Floating

 

 

 

 

In this very moment in time,  I find myself in a crazy juxtaposition. I am floating. Floating as though I am both tossed on the waves of life then a quick turnabout to the calm of outstretched limbs as I float peacefully.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by my emotion. Afraid to make a mistake, all the while knowing that if I would just stop and listen to my Inner Voice I’ll be just fine. Each and every one of us gets the reminder to listen to our inner being or instinct, if you will. How we choose to act in accordance with this voice is ours and ours alone. I know I’m not alone in choosing the overwhelming decision to take on everyone’s opinions and demands from time to time. Some of us have the tendency to let it override our own needs far too often. How can we juggle as many balls as we can handle then simply decide we are no longer capable? Why do some of us feel the need to adopt another juggler’s spheres as well as keep our own aloft? Is this not a recipe for a disaster? Or a source of self sabotage? The thought of giving up and letting the balls fall to the floor is a distressing thought to me. I know that deep within I am capable of almost anything except the jugglers dance for a lengthy period of time.

Yes, I’m stressed by the need to please everyone that surrounds me yet I’m far from a “people-pleaser”. I choose my boundaries and do not let others take advantage of me (much). I’m very capable of saying no and do so when necessary. What I do allow is my own twisted brain to guilt me for not being perfect. Yes, yes. I understand that no one is perfect. I shall always be polite, choose kindness first and foremost and most of all I all too often bite my tongue when what I really want to do is unleash a scathing verbal tirade. My self talk constantly reminds me that to let loose with anger or frustration is merely momentary satisfaction that ends in hurt feelings and self-chastizing brain activity. It serves no real purpose.

I ponder internally at those that feel aggression is the only way to prove a point. I often wonder what propels someone that feels the need to use force or aggression as a means to make themselves heard. Are we really that simplistic as a species to not be able to string proper words together without using our fists? Or to shut down the stupidity of a situation by the mere act of not giving it validation? Don’t get me wrong, there are times I’d love to give a swift slap or two and have done so in the distant past (gasp!) This is a wordless speech that offers violation and anger in return. Pointless, really. I truly believe that ego and immaturity drive the need to push one’s agenda upon another with force.

I rather veered off track, didn’t I? If you know me well, you will go with the flow of my thought progression and think nothing of it.

On that note, this is merely a reminder to like minds that carrying others burdens will not help us in either the short term or long term. It brings with it feelings of exhaustion, frustration and oftentimes resentment. We are not aiding anyone, really. Excusing another of sorting out their own thoughts/issues leads to dependence and the inability to make decisions. In exchange for carrying another jugglers issues, perhaps lending an ear is all that’s in order…or a (hypothetical) swift kick in the backside.

 

 

Advertisements

Simplicity

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, probably far too much. I’m at the point of risking the dreaded over-thinking which I detest. I’ll chalk it up to being human, give it a swift kick and keep on pressing forward past what tries to tempt me to dwell in discomfort. We all feel vulnerable, fearful, angry, and a multitude of other emotions on occasion. It’s part of our life path, if you will. To learn the lessons that present themselves, hopefully the first time around so as not to repeat them. We need to look these thoughts and emotions straight in the eye and deal with them so as not to be consumed by them.

 

 

I have come to a conclusion. Much of what burdens or hinders our growth and happiness comes down to one thing. Complicating things that really don’t need to be. Simplicity is our best tool in life.  Many years ago, a teacher taught me  a valuable lesson.  The rule was straightforward and easy; K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid. I overlooked this valuable acronym at the time for idiocy. Boy, was I misguided! I think I was the Stupid he was referring to. Ahem. I chose to complicate things far too often for my own good. I think the lesson may finally have sunk in. It only took 21 years to do so. Not so quick on the pick up of this lesson, sad to say.

 

 

It is easy to detect others over complicating matters but when it comes down to ourselves it isn’t always so simple. I think it has been a recent compilation of things that finally shone the light bulb of wisdom on this lesson for me. I have managed to over complicate things in many arenas of my life. Perhaps by trying to protect others’ feelings, keep the peace or be a people pleaser. I feel I am on the right track to improving upon things that weren’t/aren’t to my liking over the past few years, yet I was missing that key element of simplicity.

 

Why do we exaggerate things in our minds or try to make tasks more difficult than they need to be? Could it be ego? Or perhaps comparison? Maybe a case of insecurity? A building up of fear to paralyze ourselves from getting over an unknown? I suppose it could also arrive along with the need to make something seem bigger than it is in order to make ourselves feel more important when we solve the issue. I’m sure it is unique to every individual and each case of complication. While some individuals thrive on chaos, I long for peace tempered with the exhilaration of laughter and occasional fits of wild abandon while engaging in something that makes my pulse quicken- for good measure. Simple, life-affirming stuff. That’s it.

 

 

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

The vortex of energy sapping over complication drains the joy out of the life I choose for myself and I’m on a mission to simplify. Will I sit by idly and allow myself and those I love to get caught up in the swirling doom? HELL NO!

 

 

Healing Silence

“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.”

– Caroline Myss

creek

Silencing the mind can be one of the most difficult tasks we as humans have to undertake. It sounds simple yet, if you are anything like me, the brain is usually swimming with “stuff”.

I honestly don’t recall a time in my life when I have been pulled in so many directions at once like I am at present.

Silencing the mind feels like an insurmountable quest lately. When things become so overwhelming I just want to escape, that’s exactly what I do. I find myself walking or surrounding myself with nature in some form or another.

There is nowhere indoors that can possibly come close to the uplifting and enlightening experience of being immersed in the great outdoors.

I feel part of a whole when I am outdoors. Infinitesimally small, yet connected to a web that’s never-ending.

Mother Nature instinctively wraps her loving arms around me and settles my heart and instantly quiets my mind.

It is in this peaceful embrace that my soul begins to heal.

I Dream In Shades of Green

Here in the Northern hemisphere winter has unfolded and Old Man Winter’s icy breath blows relentlessly. The beauty can be awe-inspiring to some, downright depressing to others. I am of the inspired mindset. I tend to do a lot of inner work when winter settles in. Inner as in practicing self-love, or taking care of my Spirit, focusing on what I need to keep joy in the heart and regain focus on health. As an avid gardener, horticultural tech and professional landscaper I tend to yearn for garden time while simultaneously rejoicing in a bit of a break in the schedule. Plants are always on my mind…seriously. I dream in varying shades of green. I long to get my hands in the soil and mud on my boots. To smell the earthiness of freshly cultivated soil.

 

Something I had failed to ponder, which now occupies my mind almost on a daily basis is what exactly is going on within the garden while we are, for the most part, forced out of it. There is surely magic taking place. I find it fascinating to think upon what is shakin’ underground that we never see. The slowing of the biological processes of what we are aware of that is above the soil line while life force is still maintained. The energy that is still flowing constantly while for the most part we as humans deem the garden to be resting until we get back into the garden to assist; as if plants were relying solely on our actions.  I am humbled by the realization that we are merely a player on Mother Nature’s stage. 

 

 

winter garden

 

 

 

 

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

 

Tick Alert

There has been a subject that keeps popping up in a lot in conversation lately…ticks. Just the thought of these horrid wee creatures sparks frenzied responses from people, myself included. For good reason too. Ticks can carry disease and cause chaos within the body without us even knowing we’ve become a host.

 

Let me freak you out a bit with a couple of tick photos. You’re welcome.

 

 

blacklegged tick

 

 

 

 

 

tick sizes

 

 

 

 

Ticks generally reside in tall grass and bushes, but this year they seem to be popping up everywhere.  It is a common thought that ticks are found only in the country or in wooded areas but lately have been spotted in city gardens and lawns. A warmer than normal winter has encouraged an increase in the tick population. Great, now I feel itchy. Ticks do not fly but they seem to have, in my experience, a great ability to jump as though they were spring-loaded. Once on the body of a human or animal ticks will find a prime location (usually armpits, groin area, scalp and the nape of the neck are preferred locations) and make themselves at home by boring into the flesh. Scratch-scratch. Tick bites are generally painless so aren’t always detected quickly which gives ticks ample time to get to work. For your viewing pleasure, I present to you a burrowing tick.

 

 

burrowing tick - source unknown

burrowing tick – source unknown

 

 

 

 

Once the tick has started to burrow into the flesh, there is a proper technique for removal. Trying to flick the tick off or scratch it off is the wrong method as the mouth-parts need to stay connected to the body for proper removal. If the head and/or mouth-parts separate from the body the bacteria will remain possibly causing infection. Removal with tweezers by holding as low on the head as possible and pulling back gently to extract the tick is the correct method. Removing with dish soap or Basic H on a cotton ball also facilitates proper removal, or so I am told by those that have tried this method. Putting a squirt of dish soap or Basic H (see side link to my website Live Love Be Green for more info) then placing the cotton ball over the tick for a few minutes will supposedly draw out the tick by making it stick to the cotton ball and make it slide out easier. Hope I don’t have to try this method out. I have however, had to use the tweezer-method. Last summer I had a tick attach itself to my shoulder blade. Of course one of the only spots not easily accessible for me to remove it myself. I had been working at a place known for ticks and had performed a tick check on myself before jumping into the shower after I got home. I was good to go – or so I thought. The next morning while getting dressed for work I had an itch on my back. I turned and looked in the mirror to see something dark stuck to my shoulder-blade. Ack! Thank goodness help was close by to remove the tick easily for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a diagram of the proper tick removal method using tweezers:

 

 

tick removal-courtesy of yahoo.ca  images

tick removal-courtesy of yahoo.ca images

 

 

 

Ticks can carry bacteria that leads to such illnesses as Lyme disease. Be aware of any strange symptoms you may experience if you have been bitten by a tick and report them to your doctor immediately. Early detection is vital with any illness. If possible, keep the tick in a jar with a lid after removal in case you develop strange symptoms. Your local Public Health will test the tick for Lyme disease if necessary.

 

 

 

 

A few rules to deter and detect ticks while out and about:

 

– wear light coloured clothing to be able to easily detect ticks

 

– wear long pants and tuck them in or secure if possible to avoid ticks climbing up inside your pant leg

 

– spray boots/shoes and legs with DEET or a natural tick repellent. You want ticks to think you smell unappetizing.

 

– check yourself and family members for ticks after outdoor activity

 

– keep your grass cut short and dispose of unnecessary debris

 

 

 

Don’t let ticks deter you from getting out and enjoying the beauty of Nature. Simply be aware and be proactive. Now quit scratching and go enjoy some fresh air and sunshine!

 

 

 

 

 

“Don’t make us bite you in hard-to-reach places!” – The Tick (comedic superhero)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Kindness Inspires Kindness

Photo - rishikajain.com

Photo – rishikajain.com

 

 

Something happened a couple of days ago that got me thinking about how people treat each other. I had taken a detour to the grocery store after a scheduled meeting on Monday morning. I had planned on picking up a couple blocks of butter to make some more ghee. I hadn’t thought of purchasing anything other than butter…until I had made my way to the back corner of the store where the butter is located. Then I made the fatal error of looking around. Sales were abundant and they enticed me. Now, remember, I had only run in for butter so I did not grab a buggy or a hand basket at the store entrance. As I made my way to the checkout I kept spotting sale items that I could use. I ended up juggling a tower of items in my arms plus my giant purse slung over my shoulder while wearing a bulky winter jacket. Not good planning on my part. As I approached the chosen checkout line the man in front of me saw my near-to-toppling tower and came to my rescue. He pushed his purchases forward on the counter and unloaded my arms for me while we both had a laugh about my conundrum. He guessed correctly that I hadn’t figured on picking up much when I originally entered the store. He informed me that he had done the same thing far too often and therefore always stops and gets a buggy since he knows he purchases impulsively. Another laugh was had over this awareness of his purchasing style. I, on the other hand, made it a habit when my kids were very little and my budget was incredibly tight to only purchase what I could carry to avoid overspending. I guess old habits die hard.

 

 

 

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

 

This experience with another individual that gladly helped me made me appreciate the small windows of kindness that frequently pop up when I least expect them. There was no incentive for this man other than the feeling of helping someone. No reward other than a thank you and a smile was necessary. I frequently hear older people bang on about the rudeness of younger generations. Makes me wonder why those same individuals don’t hold doors for others or say thank you when you help them. It is almost as though they feel it is somehow owed to them. Is this not the real issue? That somehow society feels others owe them in some way, whether they are young or old. The feeling of entitlement has no age limit. Then there are many others that are simply kind and lend a hand when needed or offer a kind word without expecting anything but kindness in return. This brief moment at the checkout counter made me think about how often I would do something similar. I felt good knowing that I automatically step up and offer assistance without a second thought or speak to others or smile frequently. I have noticed that the more I put myself out there, the more I notice others that do the same. Perhaps it is some sort of chain reaction. When someone is kind to us, it feels good. We offer kindness to someone else because of it and what do you know, we feel good yet again! Plus, we made someone else feel warm fuzzies too. Let’s all spread a little kindness wherever we roam to make the world a whole lot nicer for everyone!

 

 

 

 

” Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”  – Princess Diana

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?