises.

Confrontation & Grudges

People never cease to amaze me. It is all too easy to expect everyone to think in a similar manner to oneself, yet be perplexed when the outcome is different. The push and pull of human communication and relationships are fascinating to me. Two main issues on my mind as far as character goes are confrontation and grudges. Let’s roll this around a bit, shall we.

 

I am naturally a positive and generally upbeat person as you have probably concluded and I want to see the best in people. Yes, I become disappointed when negativity arises but I tend to process it so I can let it go. I don’t need to carry baggage everywhere I go. However, if something is affecting me in a negative or displeasing manner I address it. This brings me to confrontation. If you are delivered an unsavory situation or something is on your mind, would you confront the issue head on?

 

I have been flabbergasted by people’s mannerisms where confrontation is concerned. On numerous occasions I have witnessed an individual that lets things pass unnoticed simply to avoid confrontation.  Although I understand the “not wanting to make waves” mentality, at what point should one slap the water to create ripples?  On the other side of the confrontation coin, there are those that go out of their way to seek out confrontation. They just can’t wait to get in someone’s face to force their agenda. Usually not laced with positive or helpfulness.  This is always a bit unnerving to me. There is however, a third confrontation style to throw into the mix. The Choose Your Battles style of dealing with things. I fall about here on the confrontation scale. I have absolutely no problem speaking up for myself or others. If something is troubling me I address it as soon as possible – so I can keep going forward. I don’t like hanging about kicking at the proverbial sand trying to read someones mind or intentions because that’s when over-thinking kicks in. With a brain that wants to roll things around, it is in my best interest to address things immediately to avoid building up crazy scenarios. This proves difficult at times and for this I am not always thrilled with myself. However, I am only human and life is filled with lessons. I have become quite adept at quickly shifting gears to trusting that things work out the way they are supposed to, with or without my thoughts contorting my emotions so it is best to just breathe through it.

 

Through watching how others choose their confrontation style,I realize that I am very comfortable with where I’m at. I used to be a bit of a “hot head” as my sisters will probably tell you, I’m sure. Being the youngest I had to hold my own. More because I was passionate about so-called right and wrong. Injustice wasn’t fair and I was going to shout it from the rooftop! I think I may have fallen off the roof at some point and landed in a vat of glitter. Over the past 15 years or so my temperament has changed significantly to one of happy-go-lucky and balanced. I see absolutely nothing wrong with wearing rose-coloured glasses. I think the big bang moment for me was watching another female get really aggressive in confrontation and I saw how ugly it is…with a capital U. I didn’t want to ever risk becoming that. On that note, avoiding confrontation is no healthier for the Soul than the all-out knock down-drag out technique either;  in my thinking anyway. I have recently become more open to confrontational response. I appreciate the honest approach. Preferably with a bit of compassion within. There is nothing worse than working up the nerve to pour out your thoughts and feelings and have the other person either invalidate what you feel or ignore the issue completely. Confrontation doesn’t need to be earth-shattering and decision oriented. It just needs to be real and honest. What happens with those thoughts and feelings is up to the recipient to interpret.  When we converse with an open mind we learn more about the other individual as well as ourselves as long as we go in with the intent of openness and honesty. I love a good debate as much as an emotional heart-to-heart where personal confrontation is concerned – as long as respect of personal opinion is undertaken. Above all else, respect of those involved makes confrontation enlightening.

 

 

 

“I think confrontation is healthy, because it clears the air very quickly.”  – Bill Parcells

Grudges. Do you hold a grudge? Do you stew over stuff and vow to never forgive or forget? Have you ever cut someone out of your life because of your anger or bitterness? I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people say, ” I will never forgive so-and-so because…”  Really? That other person has probably moved on ages ago wondering what the bee in your bonnet was all about! What I find most upsetting is hearing of a person refusing to ever see or talk to a family member over something petty or trivial. How very sad. Grudges have absolutely no value. A grudge is a parasite sucking happiness from the person carrying it. I believe that ego is at play in most grudge situations and if we can just put pride out of equation while inserting love, all will flow as it should. Why can’t we all just get along? Open your heart and your mind to let kindness rule. Kindness is not weakness – it is strength of character.

 

 

 

 

“I’ve had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing.”  – Buddy Hackett 

I don’t know about you but I’d rather be dancing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip – Part One

The road trip was brief but added fuel to my fire.  It has taken me this long to collect my thoughts and bring myself back to reality. Road Trip – Part One will be about how I spent my weekend away while Road Trip – Part Two will focus on my friend Steph (and travel companion) and what she was up to. Let me just set the scene by saying that Steph kicked some serious butt and focused like a mad woman last weekend.  We traveled together to our nation’s capital city, Ottawa, then went in our separate directions to get busy with our planned weekends.

 

 

Ottawa is in my Top 10 of favorite cities. If you haven’t visited this stunning city, I encourage you to do so. History, art, culture, politics, nightlife, cuisine, outdoor activities galore all rolled into one beautiful package. I have visited Ottawa so many times that I have lost count but every visit I find something new and exciting to explore. What was my main reason for going to Ottawa other than as a travelling companion to Steph? I was making the journey to visit my sister. Oh, how I love my sister and spending time together always makes my heart happy. We had some serious visiting and spa-ing to do! Yes, I said spa-ing. What else could I possibly call decadent lingering at this Scandinavian style baths/saunas for hours on end? Just thinking about being there still sends me into deep, rubbery bliss. This was my second visit to le Nordik in Quebec that is just a short jaunt from Ottawa. Each visit was a uniquely different experience but both were insanely sublime. I am actually thankful I don’t live closer or I’d be on a first name basis with the staff.  Seriously. Should you ever have the opportunity to go to a spa such as le Nordik, please do so. If you decide to make the trek to le Nordik in Quebec, call me…I’ll join you.

 

 

What do I love so much about this spa in particular? Perhaps it’s the eucalyptus steam sauna that makes one’s body drip with moisture that sends me into a euphoric state. Maybe it’s the freezing cold waterfall or plunge pool that is awaiting my departure from the sauna.  Or possibly it was the relaxation afterward that my body and Soul cried out for. Oh, who am I kidding…it was all of it rolled up into one bliss-filled day of heaven on earth. I even enjoyed the dry heat saunas this visit which I hadn’t been keen on my last visit. It’s interesting how tastes change with the passage of time and personal experiences. Since picture-taking was obviously taboo (this is a den of relaxation and who can really let go if someone is snapping photos of them lounging around in their bathing suit in sometimes unflattering positions).  I suggest that you visit this link to see what all my gushing is about. If I had to choose what my favorite thing about the Spa was, besides the company of sister and friends, I would have to say it was a tie between the Vaporo aromatic sauna, Tellura – which was freaking amazing, or simply the sensational hammocks in the trees secluded from activity. These hammocks were not your run-of-the-mill hammocks either, my friends. There was something almost magical about them. Once cocooned within its folds, no sounds but the leaves blowing in the breeze and quiet relaxation music I effortlessly drifted off into restful slumber like no other I’ve experienced.

 

This place is truly decadent.

 

The trek up to the Spa

The trek up to the Spa

 

 

 

 

Another of my fave sites to visit in Ottawa is the parliament buildings. I am not a lover of politics by any means but the architecture is even more impressive than the buzz that surrounds parliament hill. Canada’s parliament buildings were built between 1859 and 1866. In 1916 there was a fire in the centre block that left nothing but the northwest wing and the  library standing. If it weren’t for the foresight of an employee to close the library doors, the library and its contents would have been lost as well. During the first World War, construction began to build a new centre block which was completed in 1922 with the Peace Tower finished in 1927. The Peace Tower was named in commemoration of Canada’s commitment to peace. Cool feature: the huge gargoyles on the corners of the Peace Tower by the clock face.

 

 

Me on the Hill with the Peace Tower and Centre Block

Me on the Hill with the Peace Tower and Centre Block

 

 

 

There is always something interesting taking place on Parliament Hill. The day we were there the Queen’s Guard were strutting their stuff on the grounds, including bagpipers- in kilts! Yes, I giggled yet again at the sound of bagpipes.

 

 

Queens Guard

Queens Guard

 

 

 

 

On Parliament Hill we stumbled across an incredible sculpture that I hadn’t noticed before. I was struck by its beauty and strength. The Suffragette movement touches me profoundly. I become choked up at the courage of women to stand bravely and fight for the rights of women everywhere. I am proud to call myself a feminist and share in the convictions of my sisters before me. Feminism to me is not an excuse to man bash (glorious specimens that they can be) as some women choose to do but to expect equality across the board. Not ask for permission to obtain it. This sculpture garden, if you will, is very moving.

 

 

sculpture

 

 

 

 

Take a seat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

After enjoying the sights and hubbub on the Hill, my sister and I strolled (alright bolted) to Chateau Laurier for brunch. What a brunch it was! Maple crepes with maple whipped cream, chocolate croissants, delicious salads, hot dishes and a pastry table that delighted the eyes and taste buds among many other dishes. And the coffee…oh, the coffee. Sinfully scrumptious.

 

enjoying the coffee at Chateau Laurier

enjoying the coffee at Chateau Laurier

 

 

 

The road trip of relaxation, catching up with my sis and excitement came to a close all too quickly. I already miss my life-long friend and can’t wait for the next get together. Getting away from the daily grind is essential occasionally for allowing my Spirit to soar. To remember that there is intense beauty and exceptional individuals that share this planet. Sometimes the places that are relatively close  – in this case about 7 hours away from my home by car – feed the hunger for adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
-Bill Bryson

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

Be Like Sunshine

 

Photo: www.photo-blog.ca - credit to James Wheeler

Photo: http://www.photo-blog.ca – credit to James Wheeler

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.”

-Lord Byron

I think that this is one of my favourite quotes. I smile every time I think of it or my eyes fall upon it.

We all know someone that can clear the clouds away just by being present or having them in our thoughts.

I only hope that I can be this for someone else when they need a bit of sunshine.  That in itself would bring me great joy and fulfillment.

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?

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